26 November 2006


Check out Michael Stephens's website, Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology, for some very good warning signs. Here's the text, but go to the site to see the signs.

WARNING: Failure to innovate while overthinking & underplanning library services may cause loss of library users & library staff.

THINK. Banning cell phones in your library may send many users to Starbucks, Panera, or similar.

Read, and think, and learn from these!

URL: http://tametheweb.com/2006/11/faiure_to_innovate.html


Bob Molyneux, Chief Statistician at SirsiDynix, has published a preliminary comparison of comparable data from the two countries’ libraries that shows differences in how each country provisions library service and how the citizens of each use their libraries. The data are based on a set of 1000 US libraries serving populations of 50,000 to 2.5 million and data on similar Canadian libraries compiled by Don Mills, director of the Mississauga Library System in Ontario for 2003. (This is a part of the Normative Data Project for Libraries.)

Here are a few of the findings:

Mean population served: Canadian libraries, 244,000; US libraries, 183,000.
Number of volumes: Canadian libraries, 729,000; US libraries, 453,000.
Average full time equivalent staff: Canadian libraries, 133; US libraries, 83.
Total staff per capita; Canadian libraries, 12.71; US libraries, 11.69.
Volumes per capita: Canadian libraries, 2.9; US libraries, 2.5.
Current serials per 1000 population: Canadian libraries, 22.9; US libraries, 6.3.
Interlibrary loans per 1,000 population: Canadian libraries, 34.9; U.S. libraries, 71.1. Canadians visiting their libraries would be more likely to find a periodical (and book for that matter, as we see) than a U.S. citizen and, hence, less likely to need to borrow something on ILL.
Visits per capita: Canadian libraries, 5.6; US libraries, 4.4.
Circulations per capita: Canadian libraries, 9.2; US libraries, 6.9.
Public use terminals per 5000 population: Canadian libraries, 2.1; US libraries, served 2.5.
U.S. public libraries spend more than Canadian libraries on all of the financial ratios used most commonly in the United States. A few of the differences are substantial.

There will be further work on this topic ahead.

Source and URL:
SirsiDynix One Source, 9 January 2006

25 November 2006


Totally Wired is a blog published by Anastasia Goodstein. It is designed to be a “resource for parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, librarians youth workers or any adult trying to decode what teens are doing online and with technology.”

Goodstein is a journalist who has worked in youth media, both online and in print. Her first book, Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online, is due in March of 2007 (St. Martin’s Griffin, ISBN 0-31236012-6, US$13.95).

If you work with young people, this is a good blog to follow and the book should be a great

URL: http://totallywired.ypulse.com/

22 November 2006


FreeTechBooks.com lists over 400 free computer science and engineering books, plus lecture notes. They are hosted on websites that belong to the authors or the publishers. What's the Catch. They say "none." I didn't find much of help, and it is far from complete, but the site may be of some use.

URL: http://www.freetechbooks.com


JournalJunkie.com “provides medical professionals with immediate audio access to abstracts from the latest medical journals.” It is free, but you must register. You can even download the abstracts as MP3 files for listening at another time or sign up for podcasts. The site is the creation of three Australian health professionals: Dr. Craig Dalton [School of Medical Practice and Population Health, University of Newcastle], Walter Kaan, R.N. [New South Wales Rural Doctors Network, Newcastle], and Jane Gray [New South Wales Health, North Sydney].

Journals included are: Annals of Internal Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine, British Medical Journal, Circulation, Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Public Library of Science-Medicine, The Lancet, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and The Lancet-Neurology. The abstracts seem to be very current, with the exception of Circulation and Archives of Internal Medicine, which are three months behind.

This looks like a wonderful resource to make available to your physician customers.

URL: http://www.journaljunkie.com/

21 November 2006


Communications in Information Literacy will debut with the Spring 2007 issue (1 February) and will publish two issues per year. It is described as “a new, independent, professional, refereed electronic journal dedicated to advancing knowledge, theory, and research in the area of information literacy. The journal is committed to the principles of information literacy as set forth by the Association of College and Research Libraries. Additionally, CIL is committed to the principles of open access for academic research.”

CIL seeks manuscripts on subject matter of interest to professionals in the area of higher education who are committed to advancing information literacy. Manuscripts may be theoretical, research-based, or of a practical nature. Some suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to definitions and standards for IL, pedagogies and learning theories, assessment, developing an IL strategy within your institution, designing an IL program, lesson planning, classroom instruction, online instruction, and instructional competencies. It is advisable but not required to check with the Editors-in-Chief, Chris Hollister and Stewart Brower [University at Buffalo, New York] at before submitting a manuscript.

URL: http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php/cil


The site called “I want a Freeware Utility to...450+ common problems solved” has a long list of extremely useful free utilities that do specific jobs really well and save time and money. Categories include: anti-spyware, anti-virus, audio, music, mp3, business, office, MS Office, communication, desktop, editors, files and folders, financial, graphics, fun, keyboard, performance, productivity, programming, uninstallers, and video. Open Source software is available at a sister site. Both are from eConsultant, an IT expert, who makes other good stuff available from the homepage.

Open Source: http://www.econsultant.com/i-want-open-source-software/index.html


In an article titled, Will Web resources be the death of the Library? (by Polina Aksamentova, Pipe Dream, 14 November 2006), Susan Currie, associate director of the library at Binghamton University [Binghamton, New York, USA], said, “Ever since 1988 the death of the library has been predicted [and] greatly exaggerated.” BU is actually seeing a resurgence in the use of library facilities, Currie added. Last year alone there was a 15 percent increase in the number of questions asked at the reference desk. “A lot of people who end up using electronic resources are not aware that the library has funded [them]. Currie said. “Every time someone uses electronic journals, comes to a database [or] our Web site—that’s using the library.

Students agee: “People will continue coming here because of the environment,” said Ingie Lee, a senior nursing major. “People are too loud in the dorms.” Joseph Jones, a senior political science and English major, said that libraries will not become extinct because professors prefer peer-review articles and books.

URL: http://www.bupipedream.com/pipeline_web/display_article.php?id=3461

18 November 2006


This “portal designed for librarians to locate Internet resources related to their profession,” has several links that appear to be very useful. There is a list of library-related electronic lists and newsgroups devoted to cataloging. There is a list of products for privacy protection and online security. The Librarian’s Toolbox links to things like Label Maker, ShelveIt!, Link Checker, Internet Library for Librarians, QuickBib!, and a couple of library-specific spell checkers. Their information for advertisers says that the site received 200,000 hits and 26,000 user sessions per month. The site is provided by InfoWorks Technology Company, Sewickley, Pennsylvania and is maintained by Internet Library for Librarians Editorial Team. a leader in developing network and PC security software and appliances; an innovator in developing library application tools for improving productivity and quality control; and a full service provider for label design and printing solutions.

URL: http://www.itcompany.com/inforetriever/emailcat.htm

17 November 2006


“This Wiki is dedicated to helping information professionals (librarians, LMIS students, and others) learn more about available web technologies. It was originally created for LIS 5433, Design and Implementation of Web-Based Information Services, at the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Oklahoma” taught by Dr. Betsy Van der Veer Martens. Included are: How can Web 2.0 technologies be added to library services? Blogs, Cool Tools, Digital Libraries, Glossary, Online Communities, Tech Reading, Web Design and Usability, and Wikis. There’s not a whole lot there (yet), but it is a good beginning.

URL: http://www.ambientlibrarian.org/

16 November 2006


I just ran into this blog by Aaron Schmidt [Thomas Ford Memorial Library, Western Springs, Illinois]. Walking paper deals with "new(ish) information technologies. He explains the blog title, "things like IM and text messaging are like active, animated paper to me." Some of his categories are: audio eBooks, phones in libraries, future libraries, gaming in libraries, teenagers and the library, wifi, and of course instant messaging and information technology.

By the way, Aaron is also a member of the 2005 class of Library Journal Movers and Shakers.

URL: http://www.walkingpaper.org/


New Deal Network

If you are interested in the social programs of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt or in the Great Depressions of the 1930s, this is the site for you. It is sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. There are articles, speeches, letters, over 5000 photographs, lesson plans, web projects, and bibliographic materials, and a moderated discussion list for teachers and historians. There are also family documents, four lesson plans on the Depression and the arts, a photo-documentary of the effect of the Depression on one small Southern town, student poems, articles and short stories from a New York high school in the 1930s, and more.

Interactive Health Tutorials

This is a long list of interactive programs on diseases, conditions, tests, diagnostic procedures, surgeries, treatments, and prevention and wellness. The site is from the US National Library of Medicine, but the tutorials come from everywhere. Some look very good.


VHS, 30, dies of loneliness: The home-entertainment format lived a fruitful life

by Diane Garrett, Variety, 15 November 2006.

After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old. No services are planned.
The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline. "It's pretty much over," concurred Buena Vista Home Entertainment general manager North America Lori MacPherson on Tuesday.

VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs.

Although it had been ailing, the format's death became official in this, the video biz's all-important fourth quarter. Retailers decided to pull the plug, saying there was no longer shelf space.

As a tribute to the late, great VHS, Toys 'R' Us will continue to carry a few titles like "Barney," and some dollar video chains will still handle cassettes for those who cannot deal with the death of the format.

Born Vertical Helical Scan to parent JVC of Japan, the tape had a difficult childhood as it was forced to compete with Sony's Betamax format.

URL for the complete article: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117953955.html?categoryid=20&cs=1

13 November 2006


Should you blog or not? Here are two differing opinions: one advocating blogging by executives and the other warning job seekers not to blog (and aren’t we all job seekers at some time?).

Schwartz, Jonathan, If You Want to Lead, Blog, Harvard Business Review Reprint FO511J, 1 November 2005. (available for US$6.00 at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/
) Schwartz is President and CEO of Sun Microsystems and blogs at http://www.blogs.sun.com/jonathan.
Excerpt: “For executives, having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice…. If you’re not part of the conversation, others will speak on your behalf—and I’m not talking about your employees.”

Tribble, Ivan (pseud.), Bloggers Need Not Apply, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 July 2005, p. C3, http://chronicle.com/jobs/2005/07/2005070801c.htm
Excerpt: “Our blogger applicants came off reasonably well at the initial interviews, but once we hung up the phone and called up their blogs, we got to know ‘the real them’—better than we wanted, enough to conclude we didn’t want to know more.”


TechXtra searches 25 databases covering engineering, math and computing, some full-text and some covering the “deep” web. You can search just articles, websites, books, industry news, job announcement, technical reports, ePrint archives, learning and teaching resources, or latest research—or any or all of the above. Content of the databases that are not engineering, math or computing, are not retrieved, so relevance should be high. TechXtra is a product of Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, but includes databases from the UK, USA, and Australia.

URL: http://www.techxtra.ac.uk

09 November 2006


The website of the Insurance Information Institute provides news and information for the customer, the media, and the industry. There are questions and answers on various types of insurance (auto,home,life, health, long-term care, disability, business, and other) that cover nearly everything one needs to know, albeit from a somewhat biased perspective. For example, he question "Do I really need long-term health care insurance?" receives a "yes" answer--but that does not diminish the quality of the information. Highly recommended.

URL: http://www.iii.org

08 November 2006


Reference & User Services Quarterly is the official journal of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association. Its purpose is to disseminate information of interest to reference librarians, information specialists, and other professionals involved in user-oriented library services. This Web site serves as an online companion to the print edition. The blog includes a link to the print version in .pdf format. You can look at the entries by issue, department, column, or article. The blog is searchable, too.

A great addition to this great journal and wonderful for those of us who aren’t members of RUSA or ALA.

URL: http://www.rusq.org/


One of my favorite people, Stephen Abram, has been named the Chief Strategist of the SirsiDynix Institute, a forum for professional development in the (mainly public) library world. Stephen is already the Vice-president of Innovation at SirsiDynix and President-elect of the Special Libraries Association. Congratulations!

Shameless plug: In January 2007, ALA Press will publish my newest work, Out Front with Stephen Abram: A Guide for Information Leaders. Some of Stephen’s best writings have been compiled by Jonathan Lorig and me. It is especially strong on his musings on the effects of technology and the millennials on libraries.

07 November 2006


LIS Café is “a Web gathering created on 22nd, September, 2005 for LIS graduates, students, and teachers.” It comes from the Dept. of Library and Information Sciences, University of Kuwait, now celebrating its 10th anniversary. Thirty-six percent of the subscribers are from Kuwait and 22 percent from the USA. The rest are mostly from the Near East and Africa.

The blog offers links to library-related resources, a wonderful photo gallery (there are also great photos in some of the posts and even a video of opening day at the Kuwaiti Library School), and a chat room. Also on the blog are announcements from the Special Libraries Association-Arabian Gulf Chapter.

URL: http://mlis-kw.blogspot.com


Brian Kelly [UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath, UK] has started the UK Web Focus blog on the occasion of his tenth anniversary as UK Web Focus at the UK Online Network.

He writes, “This Blog will focus on matters related to the Web, in particular Web standards, innovations and areas related to Web 2.0.

As a Web adviser to the UK higher and further education communities and the cultural heritage sector, there is a clear need for me to be better informed on Blog issues (both technological and non-technological areas). In addition a Blog can help me to better inform and engage with my communities. Use of a Blog will also support my professional development.”

URL: http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/

05 November 2006

Favourite Consumer Health Sites from HELP

What's HELP? It's the impressive new Health Education Library for People from Mumbai (Bombay), India. Be sure you have your sound on before going to their website. http://healthlibrary.com/seminar/favourites.html


Three resources from HELP:
How to Get the Best Medical Care: A Guide for the Intelligent Patient: an online book from to help patients to get the best medical care, http://www.thebestmedicalcare.com
The Intelligent Doctor’s Guide to the Internet: from Drs. Anjali and Aniruddha Malpani, Medical Director of HELP, http://www.thebestmedicalcare.com/doctors/doctorsguide.htm
The Intelligent Patient’s Guide to the Internet: also from Dr. Malpani, http://www.thebestmedicalcare.com/patients/patientguide.htm

Heart Disease Online: information on heart disease, written so that even your child can understand it—a very readable resource from Dr Mani in India, http://www.chdinfo.com/articles/congenital.shtml

Nutrition Foundation of India: a wealth of original information on nutrition in India, http://www.nutritionfoundationofindia.res.in/index.asp

Dentalindia.com: All about Dentistry in India, http://www.dentalindia.com/

Directory of Indian Medical Sites: A guide to other websites on health and medicine in India from QMed Services, Mumbai, http://www.qmedin.com/medsites/index.htm

King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai: One of India's premier hospitals, http://www.kem.edu/

Indiaparenting.com: Everything you want to know about bringing up your child, from IndiaParenting, a private not-for-profit company, http://www.indiaparenting.com/


About Kids Health: Designed to help children and their families learn about the conditions that affect them, keep informed about current research, and learn how to fit disease management seamlessly into an active, healthy lifestyle. Check out the Just for Kids section too, from the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/

The People’s Medical Society: a US advocacy group in Allentown, PA. They “will arm you with information which can help you to look after yourself during your passage through the medical system,” http://www.peoplesmed.org/

My Virtual Reference Desk: Health and Nutrition. A good starting point for searching the Web for health topics, designed for the layperson from Bob Drudge, family therapist and father of the author of The Drudge Report, http://www.refdesk.com/health.html

03 November 2006


International Lyrics Playground has lyrics of “songs from Europe, North American and Around the World!” It is a bare bones site, with most lyrics contributed by users. I had limited success finding what I was looking for, but it does have a lot of songs listed. (http://lyricsplayground.com)

Zamzar provides “free online file conversion” to and from a wide variety of formats (.doc to .PDF, .gif to .jpg, etc. You can upload a maximum of 100 MB in up to 5 files, but this may increase in the future. Looks very useful. (http://www.zamzar.com)

When your file is too large to email, upload it to MediaFire—for free—and then email a link to it. (http://www.mediafire.com)


Breeding, Marshall, Technology for the Next Generation, Computers in Libraries 26(10):18-20, November/December 2006.
Selection: “Although millennials approach things differently, I don’t necessarily believe that we must create interfaces just for them. The progress required in the library Web presence to satisfy the millennials will be well-appreciated by all. We do need to understand that millennials have less of a tolerance for slow, nonintuitive, and unattractive Web sites and will quickly turn to other sources if the library’s doesn’t meet their expectations.”

McAlister, Moyra, Gen Y, inCite (Australian Library and Information Association) 27(10):16, October 2006.
Selection: “For a number of reasons we need to understand and attract Gen Y [millennials]. As managers, we need to attract Gen y because of the shrinking available pool of workers and the ageing population. As employers we are looking for a more complex skill set—because of their varied experience, Gen Y often has this skill set. As service providers, we need to appeal to Gen Y because what is attractive to Gen Y today is attractive to everyone tomorrow.”

Abram, Stephen, Books! Are They Still Important in Special Libraries? Information Outlook (Special Libraries Association) 10(10):40-42, October 2006.
Selection: “The episodic mode of learning is great, especially for adult learners who have a foundation of knowledge on which to build further depth. However, trying to learn a complex topic or new professional competency doesn’t lend itself to this … mode of learning. There are times when we need to learn things in order. So, when one of our clients needs to approach a topic from scratch, we start to think in terms of a format that guides and selects the content in a rational order: a book.” Abram goes on to list new modes of creating booklists—recommenders.

Wilson, Alane, 10 Hot Trends, It’s all good, 3 November 2006, http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/10-hot-trends.html
Selection: 1. Customer made, 2. Geo-awareness, 3. Thing connection (anytime, anywhere), 4. Virtual worlds—and more.


2006 is a big year for the US National Library of Medicine and its medical information services. MEDLINE, NLM's flagship database debuted October 27, 1971.
PubMed was first released in January 1996 as an experimental database.
2006 also marks the 170th anniversary of NLM, since its 1836 founding as the Library of the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army.
October 1, 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Library of Medicine Act, which moved the Armed Forces Medical Library to the Public Health Service and rechristened it the National Library of Medicine.

Here are some comparisons betwwen MEDLINE 1971 and MEDLINE 2006:
In 1971,MEDLINE featured 239 indexed journals. By 2006, that number has grown to 4,928.
In 1971, MEDLINE served 25 users. In 2006, MEDLINE/PubMed will average 77 million unique visits in 2006 and about 800 million searches.
In 1971, MEDLINE was available via dial-up telecommunications. In 2006, the site is available to anyone on earth via the World Wide Web.

URL for more detail: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/medline_35th_birthday.html

02 November 2006


Marian Dworaczek [University of Saskatchewan Library, Saskatoon, Canada] is constructing a list of library-related conferences. This worldwide list is very comprehensive and includes links to more information on most of the conferences. There is no search function, but you can use your browser’s find function to search it easily. She also has compiled some impressive bibliographies: Electronic Sources of Information (both a bibliography and subject index to the literature), and two on technical services in academic libraries, including outsourcing.


Library-Related Conferences:
Electronic Sources of Information:
: http://library2.usask.ca/~dworacze/BIBLIO.HTM
Subject Index:
Technical Services in Academic Libraries:
Literature Review:


HEALIA is a super new consumer health search engine. It was developed with a grant from the USA National Cancer Institute. It’s only in beta now, but works wonderfully. I did a couple of my favorite searches and got very good, relevant, results.

Results are presented, along with lists of suggested similar, more general, and more specific searches. You can also filter by any one or more of the following: professional; male or female; kids, teens or seniors; African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native heritage; basic or advanced; HONcode, URAC accredited, or privacy policy rated sites; easy to scan, fast loading, for text browsers, or interactive tools. Very impressive.

I also tried another recommended site, Mamma. It is a “smart” metasearch engine, created as a master’s thesis in 1996, and now run by Mamma Media Solutions. It searches most of the major medical sites and the deep web (though it doesn’t exactly how it does it). I performed my two test searches and got fewer good results. The list was preceded by “identified” sponsored links, but I found some questionable links in the rest of the results, too. There are some suggested alternative search topics, but the filters are only found under Power Search. They include choosing directories, indexes, pay-per-click, and adult content reduction. On the whole, a less powerful and desirable site.

HEALIA: http://www.healia.com
Mamma: http://www.mamma.com


The Special Libraries Association announced this week that members can now receive news via an RSS feed on the SLA website. The service is provided by NewsGator and includes feeds on library subjects (education, copyright, careers, competitive intelligence, and technology) and on subjects of interest to our customers. The latter are arranged to correspond to the Divisions in SLA. Note: Solo Librarianship is covered only by the Solos Helping Solos blog, under SLA, but I’ve sent some additional suggestions to Carolyn Sosnowski, who seems to be in charge at SLA HQ.

URL: http://www.sla.org, click on RSS Feed