Information Retrieval

FTC Issues Final Rule on Free Annual Credit Reports

Under the final rule, the nationwide CRAs must establish a “centralized source� for accepting consumer requests for free credit reports (called annual file disclosures in the final rule). This centralized source must include a dedicated Internet Web site, a toll-free telephone number, and a postal address.

One of the rules of the centralized source is it "May collect only as much personally identifiable information as necessary to process requests."
For the complete story, visit the Federal Trade Commision for the Consumer's website.

Why civilians use Google rather than library databases

David Rothman writes this very insightful commentary about why Google is friendlier than proprietary databases.

"Public librarians love to talk up library databases as a free way to access high-quality information. But wait. There is something you may give up in return--your sanity, considering the Rube Goldbergish tortures that librarians or at least their database vendors often inflict on innocent users.

So far this morning I've struck out in my efforts to use two of the three databases that I've tried from the library system here in Alexandria, VA. One worked but lacked the article I needed, while two others won't let me use the information on my library card--those 14 infuriating digits. Adding to the joys, I've suffered an arrogant, jargon-ridden error message associated with BigChalk Library, a gem that would do Microsoft proud. Via the message, the library system or at least BigChalk is asking me to scale back on privacy protections--rather ironic, given library world's laudable fight against the Patriot Act. I'm hardly the first to raise these issues, at least the usability ones; but as a public library booster, I hope that my thoughts will serve as a useful reminder of the problems. More at TeleRead."

Texas Libraries Eliminating D.B.s

The AP reports that financial shortfalls are causing Texas libraries to drop two popular databases from its collections: HeritageQuest and STAT!Ref. The two sites are primarily used for research by genealogists and medical students.

There may be a slight reprieve however, as the Dallas Morning News reports that library officials are starting a fund-raising campaign to keep the databases on-line. Freedom of Information alert for librarians

Anonymous Patron shares this story with us.
"Industry experts have renewed their warning that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, which comes into force next January, will place major new pressures on information professionals.
"The issues are as much cultural as technical or legal," said Guy Daines, principal policy officer at CILIP.

"The whole organisation needs to be aware of its responsibilities, otherwise it risks failing to comply with the Act."

Experts agree that librarians need to reassess their view on the information they hold.

"The library stock is information," said Martin Hughes, an FOI officer for the Scottish information commissioner, saying users will have rights of access to that data."

Scientists seek 'map of science' to monitor the progress of science in the digital age

Pete sends "This BBC report which states that according to reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, science is the most interconnected of all human activities, and requires a new series of maps to chart the changing scientific landscape.Knowledge has left books and libraries and is now changing more rapidly than ever before, say researchers."

The High Cost of Not Finding Information

Cliff Urr writes "An article to pass on - urgently, asap - to your library administration, board or senior management! This superb article is distinguished by its sharing *much facts and figures* on what the author calls "information disasters" in terms of dollars and cents, as well as the human and even tragic costs of bad or insufficient information. This article is published in a journal that caters to an industry that seeks to provide software solutions to these problems, but I think most of what is stated in the article can be used to justify the critical need for capable and well-trained librarians just as much, or more so,, to deal with these problems."

Searching the Internet for Images

The Technical Advisory Service for Images published this article about searching for images. The article describes how hard it is to find images and gives search strategies for finding the image you want. A very informative and useful article.


Burn the Catalog!

madcow writes "An academic at Swarthmore gives a pretty succinct critique of the problems of information overload and the library catalog. "I’m to the point where I think we’d be better off to just utterly erase our existing academic catalogs and forget about backwards-compatibility...""

The "forgetting curve"--NASA

bentley writes "The Los Angeles Times ran a thorough six-part series (Dec. 21-26) about the space shuttle Columbia. In part 4, there is a section about the importance of institutional memory. ........................

Earthquake database shakeup

rteeter writes "On a day when a magnitude 6.5 quake hit California comes word that Earthquake Engineering Abstracts, which had been a free database at UC Berkeley, will soon become a fee-based database at Cambridge Scientific Abstracts."


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