Archive for August, 2006

Kindergarten Send-Off

The North Adams Public Library has found a great way to commemorate a special occasion — starting Kindergarten!

According to iBerkshires.com, all parents should bring their child in “at any time to meet the children’s librarians, get a library card, and pick out books from the “First Day of School” collection”. In addition, they are having a special event on August 24th that will involve crafts, prizes and food. I love this idea. Read about it here and here!

August 15, 2006 at 9:59 pm 1 comment

Check out: Ten Questions with Seth Godin

Guy Kawasaki, who blogs over at Signum sine tinnitu, has posted Ten Questions with Seth Godin. (one of my favorite non-librarian blogger/writers.)

Seth on books:

Books are the new t-shirts. We used to buy t-shirts as a way of covering our hard abs. Now, though, the purpose of the t-shirt is to be a souvenir, to give us a concrete way to remember something that mattered to us—and to give us an easy way to spread that idea to others.

Seth on how blogs help build brands:

…human beings respond to stories, and stories, the best ones, are personal.

Seth on five things that enabled him to be successful:

  1. No ulterior motive. I rarely do A as a calculated tactic to get B. I do A because I believe in A, or it excites me or it’s the right thing to do. That’s it. No secret agendas.
  2. I don’t think my audience owes me anything. It’s always their turn.
  3. I’m in a hurry to make mistakes and get feedback and get that next idea out there. I’m not in a hurry, at all, to finish the “bigger” project, to get to the finish line.
  4. I do things where I actually think I’m right, as opposed to where I think succeeding will make me successful. When you think you’re right, it’s more fun and your passion shows through.
  5. I’ve tried to pare down my day so that the stuff I actually do is pretty well leveraged. That, and I show up. Showing up is underrated. (emphasis is
    mine -pb)

If you like what you read, check out the rest of the post here, then amble on over to Seth’s blog.

August 9, 2006 at 10:58 am

Free, Quality, Full-Text Articles, Books, & More–You Know That’s What You Want!

OK, as you may have noticed, Library Gardeners, I have been in a serious blogging mood today, and I just can’t wait to share about this:

I have been demonstrating how to locate books in libraries via the “Find in a Library” WorldCatLibraries links within Yahoo! and Google for some time now, but only a small percentage of the items available via WorldCat were available in the two search engines. I signed up for their email update a week ago, and WorldCat has just announced today that their new worldcat.org beta site is now available–I am thrilled, since WorldCat seems to be one of the largest library networks out there:

“This site—and a downloadable WorldCat search box you can easily add to your Web site—opens the complete WorldCat database to the public, not just the smaller data subsets utilized by Open WorldCat partner sites such as Google, Yahoo! Search and others. WorldCat.org builds on the success of OCLC’s Open WorldCat Program that has elevated the visibility of library materials on the open Web since the summer of 2003.” (box on left courtesy of WorldCat.org)

What I really liked about this site, besides being able to find many more items in libraries, is that you can search for any item in any library near you, now using keyword searches (i.e., you can enter a title, subject or person). You can also now refine your search (box on left of screen) by author, content, format, language, and year. I am sure that there will be some kinks in it right away, as it is a very new beta site, but I am happy with the direction it is going in now. I look forward to reviews about it after it gets “used a lot” but for now, I like it (and everyone can give them feedback using the link in the top right-hand corner of the results pages).

By the way, if you do like “finding tools” and sites like this, you might also like to browse my “The Changing Face of the Scholarly Web: Finding Free, Quality, Full-Text Articles, Books, and More!,” published this July/August 2006 in MultiMedia & Internet@Schools magazine. The article is freely available on the Web via their magazine’s main site (which I visit often for its very relevant K-12 library info) and in many of the EBSCO databases now. I do hope you enjoy it and find it useful! And since I was limited to less than 3000 words for the article, here is another site of mine, “WOW!–Full Text AND Free?!!: An Internet Hotlist on Finding Free Full Text Articles and Books” (I used this site to write the article) that lists these and other quality, full-text finding tools, especially with some more of my favorite Open Access (OA) sites. Feel free, please, to share and comment!

August 8, 2006 at 5:26 pm 3 comments

Google & MySpace Marriage, & New Social Software Book by Michael Stephens

All over the news sites last night, including Yahoo! News, was the fact that Google and MySpace have signed a $900 million deal “which marries the Internet’s leading search engine with the top social-networking site,” so look for the familiar Google search boxes on the site later this year.

And my personal favorite tidbit of news from Jenny Levine: Michael Stephens’ July/August 2006 ALA LTR “Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software” is available for purchase. Jenny says his book “covers blogs, RSS, instant messaging, wikis, Flickr, and getting staff buy-in to implement Library 2.0 tools in your library,” which both Jenny and Michael spoke in length about this recently at their presentation in Princeton, NJ–a fantastic presentation and group turnout. Anyway, I ordered mine a few days ago and it should be here tomorrow–I can’t wait to read it and share the advice with my colleagues, so thanks a lot, Jenny and Michael!

August 8, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Free AOL – How to convert your paid account

Heads up–we may be getting questions on this at the reference desk.

AOL is now giving away their service for free. If you’re already an AOL subscriber, but don’t rely on AOL to connect to the Internet, you can switch to the free plan. (If you rely on AOL for actual Internet access, then you’ll still have to cough up some dough.)

Currently AOL is telling customers, “To change your current AOL plan, simply call Member Services at 1-800-984-6207 and select the Billing Option when prompted.” I tried this, and after spending 20 minutes navigating their (gasp!) poorly designed voice-menu, I actually got through to a nice fellow who told me how to cancel. THIS IS BIG SO READ ON…

Although AOL is not really advertising it yet, subscribers can easily make the switch to the free plan by:

  1. Logging into AOL (log in through their software–sorry, this won’t work through http://www.aol.com/; at least not yet…)
  2. Choosing KEYWORD: Change plan
  3. Choosing the option for “Free Plan”

I’ve done it, and I’m here to tell you that it was that easy. A pleasant surprise, especially considering AOL’s well-documented history of making it nigh impossible to discontinue service.

For the first time in many years I’m moved to say, Thank You AOL!

(cross-posted at my new work blog http://sjrlc.typepad.com )

August 7, 2006 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack

Just a quick observation and an inquiry for a Friday afternoon.

When we moved in to our lovely new state-of-the-art library a few years back we debated whether we should take with us our one remaining electric typewriter that worked with any sort of reliability. We used to have several typewriters and they were once very popular, but we wondered if we still needed on for public use.

For the last month or so I have been keeping an eye on our one lonely typewriter that is tucked away in a corner on our 2nd floor and am somewhat surprised by the amount of use it still gets. Several times each week I have observed a variety of people of all ages using it for filling out forms, typing letters, and so on. A few people have looked positively relieved when tell them “Yes, we still have a typewriter”. In fact, I find something comforting in hearing the clickety-clack of the keys and knowing that even though we are wired to the hilt with 100+ computers for use by the public we have decided to keep our typewriter for those that still need it or rely on it.

How many other libraries still maintain a typewriter or two for use by their patrons? Is it still in good use or is it collecting dust? I am just curious to see if my observations match those of other libraries.

August 4, 2006 at 12:48 pm 20 comments

"The Internet is becoming a cesspool of plagiarism"

OK, maybe we’ve heard this before and it isn’t “news” to us, but I found what was mentioned after this first quoted line from the August 1st USA Today article, “Authorship gets lost on Web” by Del Jones to be very interesting and certainly pertinent to all of us bloggers and other Internet authors. A few of my favorite quotes/info bits from the article are the following:

They’re like cockroaches,” McKee says. “Ideas are our assets, and it’s frustrating when people take them from you without shame,” which referred to bloggers who used McKee’s specific material in their posts without giving him any credit.

“Pew Research two weeks ago said it found that of the 12 million adults who blog, 44% say they have taken songs, text or images and “remixed” them into their own artistic creation.”

As a contributing chapter author for Vibiana Bowman’s 2004 book, I must say that we went to great lengths to ensure that we were giving credit where credit was due in our writings before we published them. It can take some time and effort, but it is worth it.

That being said, I must say that not everyone seems to care about this, and I agree with McKee–it is annoying when we come across our intellectual content found in someone else’s post, online article, PowerPoint slides, or Website–with no attribution given at all. I truly believe that Jones is correct when he states: “In some quarters, plagiarism remains a serious offense. But where it involves the Internet, an acceptance of plagiarism is taking hold, and when confronted, offenders often shrug it off as hardly newsworthy.”

At the end of this short, enlightening article, Jones quotes Berkowitz concerning properly attributing someone’s original content on the Internet: “It’s like the Wild West out there.”

Maybe the Internet, in general, and blogs, specifically, are fast becoming “cesspool[s] of plagiarism,” or maybe not, but you have to admit that you have seen plagiarism on the Web. Let’s not help online plagiarism continue to grow within our own Websites–let’s do our part and remind each other to quote and cite/link to each others’ intellectual property and not let “authorship get lost on the Web.” Yes, even within our own blog postings.

Anyway, thank you, Del Jones, for the stories, quotes, and reminder to honor others. And I hope I gave you and others enough credit–no, really, seriously, I do. To everyone else, read his article.

August 2, 2006 at 11:25 am 4 comments

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