December 2006

Okay, I’m officially jealous. Texas Women’s University is using Koha to teach their library school students about library automation

Like DRM (Digital Rights Management), open-source library software isn’t a subject that I’ve really learned about or discussed in library school. With this in mind, I put together a list of the sources that have (so far) been the most helpful in keeping me up to date on recent developments:

“Librarians stake their future on open source.” Michael Stutz, December 21, 2006, on Article mainly discusses Evergreen and its release, also Koha.

Evergreen – An open-source ILS developed for the Georgia PINES library consortium.

LibLime: A company that helps libraries adopt open-source software; provides support for both Evergreen and Koha.

 oss4lib: A blog where members post news about open-source software in libraries.

I’m sure there are some more that I’ve missed, but those are what I have for now. Also, I’d highly recommend playing around with the Georgia PINES OPAC. The layout, the search options and results…they’re all great. Really. If my undergraduate alma mater’s OPAC had looked and functioned like that, I would have been much happier when it came time to do research.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas

I had initially intended to post a “top 10 standard holiday songs,” but this song really can’t be topped, so it’s going to stand alone, since it does everything that a Christmas song should. It’s sweet, a little sad, and incredibly beautiful.

Okay, I’m off to eat too much, drink too much, and be rolled home. I hope that if you’re reading this, you did the same.

Merry Christmas, guys!

I’m sure some of you will disagree with me about the “non-standard” nature of some of these songs, but, when in doubt, I went with the ones that I have listened to multiple times, over multiple years, and still bear multiple listenings. 

 When possible, I’ve included video links, and noted this below.

1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues feat. Kristy MacColl. (video link; music video)

2. Father Christmas – The Kinks (video link; live performance)

3. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses (wikipedia link)

4. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt (video link; music video)

5. Latke Clan – The LeeVees (video link; live performance)

6. Christmas in Hollis – Run D.M.C. (video link; music video)

7. (Everybody’s Waiting For) the Man with the Bag – Kay Starr

8. All I Want for Christmas is You – Olivia Olson (video link; clip from Love Actually)

9. Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding

10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies feat. Sarah McLachlan

  Honorable mentions:

11) Merry Christmas – The Ramones

12) Come On! Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance – Sufjan Stevens

Happy Holidays, y’all! Enjoy the rampant consumerism…I know I will!

I’m always happy to see other LIS students blogging, so I was doubly happy to see that Michael Stephens (whose wonderful writing I first discovered at ALA TechSource’s blog) had linked to one of his Dominican University LIS student’s blogs within his blog, Tame the Web. Also, I think I may have broken the world record for the number of times a variation on the word “blog” (a word which, at best, I have mixed feelings about) has been used in one sentence. Mea culpa.

 Brian Want, the author of Wanted Librarian, definitely captured my attention with his post “Why I Don’t Dig Digg”…mostly because I share his sentiments. Exactly. If you want to know how I feel about sites like Digg and Slashdot, (and you know you do) just read what he wrote.

 Post on, Wanted Librarian! I’ll be reading!

One of Wired‘s blogs, Bodyhack, has a poll going for “Sexiest Geek.” Turns out one of the nominees, Lada Adamic, is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

At the time of this posting, she was winning, with 35% of the vote. However, one of her challengers, Jade Raymond, a host on G4 (a TV channel aimed primarily at male gamers, ages 18-34), is nipping at her heels, with 33%.

 C’mon, I know there are at least three of you who pop in occasionally…what’s sexier than information?

MsDewey, originally uploaded by librarykatja.

Meet Microsoft’s new search engine, Ms. Dewey. Some quick pros and cons:

Pros: She’s stylishly dressed, non-Caucasian, and young…thus, not playing into the “frumpy, bitter, white, and old” librarian stereotype.

Cons: She’s doesn’t exactly dress or act professionally. Stylish and sexy, yes. Professional, no. Just type “Yo Mama” into the search box and find that one out for yourself. Or wait for her to bust out the riding crop or the cat o’nine tails. I wish I was kidding.

Before you get all hot and bothered, I understand that this is Microsoft’s little Flash-based experiment. And it is pretty entertaining for a few minutes; the background is a little reminiscent of a cleaned-up “Dark City,” and Janina Gavankar ( the actress who plays Ms. Dewey) is certainly vivacious enough to hold your attention.

However, the actual searching abilities of the engine are, at least at the moment, both pretty sluggish and pretty sparse. Also, the “search results” box that appears is basically a smaller, fuzzier version of what you’d see if you used Google…without a scroll bar. And, once you’ve heard about three of the over-the-top sound bytes they’ve given Ms. Gavankar to act out, you’ll probably decide to put her on mute. A-nnoying.

I will give them kudos for creating an aesthetically pleasing interface, despite being a little skeeved by how much their “librarian” writhes and simpers as she “thinks. ” Really, how hard was it to go for an oldie-but-goodie like seductively nibbling on the edge of her glasses? Kidding.

Despite the stated negatives, I still believe this sort of re-packaging (and I mean that veeery generally) is something that librarians need to consider when they design their institution’s (or their own) online presence. I’m not suggesting that we all invest in low-cut tops (or, men, whatever your equivalent might be…codpieces?) and shimmy around in Flash movies to try to sex up our profession. What I am saying is that it wouldn’t hurt to try to keep alive a little of whatever is floating around in the pop-cultural ether that led to the campy, CGI-impaired, but still awesome “Librarian: Quest for the Spear.” 

 Don’t lie. I know you’ve seen it. Yes, you.

The OPAC Sucks: A Musical Interpretation

With choice lyrics like:

“The OPAC sucks, that’s all I gotta say
You’re outta luck if you can’t spell ‘Hemingway'”

this video is destined to be a speed metal library classic.

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