Archive for December, 2007
Meredith Farkas (Information Wants To Be Free) has an article summarizing her recent survey of the biblioblogosphere in the December 15 issue of Library Journal. In The Bloggers Among Us, she summarizes her findings about who is blogging (by age, librarians over the age 40 are the fastest-growing segment; by professional niche, public service librarians are the most populous segment), and what they blog about (libraries and services, sure, but also hobbies, personal lives — and the intersections among these topics).
The article is a good read and might help librarians convince a skeptical management that not only are library and librarian blogs increasingly common, but they are often viewed (in academic circles, where such things matter more) as publications. As Meredith notes, “Blogging can be a great leveler, too. People are judged more by their ideas than their résumés, so anyone can make a name for him/herself. Also, blogging can build a bridge for those geographically isolated from other (or like-minded) librarians.” I would add, blogging can also build a bridge from the library to the geographically isolated patron.
As a member of the editorial board for the just-launched Code4Lib Journal, I’m pleased to point the way to the inaugural issue. The Code4Lib Journal covers the intersection of libraries, technology, and the future. The idea for the journal came out of last year’s Code4Lib conference, but the journal’s content comes from across the spectrum of libraries.
The first issue of this OPENACCESS journal contains:
- Editorial Introduction â Issue 1, by Jonathan Rochkind
- Beyond OPAC 2.0: Library Catalog as Versatile Discovery Platform, by Tito Sierra, Joseph Ryan, and Markus Wust
- Facet-based search and navigation with LCSH: Problems and opportunities, by Kelley McGrath
- The Rutgers Workflow Management System: Migrating a Digital Object Management Utility to Open Source, by Grace Agnew & Yang Yu
- Communicat: The Next Generation Catalog That Almost Wasâ¦, by Ross Singer
- Connecting the Real to the Representational: Historical Demographic Data in the Town of Pullman, 1880-1940, by Andrew H. Bullen
- BOOK REVIEW: The Success of Open Source by Steven Weber, reviewed by Eric Lease Morgan
- COLUMN: 700 Dollars and a Dream : Take a Chance on Koha, There’s Very Little to Lose, by BWS Johnson
If you’re interested in contributing to a future issue, please see the Call for Submissions. We’re accepting proposals for articles, book & software reviews, code snippets & algorithms, conference reports, opinion pieces, etc.
FeedJournal is a service that turns RSS feed into printable PDF documents formatted like newspapers. At present, there is a free version that converts a single RSS feed into a newspaper-like PDF file. There will soon be paid versions that will allow subscribers to create PDFs out of multiple feeds. The tool is still under active development.
I asked for a reviewers’ account of FeedJournal; Jonas Martinsson was kind enough to provide one to me. FeedJournal organizes feed items into newspaper-like pages. For a sample of how the RSS4Lib site looks (for the period from October 22-December 10, 2007), see RSS4Lib in PDF (433 KB). I also tested the multiple-feed version with four weblogs (PDF, 189KB). This RSSpaper contains four items from each webblog’s feed: RSS4Lib, Librarian.net, Library Stuff, and Information Wants to Be Free.
The newspaper format — multiple columns with articles spreading across one or more — is easy to read and highly portable. A printed PDF is even more portable than Google Reader’s “offline” version; no laptop required. I can see this being a great tool for libraries to make easily-printed handouts of RSS feeds for subject guides, current alerts from databases, and so on. It also seems this might be a good way for librarians to show busy administrators all the good stuff that’s out in the blog world.
My only quibble with FeedJournal is the organizational scheme it imposes on the feeds. It’s a bit idiosyncratic, apparently based on fitting the blog posts into the fewest pages, not by relative freshness of the items or estimated importance. For example, because I liveblogged the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, I had an uncharacteristically large number of longer posts. The result is that the first page of the RSS4Lib PDF comprises one conference session and one short item I wrote several weeks later. Page 2 is the 3rd conference post. Page 3 contains the start of the 2nd conference post (which is continued on page 9). The 4-blog version has similar oddities; each page has posts from throughout the last several weeks.
Of course, FeedJournal is a pre-release product so some oddities are to be expected. I hope, though, that a future version, if not the release, will combine freshness with some estimate of importance (using Technorati, for example, to boost the most linked-to items to the front page). Having an easy-to-print and easy-to-read document is a definite plus.
Paul Pival learned something interesting about EBSCO, EZProxy, and RSS feeds: if you don’t edit your EZProxy configuration just so, RSS alerts for saved searches in EBSCO databases get rewritten to pass through your library’s proxy server. And if that happens, off-campus users (including aggregators like Bloglines or Google Reader) can’t get to the RSS feed. (The link to each new item from the database in the feed is still routed through your proxy server so your patrons can still get to the full text at a single click.)
See the Distant Librarian for instructions. In short, all that’s needed is adding a single line to Useful Utilites’ standard EBSCO EZProxy configuration:
I suppose other databases require similar proxy configuration changes. If you have examples, leave them in the comments.