Saturday, December 26, 2009

Understanding the Search Experiences of Children

Link to December 26 New York Times article, "Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet".

Excerpt: Sponsored by Google and developed by the University of Maryland and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the research was aimed at discerning the differences between how children and adults search and identify the barriers children face when trying to retrieve information.

Like other children, Benjamin was frustrated by his lack of search skills or, depending on your view, the limits of search engines.

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Corvallis-Benton County Public Library Top 20 Circulating Books (July-Dec 2009)

1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

2. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

3. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

4. The Associate by John Grisham

5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

6. Swimsuit by James Patterson

7. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients by Jeff Hertzberg

8. Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

9. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

10. The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

11. True Compass: A Memoir by Ted Kennedy

12. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

13. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

14. First Family by David Balducci

15. The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow

16. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

17. Brimstone by Douglas J. Preston

18. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford

19. The 8th Confession by James Patterson

20. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body by Jillian Michaels

Carson City Library Foundation's Big Apple New Year's Eve Party

Link to December Nevada Appeal article, "Carson City Library hosts New York New Year".

Excerpt: Carson City can ring in the New Year in grand New York fashion — or at least on New York time. The Carson City Library Foundation is hosting its second annual Big Apple New Year's Eve Party.

Although it will draw on a New York atmosphere, the true appeal is the time difference, according to organizer Phyllis Patton.

“We felt there was a group of people out there who did not enjoy going out to casinos and partying all night,” said Patton, chairwoman of the library foundation. “In New York, it's all over and done with by 9 o'clock (Pacific time).”

Yellowstone National Park Public Domain Photographs

Link to Yellowstone Digital Slide File. (via Resource Shelf)

Rachel Maddow In So Many Words: Library Card = Access to Information

Link to December 25 Crooks and Liars post, "Rachel Maddow Exposes John Birth Society Conspiracy Theories".

Excerpt: Another issue the nice people at the John Birch Society say that we got wrong on this show was their position on the fluoridation of drinking water. In their online retort to our segment from last week, the John Birch Society said it never labeled fluoridation of water as a communist mind control plot, because that sounds crazy, right? They wrote that actually, the John Birch Society opposed water fluoridation because it represented, quote, "a precedent for the socialized medicine Maddow supports."

I know they would love that to be true. But, well, here`s a page from the March 1960 John Birch Society bulletin. You`ll see that there is a section here at the bottom of the page -- do we have here? Yes.

A section at the bottom of page 13 titled, "How to Defeat Fluoridation in Your City." After advising the reader to paper his or her city council school board PTA and church community with anti-fluoridation pamphlets, the John Birch Society warns, quote, "If you live in a large enough city, or if the communists have been able to beguile a sufficiently large enough, powerful enough, and determined enough clique into supporting fluoridation, the above formula, alone, may not stop them."

John Birch Society, you may wish that you hadn`t said that fluoridation was a secret communist plot -- but you did in writing, and we have a library card. (Retiring Guy's emphasis)

Record-breaking Year for Portage County Public Library

Link to December 25 Stevens Point Journal article, "Libraries see record use in 2009".

Excerpt: The Portage County Public Library system is anticipating a record-breaking circulation year for 2009.

The system, which has libraries in Plover, Almond, Rosholt and Stevens Point, expects to have loaned a little more than 500,000 items out in 2009, surpassing its previous high of 498,000 items in 2005, library director Bob Stack said.

"I'm fairly confident for us it's going to be a record," he said.

But the Portage County system is not alone.

"In good times and bad, public libraries are a great value, but historically, people turn to their libraries in tough economic times. This year was no exception," said Phyllis Davis, director of the
South Central Library System, which serves Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk and Wood counties.

She said of the 40 libraries that use the shared automated system in the South Central network circulation is up an average of 7.05 percent.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

FEMA Reconsiders, Decides Public Library Provides an Essential Community Service

Link to December 24 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, "FEMA reverses, grants relocation money to Cedar Rapids library".

Excerpt: The Cedar Rapids Public Library received notice Wednesday that FEMA approved the second appeal for temporary relocation assistance following the flood of 2008, stating that the library does, in fact, provide essential community services.

The news was announced first by Sen. Tom Harkin’s office.

Previous attempts to get reimbursement funding from FEMA for temporary relocation were denied based on federal law which does not list libraries among essential community services, such as police and fire departments.

“This is a major victory not just for the Cedar Rapids Public Library, but for any library that may be in a similar situation in the future,” said Bob Pasicznyuk, library director.

The money will cover 18 months of rent, utilities, and other expenses, but library officials aren’t sure yet which 18 months it will apply to. The library has been without its central location in downtown Cedar Rapids since the flood.

RFID and Pour Data

And not a drop too much.

Link to December 23 Restaurants & Institutions article, "Technology Drives Savings Behind the Bar".

Excerpt: The RFID spouts, equipped with wireless transmitters that send pour data to a central computer, can track liquor use by the bottle, drink, bartender, shift or just about any other metric. The system integrates with the restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system to determine the types of drinks ordered and their ingredients. If the amount of inventory used varies from what is expected, the system calls out the discrepancy.

Not a capability likely to be found in a library's RFID RFI.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hide and Seek: Downtown Cedar Rapids Satellite Branch Library

Link to November 30 AP article in Mason City Globe-Gazette.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library opened a satellite branch in downtown months ago. But administrators and employees say it has been a challenge attracting customers.

Managing director Christina Riedel says there is apparently a lack of awareness the office is open for business.

Riedel admits the satellite office has a different dynamic than did the old library before last year's flood. Its 1,800-square-foot space is more of a hole-in-the-wall library compared with its former 85,000-square-foot downtown location

Beat the Drum Slowly: Streets of Laredo Soon Without a Bookstore

There's always the public library

Link to December 16 Arizona Daily Sun article, "Laredo could be largest US city without bookstore".

Excerpt: The final chapter has been written for the lone bookstore on the streets of Laredo.

With a population of nearly a quarter-million people, this city could soon be the largest in the nation without a single bookseller.

The situation is so grim that schoolchildren have pleaded for a reprieve from next month's planned shutdown of the B. Dalton bookstore. After that, the nearest store will be 150 miles away in San Antonio.

The B. Dalton store was never a community destination with comfy couches and an espresso bar, but its closing will create a literary void in a city with a high illiteracy rate. Industry analysts and book associations could not name a larger American city without a single bookseller.

America's Most Literate Cities, 2009

Link to Central Connecticut State University website.

The criteria
1. Newspaper circulation
2. Number of bookstores
3. Library resources
4. Periodical publishing resources
5. Educational attainment
6. Internet resources

Library Flash Mob: The Third Post is not the Charm

Link to December 11 WKTR-TV report, "Hundreds of students swarm ODU library in flash mob, are pepper sprayed by campus police".

Link to Old Dominion University Flash Mob Facebook page.

Wisconsin Attorney General Informal Opinion: "Making Salem Better" Website a Public Record

Link to Wisconsin Department of Justice December 23 news release.

Excerpt: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today issued an informal opinion concluding that the content of a “Google group” website called “Making Salem Better,” which is maintained by the Salem Town Chair, was a public record and that access to the materials from the website should be made available for inspection upon reasonable request.

Link to December 23 J. B. Van Hollen letter.

Internet Use: Survey Says.....

U.S. adults spend an average of 13 hours online. (Excluding email.)

Which is actually down a percentage point from a year ago.

Link to December 23 cnet news post.

Link to December 22 Harris Interactive press release.

A Look at St. Norbert College Mulva Library Design Features

Link to December 23 Green Bay Press-Gazette article, "Mulva Library uses light, space to create atmosphere".

Excerpt: Yes, there are rows and rows of book stacks in the Mulva Library at St. Norbert College. But the designer also created an aura of contemporary openness that's sometimes playful on the eye.

"I think what the designer had in mind was this very interactive, very connected social space," Michael Flynn, project manager, says of Hillier Architecture of New Jersey.

"It's just multilayered. There's lots of glass, a lot of shapes and spaces, both positive spaces and open, or negative, spaces that I think have a real interesting interplay with the amount of glass, the amount of light."

Cookbook Publishers' Latest Strategy: Bigger is Better

928 pages
4 1/2 pounds
2000+ recipes

Link to December 23 AP article in the Stevens Point Journal, "Publishers fight the Web with behemoth cookbooks".

Excerpt: What exactly is one person supposed to do with 2,000 Italian recipes? Or 1,400 French dishes? A new generation of comprehensive (some would say behemoth) cookbooks is cramming thousands of recipes into weighty volumes, some nearly 3 inches thick and weighing more than 4 pounds.

Why the heavyweights? Publishers say it's a matter of survival, crediting the Internet and the tough economy with driving the trend.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Profile of Ebook Owners

Link to December MarketingProfs post, "E-Books Attract Internet-Savvy, Educated". (via Resource Shelf)

E-book owners are 116% more likely than average to be heavy Internet users. Moreover, they are 199% more likely to have accessed the Internet using a Wi-Fi or wireless connection outside the home and 154% more likely to have accessed the Internet using a cell phone or other mobile device.

Other key attributes of e-book owners:

  • 11% more likely than average to own their home
  • 87% more likely to have a household income of $100,000 or higher annually
  • 111% more likely to have obtained a Bachelor's or post-graduate degree
"Clearly, users of the current generation of e-readers are highly educated, upscale, and Internet savvy," said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP, Marketing & Strategic Planning, at Mediamark Research & Intelligence. "With Sony preparing to ship its Reader Daily Edition and Barnes & Noble about to enter the market with its Nook product, it will be interesting to see how quickly e-books catch on in greater numbers with the more mainstream population."

The Tipping Point for Ebooks?

Link to December 21 Christian Science Monitor article, "The e-book, the e-reader, and the future of reading".

Excerpt: E-book sales remain a minuscule part of the publishing industry – just 1.4 percent of the total $10.9 billion sales in the first nine months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers. But, not unlike the way digital music overtook traditional CDs overnight, e-books will probably dominate publishing industry sales within 10 years, estimates Mr. Haber, who helped develop the Sony Reader. “It’s been building up for a year or so, but going into the [2009] holiday season it’s suddenly mass exposure, multiple players in the market, multiple players rumored to be coming into the market. And that’s what drives innovation. Every year from now on is going to be a leap ahead.”

Multiples that lead to confusion in a lot of quarters.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chat Reference for Physicians

For decorative purposes only

$45 will get you 10 minutes.

Link to December 21 Impact Lab post, "NowClinic: Virtual House Call To Go Nationwide in 2010". (via Slashdot)

Excerpt: Americans could soon be able to see a doctor without getting out of bed, in a modern-day version of the house call that takes place over the Web.

OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, plans to offer NowClinic, a service that connects patients and doctors using video chat, nationwide next year. It is introducing it state by state, starting with Texas, but not without resistance from state medical associations.

Without getting out of bed? Who's doing NowClinic's market research?

For now, I don't think state medical associations have much to worry about.

For a reality check, see the May 7, 2009, Business Week article, "Growing Pains for Online Video Chat: Seesmic, TokBox, and other startups in this area of social media must contend with issues of personality and, especially, privacy".

Ultimately, a good social app is driven by a strong sense of accessibility, simplicity of use, and even privacy. Otherwise users get turned off. That's what happened to Seesmic; it had a hard time retaining early adopters and didn't grow beyond a core user base. Seesmic peaked at 150,000 monthly unique visitors in October 2008 before dropping to its current level of 92,000. Another startup, 12 Seconds, was heralded by tech pundits as the Twitter of video but suffered a similar fate. It's now nothing more than a micro social video community.

Change for the Better, Change for the Worse


Link to December 21 Pew Research Center report, "Public Looks Back at Worst Decade in 50 Years".

Excerpt: As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public's recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all case.

To be sure, the passage of time may affect the way people view these historical periods. For example, had we asked the public's impression of the 1970s in December of 1979, the negatives may well have outweighed the positives.

Opinions of Technological and Social Changes

Top 5 Changes for the Better
1. Cellphones (69%)
2. Green products (68%)
3. Email (65%)
4. The internet (65%)
5. Increasing racial/ethnic diversity (61%)

Top 5 Changes for the Worse
1. Reality TV shows (63%)*
2. More people getting tattoos (40%)
3. More people in the stock market (34%)
4. Cable news talk & opinion shows (30%)
5. Acceptance of gays & lesbians (28%)

Why does #1 under changes for the worse bring to mind this recent story?

Twitter's Outlook for 2010

Link to December 21 ClickZ post, "Opportunity Is Ripe for Twitter to Offer Marketing Tools in 2010".

Excerpt: There's little doubt Twitter will be hailed as one of the success stories of 2009, having continued to grow throughout the year from the solid base it achieved during 2008, and attracting a steady stream of media attention along the way.

According to Nielsen, traffic to the network's Web site alone increased 1,448 percent year-over-year in the month of May, from 1.2 million unique visitors in 2008 to 18.2 million in May 2009. That data excludes use from third-party software such as Tweetdeck and mobile applications, suggesting the actual numbers could be higher.

But it's the last sentence of this article that really caught Retiring Guy's attention.

Surely marketers will be waiting with baited breath to see what else might be on offer in 2010, and if those features are worth paying for.

Technologizer's Version of Esquire's "Dubious Achievements"

Once upon a time,
the most achingly funny read of the year.

Link to December 20 Technologizer post, "This Dumb Decade: The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009".

Excerpt: If ever a decade began dumb, it was this one.* When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

Which was a relief–and a fitting way to kick off the technological era we’ve lived in ever since. Yes, it’s been an amazing time. But it’s also seen more than its share of misbegotten decisions, bizarre dramas, pointless hype, and lackluster products and technologies–often involving the same people and companies responsible for all the amazing stuff.

So–with a respectful tip of the Technologizer hat to Business 2.0 and Fortune’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business and, of course, to Esquire’s Dubious Achievement Awards–let’s recap, shall we?

LISNews: Ten Notable News Stories of 2009

Link to December 18 LISNews post, "Ten Stories That Shaped 2009".

1. It's (Still) the Economy.
2. New Moon Mania.
3. Google Books Settlement.
4. Bookless School Library (Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA).
5. Judith Krug, 1940-2009.
6. Aren't We Cool? (Libraries offering video games and comic books.)
7. Whither Wikipedia. (Growing pains & loss of volunteers.)
8. Decline of newspapers.
9. E-Books and Orwell.
10 Censorship Lives On.

Lakeland College's Revamped Website

Old Main Hall, Lakeland College

Link to December 21 Sheboygan Press article, "Lakeland College's new Web site puts visitors in control".

Excerpt: The new site's design features more, larger and engaging photos of students and the campus to add visual appeal. The new site also introduces a campus video tour, hosted by Lakeland's student ambassadors, and easy access to everything from Lakeland's NCAA athletic team scores to a financial aid estimator for new students.

The site will interface with popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, accommodating the ability to gather and share information between prospective students and their parents.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Frank Zappa Bust

Link to December 17 Baltimore Sun article, "Donated Lithuanian bust of eccentric rocker Frank Zappa finds home outside Baltimore library".

Excerpt: It took more than a year, but Baltimore officials finally decided where to put a bust of rocker Frank Zappa that was given to the city by his fans in Lithuania.

The eccentric musician's statue will be erected outside a public library.

Zappa never visited Lithuania, but his music was popular there among the avant garde. A Lithuanian fan club erected a Zappa statue in the Lithuanian capital and last year donated a replica to Baltimore, the singer's birthplace.

And in honor of the occasion, I'd like to share a cut from my favorite Zappa album.

Dear Abby Tells Library Answer Lady She May Need to See a Psychologist

You'll find the question and answer in the December 15 Houston Chronicle. It's the entry after "Hot Flash Hilda" and "Food for Thought".

Book Theft on the Rise

Link to December 20 New York Times Book Review essay by Margo Rabb, "Steal These Books".

Excerpt: But I never would’ve considered stealing a book. Books, I believed, were sacred.

Apparently, not everyone shares this idea. With the recession, shoplifting is on the rise, according to booksellers. At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., the rate of theft has increased to approximately one book per hour. I asked Steve Bercu, BookPeople’s owner, what the most frequently stolen title was.

“The Bible,” he said, without pausing.

Here's an interesting aside. Only 40 percent of books that are read are paid for, and only 28 percent are purchased new, said Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry. The rest are shared, borrowed, given away — or stolen.

Bankrupt, Reader's Digest Looks to Reformat Itself

Link to December 20 New York Times article, "A Reader’s Digest That Grandma Never Dreamed Of".

Excerpt: Bye-bye, Reader’s Digest.

Hello “multibrand media and marketing company that educates, entertains and connects audiences around the world,” as it says on another FACE poster.

Favorite line: In her [CEO Mary Berner's] telling, Reader’s Digest was badly in need of a towel snap before she arrived.

The Year(s) Everything Changed

No wonder 1979 is known for Carter's "malaise" speech. All those changes had worn us out.

Actually, the speech he gave on July 15, 1979, is more objectively known as his "Crisis of Confidence" speech. He never used the word "malaise".

It's the End of the World As We Know It

Link to December 16 New York Times article, "You Never Listen to Celine Dion? Radio Meter Begs to Differ".

Excerpt: That more men are mellowing out to Air Supply than are willing to admit it is a curious discovery, but the new system has serious repercussions, especially for classical radio. When 12 major areas, including New York and Los Angeles, switched to the system last year, classical radio’s market share fell 10.7 percent in those areas, a significant drop, according to a study by Research Director, a ratings consultancy.

In LINKcat, there a 15 copies of 9 sound recordings by Air Supply. Plus 1 DVD.

As Pete Hamon has always said, libraries have something to offend everyone!

42% of Marathon County Residents Without High-Speed Internet Access

Link to December 20 Wausau Daily Herald article.

Excerpt: More than 42 percent of Marathon County households do not have access to high-speed Internet because dead zones surround the Wausau area, according to a study of county broadband capacity.

Among more than 500 respondents in a survey of households, 132 had no Internet at all -- some of them by choice. But the survey and other elements of the study document widespread challenges to access.

Officials who think the county should help to improve local Internet connections say the survey demonstrates that lack of access among people and businesses limits economic development.