deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Fred Clark is a journalist who for years worked in newspapers. With his post "Screenwriters: No, back issues of The Small Town Gazette from the 1930s are not archived online", he addresses TV writers who are convinced that their amazing hacker can find everything online. (I believe that Alec Hardison can do anything with computers, but even Hardison and Chaos working together can't find information on computers if it's still lying un-digitized in a banker's box in the archives.)

I admit I am making allowances for Fred when he talks about "the musty, subterranean archives of the old library, lit only by the dim glow of the microfilm machine and a flickering fluorescent bulb down the hallway," but he is talking about photogenic TV-ready information gathering, so I suppose I will let it pass.

The larger point is what matters. Most information has not been digitized. Many newspapers haven't been indexed, so it's not just that you can't find the newspaper, you can't find any reference to the fact that such a newspaper exists somewhere and has an article about the person in question. You should push your local newspapers to manage their digital platforms and keep track of their old issues!

And while you should remember that the open web is great for Good Enough information gathering -- and don't get me wrong, I'm as much of a fan of web search and Wikipedia as the next person with a pulse -- if you are looking for something and you can't find it on the Internet, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Not only your local public librarian, but quite possibly your local university librarian, local university archivist, or local historical society archivist, will happily help you look for the information. Heck, if you think the information is somewhere that's not local at all, send an e-mail. Reference, in most archives and libraries, is free and open to the public.

... Good. Now I can close that tab which has been open since December.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I'm so honored to be on the ALSC/Booklist/YALSA Odyssey award for excellence in audiobook production selection committee for 2013. I won't be able to talk about it, but rest assured I am listening to some amazing audiobooks.

Andrea Horbinski's "Madge, in Thy Orisons…", over at the Transformative Works and Cultures Symposium blog, starts with the fascinating ways in which Madonna's Super Bowl halftime performance was clearly drawing upon Luminosity's 300 vid, and comes to some thought-provoking conclusions about the limitations of transformative works:
My point here is not so much that all of this is anything new (it’s not), but rather that viewing the vid and the halftime show together provides a textbook example of the ways in which fandom (and any pop culture critique based in pop culture itself), and vidding in particular, is limited by its working, in some senses, with found objects.

The Free Government Information Blog, in light of the shutdown of Scroogle, talks about privacy-protecting search engines. I've personally come to love Duck Duck Go -- I came for the privacy and stayed for the simplicity and usability.

many links

Feb. 22nd, 2008 02:40 pm
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The only way to get all these tabs out of my browser is to actually post some links.

This is one I've been saying for awhile "somebody has got to be working on this". Omeka is creating a free platform to help people create curated digital exhibits. The next thing that needs to happen is a hosted service -- not CONTENTdm style hosted service, but a real hosted curation service including preservation planning.

Republicans utterly refuse to compromise on telecom immunity, while the president insists that anyone who doesn't grant immunity to the telecommunications companies want the terrorists to win.

Why students want simplicity and why it fails them when it comes to research is a good introduction to the idea that the skills learned in googling for facts are not actually going to serve a student who needs to learn how to do complex research. Sometimes we need to adapt to user-perceived needs, but sometimes, as academic or school librarians, our job is to teach our patrons. The trick lies in choosing the right balance.

It doesn't do us much good to have an independent, bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board if the President can make it vanish simply by not appointing any members.

The MPAA's numbers about the effect of campus music piracy were vastly overblown. Only about 15% of their losses were due to campus downloading, and only about 3% probably came from on campus networks, but the record companies and Congress are bullying the universities to police anyway.

These pictures are very beautiful and very, very sad. "It will rise from ashes" is a blog post and accompanying Flickr set of images from an abandoned Detroit school system book depository. Trees growing from the soil created by burned then rained upon books; it's a kind of renewal, but renewal not from the typical post-apocalyptic vision of a rich industrial culture, but renewal from... well, I don't want to be too horribly melodramatic and say shattered potentials, so I don't know how to finish the sentence.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
User Studies and User Interfaces

This panel was probably the most useful in terms of immediate impact for my coworkers, just because of the research into OPAC interfaces. (Well, the most useful not counting the DSpace/Manakin tutorial.)

Agreeing to Disagree: Search Engines and Their Public Interfaces )

Static Reformulation: A User Study of Static Hypertext for Query-based Reformulation )

A Rich OPAC User Interface with AJAX )

Constructing Digital Library Interfaces )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
So after several posts on my scholarship, here's a series of posts on the conference sessions from JCDL 2007. I'm not liveblogging the conference because there's no wireless in the session areas (on the one hand, WTF? No wireless in the session rooms at a conference co-sponsored by IEEE and the ACM? On the other hand, it probably makes for better framed responses from me not to be liveblogging).

Keynote, Daniel Russell, from Google )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
There's this interesting argument about roses going on at the GardenWeb forum. The original poster, via Google, was given in inaccurate name for a rose variety she liked, and when she ordered the rose, she received a different rose with the name she found commonly on Google. When the other posters pointed out that the vendor was not responsible for her not correctly researching the name, she continually used the presence of the inaccurate name on Google as an argument for the vendor giving her the benefit of the doubt: "It's just funny to me that the vast majority of people 100% list the Coral Carpet Rose that I wanted on the Google search That doesn't persuade some of you know it alls that maybe I had a right to expect that rose to come?"

Various posters disagree with her, many of them pointing her to a rose specific reference. But the poster I found most fascinating told her "Google is too vast and non specific to catalog all roses with the same name by their hybridizer or year of introduction."

Google as cataloger. I don't know why that surprises me, to see that phrasing, because at some level plenty of people think of Google as a catalog of information. But once the verb "to catalog" is invoked, somehow the difference between cataloging and fulltext indexing is made far more apparent to me. Helpmefind, the flower specific reference other posters are mentioning, actually does have a catalog. But Google?

Now I'm thoughtful.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Recently, I was talking to a non-librarian, non-techie friend about the "single search box" debate in librarianship, the idea that librarian's need to emulate the popular search engines.

She immediately responded "but Google doesn't have a single search box! Neither does Amazon!"

As she characterized it, she is well aware, as a naive user, of the difference between the various tabs on the Google front page: Web, Images, News, Usenet, Shopping -- and she uses them as she needs to. She is well aware of the difference between book and DVD searching in Amazon -- and uses them.

It would be good for librarians to remember that single search boxes do actually characterize information in different ways and don't just do keyword searching across a single massive collection. Perhaps the user interface preference should be leaning towards a Google-style text box on a tabbed screen as opposed to the exquisitely bad Wilson SilverPlatter interface, but we need to remember that Google isn't as simple as we think it is.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Prompted by the Google movie, I've been thinking about why Google is vital to me, as a librarian who is heavily invested in intelligent searching (both on and off the public web). And I realised I use Google as a glorified bookmarks file. If I use a resource so often that I want to get to it in four keystrokes (which is why I find tagging useless as a bookmarks replacement -- I can reach anything in four keystrokes) then I bookmark it. But what if there's a ton of tools out there which do, say, currency conversion? I only need to do that occasionally, and I don't care which currency calculator I get. So I Google, and take the first one unless red flags gets set off by the link. Same for web color chart mappings, or lists of HTML elements. I know I can find those easily with Google as my bookmarks file. But if I want a good definition, I go to, and if I want a more specific type of definition (jargony / more complete / etymylogical / etc) I'll go to one of the many other sites I have bookmarked (OED, Webster's unabridged, etc). I won't go to Google for something where I know precisely who'll have the best answer.

Tags, I suppose, are halfway between Google and a good bookmarks file, which might explain why I don't use them much (I tag my own lj posts, but I don't do social bookmarking). They still require effort to create and maintain a coherent system, like bookmarks, and they require multiple keystrokes to access, like search engines. For me the main value of social bookmarking is the "social" not the "bookmarking". If I felt like organizing something in order to share it with the world, I would find very useful. At least one feed in my personal RSS aggregator is a feed which updates when new entries are tagged.

But for my personal use, its search engines or bookmarks files. Even when I search, I don't tend to search for my final goal -- I usually search for a good resource which is likely to have information about my final goal.
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