Monday, September 22, 2008

Calling all developers: WorldCat Hackathon

If you're a coder-type or want to hang out with some and brainstorm some great ideas/write some great code, come to the WorldCat Hackathon!

Registration is now open for the Nov. 7-8 event in New York at the New York Public's Science, Industry and Business Library.

I'm excited because I'm going to be there and "cover" the event, interview/blog about the attendees and (very important) make sure there's enough yummy food.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Report: "Latinos and Public Library Perceptions"

The new report on Latinos and Public Library Perceptions is now available on the WebJunction site. The work on the report was done by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, and written by Edward Flores and Harry Pochon. The work was funded by WebJunction with funds provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Spanish Language Outreach project.

Special kudos to WebJunction staffers Laura Staley and Janet Salm for guiding this project from the WJ/OCLC side!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Why Public Libraries Close" Now Available

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here that the paper "Why Public Libraries Close," which was written by Christie Koontz, Dean Jue and Wade Bishop, would be available on WebJunction when the new platform went live. The paper is now available here in multiple formats.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

people are content. networks are collections.


This little tweet warmed my heart when I first saw it last week. I wasn't following Jeremy, but saw his tweet because I have a WebJunction twitter search set up on one of my Google tabs (you can also see a feed on our About Us page).

First, it was great to see because in preparation for our relaunch on the new platform, our team had done some extra work getting new topic areas ready - particularly in the areas that we'd heard from our members that they wanted content or resources, but they just hadn't been collected yet. My colleague Betha went to work creating a nice set of collection development resources as part of this effort and it was very nice to see that it was being noticed.

But perhaps more importantly, it was the way Jeremey said it. "I'm a resource..." This is exactly what we hoped to better facilitate on the new platform - people as resources to one another - and this was one little testament to the possibility that we're on our way.

Thanks Betha, and Jeremey, for being a part of it all.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Above the Fold"

One of the things that people frequently ask us is "What are you reading now?" Eric Childress has hooked up a feed from WorldCat to the front page of this blog to show what he's reading. Lorcan Dempsey's blog regularly features notes on his vast reading. I am almost done with Book 3 in my Laubach course, so I will be adding to that soon.

Now there's a new newsletter from OCLC Programs and Research and IBIS Communications called Above the Fold. In the words of Jim Michalko, Vice President, RLG Programs, "Our intent is to pull together articles that relate to the work of the RLG Partnership and the information context in which we're all operating -- but that you might not see in the course of your regular awareness routines. Each citation will include a short annotation explaining why we think the article may be of interest to you. And each note will be attributed to the staff member whose thoughts on the issue and its relevance can be tapped."

Free subscriptions to Above the Fold, and other OCLC newsletters, are available here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Five Seasons

The day after Labor Day in the United States begins autumn. No, not by the calendar, but by the way we live our lives. There are actually five seasons in much of the US:

Labor Day (the first Monday in September) to Election Day (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November) is autumn. Back to school time, the World Series, the beginning of football season, lots of yard work, and Halloween mark this season.

Election Day to New Year's Day is the holiday season. Religious holidays, the heart of football season, the beginning of basketball and hockey, and some family time are the hall marks of holiday season.

New Year's Day to Easter is winter. For those of us from Snow Belt cities, this is the season of bad driving but not too much road work. It is also the season that reminds me of a quote from Raymond Chandler's story "Red Wind," which was referring to quite different atmospheric conditions:

On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks.

Easter to Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) is spring. Hope and contrition, an opportunity for the Cubs to be in contention, eating lots of chocolate while worrying about fitting into your swimming suit, and all the other contradictions of our modern world come into play in the spring.

Memorial Day to Labor Day is summer, no matter what the calendar reads.

I guess I'm writing this post as an elegy to the summer of 2008, but also to suggest that planning library displays and events around the REAL seasons instead of the meteorological ones may be a way of connecting to your community. (It's a stretch but I'm writing this on company time and I had to figure out how to apply these thoughts to libraries, OK?)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Electing an American President

We've had more than the usual amount of United States presidential campaign activity near OCLC's headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. Ohio is one of the key battleground states for the election of the next U.S. president so no doubt there will be many more visits by the candidates, but probably not many so close to home with both the major candidates and their running mates appearing together.

On Friday, 29 August, Republican candidate John McCain held a rally (12-15,000 people) in nearby Dayton, Ohio, and announced his choice for running mate, Governor Sarah Palin.

WorldCat Identities for the Republican ticket:
McCain, John 1936-
Palin, Sarah 1964-

On Saturday 30 August, Democratic candidate Barack Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, held an outdoor rally (18-20,000 people) at Dublin Coffman High School, within walking distance of OCLC Headquarters.

WorldCat Identities for the Democratic ticket:
Obama, Barack
Biden, Joseph R.

I was not able to attend John McCain's campaign event, but I was able to attend Barack Obama's (see the scan of the ticket stub above). The message Obama and other speakers at the rally presented was very much an echo of the speeches at the Democratic National Convention. Obama followed his presentation by moving through part of the crowd, shaking hands, talking with those gathered. I and Heather managed to position ourselves close enough to see Obama up close. His interaction with the crowd seemed very genuine as he shook hands and responded to comments. Aides gathered copies of his books that people wanted signed, and he apparently signed them before boarding his bus and departing.

While it's very easy to be cynical about the pronouncements of the U.S. presidential candidates and their lieutenants and supporters, one has to acknowledge that the excitement I witnessed at the Obama rally was very real. Presumably McCain's event garnered a similar level of excitement from his gathered supporters. We can only hope that both of the tickets are composed of worthy people, and that the U.S. electorate will choose wisely.

At libraries (especially public libraries) throughout the U.S. citizens are being offered the opportunity to register to vote, and access to materials by and about the candidates. So, gentle IAG readers, what great things will your library be doing this election season to help your users be informed on the candidates and the issues and exercise their right to vote?


Musical note:

This song has been used by both the Republicans (during George W. Bush's 2004 campaign) and now by the Democrats (for Obama's 2008 campaign).

"Only in America" composed by Kix Brooks/Don Cook/Ron Rogers ; popularized by Brooks & Dunn (AMG entry, Wikipedia entry, Brooks & Dunn Web site).


"Only in America
Dreaming in red, white and blue

Only in America

Where we dream as big as we want to

We all get a chance

Everybody gets to dance

Only in America"