Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ya Better Hide that Lesbian Lit!

From 365gay

Apparently, two teenage boys who were looking for information on military academies got an education of a completely different kind when they stumbled across The Whole Lesbian Sex Book in their local Bentonville, Arkansas public library. Dad's not happy about this, and wants to sue the town for $20,000 for the boys' "pain and suffering" and have the library director fired.

  • My favorite quote:
    "[They were] greatly disturbed" said Earl Adams his letter to the city. "[We had] many sleepless nights in our house."

    Yeah, I'll bet. Two teenage boys (ages 14 and 16) find a graphic book on lesbian sex and then have trouble sleeping - imagine that.
  • And, wow, how about that, finding that book (613.96) while looking for books on military schools (355.5). Sure, I don't know the size or layout of the library, but I would bet my last buck that the terms "sex" or "lesbian" were utilized on the OPAC by the 14 year-old at some point during the visit - betcha.
  • After the father's first complaint the book was moved to an "inaccessible" area of the library, and after his second complaint it was removed altogether. Gee, that was easy. Makes me wonder why they purchased the book in the first place if they are that gun-shy about such topics.

  • And, according to the article, the Director resigned, though she said it had nothing to do with the controversy - just that it's a part-time job, and she wants to devote more time to her "business." Hey, how about that it's a part-time job and they don't pay her enough to put up with all the drama?
I'm curious - does your library own that book? If so, do you keep it behind the desk? Have you ever had any complaints about the book? Our library does not own it, and, in fact, even though Library Journal highly recommended it for "all public libraries," only four of the 48 libraries in my state own it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Internet Radio Fans - Listen Up

Here's a copy of a letter I just received in my inbox:

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,

I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.

In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.

Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio:

Please feel free to forward this link/email to your friends - the more petitioners we can get, the better.

Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.

As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.

Most everyone I know who spends a good deal of time online listens to some form of internet radio. It really bums me out to think that Pandora, LastFM, Live365, and many others will be forced to shut down due to short-sighted, greedy legislation (which I doubt will benefit musicians as much as the powers-that-be would have you believe). No matter what your stand on current copyright laws, I don't think I am alone when I say that I have PURCHASED music that I was introduced to on one of the afforementioned webcasts (Pandora has done more for expanding my musical horizons more than any other station, online or off).

I hope you'll give a look.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


No, that's not a typo.

I have been trying for hours, unsuccessfully, to install Ubuntu onto the laptop. First, I tried xubuntu because I thought that might be a better fit for the laptop (which has never quite performed up to snuff), but I abandoned that thinking that perhaps I had a bad download. I then downloaded the regular version, and did what they suggested and ran the hash utility - evrything checked out OK. I burned the disk and fired up the computer.

Basically, the installation just seems to hang every time. It goes and goes (but never gives me any prompts or anything to actually install, and not just run the the live disk) and then just stops.

My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1100, and has the necessary disk space and RAM to run the software - I have no idea what the deal is.

Any ideas out there?

It's not a huge deal if I can't get this going - my laptop is not my main computer, but I thought it might be fun to try ubuntu and that maybe it would solve the laptop's slow performance issues. I uninstalled MS Office and most of my other programs, ran a reg cleaner, spyware cleaner, and antivirus before beginning. I figured that if I could get Ubuntu going, I would be in a better position to talk to people about Linux and other FLOSS applications.... If Ubuntu doesn't end up working for me, I will download Open Office on the Windows OS. But, if anyone out there might be able to help, feel free to Meebo me, and if you Skype, maybe we can chat.

Josh, are you out there? I seem to remember you saying you installed Ubuntu on your lappy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

libraryland - Become a Fonera!

After reading Erica's wireless post and the resulting comment drama, I was reminded of something I've been meaning to mention here.

As you might imagine, I am a big fan of collaboration. I'm also a big fan of easy-to-locate wireless access - not so much because I travel around with my laptop frequently (I don't, my laptop stinks and I spend most of my time either at home or at work, where I have all the internet I can stand), but because I would like to have such access available to me, when and if I need it. I'm like that.

Enter FON, which I think is a fantabulous concept/service/device.

FON is a wireless router that you can buy and configure to allow other FON owners access to your signal (but not your computer stuff) - for free. So, If I own a FON, and I travel to an area with my laptop (or WiFi phone!) where someone else is a FON user, I can hop on their wireless network (and vice-versa). To me, this is sharing at its best. And, if you would like to offer your signal to those who don't own a FON, or care to open up their signal, you can - and a make a few bucks in the process!

At $40, the FON is priced comparably to other wireless routers (and, as the FON has grown in popularity, the price has increased, just FYI).

Naturally, FON is most popular in places like NYC and parts of California, and it's been a bit slow to catch on here, which I think is due, in part, to that fact that FON, like Skype, is not an American company. But, I am planning on buying a FON as soon as I can so that I can join the 13 other people (really) in RI using it (and I had to laugh - one of them is on Prudence Island - a place with no public restrooms, restaurants, stores, and a one-room school house).

If each of us not only talks this up, but hooks one up, imagine the network we could build!

You in?

libraryland - Desktop on Demand

One of my favorite bloggers, Michael Casey, posted on a new web goodie, Desktop on Demand. It sounded intriguing, so I figured I'd try it out.

I like it. A lot.

In a nutshell, the service provides users with a Linux-based online desktop that features online file storage, email client, browser, multi-platform IM client, GIMP (photo editing), file encryption, and more - and you can access your desktop, securely, from any internet computer. It's really cool. I have not played with all of the options yet, but the free gig of online storage space alone is worth taking a look at.

I think introducing this type of service to our patrons would make life so much easier for some of them. Our computers have a locked CD drive, meaning that they have to save their stuff to either floppies or USB drives. Most of the patrons use floppies, but soon computers - and that includes ours - won't have floppies at all. And while some of us have been using USB drives for years, most of my internet patrons have no idea what a USB drive is, or are unable/unwilling to buy one (I am trying to get small drives donated to us). Also, patrons leave floppies and USB drives behind all the time - floppies get turned in to lost and found - USB drives do not (imagine that). DoD's online storage would make library computing much more manageable.

The potential for patron and staff applications with this program.... I get excited just thinking about it.

DoD is still in BETA at this point, and snooping around in the forum sheds some light on kinks that need to be worked out, but once the program makes its public debut, I am hoping to develop a class on it for our patrons (and staff).

I had to wait a couple of days to get a log-in, but if you are interested in trying it out, I have 25 invites I can hand out - drop me a line.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well, Isn't this Interesting?

This tidbit of info popped up on a few of the feminist blogs I read, and I thought it was relevant to the "library world" as it is about search habits (I think).

American Airlines has introduced a new "women's" page, complete with "our own" search box:

Here's the search box on the main page of American Airlines (the one that, if I am understanding their implication, appeals more to men than women):

So, aside from the pretty pink color (cuz you know all we chicks just dig pink!), do you notice anything? Like, perhaps, that all of the advanced search functions have been stripped from the women's search box!?


OK, according to their women's page, American Airlines has, "...listened to women like you and recognized the need to provide additional information tailored to your business and pleasure travel needs and lifestyle." Is this true? Did their market research reveal that women would rather not have advanced search options in their search box? And, does American Airlines feel like removing those options provides us women with "additional information?" Really?

I fully admit that perhaps I am over-thinking this because I am an uppity feminist. But since I belong to a profession that is still somewhat dominated by women (79% of librarians were female in 2002 according to the Toledo Blade), a profession where "search" is what we do, this struck a chord with me. Maybe, though, we freaky librarians do not represent the mainstream American woman's search habits. But still...

And because I have nothing better to do until the American Idol Results show comes on, I'll toss out other thoughts, loosely related, as well. If American Airlines did indeed do a study that found women were more in tune with a "simple search," i
s that because the searching is computer (technology) based? Are women still more put off by technology than men? And if that's the case, should librarianship expect a surge in men joining the ranks now that times have changed and being a librarian is as much about technology as it is about books (or about accessing information via technology, if you are more comfortable with that)?

Naturally, I do not know the answers to these questions, though I suspect you could find "data" supporting both sides to each. And, h
ere's some other interesting reading on the subject(s) for you.

In the meantime, if I ever decide to fly (not likely, though my fear of crashing may be gender-based as well), I will be using the "full service" search on the American Airlines website, thank you very much.

(Cross-posted at Library Talk - feel free to comment in either place.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Holy Crap

Wow, I guess I am out-of-touch with reality; I almost choked when I read that the proposed Rhode Island state-wide library database, SurfRI, will cost 1.6 million. I guess that I had no clear idea of how much it might cost, but 1.6m certainly took me by surprise.

I just took another look at the database (the FREE trial is still on - if you haven't checked it out, hop on over) and, yeah, there's a lot of stuff here. So, I guess the price tag shouldn't come as a shock - though, like many of us here in Library Land, I am continually surprised/appalled by the fees charged by database providers.

I am assuming that the state databases elsewhere run into the same kind of cash - and since we are one of the very few states without such a database, I am also assuming that the other states have somehow managed to support it. The scuttlebutt so far is that SurfRI has had a lot of good feedback, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it becomes a reality.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

OK, I am posting this on all of my blogs, relevant or not, because I just find it so funny! Christie Brinkley! And, what is up with me looking like Patrick Swayze? And, um, where the Hell is Queen Latifah?

Hey, can I make this a meme? Can I? I am tagging YOU - please do this and post it on your blog (and leave comment here) so that I can have some more joy in my life.

Oh, but wait, this may be related to info stuff after all. The generator of this generator is, an up-and-coming genealogy search site that has joined the ranks of and (and etc.). It's free to search, though the individual databases (about 400 of them) may charge you for access to pertinent results. Here's a decent overview of some of the genealogy sites from the Wall Street Journal.

What is clever about this fun time-waster (and creator of delusional thinking - Christie Brinkley!) is that it is really good at bringing someone into the MyHeritage site. Sure, as a librarian I am familiar with some of the genealogy databases and sites, but because it isn't an area of personal interest to me, this is one I hadn't heard of - until I saw someone else's Celebrity Look-Alike collage posted on their MySpace page (and their's was even more delusional, claiming she looked like Angelina Jolie - not). Great marketing!

Hey, this morphed into a libraryland post - how cool is that?

Monday, April 02, 2007

libraryland - lexisONE

Neither Lexis, nor Nexis, were my favorite databases in library school, simply because I found them overwhelming. But, that tends to happen when you have a database that is crammed full of information!

LexisNexis is the go-to source for legal and news research, but it's crazy expensive and out-of-reach for many institutions and freelancers. Enter lexisONE, LexisNexis' "resource for small law firms." This online community and database access site offers free access to case law, legal forms, and legal headline news, as well as mucho links to online legal resources. Sure, you can find much of this info online yourself, but it's handy to have it all in one place. Best of all, for those libraries and professionals that can't afford traditional subscription prices, lexisONE offers a number of "research value packages" that can make your research more affordable.

I'm also liking the "practice area" which allows you to brush up on search skills, and the a la carte services offered by both Lexis and Nexis.

If you have legal research to do, you might want to check this out.

libraryland - HighBeam Research

HighBeam Research is an article database that I haven't heard much about, but that's been the case with a couple of databases that have turned out to be decent places to look for obscure stuff. I have poked around a bit, and from my limited access it seems that the database is magazine heavy and features international content as well as US sources.

HighBeam isn't a free database, but has marketed itself as a research tool that falls between the free sources and the "high-end" subscriptions - and is priced at $99.95 a year (or 29.95 a month). You can sign-up for a free 7-day trial, but be aware that it is one of those that will start charging you if you fail to cancel before the trila is over (I hate that!).

HighBeam probably falls far short of academic research standards, but for $100, it may be a decent option for schools/libraries/freelancers that can't afford the higher-end goods, or who cater to mainstream research needs. Check out the interesting evolution of the company here.

You will find this resource on the article databases page.