Thursday, June 29, 2006

GSU Library Flickrs

The folks at the Georgia State University Library have a Flickr site for pictures of their ongoing Library Transformation project. They have a set of pics for each floor of the library that is under renovation documenting the progress in each area. The Flickr page is linked from their Library Transformation page, which is set up blog style with RSS feed to keep their community up to date on the project. Very cool!

Mississippi Library Donations!

One more Gulf Coast libraries item: The Harrison County (MS) Library system has Amazon wish lists set up for donations to various branches. Very cool idea. Check out the Dewey Donation System for more info on donations to Harrison County. HCLS is located in the Biloxi/ Gulf Port area of the Mississippi Gulf coast that was hit particularly hard by Katrina.

GCPL Spanish Fiction

Update on a previous GCPL post: the library board decided to restore funding for Spanish language fiction yesterday. This article says the board received lots of comments from the immediate community and all over the country on both sides of the issues, weighed them, and reversed the decision. One board member said: "Unfortunately we didn't have this discussion before we first voted on this issue." Yeah, no joke! Listening to your community, a novel idea. But hopefully you live and learn.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ALA 2006 Wrap-Up

Written at airport on Monday but didn't get to post until today. Commentary in brackets.

I just got dropped off at the airport by the shuttle for the flight home. Flight has been delayed about 20 minutes, which isn’t too bad. But hopefully no more cuz it’s my anniversary today and I want to get home for dinner w/ my wife! [Was delayed a little more but got home in time for dinner] So while I’m hanging out with one eye on World Cup and siping an Abita, I’ll type up my final rundown.

I’m glad I decided to come to ALA this year. I’m still not a hug fan of the mega-conference in general and felt like I got a ton more bang for MPOWs buck in terms of programs and networking from Computers In Libraries, but being in NOLA this year was a worthwhile experience. I’m glad I was able to attend the first of (hopefully many more) major conference in town post-Katrina. Everyone I talked to at the conference was impressed with the people of New Orleans. In the face of continuing adversity and uncertainty, every single person seemed glad to see the librarians. And was super friendly, from the first people I talked to at the Enterprise to the shuttle driver.

One other thing I didn’t get around to mentioning about NOLA was how weird it was to be in the Convention Center. One of my most vivid Katrina media memories was Mike “Brownie” Brown on NPR insisting that the reports of the horrendous conditions in the CC were just rumors. Immediately after a report from a correspondednt who was there. At the center. Not in Baton Rouge pining for a margarita. And the commentator (whose name escaes me) just letting into him. ALA really did an amazing job respecting what happened in LA and the Gulf Coast and calling attention to the continuing problems and challenges the areas face. But I really would have liked to have seen some acknowledgement of what happened at the Convention Center. Where we were going about our conference business. Maybe Anderson Cooper will address that today [did he?] or I just missed it. But definitely worth remembering the completely inhumane suffering that happened at our conference site.

The programs I went to weren’t bad either! As always there were multiple sessions I wanted to see in most of the time slots. And some back to back ones that just weren’t doable geographically. And some stuff after I needed to leave. Really liked Chris Anderson’s Long Tail talk, even though I’m pretty familiar with the concept. Wish I’d had time for him to sign a book, and I guess I would have now! Tech Trends and the LITA President’s program were great too. Think I might have to consider joining LITA as I ended up going to a lot of their programs. Any LITA folks want to talk me into it??

Another great thing was randomly running into my co-workers everywhere I went. It’s always cool to spend time with people you work with (at least a little) outside the office. Get to discuss work and non-work issues in a much more casual environment. I chatted with some random stangers at sessions and met some cool people at blogger bash, but I really liked the interaction at smaller conferences better. At something like ALA you talk to someone for 5 minutes and will probably never run into them again. Smaller events give a little more possibility for extended interaction, really getting more of a feel of what people are about. And picking their brains for ideas. But I guess folks get that at ALA through division and chapter meetings, which I’m not involved it.

So to sum up, it might be a blue moon before I go to ALA again but 2006 conference was great. People great. Programs great. NOLA hot. Bloggers rock. Continue to remember and support the region (especially the libraries).

I really wanted to type gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllll during this post. But still 0-0. [Ended 0-0, Ukraine won 3-0 on penalty kicks]

Hollywood Librarian

Went to the screening of 35 minutes of footage from "The Hollywood Librarian" Sunday night. The room was packed with people who wanted to see a not even closed to done movie about librarians! Of course we were all librarians, but still. The filmmaker Ann Seidl talked for a while about the movie and the filmmaking process before showing the footage for the first time. She was super excited and a little nervous about people seeing it but it went very well.

The rough edit wasn’t a problem at all. Lots of great footage of real life librarians talking about their jobs mixed w/ movie clips. It’ll take some clearance money for some of the clips to be in finished product, but was a great contrast. Lots of footage of UW-M students doing thr book car drill team. My co-workers and I had just been talking about the drill team stuff at dinner so a happy coincidence to see the footage. Some of the team members were at the screening too.

There was the expected plea for money to finish the movie at the end and lots of people threw in cash or CC donations. There’s a Paypal button on the film website if you wanna donate. She read some funny rejection letters from NIH too. Apparently a film about librarians isn’t very humanities. Or something like that. Hope the movie gets completed. Will at least be a fun viewing for folks in the library community.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Long Tail

Last session of the conference for me was a great talk by Chris Anderson about, shockingly, The Long Tail. I'd never seen him speak before and was as impressed as I thought I would be. A few folks in the audience questioned some of his optomism that the market will allow more choices for consumersdue to past history of monopolies in telecom and other areas. Fairly valid points.

Long Tail - Chris Anderson

Librarians in sweet spot for long tail

Who needs megahits?
Most culture local before tv – created hits
N*sync 2nd lp last megahit record – drop in sales after that (flat if you include digital)
More music but less hits
Same for tv
More choice scatters demand
Mix of hits and niches
More fragmentation – hits have less viewers than in past

Where are they all going?
Long tail=Powerlaw
13,000 movies shown in festivals, infinite demand, not enough screens – where box
office drops off
common interests – explosions, stars etc. formula for LCD fare
bottleneck bet supply and demand
rhapsody data 05: walmart 4200 unique titles per store, 25,00 songs at both wm and rhap, 1.5
millions songs on rhap and not wm
65,00 lps last yr, walmart carried 700 [damn]
wm ignores half market
same for blockbuster v netflix/amazon v b&n
LT sales quarter of amazon biz
Onlines sales eventuall half maket

3 forces of LT:
democratize tools of prod (more stuff)
democratize distribution (internet) – more comsumption
connect supply and demand (google) – drives biz to niches

not just about entertainment
google: LT advertising – blogs as advertisers, LT keywords on adsense , targeted ads on
big scale [niche advertising]
ebay: LT goods
capital1: LT customers – 1,000,000s of personalized Ccs, created huge debt problem!
Open source: LT talent – good programmers all over world in google contest
Microbrew: LT beer – improved distribution of small beers

After the blockbuster...
Small is new big
Many is new few

10 fallacies of “hitism”
1. everybody wants to be star
2. everybodys in it for $$$ (non monetary economy)
3. only success is mass success (microstars – reach small community)
4. direct to video is bad
5. self publishing is bad
6. amateur = amateurish (bloggers amateur publishers despite level of experise)
7. low selling=low quality (niches)
8. if it were would it would be popular
9. economics of head apply to whole tail
10. you can focus on strong signals and ignore weak signals (authenticity for below)

long tail of books:
online retail
used books
Ebooks (someday)

Used books:
Sales up 33% last yr, 10% of book sales – virtual inventory
Impact of primary market? Sell new for more due to resale value – don’t know w/ books
Children will never know meaning of OOP – used book integrated in distribution

Eliminate inventory probs for stores, wont order too much and return

“paper books have excellent battery life”
tech improving

Online databases
Google (etc) book search

aggregate “distributed inventory” – distributed supply/ distributed demand [do somewhat in
GA with statewide borrowing agreements. and at MPOW between campus libraries]
Circ hit centered (10% = 90% of circ)

Online Databases:

Book search:
Distributed over tail
OReilyey: 4% IP/ 20% PD/ 75% or more in twilight zone (copyright constraints orphaned etc) – change to revive big part of culure history

GreaseMonkey script for lib info on Amazon
LibraryLookup reminders – RSS of book availability in libs

5 LT Lessons:
1. don’t confuse limited distribution with shared taste
2. everyone deviates from mainstream
3. one size no longer fits all (one size fits one now)
4. best stuff not necessarily at top
5. masss market becoming mass of niches

Q: Will publishers or LT disappear?
A: hits never go away, monopoly of hits will go away

Q: How will net neutrality issues effect LT issues?
A: Don’t think companies CAN do what they want w/ slow and fast lane broadband, regulating net will go horribly wrong, currently innovate where you want online, special hi speed services will exist (Comcast video on demand),consumers have power and choice – best regulating force!

Q: Don’t have multiple BB options everywhere
A: yes you do, you have choice

Q: Can power centers chop off LT?
A: Not in ma bell era anymore, different model, nobody has power to shut down, consumer paradise now not monopoly

Q: How do you deal with customer trust?
A;:brands proxy for quality, more consumer choice info means sony cant sell stuff for as much $$$, stuff all made in same place anyway – off brands pretty much same, collective wisdom will help avoid mistakes

Q: Implications of LT for children?
A: homeschool kids LT of childrens market, demand for all sort of niche content

Q: End to LT? Not as good distribution in rural areas for goods and internet.
A: 1896 Sears catalog (LT of 19th c) – huge variety, cheaper prices, digital distribution will help, more options w/ broader range for BB, sattelite good too

Q: Common carrier laws mean no DSL w/ dialtone, less choice, more cost. Where do you get optomism due to history of monopoly forces?
A: technology means more choices, will get more stuff
Audience: based on faith not historical fact!

Q: How does LT effect idea of place?
A:Cities proto LT, market for more stuff, NYC LT for food, ability to market culture more broadly, distributed demand for NO culture -can get music/ food virtually, market whats unique about cities, virtual appreciateion
Q: What about community?
A: community not necessarily in person

Q; Effect of copyright on LT distribution?
A: biggest LT problem, "wkrp" not available now anywhere, have to clear rights for 30 songs/ episode, too expensive, a lot ofTV disappears due to rights issues. Cant reach rights holders for books/ music/ video, need industry to come up w/ simple rights clearance

Internet Culture: What Do We Know About Our Users

Even though I seem to go to a similiar talk at every conference I attend, I really like these "state of the Internet and libraries" statistical things. One thing some co-workers and I discussed was the fact the for years we've been hearing "ref stats are down" and we haven't been run out of a job yet. We just have to adapt to the kinds of questions we do get at the desk and move the ref services where the users are (IM etc). Going where the users will definitely keep us relevant for years to come. When we're in the habit of looking where folks are and going there it will be easy to adapt to migrations of those "spaces".

Yr notes.....

Cathy DeRosa - OCLC:

  • 84% start research on Internet - only 1% start at library home page
  • Same results in study 50 yrs ago (1% start at library)
  • 62% start at Google
  • ref stats down, ref stats down!
Real change: behavior-technology-economics
  • behavior: where do users hang out and what do they do?
  • dont want passive things (watch TV etc)
  • asssociate library with books! "what I will always think!"
  • pick electronic sources based on being worthwhile and good info [some fibbing here?]
  • just know stuff is good
  • "we are the web" by "Scan this book" guy: most content of web built by users
John Horrigan - Pew Internet and American Life Project

  • 62% connect through broadband
  • digital info is empowering: net helps get engaged in politics/ government, better informed
  • digital info and creativity: 48 million Americas have created/ posted info on Internet
  • 18% have done mash-ups
  • internet is "swiss army knife" info tool
  • does long tail make people more tech savvy?
  • essence of service is to help customer allocate attention
  • "info doesn't want to be organized"
  • 14-15% admit to searching for porn [riiiiight]
  • size of US contributes to being behind in international wired ranking: expensive to put broadband in rural areas, more wirder countries (Korea) more densely populated
  • US broadband is very s l o w compared to other countries (Korea, Japan)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top Tech Trends

This was a great session even if I didn't quite know 100% of the stuff they were talking about. But I usually don't in those. Mantra for session - "OPACS SUCK!". Or mostly suck.

Sarah H on LITA blog

Auto classification and natural language entry
Not landlords of info space

Fewer better ILS products (sounds good to me!)

Net neutrality (this came up a few times and in later presentation too)
Data curation
Institutional repository vendor supported, lets more places offer IR
Content sharing not for preservation (flickr etc)

Bite back against opac suckage
Managed open source
Privacy issues

Webpages as blogs and wikis
Open source ideas and concepts moving into other areas
Users want to do more than just find things (more interactivity!)

Next gen finding tools – more than just opacs, stuff regardless of format
Rise of microcommunities – folks w/ arcance interests finding each other online and interacting (I got v cool restaurant recs for nola from garage punk message board)

Jazz Up Your Teaching With Technology

Tim McGee: "Instructional Design of Teaching and Learning In Libraries"

Pedagogical beaded curtains
Alt title = Pimp my lesson plan! (awesome)
It can promote rich learning used well
Digital tech can be overwhelming but IT can help librarians develop good uses

1. IT (not)=IT – info tech not same as instructional tech, instruction not equal to learning

2. what do librarians know about teaching? What do profs/ teachers know about teaching? Do they get education on teaching in college? Not teaching that matters, its learning

3. teaching or training? Half and half, hard to tell apart, use same tech, is learner fundamentally changed? Lib inst + some tool training and some info lit(learning)

ISD model: analysis, design, development, implementation, evauation – behaviorism

New London group: multiliteracy – transform person and give meaning, transform society by making people communicators not consumers. Good for IL instruction

uc-denver, instructional design model website:

middle ground constructivist: ownership of problem and issues. Gaming as learning tool.

Alphabet is technology!!

Each tech DEMANDS different literacies

Captivate: flash and QT movies

Q: How long good QT movie?
A: What your learners will tolerate. Training not leaning.

Q: What do you use for online tutorials?
A; Authorware made for instruction, Flash/ macromedia studio, getting more instructional tools, iLife

Q: 3 mins good length for tutorials, use camtasia
A; like captivate best but others work, will do QT or flash

Q: Averse effects of tech on teaching/ learning?
A: plato said writing will wreck memory, don’t make stuff just eye candy. Likes e-version of texts better

Q; unintelligible from back of room non-repeated q about learning theory. Tufty?
A; tech like ppt not bad in and of itself, use ppt as composing tool in speech class, not a likely to have tons of pages of text in presentation (he had lots of text in presentation and read some of it!)

Q: what to do when students come in w/o topics for LI?
A; student not allowed to own topic student not engaged, work w/ folks who assign topics

Blogger Bash

After a great dinner in the Quarter with more co-workers, I headed to the Hilton for the Blogger Bash. There was a great crowd of both blogosphere folks and representatives of several libraries from the LA and Guf Coast areas. Many of them gave overviews of where they stand, what has happened to the libraries, and their needs in rebuilding. Which are mainly financial. Don't send more old World Books. They don't need em!

The stories were really both heartbreaking and hopeful since the destruction of many of these libraries was so complete and the staff who remain seem so dedicated to rebuilding. The libraries are an essential part of these communities. They're places where people could connect to the outside world post-Katrina. Places where they could connect with FEMA and other relief agencies online. Definitely concrete examples of all the talk out there about community building, reaching out. These places are doing it under waaaaay less than perfeect circumstances in a very real world meaningful way.

Also got to meet several blog folks (waaaay more not linked!) in person. All super cool. Had some good library conversations and great non-library ones about all sorts of stuff including devices and hipsters. Bibliobloggers rock.

Off to session.

Opening Session

Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.
This is the first chance I've had to blog since yesterday AM, which I guess means that I'm keeping busy!

The opening session featured Madeline Albright talking about her new book on the role of God in politics and government. She had great stuff to say about how impotant it is to understand a wide variety of religions and that religion has been a part of politics and war and society for ages. And to remember to not condemn an entire religion due to the actions of a few zealots who distort their systems by using them as a justification for murder or terrorism. She also likes libraries.

There was a nice video presentation about the effect of Katrina on LA and the Gulf Coast. Lots of other brief speakers too including some area library folks, Mitch Landrieu and Ray Nagin. Nagin was very personable and down to earth, which probably explains part of why he got reelected mayor post-Katrina.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Use What They Own - Go Where They Are

Session featured Nancy Davenport and Lynne O'Brien talking about iPods, net generation etc. Not too much I hadn't heard before but some good points on collaboration and reaching out to students where they live. Here are some notes:

  • place as library vs library as place (physically and electronically)
  • think holistically about population
  • think about customer not collection
  • information commons vs learning commons: place where students can collaborate and actively learn vs just getting info
  • rochester u - has anthropologist on staff, teaches librarians how to observe studen behavior
  • colorado college - video ipods for teaching japanese
  • take content to platforms students use
  • try to think of 5 ways to adapt new tech for home or work
  • move learning environment forward, deliver best learning resources for particular student needs at the time
O'Brien (Duke ipod etc projects):
  • students like to MAKE stuff: one class had sudents listen to radio theater from 20s and then create their own 2-s style project (very cool!)
  • podcasting lecture info before class can improve discussion
  • 2nd yr of duke project distribute ipods based on course need
  • lectopia - new duke system for recording/ distributing lectures. claim to get psoted in around an hour
  • new duke library: students established own self policed quiet spaces
  • we need to: work with publishers on providing more media content/ plan for archiving media content
Skipped the questions and caught the last half hour or more of "The Ultimate Debate: Who Controls The Future of Search". Great discussion about library as community and making services more personal. Mentined Ann Arbor DL as great example of library website. Steven Abrams in good form as always. Lots of bloggers there so complete coverage elsewhere I'm sure.

Shop New Orleans

Yesterday I mentioned business folks being psyched to have ALA in town etc and patronizing them. Had the opportunity this AM. So a big shout out to Radio Shack on Canal St in downtown NOLA. I stupidly ran my camera battery out and they set me up with an iGo charger (which I've been eyeing anyway) and the right tip for my model. Very nice and helpful. So buy stuff for fun or otherwise when possible.

Randomly ran into a couple of coworkers in the Quarter yesterday and we wandered around and hit Cafe Du Monde. And then had the regularly scheduled dinner at Redfish. Very tasty. Larger work dinner tonight and then probably blogger bash.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome Librarians!

librarian drink specials
Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.
One thing I noticed walking around the French Quarter today was that locals, especially business folks, were very excited that ALA was coming to town. Lots of "welcome librarians" signs in store windows, restaurants opening on Monday when they're usually closed, little jokes and comments about all of the librarians. The volume of people in town for the conference should definitely be a boost to the local economy. So go patronize and drink a SSH! at Johnny White's if you're so inclined.

Also checked out the recently reopened Aquarium of the Americas today. A good number of visitors but not packed. Very cool sea otters and penguins. And an albino aligator. Definitely worth a visit too.

I think there's a conference or something starting tomorrow, so time to get at least a little back in library mode!

Oh Katrina

Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.
Greetings from the convention center. Wifi works very well! Unfortunately the conference activities are taking place as far away from my hotel as possible while still being in the convention center. It is HUGE! But other than that everything is running smoothly so far.

Here are a few pics from my Katrina tour yesterday. The rest are in my Flickr ALA set.

This line of debris ran the whole length of what used to be a strip mall:

parking lot debris

This used to be a house:

collapsed house 2

This car ended up under a house. Or the house ended up on top of the car:

car detail

One unexpected thing I saw was a tent city set up in the parking lot of a strip mall, mixed in with truck trailers. I didn't get a good pic but there was one "tent" that consisted of a camper top from like an F150 stacked on top of some debris. It seemed like people are actually living here:

tent city 1

Last night I went to the Garden District which seemed pretty much intact. The touchdown Jesus at Loyola is one of my favorite NOLA landmarks:

touchdown jesus

I know I said it yesterday, but it's hard to apreciate the full extent of what Katrina did to NOLA in the French Quarter/ CDB area. If at all possible go just a little ways outside the convention area and take a look. And donate to some of the relief funds present at the conference.

ALA Flickr Set

Got some pics up on Flickr. Will probably add about once a day. I'll post a few from my Katrina tour to blog sometime later today.

ALA Flickr Set

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Greetings From Nolia

Hello. I'm now in New Orleans. Arrived around 1:00 and spent the afternoon driving around the Lakeview and 9th Ward areas of town. I'll post some pics later because writing won't do justice to the devistation.

All of the areas close to water - either the lake or the canals - are pretty much destroyed. There were very few cars driving (but tons wrecked) and very few people, except for a few people working on salvagable houses and a few cops. (I did see a small National Guard convoy too.) The areas not as close to water were more populated but still totally wrecked. The main streets are semi-cleared and have traffic but there's debris stacked up everywhere. If you go off the main streets into the neighborhoods there are some people around but destruction everywhere. Wrecked cars. Gutted houses. FEMA trailers in front of gutted houses. But totally random houses that were either untouched or renovated post Katrina. Very surreal. And sad.

One bright spot was that the Saturn Bar, one of my favorite bars from the time I've spent in NOLA, just reopened last weekend. The original owner passed at the end of last year but his nephew reopened the bar. Spent a couple hours there talking to him and his kids about LSU/UGA/Saints/Falcons footbal and life in New Orleans post-Katrina. One thing that struck me that he mentioned was the insurance situation. No major insurers will write policies for houses and businesses in Orleans, St. Bernard and other parishes, which means that rebuilding will be tough in many areas. He's operating the bar w/o insurance until he can get a policy from an "off brand" carrier. But hopefully at least some of the business and home owners will be able to recover.

Just a few blocks away, on the edge of the French Quarter, things seem more normal. I'm currently in a beer nerd bar called DBA taking advantage of free WIFI and enjoying a nice Belgian Dubbel. There are tons of cars on the street and people walking around getting dinner etc after work. Very much like my hurricane proof hood in Atlanta. I haven't been into the Quarter proper or the CDB yet, but I've heard the situation there is even more normal and ALA ready. But when we're enjoying a nice meal in good company of fellow library folks discussing 2.o or whatnot, remember that not too far away is a scene that I honestly would never have expected to see in America. And remember the people whose lives have been altered beyond normal forever by Katrina.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Habla Ingles Por Favor

Hot on the heels of firing Jo Ann Pinder, the Gwinnett County Public Library board decided to eliminate funding for Spanish language fiction from their collections budget. The system is going to continue collecting selected Spanish non-fiction titles. According to an AJC article, the Spanish collection has a 41% circulation rate versus 37% for the entire collection. And cites some interesting numbers for non-English populations and collections in Gwinnett and some other area library systems/ counties too.

So why eliminate the fiction titles? The article quotes a member of the GCPL Watch website as saying that reading fiction in Spanish doesn't encourage Hispanic residents to assimilate (IE learn English). I know it is virtually impossible to 100% serve all of the needs and segements of a diverse community with the budgets that public library systems are given. But this really smacks of the library board using their position to try to force a particular social philosophy on the system and county. Not good.

Additional editorial from today's AJC and bugmenot to read it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Guard Troops Ordered To New Orleans

Story from about Louisiana National Guard troops being sent to New Orleans following a rash of homicides over the weekend. Probably won't have much of an impact on ALA proceedings but certainly couldn't have come at a worse time!

6/21 Update:
ALA added this statement from the New Orleans CVB about the safety situation to the conference website. If folks exercise a little common sense and are aware of their surroundings I'm sure there won't be any safety problems at all.

There were some good conference tips on FRL the other day too. Good advice even if you've been to ALA before.

I'm off NOLA noon-ish tomorrow. If you notice my badge in the mass of folks say howdy or send me an email at dwfree(at)

Friday, June 16, 2006

More Gwinnett County

I'm still pretty fascinated by the Gwinnett County PL controversy. The library board still refuses to give any public reasons for firing Jo Ann Pinder. And it appears that the board members who voted to fire her may have violated open meeting laws by discussing their plans for the board meeting where the firing took place prior to the meeting. And "forgot" to invite the one board member who supported Pinder to attend the prossibly illegal pre-meeting meeting.

Jessamyn West had a great overview of the controversy yesterday that discussed the local control and minority group/ human rights angle of the issues. Very interesting discussion in the comments.

And this editorial from today's AJC gives a broad take on the situation, touching on many of the issues that possibly lead to the firing. The editorial concludes:

"While there appears to be a divide over whether the library ought to resemble a museum or a Barnes & Noble, the library board took the wrong tact in firing Pinder without a public airing of the issues."

No joke. Gotta love government in action.

Oh, our former mayor here in Atlanta just got sentenced to 30 months in federal prison too. No library angle, except I hope there's one in his jail so he'll have something to read.

Bugmenot for AJC access.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Google Map

We're in the process of redesigning our library website so I spent some time today playing around with the Google Map API. And I actually managed to make a Google map (open with Firefox only!) for MPOW!

Think it turned out pretty well, except it currently won't work in IE. And I'm undecided about having the informational thingy show automatically or having people click to get directions. Any suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: Gwinnett County PL Board Fires Director, Patrons Enraged

This was a huge deal on the news here last night. I saw pretty long reports on two different newscasts. And yes, one opened with a crack about libraries usually being quiet. I can't find links to video of either report but there are some pictures on the AJC site.

I don't live in that area or know too much about the library system other than Michael Casey (who posted a link to a different news article) works there. But it does seem kinda weird that you can go from being named library of the year to having this situation. Outside of the recent DVD controversy, is there really that much of a disconnect between the services provided by the library system and what the community wants?

6/13 Update:
Video of a WSB-TV news story is now available on You'll (probably) need to register and (definitely) watch an ad before viewing.

Internet Librarian 2006

Due to vacation, work and Blogger difficulties I'm way behind on this one. But the preliminary program for Internet Librarian 2006 is now online. I'm excited to be part of this podcasting/ videocasting panel on Tuesday, October 24th with a bunch of great folks!

Sessions D201 & D202 — Podcasting & Videocasting
10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Greg Schwartz, Louisville Free Public Library, & Publisher, Open Stacks Weblog
Jill C. Konieczko, Library Director, U.S. News & World Report
Sean Cordes, Assistant Professor, Iowa State University
Jeff Humphrey, Interactive Media Specialist, INCOLSA
David Free, Public Services Librarian, Georgia Perimeter College
David King, Kansas City Public Library

Playable on personal computers, PDAs and iPods (thus the “pod” in podcast), podcasts are inexpensive and easy to produce and distribute. This session starts with the basics of how to actually do podcasting, including the technology, software, etc. It then illustrates how various libraries are using podcasts for staff development, training, and learning. David King defines videocasting and provides examples, describes how to create and aggregate a videocast, and illustrates how a videocast can be used on a library Web site.

This will be my first IL conference and trip to Monterey, so I'm psyched. Going to spend a couple of days in San Francisco before the conference and drive down PCH to Monterey. Should be a great conference/ vacation.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

See Also: A biblioblogger visits the local branch library

Blogger lives!!

Make sure to check out Steve Lawson's hilarious A biblioblogger visits the local branch library post if you haven't seen it already. Can't go wrong borrowing from Cory Doctorow.

And there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying "sucks".

And speaking indirectly of things that usually suck, caught a brief post on Wandering Eyre today saying that Innovative is adding user tagging to an upcoming version of their catalog. Nice. Too bad our state is stuck with Voyager. There's no reason why local tagging shouldn't be added as an option in catalog records. The user who manages to find that one elusively awesome book should be able to make it more accessible for the next person.

I'll be baack, Blogger willing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


via chicago
Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.
Hello! Miss me? After vacation in Chicago and a swamped week of instruction sessions and meetings I finally have some blogging time.

Somewhere in the insanity I happened across Karen Schneider's "The User Is Not Broken" manifesto and related commentary on other blogs. Very thought provoking stuff about the relationship of library workers, users and technology. One commenter on Karen's post used the phrase "bibliographic inquiry" in discussing the merits of the card catalog over OPACs.

Now I think card catalogs are pretty cool and a decent enough search system. But seriously, "bibliographic inquiry"? I'm imagining the blank stares of a class when I walk in and say "My name is Dave and I'll going to teach you the fine art of bibliographic inquiry".

I'm really not picking on said commenter, but it made me think Karen's lack of jargon in web sites item should even be expanded:

Talk to the users in their language, not ours.

Or something like that.

"Jane" at Wandering Eyre made some excellent additions to the list too. Although I'm not 100% sure about this one:

"The library does not belong to librarians, it belongs to users. It. Is. Not. Ours. Period."

I understand and generally agree with the sentiment there but I really look at the whole 2.0 blahblahblah thing as more of a collaboration. We need to understand what it is our users want from their libraries and how they want it. And then work with them to provide it. But at the same time not be afraid to use our expertise as info pros to generate new ideas and ways of serving those needs. And keep staff invested in the library. We're definitely part of the equation. Just not in the traditional "Keep your hands off my books, don't drink that Coke in here and sssssshhhh while you don't do all the things I'm not letting you do!" way. So maybe more like:

"The library belongs to everybody. Work together to make it better."