August 31st, 2010 Brian Herzog
Sometimes when I am working on a post, I wonder if another library blogger has already covered it - an am afraid I'll look kind of dumb rehashing something.
So I thought, wouldn't it be great to set up a Google custom search engine to search all library-related blogs? Before I did, I checked if anyone already created one, and it turned out Library Zen had - four years ago (I'm even further behind than I thought).
LISZEN Search searches over 500 library blogs, and has an accompanying wiki to keep track. If you write about the library world, add yourself.
Something related that would also be nice is a custom search of just library websites - so it would be easy to quickly see what other library's policies are regarding ebooks, or circulating laptops, or how much they charge for printing, etc. But considering the breadth of libraries and the complexity of maintaining it, just using regular Google might be more realistic.
Tags: blog, blogs, co-op, cse, custom search engine, google, librarian, librarians, libraries, Library, liszen, public, search, Websites
July 1st, 2010 Brian Herzog
We just subscribed to the Safari computer ebooks database, so I started weeding our print computer book collection. It's a heavily-used collection, but I found a few books that made me laugh.
Not that they were bad books, just out-of-date for the computer field. Case in point is How to search the web, edited by Robert S. Want, ©2000. Flipping through it was a walk down memory lane - heck, right on the cover were listed search engines that I used to use a lot and now had forgotten about (but I do miss Infoseek):
The book itself was obviously useful in its time, and now is an interesting look back at the past. Among other information, it contains b&w screenshots of each of the search engines' homepages, reminding us what the web looked like 10 years ago - directory browsing is certainly less popular these days:
And this was on the shelf in a library that weeds regularly - who knows what gems are waiting in larger libraries that have the space to keep lots of things.
On another note, my parents will be visiting for the Fourth of July, so I won't be posting again until later next week. I hope you have a good holiday (non-Americans, I hope your regular days are good, too).
April 12th, 2010 Brian Herzog
New & Hot: The Best of Resource Shelf, with Gary Price, Publisher, ResourceShelf
Keeping up with all the changes in our industry and staying one step ahead of our clients require solid strategies to deal with this challenge. Our popular expert shares his ideas, learnings, top tips, and techniques from the search and search engine world to ensure that you stay in step with the fast-changing online information world.
Complete list of links at http://www.resourceshelf.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/bor2010cil.html, but I have some annotations below:
- Wordnik - shows word-based results: definition, number of mentioned, examples common usage, etc.
- Wolfram Alpha - educators are focusing on this as a replacement for almanacs and also as a computational engine. They're always adding and updating data.
- MRQE - Movie Review Query Engine - reviews coming from traditional and social sources
- AllMusic - info on singers, albums, groups, songs, and it also provides "related songs" and "influenced by" suggestions. Now all features are available without login. There's also allmovie.com and allgames.com.
- Lyrics Wiki - great for song lyrics. One of the first spinoff wikis hosted on Wikia.com by a specialized group of Wikipedia editors
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - the go-to place for maps in the news, for education use, map research, or for general use
- NNDB Notable Names search and biographical information. And NNDB Mapper is a visualization tool that shows relations between people.
- Whitepages.com - like a typical people search, but uses public data to build a personal profile, including ages and neighbors
- Muckety.com - similar to NNDB, but does it for business and business relationships between people
Go to http://www.resourceshelf.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/bor2010cil.html for more useful links
November 19th, 2009 Brian Herzog
Sometimes, being a librarian equates to being a packrat. At least in the virtual world, I can collect as many links as I want and it doesn't take up any room. However, to be useful, it does take organization.
For awhile now I've been bookmarking posts about free resources for clipart, photographs and other artwork. I use them for library publications, and also for my posts here. But just this week I got my act together and started transferring those links from my Bloglines account to my Delicious account, and thought I'd share them.
If you're curious how to do this with Delicious, check out my how-two post for creating library subject guides.
And just for good measure, here are a few web design tools I had bookmarked, too:
July 14th, 2009 Brian Herzog
A couple of weeks ago, the director of the Wadleigh Memorial Library in New Hampshire wrote me with this question (I'm paraphrasing):
We have an intern for the summer, and she's started a blog about her work at the library. However, the next thing I knew, there was a link to her blog from the library's homepage (it's since been removed). While I like the idea of the public getting a bird's eye view of what we do at the library, I have to think of worst case scenario....
I couldn't find your blog linked from CPL's website, but you do publicly announce on your blog where you work. Does CPL have any policies in place about staff blogs? Have you ever had anything you've written come back to bite the library?...
This is a very interesting question. Something I wrote once did come back to bite, and the Town, the Library and I were all threatened with a lawsuit. That prompted a discussion between my director and me about separating library and personal, although no written policy ever came of it. But in general, here are the blogging guidelines that I follow:
- Nothing written can be unwritten - think before you publish
- Get permission before using names, and be vague when referring to people otherwise
- Personal website has a disclaimer disassociating the library/town from me
Which is basic, I know, but since it's a personal website done on personal time, there's not much keeping me from doing whatever I want - other than common sense, experience, and goodwill towards the library. Since most of what goes on in libraries is public record anyway, pretty much everything I do at work is fair game, so long as I don't break the law or violate patron privacy.
Even still, it might be a good idea for libraries to create some sort of guidelines for staff who publicly use the library's name online. I don't think libraries can force people to do or not do most things (aside from using library resources and time), but basic guidelines might help a well-meaning library employee avoid awkward situations they might not have otherwise considered.
A few resources for these guidelines are:
It's a great idea for library employees to share their work with the public (and other librarians). Especially if the library is going to link to that personal blog from the library's website (in which case, the library might be entitled to more control over the content of that personal blog). If no employee is doing this on their personal blog, the library's blog itself could occasionally spotlight behind-the-scenes activities in the library.
I guess the bottom line is that people are still discovering Web 2.0, so there's a lot of inexperience and new situations out there. Libraries shouldn't try to prevent their employees from participating, but instead can assist them in doing it well (remember 23 Things?).
After our email discussion and speaking with library Trustees, the Wadleigh Library decided to put the link to their intern's blog back on their homepage, which was good news. So if you're looking for a model on how to do this, check out Lexi the Intern's blog - she's doing a great job.
Tags: blogs, communication, libraries, Library, Personal, Policies, policy, public, social networking, social software, web 2.0, Websites
July 2nd, 2009 Brian Herzog
Speaking 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:
Library Mashups is available to order in the United Kingdom, Europe or British Commonwealth (excl. Canada) from Facet Publishing