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A revolutionary thought has trickled down from my subconscious. A product of a variety of conversations, conference presentations, and blog commentaries, I suspect.

A revolutionary thought has trickled down from my subconscious. A product of a variety of conversations, conference presentations, and blog commentaries, I suspect. Here it is: Stop using the 856 MARC field in print journal records to link to online volumes.

Whoa. Deep breath.

I know some libraries out there are already doing this, but until this moment, I was stuck on cataloging standards and a desire to eliminate the multiple records for multiple formats problem. However, I think we have gotten to a point where the link maintenance problem has trumped all others.

At my library, we get MARC records for all of our ejournals from a company that also provides article-level OpenURL linking. These records are updated about once a month, and it is a painless process to dump them into the catalog all at once. The new records supercede the old, and the whole process is transparent to our users. If we are paying for this service, why go through the trouble of putting in links on our print records and then manually updating them if and when we notice they have gone bad?

have you hugged your librarian today?

One of my colleagues passed on a link to William Brody’s column in the December 6 issue of the Johns Hopkins Gazette.

One of my colleagues passed on a link to William Brody’s column in the December 6 issue of the Johns Hopkins Gazette. Brody touches on his Google-envy, and then goes on to extol the virtues of cataloging subject headings for precision information searching. I’m sure this has been passed around the librarian blogosphere many times already, but maybe it would be nice to read it again if you’re wallowing in your own Google-envy.

You see, our library has the most effective search engines yet invented — librarians who are highly skilled at ferreting out the uniquely useful references that you need. Rather than commercializing the library collections, why not export to the public market the most meaningful core of Hopkins’ intellectual property — the ability to turn raw information into useful knowledge.

I hope by now you realize that any talk of taking our library public is simply to emphasize the point missing in all this Google mania: Massive information overload is placing librarians in an ever more important role as human search engines. They are trained and gifted at ferreting out and vetting the key resource material when you need it. Today’s technology is spectacular — but it can’t always trump a skilled human.

Have you hugged your librarian today?

bloglines irony

You’d think that a feed agregator would have a feed for its own newsletter.

Bloglines has announced that they have a new newsletter to “help inform you and provide a glimpse into the different ways people are using the service.” I found great irony in the following paragraph from the announcement:

You can choose to receive the newsletter via email or simply stay subscribed to Bloglines News, and we’ll let you know when each issue is posted.

I guess having an RSS feed for the newsletter and its contents would make too much sense.

upgrade to 3.15 complete

The upgrade from MT 2.661 to MT 3.15 was fairly painless.

The upgrade from MT 2.661 to MT 3.15 was fairly painless. The only problem I’ve run into is with my main index template. I tried to clean up the code and put in the MT 3.5 stuff, but the result is not playing nice-nice with my style sheet. Any suggestions?

I must say, it sure is nice to have the style editing buttons available in Firefox!

movabletype – free?

I’ve been thinking that with all of the recent improvements and bug fixes for MovableType, I should at least consider upgrading.

I’ve been thinking that with all of the recent improvements and bug fixes for MovableType, I should at least consider upgrading. So I went to the website to see what it would cost me. Lo and behold, they’ve changed the pricing and I missed the memo! For a personal user with up to three weblogs, it doesn’t cost a cent. Of course, if you want more authors and unlimited weblogs, it’s going to cost some. I went ahead and downloaded the full version of MT 3.15, and eventually I’ll get it installed.

knitters

“Please turn off or mute your cell phones and put away your knitting needles.”

I realize that knitting is the current cool homemaker hobby for young professionals, but I think that some need to realize that there is a time and a place for such activity and a professional conference is not one of them. At least, not during the sessions.

I was at a librarian conference on Friday, and I saw at least three knitters in the sessions I attended. One was very good about knitting while still keeping her head up and giving the appearance of paying attention to the presenter. That was a little more acceptable than the behavior of one of her fellow knitters. This woman never looked up from her knitting for the whole session. She may have been paying attention, but her body language didn’t indicate it. I consider that sort of behavior to be as rude as falling asleep or talking.

So, to the librarian knitters out there: please put away your needles and give your full attention to the presenters while at professional conferences. Thank you.

1/26/05: Knitting has made its way into the ALA Council Drinking Game.

Game begins with one drink for each member present who intends to actively knit, cross-stitch, crochet, tat or otherwise engage in handcraftiness at some point during session. Bags will be checked for needles, hooks, looms, and hoops as members enter Council chambers.

punny

A friend sent me a list of the top ten puns in a so-called international contest.

A friend sent me a list of the top ten puns in a so-called international contest. Many of these I had seen before. The following is new to me, and made me giggle quite a bit:

These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not.He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to “persuade” them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

hee-hee…

unemployed democrats

The folks who started the now defunct seeyageorge.com website have returned.

The folks who started the now defunct seeyageorge.com website have come back with a new sassy Democratic paraphenalia website: UnemployedDemocrats.com

Also, it seems that they have designed a new look to one of the t-shirts hanging in my closet.

afterword

I just finished reading Debra Bacon-Ziegler’s AfterWord column entitled “How Soon is Now? Today’s Trends, Tomorrow’s Libraries” in the January/February 2005 issue of ForeWord.

I just finished reading Debra Bacon-Ziegler’s AfterWord column entitled “How Soon is Now? Today’s Trends, Tomorrow’s Libraries” in the January/February 2005 issue of ForeWord. In the essay, she discusses her thoughts after a recent Michigan Library Association Annual Conference where the keynote speaker (Marshall Keys) addressed some of the current tech trends and their relevance to libraries. In her reflection, Bacon-Ziegler brings up a few points that I wish to examine in this forum.

Bacon-Ziegler mentions blogs and blogging, but rather than jumping on the “every library/librarian should have a blog” bandwagon, she asks the question, “Should librarians be mining blogs for current popular interests as they develop their collections?” Such a refreshing viewpoint! Yes, librarians should be monitoring blogs to get a sense of current popular interests, but keep in mind that according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 7% of American Internet users have created a blog. Not just any old blog will do if the intent is to monitor current popular interests. Librarians would be better served by monitoring topical group blogs that have reputations for being knowledgeable in their specialties.

Another trend that Bacon-Ziegler touches on is information overload. She brings up an excellent point about the difference between your local public library and your local big box bookstore. The bookstore arranges cookbooks under a big sign that says “Cooking” or something of that nature, with shelf labels for the different types of cooking traditions. The library arranges cookbooks in the 600s, and they are grouped by content, but the only indicators of this are the call number stuck on the spines. Bacon-Ziegler asks, “Why then, I wonder, do we cling to this complex, arbitrary classification system?” I would not want to get rid of the system entirely, for it does have its uses, but perhaps public libraries should consider putting up bookstore-like signs over the sections. Call numbers are very handy for finding specific items, but signs are much more useful for general browsing.

The author addresses other trends in the essay, but these are the two that made me think radical thoughts and step outside of the traditional librarian box, if only for the few minutes I spent pondering over this blog entry.