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]

10:16 pm Comments (5)

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]

8:34 am Comments (7)

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.

6:47 am Comments (4)

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.

8:26 pm Comments (8)

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

Danc­ing with the ALA Stars

12:44 pm Comments (3)

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