Delicious is still tasty to me

I can’t help feeling disappointed in how quickly folks jumped ship and stayed on the raft even when it became clear that it was just a leaky faucet and not a hole in the hull.

I’ve been seeing many of my friends and peers jump ship and move their social/online bookmarks to other services (both free and paid) since the Yahoo leak about Delicious being in the sun-setting category of products. Given the volume of outcry over this, I was pretty confident that either Yahoo would change their minds or someone would buy Delicious or someone would replicate Delicious. So, I didn’t worry. I didn’t freak out. I haven’t even made a backup of my bookmarks, although I plan to do that soon just because it’s good to have backups of data.

Now the word is that Delicious will be sold, which is probably for the best. Yahoo certainly didn’t do much with it after they acquired it some years ago. But, honestly, I’m pretty happy with the features Delicious has now, so really don’t care that it hasn’t changed much. However, I do want it to go to someone who will take care of it and continue to provide it to users, whether it remains free or becomes a paid service.

I looked at the other bookmark services out there, and in particular those recommended by Lifehacker. Frankly, I was unimpressed. I’m not going to pay for a service that isn’t as good as Delicious, and I’m not going to use a bookmarking service that isn’t integrated into my browser. I didn’t have much use for Delicious until the Firefox extension, and now it’s so easy to bookmark and tag things on the fly that I use it quite frequently as a universal capture tool for websites and gift/diy ideas.

The technorati are a fickle bunch. I get that. But I can’t help feeling disappointed in how quickly they jumped ship and stayed on the raft even when it became clear that it was just a leaky faucet and not a hole in the hull.

IL2009: Mashups for Library Data

Speakers: Nicole Engard

Mashups are easy ways to provide better services for our patrons. They add value to our websites and catalogs. They promote our services in the places our patrons frequent. And, it’s a learning experience.

We need to ask our vendors for APIs. We’re putting data into our systems, so we should be able to get it out. Take that data and mash it up with popular web services using RSS feeds.

Yahoo Pipes allows you to pull in many sources of data and mix it up to create something new with a clean, flow chart like interface. Don’t give up after your first try. Jody Fagan wrote an article in Computers in Libraries that inspired Engard to go back and try again.

Reading Radar takes the NYT Bestseller lists and merges it with data from Amazon to display more than just sales information (ratings, summaries, etc.). You could do that, but instead of having users go buy the book, link it to your library catalog. The New York Times has opened up a tremendous amount of content via APIs.

Bike Tours in CA is a mashup of Google Maps and ride data. Trulia, Zillow, and HousingMaps use a variety of sources to map real estate information. This We Know pulls in all sorts of government data about a location. Find more mashups at ProgrammableWeb.

What mashups should libraries be doing? First off, if you have multiple branches, create a Google Maps mashup of library locations. Share images of your collection on Flickr and pull that into your website (see Access Ceramics), letting Flickr do the heavy lifting of resizing the images and pulling content out via machine tags. Delicious provides many options for creating dynamically updating lists with code snippets to embed them in your website.

OPAC mashups require APIs, preferably those that can generate JavaScript, and finally you’ll need a programmer if you can’t get the information out in a way you can easily use it. LexisNexis Academic, WorldCat, and LibraryThing all have APIs you can use.

Ideas from Librarians: Mashup travel data from circulation data and various travel sources to provide better patron services. Grab MARC location data to plot information on a map. Pull data about media collection and combine it with IMDB and other resources. Subject RSS feeds from all resources for current articles (could do that already with a collection of journals with RSS feeds and Yahoo Pipes).

Links and more at her book website.

IL2009: Creating Connections & Social Reference in Libraries

Presenter: Margaret Smith

Traditional reference has been one-on-one, but now there are options online for many-to-one reference, such as Yahoo! Answers, Askville, AskMetafilter, etc. The problem is that not all of the hives are equal in the quality of the answers they provide. For an example, look up "where do deer sleep?" sometime.

One of the benefits of social reference sites is that they generate a reference bank of questions and answers that can be linked to when/if someone asks the same question again. These can be both public forums like AskMetafilter, or a private forum like something you develop internally for your library or organization. Similarly, you can use wiki software to create an interactive social reference tool, but unlike a forum, it isn’t designed to make new content the most prominent.

One of the biggest challenges of implementing social reference sites is getting answers to the questions. A frustrating aspect of some social reference sources is an overwhelming number of unanswered questions. Your library can use any of the "free" services that are out there, or go with one of the vendor services like LibAnswers, just make sure you actively engage with it.

choir tour follow-up

Yes, I meant to write a bit about the tour of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary that my choir went on over spring break, but then I got overwhelmed with catching up after being gone for ten days. And then Computers in Libraries. Yikes!

I may share some stories here and there as they come to me, but the best I can give you now are the photos (a few with detailed notes), which I’m still processing and uploading to Flickr in short chunks.

thing 12: Rollyo

Blogcritics used Rollyo for a while a couple of years ago, and I was never happy with the search results or the way they were displayed. It could have been some setting that BC used, but I assumed it had more to do with the way Rollyo works.

When I was at Blogworld last fall, I chatted with the folks at the Lijit booth for a while and made a note to take a look at their product when I got home. Apparently so did Phillip Winn, the Blogcritics Chief Geek, because not long after, Lijit replaced Rollyo as the site’s search tool. It’s worked out well.

Rollyo’s web search is powered by Yahoo Search, so I can’t see why I would want to use it as a general search engine. I think that Rollyo’s best value is as a search engine that looks at a specific collection of websites. This might be handy in a library if you have, for example, a number of different digital collections being served up from different domains or subdomains. With a Rollyo (or similar) service, you could build a single search interface for them. That is, if you don’t mind sending your users to a site that mixes in six paid links for each page of ten results, in addition to side-bar advertisements.

thing 5 & 6: flickr

So, we’ve been doing this thing at work following the Learning 2.0 model that Helene Blowers developed for the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County a few years ago. We’re on week three and thing five & six, which involve posting something on Flickr (been doing that since March 2005), adding it to the pool, and then blogging about the experience. Alternatively, participants can find an interesting photo on Flickr and include it in a blog entry (with proper attribution, of course).

For me, doing the basics was nothing new, so that part was… well… boring. However, it leads into thing six, which is to explore Flickr mashups. I made this using the Spell with Flickr tool:
E C coloured card disc letter l DSC_1576 c T C
DSC_1410 Copper Uppercase Letter I Brass Letter B _R (2 days left) A R i a in the pavement, kalmar, sweden McElman_080417_6572_N

I have played with Tag Galaxy before, and I have an old Librarian Trading Card. I decided to make a new card, and I’ve bookmarked the color pickr for later use.

For my fellow TechLearners and anyone else out there who cares, I suggest you don’t use Flickr’s Uploadr if you need to upload a bunch of images (as in, more than 10). Something broke with version 3.0 and more often than not I get upload errors when I try to use it. I have not tried it on the Mac, so it’s possible that my problems are Windows-specific.

acrl northwest 2006 – photos

I didn’t take any pictures at ACRL Northwest because my camera is currently being fixed by Canon. However, there is a Flickr tag for the photos other people took. Right now Jessamyn is the only one who has uploaded and tagged photos from the conference, but hopefully the other photographers I saw there will add … Continue reading “acrl northwest 2006 – photos”

I didn’t take any pictures at ACRL Northwest because my camera is currently being fixed by Canon. However, there is a Flickr tag for the photos other people took. Right now Jessamyn is the only one who has uploaded and tagged photos from the conference, but hopefully the other photographers I saw there will add theirs soon.

writing

It’s been a quiet month here at eclectic librarian dot net…. Actually, my non-digital life has been eventful and not at all quiet or boring. However, very little of it has been relevant to the focus of this blog, so I haven’t written much about it. Also, I’ve been saving my creative literary juices for … Continue reading “writing”

It’s been a quiet month here at eclectic librarian dot net…. Actually, my non-digital life has been eventful and not at all quiet or boring. However, very little of it has been relevant to the focus of this blog, so I haven’t written much about it. Also, I’ve been saving my creative literary juices for an essay I am contributing to a book about electronic resource librarians. I will need every drop of those creative literary juices if I’m going to get anything decent cranked out. I’ll be happy when it’s done. Formal writing is unpleasant and bothersome.

One thing that I have learned about myself in writing this essay is that my perception of the digital revolution is skewed in a way I had never fully realized before. My family first purchased a PC in the late 1980s. It had two 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drives and no hard drive to speak of. The monitor was green monochrome, and although we had a mouse, we rarely needed to use it. In grade school through high school, I used various Apple computers and the occasional PC, but none of them were networked. I began college in 1994 and discovered the networked computer labs. My concept of the whole thing was still very hazy, but I understood that the computers were all connected to each other somehow, and more importantly, to the printer. In the spring of 1995, I received my first email account. I didn’t know anyone to email besides my friends at the university. I still remember a painful telephone conversation with the father of my high school best friend, trying to transcribe the @ symbol so I could email my friend. However, by the fall of 1996, my university connected with the World Wide Web, and a whole new world was opened up to me. I discovered Yahoo! and listservs and guitar tablature and and…

To me, the Internet began in 1995/1996. Over time, that has evolved to include integrated library systems, online public access catalogs, and just about anything electronic in libraries, even though I know better. In high school I used an OPAC terminal to look up books at my local public library, and I have vague recollections of using a telnet session to search ArticleFirst and WorldCat for research in the first few years of college. These things existed long before my experiences with the Internet, but over the years I have forgotten or ignored that fact, and it is coming back to haunt me now.

My essay is about the evolution of serials librarians to electronic resource librarians, where applicable. Once again, my own perspective has come in to trip me up. Before I started my research, I placed the beginning of the electronic revolution somewhere around 1999/2000. Probably because that is when I became more aware of electronic resources and ceased using print indexes for research. In reality, it was a decade or two earlier. My fear is that my skewed perceptions of the history of technology will taint the essay and make me look like a complete fool to my colleagues. Then again, if they have been reading this blog, they already know me for the fool I am.

how popular are you?

I heard a piece this evening on Future Tense about a website where you can see how you rank against all AIM users. AIM Fight scores you based on how many buddy lists include your screen name. The commentators noted that youth are more likely to have high scores compared to adults since youth use … Continue reading “how popular are you?”

I heard a piece this evening on Future Tense about a website where you can see how you rank against all AIM users. AIM Fight scores you based on how many buddy lists include your screen name.

The commentators noted that youth are more likely to have high scores compared to adults since youth use AIM and other instant message systems to communicate with each other. I wish more of my friends and colleagues were online and using AIM/MSN/Yahoo instant messengers. Sometimes instant message is the best way to contact someone with a quick question or comment.

My score is 647 – what’s yours?

do your worst

I’m totally fascinated with the new photo pool over at Flickr called Do Your Worst. Those of you reading this via RSS probably saw my contribution to the pool come through yesterday. My favorite so far is this one:

I’m totally fascinated with the new photo pool over at Flickr called Do Your Worst. Those of you reading this via RSS probably saw my contribution to the pool come through yesterday. My favorite so far is this one:

do your worst photo