Jul 23
2:41 PM

Google launches Wikipedia competitor

Google’s Knol is now up and running!  A knol is “a unit of knowledge” according to the page (i have to look that one up).  Like Wiki, people can add their own knowledge pages.  But these are signed by the authors, making them a bit more responsible for their knols.  They range from how to unstop a toilet to how to backpack to everything you wanted to know about syphilis to how to make the best cole slaw.

Eclectic?  You bet, but that is the nature of a wikipedia!  Oops, I meant online knol. Sorry.

Jul 23
2:28 PM

digital age is destroying us by ruining our ability to concentrate

what? nothing new…but…

oh yeah…this guy Brian Appleyard is ironically trying to concentrate on reading a book called Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson while thinking about all the distractions in life and work.

The theory he talks about is scary: “Chronic distraction, from which we all now suffer, kills you more slowly [than smoking]….[T]here is evidence that people in chronically distracted jobs are, in early middle age, appearing with the same symptoms of burn-out as air traffic controllers. They might have stress-related diseases, even irreversible brain damage. But the damage is not caused by overwork, it’s caused by multiple distracted work.”

I am freaked because that is the essence of what librarians do — jump from one request to the next, switching gears and brain lobes and whatnot.  It is all too, too…what was I going to say?  Anyway, just read it for yourself, here.

Jul 18
3:45 PM

California Bar Allows CLE For Virtual Program on Second Life

It happened here first!

According to Legal PadSecond Life (the virtual reality world) is now hosting a four-part speaker series — sponsored by the Second Life Bar Association, of course!  The first session about copyright and trademark infringement had about 25 avatar attendees. Except for a few glitches, it went well. 

But leave it to the law librarian to get the worst of it: “Kate Fitz, the Sacramento County law librarian who was instrumental in getting accreditation for the program, said a glitch caused her “nice suit skirt” to look like bike shorts.”

Now I have to work on my virtual fashion sense?  I am doomed.

Jul 17
2:30 PM

New Copyright Protection Info-meter!

The American Library Association has come up with a digital slide rule that is designed to help figure out if a work is copyright protected.  The numerous exceptions — and the exceptions to the exceptons — are shoe-horned in, so it displays a lot of “maybes” in the answer boxes. Check it out here.

Jul 11
2:33 PM

Google disses librarians — hisses heard ’round the info-highway!

We poor librarians!  We scour the earth for just the bit of information that someone needs to finish their paper/article/project/brief or whatever, and what do we get?  A big fat ZERO.

From Google, that is.  Librarians have long complained about Google’s lack of responsiveness on Google’s very own Librarian Central blog (styled “Your official source for Google tips, news, and updates.”)  How dare they ignore us?  Don’t they know we are the gatekeepers to the info highway? Well, today we got our answer.

Google closed it down. Shut it down. Called it quits. Returned to sender.  Whatever.

Instead, they say it will send out a newsletter “every few months.” Who are they kidding? I, for one, will not be ignored!  [sounds of much gnashing of teeth]…oh, who am I kidding? Ya can’t fight city hall….

Jul 10
10:28 AM

Where did all the newsprint go?

Interesting op piece in the LA Times online about how the clash of Old and New Media has opened up “a historical bonanza” of free information to readers.  There is a back and forth between two news junkies about the future of newspapers vs. blogs, and the fact that old news paradigms have pretty much been obliterated by a culture shift with some degree of fault pointed at mainstream journalism’s arrogance. Read more here.

Jul 9
10:38 AM

Library borrower ends up behind bars!

According to a Yahoo article “a man accused of checking out hundreds of books and DVDs from libraries around the Denver area and then trying to sell them will be doing all his library borrowing from now on behind bars.”

This guy was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $53,549 in restitution after checking out about 1,400 books and DVDs!

Doesn’t the Denver library system have a limit on how many items you can borrow???

Jul 7
11:39 AM

The joy of browsing through old books…

What can I say?  I am a librarian, so in addition to those nifty online information systems I still love books. Online bookseller AbeBooks.com recently asked its vendors about the strangest things they’ve found in used books. The list will surprise you: a Christmas card from L. Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie card, a diamond ring, a strip of bacon, $40,000, a World War II U.S. ration book, and even “a holographic image of a lady who sheds her clothing,” among other items.

We get donations pretty regularly.  You can be sure I will be inspecting them a lot more closely in the future!