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.

Canadian Trade Defecit in Books and Magazines Explodes

The gap in the number of books, periodicals and films we export over what we import is bigger than it has been in almost ten years. It was $1.8 billion in 2006.

Canadian Press

Geotag Your Flickr Photos

" You may have recently noticed an extra option available when viewing the detail on your own flickr photos. Under additional information there is an option to place this photo on a map. This is a mash-up between flickr and Yahoo Maps—only fitting since they share the same mother company. On your main flickr page, under the You menu, you can select My Map to begin. From here there is a search box to navigate to a specific location and another toolbar to choose which photos you want to play with...."

Infodoodads blog, June 13

Party Invitation Services

With the demise of paper format, party invitation cards, a replacement inevitally appeared. Check out these sites:



Yeah, yeah, everyone seemed to know about these but me...

Google Maps With Filmstrips


Looking for directions, scanning the aero-pic to get a sense of what the destination "looks like" now includes pictures of the street scape! Going to stay in Miami? You can "watch" your drive from the airport to your hotel by clicking away. Talk about peace of mind!

Google, you know what I'd really like? An option to put in two destinations and then watch a slide show getting there!

Does Book Indexing = Laptop Theft?

Google makes indexes of every page on the Internet without ascertaining who their copyright belongs to, without asking permission. Publishers have a problem with this. One book publisher stole a laptop from the Google booth at BookExpo in NYC to make his point. Of course Larry Lessig weighs in.

Strange times we live in.

Database of Book Inscriptions

http://bookinscriptions.com is building a database of book inscriptions. I love it! I have a few to add from my own library!

Is this the beginning of the end of cataloguing?

If you've ever been annoyed finding a book in a bookstore, you'll appreciate shelf storage by classification. Yes it would be nice to have signs in library stacks listing subjects on the shelf, to ease browsing, but this is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Another silly way to save money.

Apple® announced the launch of iTunes® U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store featuring free content such as course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours provided by top US colleges and universities including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University and MIT.

Read about it.

Library Outsourcing Arrives

Cost cutting changed the airlines, auto parts, and many other industries. Are public services with high salaries next? Read about LSSI running libraries for several cities.

Copyright Silliness on Campus

"What do Columbia, Vanderbilt, Duke, Howard and UCLA have in common? Apparently, leaders in Congress think that they aren't expelling enough students for illegally swapping music and movies.

The House committees responsible for copyright and education wrote a joint letter May 1 scolding the presidents of 19 major American universities, demanding that each school respond to a six-page questionnaire detailing steps it has taken to curtail illegal music and movie file-sharing on campus. One of the questions -- "Does your institution expel violating students?" -- shows just how out-of-control the futile battle against campus downloading has become."

Fred von Lohmann

James Cote and anton Allahar turn their back on political correctness to question higher education practices in Canada today. They take issue with the belief in the need for mass university higher education. A few points to tickle your noodle:

#1 Only 16% of jobs in 2000 required a university degree, up only 3% since 1990.
#2 30% of jobs required community college or apprenticeship.
#3 Students expect higher grades than in the past and put in less and less effort each decade.
#4 Retention goals create grade inflation because you cannot fail so many ill-prepared and ill performing students. Less students = less funding = less faculty? So you have to grade lighter.
#5 Many employers ask for degrees only to help them sort through job applications and cut their numbers down.
#6 Grade inflation at high school results in producing graduates with inadequate learning skills who do not feel the need to improve, because they got by, or were classed as excellent students.
#7 Students are agressive towards faculty when given low grades in university, if they got high marks in high school.
#8 It is clear that universities in the United States and Canada ask less of students than they did several decades ago (pg. 33).
#9 The roots of students disengagement have nothing to do with funding of higher eduction. Funding just exacerbates it.
#10 In the "feel good" culture today, nothing that causes discomfort, like new ideas?, is tollerable. With little experience of failure, they are unable to cope with negative feedback.
#11 A generation ago, disengaged students would simply have quit, been failed or been expelled.
#12 Grades are inflated to increase "customer satisfaction".
#13 Given the resukts-oriented image engrained in pop culture, think the Donald, learning is not valued as much as passing.
#14 The spoon feeding mentality of high school means students think the professor has failed if everything they need to learn is not presented in class.
#15 Consumer mentality trumps norms like respect for authority.
#16 Path of least effort governs more and more lives.
#17 Grade just for completing the task or grade on the quality of the task?
#18 Graduates of university have an aversion for the routine and drudgery that accompnay most jobs and an unwillingness to recognize that they are the new ones in the workplace and they have to pay their dues.
#19 Professors have grown increasingly insecure and disempowered while students have become increasingly bold and manipulative.
#20 Credentialism Paradox: credentialed skills often have little to do with the work that is eventually performed but without the credentials, one's employability and earning power are seriously jeopardized. (pg 173).

How do you like 'dem apples?

Need a searching tutorial but don't have time to develop one? Maybe CORIL or PRIMO have what you need. These repositories have lots of IL stuff including tutorials. Why folks are developing database searching screencasts I can't understand, shouldn't vendors be doing that?

Rental Audiobooks Taking Off

Toronto Star. Wednesday January 17, 2007. F4. Ellen Roseman.

Simply Audiobooks is selling access to audiobooks, via online downloads. Libraries, hurry up! Get in the game, the "ownership society" is gaining ground.

Examples of PodCast Lectures

Wired has some examples of PodCast lectures. I really see the potential of this delivery mode, though I'm not seeing much being done at my institution. I'd love to have a recording studio in my library.


Found a cool MySpace page? Cool product for sale? Tell others.

Quoted in full.

"The Crepuscule

Twelve reasons for the death of small and independent book stores

Ever thankful to those who made the effort before us, with heartfelt apologies to those who are still in the fight and the few who support them--offered upon the closing of Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop in Boston.

1. Corporate law (and the politicians, lawyers, businessmen and accountants who created it for their own benefit)--a legal fiction with more rights than the individual citizen, which allows the likes of Barnes & Noble and Walmart to write off the losses of a store in Massachusetts against the profit of another in California, while paying taxes in Delaware--for making ‘competition’ a joke and turning the free market down the dark road toward state capitalism.

2. Publishers--marketing their product like so much soap or breakfast cereal, aiming at demographics instead of people, looking for the biggest immediate return instead of considering the future of their industry, ignoring the art of typography, the craft of binding, and needs of editing, all to make a cheapened product of glue and glitz--for being careless of a 500 year heritage with devastating result.

3. Book buyers--those who want the ‘convenience’ and ‘cost savings’ of shopping in malls, over the quaint, the dusty, or the unique; who buy books according to price instead of content, and prefer what is popular over what is good--for creating a mass market of the cheap, the loud, and the shiny.

4. Writers--who sell their souls to be published, write what is already being written or choose the new for its own sake, opt to feed the demands of editors rather than do their own best work, place style over substance, and bear no standards--for boring their readers unto television.

5. Booksellers--who supply the artificial demand created by marketing departments for the short term gain, accept second class treatment from publishers, push what is ‘hot’ instead of developing the long term interest of the reader--for failing to promote quality of content and excellence in book making.

6. Government (local, state and federal)--which taxes commercial property to the maximum, driving out the smaller and marginal businesses which are both the seed of future enterprise and the tradition of the past, while giving tax breaks to chain stores, thus killing the personality of a city--for producing the burden of tax codes only accountants can love.

7. Librarians--once the guardians, who now watch over their budgets instead--for destroying books which would last centuries to find room for disks and tapes which disintegrate in a few years and require costly maintenance or replacement by equipment soon to be obsolete.

8. Book collectors--who have metamorphosed from book worms to moths attracted only to the bright; once the sentinels of a favorite author’s work, now mere speculators on the ephemeral product of celebrity--for putting books on the same level with beanie babies.

9. Teachers--assigning books because of topical appeal, or because of their own lazy familiarity, instead of choosing what is best; thus a tale about the teenage angst of a World War Two era prep school boy is pushed at students who do not know when World War Two took place--for failing to pass the torch of civilization to the next generation.

10. Editors--who have forgotten the editorial craft--for servicing the marketing department, pursuing fast results and name recognition over quality of content and offering authors the Faustian bargain of fame and fortune, while pleading their best intentions like goats.

11. Reviewers--for promoting what is being advertised, puffing the famous to gain attention, being petty and personal, and praising the obscure with priestly authority--all the while being paid by the word.

12. The Public--those who do not read books, or can not find the time; who live by the flickering light of the television, and will be the first to fear the darkening of civilization--for not caring about consequences.

Thus, we come to the twilight of the age of books; to the closing of the mind; to the pitiful end of the quest for knowledge--and stare into the cold abyss of night.

John Usher"

From THE HOUND by John Usher, 2004. Permission to reproduce is granted to all with proper attribution.

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