Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hakia: Semantic Search Engine

From ars technica:

Search engines generally don't understand either content on the Web or the content of user queries; they work through keyword analysis, link weighting, and other statistical methods that allow an engine to produce more or less relevant results without ever needing to understand the implicit question in the search query. [Hakia] recognizes the concepts that lie behind the search terms and attempts to match those rather than keywords. Read more...>>

Monday, July 30, 2007

Libraries, Librarians and the Press

A lot of people complained about the pieces in the NY Times and NY Sun about a group of "hip librarians" in Brooklyn. The general consensus among the dissenters was a desire for more substantive articles on modern libraries and librarians.

I generally didn't have a feeling one way or the other about the stories. As I've pointed out to friends in the past, although I do get irked by the librarian stereotype and the general ignorance of people in general as to what the heck it is we actually do (why do people assume the job is the same as it was in the 1950s? They don't seem to make that assumption with other fields, they logically assume those other fields have evolved and changed over the years...) But in all honesty, as a young single gal, I have in fact used the "sexy librarian" stereotype to my advantage (just saying you are a librarian makes for a great pick-up line...) So you see I'm leery of biting the hand that feeds, so to speak.

Anyway, in response to the call for better library-related stories, I just wanted to point out a good article on CNET.com. It doesn't talk about anything that's news to the library world, but it does serve as a great little reminder to the general public that libraries have grown and changed over the years, and that we are attempting to compete in the digital domain.

I think sometimes we librarians spend so much time around our resources that we forget how little the outside world knows about them. Sometimes it's enough to simply point out what's available at your library, even if it's nothing new or "exciting"...

(Oh yeah, and for two more good links on the topic: Cultural Images of Librarians by John Hubbard and Hipster Status, Determining Your from A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette--too funny!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fun with GovDocs

I know this post is old, but it's just too funny... I'm not sure which is my favorite report title, "The Index of Blank Forms", or "Let Potatoes Fight", or the "PMS Blue Book" (I know you guys could really use that one...)

Ok, no, I have the winner, it would have to be the Canadian government document: "Who Are the Zombie Masters, and What Do They Want?". That's your hard-earned tax dollars at work Canada. (And yet they still have money for national healthcare... go figure!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I love the digital age, but oh how i miss the smell of good ol' books!

Um, I totally want this, I looooove the smell of books! So cliche for a librarian, I know, but I've actually always loved the smell... I think I'll get it and spray it on all the computers here at the library, you know, for authenticity's sake. hehehe...

(thanks to cat in the stacks for the heads up!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Feed! Humble Apologies! Advice-Seeking! Act Now!!!

Ok, so despite the fact that I've had a personal blog for a long time now, I'm still getting used to having a professional-type one, and still learning all the ways to use the blogging software to its maximum potential (and also learning ways of promoting the blog...)

So in that spirit, I've gotten a Feedburner account and made that feed the default feed for the blog. Not that I imagine there are tons of readers out there, but if anyone who subscribed before say, last week, could kindly switch to the new feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheInfoBabe) that would be just the awesomest! :)

Oh, and also, I only just now realized that I hadn't set my account to email me when I had a new comment, so imagine my surprise to see that I actually had a few! Thanks guys, and I'm sorry I didn't reply to them, I didn't know they were there! In the future I promise to be better with that.

And from the other bloggers out there, any tips for a n00b? Good ways to promote yourself without being obnoxious (self-promotion is a tricky subject indeed...)? Or technical stuff regarding blogs that all serious bloggers should know (aggregation, archiving, spam, tracking and analytics...)? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Desperately Seeking Direction

This summer, only my second as an "official" librarian, has been a tough one for me. As an academic librarian, summers are usually our slow season, and last summer afforded me plenty of time to unwind from the regular school year, and to work on my own little "projects" that got me all ramped up for the fall semester. But this year, unfortunately, we've been stuck working on our strategic plan, as necessary for the school's upcoming accreditation review, so I haven't had much time to work on my pet projects (read: new website new website please good god can we get a new website?!)

So with all the strategic planning sucking up the majority of my brain-power (and patience), I've been a little scattered in other areas. Mainly, I've had some trouble figuring out just what exactly I'm supposed to be doing with the rest of my day. Ok, that sounds bad, I know. But my job title is a bit vague, at best: I'm an information services librarian. Seriously, that's about as specific as my undergraduate degree (in mass communications. Heh.)

Now there are two parts of my job that are fairly self-explanatory, the instruction and the reference parts. When I'm performing those duties, I'm either in a training classroom teaching students how to use the library and its resources, or I'm sitting at the reference desk (usually reading my RSS feeds.)

The third part of my job is outreach, and over the summer, that is slow to say the least, seeing as no one is really around to reach out to.

So any free time I have falls into the tenebrous category of "professional development". I try really desperately to keep up with what's going on in the world of technology, and to find ways to apply relevant technologies to the world of library science. But given the broad interpretation of my job description that my library likes to take, it has become increasingly hard to focus. I like to think I'm generally on top of things concept-wise, but I'm having a lot of trouble finding ways to use that knowledge practically.

My library (like many others, I suspect), is sadly behind in terms of using technology to optimize itself, and I desperately long to re-establish our relevance on campus, but I have no idea where to start, and I am fast growing weary of trying to be the agent of change on a staff where half the people are just patiently waiting to retire, and really don't want to be bothered with all my upstart nonsense.

What to do, what to do?! No really, tell me, cuz I really am kinda clueless on this one. Any suggestions?

(Oh and mind you Blogger is not helping by acting so buggy today! Please, I am a girl with four blogs, this is the fastest way to drive me insane!)