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Q: What can a reference librarian do that I can't do on Google?
A: They know about more sophisticated strategies to find information and more efficient ways to find information than Google and teach you. They can teach you to evaluate those sources you find on Google and get better, more accurate results.
CDs, tapes, external drives, off site back up through Amazon S3; all of these are viable options for backing up precious data.
But what about paper?
Crazy? Well, not really. A programme called PaperBack will take files and render them as code on standard paper. Simply print and file. To recover files, scan the paper. Still, what's the advantage?
Well, one big one is that technology comes and goes. We had ZIP drives, tape drives, and all kinds of stuff before now that aren't used anymore. Meanwhile TWAIN, the standard protocol for scanners, has been around for almost two decades and isn't likely to go anywhere soon.
Sure, you wouldn't want to back up, say, your ILS database like this. But how about important circulation data? Passwords for those days when an act of god wipes your data centre from the face of the earth? You could send updates to rural areas with limited internet access. And in the end, it uses a medium that's been with us for thousands of years.
Even with the shift to RFID tags, many libraries still use barcodes. A good many of the libraries using RFID use both the tags and the barcodes.
We're all familiar with the technology; a laser passes over the code and reads it through measurement of reflected light.
A new technology in coded information utilizes something similar but in reverse. Called a Bokode, it uses a small LED covered by a lens with dark patches on it. To read it, you need a camera and some software. The dark patches detail the data and the data given out varies with angle. In other words, a Bokode on a book right in front of you might tell you an item number and title with brief synapsis. A Bokode on a book a little farther down (taken with the same camera at the same time) might tell you why you might like this book if you're interested in that one.
But for my money, here's what makes my little Circulation Supervisor brain titter with glee:
"Let's say you're standing in a library with 20 shelves in front of you and thousands of books."
"You could take a picture and you'd immediately know where the book you're looking for is."
The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest surviving Christian Bible, dating from around 1,600 years ago. For all but 100 of those years, it sat in a monastery in Sinai.
800 pages of the book, written in Greek on parchment, are now available online for the world's perusal.
More on this story from the BBC site which includes an audio report about how the Codex was discovered and what it took to put it online.
You have a Kindle and you buy an e-book. How many times can you download that e-book? In other words can you download it to your Kindle once, but if you replace your Kindle can you download it again?
You don't know?
Well, turns out, Amazon doesn't either. And since the number of times that you can download varies from publisher to publisher and book to book, well, you can start to see the problem.
ROARMAP is the Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies. A note out on SERIALST this morning mentioned that sometimes Open Access policies are adopted by institutions but not made known. Librarians and others concerned by this can log policies of their institutions with ROARMAP so that a broader picture of prevailing policies can be painted.
My sincere apologies for the tardiness on this episode. We had a family issue come up that necessitated traveling and the chaos that goes with it, so I'm just now getting it online.
This time around, The Faceless Historian ushers you down the aisle of history with some key stops in (THIS... IS...) Sparta(!). Then he provides a dash of poetry and weird books before introducing you to a daughter and a unicycling scientist. Where does it end? Well, I suppose you could use Google to find out.
Sometimes, you don't even know if there is barbarian At The Gates.13:24 minutes (8 MB)
Free one-on-one counseling plus other services are available, as they once were doing a lean period for our current Commander-in-Chief. In an interview four years ago with American Libraries magazine, Mr. Obama recounted how a librarian at the mid-Manhattan branch of the library helped him locate the organization in Chicago that hired him as a community organizer in the mid-1980s. Hurray for librarians!!
Kristin McDonough, director of the business library estimated that more than one-third of the 1,900 daily visitors are looking for work or preparing for the loss of a job. She said about $1 million will be spent throughout the library system in the effort to help job seekers.
The cloud computing concept takes another hit. Techcrunch dropped a story this morning on more holes found in the popular online application Google Docs. This news arrives right on the heels of another security problem discovered earlier this month.
In short, images embedded in Google Docs could be accessed outside Google Docs itself because the images are uploaded to another server. I've seen something like this myself because if you use Blogger, your uploaded images show up in your Picassa account.
If you share a document carrying a diagram, the person will be able to view previous versions of that diagram whether you want them to or not.
Finally, removing another user's access to a document doesn't always ensure that they can't access that document again later.
These flaws seem serious enough to put at risk the ability of libraries to comply with relevant privacy rules as to patrons if Google Docs is in the mix. Free (as in freedom and as in beer) alternatives like Citadel may prove profitable for libraries to evaluate.