Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Communication mash up

I have just been appointed to a new committee on campus that is investigating unified communication. Our aged phone switch is dying and it seems like a good point to look at whether we can update communications systems on campus by bringing together your desk phone, cell phone and your computer and also introduce all kinds of features like converting voicemail to e-mail, integrating instant messaging and web conferencing.

This has the potential to be of great interest to the library. Many of the librarians are feeling somewhat trapped at the reference desk. they like to roam, but the Meebo chat window and the askalibrarian e-mail inbox, never mind the phone keeps drawing them back. If they could use smartphones to deal with all those media of communication they could roam a lot further, into the stacks, the labs, and into other buildings.

I would like to hear your comments about this project.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New bookstore in town

On my long run today I passed a new bookstore -- The Book Worm -- on the corner of Bumby and E. Washington. It was closed when I went past but I took a look in the window and it looks like a reasonable used book store. Worth a visit I think, and yes Bill, they sell comics.

It is right next door to a Mexican restaurant so I think I hear a lunch time road trip coming up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More on mobile computing

This was an issue at ALA Midwinter. I saw an interesting mention in the New York Times today.

The article starts out about the Kindle 2, but quickly moves on to two other issues, reading books on mobile phones and then who gets to make money from same -- the device vendors or the publishers. Here are some quotes about the former (links added by me).

"Perhaps most significantly, Amazon said it would start selling e-books that can be read on mobile phones and other devices, although Amazon did not say when it would do so or which devices would be compatible."

"Amazon also announced a new feature, Whispersync, which would allow readers to begin a book on one Kindle and continue, at the same point in the text, on another Kindle or a mobile phone."

"Amazon faces a serious challenge from Google, which has scanned some seven million books, many of them out of print. Google said last week that it would soon sell books from its publishing partners for reading on mobile devices like the iPhone from Apple and phones running Google’s Android operating system."

"Several companies have created e-book programs for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, which have been downloaded more than a million times."

The section ends with this prediction from Jeff Bezos. "Reading on these kinds of gadgets might be fine when waiting in line in the supermarket, but that most people would want a dedicated device with a specialized screen for reading."

I don't think Bezos is right about that, but we shall see.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What do we do with the shelflist?

If you have taken a look at my recent Facebook photo album recently (who am I kidding, why would you?) You know that we recently closed the shelflist. At the end of the semester we will dispose of it --cards and cabinet.

So, the question is: what do we do with it? Here are some ideas:


  1. Give the faculty cards representing their own books.
  2. Give people cards for favorite books.


  1. Auction individual sections off as wine cabinets.

So what ideas do you have?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Weird social networking moment

I just realized I had five tabs open in my web browser: A Multipoint Interactive Videoconferencing session from NITLE, a private wiki from Pbwiki about cooperation amongst academic libraries in Florida, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and now Blogger.

Synchronicity? Overkill? Just the way we work now?