The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Thursday, March 25, 2004

Free Culture Is Both!

"Free Culture" is

"Thanks to the lessons explained by others (Cory), and the courage of a great publisher (Penguin), Free Culture launches today with a free online version of the book, licensed under a Creative Commons license. You can get the book here, though at the moment, only the bittorrent version is apparently up. Later today, there will be a direct download available from the Free Culture site, and from the Amazon site." [Lessig Blog]

Kudos to Professor Lessig and to Penguin. I'm holding out for a Palm version or, better yet, an audiobook (preferrably MP3, Ogg, or even Audible). However, the CC license says the following:

"You may redistribute, copy, or otherwise reuse/remix this book provided that you do so for non-commercial purposes and credit Professor Lessig."

If I understand that correctly, I believe that means libraries can download the PDF version, catalog it, link to it from their catalogs, and let patrons download it (hellllllllooooooo, SWAN!). Of course, I also think this book is important enough that every public and academic library should purchase a print copy as well, but it's nice to be able to offer the uncomplicated download, too.

So thanks again, Professor Lessig!

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Contextual Help

Call up the past!

"I found this in The Guardian, great for anyone touring London:

Handheld History is a new service launching this Spring, which allows you to use your mobile phone to access history based on Londonís famous Blue Plaques.

The Blue Plaques which are on buildings all over London, commemorate the achievement of hundreds of men and women who have lived and worked in the city for all or some of their lives. By calling a designated short code or dialling a number, you'll get either basic history by SMS or a short voice biography.

Handheld history will also entertain you through your cell phone if you're waiting in line to get into Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, with some horrible facts about Vlad the Impaler, the original Count Dracula, the death of Joan of Arc, the final days of Adolf Hitler or how Princess Diana was remembered after her death." []

Way cool, and an excellent use of handhelds, location-based services, and text messaging. Someday libraries will make some of their information available this way, too.

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A big Welcome Back to Steven - we missed you!

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A New Kind of Help for Flickr Users

Quiplash the Librarian

"Virtual Reference Service TODAY Thursday March 25th 2004, 4-5 pm CST

I am testing out the QuestionPoint software by offering a virtual reference desk service to the folks in FlickCentral... I've had a few questions come my way (btw, 'Quiplash' is my online nickname in Flickr, but most people just call me 'Quip'. I use this picture to advertise when I am currently at 'desk', and to tell people when the next reference desk service is available. It gives me a good way to test out the software with some computer- and chat-savvy users..." [as I live the questions]

So the University of Manitoba Libraries is testing QuestionPoint by helping Flickr users. Pretty cool test if you ask me.

10:30:44 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

More on Chicago Bloggers

Hey, I didn't know there's a Chicago Blogmap! Too bad it doesn't show the full Metra line, because then I could get close to being on it.

Oh, and here are John's musings about the Chicago bloggers dinner. I, too, wish I had gotten around to the other side of the table, but I think we need to do this again in the fall.

10:22:11 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

New RSS Class at SLS!

Although it is currently open only to librarians at our member libraries, we've officially begun teaching RSS at SLS! Here's the basic information:

How to Use RSS: Know More & Do Less!

"RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is an XML format that allows syndication of Web content. But what does that really mean? Learn how to use a news aggregator to read multiple sites to keep current while reducing the strain of your workload. Learn how news aggregators help you beat information overload and keep you more informed at the same time! In addition, you can start providing RSS syndication of your own news for your libraryís patrons."

The first class is May 6 (1:30 - 4:00 p.m.), with a registration deadline of April 22. There is a limit of ten participants because it will be hands-on training in our computer lab. I'll be teaching the class, and we'll even offer 2.5 CPDU credits for all of our school librarians! (Members can register here.)

The reason it's only open to our members is because I (hope) to teach them how to use the embedded news aggregator that will be part of our new web site which should go live next month if all goes according to plan. As I've mentioned before, we're having special CMS-like software written that, among other things, is founded on the use of blogging and news aggregation. Every user with a login will have a personal aggregator that will be pre-populated with SLS project feeds relevant to the user's main profile (ILL, reference, administrator, school librarian, etc.). They'll also be able to add external feeds, but it's our way of helping our members stay current with what's going on here.

So these sessions are an introduction to RSS plus training for how to use their personal aggregators that come with their SLS logins. I'm very excited about the whole thing, especially because I should finally get my proof-of-concept for how this combination can make my staff and our member librarians more efficient.

3:17:29 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!