New classroom machines at work!

Computer Classroom

We are happy with the new Lenovo all-in-one workstations we got for our computer classroom equipment replacement. They replaced a small-form-factor model from Dell that used a cradle-type stand, but Dell’s current models don’t fit it. We want to use as little desk/floor space as possible while still having full keyboards and monitors for instruction sessions.


Doodling: as fun as library research?

Today I ran across a crafting phenomenon called Zentangles.  It is a form of meditative doodling, using simple patterns and repetition to create attractive small pieces, usually monochrome.  It’s the sort of thing you do idly on the phone, but with a purpose and as a calming/focusing technique. Sounds nice, right?  Turns out there is a big contingent of “you’re doing it wrong!!!” people involved in this.  There are formal official names for the little patterns, a certification process for instructors, copyright FUD and everything.   Here’s a video of a nice lady who is showing people how not to be AFRAID of freaking DOODLING, and there are people all over the comments telling her she’s doing it wrong, I’m certified, you don’t know what you’re doing, etc etc.  This is one example – there are tons more.   How to take the fun out of something that we’ve all enjoyed since childhood.

And then it occurred to me… that’s what we sometimes do in the library.  We tell people they’re doing it wrong in a finger-wagging way.  I’m certified, you don’t know what you’re doing.   Of course, there IS such a thing as doing it wrong.  And there IS value in having boundaries and techniques that describe a particular named practice  whether that’s art or searching or Pilates. Otherwise everything is everything and nothing is anything.  But wow, do I cringe at the thought our users are hearing me the way I’m hearing the Zentangle police.

Computers in Libraries 2010 roundup

The following are some links to “cool stuff” from Computers in Libraries 2010 for a brown bag session at work.

Computers in Libraries 2010 site from Information Today Inc
Twitter stream via Twapperkeeper

Deep Zoom
Example site:
Download link

Bing Mapcruncher
Len Davidson’s slides – starts on slide 15
Download link

Darlene Fichter’s slides: New and Cool Tools

Feed Informer:
Add multiple RSS feeds to one digest, output as an embeddable widget for your website

Are My Sites Up?
Notifies you when your website goes down.
Monitors up to 5 sites 25x per day for free. Alerts by SMS.

Reputation Monitoring:

Online bookmarks:
Synchronize multiple computers, across browsers
Integrates in google search results, see when others have bookmarked a site

Nicole Engard’s Open Source Tools:
Her site:

Open source desktop publishing:

Open source video capture/streaming:

MIT Mobile Web open source project

Random cool thing: oMoby – product recognition for iPhone

Curation is a word.

The Oxford English Dictionary knows it:

  • Curatorship, guardianship.
  • Restrict {dag}Obs. to sense 1 in Dict. and relabel sense 2 ‘Obs. exc. as in sense b.’ Add:    [2.] b. The supervision by a curator of a collection of preserved or exhibited items.

Wikipedia knows it:

Here are some books on the topic

And from some people you might trust:

Day in the life… early afternoon

1-2: doing some web content updating.  We’re THIS CLOSE to implementing the real live working workflow for our public site, but until that happens, I’m the only one from the Biomedical library who can edit our site.  It’s, uh, irksome.  For everyone. Especially people who need things done quickly because frankly I’ve been quite a bottleneck in this process.  Sorry, folks.  😦

2-3: ref desk.  Actually, service desk.  Biomed has a combined ref/circ desk, and today I would estimate 60% of my traffic was circ, mostly course reserve stuff.  But there were two real research help questions and one consumer health question.  The latter is a person I’ve talked to before, who really really really needs to talk to a doctor but doesn’t seem to want to, for whatever reason. I don’t know if they’re scared, don’t have health coverage, or what.  But they keep pushing for actual medical advice, what should I do, what specific treatments, is this for sure not contagious…  advice we absolutely cannot give.

Day in the life… midmorning

10-11:30am: training for editors of the Libraries’ new Intranet, using the content management system we also use for our public website.  (We use Hannon Hill’s Cascade Server for those keeping track.)  I’ve been an editor on the public side since we started using it, but we’re just getting going migrating the Intranet into it.  So I already knew the mechanics of the system, but needed to get the structure and navigation elements.  I mayyyy have done a little tweeting on the side… and I mayyyy also have made a test page in the training playground that represented my department with a limerick.  Yay training pages nobody sees.

11:30-12 – trying to figure 0ut how someone managed to put a page into the CMS that stripped out ALL the style sheet information.  Amazing feat of copying and pasting bad luck.

Then onto lunch, wherein I battle the student hordes at the food court.  En garde!

Day in the Life…

The day so far…

9:00 get to work.  Kinda late today.  Start on email.

9:15 fall down Internet rabbit hole checking out a biological data company that a Twitter friend just started working for. Sounds cool! I can’t say I try to really stay on top of data stuff because that would be a full time job, but this guy’s always on top of leading-edge stuff and is one of the “luminaries” I like to keep tabs on.

9:35 called out to desk to talk to a local unemployed librarian who wanted to do volunteer work at our library. Unfortunately we don’t have any projects that would be suitable at the moment at Biomed but we’ll forward her resume around to the other libraries on campus.

Made coffee.

Day In the Life! Preamble

Hi anyone who’s reading this from the Library Day in the Life project.  I work at the Biomedical Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).  We serve the schools of medicine and pharmacy as well as the biology division. We have about 25 staff including nine librarians. We also have a “branch” at the hospital that has another four staff including two librarians.  The UCSD libraries have a big centralized IT department that deals with all the big systems, and my job is to provide local tech leadership – I supervise our desktop support and Information Commons operations and try to at least keep a handle on our participation in digital library projects.  Heh. I coordinate our public web presences and also do reference and teach workshops.  I’ve been here 13 years.

LITA Forum 2009 Roundup

These are links for a 10-minute mini-LITA Forum roundup for folks at work.

Featured talks:

Overall links:

Mobile site screenshots:

Mobile grumbling

I’m reading the twitter stream from the #qlmobile workshop on mobile services in libraries happening at Queens.

“You can’t leap the chasm taking baby steps. Baby steps will kill you” -Dave Genesy, library consultant, quoted by several folks.

Predictably, several tweets following this complain about librarians afraid of change and afraid of technology.  With the predictable undercurrent of ageism.  I really don’t think the “fear” of technology that people perceive is really fear.  Evidence-based librarianship advocates for decisionmaking on data. And that’s at odds with leaping on something because it’s shiny.  Especially when it’s going to be expensive to ramp up development expertise on multiple fast-moving platforms.  Especially-especially at a time when we can’t hire anyone!  There’s ample evidence that our users use mobile devices in their daily lives, but where is the evidence that our users would use mobile services from the library beyond the simplest things?  The only way we’re really going to get the evidence that would justify a leap is by trying things incrementally.

Here’s another quote from the same workshop:

“Mobile literacy is a core competency for information professionals” (

This is another tweet from the qlmobile stream – don’t know if these are the tweeter Andrea Snyder’s words or if she’s quoting someone else. I do actually agree with that (before you accuse me of being “afraid of change”).  So then, in an environment that wants data before investing, how is the information professional supposed to get this literacy?  By buying your own mobile tech of course.  A lot of librarians already bought smartphones for their own personal lives, but I know several folks (myself included) who have gone out and bought devices or software specifically because they felt they needed to get up to speed professionally.  My employer is not going to buy an iPhone for me, and if they did I would have to pay tax on it even though I wouldn’t own it. (Thanks, IRS.)  Think back along the timeline of library innovation.  Did you have to go buy your own personal web server to get up to speed on that back in 1994?  Your own personal OPAC?     So think about it – why is the cost of your professional competence in this particular arena yours alone to pay for out of your personal pocket?