Archive for April, 2008

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

The Algorithm, Doctorow, Fungus

“The Algorithm” made two assumptions about me, one very flattering and one not.

First, Facebook believes that I may “know” author and internet hero Cory Doctorow.

Perhaps Mr. Doctorow actually knows some people I “know” on Facebook (but don’t actually know). That’s possible. Or maybe it’s just flattering me.

Meanwhile, Google’s GMail algorithm thinks I have toenail fungus.

I can usually figure out why Google is serving me up an ad. Read an email from Abebooks and it serves up flights to Victoria, Canada, where they have their headquarters.

But I don’t know what confluence of keywords suggested this. Was it my wife telling me about Liam’s swim class? We all know pool dressing rooms are fungal paradises. Anyway, it has me worried. Google has some powerful technology. Maybe I have do have toenail fungus!

Oh, and check out the end of the ad, “Written by a well known auther.” Ouch.

Labels: Uncategorized

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Bhutan does the LibraryThing

Casey just added access to the National Library of Bhutan, the tiny and reclusive Himalayan nation. Bhutanese bibliophiles, come on in!

So, what record format do you think is employed by the National Library of Bhutan, a consecrated Buddhist temple housing a collection of mostly classical Tibetan manuscripts? Go ahead and think about it… It’s DanMARC2, the Danish variant of MARC21. What?!

Apparently the Danish Royal Library is deeply involved with its Bhutanese brother through a so-called Library Twinning Project. You learn something new every day.

Labels: bhutan, DanMARC

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Two LibraryThing podcasts

John Houser of PALINET interviewed me for the PALINET Podcast (iTunes). It ended up syndicated as two short podcasts. I think they’re some of the best short introductions to LibraryThing for librarians and of our project, LibraryThing for Libraries.

  • Part one. “In Part 1 of our conversation, we talked about LibraryThing generally and what you can do with it.”
  • Part two. “In Part 2 of our conversation, we talked about LibraryThing for Libraries, achieving a critical mass of tags, and improving discovery in the library catalog.”

PALINET’s podcasts are my newest discovery–that and Uncontrolled Vocabulary. Recent shows include The WorldCat API and an interview with Joshua Ferraro of LibLime.

Labels: librarything for libraries, palinet, podcasts

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Why I don’t work for a big organization

Tweet from a librarian I know:

“It amazes me that organizations skimp on the cheap stuff (disk space) and expect us to use our labor hours to tweeze through our inboxes.”

I remember this was true at Houghton Mifflin, the Boston publisher where I worked. HM’s installation of Lotus Notes gave us each only so much space. As the guy responsible for pulling together their ebooks*, my inbox was full of large files. I was perpetually up to my chin in water.

But this was six years ago, back when, although you knew what terabyte was, it sounded as far off as terraforming Mars or, say, a petabyte. That six years of Moore’s law and the ready example of Gmail has smart, valuable people like picking through messages in her inbox to save space depresses to me no end.

Maybe I’m just touchy, but I have decided to NEVER suffer this kind of thing again. Because it’s never just one thing, but a whole set of interlocking inflexibilities and ineptitudes that sap the spirit and undermine contentment and productivity. So I hope that LibraryThing has given me enough professional mojo that, even if it fails, I can choose to never again do computer work for an organization that doesn’t understand computers.

*It looks like they’re still using most of my code. It was cool in, um, 2001, anyway.

Labels: email, houghton mifflin

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

“Library 2.0 Gang” discusses Google Book Search API

Here’s a quick heads-up for those interested in the Google Book Search API. Talis’ new “Library 2.0 Gang,” of which I will be an occasional member, covered the topic

Importantly, they managed to get someone from Google, Frances Haugen, in on the call. Ms. Haugen was diplomatically non-committal about the terms of service, but telegraphed benign latitude.
I ended up talking too much (what’s new), but I did surface the most interesting thing about the GBS API for Libraries: using their API to add free covers to the OPAC, and the rise of JavaScript-based OPAC enhancements. I covered the former here. The latter is also take-away from LibraryThing for Libraries
Check it out here.

Labels: google book search, library 2.0 gang, talis

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

LibraryThing for Libraries, at CIL, with a new feature!

LibraryThing will be at the Computers in Libraries conference in Washington, D.C. next week. We’re showing off LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) as exhibitors, demoing the enhancements available to libraries to make their online systems more Web 2.0., with a brand new feature.

If you’re in the DC area, and are interested in coming and seeing how LTFL works within OPACs, or witnessing our rhinosaursi upgrade (now with 100% more roars!), you’re in luck. We have free exhibit tickets, which gets you in to the exhibit hall (but not the conference sessions). Email me if you’d like to attend: sonya@librarything.com.

Computers in Libraries conference
Monday, April 7 – Wednesday April 9, 2008
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA

Labels: CIL, CIL2008, Computers in Libraries, conference, librarything for libraries, rhinos