Thanks to the Shifted Librarian I had the pleasure of viewing DePauw University’s videos promoting their Visual Resource Center. Yes the concept is a look-alike and relies on the popularity of the Mac vs. PC ads, but it’s simplicity is its strength.
To the point, funny, and well-thought; I can give nothing but praise for these wonderful PR pieces.
Dude, that’s a Llama; is still making me laugh.
The down time I experienced over the past few weeks was due to a career shift. As of April 1st, I am now the new Assessment Librarian for the University of Pittsburgh. What that means is that I have been charged with finding solutions needed to better assess the services provided by the library.
Hopefully the direction of this blog won’t shift too much from the original focus, but I would wager that more posts involving assessment may begin to pop-up.
If you or your library have any information you feel a new assessment librarian would be crazy to be without, feel free to send me a link or comment on this post.
If you have a few minutes check out this entertaining look back at the history of choosing librarian as a career. What would the video look like today? I think ALA should sponsor a video contest for just such a thing and use it for recruitment.
Mine would feature either Christopher Walken, Illeana Douglas, or Patrick Stewart as the narrator. Maybe I should start writing a grant proposal…
I stumbled upon this new search system. Called True Knowledge, this blend of search engine and knowledge base aims to provide answers to queries instead of a list of links. The video above explains their design and process.
In short, the system utilized external databases and user input in order to create what some may call a proto-semantic web search. True the system isn’t “intelligent” but the ability to allow the system to use natural language processing and digitally mined data, the future looks bright for something as simple as this tool.
With any user driven knowledge base there is the fear of data corruption. It will be interesting to see what the developers will do to keep the system secure when attacked by digital vandals.
I have signed up for a Beta testing account but it seems like everyone else in the world has too, so I am in the queue. Now I play the waiting game for my log in information.
[Added] I wanted to add my thoughts on where we as librarians could fit into this interesting development. As more sites and services such as TrueKnowledge, Wikipedia, and Google Knol; perhaps there will be a subset of librarians who are information agents. By this I mean to suggest that they would be experts in verifying information found on such sites. They would be able to link citations and resources between many tools in an attempt to better inform the world.
True they may seem more like super-heroes in this vision, but the concept of socially created resources may bring about such a need.
For some other thoughts on librarians and users administrating such systems check out my other posts:
To get the full effect you may want to glance at this article first.
To be honest, I was hoping to see a punch line at the end of this article, so that the rather outlandish points delivered by the author could be accounted to blatant humor. Unfortunately it didn’t come and what lay before me was a piece of paranoid rhetoric that warned of the impending “end of days” for the professional librarian. True these are opinions but the knee-jerk reactions to the actions of new library leaders struggling to find a new voice for their libraries is shocking and without reason. Why wouldn’t we need to rethink our practices if the audience has changed its own vision for the library? In some libraries they constantly fight a battle to draw back their population from the migration to the “bookstore” or seclusion of the at home online experience. Even reference services are seeing a downturn in numbers, which could be a factor in their management’s decision to try something new and unexpected. What follows are my free flowing retorts to the article entitled “Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians” published on LibraryJournal.com, 02/15/2008.
Recently the library I am associated with obtained several Kindle devices. As gifts they were meant to stimulate our interest in digital book devices and perhaps inquire as to the usefulness for our library. Being the curious techno-geek that I am, I decided to examine Amazon‘s new tool and make my personal thoughts known. (It should be noted that my opinions are not associated with my University but instead are my personal statements regarding my own experiences.)