Christina's LIS Rant
Thursday, June 30, 2005
  Small turn out for my presentation Wednesday

There are a couple of very bad pictures of me talking on flickr -- I guess there wasn't enough light. I actually had more controls on the podium than you normally see in the cockpit of an airplane. I even had the ability to raise and lower the podium, but I didn't mess with the house lights. I'll update this when the video is available. My handout and slides are online (warning: *huge* files).

My talk itself was pretty smooth. I wish I had emerged from behind the podium a little more but I had to be able to point at the slides and see the slides.
Update: I finally gave up on trying to edit the file -- it's dark and in *ugh* real media format -- and just posted the video on OurMedia. It's got a creative commons license so anyone who wants to fix it is more than welcome.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
  RSS everywhere courtesy of Microsoft?
I blogged in May about Longhorn and XML. In Dale's lecture Tuesday there were at least two newsletter writers/web site content managers who had been informed by their users that they needed to provide RSS (yay, go users!) and didn't really know how to go about it.

At this point I was glad I wasn't the speaker -- because I don't really know how to answer that yet short of using a blog to generate a feed automatically. The scraper I tried once didn't work well at all and like most users, I wouldn't really think about trying to manually make my own. (there are a couple of books on it but who's got the time?)

I asked Dale if he'd heard anything about the new Longhorn being XML based and if it would have anything in it that would allow users to create feeds from Words like we can currently create other web documents....

Turns out I was just a few days ahead of my time. MS is apparently bigtime into RSS now with the new versions. The best way to learn about what they plan to do is to watch the hour-long video on Channel 9. I have some notes below but the post gives you time marks to forward to if you only want to see one part of the video.

Channel 9 post.

Hour long video.

Some features they talked about on the video:
More on the IE blog about the announcement.

tags: , , ,
Friday, June 24, 2005
  The coolest book ever....
So doing pure library work today, shifting *tons* of reference books (literally the whole lot from Z#### to QC so far) and I ran across the coolest book ever. Asking me to shift science reference books is kind of like sending a kid to his room with his PS2 as punishment. Anyway, it's a great way to learn the collection...

Here's the book:
Local LC call number: TP151 .C53
Title: The Chemical formulary.
Publication info: New York [etc.] Chemical Publishing Company.
Physical description: v. 23 cm.
Volume/date range: v. 1- 1933-
General note: "Collection of commercial formulas for making thousands of products in many fields."
Indexes: Vols. 1-6, 1933-43. 1 v.; Vols. 1-10, 1933-57. 1 v.; Vols. 1-15, 1 v.
General note: Editor: v.1- H. Bennett.
Subject: Chemistry, Technical--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions.
Personal author: Bennett, H. (Harry), 1895-

This little series of books has recipes for everything from pyrotechnics to handcream! How 'bout re-creating the army ration vegetable soup? It's in there.... Perfume... Asbestos insulation... Yellow smoke... If you can only get the ingredients.

Now I just need a reference question where they ask me how to make moustache pomade...
Thursday, June 23, 2005
  Online: Blog Searching for Competitive Intelligence, Brand Image, and Reputation Management
Pikas, Christina K., "Blog Searching for Competitive Intelligence, Brand Image, and Reputation Management. (Cover Story)." Online 29, 4 (2005) 16-21.

Available full text online to subscribers to Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, etc. OR Why don't you go to a newstand and pick up one right now :)

Two little corrections: on page 20, the Google search string is
"product name" (inurl:yyyy/mm1...mm2 OR inurl:yymm...yymm OR inurl:archive)

The ellipsis range operator didn't make it through the printing...

Also there's only one C in the my work e-mail address :)

I'm thrilled with how the article looks and that it's on the cover of this fabulous magazine.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
  the information auditor: Notes from SLA2005
Pointed to by JV (because the original author's posts are not tagged with SLA2005 and therefore weren't showing up in technorati collections!)

I highly recommend reading Duane McCollum's notes if you missed any/all of the opening sessions (or his presented paper). He has well-though-out notes (as opposed to my stream of consciousness) for Tapscott, Buxton, Hamel, and his paper.

Updated: there were two possible meanings for "his" so the reference wasn't clear. JV did not attend SLA and saw the post as something interesting to his field; therefore, an sla tag would not have been appropriate for him. The original author used the category/tag "day one june 6th" which won't really make the post findable to other SLA bloggers (maybe that was the intention?)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
  MIT Weblog Survey
Pointed to on beSpacific. Cameron Marlow is the PI for this study. He's written some neat stuff on information diffusion and the way blogs work. I got a very quick chance to meet him at ASIST last year. Anyway, this is for his dissertation, so if you have a chance you might want to participate. It's more scientific than the traditional surveymonkey what with a human subjects review, etc., but that shouldn't be too surprising for those of you who are familiar with social sciences research.

Update 6/30: It just occurred to me that the PI might be using the survey as a meme to study information diffusion :) He only contacted A-listers directly, and now lots of us with >100 subscribers are responding... makes you go hmmm. At any rate, it's still going so you can participate if you haven't already.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
  Tagging or Wikifying WorldCat or the A&I Databases
Is it ok to say that I'm a little scared of tagging or wiki-fying the WorldCat or the engineering database? Please don't get me wrong, there are lots of wonderful things that could occur. Users could append notes to records on
Think about the wonderful value added by thoughtful, insightful researchers and students.

Ok, now my concern. Think about the vandals, the pranksters, undergrads who don't get it, etc., and their notes attached to the brand you've connected your library brand to. We push these resources and go on all day to anyone who will listen (and frequently to those who are forced to sit there even if they don't listen) about the wonderful library resources and the authoritative information. As GP pointed out in a recent presentation, frequently accessed items will take care of themselves -- people will clean up the mess. Infrequently accessed items may stagnate with inappropriate, inaccurate, or gross information. It's completely unreasonable to assign local library database admins or electronic resource specialists to monitor this kind of thing. They are so overworked as it is.

So what's the answer? How can we get all the wonderful input (and allow intellectual freedom) and not allow vandals to ruin the brands? Require library card authentication before making a comment? Can't really do that. What if you want to say that your professor's book is a piece of junk (before your grade is turned in)? Ideas anyone?

Monday, June 13, 2005
  Missing people at f2f conferences...
I just came back from a pretty big conference. Last year I almost completely missed meeting two of my favorite bloggers f2f because I didn't know what they looked like and we hadn't set up any meetings. Luckily, SLA has that message board. This year I pretty much dragged two of my favorite bloggers together because they kept missing each other. (I was able to find another favorite blogger because he's in meetings with me). One thing SLA didn't have, however, is ubiquitous wireless. Even if there is wireless, how do you know that the person you're sitting next to in the lobby writes the blog you love to read? It's nice to know someone's online persona but you sometimes need real meetings to touch base.

I'd heard of Plazes but I'm not sure that I really got it (not affiliated). Look what happened to Ton, Martin, and Peter. Would this have happened at SLA or maybe not since many of us didn't have the online access we needed. What would have happened if we had this turned on for CIL2005 in the lobby? Maybe you all going to IL2005 in Monterey should consider trying it.

Will I ever meet SP or RA in person?
update: Sorry Jill -- I wanted to meet you, too!

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Forgive me for forgetting with whom I was conversing -- at SLA we were chatting about color/dye chemistry. Today, serendipitiously, at the public library I ran across Garfield, Simon. Mauve : how one man invented a color that changed the world. New York : Norton, c2001. Apparently English chemist William Perkin was trying to find a cure for malaria when he invented mauve. The book goes a little far by saying that this single-handedly created the field of industrial chemistry, but fascinating none the less.

I was trying to remember another book, one about red. Here's the information for that book: Greenfield, Amy Butler. A perfect red : empire, espionage, and the quest for the color of desire. New York : HarperCollins, c2005.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
  VOA to Podcast!
(people who know me personally know my connection to VOA -- but I heard about this from S.C.)
Holy cow, look at all the RSS, too, and this is just what's there in English!
Monday, June 06, 2005
  Notes from SLA (1)
EI Compendex:
Friday, June 03, 2005
  A perfect pair of guest speakers: Nackerud and Kahle
The large, prestigious, private academic institution of higher learning with which my place of work is affiliated just had a meeting of all the professional library staff. This is the second such annual meeting. Last year the speaker was the head of education type stuff from Apple (interesting but pretty much unrelated to my interests, plus he seemed to want us to pull a Duke and buy everyone an iPod).

This year it was a different story. First we heard from Shane Nackerud who is the MT administrator, blogevangelist, librarian from UThink at the University of Minnesota. He gave some history and some statistics. An interesting statistic was that more grad students maintain blogs than undergrads (percentage-wise). I think this may support my whole blogs for personal knowledge management thing (hmmm, future study?). The most important thing I took away from his talk was the reason the MT installation is hosted by the library instead of office of academic computing or IT department. Note this quote from the UThink site:
...is intended to support teaching and learning, scholarly communication, and individual expression for the U of M community

Nackerud feels very strongly that the primary raison d'etre of libraries is to protect intellectual freedom (very ALA). In other words, other institutions have experimented with blogs by making them another tool available from OIT. This really misses a lot of the social-software and PIM/PKM/collaboration aspects of the animal. By hosting blogs from a library address AND making it easy to post citations directly from SFX (cool), they're really emphasizing the personal and the supporting-the-researcher aspects. Wow, a library and university encouraging students to do independent thinking, keep a research log, and share information. Sounds good, huh?

The other speaker was the famous Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive. There are a lot of dreamers and painters of broad, happy pictures involved in the open access, creative commons, and anti (the way it is going) copyright movements. Kahle borders on this, but then he brings it back and talks concretely about actual numbers, costs, investments required, etc. He actually puts his time and money where is mouth is. I use the internet archive frequently and I knew about the efforts to add more video and software. What I didn't know was the whole bookmobile thing. They drive around with satellite internet access, download entire books (pretty page scans, not the ascii text of gutenburg), and then print them and hand them to the local children/rural families, etc. It costs them about $1/book for black and white. He passed around some spiffy color children's books. Not bad. He says it's cheaper to print a book from the archive than to lend one from the library (purchase, cataloging, shelving, etc., costs included, I assume).

Anyway, got to finish packing for my 7am flight tomorrow...

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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