Tuesday, February 27, 2007

libraryland - Online Identity "Stuff"

See, this is why I get nothing done. I get up every morning with a plan, a list of things to do, places to go, people to see - and instead I spend the day online. It starts innocently enough - I just want to check my email - but then it spirals out of control and the next thing I know it's 3pm and I haven't had coffee, eaten anything, or gotten dressed.

Todays spiraling vortex of "wow, that's cool" is online identity tools, ClaimID and OpenID. I had heard of ClaimID before and thought it was very cool, but hadn't created a profile yet. OpenID is newer, and I stumbled on that while leaving a comment on someone's LiveJournal (and it sure did come in handy, since I do not have a LiveJournal account. Or, maybe I do, Who knows.)

Warning, if you are not familiar with either of these tools/sites, you can easily spend a good amount of time reading about them, registering, and making your pages. Next thing you know you are reading about hCards, and you think, "Well, I should have one of those, too!" Ooops, and then you're reading about Wikidentity, and that's just one more thing to do.

I still have not figured out all of the nuances to ClaimID, OpenID, or hCards and Wikidentity, and I've already lost more than two hours of my day. And since I have a million things to do that require coffee and clothing, I will be posting the latest info to the Social Software page later on. In the meantime, check these out, and comment if you have experience with them, or if you would like to share your profile(s). These sites are slightly outside of my tech-comfort zone in terms of what-all they do, so if you have info/experience/opinions, do tell.

Anyone taking bets as to whether I am still sitting here, hungry and coffee-less, at 2pm?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm going off the rails on a Crazy Train

Every library has its "off" patrons, and mine is no different. We have a relatively small assortment of regular (as in visits regularly), odd-duck patrons who run the gamut from "quietly weird but doesn't bother anyone" to "annoying when the moon is full but essentially harmless." None of these people have ever caused me to feel alarmed, and at their worst, they simply require some extra one-on-one attention.

So, imagine my surprise when shouts of "KILL HIM! KILL HIM!" rang out from the back corner of non-fiction last night.

It started off quietly. I was pulling books for the holds list when I noticed some strange noise coming from one of the desks. It sounded like insane muttering, but it was fairly quiet, and I didn't think that anyone who wasn't standing right next to the source could hear it. The muttering turned into words, and then some sort of singing. It was still fairly quiet, but I poked my head around the shelf to take a look. There was one of my regulars - who had never uttered a peep before as far I as I knew - sitting there with a pair of headphones on. The headphones were blaring something that sounded like "church music" (for lack of a better description). I just assumed that she was engrossed in what she was listening to, and wasn't aware of her own voice. Again, since she was removed from the main part of the room, I didn't bug her about it.

Until it escalated.

Her volume grew louder, and her muttering became quite distinct - I was pretty sure I heard her say, "kill her." Several times. Hmmmmm. What to do. Now, I know that people who work in large and/or urban libraries have to deal with this kind of thing (and much worse) all the time, but here in land of the geriatric mystery reader, I wasn't sure what the protocol was.

I went to my boss and said, "One of our patrons is being a little strange. She's saying, 'kill her' over and over again. It's getting louder. Um, do we have a specific way we should handle this?"
My boss said, "Tell (the Director)."

Eventually, (the Director) came over to check out the situation. By this time, the patron was in a full-on shouting chant of "Kill Him!" and the other patrons were looking around with faces that clearly said, "WTF?" She approached the woman and asked if she "needed help." The patron said, "Oh, can you hear me!? I'm sorry! I'm having a difficult time right now, and I'm praying." She quieted down, and we determined that she was (most likely) harmless. Poor dear.

I went back to my desk and Googled "kill him" +prayer, but somehow I don't think she was listening to Shellac. In fact, when I went back to check on her later, I could hear the Star Spangled Banner blaring in her headphones while she (quietly) muttered, "You can't fool me, oh no you can't." Heh.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

libraryland - Look it up!

NinjaWords is my new favorite online dictionary (seems like a lotta ninjas in the searchosphere lately). It is exactly what it says it is - fast. Can look up many words - at once. No ads. Can be added to your sys tray (windows), dashboard (mac) and Firefox search bar. Check out the about page to see the sources of the definitions (cool!), and read the author's interesting blog post about why he created it. I like it.

You can find this again in libraryland on the search engines page.


You may have seen this over at Jessamyn's a few days ago, but I just had to link it here. I wonder if they are hiring...

Help! I need a tester.

This is a repeat of the post over at Library Talk. Please excuse the dupe if you subscribe to both.

If anyone out there uses TypePad and was thinking of adding the Library Links blogroll to their blog, please let me know if you run into problems working with the code. At least one person can't get it to work in their sidebar - apparently it messes up the other stuff in the sidebar. And since TypePad is one blogging platform I have not yet played with, I am at a loss in how to help.
The code on the page is javascript - and perhaps this is the problem. If it is, I can supply different code.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

libraryland - create a search engine!

Creating your own search engine is all the rage right now - especially since it has become pretty easy to accomplish. It's also a great addition to your subject-specific blog or webpage; offering an "outdoors" search engine on your hiking blog would definitely make me think about visiting again.

Google, naturally, went full-scale customizable with Google Co-op. Co-op requires several easy steps, and offers a variety of options for optimal customization. It's very flexible, and very "Google-esque." Ninja, the search engine Josh wrote about a few days ago, is a Co-op engine. You can work the search into your page seamlessly, and if you are web-app savvy, you can do a lot with this tool.

If you are looking for something a little faster to throw together, a little easier in general, try out Rollyo. Rollyo does the same basic thing as Google Co-op - assembles a search engine based on chosen sites - but it does so with less fuss. And, of course, fewer options. It isn't (yet) customizable in terms of visual presentation, and it lacks some of the fancier options of Co-op, but I like it just the same. It also offers a "dashboard" which allows quick acces to all of your search engines, and a Firefox browser option. Has a bit more of a social-web feel, and is definitely an on-the-fly app.

Check 'em out - all the cool kids are doing it.

Oh, yeah, this is the first libraryland post since the merge. Links to Google Co-op and Rollyo will live on the Search Engines page for easy access and browsing.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Join Library Links!

The Library Links community blogroll is up and running!

Thanks to Josh and Chris, who jumped in to be testers and gave me some great feedback. And we already have a couple of other folks who have joined up, so I'm excited.

I hope you'll join us, and maybe talk the blogroll up a bit on your site.

Library Talk Updates

I have changed the way that Library Talk publishes due to constant issues with it. The long version of the story is here.

As a result of the changes, if you have the blog bookmarked and/or if you subscribe, you may have to update both the URL and your RSS feed. More info on that here.

Sorry for the inconvenience!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Librarian Blogroll

So, I have an idea. Actually, it's not my idea, but I am thinking of borrowing the idea to use here. What is it, you ask? Well, it's a librarian community blogroll. There I go with that "community" thing again. I am just going to keep screaming "librarian community!" until everyone participates....

Anyway, while I was merging my blogs, I went over the blogrolls on each. I immediately noticed that in only a few cases, the links on one blogroll overlapped with the links on the other. And not even half of what I read on a regular basis appears in any of my blogrolls. Because, Let's face it, there are tons of great librarian/library blogs out there, and we can't possibly read them (or in some cases find them) all.

I've thought about simply linking to my reader, but, for me anyway, blogging is not only about posting, it's about linking, directly, to others. This is how bloggers gain and expand readership.

The concept is simple, and I belong to one such community blogroll that has not only helped bump the readership of another blog I have, but has lead me to some great blogs that I likely would not have stumbled across on my own. It goes like this: You cut and paste a piece of code and add it to your blog. Then, once you have done that, you let me know and I add you to the blogroll. That's it. Simple.

Concerned about "too much stuff" in your sidebar? Don't be. You can post the list anywhere in your blog (another page, perhaps), or you can use the handy scrollbox code to display the list in a compact form.

Josh, are you willing to be a guinea pig and help spread the word?
I need a couple of people to jump in so that I can get a roll going. Let me know if you would like to be one of the test blogs!