Supreme Court rejects wiretapping suit
The U.S. Supreme Court declined February 18 to consider whether plaintiffs who believed they had been spied on without a court order could challenge the legality of such surveillance without tangible proof—even if the proof is classified as a state secret. The rejection of the ACLU v. NSA appeal came two days after the expiration of the Protect America Act, which from August 2007 until February 16 legalized warrantless eavesdropping on phone and internet communications to U.S. homes, workplaces, libraries, and elsewhere....
Tango ruffles feathers in Virginia
And Tango Makes Three, an award-winning children’s book by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson about two male penguins hatching and parenting a baby chick, made more headlines in February when Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III decided to move the book from the public shelves of 16 elementary schools to areas accessible only to parents and teachers. The action reverses the decision of a Sugarland Elementary principal and advisory committee who chose to maintain students’ access to the book despite a parent’s objection several months ago to the book’s gay-positive themes....
It’s official: SMU chosen for Bush library site
The board of trustees of Southern Methodist University unanimously approved an agreement with the George W. Bush Library Foundation February 22 to locate the presidential library and policy institute on its Dallas campus. The agreement, which followed more than a year of negotiations, states that SMU was chosen over seven other competitors....
Study reaffirms link between school librarians and achievement
Language test scores in New York State schools with certified librarians are higher than in those schools without librarians, according to preliminary research findings from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. The findings indicated a 10-point increase of English Language Arts test scores in schools with library media specialists....
Hamas arrests suspects in Gaza library bombing
The Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority has arrested two suspects in the recent bombing of the YMCA library in Gaza City. According to the February 22 Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam, the suspects were members of the militant Army of Islam, which has claimed responsibility for the 2007 kidnapping of BBC reporter Alan Johnston and the 2006 capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who remains a hostage....
Toolkit for The Truth about Cancer
ALA is working with WGBH-TV in Boston on the upcoming national outreach campaign for the film The Truth About Cancer, which will air on PBS on April 16 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). The 90-minute documentary film, followed by a 30-minute expert panel hosted by journalist and cancer survivor Linda Ellerbee, will be the launching pad for events and projects across the country focused on creating community conversations around cancer survivorship. A limited number of free outreach toolkits are available....
First 100 to Step Up to the Plate will receive a poster
Since registration for Season Three of the “Step Up to the Plate” program opened in early February, hundreds of librarians have signed up to access free tools to promote the program. Of those, the first 100 will receive a Jackie Robinson History Lives poster from ALA Graphics. Although the program officially launches to the public on April 4, librarians can register now....
Dean Koontz added to the Anaheim lineup
Suspense-thriller author Dean Koontz will be featured in the Auditorium Speaker Series at the 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. He will give his presentation 1:30–3:30 p.m., June 30. Ten of Koontz’s novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, including One Door Away from Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Intensity, Sole Survivor, and The Husband, making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. His appearance is sponsored by Random House....
MacArthur grant to support OITP copyright initiatives
The Office for Information Technology Policy has announced that its major digital copyright programs and initiatives to strengthen public access to information, especially in libraries, will be supported by a $385,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant will fund the International Copyright Advocates, the Copyright Advisory Network, and strategic assessment of technological and societal trends to enable proactive action by the library community....
Thomas Paine Literary Landmark dedication
Friends of Libraries USA honored Philadelphia’s American Philosophical Society Library January 14 by naming their Col. Richard Gimbel Collection of Thomas Paine Papers a “Literary Landmark.” AL Focus was there at the dedication and got an inside look (3:28) at the book vault that contains a treasure of Paine materials, including a bloodstained copy of The American Crisis and an angry letter from Paine to President George Washington....
Exploring Mammals. Sept. 2007. 1,600p. Marshall Cavendish, hardcover. Grades 5–10 (978-0-7614-7719-8).
About 90 mammals, from Aardvarks to Zebras, are described in these volumes. Each article includes several components: a “Profile,” with introductory information; a discussion of anatomy, with diagrams; a discussion of habitat; descriptions of various behaviors; and a consideration of factors determining survival. Each article also has numerous boxed sections to draw attention to important or curious facts as well as many color photographs and other illustrations....
Spotlight on green collections
Booklist magazine launched an annual Spotlight on the Environment with its February 15 issue. This spotlight reflects Booklist’s long emphasis on the increasing interest in environmental collections. Donna Seaman, a dedicated environmental reviewer, leads the way in adult materials with a Top 10 Books on the Environment list, a Core Collection feature “Environmental Essentials,” and an interview with activist author Bill McKibben....
@ Visit Booklist Online for other reviews and much more....
25 tech activities for teens
YALSA’s Teen Tech Week committee has come up with a list of 25 things teens can do for Teen Tech Week, March 2–8. If you run into any teens that seem bored or want something to do, then hand them this list of activities. There should be no bored teens in the library during Teen Tech Week....
YALSA Blog, Feb. 25
Two Teen Tech Week surveys for YAs
Teens across the country can offer their opinions on technology use and future Teen Tech Week themes. As part of the Be Smart Wired Survey, conducted by SmartGirl.org, teens will answer questions about their online habits. In a second survey, from YALSA, teens will give their input on the 2008 theme and answer questions about their use of nonprint resources and other technology in libraries....
WrestleMania Reading Challenge finalists
YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment have announced the eight finalists in YALSA’s 2008 WWE WrestleMania Reading Challenge. Each finalist won airfare, hotel, and spending cash for two to Orlando, Florida; tickets to WrestleMania XXIV; $2,000 for their library; and a chance to compete for ringside seats at the Citrus Bowl on March 30....
Deedy to represent School Library Media Month
Carmen Agra Deedy, award-winning author of Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, has been named national spokesperson for the 2008 School Library Media Month, which will be celebrated in April. School Library Media Month is sponsored by AASL and celebrated by school library media centers around the country....
Register for the RBMS Preconference
Registration is now open for the 49th Annual ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference, “Rare and Special Bytes: Special Collections in the Digital Age,” sponsored by UCLA and the Getty Research Institute. The preconference will be held June 24–27, in Los Angeles, preceding the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, and will explore the role of special collections in an increasingly digital world....
ASCLA seeks editor for Interface
ASCLA seeks an editor for the division’s quarterly membership journal, Interface, which serves as the primary source of information and communication between ASCLA and the library and user community. Compensation of up to $1,000 annually will be provided to the Interface editor to cover travel to ALA annual and midwinter conferences. The deadline to apply is May 1....
RUSA on resource sharing
The RUSA Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section is offering a full-day preconference that will focus on resource sharing, “Throw Off Your Policies and Expose Your Resources: Rethinking Resource Sharing,” 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., June 27, during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California....
YALSA events at Annual Conference
YALSA events in Anaheim begin on June 26 with two preconferences: “Got Tweens? Serving Younger Teens and Tweens,” a full-day preconference including lunch, and “Turn Teens on to Reading through Booktalks,” a half-day preconference....
ALCTS to offer a wide range of preconferences
Six exciting and highly informative preconferences are being offered by ALCTS at this year’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, from metadata and digital library development to cataloging cultural objects....
Calling all book group people
Kaite Stover writes: “We know you like to talk about books, but we want you to talk to us about your book group. Please help us get a picture of book groups across the country by participating in a short informal survey from the
RUSA CODES Readers’ Advisory Committee. Preliminary data will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, at the program ‘Reading Group Therapy: How to Repair, Revamp, and Revitalize Your Book Group,’ June 29, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.”...
Book Group Buzz, Feb. 22
ALA names three honorary members
Latina poet and author Pat Mora, former children’s librarian Effie Lee Morris, and library consultant Peggy Sullivan were elected to honorary membership in the American Library Association in action taken by Council at the 2008 Midwinter Meeting, held January 11–16 in Philadelphia. Honorary membership, ALA’s highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship....
Hazard College wins ACRL award
Hazard (Ky.) Community and Technical College has won the 2008 ACRL Community and Junior College Libraries Section EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Achievement Award. The college was chosen for its hosting an annual regional conference in southeastern Kentucky, which brings together academic, public, and school librarians....
Susan Sharpless Smith wins IS Innovation Award
Susan Sharpless Smith, head of information technology at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been chosen to receive the 2008 ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award. Sponsored by LexisNexis, the annual award recognizes a project that demonstrates creative, innovative, or unique approaches to information literacy instruction or programming....
Fidishun wins WSS Career Achievement Award
Dolores Fidishun, head librarian at the Penn State Great Valley Library, has been selected as the 2008 winner of ACRL’s Women’s Studies Section Career Achievement Award. The award, sponsored by Greenwood Publishing Group, honors significant long-standing contributions to women’s studies in the field of librarianship over the course of a career....
Sloan wins WSS Significant Achievement Award
Jane Sloan, media librarian at Rutgers University, is the winner of the 2008 ACRL Women’s Studies Section Award for Significant Achievement in Woman’s Studies Librarianship. The award, sponsored by Routledge, honors a significant or one-time contribution to women's studies librarianship....
Ragains wins Rockman Award
Patrick Ragains, business and government information librarian at the University of Nevada-Reno, was selected the winner of the ACRL Instruction Section Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year Award for his book, Information Literacy Instruction That Works: A Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population (Neal-Schuman, 2006)....
2008 Hayes Award winner
ALSC has awarded the 2008 Maureen Hayes Award to the Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School in San Francisco. The award, sponsored by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, provides up to $4,000 to an ALSC member library to fund a visit from an author/illustrator. Stevenson Elementary School librarian K. E. Hones will bring in local Chinese-American author Millie Lee to speak to all 4th- and 5th-grade classes about her books on the Chinese-American experience....
Three libraries selected for Bookapalooza
ALSC has announced the winners of its second annual Bookapalooza program. The three libraries selected to receive a collection of children’s materials are Enid M. Baa Public Library (right, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands), Lena (Wis.) Public Library, and the Naturita branch of the Montrose (Colo.) Regional Library District....
Diedrichs wins Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award
Carol Pitts Diedrichs, dean of libraries and William T. Young Endowed Chair at the University of Kentucky Libraries, has received the 2008 ALCTS Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. This award, sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, honors the recipient with $3,000 and a citation. Through her publications, presentations, committee assignments, and consultancies, Diedrichs has significantly influenced best practices in the rapidly changing fields of collections and acquisitions....
First LBI/Cunha/Swartzburg Award to Becky Ryder
Becky Ryder, head of the preservation department at the University of Kentucky Libraries, is the winner of the inaugural LBI George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Preservation Award. The award is sponsored by LBI: The Library Binding Institute, includes a $1,250 grant, and is administered by the ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section. It honors the memory of George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg, early leaders in cooperative preservation programming....
Janet Gertz wins Banks/Harris preservation award
Janet Gertz, director of preservation at Columbia University, is the winner of the 2008 ALCTS Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award. The award, consisting of $1,500 and a citation, is sponsored by Preservation Technologies and recognizes the contribution of a professional preservation specialist who has been active in the field of preservation or conservation for library or archival materials....
Vicky Reich receives Serials Librarianship award
Vicky Reich, Highwire Press, is the winner of the 2008 Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award, administered by ALCTS. Reich’s contributions have helped to create digital publishing, preservation, and archiving solutions for scholarly content. This award for distinguished contributions to serials consists of a citation and $1,500 donated by ProQuestCSA....
Eileen Williams receives Monroe Adult Services award
Eileen Williams, adult reference and senior outreach librarian, Guilderland (N.Y.) Public Library, is the 2008 recipient of the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award administered by RUSA. The annual citation is presented to a librarian who has made a significant contribution to library service to adults....
Carla Rickerson gets Genealogical Publishing Co. award
Carla Rickerson, head of manuscripts, special collections, and university archives at the University of Washington Libraries, is the 2008 recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Co./History Section Award presented by RUSA. The award is given to encourage, recognize, and commend professional achievement in historical reference and research librarianship....
Suzanne Ward wins Distinguished ILL Librarian award
Suzanne M. Ward, head of access services at Purdue University Libraries in West Lafayette, Indiana, is this year’s recipient of the Virginia Boucher–OCLC Distinguished Interlibrary Loan Librarian Award. This RUSA Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section award recognizes and honors a librarian for outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to ILL and document delivery....
2008 John Sessions Memorial Award
Mike Smith, director of the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit, is the 2008 recipient of the John Sessions Memorial Award presented by RUSA. The award recognizes the library’s No Greater Calling online resource that honors Reuther’s life....
BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Award winner
Gary White, head of the Schreyer Business Library at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, is the recipient of the 2008 Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship administered by RUSA’s Business Reference and Services Section. The award, a citation and $3,000 donated by Gale Cengage Learning, is given to an individual for distinguished activities in the field of business librarianship....
BRASS Gale Cenage Learning Student Travel Award
Daniel Hickey, a student of the School of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh, is the recipient of the 2008 RUSA Business Reference and Services Section Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award. The cash award of $1,000, donated by Gale Cengage Learning, will enable a student enrolled in an ALA-accredited master’s program to attend an ALA Annual Conference....
West European Specialist Study Grant winner
Michelle Emanuel, catalog librarian and assistant professor at the University of Mississippi Libraries, has been selected to receive the 2008 ACRL Western European Studies Section Coutts Nijhoff International West European Specialist Study Grant. Emanuel’s proposal aims to survey major film libraries in the Paris region in order to analyze and evaluate the collections and services provided to visiting scholars, with particular focus on the films of Francis Veber....
Chandler and Pesch receive ALCTS Collaboration Citation
The ALCTS Outstanding Collaboration Citation has been awarded to Adam Chandler, Cornell University CTS information technology librarian, and Oliver Pesch, chief strategist for information technology at EBSCO Information Services, in recognition of their leadership of the SUSHI Working Group in the development of the NISO Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative....
Apply for LAMA/YBP Student Writing and Development award
LAMA is now accepting entries for the 2008 LAMA/YBP Student Writing and Development Award. All students enrolled in a graduate LIS program are eligible to submit essays on the theme, “Fifty Ways to Lead Your LAMA.” The author will receive a travel grant of up to $1,000 to be used to attend the ALA Annual Conference. The deadline is May 1....
YALSA diversity campaign launched
As part of YALSA Unity: A Diversity Initiative, YALSA will offer two divisional members with a diverse background a stipend to attend the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, June 26–July 2. Each sponsorship recipient will receive up to $1,000 for conference expenses. The deadline for applying is March 31....
Try out for the Miriam Braverman award
The Progressive Librarians Guild has announced its fifth annual Miriam Braverman Memorial Award for the best student paper concerned with the social responsibilities of librarians, libraries, or librarianship. Entrants must be LIS students and submit their papers by April 15....
Progressive Librarians Guild
Another power play in Boston
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has informed Boston Public Library President Bernard Margolis that the city will take control of the library’s nearly 200 trust funds—private contributions and bequests totaling about $54 million—to better monitor how the money is spent. The plan has incensed Margolis and some of his allies, who say it could have a chilling effect on donors and even lead to the money being spent outside the library system....
New York Times, Feb. 26
Black history treasure trove at Temple University
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University in Philadelphia contains more than 30,000 historical items, some dating to the 16th century. It includes Paul Robeson’s sheet music, African Bibles, rare letters and manuscripts, slave narratives, correspondence of Haitian revolutionaries, and a first-edition book by W. E. B. DuBois. The collection has grown so much since Temple acquired it 25 years ago that it moved into a larger space on campus this month....
Associated Press, Feb. 23
FCC grills Comcast in net neutrality hearing
FCC chief Kevin Martin February 25 targeted Comcast’s contention that delaying peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic serves user interests, appearing to sympathize with the cable company’s critics. Through pointed questioning at a public hearing (although Comcast tried to stack the audience) at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachuetts, Martin seemed to be pushing a two-pronged agenda: Internet service providers should be as transparent as possible about manipulating network traffic, and consumers should have the freedom to get what they pay for....
C|Net news blog, Feb. 25; Computerworld, Feb. 27
Marathon County public librarians demoted
The Marathon County (Wis.) Public Library board of trustees voted February 18 to eliminate the library’s four “Librarian 1” positions, one of them vacant, in favor of creating three customer-service positions and one lead customer service librarian spot. The three librarians whose jobs the board cut will be offered the customer-service librarian positions, which pay about $10,000 less annually. Officials said the reorganization can be traced to county budget constraints and the previous library administration....
Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald, Feb. 22–23
New California library construction bill introduced
Senator Joe Simitian (D-11th District), a strong supporter of library issues in the California legislature, has introduced a new library construction bond bill for the 2008 session. The $4-billion general obligation bond measure will be sponsored by the California Library Association. SB 1516 would enact the California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2010, if approved by the voters during the 2010 statewide primary election....
California Library Association, Feb. 25
Miami librarian wins claim against Sprint, Wells Fargo
A Florida librarian—whose confidential data was apparently accessed in a data breach involving Wells Fargo and Sprint Nextel—won his lawsuit against the two giants February 12, when neither company bothered to send anyone to represent them at the hearing. Miami–Dade County Court Judge Jacqueline Schwartz ordered the two firms to pay Theodore Karantsalis the full amount he sought, plus court costs—$756.80....
StorefrontBacktalk, Feb. 14
Museum archivist charged with selling Titanic artifacts
A former director at the Newport News (Va.) Mariners’ Museum and his wife face federal mail and wire fraud charges that accuse them of selling nearly $163,000 worth of historical items, including rare memorabilia from the museum’s Titanic collection. Lester F. Weber and his wife, Lori E. Childs, made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court February 19. Weber worked as a museum archivist from 2000 to 2006 and was the director of archives for the last six months of his employment....
Norfolk (Va.) Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 20
Open Library set to challenge WorldCat (subscription required)
At only 21, Aaron Swartz is attempting to turn the library world upside down. He is taking on OCLC’s subscription-based WorldCat, the largest bibliographic database on the planet, by building a free online book catalog that anyone can update. Some young librarians are rallying around the precocious entrepreneur because his work may make their collections more visible on the Web. The new catalog project, Open Library, is set to go live in early March with records on 20 million books....
Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 22
Information isn’t reserved for books
Research librarians say their powers have been unfairly dismissed in the online age. Not only can they outsmart Google’s dead ends and weaknesses, librarians say, but they can help people surf faster and smarter by showing them hidden databases and tricks. “It’s one of the most misrepresented professions,” said Saima Kadir, a reference librarian with the Houston Public Library....
Houston Chronicle, Feb. 22
Toronto library worker pleads guilty to 1969 cop shooting
A man who shot a Chicago police officer in 1969 and fled to Canada, where he lived for more than 30 years and worked as a research assistant at the Toronto Public Library, will serve minimal jail time and contribute $250,000 to a police aid fund. Under an agreement reached February 22 in Cook County (Ill.) Criminal Court, Joseph Parnell entered a guilty plea to a charge of aggravated battery....
Chicago Tribune, Feb. 22
Windsor library in budget showdown with council
The Windsor, Ontario, library board is refusing to cut $800,000 from its budget and will leave it up to city council to close branches or reduce hours. Councilor Alan Halberstadt, board chairman of the library, told a news conference February 22 that the city’s demand that the library cut 10% of its budget is unreasonable. The Council wants the library board to achieve the cuts without closing branches or reducing hours....
Windsor (Ont.) Star, Feb. 24
Parent company of LJ, PW is on the market
Reed Elsevier, the Anglo-Dutch media giant that has just announced the $4.1-billion acquisition of U.S. risk-management information business ChoicePoint, dropped another big one February 20: It will sell off its Reed Business Information arm, “reducing exposure to advertising markets and cyclicality.” RBI owns Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers’ Weekly, and many other magazines. One potential bidder said, “I think they will end up selling it in pieces as VNU/Neilsen had to with their European business.” Private equity group Apax Partners was considering an offer....
PaidContent, Feb. 20, 23; The Times (U.K.), Feb. 22
Lessig decides against run for Congress
Stanford legal scholar Lawrence Lessig announced February 25 that he would not be running for Congress in an upcoming special election to replace the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.). In a video posted on his blog, he explains that there would be no way, in the scant time remaining before the election, to mount an effective campaign....
Ars Technica, Feb. 25
10 emerging technologies 2008
Technology Review presents its list of the 10 technologies that are most likely to change the way we live. Find out more about modeling surprise, probabilistic chips, nanoradio, wireless electricity (shades of Nikola Tesla!), offline web applications, graphene transistors for speedier computer processors, and reality mining (learning human behavior through cell-phone user data)....
Technology Review, Mar./Apr.
Here’s a design that Dracula would love: a subcutaneously implanted, wireless, digital tattoo display whose fuel cell is powered by blood. An entrant in the Greener Design Competition, the concept uses Bluetooth to communicate with your portable gadgets—or even devices implanted elsewhere in your body. Jim Mielke’s concept taps into your bloodstream, converting the oxygen and glucose into electric power. It also acts as a touchscreen input device, so you could manage your cellphone calls by tapping on your arm....
Gizmodo, Feb. 21
The frugal gamer’s PC
Not all gamers need—or can afford, for that matter—a $5,000 gaming supermachine. The Dell XPS 630 represents Dell’s entry into the sub-$1,500 gaming PC space. Call it a “mainstream gaming PC”—one that trumps similarly equipped and priced competitors. You won’t be raving about the Dell’s blazing performance at 1,920-by-1,200 resolution, but you will be able to say, "I can play Crysis."...
PC Magazine, Feb. 26
Is your color printer spying on you?
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer—and potentially, the person who used it. In a purported effort to identify counterfeiters, the U.S. government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public....
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Why Google buys companies
Philipp Lenssen writes: “Watching Google from the outside—with the limited information that offers—I find that it buys companies mainly to get more data, users, technology, or developers. Some of above items are interrelated; especially with technology and developers, there’s not always a clear distinction. Here is a limited selection of Google’s many past acquisitions, checked against those four parameters.”...
Google Blogoscoped, Feb. 25
Would the real Dublin Core please stand up?
Peter E. Murray writes: “I’m struggling to get beyond Dublin Core as simply the definition of metadata terms. That does seem to be the heart of Dublin Core, doesn’t it? But is it the abstract model? Is it the set of terms that can be used as predicates in RDF expressions? Is it the legacy 15-element XML-based standard for describing digital objects? Count me in among those who want more help in trying to figure this out.”...
Disruptive Library Technology Jester, Feb. 18
Ribbit Amphibian cellphone internet mashup
Ribbit is a Silicon Valley start-up that proposes to break down the barriers between your cell phone, all of its datastreams, and the internet. It provides you with a homepage with all of the usual information on your cell phone—but on a larger screen that’s accessible even without your phone. You can get a list of phone calls and available voice mails; you can make calls directly from the web browser; and you can pull blog posts, videos, news, and other online information about your caller before you connect....
Technovelgy, Feb. 26
14 other ways to use RSS feeds
Undeniably RSS is one of the best things that has happened to the Web after email. Not only has it made browsing a lot more productive, convenient, and fun, but it has also introduced a number of new ways to interact with content that we could never have imagined before. While you’re probably already familiar with the idea of RSS feeds and Feedreader (No? See this video), there are several other ways you can make use of feeds....
MakeUseOf.com, Feb. 22
The life cycle of a blog
Frank Rose writes: “You have a blog. You compose a new post. You click Publish and lean back to admire your work. Imperceptibly and all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you’ve written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested. Here’s how the whole process goes down.”...
Wired 16, no. 2 (Feb.)
12 screencasting tools for video tutorials
Sean P. Aune writes: “Ever wondered how people show you so clearly what is happening on their computer? Thanks to screencasting software, anyone can do it. So what’s stopping you now from making your own how-to videos? Try out one of these 12 tools and get to making your first video!”...
Mashable, Feb. 21
Not your grandma’s librarian
Eric Weil writes: “As workstations replace dust-covered shelves in your district libraries, a new breed of librarian—the library media specialist (LMS)—has become an essential part of a school’s faculty. These are the people who will integrate the digital world into today’s classroom and throughout the curriculum. Specially trained and knowledgeable in the use of information technology, library media specialists have become one of the most important instructional partners, working with teachers and administrators to change what is possible in the classroom.”...
Scholastic Administr@tor, Feb.
San Jose report shows filters don’t work well
San Jose (Calif.) Public Library Digital Futures Manager Sarah Houghton-Jan presented a summary of her report (PDF file) on tests of three software filters at a February 13 meeting of the SJPL commissioners. The library had been asked by city council to investigate filters for its public-use computers. Its conclusion: “Our results show that the effectiveness of content filtering either in blocking materials harmful to minors or in allowing access to information including images that is not harmful to minors has not changed significantly in recent years.” Worth a read....
LibrarianInBlack, Feb. 25; San Jose Public Library
Webcast on copyright developments
Jim Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University, will deliver an Educause Live webcast at 1 p.m. Eastern time, February 29, on eight critical copyright areas: orphan works, digital fair use, broadcast flag, section 1201 anticircumvention rulemaking, electronic reserves, peer-to-peer file sharing, open access to government-funded research, and the report of the Section 108 Study Group on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. The maximum number of registrants has been reached for this seminar. However, you will be able to access the archive shortly after the session has concluded....
Obsolete academic librarian skills
Steven Bell writes: “A few bloggers were having fun identifying totally obsolete skills—the sort of things we all used to do all the time. For example, dialing a rotary phone, using carbon paper to make copies, or changing the ball on a Selectric typewriter. That got me to thinking that in the years I’ve been in this profession, for the vast majority of academic librarians, there are more than a few accumulated skills and practices that could now be considered obsolete. Here are some that come to mind.”...
ACRLog, Feb. 20
The myth of Web 2.0 democracy
Chris Wilson writes: “It’s getting harder to be a Wikipedia hater. The user-generated and edited online encyclopedia—which doesn’t even require contributors to register—somehow holds its own against the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy, a Nature study concluded, and has many times more entries.
While Wikipedia does show the creative potential of online communities, it would be a mistake to assume the site owes its success to the wisdom of the online crowd.”...
Slate, Feb. 22
Specialized search engines
Phil Bradley maintains a web page with links to various search sites that offer specialized expertise. Need to know about trends in searching? Want to re-rank or reorder your results? Need to search for different file formats? Phil has some suggestions....
Phil Bradley, Feb. 9
Learning about instructional design from Post-It notes
Tom Kuhlmann writes: “I think the widespread use of Post-it notes and cheat sheets reveals a lot about the way people learn and how they apply that knowledge to their jobs.
A few years ago, I worked on an IT e-learning project that took months to build. By the time we were ready to roll it out, we found that some of the machine operators had already created a bunch of ‘cheat sheets’ and passed them out to everybody on the floor.
Instead of our course’s ‘certificate of completion’ beautifully framed and displayed at their workspaces, all of these people had crude-looking cheat sheets taped to their monitors.”...
Rapid e-Learning Blog, Feb. 19
Find out if your library is purchasing recycled office paper. Look for recycled paper that is at least 30% post-consumer waste. This means the original paper wasn’t scrap from the mill but was actually used for something first and is now being recycled. Also check to make sure that chlorine wasn’t used in the process and that the original wood fiber was manufactured from sustainable growth. New Leaf Paper is one company to check out for recycled office paper....
Going Green @ your library, Feb. 20
PALINET and SOLINET in merger talks (PDF file)
The boards of trustees of two leading
library cooperatives, PALINET and SOLINET, met in late February and are moving forward with
their intention to combine the two organizations, subject to the approval of their respective
memberships. Due diligence is currently underway and will continue through mid-April, after
which the boards of both organizations are expected to make a final recommendation. Later, a series of town hall meetings will be held throughout the two regions so
that all members can participate in open discussions....
PALINET, Feb. 22
The Sorted Books project
Artist Nina Katchadourian writes: “The Sorted Books project began in 1993 and is ongoing. The project has taken place in many different places over the years, ranging form private homes to specialized public book collections. The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters.”...
Oddest book titles of the year
Bookseller magazine has announced the shortlist for its Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Diagram Prize, which honors books from the fringes of publishing. The titles are spotted and submitted by publishers, booksellers, and librarians around the world. The spotter of the winning book receives a magnum of champagne. Visit the magazine website to vote for your favorite. The winner will be announced March 28....
Bookseller, Feb. 22
The MyHope MySpace song
SweetAfton23 philosophizes about social-networking site MySpace on her ukelele in this song (3:56) that one commenter said was “like something from a 1970s SNL with host Buck Henry.” Expand the About This Video sidebar for the full lyrics, which include: “Your page will be an empty shell, when no one is behind it /
I hope your MySpace stays forever—and I hope that your kids find it.”...
YouTube, Feb. 5
Placement services will be available at ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. Job seekers should register and search for jobs on the JobLIST website. And don’t forget: Early bird registration ends March 7.
Based on more than 50 years of author expertise in organizational improvement, The Quality Library offers a methodology to pinpoint trouble areas and improve processes. Sara Laughlin and Ray Wilson offer tips on developing a customer-focused system outlining library processes and networks that directly apply to the library’s goals and missions. NEW! From ALA Editions.
All Seasons & All Reasons for Lifelong Learning
Story Quilt: Poems of a Place
ALA Candidates: Statements and Forum
Girls Raise Cash for Kenya
ALA members benefit from ALA’s membership in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. If you are planning on going to the IFLA Congress in Québec City, August 10–14, you can register as an IFLA member with the ALA membership code: US-0002. Contact Michael Dowling for more details.
Digital Library of the Week
Colorado’s Historic Newspaper Collection currently includes 107 newspapers published in Colorado from 1859 to 1930. Newspapers come from 60 cities and 40 counties throughout the state, published in English, German, Spanish, or Swedish. Some 400,000 digitized pages are available. New material is added approximately once a month, depending on availability of funding. The newspapers are digitized from microfilm copies owned by the Colorado Historical Society. CHNC used Olive Software’s ActivePaper Archive, which was designed specifically for providing searchable access to digitized newspapers.
Do you know of a digital library collection that we can mention in this AL Direct feature? Tell us about it.
“For most of my lifetime, I’ve heard that reading is dead. In that time, disco has died, drive-in movies have nearly died, and something called The Clapper has come and gone through bedrooms across the nation.
“But reading? This year, about 400 million books will be sold in the United States. Overall, business is up 1 percent—not bad, in a rough economy, for a $15 billion industry still populated by people whose idea of how to sell books dates to Bartleby the Scrivener.”
Author Timothy Egan, responding to Steve Jobs’s comment that “people don’t read anymore,” in “Book Lust,” New York Times, Feb. 20.
There’s still time for library directors and human resources staff to participate in the 2008 ALA-APA Library Salary Survey. The deadline is February 29. If you’d like to know whether your library was included in the sample, call (800) 448-4584 and ask for Jean Hannon or Kristy Williams.
The Hong Kong Book Fair is pleased to offer the Free Pass Program for Librarians for the 19th Annual Fair, which will be held July 23–29. The Fair will provide selected librarians from the U.S. and Canada who collect Chinese- language materials four nights of hotel accommodation, free registration, and invitation to a cocktail reception. The deadline to apply is April 18.
the ALA Librarian
We have the good fortune to be able to open a new middle school, with a school library media center. Can you point us to some resources so we can be sure to cover all our bases?
A. Depending on where you are with your planning and how much say you have in the facility, you might want to start with our ALA Library Fact Sheet 11: Building Libraries and Library Additions: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, which has a general section, plus sections for major types of libraries. The school section includes a few references on furnishings which might be helpful. As for collection size, there are no hard and fast rules. How your library supports the curriculum will affect how you build your collection and select materials for it. But you’ll want to look at some of the resources on budgeting, collection development, and standards available on the ALA Professional Tips wiki....
@ The ALA Librarian welcomes your questions.
European Association of Information Services Conference, London, England. “Beyond Discovery.”
Topic Maps Users Conference, Oslo, Norway. “Towards the Vision of Subject-Centric Computing.”
Information/ Documentation Management and Cooperation Among the Libraries in the Balkan Countries, Trakya University Library, Edirne, Turkey.
Forbidden Fruit: The Censorship of Literature and Information for Young People, Southport, United Kingdom.
Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche, Annual Conference, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey. “Bridging the Digital Divide: Effective Library Partnerships in the Digital Age.”
International Reading Association, World Congress on Reading, San José, Costa Rica. “Reading in a Diverse World.”
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, World Library and Information Congress, Québec City, Québec. “Libraries Without Borders: Navigating Towards Global Understanding.”
UNESCO Training the Trainers in Information Literacy Workshop, Ankara, Turkey. Limited to 50 participants; apply by April 30.
International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, Humboldt University, Berlin. “Metadata for Semantic and Social Applications.”
Internet Librarian International, London. Submit speaking proposals by Mar. 28.
Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa Conference 2008, Auckland. “Poropitia Outside the Box.”
Information Online, Darling Harbour Exhibition and Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia. Submit papers for consideration by March 28.