Daniel's blog

What Should The Next President Read?

Crossposted with small changes from Free Government Information:

I got to thinking that no matter who wins in November, the next President will face some major challenges. But many of these challenges require knowledge and ways of thought that haven't seemed to be common to our political leaders.

So, being a good librarian, I created a reading/viewing list for the next President. I used OCLC Open WorldCat to build my list and you can find it at http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/dcornwall/lists/188566.

I tried to keep the list short because I know the next President may well be too busy to read much other than reports from his staff and hopefully some outside sources once in a while.

Here are my choices:

Rosenberg, M. B. (2001). The basics of nonviolent communication an introductory training in nonviolent communication. Sherman, TX: Center for Nonviolent Communication.

York, S., & Sheen, M. (2001). Bringing down a dictator. [Washington, D.C.]: York Zimmerman.

Flynn, S. E. (2007). The edge of disaster: rebuilding a resilient nation. New York: Random House.

Theoharis, A. G. (2004). The FBI & American democracy: a brief critical history. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

York, S., & Kingsley, B. (2000). A force more powerful. [Princeton, NJ]: Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Job Posting: Alaska State Library - Outreach Librarian

Application and full listing available at http://notes4.state.ak.us/wa/PostApps.nsf/0/3148EC2E16FE3E51892574AD006107DE?OpenDocument.

- Are you PASSIONATE about libraries?
- Have you ever told someone you barely know that they ought to use a proprietary database or other library resource?
- Would you like to design and implement a distance education program?
- Are you a self-starter who thrives in a collegial atmosphere?
- If you answered "yes" to more than one question, then apply to be the Alaska State Library's newly designated Outreach Librarian!

Help raise awareness of core library services to state employees. Help us get our program of distance instruction and web tutorials from dreams to reality. Meet people from around the state and from every region of planet Earth.

What does an Outreach Librarian do?

Generally speaking:

- Promotes awareness of State Library services to state agency employees through direct contacts by mail, phone and physical visits,
- Coordinates and supports library educational and other outreach activities for State employees and others, and
- Provides reference and bibliographic services to selected state agencies and to the public. As part of reference, the successful candidate will spend between 8-10 hours a week on our public reference desk.

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Guide of the Week: Consumer Issues

Cross-posted from FGI:

While we are a nation of citizens, we are also a nation of consumers. Every patron we have is a consumer and so all of them may have need for our current "Guide of the Week" from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange:

Consumer Issues and Advocacy (Mary Finley, California State University-Northridge (CSUN), 2004) Last updated 1/10/2008

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Guide of the Week: International Trade

Crossposted from Free Government Information. Please share! Librarians are great guides.

Do you know your SIC from your SITC? Do you know where to find foreign trade statistics? How about where to look up an unfamiliar term from international trade? Let this week's ALA GODORT Handout Exchange guide help you:

International Trade (Ed Herman, University of Buffalo, 2007) CC

This guide is part annotated bibliography and part explanation of different trade classification schemes. It is broken down into the following areas:

    Background Information for Foreign Trade
    Trade Classifications
    Trade Statistics-United States
    Trade Statistics-States
    Trade Statistics-Other Countries
    Background Data About Foreign Countries
    Trade Barriers
    Trade Treaties, Laws, and Regulations
    Key Government Agencies Supporting Foreign Trade

The CC next to the guide name above means that this particular guide is available for noncommercial copying and adaptation if the original author is cited as stipulated under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. So as long as you provide credit to Ed Herman, you could change his library's call numbers to your own, and print out as many handouts for your students as you like.

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Campaign Finance: AK, AL, CO, DC, HI, IL, MO, NV, OH

Cross posted from Free Government Information:

As part of the fruit of the ALA GODORT State and Local Documents Task Force's State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States project, I used the project blog to create a listing of state-level campaign finance databases.

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Guide of the Week: Federal Budget Process

Crossposted from Free Government Information:

There are few things more complicated than the US federal budget process. This week's guide:

U.S. Government Documents: The Budget Process (Jerry Breeze, Columbia University, 1999) Last Updated sometime in 2008

Can help you untangle the fiscal knots that is the United States Budget. This selective guide points to information about the current budget, including state by state budget impacts as well as historical data and background materials.

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Guide of the Week: Afro Americans and the Military

Cross Posted from Free Government Information because the non-docs folks here might benefit as well.


Government Information librarians have acquired a lot of expertise. We've written a lot of guides and pathfinders to government information.

The Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) of ALA has been collecting these handouts for years so we docs librarians wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel every time we needed to create a handout or give someone a starting point for research. Recently, this GODORT "Handout Exchange" has been wikified at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Exchange.

The Handout Exchange is divided into four areas:

  • Guides & Handouts for Depository Management
  • Subject-oriented Guides and Tutorials
  • Source- and Geography-oriented Guides and Tutorials
  • Product-oriented Guides and Tutorials

Because the Handout Exchange links to many resources that could help many people outside the depository community, FGI is proud to start a new "Guide of the Week" column to highlight these librarian generated resources.

Our first highlight is from the subject guide page:

Afro-Americans and the Military, 1939-45 (Denise Schoene, Univ. of Michigan, 1997) Last updated 8/6/2004

This guide provides a number of resources to the history of African Americans during this period including:

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ALA - Fun but too big

Hi All,

Last week I vacationed at ALA prior to a visit with my Dad. I've written up a few sessions over at Free Government Information.

It was great to meet people and match names to faces and to hook up with people that I'd previously met at govdocs conferences that I don't get to any more.

But it was just so big! I missed so many people that I would have liked to have met. And then I had to pass up invites for things that would have involved 4 hours plus driving (hi Stephen K).

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Daniel at ALA

Tho I'm having to do it on my own air miles and funding, I will be at ALA next week from Thursday through Monday. I'm staying with a friend who lives about an hour and a half, so no breakfast get togethers! But if you're a Newzter who's also going to ALA, let me know and maybe we can connect. The worst that'll happen is that I'll drag you along to some govdocs events or the gaming pavilion.

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Help Build a Library Q&A Custom Search

Does your library blog answers to reference questions? Help me and James Jacobs of Stanford University build a Google Custom Search Engine of library Q&A sites. Help show off the combined expertise of librarians everywhere! For more details, please see http://freegovinfo.info/node/1888 or just add a Library Q&A blog in comments.

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Help me explore accessibility through tagging

Free Government Information is investigating the usefulness of tagging government documents that do not receive traditional cataloging and needs your help! We've posted 32 documents that the Government Printing Office (GPO) harvested from the EPA web site and posted them to the Internet Archive. Over the next three months, we'd like to see as many people as possible tag and describe these documents using the del.icio.us bookmarking service. For a full project description and instructions on how to participate, please visit http://freegovinfo.info/epatagging. We'd like to thank GPO for posting a sample of their harvested EPA documents that made this project possible.

This project got its inspiration from Galaxy Zoo (http://www.galaxyzoo.org), an astronomy project which has a database of 1 million galaxies that researchers asked regular folks to classify as ellipical, clockwise spiral, or anticlockwise spiral. They aimed for and got at least 20 classifications per galaxy. If a particular galaxy was classified a certain way by 80% of users who assigned a classification to that galaxy, that classification was accepted. This "person on the street" data was compared with a small subset (50,000) of galaxies that professional astronomers had managed to classify on their own. The researchers found that there was pretty much total agreement between the professional and amateur assessments. Documents are more complex than galaxies. :-) , but if 9 out of 10 people tag an epa document as air quality, then it's probably about air quality.

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Alaskan Librarian has moved!

Hi Fellow Newzters! My standalone blog, Alaskan Librarian, is now at http://alaskanlibrarian.wordpress.com/.

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In Praise of OPAL Casualness

The library programming site OPAL recently initiated a series called Casual Conversations. So far, moderator Tom Peters has talked with Aaron Schmidt and Meredith Farkas. The series lives up to its name going from big picture library issues, to nuts-and-bolts tech tips to tatoos within minutes.

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Book Review: Three Cups of Tea

I finished the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin in two late nights reading. This story about how a failed mountain climb in 1993 turned into a lifetime of school building is as gripping as any novel I've read. It weaves a personal narrative with a story of how grassroots development can improve lives in what we consider impossible places while warding off extremism.

The title Three Cups of Tea refers to a lesson that was taught to former mountaineer and current school builder Greg Mortenson that advised him to be sensitive to the local culture:

When the porcelain bowls of scalding butter tea steamed in their hands, Haji Ali spoke, "If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways," Haji Ali said, blowing on his bowl. "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die," he said, laying his hand on Mortenson's own. "Dr. Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time."

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One Stop Shopping for State History Materials

The 50-State Agency Databases Registry, which I coordinate, has launched a new set of subject-focused database collections under the heading of history:

* Biographical Databases - Databases that provide biographical sketches of authors, state officials, famous state residents, etc.

* Historical Media Databases - Databases that provide online access to photographs, video, or audio.

* Historical Newspaper and Magazine Indexes - Databases that index articles in older newspapers, journals and magazine that contain historical information. These databases will usually lead one to microfilmed items that may be obtainable through Interlibrary Loan.

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Book Review: Battleground Iraq (Army Pub)

Last night I finished the book:

by Todd S Brown; United States. Dept. of the Army.

This book isn't available online, but you can find it in many Federal Depository Libraries under the SuDoc number D 114.2:IR1. You can also purchase it from the GPO Bookstore. If you work in a library that has a significant number of high school students, I highly recommend this book. The author, Major Todd Brown, has done a great job logging his experiences as a company commander in Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004. Although it is published by the Army's Center of Military Studies, it is not a cheerleaders guide to our glorious victory. Neither is it the journal of someone who has turned against the concept of war. After reading the book I agree with the editor's assessment:

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50-State subject database guides - what next?

Recently, the 50-State Agency Database Registry produced an annotated list of searchable inmate locaters. Many states have databases on many given subjects, so the volunteer staff of the Database Register is interested in expanding the offerings on our subject-focused databases page.

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Ann Coulter Needs Your Love and Prayers

The other day I was in Costco, when I saw Ann Coulter's new book "If Democrats had any brains, they'd be Republicans." Since I don't consider myself a Democrat, the title didn't bother me. In fact, considering the Dem's leadership's accommodation of the President on eavesdropping, Iraq, Mukasey, and so forth, I think the title has some unintended irony. If they were Republicans, they'd look good to their fellow party members for advancing the President's agenda.

I digress. The reason I'm blogging about this book is for this part of the opening paragraph:

Uttering lines that send liberals into paroxysms of rage, otherwise known as ‘citing facts,’ is the spice of life. When I see the hot spittle flying from their mouths and the veins bulging and pulsing above their eyes, well, that’s when I feel truly alive.

That made me feel very sorry for her. It's an existence I would not wish on an enemy. That she could only feel truly alive and presumably happy when someone else was in the pain that comes with fury. That someone's happiness could be completely externally based. That if a time came when she was ignored instead of pilloried, she might lose the ability to feel alive. It reminded me of the stories of people who drink blood or cut themselves that they might feel alive.

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Star Trek, Real Life and Government Documents

My friend and colleague Carlos Diaz of Evergreen College in Olympia WA has a great first post as Free Government Information's November blogger of the month.

He writes about how a few devices that were featured in Star Trek and Star Trek:TNG are now commonplace items. He also reflects on the limits of electronic government information.

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Happy Anniversary

Happy 8th Anniversary to LISNews and thanks to Blake for giving so many of us a place to observe, laugh and dispute in.

I was hoping to do something more creative with my first drupal-powered LISNews entry, but it has been a long morning of administrative reports, digitizing Congressional reports from the 1930s and patrons who get very upset when extremely common (hard to do business without) words are spoken in the library. Not to them, but in the library.

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