31 July 2008


There's a good article in the current issue of C&RL News (v. 69, #7, July/August 2008). In The Issues Facing Librarians and Physicians: Facilitating Quality Research in the Internet Age, Mary Francis [Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota, USA] notes the common proglems that the two professions face.

She "heard a doctor comment on how his patients were turning to the Internet to conduct research on their health. My thought, 'Welcome to my world.' As a reference and instruction librarian, I have
continually been faced with students who use the Internet as the end all and be all of their research. I spend time during each instructional session I teach to note how the Internet will not provide the same quality material as that found within the academic journals indexed in the library’s databases. Physicians face a similar problem when patients find poor-quality health information online.

To the suggestion "that doctors provide their patients with a list of Web sites they would recommend as containing quality material," she comments, "Fortunately, this list has already been compiled by the Medical Library Association." It's a shame that haven't gotten the message to more MDs that we've already done much of their work for them. We have to do better!


30 July 2008


It is time consuming to send the same message to all of your social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). Web Worker Daily has a great post on software that can automate this activity.
Broadcasting to Your Social Networks, by Aliza Sherman, describes several levels of Social Aggregation Broadcasting Tools. An active SABT is HelloTxt; ShareThis and AddThis are passive SABTs; Utterz integrates SABT features; and Twhirl, Tweetburner, and Twitterfeed are examples of narrow SABTs. Some of the 14 comments suggest other programs you can use for this purpose.

the article: http://webworkerdaily.com/2008/06/25/broadcasting-to-your-social-networks/
HelloTxt: http://hellotxt.com/
ShareThis: http://www.sharethis.com/
AddThis: http://www.addthis.com/
: http://www.utterz.com/
Twhirl: http://www.twhirl.com/
Tweetburner: http://tweetburner.com/
Twitterfeed: http://www.twitterfeed.com/


The people at CraftySpace "have created website development & service programs that are affordable for public libraries of all sizes." They use Drupal, the open-source content management system, as well as other open-source programs. See their samples at the website.

CraftySpace has offices in Los Angeles, California and Eugene, Oregon. Their staff have over fifty years of software application development experience.

URL: http://www.yourlibrarysite.com/

29 July 2008


Four scholars at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia recently published an article in the online Journal of General Internal Medicine, Content of Weblogs Written by Health Professionals. They identified 271 blogs with medical content apparently written by doctors or nurses and reviewed five entries per blog from 2006 to see how often blog authors commented about patients, violated patient privacy, or displayed a lack of professionalism. Over half the authors provided enough information to show who they were. Nearly half described individual patients (16 percent positively and 18 percent negatively). Less than one-fifth of them included enough information for patients to identify themselves and three blogs had recognizable photographs of patients.

The investigators concluded that “Blogs are a growing part of the public face of the health professions. They offer physicians and nurses the opportunity to share their narratives. They also risk revealing confidential information or, in their tone or content, risk reflecting poorly on the blog authors and their professions. The health professions should assume some responsibility for helping authors and readers negotiate these challenges.”

URL: http://www.pharmalot.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/medical-blogs.pdf

25 July 2008


Fiction DB calls itself "the essential fiction reference." I don't know about that, but it is a neat resource. You can search for book titles by author (including pseudonyms), series, genre, or keyword. There are reviews, links to author websites, and the ability to find a vendor for the book (or sell your book on your own). There's even a wish list. You can upgrade (for US$29.99/year) and get a free book and access to some other (non-essential) services. The site is updated monthly.
Looks useful.

URL: http://www.fictiondb.com/

PaperBackSwap allows its over 1300 members to swap books (not limited to paperbacks) easily. You list your books (you get 2 free credits with the first 10 you list), then exchange them with others (1 credit=1 exchange). A neat feature: you can print out postage from their site and not have to go to the post office. I haven't used it (yet), but it seems easy and is free.

URL: http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php


In case you are interested, I have put 12 photo albums up on Picasa (from Google). You look at pictures from France, Mexico, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, Sedona Arizona and the Grand Canyon, and South Africa. More of our trips will be put up as I get time to organize them.
There are also family events documented: Leiseth reunion in Arnegard, ND; Steve's mom's 80th birthday; friends and family in Alexandria, Louisiana--my dad's hometown; the establishment of the Siess Professorship in Civil Engineering.
And there are photos from the Cleveland Illini Club and the inside of our new house in Champaign.
You'll have to have a Google account to see them.

to get a Google account: http://gmail.com


The Oakville (Ontario, Canada) Public Library has a wonderful web page. It looks like a web page, not a library web page. There are lots of links, community links, an easy to use search engine, reviews, and more. Look at the box at the bottom--How can we make this page better?

Right now they're having free games for teens--the ad reads: "Play Wii for Fwii @ the Librawii!!" I love this.

URL: http://www.opl.on.ca/

(If they're going to have a URL with "opl" in it, it's great that it's an exemplary site.)

23 July 2008


Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has created a comic book on copyright. It is called Bound by Law and features the issues surrounding film making and copyright. It is both entertaining and very informative.

It is also free. You can download a digital version, buy a hard-copy version, remix the comic for your own use by downloading individual pages, read it a page at a time (including turning the pages with your mouse), or download the text so you can translate it into another language.

This is one of the neatest new library services I've seen. They are working on another comic, too. I can't wait.

URL: http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/digital.php

18 July 2008

Post to your blog without ever leaving Firefox

ScribeFire, an extension of Firefox ®, enables users to easily drag and drop formatted text from the Web into their blog(s), post entries, take notes, and optimize their ad inventory, directly through the Firefox browser.

I just found this on the web and it's pretty neat--if you use Firefox and one of the supported bloggers (I use Google Blogger).

You can cut and paste text right in Firefox, edit it, and post it to your blog. You can also do a bunch of fancy stuff, but you know me, simple is best.

URL: http://www.scribefire.com/


Ologeez! is "a scholarly site" to "connect, share, and learn from colleagues through papers, networked groups, collaborative tools and more." It is open only to those with an .edu or .org email address, but looks promising. You can look at articles from scholarly journals, see what other libraries and/or universities are doing, participate in wikis for laboratories in academia, government, or industry; non-profits, or professional societies so far; and read their blog.

I've just looked at this site, not evaluated or used it yet, but you may want to check it out or tell your users about it. It is a project of Stanford University, California, USA and is only in beta right now.

URL: http://ologeez.stanford.edu


I just found ChangingMinds.org, an interesting site with lots of links that you might be able to user. Categories include: disciplines (such as sale, negotiation), techniques (assertiveness, body language, etc.), explanations (behaviors, beliefs, culture, and more), theories and principles.

URL: http://changingminds.org


The Law Professor Blogs Network announced two new blogs:
Career & Professional Development Blog by Susan Gainer [University of Minnesota] and Mina Jones Jefferson [University of Cincinnati]
International Law Prof Blog by a group of 4 US law professors.

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for letting us know about these.

Career & PD Blog: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/lawcareer/
Intl Law Prof Blog: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/international_law/

15 July 2008


If you are an OPL in a law library in Britain or Ireland, you are in luck. BIALL (the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians) has a new group just for you. The One Man Band/Small Teams Group has just been organized. "It is proposed that the primary method of meeting will be email and voice conferencing, with a session also being scheduled for the BIALL Conference. The aim will be to use the available technology to allow individiuals to participate in the activity of the group with a minimum expense of time and money."

There is a BIALL-SOLOS mailing list, too. If you want to be added to it, email with the message SUBSCRIBE BIALL-SOLOS.

URL: http://www.biall.org.uk -- click on OMB/Small Teams under Groups in the left column.

PS. Check out the results of their May 2004 survey on Budgeting and Marketing; Increasing Value in Hard Times.. There are some interesting numbers and some even more interesting comments under case studies.

12 July 2008


If you want to have fun, try out Wordle, a neat free software program to make word clouds*. You can input any text or an RSS feed from your website, a blog, or anything else. Once the cloud is made, you can edit it to change color, format (horizontal, vertical, rounded, etc.), language, and other characteristics. Then you can save it (even as a PDF), print it, or add it to their online gallery for others to see (and use).

The author of the program (Jonathan Feinberg), an engineer at IBM, says that you can use any of the Wordles you create (or the ones from the gallery) for any purpose you want, including making money. Wouldn't it be neat to have a poster or t-shirt with a Wordle made from your library's website or mission statement? Or from your club or organization? I made Wordles based on the University of Illinois Fight Song, the Beloit College web page on academics (note that the largest word is students, showing their orientation), and the RSS feed from this blog. You can see the first two in the gallery, search on "University of Illinois Fight Song" or "Beloit."
Oh yeah, the gallery is searchable--a neat feature. Try searching on the "Lord's Prayer"....

There are even business applications for Wordle. Karen Blakeman [RBA Information Services, Caversham, Berks UK] wrote on BUSLIB-L, "I was alerted to using tag cloud generators for business purposes by Sue Hill of Sue Hill Recruitment. Her organisation sometimes pass candidate CVs and job descriptions through a cloud generator to highlight which words are being emphasised and used more than they should. I've used Wordle to look at individual promotional materials for membership organisations and events. Some turned out OK and were focussing on the topics we intended to promote, but for a few it became obvious that the advertising had failed because it had all the wrong buzzwords. Very illuminating!"

*In case you don't knoow what a word cloud is, here is the Wikipedia definition: "A tag cloud or word cloud (or weighted list in visual design) is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, used typically to describe the content of web sites. Tags are usually single words and are typically listed alphabetically, and the importance of a tag is shown with font size or color."

URL: http://wordle.net/

10 July 2008


I read a post recently on the highest and lowest gasoline prices. Norway was the highest, at US$8.73 per gallon (in 2007) and Venezuela was the lowest at just 12 cents. The USA was somewhere in the middle at $3.02.

But how does the impact of income level affect these rankings? I divided these countries' median income by the average price of gasoline to see how many gallons their income could buy.
Venezuela is still the cheapest with their median income buying 50,583 gallons of gasoline. Kuwait was a distant second at 34,033 gallons, followed by Saudi Arabia at 27,800. The USA was 5th cheapest at 14,891 gallons.
The most expensive gasoline was in Portugal, with the median income purchasing only 2,309 gallons (under 5 percent of the Venezuelan amount). A big group of countries could buy 4-5,000 gallons: Swaziland, France, Germany, Belgium, and the UK.

I don't know how useful this information is, but it is interesting and I had fun coming up with it.
It does remind us that as much as we complain about the high price of gasoline here in the USA, there are a lot of people paying far more than we do when our relatively high income level is taken into account.

FYI. Norway ranked only 8th in my list since their median income is a whopping $66,530!

09 July 2008


Several members of the House of Lords in the UK are contributing to Lords of the Blog. It "is an experimental project to encourage direct dialogue between web users across the world and Members of the House of Lords." It is conducted by the Hansard Society, "the UK's leading independent, non-partisan political research and education charity."

There seem to be 11 participating peers, all but three listed as "the Independent Peers." (What that means I have no idea.) There aren't a lot of posts, but it's such a fascinating idea.

Another project of the House of Lords is a presence on YouTube. There's an especially fascinating one that shows how little some Brits know about their government and some of the Lords try to explain what the House of Lords does. Check it out!

Lords of the Blog:
Hansard Society: http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtqWwCIhW4E

04 July 2008


It seems that every other day there is a new library networking site announced. I don't think we need this many sites and many or most of them will probably die from lack of support, activity, or money, but here's the latest--and it seems pretty good.

LibGig: Your Career, Your Community is "dedicated to bringing together everyone who accesses, organizes, creates, manages, produces or distributes information for a living." A big purview to be sure, but it's nice that they named it LibGig and not InfoGig or such.

It consists of three sections: careers, schools, and community. Careers has searchable job listings--currently free for both sides, but employers will be charged a pretty reasonable fee (US$99 per month) soon. Most of them look pretty interesting and varied. There is also a resume doctor (Meredith Lavine), sample resumes, and career questions and answers.
Schools has, in addition to a list of all ALA accredited LIS schools, alumni profiles and links to continuing education and certification opportunities. I would like to see this expand to include listings of schools, etc. from outside North America.
Finally, Community has three exclusive blogs and links to others, new product announcements, an event calendar, and industry news. Here there's a forum, too. Not much on it yet, but it could improve.

Who's behind LibGig? Larry Honig is the principal of LAC New Ventures, a technology entrepreneur, and has worked for MIT's Lincoln Lab, the Gartner Group, and Broadcasting & Cable magazine. Raissa Fomerand is LAC's VP of sales and marketing and a librarian! She was publisher and founder of The Librarians Yellow Pages. Web content manager is Gabe Geltzer.

URL: http://www.libgig.com

02 July 2008


Tom Nielsen, a former OPL who is now the Member Services Manager at the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO, a library consortium serving libraries in NYC and Westchester County, north of the city) would like you to know about a great regional professional membership for any solos who don’t get a lot of support from their employer but still want to stay in touch with other info pros.

METRO has launched a new membership category called myMETRO. myMETRO provides a full range of services in professional development and career support for individual librarians, information professionals, students, support staff and retirees. Previously, METRO membership was limited to libraries, archives and research organizations in New York City and Westchester County, New York. With myMETRO, individuals from across the region can take advantage of myMETRO benefits such as: discounts on METRO workshops, professional development grants, networking events and receptions, and special career-focused courses designed to increase the skills and leadership abilities of information professionals.

Note: membership is $100 for professionals, $50 for retirees or students.

For more information, contact Tom 212 228 2320 x16 or or check out their website at http://tinyurl.com/3q2kvm.


Since the real product of your library is answers (knowledge), the way you look at it is important. John Dolan, head of library policy for the UK cabinet level division of Museums, Libraries & Archives, said that it is “critical” for libraries to move away from thinking of libraries as storehouses “to libraries as animators, to help empower ‘smart publics.’ Libraries should be thee not to gather knowledge but to move it—to be a facilitator. The library worker can act as the catalyst, pollinator of learning, or discovery. Being part of the solution to the need, not just being the go-between, the mediator.”

Library+information update 7(5):16, May 2008.


A study in the UK by Sero Consulting and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) reported that “library management systems are not fully fit for purpose because they do not allow seamless integration with teaching, learning, and research behaviour in the Web 2.0 environment.” Users expect a seamless, easy searching experience, which most LMS do not provide. Mostly, the systems were designed to serve backend users (technical services), not customers. “The report says that the business case for libraries is that they provide authoritative information, and access to it in the most efficient way. However, libraries ‘are not yet exploiting intelligence about user habits to enhance their position in the information value chain.’”

Is your OPAC (online public access catalog) as easy for your customers to use as it is for you? How can you make it easier for them?

Library+information update 7(5):15, May 2008.


“City Business Library (CBL)—the only UK public library focusing exclusively on the business sector—expects to be busier as the ‘credit crunch’ leads companies to cut back on information. This was the message form CBL Manager Goretti Considine to the City Information Group [of the Chartered Institution of Library and Information Professionals—the UK equivalent of the American Library Association] seminar…. Job seekers and freelancers find their ‘no-questions-asked’ service particularly valuable.”
Can you offer your services to other organizations that now have no library?
How can you make yourself so valuable to your organization so that you don’t join the list of the unemployed?
Turn the current economic downturn into a plus by being creative in marketing your services.
Library + information update 7(5):12, May 2008: