Miscellaneous

  • Hamster wheeling ....June 14, 2011 – I have found the expression 'hamster wheeling' useful over the last few years. I tend to use it in the context of any frantic effort where the participants have to keep several things going at the same time, and where it seems that slowing down might cause something to fall...read full entry...
  • Open for businessJanuary 21, 2011 – Well, I wish I could say I was back by popular demand ... but that might be stretching the truth just a little :-) I am resuming blogging activity for the new year. This also means that we will resume sending out the digest. However, we are going to experiment...read full entry...
  • Presenting ....October 03, 2010 – Although I give quite a few presentations, I don't really present enough for them to become ends in themselves. I am thinking of this content-wise and style-wise. Content-wise, I tend to talk about things that are currently on my mind unless I have been asked to describe a particular set...read full entry...
  • A note about Tracey ThornMay 21, 2010 – A little off topic ... I have been listening to Tracey Thorn's new album, Love and its opposite. Here are several things ... It has been available for listening for a while on the label site, and is embedded elsewhere. Videos of live home recordings are available for some songs...read full entry...
  • The Reader and the LawApril 30, 2010 – Eddi Reader is a Scottish singer, formerly of Fairground Attraction. I was aware of Fairground Attraction but really only began listening to Eddi Reader a couple of years ago and she has become a favorite. [Worldcat Identity][Soundunwound]. She sings some wonderful songs, one of which I link to below. Her...read full entry...
  • Working organizationsFebruary 28, 2010 – Via @psychemedia I saw this advert for a CIO at the Open University in the UK. I thought it was interesting for a couple of reasons. The first was the language which seemed more 'upbeat' than you normally see in academic institutions (but maybe I am just out of touch...read full entry...
  • All the news ...January 30, 2010 – My former OCLC colleague Eric Hellman has become one of the more interesting bloggers in our space. A little while ago he wrote about the acquisition of Liblime by PTFS. He made a general opening comment ...: The library industry has likewise been troubled by misalignment of interests between the...read full entry...
  • Talking to peopleJanuary 24, 2010 – I am interviewed occasionally for a report somebody is preparing. Sometimes internal, not for publication, sometimes published. It is always interesting when reading the final outcome to see how and whether my comments were included. My experiences vary. Sometimes I am pleased to see an appropriate trace of the conversation;...read full entry...
  • CommentsJanuary 21, 2010 – Apologies to commenters - we had some hiccups. Some were delayed and a couple may have been lost. We will try not to do it again ......read full entry...
  • Government URIs: a write to replyOctober 17, 2009 – Tony Hirst alerted me to an interesting document on the structure of URIs in UK government websites. There were two things of immediate interest. The first was the emphasis a Government agency was putting on information architecture in a web environment. Other documents will follow. This is from the introduction:...read full entry...
  • Find on a plane ...June 04, 2009 – After many years of traveling without much incident I left a couple of things on planes recently. They never showed up, but It was a bit of a pain inquiring about them. It occurred to me that this was an application that lent itself to something of a crowdsourced approach,...read full entry...
  • Three sentencesMay 22, 2009 – I just spent a very congenial couple of days in Champaign, Illinois, at the Summer Institute for Humanities Data Curation. Here are some memorable sentences ... Karen Wickett shared a very nice Rule in discussion: "I like to do favors for my future self". I used this sentence of Geoff...read full entry...
  • Breakthrough ideasJanuary 29, 2009 – The Harvard Business Review list of breakthrough ideas for 2009 had a few interesting entries. My favorite was the 'IKEA Factor' .... we do often see examples where folks are reluctant to let go of things they have invested time and resource in. Institutional memory goes digital Suppose every utterance...read full entry...
  • HiccupsJanuary 17, 2009 – Apologies for any hiccups while we updated the blog software over the last few days. This blog runs on a local instance of Movable Type. As I suggested when talking about online identity the other day, I might have set it up on an externally hosted system if done today....read full entry...
  • QOTD: InnovationDecember 15, 2008 – A couple of sentences in Joseph Stiglitz's Vanity Fair critique of economic and financial policy over recent years jumped out at me: But innovation, like "change," has no inherent value. It can be bad ... as well as good. [Joseph E Stiglitz on capitalist fools. Vanity Fair]...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Entering the Midwest via ColumbusNovember 08, 2008 – I am en route back to Columbus, Ohio. I am now in Atlanta - nearly there! I have been reading Roads: driving America's great highways by Larry McMurtry on the plane. I was interested to read the following on page 80: Accordingly I pulled across the Ohio River at Wheeling...read full entry...
  • Flying and light postingNovember 03, 2008 – Posting will be light this week as I am attending the 2008 RLG European Partners meeting later in the week. I go to Paris via a meeting in Ottawa tomorrow ..... Too much flying :-( I was traveling through National in Washington DC a while ago. I was tired. It...read full entry...
  • Starbucks and ArcadiaOctober 17, 2008 – Posting has been light as I am in Cambridge (UK) this week. Some of the time I was talking with folks involved in the Arcadia Programme. This initiative is potentially important in that it provides some space for otherwise busy practitioners to do some thinking .... The Arcadia Programme is...read full entry...
  • Naming opportunitiesSeptember 18, 2008 – [warning: retrospection ahead] In a longish and intermittently productive professional writing career, I have had lots of opportunities to come up with titles for publications. With variable results. Some I like. Full disclosure captured, I thought, the gist of the report to which it is attached [pdf]. This was a...read full entry...
  • Power grabSeptember 17, 2008 – Posting is light this week. We have been without power at home since the weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through Ohio. I write blog posts in the morning between the children heading off to school and coming in to work, or in the evening. Not at the...read full entry...
  • Meet the candidatesSeptember 02, 2008 – Here is the Worldcat Identity for each of the Democrat and Republican candidates .... Joe Biden John McCain Barack Obama Sarah Palin I will leave it to others to offer any commentary ;-) And here are some others to review .... George Bush George W Bush Bill Clinton Hillary Rodham...read full entry...
  • HolidayAugust 12, 2008 – I am on holiday in Ireland so no posting in the last few days, or for the next .......read full entry...
  • Mobile apps and Google trafficJuly 27, 2008 – I have mentioned the often interesting Hitwise blog a few times. They have presented a couple of interesting analyses recently. One looks at the searches for mobile applications after the recent new iPhone release. They look at specific applications and also at general application areas. It is interesting seeing the...read full entry...
  • Hot air ... thoughts from a blog boreJuly 12, 2008 – I fear that I am becoming a blog bore! At work, I find myself often wanting to say, and sometimes actually saying, "as I said in my blog entry the other day ...". Now, I am a bit self-conscious about this. If I don't say anything, and somebody has read...read full entry...
  • Pictures from reusable pixel objectsJune 16, 2008 – I like the FooBar picture from EbOY and have used it in presentations as a hook on which to hang a discussion of network trends. EbOY is three artists based in Berlin. What do they do? We create re-usable pixel objects and take them to build complex and extensible artwork....read full entry...
  • Candidate 2.0 and crowd-fundingMay 22, 2008 – It seems clear that the current US primaries represent an important political watershed. I am not talking about race or gender. I am talking about the use of the Internet in campaigning. This was prefigured last go around in Howard Dean's campaign but this time it is central to Obama's...read full entry...
  • Reading blogsApril 27, 2008 – I tend to have several blog entries lying around the place: often they just fall off the edge when my interests move on. Here is some text from one which I left there just that bit too long: Library blogs are a mixed lot. I am always on the look-out...read full entry...
  • QOTD: network-freeApril 21, 2008 – From Fred Stutzman, who is looking for network-free moments in which to 'code, write or create': In an attempt to resist the encroachment of network into the spaces of productivity, I've created Freedom. Freedom is a Mac application that disables your computer's networking capabilities for a selected time interval. Some...read full entry...
  • Enlarging the anglosphereApril 16, 2008 – I am en route from the UK to the US, and was interested to read an article by Gordon Brown, Enlarging the Anglosphere, in today's WSJ Opinion pages. He is talking about how to renew and extend relationships between the US and the UK and proposes a list of areas...read full entry...
  • Memories, memories ..April 13, 2008 – I enjoyed the UKOLN thirtieth anniversary celebration at the British Library last week. It was good to see people from across the years, and Liz Lyon and her UKOLN colleagues did a very fine media narrative of how the organization has evolved. I was struck by how much has happened...read full entry...
  • Columbus - tech cityMarch 24, 2008 – A little off topic .. but I was interested to see Columbus, Ohio, listed as number one in a Forbes.com report of a list of Top 10 Up-and-Coming Tech Cities. This is the result of work done by Philip Auerswald, professor of public policy at George Mason University. The brief...read full entry...
  • The times they are a changin'March 16, 2008 – I had to smile at these couple of reports from SXSW in the NYT ArtsBeat blog about technology and what it calls 'rock elders' Sometimes you can mark a generation gap with gizmos. At any SXSW event, a significant part of the audience is texting, taking digital pictures, or talking...read full entry...
  • Small notes on variably sized conferencesMarch 13, 2008 – I withdrew from a commitment to the BCLA conference a couple of months ago. This is not something I did lightly or do often and I apologize to Penny Swanson who nominated me and to the organizers. A clash with some other events emerged. I am pleased that my colleague...read full entry...
  • Blogging and presentingFebruary 25, 2008 – Blogging has been a bit thin lately - and may continue to be for a few days - as I have been traveling and have not managed to shake off a heavy cold. I gave a presentation at the University of Iowa last week. It is the type of event...read full entry...
  • TopicsFebruary 23, 2008 – I mentioned the IWR interview the other day. Here is how I write about the blog thereQ Describe your blog?A I say that it is about “libraries, networks and services”. I suppose that over time it has become more general. At first it had more of a technical slant; now...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Joycean comedyJanuary 24, 2008 –  A little off topic for Friday. Will Ferrall accepts the James Joyce Award from the Literary and Historical Society (L&H) of University College Dublin: He continued to explain that indeed there are parallels between himself and the great literary author. “James Joyce spent a lot of his life living...read full entry...
  • In the flow - royallyJanuary 06, 2008 – I was pretty interested earlier to come across The Royal Channel, the Official Channel of the British Monarchy on YouTube. At first I suspected a joke, but there is a link from the official 'royal' site. Somebody seems to be putting quite a bit of thought into the Monarch's web...read full entry...
  • Dame Lynne BrindleyDecember 31, 2007 – Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, joins Helen Mirren and Judi Dench as a Dame of the British Empire. This recognition is for 'services to education' in the UK New Year honours list. This is great news for Lynne, the British Library and UK libraries generally. The success...read full entry...
  • InteroperabilityDecember 17, 2007 – Driving to yet another shopping opportunity this evening, I heard a story about 'e-prescriptions' on NPR. I was gobsmacked, as they say, when I heard a snippet from John Kerry, which included the word, interoperability, yes, that's interoperability. I looked up the transcript later: "We have the technology. We have...read full entry...
  • Small worldsDecember 09, 2007 – I spent a couple of days at Kansas University in congenial Lawrence during the week. I flew back to Columbus from Kansas City airport on Thursday evening. However, I did not see my soon-to-be colleague Andrew Pace who was apparently in the airport at the same time ..... When travelling...read full entry...
  • Presentations in the programNovember 09, 2007 – I had not seen this before, but once seen it makes a lot of sense. The Eduserv Foundation organized an event on OpenID: OpenID - online identity for the social network generation of learners and researchers. An interesting topic and there are some interesting presentations. Typically, a program page would...read full entry...
  • QOTD: I spyOctober 22, 2007 – From the BBC this morning:A British intelligence agency has targeted a new generation of recruits by advertising in computer games. The Cheltenham-based surveillance service GCHQ hopes to attract the attention of "tech-savvy" gamers.Adverts featuring the GCHQ website are on billboards within Xbox 360 games such as Splinter Cell: Double Agent...read full entry...
  • VellumOctober 08, 2007 – I don't really have a very good sense of how many readers of this blog drive Aston Martins. Those that do are probably familiar with Newport Pagnell, the English town where the car maker has had a presence since 1955. What they may not know is that Newport Pagnell is...read full entry...
  • Tablet and powerpointSeptember 22, 2007 – Mike Eisenberg, Professor and Dean Emeritus at the Information School, University of Washington, gave a presentation in OCLC during the week. The topic was education and the emergence of the iSchool movement. There was good and engaged discussion afterwards. I was struck by the mode of presentation. As we all...read full entry...
  • The amplified conference, againSeptember 16, 2007 – Following my remarks about the 'amplified conference' the other day, I was interested to read this from Andy Powell:A large part of your event's impact will come from the collective writing, images and videos by the people who attended. The only effective way of tying all this material together after...read full entry...
  • WesternsSeptember 13, 2007 – I am writing this in the very fine new public library building in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was speaking to the Wyoming Library Association conference this morning. I have been travelling this week, hence no posts. In the few minutes before the library closes .... When I told the children I...read full entry...
  • My home pageSeptember 04, 2007 – Here is a cloud view of words on the 'front' page of this blog. I thought 'interested' and 'interesting' might be bigger, as, despite my best intentions, I always seem to end up saying 'it is interesting that ....' or 'I was interested to see ...' ;-) See here for...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Google moves further into library territoryAugust 30, 2007 – Hardly a library discussion goes by without a mention of Google. Nicholas Carr discusses reports of their major data center in The Dalles, Oregon. From one of the reports:Patchett goes on to describe the many community-service projects that Google employees are involved in around The Dalles, from wiring an outdoor...read full entry...
  • Long playing videoAugust 18, 2007 – An off-topic weekend entry .... I loved the nice conceit in this youtube video. A retro moment for mature readers. This is Redwood Tree from St Dominic's Preview, the Van Morrison, er, LP. I was interested to see that embedding was disabled by request, something I had not seen before....read full entry...
  • Web worldJuly 20, 2007 – I answered a short questionnaire the other day on libraries and technology. I found myself wanting to rewrite some of the questions to avoid the sense they gave of technology as an external agent acting on libraries. Libraries are co-evolving with people's behaviors which are themselves being reconfigured in a...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Beckham and ShawJuly 17, 2007 – Beckham adjusts ... linguistically: After the family the most important thing is the foot... is the soccer."Old habits die hard for LA Galaxy new boy David Beckham. [BBC SPORT | Fun and Games | Quotes of the Week] Interestingly, Beckham was mentioned in the report on Cultural Diplomacy I discussed...read full entry...
  • Translations ...June 10, 2007 – Well, it is nice to see translations of recent entries into Danish and French. Many thanks .......read full entry...
  • QOTD: a medium of few wordsMay 29, 2007 – It has been interesting seeing how quickly the 'long tail' has been adopted as a phrase in a wide range of discussion and analysis. There is an article in the current First Monday by Kalevi Kilkki which applies a long tail model to data in several different areas. This paragraph...read full entry...
  • QOTD: the convenience of onlineMay 28, 2007 – From the blog of Harvard economist, Dani Rodrik:An article in Sunday's NYT magazine prompted me to look at Bryan Caplan's book The Myth of the Rational Voter. I haven't read the whole book, just the bits that are online. It is a thought-provoking piece, and a god read. But I...read full entry...
  • American Idol and intentional dataMay 17, 2007 – Blake is the favorite to win American Idol in our house but we thought he was going to lose out last night based on last week's performances. Not so. I was interested to read the comment on the Yahoo! TV blog about why Melinda did not go through:Over the last...read full entry...
  • Google authorsApril 28, 2007 – I just came across Google Authors, a series of videos of guest speakers at Google. An interesting variety and different formats (lecture, interview, ...). Many are interviewed by Eric Schmidt. Some household names (if you live in a BoBo household, to use the term coined by David Brooks, one of...read full entry...
  • Hong Kong speakingApril 15, 2007 – I have spent this last week in Hong Kong, hence the lightness in posting. I was pleased to be speaking at the Chinese University of Hong Kong at a conference named The academic librarian: dinosaur or phoenix focusing on change management, and later in the week at The Fiesole Collection...read full entry...
  • MemeticApril 05, 2007 – Memes. Memetic? I quite liked doing the list of fours. I passed over the invitation to disclose five things you don't know about me. However, I cannot decline Ms Chrystie Hill who prompts me to list five non-library blogs. I think the meme meme is getting tired, but this was...read full entry...
  • Getting in the flow - beside the Mississippi ...March 20, 2007 – I have just returned from the very congenial Getting in the flow, the CIC Library Conference at the University of Minnesota. The conference was about how the library can and must get more readily into the working and learning lives of faculty and students. I thought the organizers worked hard...read full entry...
  • Libraries and library buildingsFebruary 12, 2007 – Germaine Greer talks about her favorite word, library.Every now and then a writer will be asked to nominate a favourite word, and out will come "magenta" or "elfin" or "thrash" or whatever else floats up through the murk. Writers cannot have favourite words because every word in its proper place...read full entry...
  • CrosstechFebruary 01, 2007 – It looks as if the Crosstech blog will be worth following. Publishers International Linking Association, Inc. (doing business as “CrossRef”), is hosting this CrossRef Publisher Technology Forum (“CrossTech”) for its members and other participants on an invitation only basis, in order to provide a neutral forum where a wide range...read full entry...
  • Off the gridJanuary 18, 2007 – I have been in Seattle since yesterday at some pre-ALA meetings, and will be here for the next few days. I will probably not be posting much, if anything, for a while. I am writing this courtesy of a wireless connection in the Seattle Public Library. This is my first...read full entry...
  • Knights and copyrightDecember 23, 2006 – The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property [report home page] was released recently in the UK, and was welcomed by those opposed to the extension of the existing copyright term. More of that later ... I recently watched Out of Ireland: from a whisper to a scream again, a video documentary...read full entry...
  • Holiday greetingsDecember 20, 2006 – Check out our holiday card. Make sure to click on something ........read full entry...
  • Chicago: a gallimaufry of observationsNovember 26, 2006 – Light posting this week as we spent Thanksgiving and a couple of additional days in Chicago. Here are some vaguely work-related remarks, and some less so:Discovered in Chicago Comics on North Clark St the following volume: The Illustrated Librarian: 12 temporary tatoos for librarians and booklovers. Includes 'I love Dewey...read full entry...
  • UpliftmentNovember 17, 2006 – I stumbled across the London Speaker Bureau just now. A pretty impressive roster of speakers just for you. It would have been interesting to know how much they cost. Here is a note on Bob Geldof:Sir Bob Geldof is an influential and inspiring speaker. He is highly entertaining and has...read full entry...
  • BloggingSeptember 29, 2006 – Hey ... I noticed that the software competition entry was my 1000th! That's a lot of text ;-)...read full entry...
  • By the seaSeptember 16, 2006 –  Swansea University is by the sea. I like the way they use the sea in the current website design....read full entry...
  • The Times we live in: a Friday evening postingSeptember 15, 2006 – I wanted to look up something in the (London) Times and typed in www.times.com, only to discover that the (New York) Times has that URL. Now, unlike my children, I still occasionally type in a URL rather than going straight to the search box in the corner, and, ancient that...read full entry...
  • Gaming and librariesSeptember 04, 2006 – John Kirriemuir sent me a link to his presentation on gaming and on gaming and libraries, given at the Ticer summer school: Digital libraries a la Carte: new choices for the future. John spends more time on this stuff more than most, so his presentation is a nice overview [ppt]....read full entry...
  • Libraries and global universitiesAugust 26, 2006 – The Newsweek ranking of the most 'global' universities has been widely noted. The size of library collection contributes 10% to the overall score. This seems bizarre, but is understandable as it is a readily accessible number. Maybe, Michigan will rise in future rankings if this becomes based on a library's...read full entry...
  • Library geeks 001August 08, 2006 – The Chudnov media network expands with the addition of Library Geeks 001. If you are a library geek, or just play one on radio, this may be the spot for you. In the first interview, Ross Singer talks about OpenURL and much else. Well worth a listen for those comfortable...read full entry...
  • Up and downAugust 07, 2006 – I was just looking at the logs for this blog. They show a slight increase in traffic for July over June. But wait a minute! I was away for a large chunk of July and did not post. What is this telling me!...read full entry...
  • Blogging back at themAugust 05, 2006 – More from YouTube: two videos to make you smile ... and think. They have been mentioned in various places. Nice to note them together, shortly after noting Balcony.tv, as they are manifestations of what is discussed in the first. My title is a line from the first, which nicely mocuments...read full entry...
  • Fred KilgourAugust 02, 2006 – I met Fred Kilgour only once. This was earlier this year In Chapel Hill when I had lunch with Fred and his wife Eleanor. We talked about the past, but what most occupied Fred and Eleanor was what they were doing then and what they were going to do. There...read full entry...
  • Where do you get your ideas from?July 30, 2006 – If you have an idle moment check out Dave Pattern's The Library 2.0 Idea Generator. Endless minutes of distraction .... ;-) It is nicely done. Occasionally, something modest is thrown up. I generated 'invent your library', for example, which might bring you back to the thoughts of that youthful curmudgeon,...read full entry...
  • JISC/CNI presentationsJuly 29, 2006 – As I have remarked a couple of times in these pages, conference agendas are often an interesting manifestation of current thinking. Presentations from the JISC/CNI conference are now appearing. Topics of interest in this case include a mix of policy, practice and research: changing patterns of information use in research...read full entry...
  • The library in the airportJuly 28, 2006 – I spoke at the congenial WilsWorld conference yesterday. On my way in, I did not notice a very distinctive feature. When I remarked on the fineness of the airport I was told about:On Wings of Art, the inaugural exhibition in the Art Court at the newly renovated Dane County Regional...read full entry...
  • SW CompJuly 23, 2006 – While I was away, Thom announced the Second OCLC Research Software Contest. Details here....read full entry...
  • Summer slowingJuly 10, 2006 –  I have been travelling in the UK and Ireland the last week or so, and have had intermittent access. I have not managed to post this week for that reason. I am heading into a couple of weeks of vacation (aka holiday) so there will be little posting for...read full entry...
  • Does it exist?June 08, 2006 – abebooks.co.uk has an advert in the current London Review of Books. It suggests that 'if you can't find it here, it doesn't exist' and reports that it has '80 million new, secondhand, rare and out-of-print books'. And here is a note from (both the UK and US) website:With over 80...read full entry...
  • A Friday evening post: a couple of library mentions in early weekend readingMay 26, 2006 – The marvellous Philip French on the Da Vinci Code movie:The one truly funny line, however, is spoken by Hanks and, presumably, it is intended to underpin his intellectual credentials. As he and Tautou are being chased through the streets of London, he is suddenly struck by a major thought: 'I've...read full entry...
  • A flying paradoxMay 15, 2006 – I have noticed two things while flying:If I am typing or reading a newspaper, I will often see my neighbor gracelessly glancing at what I am doing. How irritating!If my neighbor is typing or reading a newspaper, it is hard to avoid looking at what they are doing. Yet they...read full entry...
  • After long silence ..May 12, 2006 – Speech after long silence ... ... I haven't posted for a while. I have been on a trip each week for the last nine weeks or so, a schedule I don't plan to sustain ;-) This travel heavy period prompts a more personal reflection than usual, about trips and talks,...read full entry...
  • Creating public valueApril 30, 2006 – The BBC is a major resource which faces interesting challenges moving forward. It is funded through a license fee, basically a national tax on TV ownership. How applicable is this model in a digital world? The BBC is actively positioning itself for the future. It is a digital pioneer, and...read full entry...
  • Addressable - accessibleApril 30, 2006 – I suggested a while ago in these pages that one reason for the wide use of Wikipedia was that it was an 'addressable knowledgebase'. Entries enter the web conversation because they are referencable, they are on-web. In this context I was interested to read in Bubblegeneration: In many cases, communities...read full entry...
  • Hotels in the network age: an early Friday afternoon thoughtApril 20, 2006 – Think about conferences in those big rooms with disco balls or chandaliers, with makeshift screens, projectors on trollies, ugly lines of stuck down cable, shiny curtains, and so on. Or simple things like not having sockets beside desks in the rooms, or taking it up a level, not having worked...read full entry...
  • Comment spamApril 13, 2006 – An administrative note: we have turned off commenting, temporarily I hope. There has been an upsurge again in comment spam and we will explore some further options to control it. Spam is such a problem that I was sure we would see some high-profile prosecutions last year as various agencies...read full entry...
  • The organizational shuffleApril 02, 2006 – A while ago I wrote an entry noting the general trend towards decomposition and recomposition of parts at various levels, from metadata schema to organizations: recombinance all the way down, remixing all the way up. As the network moves inside structures, they fragment and recombine. I was reminded of this...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Simplicity March 27, 2006 – Paul Kedrosky in Business 2.0:The current obsession with simplicity beats making products stupidly complex. But it's built on at least one false premise, that less is more. More is more, and it always has been and always will be. Good products can and should be feature-rich, laden with information and...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Woe is meMarch 03, 2006 – Bono interviewed by Oprah:I'm not the happiest person, and I'm certainly not happy-clappy. There's a bit of "woe is me" that comes with melancholy, the Irish thing, and it's draining. [Live your best life: a treasury of wisdom, wit, advice, interviews, and inspiration from O, The Oprah Magazine] mmm......read full entry...
  • Four, four, four, fourFebruary 10, 2006 – Well, teetering beween a liking for lists and a po-faced disinclination to be frivolous I am leaning to lists. In response to the FreeRangeLibrarian ... here is a tentative enumeration of things in fours. 4 novels for re-reading Persuasion - Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are the favourite...read full entry...
  • Live labsJanuary 27, 2006 – I notice that Microsoft has set up Live Labs, a rapid development and prototyping group which will work on new ideas and directions and engage outside collaborators. From the manifesto by Gary Flake:This pattern is not merely about new applications. It's about a revolution in how we create, share, and...read full entry...
  • Reeling and writhing - againJanuary 19, 2006 – I write slowly. In that regard I have found doing the blog quite liberating. I find that I can write much more quickly here because it almost has a throwaway quality. However, this has meant that I have not 'published' as much over the past year or two as I...read full entry...
  • Leadership and libraries?January 09, 2006 – From Good to great and the social sectors: why business thinking is not the answer.There is an irony in all this. Social sector organizations increasingly look to business for leadership models and talent, yet I suspect we will find more true leadership in the social sectors than the business sector....read full entry...
  • Top postsDecember 27, 2005 – I don't normally pay too close attention to the detail of my blog logs, concentrating on general trends. However, given that it is a time of year for retrospection, I have just spent a little time looking at actual December traffic and was interested to see the following list of...read full entry...
  • QOTD: stuck inside the boxDecember 22, 2005 – From Babsonknowledge.org, the blog by Tom Davenport, Larry Prusak, and Don Cohen:But maybe my least favorite phrase is "think outside the box." It bothers me partly because I've heard it used 11,580 times in the past 10 years. (I'm exaggerating, but I've heard it a lot.) Also because people who...read full entry...
  • Podcasting and librariesDecember 11, 2005 – It is interesting to see the growth in podcasting, and in our space there are a couple of interesting venues:Matt Pasiewicz of Educause has been interviewing people with an interest in technology in education, including several librarians. Check out his interviews with Jim Michalko and Barbara Taranto, for example. Paul...read full entry...
  • Best November 25, 2005 – I was sad to see the announcement of George Best's death. I am not a great sports fan and would only occasionally watch soccer. But growing up when George Best was playing, and playing at his peak, was to see magic. During those years he brought uplift and pleasure into...read full entry...
  • Presentations from Access 2005November 07, 2005 – I notice that MP3s and selected slides from Access 2005 presentations are now available....read full entry...
  • StripeNovember 04, 2005 – I have been away for a few days but catching up on various things I came across the random stripe generator. Maybe not very relevant to the topics I normally discuss, but pretty nice ;-) I can try out various Sean Scully inspired patterns ..... Via Make....read full entry...
  • Conference, blogs and a bookOctober 20, 2005 – Access 2005 was a conference with a very individual flavor. The geeky concentration mixed with the more general made it a very fruitful experience. Presentations built on each other. A collegial attention to common solutions ran through the meeting. It made one feel good to be surrounded by so many...read full entry...
  • The discretion of bloggersOctober 20, 2005 – It is quite difficult to be private: we leave traces everywhere. What we spend, who we speak to on the phone, where we live, our credit history: it all goes into the record. I have just spoken at the very congenial Access 2005 conference, in Edmonton. The conference had active...read full entry...
  • PresentationsOctober 11, 2005 – I often point to powerpoints or collections of conference presentations. I am going to sneak in an entry here which points to our own website where we list presentation and publications. Check out, for example, Eric Childress' recent presentation [ppt] - Pattern recognition for technical services - looking at technical...read full entry...
  • Closing the doorsOctober 03, 2005 – A while ago, I reported a discussion with a used bookseller about the conflicting requirements of his online and walk-in stores. I read in the Irish Times (September 24) that Kenny's, a bookselling institution based in Galway, is to close its shop doors and go fully online. They sell Irish...read full entry...
  • A linguistic digressionSeptember 26, 2005 – Our daughter came home one day shortly after starting school in England asking what the 'pavement' was. She was used to hearing her Irish parents call it the 'path'. When she came to the US, she discovered that it was the 'sidewalk'. The variety of English that is spoken in...read full entry...
  • Missing you in CopenhagenSeptember 23, 2005 – I should be getting ready to fly to Copenhagen where I was scheduled to speak at the Building the Info Grid conference. I very much regret that I cannot travel as I recuperate from surgery and will miss the conference. I have agreed to participate in a followup event to...read full entry...
  • Starbucks and other coffee houses - an observation and a predictionSeptember 17, 2005 – It seems to me that the role of the coffee house, and it must be said, Starbucks in particular given its reach, in the contemporary urban setting is becoming clearer. Starbucks provides time-place alignment in busy, moving lives: in other words it provides 'on-demand place'. It provides a place which...read full entry...
  • Easing upSeptember 16, 2005 – A brief work trip to Spain followed by an emergency appendectomy (spelling?) have slowed things down here for a while. More later .......read full entry...
  • BBC AmericaSeptember 01, 2005 – The remaking of Doctor Who by the BBC a while ago was a nostalgic moment for many. Certainly for me, who had grown up with it, it was. Although I have not yet seen an episode of the new version. The BBC -- radio and TV -- has been a...read full entry...
  • Simpler spellingAugust 25, 2005 – Whenever I write something in Word, it will still usually suggest several spelling changes where I have used centre or some other version with which the US spell-checker is unfamiliar. I notice from that invaluable resource that Melvil Dewey - spelling reformer as well as library innovator - is responsible...read full entry...
  • I can't get no ...August 17, 2005 – Satisficing is a term associated with Herbert Simon, which refers to activity which aims to achieve a good enough end, not necessarily the best end. There do not seem to be corresponding nouns. Here are two suggestions, which can be used depending on perspective ;-) satisfiction satisvictory...read full entry...
  • TecheologyAugust 14, 2005 – I coined techeology a while ago to talk about a particular phenomenon that is quite strong in our space. It is formed from a conflation of technology and ideology. And I use it where it seems that ideology, rather than engineering or identified requirements, is driving a technical discussion. Conversations...read full entry...
  • Paul Graham - what business can learn from open sourceAugust 05, 2005 – Typically readable recent essay:So these, I think, are the three big lessons open source and blogging have to teach business: (1) that people work harder on stuff they like, (2) that the standard office environment is very unproductive, and (3) that bottom-up often works better than top-down. [What Business Can...read full entry...
  • QOTDAugust 02, 2005 – Kierkegaard:Take away the paradox from a thinker and you have a professor. [Jonathan R�e on Kierkegaard. LRB 4 August 2005]...read full entry...
  • TrackbacksJuly 29, 2005 – Having come back from my travels to hundreds of spam trackbacks we have decided to disable trackback for the moment. We may turn it back on when the tools available to us to control it are better, but life is just too short to cope with the irritation it causes....read full entry...
  • The Flattening ManifestoJuly 02, 2005 – In a couple of recent posts I have used the expression all that is solid melts into flows when talking about the impact of the network. I noted that it adapts a quotation from a well-known long term occupant of the old British Museum Reading Room. As I had been...read full entry...
  • Easing upJuly 01, 2005 – I am going to be travelling throughout much of July, on a mixture of vacation and presentations. I will be working my way around Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands. So posting will likely be light. First stop is the LIBER 34th Annual Conference at the University of Groningen next...read full entry...
  • Keeping the noise downJune 25, 2005 – A silent disco at Glastonbury Festival!There was no music coming from the speakers - but the clubbers were all equipped with cordless headphones to let them tune into the music, able to choose between two DJs and control their own volume. [BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Glastonbury keeps the noise...read full entry...
  • Really writingJune 23, 2005 – And while talking about writing, here's Dervala again:And that's why engineers are reliable teachers of business writing. They're not paid to make up words. They're not afraid to commit to the end of a sentence. They care about efficiency and elegance, and see them as related. They get excited about...read full entry...
  • Yes, an Irish [high]school education ....June 22, 2005 – .... was very much like this. [Note: non-Irish readers will have to read the above post to fully understand the rest of this one.] The "perceived prestige of high points requirements" that is described was very real. With a decisiveness that has marked my subsequent career ;-), I switched successively...read full entry...
  • Selling booksJune 18, 2005 – I was talking to a rare books seller recently about the changing nature of his business. The larger part of his sales are now made on the web, through such services as ABEBooks, Alibris, and for some things, eBay. This raises an interesting inventory issue. In his walkin-in store, books...read full entry...
  • Games some people play/makeMay 12, 2005 – An interesting story about the University of Derby has been picked up in various places. The University runs a course for games programmers. It had 108 applicants - all men! They are now trying to find ways of recruiting more women applicants. In the US efforts had been made to...read full entry...
  • Laura BushMay 01, 2005 – Spotted via Scripting News:Laura Bush added that she and her husband obviously were destined to be together as a couple because "I was the librarian who spent 12 hours a day in the library and yet somehow I met George."[USATODAY.com - First lady steals show at journalists' gala]...read full entry...
  • DisorganizationMay 01, 2005 – From UK ThinkTank, Demos:Based on new data from polling of employees and business decision makers, Disorganisation argues that to stay organised in the deep sense of engaging their employees in a shared project, organisations may have to disorganise to allow people more freedom to express their personal values and individual...read full entry...
  • Sending out r�sum�s in PDFApril 26, 2005 – The Daring Fireball post "Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Adobe's `FAQ' Regarding Their Acquisition of Macromedia" has been widely noticed. But that does not mean that it cannot be noted here. My favorite line "Please also note that PDF is an excellent format for sending out...read full entry...
  • Taking a breakMarch 29, 2005 – Posts are scarce at the moment, and will be for a while, as I am on vacation. We are in Toronto visiting family. We look forward to visiting the Lilian H Smith library which has been highly recommended by cousins .......read full entry...
  • Looking backMarch 23, 2005 – I have just spent a little time on the very useful-for-the-nostalgic Google Groups seeing if I could find a record of an event in the early nineties (I must be getting old ...). I was unsuccessful. In the process, I did come across a great lost URL ;-) The BUBL...read full entry...
  • TabsMarch 15, 2005 – A history of the tab by Ed Tenner in the MIT Technology Review. Apparently, it was the idea of James Newton Gunn who worked with Melvil Dewey.The modern tab was an improvement on a momentous 19th-century innovation, the index card. Libraries had previously listed their books in bound ledgers. During...read full entry...
  • Generation parentMarch 14, 2005 – Another generational reflection .... Lorcan: What's the URL? Children: Oh, we never do that - just put the name in Google .......read full entry...
  • Net generation students and librariesFebruary 24, 2005 – Joan Lippincott of CNI writes about Net Generation users and libraries in a new publication: What are some of the major disconnects between many of today's academic libraries and Net Gen students? The most common one is students' dependence on Google or similar search engines for discovery of information resources...read full entry...
  • Software contestJanuary 27, 2005 – Check out our software contest!...read full entry...
  • Powerpoint points: access, preservation and identityDecember 29, 2004 – People have different styles with powerpoint presentations. Mine tend to be developed close to presentation and to be somewhat elliptical: points to keep me on course. Others are more carefully plotted narratives. Nevertheless, I find that quickly looking through a conference or workshop program of presentations can give quite a...read full entry...
  • Comments and spamDecember 18, 2004 – We have turned off commenting in the light of heavy spam traffic in the last couple of weeks. Hope to turn it back on when we have a good way of dealing with this irritating issue. No Need to Click Here - I'm just claiming my feed at Feedster...read full entry...
  • The word ...December 01, 2004 – Merriam-Webster said "blog" headed the list of most looked-up terms on its site during the last twelve months. [BBC NEWS | Technology | Why 2004 was the year of the blog]...read full entry...
  • University rankingsNovember 22, 2004 – The Times Higher Education Supplement [subscribers only - guest subscription available] has compiled a list of the 'top' 200 universities worldwide. The list is interesting as a sign of the growing international competitiveness of higher education. It appears that it will be refined in future years. A major contributor to...read full entry...
  • Search and searchNovember 11, 2004 – Walt Crawford explains in the current Cites and Insights [pdf] how Lorcan Dempsey and Walt Crawford have been linked by www.info.com. Do a search on either of our names and you are asked do you want the other. Perhaps it is because our names co-occur on a variety of bibliographies...read full entry...
  • MapsNovember 03, 2004 – One thing that has come out of the election is a variety of interactive maps. Tim Bray drew attention to Andrew Tanenbaum's. I found the BBC's quite useful this morning for catching up on results around the country....read full entry...
  • Externalizing the BlogOctober 31, 2004 – I have maintained this Blog for a year now, writing for colleagues internally at OCLC. We have decided to externalize it. I wonder will the dynamic change very much ... The focus is on libraries and network services, and on libraries more broadly. It is quite general, although readers will...read full entry...
  • Foreign Policy Magazine on GlobalizationOctober 24, 2004 – Foreign Policy Magazine has run a 'globalization index' for the last few years. It is based on several measures: economic integration, technological connectivity, personal contact, and political engagement. For the third year in a row, Ireland ranks as the most global nation in our survey, due to the country's deep...read full entry...
  • Seattle public libraryOctober 19, 2004 – Check out Liz Lawley's photographs of the new Seattle Public Library....read full entry...
  • Infrastructure and intrastructureOctober 13, 2004 – Many services are provided as infrastructure. I have been using the word 'intrastructure' to talk about the apparatus of peer to peer interaction. I was curious to see if anybody else had thought of using this 'word' in this way. A search on Google is interesting: a lot of people...read full entry...
  • David Byrne creates powerpointOctober 02, 2004 – Byrne's 20-minute PowerPoint display treats visitors to psychedelic graphics, satirical charts, and morphing photographs. Byrne, who was trained as a fine artist, has developed an animated presentation unlike any seen at a corporate sales conference. PowerPoint's slick graphics and pre-designed templates can make even the blandest lecture look good, but...read full entry...
  • My mediaSeptember 25, 2004 – Adam Bosworth summarises how he would like his various media options to work together. These days, like everybody else, my media is increasingly on my hard disks. It is on PC's, Mac's, iPod's and recorders of TV like Tivo although mine is a Time Warner supplied variant. As such, like...read full entry...
  • Microsoft and internationalizationSeptember 11, 2004 – Operating in an international environment raises many issues. Of course, this is a big factor for OCLC. There is an interesting article in the Guardian about some of the issues that Microsoft has run into through a lack of awareness of particular local political or geographic contexts.In a frank assessment...read full entry...
  • Top screen scientistSeptember 10, 2004 – The BBC held a Top Screen Scientist Vote and the results are in....read full entry...
  • Olympic iconsAugust 28, 2004 – Like many others, I have been intermittently watching the Olympics. The Munich Olympics were the first I really registered. I find that the 'event icons' used there are very closely bound up with my experience of the games: many were so eonomically suggestive of the sport they represented that they...read full entry...
  • Galway BayAugust 25, 2004 – Driving through an area in Dublin (Ohio) with streets named after Irish places the other day, I passed a street called 'Gullway Bay'. There are no gulls in Dublin, Ohio, although there are many in Galway, Ireland. 'Gullway' had the sound of an Old English kenning about it. It prompted...read full entry...
  • Sun blogsAugust 10, 2004 – ZDNet on the Schwartz phenomenon. The COO and President of Sun is using his blog to go straight to a wider audience with strong views.:In the bigger picture, as a regular blogger, Schwartz is using the Web technology as a direct channel to customers, prospects, stockholders, partners, and employees. Except...read full entry...
  • Food for thoughtAugust 08, 2004 – "Food is polysaturated with culture" says Steven Shapin in a review of several books on the Atkins diet. This is a reflective piece from the London Review of Books, noted here as many OCLC conversations seem to be like those observed by the author among his colleagues:Even asking the question...read full entry...
  • Google and the Ferrari factorAugust 06, 2004 – Apparently, there is some concern that if Google staff become suddenly wealthy they may loose some of their incentive to work. Karen Goodfriend, a US financial adviser who specialises in assisting "suddenly wealthy" individuals, says the Google staff should brace themselves for deep and unpredictable psychological changes. [BBC NEWS |...read full entry...
  • Organization of workAugust 01, 2004 – A suggestive panel discussion on Technology and the modern corporation: how different will it become is covered in Robert Patterson's weblog. Leaders from several industries discuss changing organizational patterns. Malone: I have a slogan for that. We need to change our thinking from "command and control" to "coordinate and cultivate."...read full entry...
  • Free wireless network access on Brighton BeachJuly 19, 2004 – There are two piers on Brighton Beach. So what would you call a free wireless network service on Brighton Beach? Why piertopier.net of course ..... This is easily the best name I have seen in a while .... Piertopier.net provides free wireless internet access to Brighton beach, using WiFi (IEEE...read full entry...
  • Swiss army knife memory stickJuly 14, 2004 – Mmm.... A swiss army knife with a built in USB flash drive: ThinkGeek :: Swiss Memory USB....read full entry...
  • GlossariesJune 20, 2004 – In general, there seems little point in trying to define terms for use except within some closely knit community of practice. Nevertheless, glossaries are often interesting attempts to clarify the conceptual context of activities. This is the case with the RDN discussion of structured and unstructured services, brokers and portals,...read full entry...
  • PhDs live longerJune 08, 2004 – Good news for some in OR at BBC NEWS | Health | The secrets of long life revealed?...read full entry...
  • Expense reports on the webMay 23, 2004 – Library and Archives Canada employees' expense reports are available for inspection on the web. On December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister announced a new policy on the mandatory publication of travel and hospitality expenses for selected government officials. [Travel and Hospitality Expenses Reports - Library and Archives Canada]...read full entry...
  • Who reads blogsMay 21, 2004 – Survey results show characteristics of blog readership.This survey shows that blog readers are older and more affluent than most optimistic guestimates: 61% of blog readers responding to the survey are over 30, and 75% make more than $45,000 a year. [Blogads: reader survey for blog advertising.]...read full entry...
  • RSS reader and FireFoxMay 01, 2004 – RSS Reader Panel, a FireFox extension, provides a reader nicely integrated with the browser. Clean and simple and so far good enough for my modest requirements....read full entry...
  • House of Commons librarianApril 23, 2004 – Quite a bit of discussion in the UK at the moment about the recently advertized post of Librarian for the House of Commons (one of the two houses of parliament). Very high salary for a UK Librarian. Cause for discussion is that the librarian is paid more than a Member...read full entry...
  • Kinja - a weblog serviceApril 12, 2004 – Kinja is interesting in that they are trying to sell services to users who wish to track blogs without needing to know about RSS etc. Kinja is a weblog portal, collecting news and commentary from some of the best sites on the web. Visitors can browse items on topics, everything...read full entry...
  • email service from GoogleApril 01, 2004 – "If a Google user has a problem with email, well, so do we," said Google co-founder and president of technology, Sergey Brin. "And while developing Gmail was a bit more complicated than we anticipated, we're pleased to be able to offer it to the user who asked for it." [Google...read full entry...
  • Knots on MELApril 01, 2004 – Peter Suber will be familiar to people as the Open Access advocate. He is a philosopher. He also has an interest in knot tying. I am going to Lansing for a meeting with the Michigan Library Consortium later today, and I am doing some preparation. I was looking at their...read full entry...
  • Irritable desk syndromeMarch 29, 2004 – Researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi say the nation's office workers are being hit by "Irritable Desk Syndrome". [BBC NEWS | Health | Cluttered desks make workers ill]...read full entry...
  • University rankingsMarch 28, 2004 – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education provides its Academic Ranking of World Universities based on nobel prize winners, citation studies and other publication counts. I am not sure how used or useful the list is, although it is interesting in that it is international. Such lists tend to...read full entry...
  • Tabor in the libraryMarch 26, 2004 – I always like seeing comments like the one below where the library has played some role in personal development or fulfilment. Long, long ago, almost 40 years ago in fact, I borrowed a record from my school library. It was called The Jupiter Book of Ballads, and the most important...read full entry...
  • The BBC on OhioMarch 02, 2004 – Culturally, Ohio has a large sample of Americans within its borders, largely because of the state's settlement by New Englanders to the north and Virginians to the south. [BBC NEWS | World | Americas | State profile: Ohio]...read full entry...
  • Bray in DublinJanuary 13, 2004 – mmm... Tim Bray reporting on a visit to Dublin, Ireland. He doesn't appear to get to the Brazen Head and seems to think that it rains a lot....read full entry...
  • Common solutions groupJanuary 11, 2004 – A group of universities collaborate on technical challenges within the Common Solutions Group (formerly the Stone Soup Group). What they say they do:The Common Solutions Group (CSG) is a set of leading universities and mid-level networks working together to create a common infrastructure and toolset required for the future of...read full entry...
  • Library organizations .. relationsJanuary 11, 2004 – During an idle weekend moment ... I took a list of library organizations -- Library of Congress, RLG, OCLC, Urban Libraries Council, CLIR, ARL, ALA, CNI, IMLS -- and did a 'find related' or 'find similar' search on them in Google (they use both related and similar for the same...read full entry...
  • Tim Bray and jobsJanuary 06, 2004 – Tim Bray announces that he is looking for something new to do. He remains associated with Antarctica but would like to work on search in a new environment.But I can be more specific than that. Here's what I'd really like to do: Over the last few months, I�ve written a...read full entry...
  • Sir TimJanuary 01, 2004 – As has been widely reported, Tim Berners Lee has accepted a knighthood. Buckingham Palace said this week that Berners-Lee, 48, a British citizen who lives in the United States, got the honor because of his "services to the global development of the Internet." [Queen to Knight Early Web Innovator]...read full entry...
  • Study on business use of emailDecember 27, 2003 – Almost one-third of businesses that responded to an internet survey run by The University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation spend up to an hour each day clearing e-mails they have received. [Press Releases - Public Affairs Office - The University of Nottingham]...read full entry...
  • Economic value of the British LibraryDecember 10, 2003 – Interesting results from an investigation commissioned by the British Library trying to put a value on the benefit to the UK the library delivers. I saw a news report about a study that was carried out in Boston a while ago where (nine, I think) Universities reported that the economic...read full entry...
  • Office spaceNovember 23, 2003 – Saw a ref to this Mercury News story on Slashdot. At Cisco, employees without offices can use computers set up in comfy lounges and conference rooms. It's a similar story at Sun, where legions of nomadic workers use their building access badges to log onto shared computers. [Mercury News |...read full entry...
  • D-Lib MagazineNovember 18, 2003 – A new issue of D-Lib Magazine has several interesting articles. The article on LEAF mentions VIAF, and the article on preservation and Fedora references Brian's work on economics of digital preservation....read full entry...
  • Library calendarNovember 10, 2003 –  The Renaissance Library Calendar 2004 12 colour photographs of beautiful old libraries, from 527AD to 1932, with brief history and description of items of special interest Click here for further information [Gifts for librarians and book lovers, the lovely Renaissance Library Collection]...read full entry...
  • Downhill after 40November 10, 2003 – Kasparov has been asked to enter politics - Russia's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger - but is undecided. Soon he may have time for it. Surely, at 40, his chess mind is in decline? "Absolutely! You can't throw energy of nuclear size into the game. Obviously you're losing concentration with age....read full entry...
  • Clay ShirkyOctober 30, 2003 – Clay Shirky is working as a technical consultant to the Library of Congress NDIIPP initiative.Mr. Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and...read full entry...
  • Jon Udell and blockquoteOctober 24, 2003 – In response to a comment ... the quoted text I put in entries is formatted by a 'quote' bookmarklet created by Jon Udell.The kinds of interactions I have in mind are as common as dirt. I'm talking about basic routine chores that we perform daily and almost unconsciously. For example,...read full entry...
  • I could get used to this ...October 21, 2003 –  More and more people are turning to robots to do their household chores, such as mowing lawns and vacuuming carpets, according to a survey. [BBC NEWS | Business | Farewell lawn mower... hello robot]...read full entry...