The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, September 22, 2003

"I Believe the Children Are Our Future...."

I couldn't resisit the title from the Whitney Houston song after seeing these stories flow through my aggregator today. Emphasis below is all mine.

Wireless Carriers Embrace Truism: Youth Are the Ruture

"MSNBC has an upbeaut article on the growing potential of cell phone sales thanks to pre-teens, as children using mobile phones are getting younger and younger, as their parents feel more secure in being able to keep tabs on them through their handsets.

-- 'Only 28 percent of 13- to 19-year-olds have a mobile device, according to IDC, a researcher based in Framingham, Mass.; penetration exceeds 50 percent in older groups. In addition, this group of teens and preteens -- part of a demographic echo made of baby boomer offspring -- is a population bubble on par with baby boomers themselves.

Just as the Happy Meal created a generation of fast-food eaters, the camera phone with customized ringers and two-way text messaging aims to create a generation of heavy wireless users.

-- According to Telephia Inc., a San Francisco-based market research firm, 57 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use two-way text messaging on their phones; more than double the number of baby boomers (37- to 55-year-olds) who text-message'." [textually.org]

Schools Tackle PDA Problem

"In the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto High School junior Anna Luskin freely uses her cell phone in between classes. Senior Sean Slattery taps notes into his personal digital assistant as his teachers give lectures.

And like many other students, senior Stav Raz has memorized her cell phone keypad so she doesn't even have to look at it while quietly messaging friends during class....

Though no formal policy exists, teachers there generally apply the same rules that they have for computers: no exchange of information between devices, and no personal e-mail or chatting unless it's part of a class exercise.

When East Dubuque does consider a PDA policy, Ambrosia said he'll want to ban the combination cell phone-PDA models....

In addition, vendors of educational software have responded to the cheating potential -- for instance, the Scantron Corp. makes quiz programs for PDAs that automatically disable the device's infrared beaming function." [CNN]

Then check out all of these ideas in action at this Library Moblog for Kids:

"This moblog experiment involved 10-13 y.o. children from the city library of Plessis-Trevise ; they are from a reading club and they exchange each month feelings about new books they are reading. The work is not finished, though. They're going to put add critiques on the book they have read and comments too... this will be THEIR moblog.' " [Boing Boing]

The upswing of all this? Start preparing to address these types of issues in your library, and simultaneously prepare to serve these kids outside of your building.

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Integrating Cell Phones as Tools, Beyond Just Talking

Camera Phones Reach Photo Milestone

"For the first time, global sales of camera-enabled mobile handsets surpassed sales of conventional digital cameras in the first half of 2003.

According to results reported by Strategy Analytics, mobile phone makers shipped 25 million handsets with built-in cameras worldwide in the first half of the year. This number is compared with four million in the year-earlier period.

In the same time frame, shipments of conventional digital cameras, the fastest-growing segment of the traditional camera market, doubled to 20 million in the first half, the firm said. " [Mobile Commerce World, via Lost Remote]

In addition to cell phones becoming popular as digital cameras, they're becoming important as work tools, too:

Mobile Phones Hot New Item on Menu at McDonald's

"McDonald's last night gave $1.6 million worth of Nokia 2280 mobile phones to its 6500-strong New Zealand workforce to use for as long they are employed by the firm....

Initially text messaging will be the backbone of the system and ultimately a menu system will cover staff rostering and company information.

The phones are on Telecom's 027 network and can be used by staff for their own purposes at regular prepay rates. When staff leave they can buy the phone or return it to McDonald's.

McDonald's spokesman Liam Jeory said just having a phone was something a lot of young people aspired to and this gave McDonald's something to differentiate itself in the employment market....

The texting feature will be particularly useful in finding additional staff members when someone is off sick or otherwise fails to turn up for work." [New Zealand News, via Smart Mobs]

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Libraries on Mobile Networks

Another Reason the Mobile Networks Should Be More Open

"There is a huge opportunity that the cellco's are ignoring. All kinds of devices should be connected to the Net, but aren't.

Why doesn't my digital camera have an 'email this picture' option? Why can't my iPod be updated with news or email or RSS feeds? Why does Tivo require a physical connection to a telephone landline? Why is data access so much more expensive than voice access?

The cellco's are tightly controlling what devices can connect to their networks and are stifling innovation in the process. Right now, they make money on the hardware and selling hardware is a big part of their distribution model.

If they opened up their networks to well-behaved devices that could be traced to a known account holder, they would greatly increase the amount of innovation on applications and devices that used mobile networks. Furthermore, if any one of the big cellco's did this, they would have a significant competitive advantage. And, finally, if they don't do it soon, WiFi could preempt most data-based applications of cellular networks." [MediaSavvy]

What do library services look like in a world where our patrons don't consider themselves "wired" because their devices are all connected wirelessly?

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Did You Know There Is a New Public Enemy Song? Probably Not.

To most of the world, I think music singles are still pretty dead. Over on Rhapsody, though, they are enjoying a resurgence. The latest evidence? They are highlighting a new Public Enemy song on the main page in their client software. The song is called "Son of a Bush" and it's about our current president. I don't particularly like the song, but it's difficult to imagine that creating a physical CD of it would produce much revenue, and it's certainly not going to get any major airplay.

"Chuck D lets loose on the current administration, expressing his opinion that George W. is 'the son of a baaad man' over a claustrophobic, ultra heavy metal riff. With sirens blaring, Flavor Flav in full spasmodia and beats loud enough to give concussions, this track can only mean one thing: PE is back." [Rhapsody review]

Talk about figuring out the new world of music and using it to your advantage! (As opposed to holding your hand to your head and weeping "woe is me" to any legislator and reporter who will listen.)

In addition, the PE web site offers a free MP3 concert and includes a link to Slam Jamz, "the online 21st century mp3 label." Sounds like they could teach the RIAA and its members some new tricks.

Addendum: I'm also listening to the latest Barenaked Ladies single, "Another Postcard," which I do like. This is the first time in years that I"ve been listening to advance singles in anticipation of purchasing the album when it comes out. Of course, I'd probably buy the BNL album when it comes out anyway, but I feel like I'm 12-years old again!

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New Free Service to Analyze Your BlogTraffic!

Last month I highlighted Dan Grigsby's code that notifies you via AIM when someone visits a specific post on your blog. It was interesting to continually get notifications throughout the day, but now Dan has updated that code to let you get the AIM name of the visitor if they provide it. While this is mostly just interesting on my personal site, this could be *very* interesting on my intranet and extranet. Instant messaging integration is going to get very interesting over the next few years.

In terms of traffic patterns, though, Dan is also offering a new free service called Lumberjack.

"There are a number of really good web access log traffic analysis programs out there. Programs like Webalizer, Analog and WebTrends provide great traffic analysis, tell you how people got to your site (i.e., referrer tracking), what they do when they're there, what OS and browser they use, and so on. These programs run on most any operating system. These are hard-core traffic analysis tools. The problem is that these programs require webserver access logs, and these logs are generally not available to bloggers unless they run their own webserver. This service solves this problem by creating access logs formatted identically to those found of webservers.

Generate an HTML fragment using the form below, then paste this fragment into your blog entries. Each time someone visits one of these pages a log entry will be added to a logfile stored on this server. You can come here and download the logs whenever you like. Run these logs through any analysis program that supports the 'Combined Log' format (used by most Apache servers)."

I'll try it out when I have a moment to add the code to my posts, but this highlights a point I make in my presentations about blogging - that a lot of the interesting innovation we're seeing on the web is coming from the blogosphere. Something about the combination of the collective and the personal is pushing the envelope.

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Could the Yale Libraries Stream Music to their Students?

Are You Hiding from the Music-downloading Cops?

"However, today's news of lawsuits against 'music-downloaders' brings to light one major academic area where the playing ground deeply favors the well off: the study of 20th-century music. Music is a very popular intellectual interest at Yale, and yet there is no suitable way to access music without buying scores of expensive CDs or illegally copying them.

Why is it that in order to pursue an intellectual or academic interest in 20th-century music one must be either very wealthy or willing to break the law?

....Yale should stay true to its core values by leveling the economic playing ground for those who pursue music as literature. As of a decade ago, making the music of the 20th century available to Yale students would have been prohibitively costly. However, several technological solutions make this extension of our already impressive academic library entirely feasible.

One such solution are Residential College Streaming Media Libraries, similar to the one recently initiated by the Pierson College Council. These libraries can each purchase hundreds of dollars of relevant music each semester and make this music available at Yale via streaming technology (developed by Robert Glaser '83 of RealNetworks). Through special restrictions, such as ensuring that only one person streams a work at a time, these libraries can abide by copyright law just like brick-and-mortar libraries -- at least according to several members of the Yale Law School Information Society Project. These libraries could buy any music (like traditional libraries), and with the appropriate restrictions, make it available to the Yale community. If this solution were initiated by other residential college libraries, such that a student committee within each college decided what music to acquire, then these Streaming Media Libraries could solve our problem of equal access, as well as revitalize the role of college libraries on campus.

Another, more immediately viable solution is to form a scholastic partnership with a music streaming company, such as Pressplay, to provide commercially streamed music to Yale students at a reasonable low price (less than $10 per month, per student). These services provide hundreds of thousands of songs, and a comprehensive collection, and could be compared to our existing academic journal subscriptions...." [Yale Daily News, thanks Derek!]

I'm totally on board with these ideas, but I don't believe there's a music service out there right now that would 1) work with a library to provide this type of service, and 2) allow a university to purchase a license for each student.

Am I wrong? I hope not, but I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer that proves it. It does perfectly illustrate the problem libraries are facing in a digital age that favors publishers rather than content creators, the public, and paying customers.

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