Who Moved My Library?

Commentary on the changing world of libraries, from the viewpoint of a corporate library.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Feed Address

This post is for the 7 people who subscribe to my blog. That's right 7!!

I have created a feed for Who Moved My Library? through Feedburner. I read about Feedburner at 'Brary Web Diva's blog. She recommends Feedburner for seven very good reasons. After reading her post I went over to Feedburner to check it out for myself. The program sounded pretty interesting so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Of course to get the most out of Feedburner people must be subscribed to your feed. But I'm not going to let that stop me!

So for the 7 people who are reading this, if you would be so kind as to resubscribe to my feed with this link.

Thanks ever so much,

Make Your Own Secret Hollow Book

Instead of studying for my Social Responsibility of Business midterm I've decided to catch up on some old bloglines feeds. I came across one that details how to make your own secret hollow book from the How2DoStuff blog. The librarian in me says "NO, don't destroy that book." However, the crafty part of me wants to try this, even though I don't have any contraband to put in a hollow book.

I realize that some libraries just don't have the room to keep ALL the books it ever owned. In fact the special library I currently work in is going through the downsizing process right now. What a great use for those old unwanted books! Also, a great homemade gift idea. The fun part could be finding the right title for the intended recipient. Of course, if your replete with old unwanted books you could construct a Book Bar. But that's far too much work for me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dominican University's 2nd Annual Follett Lecture - Ed Valauskas presents "The Googlization of Libraries"

I have just returned from the Dominican University Second Annual Follett Lecture. Ed Valauskas, founder of First Monday, and the Follett Chair at Dominican University was the speaker and "Googlization of Libraries: Debunking the Internet Godzilla" was the topic. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ed is very entertaining.

Ed started out the lecture by forecasting the future if the doomday prognosticators are correct in assuming that growth of Google popularity will be negatively correlated with the success of libraries. Ed's dramatic portrait of 2015 included Chicago's Harold Washington Library being turned into public housing, New York's Public Library buildings being turned into either museums or Macy outlets .... you get the idea.

However, Ed pointed out that this "future" can be prevented. He also took the position that Google doesn't have to be the enemy. Google has legal and financial resources to fight the battles that libraries would like to fight in areas such as Copyright Law, and they are. Ed would like to see libraries embrace new technologies and incorporate them into library offerings. He also suggested that library schools produce librarians that are able to be work with these new technologies.

Libraries do have an uphill battle when it comes to public perception that everything is "Free" on the internet. I agree with Ed that dismissing the role that Google and other Web 2.0 offerings play in libraries is not going to make them go away. Instead librarians should find ways to add value, for themselves and their libraries, to strengthen the role of libraries instead of turning a blind eye and hoping that they just go away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Interactive Johari Window

I've recently come across a website that creates individual interactive Johari Windows. What's a Johari Window, you ask?

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up. The Johari Window is supposed to be used to help an individual better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships.

It's actually pretty neat. If you'd like to get your own Johari Window go here. If you think you know me well enough to contribute to my Johari Window go here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

WSJ Article on Tagging Technology

This is a little late, but in the January 24th edition of the Wall Street Journal there was an article titled: "The Next Big Thing in Searching - Yahoo! and Others Embrace 'Tagging' as a Better Way to Find and Store Information" by Jessica E. Vascellaro.

In this article tagging is described as a way to "cut through the online clutter to deliver more relevant bits of information." This article states that tagging sites are "increasingly transitioning beyond places individuals go to for retrieving their favorite Web pages to sites they visit first when they want to search the internet." This puts the tagging sites in direct competition with search engine giants Google and Yahoo!. Some statistics from this article: 17% of Internet users say they always find what they are looking for when they use a search engine; Americans conducted more than 5 billion online searches in November 2005, up 9% from the previous year.

According to this artice the benefits of tagging are: the user assigns keywords (tags) to their favorite sites making their sites easy to search and retrieve; a user's tagged pages are stored on the web and available from any computer; and the greatest benefit of tagging sites is that a user can make their list of tags and sites available to and searchable by either a closed community of friends and family or all Web surfers. Downsides to tagging sites are: effectiveness of tagging services depends on the quality and quantity of the registered users; similar tags must be used in order to capture all the relevant pages; not enough people are using the services for it to be worth while.

While Flickr, PreFound.com, del.icio.us, and Kosmix.com are all mentioned in the text of the article only 5 sites made the "Tagosphere" table (below) (C) WSJ.

By making the WSJ I think tagging is certainly gaining momentum in the mainstream. What does this mean for libraries? How about allowing users to add their own personal tags to records in the OPAC? If you're not comfortable with that, how about subscribing to some sites in the tagosphere and creating a "Library's Recommendations" list of useful sites.

Just a few thoughts. Comments?