Sunday, October 29, 2006

A few more group one questions

1. Brandt writes that many people have positive experiences learning to read, but learning to write is often difficult and traumatic. Does this resemble your experiences at all? Why do you think this is the case?
2. Brandt writes that analysts of literacy in schools often oversimplify the problem (169-170). Do you think her argument takes too much focus away from literacy institutions? How are libraries implicated in literacy gaps?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Additional Questions from a Group 1 Member

Brandt's examination of literacy focuses on writing and sometimes excludes consideration of reading, in part to to "help redress the neglect of the social history of writing in comparison to reading"(12). Do you believe that Brandt's focus on writing over reading seems reasonable? Do you think Brandt's book is limited by her tendency to sometimes exclude half of the "literacy equation" (i.e. reading) from analysis?

Brandt's methodology for examining Literacy in American Lives focuses on people and largely ignores institutions that teach literacy, such as schools and libraries. What roles do libraries have in the story/stories told in Brandt's book?

"Literacy in American Lives" Questions

Questions for Discussion from Group 1:


1. What is the important influence of library on literacy in history
and present? As a librarian, how can we help people improve their literacy?

2. Is it possible to define levels of literacy and is there a point where the
pace outweighs the curve so that the older we get the more difficult it is
to move forward?

3. With the internet age are we putting new emphasis on writing but in specific
way which will lead the next generation to internet specific literacy
skills?

4. Brandt mentions how unequal access to computers is a new source of
inequality when it comes to being informed and exercising civil and
economic rights. Are we doing anything to address this problem? If
not, what should we be doing to make sure that people don't get left
behind as computer knowledge becomes an increasingly important skill?

5. How are American families supported to assist their children to
achieve in light of our country's high standards for literacy,
especially when the very children who most need information literacy
are often from families that are the least likely to have learning
experiences which will promote these abilities?
Are schools and libraries even having thoughtful dialogues about
information literacy for children when building curriculum, programming
organizational missions and policies?
Are teachers and libraries working together on the issue? Should they?


6. How does our idea of information literacy affect people who speak
languages other then English? Should there be different set of rules to
teach information literacy to families from other cultures?

7. It is hard to put a grade on someone's thoughts and feelings.
Especially when the person is a young, impressionable and sensitive
child. Could this be a hindrance to educators when teaching writing?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Discussion questions from group 5

Article 1
-On page 17 of "Consensus and Contradiction" the authors criticize wide-
spread library policy of using circulation numbers to measure success
by saying, "just as many lawyers will tell you that their objective is
to see justice done, whereas they are actually out to win cases, so
many librarians will tell you that education is their objective, when
they are busy trying to increase circulation." (pp.17) What are other
ways to measure success in the library? Do you think there is a
different objective that institutions should focus on?

-What are our current values towards different types of reading
materials? Is it, “As long as kids are reading, it doesn’t much matter
what”, or is it more prescriptive?

Article 2
-Gorman says on page 10 that the “true literacy” of the population is
declining. What is “true literacy,” and what is “functional literacy”?

-Is there any sense in libraries (or the ALA) coming up with a general
approach to new technology, or are the circumstances too varied?

Article 3
-The author asks the reader how the superficiality of the Internet can
be improved. Does this mean that librarians should encourage patrons to
visit sites only seen as serious? Is it censorship to promote some
websites over others?

Article 4
-Why Thomas Jefferson would love Napster
Do you agree with the author that today’s copyright laws go too far?
Should libraries uphold the law, regardless of whether we believe it
is just, or should we advocate for change? Should the ALA even take a
stance on this issue?

(posted by Greg from an email sent by group 5)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

UW Survey Details Student Computer Use

Article from: The Capital Times. Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006.


UW Survey Details Student Computer Use
Sixty percent of UW-Madison students reported in a recent survey that they never change the passwords they use for their campus accounts, although about 75 percent never intentionally share their NetID and passwords with others.
"That's a good start, but it still gives us some cause for concern", Jim Lowe, chief information security officer, said in a statement. "We would like to see all students regularly change and never share their passwords."
Other results from the Division of Information Technology's 2006 UW-Madison Student Computing Survey include:
  • Laptop ownership surged past desktop ownership for the first time. Almost two-thirds of students own a laptop, compared to 46 percent owning a desktop computer.
  • Reported cell phone ownership fell from a year ago to 79 percent from 87 percent-- perhaps due to students not knowing what name to give their devices that combine PDA, cell phone, camera, e-mail, MP3 and instant-messaging capabilities.
  • More than half of students report owning a portable music and/or video player.
  • Nearly one-third of students report regular campus wireless use. More than half of laptop owners use wireless in their homes. Internet use has flattened to an average of 19 hours per week after peaking at 26 hours per week in 2004.
  • Nearly 60 percent of students say instant messaging is "important" or "very important" to them.
  • Nearly 70 percent of UW-Madison students have used an online course-management system, with two-thirds rating it a positive or very positive experience.
  • Just under 90 percent of the students indicated over-all satisfaction with UW-Madison's technology resources. The mean overall satisfaction has grown steadily, from 3.9 on a 5-point scale in 2004 to 4.2 this year.

This is the eighth year of the survey.

Friday, October 20, 2006

More on Google Book project

In this week's Wisconsin Week there's anarticle on our participation in the Google Book Project:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Google announced an agreement today to expand access to hundreds of thousands of public and historical books and documents from more than 7.2 million holdings at the UW-Madison Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.

The university is the eighth library to join Google's ambitious effort to digitize the world's books and make them searchable on Google Book Search.

The combined library collections of UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society comprise one of the largest collections of documents and historical materials to be found in the United States. The collections are ranked 11th in North America by the Association of Research Libraries in Washington, D.C.

See the full article for more. I've suggested to our faculty that we hold a colloquium talk or panel on this topic and I believe something is in the works. Anyone interested in learning more?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Library Journal article on starting salaries and gender differences

This seemed appropriate to our discussion in class yesterday. According to this article in the Library Journal,

While it took almost ten years since the last significant salary breakthrough in 1997, starting salaries for American Library Association (ALA)-accredited master's degree graduates breached the $40,000 barrier. In 2005, the average annual starting salary for new LIS grads was $40,118. Additionally, it was a stellar year for minority graduates, with average starting salaries increasing a full 6%, to $42,333.

[...]

Job assignment had significant impact on salaries in 2005. Positions in database management, for solo librarians, and in usability testing helped drive the rise in overall average earnings. These increases leveled some of the downward turns of other positions, including those in technical services and government documents.

Yet there is a significant gender gap within these figures:

Women still eclipse the LIS professions, comprising 85% of the graduate pool reporting employment status. In 2005, the gender gap persisted and even widened. Average starting salaries for women have yet to reach $40,000. They reported an average of $39,587 for 2005 (2.28% increase—less than $1000—from 2004), and this increase was significantly less than that experienced by their male counterparts. Men garnered an average starting salary of $42,143 (a 4.49% increase from 2004), which is 6.46% higher than women’s starting salaries.

The original article is chock full of other useful stats.

At Philly 'Future' School, Books Are So 20th Century

I subscribe to NPR's Story of the Day Podcast and found this relevant gem today: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6210622

Follow the link to listen to, or read, the story.

Here's an excerpt:

"The classrooms have the appearance of corporate meeting rooms -- complete with video projectors. Hurst laughs as he describes the coolest thing: 'No pencils, no papers, no books. None.' Just laptops, which are standard issue at the school."

Monday, October 16, 2006

For next week's guest lecture ...

When I asked Jim Danky to guest lecture for us, this is how he replied:

"Sure. I will start, I think, by asking you to pass out 3x5 cards,
suitably luddite, and ask the students to write one sentence about why
they are interested in being librarians/archivists. Just one."

So please email me your one sentence in the next few days ... and I will pass them on to Jim.

Group final presentation assignments

Group 1 - Banned books
Group 2 - Wikipedia
Group 3 - USA PATRIOT ACT
Group 4 - "one city one book"
Group 5 - "big-box coffeeshop bookstores"

Urban Library Program in St. Paul

Regarding Segregation in Libraries:

Here is a library program that seeks to educate people who are not necessarily white and who desire to work in the library system. It is a 2 year program that trains people to become paraprofessionals in libraries. I'd be interested in knowing what people think about this...

Urban Library Program at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Questions for Discussion

Librarians and Party Girls

In light of Levy’s Scrolling Forward do you notice any parallels between his Whitman/Dewey framework and this article. Could “party girls” be seen as a Whitman style personality, taking life as it comes and celebrating all aspects of it? Conversely, are all librarians necessarily Dewey clones, obsessed with order and time management?

What implications does this stereotype of librarians as frumpy, unapproachable, prudes have on our profession? Is there anyway to alleviate this stereotype in popular culture? What is the best strategy to accomplish this?

How do male librarians fit into this stereotype? How does popular culture view the male librarian?

Looking at the websites discussed in this article, librarians seem to appreciate humor. What does this characteristic say about how librarians view their own profession? How do librarians see themselves? How do they define themselves and their profession?

Questions for Discussion

Information Technology and the De-Skilling of Librarians; or the erosion
of a woman's profession
by Roma Harris

1. If we were to create an argument in the defense of automation how would it support
female librarians? Or, has Harris successfully created the argument that this women's profession is being eroded by automation?

2. Harris states that librarians are being pressured to "...rid themselves of their occupational labels..." and that automation is going to cause a decline in professional status. In 1987 Richard Rowe predicted that librarians will not be candidates for high positions, such as "chief information officer". Was Rowe's prediction and Harris' statement correct? Should we redefine our profession and if so, where do we begin (library school, public campaigns, rallies, etc). If not, what do librarians offer communities that information advocates do not?

3. Do you think the librarian stereotype as it is discussed in the Radfords' article, Librarians and Party Girls, supports Harris' views that librarians are not often thought of as qualified leaders in places like university computing centers or information resources? Or, does Harris' article even provide enough evidence of these accusations?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Additional Questions for Discussion: Monday October 16


Group Four discussion questions:
US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Librarians," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2006-07 edition).

Nature of the Work:
How would you describe the strengths and weaknesses of a qualified librarian?
What kind of work do librarians primarily perform?
What makes librarianship a unique profession?
What three aspects of library work do most librarian positions incorporate?
Why is it important for a librarian to develop skills in each of these fields of librarianship?

Working Conditions:
What are a few of the workplace hazards involved in librarianship?
What are the benefits of working so closely with computers? What are the weaknesses?
Is this an adequate description of the working conditions involved in librarianship? What would you add?
Training, other qualifications, and advancement:
Is it necessary for a librarian to receive training in both instruction and technology?
Does librarianship training overlap with too many fields? In other words, is the master’s degree program too broad with too many specifications? How could it be improved?

Job Outlook:
In what ways is technology capable of performing traditional library work? In what ways is a traditional librarian needed more than automated information systems?
What kinds of skills do librarians need to develop in order to compete with changing technological systems and a smaller job market?

Related Occupations:
Given the large amount of informational, interpersonal, and technological skills which librarians must now acquire, is "librarian" still a relevant term or is it too outdated?
What would be a more appropriate name to describe "librarianship" as a field?


*Photo: "The Librarian" by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Painted in 1566
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:The_Librarian.jpg
Submitted by Group 4 member: Catherine Panosh

Questions for Discussion on Monday October 16 2006

“The Ugly Side of Librarianship: Segregation in Library Services from 1900-1950," by Klaus Musmann:

1. Why is it that immigrants were a more attractive group to advance than African-Americans? Was it because librarians had immigrant ancestors, whereas they weren't black? What are some other reasons for this difference in treatment?

2. How were services to African-Americans compromised by political policy (separate but equal)? How likely were competent librarians to end up in an African-American library?

3. Reflect upon the role of librarian as teacher. Do you think the treatment of African-American patrons would have differed if this aspect of librarianship had been recognized/conceived of earlier? If so, do you thing it would have made the situation better or worse?

4. What do you think was the core issue allowing segregation and the marginilization of African-Americans in libraries to continue? Was it a reluctance on the part of whites to educate and provide resources for the education of African-Americans? An inability on the part of African-Americans to lobby for rights in the library when there were other, more pressing, issues elsewhere? The social climate/racism? Or was it something else?

5. Are there groups that are still being treated in the way African-Americans were? What about, for example, the homeless? Are their library needs largely ignored because, for one, they lack a residence (which is usually required for a library card)? Are minorities still being marginilized?

"Information Technology and the De-Skilling of Librarians" -- Roma Harris

1. What are the advantages to having a paraprofessional handle cataloging? Are there advantages?

2. Why do you think women have traditionally taken over a position like cataloging? What draws men in the field to the administrative and technical aspects of the career?

3. What are the consequences to viewing the field of librarianship as so divided? Do we risk fracturing and compartmentalizing the profession by doing this? Should we, rather, seek to build understanding, rather than saying that one group is being harmed by the actions of another group?

"Librarians and party girls: Cultural studies and the meaning of the librarian" -- Marie L. Radford and Gary P. Radford

In light of Levy’s Scrolling Forward do you notice any parallels between his Whitman/Dewey framework and this article. Could “party girls” be seen as a Whitman style personality, taking life as it comes and celebrating all aspects of it? Conversely, are all librarians necessarily Dewey clones, obsessed with order and time management?

What implications does this stereotype of librarians as frumpy, unapproachable, prudes have on our profession? Is there anyway to alleviate this stereotype in popular culture? What is the best strategy to accomplish this?

How do male librarians fit into this stereotype? How does popular culture view the male librarian?

Looking at the websites discussed in this article, librarians seem to appreciate humor. What does this characteristic say about how librarians view their own profession? How do librarians see themselves? How do they define themselves and their profession?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Giving LibraryThing a run for its money?

http://www.shelfari.com/

Thursday, October 12, 2006

UW-Madison libraries join Google book project

Latest news:

UW joining Google book project

PATRICIA SIMMS psimms@madison.com
October 12, 2006

UW-Madison is joining a rarified cadre of eight libraries that have joined Google's effort to digitize the world's books and make them searchable on the Internet.
Under an agreement signed Wednesday, the popular search engine company Google will add hundreds of thousands of the more than 7.2 million volumes at UW- Madison campus libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society to its controversial worldwide book digitization project, called Google Book Search.

UW-Madison and Google will share the operating costs of the project - for the university, that means covering the cost of selecting and pulling volumes off the shelves, boxing them for transport to Google offices in either Michigan or California for scanning and unpacking them afterward, said Edward Van Gemert, interim director of the UW-Madison General Library System.

"No money changes hands," he said. "But there are costs for each party. Where the material is going and how is all yet to be planned and determined."

The other seven libraries involved are Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Stanford University, the University of California System, and, most recently, Madrid's Complutense University, the largest university library in Spain.

The U.S. Library of Congress is also conducting a pilot project with Google, and Google spokeswoman Megan Lamb said Wednesday the California-based company is eager to contract with other libraries. "We absolutely want to expand the program," launched in 2004, Lamb said.

Van Gemert said unlike the universities of California and Michigan, UW-Madison has decided to share only those volumes and materials that are in the public domain: books published before 1923, state and federal documents and works whose authors have consented to the process.

Article continues here...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gaming in Libraries

This article was sent to me by a good friend of mine, a Librarian in Minnesota.

A new library for a new century
"Innovation happens in the most surprising places. If asked which US library is pushing the envelope on introducing interactive computer gaming in public libraries, how many would look to the most rural, poor, and isolated corner of a county in South Carolina? And if informed that this corner of the library world has a 30% illiteracy rate, a 15% unemployment rate, a poverty level exceeding 30% with up to 90% of school kids eligible for free or reduced-rate lunches, and a meager 2% rate for library card registration, what odds would you give that it can even keep its doors open?"

http://www.webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=13796

Editor's note: If you want to see what other libraries are doing with interactive gaming, check out the listings on the Library Success wiki.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An example of a catalog using facets

Professor Kim sent me an example of a "faceted" library catalog after class yesterday, and asked that I pass it on to you.

NCSU Libraries Unveils Revolutionary, Endeca-Powered Online Catalog

The NCSU Libraries announced the first library deployment of a revolutionary new online catalog... The NCSU Libraries' new catalog allows users to browse their results along pre-defined facets with context-specific values automatically generated from the results set itself. These dynamic navigation schemes and search refinement options are made possible by the Endeca ProFind™ platform, which takes advantage of all of the relationships in the catalog data and how those relationships themselves relate to each other. Resembling what librarians call "faceted classification," this data-driven approach reflects the multiple ways any resource can be described, rather than its location in a rigid hierarchy of categories.

Monday, October 09, 2006

In the latest edition of the New York Times available online @ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/10/us/10subway.html , IAN URBINA
, writes about an ad campaign on the Washington DC transit system that pokes fun at not only the high number of high-powered people in the city, but also the idea that because they are high-powered, they think they should be reading "serious" books in order to maintain that veneer of high-powered status.

However, some people didn't see the joke. They thought it wasn't too funny that the idea of someone wearing a suit and reading a "low-brow" novel could be laughed at in comparison to someone reading a "high brow" work like Plato's "republic". They didn't see that all the posing and posturing, when you think of it as posing and posturing is really kind of funny.

This relates to libraries inasmuch as we cater to not only the high-brow, but also the lowbrow, and we do so with equal seriousness. There is no shame in checking out Britney Spears or checking out the 3 Tenors. Both are equal. Yet at the same time, as a library professional I can realize the role that making a selection and being seen with a selection plays in a persons life without shaming that person for allowing that media to play that role. One look at my MP3 player and you will note that there are some selections in there to impress, and others because I genuinely enjoy them. Research amongst my friends, and reading on IPOD useage has shown that I'm not alone in this.

So, good reader - what is your true pleasure, and what do you read simply to impress or to say you've read it so you can talk about it intelligently?

Another web service gets gobbled up by Google

I thought I'd post this article about Google buying out You-Tube for $1.6 billion. So now Google not only owns Blogger, but You-Tube as well. What's next?

http://www.startribune.com/535/story/731166.html

Reaction to Today's Discussion

There's something that kept with me today after class ended. In thinking about how the web can be/should be integrated into public libraries, I get stuck on a question of value. The Internet has immense potential as an educational resource, a source of entertainment or a chance to form a social network, and so on. However, how can it be brought into a library without have librarians filter it's content or at least what's a matter of public access within the library? And this is the part that gets me: How do you ask a librarian to 'filter' the Internet? You can't without assuming a certain judgement of value, because what's useful will depend on who's looking to use that information, right? In the old days of publishing there was that hierarchy of standards and system of approval in place, but that isn't so with digital information. Nobody's censoring or limiting the web, and that is what's truly great about it--the vast potential to access anything and not just what some academy or stuffy publisher deems a quality read.

a reaction to blogging and youth culture from a conservative perspective (not mine)

After class today I was reading an online news aggregator, Rawstory which carried a piece about the fear among some circles of conservative Christians regarding blogs. It's an interesting read, using biblical texts, which I will admit I am not well versed, to make the claim for the danger of blogging as it related to youth and youth culture, and instead advocating for letter writing, and (interestingly enough) instant messanging. I read through the site to make sure that it was not a joke, or a cultural critique of the "religious right", and from what I can tell, this site seems to be very heart-felt and genuine about their views. It must be said emphatically that I do not support their postions (moral, theological or otherwise) in any way, shape or form, I am merely posting them because i think they offer a different perspective on what we are engaging in a part of this class. I also fully realize that this group does not speak for all of conservative Christianity or all of Christianity as a whole.

http://www.thercg.org/youth/articles/0403-bagy.html

Friday, October 06, 2006

Scrolling Forward by David M. Levy. Questions from Group 3 (for Monday Oct. 9)

Levy's "love letter" to documents raised many fine points for debate. We've tried to whittle down our list of questions, but it remains stubbornly long. Here are more than few questions to ponder:

In Levy's discussion of the future of libraries, he cites Francis Miksa. Levy summarizes Miksa's claims about libraries of the future this way: "The public space within which the modern library operated, and which it helped to sustain, is closing down. In its place will come private libraries" (p 134).
1: What are the potential consequences of private libraries taking the place of public, brick-and-mortar libraries?
2: A major mission of public libraries is to provide information and services to all people, including people who are economically disadvantaged. Public libraries help to bridge the digital divide, and offer a "shared sacred space." What will happen to equal access to information if Miksa's prediction comes true?

In his discussion of technology's contributions to the frenetic pace of modern life, Levy writes, "Could it be that we are rushing ever faster, hoping to save ourselves, to liberate ourselves from our suffering and our sense of lack?"
3: Does technology have to play the villain here? How can technology make a positive contribution, and help to eliminate Levy's lack, in enriching the lives of its users?
4: Is technology necessarily devoted to doing things faster and faster, leaving no time for rich, reflective living?

Tree Flakes Encased in Dead Cow: The Printed Word
5: What were the similarities and differences that Levy perceived between his study of computer programs and calligraphy?
6: What do the differences between the various editions of Leaves of Grass that Levy discusses say about our experience of the work? Are they important?
7: What are the similarities and differences between web documents and traditional printed material?
8: Do books, in their physical entity, block information content? Do we need to "free the writing from the frozen structure of the page" and "liber[ate] the text"? (112)

Let's explore his Dewey vs Whitman idea--
9: What is Levy's attitude toward the tension between digital and traditional technology?
10: How does this relate to his discussion of the existential nature of the creation of human culture?
11: How does he think we should "scroll forward"?

To illustrate his points about the history and status of documents in everyday life, Levy draws many examples from popular culture.
12: Can you think of another contemporary document, like the deli receipt, postcard, or greeting card, that might serve as an equally fascinating subject of exegesis/cultural analysis?
13: Do you think that the invention and use of "emoticons" signals a general downturn in the writing abilities of the computer-using population? (Surely, in times past, people were able to express humor, etc. through word choice and writing style?).
14: Levy refers to the 1985 film Brazil to illustrate the dark side of documents. What other films can you think of that deal with this subject?

Finally, some thoughts on the present and future of documents.
15: How do you feel about the assertion that our culture, when compared to others, lacks a reverence for the written word? If that is the case, how does this impact us as librarians? More specifically, is it within the scope of our responsibility to promote literacy prowess & increased appreciation for the document in all its forms?
16: Is documentation a "form of ventriloquism?" (What a fun thought!)
17: Discuss Levy's description of librarians as "practitioners of new book history." What does this mean?
18: Has our attention span collectively decreased? Does the possibility give anyone else a sense of foreboding (it's a suggestive idea)? What are the implications not only for our future, but also for our present state of mind?
19: Has technology truly replaced the notion of god(s)?

Scrolling Forward

This may be more appropriate in my personal blog, but this sentence just tickled me so -

"It is the rare person who isn't somewhat traumatized by the state of his or her desk." (pp.122)

How true. It seems no matter what organization scheme I think of for my desk, within a matter of weeks (ok, ok - days) it reverts to the status quo of books, papers, and post-its multiplying all over.

Just a little observation/rant I wanted to share.

Wisconsin State Journal article: "Library welcomes controversy"

An article in the Wisconsin State Journal today discusses the way the Sun Prairie library has functioned as a forum of sorts for debate over the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions:

Front and center as patrons enter the city's library are pictures of happy couples and families along with a sign urging voters to support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions.

The political message by Vote Yes for Marriage at the Sun Prairie Public Library is in response to a September display advocating against the ban by Fair Wisconsin, which held a similar space in the library's entrance.

While the library offers the space as a public forum and has posted displays on controversial issues such as school referendums, these most recent messages have been the most political the library has displayed.

'(The displays have) been a very popular way for the community to share all kinds of information about itself,' said Sharon Zindar, the library's director. 'This is the first time we've had such a political message in our (display) case. It could turn out that's all the case becomes.'

Complaints about both displays have prompted the library board to consider changing its policy - not to end the practice but possibly to remove the signs further in advance of an election, since the library is also a polling place.

As it is, the pro-amendment group's sign is due to stay up until just a week before the Nov. 7 election.

The atticle continues for those who would like to read the rest of it. What do LIS 450 students think about this debate in light of what we have been reading and discussing in class? For those of you who currently work in area libraries, what has been the policy on displaying political speech or encouraging political debate at your sites?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Library Quarterly - January 2006 Issue, Pg 3-9.

I thought this was an interesting article in view of last week's discussions.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Librarians and the Search Engine

I thought that some might be interested in this article:

Librarians as the Most Reliable Search Tool

The article brought up some good points (some of which we have discussed in class). Also, the people who make comments on the article at the bottom are worth checking out. I especially enjoyed the gentleman (or lady) who accused the ALA of being left-wing and in cahoots with the ACLU.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Recommendation Systems & Netflix

Here's an interesting article from the NY Times on recommendation systems and Netflix: http://tinyurl.com/kckl6

To quote the Times:

"Recommendation systems, also known as collaborative filtering systems, try to predict whether a customer will like a movie, book or piece of music by comparing his or her past preferences to those of other people with similar tastes. Such systems will look at, say, the last 10 books, movies or songs a customer has rated highly and try to extrapolate an 11th."

Amazon.com has already shown that such systems can be used to sell books and perhaps libraries would do well to augment Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) with recommendation features (many OPACs already store patrons' borrowing histories, right?). Perhaps such an implementation is presently impracticable. At any rate, the article is interesting, relevant to our class, and (in my opinion) warrants a read.