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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Non-English blog roundup #10

Bibliobsession has posted a set of slides on Towards Library Ecosystems (French). It begins with an introduction to web 2.0 then points out, "A collection doesn't exist without its users and its uses." (slide 61) It goes on to discuss the library as an ecosystem: "creating links with other ecosystems in order to benefit from network effects which guarantee it a social utility".

Bobobiblioblog (French)
  • asks medical students if they've used Wikipedia - pretty much all have. Have they edited it? None - "Ah, no, once, a timid young woman whispered that she'd corrected a spelling mistake in one article.") Bobobiblioblog wonders whether "the general rule is perhaps to have a consumerist attitude towards Wikipedia - using it without participating in it". [I don't think it's necessarily as bad as that - remember the general 90-9-1 theory: 90% use it, 9% contribute occasionally, 1% contribute regularly.]
  • writes about adding an institutional filter to PubMed so that users of MyNCBI can filter their results to those that their institution holds. [Alas, when I try to register for MyNCBI I get 404 file not found, so I can't play with this myself.]

Vagabondages (French) points to "liquid bookmarks" (Japanese).

Kotkot writes about sustainable libraries (French), asking what sustainable development might mean in a library. The post includes a list of ideas like turning off screens overnight, using rechargeable batteries, reduce tape consumption on books, double-sided printing, create a comfortable bike shelter, etc.

Bib-log (Danish) announces the Roskilde public library mobile site.

Benobis lists French genealogy resources (French).

Via Klog come the steps of digital preservation in 1 slide (French).

De tout sur rien (French) suggests getting our users to scan book covers to go into a cross-library pool particularly if vendors put restrictions on us using theirs.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Disintegrating glue, photos, and old theses

Another team in my library is digitising one of our older theses but had a problem with a couple of pages so asked me to scan those pages from our deposit copy. Unfortunately we had the same problem - the glue used 50 years ago to glue photographs into the thesis has lost any and all adhesive properties it once had.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the pages in question were of several photos of oscillographs - and I had no idea either where each one went or which way up it went.

Fortunately someone in the other team had the bright idea of matching the back of the photo to the indentation in the page. I had another look at our copy - there was no indentation, but the old glue left a browning stain so the back each photo had an individual pattern (finger prints, brush strokes, dappling, or at least different shaped corners) which was the mirror image of that on the page.

And then I used an OHT transparency to hold the photos in place while I scanned them (since I don't want to use any glue before talking to our conservation people). Mission accomplished!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Non-English blog roundup #9

On a meta note, Google Reader now incorporates automatic language recognition and translation. For some reason this doesn't come across to the Reader widget in iGoogle, so what language I see depends on where I am -- this is actually a bonus because, while I read far faster in English, Google Translate can produce... unusual results.

Bibliothèques 2.0 (French) reports that the library in Toulouse has latched onto the city's SMS contract to SMS users for
  • the first overdue notice, and
  • notice that a reserved book is available.
They also send a pre-overdue notice by email, and additional overdue notices by email then by post. They acknowledge that SMS, at 10 euro-cents apiece, is more expensive than mail. But I think (and evidently so do they) that it's worth it to get a book back earlier and save the need of sending a post message later. We introduced SMS messages for overdue hourly-loans at our own library, and the number of times you see a student sprinting inside with the book - they didn't mean to have it overdue, they're just busy and preoccupied - makes it all worth while.

La Feuille highlights a quote from Marin Dacos' post about ebook readers (French): "Readers of today display all the shortcomings of physical books and almost none of the qualities of digital text." [This is an example of where Google Translate fails utterly, with "The reading of today are the shortcomings of the book and almost none of the qualities of the text." Reading is just stupid, are is odd, and why oh why does it simply miss out a word (numériques) that it can't cope with? Though I'll give it 'shortcomings', which I stole for my own translation.]

Álvaro Cabezas reports on the integration of Google Scholar results into Google proper (Spanish). If you don't have access via a library subscription you can click on the "All 3/whatever versions" to increase your chances of finding an open access copy or preprint.

Also from Álvaro is a great post on The user as generator, and the library as redisseminator of content (Spanish again). [Another failure of Google Translate, which renders "como redifusora de contenidos" as "of content as redisseminators". I see what it's trying to do - Romance languages often write an X of Y where English would have a Y X - but it's being incompetent about it; there's no earthly reason why a machine couldn't get the correct "as content redisseminator".] He points out that creating and maintaining a website full of quality content takes time and money - but also that web 2.0, with its remixing ideology, provides the opportunity to reuse existing information, and the opportunity to empower users to do some of the work for us. Risks, yes - but weighed against the risk of being "relegated to the archaic image which society, in general, holds of libraries"....

And via multiple blogs, the new Europeana went down due to popular demand shortly after launching. "Europe's digital library, museum and archive" hopes to re-open mid-December, at which time it will "be bringing you digitised books, films, paintings, newspapers, sounds and archives from Europe’s greatest collections." More about the project is available in the meantime at the project development site (English; Europeana itself will be in multiple languages).