The Revenge of the Library Scientist

I like this opening line from This Story at Online Inc.

\"Much like the work of aircraft mechanics, library scientists don\'t get enough respect.\"

Before you jump all over them for saying \"library scientist\" instead of \"librarian\" give the article a read. It is very complimentary to librarians, of course there are pleanty of other reasons to jump on them:

\"There\'s a lot of insecurity among librarians about what they know that other people don\'t. The truth is that non-librarians often believe they can find and organize information.\"

Earth’s Largest Library in Sight?

Remember Steve Coffman\'s ELL story in Searcher? He proposed making an Amazonian library with all the Amazon benefits. Infotoday now Says OCLC\'s new strategy may just be on track to reach this goal. OCLC\'s new Four Corners strategy:

Metadata-Formerly called cataloging, but now expanded beyond the traditional OCLC records to new sources from a variety of partners and even some pre-publication metadata, all designed to serve the end-user and the librarian

Content Management-Will enable OCLC to help librarians manage their local collections, including archiving and digitizing local collections

Discovery/Navigation with the next generation of reference services, such as the Portal Management Service—Will help librarians create their own Web sites and portals, as well as effective interfaces for patrons dealing with the Extended World Catalog

Fulfillment-Rapid information-delivery services, including an integrated \"Click to Borrow or Buy\" feature.

I think most librarians would be happy if they just lowered their prices.


Getting a Good Read on Electronic Books

The LA Times has a Review of 3 e-Book readers, the REB1100 and REB1200, from RCA and the eBookMan from Franklin. The review is interesting enough, but the interviews and comments from Harold Bloom and others are just great.

\"I regard all this as one more horrible disaster,\" Bloom said. \"I hope it sinks without a trace.\"

\"If you are in search of information, go ahead and get an e-book. If you want to drown yourself in information, there is the Internet.
\"But if you are longing for wisdom, you need a real book.\"

Define Censorship

\"This exhibition hopes not so much to judge censors and censorship but instead to provoke questions. Every day some form of censorship occurs in the United States. This prevalence of the red pen in a country founded on the Bill of Rights suggests that most people consider some things or ideas too dangerous or offensive to be made widely available. Is there a line in the sand? And if so, where do you stand? Where are your limits of tolerance? As you move through the exhibition, we invite you to consider whether or not there are restrictions which you might impose on the First Amendment. Are there situations in which you might support the suppression of materials or ideas? Note, also, the silence which accompanies your journey through the exhibition, a poignant reminder of the voices suppressed through the ages.\"


France\'s library malaise returns

Charles Davis sent along This Story on The New Library in France. The computers and other sytems were so bad the staff went on Strike when it first opened in 1998. A fire ripped through one of its underground corridors a month ago, and now it has reopened, only to make the employees sick. The unidentified malaise causes violent headaches and a burning sensation in the throat and eyes.

\"As a precautionary measure, the library will not open again until we have the results of new chemical and bacteriological analysis.\"


Blind Ballots

Peacefire is back at it with the new report, \"Blind Ballots\".

\"Two blocking software, or censorware, products were tested to see if they filter out political candidates. Settings typically used in a library or school were tested. Numerous politicians were found to be censored by this software, which collectively is used in tens of thousands of schools and libraries across the country. Peacefire tested the Web sites of political candidates from a variety of parties, to see which were blocked by N2H2 Bess and Cyber Patrol, two of the most popular blocking software programs used in schools.

While blocking software companies often justify their errors by pointing out that they are quickly corrected, this does not help any of the candidates listed above. Their campaigns have been sabotaged in our public schools and libraries, and corrections made after Election Day do not help them at all.


Save the front page

Alert reader Charles Davis suggested This Story from

When the British Library decided to get rid of a historic archive of American newspapers Nicholson Baker was bought it for himself. Now he wants to save \'the raw store of history\' that microfilm and the internet are wiping out. He is also the one who sued the San Francisco Public Library under the Freedom of Information act to release details of its \"hate crime against the past\" a few years ago when they went on the book dumping binge.

\"Say your grandparents had a wedding picture in this paper: what difference would it make to you if you saw the actual paper, instead of printing it off microfilm? The first would link you directly to that past event - it\'s difficult to explain why that would be true, but it is. The past exerts a stronger pull, it becomes realer, more understandable somehow when you have the actual document and not a copy.\"

I think therefore IA?

Andrew Dillon has written a nice story for the ASIST Bulletin. He talks a bit about the mid-year summit 2000 in Boston, and issues that are facing the IA field. He says \"Now is the time for some testing of ideas, and as we know only too well, testing invariably leads to re-design and often the revisiting of original assumptions. Now it starts to get really interesting.\"
This column will appear in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science.

P2P Means Net Users Will Search One Another

In this article on,
Nicholas Mercader suggests
that early working models of the peer-to-peer file sharing concept are just the beginning of a major rethinking of search and retrieval on the Internet.


Troubles at e-Book World

ZD Net has a Report in the troubles at The e-Book World conference. The biggest worry at the conference was of course, $$$.

\"while it\'s a dead certainty that the publishing world will be rocked by e-books, he expected the true impact not to occur for another decade or two.

-Richard Sarnoff, president of Random House New Media and corporate development

I can\'t remember, did the Starship Enterprise visit e-Book World?

Filtering a good comprimise

Las Vegas Review-Journal has a Story with a different take on filtering for the kids terminals. The Library used to deny computer access and Internet information to children under 18 who did not have permission from their parents to use the resources. Now they put on filters and allow all kids access, librarians say there say they\'d rather see it that way.

\"\"I think it\'s a wonderful compromise,\" Pfeil said. \"It is censorship. We know that.\"

But the benefit, she said, \"is we\'re giving more children more access to more material than we were before, when they were required to get permission from their parents before they could even do word processing on our computers.\"


California still robbing coffers

Michael Lambert Ssuggested this
Story from S.F. Gate
entitled \"The Big, Greedy Monster\" by Deborah Wilder the mayor of Foster City. She says the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund is ripping off libraries in CA. $2 million would go back to the San Mateo County Library and nearly $7 million to the Santa Clara County Library, if they stop.

BMG + Napster = Docster?

Publisher\'s Weekly is running a Story on the Bertelsmann(BMG) / Napster thing. BMG owns Random House, who, I\'m sure you know makes more than a few books. This raises the question, will they turn napster into a Docster like system for all the E-Books Random puts out? Random says they have had no real discussions on this, yet.

\"we always look forward to exploring mutual interests with any company that can guarantee both the security and sanctity of the copyrights of our authors as well as their opportunity to receive fair compensation for their writing\"

Publishers Perish, Libraries Feel the Pain

Here\'s an interesting story from the
NY Times,
sent in by alert reader Irene Wood. The story is about
libraries cutting their serials and book buying just to
meet the sharply rising cost of scholarly journals. They
cover the big publisher Reed Elsevier, and the $3.5
billion buy out of Harcourt General. Librarians say
consolidation in the industry is causing prices to sky
rocket, while the publishers say it\'s due to big
increases in demand.

Now that strikes me as odd,
I have yet to read a single story about any increase in
journal holdings at any library anywhere. What about
your library? Are you increasing or decreasing
journal holdings?Why?


The Wait for an E-book Format

Publishers Weekly has a Story on how the E Book industry is nowhere near establishing a common format that will allow folks to read any e-book on any device they happen to own. Gemstar, Micrososft and Adobe are the big 3 in this arena, and they are fighting it out to see which one will make it.

\"When you look at Beta/VHS, or Apple vs. IBM, the winner was the one that was more open and allowed more access to what people wanted,\"--Tim Oreily

Problems Facing the Usability Community

John S. Rhodes has written an interesting story \"Trouble in Paradise: Problems Facing the Usability Community\" on about how tough things are on the usablity side of the net.

\"There are problems with usability and the usability community. This article is my attempt to raise some of the most important and interesting issues. In my opinion, usability as we know it is dying. It is outdated, misunderstood, and it faces very serious challenges in web and software development circles.\"

Good Libraries, poor memories

Boozhoo (Ojibwe for greetings),

Anishaabe poet, Professor Denise Sweet, speaking at the Wisconsin Library Association noted that a tribal elder had once told a European American librarian that they had \"GOOD LIBRARIES but POOR MEMORIES while the opposite was true for his people.\" Oral cultures have both advantages and disadvantages as compared to print and now media cultures.

This put me in mind of my article, The Catalog as Community,\" to be published in the magazine Library Computing and posted on my web site at the HAPLR web site indicated below.


Serious Censorship in China

Someone pointed me to this Story available at: Salon.

10 people went to prison Thursday for illegally printing and selling books. One defendant received a life term, after they were convicted of illegal business activities and producing obscene materials! So far this year party censors temporarily shut down at least 13 publishers and closed another.


New SACS Accreditation Criteria

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has released a proposed new set of standards for accreditation for colleges in their region. The proposed standards are alarmingly weak concerning libraries, where the previous standards were quite good and expected a high level of professionalism in library services. Academic librarians in the region are up in arms, trying to get the proposed standards changed. They may turn out to be successful, and they may not. It is a scary reminder that the place of librarianship and libraries is anything but secure, regardless of how you conceive of libraries and library service. The latest Library Juice has an article from TEXLINE, a newsletter of the Texas Library Association, on the issue, with links to relevant SACS documents, followed by some discussion from COLLIB-L, the listserv of the ACRL college libraries section, which give some insight into what is happening and what can be done about it.

Librarian\'s Lao Tzu

Someone suggested The Librarian\'s Lao Tzu by Andy Barnett.

\"The Tao te Ching is an ancient book of wisdom, the well spring of a great religion, Taoism. It has been translated many times, by such literary luminaries as Ursula K. LeGuin, Stephen Mitchell and Alan Watts. I do no possess even a modicum of their literary talent, poetic ability or knowledge of Eastern religions. I do have one advantage that they do not. Lao Tzu, the reputed author of the work, was a librarian. This is the first attempt by a fellow librarian to translate the Tao te Ching.\"



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