Humor

Ref Work...On The Road

AshtabulaGuy writes "Typically virtual reference is considered to be something that involves computer interaction and libraries and other things. But what about the road information system known as onStar? Is the ability to ask questions on the road of a real live person just another sort of reference case? Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press gives onStar a bit of an amusing test with so many parallels to what even RefGrunt discusses."

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Psuedo Sites

Jeffrey Hastings writes "Think you can tell an authoritative, scholarly web site from a "spurious" one? Think your students can?

Well, If you want a laugh, check out this collection of faux web sites. They started out as an idea I had for teaching information literacy but I found as I began to create them that they were so darned fun to write that I just couldn't stop. Soon another nameless SUNY at Buffalo School of Information and Library Science alum joined in with his contributions.

What we ended up with is the germ of an encyclopedia that includes topics like "Biomes of the World," "The American Civil War," "The Planet Mars," and an overview of the exploits of that famous Great Lakes region explorer "Sheldrake the Beneficent." Believe me: writing them was an amusing way to pass the long winter evenings, and now that spring is approaching up here in the "Northern Norselands," I'm glad to share them with you.

See for yourself! Have a look and, if you get the joke, feel free to send me your own, original, spurious web site. You can feel free to mirror or link to these sites as well, but I hope you'll consider contributing an entry or two.

Find them all at:

http://www.howellschools.com/~hwms/encyclopedia

Jeffrey Hastings,
Librarian,
Highlander Way Middle School Library.
Send YOUR spurious encyclopedia entries in html to: [email protected]"

URLs we can be proud of!

Walt writes "Miss those wonderful multiline ALA URLs?

Agree with Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing weblog, where I got this) that "tinyurl" and its equivalents reduce the worth of a URL by stripping out the semantics and interposing a third party?

Fight back! Take your ordinary URL to:
hugeurl.com and turn that pipsqueak 20-character weakling into a page-filling sand-kicking monster!

So, for example, instead of the awkwardly short
cites.boistestate.edu/civ4i3.pdf to get the current issue of Cites & Insights, you can use:
http://hugeurl.com/?OTZlNWE5YzE0OTRiZDIxMWZiYjZlMz Q2ZDMwYzIyMmMmMTEmVm0w
d2QyUXlWa2hWV0doVVYwZG9jRlZ0TVZOWFZsbDNXa1JTVjFac2 JETlhhMk0xVjBaS2MySkVU
bGhoTVhCUVZteFZlRll5VGtsalJtaG9UV3N3ZUZadGNFdFRNVT VJVm10a1dHSkdjSEJXTUZw
SFRURmFjVkZ0UmxSTmF6RTFWVEowVjFaWFNrbFJiR2hYWWxob0 0xWldXbUZrUlRGWlkwZDRV
MkpIZHpGV2EyUXdZVEZrU0ZOclpHcFRSVXBZVkZWa1UyUnNjRm RYYlVacVlrWmFlVmRyV25k
V01ERkZVbFJDVjAxdVVuWlZha1pYWkVaT2NtSkdTbWxXUjNoWF ZtMHdlR0l4U2tkaVNFWlRZ
bGhTV1ZWcVJrdFRWbFowWlVoa1YwMUVSa1pXYkdoclZqSkZlVl ZZWkZkaGExcFlXa1ZhVDJO
dFJrZFhiV3hUWVROQ2RsWnRNWGRVTWtsNVVtdGtWMkpyTlZsWm JHaFRWMFpTVjFkdFJteFdi
Vko1VmpKNFQyRkdXbk5qU0hCYVRVWmFlbFpxUVhoa1ZsWjFWMn hhYUdFeGNIbFdWRUpoVkRK
T2MyTkZaR2hTTW5oVVdWUk9RMlJzV25STldHUlZUVlpXTlZWdG RHdFhSMFY1Vld4c1dtSkhh
RlJaTVZwelkyeHdSVkZyT1dsU00yaFlWbXBLZWs1V1dsaFRhMl JwVWtaS1YxUlhOVzlsYkZw
eFUydDBWRkpzU2xwWlZWcHJWakZLV1ZGck1WZFdNMEpJVmtSR2 ExZEdVbkphUmxKcFZqSm9l
bGRYZUc5aU1XUkhWMjVTVGxOSGFGQlZiVEUwVmpGU1ZtRkhPV2 hpUlhCWldWVm9UMVp0Um5K
T1ZsSmFUVlp3ZWxreWVHdGtWbkJHVGxaT2FXRXdjRWxXYlhCS1 pVVXhTRkpyWkZoaWF6VnhW
VEJrTkZsV1VsWlhibVJzWWtac00xWXlNVWRWTWtwR1RsUkNXbF pXY0ROWlZXUkdaVWRPU0U5
V2FHaE5WbkJ2Vmxod1MxVXhXWGhWYmxaVllsZG9WRlJYTVc5Vl JscEhXVE5vYVUxWFVucFdN
V2h2VjBkS1JrNVdVbFZXYlZFd1ZtcEdVMVp0UmtoUFZtUk9Wak ZLU2xac1pEUmpNV1IwVTJ0
b2FGSnNTbGhVVlZwM1lVWndSbHBGT1U5aVJYQjVWR3hhYTJGV1 RrWlRhM1JYVFZaS1VGcEVS
a3BsVmtweVdrWlNXRkl5YUZwWFZ6QXhVVEZrUjFWc2FFOVdhel ZQVkZaYWMwMHhXWGxOVldS
b1lYcEdWMVJzYUhkV2JGbzJVbXRvVjFaRldreFdha3BQVWpGYW MxcEhhR2hOU0VKMlZtMTBV
MU14VlhoWFdHaFdZbXhhVmxsclduZGpSbHB4VkcwNWEySkdjRW hXVjNSUFZrVXhXR1ZHYUZk
TlYyaDJWMVphUzFJeFRuUlBWbFpYWWtoQ1RWZHNXbUZWTWsxNF draFNhMUp0VWs5WlZFWmFU
VlphYzFwRVVsWk5WbXcxVld4b2MxWnNXa1pUYkdoWFlXczFkbG xWV21GalZrcHpXa1pvVjJK
clNrbFdWbVEwV1ZaWmVGTnJXbE5XUlZVNQ==

Now, isn't that better?

(Yes, the HugeURL does work, once you combine all the lines and strip out any spaces. You didn't think I was going to include the whole thing as HTML, did you?)"

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Faux-news: Librarians allocate new funds

An Anonymous Patron writes "Murray State University President F. King Alexander's announcement that he will donate his raise to the university libraries left university librarians beside themselves. You can read the complete faux news story online at www.thenews.org.

"We were so excited, we all squealed like a bunch of little girls," Janet Marion, librarian, said.

In this tight budget year, the library is considering some extra purchases like toilet paper and umbrellas to protect students from a leaky roof. And the most spectacular purchase may be a combination copy machine and mechanical bull, which gives a free ride after every 10th copy."

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A List of Unread Books

Great Western Dragon writes "Ran across this last night. Unlike most people who post a listing of books they've read, this one is a book list of unread books. Not only that, the writer goes out of his way to explain why the tomes remain unopened. There are always books that we never get around to reading, so this is worth a chuckle."

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Google Publishes Print Edition

The world's biggest search engine is now the world's biggest set of reference books.

Joining the roster of megaworks like the 2 by 1.5 meter Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom and Gary Larson's 60-pound The Complete Far Side, Google's 36,795 volumes will be ten times larger than the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary.
Full "Story".

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The NewScientist New Scientific Words

And The Winners Are...
NewSceintist readers were invited to invent a new scientific word that we need and define it in an appropriately pompous way.
Winners include, Coyotus Interruptus, Demiverse, and Encyclopediatrician: " A person dealing
with the knowledge of all branches of children's stuff.

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Stupid URL tricks

I'll bet the Library of Congress never intended to put THIS on their web page.

How is it done? The funny-looking codes at the end of the URL spell out the subversive message. You can use an obfuscator to create these codes.

Lesson for library webmasters: scripts that accept input from URLs or forms (even hidden forms) must not blindly use that input. Check your input before using it!

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Researchers Call for "Medically Sound" Nursery Rhymes

A team of researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have written a tongue-in-cheek research paper decrying the serious injuries sustained in nursery rhymes. "Particularly egregious were the injuries presumably sustained by Ten Little Monkeys, who begin the rhyme jumping on a bed." (If you don't know what happens after that, it's grim stuff indeed). The mock paper calls for legislation and "medically sound" nursery rhymes for today's children. More here from Reuters. What strikes me is that this story shows up on Reuters News page and BBC as straight-up news. And here's another archived fairy tale story, Russian Tots Amused by Sots.

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Haiku Cereal Boxes Left to College Library

There have been things I've seen on the internet that I desperately wanted to be true, like the picture of Bush holding the children's book upside down. This is another story that slipped past my critical radar for a brief second, until I noticed the following disclaimer:
"The Watley Review is dedicated to the production of articles completely without journalistic merit or factual basis."
With that, I present the following Onion-esque story.
Lisnews-er
Expresses bald disbelief
Wants it to be true

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