November 2008 Archives
I grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. In 1982 I was a junior in high school there (Go, Rockets!) and the town was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Needham / Wellesley football game. This was a Very Big Deal.
Normally, my family went back to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Dad's folks. But in 1982, we had to stay in town because the chorus was singing at the televised half-time of The Big Game, and our director told us he'd fail anybody who didn't show. So... rather than being on the road to Long Island on Monday, November 22, 1982, I was in school to meet my friend Gabe's friend Christina who was visiting from Buffalo. Cue strings, cue soft-focus close-up, cue love at first site (for me... it took me months to convince her she'd been in love-at-first-site with me). We dated, broke up, got back together, got engaged, got married, had a kid. All because of a football game.
Which brings me back to the "specific" part of Thanksgiving, and another tie-in to WorldCat and libraries. There is a general, environmental kind of "thanks" that goes on related to the holiday, of course. My son's Cub Scout troop and I just visited the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society, and the "Freedom from Want" painting is the one that, in my mind, sums up the more national, iconic notions of "what Thanksgiving means." But, for my son, Thanksgiving means the reason his folks met. And he's thankful for that (so far, anyways).
I think libraries have a similar, two-level association for most people. We understand that "library" means the overall ideas, goals, and services that are generally provided by many, if not all libraries. But we all have specific, individual associations, too.
So... this year, I am thankful for: "freedom from want," in general; meeting my wife, specifically; libraries, in general; and the junior high library where the assistant librarian introduced me to science fiction, which I enjoy to this day.
OCLC apologizes for poor response time on WorldCat.org during November 19 and 20. The OCLC servers that run WorldCat.org and WorldCat Local were attacked by processes initiated from nearly 2,000 IP addresses that proved to be registered to a single source. Our investigation revealed that these attacks seriously degraded response time for WorldCat.org and WorldCat Local users. OCLC blocked the attacks and response times returned to normal.
Dear readers, I came very close to abusing your trust by writing a pun into the title of this post. Thankfully I paid attention in my journalism 101 class, because the use of COinS is nothing to pun about. I'll tell you why.
(Actually an 050 class is a more apt analogy for my explanation. If you really want to learn about COinS go to ocoins.info. And if you want to learn more about microformats visit microformats.org or check out this book.)
COinS stands for ContextObject in Span. A "span" in this sense is part of the HTML code that makes up a Web page. COinS uses span in a rather unusual way to provide additional information about books, articles, documents and more. Sort of like a hidden description of something.
And in this case COinS is hiding a lot of information, including:
- Publisher info
and a much more. But why does that matter when you can clearly see that information on the Web page? It matters because this hidden information makes it possible for one software tool, like Zotero, to take advantage of things that another software tool, like a Web browser, has to offer. It matters in other ways too, but let's focus on the most common use.
WorldCat.org and COinS
Using a citation tool like Zotero (there are others but I'm trying to keep this short), you can get citations from any Web page that uses COinS.
Looking at a page in WorldCat.org, like the Microformats book above, you'll find that Zotero can pull a citation out of the page. And if you search WorldCat, you can pull a citation from the list of results. If you add that book to a WorldCat list and add a bunch more books to the list, you can pull citations for all of the items on the list. Admittedly, you can only cite ten items at a time whether you are on a search result page or a list page. You have to page forward to get the next ten items.
If you have a big list, you can use the Citation View on that list to get more than ten items. We saw a Zotero user complain about the ten item limit on Twitter so we added COinS to the Citation View of lists. Just click the Citations View tab and you can see all of the items on your list in the chosen citation format. Now open up Zotero, click the folder in the address bar, and you can import the whole list up to 250 items. Easy peasy.
If you're using WorldCat lists for citations, please let us know how you are using them and the other tools you use beside Zotero.
Reviews are bigger and better than ever!
Through work with our friends at WeRead, we've incorporated reviews and ratings from WeRead users into WorldCat.org, alongside reviews from you, Amazon and EMRO (Educational Media Reviews Online). We've also included some additional reading suggestions from WeRead users that we thought you might find helpful - "people who read this book also read... ".
We're still tweaking some of the finer details, but stay tuned for more information on how we're working with WeRead and other partners.
If you've looked at a WorldCat list in the last couple days, you've seen a new button: Watch This List or the Watch Selected button shown below:
Or if you've visited your profile since Sunday, you've seen, well...you've seen a lot of changes, including a section for the lists you're watching.
What does it mean to watch a list? You get a shortcut to the list from your profile! The list owner gets a warm feeling knowing that you've enjoyed their list enough to link your profile to it. And everyone else gets to know who all likes a list and most likely what library items they like.
Yet another way to connect to people who love their libraries to other people who love their libraries. Let us know what you think of List watching.
Jennie Stapp, who is the digital library director of the Montana State Library, posted a comment on my previous blog entry. I thought it would be better to respond to her comment in another post because I wanted to link to a number of Web pages.
Jennie connected my blog post to her state library's marketing campaign: What's Your Story. The Web site for the campaign sounds interesting. I'd love to hear some of the stories they get.
While reading her comment, I thought about where all of these stories come from and where we find them. I assume Montana's What's Your Story campaign will collect the stories on their site, but I also wonder about aggregating stories from other sites.
Without rereading David Lanke's writing on libraries as community conversations, I'm in danger of "steeling" his ideas. That is not my intent, but I will blunder on.... I'm wondering how many stories are taking place on Flickr or YouTube or some blog somewhere. These stories too are interesting to our neighbors, which is to say library patrons.
So I dug a little into library content and into the Web's social content. Using WorldCat I unearthed photos of the interior of the First National Bank of Glasgow, Montana circa 1910. Then I did a quick search on Flickr for Glasgow images. And I found this great video on YouTube: glasgow high school cell phone survey. There's a lot of stories on the Related Videos section of of that page too.
I think it would be fascinating to see these types of stories on the Leisure and Recreation section of the What's Your Story site.
My local library is more than a gallery, where I go to look at stuff; it is a museum where I go to make sense of stuff. Just as an archived photo collection or a family's personal papers can help me learn about life in Glasgow, MT; so can that YouTube video.
I know I am touching on issues of collection maintenance (how libraries decide what they are going to buy and keep) and staff time. Should the limited resources of our neighborhood libraries be spent making sense of what's on YouTube and Flickr as well as what is on their shelves and in their article and journal databases?