Friday, October 31, 2008
Happy Halloween ya’ll
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Haunted Libraries of the South
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Professional & Cont Ed Group online
The Professional & Continuing Education Interest Group (PACE) of GLA (the Georgia Library Association) chaired by Robin Fay & Beth Thornton have decided to do a free online community portal (a ning).
Even if you are not a member of the Interest Group or GLA, feel free to participate. We decided to give this a try to see if we pool the library, IT and/or web2.0 resources that come across our desks (training, webinars, links, blogs, library videos, tutorials, etc.) we'd have a good mix of stuff, as well as a place to find help, network & discuss issues relating to librarianship.
Oh, and you can subscribe to the site via your rss reader (google, bloglines, etc.)
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to drop me a line.-----
Monday, October 27, 2008
The vanishing cataloger
In the past few years, I've been noticing a trend amongst many of the smart, talented cataloging colleagues that I know — they are are leaving the Cataloging profession.
I think there are many factors at work, but I see a few trends:
- The shifted job: Their jobs have shifted even if their job descriptions or titles have not.
- The evolved job: Their jobs and official job descriptions have shifted from "Cataloger" to something involving bibliographic services, metadata, electronic resources, digital initiatives, etc. Their home department has also changed names and scope from traditional cataloging services, to encompass more digital projects, non-MARC metadata, and more.
- The transition job: Their new jobs are no longer centered on traditional cataloging (and in some cases are not in a library) . These librarians are leaving the cataloging profession to be reference librarians, systems librarians, school media librarians, web designers, information architects, technical writers, library science instructors, and more.
I do realize there are still lib sci students studying traditional cataloging, but I am not sure that they expect to find a job as a "Cataloger." I think many of them will be looking to digital libraries, IRs, a consortia, the web, and elsewhere.
Perhaps, this is the reason:
Our catalogers began to disappear with the takeover of that function by OCLC, the nonprofit that aspires to be a corporation in this brave new retail library world. The standardized result of the effort is bypassed by patron and librarian alike, as they turn to the more friendly Amazons, Googles, et al., for the less precise, more watered-down "metadata" that has replaced what used to be cataloging. Apparently, users don't miss the old catalog, except as a familiar artifact, which is testimony to how low this dumbing down has taken us.
In the new model, that most sacred of our professional duties, the selection of materials to build services and collections, is turned over to either small centralized teams of two or three librarians and clerks, or in extreme cases to an external vendor, usually a library book distributor.
from the LJ's Vanishing Librarian
There is alot of great stuff to be said for the Amazon/Google model, but if librarianship continues to move down that path, will we completely give up the expertise (and respect for that expertise) that is inherent in the profession? Will our services become superficial, mediocre, and generic? Is this part of the larger trend coming out of web2.0 technologies (every one is an expert, so no one is an expert?)
I don't have a good answer to any of those questions, but it does seem like librarianship (especially cataloging) is changing.-----
Friday, October 24, 2008
Virtual living — what can’t you do in second life?
When I have a bit of free time (as if - ha!), I've been wandering around second life. Honestly, I still don't get it. I've been to a couple of academic/IT related presentations, I've gone shopping (for free clothes), and I've been to a few museums/art galleries. I'm still trying to see how I could use this for learning or teaching. I see some of the potential (emergency services training, language classes/conversation, virtual meetings, museums, interactive multimedia art projects, etc.) , but I'm thinking the technology is still too new to be of greater use by the general population.
Why? Mostly the usability sucks.
- Navigation is not very easy — the navigation has gotten easier, but it still doesn't work very well with a traditional keyboard and mouse. I can't imagine trying to use it on a mobile device. I expect to be able to move my mouse and my avatar will follow — in as much as I can see, that doesn't happen. The mouse is more an extension of your hand, in that anything that you click on, interacts with you in whatever way that it can. Your avatar will not walk over to the object first.
- Directions / help are terrible, if available at all.
- Design is hard — Although I can find my "closet" aka in second life terminology, inventory, I haven't found an easy way to see what the clothes look like before I put them on. I've also found a couple of places where I can create/design artifacts via secondlife. End user / community generated content should be easier.
- Slow to load / high demand on computer resources — Even on a decent enough computer setup for multimedia/video (albeit, not a gaming computer), some "lands" (think: villages or cities) are very slow to load. I think my avatar is getting bored waiting for the graphics.
- Other users — well, there's another issue altogether. Given that I'm still learning my way around, I'm not spending a significant amount of time talking to others.
- The cost factor — It's a little bit hard to find the free stuff in SL. Searching for free stuff is the best way (or join a "freebies" group), but for the most part, there are quite a few people attempting to make REAL money in SL.
However, I did go skiing in SL a few days ago. Was it as satisfying as the real thing? Absolutely not, but then again — it wasn't cold, I didn't get knocked down by another skier, and probably more importantly, I didn't fall down, either!
(btw, this is NOT me)-----