The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, February 10, 2003

Blast from the Past

Today I found Galaxy in my referers log, which was quite the shock because I didn't realize that it's still around. It's like seeing an old friend from high school!

"Browse The Internet's First Searchable Directory [ Jan. 1994 ]"

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Taken a Good Picture Lately?

"Are you going to the march against military action in Iraq? Are you affected by the congestion charges about to be brought in, in London? Your part in the news is important to us.

BBC News Online wants to report the world from your perspective.

And the digital revolution will help us to do that.

So, if you have been active with your phone camera, or any other digital camera, send us your pictures.

Our picture editor will choose the best each week and publish them on this page every Friday....

Nearly a million phone cameras have been sold in the UK, and if the experience of Japan is anything to go by, soon millions of us will have the ability to send pictures from our mobile phones." [BBC News]

This is brilliant and I love the idea. We're definitely in for some seismic cultural shifts over the next few years.

My question is which American news group will be the first to realize the potential of true interactivity with its readers and implement this type of service here?

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If You Prefer to Get Your RSS in Your Email Inbox....

The Shaman RSS Automailer

"Once you sign up, you'll be able to choose from the hundreds of news feeds currently available, and have the latest additions sent to your inbox. These news feeds are from quality news and information sites like CNN, Slashdot, and Webmonkey.

Now you'll be the first one to know about that new article on Slashdot, or that movie review, or that stock tip. You'll get the latest updates from your chosen sites, every hour*. Staying current has never been so easy." [via The FuzzyBlog!]

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Support a Library

"Scott who runs has a page outlining which libraries have affiliate programs so that you can donate to your library when you buy books online. Also noted is a list of which bookstores have affiliate programs to begin with, it's not all" []

This will be an excellent resource for libraries interested in this type of program because Peter will be expanding this resource into a full how-to:

"Check out our guide for libraries on how to make money on the Internet with affiliate programs. We've just posted our first set of reviews, news and recommendations.

Book mark the site because we'll be adding content on:

  • how to set up your own store,
  • how you can integrate links to bookstores via MARC tags in OPAC records,
  • links to comparison shopping engines,
  • and cover other affiliate programs."

Peter also notes that the University of Calgary has an online eBookstore. It will be interesting to see how this fares!

"eBooks are a portable, versatile, and interactive new technology with the potential to dramatically improve learning. We carry a growing number of eBook titles in the Microsoft Reader, Palm Reader, and Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader formats."

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Your Moment of Ewwwwwww

"Most Common Creature On Earth" Affects Global Warming

"Thought for the day: More bacteria are alive in your mouth right now than the number of people who have ever lived on Earth. And if you're swimming in the ocean and take an accidental gulp of seawater, some of those bacteria in your mouth are the very ones that may control global warming." [Sci-Fi Today]

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In case you missed the news, Steven Cohen has moved Library Stuff to a new home and he's now using Movable Type as the back-end. Along with the new home comes a new focus:

"For now on, I will be posting less stories and more commentary on issues related to library and information science. For those that like less commentary and more stories, I have resumed my post as author over at LISnews and will be contributing stories there.

Why the change? I felt that there were too many library weblogs publishing the same news articles which resulted in a tremendous amount of crossover. By going back to LISnews (many of you don't know that I was one of the original authors), my goal is to help Blake make the site the one-stop place for library news."

Along with the new back-end comes a new RSS feed. I'm just happy to have LS back in my aggregator!

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Getting Community News Online Easily (and in My Aggregator!)

Last week I highlighted the Sunderland Public Library's web site because it's gone blog. Bruce O'Leary notes that the Town of Sunderland's site is a blog, too. This is exactly what I want my own community to set up locally!

Of course, I humbly suggest that the Town's site link to the Library's site....

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Budget MP3 Player

"TigerDirect has the DLink DMP-110 32MB USB MP3 player for a low $19.99 after $20 rebate. You can add a 32MB Smartmedia card." []

Can someone please explain to me why I can now buy a 32MB MP3 player - similar to the one I bought in 1999 - for $100 on sale, but yet the price of CDs has gone up?

(That's a rhetorical question.)

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Games for Girls

Every day now Kailee is asking for a Nintendo GameCube and the game Animal Crossing. A friend of hers got both for Christmas, and Kailee is totally hooked on it. This is the first console video game that she's really wanted to play, and now not a day goes by that she doesn't remind us that her birthday is coming up next month. She has the Mary-Kate and Ashley horse riding game for Playstation, but she's only played it a couple of times. Clearly, this game is different.

Then I read that Eric got a Playstation 2 for his family, but he doesn't note which games he bought for the kids (what did you get, Eric?). I'm interested in recommendations for good console games, particularly for grade school girls. We have a Playstation 2, but I might consider a GameCube since I think there would be more games of interest for her (and me, since I'm not really into shooter or sports games). I know she'd save up her allowance to buy something like Animal Crossing.

FYI, Nintendo is running a price break on GameCubes - $150 plus a free game. Unfortunately, there are only four choices and Animal Crossing isn't one of them. Suggestions and advice are most welcome.

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"Oklahoma's state senator has made a prolific move for all of humanity. He wants to require Oklahoma barbacue restaurants to offer napkins. Yes, seriously.

No confirmation if he was paid off by the napkin lobby." [MetaFilter]

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Your Library's Access to This Content Has Expired....

Derek Slater's HPR interview with MPAA President Jack Valenti hit the WEB4LIB mailing list late last week. Jackie Loop responded with the following observation:

"My teenage son, an avid hockey player, likes to use old CDs (AOL promotions, etc) to practice his swing. I can tell you that the average life span of a CD used as a hockey puck is two shots.

I've often wondered if DTIC would consider that an acceptable method for getting rid of the Library's stack of old, semi-sensitive TR databases on CD..."

Heh-heh. Another message noted that Valenti would probably like to see library resources locked down in a way similar to Steve Mann's 2001 exhibit SeatSale: License to Sit.

picture of the chair with spikes sticking out"Here is the internet chair with magnetic stripe card reader and spikes that retract when a seating license is downloaded from a license server in response to input from the card reader incoroprated into the chair. The license server is in the 19 inch relay rack behind the internet chair.

Swipe credit card or government issued
photo ID card to download a FREE Seating

Your card is for identification purposes only. The seating is FREE!!!

By swiping your card, you agree to be bound by our Terms and Conditions.

Your swipe indicates your agreement to these Terms and Conditions of use.

If you do not agree to our Terms and Conditions, remain standing and do not swipe your card through the card reader!

After some time (e.g. after the movie has finished) a bright flashing animated version of the following is displayed:

Warning: your seating license will expire in 5 seconds! Please get off the chair when the buzzer sounds!

then the following message is displayed while an extremely loud bank of 60 Hz warning buzzers is sounded throughout the exhibit space:

Your Seating License will expire in 4 seconds
Please swipe your credit card or
contact the SeatWorks to renew your license
WARNING: Your Seating License will
expire in 3 seconds!
Please get off the chair!
contact the SeatWorks to renew your license.

License Expired

(spikes unretract)"

Licensing (as we are already finding out with the spiralling price of serials and ebooks) could well be the death of libraries in a Heavenly Jukebox future, especially if there is no provision for fair use of copyrighted materials by library patrons.

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Taking Full Advantage of the Resources Available to You

Great Free Legal Resources in Washington State

"I got an E-mail from David Goodson, who pointed out the following after reading a recent post here:

"I too am an attorney and your blog about internet legal research caught my eye - particularly your reference to state law research. ...what I really want to tell you about is that here in WA you can send an email query to a the state law librarian in Olympia and they will send you back an answer. I had [a] case where I needed legislative history for a law I was challenging. I spent hours and hours looking for it the conventional way without much luck so I sent them an email and within ten minutes I had a response with copies of everything I needed. and best of all it was free."

Now that sounds like a good system, and hopefully it will be the norm for other states in the coming years. [Ernie the Attorney]

The lesson here is to think about contacting a librarian when you find yourself spending too much time researching something, whether it's for work or personal knowledge! The minute you feel the first hint of frustration, contact a librarian! (The Illinois Compiled Statutes and more have been available online for some time now, too.) Illinois residents can Ask the Illinois State Library questions via email or telephone. A statewide online chat service should be up and running later this year, but of course you can always start with your local public library, as well.

Unfortunately, it looks like someone has removed the Illinois State Library from the list of Illinois State Agencies. This is shameful. If state governments continue burying library resources on their sites and cutting funding for them altogether, the bigger shame will be that the type of service Ernie highlights won't even be available, let alone the norm. You need to let your legislators know that you value library services at every level - local, state, and federal. These things matter.

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Cheery Tune

Have you seen the Cheer commercial in which a boyfriend and girlfriend are talking on the phone about a black shirt she gave him? He says it's faded from all of the times he's worn it, so she tells him to wear it the next time they meet. He grabs the sweater and washes it repeatedly to make it fade, but because he's using Cheer, it doesn't.

Have you also noticed that they've added some fine print at the bottom of the screen that you can go to to hear the full version of the tune that plays during the commercial? If you follow that link, you're re-directed to the main page, the song automatically starts playing, and there's a link to download the full version (for Windows or Mac). Did people contact them asking about the song, or did the company proactively push the envelope of advertising for laundry detergent?

It's not a particularly great song, but it's interesting that they're making it so prominent on their television commercial and web site. I can't remember where I saw it last week (I hate when that happens), but there was an article noting that there haven't been any good advertising jingles lately, in part because companies are licensing real songs by real artists and attaching their brands to them. The Cheer song (which I assume is an original since there are no credits available for it) is an interesting combination of this phenomenon, and a good use of their web site. It made me visit.

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Taking Our Lives Online

People with Personal Websites

"According to a December 2002 survey of 501 adults in the US, conducted by the University of Maryland and Rockbridge Associates, 21% of US consumers have their own personal website, or have a family member with his/her own site. Additionally, 13% say they own or a family member owns a domain name or web address for a hobby or personal interest....

The study determined that 77% of US adults connect to the internet through a regular phone line while 20% are making high-speed connections. Of the broadband subscribers, 12% use a cable modem and 8% are using digital subscriber line (DSL). This is also the recently-publicized study which revealed that US employees with net access at both home and work spend an average of 5.9 hours per week at home online for work purposes and an average of 3.7 hours per week online at work for personal interests." [eMarketer Daily]

That's a pretty small sample, but if the statistics hold up when scaled, it would show that people are truly creating their own content, rather than just sitting back and letting the internet become a one-way (corporate) medium. And 77% of them are publishing via a dial-up connection, so they don't need broadband to do it. I have to think that blogs will only increase those numbers, as will photoblogging for families.

Of course, they may also be getting domain names in order to maintain a stable email address. Will Cox pointed me to a notice that Comcast will maintain AT&T Broadband email accounts through 2004 because so many customers complained about having to change their address yet again. I'm glad they're listening, a nice change in this industry.

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