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Song crowdsourcing project [14 Jul 2014|07:33am]

It's been over four years since the last post I'm seeing on this community, but there are still people listed as following it, and I've got some news for the intersection of library tech and fandom.

A group of filkers has started up a project to create a website for crowdsourcing identification of recordings from conventions, making short clips available just to registered contributors to the database. I'm the lead developer. They'd provide information on title, performer, instruments, etc. This might well be a useful tool for librarians, researchers, and archivists, in which case it can become a bigger project, backed by crowdfunding and made available as open source. There's a lot of excitement already from the people working on it.

If this sounds interesting to you, please read my post asking for input and comment, either here or on Wordpress.
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A few questions for science fiction fans. [11 Oct 2009|03:28pm]

As many of you know I am studying for my MSc in Information and Library Studies. I am doing my dissertation on "Science Fiction in Libraries" and my survey can be taken online now.


I would be very grateful if any science fiction fans on would grace me with their answers.
I will be cross-posting this to other LJ communities and to facebook, so sorry if you see this notice in several places in the coming weeks.

It should only take between 2 minutes and 10 minutes to complete, depending on how many questions you answer. It's completely anonymous and all surveys will be destroyed when the project is over.
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Mobile applications for libraries [17 Dec 2008|11:06am]

I work for a large university library, and I've been thinking about how we might adapt our web applications for mobile devices. The most obvious thing, to me, would be a scaled down user interface for our on-line catalogue (OPAC). It would be nice to be able to enter a title and get back a location and call number without going through a web site that doesn't fit on a tiny screen.

Being able to access one's account and see what materials are checked out and which are overdue would also be a good feature.

Any thoughts on this, either on what you'd like to see or what you have seen?
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Patron wants a book [04 Feb 2008|12:11pm]

I have a challenge for people. I have no idea what book this is, but a patron came to me today looking for a book. Naturally, he cannot remember either the title or the authour, except for the title being something like Green world or perhaps Green ship.

The patron says the book is from the late 60s or early 70s.

From what he remembers, the story is as follows:

There is a spaceship that is apparently overgrown with plantlife. People are aboard this ship, but they have been aboard for so long they have forgotten they are on a space ship. They have devolved while aboard. The ship has returned to earth, and the earth scientists are going up to the ship and conducting secret cultural observations on the shipmembers. They are spotted and the shipmembers think they are gods.

Does anyone have any ideas as to the title or author?

Thanks in advance!
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good ideas pursued incautiously [08 Jun 2007|10:32am]

A notice in the new Borderlands newsletter, presumably distributed in other places as well, caused me to put on my librarian hat.
Buy a copy of one or all of The Tiptree Memorial Award Anthologies for your hometown library! The Motherboard of the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award urges you to purchase and a send a copy of one or all of the Tiptree Memorial Award Anthologies to your hometown library, in the interests of spreading the word about outstanding fiction that expands or explores our understanding of gender, and making that outstanding fiction easily available to the next generation.
It sounds like a good and generous idea, but please check with your library first before you donate books to the collection. If you visit in person, go to the reference desk (not the circulation desk) of the main library (not a branch) and ask to speak to the collection development officer for science fiction, who might well be sitting there answering reference questions at that very moment.

The problem is that when a library buys a book, it costs a lot more than just the purchase price. And these extra costs can't be easily solved by waving more money at them, because the costs are in staff time. Time to decide whether to accept each donated book - libraries get offered a lot of crap. Time to enter the book into the cataloging database. Time to process it physically: to stamp it, to add the barcode and security strip, to put protective mylar covers on, etc. It's not much for any one book, but it adds up fast.

If you just donate a book cold, some overworked harried person is going to look through a pile of them, and they know they can't take an indefinite number of books even if they're all good, and anything they don't take goes straight to the public booksale, where its departure will get the library no more than $2 in hard cash.
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The Ography Project [01 Nov 2006|06:42pm]

A new proposal for preservation of fannish bibliographies and discographies. This project could be of special interest to SLOFs.
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Original Art from Unshelved [06 Jun 2006|09:35pm]

The creators of the comic strip Unshelved are auctioning the original cover art from their first book. The proceeds from the sale will benefit the New Orleans Public Library.

This will take you to the auction.
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Monkeys! [08 Apr 2006|09:08pm]

Hey, anybody want to be a research monkey?

I need people to do a short questionnaire for my final research project. There are different levels of the experiment, of course, so I can't just post it here for you to do (because my mad html skilz are not up to randomizing which one displays if you click through, and I don't have anywhere to put it anyways), but if you drop me an email address (I'll screen replies so it won't ever become public), I will email you the materials and you can email me the questionnaire back, which I will print anonymously (without your name attached) and add to my other subjects.

Here's the official spiel:
(gotta be legal)

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to help!
I’m doing a class activity looking at how employers evaluate job applicants.

Basically, I will give you a job description to read, and then you’ll evaluate a resume from a potential candidate for an Administrative Assistant position.

Your participation is completely voluntary. If you start reading the materials, and you want to quit, just tell me – it’s no problem at all. You can also choose to skip any question that you don’t want to answer.

Your responses will be completely anonymous – I’m not collecting any identifying information, and I’m going to put your response sheets into this envelop, mixed up with all other response sheets, so I won’t even know which one was yours.

Do you have any questions?
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UMass Dartmouth story was hoax [24 Dec 2005|03:41pm]

[ mood | smug ]

The story by a UMass Dartmouth student, claiming that his interlibrary loan request resulted in a Homeland Security investigation, has been exposed as a hoax. Nice followup work by SouthCoastToday.

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[23 Dec 2005|09:52am]

An FBI memo referred to opponents of the "Patriot" Act's library provisions as "radical militant librarians."

Now there's a t-shirt.
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This is really scary [18 Dec 2005|12:04pm]

[ mood | angry ]

According to this article, using interlibrary loan to get primary sources can get you investigated by federal agents.

Edit: As I think about it, this starts to sound like a prank by the student. He won't name himself, so we only have the report by the professors. Someone should be able to answer this: Does it make sense that he would have been asked to give his Social Security number on an interlibrary loan application, as he claimed?

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[01 Nov 2005|02:45pm]

I just got lj to add UNC Chapel Hill Library School (which I attended 1988-90) to the Schools list. Anyone else in this group go there?
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[18 Oct 2005|02:08pm]

Sanford Berman, a legendarily trouble-making librarian (he wanted to get rid of categories such as "Yellow Peril") has a new suggested category (not work safe)

Thanx to bookslut. Crossposted: my lj and slof.
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it's an honor [22 Jul 2005|11:32am]

A generation of engineers saw Mr. Doohan as a role model. The Milwaukee School of Engineering awarded him an honorary doctor of engineering degree in 1993. "He brought the field of engineering to the forefront of pop culture," Kathleen McCann, a spokeswoman for the school, said in an e-mail message.
Anyone want to see a library school do the same for Tony Head? (He did make the cover of American Libraries, just after his character ceased being a practicing librarian, which must have confused anyone who came to Buffy because of that story.) Is a favorable depiction of a profession in pop culture worthy of an honorary degree for the actor? Discuss.
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the library is falling! [21 Jul 2005|10:42pm]

This article deserves commentary. Here's mine.
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Section 215 [17 Jun 2005|07:42am]

The news coverage on the House's recently passed bill to defund Patriot Act Section 215 searches of libraries and bookstores has been mostly awful. I've written a blog entry to straighten out the facts to the extent I can make sense of them. If I still don't have it quite right, let me know.
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Anonymous library cards? [03 Jun 2005|08:34am]

Thanks to Slashdot (and my partner Ken) for this article:

Basically, piece suggesting a system whereby you could obtain an anonymous library card with the deposit of a certain amount of money on it (completely your choice), at which time you would be allowed to check out items whose value did not exceed the amount on your card.

I can think of a couple of problems with this. One, that the guy has obviously never been involved with acquisitions, because it seems apparent that the "value" that he's using is the pure and simple cost of the item, which doesn't take into account processing or acquisitions costs.

two, that while patrons already can "steal" items by checking them out and then paying for them rather than returning them, the fact that we know who they are tends to prevent this from being done on a large-scale. (I can think of a rather lucrative side career of looking for libraries that have drastically undervalued (in the catalog) items in their collection, "buying" them and then reselling them on the secondhand market.)

three, that despite his disclaimer about poor people being able to look at things in the library all they like, it still disenfranchises a segment of the population from the ability to have privacy.
(and what about the issue of libraries that require a valid library card or some other type of identification or to use their computer resources? accountability is one of the ideas here, as if he later find out that someone has maliciously hacked your network or damaged your computers you can potentially try to find out who did it and hold them accountable.)

I am, however,glad that the idea is being discussed, and realize that the above are really logistics, when in principle I agree with the proposal.

other thoughts?
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BEA -- anyone going? [22 Apr 2005|07:18pm]

[ mood | busy ]

It looks like I'm going to BEA in NY in June; this is a recent development since I was expecting take the year off once we got done with the Special Guest gig at SheVaCon in February. Now Meisha Merlin is making noises that sound like a trip to the city for the two of us if they can swing a deal with their distributor... and I have absolutely no experience at Book Expo America.

So: is anyone going? What hotel is the designated hotel for librarians? Does anyone have any experience of the BEA? If we're hanging out at our publisher's booth should we expect to see 500 people a day or 5000?

Also to the point for us: what kind of information/handouts are most usable to library folk going to the BEA? Newsletters? Postcards with book covers and ISBNs? Quotes cards and book reviews? A list of mentions from PW and Locus? Are bookmarks silly? Since this will be our first "big deal" event outside of science fiction (and also the first for our publisher, I think) any input is useful and might be translated into objects-de-handout.

And oh yeah... just in case this *does* happen, anyone know a good dim sum place near the Javits center?

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Koha, anyone? [22 Apr 2005|06:53pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

A couple years ago I was on a worldcon panel about libraries and I mentioned that I'd seen some early work on a free software system for libraries. I couldn't recall the name of the system due to a brain-fart at the time, and kept meaning to look the info up when I got home...

So, when cleaning up a pile of old con stuff I found the note to myself.. and just in case anyone out there is still waiting for this information, here it is:


This is an Open Source software that'll run a library: frontend and backend; it could be used for personal and club libraries as well as private corporate libraries... and public libraries.

Cost: free
OS: Linux

My recent experience with it? Ummm... I'm rebuilding my linux machines so I haven't used anything but the online demos yet.

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MidSouth Con, Memphis TN [31 Mar 2005|08:01am]

[ mood | awake ]

I'll be at MidSouth Con this weekend and will be on a panel called "The Librarian as Science Fictional Hero" Saturday at 4pm in Conference Room 8: From curator of forbidden tomes or powerful artifacts, to guidance counselor for vampire-slaying high schoolers (Giles from Buffy), to Gotham City curator/crimefighter (Barbara Gordon/Batgirl), the librarian in speculative fiction has both exemplified and defied the stereotypical image of this profession.

Thought you all might be interested in these handouts: To See Ourselves as Others See Us (PDF doc) and Rupert Giles and Search Tools For Wisdom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

(I will also be giving a bellydance panel/workshop Saturday morning at 11 in Conference Room 5).

Edited to add: What? Are you all librarians or something? Heh. The links above are just two passed on by a fellow panelist. There are several more in my journal. I'm pretty sure the panel will be ranging all over the place, as most do.
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