or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


CoverGuess from LibraryThing

   March 9th, 2010 Brian Herzog

CoverGuess websiteCoverGuess was released last week, and the LibraryThing blog post explains the what and why better than I can:

What is CoverGuess?

CoverGuess is a sort of game. We give you covers, and you describe them in words. If you guess the same things as other players, you get points.

Why are you doing this?

The goal is to have fun, but also to build up a database of cover descriptions, to answer questions like "Do you have that book with bride on the bicycle?"

You have to have a LibraryThing account to play, but it's worth a free account to get in on the action.

CoverGuess was inspired by one of my favorite internet timesinks, Google's Image Labeler. Both of these make the internet a better place, but CoverGuess could actually help in answering reference questions. I'll be keeping watch for when the search component is released, but for now, racking up tagging points is fun.



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Help From Above

   October 28th, 2008 Brian Herzog

MA Libraries license plateLibrarians are not alone.

Many libraries are part of networks, consortia, or regional system. And even for the independent libraries, there are still state libraries and state and national library associations that can provide guidance or support to the librarians in the trenches.

Recently, two projects were launched to benefit librarians at a local level, and both projects were started by a support organization.

Massachusetts Library License Plates
The Central Massachusetts Regional Library System (CMRLS) is working with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles to make a "Massachusetts Libraries" license plate available to the public. Details (and a promotional bookmark [pdf]) are available on the CMRLS website, and funds raised from the sale of these plates will be returned to libraries through a grant process. This is a neat idea, but so far only has a few mentions.

Job Descriptions Database from the Maine State Library
The Maine State Library launched a centralized job description database, to aid librarians in defining the roles within their libraries. This is one of those tasks that we all share, so creating a central clearinghouse for descriptions makes a lot of sense - and keeps us from reinventing the wheel. Job descriptions in the database were all submitted by Maine libraries, and hopefully include my favorite line for a library staff job description, "other duties to aid patron access to information as assigned."



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