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One New Thing
Friday, October 29, 2004
 
One New Thing: Impressions and approaches.

I got an email today, which I have investigated a bit, and it seems to be legit. It looked like it was from an author of a new book, and said that since he thought librarians might not hear about his book through normal channels, he would like to introduce it himself, and he would only email the once and not give email addresses to anyone else. The press release for the book was included.

Whether or not this email was for real, this approach made me question how useful the book is, how reputable the publisher is, and even if I had been responsible for selection (which I am not) I don’t think the email would have swayed my opinion toward purchasing the book. More than anything, it just made seem the author and the publisher look unprofessional. You’d think that getting kind of image would be something people would be trying to avoid. I try and remember to think twice about everything I send, or post, or communicate to the world at large in any way – once from my point of view, and once from the point of view of the receiver. Maybe email programs should come with a popup warning – “Are you really, really, really sure you want to send this message?”

And now for something completely different – Friday link! Apparently, in some places, squirrels are considered a pest. But we don’t have squirrels in Australia so when I saw this page on Squirrel Fishing - A new approach to rodent performance evaluation, I thought it was just too cute for words!

Thursday, October 28, 2004
 
One New Thing: The wonders of technology!

A coincidence that a technology-related post on librarian.net is vaguely similar to what I was going to say (!). We all sat in the dark for a short time today, when something to do with the electricity supply made the power cease to be. Really makes you realise how much you rely on technology (and lights, particularly in the bathrooms). It demonstrates how difficult it can be to manage client expectations in a service environment, because you can’t always control the unexpected. It also made me more aware of
what things I still don’t know about the system I’m currently working in
a support role for – not that I *need* to know these things, but I do know
that the greater your awareness of the technology that surrounds you, the
less likely you are to get tripped up when it all goes horribly wrong. :)

Addendum: Blogger was down when I tried to post this last night. My point demonstrated! :)

Monday, October 25, 2004
 
One New Thing: Kinetica is getting a facelift!

Did I hear cheering? :) I love Kinetica as a reference tool (oh and it’s kinda useful for those of you using it for ILL too!), but as it stands now it is a bit cryptic to operate. Particularly as from an ILL point of view you should really only need to search on a few fields before you can determine if your details are correct or not – title, ISBN, author. The new interface looks a lot more fun to use! There’s a powerpoint showing the new Kinetica, or you can check the Kinetica redevelopment site for updates.

Saturday, October 23, 2004
 
One New Thing: Longer ISBNs?

From LISnews: It seems that ISBN numbers will be changing from 10 to 13 digitsin about two years’ time. Do we really have to update all the 10-digit ISBNs to 13 digits? It’s conceivable we might run out of 10 digit numbers…but why change the existing ISBNs to 13 digits? Won’t that just cause of lot of confusion within library and publisher database systems?

Friday link: this is very frustrating to play along with, but brilliant to watch. Just Letters is like those magnetic letters you stick on your fridge and make words from. If you had about 100 people in your kitchen, that is.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
 
One New Thing: New Graduates.

It’s getting close to the end of the year, and to exams for those who are library students, so while I have that in mind I thought it would be a good time to wish everyone good luck. :) Oh, and to let you know that when your lecturers, or other librarians, tell you to start networking: listen to them! I heard a few people talk to some soon-to-graduate librarians tonight, and every one of them mentioned how important it is. Start somewhere non-scary like joining the new graduates elist, and work up from there. Believe me, you’ll soon get over that great feeling of not having anything to do at night once studying is over, and be glad you have some more interesting events on!

Monday, October 18, 2004
 
One New Thing: Some librarian things, and some Adobe things.

The Adobe things were because of a vendor session I went to at work – I mostly use Acrobat and Photoshop, and there were lots of tricks I saw today that I would never have found myself. Have a look at some of them on Russell Brown’s homepage. (Go to What's New then to More Tips.)

Next: the librarian things. Listening to some people talking about ALIA 2004, a) I am jealous since I didn’t get to go to any sessions but b) am very glad that we have the internet on which to put conference papers. Those recommended by the small group of people I was listening to today were the ones by Pamela Leuzinger, Eric Wainwright, and Sue Hutley. (These are PDFs.)
Sounds like it might have been fun to be a fly on the wall in some of the sessions as well! It’s always great to have people coming back from conferences and telling you about the people they meet from all around Australia as well: you never realise how different libraries can be until you dump all their staff into a room together. ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2004
 
One New Thing: Thoughts on cross-skilling.

The ALIA Newgrads were discussing what subjects people studied at uni in addition to their library subjects. It makes you realise that librarianship attracts people from a range of backgrounds, and that librarian skills have such broad applications across topic areas and across careers, particularly when combined with skills you can gain from other areas of study. I get the impression, though, that for new librarians, it will be many years before they can build up the experience and credibility to get accepted for the jobs they set their sights on at graduation. Did everyone see Marylaine’s article on recruiting new librarians, The Right Hand Knoweth Not… ?
Anyway, I hunted around yesterday for blogs to help me keep up one of my university-learned skills: I studied French, and it turns out I can find blogs by French librarians. :) They’re on my Bloglines public subscriptions.


Friday link this week is actually a Saturday link (because somehow it got to be Saturday already!): obviously they weren’t as strict on chasing down missing books in the past, because a Scottish library has just recovered a Library book '100 years overdue'.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
 
One New Thing: Why techie people argue against Internet Explorer.

As a librarian, I never felt the urge to use any browser bar IE – for the simple reason that everything I used was designed to work with it. It’s only now that my workday is filled with techie people and problems that I’m starting to see what a difference non-Microsoft browsers can make. For one thing, I’ve been sucked into Netscape because I need a tabbed browser. But also IE is more geared to have weird inexplicable problems occur with it, as I’ve discovered in trying to work out why some computers can’t access hyperlinks on https pages…when using IE (other browsers work fine). Just look at the list of some reasons why Internet Explorer Cannot Connect to Secure Sites!

Monday, October 11, 2004
 
One New Thing: How the world Googles.

Librarian.net pointed to this post from LibraryTechtonics about a site called Can’t Find on Google. The About Us page says that the site is the project of one person, helping Google out by letting them know what people can’t find: as Andrea points out in her post, it’s also useful for us as librarians to see how people search. Some of these are obviously not serious posts, but you can get the idea.
Coincidentally, someone made an interesting comment on the Libref-L list today about using Google as a research tool (I hope that link into the archives will work for everyone). It was in response to comments about how people will come to a librarian for help after finding nothing with Google. I agree with the point that if they come to the desk and all they have tried is Google, and even if all they have tried is 2 or 3 combinations of search terms, at least they have tried *something* on their own, and have come to someone who can help further. Which, in a way, makes sense…after all, not everyone is a librarian. :)

(P.S. Anyone tempted to add some cheeky comment of thankfulness about my last sentence, see me after class!)

Friday, October 08, 2004
 
One New Thing: Creative Commons licensing.

Seen the little button on many webpages, but what does it mean? A Creative Commons license is a type of copyright agreement creators can choose to have applied to their work so that you can offer some of the rights to the work to anybody, under certain conditions. A rundown of the types of license are available on the Creative Commons Licences Explained page. And, I am pleased to see, there are projects happening to import the Creative Commons license to Australia.

Friday link time: I had to go find one today, I haven’t run across much interesting this week! But I noticed that other people than me using del.icio.us have started using the tag “amusements” (only a few people though!) and that a lot of people pointed to the Scribbler. It’s like Mr Squiggle, but without the puppet. ;)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
 
One New Thing: Researching music files.

I have some sheet music for a choral piece, and want to know how the music sounds without going to the effort of learning how to play it (don’t judge me, I gave up piano lessons many years ago!). Quite often using Google and typing the song’s name plus the word “midi”, to find a MIDI file, is an easy way to find out how songs go. This piece is pretty obscure though I think, so I’ve had to expand my searching techniques, and found that although there are quite a few MIDI search engines about (none of which found this piece, so I won’t recommend any yet!) the bigger search engines (Google, Teoma, Yahoo) don’t have an option to limit to a MIDI filetype. I would have thought the filetype limiter would just look at file extensions and match them to whatever text you type into the search box – but apparently not. AltaVista and Lycos both have an Audio/MP3 search function but it doesn’t look like they extend to MIDI files specifically. There’s an article at SearchEngineWatch about finding multimedia content, from which I was led to try SingingFish (don’t you love the name?), and it seems to give a pretty decent number of results – although I don’t see any MIDI files in their drop-down search box, or listed in the results.

OK, back to the piano…

Monday, October 04, 2004
 
One New Thing: More interview / resume tips.

Firstly, apologies for missing Friday’s post – I was doing other things and ran out of time!

Eli posted a few days ago on the topic of Tell Me Why, basically a rundown from an experienced library professional on what interviewers may or may not look for in a job candidate, and what makes one person stand out over another with similar experience. To me it seems that what people look for is someone who acts how I think of a professional acting – knows their profession, is involved in developing themselves, is confident about and able to explain what they do, and shows a genuine interest in the job and the workplace environment. Unfortunately for anyone just isn’t interested in some of those aspects, I think it would be pretty easy for interviewers to pick the people who weren’t into any of these things.
I will add that, having never been on an interview panel…I don’t envy anyone the task of choosing between multiple perfect candidates. It’d be interesting to read up on how that is best accomplished: if anyone knows any good resources please do post them in the comments.

And since I missed the Friday link, I’ll make up for it by giving everyone a Monday link. I have no idea where I ran across this last week, but it’s pretty fun – examples of “anomalous motion illusion”. Do heed the warnings if you are sensitive to strangely moving objects – otherwise, enjoy!