Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Flikr - ing around

To further prove I have not been living in a cave for the past ten years, I will point out that I already have a Flikr account, thank you very much. It is fun playing around on this site. Some of the contributors are real pro's and I have obtained many a desktop "background" of stunning landscapes. Here is an example of such an image from my own page. The place is Philmont Scout Ranch and the time is August of 2007. Shortly after taking this shot we all had to run for cover when a monsoon storm rolled in from the mountains.
This is a shot of my son, Sam, getting ready to take off on the trail at Philmont. The weather was not bad for New Mexico in August but it was hot, and the sun quite intense.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wierdness in Blogland

An interesting phenomenon was recently noted among our staff. Most of us here at Mono are working our way through the 23 Things. [I beg you, do not ask how we feel about this, or how it might be affecting service - in the short run, of course.] A co-worker, she-who-shall-remain-nameless, was asking me whether I had done the "blog thing". I replied in the affirmative and noted that it was "easy". [I am sometimes prone to stretch the truth. See my forthcoming article on "Creative Reference Services"]

Today we were each checking our blogs, and found that somehow her blog was registered under my name, on my blog "dashboard". Had we somehow merged in cyberspace?? This was alarming, as we are both happily married to other people. Eventually we figured out that this was a case of promiscuous logging. I had not logged out of the work station when leaving the desk, and my co-worker had happily started blogging while logged in as me. Honest. That's what happened. So be forewarned. Espescially if you are doing this at work.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

RSS the night away!

This is one of the 23 Things that I have actually done before - I'm no Luddite despite my previous post. Like most folks I indulge in a few, favorite bloggs and RSS is an excellent way to keep up with new posts, espescially to bloggs where the blogger (like me) is too preoccupied with other stuff to post frequently. While RSS is undoubtedly useful to individuals, I'm not clear how this technology might beneifit library patrons. If anyone has found a useful application I would love to hear about it.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Oh what a tangled web...

As part of "23Things on a Stick", I recently read John Blyberg's explanation of L2. I have to admit that much of what he says is true, and happening whether we like it or not. Yet...

It was interesting to go back to the 23 Things blog and find that the OTHER LINKS DID NOT WORK. My own institution the, Monolithic Historical Society, has had some recent, happy experiences with failed internet connections, slow connections, and magically disappearing email. While those of you out there explore the "23 Things" please keep in mind that there are other perspectives. For instance the Annoyed Librarian or AL as she/he is known (I actually think that AL might be a guy named Al from Sheboygan...) You can find the Annoyed Libraian's persepective on 2.0 at: http://annoyedlibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/08/cult-of-twopointopia.html If nothing else, AL's term "twopointopians" is apt, and a good description of the breathless enthusiasm, somtimes verging on religious fevor, emanating from folks like Mr. Blyberg.

There are two concerns I would like to raise about L2 . The first is "magical thinking". Not so much "magical thinking" from harmless drudges like reference librarians, but magical thinking from more dangerous folks, like Library Administrators. There seems to be a notion that all of these blogs, wiki's, databases etc. will magically appear from the staff in their "spare time". Right. Now we here at the Monolithic Historical Society (Mono for short) are dedicated to putting all sorts of stuff on line but so far, only bits and pieces of our collections are actually there. It's interesting to note, that when researchers get in their little cars and motor over here they are amazed to discover all of the great stuff we have in our collections. For example, we have a truly marvelous collection of newspaper microfilms from a Major Midwest State (at least WE think it's major) a number of which would be terrific candidates for scanning and indexing. But this is an expensive process requiring a systematic dedication of funds so: Mono has no budget for it... Grants will magically appear...the staff will write them. In all fairness to Mono and its harried administrators, we are not the only institution suffering from this delusion.

My other concern is...we are at their mercy. They are vendors. I could really go on and on about this topic but will spare you, dear reader. In case you haven't noticed, the providers of almost everything that is major to 2.0: Opacs, newspapers databases, genealogy sources (ancestry.com) etc. are steadily consolidating. These large corporations, contrary to Mr. Blyberg's assertion, are more interested in their bottom line than cooperating with libraries. They are taking larger and larger chunks of our acquisitions budgets. But then, silly me, we don't need to buy those books anymore. Do we? In my more cynical moments I wonder if there are any connections between the twopointopians and the venodors....nah. Who would do that? Shame on me for even bringing it up. Thanks for listening... I feel better now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Start I Suppose

As part of "23 Things on a Stick" I have opened this blog. Although I have some familiarity with a number of the "Things" (I have use Flikr for years), a blog is a new thing. I have posted to blogs on many occasions but having my own seemed well... self centered.

By way of introduction I will say that I am a "boomer", male, a professional archivist/librarian since 1980 and before that an historian. I reside in the currently frozen paradise of Minnesota. So let's see where this goes...it might be fun.