April 27, 2005

New Word: wardriving

Trust CBC to uncover "wardriving" from the geek subculture. At first this story only interested me because of the connections to an urban wireless network project that our head librarian is involved in. But then I started wondering about the word itself. Here's what I found.

It was invented by Pete Shipley.

There is debate over whether or not it is a harmful activity. Wikipedia gives a good overview of the ethical considerations.

Following the Wikipedia links to warchalking, I found an abstract for a very interesting article entitled "War, Peace, or Stalemate: Wargames, Wardialing, Wardriving, and the Emerging Market for Hacker Ethics."

What does this have to do with libraries? As I mentioned earlier, Mark Leggott is working the University of Winnipeg's Global College project, LearningCiti. One of the themes of the LearningCiti blog is urban wireless networks.

I asked Mark about public wireless networks and security. He likened the problem to a sidewalk. You don't just tear up the sidewalk because someone engages in criminal activity on it. It is a matter of what you consider essential to your daily activities and finding ways of social control. Wardriving seems like a good example of this, at least as done by two friendly Winnipegers. They represent their work as a public service, educating people about the risks of unsecured access points.

Since I don't have permission to post on the LearningCiti blog (hint, hint - sorry Mark, my priviledges don't extend that far), I'm writing about it here.

Posted by cminor at 11:23 PM | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

Searching in Bloglines

My reader (I think by now I might have more than one, but Schneidevich still gets status as my official reader) asked me once about how to search within a feed. I can't remember the exact context of the question and I'm pretty sure my answer was not that helpful.

But I've found a screencast that demonstrates nicely how the search function of Bloglines works (best part: you can skip through the slides you already know about - searching is at the end). I found this via the Distant Librarian in a blog that I think is called eContent.

Posted by cminor at 5:25 PM | TrackBack

Got Game?

A few months ago, Greg Schwartz mentioned gaming in one of his posts. This let me to a webcast of the OCLC Symposium ALA Midwinter 2005, "Gaming and the Significance for Information Literacy".

In spite of being close to 2 hours long, I loved this thing. I watched/listened while doing many other less interesting things. I finally understood my gaming friends and I was intrigued by connections between what I already know about the ways in which people learn and the lived experience of this in gaming culture.

Now there is an article written two of the presenters in the webcast I watched (Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler) in Library Journal.

Via Tame the Web.

Posted by cminor at 4:50 PM | TrackBack

Web Surveys

Sherri's post about a survey she conducted on the use of IM among patrons (IM'ers not digital reference chatters?) was interesting in and of itself, but it also reminded me of a post I drafted a month or so ago and forgot about.

I was thinking about conducting surveys and using web based survey sites such as SurveyMonkey. I wondered if there were any other librarians out there using these and if so, what had been their experiences with different products.

Here is a list of sites I found offering this service. My google searching revealed that "online polls" was a good way to search. Anyone with some first hand experience?








Posted by cminor at 4:25 PM | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

Resource Guide on Digital Services in Libraries

This guide was prepared for a panel discussion as part of MLCI's Leveraging the Technolgy Edge, April 25, 2005. Because I tried to represent new developments in digital services that I have no personal experience with, I decided it was important to provide concrete examples of how these technologies are being used in other libraries.

I took many of the categories and definitions from a handout prepared by Meredith Farkas of Information Wants to be Free.

Roger's Diffusion of Innovation theory offers an explanation of how new innovations or ideas are adoped by various categories of users. This can be applied as libraries plan on implementing new digital services. For more information, go to Wikipedia.


Loaning out iPods loaded with audio books: South Huntington Public Library, New York
In Wired
In NetConnect

Audio Reserves 2Go: Baylor University


Definition: Podcasting is a web-based audio broadcast method. Podcasts are audio files in MP3 format that are made available online in an RSS audio aggregator and can be played on any device that can play MP3s.

Library news: GPC Decatur Campus Library

Serving library users with special needs: Blind Chance: David Faucheux's Audio Web Log

Distribution method for audio learning materials (lectures, etc.)


Definition: A blog (short for weblog) is a journal that is available on the web, either for personal, professional, or commercial use.

Promoting library services and products, library news (SJCPL Lifeline)

Create community for specific library user groups (Roselle Library Blogger Book Club)


Definition: XML-based format for syndicating content so that all news items, blogs, and other pieces of information can be accessed from a user’s aggregator, rather than from each individual website.

Aggregators: Bloglines, FeedDemon, BottomFeeder, News Gator

RSS feeds for new books: University of Alberta Libraries

Personalised RSS feed of patron’s library account: Talis – Project Bluebird

RSS feeds for journals: University of Saskatchewan

Virtual Reference / IM (Instant Messaging)

Marin County Free Library, California

Duke University Libraries

Bibliographic management tools

Definition: Software (sometimes web-based) that saves, organizes and formats bibliographic information for a variety of information resources including html documents, articles and books. Can include the ability to link to any resources that are available online and to share bibliographies.

Software/Sites: Endnote, ProCite, RefWorks

Creating, formatting and sharing bibliographies

Social bookmarking

Definition: Web-based bookmarklets that allow you to add websites and articles to your personal collection of links and are part of a larger social taxonomy (folksonomy). Users add tags to their bookmarks so that they can be cataloged for easy retrieval in the future. You can both look at your own tags and look at resources that other people tagged.

Sites: del.icio.us, FURL, CiteULike

Dynamic information sharing (sharing a bibliography or resource list)

Subject guides

Screencasting (tutorials, blended learning)

Definition: Records everything on the computer’s desktop – including keystrokes, mouse movement, and form entry – as a Flash movie. It can include audio and interactive components.

Products: Macromedia Captivate, Qarbon Viewlet Builder, and TechSmith Camtasia


Posted by cminor at 10:46 AM | TrackBack

April 16, 2005

Conference Blogging 101

Having committed to blogging the local library conference (Manitoba Library Conference 2005), I have promised fellow bloggers a list of resources - including examples of conference blogs/blogging, what to write/ not to write, etc.

So to begin with, here are the first three examples of conference blogging I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Northern Voice - Canadian Blogging Conference (personal blog entries aggregated in a wiki). The aggregation also includes links to MP3 recordings of some of the sessions, Flickr photos with the northernvoice tag and metasearches for Technorati, del.icio.us bookmarks, etc.
  • PLA blog - ALA Midwinter Meeting 2005 in the Events Archive
  • This is PLA's blog which includes a section for the Midwinter Meeting to which a number of bloggers contributed.
  • CIL Blogdiggers groups 1 & 2

And here are some picks from the first page of my google search.

  • An entry from Many2Many on Conference Blogging. I think most of the examples are either dead links or difficult to draw any quick conclusions from. Think of the different modes of conference blogging listed as brain teasers to get us thinking about what we can focus on as we compose our entries, both during and after sessions and on different aspects to focus on while composing entries.
  • Thoughts from Library Stuff on the purpose and effects of conference blogging.
  • Dan Bricklin: What we learn from convention blogging or Blogging There. These thoughtful pieces are a bit more reflective than instructive but do give some suggestions as to how to handles the challenges of conference blogging, such as letting go of unrealisitic expectations to capture everything in one entry or letting others pick up some of the slack when you know that more than one person is blogging the same session.

Posted by cminor at 11:21 PM | TrackBack

April 12, 2005

Tracking blog subjects without blog categories

Once upon a time, I asked several bloggers if they could provide category feeds for certain topics on their blogs as I was only interested in following those topics and not their entire blogs.

Both the Distant Libarian and the Science Library Pad guy told me that their blogging software did not allow them to create category feeds. I was very disappointed.

Then, I got an email from the Science Library Pad guy, pointing to this entry in his blog, "using Blogdigger to create custom category RSS feeds".

Now I'm wondering how to locate a blog's blogdigger ID and then I will be happily on my way to creating a feed for the Distant Librarian's "Tutorial" category.

Update: OK, I didn't do my homework. Turns out the Distant Librarian has already created category feeds using the same method. But I would still like to know how you figure out a blog's ID in blogdigger.

Posted by cminor at 4:46 PM | TrackBack

April 8, 2005

Blog Bragging

I haven't said anything yet about our Library News blog, but it's pretty much the most exciting thing that I've worked on in the last month. Writing about it is somewhat anitclimatic at this point, but here goes.

If you look at our library homepage, you will see that we are reading content from the library news blog into the main section of the page. Here's how it happened.

A few months ago, I started noticing some similarites between what we were doing with the "library news" section of our homepage and how blogs can be used. It should have been obvious, but given that when I started working here last fall, I aware of almost none of the back end of our website, including our numerous homegrown attempts at content management, I'm happy I can even recognize them all individually.

Given these similarities, I wondered why we were using our own editing interface which scares off a lot of library staff, when they already know how to use Moveable Type. And I wondered how we could feed an RSS feed from a blog into our homepage and have the content be dynamically updated that way instead.

Thus I was introduced to the wonderful world of parsing. I slowly began to understand that our web site manager John had specifically written a script that "parses" rss feeds so they can be read into the right side bars of all our pages. Then it became apparent that a similar, albeit more complex, script could be written to read a feed into our home page. At this point, any real geeks out there are laughing at my ignorance, but hey, I'm learning.

John went to work on writing a script that would parse the blog's feed and he quickly had something ready which displayed the entries from the blog in a very basic format and then we got the blog style sheet working on what was being displayed via the feed. The nice thing about parsing the feed is that we were able to over ride any of the style we didn't want.

Applying the blog style to the script was picky work, but it was nothing compared to what happened when we were almost ready to go live with it. Our Moveable Type installation had just been moved to another server and somehow the library website's server could not connect to the blog's rss feed. So John and I cooled our heels for almost 2 wks before someone found a patch for one of the servers so they both could talk to each other.

Finally one morning I came into work to find that while John had been planning to wait for me after finding out that the patch had been installed, our other library news database had stopped working so he decided to switch it just to have something there.

We've made a few changes since then, but have been mostly happy with what we started with and the higher level of integration this has brought to the website and increased use of the blog by library staff.

Posted by cminor at 4:57 PM | TrackBack

April 5, 2005

My New Favorite Blog

Found on blogwithoutalibrary.com's list of blogging libraries.

The Northfield Mount Herman School Library Reading Room.

This high school library's blog has some great features including regularly updated lounge lizard of the week pics of students seen the library, as well as a whole range of other interesting categories such as Bookmark of the Month, Tip of the Week and New Films. Students can also leave comments which are featured in the sidebar.

What really sold me on this site though was the slide show Hoggers Visit the Library, which manages to be cute, funny and educational all at the same time. I know I've seen this concept before with different fuzzy creatures, I just can't remember where, how or what (except that it was sometime at library school).

Here are some sample pictures of hogs misbehavin' in the library to tweak your interest.



Posted by cminor at 1:26 AM | TrackBack

Something to try

Using Bloglines to subcribe to listservs

On blogdriverswaltz.com

Via blogwithoutalibrary.com

Posted by cminor at 12:14 AM | TrackBack