The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Thursday, October 07, 2004

Google Highlights Power of SMS Reference


"Google has introduced a free texting service that taps into its existing Froogle, phone directory, business listings databases, and even refined "clippings" from the main search engine. There's no premium to be paid by the user, over and above what it costs to send a text message.... The ad broker wants to squeeze its context ads into the message, if it can: "To the extent that ads can provide you with useful information, we would be likely to do that," Google's Georges Harik told

Either way, the service is quick and surprisingly broad ranging, delivering multi-part messages within a minute in our tests. You can look up word definitions, zip codes, use the calculator (although most phones have one built in), or reference factoids. As an example, Google cites G population San Francisco, which works pretty well. We tried G wealth Larry Page and received a sentence from a BBC News Online report, two fragments from, and one that simply read '4of 4)Stanford Alumnus Larry Page (#43 at ...' " [The Register]

This is huge. It's one of my new themes I've been highlighting over the past few months in my presentations. Libraries are ignoring instant messaging at our peril, and our vendors don't understand the power of IM and SMS as interfaces to services. That's why when I visited with vendors on the ILA exhibit floor last week, my handout for them included screenshots of Leland Johnson's AIM catalog search.

Here's the important quote that really brings home why this is so important (bolded for extra emphasis): "Google's SMS service is interesting for a couple of reasons. Texting is the world's most popular computer user interface. It's how most of the world communicates, too."

So is your library ready to communicate with your users this way?

11:19:49 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Arcola PL Gets Blogging

Arcola Public Library District

"This will be used to post all Board Minutes, updates, and general announcements.

Please feel free to comment! We appreciate any suggestions to better serve you!" [via LIS Blogsource]

Most excellent! I love that they're putting up their board minutes this way - that's transparency! Bonus points for leaving comments open. I'll be interested to follow this blog. Go Arcola!

10:59:46 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Jon Stewart @ Your Library?

Jon Stewart's America: Democacy Inaction

"Last week I picked up the audiobook for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction to listen to during a long drive. I laughed so hard I nearly wrecked the car. When I got to my next stop, I rushed out and picked up the physical book, which is really a hell of an object: colorful, witty, and incredibly subversive in that it appropriates the iconography of USA Today (by way of Mad Magazine) to deliver nuanced, thoughtful, biting satire about the state of American democracy....

Amazon has posted a (slightly lame) video intro to the book by Jon Stewart and a (very good!) interview between Stewart and an Amazon section editor -- it's a shame about the weird Windows DRM stream format, but they're worth checking out on your way to ordering the book. WMV Video Stream Link, WMA Audio Interview Stream (Thanks, Arlo!)" [Boing Boing]

I'll second the great review of the audiobook, but how about doing some PSAs for libraries, Jon?!

10:18:02 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!