Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cui bono?

Check out the Reuters article on Hansdehar, a village in India, has created a web site that describes itself to the world. It is the first (and currently only) entry in the Smart Villages project.

The intension of the overall project is to create a grid of information about thousands of villages in India. Different people associated with the Hansdehar project seem to have different ideas about its benefits--advertise for local businesses, help students find colleges and employment, and my personal favorite: publish the nature of local problems so that the government can deny knowledge. Could also do a lot for the world in general to know a bit more about how a big chunk of the human race lives -- in rural areas with limited means.

For the non-Latin-speaking readers

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

yes, but will it weed?

Leopard, Mac's OS in development, will have the ability to auto-save. There's a slider to see earlier versions of photos, for example. And, according to BBC, "it also lets users search for files overwritten or altered in the past." Notice the plural--files.

So I guess we'll have our very own Way-Back machine. Maybe I'll write Brewster for a grant to buy disk space for all the backups.
Truth in blogging confession: I hate to weed and so I don't back up most of my files -- but I do back up the ones I want to keep. At work I have the luxury of a network drive that someone else backs up regularly. I put anything I want to preserve there -- performance appraisals, budget spreadsheets, etc. Same with e-mail. I only archive stuff that I think I might be called upon to use later. At home I print out any text I want to save and put I put my precious pictures up on Flickr (n.b., many are not precious.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Flickr Group Photos

I somehow missed the whole group photos in Flickr until just recently when I came across a bunch of tagged group photos of librarians off a library blog about the recent SAA conference (examples of some of the library groups: librarians wearing hard hats, librarians wearing glasses, library bags, and library desks)....

Even a list of libraries that have Flickr accounts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

All the news that fits

Sadly enough, here's an intriguing piece of history that won't be archived in any library let alone a digital repository. Maybe we should gather up donations to send him phone cards.

The blackboard looks homemade. I had a friend there who made one with carbon from worn out batteries. He used it for teaching arithmetic to a number of people in town. Hard to tell from the picture but this one could have been made the same way. There's not a lot to work with over there just now.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Browster tool for web viewing

I try lots of different tools and tweakers on my workstation but I usually just toss them out after a first look. I'm starting to like Browster, though. It's a little bit you download and run in the background. Pause the cursor over a link on a web page and a little icon pops up. Pause the cursor over that icon and the page being linked to flashes up in a new window. You can move the mouse and lose the page or click on it and you're there. I'll have to see if it slows up the machine.

A cataloger's dream or nightmare?

At the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Labs they are using X-ray fluorescence to reveal an original Greek transcription of some of Archimedes' writings that are the foundation of math today--texts that developed mathematical ways to represent the real world.

The reason they need this technology is that the texts in question -- a 10th century monk's transcription -- was obscured by a 13th century monk who recycled the parchment by scraping away the original text and writing his own text on top. (Bonus points for those who know what this practice is called.) To top it off, last century a forger tried to increase the value of the manuscript by adding gold religious paintings. You can't seem much of anything of the original. Cataloging something like this makes our 'bound-with' cataloging problems seem frivolous.

The X-ray florescence technique involves scanning the surface with a very fine beam. One page can take up to twelve hours to scan. I'm assuming there will be a digital output to archive. Now that would be a fun thing to cook up metadata for.

Go to the Exploratorium website today to watch the process. There's a live feed at 4 pm PST but they seem to archive their broadcasts if you miss it live.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cataloging your own library collection?

Does anybody have experience using a software program or Internet resource to catalog personal book collections? My husband would like to catalog his books and he is looking for something that is either free or reasonably priced, but not clunky to use. Any recommendations?

Census to Adopt GPS

Really interesting NPR story the other day about how the Gov't will adopt GPS to aid with the census. Of particular interest was the story about the maps used by Delaware County.

Census Bureau Adopts GPS to Find American Homes


Posted to a new director's listserv, I thought this was a great tip:

"When you have a long URL that you need to send in an e-mail, and youwant to keep this problem from occurring, there's an easy way tocreate a short URL, called "TinyURL." Go to and paste your long URL into the box on the screen. The program willcreate a short URL that will open the original Web page! You can evencreate a special TinyURL bookmark for your Web browser. Then, whenyou open a Web page with a long URL, you need only click on yourTinyURL bookmark, and it will automatically create a short URL foryou, without your having to cut and paste."

New OCLC eSerials Holdings service

OCLC has a new online journals service called OCLC eSerials Holdings service. It is marketed as an efficient and cost-effective way to make your electronic content more visible and
accessible by leveraging your investment in WorldCat.

If you have an e-management service, such as Ebsco A-Z or Serials Solution etc. you can have your records loaded into World Cat.

Here's what OCLC says the eSerials Holdings can do:

* Increases usage of your electronic serials collection by making it more visible to searchers and ILL librarians
* Enables you to automatically control and/or deflect ILL requests from colleagues in the OCLC cooperative
* Cost-effectively keeps your electronic serials holdings up to date in WorldCat, without adding to your cataloging workload
* Helps bridge the gap between print and electronic materials
* Increases the value of your investment in A-Z lists, OpenURL
resolver, and WorldCat


I'm unclear as to if this will forever be a free service, or a free service for a short time to encourage adoption.