The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Friday, March 12, 2004

*Now* I Discover the Free Wi-Fi

So yesterday everyone discovered the free wireless access in the Hilton's lounge area. I hadn't paid much attention to it since I got free broadband wired access across the street in my room at the Courtyard Inn, but this morning I wanted to hop online for something. On my way there, I saw Michael Sauers, who had just come from the lounge area. I asked him, "Where did you get the signal up there?" His response was, "Just look for all of the laptops."

He was right. This is the first time I have seen this type of concentration of Wi-Fi use at a library conference. The sad part is, there's maybe a dozen of us at the most.

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Most Depressing Moment of the CIL Conference

Mary Lee Kennedy is offering her "Top Tech Trends," and instant messaging is one of them. She asked how many of the hundreds of people in the room use IM for work purposes, and six (maybe seven) 9 hands went up. If you take away Aaron, Michael, Bob, and me, that leaves two hands. Two Five freaking hands from people at a tech conference who use IM for work!!!!!!

Update: I think the statistical difference between a dozen hands (at most) out of hundreds of people and two hands out of hundreds of people is small enough to still make my point.

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Weblogs and RSS are Hot Topics

"The most striking observation from two days at the CIL conference is that THE hot topics of conversation are Weblogs and RSS. I can't tell you how many times I overheard people taking about blogging or asking questions about RSS. There were no fewer than eight opportunities to learn about these technologies, and there were at least 200 people at Jenny's presentation yesterday on the wonders of RSS. I really get the sense that the news is starting to spread faster and faster. It's pretty cool to watch, as always...." [Weblogg-ed News]

Agreed! In fact, I ended up doing a 45-minute intro to RSS yesterday because so many of the presenters were talking about RSS but no one had really defined it. A lot of light bulbs yesterday!

In fact, I have a new goal for the Internet Librarian conference in California in November. When I do my next presentation about RSS there, I want to be able to highlight the following services:

  • An OPAC vendor that provides native RSS feeds (with a wizard-like administrative interface that lets librarians choose which subjetcs and authors feeds they will provide);
  • A third party database aggregator (like ProQuest, EBSCOhost, FirstSearch, etc.) that is offering saved RSS searches to which library patrons can subscribe, combined with library barcode authentication in the major news aggregator software.
  • An RSS feed (including one for keyword search) from one of the major print trade journals (Library Journal and American Libraries, I'm looking at you!).
  • An RSS feed of new additions from a library's digital collection, whether it be for images, audio, or video.

If your organization is interested in being the one to do this first and get all of the glory, please contact me!

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