Blackboard and WebCT to Merge

This news is less than an hour old, as I post this. I feel so in the loop. Blackboard and WebCT, leading providers of enterprise software and services to the education industry have announced plans to merge. From the press release: The merger of Blackboard and WebCT marks a major milestone in the build- out of networked learning environments by colleges, universities, schools and other education providers. It creates a.. Read More


Ron Bergquist visited me in my office earlier today & gave me a 4-track player & a tape. The player is the very one in the photo here (was there ever more than one model of 4-track player manufactured?); the tape is Otis Redding The Dock of the Bay. Why did he give this to me? Probably to get the damn thing out of his house. Also because I seem.. Read More


For those of you who weren’t at the brownbag yesterday, Gary talked about the upcoming JCDL, & had us all brainstorm a bit about it. Gary mentioned that the theme of the conference, Opening Information Horizons, was an attempt to implicitly play on the theme of open-source, open-access, open-science, etc. I suggested that one way to embrace that theme would be to implement open reviewing. That idea pretty much went.. Read More

Listserv archive badness

When Hitting Reply Means Forever, from the Chronicle This is a slightly old (August 23) but very sobering article about the dangers of conducting important business via email & listservs. It’s amazing the things people write, when they (should) know that everyone & their uncle will be able to see it. One colleague — someone who has grown to be a friend and whom I respect a great deal as.. Read More


I’ve been reading about telephone reference recently. Why? Well, before that I was reading about chat reference services that have failed (Coffman & Arret, 2004a, 2004b; Horowitz, Flanagan, & Helman, 2005), to name a few. And these articles inevitably mention telephone reference as an alternative medium for reference that’s coming back into fashion. If you can call reference fashionable, by any meaningful definition of the term. And an idea occurred.. Read More

Das Keyboard

Only for those who are really really confident of their touch-typing ability: Das Keyboard is an enhanced 104-key USB PC keyboard equiped with 100% blank keys…

SCIgen, part 2

Students Whose Phony Paper Brought a Conference Invitation Are Stars of Their Own Video, from the Chronicle Conference officials objected when the students distributed fliers encouraging conference attendees to come to what the students billed as a “technical session” that had its own randomly-generated title, “The 6th Annual North American Symposium on Methodologies, Theory, and Information.” The officials asked the hotel to make the students remove all references to the.. Read More

Microsoft Research Memex RFP

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Vannevar Bush’s article As We May Think, Microsoft Research has put out an RFP the new Digital Memories (Memex) program: the Digital Memories (Memex) research kit gives a jump-start to perform research around storing all of an individual’s lifetime information, novel capture methods (for example, Bush’s head-worn stereo camera), linking of information, and use of meta-data. … We invite all proposals that deal with.. Read More

Blogs & Dig Ref

The latest news out of the IIS is that they’re working on linking WordPress to QABuilder (QABuilder is the IIS’ web-based dig ref app), as a project for AskNSDL. They’re calling this “Story Starters.” The idea of a reference blog is of course something that Fred and I have been thinking about for a while now. But Story Starters has an interesting twist that we never considered. Fred and I.. Read More