Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Europeana is the most bewildering place I've been to for a while...after spending a good 15 minutes being walked through a very elaborate demo of the far from complete site, I broke away and found a press release that gave me some sense of where I was. Evidently I was experiencing the demo version of the new European digital library, to be launched in November. (excerpt)"The website, branded Europeana, will break new ground by bringing together millions of digitised resources from Europe’s archives, museums, libraries and audio visual collections through a single portal. The site model was previewed at a conference in Frankfurt last week to holders of digital content, including curators, archivists, publishers and librarians. They were shown how a user would be able to use sophisticated browsing and searching to find paintings, photographs, objects, books, newspapers, archival records, films and sound that have been digitised by Europe’s heritage organisations."
The site is aesthetically pleasing, incorporates web2.0 features and lots of cool technology, but doesn't strike me as as a place to go if you're looking for something specific about Europe. If you're looking for everything about Europe, it's excellent. I even dutifully tried to fill out a questionnaire at the end, but the questions were too hard for me ("Did you like the colors? Why?") There's the above mentioned demo, which is fascinating if you just let yourself go and don't worry about losing your bearings, and also The Boots video an introductory video with Nancy Sinatra (of Italian extraction) singing about Vincent van Gogh's boots (until now, I never knew what that song was about!) American blues harmonica also figures prominently in the video. Crazy, man!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
And of course, not to be missed, ONN, Onion Network News...
Nation Of Andorra Not In Africa, Shocked U.S. State Dept. Reports
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Sometimes you might like to send your library patrons a bunch of links to information they've asked you for. Rather than send a long unsightly list of urls, you can arrange them in a pleasant nosegay and wrap it up in a single link. LinkBunch assembles the links for you and hides them behind a single url. For example, had I been as clever last Wednesday as I am today, I would not have posted that off-putting list of urls that I extracted using the link-extractor tool. (In fact, reviewing the post I see that I didn't even mention that I'd used the link extractor, which was the whole point of the post! ) Instead, I would have written a few lines about the link extractor, and then simply pasted all the urls together in this LinkBunch...where those interested could peruse them at leisure.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Then, by using Gmail's "filter messages like these" feature, you can sort messages by "sent to" address and direct all the ones containing "copyright" into the same folder. Another example - when you sign up for a listserv, you can use "firstname.lastname@example.org" to ensure that all emails from that particular listserv are automatically sorted.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Enter a street address in the U.S., and Felon Spy will reveal names, addresses and convictions of felons living in the neighborhood. After all, you have a right to know who they are! The site is very professionally done, and the rhetoric rings true...and thank goodness it's just a spoof! I was suckered for about 15 minutes, checking out familiar neighborhoods in the U.S. and gaping goggle eyed at all the criminals out there. This is brilliant and hilarious, but also ominous! The comments at LifeHacker are interesting...many seem annoyed that the site doesn't work very well ("It's not very accurate. I know of three guys with felony convictions living on my road & it didn't show any of them.") I guess it's a commentary on our current state of affairs that anyone - even someone as gullible me - could fall for this!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The digitization of millions of books under programs such as Google Book Search and Microsoft Live Search Books is dramatically expanding our ability to search and find information. The aim of these large-scale projects—to make content accessible—is interwoven with the question of how one keeps that content, whether digital or print, fit for use over time.
This report by Oya Y. Rieger examines large-scale digital initiatives (LSDIs) to identify issues that will influence the availability and usability, over time, of the digital books these projects create. Ms. Rieger is interim assistant university librarian for digital library and information technologies at the Cornell University Library.
The paper describes four large-scale projects—Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project—and their digitization strategies. It then discusses a range of issues affecting the stewardship of the digital collections they create: selection, quality in content creation, technical infrastructure, and organizational infrastructure. The paper also attempts to foresee the likely impacts of large-scale digitization on book collections.
Friday, February 8, 2008
book rental service? - Selekta
was just thinking. my sister does -alot- of reading, and spends like $1000 a year on just books alone. most of them she reads once then never looks at again. is there any kind of like…video rental store but for books? would make things alot cheaper, plus once one person has read the next person can get enjoyment from it etc
Yet this is not necessarily a laughing matter, and Krunk4ever adds some perspectives worth thinking about...
Paula Hanes writes in Information Today:
(excerpt)"While news might be a readily available commodity in our internet world, a small U.K.-based company thinks there’s a better way to present it to users—with relational analysis and explanatory graphics that provide users with contextual insight. Silobreaker (www.silobreaker.com) has officially launched its new search service for news and current events. Its goal is to provide meaning, context, and insight to content using easily understood graphical tools. Silobreaker pulls current content from approximately 10,000 news, blog, research, and multimedia sources. It then automatically and on-the-fly extracts and tags people, companies, topics, places, and keywords; understands how they relate to each other in the news flow; and puts them in a visual context for the user. The free service is aimed at anyone wanting an in-depth perspective on current news for personal or business use, but it should prove especially appealing to journalists, researchers, scientists, consultants, marketing professionals, and industry analysts."
I tried a search on "missile defense", and the returns were impressive! A good supplement to Google News...
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The National Endowment for the Humanities project "Picturing America" uses art as a a catalyst for the study of American history—the cultural, political, and historical threads woven into our nation's fabric over time. U.S. schools and libraries are invited to apply online for a set of 20 laminated posters, but anyone can download the handsome 120 page"teacher's resource book" - a useful tool for any teacher who would like to use art to enliven history lessons.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
When digging a grave by hand, haul away 17 wheelbarrow loads of dirt and pile the rest by the hole. You will have just the right amount to backfill.
When you are working in the vicinity of high voltage, keep 1 foot of distance between you and the power source for each 1,000 volts. For instance, stay 13 feet away from a 13,000 volt power source.
Wish I had a penny for every time I needed to have those rules of thumb at hand (sigh) while working the reference desk! Now that I've discovered the superb rulesofthumb.org, I'm prepared to field any question that comes my way!
"This tutorial is a visual walk-through of how to find what you need to know for the upcoming Congressional elections. Use the tutorial to help you find out if you are registered to vote, biographical information on your Congressman or Senator, his or her voting records, and money donations and campaign fundraising for the upcoming election.
The tutorial is divided into five parts – “Can I Vote?”, biographical information on members of Congress, voting records for members of Congress, fundraising and campaign finance activities of candidates, and challenger research. The tutorial shows the different sites and how you can find the information you seek to learn more about the voting process and the candidates."