Odyssey Online

Entries from February 2009

Useful and Useless Social Networking

February 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on Useful and Useless Social Networking

…a short Youtube by Seth Godin (who comments on a number of issues related to business and marketing) about the social networking that matters and the social networking that doesn’t.  For the later think Facebook...also a guide by Secure Enterprise 2.0 Forum to security issues as they relate to Web 2.0 applications.  This is a very useful overview of the issues and defense as they apply to the interactive spaces on the Web, and if you spend time on Facebook or twittering you would do well to give it a read…

Tags: Facebooked · The Academic Internet

Financial Crisis Information

February 23rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Financial Crisis Information

…while a little off topic, that is not strictly on Information and Libraries, some interesting resources on the ongoing financial distress have crossed my desk.   One resource is a collection of essays from Berkeley Electronic Press called the Economist’s Voice, which present a number of points of view on the “how’s” and “why’s” of the crisis’ history (and possible ways out). Also, Jonathan Jarvis has created a video on how the crisis came about called Crisis of Credit Visualized. It’s a concise, intelligent, and very much for noneconomist resource that makes a compelling case about what happened. Not exactly chreeful stuff, but helpful in make sense of all what the media is extolling…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Research How-To · The Academic Internet

E-Books Everywhere You Look

February 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on E-Books Everywhere You Look

…over the last week or two there have been quite a number of articles (that is, quite a number in the streams of news through which I wade) on e-books. Notably the viability and curious lack of traction that e-books have had up until this point and time.  E-books are curious in that they evoke such strong reactions in some people. Even twenty-somethings I’ve met who invest a huge amount of time in Facebook, e-mail, and such might very well react with a wince when faced with the prospect of e-books–I’m not going to suggest that we don’t have our share of nonreading twenty-somethings, but a number I’ve met who’ll invest time in reading just don’t want anything to do with e-books. Could this change? Rob Horning in his blog makes the case that Kindle may not kindle any excitement, largely because ripping e-books doesn’t make sense in the way ripping music does. His point is that hard copy books are just to easy to lend…Bobbie Johnson at the Guardian makes the case that the Kindle’s slow development (and market share) have to do with the fact that noone is hacking it, and on Britannica Blog Nicholas Car worries that Kindles will make writing history “provisional” not “permanent.”

Google books has also been in the news. In a long New York Times Piece Robert Darnton thinks about the role of libraries and the public good in the age of Google Books (and for Mr. Darnton it’s pretty clearly a history dominated by Google books). He looks back to the enlightenment to suggest ways in which libraries can continue to have a role, be a public good (good Sunday morning reading!) Paul Courant responds to the article by cautioning that Google’s domination may be a monopolistic one, and, in a like vein, on “Books Do Furnish A Room” the case is made that Google now holds all the cards in the wake of their recent copyright settlement. Google has the arbitor of all digital books is, to say the least, an unappleaing idea…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Google

RSS and Serendipity

February 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on RSS and Serendipity

…in celebrating its sixth birthday James Joyner on his blog “Outside the Beltway” writes:

The rise of RSS readers and aggregators like Memeorandum mean that fewer of us are using our blogrolls or just keeping a log of interesting things we’re finding on the Web; instead, we’re much more apt to write about what everyone else is writing about.

One also wonders about RSS feeds and serendipity.  If “we” are all using RSS feeds, if we are all using one of any number of technologies to deliver microcontent about an interest, or point of view, or time of day what possibility is there of making the chance encounter with information. What becomes of positively judging a book by its cover, and thus meeting a new writer, style of writing, or idea. This is the trade off in customizing…that with the ability to take only what one wants from the information hog-wallow otherwise known as the Internet, we mish the chance to stumble, to stumble upon something we didn’t know existed but, once discovered, proves useful.

The answer? Browse shelves…the browsing collection between the computer labs and the faculty carrols…

Tags: Blogging · Essay on Technology · Facebooked

Friday Blogging, Sharing Refworks Files

February 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Sharing Refworks Files

…nothing like a Friday morning for thinking about the many ways one can share digital information. A number of our databases and utilities now provide spaces for collaborative work…place where material can be uploaded for a group. Refworks has file sharing capability, and using it is as easy as putting down that Friday morning donut. Simply go to the Tools pull down menu, and then the Share References Option. You’ll see your Refworks folders, and an URL beside them. Click on the Options button and you’ll see an E-Mail URL button, which, when clicked, will open up an e-mail for sending the URL and instructions on accessing the shared folder. One pull down and two clicks and you can be working on a bibliography with classmates or colleagues…

Tags: Research How-To

Following the Stimulus, Gov Docs Update

February 5th, 2009 · Comments Off on Following the Stimulus, Gov Docs Update

…now that the Ecomonic Stimulus Package is in under consideration by Congress (officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan), there are a number of resources that will allow you to follow legislative action “blow by blow.”  LexisNexis Congressional has search features for reserach on Bills and Laws including legislative histories, as well as searches for committee memberships, daily congressional action, and “hot politics.”  On the open web there his (and there has always been) Thomas, the Library of Congress’ legislative search engine.  Thomas allows for many of the same searches, and for bill tracking…that is following the path of legislation and amendments to said through the maze of committees. All of this means that one doesn’t have to rely on the media (CNN or otherwise) to see how this plan (and the tremendous amount of money this plan constitutes) evolves…

Tags: Research How-To · Uncategorized

Energy Saving Resources

February 4th, 2009 · Comments Off on Energy Saving Resources

…one of Odyssey Online’s favorite websites is Librarianinblack.net (you’ll note the link in Blogs of Note). This is an excellent blog for keeping up on information technology, particularly as it applies to libraries (especially public libraries). The blogs author Sarah Houghton-Jan has just published a list of energy saving guides and online reference sources. Her usual good work and with about to drop to ten below tonight, maybe well worth a late afternoon web stroll….

Tags: Essay on Technology · Research How-To

Public Libraries in a Recession

February 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Public Libraries in a Recession

…somewhat off the stated topic of Odyssey Online, but the news today carried a number of articles about public libraries. Notably, several articles (here, here, here) appeared detailing how that the demand for Public Library services has increased dramatically with the economic downturn. (My mother, commenting on a Friday visit to Manchester New Hampshire’s Carpenter Library said “The place was mobbed.”) At the same time, with the economic downturn, has come severe strains on public funding, with, in some places like Darby PA, potentially dramatic consequences. It’s a conundrum–the invisible hands that are moving people to libraries are the same invisible hands that threaten their funding. If I had the answer I’d be clapping my hands but it does, and this is admittedly coming from a bibliophile, seem like the word “investment” is connoted in the phrase “library funding.” If you have an institution that is empowering people–by their own initiative–in hard times, perhaps their is reason to look to the future. Difficult, obviously, but the thought for the day about public libraries…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

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