Tuesday, April 20, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Crossroads

Today's video comes from last week's Computers in Libraries conference where the Archivist of the United States presented one of the keynote addresses in the form of an interview. It's an interesting look not just at the intersections of information and technology but at the intersections of archives and libraries as well.

Also, it's kind of funny.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Everybody's Doin' It

Two huge news items this week concern two of the most popular and most hyped things in the digital world: Twitter and the Apple iPad.

The big news of the week was the Library of Congress's decision to archive Twitter. Many questions about this surprisingly (to me) controversial decision are answered in this interview with the LC's Martha Anderson at the American Spectator. This is an interesting move in the history of digital preservation and seems to move even closer toward legitimizing digital publishing well beyond Twitter's 140 character limit.

It would also be hard to ignore the inevitable arrival of Apple's iPad. On the topic of digital publishing, however, more interesting is the backlash against its policies toward publishers and app developers. In addition to widespread discontent over Apple's decision not to support Flash, Cory Doctorow writes the iPad off because it is glued shut and there is no way to get in the box: "if you can't open it, you don't own it." Further commentary come from Jim Stogdill at O'Reilly who condemns the device for being a glorified distribution channel and a limited one at that.

But if we look at the machine simply as what it was initially hyped as - an electronic reader - its biggest flaw in this writer's eyes is the lack of a keyboard.

Time will tell if Apple will bend to publisher and developer demands or if creators and consumers will finally wedge themselves into Apple's mold.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Librarians are always up to something...

...And it IS still Tuesday for another half hour! SHOOSH!

(It is NOT, however, a video from YouTube.)

This video of these two librarians' shenanigans on top of a fun song has a sunshiny feel that seems a fine way to welcome in Spring. Let's give the boot to an overly long winter. Good riddance! Now, let's all dance to our MP3 players.

the not-so-secret life of maggie knapp from Greenman Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Legal Woes

A quick roundup of some of the week's biggest library tech news:

The fight over "net neutrality" continues, and not in a direction that will benefit end users. This week courts ruled against the FCC's efforts to prevent Internet service providers from charging certain clients extra to deliver their content to users.

Meanwhile, Google's legal woes over its Books project continue, this time over visual art in digitized books. According to the New York Times, visual artists were mostly excluded from the company's settlement with book authors and publishers.

In potentially less litigious news, the Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room installed a unique new scanner for patron use. The only one of its kind in the United States, the machine was originally produced by the company book2net for the British Library, and it can scan an entire newspaper page in 0.3 seconds. From photos on the site linked above, the color scans look gorgeous.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Silent Film

After surviving my worst cold in years and then an Easter trip across several states, the long blog silence is finally over!

Which makes this week's selection for NotYouTube Tuesday (Vimeo this week) even more appropriate: a modern day silent film with a charming soundtrack.

The Librarian from benthompsonfilms on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: "The Librarian"

In the age-old battle between librarian and rambunctious child, this librarian finds herself surprised.

The Librarian from Austin Chapman on Vimeo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Virtual Supermarkets

We often talk here about emerging technologies that a few, fortunate libraries are able to take advantage of, but even the technology we have now can still give libraries the power to uplift entire communities.

Entire neighborhoods of East and West Baltimore are considered "food deserts" because grocery stores in these areas have left town, and there are even precious few restaurtants save the worst sort of fast food. This leaves poorer residents who don't have cars without access to nutritious food options.

Thus the Enoch Pratt Free Library has teamed up with the city Health Department in the "Virtual Supermarket Project." Laptops are provided at the library where residents can order groceries, which are then delivered the next day to two branch libraries for pick-up.

This takes the phrase "third place" to a whole new meaning. What other vital services might library technology provide to a library's community that we're just not seeing?