Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

LISZEN: Library Blog Search Engine

Garrett Hungerford has put together LISZEN.COM. Welcome to the search engine for librarians! He's been slaving away, taking links from LISWIKI and importing them to Google Co-op. The result is a custom search engine that sifts through 530 individual blogs.

A great new crawler for the InfoSphere.


Zotero.org is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself.


"Google's Book Search promises to save writers' and publishers' asses by putting their books into the index of works that are visible to searchers who get all their information from the Internet. In response, publishers and writers are suing Google, claiming that this ass-saving is in fact a copyright violation. When you look a little closer, though, you see that the writer/publisher objections to Google amount to nothing more than rent-seeking: an attempt to use legal threats to milk Google for some of the money it will make by providing this vital service to us ink-stained scribblers. " BoingBoing.

The wrench in machine, that publishers don't want to highlight, is that online markets of used books are being tapped to acquire books discovered online via Google, thereby cutting publishers off from alot (speculation) of the revenue available because of Google's project. Theoreticlly books can be resold over and over again to meet need, and publishers will never see a dime of this additional revenue. The rule thus becomes, the more copies sold initially, the less possibility there is to tab the new demand for older titles no longer in print.

Yeah, I'd be mad too and try to put a stop to it.

Public Knowledge Project / EBLIP

"The Public Knowledge Project is a federally funded research initiative at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University on the west coast of Canada. It seeks to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research through the development of innovative online environments. PKP has developed free, open source software for the management, publishing, and indexing of journals and conferences."

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) is open access, peer reviewed, and is the first journal to focus specifically on evidence based practice in the information professions. EBLIP is published by the University of Alberta Learning Services, and proudly uses the Open Journal Systems (OJS) journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project.

Looking forward to EBLIP4 2007 in Chapel Hill.

Since Google bought YouTube, tens of thousands of clips of TV shows, movies and music videos have been taken down. Reminds me of Napster. Where are the kiddies gonna go next to get their fix?

Technology has changed readers' expectations and capabilities over the past two decades. Nobody wants to get off the grid for long periods of time anymore it seems.


Yelp.comRates stuff in your area. Restaurants, dry cleaning, you name it, someone's rated it. Come'on Toronto, we need this. Cities thus far are:

* Atlanta
* Austin
* Baltimore
* Berkeley

* Beverly Hills
* Boston
* Brooklyn
* Chicago

* Dallas
* Denver
* Houston
* Las Vegas

* Los Angeles
* New York
* Oakland
* Palo Alto

* Philadelphia
* Phoenix
* San Diego
* San Francisco

* San Jose
* Santa Monica
* Seattle
* Washington, DC


BlogTO.com "is a web site about Toronto written by a group of obsessed artists, musicians, photographers, politicos, advertising and media types, dancers, tech geeks, food lovers, aspiring film directors, fashionistas..."

Has a FlickR pool too.

A recent study released by the University of Guelph and Rutgers University found that 53% of undergraduate students admit cheating at university. 15000 students were polled.

Like I've been saying for some time, mass higher education is a bad idea. Its not necessary, not effective, and is a waste of precious public resources and student's lives. The goals of higher education are not the problem, simple solutions, simple minded thinking and the avoidance of complexity is to blame. The world has changed since the 1960's, 70's and 80's, yet, higher education has not adapted. Policy has not adapted.

Should we be surprised by the results?

Cathy's Book, a young adult novel, has been fingered for product placement, similar to what is common in film and television today. I'm not sure what all the hubbub is about, we accept it in one media, why is it so distasteful in another? Are books that sacred? I don't think so.

Buy it! and see for yourself.

Splunk Base

Splunk Base is a global wiki of IT events and troubleshooting information driven by a worldwide community of IT professionals. It is IT professionals helping IT professionals. It allows users to access and share in-depth information about specific events recorded by any service, application or device, while maintaining privacy and security. System administrators, developers and support people can tap into hands-on experts with a vendor neutral point of view.

Neat, I hope this catches fire across many helping professions.

A way back, Michael Geist, commented on whether copyright owners could control access to freely available online content. AccessCopyright, seeks to limit deep linking to its Captain Copyright marketing, to sites that are supportive of its mission, henceforth silencing critical commentary.

Michael commented that courts in Canada and the United States have concluded that links do not raise copyright concerns. I'm guessing this "oversight" will be addressed in the next revision of the Copyright Act.

Why do I care? Scholars need deep linking to cite works they are using or addressing, if we can't deep link, we can't build on what exists.

Content is Too Expensive? Use Google's Image Search

Information service - Gale. This is too ironic to believe. Content providers are fighting tooth and nail in legislatures and courts around the world to stop piracy of their content. What does Gale publishing do? Link their products to Google's image search, because the customers want images, and they found it too expensive to acquire the rights to image collections! So the image piracy option was used. Here, search Google images, use what you want! No mention of copyright problems with the DCMA questionable technology. Ironic.

Shoplifting Via Cameras

Camera phones in bookstores. Yesterday, at an Indigo bookstore in downtown Toronto, I saw security eject someone for snapping a few low res images of pages of a magazine. This is not the first time I've seen people discretely imaging pages in a bookstore. Given the cramped conditions of most bookstores, overtaxed staff, policing this "revenue flu" is problematic. As the technology disseminates, the problem will grow. Why buy a whole interior design book, when you can snap a few shots of the pages you are using for inspiration? Legal, no! But from what perspective? Copyright? Retail theft? Both?


Teresa Nielsen Hayden -- an expert on fiction publishing -- has written a great response to a Wall Street Journal article where the Journal asserts that publishing is a hit-driven, winner-take-all industry. She points out that this is far from the truth -- that publishing isn't driven by bestsellers, but by "okaysellers," and that bookstores are filled with these okaysellers.

Sounds like libraries' 80/20 rule...

Machinima Awards (Mackies)

The Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences, a small org promoting in-game filmmaking, announced their nominated films for this year's Machinima Awards (also known as the 'Mackies').

I love this stuff.

The Small Print Project

Andy Sternberg has launched a great site: "The Small Print Project," which looks to catalog all the "agreements" we find ourselves "consenting to" when we open a box, install a program, sign up for a service or visit a website. These "terms and conditions," "terms of use" and "end-user license agreements" do terrible violence to the noble agreement, backing us into arrangements that no sane individual would ever agree to.

I can't wait to do a content analysis of this archive...

Wikipod...Podslurping the Good

Wikipod installs a user-selectable portion -- or maybe all -- of Wikipedia into the Notes folder on any recent iPod; it does not require any new software (e.g. ipodlinux) to be installed! Wikipod will be stunning to the many people who are not keen on messing with their iPod's OS, but who would like to carry a Healthy Portion Of World Knowledge in 1.46 cubic inches. User specifies a size limit, say 10 MB, and a starting word, and Wikipod spiders from there, installing a subset of Wikipedia around your favorite topic. Article hyperlinks work quickly, and a moderate-sized topic listing is suprisingly browsable via scrollwheel.(The full text of Wikipedia these days is about 1.1 GB, but not sure yet if Wikipedia connectivity is such that the current script can get the entire thing to an iPod).

BoingBoing October 2006

As Roy Tennant said in 2002, we need to think about freeing library systems from their containers.


FreeCulture.org has four major functions:

1) Creating and providing resources for our chapters and for the general public
2) Outreach to youth and students
3) Networking with other people, companies and organizations in the free culture movement
4) Issue advocacy on behalf of our members

Piracy as a Business Model

Disney co-chair Anne Sweeney has broken with studio convention and recognised piracy as a business model to compete with, as opposed to simply an illegal threat to be battled. Sweeney's pragmatic conversion came after seing - within 15 minutes of the ABC network premiere of Despearate Housewives - a high-quality, ad-free version that had appeared on P2P networks.

“We understand now that piracy is a business model,” said Sweeney, twice voted Hollywood's most powerful woman by the Hollywood Reporter. “It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We we don’t like the model but we realise it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward.”


Megnut food blog points to a moral panic among chefs reacting to plagiarism of their recipes and presentation -- cooks who propose that they should be able to copyright food. Not that they should have a remedy for plagiarism, but that ways of preparing food should be owned, frozen in amber, usable only with permission.

Then we'd need open source food? Ridiculous...

The Toronto Star reported this week that one third of Canadians who are active Internet users have read a blog within the last three months. Environics sampled 1391 adults online and 2800 inhome.

In almost all my classes this semester, more than 75% of my "millenials" had no idea what a blog or Podcast is. I don't belive the hype...

User-Generated Travel Videos

I'm starting to see more and more travel videos posted online. Short snapshots of a person's travel experience. The bad ones (think hotel walls crawling with roaches) are especially interesting. In our imagineered' world, its nice to see the truth get out from time to time.

I'm waiting to see candid clips of bad library service appearing online...

Citizen Journalism

There is a great piece on Citizen Journalism in the October PC Magazine.

"Citizen journalism...is like professional baseball...it's just not practical. You can't play professional baseball just because you think the Mariner's stink. You're not good enough to play. Yes, bloggers have been breaking news stories here and there, but it's usually because they amplify something that media professionals have already written about but that was ignored by the major media. Bloggers, millions of gadflies, have been hounding Big Media.

The main reason these anti-Big Media initiatives have appeared is that the media are seen as letting us down in every way. Big Media picks the wrong stories, so we have to use Digg to find the right ones. The media's news-gathering problems aren't going to be solved by bloggers or citizen journalists.

Newspapers are not disrespected and dying because of their reporters. The business model is the problem. They have cut investigative and international reporting significantly. They are top-heavy with entertainment-news coverage and excessive pandering to advertisers to meet corporate bottom-line requirements. Pandering means not just writing softball articles but creating an uncritical editorial cushion of fluff upon which advertisers can feel comforted. And there is the pervasive fear of offending the reader with reality."

John Dvorak.

The problem for libraries is that as demand for traditional media content falls, libraries are unable to replace it with new media content, due to technical considerations, licensing issues and the like. So in the end, library collections loose traction in the marketplace, and patronage falls, no matter how good our servcies are or how hard we try. We're not in control of our destiny.

Bibliographic Blogging

The Folks at the Annals of Improbable Science report that professors only read about 2/3 of the itmes listed in the bibliography of papers they publish. Seems it is not only students that are dabbling across ethical lines. Their study found that 50% of sources listed are generally only skimmed through. Journal editors are blamed for the practice.

I'm guessing it is only going to get worse as the infosphere continues to expand faster than people can explore and digest the magnitude of what they find.

Savage Fighting Videos Hit Mainstream Distribution Channels

Remember FIGHT CLUB? well it seems youth are filming themselves fighting for sport and posting to Youtube and some are even appearing for sale on DVD in pawn shops, and other black market vendors. Like usual parents are outraged. I'm guessing amateur explosions caught on film are next...

Echo Chamber

I like the concept of thinking of bloggers as inhabiting an "echo chamber", the message bounces around, and gets changed slightly as it goes.

Digital Self-Portrait is Folk Art for the Digital Age

Self portraits are appearing everywhere online it seems. It is an art form that the masses are enjoying. Millenials, raised on a "mantra of self-esteem" are striking a pose and sharing it with their network of friends and the world. I cannot wait to see where this goes.

Lawrence Lessig draws a nice analogy between Library card catalogues and the Google digitization project. Publishers want to block indexing of their works and/or charge a fee for the right to do so. How can we (libraries) organize information without the right to index it? DRM (Digital Rights Management) makes the future look messy, what if our ability to create meta data was blocked by DRM? Libraries already have too many search engines for their content, and are loosing patronage because they are too hard to use. Are we experiencing planned obsolence on the part of publishers? Are policy makers okay with doing away with libraries, to satisfy commercial interests? Copyright maneoverings seem to suggest it.

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