September 28, 2007

New ALA Marginalia Blog

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.

5:42 am Comments Off on New ALA Marginalia Blog

September 27, 2007

Be “Librarian”

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.”

5:34 am Comments Off on Be “Librarian”

September 25, 2007

Wii Potato

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….

9:20 pm Comments (6)

September 24, 2007

GTD with GR

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.

2:52 pm Comments (2)

September 22, 2007

The Shifted Librarian Is On A Brand New Server!

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

11:14 am Comments (3)

September 21, 2007

Vote Today to Get Library Panel on SXSW Program!

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]

5:33 am Comments (1)

New York Times Becomes Browsable Again

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.

5:15 am Comments (2)

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