Blogs

Mid-semester

:S It's the middle of the semester. I thought the 'scary' projects were done. I was totally wrong. :O There are midterms!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. LOL I'll get back to reading ......... at this point I'm juggling school, work and the baby. School work continues, work is fine and the baby is officially 2 years old.

The fiancee finally understands the difficulties of juggling home work and school. He's really pitching in! That means I can take a short break when I get home. Yay!

Over the past month, I learned how to use powerpoint - very cool application. I'm still trying to learn HTML on my own - I couldn't go to all the workshops by the LIS Web Team at school - oh well - maybe I can attend them next semester.

Currently, in Intro to Information and Reference we just finished a search exercise on bibliographies. Our last exercise was on encyclopedias. Overall - really interesting and informative class.

sigh
time to read ....... :S or sleep LOL

Aloha

A Spider in Every Pot

Spidey Sense

One of the most important features of a library filtering system is the ability to add white lists. A white list is a list of websites or URLs which is not to be blocked. White lists allow libraries to ensure that they have control over the filters they install.

One way of compiling white lists is to simply take a book mark file and add all the sites it contains. This is efficient and means that a librarian’s work creating resources for a particular topic can be easily integrated into an internet filter which allows white lists. Similarly, it is quite easy to make a white list using third party resources such as the Kaiser Filter study’s list of 100,000 health sites.

However, the next step is the creation and sharing of specific topic white lists. While these can be compiled by hand, a better alternative exists: the spider. A spider is a little bit of code which follows hyperlinks around the web and stores the URLs it finds. Set a spider on a single website from a Google search and it will follow all of the links from that site out onto the internet.

Using a spider a librarian can compile a list of sites on a given topic in a matter of minutes. Depending upon how the spider is set, this sort of raw list can include hundreds, sometimes thousands, of sites. This raw list is the beginning of a topic white list.

Spidering strategies often include multiple passes and beginning the spider at different websites; but the goal is the same, to build a comprehensive raw list of topic related sites.

It is vital to remember that spiders are remarkably dumb animals. They go after every link. So a raw list has to be edited. But the editing process is a fairly straightforward process of eliminating duplicates and irrelevant sites. Once this pruning has been done a spidered list becomes a number of different things.

First, it is a resource in itself for a library. A library can direct its users to a webpage or pages where lists or useful websites are grouped by category.

Second, it is potentially a resource for all libraries as these lists can easily be shared and posted to a central location (perhaps the ALA.)

Third, by adding these hand edited white lists to filtering programs able to accept whitelists, a library ensures that its filtering becomes more an more accurate. Filtering programs are not perfect. At best they can be “trained� to make fewer and fewer mistakes over time.

Spiders came up recently as we were looking for ways to enhance our web filter for the library market. For obvious reasons, spiders are one of the tools in a filtering company’s kit. IF2K built its own so it can offer the spider as part of its filter. The question is, would libraries want to have this tool in their kit?

Likely it will be included in any event, but feed back would be appreciated.

I've been cited!

Oh. My. God. My XML paper from last year in CCQ has just been cited in LRTS!

Kim, K.S. 2003. Recent work in cataloging and classification, 2000-2003. Library Resources and Technical Services 47(3): 96-108.

Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a little while.

MLIS student's first ever entry.

Since this is my first post, I'm going to declare this journal an experiment. The journal is going to be used to help me decide which career/interest path to take as a librarian once I graduate with my MLIS. I'll discuss my current (and ever-changing) interests in library science and librarianship, and I'll try to focus over the next 2 years (and one summer?) on what kind of librarian I'll be when I grow up.

If anyone happens to read this journal, please free to offer advice and suggestions if you have any!

Boring meeting game

Thought you all might enjoy this-- Steffers

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars?
What about those long and boring conference calls?

Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) your next meeting, seminar, or conference call,prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5"x 5" is a good size.

Divide the card into columns-five across and five down.

That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each
block:


* synergy

* strategic fit

* core competencies

* best practice

* bottom line

* revisit

* take that off-line

* 24/7

* out of the loop

* benchmark

* value-added

* proactive

* win-win

* think outside the box

* fast track

* result-driven

* empower (or empowerment)

* knowledge base

* at the end of the day

* touch base

* mindset

* client focus(ed)

* paradigm

* game plan

* leverage

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrase .

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

Testimonials from satisfied "Bullshit Bingo" players:*

> "I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won."- Jack W., Boston

> * "My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically."- David D.,Florida

> * "The atmosphere was tense in the last process meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." - Ben G., Denver

> * "The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed 'BULLSHIT!' for the third time in two hours."- Kathleen L., Atlanta

I like coffee. In much the same way that I like air

Today's User Friendly pretty much sums it up.

Where's the expert when you need her

So I spent two hours this morning in a Web OPAC working group meeting talking about the gory bits of MARC 21, and this all happens just when my MARC 21 expert contact isn't available, so I've got to figure it all out for myself. Fortunately, MARC's no worse that IEEE standards, so I should be able to manage.

Finding Balance

Here's my problem.
I want to know Linux, CSS, PERL, PHP, and Slsahcode inside and out. I want to be an expert at those things, write about them, and use them. I'm pretty good at most, if not all currently. The trouble is, I can't write about them if I am using them, I can't tell others how to use them, because I spend too much time actually using them. I want to write more, in this case write = writing journal articles, print stuff. I see people doing wonderful things in print, and on the web, and I think to myself, "how the hell do they have any time to do that?" and myself answers "well, maybe they don't sleep?"
Then again, maybe they don't run LISNews/LISHost.
I figure I actually have the freedom to choose what I do most of the time, and I choose to keep LISNews & LISHost going at this point in my life. If I want to spend time doing other things, reading, writing, and such, then whatever it is that takes up most of my 16 hours of awake time needs to be re-prioritized. If I am posting 16 stories a day to LISNews I am not writing elsewhere, if I am killing bugs in slashcode, or helping someone set up MT on LISHost, I am unable to read a new book I boght.
Work, my day job, takes up no small percentage of my awake time, and then there's all the other things, lately it's been the wedding, but things like that will always come up. I am beginning to feel like I need to find a different balance point, less of something, more of others. I don’t want to lose my chops, but at the same time, I'd like to get other things done.

Are those who teach/write about all this unable to actually use most of what they write/teach? I don't see how one can have time to be an expert, and do other things as well.

Off to Chicago and Louisville

Okay, so I get all jazzed about LISNews, now I'm off to Chicago and Louisville for a week or so. Part vacation, part family time. It'll be fun, but I dislike being off the net for so long.

Review: Hopeless Savages : Ground Zero

Hopeless Savages : Ground Zero is an excellent graphic novel. Born to two rockers, and lead singer in her own band, Zero falls for Ginger, a smart guy destined to go to MIT. Their romance has a bumpy start, as Zero's mum is reminded of her own youth. Making matters worse is the television crew, taping the story of the story of Zero's parents careers.

Not a great review, but it's an awesome book. Suitable for teens, no traditional profanity or sex. Highly reccommended for a YA graphic novel collection.

My goal is to write at least one review a week. I intend to use this journal as record of the books I've read. Feedback is welcome.

Oasis Morning

Deadlines. Deadlines. I could use that 'non-word' pro**astinate, but I'll hold it back. It's not that, just that the topic I have due before the end of the day is huge. I'm up to 4500 words, and growing by the minute. Probably 5500 by the end, with 6-8 images. It may be too big, but that's why the Creator (or whatever you prefer) made editors. Oasis/Massive Attack/Smashing Pumpkins is keeping me sane and typing.

Music to search by....

Sunday afternoons are meant for football (American) and rest. But the other parts of the week are meant to search. Give me a good telnet client, a complex search strategy, and some solid music to search by. Somedays, when Laura and I are searching next to each other, we prefer Groove Salad on Soma FM, othertimes we listen to our collection of MP3s: Oasis, Beth Orton, Cold Play, Roxy Music. Maybe LISNews needs a music to-search-by poll?

Sunday morning coffee

Hmmm...need coffee, didn't get it, so then I commented on an article about magic and witches. Hope I don't get flamed on it, but the lack of caffeine should be a legitimate excuse.

Oooh....first entry

Well, just got onto LISNews after reading for a while. I plan on adding a few things here, although I will be posting most of my thoughts on a 'to-be-implemented' movable type website on my server in a few weeks.

Dickson County Library

Yup, I applied to be the Director there. Went through the interviews and was offered the job. Thought about it, looked hard at the pros and cons, and in the end; thanks to a couple of friends, opted not to take the job. Gave the reason of the pay not being enough. THANK YOU to the friends that warned me off of that fiasco. I truly wish I could have taken that job, had there been more incentive for me to take it I would have gladly; but a low salary, a looming budget crisis, and a couple of personal reasons thrown in, I am glad I didn't. When I did turn it down, I was offered, almost immediately, a promotion in the system I work for now. Made me even gladder I stayed. A lot of old boys networking and small town politics in this one. VERY ugly.

Thanks!

First off, thanks to all who responded to my last journal entry. There were some great stories in there from people who've been through the same thing. :-)

I still haven't gotten a straight answer about it all but I have made an appointment to talk to the head of Branch Services. So, he should have some insight into the whole thing (I hope). If he doesn't then I am back to the HR director. Anyways, thanks to all who wrote me. I'll let you know what (if anything) I hear.

LISNews Happenings - Mail and some Stats

The import script seems to be ready to roll. It’s going to suck all the email addresses out of the old ezmlm mailing list, and turn them into brand new accounts, with the daily newsletter option turned on. The “daily� newsletter is now going to run only on Monday Wednesday and Friday. This still leaves the weekly list to deal with. I think I’m going to have to kill that, and roll it into the regular list. I simply don’t have the time to make a weekly option for the slashcode at this point, nor do I have the time to worry about that list floating around out there, should I leave the weekly list live. If all goes well I’ll make the magic happen next week. I want this all worked our before I leave for Hawaii.
So that’s that…

In other LISNews news, the journals have been so much fun to watch. I’m quite happy with how much they are being used, I had rather low expectations, and have been proven wrong. There’s even been some discussion on some of the journals.

Moderation participation is about what I expected, there’s a few people doing a lot of moderation, a few other people doing it once in a while, and most people not at all, or maybe just once. The # of comments seems to be about the same on the new code as it was on the old. Over all, visits, hits, page views, and all that jazz are slowly trending up.
Last month we had about 3,500 visitors a day, served about 12,450 pages a day, all that from around 61,000 hits a day. Those are the number from last month, and the stats were down for a few days in there, so the real numbers are a bit higher.

Some more interesting findings in the logs…

Referrals:
1. (no referral) 68,694 66.67%
2. www.google.com/search 12,261 11.90%
3. search.yahoo.com/search 4,225 4.10%
4. radio.userland.com/newsAggregator 3,908 3.79%
5. frontier.userland.com/xmlAggregator 1,111 1.08%
6. www.google.ca/search 982 0.95%
7. aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search 754 0.73%
8. mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter 476 0.46%
9. www.steakandcheese.com/content/browse.asp 446 0.43%
10. google.com.au/search 416 0.40%

As you can see it’s almost entirely a google world for us. LISJobs, librarian.net and BetweenTheStacks are the only 3 “real� sites that made it into the top 25 referrers, and none of them sent in more than .11% of total sessions. I’m never quite sure what to make of those numbers. I guess with 66% of people coming in with no referral it means most people who read LISNews already know we’re here.

Top Keywords from those:
1. (no referral) 81,162 78.77%
2. harry potter book six 790 0.77%
3. pick up lines 662 0.64%
4. welchia virus 659 0.64%
5. librarian action figure 442 0.43%
6. pickup lines 241 0.23%
7. sixth harry potter book 237 0.23%
8. harry potter sixth book 230 0.22%
9. bush demonstrating genuine leadership 220 0.21%
10. pick-up lines 183 0.18%

The top keywords lead me to believe that not everyone is happy finding LISNews.

Most popular pages:
1. /lisnews.rss 57,906 16.04%
2. /article.pl 54,175 15.00%
3. /index.pl 34,286 9.50%
4. /article.php3 32,366 8.96%
5. /search.pl 20,483 5.67%
6. /comments.pl 19,535 5.41%
7. /relocate.pl 12,300 3.41%
8. /rss/descriptions.rss 8,889 2.46%
9. /robots.txt 4,898 1.36%
10. /users.pl 4,292 1.19%
11. /index.rss 4,076 1.13%
12. /wireless_descriptions.rss 3,499 0.97%
13. /submit.pl 3,134 0.87%
14. /articles.rss 2,646 0.73%
15. /favicon.ico 2,596 0.72%

Our feeds our crazy popular now. It’s been fun watching the incredible growth in popularity of RSS. Having an RSS feed was one thing LISNews was way ahead of the curve on.

Reasonable time between interview and job notification?

Hi all.

I need to pick the collective brain. What do you consider a reasonable length of time between an interview and notification of filling the position?

I interviewed for a public service position around 3 months ago and I heard this week that they still have not made a decision. (This would be a promotional position for me) It boggles my mind that they would treat staff this way, and I wonder whether outside applicants have gotten the same treatment. I should add that this interview was to fill 2 positions, one of which has been filled. When that position was filled, they notified other applicant but not me, even though I interviewed to be eligible for BOTH positions. I am irritated by this and wondered if anyone out there could give me advice on how to tactfully express my indignance over this. TIA

The Mailing Lists

So I’m about halfway to having the old mailing list moved over to the new slashcode. For those of you on the mailing list (The headlines that come out Mon Wed and Fri) hopefully my messages made some sense. If not, let me try again.
The way I see it, LISNews is made up of 2 parts at the moment. The web site, and the mailing lists. The lists (there’s 2, one 3 times a week, and one weekly) have been around for a few years. Originally I hacked some code together, and lately they’ve been running on a program called ezmlm (it’s like Listserv, but free). There’s still about 1800 people on the 2 lists. The problem is those lists still take up no small amount of time for me. So I need to move those names into the slashcode, and then change the slashcode daily mailer code to just go out on Monday Wednesday and Friday. I won’t even pretend I could make a weekly option at this point.
So far I’m able to create a new user account from a file, and I’ve almost got it emailing the password and user name. Once I get that working I need to hack the slashcode mailing function, and then import all the names from the lists into slashcode.

Someone who knows PERL and Slashcode could’ve done this in an hour or 2, but it takes some time for me to do things with Slashcode still, so I hope to have this done some time next week, if I’m lucky. The goal is to have it done before I go to Hawaii. The hidden goal are to make my life easier.

excitement in the basement

Is this some sort of comment on tech services work?

This morning we came in at the butt-crack o'dawn to find the biggest (seriously, it was huge) cockroach I have ever seen sitting on the wall above a desk. We had to call a maintenance man to come "take care" of it, since we're all wussies when it comes to bugs that can take off a finger. I tell you what, a large bug like that will wake you up faster than coffee though.

Syndicate content