Thursday, October 30, 2008

Retronym Contest: What Do You Call a Non-Internet Librarian?

Last year, Information Today, the organizers of the Internet Librarian conference, held a contest to find a "retronym" for a non-Internet librarian. A retronym is the revision of a word or phrase necessitated due to technological advances. For example, acoustic guitars were just guitars until the electric guitar came along. Other examples of retronyms are rotary-dial telephone, snail mail, nonfat milk, and analog watch. Information Today's President and CEO Tom Hogan announced the winner of the contest this year as he presented the list of finalists in reverse David Letterman style.

10. Shelf pointer librarian
9. Analog librarian
8. Legacy librarian
7. Librarian unplugged
6. 3x5 librarian
5. Internot librarian
4. Retrobrarian
3. (Insert the name of your supervisor here) librarian
2. Wallenda librarian (flying high without the net)
1. Librarian 1.0 - the winning entry!

Photo credit:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Digital Marketing: Successful Plans and Organizations

Sarah Houghton-Jan, Digital Futures Manager, San Jose Public Library and
Aaron Schmidt, Director, North Plains Public Library, Oregon

The goal is to connect users with librarians. Libraries want and need to transform lives but this requires the establishment of relationships.

When serving people online, we’re serving everyone, even people who aren’t carrying one of our library cards. Serving all digital inquiries should be a cooperative arrangement between libraries like interlibrary loan service.

What Are You Marketing? Snake Oil or Substance?
Make your library website two-way. Can people register for cards? Share their opinion? Have an identity? People expect these possibilities today.

Be good! This is crucial. It’s imperative to have great content online. Develop a plan to get it, update it, and make it relevant to your community. It’s the number one thing you can do to get people to your website and engaged. Once that happens, they’ll return.

Free Is Nice!
Take advantage of library directory listings using LibDex, MapMuse, Libraries411,, and Libraries on the Web. Make sure the information on these sites is correct. Many offer links to your catalog.

Blog Search Engines
Feed Submitter submits your RSS feed to 15 sites at once. Good for posting your programming calendar. Consult Robin Good’s list of where to submit your blog and feed. RSS Specifications provides a list of where to submit your feed. Enter your feed URL and your email address and you’re done.

Blog Geo-Search Engines
List your library blog on geographic blog search engines such as Frapper, Feedmap, Blogwise, and gFeedMap. Sarah finds these get used a lot and brings people to her site.

Wikimapia is like Wikipedia but with a map. Add locations for your libraries and other community features of interest by drawing a box and adding a link. It's great to bring in visitors to the community.

Search Engine Findability
Search for variations and mispellings of your library’s name. Try minor non-Google search engines and metasearch engines, too. Buy AdWords from Google. (The words libraries need are inexpensive.).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is a professional service that will cost money but is well worth the expense. They will help you get noticed and give you a plan to keep their efforts updated. Get teaser information out in as many places as possible.

Wi-Fi Service
Get your library listed in Wififreespot, Wifihospotlist, Wifi411, Wifinder, Jiwire, and Wi-fi zone. These listings will get people to your website as well.

Community Website Presence,,; Eventful, and LibraryThing Local. The latter catalogs local collections. You can click on the Do You Work There? link and prove your relationship. They’ll let you update your library information regularly. Be sure you’re listed on Yelp! and other community ratings sites. You can use positive Yelp! quotes -- short and pithy -- on your marketing materials. If you get five 5-star Yelp reviews, you'll get a sticker to put on the front door.

What Are They Saying?
Searh link:yourlibraryURLhere in Google or Altavista to find sites that mention your library.

Social Review Websites
What are your customers saying about you? Be there, compliment good comments, and initiate conversations. Offer explanations and apologies for bad experiences. Use negative comments to plan changes in service.

Where Are People Looking for Phone Numbers?
For many, they're not consulting a printed phone book! They look online. Make sure you’re listed in AskCity, Yahoo! Local, Google Maps, and MSN. Tiy can add photos to your entry and harvest Yelp reviews and reviews from similar rating services. It can take a long time -- up to two months -- to get information corrected.

Make Your A/V Content Findable
Make sure your podcasts and videocasts are listed in YouTube, Google Video,, Blinkx, Singingfish, Yahoo Podcast,, and Podcast Alley.

Be Sociable
Create a profile for your library on social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, and Ning. People will friend you and form positive relationships with your library. Being in these spaces communicates to people in a way they understand and are comfortable with. You must have follow-through!

Aaron's plea: Please don’t use your building as your avatar image on these sites!

Iowa City Public Library has a lot of fans on Facebook. Yes, friends, reference transactions are taking place in public. Some is fun stuff, just talking back and forth.

Yep, it takes effort to keep interesting content on these sites. You get results if you make the commitment.

Find Local Blogs
Use Blogdigger Local, Metroblogging, Feedmap, and Blogs by City to establish a community and interact with it. Don’t intrude but be available. Don’t talk like a librarian! Don’t be heavy handed. Have authentic interactions. Don’t exhort everyone to “come to the library” on every post. You need to build your street cred.

Monitor blogs and forums and offer help and information.

Aaron featured Hennepin Public Library’s Bookspace, which offers one-stop shopping for avid readers. Readers are discussing their love of reading with each other. They can sign up for a newsletter. People can create book lists similar to the ones on Amazon. There is book club and audio book information. There are links to research books and authors. Featured lists, book events, new titles, etc. are included.

Aaron’s point: Readers are featured here instead of being faceless and nameless. This is a way to drive traffic to the site. Input is allowed from anybody anywhere.

List your staff as experts in free expert finding tools such as, Ziki, Illumio, Qunu, Yedda, FAQQLY, Otavo, Yahoo Answers, or Ask Meta. Since these sites offer payment for correct answers, it could be a revenue stream for the library.

Slam the Boards is held on the 10th of every month. Librarians jump on the sites listed in the paragraph above, answer questions, and then identify themselves and gently mention that this is what librarians provide as a free service.

Push the information on your site OUT!
Invest in newsletter software or use free Open Source software. You can get email addresses from your ILS if you have had the foresight to specify that the library can send promotional emails in the user agreement your cardholders sign when they apply for a card. Send updates periodically but don’t spam. Only send news out once a week or once a month, not every day. Offer a way for users to specify the frequency for these updates and to opt out.

Get an entry on Wikipedia. Promote free wifi, reference service, and programs. Some libraries attempting to do this have been contacted by Wikipedia monitors and asked to remove the promotional content.

Make sure you have a short URL that people can remember. Register variants of your URL including a variety of domains such as .com, .org, .net, etc.

Instant messaging should be a primary form of communication. It's free, easy and therefore has a huge rate of return. Choose a fun screen name and advertise it.

Text messaging: Cellphones and SMS continue to grow. Offer both circulation and reference information via SMS. Distribute hold announcements and overdue notices via SMS. There’s software for this.

Text a Librarian combines instant messaging and SMS into one web-based monitoring system that allows for queues. Can have 20 people monitoring one screen name. Can form text messaging and IM cooperatives with other libraries similar to the Ask a Librarian service.

Twitter - Use this microblogging service for short informational messages. Be clear about what you’re sending out -- book recommendations and program announcements, for example. Casa Grande Public Library is using Twitter very effectively.

Second Life: Aaron isn't a fan. He says it's a huge time sink. There are many more things you can do that offer more bang for the buck.

Be tech leaders in your community!

Contact information:
Aaron Schmidt
AIM address: xxagentcooperxx

Sarah Houghton-Jan

2.0 Learning and 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap

This session was presented Rudy Leon, who is the Learning Commons Librarian at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Colleen Harris, a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Myths about College Students
  • All students are skilled online searchers
  • They are at ease with new gadgets
  • They are always connected
  • Students are effective multi-taskers
  • They require constant stimulation
  • They must be entertained
  • They learn by doing
In reality, our generation is the one that doesn’t read the manual and is cyber-connected.

Myth Busting

Student do use the stuff, but in a dummy box way. They don’t understand the information environment. For example, they don’t know the difference between Google and the library. They don’t understand how Google works. They don’t have a mental map and don’t realize the tools they are using. We have to build the mental map for them.

Student don't have transferable skills. They can’t remember resources or apply research skills learned in previous classes.

The Digital Divide Is Alive and Well


Only 61.8% of U.S. homes have computers, while 99% of U.S. schools have computers. Newer schools have newer equipment and software while older schools have older machines and students are trained by drills.

  • 83% of those with a household income of $75,000+ have a computer at home.
  • 62% of households with an income of $25,000-35,000 own a computer.
  • 31% of households with an income under $15,000 own a computer.

Persistent Effects

In colleges, the expectation is that everything will be done online. Course syllabis, corrections to those syllabis, term papers, wikis, class work, etc. However, there is little training in the use of these technologies. “Welcome to Blackboard. Click on what you want.”

Statistics issued by the National Science Board indicate computer science BAs show racial issues. More Caucasians and Asians, fewer blacks and Hispanics.

Faculty Issues
  • What faculty know (or don’t) - Chicken burrito syndrome - focused on one type of research style, which is what they and their predecessors did
  • Belief about students: they’ll figure it out. Sink or swim! But students need context just like everyone else. We need to break professors of this belief. Get students away from using technology as equipment. They need to build their skill set.
  • Equipment - Teaching faculty to fish
  • Challenges - Faculty II
  • Faculty not highly trained in teaching, but they’re hostile to the implication.
  • Tech training is also Educational Tech training. Who does it? How do we discuss tech as teaching? How can we implement these technologies as educational technologies?
  • We can make a huge difference on campuses by sharing our skill and love of technology as a tool.
  • If we spend the time upfront, we won’t have to spend a ton later on working with students.
  • Getting Faculty on Board
  • Owning our own expertise - don’t think profs know everything. They’re experts about their subjects. We know about organizing and accessing information. We need to evangelize about this expertise.
  • Competitive processes for course development. Faculty seminars and workshops to improve their courses. An exemplary one is a 3-day session with lots of one-on-one time with librarians. Free lunches and a stipend are offered.
  • Getting out there to make connections. Embedded librarian programs with librarians as part of departments. Coffee works wonders. Make a personal connection. Let faculty see you as an intelligent person.
  • Faculty attend class instruction with their class. Single most useful tool ever! Ensures students show up and prof. is trained, too. Afterwards, when prof. is raving, say “I’ve got more!” Word of mouth starts working for you. Especially effective if you’re a good instructor.
  • Leveraging reaccreditation processes. Get on committees and inject yourself and technology and the library into future programs. Best way to force people to deal with it: It’s part of the university’s curriculum.

Campus IT
  • What they do - emergency hardware folks at some institutions.
  • Scarce resources - campus ref. libns. and liaison libns. take on some tech. roles
  • Kittens and beer - free software requires upkeep and hours to develop and to keep functional. Otherwise library tab in Blackboard will result in broken links.
  • Multiple models: Who trains? Why? Why librarians? Figure out model and where libns. fit in. We’re at a unique nexus of faculty, students, and technology.

Learning Spaces
  • Safe learning spaces - students can experiment and fail without consequences
  • How-to strategies for engaging students/faculty
  • Workshops aren’t intimidating when librarians conduct them for students. It's the professors who are intimidating.
  • Make equipment available - check out laptops, cameras, etc. for student work.
  • Actionable assignments such as creating a documentary, shooting and writing a photojournalism essay using the library's equipment.
  • Partnerships on campus: integrate yourself. Go out to lunch with support staff. Build bridges.

Moving Forward: Learning Spaces
  • Libraries are safe learning spaces.
  • Tech is fun and libraries are for learning.
  • Promote critical thinking and mental maps.
  • “Ripped from the headlines” night sponsored by the library. Ask professors to discuss news stories with students. Not a lecture opportunity. Invite media folks to discuss coverage. Learning is not tied to a discipline. Professors will like getting off the beaten path and having contact with their peers from other departments.
  • Movie night
  • Game night
  • Building the Bridge

  • Create a service to build student and faculty skills.
  • Realize that gadgets support learning.
  • We decide what must be; we’re the grown-ups. Students want Cliffs Notes, MTV and to buy their tests. They don’t always know what they need.
  • Space and structure for play are needed.
  • We need to exercise more skepticism about the assumptions we hear regarding student mastery of media.

Colleen S. Harris
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Rudy Leon
University of Illnois Urbana-Champaign

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips for Keeping Up

Steven M. Cohen, who is a senior law librarian at Law Library Management, Inc. and blogs at LibraryStuff, stepped in to pinch hit for Gary Price, who is recovering from surgery. Steven is IL's version of Woody Allen. He is quite articulate and rapid-fire funny.

Steven's advice: "Listen to your peeps" -- the people that you’re serving -- and promote yourself as an information professional. Steven works with lawyers and makes sure to conduct his own personal PR campaign daily. The attorneys he serves love his personal touch and he sometimes gets requests to compile a "Cohen book" when he's handed a research project.

Why keep up? To market yourself and make your employer happy that you’re there. It's job security! Having fans is very important. They provide an important PR function for you.

When does the reference interview end? When the person he’s working with says to stop. Until then, Steven sets up alerts and continuously feeds his attorneys more information as it becomes available. When people pay attention to your needs, you love it and so do the attorneys he serves.

How does Steven train attorneys to use RSS? He doesn’t. They’re too busy. That’s his job!

The Goal
Information should come to you via RSS and other updating services.

What to Monitor
New articles, press releases, and changes to web pages. Steven has set up 200 Google alerts. When he receives an update from these, he checks a research project database to see who needs to receive them.

What to Look For
  • Employee changes (hires and fires)
  • New products and development
  • Look beyond the initial question for additional information that might be relevant

A Tool to Get the Job Done
Google Reader -- Steven has 1500 RSS feeds that he quickly scans in about an hour and a half every evening. When he finds information that would be relevant for one of customers, he uses Google Reader's email link and types “Dear So and So, I just saw this information, which was published xx minutes ago. [He says including the currency is quite important. It reflects on your skill as a researcher and it makes the recipient believe s/he is in possession of cutting-edge information. He contends lawyers love that feeling.] I recall that you were interested in this topic.”

Cohen's allegedly trademarked quote: “It’s not rocket science -- it’s library science!” (Steven, if you can track me down I'll pay you for this use.)

Recommended Resources
  • WatchThatPage - a free service that monitors pages and extracts new information. Checks pages at an interval that you select -- hour, day, etc. Enter URLs to monitor. Can file in user-specified folders. Can monitor links on web pages.
  • WebSite-Watcher - This desktop-based software costs $30/license. It highlights URLs that have been changed.
  • Page2RSS - Here's a way to get an RSS feed for pages that have stable URLs and are on the open web. Creates a feed for pages that don’t offer one. “Free is as free does” Steven said because this service only has daily updates.
  • ReloadEvery is a Firefox add-on that reloads a web page automatically every minute. It's good for Outlook’s Webmail because you'll never be logged off for lack of activity. Good for getting Southwest Airlines check-in too. Could you use it for eBay?
  • FeedSidebar - Another Firefox add-on for Live Search bookmarks. Pops them up in a box on the left side of the screen. You can specify the frequency of updates.
  • Update Scanner - Yet another Firefox add-on that scans selected web pages for updates. You specify the frequency and level of change so you won't see minor changes such as updating today's date and correcting mispelled words. Changes are highlighted. Update Scanner provides faster notification than Google email alerts.
Steven's Favorite Web Tools

Please email me if you can't find these sites. I'm not providing links because of time and web access limitations.

  • Internet Archive
  • ScreenGrab
  • Cool Iris - Add to toolbar, works great in Lexis
  • BugMeNot
  • TinyURL
  • AwesomeHighlighter
  • Picnik - Photo editor
  • Invisible Auctions - Looks for mispellings commonly used on eBay. Use it to get good deals on items because no one else can find them. Example: Thomas the Tain gear for his son
  • PDF Escape
  • PDF Me Not
  • CiteBite - Copy and paste an item on a website and paste it and the page's URL into CiteBite. It will create a static web page with the information highlighted. Great to send to others because they can quickly see why you've sent it.
Contact information:

Presentation slides:

Search Engine Land: What’s Happening Out There?

Danny Sullivan, editor-in chief of Search Engine Land, presented today's keynote address.

Danny maintains "there ain’t no Google killer" on the horizon. A new search engine, Cuil, recently played the “biggest is better” card when it was released. Danny said that Google and Yahoo! had agreed to back away from this type of size claim, which is why you no longer see the number of websites in the Google universe listed on its search page. He compared a search for Sarah Palin using both Cuil and Google. It was easy to agree with Danny's contention that Cuil has serious relevancy issues.

Danny's contention is that Wikipedia by law has to be at the top of Google search results. Powerset, the Wikipedia search engine that Mary Ellen Bates included on her top list yesterday, has proved that natural language searching isn’t a natural killer. It’s overkill for what most people are doing these days. You don’t need a lot of syntactical analysis for this type of search: hot photos Sarah Palin. Most search engines are matching patterns and have no understanding of concepts.

Microsoft has fumbled with Yahoo! and, as a result, Google is more powerful than ever.

Pax Googlecana

Google has 60+% market share in the United States. It's higher in many other countries (in Germany, 90-95%) but hasn't taken over in China, South Korea, and Russia. Is it all over? Does Google now rule everything?

Google Killerettes

Google isn’t the top tool of choice in everything. Google has nothing to compete with the following:
  • Twitter - hyper real-time tool to see what’s being buzzed about. Danny recently experienced a minor earthquake at his home in Los Angeles and his first thought was "I should Twitter about this!"
  • Urbanspoon - You never need to wonder where to eat again. This iPhone app knows where you are and can randomly select a restaurant based on what type of food you want to eat. It works from a huge database of reviews from newspapers and users. Chowhound offers a similar service.
  • Eventful will tell you what’s going on, from music to community events and more. It's also offers another iPhone app that knows where you’re at. Upcoming, owned by Yahoo!, is similar.
  • Yelp offers local reviews of all types. You know it's a player when you can hire someone to make sure you have a good rating. Google Maps is trying to grow a community of reviewers but it’s not a real competitor.
  • Trulia and Zillow offer information about homes for sale, local real estate-related data, etc.
  • Travel sites such as Kayak (multisite) and Farecast, which is owned by Microsoft
  • Craigslist - Buy and sell related in your local area. Still a powerhouse compared to Google Base despite being very “web 1.0ish” in appearance. Why hasn't Craigslist mapped its search results?
  • Jobs: Indeed
  • People search: Pipl, Spock
  • News/discovery: Digg
  • Video: Blinkx and VideoSurf
  • Gas prices: GasBuddy
Killerette Challenges

It's difficult to remember all the ones that are out there. People will use a site once and when they don't remember it the second time around, they go back to Google.

Bigger Challengers: Yahoo!

Yahoo! continues to face uncertainty. They have been innovating with mobile applications, BOSS (Build your Own Search Service), and SearchMonkey, which offers a way for publishers to blend information of their own into their listings.

However, uncertainty leads to brain drain. The assumption is that Microsoft will eventually take over Yahoo!, which makes for more uncertainty. The user has to ask "Should I start using Yahoo tools and get comfy with them or will they be going away?"


Microsoft bailed out of non-consumer search services such as Google Book Search.

Microsoft has always focused on ads first and search second. Compare this approach to Google, which built a search engine first and then figured out how to make money from it. The soul comes through online.

Microsoft has major branding problems. SearchPerks is its latest in giveaway attempts and they're dangling the carrot getting a free XBox controller after searching for four and a half months. It’s just good marketing since they don’t have word of mouth.

Microsoft has some good stuff, but will people notice? Will it grow?

Google’s Master Plan?

There is some planning, of course. They've been working on Chrome (a new browser), Google Checkout, and Google Shopping. But much comes naturally, through a “hive mind” mentality.
Expect perhaps more focus as economics get harder — and there will be many more ads everywhere, even places such as image search and maps where they traditionally have not placed them!


Google Video now continues to host videos but can't really compete with YouTube. It's become more of a video meta search service.

Universal search mixing continues.

Google Trends continues to grow, providing data about web site traffic.

Community editing on maps grows, but has spam problems.

Google does blog search clustering.

Search 4.0: Personalized and Social Search

Google reshapes your search results based on what you do or visit. Results are reordered based on your personal preferences. Pages move up, down, in or out of the top ten. You need to have Google’s web history service enabled for this.

And Now, Search Customization

Google is tailoring results based on geographic location, previous query, and web history. Some of this has happened before, but searchers are now being told and Google is likely ramping up for more.


Google will continue to dominate the search space. There's no margin for people who want to start up to compete with Google. There's a degree of vaporware or a “Googleware” chilling effect for those who try. However, mobile and vertical (industry-specific) applications do offer new opportunities.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Super Searcher Shares: Search Tips Spectacular!

Mary Ellen Bates never fails to expand my web toolbox. She whittled down her customary 30 search tips to 20 this year so she could spend more time exploring them with us. Since one site apparently has disappeared into limbo, make that 19!
  1. Google Translated Search - Why let your monolingualism restrict your web searching? Enter your search terms, then select your language and the language of the pages you wish to search. Google seamlessly translates your search terms into the target language, runs the search, and then retrieves and translates the results into your native language. Wow!
  2. Ever tried using Google's date restrictor to get current results only to find your results littered with sites with older dates? Google News Archive Search is new and improved. You can limit your results in a number of ways including those published within the last hour, day, or week.
  3. Google Trends offers a way to graph the news. It charts the frequency of the word searched and also its frequency in the news. A search volume graph is presented along with a news reference volume graph. The cities where searchers live, calculated using IP addresses, is shown. You can track when the interest in a topic peaked.
  4. Yahoo! Search Assist - Have you ever noticed a small downfacing tab on the upper left side of your Yahoo! search results? Click on it to view suggestions for related or complementary terms to expand or narrow your search.
  5. Yahoo!’s brackets are easy peasy. Just enclose two words in brackets [like this]. This signals Yahoo! to retrieve the words in that order but not necessarily next to each other. The first word you enter will precede the second word, which can be located anywhere on the page. Example: [subprime crisis] retrieves "subprime mortgage crisis," "subprime lending crisis," "subprime mortgage industry," etc.
  6. Yahoo! Glue is from Yahoo!'s India bureau. It offers a veritable cafeteria line of blended search results that are not displayed linearly. Handles different types of information well. Click on the Glue Page tab in your search results. You'll find Related Pages links along the top. A snippet from Wikipedia will be offered. Quick facts are listed below Wikipedia snap, which can lead you to more information and ways to search your topic. Google Blog search results are included. Your actual boring search results list appears on the left side while images are displayed on the right side. Try searching "United Nations," which was Mary Ellen's example.
  7.’s product reviews are wonderful! Run a search for a specific brand and Live will compiles reviews from other sources. Great for shopping because user reviews of product features are compiled and graphically portrayed. For example, searching for a digital camera shows recommended models for features, size, ease of use, photo quality, screen, affordability, portability, etc. The criteria displayed changes by the type of product searched. Once again -- here's the theme of Mary Ellen's presentation this year -- here's a search service that tries to aggregate results and make sense of them.
  8. State your preferences in LiveSearch. Sample search: “hybrid cars” prefer:convertible. Doesn’t drop searches that lack the preferred word but the results that include the preferred word do display at the top. Related searches also are suggested.
  9. Searchme has an amazing user interface that detects the different meanings of your search term. Example: Icons appear under the search box when you pause after typing sun. Is your interest astronomy, software, etc.? Click on an area for focused search results. Mary Ellen didn't mention this feature, but you can create Searchme stacks. Here's a link to the demo video. It lets you group sites you select and then scroll through them using an interface reminiscent of iTunes Cover Flow. You can email SearchMe stacks, which could be great for answering reference questions!
  10. Powerset is another sense-making search engine that at this point only works with Wikipedia. It's good for extracting information about your terms from all of the Wikipedia articles that contain it. Check out its Factz feature by searching plutonium. You'll see your search noun combined with verbs and facts: plutonium forms, plutonium contains, and plutonium makes and about fifty other pairings are presented to communicate key ideas and shows you ways to expand or narrow your search. Powerset recently was purchased by Microsoft, which leads Mary Ellen to expect that it will be expanded to include beyond Wikipedia searching to include the rest of the web.
  11. searchCrystal offers a way to "search and compare multiple engines in one place.
    It is a search visualization tool that enables you to compare, remix and share results from the best web, image, video, blog, tagging, news engines, Flickr images or RSS feeds." It's a type of metasearch engine that attempts to group results by looking for key phrases and words. You can navigate the content from a lot of different sources. Mary Ellen believes its ability to distill information is an automatic version of what we do when we skim results.
  12. Carrot2 provides clustering on demand and, unlike Clusty, offers you a choice of sorting algorithms. For example, enter aviation safety in the search box and click on the Show options link. The maximum number of results on most clustering sites is 100 but you can get up to 400 search results. Show option on right side of search box. Can get up to 400 search results. Don't like the results? Choose another clustering algorithm from the pulldown menu. Don't worry -- the names of these puppies aren't going to ring any bells.
  13. Silobreaker, which boasts "insight as a service" helps you visualize the news by aggregating it in a number of ways. See relationships between people and emerging industry trends. Identify unexpected relationships. It offers a trends search, network search, hot spots (where news is happening) search, 360-degree search as well as looking at the latest blog postings. It compiles updated fact sheets. You also can filter results to limit them to specific types of news such as environmental news.
  14. You've seen those tag clouds that indicate how many results each word has by its size. If not, look at this one at Flickr. SearchCloud gives you a comparable way to weight your search terms! Enter search terms one at a time and select the text size that indicates the importance of the term. The larger the text size you select, the more heavily weighted the word will be in your search results. Mary Ellen's example: solar nanotechnology in large text and green renewable in smaller text. You can even select a "cut to the chase" grid view of your search results that include srelevancy rankings.
  15. Loki is a toolbar you download to work in your browser. Mary Ellen does a lot of travelling and sometimes she wakes up uncertain which city she's in! With Loki, she can ascertain her location and, most importantly, quickly find the location of the closest Starbucks without needing to know the address of the hotel where she's staying. Loki works with your computer's IP address or nearby wi-fi signals to map where you are now.
  16. Serph is a Web 2.0 metasearch engine for blogs, social media sites, social news, and social bookmarking sites. Downside: It caps out at under 300 results. Results include Bloglines, Technorati, YouTube, etc. It's a way of finding where to search, which -- as previously mentioned -- is the theme of this presentation.
  17. Twing mines discussion forums and online communities. It can be an effective way to locate an obscure expert. It works best when you’re looking for something very focused. Example: 800 mhz interference. Mary Ellen claims only 40 people care passionately about this topic and Twing helped her find an expert when she was researching it for a client.
  18. Get the conference buzz when you have to stay at home by searching Technorati with the conference's blog tab. (IL2008, for example.) Bloggers sometimes transcribe conference slide shows so you can get a sense of a conference's key themes and ideas. This is also a way to catch live blogging during presentations. (I suppose this strategy will work at conferences that offer web access!)
  19. Spokeo collects postings from lots of social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Amazon Wish List, Blogs45, Flickr, YouTube, and even includes some web content. You can search by a person’s email address. Verdict: Creepyo -- but it might be an effective way to convince teens to be judicious about postings that might catch up with them later. Spokeo's home page has a yellow banner that reads: "HR Recruiters: Click Here Now."

Quotes du Jour

I collect thought provoking, inspirational, and/or humorous quotes about teaching, learning, technology, books, and libraries. Here's today's haul:

“Don’t keep up with the technologies. Keep up with the literacies!” - Howard Rheingold

"It's not rocket science. It's library science!" - Steven M. Cohen

"I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book." - Groucho Marx

"We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn." - Peter Drucker

"In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim." - Linton Weeks

The last three quotes were collected on bookmarks distributed at the Scholarly Publishers' Collaborative Network booth.

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Smart Mobs and Smart Classrooms

Howard Rheingold appears to cherish individuality -- and color. The lid of his MacBook Pro is slathered with stickers. He was sporting a bright green and purple shirt today. He paints -- yes, paints -- his shoes, which today quite logically had canvas tops.

Rheingold teaches at Stanford and Berkeley and is the author of Social Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, which traces the use of technology to communicate and coordinate human activities. When he noticed Finnish teens sharing smiles and quick looks at a cell phone that belonged to one of them, he asked an adult that had been visiting with the teens about it. The man replied, "Kids today flock like birds." Rheingold traced the development and history of social behavior and communication, which he maintains began when non-related people started hunting together in prehistoric times. He offered several inspirational examples of how people around the world have collaborated for good using the web as a medium.

Most interesting to me was Rheingold's brief description of his brand-new project, the Howard Rheingold Social Media Classroom Notebook. He mentioned a site, Socialtext, which provides information and directions for using different social media, including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting, video blogging, chat, digital storytelling, RSS, and mashups, in the classroom to promote "participatory media literacy."

Click here to listen to the podcast of this morning's keynote presentation.

I also located this video Rheingold created to introduce his Social Media Classroom project.

Welcome to Internet Librarian! Did You Expect Web Access, Too?

Once again we're fighting a lack of web access at Internet Librarian. I can't connect in the San Marco Ballroom in the Marriott -- the very hotel I'm paying $9.95/day for Internet access in my room.

It was announced before the keynote this morning that every meeting room at the conference -- with the exception of the Ballroom -- had wireless access. So far I've only connected once!

The $10/day connection in my hotel room failed when I raced in to upload the keynote recording during our lunch period today. I phoned iBahn, the company that supports the service for the hotel. I hung up without web access. In a few minutes, there was a knock on the door and a fellow handed me a new Ethernet cable. He couldn't leave fast enough! No offer to come in and see if it worked. By then, however, I'd fiddled around and restarted my computer and was online. But there was only enough time to quickly scan my email before the next session started.

I'll attempt to post this. Blogger keeps informing me that the web is down and saving and publishing might not be successful. 

More later tonight after the conference -- maybe!

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