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How OPACs Suck, Part 1: Relevance Rank (Or the Lack of It)

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on March 13, 2006 - 1:28pm

I recently wrote about NCSU adding a search engine to its online catalog. But after talking to librarians who asked me, “So what did they get for doing that?” I realized I need to back-pedal and explain how a search engine makes an online catalog easier to use (or, as Andrew Pace puts it, "Why OPACs Suck").

Cream Rising to the Top
I'll start today with relevance ranking—the building block of search, found in any search engine, from Google to Amazon to Internet Movie Database to little old Librarians' Internet Index. Read More »

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That Old Time Gestalt Experience

Submitted by Tom Peters on March 9, 2006 - 1:15pm

Tom Peters (not David Pogue)In today's online New York Times (no-cost subscription required), David Pogue has an interesting article ('Almost iPod, but in the End a Samsung') about the Samsung Z5 MP3 player as a pretender to the throne currently occupied by the iPod Nano.

If you're having a hard time imagining how a newspaper article about such a tight, techie topic could be interesting, let me tell you that I think this article really is about the gestalt experience of using any personal, portable infotainment / communication appliance, be it an MP3 player, cell phone, PDA, tablet PC, or anything else you can imagine. Read More »

A TechSource Conversation with Meredith Farkas

Submitted by Michael Stephens on March 6, 2006 - 7:26pm

HigherEdBlogCon 2006 Less than a month away is HigherEdBlogCon: Transforming Academic Communities with New Tools of the Social Web, a Web-based conference that “will focus on the use of blogs, wikis, RSS, audio and video podcasts, and other digital tools in a range of areas in academe.”
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The Monster Mashup

Submitted by Tom Peters on March 6, 2006 - 2:45pm

Tom Peters Head Shot

Lately, I've been wondering if the mashup will become one of the defining characteristics of information technology during this decade. Will we remember this era as much for the mashups as for the mass-digitization crashups? Mashups may rule, while snippets drool.

According to the Wikipedia (visited on March 4, 2006), a mashup in this sense is “…a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience." For example, if you're into downhill skiing, visit Ski Bonk for the latest integrated info, which mashes up ski resort reports, weather data, maps, and other data to create its service. Read More »

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On Change, Library 2.0, and ALA

Submitted by Michael Stephens on February 28, 2006 - 9:10pm

A few weeks ago, Jenny and I found ourselves at a meeting at ALA Headquarters talking about Web 2.0, learning, and Library 2.0 initiatives with some of the ALA division heads, Mary Ghikas, Senior Associate Executive Director, and the Otter Group's Kathleen Gilroy. As a result of that meeting (and some forward-thinking continuing-education interest and work on the part of Mary Ghikas and the Otter Group), Jenny and I are authoring content for, as well facilitating, an online prototype “Learning 2.0” program that ALA will launch this spring.

Learning 2.0
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When Owning Isn't Owning

Submitted by Jenny Levine on February 28, 2006 - 6:28pm

At the Ontario Library Association Superconference earlier this month, I argued that library schools need to offer a course in copyright, licensing agreements for electronic products, and digital rights management (DRM), because they all affect the future of how libraries will interact with our users as entertainment and information becomes increasingly digital. It's unfortunate that at a time when the broadcast flag is again rearing its ugly head and media and publishing companies continue to try to buy legislation giving them free rein with users' rights, most librarians are completely unaware of just how much these moves could affect them. Read More »

The Winds of Change

Submitted by Teresa Koltzenburg on February 22, 2006 - 7:27am

Zephyr Innovation Incubator ProgramMichael's last post provides a good segue into another nifty program offered through the Metropolitan Library System, which has offices in Burr Ridge and here in ALA-headquarter town, Chicago, IL.
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Are You Dreaming?

Submitted by Michael Stephens on February 20, 2006 - 5:31pm

Michael Stephens, librarian, educator, blogger, and dreamer"All I ever wanted was to know that you were dreaming..."

Allow me a tangent here today—not to really talk about technology directly, but to talk about innovation, thinking creatively, and looking at our services in a new way. I've been writing a lot and reading a lot to prepare my proposal for research at UNT, to start toward my dissertation.
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Lunch with Leslie

Submitted by Michael Stephens on February 17, 2006 - 11:02pm

Alan Gray, Darien (CT) Library, and Leslie Burger, ALA President-ElectWe were lucky to be heading to San Antonio's highly agreeable climate, though we were going there for different reasons: Michael for the ALISE Conference and Jenny for Midwinter.

Then came a note from Alan Gray, at Darien Library in Darien, Connecticut.
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On the Road with Jenny and Michael

Submitted by Teresa Koltzenburg on February 13, 2006 - 5:06am

Jenny explains how blogging helped the Metropolitan Library System (MLS) with information dissemination.Friday was the first date of the ‘Conversation, Community, Connection, and Collaboration: Practical, New Technologies for User-Centered Services' Road Show, and after some minor technical difficulty—which co-presenter Jenny Levine sportively referred to as ‘Technology Minus 2.0'—those of us in attendance settled in for a thought-provoking morning session.
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