The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Ohio Going All RSS

Monitor Ohio Public Utilities with RSS

"Almost every Web site has a what's new section or page. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio shows us that RSS syndication is a great way to allow your customers to monitor what's new on your agency's website.

Jeffrey S. McNaughton, PUCO Webmaster reports that the Commission is now offering two new RSS feeds.

Recent PUCO News Releases:
What's New On the PUCO Web Site" [RSS in Government]

Please, someone give the state agencies in Illinois a clue so they can start playing catch-up!

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Pull the Plug on the Broadcast Flag

I haven't had a chance to read it, but I'm told the new issue of Cites & Insights is devoted entirely to the Broadcast Flag and its implications.

Even though I haven't seen it yet, I'm recommending you print it out and read through it carefully because I know Walt Crawford will give this issue the attention and explanation it deserves. As I said at the TLA Conference last week, this is a critical issue for libraries, and it's imperative that librarians understand what's going on and get involved to defeat initiatives like this one that could prevent us from serving patrons in the electronic world.

Read it, sign the petition, contact your legislators, inform your boards (and patrons!), and pass it on.

2:03:36 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

SLS Embraces Blogging!

Yesterday I attended an all-day meeting about the proposed merger between my System (SLS) and the Chicago Multi-type Library System. Today, it's official and we'll be merging on July 1, 2004. I was shocked to see in the new plan of service the following item:

"The System staff will provide and support electronic communications, e.g. website, blogs, host email lists."

It was even the first item in the list under "technology services!" So it's official - blogging is now an integral part of my System, as mandated in our operational plan!

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Full InfoEyes Virtual Reference Service for the Visually Impaired Goes Live

"Visually impaired persons in select libraries around the United States are participating in a six-month pilot project which officially opens on Monday, March 22, to test an online information and virtual reference service designed specifically for their needs. The service will be offered through InfoEyes,, a virtual reference and information community for the visually impaired.

Through the pilot project, visually impaired patrons will use QuestionPoint to work with librarians virtually to find what they’re seeking on the Internet. QuestionPoint, the collaborative virtual reference service developed by the Library of Congress and OCLC, helps librarians track and manage questions from patrons through a network of reference librarians around the world.

The Illinois State Library and the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service are coordinating the pilot project; the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) has provided software and resources. The project will test the effectiveness of assisting the visually impaired in using the Internet.

'The goal of the QuestionPoint service and other online reference services is to increase access to information,' said Frank Hermes, Vice President, OCLC Cooperative Discovery Services. 'The InfoEyes pilot project will increase access to online reference. OCLC is proud to be part of this effort which is consistent with our mission of furthering access to the world’s information.'

In the pilot project, librarians will provide services that include voice over IP, co-browsing, and application sharing. InfoEyes users will be asked to evaluate the service and resources to help librarians further develop the service. Hours of service will be posted on the InfoEyes Web site. If users would like service outside of those hours, they may schedule an appointment or a reference session.

'Virtual reference for the blind and physically handicapped population is nothing short of imperative toward the inclusion of this population in mainstream society,' said Barry Levine, a Talking Book reader and library leader in Illinois.

Libraries participating in the project, which will run from January to July 2004, include: the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York City, Cleveland Public Library/Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Illinois State Library, the Indiana School for the Blind, the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library of Congress, Maine State Library Outreach, Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, Nevada Talking Book Services, Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library, Southern Illinois Talking Book Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, TAP Information Services, For more information, contact Sharon Ruda at, Diana Brawley Sussman at, Tom Peters at, or Lori Bell at"

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