Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Accessibility - this is amazing!

7yr-old blind ‘Batboy’ sees with his ears

Lucas Murray - batboy London, Oct 5 (ANI): A 7-year-old blind boy has been given the nickname Batboy, for he has learnt how to “see” by using his ears.

Lucas Murray, who was born blind, is believed to be the first in Britain to use echoes to visualise his surroundings.

He clicks his tongue on the roof of his mouth, and discovers where objects are based on how the sound bounces back.

The amazing technique allows him to run around his playground, play basketball, and even go rock climbing.

“I really like the clicking system but it was quite hard to learn,” the Sun quoted him as saying.

“I love basketball. I can use my click to find out where the hoop is myself and throw the ball through,” he explained.

The echolocation technique is similar to that used by bats and dolphins, and the little boy can work out how far away an object is by the time it takes the echo to return.

Its intensity tells him the object’s size, and the position is determined through which ear the sound reaches first.

He can even work out movement through pitch – with the echo lower if the object is moving away and higher if it is getting closer.

The lad also uses a cane and has a great memory for places he has already “scanned” with his ears.

He was taught by blind Californian Daniel Kish, 41, who founded the World Access for the Blind charity.

Murray’s parents Sarah and Iain, from Poole in Dorset, saw Daniel on TV and asked him to visit.

“Lucas learned echolocation in three intense days two years ago,” Sarah, 33, said.

“Now he is so independent he hardly needs to ask for help any more than a normal seven-year-old would,” she added. (ANI)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 Things That You Can Do Now To Increase Readability for Your Webpage

30 Things That You Can Do Now To Increase Readability for Your Webpage

  1. Underline your links. Readers expect links to be underlined, so don’t disappoint.
  2. Use appropriate space between lines in a paragraph. A quick way to test this is to divide your line-height by your font-size. Ideally you want a value around 1.5.
  3. Clearly separate your post from the rest of your design. It should be obvious where the post starts and stops. Your sidebar, comments, post meta etc. should be visually distinct from the actual content.
  4. If you use pull-quotes, make sure they’re extremely obvious and near the top of the article. If a user doesn’t spot them quickly, they aren’t of much use.
  5. Keep it brief. Odds are that if you’ve written something in 50 words, you could probably say it just as well in 30.
  6. Use Snook’s Color Contrast Checker on your font and background colors, to ensure the combination is readable to those with visual impairments.
  7. Use a structured hierarchy in your document, e.g. Title – Intro – Heading – Text – Subheading – Text, etc. This gives your page a more logical flow.
  8. Refrain from breaking up posts with adverts in the middle. This will interrupt the readers thought train.
For complete listing - click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reaching Your Patrons (and hopefully introduce new users to your library!)

LJ's Bubble Room blogger identifies 13 cultural shifts that libraries can turn into opportunities to reach patrons

By Alison Circle -- Library Journal, 10/1/2009

Five years ago, when I first came to Libraryland, I felt a strong, wary, and mistrustful vibe attached to marketing. It was perceived as irrelevant, a flash in the pan, without intrinsic value. Libraries had managed long enough without marketing, thank you very much, and things are fine the way they are.

Since then, however, I've sensed a shift, a curiosity around the edges as libraries have awakened to the sea change in our culture regarding information and technology and the expansion of our global reach. Even the most skeptical among us are starting to see that marketing can help libraries compound their relevance and add new value.

One bad habit in Libraryland is that too often we look exclusively at libraries for ideas and trends. For example, when redesigning web sites, we look at other libraries, not trendsetting retailers or innovative nonprofits. We're guilty of a little too much me-too-ism. As a marketing professional, I see trends everywhere, ideas ripe for libraries to pluck and make their own in order to demonstrate that we are still here and better than ever. All I see is opportunity.

In no particular order, here is a baker's dozen of trends I'm watching.

Library Journal October 1, 2009: Marketing Trends to Watch1. Twitter

How many times have your friends (or you!) scoffed at Twitter and said something like, “I just don't care that much about the stupid details of other people's lives.” Guess what? I don't either, but pay attention to Twitter. Here's why:

You can speak directly to your customers. Tell them what you want them to know about you.

Instant polling, Twitter provides a free and immediate ability to find out what your customers think about decisions you make as an organization.

Loyalty, If people are interested enough in your brand personality to follow the library on Twitter, these are your ├╝ber-advocates, and they are your new best friends.

Astonishingly, in the six months between January and June 2009, the Dell Computers Outlet earned $1 million in sales from customers who came to the site only from Twitter. During Ohio's recent budget debacle that slashed state funding for libraries, Twitter functioned as the engine driving the public to voice outrage and opposition. Word on the budget hit the Twitter world even before libraries had a chance to formulate a coordinated response.

Library Journal October 1, 2009: Marketing Trends to Watch2. Value. Value. Value

Move over “location.” The optimal word today is value. Value used to be a code word for the skanky remainder bin of slightly damaged products at the outlet store. Today, sure, everyone is looking for a good deal. But businesses and organizations are turning key information and knowledge into actions that generate an enhanced customer relationship.

Historically, libraries understood their value proposition clearly: books (information and knowledge). But today, that is not enough.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This is what we are up against in library world.........

Telling her mother that she wanted to come to the aid of a library under attack, 11-year-old Sydney Sabbagha stood at the podium before the Oak Brook village board.

"I used to go to the library knowing there were people there to help me find a book. Now there is no one to help me," Sydney said solemnly. "It will never be the same without the people you fired."

Sydney nestled back into her seat, but that didn't stop 69-year-old criminal attorney Constantine "Connie" Xinos from boldly putting her in her place.

"Those who come up here with tears in their eyes talking about the library, put your money where your mouth is," Xinos shot back. He told Sydney and others who spoke against the layoffs of the three full-time staffers (including the head librarian and children's librarian) and two part-timers to stop "whining" and raise the money themselves.

"I don't care that you guys miss the librarian, and she was nice, and she helped you find books," Xinos told them.

"Don't cry crocodile tears about people who are making $100,000 a year wiping tables and putting the books back on the shelves," Xinos smirked, apparently referencing the fired head librarian, who has advanced degrees and made $98,676 a year. He said Oak Brook had to "stop indulging people in their hobbies" and "their little, personal, private wants."

For complete article:

By Burt Constable | Daily Herald Columnist

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Fun Theory

Wouldn't it be nice if the whole world was like this..........

Great viral videos are hard to come by, but Volkswagen (or rather ad agency DDB Stockholm) appears to have hit the bullseye. Their new campaign “The Fun Theory” is a series of experiments, captured on video, to find out if making the world more fun can improve people’s behavior. The top video, Piano Stairs, has achieved over 1 million views on YouTube – I can’t count how many times friends have shared it this week.

Among the experiments: does turning a set of subway stairs into a real-life piano encourage people to use them (answer: yes, 66% more). Another experiment asks whether making a trash can sound like a 50ft-deep well will make people pick up their trash. An upcoming experiment, meanwhile, will turn a bottle recycling center into an arcade game.

The brand placement is as subtle as it could possibly be: a simple VW logo dropped in at the end. And yet the content carries that logo all around the web, as tens of thousands of people pass around the video, along with their positive associations for the VW brand. Isn’t that the definition of a perfect brand campaign?

Reading dog inspires students |West Palm Beach News, South Florida Breaking News, Forecast, Video from WPTV

Reading dog inspires students |West Palm Beach News, South Florida Breaking News, Forecast, Video from WPTV

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

FTC Sets Endorsement Rules for Blogs

By Cecilia Kang

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bloggers who offer endorsements must disclose any payments they have received from the subjects of their reviews or face penalties of up to $11,000 per violation, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday.

The agency, charged with protecting consumer interests, had not updated its policy on endorsements in nearly three decades, well before the Internet became a force in shaping consumer tastes. The new rules attempt to make more transparent corporate payments to bloggers, research firms and celebrities that help promote a product.

"Given that social media has become such a significant player in the advertising area, we thought it was necessary to address social media as well," said Richard Cleland, assistant director for the division of advertising practices at the FTC.

Consumer interest groups have long complained about the lack of disclosure. They say consumers often have no way of telling what corporate payments have been made to bloggers writing on parenting, fitness, dieting and financial services sites, for example.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall 2009 Grant Program

Libraries for Literacy is now accepting applications for grants to assist the creation and expansion of library based literacy programs. This grant program provides funds for literacy instruction programs to be established in libraries. Libraries for Literacy endeavors to establish literacy instruction programs in all types of north Texas libraries. Follow this link to read the full article.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

NEW! ALA Executive Board approves LSSC - set to launch January 2010!

NEW! LSSC AC09 Briefing Document Now Available!

I want recognition that my job is important, that my work is valued, that I am valued as a human being. This is more important than money. I want to be trusted that I will do what I’m paid for. I need pride in myself and my job.1

This Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP) addresses LSS needs for a national certification program to help the profession standardize expectations for LSS, help the large number of LSS master critical job Competency Sets; provide educators with guidance for training curriculums; and help employers articulate job requirements. According to the 2004 statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 230,843 workers are employed in U.S. academic and public libraries. Of these, 160,150 (69%) workers are library support staff (LSS) holding jobs not requiring a Master’s Degree in Library Science (MLS).2