NPR on Google Books

April 26, 2008

National Public Radio recently ran a story about an issue we’ve discussed several times here: the pros and cons of digitization projects like Google Books. Google Books in particular is a remarkable project with some great outcomes, but it also raises concerns that the world’s books will be accessible in the future through a single for-profit corporate entity.

Technology To Make Teens Polite

April 26, 2008

Thanks to the Shifted Librarian for pointing this one out: anecdotal evidence from an Omaha library that gaming in libraries not only increases teen book checkouts (by 1000% at one library), but leads to teens acting more civilized in the library. The library director makes an argument against the “public library as book warehouse” model and for the “public library as community center” model.

Library Tech in New York Times

April 23, 2008

Sunday’s NYT had an article on the use of eBooks, MP3 audiobooks, and other technology in East coast libraries.

Virtual Digital Libraries

April 13, 2008

As though digital libraries weren’t virtual enough already…

The Diligent Project has created a framework for grid-based virtual digital libraries. The infrastructure, called g-Cube, allows a digital library to be distributed across an array of computers.

Elsevier + NetBase = illumin8

March 26, 2008

Paul Miller’s ZDNet blog has a post discussing illumin8, a new joint-venture academic search technology from Elsevier and NetBase. From the folks at illumin8:

“illumin8 combines search and semantic indexing technologies to distill deep meaning, purpose and insight from the vast amount of Elsevier’s full-text content, scientific abstracts from 4,000 publishers, patents and billions of web pages. This research tool extracts and analyzes solutions, which are then categorized under organizations, products, technologies, approaches, and experts. Illumin8 is designed to go beyond simple keyword search, quickly finding and extracting crisp summarized answers and interrelationships that are semantically related to the context of the search query.”

So I’m not very clear on specifically how its outcomes are better than the competition’s, but based on the daunting array of buzzwords it ought to be really, really super-good.

(Miller had a chance to try it out and felt it did well at finding results for his queries.)

Bill in Bulgaria

March 26, 2008

Presumably Melinda too, but that’s not alliterative.

Not content to shower American libraries with IT grants, the Gates Foundation has made a grant to help Bulgaria modernize its libraries too. Why Bulgaria? “According to a survey from 2006, Bulgaria was at the bottom of the ranking of the 27 European Union member states in home internet access, with only eight per cent of households signing on.” Library internet access will be a major focus of the grant.

Code4Lib Journal v2.0

March 26, 2008

Code4Lib Journal has just published its second edition with some great topics, including:

  • Using Google Calendar to Manage Library Website Hours
  • Help! A simple method for getting back-up help to the reference desk
  • Googlizing a Digital Library
  • Participatory Design of Websites with Web Design Workshops