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


The Dilemma with Delicious

   December 21st, 2010 Brian Herzog

Leaked Yahoo Slide Showing Delicious SunsetYou probably heard last week that someone leaked that Yahoo was planning on shutting down Delicious - but then later said it will be maintained until a good home could be found.

When I first read this, two things struck me:

  1. This is very bad, considering my library website's subject guides rely on Delicious, plus I've been telling people for years to convert to Delicious
  2. This isn't so bad, because the demise of Bloglines was announced and averted

So, for the time being, I'm not panicking - but it is a perfect reminder that we need to face the realities of third-party tools with eyes wide open. You can integrate anything you want into your website, but remember it may go away at any time. David Lee King has a great post on this (and gwern0's comment is spot-on).

What is a librarian to to? Our options are:

I'm going to be doing a little bit of all of these. Since there is no imminent deadline, I'm going to ignore all of this until after the holidays. Then, I'll backup my bookmarks and start looking at alternatives in case migration becomes necessary. I had been wondering if there was a host-your-own option, so I'm happy to see that. However, although it would be nice to have control myself, I like the shared aspect of these tools. Not to mention I'd be responsible for the maintenance, and there is always the danger of getting stuck in yet another information silo.

If we do have to move, right now I'm leaning towards Diigo because it seems to match most closely the Delicious features I use - namely, linkrolls and a bookmarklet (or toolbar). I haven't investigated very far, but it also looks like importing Delicious links will be easy.

This is just life on the web - nothing is permanent and nothing is irreplaceable. However, the initial "sunset" announcement struck me like a bad Christmas present.

Speaking of which: as usual, I'll be visiting my family for the week of Christmas, and so won't be posting. Because driving this time of year is always weather-dependent, I've been playing with Weather.com's Travel Weather Summary - you type in points along your route and the times you'll be passing through, and it tells you if you'll hit snow there. It's neat, but the interface could be slicker. I've never used it before, so we'll see how accurate it is, and if it's reliable enough to embark on a two-hour detour.

Happy holidays to everyone.



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NELA2010: Easy Website Mashups

   October 19th, 2010 Brian Herzog

ChelmsfordHistory.org/Resources.html pageAs part of NELA2010, I'm doing a poster session on Quick and Easy Website Mashups - very simple ways to add more information and utility to library websites.

The image at right is an example of the Resources page on the ChelmsfordHistory.org website (a town-wide history project my library participates in). Embedded in the page are four different mashups, which makes it both more useful to researchers, and easier to maintain. Win-win.

If you're interested in seeing easy examples of adding more content to your website, check it out.



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MashupCamp 2007

   January 2nd, 2007 Brian Herzog

Mashup Camp logoA coworker just made me aware of MashupCamp 2007, being held at MIT on Jan 17-18. I've been to a few unconferences before, and enjoy the format, so I might attend for that reason alone.

I am interested in mashups, but am probably not as hard-core as the other attendees will be. I'm sure there are ways to make our library catalog more useful by combining it with tools like Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Delicious Library, LibraryThing, Library Elf, and more, if I just had the time to sit and think and experiment. We'll see.

Another nice feature of MashupCamp 2007 is Mashup University, which is "specifically geared towards hands-on training whereby new and experienced mashup developers can get classroom style instruction on how to build mashups." Now that's for me.

boston, libraries, library, m.i.t., mashup, mashup camp, mashupcamp, mashups, mit, unconference, unconferences



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