Library Babel Fish
A college librarian's take on technology
A college librarian's take on technology
January 19, 2011 - 5:15am
Sisters in Crime, a mystery writer's organization of which I am a member, has recently released a study of mystery book buyers conducted by the folks at Bowker.
January 11, 2011 - 9:00pm
Wikipedia will celebrate its tenth birthday at the end of this week. It's one of those anniversaries, like the recent twentieth anniversary of the Internet, that makes you realize how ubiquitous a particular tool has become.
January 3, 2011 - 9:15pm
When I was planning to attend a conference in San Francisco last fall, I had to find a cheaper hotel than the conference venue if I was going to be able to afford to attend for more than one night. I found a small hotel a mile away that was half the price and had good online reviews. But how safe was that neighborhood? I went to EveryBlock to find out. Some property crime, a touch of auto theft, no homicides and the numbers overall were as low as you could want in an urban neighborhood. I booked a room.
December 21, 2010 - 3:45am
Browsing RSS feeds is always an adventure, yanking me around from dystopia to utopia as I go from one link to another. Here are some of the stories from the dark side that have recently surfaced among my reading material.
December 16, 2010 - 9:15pm
The library is never more packed than during fall final exams. A few students are still approaching the reference desk with the kinds of questions we're used to, only tighter deadlines. ("I need some sources for this paper that's due in, uh ... two hours. Oh, and the teacher said they need to be scholarly.") Most of the questions we get, though, are asking for advice on how to cite something that isn't described in whatever style manual the student is required to use.
December 6, 2010 - 9:15pm
Google launched on Monday . They have a happy little video about it. It's all about choice! You can choose any book and read it anywhere on any device! Sounds pretty sweet. their e-book retail platform But it's not quite true. Google would like us to think that they've digitized every book, that any book ever published that you may want to read can be plucked from the cloud and read anywhere.
December 2, 2010 - 9:01pm
Libraries are often in a tricky place when it comes to removing books from the collection. It makes some people think we we are so enamored of shiny new electronic toys that we have turned our backs on the traditional purpose of libraries, or that we want to devote space to trendy espresso bars and gaming rooms for adolescents who should be writing papers instead of goofing off. Sometimes we are so eager to demonstrate how hip we are, it makes some people think we hate books and the people who love them. And when we actually throw books away, those awful suspicions are confirmed.
November 22, 2010 - 9:30pm
Can you remember what life was like before the Internet? I can ... but barely. I remember sending my first e-mail, and putting the entire message in the subject line, not knowing how it worked; the person to whom I was responding kindly phoned me up to explain it to me. I remember using Gopher, burrowing down through files and folders to see what was there. I recall a friend telling me about a new development that he thought would change everything, and it did; he was describing the World Wide Web and the browser that opened the door to just about everything.
November 15, 2010 - 10:00pm
Librarians and faculty in the disciplines have different lines of sight on students who struggle to find sources and use them effectively in writing. Faculty tend to see the Alpha and the Omega: they explain the assignment, often at length, to get the students started, and then puzzle over the wreckage once they get the results. ("What? But I explained this . .
November 11, 2010 - 9:45pm
The buzz at the recent Charleston Conference (and practically every other recent conference at which academic librarians have gathered) is a combination of new formats and a new collection development philosophy, shifting from print collections with titles chosen by librarians and faculty to making thousands of e-books available and letting the purchasing choices be made by "patrons"--an old-fashioned term for library users of all stripes, a large contingent of which are undergraduates writing "research papers" that