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* Sunday, October 31, 2004

Locking Libraries Out of the Digital Loop

Wow, this is pretty scary. The original post:

"He says that all mobile phones sold in Japan now have some kind of DRM built in. All content (ring tones etc.) is locked to the device it was downloaded first. If you buy a new phone, there is no way to transfer your files from your old one." [Lenz Blog]

The follow-up:

"The paper does point to one way in which even unencrypted content's acquirability might be irrelevant. Many of the phones limit the file types you can play and send to friends. Imagine a phone that can only play encrypted formats. You could download all the MP3s off P2P that you want, but none of them would be usable." [A Copyfighter's Musings]

How do you feel about that? How would a library circulate a digital music or video file in that environment?

I don't know how Japanese libraries work, so I'm curious to know how they are faring in this new no-right-of-first-sale, no-traditional-fair-use-rights digital world. Are libraries already out of the digital loop? Does anyone have a sense of how all of this is playing out over there?

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* Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hack the Feedster

When I teach my RSS class, the first moment that blows everyone away is about 45 minutes in when we do a Feedster search and they save the feed of the search into Bloglines. Jaws drop open and you can hear the "wows."

Which is why I'm happy to hear that Steven has started a new blog dedicated to Feedster Hacks. Into the presentation it goes.

Keep up the great work, Steven!

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A Whole Shifted Conference

Jessamyn has posted her notes from the taking the library to our users conference at Dartmouth. I really wish I could have gone to this one, since it sounds very shifted. In terms of the present, I particularly liked her notes about the virtual reference session, although I think all of the statements would apply to VR done via free IM accounts, too.

"same or greater use than email - drop-off during mealtimes and SATURDAYS
'why don't patrons ask for help?" 27% don't want to go to library building ALSO librarian looks 'too busy'
people use live chat even IN the library
what we learned 'we don't like it but patrons do'
text messaging eliminated a lot of technical issues"

The sessions about taking reference to where the users are sound interesting, too, as that is the direction in which libraries need to shift. We have to start thinking out of the 4-walls box and find new places (both virtual and physical) to meet patron information needs.

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Known Problems

While my site is in transition, readers are reporting the following problems:

  • The site doesn't work in FireFox/Mozilla/Netscape browsers.
  • The feed doesn't appear properly in Bloglines (CDATA tags appear and the text is messed up).
  • Some of the divs overrun each other, so content scrolls off the side of the screen.

Plus, comments aren't working yet and the Javascript on the XML buttons is screwy. Unfortunately, neither I nor Aaron have a lot of time at the moment to work on all of this, but are you experiencing any other problems? If so, please email or IM (AIM: cybrarygal). Thanks!

10:27 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!

Getting Librarians to Catch Up to Teens

Getting Teens Beyond Textin'

"Up until June of last year, teenagers, who are more apt to try new technology, were an anomaly in the wireless world, especially when it came to text messaging. Though 60 percent of all Virgin Mobile USA customers send texts, averaging about 25 messages a month per user, overall U.S. appetite for wireless messaging and other forms of wireless data has been extremely tepid.

But the cumulative effect from dramatic cuts in prices and the spread of Internet connections to all phones, is finally making basic offerings, such as short text messaging and downloadable ring tones, more mainstream.

Revenue from Short Message Service overall in the United States will reach 1 billion dollars this year, according to various industry estimates. In a sign texting has gone mass market, in June 2004, there were 2.8 billion messages sent from U.S. cell phones, compared with the 2.8 million sent in June 2003." [CNET]

It took a while to get going, but going it is. We're catching up with the rest of the world, and it's not just kids doing it.

Can these kids text your library or access any of your services this way? Because they can get answers via text messaging from Google, you know....

10:19 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [2]  |   Google It!

UThink Stats

In preparation for next month's Internet Librarian conference, make sure you check out my previous post (which you probably never saw) about the UThink project. Some incredible stats....

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* Wednesday, October 27, 2004

And There Isn't a Single Library that Can Circulate Any of Them

From Gold Records to Gold MP3s

"It might not be the same as having a big gold record on the wall, but the Recording Industry Association of America has issued its first gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications for digital downloads.

The first obvious winner? Outkast’s 'Hey Ya!' is the only multiplatinum single so far, with more than 400,000 downloads. Six songs qualified for platinum, or sales of 200,000 singles, and 45 titles got gold status, for selling 100,000 songs." [, via Furdlog]

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Why I Heart Bloggers

Because I can catch up on conferences I couldn't attend in person!

BTW, I'm hoping to restore comments soon in case you want to add more links to this list. Maybe 2005 will finally be the year of the library conference blogger!

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* Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Help with the Shifted Wiki!

Unfortunately, many issues and ideas got lost during this last month's downtime. Some of them made it online, but only a couple of people were able to find them. I'll try to highlight the ones I think were most important, starting with The Shifted Wiki.

Here's the original introduction of it, but basically it's a place to put your ideas for RSS feeds you think different types of librarians could benefit from reading in an aggregator. If we can pull this off, it will be a great way to help those who are new to RSS get a jumpstart.

So I'd like to ask that you think about which library feeds are most useful to you and ask that you add them to the appropriate library type on the wiki. There's also the start of the never-got-off-the-ground Honor Roll of Shifted Libraries, so feel free to add suggestions there, too.

11:21 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!
* Monday, October 25, 2004

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the new and improved TSL site! As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting lately. Actually, that isn't true. I have been posting, but you haven't been able to read what I've been writing.

That's because my blogging software - Radio Userland - died. Died a horrible death, it did, and all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Radio back together again. The Userland folks tried to help, but I guess it's just time to switch because even they couldn't fix the problem.

So here we are on a brand new version of Movable Type. It was important to me to move to software that had a strong future, strong support, and a healhty and thriving community around it. I was upset at how the Six Apart folks handled the licensing of the version 3.x software, but they seem to have learned from their mistakes and moved forward.

Which is exactly what I plan to do. Everybody please take a moment to thank Aaron for helping transfer my stylesheet and templates over. He's still working on some loose ends for all of this, so things may go bump in the night for a little while if you're visiting via a web browser. If you're reading this via RSS, though, nothing should change, including the ability to get the feed full text or abridged.

Over the next few days, I'll re-post what I've written over the last few weeks, so some stories will seem a little stale, but bear with me while I get things back up to speed. Lots of interesting stuff coming down the pipe....

And thanks for coming back!

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