Internet Librarian 2007

No, I did not attend the Internet Librarian 2007 conference.  (I did attend Computers in Libraries 2007 and it was fabulous.  I’m going to make a concerted effort to make it to the ’08 one.)  Fortunately, there’s a high overlap between the type of people who attend these conferences and the type of people who blog, so I’ve been able to follow the action from afar.

The Librarian in Black has a pretty good roundup of the presentations she attended.  I’m most intrigued by the Cool Tools for Webmasters one.  Many of them would most beneficial to an actual webmaster (which I am not and will likely never be), but a lot of the screen capturing/photo editing ones could prove useful.   Note to self: keep an eye on the conference website because they will hopefully soon start putting up presentation links.

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social cataloging is not an oxymoron

For those of you not in the library game, you may be surprised to find that there is a bit of a social hierarchy/divide amongst librarians.   It’s not quite to the level of Sharks/Jets or Crips/Bloods, but it is there.   I speak, of course, of the Technical Services/Public Services divide.

I am firmly in the Public Services camp.  That’s not to say that I dislike my Technical Services brethren.  Quite the contrary. Some of my nearest and dearest friends are Technical Services librarians.  And I most certainly couldn’t do my job without someone “working in the back” getting the materials where they need to be.  I’m simply saying that I would rather shoot myself in the face than catalog books all day.

That being said, it is with an equal mix of confusion and bemusement that I have watched the success of book sharing sites like LibraryThing, GoodReads and Shelfari.  I mean, people spending their free time essentially doing something that you couldn’t pay me enough money to do…what is up with that?

Of course, these sites aren’t all just about cataloging one’s book collection.  Through them one can get book recommendations, see what one’s “friends” are reading, make new friends over a shared love a book, etc., etc.   I started thinking about this today because I just discovered a recent addition to LibraryThing – Common Knowledge.  Basically, this adds a wiki element to LibraryThing that allows all LibraryThing users to collaborate on a page that fills in fields for each book.

I know some universities are experimenting with allowing folksonomy elements to their OPAC, most notably North Carolina State University and it’s Endeca-enhanced catalog.  My own institution is experimenting with Encore.  I don’t think it’s the worst idea in the world to allow university library patrons to enhance the library catalog.  Sure, there’s going to be some problems with vandalism and just plain misinformation, but I can see where some students would provide helpful information such as tagging a particular book for a particular class.  There was a suggestion made that librarians and teaching faculty could go in and do something like this as well, but then one wonders why that couldn’t be done at the time of record entry by Tech Services.

At any rate, I just don’t think that there’s going to be much use for a service like this on the law school level.  My patrons don’t use our print collection and catalog the same way that undergrads or even other graduate students do.  Whether or not they even bother to use the print collection and catalog anymore is another train of thought entirely.

I love it when a plan comes together

Much to the dismay and consternation of anyone who has ever cared for my well being (parents, teachers, etc.), I majored in Anthropology in college.   My minor was Biology and I was for the most part interested in micro-evolution and using DNA to track it, but due  to the requirements of my program I have an interest and working knowledge of Cultural and Social Anthropology as well.

So, anyway, you can’t imagine my excitement when I found this blog post connecting the Kula ring to all the social objects (poking, games, wall comments, blog posts, blog comments, etc.) that one finds on social networking programs.  I am seriously geeking out here.  I will have to think about this some more.

But first I need to call my mother and tell her that my undergrad major was not a complete waste of time.

Jaiku

I can’t remember which one of the dozens of personal blogs of random strangers that I read (um, I’m apparently a bit of a voyeur) said it, but they said something along the lines of “Not having a Facebook is like not having a MySpace was three years ago!” At the time I had neither a MySpace nor a Facebook (or perhaps I had just signed up for MySpace), so I was a little concerned that not only was I behind the times, I was waaaaay behind the times.

But, it is a fact of life here on the technological edge that new websites and applications come into being and older ones lose their cache. (paging Friendster….) In other words, I’m trying very hard to not put all of my eggs in the Facebook basket. Also, I really want to get in on something on the ground floor and be the first person I know to be using something! Is that pathetic? Maybe. I don’t care.

I came across a possible successor to Facebook and MySpace today. It’s Jaiku. I’m not entirely sure how it works because I’m waitlisted to get an invite to beta test. But when and if I am deemed worthy to enter this Internet Studio 54, I will report back.

ETA: Just saw this article on Google’s Maka-Maka….given that Google recently purchased Jaiku, I wonder if Jaiku will be adapted into  Maka-Maka.  As an aside, don’t you miss the days when companies had respectable names like “Industrial Business Machines” and “National Cash Register?”

The University of Chicago Faculty Blog

This morning I discovered the University of Chicago Law School’s Faculty Blog. (Georgetown Law also has one, but it does not seem to be as active. There’s probably others as well, but I just stumbled across those this morning.) Assuming that one could get enough faculty members to buy in, this would be both a good promotional tool for a law school as well as give students an insight into their profs’ scholarship activities.

I’ve had it in the back of my head that after seeing how the library’s 23 Things take-off works, I’d try to organize something similar for the law school teaching faculty. (Either something that organized or just a series of brown bags.) This might be a good example to show.

Instantbird

The good folks at Mozilla have gotten into the Instant Messaging game with the release of Instantbird.  I’ve been experimenting with IM using Meebo, but a main problem with it is that it requires the user to keep a browser window open to Meebo and it’s relatively easy to miss an IM notification.   Hopefully Instantbird will be the answer to my multi-protocol instant messaging prayers.

MLA Taskforce on Social Networking Software

The Medical Library Association’s Taskforce on Social Networking Software has begun a blog detailing the use and application of Web 2.0 technologies in medical libraries.  I’m going to be interested to see how other “special libraries” tackle Web 2.0 issues.

Source: NEXGENLIB e-mail list