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.”
OCLC is is loosening up and having some fun in a Google Labs kind of way!
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!
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!
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.
Excellent – Greg Schwartz is podcasting! Grabbing the file now . So Greg, having done an actual podcast, do you see applications for libraries?
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 .
My favorite quote from Karen Schneider’s posts about last week’s WebCred conference:
An excellent summary!
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.
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.
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).
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.
An email message I received today from the Head of Adult Services at my local library:
He shoots, he scores!
You may remember a similar story about wireless last year....
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). :-)
Lorcan Dempsey posted some astounding numbers to his blog yesterday. Emphasis below is mine. Prepare to be amazed.
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.
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!
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:
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:
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."
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:
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! :-)
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.”
I was reading the following post, nodding my head, when the following quote blew me away.
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.
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!).
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!
“ 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:
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).
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.
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 .
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.
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.
We had already made a donation as a family, but I’m definitely on board with helping Anders. You rock, dude.
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!
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!
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?
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.
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 .
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!
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.
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.
This kind of feature would be nice in a library catalog, especially for phrase title searches.
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?
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
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.
“Christmas morning ...
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.
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!
"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]
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!
Spreading the meme:
Why You Should Fall to Your Knees and Worship a Librarian
Chicago Sun-Times article
What Is a Shifted Librarian?
A Shifted Reading List
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Ye Olde Shifted Librarian Moblog!
What's on My Treo 600
Library Services on the Treo 600
Life in the Treo Lane
On Being the Digital Job
Radio 101 Docs
My Past Life
Librarians' Site du Jour (the original library blog!)
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