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

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 pre­mière 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

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 (, coör­di­na­tor 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)

Next Page »