The Shifted Librarian -

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* Monday, January 31, 2005

Free Range Conversations

Besides the excellent content, it’s fun reading Karen Schneider’s Free Range Librarian blog these days because she’s discovering the sense of community and the unexpected level of conversation you get when you blog with open comments. I say “unexpected” because you never expect anyone else to really care enough to take the time to enter a comment, and yet it turns out a lot of people care enough. I never, ever anticipated that side of it, and it’s become one of the things I really love about my blog. Trackback fills in a whole other side of the conversation, the cross-blog one.

And that’s what library organizations don’t get – conversation. That’s why ALA, LITA, ILA, and other major institutions don’t blog, certainly not with open comments. Even this seems beyond their reach right now. But that’s what we need to open up – a conversation with the outside world, as well as amongst ourselves.

Bonus FRL quote (emphasis is mine): “Donning my lii.org hat, we had a remarkable education when we added RSS feeds. Now people find us through the blog-finding agents. Librarians, including me, suck at marketing, but by adding RSS feeds, we stumbled onto a way for the audience to find us, instead of the glacially slow process of dissemination through our existing readership.”

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OCLC Hacks

OCLC is is loosening up and having some fun in a Google Labs kind of way!

OCLC Research Software Contest

“In celebration of libraries and their heritage of technological innovation, OCLC Research is sponsoring a software contest to encourage innovation in the use of web-based services for libraries.

Prize

  • $2,500 in cash
  • Visit with OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc., in Dublin, Ohio
  • Potentially have your code incorporated in OCLC services for libraries

The challenge

OCLC is providing a set of bibliographic records extracted from WorldCat plus a set of services:

You may also use Open WorldCat, either by simply incorporating links to publicly accessible records or by enrolling in Open WorldCat's Partner Access program. Contact us if you wish to discuss enrolling in this program for the purposes of this contest.

Your mission is to write a program that does something interesting and innovative with the WorldCat data using at least one of the OCLC-provided services. You must submit a working prototype.

Part of your job is to convince us of why your program is interesting and why it will help libraries and/or library users; other than that, you're free to implement whatever strikes your fancy.”

And they were smart enough to ask Jon Udell to be a judge – good call! I hope we see some really cool stuff come out of this, in more than just a proof-of-concept way. Makes me wish I could actually program. Entries are due by midnight on May 15. If you’re entering, good luck!

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Blue Bands for Blue Budgets

I had to go all the way over to LISNews to find out that a sister Library System here in Illinois has started a totally awesome project called Libraries Matter. Here at home, our kids saved up some money to buy the 10–pack of Lance Armstrong yellow wristbands because they’re all the rage at school. Can you imagine if we could start something similar with these blue ones for libraries? Brilliant job, Alliance Library System!

One thing, though – how about offering packs smaller than 50 so that ordinary folks like myself can buy some and give them out to friends, kids, etc.? Let’s get some grassroots support going, not just top down from the institutional level! Then, let’s think about how we can use these on Advocacy Day this year.

Tangent: When visiting the ALS web site tonight, I realized they’ve added blogs to the home page (kind of, sort of). Sweet! Unfortunately, no RSS feeds to be found anywhere, which means I won’t be able to add them to my aggregator, which means I’ll have to keep relying on other web sites to highlight ALS projects for me. Not sweet. C’mon, ALS, show us the RSS!

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* Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Update on Sirsi and RSS

I've decided to keep adding to the original post, rather than start a new one, in order to maintain the thread of comments. It's good news, though.

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* Monday, January 24, 2005

Greg on the Mic

Guess Who’s Back?

“So here I am, three months later, bored with writing and ready to try something new. With that in mind, I offer the all-new Open Stacks Podcast #1.” [Open Stacks]

Excellent – Greg Schwartz is podcasting! Grabbing the file now…. So Greg, having done an actual podcast, do you see applications for libraries?

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Tagging LIS Course Resources

Subject Guides, the Folksonomic Way

Del.icio.us, the bookmarking website with tags that I discussed on January 6, seems like the perfect tool for creating course-specific subject guides. Just agree on a tag, like the course number, and the subject librarian, professor, and students can build a subject guide cooperatively, on the fly.

I just tagged the two resources I identified for my Digital Libraries class with the course number. So they are now easily found by myself, and anyone else in the class, at del.icio.us/tag/sislt9409.” [Wanderings of a Student Librarian]

Joy Weese Moll demonstrates another way in which librarians and librarians-to-be can take advantage of tagging and folksonomies! It will be interesting to see if her teacher or her fellow students begin contributing to the tag. Here’s hoping….

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Karen Reflects on WebCred

My favorite quote from Karen Schneider’s posts about last week’s WebCred conference:

“Librarians are primarily concerned with last-mile issues: access, organization, preservation, intellectual freedom, and information literacy.

Content providers, such as journalists and bloggers, are primarily concerned with first-mile issues: creation, dissemination, delivery.” [Free Range Librarian]

An excellent summary!

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Reliving 1992 (Warning: You'll Feel Very Old Reading This)

My parents sent me a great essay from the New Yorker. Fittingly, they sent it as a page torn out from the magazine through the postal mail.

1992 House (no link, as the article isn’t freely available online)

“The assignment for Mrs. Stanfill’s eighth-grade social-studies class was to pick a year in U.S. history and live for a week as if it were that year, without any of the conveniences available in today’s modern society. I chose 1992, and for extra credit, I persuaded my family to participate in the experiment along with me….

My brother Chris was the most reluctant to participate in the project…. He has a massive DVD collection, which was out of bounds, too, given that DVDs had not been invented in the olden days of 1992. Though Chris has an abiding attachment to one of the girls on ‘The Real World: Philadelphia,’ I told him that, for the sake of historical verisimilitude, he had to learn to live without her – and his TiVo or his iPod - for a week….

Since the Internet was not in common use back then, Larry needed to check his stocks in the newspaper, which he had to start buying at Starbucks because he usually reads the news online. Thank God Starbucks was around in 1992. (I think. Not sure, and, under the terms of the experiment, I couldn’t Google it.)….

So, to keep the integrity of the research project intact, I denied [my Mom’s] request and called Dr. Mussman (on a landline – duh!) to cancel her appointment. By the time she found and called Dr. Mussman back, the slot was filled, and my mom and I became engaged in a significant altercation…. My mother wanted to punish me by depriving me of something that I care about, but just about everything that’s important to me was basically already off limits for the week anyway.

I learned that one of the biggest hardships endured by people back in 1992 was not being able to use cell phones. I had thought that maybe I could just cut back on the number of calls I made, thinking that usage plans were more limited. However, my research (at the library!) unearthed the fact that cell phones really were only humongous car-phone versions, prevalent among early executives in the hip-hop industry….

Not having the use of a cell phone piqued my curiosity regarding how schoolchildren communicated all those years ago. Since my mother was not speaking to me and Larry wasn’t around (he did end up going to Myrtle Beach), I turned to primary sources (in the form of classic cinema) for answers. I found ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’ in the library – on videotape. I learned that back in the eighties and nineties students would hand-write things on little pieces of paper called ‘notes’ and try to pass them to each other in class without getting caught….

In conclusion, 1992 was clearly a very confusing, difficult time in which to live in the United States of America….” [The New Yorker, January 17, 2005, issue, p. 49]

You really do have to read the whole thing, so if you’re not a subscriber, contact your local library to get a copy! Normally I would say don’t forget to check out your library’s web site, as you can often access the full-text of articles from home. If your library subscribes to one of these databases, you have a chance of being able to read the essay eventually, as this issue doesn’t seem to be available online quite yet.

Here’s the punchline, though. As I was reading the essay, the kids came home and Kailee excitedly told me how today her class had watched a video of President Bush’s inauguration. We talked about it for a while, and then I asked how they had watched the video, wondering if the teacher had grabbed a webcast. But no, Kailee said a relative of her teacher had recorded it on video and lent it to her, which really surprised Kailee. She didn’t know you could record onto videotape, because she has grown up with digital video recorders (DVRs) in the house. She then proceeded to tell me her theory that the relative must have set up a video camera in front of the TV and pointed it at the screen in order to capture the video, even though the whole setup sounded rather silly. She laughed and laughed and laughed at that thought.

Kids.

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* Sunday, January 23, 2005

What Will Gamers Expect from their Libraries?

A Brave New Gamer World

“ ‘We've got an entire group of people under age 30 who grew up playing video games,’ said Jim Gee, professor in the UW-Madison School of Education. ‘It's completely changing the way people think about education and the workplace.’

This ‘gamer generation’ includes some 90 million people in the U.S. alone, ages 15 to 35. In fact, sales of video games have now surpassed sales of TVs, DVDs and CDs….

A host of new data is suggesting that video games have created a new generation of employees and executives, bigger than the baby boomers, who will dramatically transform the workplace.

Researchers like John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, authors of the book ‘Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever’ argue that managers who understand and harness this generation's distinct attributes will leap far ahead of the competition.

Beck and Wade say these 90 million rising professionals, through sheer numbers, will inevitably dominate business and are already changing the rules. Although many of the changes are positive, such as more open communication and creative problem solving, they have caused a generation gap that frustrates gamers and the boomers who manage them….” [The Capital Times, via Library Link of the Day]

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* Friday, January 21, 2005

SWAN Tags

This afternoon I did a presentation about information shifting at the Downers Grove Public Library for their staff in-service day. I modified it to include more about online social networks since I’ve been drawn to the topic lately. In the section on “library web services” and user-centered vocabulary, I showed the progression from Flickr tags to Books We Like tags to SWAN tags. I wanted to really drive the point home, so I did a mock-up (click on it for a larger version).

Tags in SWAN

Try to spot that word that freaks out librarians. I think we can figure out a way to handle all of this, though. Wouldn’t it be a cool way to browse the catalog?!

Tangent: After the presentation, a staff member came up to tell me that her daughter got a Zipit for Christmas. The woman had been nodding yes throughout my presentation.

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IM Story of the Year (So Far)!

An email message I received today from the Head of Adult Services at my local library:

“I recently set up an AIM screen name for the reference desk, with the aim (ha!) of publicizing our IM availability soon. We haven't told
anyone about it yet.  Nothing on the website, no cards or fliers, no nothing. 

Except our AIM profile, that is. A resident teen looked us up and IM'd me this afternoon, asking if we had a certain book in.  I was pretty
amazed.

And I realized I need to print a glossary to keep at the desk.”

He shoots, he scores!

You may remember a similar story about wireless last year....

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New Track for Public Librarians at Internet Librarian!

Michael Stephens is organizing a track just for public librarians at October's Internet Librarian conference. This is most welcome news because PLA books sessions at its conferences too far in advance to address "current" trends, while most public librarians I know feel LITA is beyond them. I think we can fill a real niche here, especially since Michael plans to focus on practical advice and tips, not theory. Even better, he's aiming the sessions at small- to medium-sized libraries, those that need this the most.

He's already got a few ideas that he wants to implement, but he's also asking for comments, suggestions, offers, and discussion from all public librarians. Got a topic that intrigues you? Heard about a "top tech trend" but you're not sure how to actually implement it? Have some ideas of your own? Share them all over on Michael's post. This is your chance to help build a track that addresses YOUR needs. Help us prove that if you build it [the public librarian track], they will come!

Then make sure you register for Internet Librarian (October 24-26, 2005). :-)

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* Thursday, January 20, 2005

Gaming Google Group

Beth Gallaway, who provided great session notes on the PLA Blog, has started a Google Group devoted to gaming in the library! Head over to LibGaming to join. I did! I think we can have some very interesting discussions there.

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Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Lorcan Dempsey posted some astounding numbers to his blog yesterday. Emphasis below is mine. Prepare to be amazed.

WorldCat in Your Pocket

“WorldCat is our union catalogue of about 56 million bibliographic records, which represent approximately a billion holdings. It is about 50 gigabytes in MARC Communications (100+ gigabytes in XML) format and about 23 gigabytes compressed.

OCLC Research recently acquired a 24-node (48-cpu) Beowulf cluster with 96 Gigabytes of memory. According to my colleague Thom Hickey, whose team has been working on the machine, the cluster speeds up most bibliographic processing by about a factor of 30. This means that what might have taken a minute now takes two seconds, what might have taken an hour takes two minutes, what might have taken a month takes a day. For jobs that will fit entirely in memory (e.g. a `grep' of WorldCat) avoiding disk i/o gives another factor of about 20, reducing 1-hour jobs down to 6 seconds. We can 'frbrize' WorldCat on the cluster in about an hour.

WorldCat is also now more mobile. Thom has a 40 gig iPod which can accommodate WorldCat on its disk with room left for 5,000 song tracks. Now, you can't do much with the data on the iPod, but you can certainly carry it around. Again, it takes about an hour to get it on and off the iPod.” [Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog, via It’s All Good]

They’re all amazing numbers, but think about that iPod statement for a moment. What does it mean when a patron can carry around the whole, freaking WorldCat database? We’re not that far off from the introduction of the personal, mobile server in your pocket.

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* Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Talis Moving Towards Native RSS Feeds, Too?

Last week, Paul Miller left a comment on this site saying that Talis, an ILS vendor in the U.K., had blogged some ideas about RSS in the catalog. I meant to get back to it, but didn't until today when I also saw a link to Talis RSS Feed via del.icio.us/rss.

So first of all, blogged?? An ILS vendor is blogging?? Heck, yeah. Check out Panlibus here! The RSS post is titled RSS Is Not Just Another TLA, and it includes a discussion about patron data feeds. Go and score, Talis!

Even better, it's an interesting blog, comprised of musings and reflections by Talis staff. They even blogged last week's ALA Midwinter conference. I'm subscribed (feed here)!

When you're done there, check out their explanation of RSS, which is where you'll also find a link to their company RSS feed! There's even an RSS heart and an easy-to-find link to the feed on their home page! Goal-o!

All of which has to make you think that they're on the verge of offering native RSS feeds out of the catalog. That would make two vendors, and I've now heard about two others that are working on it. If just those four vendors go live with feeds this year, I think we'll have an official tipping point!

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New Stuff!

Wow - go see the new Library Stuff! Congratulations, Steven and InfoToday!

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Sirsi Breaks Open the RSS Flood Gates!

I've been crawling out of my skin with anticipation, waiting to be able to announce this, and now it's finally official! Sirsi will be the first ILS vendor to offer native RSS feeds out of the catalog, and they've gone the whole nine yards in terms of searching! On the Press Releases page, initial information can be found in the Sirsi Enterprise Portal Solution featuring Sirsi Rooms 2.0 PDF document. There should be a feature-based press release up soon, but here are some early details.

The feeds will be part of their Rooms 2.0 and Enterprise Portal Solution (ESP) release around March. Features will include:

  • The ability to take any OPAC search strategy and convert it into an RSS feed. Because text search engine for our ILS system enables a user to embed MARC and other field codes in the search string, a user could construct a search that searches against title, author, subject, ISBN {020} and any other indexed field within the ILS.
  • The ability to create an RSS feed based on a search of any sources within SingleSearch, Sirsi's MuseGlobal (Gary's sponsor) based federated search product (EBSCO, LoCZ, etc.).
  • The ability to create an RSS feed of Google results.
  • The ability to create an RSS feed of our 'Best of the Web'.
  • The ability to sort the results by date, author, title, or relevance, where applicable.

I'll update this later today as I get more information, but I'm just bursting at the seams and had to post this. And luckily, my home library is a Sirsi customer!

Major congratulations to Sirsi and its libraries!!!

January 25, 2005, Update: I've been emailing with Stephen Abram, Vice President, Innovation, at Sirsi, and he's been answering questions that have come up since the announcement. For me right now, the most important point is that reading the feeds will not be confined to within Sirsi's software. In other words, users will be able to create feeds for everything mentioned above and then subscribe to them in Bloglines or other third party aggregators. Beyond this, I'm going to quote Stephen extensively so as not to put words in his mouth, but I'll offer a few thoughts at the end.

Stephen Abram on whether the Rooms module is required:

"Let's start at the beginning.

Sirsi Rooms is a content package.

Sirsi Rooms Builder lets you build rooms of content.

Sirsi EPS (Enterprise Portal Solution) is our new interface and portal solution.

EPS includes one 'Room,' the Reading Rooms that would be of interest to public libraries the most.

You would migrate from iBistro to this. There is a migration path and EPS would be required (at this point) for RSS features. I am checking to see if we are adding RSS functionailty to the next upgrade to iBistro. That hasn't been decided yet.

It's more complicated than it looks, especially since there is soooo much more in EPS than RSS. It supports hundreds of new formats and search stuff as well as e-learning standards. That's part of the reason that RSS was sort of buried in the EPS announcment. As with all software and interfaces, there comes a point where you have to break the elastic to adopt the latest innovations. Otherwise you just end up band-aiding things and not building them properly to adapt to new inventions/users trends. We don't want to do that."

Ken Poore adds:

"It's important to also make the distinction here that we are offering RSS feeds of MORE than just the OPAC, hence its reach is beyond just iBistro. We can create feeds from SingleSearch, Google, our 'Best of Web', and other Z39.50-based catalogs (again via SingleSearch). So adding it to iBistro would actually narrow the breadth of the RSS features on EPS. However, the decision to offer OPAC-based RSS searching in iBistro has not been made.

Personally I think that RSS feeds of subscription databases is at least as cool and useful as RSS out of the OPAC, since subscription databases are far more dynamic than most OPACs."

Also, the feeds will be RSS 2.0, most likely to handle the depth and breadth of the searching they will be offering. I'm really torn on this issue because I understand David King's point about being able to integrate feeds into an existing web site, but I was also impressed with Stephen's description of the software as Sirsi's attempt to "put the librarian back in the web site." And I make my living band-aiding stuff, so I'm all for building it right the first time.

I think the obvious answer is to accommodate both sides by expending the resources to add basic RSS feeds to iBistro/iLink. That way, libraries that don't have the resources of a Kansas City Public Library or an academic library can use EPS to do all of the heavy lifting, while David can incorporate the feeds into his already-developed web site.

So if you're a Sirsi customer and you want feeds from iBistro, I think you'll have to request it as a customer. Stephen also noted that they're working on patron data feeds for a future release of the MyLibrary module, so we'll have to see if those can be added to iBistro, too, but ultimately providing them is the right move because that's how it should be period. Patrons shouldn't be forced to give private data to a third-party service like Library ELF just to gain the convenience the library's ILS vendor doesn't understand they need to provide (and here I'm talking about RSS and email and text alerts). I say this as a very happy ELF user that gave up her patron data, L-O-V-E-S this service, and believes the owner doesn't want to be evil.

In addition, I find it very interesting that they are going so far with the RSS feeds as to include the federated searching component. A feed of single search across all of the library's resources - if the query is structured well enough - could be incredibly useful, and it definitely puts the database aggregators on notice that if they don't do it, others will. It actually makes sense to do this in the OPAC, though, so that you can handle authentication there, which isn't too far off from an idea I proposed to Dinah Sanders at the Internet Librarian conference last year.

I still need to think through a lot of this, and I know vendors will hate the thought because they'll think it gets away from core services, but it would be interesting to be able to offer patrons an RSS aggregator via the OPAC/library's web site, in part so that they don't have such a steep learning curve. You can do the authentication there, so just let users subscribe there, as well, which puts the library at the center of their information universe. I thought newspapers would be the first to do this, but they don't seem to be understanding the concept. It would be pretty cool if your library offered the equivalent of Bloglines with library resources at the core.

Does Sirsi really understand this model and that's what they're shooting for? It's definitely intriguing. Think of the information literacy courses you could teach using EPS... subscribing to various web sites, e-learning modules, the library's catalog, database searches, and even podcasting within the library's framework would be one hell of a resource. And of course, Sirsi's recent acquisition of Docutek adds librarian help throughout the whole thing (not that you couldn't add links to an external service, but this would be embedded throughout).

I'm definitely watching Sirsi to see where all of this is heading, and I can't wait to see the first feed from all of this go live. They've obviously been working on the overall pieces of this for quite a while, and hiring Stephen Abram was another good sign. I think Sirsi may actually "get it."

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* Tuesday, January 18, 2005

MLS February Tech Summit on Social Bookmark Services

Now that our new MLS Calendar of Events is live, I can promote our next Tech Summit, which I will be presenting on the topic of social bookmark sites. Here's the relevant info:

Technology Summit - Social Bookmark Services
Event ID #169
Thursday, February 17, 2005
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
At the MLS, Burr Ridge office
Registration is not limited to MLS members
Cost: $0

It's actually a sneaky way to start a discussion about online social services and networks in general and how libraries are totally not paying attention to them. One of the things OCLC's 2003 Environmental Scan talks about is "circles of trust" and how libraries need to re-insert themselves into users' online circles. I think these services are one way to do that at the point of the user's need.

They'll have other impacts on libraries, too, though, especially services like Flickr and del.icio.us that let users tag items with their own vocabularies. When someone gets used to retrieving items using the words they think of, not the words we think of, do you think they'll still be willing to type "LastName, FirstName" to find an author? Will they understand a title search that accepts exact phrases only? (Those are rhetorical questions and the correct answers are "no" and "no," even if you offer keyword searching hidden elsewhere on your catalog.)

So how could we make better use of the integration of folksonomies and user-based vocabularies? I'm not suggesting we throw the bath water out with the baby, because I'm also a big fan of structured searching, and let's face it - one of the things Google isn't good at is searching structured data. But why can't we offer both? They aren't mutually exclusive.

Why can't our catalogs let users find items of interest and then store them for later retrieval using their own tags. Take a look at this Flickr page for architecture. Notice the "related" and "see also" links? The same thing happens on the del.icio.us page for architecture. Imagine the display of this type of folksonomy integrated into a library's catalog, so that users could find titles and subjects for "architecture," but they could also browse by tags (such as "buildings" or "urban"), which they could then bookmark themselves and specify as "public" or "private" (like Furl's "private archive" feature). Aggregate the public tags and let users access their private ones.

What if records retrieved from structured OPAC search results displayed those types of user-based tags alongside the MARC data? It would be the best of both worlds, although, I believe I hear a very audible groan from the ILS vendors. Then, if a user is really interested in a particular topic, she could subscribe to the feed for the standard subject search, the aggregated user-generated public tag, or a combination of both.

Another idea: let's add visual "what's popular" and "what's recommended" pages like these to our catalogs. I have to say, I was stunned to realize that our SWAN catalog seems incapable of producing a "what's new" page on its own (and I'm not talking about an RSS feed, just a standard HTML page).

Now take this a step further and apply it to reader's advisory. It's pretty obvious that users like sharing their own thoughts and information. Why not take advantage of that? Imagine the read-alikes and recommendations users would build using their own folksonomies! Let them tag cozy mysteries and robot sci fi and financial nonfiction titles how they want to find them. And if you really want to get social about the whole thing, how about building out those tags cross-catalog? What would WorldCat look like if tagged by users, especially now that OCLC has opened it up?

I guess my point is that it doesn't have to be one or the other. I think controlled vocabularies and folksonomies can co-exist peacefully and even complement each other. And as librarians, let's start making use of them to complement what we're already doing.

In addition, we can make better use of these ideas amongst ourselves. I suggest that for the next library conference that wants to be blogged, we establish ahead of time a Flickr tag for the photos. And how about a del.icio.us tag for links discussed by presenters? And how about an agreed-upon Technorati tag for posts that go to personal blogs rather than an official conference blog? Actually, I believe the Technorati search would find all three anyway. We've had fits and starts to head in this direction, but let's pull it all together.

In retrospect, it all seems kind of obvious (even though Technorati tags didn't really exist before the ALA conference started), but I always say the best way to learn about new things and understand their potential is to use them. If I had been able to, I would have tried to integrate these ideas into the intranet/extranet we're building at MLS because I think they'd have value there, too. Ideally, I'd like to let every user (or at least those that have logins) tag bits of information in our system that get inserted as additional metadata. Maybe I can make this a phase two project.

Anyway, it's something to think about, and this is definitely a trend for libraries to watch. I'm going to start the Tech Summit by saying I'm Morpheus, standing before you with a red pill and a blue pill. Take the red pill, and you'll walk out feeling overwhelmed, but excited, and you'll track what happens in this area because you'll understand it will affect libraries. Take the blue pill, and you'll walk out shaking your head in denial, believing that all of this won't impact patron expectations at all and that they'll continue to contort themselves to our searches, rather than us having to do the reverse.

At the end, I'll have to ask folks to indiciate red pill or blue pill on the evaluations. If all of this sounds like an interesting discussion, I think it will be, and I hope to see you there! :-)

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* Monday, January 17, 2005

A Computer Morning

It’s a holiday morning, so the kids are home from school and Kate and Clare have talked me into taking a Fun Day today (Clare even has a song for this)! Before the fun day starts, though, it’s 8:30 a.m., and everyone in the house is on a computer. Sheree, Kailee, and I are on laptops, while Brent is on the desktop playing - what else – Runescape.

Kailee is on an old laptop her Dad recently gave her that we’ve never really played with, but she has decided to write a children’s book so she pulled it out. She opened it up, sat down, and immediately asked, “How come my internet isn’t working?” I said, “Honey, you don’t have any internet.” She said, “Yes, I do.” I said, “No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Kailee, you really don’t have any internet on that laptop. But you can do other stuff on there.”

“No, I can’t.”

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* Sunday, January 16, 2005

Make Sure Your Library Doesn't Appear Here

I think we’re pretty lucky that there are only four entries for “library” on the This Is Broken blog. Of course, those four entries are… well, pretty broken. [via Jeremy Zawodny’s Blog]

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What Else Can We Do with RSS? Lots More!

I was reading the following post, nodding my head, when the following quote blew me away.

 RSS is the New WWW

“PiNet Library enables teachers to keep bookmarks online, so that they are available from the classroom, media center, teacher's lounge, and home office -- anyplace with access to the web. In my vision, you are creating and cultivating a personal digital library….

I use PiNet Library for my online handouts, so that as I add new links to my library, they automatically show up on the online handouts pages. If those links could be subscribed to by your Bloglines account, then you could be notified of new web sites, without having to regularly visit the handouts.” [Exactly 2 Cents Worth, via del.icio.us/tag/rss]

This, for me, was a Neo moment. Whoa.

Last week, Leland Johnson pointed me to Rubric, which I’ll have to investigate further as my own del.icio.us (does anyone else remember a post somewhere, sometime that you could download the del.icio.us code to run on your own server?). I’ve also been contemplating running Rubric - or something like it – for my member libraries, both for individual use and institutional use, along with sharing what is added by both. I’m going to have to find the time to pursue this idea.

One other quote from this article turned on a light bulb, too.

“The news aggregator will need to evolve a great deal before RSS becomes the integral and ubiquitous part of our information environment that I suspect it will -- starting with the name. But I think that it is important that we start to think about information as something that we will increasingly shape to needs. How about sophisticated news aggregators as digital textbooks?

I believe that understanding these evolving aspects of how digital, networked content is organized is information grammar….”

I would l-o-v-e to put David and Will in a room together and see what they come out with! Much food for thought (and fodder for presentations!).

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PLA Blog Living Up to Expectations

I’ve really enjoyed reading the PLA Blog the last few days. I’ve been to one ALA Midwinter conference, and it was mainly so I could attend an OCLC meeting so I really didn’t catch much else. I don’t think I’m alone in not really knowing what goes on at this conference, but I have a much better sense of it now. I’ve really appreciated the event summaries, too, since my organization doesn’t send me to ALA conferences.

As an aside, Karen Schneider has my favorite quote so far: “The lively response to my request for input on top technology trends in libraries led me to conclude that the most significant meta-trend is that information is a conversation.” Sessions I’m most bummed I couldn’t attend are RUSA’s Hot Topics, the session on fostering civic engagement, Karen Hyman’s presentation (someone I’d love to meet!), and OCLC’s session on gaming (“…John Beck, author of ‘Got Game: How the Gamers Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever,’ made a superb case for how the generation of people conceived in Pong, weaned on SuperMario and matured in Massively Multiplayer Online Games, are changing and will change the workplace.”).

However, I think one of the most interesting things to come out of the blog is the sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm that these dozen people have generated. After the Internet Librarian conference last November, several people told me how much they thought the bloggers re-invigorated the whole feel of the conference. Now that I’m on the outside of the ALA meeting, I understand what they meant. When do ALA events ever get this kind of positive coverage online. According to Steven, the blog’s statistics look good, too. And how great is it to find someone lamenting a missed meeting, where a commenter then leaves a pointer to the online presentations, all where anyone can find the whole exchange? Plus, Wi-Fi is helping attendees do actual work!

When is the last time you felt enthusiastic reading about a library conference, especially in real-time? I think it started with the InfoToday conferences last year, but the PLA Blog has taken it to a new level. It’s the proof-of-concept that we’d always hoped for, and my greatest wish is that every library organization read it to understand how well this can work for them. Hmmm… maybe someone at ILA is reading it???

A huge “Well Done” to the conference bloggers!

Bonus link: after I posted all of this, Beth Gallaway posted a fantastic, more-in-depth summary of the gaming session. A must-read!

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* Thursday, January 13, 2005

How Well Is Your Library Serving these Kids?

Millennials & Libraries

“…When asked how frequently they used their local public libraries, most reported that they didn't read books for leisure that much (but they do read lots of magazines!) and don't use their libraries that often (there were two notable exceptions -- both young women who said they used their public libraries because they loved to read but couldn't afford to buy books or magazines). When asked what would draw them into their public libraries, they all said the following:

  • Wireless internet access
  • Remote/electronic access to all library materials
  • A more comfortable environment -- couches, coffee, and food all ranked highly
  • "More staff who are helpful and who show you where stuff is" -- a direct quote
  • Better marketing -- tell the public about what you've got going on!
  • More choices in materials
  • A movie screening room (this recommendation from an aspiring filmmaker, who was also the only panellist to indicate an interest in becoming a librarian)” [Pop Goes the Library]
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Music Here Today, Music Gone Tomorrow

Even if iTunes was to ever work with a library (which doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon), how on earth would you ever trust it? One of the reasons I’ve never really bought into iTunes (literally).

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For the Record

I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to point to the Official PLA Blog Steven Cohen put together with fellow bloggers (and – duh -PLA) to cover the ALA Midwinter meeting, and now that time has arrived. I do believe this is the first post by a participant blogger on an official library conference blog that notes the availability of free wireless access for all!

For the record, today’s date is January 13, 2005.

Commence debating if this is one, two, three, or four years late.

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Best Use of Outlook Ever

Kate scheduled a meeting in Outlook to go to Starbucks today for a free sample of their new Chantico hot chocolate drink. Wow, is it good… thick and heavy like Spanish hot chocolate. I’ve managed to stay away from Starbucks for the most part. Until now.

Major, major, major marketing gaffe of the year – no mention of Chantico anywhere on the Starbucks web site. At least it’s not just libraries that can be bad at marketing….

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* Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tech Librarians Need to Know

Michael Stephens has posted a great list of Twelve Techie Things for Librarians 2005. I can’t pick out a small excerpt because it’s all good. Go read.

Related: Karen Schneider is soliciting feedback on her blog and on WEB4LIB about “top tech trends” she should highlight at the annual ALA panel. Throw in your two cents! The comments and responses make for some fascinating reading.

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Dynix Feeds a Non-starter

If you were as excited as I was about the thought of Dynix offering RSS feeds, read the update I’ve added to that post. Luke the Librarian says it ain’t so, and I’m back to being disappointed in ILS vendors.

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* Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Wow – Steven and Fiona Caught a Mighty Big Fish!

Seattle Public Library? You Have Been RSSified!!

“Fiona from Blisspix sent over this great news from SPL:

‘The Seattle Public Library will replace its more than 20-year-old computer catalog with a new system called "Horizon" that will be implemented Wednesday, Feb. 23."

With the new Horizon system, patrons will notice a number of improvements, including...RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Just as Web sites now offer RSS as a means to provide updated information without having to ‘visit’ the site, the Horizon RSS feature allows search feeds (new titles from your favorite author) or a listing of ‘items out’ to be incorporated into new readers (My Yahoo! Or Bloglines).’ ” [Library Stuff]

w00t w00t! So congratulations to Dynix – it looks like they will be first out of the gate with native RSS feeds from the catalog (must update my presentations!)! Interestingly, they’re not even the ILS vendor that I had begun to think would make the big announcement first, which means we may see a second one very soon. I’m not surprised they are leading the way, though, because their rep was very responsive when I talked to him at last year’s Illinois Library Association conference. In fact, back in September, I predicted they might be first.

In Illinois, that means of the nine regional library systems, DuPage’s MAGIC catalog, Lincoln Trails’ LINC catalog, and Rolling Prairie’s HIP will be the first ones that could even possibly offer RSS feeds to their patrons. Unfortunately, there isn’t any version information available (nor a mention of RSS feeds) anywhere on the Dynix site, even in the press releases, so we don’t know if this is a fee-based add-on, if it requires an upgrade, etc. Hopefully they’ll flesh out the details soon.

I’m thrilled for Dynix users (hey, Peter – no more homegrown scraping!), but I’m sad for Innovative users like me. I really tried to push them to be first, only to find out that RSS wasn’t even on the agenda for 2005. Hopefully this will increase their awareness of the need, which they have failed to understand thus far.

Even if you don’t think a lot of users will benefit from this just yet, RSS feeds could save countless librarian-hours by automatically displaying new items on a library’s web site. How many librarians are doing this by hand for their sites? I’ll bet if we added them all up, we could literally save thousands of man hours a month if every vendor offered feeds from their catalogs. At my System alone, we have 77 libraries on one shared Innovative catalog. If each one spends just one hour per month posting new items on a web page or in an email newsletter, that’s 77 hours right there. Multiply that by 12 months and we’re at 924 hours of saved time for just one year for a mere fraction of Illinois libraries, let alone nationwide or even globally. Plus, libraries that didn’t have the resources to devote to keeping this information current on their web site could now do so simply by adding a few lines of code to a web page.

So come on, Innovative. I’ve been begging, and I’ll do it again now. Please, please, please give us RSS feeds out of the catalog sooner rather than later! Help us and our patrons, Obi-Wan. You’re our only hope!

And congrats again to Dynix!

Update: Luke the Librarian followed up on this news and clarifies the press release:

“I did some further checking on this, so credit can be given where it is due. Credit for this should not go to Dynix -- although the next version of their Horizon Information Portal will allow patrons to add external RSS feeds to their personal portals, it does *not* enable libraries to create RSS feeds for their patrons as described in the SPL press release. Credit should instead go to the systems librarians at SPL, who have created this solution on their own -- and have been very good about offering it to other Horizon libraries who are interested.”

Nice catch, Luke! So I rescind my credit for Dynix, and they’re NOT first out of the gate. Instead, staff at SPL have been forced to add this themselves, but kudos to them for having and spending the resources to do it and then sharing the work with other Horizon libraries.

All of which takes us back to square one, asking which ILS vendor will offer RSS natively from the catalog. Will we see an announcement next week? Which one will be first to save its customers thousands and thousands of hours of work? Hey, Innovative - if you hurry, you could still be first!

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* Monday, January 10, 2005

Texting Taking Off in the U.S.... with Teens

Young Cell Users Rack Up Debt, One Dime Message at a Time

“Chaz Albert, a freshman at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., is a passionate ‘texter,’ someone who loves to send and receive pithy text messages via cellphone. He does it at home, at school and at work. He often prefers texting over talking on his cellphone.

Last month, though, Mr. Albert's habit caught up with him. Only $80 of his $400 cellphone charges were his father's, and most of his own, he said, were for text-messaging….

Karina Gonzalez, a sophomore at Newtown High School in Queens and a regular sender of instant messages by computer, had her phone confiscated by her mother after her text messages resulted in a $150 phone bill, triple the usual amount. ‘I cried,’ she said. ‘I felt like I lost a piece of me. You can send a million instant messages a day, and it won't cost you anything. If you send one text message, it can cost you like a phone call.’

Her friend Denise Lucero, 15, who has never owned a cellphone, surreptitiously used her father's phone for a while, she said, to text-message her friends. One month, those messages pushed his bill to $300.

Then her father started to hide his phone: on top of the refrigerator, under the sofa, behind the television set, in his pillow.

Both girls said their inability to text message made them feel left out of the action. ‘It's about feeling part of a little group with cellphones,’ Denise said. ‘You want to learn what is going on.’…

Teenagers are clearly driving the trend. ‘Younger people do text messaging a lot more than older folks,’ said Mr. Nogee of Instat. ‘They're more used to it from instant messaging on the computer, from growing up with it. Older people would rather call up and talk.’…

Verizon Wireless, with 42 million customers, reported a fivefold increase in the number of text messages sent and received monthly, to almost one billion in the fall from 200 million in early 2003. A Verizon spokesman, Howard Waterman, said that people aged 16 to 24 represented the "’eading customer segment.’ ” [New York Times]

Emphasis above is mine, because I really wonder how well are we serving these kids. If they’re going to spend the money on text messages because it’s their preferred method of communicaiton, shouldn’t libraries communicate that way, too?

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Libraries, Women, and Tech

New Gender Roles in Digital World

“In a couple of cases, women are embracing new technologies faster than men.

‘The good news is that women are closing the gap,’ said Genevive Bell, a cultural anthropologist who works for chipmaker Intel. Overall, women are using technology nearly as often as men, Bell said, but they are using it differently.

In a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Intel, women were more enthusiastic about Wi-Fi than men, and they said they planned to use it in different ways….

Women and men want wireless access in airports, but more women than men said they want wireless Internet access in their doctors' offices and at salons….

Bell said women tend to use technology in ways that make busy days more manageable, which is why cell phones, laptops and wireless Internet access are popular, she said….

‘Women tend to have more interest in communicating, so it makes sense that they would tend to be heavier users of mobile communications features such as text messaging,’ Enpocket President Mike Baker said.” [SignOnSanDiego, via textually.org]

These findings aren’t really new; rather, they’re just confirmation of an ongoing trend. Women also use libraries more than men do, so you have to ask yourself if we’re doing enough to help them use library “technology in ways that make busy days more manageable.” My answer is no, we’re not, and we need to change this. Provide Wi-Fi for these women when they are in the library, educate them about RSS to help make their information flow more manageable, send them text alerts from the catalog and the reference desk, provide better virtual reference services so we’re wherever they are when they need us. There’s so much more we could do.

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RSStress

On the Scalability of Feeds & Aggregators

“The increase in the number of feeds will leave many users frustrated, as there is a limit to the number feeds one can scan and read. Current numbers suggest that readers can handle  150-200 feeds without too much stress.  But users will want to read more and more as new interesting feeds become available and they run into the limitations of the metaphor of  current aggregator applications. The current central abstract of aggregators is that of a feed, and there is a limit to how many individual feeds one can actually handle. Aggregators will need to find ways in which the users can be subscribed to a select set of feeds because they want to read everything that comes from these feeds, but also subscribe to a much larger set of publishers for which the feed abstraction may not be the right metaphor. Aggregation, fusion and selection at the information item level instead of at the feed level seems to be a first abstractions to investigation. ” [All Things Distributed, via del.icio.us/rss]

I’m seeing this myself, as I’m starting to hit a wall at around 250 feeds. The second generation of aggregators (that should also include more advanced authentication) can’t come fast enough.

I look forward to reading Werner Vogel’s full analysis on this issue, which of course means I have to add his feed to my aggregator. Wait a minute….

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* Wednesday, January 5, 2005

2006: This Scenario Won’t Be Just for Geeks Anymore

Check out how Frank McPherson used technology at his local library last night. Can your patrons do this in your library?

Note, too, that: 1) your staff could do this as well, and 2) the pic is from his PocketPC.

VSFW – Very Safe for Work; in fact, show it to your director!

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Is Your Library Blogging Yet?

10 Ways to Use Blogs for Managing Projects

“Blogs aren’t just for marketing - there are many areas of the business where they can help improve information flow, reduce clutter and avoid the dreaded ‘but I didn’t know about that’ situation. Here’s ten ways that we’ve used blogs for managing projects - both internally and with our clients.

  1. Communication with Project Stakeholders
  2. Replacing Paper
  3. Building Issue Logs
  4. Capturing Information Snippets
  5. Publicising the Project Progress
  6. Reducing Email Overload
  7. Capturing Requirements
  8. Circulating Screenshots
  9. Keeping Team Members Up-to-date
  10. Provide an Automatic Audit Trail” [Cutting Through]

Add the word “library” in front of “projects” in the title and you’ll have a great overview of ten ways in which blogging can help libraries.

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Own a Piece of History

It’s finally time. I’m ready to part with my Treo 600 now that I’m set up on the new Treo 650. My first 600 had problems that caused it to frequently reset itself. I didn’t realize this until I got the replacement 600, which is much more stable. So I’m selling the Treo 600 (for Sprint’s network), a case, and a keyboard for $250. If you’re interested in owning the device that started the infamous What’s on My Treo 600 page, email or IM me (cybrarygal on AIM).

Interesting tangent: I thought Kate’s 19–year old daughter Clare would want it for Christmas, but she says no. Even though she’s all about messaging (which is why I thought the keyboard and full IM capability would be a no-brainer for her), she says it’s too big. She’d rather have something she can easily fold over clamshell-style and fit in her pocket. She truly would rather text message using a phone dialpad than carry a larger phone. Go figure.

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Innovation Is Passing Library Catalogs By....

It's Like Google Suggest, Only As A Dictionary

“There's been a lot of discussion about Google Suggest, which provides potential words and phrases depending on what you type into the query box. There's a similar tool available using a couple of dictionaries instead of the Web. It's called ObjectGraph Dictionary and it's available at http://www.objectgraph.com/dictionary .

There are two dictionaries being used here; a regular dictionary and FOLDOC (Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing.) The default is regular. I started typing in esuriant and ObjectGraph began cycling through suggestions. the cool thing is that in addition to word listings, the suggestion box also contains definitions. So when you've gotten as far as esuri you'll have four relevant words and their dictionary definitions right there.” [ResearchBuzz]

This kind of feature would be nice in a library catalog, especially for phrase title searches.

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* Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Going Where the Users Are. Wikipedia?

There’s another Wikipedia discussion ensuing on the WEB4LIB mailing list (starts here), and so far my favorite response comes from Ross Singer.

“I don't think the use of Wikipedia should be encouraged or discouraged. It's a website just like any other, however, what makes it special (and
therefore, more valuable than academic and ‘vetted’ sites, IMHO) is that people are actually *using* it.

Therefore, what we need to do is create ways to access this ‘valuable’ information from /within/ these alternative interfaces.  This search in
Wikipedia also brings back x number of results in Academic Search Premier (or whatever) and provide a link to that canned search.  Or this
movie that you are looking at in IMDB is available from your local public library.

I don't think the solution is to try to take people away from ‘what is available with the least effort’.  Good God, no... at least they're
searching somewhere.  The much better approach would be to insert ourselves into their search (wherever) and present alternatives to
whatever the user got.  We get really concerned about ‘branding’ and making sure that people know where the resources they use come from, but
this can be achieved (possibly better) through ubiquity than through forced branding by forcing people into our resources and websites.

If my library is just ‘everywhere’, then I'm not nearly as likely to forget about it.”

It’s obvious why I like Ross’ post, right? The whole idea of going where your users are, disintermediation, and becoming part of peoples’ trust circles again. It’s a very Scan-like comment, as well as being a great idea. What would happen if we started pointing to library resources from within the entries?

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* Sunday, January 2, 2005

The New Laptop and the Future of Music in Libraries

Last month I asked for advice about laptops, and I got alot of great responses. Enough people advised against a Tablet PC that it was the first option I discounted since I knew I couldn’t afford one robust enough to offset the criticisms. That left a regular Windows-based machine or an Apple iBook. As is often the case when I ask these types of questions, most of the respondents were Mac enthusiasts and they made such a great case for the iBook that I had one all picked out.

However, as I was reviewing what I really wanted the laptop to do, I realized that my music service of choice, Rhapsody, only runs on Windows. As I’ve noted several times in the past, the only way to get my Rhapsody away from me is to pry it from my cold, dead hands. Yeah, I know iTunes is the bomb on a Mac, but it’s just not for me. I like buying single songs, but I love listening to any of over 800,000 songs more. There are more songs I just want to listen to and/or sample than there are songs I want to purchase, even at 99 cents. I can sample hundreds of new albums every week – the whole album – which is something iTunes doesn’t offer. And boy do I love me my Rhapsody when I’m traveling, which made it a required installation on my laptop.

There were a couple of other programs besides Rhapsody that required Windows, so Windows won in the end. Does it suck that a few programs further lock in the monopoly? Yeah, it really does. Sure, I could have jerry-rigged the iBook to simulate Windows in order to run Rhapsody, but I’m getting tired of jerry-rigging things lately.

So I ended up getting a Gateway 4530GZ, a monster machine with a 1.7Ghz Centrino processor (4–1/2 hours of battery life!), a 100GB hard drive, 512MB RAM, an SD/Memory Stick slot, 4 USB ports, 1 FireWire port, a multi-format DVD writer, a 15” screen, and of course, embedded 802.11g wireless. All in a package that weighs just 5.5 pounds and at a great price. I just can’t get over how light it is, especially compared to the previous laptop.

So while I still have a list of suggestions for improvements I want to send in to the Rhapsody folks, I’m back to being a nomadic computer user, and the kids are quite jealous (I’m not letting them use this laptop). Speaking of whom, here’s yet another kid story.

We visited Barnes & Noble last week to let the kids buy some books with their Christmas money. Kailee also visited the music section, and when I caught up with her, she had a list of songs she wanted me to put on a CD for her. At no time did she ask to buy the CDs, nor did she ask us to get them from the library. She just doesn’t think of music that way. She listens to songs on Rhapsody and then she tells me which ones she wants on a mixed CD. Apparently being in the store just reminded her to look for the names of the songs.

Compare that with David Pogue’s recent observation:

See the Movie, Buy the Song

“Yesterday, for example, we drove about 40 minutes to a special Imax theater that was showing ‘The Polar Express’ in 3-D….

Anyway, there’s a catchy song in the movie that my kids kept singing all the way home. Well, the first two lines, anyway; that’s all they could remember. So when we arrived home, although we had only ten minutes before bedtime, I thought I’d put all of this Internet digital-music stuff to the test.

I fired up the iTunes Music Store, typed in ‘Polar Express,’ and had the song bought ($1) and playing on my computer within—no exaggeration—60 seconds. Now that I knew the name of the song, I hit Google, typed ‘When Christmas Comes to Town lyrics,’ and clicked the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button. Boom, I was looking at the complete lyrics.

In the time it had taken my kids to take off their coats and snowy shoes, all of us were standing in front of the computer, volume cranked, happily singing along by reading the lyrics as iTunes played. Three times, in fact.” [Pogue’s Posts]

All of which worries me that music doesn’t have much of a future in libraries, particularly in public libraries. There’s already a digital “box set” of U2 music on iTunes that has 446 songs on it, plus a lot of rare and live goodies. In particular, it has 40 previously unreleased tracks, which means there are 40 tracks out there that no library anywhere can circulate. Talk about a digital divide.

Not only that, Engadget asks 2005 Year of the MP3 Phone? Go read it and then remind yourself that this is a rhetorical question and the answer is yes. So where does all of this leave libraries?

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Christmas Presents

Generation so-not-you

“Christmas morning ...

Lorcan: let's read the instructions first ...

Children: gone ...” [Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog]

We had a great holiday break, and we’ve named the new puppy Teddy Roosevelt so the contest is over. We have an annual tradition on New Year’s Eve called “kids game night” where we invite all of the neighborhood kids over to play games for a couple of hours. This year was no exception, and while they were demolishing the extra-large pizza into a few miniscule crumbs, we asked each of them to name the best present they received this year. To a one, they each said something electronic, the boys and the girls, all 12 of them.

We were floored when a brother (age 12) and sister (age 8) each said they got a TV in their rooms (this will never happen in our house), and there was another little girl (age 8) that got a telephone in her room (also won’t happen in our house, although eventually it will be a moot point because the kids will have cell phones). But the other answers were interesting. A Nintendo DS, a VideoNow player, Eye Toy, a Dance Dance Revolution wireless pad, a specific video game, a digital camera, a new TV for their basement.

Keep in mind that the oldest kid in the bunch was 12–years old. And have you seen the VideoNow line? I don’t like it, but they love it. These kids are getting used to carrying around video the way you’re used to carrying around music on a Walkman.

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You Can Read My Site Again!

Thanks to Michael Pate, Mr. LibraryPlanet, my MT templates produce legible posts in all of the newer browsers and comments are back! Oh, and the calendar is back, as is a new archives page, too.

Yay! I can’t thank him enough, but hopefully this public thank you will be a start. I feel like a whole new blogger! You rock, Michael!

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Another RSS Convert

rss, where are thou?

"Syndication is key. I have become such a snob that I won't read a blog if I can't dump it into my BlogLines account. Okay, snob is a bit harsh. It is more about convenience. I don't have time to search out every nifty blog I come across every day to see if there is a new post. I want it delivered to me. When I find a new blog I enjoy, the first thing I do is scour the sidebars for a link to syndication. No syndication, no subscription. The blogger loses out on higher readership & I lose out on reading some awesome posts. And so I'll end with a simple plea to all bloggers - check your sidebar. Do you link to your feed? Is it easy to find? If not, why?" [so this is mass communication?, via Scripting News]

Kaye, you're not alone! In fact, I think we need a badge....

Update: heh… Paul Beard answered the call. Here’s an “RSS Bigot” badge! I’ve added it to my pages at the bottom of the right-hand column. Thanks, Paul!

RSS Bigot

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