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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Going to Computers in Libraries 2010

   April 6th, 2010 Brian Herzog

cil2010 logoNext week is Computers in Libraries 2010, and I'm lucky enough to be going and co-presenting a pre-conference workshop with Nicole Engard.

Our workshop is Implementing Library Mashups, based partly on the book Nicole edited, Library Mashups. I'm looking forward to hearing Nicole speak, and I'll present* my chapter, then the rest of the workshop will be hands-on building mashups with the attendees. Keep an eye on Nicole's presentations page for the slides.

There will be lots of other great speakers and workshops, so it should be a good time**. If you're there, be sure to say hi. And if you need help convincing your boss you should go, CiL provides help on justifying your trip, complete with a draft memo [doc].

I'll try to blog, tweet and flickr as much as I can while traveling, both library and touristy things.

Update 4/7/10: If you're going to Cil2010, here are some resources to check out. If you're not going, for you there is a list of bloggers who'll be taking notes.

 


*Ah, public speaking, we meet again.

**Not to mention sightseeing in Washington. I [heart] that city. And this time, I'm going to the International Spy Museum, tour the Capitol and see Senate in session - all outside of conference hours, of course.



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Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data

   July 2nd, 2009 Brian Herzog

Library Mashups book coverSpeaking of embedding things into library websites, I wanted to highlight a book due out later this year.

In the interest of full disclosure, I contributed a chapter to this book. I don't get any kickback from the profits (except for a free copy), but I am really looking forward to it.

Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data is written by librarians for librarians, on how we can expand our websites and web presence to better serve our patrons. Nicole Engard pulled us all together and edited the book.

More information about the book and authors is available at http://mashups.web2learning.net. It's not due out until September, but just skimming the table of contents makes me pretty sure I'll learn a lot from the other authors.

Writing my chapter made me feel like I was back in library school working on a paper, but I am glad to have done it. Plus, I'll soon be able to tell people I'm a "published author." People ask me why I became a librarian, and my answer is always the same: fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory.

update 7/12/09: a couple new related links:

update 8/20/09
Library Mashups is available to order in the United Kingdom, Europe or British Commonwealth (excl. Canada) from Facet Publishing



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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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