September 28, 2007

New ALA Marginalia Blog

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:42 am

I’ve learned a lot of things about ALA (my employer) during my first year working there. Sometimes it’s interesting and helps me understand why something is the way it is. Other times my jaw drops because of an interesting statistic (good and bad). I don’t think you could build an organization that works the way ALA does if you spent your life trying. I also hear about good, valuable services we’re providing that are difficult to publicize widely. In fact, there’s a lot going on at ALA that I think would be of interest that doesn’t fit into an “official” channel.
I’ve wanted to write about these things, but I didn’t want my personal blog to turn into “all ALA, all the time.” Now, though, I have a place where I can do this, as I am a co-author of the new ALA Marginalia blog. It’s a place where a few of us can help explain the behemoth that is ALA and comments are open so that anyone can ask questions or give us feedback.
I’ve been asking a lot of questions internally during my first year (my co-workers would probably say annoyingly so), some of the same questions I hear members and non-members asking. This is going to be a forum where we can discuss these things, so I encourage you to join us there.
RSS feed is here (comments feed over here), and I think later today I’ll add an r-mail box so readers can get updates emailed to them. I think we’ve got all of the kinks worked out, but please us know if you run into any problems with the blog.

September 27, 2007

Be "Librarian"

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:34 am

One of the great things about my colleagues at ALA is that they tend to have very interesting backgrounds. Some of them do improv comedy, some are artists, one has a radio show, and one is an honest-to-god-real-live documentary filmmaker. Last month I had the pleasure of seeing the Chicago premiere of Dan Kraus’ second film, Musician, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I enjoyed it very much, and I’m looking forward to watching Sheriff on DVD and seeing future entries in the Work series.

You may already be enjoying some of Dan’s work, as he’s been creating and editing videos on AL Focus, the online video arm of American Libraries. Inspired by what he has learned about our profession through his work as an AL editor, he is hoping to focus his next entry in the Work series on a librarian. If you meet the following description, or if you know someone who does, please email Dan.

“The first movie was called SHERIFF. The second was MUSICIAN. The fourth will be PROFESSOR, the fifth will be PREACHER, and the sixth should be SOCIAL WORKER.

What’s missing there is the third movie, which I’ve been having trouble with. Because of the demographic spread of the other movies already shot or in-progress, I would really like to profile a Latina/Hispanic woman. And I was thinking (duh), what about LIBRARIAN?

Although I am open to any and all suggestions, I think it would be fascinating to profile someone dealing with multiple cultures, languages, and economic levels. I also think it could be good to find someone who works at a very small library with limited resources, a place where the librarian is forced to be everything at once: Librarian, Teacher, Career Counselor, Babysitter, IT Specialist, Sage, Freedom Fighter, Fundraiser, and so on. For these reasons, I think finding a librarian in a small town, possibly one with a heavy immigrant population, could be quite dramatic.

Also (although this is not a hard-and-fast rule) I’d prefer to avoid the following states that I’m already shooting movies in: North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, and Florida.”

September 25, 2007

Wii Potato

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 9:20 pm

MooWee Plays Internet TV with Your Wii

MooWee is an application that lets you watch Internet TV content on your television screen using your Nintento Wii game console. You’ll need an Internet broadband connection with a minimum bandwidth of 384kbps as well as an Internet browser on your Wii console in order to hook this up to your television….
The MooWee service can be enjoyed online as well. MooWee is of course an alternative to other set top devices like Apple TV, and other game consoles like the Xbox, which has recently indicated that it would like to work with th BBC on providing content for users. Sony is another company that’s looking to be more competitive in this market, and will be using a collection of devices and services to do so. Other services include Building B and Jaman. StumbleVideo offers a similar service for Nintendo Wii.” [Mashable]

Anyone tried any of these services on the Wii yet? If I have time this weekend….

September 24, 2007

GTD with GR

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 2:52 pm

John over at Library Clips does an amazing job of explaining just how detailed you can get using RSS aggregators to become more efficient by setting up a Getting Things Done implementation in Google Reader. It may even make your head swim a little. Me, I’m nowhere near this level of productivity, but it’s good to see someone else taking full advantage. As with all software, John is a power user and the other 99% of us will never achieve this level, but see if there are any tips (and sites) here that you can incorporate into your own routines.

September 22, 2007

The Shifted Librarian Is On A Brand New Server!

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 11:14 am

If you can read this, the move to the new server is complete!

September 21, 2007

Vote Today to Get Library Panel on SXSW Program!

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:33 am

SXSW Panel: Why Do We Need Libraries Anyway 
“On June 25, 2007, California recognized the Internet Archive as an official library. As digital resources become a formal part of our civic structure we ask: How are physical and virtual libraries used, what are the emotional connotations of being a library, and what do we do with librarians?
Our perceptions of libraries and librarians are often based in childhood nostalgia or media stereotypes (The Music Man’s Marian the Librarian, Hogwart’s Madam Pince, Noah Wyle’s Flynn Carsen, ‘The Librarian’), but today’s library is as much about bytes as about books. If you would like to join us for a discussion about the future of libraries and information generally in a networked world at the 2008 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, TX, take a minute and vote for our panel at the SXSW Panel Picker, located at
We have tentative commitments from speakers Aaron Schwartz (, technical lead for the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries project ( and Lorcan Demsey (, Vice President for Research and Chief Strategist for OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center (, home of WorldCat ( to offer their thoughts on libraries, both physical and virtual, and on the services that librarians provide. The panel will be moderated by Danielle Cunniff Plumer (, coordinator of the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and project manager of Texas Heritage Online (
The voting process for the 2008 Panel Picker closes at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time on Friday evening, September 21, so please vote soon (although perhaps not often!) at”[WEB4LIB]

New York Times Becomes Browsable Again

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:15 am

First NY Times Restaurant Review, Circa 1859?

“While poking around in the newly opened archives of the New York Times yesterday, I stumbled upon an article called How We Dine (full text in PDF) from January 1, 1859. I’m not well versed in the history of food criticism, but I believe this is perhaps the first restaurant review to appear in the Times and that the unnamed gentleman who wrote it (the byline is ‘by the Strong-Minded Reporter of the Times’) is the progenitor of the paper’s later reviewers like Ruth Reichl, Mimi Sheraton, and Frank Bruni….
The entire article is well worth the read…one of the most interesting things I’ve found online in awhile.” []

I think it’s great the New York Times has opened up its archive, but sadly, Jason Kottke probably could have found this article ages ago simply by using his public library’s databases. But he wouldn’t have been able to easily link to it or discuss it with nonsubscribers. This move by the Times certainly illustrates how paywalls prevent findability and browsability of content. And as Kottke notes in a previous post, thousands of old links to NYT articles magically started working once this happened. That last post also includes links to historically interesting articles, ones you wouldn’t have been able to just click to before this week, so they’ve already imbibed themselves with a discussability they’d lost.
From the email that went to TimesSelect subscribers:

“Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places and interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion – as well as to share it, link to it and comment on it.”

It was browsable and findable behind the library login, but readers couldn’t interact with it on the open web in “meaningful ways.” Obviously not every publication can or will want to do this I think the Times has made a good call here, because its archive will indeed be interacted with in more meaningful ways by everyone now. They’ve put themselves back into peoples’ flows and are going where more users are in a more accessible way.

September 20, 2007

Dear Twitter,

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 11:05 am

I use your service for pretty specific things, usually remembering quotes I’ve heard when I’m at a conference. I realize this isn’t why you created your service, but unintended consequences and all. So for me, it would be really great if you could let me tag my twits. I know that sounds kind of insane and granular, and the folks that don’t like Twitter will think that’s just crazy talk, but it would allow me to do things like aggregate the great Anil Dash quotes I heard at this week’s Microsoft Social Computing Symposium (most of which I didn’t even get recorded). ‘Cause believe me, the guy is just brilliant and he rattles them off one after the other, on the backchannel and everywhere else. And maybe then I could create my own little random Dash quote generator or something.
So unless I’m already missing a way I might otherwise do this, if you could just implement one more way for me to categorize my lifestream, that would be really great.
Thanks. Your pal,
(who is blogging this sitting a foot away from Michael Gorman in the Louisville airport – heh; who knew his ringtone is “when the saints go marching in”….)

September 19, 2007

The Mudflap Flap

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:31 pm

It’s rare when a library topic can generate more discussion than something as big as Talk Like a Pirate Day, but damn if the Mudflap marketing campaign from Wyoming’s libraries didn’t do just that in libraryland. Talk about going where your users are….
At first I thought, “Hmmmm…not sure about this.” But then I decided I like the idea of turning the image on its head and repurposing it for our own uses. It definitely gets your attention and makes you think for a second. At least, it made me stop and think, and I certainly won’t be forgetting Wyoming’s libraries now. More info about the campaign here.

picture of mudflap poster for Wyoming libraries
originally posted by WyoLibrarian

September 18, 2007

SCS2007 5-minute Blitz Talks (Day Two)

Filed under: precat — tsladmin @ 5:41 pm

Martin Wattenberg – ManyEyes
part of the goal was to democratize visualization
saw a lot of political usage
saw citizen activism
also saw play
eg, tag cloud of Shakespeare’s favorite words was used to highlight specific words to create poetic phrases
blogs as a social “petri dish”
maybe the goal is connectivity, placed on blog where conversation can be pushed
there’s some competitive uploading now that is political
have a very conservative person on the site right now who is challenging them with what could be considered a rant in a different format about how you interact with data
you are a blogger – Anil Dash
we don’t get far outside of our world, and as a result, we don’t create tools outside of it
blogging is hip-hop
hip hop is currently driving our culture
links are beats
the core of the behavior we have is sampling; is still considered subversive
both are still seen as not being a legitimate art form
Apple – rip | mix | burn
turntables outsell guitars
we’re also not buying printing presses a lot
the reaction when hip hop came out is “that’s not music”
we had the same reaction to blogs – it’s not media
what we can learn is that we can see where the threats are going to come from
we link to content that eventually gets pulled down
the companies frown on the fact that you are the vehicle of distribution
they will railroad us if we let them
hip hop is more than just rap – it’s freestyling
graffiti is OpenID
the ability to be entrepreneurial
outsiders don’t get it – we have to pay attention
violence and misogyny are what rappers were knwon for
we’re seen as medium, not manners, by outsiders
have to think about the implications of tools
“conscious” is a genre
Justin Kan –
started out as a 24/7 broadcast of his life to the internet
at first, walked around trying to entertain people 24/7
was like a roller coaster ride to internet fame
first lesson he learned is that there are a lot of assholes on the internet when they had the police bust in on him at home
building a platform to let anyone do this online – almost ready to open it up to anyone to live broadcast
thinks we’ll see a huge number of video broadcasts that will violate copyright
Teen Second Life at a Glance (Don’t touch mah bukkit) – Lane Lawley
showed his house in TSL
reason #1 he can’t live on the ground in TSL
1 – public school; thinks schools should provide better technological education; he still hasn’t been taught Powerpoint in school yet, maybe it will happen when he’s 18
2 – lack of advertisements; HTML is making a comeback in his world because of MySpace
communities in TSL
– scripting; very few good scripters in TSL
– building; slightly larger community because easier to learn; get a sense of creation without having to learn as much
– social: on TSL to do things they do in RL (shop, be with friends, etc.)
– educational: usually owned by adults; teens in social communities have no interest in the educational one
– scripting + building
judgment day – the day Teen Second Life residents turn 18, and are transferred to main SL
the system is supposed to do it, but it doesn’t happen “overnight”
teens look forward to getting on the main grid because it’s so much larger
Liz: her big frustration is that she can’t play SL with her son; no socialization into the bigger world
“it takes a guild to raise a child” – how important it is that her son can learn from adults, mentors, peers in one place
so she doesn’t play in SL because she can’t be in either world with her son
Ben Gross – How Many
How many?
– email addresses do you have?
– IM networks are you on?
– phone numbers do you have?
– logins to websites do you have?
why do people have multiple identifiers?
it’s commonplace and mundane to have all of these things now
separation of personal and professional, separating out social groups
a category of “that’s my spam account,” which is really trusted and known versus not trusted or not known
focusing attention or limiting interruption for your work
permanence and continuity – your college account is likely to outlive any ISP account
“the odds”
“I got my name”
people are more likely to remember their passwords because they use the same one on each service, whereas they’re unlikely to remember their usernames/logins because they’re different on each one
– usability
– workarounds
– side effects
– security implications
Elizabeth Churchill
interested in cultures of privacy and how we come to know what we’re allowed to share and what we’re not
me putting up my friend’s picture is different than her putting it up
how people manage what they share with others
did some interviews with people asking if they understand privacy settings in Flickr
chart of Flickr sharing by age
60% of the people didn’t change the defaults at all (which means 40% do)
1 in 12 doesn’t share pictures at all
younger people share more
chart of photo sharing by connectedness – the more you put in your profile, the more you tend to share your pictures
map visualizing sharing across the world
interested in volatility – what makes you take something down
can you retract things?
how do our literacies develop around privacy, sharing, etc.
Flickr is about:
– documenting (personal and collective memory)
– competition (status)
– affiliation (group membership)
– learning (emulating)
– curiosity/voyeurism
– awareness (near and far)

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