August 31, 2007

A Musical Tribute to the Modern Librarian (Plus a Game!)

Addy Will Know: A New Song for the Mod­ern Librar­ian 

Librar­i­ans have appeared in pop cul­ture as shush­ers, spin­sters, even sex sym­bols. What about solvers of great conun­drums, mas­ters and mis­tresses of orga­ni­za­tion, pur­vey­ors of intel­lec­tual freedom?!

Addy Will Know’ avoids the stereo­types. Serv­ing as a musi­cal trib­ute to the mod­ern librar­ian, it is about  a real librar­ian who leads a lost  patron to the four books he is look­ing for. The names of the books are never men­tioned, but as a kind of puz­zle, the song itself includes call num­bers that cor­re­spond to the books hinted at in the verses.

Since ‘Addy Will Know’ is essen­tially a song about you, the mod­ern librar­ian, we want you to participate!

1. Be in our video!

Record your­self singing the song at work or school, upload your video to send­space / yousendit /etc, and then email us the link. We will edit your video with all the oth­ers, cre­at­ing a video col­lage of mod­ern librarians.

2. Enter our contest!

Be one of the first 10 librar­i­ans to iden­tify the books of the call num­bers men­tioned in the song and you will win a copy of the new cd ‘Crawl Inside Your Head.’ Read our con­test rules and then email your answers here. Once the win­ners are cho­sen we will post their names here on the wiki.

3. Get your local col­lege radio sta­tion to play the song.

Addy’ will hit the col­lege air­waves Sep­tem­ber 3, 2007. Con­tact your local col­lege or uni­ver­sity radio sta­tion now and request that they ‘ADD ADDY!’ from SNMNMNM’s ‘Crawl Inside Your Head.’ You can find con­tact infor­ma­tion for the sta­tions in your area at:

Help us give librar­i­ans the recog­ni­tion they deserve! Post the link to this wiki [] to the list­servs and blogs you con­tribute to.

Hope you like the song!

–Sea­mus and Mark and Matt and Matt” [Thanks, Jessica!]

You can also lis­ten to the song on the wiki — catchy. I look for­ward to see­ing what librar­i­ans do with this. :)

8:54 pm Comments (4)

August 28, 2007

Blurring Blog Boundaries

In some of my pre­sen­ta­tions this year, I’ve been talk­ing about how the blog has become its own type of plat­form that you can embed almost any­thing in — audio (pod­casts), video, screencasts/slideshows, pic­tures, maps, forms, chat, text mes­sages, and more. A library could offer a dynamic, multimedia-based web­site pri­mar­ily through a blog these days, all of which would flow out as an RSS feed.

This is another grow­ing expec­ta­tion I have as a blog­ger, that I can take any piece of con­tent that lives some­where else and embed it into my blog using just a snip­pet of code pro­vided by the site itself. Today I wished that NPR offered snip­pets so I could eas­ily embed their audio seg­ments here, thereby putting it in my lifestream and mak­ing it imme­di­ately acces­si­ble to oth­ers instead of keep­ing it hostage on their site.

6:14 pm Comments (2)

August 24, 2007

Maybe This Is Where Library Ebook Programs Are Going Wrong

Cafe­Scribe Gives Ebook Read­ers Musty Smell of the Real Thing

…ebook con­tent provider Cafe­Scribe is going pretty low-tech to give your lap­top screen the same scent as a text­book: the com­pany is ship­ping “musty-smelling” scratch-and-sniff stick­ers with every ebook order. The pro­mo­tion comes in response to a sur­vey show­ing that 43 per­cent of stu­dents iden­ti­fied smell as the thing they most liked about their favorite books.…” [Engad­get]

6:19 am Comments (5)

Google Gears Had Me at Hello

Dur­ing the last two years, pretty much every aspect of my life has changed, with things only now just start­ing to set­tle down. For the first time dur­ing that win­dow, I took a month off (August) and am not doing any travel or pre­sen­ta­tions for work. Instead, I’ve spent a small por­tion of this newly-recovered time try­ing to re-establish rou­tines that long ago fell by the wayside.

One of those rou­tines is how I keep up, some­thing I haven’t been doing very well dur­ing this time. I’ve been exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent aggre­ga­tors, try­ing to find one that makes me more effi­cient that I can access while on the go. I’d given up on the mobile access, mainly because I was look­ing at it through the lens of my Treo since it’s the one inter­net access point I always have with me. It took me a while, but I finally got around to try­ing Google Reader, and so far I’m pretty impressed, mainly because of Google Gears. Besides the fact that it’s pretty cool, it’s incred­i­bly use­ful if you’re a lap­top user and I think it has the poten­tial to play an impor­tant role in the next few years.

Basi­cally, Google Gears is code that any­one can embed in their online tools to make them avail­able offline. It’s inte­grated into Google Reader via a one-time install that doesn’t even require you to restart your browser. Once acti­vated, a lit­tle icon appears in the upper right-hand cor­ner, green for online, pur­ple for offline.

It sounds sim­ple enough, but here’s what hap­pens when you click the green but­ton. Gears down­loads all of the posts in your Reader (minus the images) so that you can keep read­ing when you’re offline. You can still use the stan­dard key­board com­mands to nav­i­gate and quickly scan your news, just as if you were online. When you do get back to a live con­nec­tion, you click on the pur­ple icon, Reader goes back online, and it syn­chro­nizes your un/read items back to the Google servers, includ­ing any items you starred for future reference.

Google Gears offline –or– Google Gears online

Now that I have a lap­top I am will­ing to carry back and forth to work, Gears has been a god­send. I load up feeds at home in the morn­ing, go offline, read them on the train, go online before leav­ing work, load up my aggre­ga­tor again, go offline, read new items on the train, and then syn­chro­nize again when I get back home. I’ve had so lit­tle time lately (mov­ing to a new house could be a full time job in itself!) that this has been the only way I’ve been able to track the online world for the past cou­ple of months.

Remember the Milk offline

Like other dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies such as dig­i­tal video recorders (like Tivo), MP3 play­ers, and feed read­ers, it’s chang­ing how I inter­act with information/media, espe­cially since other sites can use Gears, thereby offer­ing their ser­vices even when the user is offline. The other place I have used it is on the to-do site Remem­ber the Milk. One day I logged in there and could mag­i­cally add Gears to it. Now I can man­age my lists on the train, at the air­port, or any­where else (as long as I’ve remem­bered to click on that icon and tell Gears to take that site offline so I could keep using it). These days I really wish I could add Gears to Word­Press so that I could also blog while read­ing my aggre­ga­tor. I won­der how long it will be before Google adds this func­tion­al­ity to Blog­ger, Google Docs, etc.? And what if the rumored gPhone includes Gears in an ebook reader, mobile Google Apps suite, Gmail, etc.? The com­bi­na­tion of mobile and offline could be powerful.

It’s a great idea, one that has already helped me. It’s not as use­ful for you if you’re not a lap­top user, but it’s still an inter­est­ing idea to think about. Even­tu­ally, wire­less broad­band will be ubiq­ui­tous and main­stream, and we’ll just never be offline. But we’re a few years away from that, and I’m now won­der­ing if there are any library ser­vices that could ben­e­fit from incor­po­rat­ing Gears so that users can keep access­ing them when offline. It’s prob­a­bly not pos­si­ble to make the cat­a­log avail­able this way, and really, what patron would think to take the cat­a­log offline to keep search­ing it (plus, you’d lose accu­rate shelf sta­tus). Maybe there are other pieces, though.

This type of tool is a bridge to an approach­ing future when we’re all a live IP address all the time, wher­ever we are, so it’s some­thing I’m keep­ing in the back of my mind. Espe­cially when I’m offline.

It will be inter­est­ing to see if other sites imple­ment Gears, and maybe it will even show up on InfoDoo­dads list of the Top 13 Web 2.0 Tools for Librar­i­ans. We’ll see.

August 23, 2007

Beloit List for Librarians

This year’s Beloit Col­lege Mind­set List (for the class of 2011) came out yes­ter­day. I love these lists because they point out to me how much things have changed since I was a teenager. I think of myself as being some­where around the age of 24, even though I’m well more than a decade past that, so it’s help­ful for me to have reminders that my view of the world is shaped by dif­fer­ent forces than those who come after me. Log­i­cally, I know these things, but the Beloit List always brings these thoughts to the fore­front when I read facts like the following.

  1. What Berlin wall?
  2. They never “rolled down” a car window.
  3. Off the hook” has never had any­thing to do with a telephone.
  4. Music has always been “unplugged.”
  5. Most phone calls have never been private.
  6. The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born. (I quib­ble a bit with this, but cer­tainly they’ve grown up with it.)

So this got me think­ing about what a Beloit Col­lege Mind­set List focused on libraries for the class of 2011 might include. Adding to num­bers 3, 4, and 6 above, here are a few broad strokes I came up with that we should take into con­sid­er­a­tion when re-examining our ser­vices (remem­ber­ing that these don’t apply just to cur­rent freshmen).

  • Their cell phones have always let them access infor­ma­tion, not just peo­ple, wher­ever they are.
  • Video games have always been a social activity.
  • They have always had to nar­row down search results (rather than expand them).
  • They have always used a dif­fer­ent medium to com­mu­ni­cate with their friends than with adults.
  • They may never write a check. (I don’t think I need the “may,” but just in case.)
  • They think of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in 160-character chunks.
  • Their default expec­ta­tion is wire­less access.
  • They have never started a search at an “advanced” screen.
  • They store infor­ma­tion and doc­u­ments on keychains.
  • They have always copied and pasted.
  • .” is pro­nounced “dot,” not “period.”

I’ve expressed all of these ideas before here and as part of my “infor­ma­tion shift­ing” pre­sen­ta­tions, and I know oth­ers have pointed these things out for years. But these behaviors/characteristics are becom­ing more and more per­va­sive every year. If you’re like me and you grad­u­ated from library school in the last cen­tury, this is a great jump­ing off point for think­ing about spe­cific behav­iors (and changes in behav­iors) that affect things like the ref­er­ence inter­view, infor­ma­tion for­ag­ing, search boxes, etc.

August 22, 2007

Peace Train

I don’t know who filmed this, but Michael Porter has posted unau­tho­rized video from the big inau­gural party at Annual. ;) Be sure to move all liq­uids and sharp objec­tives at least three feet away before press­ing play.

5:09 pm Comments (1)

Online Gaming Is More Popular than Facebook and YouTube

Gam­ing Remains the Most Pop­u­lar Online Enter­tain­ment Activity

Play­ing games is still a more pop­u­lar online activ­ity in the U.S. than watch­ing short video clips or vis­it­ing social net­work­ing web­sites, accord­ing to Casual Gam­ing Mar­ket Update, a new report from Parks Asso­ciates. Thirty-four per­cent of U.S. adult Inter­net users play online games on a weekly basis, com­pared with 29% who watch short online videos and 19% who visit social net­work­ing sites with the same fre­quency.” [Parks Asso­ciates, <em>via a note from Val on Face­book</em>]

online gaming is more popular than facebook and youtube

We need to fund libraries prop­erly so that they can pro­vide com­put­ers and band­width to sup­port all of these activities.

Next Page »