Archive

Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Zotero is being sued

10/02/2008 1 comment

According to a recent article on the Courthouse News Service, Thomas Reuters (makers of EndNote) are suing the inventor of Zotero.  This is very sad news for those of us who have grown to love Zotero.  This is one of the dangers of Open Source tools and should be another alarm for the crisis we are facing in innovation.

If the claim is valid, the GMU creator should be reprimanded.  I have a feeling that there will have been something amiss in the claim.  The funding for this project came from several well-known sources and I would hope that their lawyers looked at the plans before dealing out the money.

Advertisements
Categories: innovation Tags:

Google Advanced Search Update

Connector

As reported on LifeHacker.com, Google’s Advanced Search page now uses Javascript to reconstruct each search query to include Boolean operators, on the fly.  Basically you enter items into each text box and the search string is dynamically created before you start looking at results. You can also exclude terms in a similar fashion.

This may be a good time for us (librarians) to harness the way Google is making their searching easier, in order to better explain proper searching techniques using Boolean operators.

User Feedback Model from Starbucks

java is good

Michael from Tame the Web posted his thoughts on the new Starbucks user driven idea site.  Basically users can share their ideas for more effective services and products, vote on other people’s ideas, and see the results made by the company.  This is done in one site, and seems to have a general turn around time of 1 week or less.

For those of us who have seen good ideas in libraries get swamped under the mountains of bureaucratic posturing, all to often found in libraries, wouldn’t it be nice to utilize a system such as this to gather external, expedient information?  The ability for the user to be a part of their own environment gathers their trust in the library and can then lead to a stronger connection for future needs. Though there is a growing concern for students having too much sway in their educational practices, I think implementing something like this could transform many stagnant areas of library services. (But not all, as I would hate to leave things such as collection development and circulation policies hinging primarily on student feedback alone.)

I may be putting this on my plate soon, as this is a form of assessment and planning.  We shall see.

Read at Work

If you haven’t seen the Read at Work site, you may want to take a peek.  The site features works in the public domain, reconstructed in the guise of a Power Point presentation.  The site utilizes a Flash based interface that mimics a Windows Desktop environment.

It may not be the most comfortable way of reading said works, but I find them mildly entertaining in their own right.

I think I may have to do a search for Power Point art.  I am sure someone is out there doing it already.  If not, the idea is mine.  🙂

Google Maps now with more info

Google has recently made some very interesting developments in their map content(from Cnet).  Along with the user created maps, geo-tagged photographs, and related local ads; users can now find Wikipedia entries relating to geographically linked sites.  Once you are in the general area of the location you are curious about, simply hit the “more” tab to see Wikipedia entries and photos.  The short informational blurbs are taken from the Wikipedia entry and allow users to seamlessly browse into more information.

Granted, if you don’t trust Wikipedia this service may be more annoying than useful, but I wish that everything had a little more information on Google maps.  Now if they would just show Flickr photos on there and not just ones from Panoramio…

Maybe an institution can start working on adding not only historic photos to the mix but related historical information gleaned from other data sources and archived materials.  Hmmm sounds like we need a grant…

See also:

Stephen Francouer on Wikipedia vs. Other resources

Knowing who you are

05/08/2008 1 comment

While searching for information about new ways to log virtual reference chat sessions, I stumbled upon a new concept in user to service interactions. APML or Attention Profiling Markup Language, is a Web 2.0 driven standard meant to allow you as the user to “inform” the system you wish to use, of the types of things you would be interested in. (In theory.)

What if a library catalog supported this type of language? Imagine uploading your “profile” into the catalog search and being presented with related topics and collections of resources that you may find interesting. Yes this may rely more on the machine and preordained associations, but doesn’t the APML feel a bit like LCSH.  Maybe that is a jump, but as libraries search for ways to make their services adapt to the user while still maintaining some structure; is there a way for us to explore this new concept?

I Still Can’t Find the Any key!

05/01/2008 1 comment

Making the rounds on many blogs and dlists is the article from the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “A Sociologist Says Students Aren’t So Web-Wise After All.”

Eszter Hargittai, the sociologist involved, asserts the claim made that just because students are of the younger generation it doesn’t justly follow that they will be more “Web-savvy.” According to Dr. Hargittai college freshmen are often unable to exhibit a  “basic understanding of such terms as BCC (blind copy on e-mail), podcasting, and phishing.”  She goes on to claim that such deficiencies could relate to students not realizing the volatility of such online tools as Wikipedia and how they are created and maintained.

For the most part, this statement seems to hinge on the assumption that being “Web-savvy” directly relates to the level of knowledge about “how” these systems work and not on “how” to make these systems complete the tasks they are designed to do.  The aspect of this issue that really needs more attention is the acceptance of technology in their tasks and rate of adaptability.  Sure they may not be able to speak WIki code just from looking at the published page, but would they understand the “document structure” in a faster time frame than the Baby-boomer generation?

I hope that this article, and the wave of “I told you so’s” from those questioning the skills of Gen-Y, won’t be used as ammo to  negate the development of advanced technology services.  We have an open road in front of us for sharing information with those who are “Web-savvy” and possibly even inspiring the next generation of web geniuses.  On the flip-side, I whole-heartedly support assessing student skill levels in technology competencies.  I would go so far as to start pushing for a standardized assessment tool to be rolled into our library instruction tools.  It would not only help instruct the students but their faculty and ourselves at the same time.

For those who missed it the first time, here is a post in which I talked about issues such as this in longer detail.

Where’s the Any key?