January 30, 2008

Tag Clouds Aren’t Just for Folksonomies Anymore

At various times during the last year, I’ve heard a librarian here and there say that tags and tag clouds are a passing fad, something our patrons don’t even know about let alone use, and useless compared to structured search.

However, thinking that tags are only about classification (good or bad) is missing the forest for the trees. Tag clouds can also be useful as navigation tools and for pattern recognition. Which is the name of Jason Griffey’s blog and must be why Jason helps prove this point.

2008 State of the Union as Tag Cloud

“Last year’s 2007 State of the Union Tag Cloud was such a hit, I decided to follow up again this year. A few major differences: Congress is mentioned a lot more this year, while health and oil don’t show up at all. This year’s address looks more active…instead of ‘fight’ we get ‘fighting.’ ” [Pattern Recognition]

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January 29, 2008

Text Live Homework Help

McCracken County Public Library: Text Live Homework Help
Originally uploaded by The Shifted Librarian

Brilliant marketing idea from the McCracken County Public Library

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Browsing the Virtual New Bookshelf

Allen County Public Library has a cool way to browse its “new books” section online. Superpatron Ed Vielmetti first coded a “wall of books” a couple of years ago, and Mike Cunningham wrote a book cover browser for the 2006 Talis Mashing up the Library Contest, but this is the first public library implementation I’ve seen of something like this.

Books We Added to the Catalog Yesterday
Allen County Public Library Wall of New Books

Personally, I’d prefer to go straight to the catalog record when I click on a cover, but this is a great way to translate some of the warm fuzzies surrounding physical books in our buildings to our online catalogs. As someone who never goes to my home library for new books because they are embargoed from checkout for a week (even when I am holding them in my hand), this would be a far easier way for me to browse new books remotely without having to strain my eyes reading through three hundred lines of text. As a user (not a librarian), I’d also love to see the summary of the book appear in a mouseover and have this list broken out by genre. If my library offered these things and threw in NetFlix-style delivery, they’d have a devoted follower for life.

January 28, 2008

More Gaming in the Library

Putting for Dollars: Library Raises More than $10,000 with Golf Fundraiser

“Winter winds and swirling snow failed to dampen the enthusiasm that greeted the inaugural miniature golf championship held at the Southworth Library on Dartmouth Street on Sunday afternoon.

‘We were a bit worried when we saw the snow, but we had a great turnout in spite of the weather,’ said Dolly Sharek, treasurer of the library foundation. ‘We had 274 golfers sign up, and we raised just over $10,000.’

As attendance reached its peak at around 2 p.m., all of the 100 putters borrowed for the occasion were in use on the 18-hole course that wound its way around the stacks on both floors, and a line had formed at the registration table.

Golfers of all ages were challenged by the unique aspect of the library course, which explored all corners of the building with a 10th hole that teed off on the second floor and finished on the first.

Some of those taking on the newly installed circuit were evidently more practiced than others.

The seventh hole brought library trustee Paul Pereira to his knees — and it was not to line up a putt. He was trying to retrieve his ball from beneath one of the stacks.” [SouthCoastToday.com]

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Viewing the ALA Universe

I ran into a frustrating issue at work last week. To try to help solve it, I created the ALA Universe in order to help staff track some of what’s going on internally. I had just received an invite to the beta of Netvibes Ginger, the new version that lets you create a public page anyone can view, so I decided to test it by creating this resource. I sent an email about it to all staff and encouraged them to sign up for their own accounts if they want to also track their unit’s blogs, wikis, etc. Then they could add the feed for new documents added to our internal knowledge management system. We’ll see if anyone finds it useful, but I’ve already gotten a few comments from staff who think it will be valuable to them.

ALA Universe

I could have used SuperGlu instead, the way I did two years ago for the La Grange Park Public Library proof-of-concept, but I wanted a scannable view, rather than a river of news. Michael Stephens has posted about Netvibes several times with other examples that might give you ideas for how you could use the site. Ginger should go live for everyone in a couple of weeks.

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January 25, 2008

I Want

I received a “mysterious” email today, which led me to the official website (nothing there yet), and then to Amazon to get details. They had a great trailer for the game, but I was surprised to find that you can only “share” their video links via email to one person. Go figure. So then I went to YouTube, where I found several trailers, all of which I could embed here if I wanted to.

Talk about narrative in games. I’m a puzzle gamer, so this is now at the top of my list. Even if you’re not, though, it’s worth it to watch the trailer, as it’s more interesting than many Hollywood movie trailers.

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Some of the People I Work with Are a Lot of Fun

Dancing with the ALA Stars

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