The Shifted Librarian -

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* Monday, August 13, 2007

Me in the Chicago Tribune

Training for the Poor Moves into Computer Age

I'm quoted in an article in the Sunday, August 12, 2007, Chicago Tribune! The interview was about the TechSource, Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium, although the reporter took a different angle with the story. Still, it's pretty cool to be able to say I've been in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times! :)

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* Thursday, August 9, 2007

EBSCO Finally Gets RSS Right

For two years, I've been giving presentations showing ProQuest's mock-ups of what RSS could look like in its databases if it existed and EBSCO's crazy wack, real-life implementation. I tell the audience to tell ProQuest to implement already and then tell EBSCO to make their setup easier to use. Today, however, all of this changes because EBSCO has changed the way it offers RSS feeds and they've done a great job. EBSCO CIO Mike Gorrell told me the new version "kicks butt in the RSS area," and he is oh-so-very-right.

EBSCO's new implementation of RSS

Now I can easily walk through a demo and show it live without having to worry about logging into MyEBSCOHost first. Now I can run a search and see that beautiful orange button directly on the results screen. Now I can click on that button and immediately get a URL to throw into my aggregator. My only quibble in testing so far is that I'd like to be able to either rename the feed or I'd encourage EBSCO to put the name of the patron's library into the feed title.

EBSCO's new implementation of RSS

When I create my examples of bibliographies, community sites, and news alerts, I'll definitely be using EBSCO to show how easy this should be in *every* library database. A big thank you to Mike and his colleagues for listening and then actually acting to make this piece easier and more useful.

EBSCO RSS in my aggregator

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I Wish ALA Had Done This

SPARC Video Contest

"The Internet gives new meaning to the notion that, by sharing ideas, we build a better understanding of the world around us. If you use YouTube or Wikipedia, exchange gaming tips on the Internet, or have a blog, you probably well understand the value of sharing information, ideas, and knowledge.

Sharing can also be a vital tool in helping to address complex problems that challenge society - like disease, hunger, global warming, and economic disparity. The sharing of ideas gives us ways to discover, collaborate, and create in unprecedented ways.

The SPARC Discovery Awards challenges you to illustrate in a short video presentation what you see as the value of sharing information. Use your imagination to suggest what good comes from bringing down barriers to the free exchange of information.

Videos must:

  • Be submitted by December 2, 2007.

  • Examine the theme described above.

  • Be no more than 2 minutes in length.

  • Have been completed between January 1 and December 2, 2007.

  • Be narrated or subtitled in English.

  • Be posted on the Internet and available for public use under a Creative Commons license. Acceptable licenses include: Attribution, Attribution- NonCommercial, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Attribution- ShareAlike, Public Domain." [via Kay]

Hey, Dan - I wonder if ALA could submit a video....

Win a Sparky Award!

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* Monday, August 6, 2007

Made You Laugh

Activision Reports Sluggish Sales For Sousaphone Hero

"Despite a catchy 1890s soundtrack and realistic-feeling game play, Sousaphone Hero, the third installment of Activision's massively popular Guitar Hero video game franchise, sold a mere 52 copies in the United States in its opening week, the company reported Monday....

'And if you like multiplayer gaming, you're in luck,' Hendleman continued. 'In Sousaphone Hero's cooperative marching-band mode, as many as 135 of your friends can play simultaneously.'

Hendleman also emphasized the 'fun' rewards players receive as they become more proficient. If they hit enough correct notes in a row, the on-screen crowd yells 'huzzah' and 'bully,' and the sousaphone controller's spit valve will drain.' Flubbing notes, however, makes the controller 'ill' with spit, preventing further play and causing the crowd to throw rotten eggs at the hapless on-screen sousaphonist. If characters earn enough bonus points in career mode, they can spend their Liberty-head nickels on a red, green, or blue 'sock' for their sousaphone's bell, or an invigorating chunk of peanut brittle...." [The Onion, via John and Teresa - thanks!]

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* Wednesday, August 1, 2007

GLLS2007 Wrap Up

I'm happy to report that the ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium turned out even better than I had hoped. This was due entirely to the energy of the participants and the quality of the speakers. I actually missed most of the non-keynote sessions because I was running around trying to record video of the presentations, resolve issues, and generally just keep things running as smoothly as possible. For a first-time event, I think we did pretty well, and the evaluations (that I've only had a chance to skim so far) seem to confirm this.

Even so, I was blown away by some of the things I *did* hear at the Symposium, including in the hallways. I'll try to write more about these pieces soon, but having just moved into a new house two days after the Symposium ended, blogging is going to remain light for a while. Some things to note now, though:

  • I was finally able to upload pictures of the event to If you were there, please feel free to tag and note yourself in any of the images. I added names for people I was pretty sure wouldn't mind being identified online. Please let me know if I made a bad assumption in your case. You can see all Flickr pictures tagged GLLS2007 at
  • All of our non-librarian keynote speakers saw great potential for librarians in the areas of gaming and participatory culture. I think that's worth noting just on its own. My personal thanks to Henry Jenkins, James Paul Gee, and Gregory Trefry for their excellent presentations that provided great context and insight for us. I came away with many ideas of my own, which is what makes a conference great for me. I hope this was true for others.
  • Nintendo lent us a Wii to play with and a second one to give away to one lucky attendee. After a brutal round of Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree and then a victory in the final playing Marble Madness, I'm happy to announce that Marcie Smedley from the Henderson Libraries was our Wii champion! Congratulations, Marcie! And thank you to Nintendo for sending us the Wiis, the schwag, and the brochures.

    Marcie with the Wii she won!

  • Some of the board game publishers came through, too - thank you to Chessex, FunAgain, and particularly North Star Games (who gave away a copy of Wits & Wagers to every registrant - whoohoo!).
  • We were able to capture a lot of audio and video from the sessions, mainly because David Free ran around like a crazy person to keep the iPods running in each room, and I did the same thing for the video cameras. In addition, we wouldn't have been able to capture as much video as we did without the help of Chris Harris, who lent us his video camera. A big thank you to both of these guys! It will take us a few weeks to edit and post all of these files (well, the ones that are worth posting in terms of the audio and video quality), but you can watch for them to appear, along with handouts and slides, on the TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries wiki. If you're interested in a particular session, your best bet is to watch the page for it. Some presenters have already begun linking to information and files.
  • Unfortunately, we had several speakers cancel at the last minute due to a variety of family emergencies. Amazingly, though, we were able to fill each slot when another speaker agreed to give an additional presentation. So special thanks to Kelly Czarnecki, Beth Gallaway, and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, each of whom gave a second presentation on very short notice, all of which were well-received. And thank you to Eric Currie, who did a great, impromptu job of standing in for Dan Braun (we missed you, Dan!).
  • I'd also like to note the extra effort put forth by Scott Nicholson and Eli Neiburger, both of whom gave fantastic presentations (this was noted in the evaluations, so it's not just me saying it) and then led the evening of open board and video gaming. Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious, and they are both rock stars. Another rock star, Stephen Abram, moderated a most interesting panel of teens, and he came away with what was easily one of the favorite quotes. When asked about evaluating websites, one of the teens noted the difference between .gov sites and Wikipedia, saying, "Who are you going to trust - the government or the people?" The teen panel wouldn't have happened at all without the invaluable help of Brian Myers.
  • Several attendees blogged the sessions. You can find all posts tagged GLLS2007 at, where there is great coverage by The Utopian Library, Research Quest, and The Flying Keyboard. Thanks to these folks for their contributions.
  • We did do some press releases for the event, which helped us get picked up by a local arts radio show called Hello Beautiful. Their July 22 show has me speaking about the Symposium for a few minutes. I can't listen to myself on the radio or watch myself on TV (even though my undergraduate degree was in broadcast news), so I have no idea which parts of our conversation they used, but others tell me it's not too bad. If you're so inclined, you can listen to it at (I think I come in about a third of the way in but am not sure). I also talked to a reporter from the Chicago Tribune, so we'll see if anything comes of that. I think 2008 is going to be a BIG year for gaming services in libraries.
  • Libraries are already signing up to be part of the Ann Arbor District Library's GT System. This will be the *national* leaderboard and site for gaming tournaments, and it's open to all libraries at no charge. This is simply amazing, and I think we all owe Eli Neiburger and the AADL a round of applause for this. I can't stress enough the good things I think this is going to do for us on a national scale. AADL didn't have to open this up to everyone but you know, they think big there. I like that. :)
  • Beth Gallaway started a Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium Ning network to keep the discussion going. If you're at all interested in the topic, please join and help us expand the conversation. I hope we can use this space to start planning for next year's event, too. Thanks for doing this, Beth!
  • And finally, a few personal thank yous. First, major gratitude to Don Chatham, Mary Ghikas, and Keith Michael Fiels for believing that we could - and should - pull this off. ALA moved pretty quickly on this one, and it paid off.

    Second, many thanks to all of the staff who helped us make this work, particularly Mary Jo Bolduc, John Chrastka, Joan Claffey, Kathryn Deiss, Kimberly Epps, Judy Foley, Dale Lipschultz, Mary Mackay, Macey Morales, Kim Richardson, and James Vertovec. I truly couldn't have done it without you.

    I also want to single out those units within ALA who defied the inherent obstacles of ALA's structure and collaborated with TechSource on this event to make it better than it otherwise would have been: the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Development Office, and the Office for Literacy & Outreach Services. One of the best things about the Symposium for me was the way these units within the association worked together.

    And finally, incalculable heaps of praise and thank yous to each and every one of our speakers. You made the program what it was and as a result, it will be *very difficult* to top it next year. Thank you for being part of this inaugural event.


    • Amy Alessio

    • Lyn Allen

    • Tammy Allgood

    • Lori Bell

    • Kristin Boyett

    • Lori O. Critz

    • Eric Currie

    • Kelly Czarnecki

    • Craig Davis

    • Donald Dennis

    • Annie Downey

    • Mark Engelbrecht

    • Katherine Fallow

    • Barbara Galik

    • Beth Gallaway

    • Bee Gallegos

    • James Paul Gee

    • Natalie Gick

    • Thom Kevin Gillespie

    • Matt Gullett

    • Amy Harris

    • Christopher Harris

    • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe

    • Martin House

    • Henry Jenkins

    • Jeremy Kemp

    • John Kirriemuir

    • Kelly Laszczak

    • Liz Lawley

    • Dwight McInvaill

    • Brian Myers

    • Eli Neiburger

    • Scott Nicholson

    • Tom Peters

    • Stephanie Publicker

    • Scott Rice

    • Jami Schwarzwalder

    • Julie Scordato

    • Lynn S. Sutton

    • Joe Torres

    • Gregory Trefry

    • Alex Tyle

    • Kit Ward-Crixell

    • H.D. "Giz" Womack

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