I had been to the Information is Beautiful website before, but was reminded of it again today. Not all of the graphics necessarily help communicate their information in the most effective manner, but boy do they look good.
explorations in library blogging
Just stumbled upon the wonderful illustrations of Wendy MacNaughton today on The Rumpus. She illustrated an average day in the San Francisco Public Library and highlighted people and services that make the library special. Really worth checking out…
Via The Centered Librarian…..Lendle is a service that connect users of the Kindle or Kindle app to one another to facilitate loaning of certain Kindle books. Users sign up for Lendle and submit lists of owned Kindle books. Those looking to borrow a book can choose from lists submitted by other Lendle users. Unfortunately, not all Kindle books are available for lending, only those allowed by the publisher. Books can be loaned to other Kindle users or Kindle app users for up to 14 days. During that time, the book is not available to the owner, much like a physical book. It is returned to the owner after 14 days. Lendle helps further lending beyond just family and friends. I can only hope that with the rise of this and similar servicesg, that the demand for lend-able e-books will increase and publishers will back down from their rigid stance against lending. A pipe dream…but a dream nonetheless.
Lending Kindle books via Amazon.com
As I prepared for winter holiday trips this past December, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Overdrive had finally updated their app for the iphone and ipod touch, allowing some library books to be downloaded directly through the app. Previously, it was only possible to download audio books either through a computer and uploaded to an iphone or ipod or through a 12 step process using Overdrive’s app, designed to infuriate those accustomed to downloads at the click of a button–i.e. me. Right now, only EPub books are available for download. There is a work-around, using Blue Reader to download PDF books, but these PDF books include print that is too small for an iphone or touch. They might be feasible on an iPad, but as I don’t currently own one, I haven’t had a chance to test it out. The ipod/phone Overdrive app is not without its hiccups. For example, when I tried to download two books it let me download one, then I had to close down the app to go back to the browser to download the other. But it is a vast improvement over the previous downloading process. Now if only they could expand their e-book selection….
It has been awhile, or rather, a long while since any words from me graced these pages. Frankly, I needed a break. Five years of library school meant my life and interests in things beyond libraries were put on hold. I needed a period to readjust, to rediscover music, movies, reading for pleasure, traveling, making food and crafts, etc. So I indulged these last few months. But now I am back. I have a few library related things to share–nothing exceptionally profound, but little items that peaked my interest as I have explored other facets of my life. My posts will likely still be sporadic, but I hope to continue to grow and learn…and to share some of it here.
I’ve seen the link to this passed around the web in the last week and thought I would include it here as well. The website Dark Roasted Blend has compiled a number of old bookplates for our enjoyment. Such as shame that we see less and less of them in today’s world.
I came across a couple of artists in the past few weeks that are creating wonderful artwork using books as props. The first is Nina Katchadourian, an artist I discovered through Brain Pickings. In her Sorted Books series, Katchadourian goes to various libraries and uses books in the stacks to create intriguing and amusing phrases. You can check out more of her work on her website, http://www.ninakatchadourian.com
Through the Today and Tomorrow blog, I was introduced to the photographer, Lissy Laricchia. Her series, Get Back in Your Book, depicts various characters of books being pulled quite literally back into their respective books. So far, the set includes Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty. You can find all of the photographs in the series on her Flickr page.
Finally, while this leans towards commerce as opposed to traditional art, the bookmarks created by Jack Spade are both something to visually enjoy and use. The perforated bookmark paper can be purchased here.
Last week, Donald Barclay posted a much lauded article on the American Libraries website discussing the need in academic libraries to move part of their collections off-site because of space issues. Those that resist this move (faculty, students, and alumni) often point to the importance of browsing as a facilitator of exploratory learning. Barclay postulates that the importance of browsing is a myth, that browsing limits information to what is currently on the shelf (excluding checked-out, lost, stolen, or damaged items) and that those who find information through browsing are unlikely to browse the upper and lower shelves. I cannot fault Barclay’s basic premise, but the following sentences jumped out at me, in an unfortunate way:
Using the advanced search tools incorporated into the web sites of major online bookstores, you can not only use keyword searching to overcome the limits of classification, you can also read abstracts and reviews on the spot and, in some cases, sample sections of a book. Because amazon.com and its competitors offer such a rich browsing experience, it is no surprise that so many of today’s academic library users routinely start by looking up books via bookstore websites and employ the campus library catalog only for determining how to get access to the physical book or, increasingly, the book’s contents in digital form.
Pointing to Amazon.com as the go-to tool for browsing says a lot about the weaknesses of many of today’s online catalogs. But perhaps the better approach for libraries to take, if they really want or need to remove items to off-site locations, is to invest time and money into catalogs that are just as good (or better) than what Amazon can provide. While browsing is not really an effective form of information gathering, it is a form of information retrieval used by many and should be enhanced in our online retrieval systems.
Twitter and I didn’t used to get along. I wanted to use it. I wanted to like it. But it just didn’t work for me. At first… While brevity was good, I yearned for substance found more in blogs than in 140 character tweets. I also found it unnecessarily difficult to follow a conversation–something Facebook did much better. Additionally, I know few people on Twitter, so tweets by me tend to be a conversation with myself. But lately, I have started to see some of its benefits. I suppose it all started with the Computers in Libraries conference. Following the tweets via the #cil2010 hashtag, made it relatively easy to follow the proceedings and feel part of the conference even though I was not there. The tool that helped with this was Tweetdeck–something I kept meaning to try but didn’t get around to until the Computers in Libraries conference. Since downloading Tweetdeck, I now follow a number of librarians, tech gurus, travel and craft bloggers…oh, and Conan O’Brien. It has enabled me to create searches to follow trends on Twitter and keep up with other conferences and discussions by following hashtags. I have started tweeting some myself (@bibliotechnolib), but still mostly lurk. But if I can come this far with Twitter, perhaps there is hope for me yet.
**Through the Computers in Libraries conference I became acquainted with Twatter Keeper–a way to archive tweets. While I do not foresee a need to keep track of my personal tweets, it seems like a great tool for conferences or hash-tagged discussions.