How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write –

But when you sit down with an old-fashioned book in your hand, the medium works naturally against such distractions; it compels you to follow the thread, to stay engaged with a single narrative or argument.

via How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write –

I understand that the printing press revolutionized the way people thought and learned and I’m as tech-enamored as anyone. However, I just can’t help but think that some capacity for deep reflection and concentration is getting lost? Sorry if I sound like the Annoyed Librarian; am I just crazy?


OCLC Buys EZProxy

In case you hadn’t heard, OCLC has bought EZProxy: . I’m probably the last one in the world to find out. Read more about it at the Library 2.0 blog which, incidentally, is going away. I’m so sad. This was one of my favorite blogs.

Alice Robison Keynote Address at CALC2008

On Friday, I attended the 3rd Colorado Academic Library Consortium Summit (CALC2008) in Denver. Our morning keynote speaker, Alice Robison, is a post-doctoral fellow at MIT, researching gaming and learning theory. Her talk was very engaging. What I most enjoyed about it was that it was not, strictly speaking, about libraries. It was interesting to hear an outside perspective. She talked about how various structural features of games contribute to learning. For example, games provide participants with lots of visual stimuli, the goals of the game are made clear from the beginning, instant feedback is provided, and gamers enjoy the ability to learn by doing (and failing). My two biggest light bulb reactions to her talk were:

1) It’s ok to fail and that we should expect students to fail the first time we give them a new task; they will learn by repeating the task until they get it right.

2) “Cheats” are not only fun in gaming but they are encouraged.

My colleagues and I talked about the idea that the library itself might be viewed as a “game” and that if we applied the above criteria, students might be more engaged in the research process. Imagine that you walk in to the library to work on a project. There are lots of visual signs to make it clear where you should start. Your instructor has made it clear what your goals are for research. The environment is non-threatening, so you don’t mind starting from scratch and learning as you go. The process is fun (or at least mentally challenging <gr>). Finally, you figure out that there is a “cheat” you can use. It’s the librarian. He or she will actually tell you where to look, so you can move to the next level!

Have fun!


WorldCat Beta versus WorldCat Identities

On closer inspection, it seems that WorldCat identities is a more Web 2.0 gateway into the WorldCat Beta site. It arranges materials by “identities” which include authors, named subjects, and more. But once you whittle down to a “work”, you are linked into Beta.

WorldCat Beta

In an earlier post I mentioned the OCLC test site called WorldCat Identities. Today while searching Google Scholar, I found myself in the free beta site. If you haven’t searched this free site lately, you should take a look. To compare it with my earlier post, here’s a link to the page for Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
The beta search seems to incorporate many of the features I liked in WorldCat Identities.

Nice features include the link to all the different editions of this book, the ability to search my library’s embedded search tools, the ability to create or add to a personal list of topics, the ability to export the citation in a particular bibliographic format, and the ability to add content. Here’s a screenshot.

Screenshot of Beta

What does say about local libraries? Here’s an excerpt from their What is Worldcat? page:

“Your library may let you search WorldCat from the online catalog on its Web site. (Again, you may have to log in with a valid library membership.) When you are physically at the library, you can search WorldCat using the FirstSearch reference service. Although the basic identifying information you’ll find on this Web site can fulfill most needs, WorldCat at your library includes extra features such as advanced search,”find similar items”, and links to published reviews and excerpts. ”

In addition to features listd above, it seems to me that some of the entries I looked at were lacking some MARC fields. I don’t know if the project is complete or still under test, but I would like to see the subject and author links more extensive. Still, this project is definitely of setting the standard for the future.

Facebook & Privacy?

Sarah Steiner, Learning Commons Librarian at Georgia State University, posted a link to the following video Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?. The video makes interesting and disturbing claims about privacy concerns regarding the site Facebook. It quotes from the terms of service posted on Facebook, which I have to admit, I’ve never read. Here’s a quote.

“When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.” Facebook. 25.May.2007

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about the validity of the claims presented in the video, so of course I googled the author. The video was created by Georgia web designer Vishal Agarwala ( When I searched for his name, I ran across another post by Fred Stutzman on his blog, Unit Structures (here) that references this video. Stutzman points out seemingly contradictory statements in the Facebook Developer section of the site (which I couldn’t actually find myself). Some of the comments to Stutzman’s post include good counter arguments, especially refuting the allegations in the video about Facebook ties to the CIA and Department of Defense, which were provocative, but not well grounded in fact.

So what’s the bottom line? Well, it sounds like Facebook users grant Facebook the right to redistribute their user generated content, and Facebook promises to be ethical in its use of this content. Also, it requests that Facebook developers likewise respect user privacy. It sounds like Google’s “Do no harm” mantra. I suspect that most users, who like myself haven’t even read the terms of service, will only really become concerned about the possible privacy violations that could occur when they do occur. Until then, we’ll just keep posting with a refreshingly naive and trusting attitude. Be gentle with us Google and Facebook!

If you want to talk about this, sit with Ivan Gaetz (Dean of Libraries at Regis University) at lunch at the CALC Summit on June 1st. He will be facilitating a table talk regarding Privacy!

Generation Jones

Today, on the blog, Tame the Web, I read a post entitled Generation Jones by guest blogger Michael Colford. In it, he poses the question, “So what do you think? Why do some people take to emerging technology trends and ways of interacting while others do not? Do you have any thoughts?”. He is specifically referring to why some Generation X (which I am and which I’ve heard of :D) and Generation Jones (which I’ve never heard of, but which he says are those born between the mid ’50s and mid 60’s) members are quicker to embrace new technology than others. He puts forth the idea that it may have something to do with early experiences with technology and also with personal need for said technologies.

My own personal thinking on this is that it is basically a personality trait. If you are a person who likes, even thrives on, change; then you will be quick to embrace new technology. In fact, many people of this nature like new technology just because it’s “new”. I have to admit to having this sort of outlook myself. Like Michael, I am an Omnivore according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Typology Quiz. The Annoyed Librarian refers to us as Omnibores! But then s/he is a Lackluster Veteran, so what’s her point?

So I’ll pass on his question to you. First of all, are you an enthusiastic early adopter of new technology? Omnibores, speak out! And if so, do you also find you are the sort of person who embraces change in general? If you are not fond of Web 2.0, what is your overall attitude to change in general? Talk to us Lackluster Veterans. Let’s test my theory.