Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006
John Battelle thinks things through about the China censorship issue, and concludes that the government, rather than Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL etc, needs to take the lead in opposing Chinese policy. John also writes about the ADVISE system, "a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity".

John Blyberg has a follow-up, from a library perspective, to Don Hinchcliffe's '10 ways to take advantage of Web 2.0' post. Both of these posts are among the most thoughtful and interesting that I've read on this subject. The heat seems to have left the Library 2.0 debate, and what's left is some decent posts with practical recommendations. I'm still not sure I buy into the whole "L2 revolution now!" type manifesto, but there are some great things being done under the Library 2.0 banner, and I guess I can just take the ones that work for me, and re-mix them the way I want....(and isn't that such a Library 2.0 idea?).

Steve Rubel is sceptical about the emphasis placed on links as a source of authority.

Michael McGrorty has a fascinating post discussing his prior occupation of private investigator, and including some tips for librarians: "I’d like to introduce the [library] trade to the doctrine of necessity: the idea that one has to provide a good answer, no matter what." Amen! If there's one thing I remember from this week's blog posts, I hope that is it. Steven Cohen applauds, and offers some specific tips of his own: "take as many classes as possible on database searching. Know Lexis, Westlaw, and Dialog from the inside out. Know how to use every syntax available in every major search engine".

ALA Techsource Blog has a long post by Teresa Koltzenburg on a presentation by Jenny Levine and Michael Stephens on four specific low-cost, tech tools (blogging software; RSS feeds; instant messaging; and wiki software) that libaries can use. A good, practical introduction for those unfamiliar with these tools (who, unfortunately, are unlikely to be reading blogs).

Meredith Farkas has a wonderful post on how librarians can actually make libraries worse while trying to improve them.

"Sometimes librarians think they’re helping patrons by putting policies in place that actually end up creating more barriers. Sometimes librarians create policies that help one group of patrons but hurt another. Sometimes we implement some new service or policy only to find that we were completely wrong about what our patrons wanted."
"We enlightened librarians are not immune to making mistakes. We create blogs for populations that don’t want them. We develop programs that none of our patrons attend. We see what people are doing successfully at other libraries and we try to replicate those successes, not considering the fact that our population is not the same as theirs. I’ve certainly been guilty of that sort of hubris. In short, we think we know what our patrons want without ever having asked them."
A great post. The whole thing is worth reading. If I remember two things from this week's reading, I want this to be the second thing.

Carnival of the Infosciences #24 is up at Grumpator.


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