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As a heads-up to listeners, it should be noted that LISTen #49 will be posted on a slight delay. The podcast rarely has to wait out an embargo. In this case we will do so.
LISTen #49 will have in it a special chat with actress and web entrepreneur Felicia Day. This is as announced verbally at the close of LISTen #48. You did listen to that shorter than usual episode, right?
As such, LISTen #49 will be posted at 0800 UTC on November 24th. You can find what that means in your own local time by visiting this link.
A special feature may post at the normal audio posting time. This remains tentative as some factors remain in play.
In a first for the television industry, CNN used a holographic image of a journalist in their election night coverage.
By positioning Jessical Yellin within a ring of high definition cameras, they were able to simultaneously shoot her body from different angles and beam that information into the CNN studios. At that point, other cameras took over and replicated her image and audio in real time.
And she even has that sort of sheen around her you'd expect holograms to have. After all, Star Wars told us they'd be shiny.
The possibilites for such technology are wide open, but think of this. I need to see an object in a museum or library in New York, but I'm in Arizona. So they put that object within a similar set up and beam the information over. Now that's a new and interesting kind of interlibrary loan.
A Japanese game show will soon appear in six European countries. In “Silent Library,” teams perform pranks and punishments on each other while trying to remain as quiet as possible. This new entertainment opportunity will soon be available in Spain, France, Romania, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
A FACT fan from Hornsey will sit on BBC Mastermind's famous black chair this week.
Bart Smith, 58, a reference librarian at the British Library, will appear on Friday's show to field questions from host John Humphrys on his specialist subject, the Spanish Civil War 1936-39.
On Monday we'll see how the first test to the Digital Television transition happens. The switch will take place at 1600 UTC solely within a narrowly defined area centered in Wilmington, North Carolina. If one is not equipped for the switch, the only thing that will be viewable on a standard television with Over The Air reception will be the local PBS station and one low-power television station that will make the switch at the normal time. According to the Commission's press release, this was suggested by Commissioner Michael Copps.
Why is this a worry at all to librarians? The first thing to consider is not how reception will be impaired but how this changes the landscape. Shifts like this may rapidly reduce the use of any collections of VHS tapes due to the wiring changes involved. While converters are able to be hooked up to VCRs, who would want to go through all that trouble? Once the full roll-out takes place of this, we may well see what happens with our media collections in terms of continuing composition.
There have been predictions that this will be a trainwreck. I certainly hope it is not. If our libraries have any sort of media collections built up, we really do have a vested interest in seeing this roll-out be a smooth yet simple matter.
This one from the good folks over at Boing Boing:
"When I was in fifth grade, Mississippi Public Broadcasting decided to introduce a series of short films to educate children on how to use the library. For some godforsaken reason, the people at MPB decided that the best way to do this would be through a post-apocalyptic science fiction serial with children roaming the blasted earth in a… bookmobile… like a cross between 'Reading Rainbow' and 'Damnation Alley.' Confused? So was I. I loved the library and post-apocalyptic movies and television programs, and even I was completely nonplussed. Apparently someone has uploaded the entire run onto YouTube. The music still gives me the creeps!"
Rarely is it good to talk about the inner-workings of editorial decision-making. Such ranks up there with the making of sausage and the creation of laws as things best not known. Sometimes it is necessary to do so, though.
This week's episode of LISTen features five separate Public Service Announcements. We received absolutely no compensation for running such. The five discrete ads are all available as free downloads from a federal agency, namely the Federal Communications Commission. While it may sound fairly odd to some and perhaps quite condescending, there is a purpose to such.
The role of the librarian in today's Amazoogle world is to meet information needs. When you start from that philosophical standpoint you have to consider some things. When there is a lack of a clutch in a coming paradigm shift, what responsibility do you have to those you serve? How does such impact serving their information needs?
For the audience that LISTen serves, the whole discussion of the digital television transition in the United States probably seemed meaningless. Such misses the forest for the trees. While we acknowledge that librarians are striving today to be technological elites, the people who are served by librarians more often than not are not such elites at all. The whole Tech for Techies discussion was an attempt to discuss the transition in terms of how to approach patron questions. Rather than tell a patron you don't know, why not take a look at some of the common questions patrons might pose let alone some uncommon ones?
I made a conscious choice to use all five of the ads I used. Those are the US government's best effort to reach out to the public. Have you ever heard such outside LISTen, though? With reports of somewhere around eighty percent of the population not even knowing this is coming, can we take steps to at least prevent catastrophic information seeking sessions that barely help anyone involved?
I will not order anyone to "be creative". That's not the way such works! Considering that ALA is entering into a public education partnership with an electronics retailer to try to get word out to folks, it is not like this is an issue that the profession's organization in the United States is ignoring. I would much rather you heard the government's best effort at outreach and be stirred to action on your own to try to do better. As information professionals who deal with the information-seeking needs of rather diverse populations, this should be an easy one to plan a program on! The ALA is already trying to make it easier for you to get speakers in as it is. If a listener can come up with something creative on their own, the result is probably going to be far better than my sounding like a drill sergeant barking orders.
Part of the infrastructure to our Amazoogle world is changing fundamentally. What is the role of libraries in trying to be relevant to their served populations? I do not argree that being hip and trendy is the way to go. Establishing a firm foundation and reputation as being the source for good information is what you build relevance on top of. In an unorthodox way I tried to show something that would be an easy thing to start with.
This wouldn't require an investment in new servers or software. This would not require necessarily an infrastructure investment. If anything this is something that libraries do well but have gotten away from over time. Being the "People's University" doesn't always require a new social network and sometimes requires merely a meeting room as well as speakers and potentially refreshments.
Some cable systems are starting to complain that too many of the programs they pay for are being given away on the Web for free.