Prelinger Archives

January 31, 2008 at 7:27 pm (Library 2.0)

We often get asked here at the library for primary source type documents to help students with reports they’re doing. If it’s something less than a century old, we usually have newspapers or magazines in our archives that can be of service. I just ran across the Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive today, and thought that for all their absurdity, they make great primary sources to show attitudes of the times, in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. One popular topic that i get is women and the media, and how women are portrayed in the media. So, here’s a link to a video from the Prelinger Archives, showing just that. Fascinating!


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January 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm (Library 2.0)

I just tried out kwout, a screenshot making service. Pretty sweet. I kwouted an earlier post of mine. To do this, i went to kwout, did the demo, and plugged in this blog’s URL. It brought me back a screenshot of the entire page (not just the top screen’s worth of page, but the whole page). Then i used the mouse to click and drag out a rectangle to keep. Afterwards, i got a block of code to embed, which i simply pasted here, in this blog post:

Here We Are. What Now? via kwout

I guess i shouldn’t say “simply” just yet – in WordPress (here) i had to paste the code into the code tab.  In blogger, i just had to paste it into the body of the blog post, and it didn’t matter that i wasn’t on the code tab.

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January 24, 2008 at 1:03 am (Library 2.0)

Sounds intriguing, i know.  Tastymate is a restaurant rating/sharing network.  Pretty straightforward – sign up, make friends, find your favorite eateries, rate them, etc.  If the one you want isn’t in there, you can add it – the add feature is hard to locate – it’s at the very bottom of the page, in very small lettering – i think they want people to search before they add anything, to limit duplications.  If you join, make friends with me, and we’ll share our wonderful and interesting memories of eating together.  I mean, we’ll share together – it’s not likely we’ll have eaten together.  I think this place is pretty new on the radar, btw, so it might be fun to see how one of these networks grows, changes, adapts, evolves, etc. as people either join or not join, you know?  You can follow updates and additions to tastymate on twitter – i wonder if a facebook app will be along as well.

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December 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm (Library 2.0)

I’ve been on ebay for a couple of years now, mostly as a buyer but more recently as a seller also.  When i first started, there were only a couple of ways to determine what kind of person you were dealing with on the other end of the transaction, mostly from how they described the item for sale and what kind of feedback they had.  Now, ebay has moved into the social networking game, in a effort to go 2.0 – but i have almost no compunction to check out the profiles of sellers, or do anything with my own profile.  It strikes me that the two criteria i’ve been using to determine if i should do business with someone on ebay are good enough.  Plus, social networking is fun and interesting when there relationship is low-pressure.  I’d feel weird making “friends” with a seller, simply because it would never feel genuine to me.  (That, and i rarely make friends in social networks with people i don’t know, or who aren’t part of the library community).

Anyway – anyone else out there who uses ebay – what do you think of the ability to have your own profile?

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Online NW

December 6, 2007 at 6:02 pm (Library 2.0)

I’m preparing my presentation for Online NW 2008, which will be called “Practical Uses of Social Software in Libraries.” I’m building a methodology for approaching new web2.0 tools based on the idea that social software is both a means of communication and a method of information storage, transfer and retrieval. Web2.0 for libraries (or Library 2.0) seems to focus a lot on how libraries can use different tools to communicate with patrons, a kind of digital outreach. While i fully support that, I’m thinking that a kind of focused digital collection development could add a level of service to the outreach already being done. Libraries that don’t have the wherewithal to create and edit video promos for programs can still make use of YouTube and other video sharing sites by gathering together videos that could support high demand areas of their collection, like “How to play guitar,” “sword fighting technique,” or any of a thousand other “how to do it” type videos. The 3-7 minute format (the max on Youtube is 10min.), as far as I can tell, simply means that each video focuses on a very specific technique, like “walking bass lines,” and things like that.

Anyway, by approaching each site for what resources are being generated through that site, and comparing it to your libraries collection development policy, one could create playlists of lots of different videos, add to them over time, take patron suggestions and submissions, and steadily build an online collection of videos for their patrons – YouTube has a lot of great stuff, but like the rest of the internet, there’s some worry in the populace around stumbling onto something of a more adult nature. By gathering and previewing good resources, we can provide access to a great tool. Here’s a couple of YouTube playlists that I’ve started putting together around this idea:

You can also embed a playlist into a site or blog – so if you have a section of your web page to profile new and interesting online resources, you could put a video player there and have different playlists every few weeks to show off new content!

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Last of the stuff from the wiki

November 12, 2007 at 7:50 pm (Library 2.0)

Here’s the last stuff from the wiki – these are all works in progress, as far as creating short learning sessions for them.
Screencasting? resource:

Distant Librarian (

O’Reilley – What Is Screencasting? ( ( monthly fee site for screencast hosting, delivery, etc.

Screencast-O-Matic (

Jing (

Gather No Dust – My First Screencast… (

Screencast re. Open Library ( via the Disruptive Library Technology Jester.

Slideshare (

Slidecasting – Add Audio On Slideshare ( via Librarians Matter.
Lifestreams? resources:
Mashups? resources, sites, what-have-you:
Groups – like Google Groups (, Yahoo Groups (, and now Group Swim (

Seems like the whole “Groups” idea was a precursor to current social networking practices. Interesting to see how/if it’s evolved. Of course, if we’re exploring precursors to current social networking phenomenon, then we’d have to look at chat rooms as well – not a bad idea, since chat rooms are one of those things that quickly gets filtered. Maybe if we understand them, we can make more informed decisions about their use in libraries and schools…

Learning about Chat:

We could always start with Wikipedia’s definition of Chat Room (, but it looks a little on the thin side, so we should also check out some other sources (I’ll find some soon…)

Chat places:

Yahoo ( of course.

Here’s one that has a high Google rank – I didn’t go into any of the chat rooms, but take a look at the categories available. Chat Avenue ( says they have a Kids Chat section, but it’s stuck in the middle of a lot of other chat room possibilities that are probably not as kid-oriented…

People Connection ( at AOL looks like another chatty type area.

Of course, chat rooms have their counterpart in IM, with group chat functions. Group chat can be pretty useful in organizations, the online equivalent of a conference call. If people are spread over a diverse area, then group chat can be a good way to handle discussions, particularly if they involve the sharing of web resources – you can post links, and people can look at them while keeping up with the chat.

Message Boards

Here’s another early incarnation of social networking that became something else but still has applications and users all over the world. A nice article about Message Boards can be found at the Common Craft show, in their post What Are The Differences Between Message Boards And Blogs? (

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Video experiements

November 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm (Library 2.0)

I’m doing some experiments with video marketing for a library program.  I’m just getting things started, and i’m looking for input on how the videos look, and if the message in them is clear, and if they’re entertaining or not.  I can re-edit the text portions pretty easily and reload the videos.  I’m thinking that i might need to do that, but maybe i’m just being overly critical or anticipatory, knowing what’s in the videos.  Anyway, I’ve got them over at the blog i made to promote the program, in a vod:pod sidebar widget.  BTW, vop:pod is one of the only ways i could find to embed videos into a wordpress blog.  As soon as i can get the podpress plugin, I’ll try doing some recordings of people talking about books, interviews with people, and so forth.   Here’s the site:

Let me know, too, if the videos are slow loading – i can reduced the bit rate a little bit more, but if i go too low, then the text gets muddy and i like the SimSun font too much to ditch it if i don’t have to.

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Yahoo Answers

November 6, 2007 at 1:46 am (Library 2.0) (, , , )

I’ve been answering questions over at Yahoo! Answers, as an experiment, because it’s kind of fun, and the site could use some librarians to answer the questions.  I just browse random sections and look at questions that don’t seem too much like people looking for direct answers to fill-in-the blank homework assignments, and aren’t people asking rhetorical questions, like “My boyfriend said this, what do you think it means?”

So far, I’ve answered maybe 20 questions there.  I always provide a summary of the information i’ve found as well as a link to one or more sources that i found.  I often suggest that if they’re looking for information for a report, that their library will probably have some books or databases that would provide more in-depth and reputable information, and i always sign it as “your friendly neighborhood librarian.”

Of the 20 or so questions, i’ve gotten 5 “best answers” which is pretty cool.

Sometimes when i open up a question to look at it, i’ll see a well written and informative answer there, so i’ll let it be.  Most of the time, the answers will be completely unhelpful, like “I think you could like, just practice and that should work.” In answer to a question about voice training.

If you’re looking for exercises for grad students to get real-world reference experience in an online environment, Yahoo! Answers isn’t a bad way to go – students get some practice answering questions quickly (if you spend too much time on it, then your answer ends up buried under a dozen other answers) and informatively.  You get rewarded with points, and if you get a “best answer” vote, you get lots of points.

Along with getting practice, you’ll be adding value to something that a lot of students use, and taking an opportunity to subtly remind them that the library is always there as a resource, too.  (only if you self-identify as a librarian, or suggest library resources, of course.)

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Annoyed, MLS’s, and Video Games

November 5, 2007 at 12:52 am (Library 2.0)

I just read a post over at Annoyed Librarian (sorry, no link love – it shouldn’t be too hard to find in the usual way), about Gaming in Libraries.  Overall, I found the article to be a little depressing.  Why is that?  Well, in summary, the article was about video game programs in libraries.  It wasn’t very supportive.  A good portion of the article was about the poor quality of Masters of Library Science programs, especially ones that have classes where students learn about video games.

Annoyed Librarian is an anonymous blogger, of the Rush Limbaugh school – by that i mean that s/he makes snarky, sweeping sarcastic comments, criticizes and insults things s/he doesn’t agree with, offers very little in the way of constructive criticism, and very likely doesn’t actually care about the topic as much as stirring up his/her readers.  This is something AL succeeds at – stirring people up.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  I just find it a waste of my time.

AL brings up some interesting questions, whether s/he cares or not.  What is the state of MLS and MLIS programs in the US?  Is it good?  Is it not so good?  Also, why teach about video games?

Having recently graduated and having heard all of AL’s snarky comments firsthand from a variety of sources, I’d have to say that in most cases, MLS and MLIS programs are only slowly responding to the rapid changes occurring at the professional level.  The reason for this is that MLS and MLIS programs need to be accredited by the ALA.  Accreditation by the ALA means that you instruct students on certain things, have a certain ratio of teachers to students, etc. etc.  In order to add more things to the curriculum, you have to remove other things, and there are many things that can’t be removed, like the theory classes.  What you might feel about this, well, it doesn’t particularly matter – change in academics occurs rather slowly.  There’s bound to be some dissatisfaction with what’s being taught verses what actually takes place in the libraries.  Some programs address this by familiarizing their students to things that are happening in libraries, like video games, others have only enough time slots for the classes that are required, and the options that they have the resources to offer – by resources i mean teachers.  So at the MLS and MLIS level, there are many structures in place to govern the programs.  Changes are difficult to make at the individual school level.  Changes have to be made at the overall system level, which means that enough discontent with the current way things are has to permeate into the inner workings.  Discontent begins at the profession, works slowly back through the schools, and eventually reaches the central system.  It will be interesting to see how the science and the programs change and adapt over the next twenty years.  For my part, I hope to be a part of shaping that future, and I’m not terribly interested in complaining about it as much as i am in understanding it and working toward viable solutions.

On to video games – how do they relate to libraries?  Well, it’s all about the way we humans create, store, and retrieve information.  For a long time, that was done with books, in text and pictures.  Libraries helped to store and retrieve this information.  This is still the case with the Internet – we help people retrieve information that is stored locally or remotely, electronically or physically, etc.  Regardless of the medium in which it is contained.  Now of course there are plenty of arguments against video games as valid library content, but then that’s always been the argument, against fiction and comics and manga and movies and music.  Are video games different from these other content delivery devices?  Yes, because they’re interactive.  In many cases they depend on interaction between users.   Video games are a thriving industry, and have many permutations – people play them on PCs, game systems, hand held devices, and their phones.  The content continues to broaden, with very physically active games like DDR and Guitar Hero, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Carnival Games, Wii just about anything else.  There are many games that are coming out that provide a new interface to relatively normal “library-like” content – like cookbooks.  There’s a Japanese cookbook available for the Nintendo DS.  It talks you through the recipe, responds to your voice, repeats, adds detail, pauses, etc.

That’s just one case, right?  True, true.  No one knows how video games will evolve, but the reality is that games are evolving and becoming ubiquitous.  Game-like features are showing up on sites all across the internet.  Advertising is particularly fond of games, to engage potential customers for longer periods of time.

Through the last thirty or so years, video games have been the method by which the next level of computer technology has been shown to the general public.  Games have shown us what computers are capable of.  In fact, throughout history, games and toys have been the forerunners to many great inventions.   Games reveal what is possible, and through their popularity, drive technological development.  The industry is bigger than music and movies combined.

There are not a lot of libraries that practice video game collection development.  It’s a tricky area, because there are so many different platforms, and because individual items can be expensive and require additional controllers, etc.  On the other hand, one of the reasons for a public library is to provide access to information which might be too expensive or otherwise inaccessible to members of the community.  So in actuality video games would be an ideal thing for libraries to collect, because they can be expensive for individuals to purchase.  Would they be incredibly popular?  Yes, it’s likely they would be.  Would they fulfil the library mission to provide access to information?  Yes – because video games, aside from providing content also provide an understanding of technology and of technological development.  I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the future of the Internet and therefore almost all information creation, storage and retrieval, will be heavily influenced by video games.  It will not be long before 3D interactive environments are a normal part of online activities.  I don’t think Second Life will survive, but it’s effects are already rippling out – i posted about Sun’s MPK20 a couple of days ago, if you recall.

So, should we learn about video games in library school?  Yes.  Should be discard cataloging in favor of fun things like video games?  No.  What should we discard?  Nothing, yet.  What if we’re in a MLS program that doesn’t challenge us enough?  Well, challenge yourself then, and use the curriculum as a means to a better end.  If you think your program was a waste of time, then maybe you didn’t use it to your best advantage.  As a Master, you need to be working hard to improve yourself, not complaining about what’s being spoon-fed to you.  Take some risks.  Form some great arguments that offer real solutions to problems facing the world of librarianship.  Why not?  There’ll be some annoyed librarians out there who will want to discourage you from being interested and excited about your profession, but i think you’ll find those types of folks in all professions, and you just have to persevere.  When a profession is in flux, you can choose to despair or be a part of the solution.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll let you know that I’ll likely never waste my time reading the Annoyed Librarian again.  I’ve got a lot of work to do, and some of it includes video games, Web 2.0, and the future of library science.  Some of it involves planning a new program and running a book group and writing curriculum for computer classes.  Oh, and some of it involves providing excellent reference to our patrons.  Did i mention that i love my job?

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November 3, 2007 at 7:09 pm (conference notes, Library 2.0) (, , , )

Internet Librarian notes on

Dashboard, put your stuff there, cross post links to other places, like myspace, twitter,, etc. Nice. Depending on what you set up to cross post to, you’ll either embed the video, or put a link or thumbnail of it with a hyperlink to the video in

Also has cc licensing available (like flickr), you can tag things, add tags (space separated), language, connect it to events that are listed in the database. has come up as a potential host for videos, and so far it compares very favorably to YouTube. I have a YouTube account, but I haven’t uploaded any video there yet – I think at this point I’ll be going with first if i do any videos in the near future. Maybe i can set it up to auto-post to YouTube at the same time…

Here’s a link to my account, which has absolutely nothing on it yet.

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