Information Retrieval

When is a Librarian not a Librarian?

When he's a New York City 311 operator. Read this and see if this doesn't sound like your library..

New York City's 311 service costs $46 million a year and provides a source for local government information, for filing complaints, and for other services in 170 languages.

Here are some lessons from New York's 311 service (story from the NYT):

Each call begins, “Hello, thank you for calling 311. This is ( ). How may I help you?”

An important rule: “Smile through that phone!”

The power of parametadata

The power of parametadata
First we had content, then not long after that we had metadata, although no-one called it that. Now we need parametadata – the metadata about metadata!

Neither metadata nor parametadata are anything new, but what is new is how central they have become to all sorts of business processes.

Mendeley Throws Open the Doors to Academic Data

Innovations in communications software and websites can be quite exciting. After the dust dies down, however, it's really not clear how much more information has been made available, how much more people can communicate, how much more thinking has been enabled.

London-based Mendeley's offering up an Open API and making a vast catalog of academic publications searchable, well, that might make the cut.

Full blog post at ReadWriteWeb

What's Happening at CIL?

Check it out...what's happening at Computers in Libraries. Among other interesting tidbits, Blake Carver is speaking about Drupal on Tuesday.

Here are the conferees on twitter.

Former Google Exec On Getting Organized

In this era of information overload, the experience of being stressed, forgetful, and overwhelmed mean your mind is perfectly normal. Douglas Merrill, author of a new book called Getting Organized in the Google Era, writes about his own struggle with dyslexia, and how that forced him to develop techniques for remembering information.

Listen to full story

Bib records as perpetual betas

Christine Schwartz pointed Nicole Engard to a post Dodie Gaudet titled Perpetual Beta & Bibliographic Records. Nicole says...

"that we as catalogers can only do so much with the information we have and the background knowledge we have. The problem here – is a wiki is open to the public or at least to all in a specific field and with bib records we save them to our system and maybe send them to a cooperative of some sort – but then that’s our record, we don’t get to benefit from the others that edit the record after us because it’s in their system – not accessible to us. "

All three posts are worth a read.

Debating Breaking Free Of OCLC: The Pros and Cons of the Largest Legacy System

One of my favorite lists to read is NGC4Lib "'next generation' library catalogs" list. I'm not much of a cataloger, nor do I even use a catalog at work, but NGC4Lib has some of the best discussions anywhere. This one is no exception, and worth a read. Set off by This Article over on LJ about the dispute over cost to use non-OCLC records for ILL. It's a great discussion on the role of OCLC, WorldCat, SkyRiver and DIY approaches to resource sharing and collaboration. Tim Spalding of LibraryThing takes a big swing at OCLC:

The real work here is done by librarians, not OCLC.... Today, when libraries are starting to realize OCLC's core service isn't worth what it was worth in 1967, OCLC is looking to permanently lock up their central position with viral contracts and, as the MSU case makes clear, monopoly pricing and flat-out bullying.

How do researchers use online journals?

How do researchers use online journals?
In the paper, the use of Oxford Journals by 10 major UK research institutions was analyzed in the fields of life sciences, economics and history, using the server logs for the full year 2007. Some of the key findings of the study include: One third of users access Oxford Journals outside business hours. Around 40% of sessions originated from a Google Search...

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

The aim of ROAR is to promote the development of open access by providing timely information about the growth and status of repositories throughout the world. Open access to research maximises research access and thereby also research impact, making research more productive and effective.

Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet

Google sponsored research to detect differences in how children and adults search and to identify barriers children face when seeking information.

When Benjamin Feshbach was 11 years old, he was given a brainteaser: Which day would the vice president’s birthday fall on the next year?

Benjamin, now 13, said he typed the question directly into the Google search box, to no avail. He then tried Wikipedia, Yahoo, AOL and, also without success. “Later someone told me it was a multistep question,” said Benjamin, a seventh grader from North Potomac, Md.

“Now it seems quite obvious because I’m older,” he said. “But, eventually, I gave up. I didn’t think the answer was important enough to be on Google.” Benjamin is one of 83 children, ages 7, 9 and 11, who participated in a study on children and keyword searching. Sponsored by Google and developed by the University of Maryland and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the research was aimed at discerning the differences between how children and adults search and identify the barriers children face when trying to retrieve information.

Full article in the NYT


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