“Library Catalogs are Broken.”

October 1, 2009

“I hate the library!! Why are you telling me you have things when I can’t find them 😦 stupid system!” twitter user: andrewmoore24

OPACs continue to be obstacles to finding. Sometimes I wonder if our users wouldn’t just be better served by searching in WorldCat or Google and having a “Get at My Library” link which sends them back to the local catalog. I have written before about Bookburro. BB really does this well (for books only) from any site with an ISBN then uses WorldCat to point to local libraries. As a librarian I may be stoned for saying this but sometimes it is just plain easier and faster and yes, even more effective and scholarly (i.e., I find better materials) to not use our OPAC but start at Amazoogle for books. Until recently I had a similar sentiment for bypassing databases and going to GoogleScholar for citations but it has become so bogged down with unscholarly material (a pdf, ANY pdf, makes the cut) or books when I want articles that I am not as impressed as I used to be.

I feel sorry for our patrons.

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Disney Offers Subscription for eBooks

September 29, 2009

From the New York Times: Disney is offering a library of 500 Disney book titles on the web but using a subscription model instead of a purchase-on-demand model. That is a relatively small number of titles but it is an interesting first step. This is the first I have heard of a vendor leaning toward the established eJournal distribution model (besides rumors of what Google might do with Google Book Search). I have felt that this really is the direction publishers are going to go.

So will DisneyDigitalBooks.com allow its content to be viewed on devices? So far it doesn’t appear so. Frim NYT:

“The company feels that devices don’t offer a Disney-level experience for kids and families, and I agree with them,” Ms. Epps [a media analyst] said.

At this point I would agree but that is largely due to how interactive Disney has made their site. However, it is only a matter of time before they get wise and either develop their own color reader or (probably) an iPhone app which will handle their multiple services.

“Libraries Are Useful for Bibliography Generators.”

September 23, 2009

In a way this is a cool positive response from a user but I am always a little chagrined when the handy-dandy bibliographic generator tools (e.g., Endnote, RefWorks, etc) are the only things remembered. Aren’t we past 20th century citation fascism now that we can actually link back to many articles in full text and at least a bib record on Amazon or a library OPAC record for monographs? MLA, APA, and crew were for a print world. Our resources should give the “ooohs” and “aaaahs” in library instruction sessions, shouldn’t they?

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Borrowing From Our Users to Fill #ILL Requests

August 13, 2009
SMB Library loans desk
Image by moonflowerdragon via Flickr

Here is something that I have been thinking about for a few months now.

When a user can’t find an item in our catalog they go to ILL. ILL then contacts various libraries to see if they would lend the item in question. What if ILL instead contacted local users who have volunteered their personal library “holdings” as potential lenders?

I am calling this Patron-to-Patron Lending. Here’s what it would look like: The loaning local user would bring their book to the ILL office. ILL would then check out the book for a typical checkout period to the borrowing local user. When finished with the item, the borrower would then return the book to the ILL office to be returned to the loaner.

The borrowing patron would never know their request was filled by a local user; ILL would be the full mediator of the exchange.

This could also have implications for items that we do own but are currently checked out. This could be a way to alleviate pressure on long queues for holds on popular items.

Is anybody doing something like this? I have done some extensive searches but come up empty. Maybe not using the correct keywords? I would be really shocked if no one has ever thought of this.

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“My Librarian Cares More About Silence than Literacy”

July 15, 2009

RT @bethsteadman: “Did the icky librarian really just tell my son not to read aloud to himself in a faraway corner of the children’s section near NO ONE?”

This is unbelievable. I have to stifle the rage welling up in my soul over this.

Do these 20th century librarians still exist? It’s the 21st century; let’s try to champion a young boy reading over absolute quiet in a library.

Kindle Now Offers Sheet Music

July 8, 2009

I thought that sheet music would be one of the last things to go Kindle (along with picture books) but Amazon just announced that they have just contracted to have a large library of sheet music available on the Kindle.


Assuming for size difficulties, the sheet music is recommended (“optimized”) for the Kindle DX, but it can presumably be read on the earlier devices. To see some of the titles available go to the Kindle Store and put in FreeHand Music and a composer. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue no.21 from Well-tempered Clavier is available here.

Lowest price for a score in the Kindle? $1.20.

Not bad.

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“I Love it When the Library Has What I Want”

June 30, 2009

RT @girlfromPBO “I think stopping by the library on a whim and finding the EXACT RIGHT BOOK you have been pining for is one of life’s most awesome moments.”