CiL 2008: Going Local in the Library

Speaker: Charles Lyons

[Speakers for track C will all be introduced in haiku form.]

Local community information has been slower to move online than more global information provided by sources such as search engines and directories, but that is changing. Google can provide directory information, but they can’t tell you which of the barbers listed near you, for example, are good ones. They’re trying, but it’s much harder to gather and index that information. “In ur community, inforimin ur localz.” The local web can be something deeper, hyper, semantic.

Local information can sound boring if it doesn’t effect you directly. For example, information about street repairs can be important if it is happening along the routes you drive regularly. The local web connects the real world and the virtual world. The local web is bringing a sense of place to the Internet.

Libraries provide access to local information such as genealogy, local history, local government info, etc.

Local search engines started off as digital phone books, but now they are becoming more integrated with additional information such as maps and users reviews. Ask.com provides walking directions as well as driving directions, which I did not know but plan to make use of in the future. By using tools like Google Custom Search, libraries are creating local search engines, rather than just having a page of local links. MyCommunityInfo.ca is a popular search engine for residents of London, Ontario.

Local blogs also provide information about communities, so creating a local blog directory might be useful. Be sure to add them to your local search engine. Local news sites blend user-generated information with traditionally published sources. Useful news sites will allow users to personalize them and add content. Libraries are involved in creating local online communities (see Hamilton Public Library in Ontario).

Local data is being aggregated by sites like EveryBlock, which pulls information from the deep web. It’s currently available in three cities (Chicago, New York, & San Francisco) with plans for expansion, and once the grant ends, the code will be opened to anyone.

Wikipedia is a start for providing local information, and a few libraries are using wiki technology to gather more detailed local information.

Metadata such as geotagging allows more automation for gathering locally relevant information. Flickr provides geographic feeds, which can be streamed on local information sites.

Libraries are using Google Maps mashups to indicate their locations, but could be doing more with it. Libraries could create maps of historical locations and link them to relevant information sites.

No successful revenue generation has been formulated for local information sites. Most local sites are generated by passionate individuals. Libraries, which are not revenue generating sources anyway, are better poised to take on the responsibility of aggregating and generating local information. Particularly since we’re already in the role of information provision.

Libraries can be the lense into local information.

conferencing

“I am a traveler / I sail the open free / Oh I am a traveler / All roads they carry me”

I am about to embark on a month of conferencing and vacation, and the preparations are about to wear me out. Most of this is my own doing.

I am a consummate procrastinator, which means that in addition to the regular getting ready to go and daily work things I need to do, I’m also frantically trying to finish up some projects that have to be done by the end of the quarter, which is June 8th. However, I will be gone from May 24 – June 5, which leaves me exactly nine working days to complete my tasks that I had planned to spend about a month on. Argh.

On the up side, I’ll be able to visit family, as well as serials librarian geek-out at NASIG.

After I return from NASIG, I have a couple of weeks of regular work before I leave again for ALA, followed by a week of visiting friends, as well as a Where’s George geek-out with folks in DC.

Then, three days after I return from DC, I’m back on the road again to Illinois for the National Women’s Music Festival. I wasn’t planning to attend, but in a moment of weakness I snagged tickets for direct flights to and from Chicago on Southwest. After July 8, I plan to stay within my county for several weeks.

ala midwinter seattle day one

How much swag is too much swag?

I arrived in Seattle yesterday around noon, thankfully without incident. I opted for taking the shuttle rather than taking my chances that the pass would be okay both going and returning. Plus there’s the whole finding and affording parking in downtown Seattle.

After getting checked into my hotel room, I went up to the convention center and picket up my badge holder and packet. ALA has got this conference thing down to a science, it seems. I haven’t been to an ALA conference since 2002, and I had forgotten how organized it is. The signage is very helpful and well placed.

My first official event was the Innovative Users Group meeting. The first part was all about the upcoming IUG meeting in Chicago, which I’m not attending, so it wasn’t of much interest. I took that time to make use of the free wifi and catch up on email. After that, Dinah Sanders did a presentation about III’s upcoming “discovery services platform” called Encore. It looks really good – lots of Library/Web 2.0 widgets done in a helpful and tasteful way. It’s not meant to be a replacement for the OPAC, just a different layer for delivering resources for basic information needs. Seems like something public and undergraduate libraries would find very useful, if they can afford to purchase the product. Knowing the pricing that tends to come with these things, it may take a while for it to catch on, no matter how cool (and useful) it may be.

After that, I attended the author’s forum. It featured three science fiction and fantasy authors talking about the rise of sf/f since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They all agreed that the premise of the talk is a bit off, since sf/f was already on the rise when that happened, but that world events leading to the attacks and the rise in popularity of sf/f are linked. Two good reasons are that sf/f presents a relatively non-threatening way of discussing current problems and possible solutions, and that readers are able to escape (in a good way) for a little while to a world where at some point there will be a resolution of something. Of course, depending on the series and author (*cough*Robert Jordan*cough*) that resolution may not come at the end of the book.

The grand opening of the vendor hall followed the author’s forum. This was yet another ALA conference — specifically ALA midwinter conference — event that I was not prepared for. Apparently this is a free-for-all get as much swag as you can while chowing down on the finger food event. I now know to leave the laptop in my room along with my heavy winter coat before embarking on that quest. By the time my group was ready to go to dinner, I was dragging from the weight in my bag, and I really didn’t take much of the swag.

don’t lay that shit on me

Second-wave feminists in the late 60’s and early 70’s had a rock and roll voice, sung by bands such as the Chicago and New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Bands.

The Chicago and New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Bands and Le Tigre – Papa, Don’t Lay That Shit On Me

Second-wave feminists in the late 60’s and early 70’s had a rock and roll voice, sung by bands such as the Chicago and New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Bands. Precursors to today’s riot grrl and queercore bands, they broke through and gave women in the liberation movements their own rock and roll anthems.

In 1972, Rounder released a record called Mountain Moving Day consisting of four songs each from the Chicago and New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Bands. It was an attempt to capture the power of their live performances, and neither band was experienced with recording in a studio. This shows through in the roughness of the arrangements, but only if one is looking for it. The power of their songs and the statements they made to women and rock goes beyond these technical issues.

Continue reading “don’t lay that shit on me”

NASIG 2004

I’m going to NASIG!

Today I finally registered for the NASIG 2004 conference in Milwaukee. I get reimbursed by my library after the conference, but coming up with the chunk of change needed to register before the deadline is always a bit tricky. I have my flight booked and my room reserved. Now I just need to figure out how to get from Milwaukee to Midway in Chicago on that Sunday, and I need to find a roommate, although I have a few options there.

I’m really looking forward to this conference. As a serialist, it’s probably the best conference I could attend. There are quite a few sessions on issues relating to electronic resource management, which I am very interested in. Beyond the conference program and the networking, the people that I see at the conference make NASIG special to me. I met some wonderful folks my first year attending the conference, and we’ve had lots of fun together ever since. Although in recent years, there has been a bit of a convergence in Oregon, most of us do not live in the same state. The conference is the only time we see each other, and we do a pretty good job of making up for the time and distance in between.

happy new year!

I have been here, there, and everywhere these past few weeks, but now that I’m back home and starting to get settled in, it’s about time I did something with this weblog.

The year 2002 has come and gone, and now it’s time for everyone to get a new calendar for 2003. I have an idea of what might be hanging on the walls of bibliophiles in Ocean County (NJ)…

Speaking of librarians, one of my favorite librarian webloggers (Jessamyn West) has created five technically legal signs to hang in your library now that the Patriot Act has stripped away patron privacy.

Some creative soul has put together a poignant flash animation regarding the aforementioned Patriot Act and other similar measures being taking by the current administration under the umbrella of national security. Oh, and take note of the URL. I think it’s rather amusing.

Speaking of the current administration, here’s a list of the twenty most annoying “conservatives” of 2002. The comments at the bottom are interesting, if a bit peevish. Looks like word got out to the “conservatives” about this list and they came whining.

One of my colleagues directed me to a website yesterday that contains information and images from an art exhibit currently being shown in Chicago. The basic theme of the show is that the art is “on the legal fringes of intellectual property.”

emily the author

My sister has been published! She says, “It’s kinda sucky…but I’m published and that is all that matters.”

Here’s a tattoo for anarchist librarians who want to express themselves through body modifications.

Some prankster with bad taste has stolen the Baby Jesus and Mary figures from a nativity scene at a church in downtown Richmond (where I live). One of my collegues is quite upset about the loss of the Mary figure because it is the same mannequin they have been using since the fifties.

A lesbian couple has been named “cutest couple” at Crete-Monee High School in a Chicago suburb. I think it’s cool, except that I feel a little sorry for the girls having to deal with the controversy over it as well as coming out to their parents at the same time.