Wednesday, April 30, 2008

LISWire - The Librarian's News Wire

Blake Carver has started a new site, LISWire - The Librarian's News Wire ( You can probably guess what the site is about from the name, but it may interest you to know that there are also 2 mailing lists and a bunch of RSS feeds. Blake Carver and Robin Blum are running the show and are looking for press releases and other news items of interest to librarians to get things going. You can sign up for an account and submit things you'd like to announce to the library world. Blake will be cross-posting most announcements to LISNews for a little while until they see how much traffic they get at LISWire.

"It's just out of beta, so there might still be some bugs floating around," Blake explains, adding, "Let me know if you spot something that needs fixing! I'd love any and all feedback you can provide."

Blake has also started work on a similar site that still needs quite a bit of work, but you can check it out: LISEvents - The Librarian's Events Calendar ( You can probably guess what that's all about, too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week

Site Name: Trooker

This week, we are introducing Trooker, a Web 2.0 search engine for online videos. I am a sports fan and I often hear about fabulous sports plays that I did not get a chance to see. I would search for the clip online through the main search engines to no avail. I could never find it. I was so frustrated until I discovered Trooker.

Here is how they describe themselves on their website.

Trooker is an up-to-the-minute video viewing community. With Trooker you can find and watch videos continuously, get alerts when there are new videos on your topic of interest, and create your own sets of videos from anywhere on the net. With Trooker, you can trook your friends and share your watching experience by instantly exchanging videos with them.

You can create an account with Trooker. An account allows you track your favorite vidoes and then you can even create code to embed them on your own website. You can also email your favorite videos to your friends.

By far, the most useful aspect of the service is the search feature. Trooker search Youtube, Brightcove, myspace and several other video sharing sites. If you do a search on the keyword, Librarian, you get some interesting choices. Make sure to click on the button "Add to Set" if you want to save the video as a favorite.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Circulating Video Games

There is a great article in the April 2008 School Library Journal on the effects of circulating video games at the library. It is also mentioned that book circulation has gone up since games were added to the collection.

Check it out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Teen Resource Center

The website for the Office of the State Attorney General of Texas includes an area targeted specifically to teens. The site,, includes information about leadership, money matters, relationships, and crime & justice. Teens can find information there about such things as getting a job, dating violence and staying safe online, and they can find a list of additional resources for still more information.

Why IT Departments Hate Web 2.0

An article in the current Information Week uses "Herding Cats" to describe attempts by corporate IT departments to control users enamored of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration. The article explains why IT departments don't like the online collaboration tools and suggests some alternatives that are more acceptable in a corporate environment where information tends to be sensitive or proprietary.

Since I'm in a position of promoting the use of Web 2.0, I found it useful to see a description of the specific risks that make IT departments wary, and I was encouraged to see that most of the risks are directly related to the protection of sensitive information. We certainly need to exercise some discretion about the types of information we publish in our wikis, blogs, and social networking sites, but that still leaves us a lot of useful applications.

Some of the specific risks that were mentioned in the article are:

  • When sensitive information resides on a third party's computer system, its security depends on the soundness of the third party's security practices and integrity.
  • Access to proprietary information might be granted on a casual basis to individuals who should not be authorized, and access might not be revoked promptly when an individual leaves the company.
  • Blogs, wikis, and such tend to exist without the knowledge and control of corporate management. In a litigation situation, where a company is required to produce all relevant information (including digital information), there can be serious legal consequences if these uncontrolled information stores escape notice.

Commercial in-house collaboration tools such as SharePoint are easier to control, but slow to set up compared with the freedom of the common Web 2.0 tools. As an alternative, some Web 2.0 vendors such as PBwiki and Google Apps offer company accounts where an administrator can set access rights for individual users and prevent the disclosure of information to outsiders.

The conclusion is pretty much the same as what we tell our teenagers about MySpace and Facebook – think before you put something online. It doesn't have to stop you from using the tools wisely.

Mrs. Janie Rector's Donation: The new Azle Public Library

The 2008 TLA Outstanding Services to Libraries Award was presented last week, in recognition her successful advocacy of the library to the community, to Mrs. Janie Rector of Azle (population 10,000).

In 2000, Mrs. Rector informed Azle Public Library Director Judy Whitt that she wished to do something for the community in memory of her husband, specifically A NEW LIBRARY ON MAIN STREET! After finding and purchasing land for not only the library, but also a substantial portion of a new park, she made her proposal to city officials.

Next Mrs. R formed a committee of Friends of the Library, and they visited at least 25 libraries in the area and out-of-state. Armed with disposable cameras and taking pictures of these facilities (with permission), they compiled four large annotated scrapbooks with typed notes for future reference. Then Mrs. R joined TLA, attending conferences in Austin and San Antonio to get ideas for the new library. She hired an architect and a contractor and saw that Judy Whitt was included all phases of the building project.

In her hands-on mode Mrs. R. volunteers every Monday afternoon in the present library to get the feel of library operation—working in circulation, shelving books, assisting patrons. She attends various NTRLS workshops to better understand public libraries.

In addition, this extraordinary library patron plans to furnish the building and purchase RFID technology and self-checkout in the new facility, which will open later in the year.

(The information above comes from a presentation prepared by TLA Awards Committee Member and Councilor Alternate for LiFTA.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week


At Helene Blowers' presentation last week, I learned about a neat new way to introduce people to the new web. It is called Web 2.1 - Site of the Week. I really love this idea and we are going to try to do this here at NTRLS through our Blog.

Site of the Week

If you are like me, you have been receiving emails asking you to join a person's reputation network on Naymz. I decided to give a try after I received two in one day. Here is what they write about themselves.

What is Naymz?
There is little that is as important as your good name. The importance of your name and online reputation is steadily increasing as more and more people flock to the Web. Naymz is an innovative Reputation Network that lets you establish and promote your good name online. Join Naymz to make your good name work for you!

It is a straightforward site and easy to register. Once you have a profile, you can send out emails to people you know asking them to join your network. You get a reputation score based on a number of factors including how many references you have in your profile. You can also tell people about yourself through your profile. In theory, it is a sound idea. A good online presence can really enhance your chances in hunts for jobs, credit and other opportunities. Most social networking sites do not worry about reputation, which is one reason Naymz promotes it.

A word of caution: This site was very flaky as I tested it out. It crashed on me several times. Whenever you are investing time in a web 2.0 website, or tool, just be aware that some of these companies are still working on their products and there is no telling when, or why, they might pull the plug. In other words, do not spend too much time on a new website until it has been fully proven and established.

Monday, April 21, 2008

TLA Highlights

I had a good conference last week. With all the walking I did, I believe I lost an extra pound.

Here are the highlights of the week for me.

At the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the commission considered changes to the FY2009 budget. This budget revision included a $300,000 reduction for the Systems program, which translates to a $489,000 budget for NTRLS. The commission approved the budget modifications as presented.

I was pleased to facilitate a program on Learning 2.0 by Helene Blowers, who is the developer of the program and currently works at the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio. She gave a wonderful presentation on the topic. If you are not familiar with the concept, I will let Helene describe it. It is “an online discovery program designed to encourage library staff to learn about emerging web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc) and other user-centric tools that are changing the way users and libraries communicate, collaborate and share information.” Her presentation is available on her LibraryBytes blog. The NTRLS staff will be doing the training during the month of May. Helene is coming back in June to do a NTRLS workshop. Check for more details.

I attended the TSLAC Resource Sharing Task Force meeting. I was so impressed with what the taskforce is attempting to do that I volunteered to be co-chair of the taskforce. I will be sharing this responsibility with Richard Wood, Executive Director of Libraries of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Libraries of the Health Sciences. For those who have not heard, the taskforce will come up with a new model for Interlibrary Loan in Texas. The taskforce will be using a recent study as a guide in its efforts. My main interest in the project, of course, is how Systems can play a role in the new model. I will keep everyone up-to-date on what transpires.

I attended the District 7 meeting to request a partnership with them. As many of you know, NTRLS is moving towards a multi-type system. District 7 is already serving multi-type libraries so instead of NTRLS duplicating programs and services; we are going to build on the inherent synergy between the two organizations. I will write about our efforts in this arena in a future blog posting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Automated libraries - machines as circ

The Shenzhen Public Library in Southern China co-developed and patented a new automated library machine that not only lends books, but issues cards as well. The machine is meant to be a twenty-four hour access to the library's collection and holds around 400 books on a multilayer conveyor belt. The books, stored behind glass, allow patrons to browse, make their selection, receive their book, and then return it to the machine when they're done.

Patrons also have the ability to reserve items through the library's OPAC or the machine itself. Once the item is ready, the patron gets a text message on their phone and the book is sent to the machine closest to the patron.

The scariest thing about this is the price, or rather the lack of price. The machine only costs a little over US$57,000.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Job-Hunting Resource

Several NTRLS-area libraries have kiosks provided by the Dallas Morning News which patrons may use, without charge, to search for jobs in the metroplex. Now, it's possible to expand the job-hunting area for your patrons.

The Austin Statesman, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News have all joined together to offer a FREE helpful resource for jobseekers in these difficult times. You may "test drive" this free service at

If your patrons might want to see job opportunities in four major Texasmarkets with it - via this free service - contact Ryan Solberg at Jobview (866-562-8439).

Blog Idea

We hope you'll join children's author Melanie Watt's blog tour, featuring the world's most lovable worrywart, Scaredy Squirrel. Anyone who's ever had fears (real or imagined) or has suffered a moment of social anxiety, will relate to Scaredy Squirrel's hilarious efforts to ward off danger. The tour begins today at Big A, little a, and continues through Friday, April 11. A full schedule with links for each blog is available at:

The tour is in celebration of Scaredy's third book, "Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach," where he fears being captured by pirates, chased by lobsters, and knocked out by falling coconuts. We hope that you love Scaredy as much as we do and that he has your support during this weeklong tour (his very first trip without his safety supplies!) You can find more information about Melanie Watt and the Scaredy Squirrel books by visiting

If you host a blog at your library and would be interested in participating in one of our future blog tours, please send us a brief description of your blog, and a link.
Kristen Pisanelli
Raab Associates Inc.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Video Gaming Study

Brian Verdine is completing his dissertation at Vanderbilt University and is studying how adult’s use video games and other media – regardless of your level of exposure to video games. If you interested in taking the survey please link to:
(Note it is 80 questions so a bit lengthy)