March 29, 2005

Filtering feeds

My reader asks:

"If an RSS feed can be subscribed to, then the content filtered somehow, using specific keywords like, say, oh, I don't know, 'Canadian dollar' maybe?"

I don't know about other aggregators, but I don't think that Bloglines will filter feeds for you.

The best alternative that I can think of is to use Feedster, which searches RSS feeds for words you request and then lets you subscribe to a feed of the search.

Of course, like any other search engine you have to figure out how to tweak your search to get rid of as much excess as possible.

I think you should be able to search only certain sites. Here is an example of search only within one site:
"canadian dollar site:currencysource.com"

Here's a link to the feed.

Posted by cminor at 9:37 AM | TrackBack

Resting the case

I will leave the final word on CIL, ITI, and Blogdigger groups to Christina's LIS Rant. She does a very good job of clarifying the issue for someone like me who wasn't there and is just trying to figure out how these things work.

Posted by cminor at 8:41 AM | TrackBack

March 22, 2005

Should we reconsider IM?

Spotted in various lists of buzzwords at CIL2005.

Here's some more content about IM that was gererated for/by CIL2005.

walking paper: IM at CIL 2005: a summary of questions and conversation that happened around IM at the conference.

Aaron Schmidt and Michael Stephen's CIL presentation on IM.

Notes from the same presentation by Christina.

Apparently right around the time we set up our virtual reference service, there was some discussion about using IM, but this was decided against because of the need for patrons to install software on their computers. Maybe that time has come and gone. Is IM software ubiquitous enough yet?

Posted by cminor at 11:14 AM | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

Laughing Loud and Long

Look what I started.

CIL2005--Non-Core, completments of Christina Pikas. I like that I could just add my feed without needing to email someone. I added mine although I didn't really blog the conference, only about it.

Via
Steven Cohen

Now what I would really like to see is a blogdigger group that everyone is included in. Hmm, I could just go and add all the feeds from the core group to the non-core group. :)

Posted by cminor at 10:07 PM | TrackBack

More _____casting

Thanks to a colleague, Jackie, for providing the following links. One is about audiocasting at UBC, and another about possible uses of podcasting for education, complements of D'Arcy Norman.

(Brief aside, the U of Calgary has recently launched weblogs.ucalgary.ca. Congratulations!! They also have an experiemental wiki. Way to go!)

On a somewhat related note, I found a posting from Information Literacy Weblog about getting an RSS feed with a Yahoo news search, that will keep you updated as new items are retrieved with the search. I just have to take this opportunity to use my new favorite abbreviation, SDI (selective dissemination of information), which I am apparently too young to know about. But this added feature to news searches does seem to be another expression of SDI.

I tried out the feeds for Yahoo news searches and then wondered if it could also be done in Google. This does not appear to be an option yet. However, my search in Google for "screencasting" did turn up this little gem, which combines two of my favorite things - screencasting using Camtasia (which I keep wishing we had even though everyone else loves Viewlet Builder) and a demonstration of how to use wikis. This one was Socialtext.

Posted by cminor at 7:16 PM | TrackBack

McKiernan at it again

Gerry McKiernan is beating the International Symposium on Wikis (October 17-18, 2005) to the punch.

Theoretical Librarian: BlogWiki2005 Workshop Announcement

Posted by cminor at 10:13 AM | TrackBack

March 20, 2005

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I got a response! I know this sounds incredibly green, but this is the first time I've ever expressed myself online and had a public conversation about it. Of course, the topic of discussion is important, but it is also important to me just to be part of the conversation.

Perhaps my personal context will be useful in explaining some of my statements that Steven Cohen has responded to, particularly with regard to InfoToday, Inc. (ITI). It should be easily apparent that I am a "young" librarian, not so much in age, as in experience. This is my first year out of library school. This is not an excuse for ignorance about industry leaders, such as, say, ITI.

However, considering how much professional acculturation is being done throughout library school and the first few years of professional experience, it might be instructional to consider how new librarians gain their knowledge about leaders within the profession.

To librarians who have been around for 5 or 10 years, ITI is an obvious center of professional gravity. For me, it is (or rather was) one star in an overwhelming galaxy.

So what I meant by saying that ITI lacked street credibility, is not that it lacks credibility in general, but that, from a purely personal perspective (and I think I used the words "no credibility to me"), it has been just one among many voices clamouring for my attention during the two year of library school and my first year on the job. (And believe me, anytime I ever linked to the ITI website through one of their numerous publications while surfing, the site's design did not help the matter by being incredibly busy and hard to read).

It may also be useful to consider this question from a generational perspective. I am hardly GenNext, but I think parts of my education, professional development, information gathering and knowledge creation do follow some of the trends that are being noted because I am entering the profession at the same time as millenials younger than me.

I am thinking in particular of the way in which credibility is assigned to sources of information through social networks. I know this is not particularly new although it might be a change from credibility being assigned through positions of authority and hierarchy. But I do think that blogs have emerged as one of the new means of communications for social networks. This is what I was referring to when I said that "I would never have known about CIL if it hadn't been for reading blogs." More importantly, CIL (Computers in Libraries) would not have become important to me.

In response to the following statement by Steven Cohen,

"I can't speak for the other librarians in the core group (They may or may not respond to CMinor's post), but I feel that I am there because I have worked my butt off over the past 4 years on my weblog and it is being validated. I'm in the position to market my blog and I'm going to do it. There is nothing wrong with that."

I say "Go for it!" I don't think I'm being contradictory here. I do respect the amount of work you have done in the last four years to acheive this level of professional recognition and exposure. And I think I did say in my post that it wasn't so much the official recognition by ITI at the top of the conference blog that I took issue with. ITI has earned the priviledge to select and draw attention to bloggers who have worked hard to get to where they are.

But what I am really saying is that the whole process seems anachronistic from my entry level perspective. I know I am only one librarian but perhaps I speak for other new librarians in saying that bloggers (not "core bloggers" recognized by ITI, but anyone who consistently draws our attention through the social network that is blogging) already have all the credibility you need to make it with us and furthermore, you have the credibility to give other competing professional interests the kind of credibility they are (or should be) seeking with new librarians.

The last think I would like to say is that while ITI's official recognition of certain bloggers (through linking at the top of their blog), although somewhat pointless to me personally, is a justifiable move for them and a great bouquet for you, what I do think was most unhelpful was the wording ("core bloggers") that was used to describe the blogdigger groug which should have been open to everyone. And of course it was, but the process of forming and joining the group should have been more open and transparent, so that everyone could benefit from an "as close to complete as possible" aggregation of the personal knowledge that is being generated by the conference.

As industry leaders, I think that ITI has a responsibility not to limit the knowledge that is being made available to people interested in the conference. I guess someone could have gone and formed another blogdigger group and added as many relevant feeds as they could find. But should it be too much to expect that this can be done as collaboratively and openly as possible?

Yes, these are emerging technologies and we're still trying to figure out how to use them. I have no doubts that everyone has learned from this experience and I have faith (based on the good faith of other bloggers) that ITI will improve the blogging experience and knowledge sharing for CIL 2006.


Posted by cminor at 2:11 PM | TrackBack

March 18, 2005

Making peace and eating pie

So yesterday was my first blogging attempt at having an opinion. And now it is time to modify that opinion, for there does appear to be some collegial support being shown for core blogging activities at CIL. Also I have heard via podcast that Blogdigger does have some tagging capabilities that have yet to be explored. I look forward to hearing about those.

Being curious about how Blogdigger might compare to Technorati, I offer this link to a post regarding Technorati vs Blogdigger. And being further curious about how Blogdigger and Technorati work, I did a simple search in each one for "cil2005". So while it may appear that Technorati's tagging feature is not working very well (not even for me sadly, although it did once) and Blogdigger's has yet to be discovered, anyone who attempted to use this tag did make it really easy for a search to return their posts even if the offical Technorati tag page or the Blogdigger group are not managing any helpful aggregation.

And now for making peace. I found via my Blogdigger search this posting from Christina's LIS Rant about Will Richardson's presentation on wikis in libraries. This is the one thing at CIL I really wish I could have seen. Also there is a nice posting on the InfoToday blog (once again, cannot link directly to it) about Richardson's keynote address at the Internet@SchoolsEast conference (right before his wiki presentation at CIL). Richardson is my wiki hero and person I would most like to meet right now.

So the posting about the "wiki evangelist" combined with this link to a "Library Girl" music video (found by Dick Kaser ITI VP, Content via Scott Brandt of Purdue University Libraries) is enough for me to grudgingly give ITI and CIL some of their own street credibility.

Posted by cminor at 12:24 AM | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Who are these people?

OK, this is going to be very long and convoluted.

I cannot link directly to the post because it does not appear to have a separate entry page, but here is a quote from the
InfoToday Blog about the Computers in Libraries conference happening this wk.

(written underneath an obviously posed picture)
"Two more of the CIL show bloggers, captured here in a wi-fi zone created just for those officially on blog detail.

Foreground: Nancy Garman, ITI's Director of Conference Development, lead blogger for our CIL Show Daily blog, and genius behind the idea of tying our blog officially to the work of independent bloggers.

Background: Tara Calishain, author of one of those independent blogs. Check out Tara's take on the conference on her ResearchBuzz Weblog by following the link at the top of this page."

First things first: someday I will be very happy when I have a reason and the finances to go to Computers in Libraries. Everyone in all the blogs I read is there right now (with some room for exaggeration). And of course, InfoToday is to be credited on the 20th anniversary of CIL.

But what I'm wondering is, do these people thing they invented blogging, or have somehow discovered it and are bringing it to the rest of us?

I guess in some way they are, since the kind of people who read InfoToday, Inc. might be relying on ITI to keep them up-to-date on the latest tech trends. But there are some of us who do that for ourselves by reading blogs in the first place. The only way I ever read anything on the ITI website is if someone in a blog thinks it's good enough to link to (and now in Library Stuff).

I would never have known about CIL if it hadn't been for reading blogs. Even if it had crossed my radar, it wouldn't have registered because I had no personal connection to it. Granted, I have no personal connections to any of the bloggers I read, but at least they have individual personalities and after a few months of slogging through my feedreader, I have some idea of who these people are and how they are connected to each other. The fact that they are going to CIL is enough for me. CIL and their official blog have absolutely no street credibility to me otherwise.

My second problem with CIL's attitude towards blogs is their selection of a group of "core bloggers" that are officially linked to the ITI blog. Who chose those words anyways and I really would like to know (not pulling a Gorman) why any self-respecting blogger would want to be identified as part of an exclusive group of "core bloggers". Perhaps I am being naive/idealistic and any officially sponsored focus on blogs should be seen as a good thing, or maybe anyone in that position would take the opportunity of big time exposure as too good to pass up.

It's not even that I mind so much that there is a specific set of links to officially blessed blogs at the top of the ITI blog (which has been dedicated to CIL for the time being). What really gets me is the way these blogs are being aggregated in Blogdigger.

The good thing is that blogs other than the ones listed at the top of the ITI blog are included and there is some indication on the ITI blog that others are welcome to join the list if they send an email requesting to do so. Heck, they even let a lowly library school student in.

My only problem is that it seems to be a rather limited solution to the need to compile all of the personal knowledge that is being generated as a result of the conference. The problems with using Blogdigger have been pointed out by Greg Schwartz, but maybe he's just saying that cause he isn't one of the "core bloggers".

I checked out his point that Blogdigger will include all of the entries in the listed blogs, whether or not they are actually about CIL. Currently of the 2700 entries listed as part of the CIL2005 Blogdigger group, only the first 5 pages (about 50 entries) are really about CIL.

So, the Technorati tag page for CIL2005 isn't too far behind with 7 posts from 4 blogs, tons of Flickr and an assortment of links from Furl and Delicious. Of course it was Greg's idea to use Technorati tags in the first place, but the technology failed not just him, but even a "core blogger" who was dedicated to the concept of tagging.

Perhaps we shall have to rely on Blogdigger after all and Andrea Mercado's promise "to add a search feed from Blogdigger that searches all blogs for "Computers in Libraries" and terms like it, and aggregates those posts in one bahuge feed. So if you, too, are blogging CIL 2005 on your blog, mention the conference in your posts, and the search feed will gobble them up for the masses." Hasn't happened yet.

So in honor of Greg and other non-core bloggers as well as in hope for a brighter tagging future, I resolutely tag this entry, cause I'm pretty sure that technorati tags are working on this Movable Type blog.

Posted by cminor at 9:53 PM | TrackBack

More Fun with RSS

I'm posting this link to a posting on Technogeekery for the benefit of our systems team with whom I spent a lovely few hrs this afternoon listening to discussion about how to best integrate RSS feeds into our site.

Not Your Regurlar RSS Aggregator

This is "about Planet Dal CS at Dalhousie University's Computer Science Department. What happens is that RSS feeds from various different blogs can be aggregated under one feed and then displayed on a web site."

Posted by cminor at 6:51 PM

I'm a blog person too!

It's a bit late to be noting Gormangate, but since I was telling a colleague about the whole thing, I said I'd post a link to this comprehensive list of links from LISNews.

I have not put the blog person logo in my side menu, but here is a modification of the design done by a fellow blogger over at Technogeekery, in hopes that we will be wearing this on a t-shirt when we blog the Manitoba Libraries Conference.

I know it's really too big, but I couldn't help myself.

blogperson.bmp


Posted by cminor at 4:25 PM | TrackBack

March 11, 2005

New look, no underline

Following the urgings of my colleague, I have removed the underlined text decoration from my links. Do you like the new look?

Posted by cminor at 3:47 PM | TrackBack

Bouquet for me

I taught a class today that seemed a bit choppy to me. I didn't get enough information from the prof about what stage in the research process they were at and I didn't realize that by this time of year, most 1st year students have all had library instruction at least once. So I had to imporvise on the spot and show them some features in one of our generic multidisciplinary database that they might have not seen. So I was choppy changing gears and then I smartened up and gave them 20 minutes at the end to play so I could walk around and answer questions individually.

At the end of the class one of the students approached me and said she had been in one of the classes I taught last semester and that she thought I had really improved my presentation and teaching style (my interpretation) "You've come a long way." (her words) Granted that was a particularly bad session in which technology failed miserably, but it was still nice to hear.

Posted by cminor at 2:33 PM

March 9, 2005

And now for something completely different . . .

Thanks to Gerry McKiernan for posting about the Numa Numa Dance video that been popular enough to attract the attention of the New York Times.

Here is a citation for the article.

Internet Fame Is Cruel Mistress for a Dancer of the Numa Numa
By ALAN FEUER and JASON GEORGE
Published: February 26, 2005
Here is the cautionary tale of a guy from New Jersey who made the grave mistake of uploading a clip of himself lip-syncing.

I found the article's text on Lexis Nexis. I'm sure any of you library types out there can access this through many of the databases you have access to.

Here is a link to an article on MSNBC about the video.

Here is a history of the song that is used in the video.

Finally here is a link to the video itself.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/206373

Posted by cminor at 7:56 PM

Podcastroll at last

I have previously mentioned my consternation over creating a podcastroll. Today a simple solution presented itself on this blog, which I promptply lost in a trail of open windows and tabs on my desktop. After implementing it, I wanted to acknowledge the source and then spent many hrs surfing everything I already had open plus anything else I could find to distract myself. I thought it was in Open Stacks, but no amount of scanning turned anything up. Then I found this last tab I had not yet explored and there it was, connection to Open Stacks and all.

Blind Chance: David Faucheux's Audio Web Log

I cannot link directly to the entry itself but it is under March 4, 2005, "MyPODable after all: Blind woman already using Shuffle".

"Comment from Greg Schwartz of Open Stacks on the missing text: "Of course, my solution to this problem is that any feed I subscribe to with IPodder, I also subscribe to with Bloglines. This has the added benefits of A) letting me know when to expect something new through iiPodder (knowledge which has led to me catching some errors in downloading that I would have missed otherwise) and B) of making the site visible within my blogroll on Open Stacks, so I can promote the audio content to which I listen.""

Now the real question is, where did Greg Schwartz say this that I kept continuously scanning his blog and couldn't find it?

Posted by cminor at 7:23 PM | TrackBack

March 8, 2005

Ask GODOT: Open Source Link Resolver

My reader has asked for information about our library's alternative to SFX. The service is called "Ask GODOT" and is an open source project developed by COPPUL libraries, although not all COPPUL member libraries use Godot. (Godot as in "Waiting for . . ." not go-dot.)

Godot is part of a package of services called reSearcher that are being developed, including the CUFTS knowledge base that Godot searches to determine links, CJDB for electronic resource management (a more functional version of CUFTS), and dbWiz for federated searching. There is also Citation Manager (like RefWorks or ProCite), but we don't use it.

The developers of these projects work out of Simon Fraser University Library and have a development wiki.

My experience with using Ask Godot is that sometimes I wish I had a lot of money to throw at SFX and just tell them to make it work, but considering my experience with big vendors such as Proquest and EBSCOHost, they are about as slow to move as molasses, so better to have the control to change things yourself even when it means more work for you.

Godot gives you lots of control over the user interface, but the editing interface for that is very clunky and hard to use.

Database title lists in CUFTS often have to be updated manually.

There are sometimes compatibility issues between Godot's search string and the target database.

In terms of compatibility with our OPAC:

UWpg uses III (that's triple I) from Innovative (also maybe called Millenium but that could just be the name of the new interface). I can't keep all the acronyms and names of companies and products straight. But as far as I know, Godot reads records from our catalogue into the response it spites back at the user to tell them if (in addition to having or not having it online) we have it in print in the library.

The data it spites back is not very pretty so users get overwhelmed and don't even look at it, but it does link back to our catalogue so you can see the data in it native format.

One of the problems we have with compatibility between Godot and our catalogue is that sometimes Godot reads book titles from our catalogue as if they are journal titles. So a user ends up thinking that we have a journal in print when really we only have a book with the same name as our journal.

We think this is problem with the settings in our catalogue and haven't been able to figure it out yet, b/c other libraries using III and Godot don't have the same problem.

All this aside, the developers at SFU are great and easy to work with. They will respond to phone calls and emails withing hrs and are very patient to explain what is going on so that hopefully you will end up with better control over the service you are offering.

Godot is great, but you do have to have time and patience to fiddle with it.

Posted by cminor at 8:06 AM

March 3, 2005

Demonstrations of RSS and Tags

My reader has indicated that what I am writing about must be good because it makes no sense. I figure it makes no sense because I am making a number of assumptions of prior knowledge about my topics that my reader does not share. Following the rule to "show, don't tell" and happy to mention my new favorite person in the blogosphere, I will link to two screencasts by Alex Barnett. Not only is he talking about two topics that are big on my radar (and giving an example of a third - screencasting) but if you live in North America, you will enjoy listening to his voice.

Using Technorati and Tags 101: It is nice to know that even though I wasn't sure what Technorati is supposed to be about, I have pretty much figured out what it is useful for.

Using RSS 101: This is a great demonstration of what can be done with RSS. Of course it uses different software (FeedDemon - downloadable) than I do (Bloglines - web based), but I don't have time to make my own screencast, or maybe I'm just too lazy.

Posted by cminor at 7:03 AM | TrackBack