Friday, September 21, 2007

We're Number 931! We're Number 931!

Granted, I live in Columbus, Ohio, where the state religion is OSU football, so being number 931 isn't exactly going to make headlines here. But, OCLC's public version of the library database, is now #931 in Quantcast's list of most visited websites. (They currently rank about 20 million sites.) This is a dynamic rating, so when you click on that link, the number may have shifted. The best part is we beat!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Free Lewis and Clark Map Sets for Libraries

Regular readers of "It's All Good" know that I've been working with the good folks at Adventure Cycling Association on marketing the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route to and through libraries. Now, Adventure Cycling is offering a special gift for libraries. This information is courtesy of Julie Emnett, the Associate Development Director for Adventure Cycling Association.


In 2007, Adventure Cycling received a grant from the National Park Service to update, reprint and distribute our Lewis & Clark bicycle route maps, originally created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the epic journey of Meriwether Lewis & William Clark.

Our maps give information about cultural interests and natural history, interpretive information and the location of bike shops, grocery stores, camp sites, motels and libraries and more — all services cyclists look for while on a bicycle tour.

Thanks to the National Park Service, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Program, Adventure Cycling will be giving away 275 of the eight-map sets.

Adventure Cycling Association would like offer the members of WebJunction an opportunity to order one of the free Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail route sets. Simply follow this link and complete the form by including the code GT-0001 at check-out and we will send you your free Lewis & Clark map set.*

*Limited to stock hand of the 275 original map sets. Only one per library. No exchanges or refunds will be offered.

Second Life to Have a Third Life?

The Library of Congress announced a $590,000 grant called "Preserving Virtual Worlds." In the words of the news release issued by Rochester Institute of Technology (one of four universities in the project), "The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore developing standards for preserving digital games and interactive fiction such as virtual worlds like Second Life. Second Life is an interactive multiplayer game in which people take on personas known as avatars." Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life, is also participating in the project.

"Preserving Virtual Worlds is part of the Library of Congress's Preserving Creative America project, launched in August.

Time to update my avatar...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

School Boards Report

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has published a short but fascinating report on how students are using social networking sites. If you're expecting a hatchet job, you'll be sadly disappointed!

The NSBA report provides an overview of statistics compiled by Grunwald Associates for a longer report, which is available commercially from Grunwald. The report documents the high level of usage of social sites by students. OK, that's not headline news, but what might be is the frequency (59%) of students who say they use social networking to discuss educational topics, "including college or college planning; learning outside of school; news; careers or jobs; politics, religion or morals; and schoolwork" (page 1 of the report).

Even more interesting to me was the research into what the report calls "Nonconformists." These are the students who, according to the report, are more likely to influence other students about what software and sites to use; to recruit new users; and to organize events online. These students also tend to have score Bs and Cs in school, probably because they'd rather be networking than learning about the Peloponnesian War.

It seems to me if libraries (all types of libraries) made a concerted effort to recruit these kids to work in libraries, and actually empowered them to do what they do best instead of just having them shelve books, we might be on the cutting edge once in a while, instead of always playing catch up. Just a thought...

R.I.P., Times Select

Another experiment in paid content on the Web bites the dust at midnight tonight (Tuesday, September 18) as The New York Times discontinues its two year old experiment, Times Select.

Instead, the Times will open the last 20 years of its archive, and will also put its pre-1923 content online. The newspaper of record has been published since 1851. Selected articles from 1923 to 1987 will also be available.

See the official announcement here. The Times also issued an open letter to its subscribers here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ohio Library Council Conference

Here's a shameless plug for the upcoming Ohio Library Council (OLC) conference. The conference will be held October 10-12 in Columbus.

OLC frequently takes a different tack in its conferences, and this year is no exception. For one thing neither of the keynote speakers are from libraryland. Bill Strickland has developed a successful model for arts, education, and training organizations. Judson Laipply’s illustration of change in America, “Evolution of Dance,” is one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.

The conference has some interesting tracks, too, including "Organizational Redesign" and "Market and Products." When I was working for the Ohio Library Association (as OLC used to be called) in 1991, the president, Steve Wood, nearly got impeached for using the theme "Let's Hear It for the Customers!"

On Thursday during the conference, I will be introducing a program about the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. The speakers will be OCLC's own Chuck Harmon, who got me interested in this thing in the first place, and Mario Browne, Project Director, Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

I hope to see you there!

A Sheepish Apology

The other day, the unthinkable happened on my personal "My Yahoo" page. Under "It's All Good," I saw the message: "No items in past 7 days." How could we have let this lie fallow that long?

It's not like there isn't anything happening. IAG colleague Alice had her baby last week, for example. Mother and child are doing fine, Dad is doing well too, apparently. I had my first chance to be on a program with Jay Jordan, Cathy De Rosa, and library rock star Lorcan Dempsey, courtesy of Pam Bailey and the OCLC Western Service Center's Directors Days programs in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas. My wife and I hosted a visiting Ukrainian social entrepreneur for two weeks. Walt Crawford had a birthday. I've read a pile of great stuff recently. The one thing I haven't done is blogged about any of it.

So, faithful readers, please accept this apology, with the promise I'll try to do better. Several posts will follow shortly!