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21st Century Databases

Christopher Harris on database companies : Or, they could spend more time on gathering/creating top-notch content (what we really want from them) and then figure out some sort of an industry consortium model for a single, shared interface. That way we aren’t paying each of 10 or so companies for doing interface development work.

It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership

KGS, It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership: It truly takes a village — in many senses of that phrase. The health of an open source project, particularly for software developed for people who are not developers, depends on true diversity in participation — developers, librarians, sage administrators, brash young folks willing to experiment — and an honest acknowledgment that healthy project leadership will be inclusive of all these roles.

User Hostility: EBSCOhost Connection

Aaron:

Here’s where we could start assigning blame. Who is responsible for this situation? Our profession for giving money to vendors providing stuff like this? EBSCOhost for not conducting effective user testing or even heuristic evaluations? I dunno. Both? Whatever the case it boils down to this: We should be ashamed for putting (potential) library users through these experiences.
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Chicago Area Bookstores Closing

Publishers Weekly reports on the recently purchased Crocodile Pie and other Chicago area bookstores closing.

Had enough of independent bookstores and other indie businesses closing? Want to save the remaining few? Tired of Amazon.com calling all the shots?

Check out these websites and do your part.

IndieBound
350 Project
New Rules Project

and if you're on facebook...become a fan:

IndieBound
350 Project
New Rules Project
Keep Independent Bookstores Around the World Thriving

Disruptive Library Technology Jester: EBSCO in Cahoots With Harvard Business Press

A controversy is starting to pick up in the business librarian community — primarily in the U.K. it would seem — regarding the licensing demands of Harvard Business PressL1 (HBP) for the inclusion of Harvard Business Review articles in EBSCOhost. HBP content in EBSCOhost carries a publisher-specific rider that says use is limited to “private individual use” and explicitly bars the practice of putting “deep links” of articles from EBSCOhost (so called “persistent linksL2“) into learning management systems. In my words, HBP is attempting to limit access to its content in EBSCOhost to those who find it through the serendipity of searching. And now HBP is going after schools that are using persistent linking, and this raises all sorts of troubling questions.

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On The Twitter Brouhaha

Tuesday was a unique day. As the 12th day of May and its second Tuesday, I had appointments to keep within civil society. While I was out and about interacting with other human beings in-person, Twitter launched a change. Download Squad reported that Twitter changed part of their core functioning. UX specialist Whitney Hess railed against the change. Gregory Pittman linked on Twitter to a blog post where Twitter explained that the change was due to engineering limitations related to system stability.

This presents a core problem in the Twitter debates. Twitter may be where people hang out. Is it structurally capable of handling the load, though? Are there reasonable assurances of consistent system behavior? Today's blog post dances around the problem of scalability somewhat by relegating it to being the 800 pound elephant in the room.

Twitter, at its core, is a fairly limited service. External bolt-ons like TwitPic, Twibes, and more were created to make the service do more than was ever intended originally. Re-tweets, "Follow Friday", and other such things are more limited now which practically prevents serendipitous discovery. Unless service was contracted by a library with Twitter, there could be no guaranteed service level which could potentially annoy patrons that might seek help via Twitter.

Twitter is not the only game in town for microblogging, though. In December 2008, LISTen talked to Evan Prodomou who is a principal designer of the Laconica software platform. Identi.ca is the flagship site for the Laconica service while others like TWiT Army and Dungeon Twitter also exist. Group functionality that Twibes provides Twitter is also integrated into Laconica itself. Twitpic, Twitterfeed, and more can now interact with Laconica-based sites just as easily as they can interact with Twitter.

It seems a technically superior choice to Twitter exists. With the weeping and gnashing of teeth observed Tuesday over changes in functionality, the question is raised as to what constitutes the bright line that has to be crossed before someone will switch services. At the least, you can control your own local Laconica installation far more readily than you can impact engineering decision-making at Twitter. With federation possible through the OpenMicroBlogging protocol, there is less of a need for the monolithic microblogging platform than before.

The biggest question seems to be, though, what the next move is for Twitter users.

Creative Commons License
On The Twitter Brouhaha by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

In Challenge to ILS Industry, OCLC Extends WorldCat Local To Launch New Library System

Marshall Breeding: In a bold move that could reshape the library automation landscape, OCLC has expanded WorldCat Local’s existing cataloging and discovery tools with new circulation, delivery, and acquisitions features. This new project, which OCLC calls "the first Web-scale, cooperative library management service," will ultimately bring into WorldCat Local the full complement of functions traditionally performed by a locally installed integrated library system (ILS).

Apple Sued Over Touch-Screen Rights

Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has sued Apple Computer alleging infringement of two of its touch-screen patents, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The suit was filed late Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said spokesman Dennis Liu, speaking by phone from the chip design firm’s headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

“We couldn't find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” he said, adding that the companies had been in licensing talks for about two years.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple products including its MacBook computer, iPhone and iPod Touch use technology that infringes on two of Elan’s “multi-touch” patents, the company said in a statement.

Wonder what this will mean for all those Apple products already in use.

Is Tape Dead?

Overland Storage says "no".

Byteandswitch has a story on the issue. For years, people have said "tape is dead," as the price of disk storage declined and more enterprises embraced disk-based backup and archiving systems. Yet, tape still provides high capacity at a low price, is portable, and uses less power and generates less heat than disk systems. Those are some of the reasons the mid-range tape automation market will generate more than $1 billion in sales this year, and shipped more than 100,000 units last year, according to IDC .

Lots of enterprises still use tape, but its role has changed, acknowledged Peri Grover, the company's director of marketing. Most now back up to disk and then archive data off to tape for long-term storage, which is why Overland added disk and virtual tape libraries to its product portfolio over the past several years. "Now, it is all about finding the right combination of disk and tape to handle a company's needs," she said in an interview.

OCLC Defends Records Policy, Faces Questions, Suggestions, and Criticisms

If you've been following along with OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing, here's a couple of stories you'll want to check out.

OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing: Norman Oder covers a Lively discussion at Midwinter Meeting, he writes OCLC's Karen Calhoun defends intent, apologizes about communication while others question OCLC’s path.

DON'T MISS Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy: "We build bibliographic records as surrogates for the desired object, meaning that the surrogate is a means to an end – retrieving the described object – and not an end onto itself. We build indexes of these surrogates for patrons to use to discover information. All other factors held constant, the better the surrogate, the greater the chance the user will find the information they are seeking. The following discussion looks at the sources of records, the way they are built, and what it means to try to share them."

Perceptions 2008: An International Survey of Library Automation

This report describes the results of a survey that Marshall Breeding conducted to gather data regarding the perceptions of libraries toward their automation systems, the organizations that provide support, and the quality of support they receive. It also aims to gauge interest in open source library automation systems.

This year, Marshall received 1,450 responses from libraries in 51 different countries. The countries most strongly represented include the United States (1,150 responses), United Kingdom (49), Canada (99), Australia (44). As with the general demographics of the lib-web-cats database, the respondents of the library primarily come from libraries in English-speaking countries. Survey results were gathered between October 31, 2008 and January 16, 2009.

Why libraries must reject the OCLC Policy: A Call To Action

A proposed OCLC Policy got Tim thinking about compiling all the arguments against the Policy. He wants to start with the process and legal ones, which have gotten very short shrift. OCLC spokespeople are persuasive personalities, and OCLC's "Frequently Asked Questions" allay fears, but the Policy itself is a scary piece of legal writing and, as it explictly asserts, the only writing that matters. He finishes with a call to action:
Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.

* The New York Public Library is hosting a moderated discussion with OCLC Vice President Karen Calhoun from 1-4pm on Friday, January 17. Show up and make your displeasure known.
* Visit and link to the Code4Lib page on OCLC Policy change.
* Sign the Internet Archive/Open Library petition to stop the OCLC Policy.
* Sign librarian Elaine Sanchez's petition.

Librarian, There's Some Bacon in My Book

It's that time again; time for another story about strange things found in books as bookmarks from the NYT Papercuts Blog.

A few weeks ago in the NYT Book Review, Henry Alford wrote about strange things found stashed (and smashed) inside books, from money and photographs to baby’s teeth, insect corpses and pieces of superannuated bacon. There are some interesting replies to the papercuts blog too, from Unshelved cartoonist Bill Barnes, and this one from Liz G :"These leavers-behind of bacon in books may be literary, but they are certainly not true bacon lovers! While I might very well eat bacon while reading, I would never sacrifice an entire rasher to mark my place."

There seems to be a lot of skepticism about the bacon bookmark meme. A 2006 essay on Bibliobuffet mentions numerous sightings of errant breakfast meat in libraries from Florida to Nebraska to Washington State, but no first-hand accounts from librarians.

On the subject of bookmarks...in my book, there's an In My Book® bookmark (not bacon and for that matter, glatt kosher); if you'd like a complimentary sample to consider for your library or bookshop please send a stamped self-addressed (to your library) #10 envelope to In My Book, Attn: birdie, 39 Third Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (limited time offer through January 26, 2009, good only in the US). I'll send you one!

After Stream of Library Complaints, EVA Subscription Services Finally Responds

For months, more than a dozen library customers of <a href="http://www.evasub.com/">EVA Subscription Services</a>, based in Shrewsbury, MA, have expressed enormous frustration after not receiving periodicals ordered and finding that their calls and emails to EVA went unreturned.

What would it look like if OCLC was broken up?

Terry's Worklog wodners.... What would it look like if OCLC was broken up?
So if it was up to Terry, how would we resolve this situation? Well, there's at least two possible scenarios.
1. Open up WorldCat.
2. Split OCLC’s membership services from OCLC’s vendor services.

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Kindle competitor starting in Europe

James Sherwood wrote at The Register's hardware section about a "Book on Mobile" plan by Vodafone. While The Register is a tech publication based in Europe, it may be possible that reading books on your own smartphone under this plan may not be too far off for the United States. Vodafone is, after all, a minority owner of Verizon Wireless so there is some potential leverage to bring such to the United States eventually.

Booksellers, wholesalers vying for Ontario school library funding

The Ontario government has finally gotten around to disbursing some of the $80-million it promised earlier this year for the purchase of books for school libraries, but some booksellers are complaining that the tendering process is proving unnecessarily burdensome.

Correction: Highsmith is relocating, not closing

Highsmith, a distributor of school and library supplies headquartered in Fort Atkinson, is closing its facility and will move operations to the Lab Safety Supply facility in Janesville after Lab Safety Supply bought the 52-year-old firm in July.

A Sept. 5 Capital Times story reported the Highsmith company in Fort Atkinson was closing, putting 86 employees out of work. Company officials said Highsmith is not closing Nov. 1 but is relocating, and a majority of the 200 employees at the Fort Atkinson facility are being offered positions in the Janesville facility.

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Highsmith Closing Ft. Atkinson Headquarters

The headquarters of the Highsmith Inc., a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and equipment to public, academic and school libraries is closing down on November 1. The property was purchased by Lab Safety Supply of Janesville, who is also laying off 86 Highsmith workers.

According to The Capital Times, the company "was founded in 1956 by Hugh Highsmith and sold overruns of children's books to schools. Highsmith has grown from its small beginning to marketing 25,000 products through its various catalogs, including a 754-page Library and School Products catalog. The company does some $50 million annually in sales, and employs a total of 200 employees."

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Shelfari, The Social Network For Book Lovers, Acquired By Amazon

Mashable Says Shelfari has been acquired by Amazon; probably not because it has a huge community, but because Amazon needed a book-oriented social network and acquiring Shelfari was the easiest, fastest, or least cash intensive way to do it.

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