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

Roving Reference 2.0

   January 15th, 2008 Brian Herzog

I believe this sign was seen hanging in an antique store:

Need Help? Call our front desk

Wouldn't this be a good way for libraries to both allow cell phone use in the library and encourage patrons to interact with librarians (in a way that is convenient for the patron)?

Or we could go the supermarkets route and install "help phones" in the stacks, so patrons who can't find their items don't have to go looking for staff, too. Hmm.

cell phones, customer service, libraries, library, phone support, public, reference 2.0, roving reference

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Veropedia = Wikipedia 2.0?

   October 30th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Veropedia.com logoVeropedia, a new website based on the articles in Wikipedia, is Web 2.0 with a twist - it's all verified, approved, and non-editable (which means it is no longer "2.0").

It's a for-profit site using cleaned-up and locked-down Wikipedia articles. They do this to try to lend more credibility to online reference (more description on their faq).

Is that necessary? Do they automatically lose credibility themselves because it's an "experts control the information" profit deal? Or are they moving from 2.0 to $2.0? Time will tell. But with only 3700+ "verofied" articles, they've got a long way to go to become useful.

via slashdot

reference 2.0, veropedia, web 2.0, wikipedia, $2.0.0, reference 2.0, veropedia, web 2.0, wikipedia.0.0, reference 2.0, veropedia, web 2.0, wikipedia

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Reference Question of the Week – 10/14/07

   October 20th, 2007 Brian Herzog

America's Top-Rated CitiesA patron called in wanting to know current crime statistics concerning murder, robberies and burglaries in Louisville, KY.

This particular patron has been considering moving somewhere for over a year, so we have a standard set of resources we refer to for city information.

One is a 4-volume set of books called America's Top-Rated Cities, which I like, but which didn't have the crime stats the way the patron wanted.

Another is the Sperling's BestPlaces website, which allows visitors to compare cities. However, their crime stats aren't very detailed.

The other standard is to search for crime statistics on the city's official website (Louisville, KY), but that wasn't much help in this case.

So, next was a general internet search, and a few of the more helpful websites were:

The last one (a personal blog, so hurray for "reference 2.0") referenced an FBI crime statistics report, so I went to the FBI's website to look for it.

After a quick search I found the Crime in the United States 2006 report, and linked to its Table 8: Known Offenses for State, City, which ultimately lead to to the Crime Stats for Kentucky's cities.

This was exactly what the patron was looking for, and I had it printed out and waiting for him when he came in. And next time, it won't take me nearly as long to answer this question.

crime statistics, crime stats, kentucky, ky, libraries, library, louisvile, louisville ky, public libraries, public library, reference 2.0, reference question

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