The Shifted Librarian -

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* Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Make Your Pitch for the Laptop I Should Buy

I was really hoping to have comments back up and running before asking this, but since I'm not sure when that will be, here goes. I get to buy a new laptop, so I'm deciding between a regular Windows-based one (you can pitch me on a brand), an Apple PowerBook, or a Tablet PC. I'm intrigued by the PowerBook and the Tablet, but the cost might be too high. Still, both would help me do new and wonderful things in new and wonderful ways, so I'm soliciting advice. Email or IM (cybrarygal on AIM) me!

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Best Conference Blog to Date

Okay, that's not really saying much because librarians really haven't had any conference blogs until now, but I'm still impressed by what Information Today is doing with their InfoToday Blog - Live from London II.

I'd still like to see comments and blog posts by presenters & participants, but it's a hell of a start. Plus, they've got an RSS feed.

In keeping with my new theme, which I really am going to write up soon, note how the pictures and the commentary give you a better sense of the day-to-day conference than a one-page write-up in a print magazine. Voice. Personality. Tone. That's what blogging can do for your library.

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Great Site for Chicago Librarians

Teri sent a great find: Golden Rule Jones, "literary events and topics, with a Chicago angle". Accompanying RSS feed.

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* Monday, November 29, 2004

Becoming Shifted Again

It's amazing what a week in Cancun can do for a person, disconnected from the world, not even watching television. It was fantastic and now I'm slowly rejoining the information age, so please forgive me and be patient if you sent me email and are awaiting a response. Thanks!

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Where Do Libraries Fit into this Scenario?

Rent to Never Own

"This is not about Digital Rights Management. I'm not against the idea of DRM per se—it can have its uses, as the sales of DVD movies clearly show. This is about something more insidious—an attitude. The entertainment media companies are increasingly acting as if you have only the right to borrow their content—not own, not even license. Just pay for a peek, if you will. Then pay for the next peek…and the next. Certainly DRM is a tool that enables this idea, but DRM can be relatively user friendly, as we've seen with iTunes.

Despite all these efforts, illegal copies of games often show up on pirate sites before the actual day of release, and pirated DVDs or music CDs can be purchased for a few dollars on street corners and flea markets around the world. Media publishers often treat these as root causes, when a lot of us see them as symptoms—symptoms of a creative malaise, overpriced media and increasing restrictions on fair use. The next thing you know, book publishers will force public libraries to charge a fee for every book that's checked out.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world where every artistic endeavor is metered by the minute. The next thing you know, you'll have to put coins into slots at museums to see each work of art." [Extremetech]

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Miscellaneous Catch-Up

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Dear SFPL,

Privacy Advocates to Fight Electronic Tags at SF Library

"Anonymous Patron writes ' - Privacy Advocates Promise to Fight Electronic Tags in Library Books A plan to put radio frequency identification (RFID) tags into San Francisco public library books has drawn sharp criticism on grounds ranging from privacy for library patrons to the health and safety of library workers. A provision in the San Francisco city budget approved last June allocated $300,000 to begin a pilot RFID program at the San Francisco public library. However the plan has been placed on hold according to San Francisco supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who expects the Board of Supervisors to revisit the RFID issue in January.' " []

Please blog. Really, I'm begging you. When I have a moment, I'm going to write up what I said at the Internet Librarian conference to help, but these pages on RFID just don't cut it. How about something in the first person? Humanize your site by blogging. Acknowledge the ongoing issue and address it with something more empathetic than "RFID Implementation Proposed Plan of Action."

Trust me on this one.

Oh, and ALA, you're on the naughty list for not blogging with RSS feeds yet. Lead the way!

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* Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Dear Innovative

Dear Innovative,

Dinah Sanders rocks! Please keep her on staff, and more importantly, please listen to her great ideas!!

A customer

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* Sunday, November 14, 2004

NoMo Blogging for a While

So that's it for the blogging from the conference. The laptop was stolen out of the conference room, so I'm without a means to blog. Stay tuned for updates at some point after I'm back home. :-(

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Water Blog?

Linda here at Internet Librarian 2004 wants to know if there are any blogs devoted to the topic of water or the environment in general (even better would be one specific to California). I think I've seen one, but I can't remember if off the top of my head. Sorry that comments still aren't working, but if anyone has pointers, please email me and I'll get them to her.


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Hello to Our Great Participants!

I'm here at Internet Librarian doing a preconference on blogs and RSS.

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Homework for Tuesday's Audience

Gary Price has written an excellent article about What Google Teaches Us that Has Nothing to Do with Searching. Every librarian should read it and more importantly, every library should act on it.

Coincidentally, it's great timing for me because it dovetails quite nicely with what I'm going to talk about at the first session in the blogging/RSS track on Tuesday. If you're coming to that session, I'd suggest reading it before then.

In addition, Jessamyn has another great post about My Dream Library that parallels some elements of my talk, too.

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* Thursday, November 11, 2004


Well, I can't blame Movable Type for the lack of postings lately, as it's running just fine. No, it's just been really busy around here, with a big project at work and lots of family and home stuff going on.

However, here are a few things to keep you busy until things return to normal (well, more normal anyway) in December.

  • I hope that becomes a good resource on this topic, because librarians really need to start paying attention to and understanding what's going on with Digital Rights Management (DRM) and how it could affect us. Yes, the Broadcast Flag is seemingly related just to TV shows, but it will end up being oh-so-much-more, including a precedent.
  • Aaron recently posted information about Altarama, a company that might be able to help libraries provide SMS reference. This is a topic that is becoming near and dear to my heart since I'm a big fan of SMS, text messaging, and instant messaging in general. I'd add to his comments that these text-based channels could make great interfaces to our catalogs. They're also great for answering trivia questions and quick requests for material availability. If you're not familiar with texting and SMS, you need to learn and soon, because these are quickly becoming primary communication channels for your under-25 users.
  • Blow me down and knock me over, but Leland Johnson noticed that the fantastic Library ELF service (are they routing around the shortcomings of your OPAC yet?) is officially offering RSS feeds now. Hooray!
  • Check out Borders' new GiftMixer 3000 for an interesting take on readers' advisory.
  • Jessamyn has a great rant about anytime, anywhere reference. It's very Scan-like and shifts library services to where the patron is at the point of their need. I like.
  • In case you missed it, I talked to several library vendors about RSS at the Illinois Library Association conference back in September. I even gave each of them a handout. Only two of them have responded in any way, shape, or form. Only ProQuest and Innovative cared enough to call me back. Not even a courtesy "thanks for sharing" contact from the others. For shame, library vendors, for shame.
  • And finally, I'll be at the Internet Librarian conference in a couple of days, so if you will also be there, please stop me and say hi! I'll be teaching an all-day preconference with Mr. Library Stuff himself on Sunday, co-moderating a track with him on Tuesday, and presenting with Steven and then Greg Schwartz for same said track. It's going to be a busy time, although I am greatly upset that I will miss Karen A. Coombs presentation about her XML work. Argh! She'll just have to give it again at another conference when I can attend. Ironically, I hope to blog more from the conference, too. ;-)
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* Monday, November 1, 2004

The [Lack of] Ubiquity of Library Services

Ubiquity in the Internet Age

"The notion of everywhere has changed too. It's not just about every desktop anymore. It's about every Internet-enabled device: cell phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, palmtop, PDA, Tivo, set-top box, game console, and so on.

Everywhere also includes being on web sites you've never seen and in media that you may not yet understand....

So how does a company take advantage of these properties? There are three pieces to the puzzle as I see it:

  1. do something useful really really well
  2. put the user in control by allowing access to your data and services in an easy and unrestricted way
  3. share the wealth

It sounds simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, there are very few companies who get it. Doing so requires a someone with real vision and the courage to make some very big leaps of faith." [Jeremy Zawodny's Blog]

All of this holds true for libraries, too, which is one reason I believe RSS is going to be very important for us. Look at Jeremy's list. Libraries are great at 2 of the 3 things, but we're miserable at the third. We need to change that, and soon.

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