Thursday, December 14, 2006

Librarything and Do ordinary users care about data portability? And if not, should they?

There is an interesting article about Do ordinary users care about data portability? And if not, should they? Four social networks respond, over on zdnet. Librarything are one of the four and well worth reading.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shelfari adds blog widget

Having discussed shelfari at some length (here and here), I noted tonite they are adding a blog widget to show your shelfari bookcase. ummm. Librarything did this over a year ago. Anyhow, sorry for the lack of entries, but have to essay to do before christmas.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Liszen trends open's on beta version.......

Just tried out Garrett's new beta version of trends on liszen. Having spoken about it previously (here and here), i'm glad it's coming together.
It need's a few tester's, so if you have time go to Libraryzens link here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Keeping tabs on social software and media

A new blog I recently added to my bloglines, is by Stephen O'hear over on Zdnet on social media, with the tag line of 'Keeping tabs on social software and media'. Has some interesting idea's, especially the on on microsofts new mp3 player, the zune.

Open Source Podcast

I was recently sent a link of a class from Berkeley University, which deals with Open Source. The link is here, and just put on my Ipod nano (which is my new 'love object'). Check the link out. As my course on the new semester is on open source its well worth a look.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Book Mooch owner talking in London

The very nice John Buckman, the guy behind Bookmooch, is giving a talk at Truman Brewery, London this friday. Barcamp, the people who have instigated this describe it as:-
For those who don't have time to attend a full BarCamp, some of us have come up with MiniBar, a chance to snaffle some free beer while discussing p2p, Creative Commons, web applications, social networking and general Web 2.0 mayhem & fandango.
Unfortunately, I can't make it. Gutted. Really wanted to say thanks to John for sending Peter Morville's excellent Ambient Findability.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Are Liszen the new Digg?

Having already spoken about Liszen (which describes itself as 'connecting you to 500 plus blogs within the library profession). On a new article on Library Zen (Garrett Hunford's other site/blog in conjunction Liszen) called
LISZEN: Submission, Recognition & Trends (OH My). Garrett is doing an excellent job, and has brought forward the idea of :-

'LISZEN: Trends (The Best for Last)

LISZEN is more of a library community archival tool than a source for new information. So why not create something that allows users to submit and vote on content in order to create a real-time/social library tool? That’s were LISZEN: Trends comes into play. I spent last weekend tweaking LISZEN: Trends and want some user input before it’s released. On November 22nd at 5 p.m. [EST] a form will be posted allowing users to request a sneak peak. You will have until midnight on November 28th to play with the site and follow a small set of testing instructions.'

This usability feature seems like Kevin Rose's Digg site, which is described as :-

'Digg is a news website with an emphasis on technology and science articles. It combines social bookmarking, blogging, and syndication with a form of non-hierarchical, democratic editorial control.'

This reminded me of another description of what Garrett MAY be doing. This is what wired has termed meganiche, described as:-

'Meganiche sites are often based on a mainstream topic, but they carve it into divisions that the market as a whole may barely recognize..........User-generated content is the Web-biz buzzword of the day, and meganiche sites tend to produce lots of it.'

Whatever label it is, this new idea sound wicked.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Job descriptions have no relevance

In my voluntary role at the library, ALL staff often get asked to assist users with computer queries. But, do I spend 40 minutes with one person setting up email? Or explaining to users why computers floppies no longer work? Its not the helping I (totally) mind, its the not having the answers that gets more frustrating......

Friday, November 03, 2006

DOPA and 30 positive things to do on social networking

I haven't written much on DOPA for a while, but walking paper sent me to a link regarding 30 Positive Uses of Social Networking. Tere a great article on a PDF file on how to use social networking in libraries.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shelfari adds Safari

I love alliteration. Anyhow, after my recent blog on social cataloguing, Shelfari have listened to me when I said:-

Shelfari...... isn't currently compatible with the Safari web browser.

It is now compatabilble with Safari so an email told me. Be nice if they added to there blog though.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A new search tool for librarians

Ok, Librarystuff and other bloggers have spoken about this, but Liszen has just been released by Garreth Hungerford a search engine just for library blogs. I've just added myself, it looks gorgeous to. Give it a try.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Helen Rumbelow, political correspondent for The Times of London and A response to her article

Lisnews had an article from Helen Rumbelow last night which caused me no sense of unease. Her article looked at the Idea Store in Tower Hamlets in east London.

She goes on to describe how the library in the UK is dead, saying:-

[In] the Nineties, and the internet, happened. The visitors to the library of my childhood drifted away. Almost anything you could want there, the computer could do better.

The man who shuffled in with an embarrassing medical condition to research? Far more information online, and in the comfort of your own home. Ditto almost any research project.

So everything is on Google is it? Um, well thats not true. Google has around 15 % of all written material. Libraries through inter-library loans can bring that to a higher number. But then thats just for researchers and Helen CERTAINLY is not one of them. Also libraries provide internet access to those without access for free. My library even has wi-fi for its users.Libraries are public places that create and often can sustain a community intellectually and socially.

As she's writing for london I suppose its hard for her to look beyond the realms of her Chiswick home. Not to say libraries are not declining, but they are required. Thank god I read The Guardian.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Article on library improvement

Read an excellent post over on Life as I know it. Its called Improving Library Services: A Review of Techniques. Its excellently researched and really something to read.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Library humour

Walking paper blog have a very funny link here. Made me laugh.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Librarything, Shelfari, and Gurulib: Social Cataloging Sites Compared

I have recently been looking at Social Cataloging Applications, and have previously looked (briefly) at Gurulib, Librarything, and Shelfari. I am now going to review these sites in unison and in a bit more depth, by looking at the following:

  • Features.

  • Look and feel / ease of use.

  • Data control and ownership (can you import and export your data?).

  • Community and Social Networking.



Utilises the Dewey Decimal system and many other classification schemes.

As Abby of Librarything told me:

'We get the data not only from Amazon but also from 60+ libraries around the world (using Z39.50), we have a lot of data. Dewey, LC Call Numbers, LCSH, etc. You can customize your display styles in your catalog to see data if it's not already showing up, but for most books, the classification is there!'

I think that's pretty amazing.

Librarything allows you to label a book as "received" from one of the 6 book swapping sites which the site supports.

Librarything Mobile (a version of the site designed to be read on a mobile phone or device) enables you to check whether you've got a book in your library when you're standing in a bookshop. Searches via ISBN, title, author, or tags.

Allows you to add your own tags.

Score: 7 out of 10


Shelfari (unlike Librarything) allows for an unlimited amounts of books on your Internet shelf (foe free). This could cause people to convert to it.

Also utilises the Dewey Decimal system.

Uses some nice Ajax, although the site isn't currently compatible with the Safari web browser.

Also allows you to add your own tags.

Score: 5 out of 10


Gurulib like Shelfari is a beta version.

Gurulib does books, DVDs, games, software, and movies. These added features are a real bonus.

Gurulib says:

'Search from over 530 Public Libraries. GuruLib can access over 530 public libraries around the world to collect cataloging information about hard to find books, movie, music, games and software. If your local library support Z39.50 protocol, GuruLib can search it.'

Thats pretty good.

You can add your own titles shelves. Another form of tagging then!

Allows you to scan ISBN or upc codes of objects into the system. Neat.

Gurulib also has a feature called 'Smart Price Watch':

'Set a target price for items in the wishlist, Gurulib will inform you through email when the price of the item falls beneath the target price. A graphical price history will help you know the current price trend.'

That's helpful if you want to buy a book.

Also allows you to add your own tags

Score: 8 out of 10

Look and feel / ease of use


No disrespect but I hate the header. Is it trying to be too retro?. Obviously, if they did change it, some users might be disgruntled.

Really easy to use.

Score: 7 out of 10


Shelfari looks a lot nicer. Out of all the sites it looks beautiful. Pity about not being compatible with Apple's Safari browser.

Again, really easy to use.

Score: 8 out of 10


Very basic look.

Also, really easy to use.

Score: 4 out of 10

Data control and ownership


Most importantly, Librarything allows you to import and export your data. That makes it easy to not only move your data into the site but also take your data with you, if you move elsewhere.

As Abby from Librarything explained:

'[You can] Import... your books (and many people do) from Delicious Library, Bookcollector, Amazon wishlists, Vox, you name it. Check out our "Universal Import" - or look on the Joy tab. You can also export your Librarything data (links also on the Joy tab) - we are firm believers that your data is yours - and that it should be flexible and easy to get to - to put in and to take out.'

Score: 9 out of 10


Only allows you to import your data but not export. Bad shelfari.

Score: 5 out of 10


Does not have either option that I can see.

Update: GuruLib supports exporting and importing data.

As Rana Basheer of GuruLib explained:

'Navigate to your profile page where links for exporting your entire books, movies, music, games or software will be available on the right hand side. The current export format is tab delimited and should open in excel software. The import feature was added recently. Import feature scans for ISBN/UPC/ASIN from XML/text files and then try to find the cataloging information from either Amazon databases or the public library list the user has selected.'

Score: 7 out of 10



Librarything has an advantage of having two blogs. The owner, Tim Spalding, usually adds regularly to his blog. Gives a real sense of community.

Librarything is also about Social Networking. Librarything's recent introduction of groups allows for the conection of like minded people TALKING to each other.

Score: 9 out of 10


Shelfari also has a social networking component. As one comment left on my blog said:-

'The thing I like about Shelfari is that it's primary purpose is to share your love of reading and book recommendations with others. Social interaction relating to books gives the recommendations a personal feel and it's easy to let your friends know what you're reading and why.'

However, the site doesn't have seperate groups or communities like Librarything.

Score: 6 out of 10


Gurulib has a basic discussion forum.

Score: 4 out of 10


The marks added together are as follows and (out of 40):

Librarything = 32

Shelfari = 24

Gurulib = 23

I think you can see that Librarything is my favourite. I think, in comparison to the other two, Librarything really gives you that extra. Its main area I like is being able to transfer your data both into it and out of the site.

I also like the community aspect. Librarything talks to its users. Great site. The only downside is that you have to pay to add more than books to your library. But with these services I think it's worth it. The other two contenders, (who were later entrants to this space) may struggle. I think Gurulib might struggle more than Shelfari, as it does not look so aesthetically pleasing. Shelfari does really look nice, I got to say that. Gurulib in adding DVDs, films, CDs etc is really good, but unlike Shelfari and Librarything, it has no community or social networking.

This is not to say librarything should rest on its laurels (and it hasn't so far). Gurulib and Shelfari are new, and need to get a sense of community. They allow you to add as much as you want. But librarything is being very vigilant. Adding new features, talking to its users and by allowing users to move there data out as well as in, means it has to treat its users well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Library questionaire

Was reading Tim Coates blog, when he pointed me in the direction of a questionaire on UK libraries. I'm going to do it soon. Nice too see a fellow professional trying to get some feedback on where we're going wrong.

Shelfari.......librarything with a nicer Ajax interface

Friend showed me a called Shelfari. Its a lot nicer looking than Librarything, with a Ajax look and a real web 2.0 one as well. It allows you to tag, recommend books and discuss books as well. Excellent social software, but do I have time to transfer to all my information from Librarything to there without doing it individually? Not that I can see. Do I have the time to do this? Nope, not with a Masters course, a job, a blog and other readings. As I'd say:-

'Make it simple and easy to transfer and they will come.'

Whoops.Apologies to shelfari. You can import your librarything books. Also, another great feature is your books get the relevant Dewey Decimal number. It is very good. But, I'm so used to Librarything, it feels like cheating on a girlfriend.......

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Longtail and the local bookstore

Techdirt have a story titled Independent Bookstores Learning How To Adjust To The Changing Market. Looking into how some local bookstore's are:-

it looks like many indie book stores are working to become destinations for the community as well, even clearing out some of the books, adding in tables along with food and drinks (including alcohol). Some are also looking to publish books on their own as well.

Sounds like the long tail in full effect.

Exhibition : Game on

My greatest love (ok, after my soccer team) is arcade game's. I loved them since I had my Sinclair ZX81. So was good to hear that At the Science Museum, London, there having a retrospective exhibition on Gaming, consoles etc, called Game On. I think my misses may wanna miss the exhibition. Perhaps I should drive there on my Raleigh Grifter? Nostalgia rocks.....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Youtube acquired

They said it would never happen. Youtube has been acquired by Google. Techcrunch, who informed us on friday the deal was on the card, revealed the deal had cost $1.65 billion. Expect loads of press coverage, for the next week.

Community in books

First off, I would like to say I am not affiliated to Bookmooch in any way or form. My entry here is just to point you in the direction of a group on bookmooch, is available on librarything. Well worth a look.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gurulib, the new librarything?

Gurulib is described as:-

GuruLib is a free web service to help organize home libraries. Catalog your books, DVDs, music CDs, games and software online using a book shelf metaphor.

You can scan in your ISBN, review your books and tell when books have to go back. Looks ok. The scanning is a good idea, but I just feel its trying to do a similar thing to Librarything.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gaming in libraries and education

Having previously brought up this in another post, John Kirriemuir wrote to me point me in the direction of more news on gaming in libraries/education in his own blog here. Well worth a read. Along with the registers article more 'slanted' view on the subject.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Interview with John Buckman, owner of Bookmooch

Here is the full text of a email interview with Bookmooch owner, John Buckman. Anyway, my previous review of the sight seems to have caused a small piece of offence. Apologies for this, I'd like to think i'm a champion of bookmooch, but perhaps I was over analytical. Anyhow the interview John sent me.

Sorry for the delay, I've been in the middle of a press tour, which
is ending in a few days. I'm in Tokyo currently.

I'm a little saddened by your negative review of BookMooch. The abuse
rate is miniscule (two abuse reports for 10,000 books traded). Not
sure what is "not clean" about "the look".

Q.1/Do you feel is the next social networking
phenomena of the social net working site? I feel your the of literature?

Fundamentally, BookMooch is about trading books, not a social network
site. Everyone has books they'll never read again on their
bookshelf, and BookMooch simply helps unwanted books find places
where they are wanted. Many side-effects come out of doing this,
such as meeting people with similar book tastes, and in general,
seeing far more books now that the cost is so low, but the main goal
is bringing a huge unused resource back into the world. However,
features such as book lists, discussions, reading groups are all
planned and will come out in the next few months.

Q.2/ The use of Amazon and librarything API really add to the
usability features of your site. Whats you opinion on having access to these

Without amazon, BookMooch would have been quite difficult to do, so
it really is a wonderful thing that they make these available.
LibraryThing came later, and Tim (the founder of LibraryThing) and I
share philosophies and greatly admire each other, so we have deeply
integrated our two web sites, and will continue to do so. I believe
a big part of Web 2.0 is understanding that users are in control, and
that users want single-purpose web sites that are optimized and best
for that use, not Web 1.0 web sites that try to capture the user and
provide all features they may ever need.

Q.3/ would you consider using more tag's for the way you describe
books? A large selection may give people a better idea of what the book is
about or a better of looking more serendipitously[hope i spelt correctly]?

Yes, of course.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Proper review of Bookmooch

Well, a proper review of Bookmooch. I have been using it and I love it. But its not brilliant. Well lets get to the criticisms. If people put up books they do not have, get the 0.1 point for a 100 non existent books, they can exchange them for books on a deception. This has been done, when 1 guy in Asia did this and was finally stopped (I read this on another article, but can't find the URL, so sorry for that). There is also the look. It could really do with a cleaner look. Also (from the same article I can't find), what about an RSS feeder for when your wishlist book comes in.

The advantages are really good. The social element of swapping books, getting trust points from feedback and being part of a network, is its major selling points. As Cronin-Lukas of The Big Blog Company said:-

"Google sells reach. Amazon sells reviews. eBay sells reputation"

Reputation really helps on this site. People come back to my bookmooch as I have positive feedback.

I got to say, its a great service, but it can still add more features.

If I find the link i will post it up to that article I can't find.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

In search of the valley goes on sale

I have just been informed that In search of the valley has just been released for sale, at $19.99. The press release of the film:-
"In Search of the Valley tells the story of three friends' personal
journey into the psyche of Silicon Valley, when in September of 2004
they swapped London for California, spending one month visiting and
talking to many of the valley's heavyweights and biggest personalities.

Directed by Steve O'Hear, and produced by Fleeta Siegel, the
resulting film is a unique interpretation of Silicon Valley – a
social fabric that has produced some of the most remarkable
technological advances of the 20th Century, and spawned an infectious
dichotomy of counterculture and entrepreneurship."

The DVD can be ordered from:
DVD order

To view the new trailer, visit:

Nice to see it released and best of luck. I hope sales go through the roof. I have an Ipod riding on this being successful.

Friday, September 22, 2006

One web day

Today is one web day. This is described as :-

We’re here to celebrate the web. And you can tell everyone that you were there for the very first OneWebDay, because this is the first of many.

Lets celebrate.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

book mooch......wicked

Well, book mooch is rocking the main stage. Been trying to see what books I want and what I want to get rid of. I've already got rid of one book, and sent off for two myself. If you want to see my local wears check my list here. Although the books I want are a bit specialised, once more people join, and the tipping point is reached, it'll be better. I think this is such a simple, and easy to use sight. Good, I love it.

The Medium is the Message article

i was reading Eric Schnell's excellent article If "They" Build It, Will "They" Come?. Eric discusses the Idea of how previously we felt that library websites would create "Build it, and they will come." were as now its more likely "If they build it, will they come?". Eric discusses the "1% rule in library websites. the rules says:-

It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.

Eric's question, that:-

While user centered sites are great in concept, the question is how many customers will actually take advantage of the features? Does the low percentage of customers actually using the advanced features in exsisting customer / user driven warrant the cost in time and resources to build it? By the time such a site is conceived, built and deployed will the paradigm have changed yet again?

Needs to be looked into. Anyhow, as ever, well worth a read.

Monday, September 18, 2006

In search of the valley exclusive photo

Having already flagrantly used my blog to advertise the release of In search of the valley (articles here and here). I thought I would add some VIRTUALLY exclusive photo's of the DVD release. Just been sent some photo's of the DVD case. Anyhow, enjoy the photo. Remember. Viral marketing doesn't work so tell your friends.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cilip graduate open day

Went to the Cilip graduate open day today. Was very interesting, as missed out on free lunch, as I was waiting for the Infomatch person to check my CV. Was well worth it for that, and sounds like I could even get a job next year. So far off, but not too far. Anyhow, you all have a nice weekend. Moving the girlfriend to a new house, so that'll be fun.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Book Mooch.......swap books for free

Book Mooch is described as :-

BookMooch is a community for exchanging used books.

BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.

Although I discovered it today on the excellent Libvibes, and its already has large coverage on Technorati.

Its a great idea. Problem is like many people I hate getting rid of books (unless there from relatives and never what I want). Anyhow, looks good. Now let's see how many copy the idea.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Is more blogging caused by excessive coffee in take?

Well, four in a day is a lot for me. Anyhow was Reading Jenny Levine's Blog entry on gaming in libraries. Seems she was in Holland and heard John Kirriemuir talk on gaming in libraries. She also provided his Powerpoint he gave. Its an interesting read for a powerpoint. It concludes as follows:-

Summary and pointers
Digital games used occasionally, but not much, in learning
Many people play them
Across many demographics
Mainstream form of entertainment
Instant response to trial and error (implications for teaching and learning)
Cognitive and neural changes and development
Encourages online exploration

Did I say “Play more games”…?

1. Preservation
2. Keep kids quiet in the library
3. Get people into the library
4. Circulating games
5. Circulating support materials
6. (Ab)using the library network
7. Input/output devices
8. Mobile library catalogue access
9. Library researcher: the game
10. Interface design
11. Accelerated online multi- tasking
12. Huge real-time social networking

Jenny, is looking into bringing more gaming to libraries and the difficulties it may bring. As a gamer, somewhere I could borrow games before buying alwats sounds good to me.

Just what I thought

Over on Rick librarian blog, he has an interesting story/link to something called Pearls Pick. In an American Librarians discuss new books they recommend etc to users, and patrons can order then online. What a great idea. I wanted to do this on my (failed) blog site. Oh well.

Guardian Article

Novelist Susan Hill has entered the debate on the diminish book stock at UK Public libraries in a Guardian article. Hill states:-

"They [The Museums, Libraries and Archives Authority, a government agency] have been actively trying for years to get rid of books and introduce almost anything else,"

She feels senior civil servant, Mark Stevens remarks in which he said:-

"Public libraries have a vital role to play in helping local authorities achieve their communities' social, economic and environmental aspirations - they are much more than just places to borrow books."

Are indicative of the downward spiral and a decrease in public library stock.

She is supported in her comments by Tim Coates, who's Good library guide blog has been underlining the fact that library closure are imminent and book stock is diminishing. At least someone's doing something. Perhap's Cilip might say something. Well maybe not.

Article on libraries and Google

I recently had a friend and he was asking how my course was going. I said the usual platitudes (enjoying it, hard work, etc). He then said, 'Why are you doing it? I can use my laptop to get all my information?' Not as if none of us haven't heard this said to us before is it? So what should my responce to this be? Well, the most obvious one is ignore them and ban them from my social network (even take them outta Facebook.
Or I could read Stephen Abram article called Waiting for Your Cat to Bark - Competing with Google and its Ilk.

The articles is in 3 stages and looks at the advantages and disadvantages of search engines and libraries, and the final part looks at how libraries an utilise search engines. The first article deals with Googles advantages and disadvantages. Next months looks at libraries, and november conclude it.

Abram's article looks at Google's slow uptake on social software (though as they bought Blogger and Writely, this is somewhat far of the mark (in my opinion). Though I must admit I agree on his final disadvantage of Google, in which he writes:-

So far, Google does local (communities, neighborhoods, clubs, etc.) poorly. Libraries were pretty good at this space – so far good libraries have a handle on that local connection – physically and psychologically. Can this be sustained? If Google and its ilk start setting their landing pages to default to a local page (for example to dominate local advertising, will our local institutions, like newspapers, schools, and libraries, be ready?

Anyhow, looking forward to next months follow up. but check it anyway.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Social Networking sight change Digg's open news model

Over one Wired they have an Article called Digg Fights Top Users For Control
. Seem's Digg,founder Kevin Rose has changed the algorithm for weighing and ranking stories, so as to stop spammers and gaming getting false Diggs.

Wired says:-

Digg's open news model -- stories on the site are ranked on popularity among its users -- has been criticized recently for being vulnerable to fraud or abuse.

Groups of users can bump news items to the top of the site's front door by working together in a bloc, submitting and promoting ("digging") stories together. To break up groups, Rose's proposed changes will favor news items given positive votes by users who don't know one another.

It adds:-

Since the new system aims to change the way users' submissions and votes are handled, some of the site's top users will see their importance in the insular world of Digg diminished.

Many of the site's top users spend hours on the site and forums, and they often digg each other's submissions. Because of this camaraderie, the site's top users are responsible for a disproportionate number of the stories that end up on the front door.

For example, the highest-ranked recently active user on Digg, P9, has submitted 1,334 stories. 668 of those stories have been promoted within the last 7 months. In response to the changes proposed by Rose, P9 has resigned from the Digg community.

"I will no longer no supporting Digg going forward," said P9 while announcing his resignation from the site on Thursday. "I bequeath my measly No. 1 position to whoever wants to reign... Now YOU can spend all the time, all the effort and get stabbed in the back by fellow Diggers (aptly named)."

Ummmmmm, sounds like Digg might be facing a backlash. I hope note, I quite like Digg.

ISBN in a tagged world.......why don't people use it?

I was reading Michael Stephens Lens Resources for LIS701 at Dominican University GSLIS by Michael Stephens and noted his book section. Not for the first time I noted that if you look at the book section, there's no ISBN number. I like the ISBN to be allowed to compare price's etc. By the way, this is not a diatribe against Michael Stephen's perse, as many library bloggers have done it. I just feel, in a Library 2.0 world, I thought we were also trying to make things easy for our users.
As Library 2.0 article by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk said:-

To increase both your library's appeal and value to users, consider implementing customizable and participatory services. The Library 2.0 model seeks to harness our customer's knowledge to supplement and improve library services. User comments, tags, and ratings feed user-created content back into these web sites. Ultimately, this creates a more informative product for subsequent users. Your library customers have favorite titles, authors, and genres.

Although Casey et al is discussing libraries, shouldn't we include our blogs, and the pointers to books is the most important thing we want to impart to our users?

When I review a book, I usual link to Amazon, which perhaps shows a personal biase. But we could link to librarything, which would provide feedback, via reviews etc.

Obviously, we could simply just google it, but even this can take time, and simplicity should always be what we look for in usability. Or as Jakob Nielsen says:-

Usability's job is to research user behavior and find out what works. Usability should also defend users' rights and fight for simplicity. Both aspects have their place, and it's important to recognize the difference.

Well, thats got that off my chest.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Internet Librarian

Internet-librarian is coming to town. Well London,uk on the 16-17th October,2006. Bloggers of Tame the web(Michael Stephens) and Panilibus (Paul Miller) will be discussing Library 2.0. As is ever with a one day conference the price is to expensive. Is it because they add a 2.0, they think they can charge times 2? £400 is just too much.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Book Review : CyberSelfish : A critical romp through the terribly Libertarian Culture of High tech

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote sums up my response to this book. Pauline Borsook's book, Cyberselfish.
Borsook was a former writer of Wired. It looks into the politics of Silicon Valley. First off, I love both Wired and Silicon Valley, but she soon diminish and make's me approach both with some disdain. Libertarian means :- One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. Borsook feels that in silicon valley and wired, the area feels that the individual is more important than society. The individual has to be white,middle class and a geek. The books is in chapters and has an excellent chapter on her time at wired (and its sexist attitude). The problem with both wired and silicon valley is that they see technology as an answer to everything, and central government is the bogey man. This book is great and loved it. But i'll sum it up with a quote from :-

"As the CSU-SJ [California State University] study participant puts it, 'knowledge is viewed as data awaiting retrieval.' This restrictive notion of reading as database query, of reading for information, may suit technolibertarian, but not the rest of us so well. When I interviewed the other Microsoft billionaire, Paul Allen , for Wired, he trotted out the so-tired notion of the customizable newspaper [a blog?], delievered electronically. I explained to him that most people read a newspaper differently, skimming to be surprised, reading it precisely because they are not sure what they would find. He was puzzled, poor dear, and didn't know what I was talking about. Just as nerds constantly ask me what something I've written is about (in other words, they want a key-word precis/abstract. All writing is conceived of as technical documentation."

This book is great, as a critique of silicon valley, wired or politics. Just get it. 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Does anyone care about DOPA?

Over on Librarystuff, they've a great (short) article on the DOPA Legislation.
He points out that:-

blogs about DOPA and the goal of the Save Your Space group to reach 1 Million signatures.

"[W]ith only 3,230 signatures so far, it doesn’t look like they’re going to make it. It seems that the average MySpace user is either oblivious to the legislation, or doesn’t understand it - something we could have predicted from the start."

Having already discussed DOPA (here and here), its a shame so few people are trying to stop this legislation. Lets hope it changes. And soon.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Philip K Dick films

Over on Library Journal they've indicated 2 Philip K Dick films are being made. One with the awesome Paul Giamatti (who was excellent in Sideways and better still in American Splendour). I only read a few of Dick's works, but loved it. Can't wait.

I'm with the band. The social networking band......

As you can tell, going through my bloglines as usual, whilst writing new entries (trying to adhere to the 1% rule I suppose). An was on A VC Blog, who'd been introduced to this excellent new piece of social software called tourbus. Check the entry here. Tourbus is described as thus:-

You can search for shows, or if you sign up can use an iTunes playlist or account to bootstrap your list of favorite bands, then you can get notified about shows via email / RSS / iCal.

Well worth a look though. Shame, I can't see where The Beatles are playing next.

Tag, your it......whoops, this is Google, label your it

As ever google has bought up another company. This come's from the well informed blog of John Battelle. Battelle says that Google has purchased the ESP game. He describes it thus:-

Google has licensed "The ESP Game", invented by Luis von Ahn, and is harnessing collective intelligence to tag images in its image database. This is just an experiment, of course. But it's a clever one - -if a critical mass of images are tagged, Google will have solved a very intractable problem for itself.

Anyway, I'd blogged previously about this before. The game is really cool. Give it a spin. Just don't tell those Google guy's we're tagging though.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Library 2.0 article released

Michael Casey, he of library crunch fame, is co-author (along with Laura C. Savastinuk) on library 2.0. The article is over on library journal here. I would highly recommend it, as Casey is an excellent read.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trains get WI-FI in uk

Great news, in the uk, that WI-FI is being introduced on British rail. This will be quicker than airplanes have introduced it. Thats excellent news, as when I go away on the train, I miss my Bloglines. Full story here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back at the library.....and a nice surprise

Well, went back to my voluntary role at the library, as had a month off do my other job. So a bit weird going back. Anyhow, found a letter that I was put forward for a WOW Award, for outstanding service. Now isn't that nice. Well I thought so.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stepping on the feet of giants

Got sent an interesting post dealing with whether Can new media turn old? Hope Jeff Jarvis from Buzzmachine doesn't get wind of this. This guy might steal his Guardian column from him. Well. Check it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond review

I had heard previously of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond previously via The Ubiquitous Librarian blog. He was using it and i wondered what it was about. Well, I found a new blog which discussed it. The blog is called the Park Ranger for the Intellectual Commons (bit of a mouthful). The blog entry says:-
'Diamond proposes that those who live in more "primitive" societies seem to be smarter than those who live in first-world, industrialized nations. Why, you ask? That's where it gets interesting.......As a result, industrialized peoples have evolved over the past several thousand years with the most successful individuals being those with the greatest disease tolerance. Meanwhile, people in hunter-gatherer societies have little medical care and higher rates of mortality due to homicide/war and prey animals. To survive they must be alert to the dangers around them and quick to respond. As a result, they have evolved with the most successful individuals being those who are most alert, intelligent, and agile.'

I would love to read this if I didn't have enough to read already. Good blog to.

Social library course

Ok. late again.Information wants to be free has shown there producing a 'Introducing Five Weeks to a Social Library!'. Sounds excellent. Not sure how you get on it. But it starts in Feb.2007. check it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Geo-Calc 2.0 for Mac OS X released

A friend’s at the small Mac startup, BaldGeeks, has released a major update to Geo-Calc, their comprehensive geometry calculator for Mac OS X.

Totally nothing to do with libraries, but it does have the 2.0.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

100th entry about films

Its party time. My 100th entry. Anyhow, i'm a big or J-horror as some call it. Anyhow, I read over on the Ubiquitous Librarian that one missed call is being remade and was filmed for a scene at his library. Who said libraries can't be a frightening place?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blogger and new versions

Techcrunch has revealed that Blogger has a beta version (read here). Techcrunch point out the following points:-

But for now there are other features already being discussed. The big picture is privacy, tags, drag and drop layout and easier inclusion of non-textual elements. will now publish individual posts to the Blogspot servers, instead of republishing the entire blog after each post. Besides making the system easier to use, perhaps this will also solve the problem of Blogger blogs republishing their entire feeds and appearing as unread in feed readers.

Privacy settings will be enabled. Blogs can be public, private or read only by invitation. Many people say that private blogs are counter intuitive and that anything you post online should be understood as being for public consumption - but the blogging software providers are betting otherwise. The privacy feature is either not turned on yet, or is not working, and RSS privacy appears to be undetermined yet. It would be interesting to see Blogger support the RSS privacy standard that Bloglines recently proposed. One thing that’s clear so far is that Google appears to intend that only readers with Google Accounts logins will be allowed to accept permission to read private blogs. That’s a cheap move.

Posts can now be tagged; no more workarounds for Blogger posts to appear in tag search engines. This will also change the composition of tag search results, as there are a huge number of Blogger blogs written by less technical users and robot sploggers.

Drag and drop layout. Both building your blog’s template and changing the position of elements later will be possible with a drag and drop interface. That’s the kind of thing that could help Blogger reclaim its position as the preeminent hosted system in terms of usability. The default template options are also more varied.

The drag and drop page gives you the option of adding an element, including 3rd party javascript. Very nice, but still not as easy to use as Typepad’s widget menu.

Feeds. Feeds for all comments and individual feeds for comments on each post. Support for RSS 2.0 in addition to Atom.

Sounds good.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Social networking can really take the p*%£

Read this interesting story on SIVACRACY.NET. In the story two students got drunk whilst at Illinois University and one had to elieve himself in some bushed, when a cop came along. The guy ran, whilst his friend was asked if he knew the other guy. He said no, and his friend then called him. The cop saw the name and got some more information. He then had two names and checked if they knew each other. But how? VIA Facebook. The guy who relieved himself was fined $145 and the other guy who lied $195. Hell, don't you love social networks?

Education 2.0 article

A friend sent me a great article on e-learning 2.0 they had done. There article is here,and the second part is due out soon. Its really kicking up a lot of positive feedback and well worth a read. Here is the second part.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

web 2.0 video

Techcrunch have just put up a web 2.0 video. Check it out here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

DOPA article

Just been o my feeds and read an article that what I learned today pointed me to. It deals with the new DOPA act and is on the CBS site, entitled
House Misfires On Internet Safety. It covers the stupidity of the lw, with suh information as:-

If children are going to get into trouble online, chances are it won't be at school. They'll be home, they'll be at a friend's house or they could even be completely away from adult supervision using their mobile phones. Schools and libraries are relatively protected environments where adults are never far away and, for the most part, computers are in public locations that make it difficult for users to hide what they're doing.

If anything, schools and libraries should be encouraging kids to use blogging and social networking services. They have enormous educational potential for such things as writing, interviewing, collaborative research, media literacy, and photography, but even if not used as part of a formal supervised education program, they encourage kids to communicate and reach out to others.

Recommend reading for concerned librarians and parents alike

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Viral marketing doesn't work.....tell your friends

I know others have linked to this already, but hell I found it funny.

Great library 2.0 article

Everyone's favourite blog on library 2.0, librarycrunch discusses an article on what library 2.0 is.The article is entitled Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries. Librarycrunch describes it thus:-
He presents a very well-argued thesis that Library 2.0 is primarily a technology-centered theory. While I agree that technology does play a key role in the ability of today's library to move forward and serve more users, I am not convinced that technology can ever be the primary component in this thing we call Library 2.0.

Still worth a read though.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Could DOPA happen in the uk

Having already been against the states Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) act being passed, I was thinking, 'it'll never happen here. How mistaken was I. I was watching the ITV News which was having a rant against youtube, which showed some kids in Crawley putting two girls on a roundabout, whilst 2 lads on a motorbike put there bike wheel on it and 'spin them off it'. They describe it as 'pphenomenally stupid'. Wow. Genius reporting. Watch Tony Blair say how bad this is. BTW, I can't find the link on youtube. What a surprise.


A new library 2.0 podcast has been brought to my attention by two excellent bloggers called libvibes (here and here). Its usually daily, and only last five minutes usually. Surely, if you can look at your bloglines, sure you can listen to this?

Good blog article

Just read this article from a new blog on web 2.0 called Miss Ellen did not know what to do dealing with social networking sites and how to use them. This discusses how parents can use myspace and how to use Digg. Well worth a read.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Book Review : The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog by Rebecca Blood, is about blogging. I read it prior to starting this blog and can't recommend it highly enough. Rebecca discuss software to use, the history of blogs, why people write them and the social manners required. Its just excellent. I'd recommend it if you started a blog,read blogs or thinking of starting a blog. 9 out of 10.

Save your Space petition

Some users of myspace have put up a petition against the DOPA act (see link here). Sign up here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

DOPA and the owners of sociall networking sites

Library Stuff has an interesting article called Do Social Networking Sites Care About Libraries? Well worth a read, as it wonders why the owns of social networking sites (like myspace) have said nothing about DOPA.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Why ban social networks?

As mentioned in my previous post, banning social networks in schools and libraries, I wonder why? Is it to do with our fears brought in with a neo-con government in the states creating false fears within society? Is it our culture within society, which from books like lolita in the 1950's to the present day film called Hard Candy [a film dealing with online stalking]? Is it that parents now leave there kids at home without supervision to surf the web? Its these three in my opinion.
We need to teach kids life skills against paedophiles, like not giving out addresses or phone numbers. Teaching them that the world is not a pure place all the time. But we don't need to make them scared, just aware of the dangers that are there. Wired also provides an interesting article on how adults can see how kids see the net on the virtual mystery tour. So come on. Kids have to learn about the world, but they also need some independence.

Myspace to be banned in school in Libraries in USA

I previously mentioned that the USA was trying to ban social networking sites such as myspace and Bebo will be banned from schools and Libraries in the USA. The reason being Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). Techcrunch has provide an interesting in site into act. Obviously, even as Mike Arrington say (owner of techcrunch says):-
I write about it here because it has the potential to impact a huge portion of our readership and the companies we profile on this site.
So he's being honest. But it certainly looks a very backward step. Lets hope it fails.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Book Review : Long Tail

The Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand by Chris Anderson has just been released. I must admit its an amazing book. Wikipedia describes it thus:-
Anderson argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.
In reading it I agreed with it. TO SOME DEGREE. Anderson feels niche markets, in the digital age, storage is cheaper if not costless. But this is untrue. Apple's Itunes still takes up storage and bandwidth space. Apple still had to invest in making it a the best MP3 download site (to pay for). I'm not the only person to disagree. Tim Wu has a very good piece, pointing out that Anderson looks at only digital areas and not areas like petrol (which is more important to the economy than the internet. I think?) Lee Gomes in the Wall Street Journal is also critical. But as an economoc principle and a book its well worth a read. 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blogging a no go

Having said I was finally putting forward an idea to set up a blog at y local library I work at (here), it seems my idea is too forward for England. Put forward the idea, and the people who look after the website said NO. The reason? Mainly, it would need there colour scheme and too look over it. In other words too much work and they don't think it would add anything. Oh well. There loss, but why show any iniative?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

myspace not making a killing

With myspace the social networking site acquired by Rupert Murdoch . With all the stories about grooming youngsters on this site alone (here, here, here), it has finally got some good news. This being myspace gets 17% of internet banner impressions. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be making it the same amount in cash. Check techdirts story here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Netflix and the long tail.....the negative side

Over on Siva Vaidhyanathan blog, he has written an interesting post describing how users are taking (or not) to netflix (the DVD mail rental company). Chris Anderson's book use's Netflix as an example of the long tail, and how with more choice, people will look at films that are not blockbuster. Siva though has pointed out the following:-

Netflix Inc., which boasts nearly five million members, often trumpets how its all-you-can-eat rental model is changing the way people are watching movies. But Netflix may also be changing the way people don't watch them. Through its Web site, Netflix makes it easy to comb through a massive catalog of 60,000 films. It offers access to everything from Charlie Chaplin's 1921 silent tramp movie "The Kid" to recent Academy Award-winners like "Crash." And some members admit that when browsing the Netflix backlog, they overestimate their appetite for off-the-beaten-track films. The result: Sometimes DVDs languish for months without being watched.

"It's a paradox of abundance," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of culture and communication at New York University. If people aren't pressured to see a movie in a specific time frame, he said, viewers tend to put it lower on their priority list. "When you have every choice in front of you, you have less urgency about any particular choice," he added.

Interesting article though.

Long tail,blogging and associations

Was reading Thoughts from a Library Administrator, discussing The Long Tail: Libraries and Associations (ALA). Having read Chris Anderson's book. The blog above was discussing how the American Library Association can use the long tail. Then today I was discussing my blog idea for the library and she said (the library manager) I might start on the mobile libraries. I think this would be a good start, as it could show the management what numbers I could be getting (I would set up a sitemeter, to find the numbers I would get). I feel to get an aggregator going I could underline how we can bring the numbers to the blog. I'll tell you how it goes after I speak to the guy about the blog.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Book Review : Stealing Time : Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner

Stealing Time : Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner by Alex Klein charts the rise and fall of Steve Case and Jerry Levin. It opens with how AOL was formed. It started as an idea to spread music via satelite to Times Warner, who thought it maybe better if they did it instead with games. The books interesting on how gung-ho AOL was and how (along with Netscape) started the internet bubble, when it had an IPO and had money to spend. And bought Times Warner......Unfortunately, when the bubble burst and AOL shares (which helped buy Times Warner) dropped. The pure greed makes the book a great read. Unfortunately, we never here much of the them buying Netscape or much on there idea behind the companies walled garden (which is soon to stop for broadband users if the blogosphere is to be believed. Anyhow, its ok. Lots of business talk (Klein revealed AOL financial antics in the American press). 6 out of 10.

RIP......Web 2.0 is dead......official

It is with much sadness I can offically announce today that web 2.0 is dead. Why? Well the British TV programme for mongoids, Richard and Judy has started discussing web 2.0. Please, no........ And now they mentioned the Long Tail......damn

More news on In search of the Valley

Seems the film in search of the valley are providing merchandising for it. I've been fortunate to get a limited edition cap. Picture below. I will tell you when the full catalogue of products are up.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Get this

near to finishing Chris Anderson's Long Tail: The new economics of culture and commerce. Having nearly read it all in two days, I would highly recommend it. I'll review at a later date. Don't agree with it all, but still good.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Book Review : Accidental Empires

Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date by Robert X. Cringely is a book dealing with the rise of silicon valley. It covers microsoft, Apple, Adobe and IBM. Cringely also brought us the excellent Triumph of Nerds which covers this book. Although the book was written in 1996, and dated, its amusing, insightful and covers all area's of the rise of the personal computer well, FROM A USA PERSPECTIVE (no mention of Sir clive Sinclair). Cringely also talks about the mainstream companies, both from a hardware and software perspective. Unfortunately, he neglects how many people got into computers (well me); Gaming. I mean why not discuss ID software (well its better discussed in Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. But I digress. Cringely calling the chapter on Steve Jobs THE PROPHET, really struck a cord. I would really recommend this book if you want to know about silicon valley. I just hope the guys who did in search of the valley read this book. 8 out of 10.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Presently working on a proposal for the blog idea to my library, and holidaying with my brother. Normal service will be resumed from monday.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google Print and Google Library legal story from Germany

Techdirt has an interesting story on Google print and library. A publisher from Germany has been told that they cannot sue Google, pointing out the company is not infringing on any copyright details. See more information on the story here.

Questions to the floor

I'm starting to think of my dissertation for next year. I've thought about looking at something to do with the impact of libraries 2.0 (if any) and started a wiki on the subject. Anybody have any idea's, or want to see what i'm adding on the subject, just go here.

Interesting Article on Business Blogs

Got through an interesting article from Blog of the Prism Fellows, which had an interesting link, of a published Phd. The paper was called Behind the Scenes in the Blogosphere : Advice from established bloggers. Its an insightful look into how business bloggers use their net presence; it also includes questionnaire sent to the people he interviewed. Worth a look.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Book Review : Speeding the Net

Joshua Quittner & Michelle Slatalla's 1998 book Called Speeding the net : the inside story of Netscape and how it challenged Microsoft is a book I just finished. The authors are a husband and wife partnership and Quittner presently writes for the excellent business 2.0. Well, on with the review. First off, let me admit two things. am a Apple user, as I hate windows poor usability and monopolistic practices. Secondly, I refuse to use Internet Explorer on any of my computers. Therefore, in reviewing this book I have STRONG biased. Well, this book is purely excellent. The authors discuss the history of the internet and the tools required for programming (especially the long hours of coding based upon pizza and expresso), with enough information to inform but not overload the reader. All main characters of netscape are discussed from the programmer (Andressen), the investor of idea's in Netscape (James Clark) and CEO, Barksdale. I must admit Gate's and Microsoft are shown to be 'the darth vader of computing'. The book looks at the Browser Wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer, and how Microsoft 'leveraged' [a term used by a Microsoft manager]there monopoly through the operating system to win the war. How Compaq was forced to use IE or lose having Windows as there O/S. Its amazing how the browser wars are sometimes now forgotten, and search seems to be the new war (or is it net neutrality)? The book does miss some things. For example, it forgets to mention how Yahoo was given a free link on Netscape at the beginning and made a fortune. Also, the book finishes in 1998 and doesn't conclude the anti-trust case against Microsoft or Netscape being bought by AOL. But thats after the event, so I shouldn't complain. Anyhow, after reading this, I converted back to using Netscape. The book is worth a read for many reasons. The youngsters making 'killer apps'. The begining of the inflated bubble (Netscape doubled there IPO opening price before issuing, from $14 to $28). Being overwhelmed by Microsofts. Its all here and more. JUST GET THIS BOOK. 9 out of 10.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Librarianship......USA versus UK style.....

I've been reading with some interest the difference between librianship in the UK and USA. Its seems to me at the moment in the UK we are more concerned about the closers of our public libraries (see here, here and here). This is a major concern. But things seem to be even more disconcerting in the USA in my opinion. With the case of Jo Ann Pinder (director of the Gwinnett County Public Library) being dismissed from her job 'without cause' (read full details here), as she was buying books for Spanish residence (amongst other things). In another case, Digg pointed to the case in New York, of a Director of libraries being under fire for not releasing information to the police, as they lacked a sub poena (and was against the fourth amendment). Also, the case in Lisnews in which a Idaho libraries may not get extra cash from patrons because of sex books which 'young children' may see. Ok, i'm looking at the extremities, but I just wonder how you can work as a librarian, supervisor and act as a guardian to morality? Thankfully, in the UK we don't have this trouble, but could it happen here?
Well, it could. With the increase in refuge's (real or otherwise), people's dislike on spend taxpayers money on Non-english book could cause consternation. Stephen Leary has provided an insightful look into this over on his blog. As for dismissing our directors for inapproiate material (read sex), that seems more doubtful (or am I being idealistic?). As for us stopping the police looking into library details, in the present climate of fear after 7/7, i'm not so sure. But i'd like to think all librarians and members of the community would stand up against this intrusion of privacy.By the way, this in no way is an attack on America perse. Some of my best friends are American ;)

Long Tail come's to London

News of the day is that Chris Anderson of Wired, is coming to London for a talk at the ICA about his new book LONG TAIL, on the 3rd of July,2006. The book is released on on the 6th of July (I pre-ordered mine here already). Anyhow, in the unlike event you have no idea what long tail is check the wiki entry here. A brief synopsis comes from Chris' website, which describes the long tail as :-

Traditional retail economics dictate that stores only stock the likely hits, because shelf space is expensive. But online retailers (from Amazon to iTunes) can stock virtually everything, and the number of available niche products outnumber the hits by several orders of magnitude. Those millions of niches are the Long Tail, which had been largely neglected until recently in favor of the Short Head of hits.

Anyhow, hope to see you there. Looks worth it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

why do I do it? Life as a librarian (part-time)

As said on my profile, i'm currently working part-time as a librarian in my local library, so as to assist in my studies for a part-time masters degree in library and information studies. Anyway, i've now been doing this for nearly a year and been thinking, 'is it worth it?'
I honestly think it does not help my studies at all. But working in a public library does have some great things to offer. Learning basic social interaction with clients and dealing with complaints (the cluetrain is actually something I really like to do or at least see how other's handle it. What else is good? Seeing how other members of staff work with each other and use tools around them (and i'm talking pre-web 1.0 of speech, telephone and post). I also admire something else. How much most staff want to provide good services to there clients; heaven knows you sometimes wonder why with the abuse you can get from a MINORITY of users.I also like the people I work (and learn) from. They show the same politeness to me as a member of the public. And most of all about the job, I enjoy about the job, is the patrons I work for. I can't wait to go full-time.
I think I need to read some more Annoyed Librarian to have a reality check and get my quota of cyncism back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

in search of the valley interview

As said previously... I wrote asking for an interview regarding the film IN SEARCH OF THE VALLEY. I have just got a response from the director, and enclose his email response to my questions.

Anyhow, Q1:- What is in search of the valley about, for those who have not seen the trailors and when its available to see?

In Search of the Valley is the story of three friends' personal journey into the psyche of Silicon Valley, in which we swapped London for California for one month in September 2004. During the trip we clocked up over 3,000 miles visiting and talking to many of Silicon Valley's heavy-weights, as well as those of a more personal interest.
With over 30 hours of footage - and a steep learning curve - it's taken us a lot longer than we would have liked to finish the film. However, we are are very close and the film should be available on DVD (from our website) in the next month or so.

Q2:- I think i read that one person said there was 'nothing going on in the valley' when you went. But recently slashdot has said that silicon valley can only happen there. What's your viewpoint on this?

At the time of researching the documentary, Silicon Valley was still recovering from the Dot Com crash. We were advised by one potential interviewee that besides Google (which was at the time gearing up for its IPO) there wasn't much going on in the valley. Others told us the complete opposite. I think the film shows how the Valley is always evolving and that it's a place where new ideas are constantly allowed to happen.

Q3:- You interviewed Marc Canter who's blog i read quite often. I find some of the work he presently is doing with AOL is very interesting. What's your opinion on this and Canter in general?

Marc Canter was great fun to interview and is a genuine visionary and larger than life technology evangelist. He spoke with passion about the potential of personal publishing and social networks but made the point that the industry needs to establish open standards so that users can control their content and move it from one service to the other. Marc also sang some opera for us, and played some blues (which does feature in the movie).

Q4:- You also interviewed tim oreilly both in the film and on your website. At present he seems embroiled in a rather bad piece of PR over threatening to sue a non profit organisation for using the term web 2.0. What's your view on this and O'reilly in general?

Tim was really helpful in the research of the documentary and helped put us in touch with many of the people who appear in the film. He also gave a very interesting and open interview on topics ranging from open source, the next generation of the web, why Silicon Valley works, and the how the importance of IP is overstated. With regards to the recent trademark PR debacle, I'm sure Tim will recover and do the right thing for his business and the community as a whole.

Q5:- I noted you have written regularly for the guardian on a few web 2.0 articles. What's your viewpoint on web 2.0,elearning 2.0 etc? Do you think bubble 2.0 is on the way?

I think new web services that make it easy to publish, share content, and collaborate with others is having a profound affect on media, business, and education.

We kept a film production blog, and have published clips from the film on YouTube and Google Video for example. The internet offers a really low cost way of distributing content but unlike traditional media, we can also talk directly with our audience.

Bubble 2.0? Its true that many of the current crop of new web services will fail but I think it's very different from the Dot Com boom/bust, because the majority of the new companies are VC funded only, and aren't launching IPOs but instead are either being bought by the big players like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, and News Corp or just going away quietly.

Q6:- What are your future plans?

To get the film released and promoted into film festivals etc. Then take a holiday and work out what we're going to do next.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Just started using my reviews of my books on this blog and entering them on library thing. Although i was introduced to it by PiscesLibrariana, its really cool. So check it if you get time.

Book Review : Dot Bomb

Dot.Bomb: The Strange Death of Dot.Com Britain by Rory Cellan-Jones is a very interesting book. Its worth the read to. Rory gives a viewpoint of the Internet bubble rarely thought to have occured. The one in the UK. Rory discusses the era between march 1999- march 2000 and the rise and fall of internet companies and there desires to set up there IPO'S. The companies include lastminute, clickmango, first tuesday and obviously Boo. These are the main companies, but Rory does add lesser one's. The book is an hilarious look at the greed the internet bubble created in Britain (or is it London?) Rory, gets in close and personal, having worked at the BBC as the internet expert.
This book is cool. Its nice to think that not only was silicon valley so greedy and other books do exist on the subject. 8 out of 10.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Conservative response to Public library closures

Tim Coates over on his blog has Given the Conservatives response to the library closures. Hugo Swire (Shadow minister of culture and libraries), was someone I tried to email on the conservative position. I'd unfortunately not kept up with reading my bloglines. Whoops!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Public library closures LIKELY to go ahead in UK.....

Following on from my article on the closure of public libraries in the UK in The Observer, The Telegraph has added these closures may most like go ahead, when the paper reported that:-
'The number of public libraries under threat has more than doubled since David Lammy, the culture minister, wrote to councils warning them against closures, he admitted yesterday.'.
Although David Lammy says the possible closures of 107 public libraries is not too bad, as there are still 3500 in the UK, he fails to note that half will be closed in Dorset, and 12 in Devon. Both are rural area's.
I love the idea of a culture secretary, trying to kill culture off.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Who is going to save our libraries? The silence is deafening... In the observer.

Cilip newsletter pointed out this interesting story on the decline of public libraries in the UK in the observer, on Sunday. The paper points out as many as 107 public libraries could be closed, one-third alone of Dorset's libraries. As I work in a public library (as a volunteer), it seems frightening. I say this for two reasons. Firstly, seeing how many people use our facilities, and how much extra work most library staff put into the job, its a shame for any community to be without a library. Secondly, as a masters student looking for employment in libraries, a decline in jobs in the public sector is disconterting. Perhaps, i'm being rather selfish there. Anyhow, lets hope this doesn't happen.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Content 2.0 : A review

Overall a great conference. I really thought the talks were interesting and varied. Loved the blogging, Bradley Horowitz & Folksonomies. The other talks were interesting, but i'd heard most before. I must take to thank Zoe Black, who organised the event for NMK, and was very helpful throughout the day. Well, thats it.

Content 2.0 : panel, search and enjoy

This was a panel, with a chairman of Mike Grehan (CEO of Smart Interactive), Suranga Chandratillake (co-founder of Blinkx), Alex Barnett (Microsoft) & Matt Ogle of Last FM). I liked the talk, but this went over things i've discussed already. Therefore, i'm going to just say they discussed scalability, serendipity and customisation. I know its a bit slack.

Content 2.0 : Matt Locke

Matt Locke from the BBC was the next up. He was there to discuss Folksonomies. I really was looking forward to this talk, as I love tagging as a classification system . First up, Matt mentioned a book of interest, called SORTING THINGS OUT. So thats now gone on my wish list. Matt discussed how the best of folksonomy is the low barriers of entry. He also said:-
'Folksonomies are only useful when nothing is at stake.'
He also gave another 6 reasons for why they work.
1. Future retrieval.
2. Contributing and sharing.
3. Attracting attention.
4. Playfulness and competition.
5. Self presentation.
6. Opinion of expression.

Matt then went on to quoted Rashmi Sinha said:-
'I strongly believe that for a social system to be successful it needs to serve selfish, individual motives.'

Matt then discussed how the bbc is used folksonomies, and discussed there Creative Archive Licence. He also felt that for folksonomies to work for major companies, they need to be whats termed 'content agnostic'. Meaning tagging shouldn't care who owns the content, which major companies find difficult to handle.

Matt's main point though was folksonomies should be playful. I agree.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Content 2.0 : Bradley Horowitz.......tag, your it

Whoops. Forgot to mention that when Bradley was talking about tagging, he pointed us in the direction of The ESP Game, which is described as 'Labeling the Web'. What you do is earn points if you agree on a picture with another player. The Picture usually has a taboo word you can't use. Its a really cool game, and interesting way of learning how to tag. If you get time, try it out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Blogs hit the mainstream

Well, on Jeff Jarvis blog, that the Edinburgh fringe festival has a play about bloggers. Read the full synopsis here. WE ARE MAINSTREAM.

Content 2.0 : Bradley Horowitz

Bradley Horowitz, is VP of product strategy at Yahoo and was well worth the entrance fee. With Yahoo buying flickr and Delicious , and Yahoo's new myweb as a form of social searching (see previous post), this was bound to be good. Bradley spoke about tagging in flickr and quality content. Bradley discussed the idea of 'opening up' to core users and user groups, and how its hierarchial at the moment. Therefore, think of a blogosphere. Library crunch would be the top. Then you'd have 10 blogs like Reflective librarian amongst others, and then say a 100 other's like mine. By the way, this is my explaination of his hierarchy and not Bradley's. Yahoo wish to see us all have equal access. He feels the 'act of consumption is implicit' in us all. He then showed how the tagging in flickr has brought about a top 100 photo's which are open to all. He then spoke about some important aspects of social search. These are:-
1. user generated content.
2. the importance of tagging.
3. How user organised content is found serendipitily.
4. How flickr is integrated into all blogging software and 3rd party advertising.
5. User Developed functionality, for example exposed API.

He went on to talk about social search and FUSE. This would 'enrich peoples lives, by enabling them to find,use,share and enthuse[FUSE].' He proceeded to discuss social search and relevance to area. He took special note of Korea, in which Yahoo and Google have lost the search war to a Korean company, who write in Korean. They are, what he describes as 'capturing knowledge'. He then proceeded with Yahoo Knowledge. His stuff on social searching was really good, and the importance of tagging etc. If you ever get chance to hear him, go. A very fine talk.

Content 2.0 : can brands be trusted, a head to head

This was a really interesting discussion. Made more interesting by my pen not working. whoops. Note to oneself. Takee more than 1 pen to a conference. the Shel Israel, who co-wrote Naked conversations and Alan Moore. They discussed the importance of collaboration in a debate format. Shel talked about how Jeff Jarvis blog against Dell had caused a downfall in sales by causing a conversation on the blogosphere (see earlier blog),and dell not responding. Seeing I was using a Dell, which refused to sign in to wi-fi, I could understand this (lol).
Alan Moore discussed how community based products can be built through mutual trust. He gave the example of lego. He noted how they allowed clients to build products for new designs. THE CLIENT HAS A VOICE AT LAST. Shel countered this by pointing out only LEGO could be used, and not others. Thats all my nots here. Shame, as Shel and Alan were both excellent advocates. Moral of the story so far.
1. take more than 1 pen.
2. Don't buy Dell.
3. Try and remember things next time.

Content 2.0 : Forum, Content 2.0 & Marketing 2.0

After a short break, we proceeded with a forum that included such luminaries as Jamie Kantrowitz (, Hugh Mcleod, James Cherkoff. The panel was chaired by Michael Bayler. Obviously the forum was all very cluetrain, talking of the importance of consumers are not as important as people in the content 2.0 world. Hugh and Jamie discussed the importance 'disruptive technologies' such as blogging. Hugh used the blog of Jim Scoble For those unaquainted he's a leading voice from microsoft, and in the blogosphere his view is very much read. When Scoble started some people wanted him sacked, as they feared his voice may not follow microsoft party line. Scobel is now a brand himself if you think of it. Thankfully, Bill saw that this was far from the case. James on the other hand discussed something more personal in disruptive technology. James (who I felt hardly got enough microphone time), is an Arsenal soccer fan, and discussed a blog called Arseblog, and how it has obtained a cult status in this realm. He also discussed how Nike, in conjunction with the world cup have released a website called Joga in which you can make your own world cup team with any players, AS LONG THERE NIKE. Closed markets like this are not the way forward.
Jamie then finally spoke, about her job at myspace and what is doing. When she quoted Marshall Mcluhan, I knew I was bored. I really wrote some of her stuff down. But god, she really wasn't that good.
Hugh discussed how in aiding companies to Blog, that the word of mouth impact could be really useful. And the downside in flaming wars. How he'd work with different clients and the advice he gave. All excellent stuff. He also discussed how he worked for individual clients, as he felt 'shareholders are amoral'. There was more. But as per usual, I forgot it and was a slow writer. By the way, I really was interested in the myspace person, but I really felt she pul[led the party line, and brought nothing of interest to the discussion.