Library Babel Fish

Library Babel Fish

A college librarian's take on technology

February 10, 2011 - 9:30pm
I've been teaching a seminar course for several years now designed for students who may be headed to grad school or who simply want to know more about the ins and outs of research. It meets once a week for a couple of hours and many students can fit it into their schedules without having to sacrifice another course or pay an overload.
February 3, 2011 - 10:00pm
I know gender inequality hasn't gone away, and that we are not living in a post-sexist society, but I can still be caught by surprise. For example, women buy and read the majority of books, but get the mouse's share of book review coverage. Women have opinions, but some 80% of published op/ed pieces have male names in the bylines.
January 27, 2011 - 11:00pm
One of my far-flung correspondents (well, not that far-flung; he lives in the Fargo-Moorhead area) sent me an intriguing job announcement today, with editorial comments. The position was at a good university where the librarians are certifiably brilliant, but it's an interesting commentary on collection development today.
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.

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