“Sirsi Corporation and Dynix Corporation—the second largest and largest ILS vendors—announced this morning that they will merge. The new SirsiDynix, which will be the largest ILS vendor by far, will continue full development and support of both Sirsi’s Unicorn and Dynix’s Horizon 8.x/Corinthian.”
from Library Journal

Now those should be two interesting booths at ALA this week!


Today I discovered AutoStitch, a free panoramic image maker. You take a number of pictures of one subject, put them all in the program, and it does the rest. I’m rather impressed with the results, even when I’m not trying too hard to take good source images.

Here’s a composite of four separate pictures of the Cathedral of Learning:

(click for different sizes)

Patriot Act Info Requests

This one’s gonna be all over the library blogosphere today:

Libraries Say Yes, Officials Do Quiz Them About Users [NY Times]

The worst part about the Patriot Act in libraries issue, to me, is the inability (under penalty of law) to even tell anybody the library received a request to reveal information.

But even this slightly muddy data the ALA was able to collect is shocking. The possibility of 600 requests for patron reading lists since October 2001? That’s a few more than the zero the government claims. I’m sure that not all of them were Patriot Act related, but some probably were, whether or not the request was submitted officially.

Worth a read.

Library Thrash Metal?

Also from class tonight:

BlöödHag (pronounced bludhaag) is a hardcore metal band that almost exclusively plays at libraries. Their songs are about fantasy and sci-fi authors, and during the show they throw books into the crowd.

Can you think of any other hardcore bands with a reading list on their site and links to the ALA and librarian.net?
I didn’t think so.

Not even my type of music really, but I’d go see the band given a chance. My prof claims they’re actually quite affordable for a public library as well, being somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.

Anyone have any experience with these guys live?

Library Marketing Ideas

Had another productive class of Library Instruction tonight!

We branched out into the idea of marketing your library, because as an instruction librarian you are often one of the more public faces of the institution.

Here’s some creative ideas for services that we brainstormed up. Some are more geared toward public libraries, and others academic:

  • “Beer & Boox”
  • Drive through book return & pickup
  • Tool checkout
  • Book cart drill teams
  • Activity bags for family trips
  • Prom dress checkout
  • Coffee bars
  • Branded mugs and other items
  • Book carts on the beach
  • Day care
  • Outdoor patio w/ wireless internet access
  • Film screenings
  • School textbook collection
  • Yoga classes
  • Trivia contests
  • Portable whiteboards for patron use
  • Video game tournaments/collection
  • Customizable catalog interfaces
  • Sleepovers
  • Housecalls and tech support
  • Convenience store
  • Pizzeria
  • Art exhibits/cultural events
  • Keychain version of library card

I’m sure I missed a few as we went around the room. But there’s a lot of good stuff in there! Some of these were even examples people gave of services their workplace already offers.

Tomorrow we have to give a 3 minute (ungraded) talk on a topic of our choice to work on public speaking skills. I’m thinking I’ll talk about my blog 🙂

Town Hall

Just got back from an interesting meeting.

While in the SIS (School of Information Sciences) building this morning, I noticed a sign that there would be a “Town Hall Meeting” tonight to address a number of student concerns raised recently re: the library science program.

The result was a discussion of some issues that I’d be willing to bet affect a number of library schools right now.

Primary issues discussed included class size and the lack of technology classes. The deans’ response to every concern raised was “we’re working on it”. So in the end I guess I’m not sure what the meeting accomplished – 90% of students there will be graduated and gone before any of the proposed improvements go into place.

A concern I’ve raised in the past, and I was pleased to see others do likewise, was the diversity of technological experience crammed into each class. I’m not being egotistical when I say that my technology skills were a few levels above most other people in my Digital Libraries class last semester. Its what my bachelors is in, after all. As a result, we spent so much time on remedial material that it took away from the planned curriculum of the class. I had to do a lot more outside class work on my own to make up for it.

I had similar experiences in every technology class I’ve taken. If my experience at Pitt is typical of your average library school, then we have a big problem here. Not only are technology beginners not being brought up to par, but students with the potential for advancement to more complex topics are being underserved.

As a solution, more professors need to be hired. With them in place class size can be reduced and content more specialized and level-appropriate.

To qualify, I’m not saying that I haven’t received a great education. I’ve just had to do more work towards it myself than I expected.


I just lost almost 2 hours to reading this:

Monster Island

Its a novel, serialized in blog form. MI is a zombie story, set months after Manhattan has been overrun. But like the best of the genre, there’s characterization instead of merely mindless gore. And even better, author David Wellington is a rather creative guy. There’s a number of twists and turns I never saw coming, but in retrospect make a bunch of sense.

Monster Island is first in a trilogy, too. Books 1 and 2 are complete and on the site, and 3 is in progress. I’m hoping to catch up before it finishes. Novel via blog is a very interesting way to publish your work; I haven’t run across it before.

My only wish is that there were an easily downloadable format. I’d love to load this onto my ebook reader and take it somewhere more comfortable. There’s an iPod-formatted version of book 2, but nothing of 1.


Need a good replacement for MS Paint? Don’t have a lot of money to spend on Photoshop?

Paint.NET looks like a pretty good solution to me so far. First of all, its free. And it actually has some support from Microsoft, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like it shows up in Longhorn.

The biggest feature of note is that layers are included. It starts up rather quickly too, and has a couple of nice UI touches like transparent menus. The menu structure and navigation mirrors Photoshop pretty well too, so if you’re familiar with PS its a nice bonus.

Of course, its not 100% Photoshop. Altering text after it is created, for example, is something I can’t figure out how to do.

But still, not a bad start!


Can you think of a major print novel simultaneously released digitally under the creative commons license?

Charles Strauss’ Accelerando is the first I’ve heard of. Strauss is a sci-fi writer, and I’ve seen a number of positive advance reviews around the ‘net. Stumbled across his site for the novel, and was astonished to see that “later this month” the entire text will be available on the site for download!

I’d love to know how he got the publishers to go along with this idea. Can’t wait to load it on my REB1100!

Plus, the title is tons of fun to say.