Library Babel Fish

Library Babel Fish

A college librarian's take on technology

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
November 1, 2010 - 9:45pm
Project Information Literacy has a new report out based on surveys of over 8,000 undergraduate students at 25 campuses, as well as some follow-up interviews. The findings are both cheering and sobering.
October 26, 2010 - 8:45pm
At the risk of e-mail overload, I still find it useful to belong to some old-fashioned discussion lists that engage different communities in discussion. Sometimes they set up intriguing resonances.
October 21, 2010 - 10:01pm
As Open Access Week comes to a close, I thought I would share some ideas that bubbled up last year in a weekly column I write for Library Journal's Academic Newswire.
October 10, 2010 - 8:45pm
I've been following the Georgia State case in which publishers sued the university over e-reserves and am trying to read the tea leaves in the federal district judge's recent ruling on the motions to dismiss filed by each side. It looks like good news for now.
October 3, 2010 - 9:00pm
Last week, I was involved in a virtual summit on e-books to which I was probably invited to serve as a semi-notorious Curmudgeon-at-Large.
September 30, 2010 - 2:45pm
I am composing this Babel post without an internet connection, trying to put it together as I airport-hop my way to a conference. It's a curiously disorienting sensation, trying to write without reference to web content, because these posts tend to be a woven from things I've been reading and it feels as wrong to write without linking as it would be write a paper without references. But I'll give it a try and try to add the links in later, when I return to the connected world. Meanwhile, it's remarkably apt to be so disconnected as I write about the disconnected scholar.
September 24, 2010 - 10:00am
The publishing industry should give two individuals awards for doing as much as Oprah to promote books: Jon Stewart and Joshua Kim. Stewart not only talks about several serious books a week on The Daily Show, he even gives the impression he's read them. Joshua Kim reads so much he puts this librarian to shame, but I love the fact that he shares his enthusiasm for books and regularly asks what we're reading - and my to-be-read list keeps growing as a result.

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