Believe it . . . or not.
Archives for August 2005
The New York Academy of Medicine, former host in the GL Conference Series, has signed on as co-sponsor in the Seventh International Conference on Grey Literature.
Here is the Text Release from the GL7 Program and Conference Bureau.
Molly Ivins has a piece in today’s Alternet.org on the issue of free speech (as in guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and the growing use of the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (aka "SLAPP"). The idea behind the SLAPP is that a large (or merely well-funded) corporate entity can bring these suits against people who publicly disagree with them, with the intention of the SLAPPed party shutting up due to lackof money to successfully defend against the suit. Trouble is that it works more often than not especially in major David vs. Goliath situations.
So I wonder if these suits have ever been used against a library or librarian. It wouldn’t take much, and it it’s not that different from folks merely stealing the books they don’t like out of libraries or resorting to political pressure to have books banned in libraries, schools, etc. Just wondering on this.
I think Gary North is a bit of a kook. I don’t agree with his politics or his religious view more than rarely, but having said that I read his Reality Check newsletter twice a week, because he sees things I don’t see, and that’s a big deal to me. You can never have too many ideas come your way.
So here’s the question: with library budgets getting smaller almost by the hour, has anyone seriously investigated using video technology to produce small -scale videos of the workings of libraries? I can imagine a bunch of applications for this: 5-minute technology demonstrations, sample reference interviews, tours of library service areas, etc., any one (or more) of which could be marketed online for almost no cost but with the potential to bring in additional funds. Who in libraryland has tried to do this in the past? Anyone? Did they succeed, and if so why? Did they fail? Granted, I don’t see any librarians dropping everything to become videographers any time soon, but is this not something to think about? Or am I merely crazy?
Anyway the article (including a few links) is below the cut; I’d really like to hear what people think of this.
"Google, the Naked Emperor," by Roy Tennant, from this week’s Library Journal.
The upshot: Google relies on search algorithms that do some things very well and other things (say, finding brand new web pages or even finding the last entry in the web index) very poorly. Google is just not in the business of providing information the same way Dialog is, so we need to keep these limitations in mind when searching to fill patron requests. Now let’s say it all together: "Hmmm . . . something to think about."
The reference staff of the New York Academy of Medicine has its own blog, now, which I was just informed of. (Actually, I knew about this a couple of weeks ago but between spending most of last week in California, and being swamped with testing/implementing LinkFinder Plus, I just got around to posting it now.
It’s mostly for internal use which means that you have to be invited to post to the blog, but anybody is free to read it. It’s got tons of info about items and projects that go on here, so I’d suggest you take a look through it if medical libraries are your thing. Even if it’s not your thing specifically, blogging seems to becoming more popular in libraryland by the hour, so why not us? I’m also kind of happy to see it since it means I’m free to not necessarily make every other post about NYAM, although I’ll still post links to features on our website from time to time.
The blog is here and I’ve also made it a permanent link in the typelist sidebar.
For those of you really into RSS feeds instead (or as well), Bloglines, which is a decent RSS reader can be found here. Also, a list of related feeds and explanations of what they are can be found at the University of Manitoba. Good stuff, yo. Enjoy!
This comes courtesy of Lily Pregill, NYAM’s Special Projects Mgr.:
Worth Remembering for the Google Addicted
Chris Sherman, points to a new study that shows that the various generic web search engines (the big 4), have even less overlap in their results than in previous studies and that’s not much overlap. You can find his posting here. Just how unique are the results on each engine? On average: 73.9% of Ask Jeeves first page results were unique to Ask Jeeves 71.2% of Yahoo first page results were unique to Yahoo 70.8% of MSN search first page results were unique to MSN search 66.4% of Google first page results were unique to Google Hmmmm. The study looked at results listings for more than 485,000 first page search results. First page results have two key qualities that are important. If I remember my old studies something like 98% of ‘ordinary’ searchers do not go past the third page of results and 95% don’t get past the first. Also, the first page is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for search engine optimization (SEO) consultants – those folks who attempt to ensure that their clients’ pages (not just their ads or sponsored links) show up on the first page of hits by using a wide range of techniques and strategies. The study also found that: 84.9% of total results are unique to one engine
11.4% of total results were shared by any two engines
2.6% of total results were shared by any three engines
1.1% of total results were shared by any four engines
It’s worth a quick read and the questions I would ask about our library strategies would be: 1. We offer many databases for searching inside the library’s walls and many for virtual access through our websites. I think that we can safely assume that the ‘quality’ information in our licensed resources has even less overlap with the public web content acessible through searches. 2. I think we can also assume that few hits in our licensed resources are being manipulated extensively by marketers and SEO experts. 3. Many of our library websites choose to offer our users a link to one or more of the popular search engines. With such little overlap in the search results (which could be driven by the sorting or search algorithm or by the web harvesting differences or even by the timing of the scrapes for the search index)should we be preferring a metasearch engine like Dogpile or building our own using federated searching technologies and OpenURL resolvers? 4. Can we get better service delivered to our users by combining OPAC results seamlessly into web searches? Our experience at SirsiDynix is that OPAC use goes up exponentially when users ‘trip’ over the results in a federated search instead of having to ‘remember’ to use the rich OPAC, usually a library’s most vauable asset when meaasured by investment over time. There are a lot of questions here and the answers may be quite different for different types of libraries and commnunities. It’s also interesting though. You can review stuff about Sirsi SingleSearch or Sirsi Resolver on our website.
Here’s a bit of librarian humor that’s just too funny not to share. Sometimes a good cartoon gets the point across better than reams of text.
I'm not sure how many folks reading this have an interest in foreign libraries,
but in case there are some of you out there, this is for you.
The IFLA Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records
is pleased to announce that a draft of "Functional Requirements for Authority Records"
is now available for worldwide review. The draft in English and French is on the IFLA
web site at http://www.ifla.org/VII/d4/wg-franar.htm
Comments can be sent to:
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
6565 Frantz Rd.
Dublin, OH 43017-3395
Fax: (614) 718-7187
Reply to Lisle: No, I’m not in jail, and in all honesty, nothing happened last week. I sent the note from my cell phone for the coolness factor, intending to follow up later in the day. When the incident took place, I was on my way to meet my boss to drive to New Rochelle for the 2005 New England Endeavor User Group meeting.
At any rate, the NYPD had six huge police officers stationed at the 63rd Drive subway stop in Queens that morning, and were basically searching anyone who a) had a backpack or briefcase and b) had a swarthy, sweaty, ("foreign") suspicious look to them, and I apparently qualified. Lots of white and Asian guys were walking through the turnstyles and going down to the platform, but not us olive skin types. And that neighborhood has tons of south Asians (Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, etc.) so the traffic was slow. I was surprised mostly because while I’ve been kicked out of places of business and had police stop me for being White before, I’ve never had it happen in NYC. For the record, neither my wife nor my sister were at all surprised–to them it was a matter of time before I got picked up for something. (But the NYPD does NOT racially profile. Really.)
Yesterday, I walked out of the 103rd Street stop on the 6 train in Manhattan so se another trio of gigantic NYPD cops ready to pull off any suspcious ("swarthy, sweaty Jews") characters off to the side to have their bag searched, but they ignored my that time. Maybe they weren’t interested in people coming out of the train, or maybe they figured seatrching a white guy in a blavk/hispanic neighborhood made no sense. I can’t figure it out, myself. But then I didn’t vote form Bloomberg and am not a NYPD cop.
You tax dollars at work, y’all.