Thursday, February 28, 2008

597.8 Leap Day: Celebrate Frogs! Celebrate Science!

Association of Zoos and Aquariums has declared February 29th Leap Day, the initial day of the Year of the Frog (and their amphibian cousins).

It is a part of a global conservation effort. The Association has all kinds of information and activities available at their site. The Ark even has some informational videos that could be used as conversation starters or discusion points?
Miss Rumphius Effect (one of my favorite book review bloggers!) has put together a fabulous group of frog- related resources in two separate posts to help all of us with this fun celebration.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

025.3 Cataloging: A Necessary Evil

This is a post in progress. I am setting it up for a class presentation that I am making (along with my office colleague) to library school students this evening. I will add to it as needed today and tomorrow. It will be here for anyone who is interested. It is somewhat specific to the situation we are in...addresses our automation system, our procedures, and our preferences for things, but anyone is welcome to the information.

For several years now, once every semester, LP & I have visited with students about aspects of being a school colleague speaks about collection development, ordering issues, and things related to using an automation system...

And I get to talk about cataloging! The word that strikes fear into (almost) any library-loving soul! I prefer to describe it as a talk about access and accountability of library materials.

Let me set a couple of ground rules before I go any further:

1. I am a librarian who happens to do an excess amount of cataloging as part of my current job...and for the most part find it entertaining/enjoyable/interesting...most days. I am not a cataloger. Those are two entirely different people!

2. This particular post is not a place for the debate for or against cataloging or too much about the impending changes. You can read about my feelings on these topics elsewhere and in the future.

Here's part of the gang. Aren't they nice looking-group of future school librarians?

Some blogs I follow to learn from and keep up: (a list in progress)
025.4 The Dewey Blog
Catalogablog (David Bigwood from right here in our area) one of his current posts speaks to our new "friend" FRBR)
Catalog Futures

MARC - MAchine Readable Cataloging
AACR2 - Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2 not to be updated but replaced
FRBR - Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records
RDA - Resource Description & Access

Controlled vocabulary Google it and you get a bunch of stuff to read
Subjects vs Keywords...tags

LC subject headings (aka authorities) vs Sears subject headings
Our district uses LC subjects...many school library systems do.

Dewey Decimal System

Record vs Holding - this evening's conversation really didn't get around to this and I am sorry because it can a difficult concept to grasp.

Stand alone vs union catalog
A union catalog allows all patrons to see and use (with some boundaries) any materials found across the district. Requires that certain procedures and "rules" be followed...what is best for the organization as a whole.

Library of Congress Catalog
Marc Wizard (Marc Magician & Marc on Demand) subscription fee-based more info here
Library of Texas some free resources

Cataloging Overview PPT
How to use World Cat PPT
Cataloger's Corner

more to come...

Post-presentation thoughts
The group was full of great participants. They have not been in "library school" very long & I believe that all are still in the classroom as opposed to several times when the audience was made up of practicing librarians and teachers. Asked good questions...many for clarification of terms that they haven't used yet! Many expressed such enthusiasm towards their new's hard not to catch their "fever." And that is why I love this opportunity...wonderful way to renew my own spirit!

Wish I had had 30 seconds to show this little Animoto TEASe about least some parts of it...collection development, cataloging, collaboration...FUN!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

791.45 Mensa + Television History = Oxymoron?

Ran across this article where a Yahoo entity (person, team?) comments on the list that the head of Mensa put out as his thoughts of the Top 10 Smartest TV shows. Interesting comments from both as to the whys behinds the selections. A more complete picture of the original announcement can be found here.

The list (in no particular order) includes:
All in the Family
West Wing
Boston Legal
Mad About You

I can hear the buzzing already.

1. Who would have thought anyone who is a big-wig (heck, a plain ol' member) in Mensa would have "wasted" time on the social wasteland of TV as many people consider it to be? ( I said many people, not I!)

2. Jeopardy and Cosmos are givens as far as I am concerned based on their intent and content.

3. M.A.S.H. -- my personal all-time favorite show. It made me think ALL the between the laughing and tears.

4. All in the Family -- another personal favorite on many levels (including the fact it was the ONLY TV program my father ever talked to me about long-distance while I was away at school.)

5. Frasier -- ok, I think I can see this one...especially since it is on about 15 times a day right now in re-runs so there is plenty of opportunity to "study" it. I do think it has to do more with the "brilliance" of the brothers and an occasional spotlight among the other players than the overall program.

6. CSI -- science at a level similar to that of Cosmos made more "entertainable" with stories. The science is at such a high level that I just have to assume it is being portrayed closely. If I really want to understand the "why" I can not multi-task. I often found myself researching the results...the chemistry or physics or whatever. And if I had ever entertained the thought of committing a crime..well, that idea is completely gone now...for sure!

7. I loved the West Wing...another one I could not multitask around...great characters, but Top 10 "smartest?" I will have to think on that one. Same with Boston Legal and House...great characters...good representatives, but Top 10?

8. Mad About You -- huh? Did not watch it in prime time. Have seen bits and pieces because of re-runs. Would have thought Seinfeld would have taken this spot ahead of Mad. and I was not a Seinfeld fan simple because I didn't "get it."

But that is why I love trivia lists like this one...for the thinking and talking that will occur because of it!

As for a few more of my "why aren't they there" choices...
Lost--if you want something representing current TV. Especially fond of the literary "clues."
Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone--a classic though-provoking show (I bet there are few people out there surprised I would have this one MY list.)
Laugh-in --I was in high school. I wish it was in re-runs so I could study it as an adult now!
Northern Exposure-- enjoyed it, still not sure I understood it.

Wish there was a list of "most intelligent" books...that would be an interesting study!

Got any thoughts?

O, BTW...want some oxymoron info?

912 News Globe: Multitasking

Think Google Earth is the only way to see the world up close and personal?
Nope, it's not!

Add Yahoo News Globe to your interactive WWW experiences. Catch up on the news of the day anywhere in the world and see where all the action is in relationship to your point of reference on this great big blue marble we call home!

It is really cool to watch the world spin around on its own as it reveals the various world-wide headlines...that's the autoplay mode. In interactive mode, you can control the Earth's movements and you can spin the world any direction you want. If you want to read about the behind-the-scenes stuff and the "history" take a look here.

The world news stories are an interesting thing, but I love just looking that the geographic were there is "real" or year-round winter, deserts that take up huge chunks of land, tiny specs of land in the midst of huge oceans that humans have traveled to successfully for thousands of years...without the benefit of GPS!

Go have some fun!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

384.5 Cell Phones: Novel Sources

Ok, I climbed outta my hole this morning and "discovered" cell phone novels...currently a huge hit in Japan...coming to your neighborhood bookstore...? My favorite light-weight news program CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece on the literary format.

First off, let me make it very clear...this is adult (very adult) reading entertainment for the most part, so I am not a supporter of its content! I do find the delivery system interesting and was wondering why I had not heard of it here. The main reason for that I quickly found out is not here!

So I did my research and here is what I found:

This young lady is named Rin, currently 21 and her first best seller was "texted" when she was a senior in high school. The TV report indicated that at one point she was measured texting 1000 characters per minute.

From a NY Times article (Jan. 2008) I read that from Japan's 2007 10 best-selling novels, 5 started out as cell phone virtual novels. The growth of the industry is due to price structure change in text messaging...something we have experienced here, but just not for books! Although many writers actually "wrote" on their phones, one publsiher commented that one author's vocabulary increased and her sentences got longer...when she abandoned the phone for a computer keyboard & screen!

In the if book: Project for the Future of the Book article (Mar. 2005), serializing the stories (a la Dickens' original form) allows the author to change the flow if the readers aren't following. Apparently, this feature is the strength of the newly-developed genre. Wired AP article (Mar. 2005) carried many of the same statements.

Yes, there is a basic introductory article Mobile Phone Novels entry from Wikipedia which states the first cell phone novel was published in 2003 and went to sell 2.3 million copies when it went into print.

From an ABC News feature (Jan. 2008) came the interesting statement that Japanese trains are so crowded, no room for opening a book! Hence, the popularity of books on cell phones. As far as whether text novels will come to the English-speaking world:

For Japan, it's that intersection between a tech-savvy population, a
language written in characters and time \spent commuting that
make cell phone novels so popular to both read and write and why Americans will probably never see versions of the new novel form, said Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley-based technology analyst.

Romance stories have made a small entry in the UK according to another ABC News report (April 2007), but the biggest steamy, lustful voices a la i-pod upload!

In an article in ComputerWorld (Jan. 2008), the problem of decreased reading in the United States is discussed. Cell phone books are not necessarily seen as one of the solutions to the problem however even though in Japan that seems to be just the opposite. Among the several reasons why is the Japanese have learned how to make the books participatory--the readers tell whether they like the way the story is going or not. That idea is not available here...yet.
So, I'm not behind the times least on this topic. I'm sure there are many out there who will sigh and say "old news."

Friday, February 15, 2008

976.4 Speaking of License Plates: More than One Winner!

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) took advantage of the interactive nature of the Web this month when it held an online vote for the next car license plate. Several choices (including the one released in 2000) were available and 1.2 million "voters" cast their choice.
I voted for the winner!! Although the bluebonnet one was pretty, this one got me in the heart. The media describes it as the one with the big white star or Lone Star. I suspect that many, many of the 400,000 + voters that selected this one saw what I saw...the beautiful mountain range and powerful cloud formation...yup, a west Texas scene won!

O, by the way, changing the design was not the only reason for the change. Seems we have used up all the alpha-numeric combinations possible with the 6 character format. Took us 33 years to do so. TxDot needed to add a 7th character so they decided that it was also a good time for a design change as well. Personally, I'm glad...never cared for the tiny hodge-podge symbols on the current one.

As part of the 23 Things program that the SBISD Library Information Services Department is sponsoring, Players get to mess around with lots of image generators. One in particular is Image Chef that has a license plate (and yes, other states ARE available!) on which you can create messages. My "practice" plate for the 23 Things advertises the program.

Then I just played around a bit more to show you some other ideas for this fun Thing! Maybe the other states could be incorporated into the traditional states' reports we all have our kids do at some point?

Go see what kind of fun you can make!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

028.6 Cybils : And the Winners Are...

Took you thru the nomination process and the finalists lists so I need to bring closure to the are the books selected winners in the 8 different categories. ( a couple have sub-divisions.)

Each title is linked to SmartLinks, a personal browser. Click on the little blue arrow next to each title for additional information. (You can go to the site and create your own search tool for subjects of personal or professional need.)
P.S. YES...the hole is making me crazy. I have moved them around and around, but I have learned to let it go!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

005.2 Image Generators: An Explosion of FUN

Been away a tad too long because am going full-steam over at our district's Library2Play 23 Things! Over 60 participants and some more to come! Anyway...that is for another post.

Among the many Things is image generators and we are having terrific fun with all of them and the ways we can all use them. In an attempt at doing some "serious" work this morning, I came across one that stopped me in my tracks -- Build Your Wild Self...a kid-friendly avatar maker!!

Just had to share right now! It is too fun! (and a great way to "play" a little with science maybe?)

P.S. If you go to my 23 Things blog, you probably will understand my Wild Self a little better...or maybe you're explanation need!