MARC Madness: Round 2 over! Bring on the Sweet Sixteen!

Round 2 (194 votes total)

Acronym Division

MARC 98 – OPAC 96
LoC 108 – AACR2 86
MLIS 98 – Z39.50
ILL 140 – LSW 54

Lexicon Division

festschrift 101 – tattletape 93
digitize 116 – scholarly communication 78
authentication 179 – isi 15
nesting 101 – fuzzy set 93

Lingo DivisionMARC

authority control 151 – microformats 43
link resolver 112 – collocation 82
cutter number 112 – copy cataloging 82
metadata 152 – scope note 42

Buzzword Division

transliteracy 99 – bibliometrics 95
user experience 103 – Googlization 91
information literacy 120 – Library 2.0
digital native 99 – patron driven acquisitions 95

Dominant terms: metadata, authentication

Check out the number of close matches all over the place!

I think there are some favorites emerging. I’m envisioning a Final Four, but not sure about all of them quite yet!

The brackets are updated! The new round begins… NOW!


What will be the Elite 8 of library terms? Voting ends Saturday!

State of the Blog: 2 Years and Going

I wanted to make a quick note of my second anniversary blogging.

I finally got to meet Blake Carver last week at the Computers in Libraries conference. It’s been a long time coming but I credit him with giving me my first big break by bumping one of my blog posts to the front page of LISNews. That encouragement has set me down the writing path that I have taken in these last two years. I really can’t thank him enough for that. (I will plug his business, LISHost, for those considering starting their own websites.)

I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring.

I’d like to thank everyone who subscribes for their support, those who take the time to comment for making this blog better, and everyone who finds their way here. I love writing in this blog and I’m happy that there are people who enjoy reading it.

(Man, I should do this for a living or something, right?)

Once again, thanks for your time and support.

CIL 2011 Reflections

Earlier this week, I had the chance to attend two days of the Computer in Libraries conference down in Washington D.C. I could see why some of my librarian friends really like the conference: it’s big but not too big; there is always at least one topic at any given time that is appealing; and that it attracts some of the well known librarian thinkers and innovators to attend and/or present. Overall, it was a great experience to hear some new ideas and perspectives, to meet people that I only conversed with online, and do a bit of networking. I left feeling professionally rejuvenated. 

The site of the conference was the Washington Hilton, sprawling complex of a hotel that felt like you needed a passport to go from one wing to another. It’s claim to fame is that it is where the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan occurred; the 30th anniversary of which will be on 30th of this month. While the entrance where the shooting happened has been redone, you can still see the resemblance of certain details when you look at the pictures from that day. It’s also the location of the annual White House Correspondents dinner. From the same stage that Presidents and comedians tell their sanitized humor, each day’s keynote and one track’s worth of presentations filled the ballroom.

In the end, I left the conference with more questions than answers. I sat on the dark train car on the way back Tuesday night, pondering and organizing all the presentations and conversations of the three previous days. I don’t think that having more questions after a conference is a bad thing. I think you should go into a conference with questions, get them answered (or something like it), and then leave with more curiosities than you started with. 

One such set of sessions that set my neurons into motion was from Internet @ Schools on Monday morning. In talking about the issues around eBooks in the school setting, one presenter said something that really caught my attention. “Perhaps schools are not yet ready for eBooks”, I remember her saying (I wish I could remember who said it). I thought this was a bold statement as the push has been to work on getting eBook integration into the classroom. Her reasoning is that eBook licensing and devices have not arrived at a point that make both fiscal and logistical sense. I can understand what she means in the fiscal sense; the devices are still mainly proprietary and highly transitional. The next generation is but a few months away, not exactly something a school budget planner needs to hear. As to the logistics, the restrictions on books in terms of licensing and DRM does create additional barriers to eBook and eReader collections. Add in the varied needs of the student body from age range to reading ability and it makes for an incredible amount of effort going into a collection in which there are limits to material control and device compatibility. On top of that giant mess is the end user who needs something that can be easy to understand or present an easy learning curve.

This is not withstanding the efforts of Buffy Hamilton and her work with using Kindles with her high school. Buffy is doing important and pioneering work in integrating the eReaders into the lives of her students and the faculty. I do not know of any other cases of experimentation at this kind of level; to be honest, I wish there was more projects like this to give a better data picture. And while I would characterize Buffy’s project as a rousing success for both her school and her library, it comes down to a question as to whether that success can be replicated in other venues. Under a different funding structure under a different set of state laws, could that success be duplicated? I’ll bring back around to the original question posited: are schools ready for eBooks? What are the remaining barriers (if any) for their integration into the school collection?

The other neuron agitation came the next day listening to Stephen Abrams talking about eBook models & challenges. This was my first time hearing Stephen speak at a conference in person; I had been told it was something not to be missed. I was not disappointed. (Check out Sarah Houghton-Jan’s notes on the whole speech.)

As an aside, I like to imagine that I can step back and look at the big picture when it comes to library topics. That, in tackling and turning over the issues in my mind, I have a figurative ten foot step ladder I climb to give a little perspective on the pros and cons, what sounds right and what doesn’t, and to try and put things into context. In giving his talk, I realized that Stephen’s figurative ladder is one of those ladder fire trucks that reaches up to the fifth story of buildings. His vantage point is much higher; thus he can see much further. (I can also imagine him calling down to me and saying, “What an adorable starter ladder, Andy!” in his Canadian accent, smiling and waving.)

The thing that really stuck with me from his talk is in regard to the eBook endgame. Namely, what is it? It is not a matter of current formats and devices, but how information intersects with the learning style of the person. That we as librarians can argue about how many checkouts an eBook can have, the proprietary nature of devices, and the ramifications of a licensed collection but the greater issue is how our end users take in information. In addressing the different types of learners, the answer moves from simple text to embedded video to interactive experiences. It’s not simply a matter of text on a device, but the context in which that text or other multimedia is presented.

In leaving that session, I began to wonder. Can we imagine what our collections will look like in twenty years? Ten? Even five? Will the Kindle or HarperCollins or DRM matter? Over time, will the market (meaning consumers) move away from locked down devices, away from licensing content, and from all but the lightest of file security measures? Based on how the music market changed, I would say yes. So how do we meet them at that end? What is our role in getting there?

In bringing out these two points, this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other presentations (although some were certainly better than others). The conversations I had with people I knew from their Twitter or blogs or Facebook were pretty awesome as well as the new people I met at the conference itself. It reinforces that social aspect that I think works to make for a better library community as whole; we just don’t get enough face to face time that builds stronger social bonds. It’s a shame, really, because this would be a good time for such kinds of meetings. Perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical in regards to online interactions and their new role in people’s social lives, but I digress.

I hope that my fellow conference attendees left with their own questions. I’m keeping my eye out for their tweets and posts. And I certainly look forward to seeing everyone again at another conference, hopefully before CIL 2012.

MARC Madness: Round 1 Results! Round 2 Starts!

Round 1 (314 votes total)

Acronym Division

OPAC 171 – ALA 143
MARC 178 – FRBR 136
LoC 277 – TF/IDF 37
AACR2 252 – ETDs 62
MLIS 202 – RDA 112
Z39.50 213 – SuDoc 101
ILL 171 – LCSH 143
LSW 208 – MRF 106

Lexicon Division

festschrift 162 – verso 152*
tattletape 204 – impact factor 110
digitize 202 – desiderata 112
scholarly communication 193 – current awareness 121
authentication 290 – incent 24
isi 168 – Hinman Collator 146
nesting 158 – jobber 156
fuzzy set 171 – buckram 143

* I managed to misspell both, so they were equally handicapped.

Lingo Division

authority control 270 – H-index 44
microformats 188 – limited retention 126
link resolver 166 – data curation 148
collocation 165 – shelf ready 149
copy cataloging 192 – govdocs 122
cutter number 221 – known article 93
scope note 220 – offprint 94
metadata 267 – tracings 47

Buzzword Division

transliteracy 189 – relevancy rankings 125
bibliometrics 206 – discovery layer 108
Googlization 179 – faceted navigation 135
user experience 245 – open inquiry 69
Library 2.0 187 – bibliographic instruction 127
information literacy 193 – Libraryland 121
patron driven acquisitions 195 – paradigm shift 119
digital native 181 – cybrarian 133

Biggest blowout: authentication vs. incent (290-24)

Closest game: nesting vs. jobber (158-156)

Here is the updated brackets with the updated matchups:

Yes, embiggen is a word.

Click on the graphic to embiggen.

Onwards to Round 2! Voting ends Wednesday night!


Matchups to watch:

LoC vs. AACR2 (both got over 250 votes each in the first round!)

copy cataloging vs. cutter number (vicious cataloging knife fight!)

SunSpec: The Lending Culture

For the last couple of days, that Time article on the emergence of the sharing culture has really stuck with me. It settles on a single question: are librarians missing opportunities to create other lending or sharing networks in their respective communities?

As material budgets tend to take a hit during budget downturns, an alternative to attempting to reflect every single community interest in the collection could be to encourage patrons to share their own types of collections. In helping community members establish their own sharing groups, it would take collection development pressure off the library to collect materials that invoke stakeholder controversy and/or become hard to justify in relation to the core mission of education, literacy, and information. Video games comes to mind, as much as it will chagrin my 8bit library friends, as well as gardening tools and baking pans. It turns the question of “how do I expand my library’s collection?” to “how many collections exist already in my community that can be utilized?”

I think in helping our communities create their own lending and sharing groups and cooperatives that it provides a different sort of outreach that benefits the library. Rather than take on all of the responsibilities and duties of a full lending collection, the library acts as a consultant and mentor to community members to form their own viable lending/circulating collections. It takes the sharing and lending values of the library and puts them into the hands of the people that we serve. I believe that by instilling those qualities into these kinds of lending entities that the overall mission of the library is furthered as well as creating advocates for the ethics that librarians seek to further.

If we truly believe that the philosophy of the library goes beyond our walls, then it behooves us to work towards additional lending and sharing models in our respective communities. In doing so, we put our principles and practice above our own limitations and create a greater lending and sharing culture. I believe it will work towards furthering our own viability in the future since it sinks the roots of the library deeper and further into the lives of our service areas.

What do you think?

The Almighty Antithesis to Narcissism


Inspired by Wil Wheaton’s tweet, I set up this wiki.

The short version is that it is a call to action for people to donate the cost equivalent of a Charlie Sheen ticket to charity. There is a short list of possible places to donate, but as I note in the wiki, it is not an exhaustive list. The important thing is to donate.

I encourage people to share the wiki with others and spread the word.

Let’s make a difference.

MARC Madness: Round 1

click to embiggen

Click HERE for Round 1 voting!

The voting for Round 1 of MARC Madness: The Tournament of Library Terminology has begun! It will run from now through Sunday night. Winners and the next round of voting will start Monday night. Vote early, vote often, and get your friends to vote as well for your favorite library terms!

Game on!

Open Thread Thursday: Conferences

Earlier this week, I spent several lovely days in Washington DC at the Computers in Libraries 2011 conference. I have a conference reflections post still marinating in my head as I process everything that I saw and heard, but I thought it would be an excellent starter topic for this week’s open thread.

What makes for a good conference? What makes for a bad one? Share a story of either if you have one.

Or drop a comment about something you want to talk about that went on this week.

A reminder that you can make anonymous comments, just don’t be a dick.

Pricing & Lending & Borrowing, Oh My!

I usually tweet these kinds of articles that arrived on my virtual doorstep today, but I really wanted to highlight some things from the three articles that got me thinking today.

First, this one on eBook pricing from Teleread:

Sattersten points out that the main issue at hand is consumer perception of value. Consumers see that everything else digital is cheaper than the physical equivalent, and think e-books vs. books should be the same way. He brings up the example of a print book that’s cheaper than an e-book, explaining “That creates a short circuit in customers’ brains. You don’t pay more for things that are more convenient. You pay less.”

The article points to the importance of another calculation that is going on in the electronic content market equation: that of the consumer. The consumer will make their own evalution to what is worth the asked price and what is not. In the past, when a consumer thought something was overpriced, they would go without or, in the less common alternative, steal it. The bar for pirating digital content is much lower compared to stealing physical content; it’s a few keystrokes and mouse clicks compared to stuffing a CD or book into your clothing. This is not to say that all consumers make the choice to pirate, but when they see something they feel is overpriced, they will look for other ways to get it. The idea is to make the price and effort of getting it legitimately much lower than the same steps to pirating it.

Second, this lovely article on e-lending from Slate:

These restrictions are misguided. They’re bad for readers, they’re bad for authors, they’re bad for e-book stores, and they may even be bad for publishers. Of course, the ways in which our rights get chipped away as we move away from analog content is a constant worry in the digital age. I’m not the first pundit to note how terrible it is that we can no longer share, resell, or modify the books, movies, and video games that we get over the Internet. But the sharing restrictions that publishers have placed on e-books strike me as particularly stringent, a rule that underlines how we’ll mourn physical media when it goes away. Under Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s sharing model, you’re allowed to loan out a book just once, for two weeks, and while it’s loaned out, you don’t have access to it. The fact that publishers can’t stomach even this milquetoast model should have us scared for a future in which physical media loses its primacy. (Emphasis mine)

The paragraph below the one quoted has a nice set of links to studies about the secondary market for goods. (Although he duly notes that eBook reselling might not be a terribly viable option to which I currently begrudgingly agree.) But it raises a good point: like Cory Doctorow saying that durability is a feature not a bug, the ability to easily lend material to another is an enhancement, not a net loss. These lending possibilities within friend and family groups that do not share physical proximity creates more audiences for eBooks to reach. Whereas the physical book would have to wait for the next time the family or friends group got together, the eBook does not suffer such limitations. While some may argue that unlimited eBook lending would preclude others from buying the book, I would argue that the current limitations do nothing to expand audience or author market share and other things that generate revenue.

Last, this awesome little article on the emergence of a sharing culture from Time:

[T]he ownership society was rotting from the inside out. Its demise began with Napster. The digitalization of music and the ability to share it made owning CDs superfluous. Then Napsterization spread to nearly all other media, and by 2008 the financial architecture that had been built to support all that ownership — the subprime mortgages and the credit-default swaps — had collapsed on top of us. Ownership hadn’t made the U.S. vital; it had just about ruined the country.

While the common rationale offered for the increase in library usage is the economic recession, I’m wondering if the emergence of people who are happy to borrow over buying is another factor. If so, it represents a possible longer trend to which libraries are perfectly suited for capitalizing on. (Whether and how they would be able to capitalize on it is another matter.)

Although, as I think on the implications of a greater lending oriented society, the role of the library may not be as the entity doing the actual lending but to help others set up such borrowing arrangements. I imagine it as a community based niche ‘collection’ that the library can refer people to while providing management consultation. Personally, I don’t see a problem to encouraging other borrowing arrangements in the community; if someone does see a problem, please point it out to me.

Share your thoughts on what you think about one or all of these articles. There’s a lot of food for thought here!

CIL bound

For the next couple of days, I’ll be in Washington DC crashing the 2011 Computers In Libraries conference. I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile since I get to see a lot of the librarians who I know through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
Right now I’m on a train heading south, the rising sun shining through the Amtrak Quiet Car like a blinding headlight. When I can look out the window, it’s a reminder as to all the sections of Philadelphia has. Rich, poor, middle class, industrial parks, abandoned lots, playgrounds and parks come and go as the train lurches forward across the landscape.
I’m writing this on my iPad which I’ve never posted from before; so, any errors will be blamed on it. You can follow me at CIL on Twitter through the link in the right sidebar.
Alright, time to watch the world go by.