Public Libraries & the Internet

The Information Use Management & Policy Institute at Florida State University recently released the latest in a series of studies on public libraries in the US & network access. They’ve done these studies approximately every 2 years since 1994. This one was funded by the Gates Foundation & the ALA. Major findings: 99.6% of public library outlets in the United States are connected to the Internet. 98.9% of public library.. Read More


Foggy screen points the way, from Nature Inventors have fashioned an interactive computer display from a curtain of fog. The FogScreen uses ceiling-mounted air jets to create a vertical, turbulence-free slice of air a few centimetres thick, into which a fine mist of water is pumped. An ordinary projector can be used to display images on the resulting wall of fog. …with the help of a laser-scanning system, the FogScreen.. Read More

Will the Internet kill the printed book?

I originally wrote this little rant back in early April, but saved it because posting hot-blooded rants has gotten me into some trouble here & I wanted time to cool off. Then I just ignored it for a while. But now I’m into belated spring cleaning of the email inbox and postponed blog posts. Looking at this again, I’m ok with it, so here goes… Ok, so I’m a little.. Read More

Google lowers the bar for GIS

Google Maps Make Demographics Come Alive, from AP Geeks, tinkerers and innovators are crashing the Google party, having discovered how to tinker with the search engine’s mapping service to graphically illustrate vital information that might otherwise be ignored, overlooked or not perceived as clearly. …Google charts each point on its maps by latitude and longitude – that’s how Google can produce driving directions to practically anywhere in the nation. Seasoned.. Read More

Episode Free

Thanks to Nelson for bringing this to my attention: Final ‘Star Wars’ film leaked to the Internet, from Reuters “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” has been leaked onto a major file-sharing network just hours after opening in theaters… At least two copies of the film, which was first shown in theaters in the early hours of Thursday, have been posted to the BitTorrent file-sharing network… …one.. Read More

“In Your Face” Reference

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about marketing & PR for dig ref services. One of our findings from the NCknows evaluation was that they need to do more marketing to raise awareness of the service around the state & in specific communities. I suggested recently that one reason for the failure of the MIT libraries’ chat service is a disconnect between what the users think the service can offer.. Read More

Reference Extract

This post from Dig_Ref announces the IIS’ launch of Reference Extract: Reference Extract is a targeted web search engine. It is built from the expertise of over 60 AskA services geared to the education audience. The Virtual Reference Desk team has identified high-quality archives of FAQ’s and previously asked questions. These sites were then indexed, and the result is an easy to use, quality oriented search engine: Reference Extract. Some.. Read More

IM apps as the front-end to a chat ref app

Stephen Francoeur asks: Wouldn’t it be cool if your patrons could use an IM client to chat with your web contact center software (such as the versions of eGain offered by and 24/7 Reference or Docutek’s VRLplus)? We know huge percentage of our users are already using instant messaging, but imagine if they could add your library’s chat reference service to their buddy list and then use their IM.. Read More

Whitman archive at Duke

New Online Archive Offers Rich Details of Walt Whitman’s Works, from Duke News Contemporary scholars are painstakingly creating a comprehensive new annotated internet archive to enable poet Walt Whitman’s works to reach 21st-century readers in a way not possible before, according to Matt Cohen, assistant professor of English at Duke University and an editor of the Walt Whitman Archive. This is a seriously cool digital library. I call it a.. Read More

Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy

Scientific Conference Falls for Gibberish Prank, from Reuters A bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference in a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jeremy Stribling said on Thursday that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with nonsensical text,.. Read More