Friday, August 27, 2010

Can the social web save the public libraries in Britain?

I was interested to see that Mumsnet has started a thread entitled to think that we NEED libraries? This is horrific.. I had only heard about Mumsnet prior to the UK election of 2010.
Mumsnet had been responding to the threat that public libraries are presently facing.
I had noted that the good library blog had noted mumsnets interest in public libraries in a post earlier this week.
But who are mumsnet? Well its described as :-

a British community website set up by mothers to give advice on parenting and family issues.

As said previously, I had only learnt of Mumsnet during the last election, when they seemed to become the new essex man of political punditry and/or poor journalism.
Not all of the talk about mumsnet though was always positive though.
Mumsnet seems to me to also be a support group for parents and family members. Discussing the needs, advantages and disadvantages of parenting. In discussing the fear of public library closures seems a fairly symbiotic relationship, in that for those who work in public libraries, will know that parents are regular users of libraries. Many parents may bring there kids for childrens hour or to get books for there homework. Or so they can use it for free internet access and homework clubs.
But can the social web help us in stopping closures?
Well, yes and no. I do think mumsnet could be a useful tool in assisting in bring these closures to the forefront of politicans. Mumsnet, as said previously was very much seen as important to politicans in the last election. So there support is needed.
But I did not this comment on the mumsnet post:-

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Sat 21-Aug-10 14:16:28
Would MN like to run a campaign on this?

Thats not good then, if they can't start a campaign on the site.
I also feel you would need greater support from other high end users (say kids, schools, pensioners). The support and iniative of other librarians and users to would help.
Anyhow, its the weekend. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The decline of the library?

With all the depressing news about the closures and cut within public libraries, it good to see some positive news for a change. Norwich's Millennium Library, in which the BBC reports:-

Figures in April 2010 saw the library's popularity increase by nearly 20,000 people compared to the previous year.

I wonder what they are doing right then?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sarah Hammond and Public Libraries 2.0 article

I'm a bit behind, but just seen that Sarah Hammond has article entitled Public Library 2.0: Culture Change?.

The main premise of the article being that she wanted :-

To discover the level of engagement of UK public libraries with Library 2.0, I specifically concentrated on blogging in order to narrow the focus of the research to a scope that was achievable given the time constraints. I also felt that blogs are perhaps the most versatile Web 2.0 tool at libraries’ disposal, so that taking a snapshot of blog activity would give a pretty good idea of their wider engagement with Web 2.0 tools. Consequently, I tried to find as many UK public library blogs as I could. Further to this end, I wanted to explore the attitudes and behaviours of public librarians towards the use of Library 2.0 in their libraries which I did with an online survey.

If you have time and work in public libraries its well worth a read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Great piece on Librarianship by Rory Litwin

I'm a big fan of Rory Litwin and his blog. I remember reading a great piece he wrote a few years ago entitled The Central Problem of Library 2.0: Privacy. Certainly worth a read.
Anyway, he has another great piece entitled Our niche and how to get back into it. This opens with the following gambit :-

More and more, I find that the library profession’s efforts to stay relevant in the age of information technology are in fact eroding our relevance. As a result of these efforts, it is becoming less and less clear what we offer that is different from what everybody else offers in the information economy.

He then proceeds to say:-

I have a good idea of how I use my knowledge of our resources, and I know that I wish I knew more. I don’t wish I knew more about our search tools – those are designed to be easy to use for librarians and the public alike, and I don’t regard our ability to use them as anything special. Where I feel that greater knowledge would help me to be a better librarian is across the board – within my assigned subject areas, yes, but in all subjects, and particularly about things like scholarly communities, the research into reading behavior, learning theory, media studies, and all of those fields that are connected to what we do. I think that improving my general knowledge and working to improve my insight into people are the most effective ways I can work to become a better librarian.

Thought provoking.

Reuters article on the social web and how universities are integrating them

(Found via here). Reuters has an article entitled Schools, tech comPanies tailor social sites for students. The article says:-

Colleges and universities across the United States are going beyond simply creating websites and pages on Facebook for students to "friend" or "fan." They are working with technology companies to build their own social networks and integrate them into campus life to boost admissions and retain students.

Obviously, somethig that could be transfered to a library environment. So, perhaps you could use it for patrons to sponsor books (to increase money's for the library).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Could twitter be used to see positive book reviews?

I've previously discussed social cataloguing sites here before. Therefore, I was quite interested on programmable web to see Fflick, a movie review site, which:-

Fflick is a social movie review site, where the reviews come in bite-sized pieces from Twitter. The way its developers combine the reviews with other APIs and visuals shows how an excellent site can be built by bringing in content from elsewhere.

The most impressive piece is how Fflick mines Twitter to find tweets that include mini movie reviews. It looks for the name of a movie (or sometimes a portion of a movie name). From there, it also attempts to determine the positive or negative sentiment, seemingly by looking for specific words in a tweet.
Therefore, I was wonering if this could be done for book? Taking API data from Amazon for book covers and Librarything etc for reviews?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Haringey allegedly closing 9 out of 10 libraries in borough

(Found via here). Good library blog reports 'there is a rumour [my italics].....that the borough of Haringey is to close 9 out of its 10 public libraries, leaving only one central library at Wood Green.'

I have worked at Haringey and I hope this is not true. Also, I recently saw the library manager there Diana Edmonds at Cilip and asked if everything was OK with the libraries there. She seemed to feel it all OK.

Anyhow, lets hope its not true.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Yahoo pipes and Spectrum Software

As mention previously, I've been reading about gaming, and have a fond memory of my ZX Spectrum years. On top of this I wanted to combine it with my trying to learn Yahoo Pipes, especially after reading Information twist result on 'this made me' project, using Pipes.
Therefore, I've presently used nearly all his code trying to make one for Spectrum Games companies, and use a map to show where they are. Results can be seen here (its early days yet).
What I wish to do, is then have another map showing each companies games, and perhaps use world cat to indicate if these companies have been tagged etc.
Thanks to Gary for the twitter assistance to..