Monday, April 30, 2007

Jury Duty

I have completed my jury service. This was my first time serving on a jury. The case was multiple felony counts. It was very disturbing, domestic abuse.

There was another librarian on the jury with me. Why do attorneys seem to like librarian's so much? All my co-workers have said that if they get called on a jury panel it is inevitable that they will be on the jury. I asked an old friend who happens to be a criminal defense attorney about this. She said that while she doesn't see many librarians in the jury pool, they do like readers as they tend to be thoughtful jurors. She said that teachers (at least in California) often get thrown because they have to report suspected crimes and therefore have strong law enforcement ties.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stuck on a jury

I got called in to jury duty and am stuck on a multi-day (into next week) trial so will be falling a bit behind on week 4 assignments.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Flickr photos

Yacht Rising Sun
Originally uploaded by siegel_jackie.
My flickr name is siegel_jackie (I'm not a very creative type)

my photos page is at:

I get a kick out of the number of views my photos get. Of my series of cruise food pictures the desserts get the most hits.

The most popular of my photos is shown here. It's of the yacht Rising Sun owned by Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. It's only be up 10 days and already has over 200 hits. My other vaction photos uploaded the same day have about 20 hits.

I have about 180 photos on Flickr. I think I'm going to have to spring for a Pro account as I've got another cruise coming up in the summer. This one will be with my family so taking food pictures helps keep me sane.

Week 3, Exercise 1, part 3 Videocasting

Manchester Public Library videocasts: Wow, is that orange or what? Pod and video casts were done in 2005 and appear to no longer be on the site? Not really much content on the site as a whole.

Westerville Public Library Castr service: Nice welcoming page. Interesting topics. No link back to the library's website. Quality of the video recording looks amateurish, but that's ok, more homey. Only five casts. Maybe there should be a warning that the casts will take a long time to load. On library's main page there is a link to Castr.

Orange County Public Library videocasts: Right at the top they offer a tutorial to RSS and a link labeled "confused about podcasts". Easy to navigate. But from the library's main page how are people to know it's classified under "Classes and Programs"?

Boy, will I be the bandwidth hog today on our network.

Week 3, exercise 1, part 2 Audio and podcasting

Curtin University of Technology podcasts: Explanation given of a podcast and how to subscribe or listen. Podcasts are categorized into four general series. The Introductory series contains instructions to using the library. The Advanced series goes into more advanced reference sources. They also have a series of book reviews and are starting a series of lectures by the faculty which also will provide an opportunity for comments. I like the idea of providing podcasts on how to use the library. It might appeal to someone who is reluctant to ask a librarian in person and can't bear to read a description of services. The library's main page has a prominently displayed link to the podcasts.

Denver Public Library: Nice clean page. Has very clear podcasting help. Story time for kids. Great idea. The image of the book cover is linked to the catalog record. I'd have liked to seen a recommendation to check out the book and then listen along. It's not too obvious that you don't have to sit your kid in front of the computer to just listen to a blank screen talking, that you can check out the book and read along. Getting to the podcast page from the homepage required one to click on the DPL Download link. Pretty much straight forward.

Grand Rapids Public Library: The page is a little cluttered towards the bottom and a little confusing for podcast newbies. I could not find a link on their main page to get to their podcasts.

Sunnyvale Public Library podcasts: How'd they score the URL Good for them to think outside the box. Quite an extensive list of programs available. The site is set up like a blog, with detailed descriptions of each program as they are added and multiple options on how to hear the program, including a built-in play button. Very user friendly. I like the oral histories. The library's main webpage has a clear link to the podcasts. My favorite of the examples.

Thomas Ford Memorial Library Audio Reviews by Teens: Not too many there yet but nice concept. A librarian interviews the book reviewer to keep the pace.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Week 3, Exercise 1 Multimedia, part 1 Flickr

Images and Flickr

Picture Australia is awesome. What a great collaboration of public and private institutions.

Kansas City Public Library
: I did not like the rotating banner of events. It was too distracting, maybe the images are set to scroll too fast? I did like the thumbnails on the homepage in the middle-left of the page, kind of a "features" area. I did not like the thumbnails on the New Items guide. The choice of images sometimes didn't seem to really portray the topic. Why a landscape for Large Print?

Colorado College Tutt Library on Flickr: They are participating in the 365 library days project. That is such a neat idea. I've passed information on to our public information officer about the project, perhaps we'll join in. They seem to have been uploading on Flickr since 2005 but only have about 200 photos. They are keeping it up, with photos posted just two days ago.

Hennepin County Library on Flickr: I like that they have pictures of each of their branches and the description of each photo includes the address, phone number and availability of free wireless Internet. The photos then include a note which includes a link to the branch library's homepage. Their Bookspace project is fun, people are invited to submit a photo of themselves reading in their favorite place.

Westmont Public Library New Fiction on Flickr: How clever to photograph the new book shelves and then add notes to the books and link them to the catalog. A great way to announce new books.

Takeaways from the assignment: 1. Posting holiday party and other library staff events so that staff that have left the library will be able to see their old co-workers. Currently our holiday photos are on a shared network drive, available only in-house. 2. Coming up with a topic and invite the community to submit photos. 3. Photograph new books and link them to the catalog

Thoughts about implementing Flickr at our library. A librarian created a Flickr account and gave it to our Public Information Officer (PIO). She posted a few pictures. In the meantime Flickr changed a bit and you then had to sign in with your Yahoo account, not your old Flickr account. Turns out the librarian had used the Flickr account at an earlier place of work and couldn't recall the account or password, so that account is in essence closed (it was a free account) The PIO wanted to upload some more pictures, so we created a new Yahoo/Flickr account and can access that one. That too is a free account. We were trying to figure out how we could pay for a pro account, what with being a government entity with ridiculous purchasing hoops to go through, so we are sticking with the free account. I noticed the other day that if there is no activity (new pictures) in 90 days your account will be deleted. So, how do we preserve our presence on Flickr. Even with a pro account, what's to guarantee that Flickr will be around next year or in 5 years?

Blogging directly from Flickr

For Week 3 of the Infopeople online class we are to explore Flickr (along with other image, audio and video services) I already had a Flickr account but hadn't really explored all the features.

On a recent vacation we went to the island of St. Martin and were able to find the sculpture designed by my cousin Martin Lynn. He passed away last year and the city added a nice memorial plaque to the base of the sculpture.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More thoughts on security and the Internet

The SANS Institute (a trusted source for network security information and research) annually publishes the top 20 Internet security threats

Internet Explorer generally tops the list. Does that mean we stop using IE as a browser? IM is listed, same questions. Carrying that thinking further, to be the most safe we should not be on the Internet at all. That would not make sense. The Internet is a very valuable resource.

However, in providing access to the Internet in our libraries we have to be aware of the threats and do all we can to protect our systems and inform our users on safe Internet usage, both at our institutions and at home.

Viruses and worms have proliferated because people are unaware of actions they can take to make their systems more secure.

Two weeks ago we got a call from one of our staff that their PC identified a virus after opening up a web page from a popular weekly political newspaper. We asked staff to avoid the site until we could verify that the web server was clean. I contacted the company to let them know of the problem. Never heard back, so the next day I checked their site on a DeepFreeze protected computer. It looked clean so we gave the go-ahead for staff. Last week our staff PC's were catching viruses again from the same website. I contacted the company again and even spoke to the managing editor and left a message with their web consultant. I was given word later from the editor that the problem was resolved. Staff were again given the go-ahead. Today, you guessed it, their site is infected again. I can only assume that whomever is maintaining their website is unfamiliar with the security settings and patches necessary to maintain as safe website.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Week 2, Exercise 2: IM

I've had an AOL IM screen name since the late 90's (askcalif) For awhile I was using it a lot to chat with friends and relatives. I also had an ICQ number, but only used it for a couple of months. The last couple of years I didn't bother even opening up chat in the evenings when I turned on my home computer to check email. I just got a new computer and haven't bothered to install the AIM software and may not for quite awhile.

In considering this change in usage I'm wondering what factors are different between then and now. One major one is long-distance phone costs. I used to use AIM instead of calling out-of-town friends and family. Then in 2001 or 2002 I got a wireless phone service that includes long distance and no roaming, etc. Since the calls are already paid for I prefer hearing voices than typing conversations.

Regarding IM for library service, if it is being used by our patrons then resources should be devoted to it. Cost-benefits should be periodically analysed. In addition there may be network security implications of running IM chats. Most of the IT security trade journals caution businesses about the risks of IM. Viruses and trojans have been spread through IM.

Our library will soon be installing a web filtering software product, mainly to filter out malicious sites. Most institutions using the software block AIM, Yahoo Chat, Meebo, etc. Some of our IT people want to turn on the blocking of chat services. For non-public service areas it may be appropriate (should the HR staff be IM'ing their friends during work hours?) but we have to be careful not to inhibit the reference desks from providing service.

Week 2, Exercise 1: Second Life

I'm sorry, but I just don't get Second Life and the push to involve libraries and librarians. We have several students at my library. I've asked each of them if they visit (inhabit) Second Life. They didn't even know what Second Life was and most of them are tech geeks.

Earlier I had watched an archive of a InfoIsland presentation done in Second Life. I had trouble focusing on the content, what with all the benches asking drop ins to take a seat and avatars popping in and out and even showing up on the podium in a daze.

I also don't trust the statistics about millions of inhabitants. I'd be willing to bet that the majority are people who registered to give it a try and have never come back.

I'm not into gaming. I'd much rather read a good novel than spend time on my computer playing games. And pay to play, no way!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Week 2, Exercise 1: MySpace

MySpace examples:

Denver Public Library: Annoying music, geared towards teens.

University of Texas Libraries
: Geared towards students.

Thomas Ford Memorial Library: Geared towards teens, but profile says 84 year old male.

Comments on all. I noted that most of the "friends comments" were from other libraries and published authors. Is the target audience coming to their pages? From Thomas Ford's blog apparently not, the teen librarian is beseeching teens to stop by, without success.

Week 2, Exercise 1: IM

IM examples:

Princeton University Library
: Chat page explains hours the service is available. It includes the familiar icons for the chat services in addition to the names. They include a FAQ and an email option. The email option is a form. To cut down on spam they have an image on the form that has to be viewed by the person and the text within the image typed into the form. The chat service is linked on the library's main page (though small in size) but does not appear on other pages, including the catalog, and most notably not on the "Contact the library" page.

Santa Clara University Library: Only available during open hours but hours are not listed, just a link to when the library is open. Other options are prominently displayed on the page, including 24/7 service and telephone service. A link to Ask a Librarian appears on the banner of every page. (did I miss that in Princeton's site?)

St. Charles Public Library: The page explains when the service is available. There is also an button saying someone is currently available live. Other options are prominently displayed. The "I'm online" button appears on the mail library page but not the catalog. Links to online chat are on other pages.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My WIKI (week 1 bonus exercise)

My wiki is at pbwiki.

It was easy to set up and add pages. I didn't spend much time with it but pretty intuitive. I don't like the ads above the title.

Library Wikis

My thoughts on the wikis in exercise 3, week 1.

St Joseph County Library's Subject Guide. I liked it a lot. It brought up books from their collection which link to the catalog entry. They encourage user feedback through the discussion pages. The only page (and I didn't take the time to go through every page) that had user feedback was the main page, and that was from another librarian.

University of Huddersfield's. Why a Wiki, wouldn't a static web page have served them as well? From the recent changes it looks like they have issues with spammers. How much effort is going into keeping the site clean?

University of Minnesota. Nice look and feel. Great resource for staff. Obviously they put a lot of thought and content into it. I'd like to know how they got everyone to cooperate and provide content. I am very impressed.

University of Connecticut. Lots of useful staff information provided, from how to get to your email to system documentation to sections of the library explaining what they do.

Butler University: I'm not sure a wiki is the best way to provide access to online databases and paper reference materials. One clicks on a resource and then what?

Open WorldCat. I like the concept. Merging a bibliographic utility database with a wiki for easier contributions to records by catalogers and readers.

The geekier side of me thinks that Wikis are a great way for library staff to easily add content to informative pages without having to know how to program or edit html. The curmudgeon side of me think that there sure are a lot of resources and staff time devoted to this stuff and does our audience really care?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Blogger down when I'm primed to post

Wouldn't you know it, the Infopeople Web2.0 online workshop starts, our first assignment is to create a blog on blogger and blogger was down.

For a blog to bring me back it has to be updated regularly and with interesting content.

Of the sample blogs to view in Week 1, exercise 1, I most liked the Waterboro Public Library blog. Cute name, clean look.

I've mixed thoughts on the Thomas Ford Memorial Library Western Springs History Blog. Seems like an interesting implementation of a blog, kind of a photograph album. It's cool that current and former occupants of the houses have contributed information through comments but I'm concerned about privacy issues and identity theft. Maybe names of current occupants should be redacted?