ThirdScribe Launches Today

Today is February 17, aka President’s day, which used to be known as George Washington’s Birthday. As old timers will remember, we only got the day off (along with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12). No lumped together presidents’ birthdays, no week-long vacation from school. But today is still a holiday, so yea for a day off of work.

Second bit of good news: iTunes’ season pass for Season 3 of Game of Thrones earns its money today as the entire season is supposed to be available for download starting today. I’m crossing my fingers on that one; iTunes can be finicky when it comes to streaming multiple downloads, especially if several people on the same account but with different computers watch the same shows. Not to mention that if I’m downloading 10 episodes, everyone else who bought the season pass is doing the same thing.

Third, but hardly the least important bit of good news for today: Rob McClellan’s  book-centric social media network ThirdScribe goes live today. I’ve created book pages for the two library-oriented books I’ve contributed to.

I’ve been alpha testing Thirdscribe for the past few months; I’m pretty happily impressed with the design. It’s designed from the ground up to be a social media tool for books, authors, and readers. Authors and readers can choose from paid or free accounts, depending on the perks they want to be included with their setup. DNS hosting and transfers are available as is URL forwarding, and entire site migration is available for bloggers and website owners who want to go whole-hog into adopting ThirdScribe as their new medium of choice.

ThirdScribe uses a WordPress framework to manage various site admin rights, visual arrangements, and interactive facets. The thing to remember is that while Thirdscribe does include full-featured blogging tools (hey, it’s WordPress) it’s meant to be primarily a social network. Books have pages, authors and contributors, and sales links. Each one also has a forum which you set up at the time you create the book (or not, the choice is yours). Once your account is set up, you can check on your own books, modify the information about them more or less at will, then check out other members’ pages and see what books they’ve created pages for and who is saying what in their book forums.

Beyond that, you can synch your ThirdScribe network profile (but not your blog) to any social media platforms you already have, so that what’s posted in ThirdScribe is pushed to, say, Facebook and Twitter.

My testing has convinced me that ThirdScribe is something genuinely useful for books, and the people who read and write them. Meaning that I’ll be sticking with it for the forseeable future. I probably won’t be transferring this blog over to my ThirdScribe space simply because there are different people who read this than who are likely to want to talk about the books I like, but sure, there will be some cross-over as time goes on.

ThirdScribe is live, so take a good, long look at it. I think this thing has a bright future.

Scene from #Snowpocalypse 4.0

Between the crappy camera quality of my phone and the screen on the window of the upstairs office, you can see a small white lump in the Chase parking lot across the street. My car is under there somewhere.

Car? What car?

Car? What car?

Luckily, MCNY has an official snow day today so there’s nowhere pressing to go.

In the meantime, there is hot coffee to drink and a Google chapter to write.

 

Event Announcement: Documentation in Tech Services

From Dan Lipcan et al. of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Dear Colleague,

Have you ever wondered how other libraries manage to keep track of all those local decisions, workflows, cataloger’s judgments, and exceptions to every rule?  So have we, which is why we are presenting “It’s Documentary, My Dear Watson: Documentation in Technical Services,” a program sponsored by the Thomas J. Watson Library.  The program will be held Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and will be followed by a brief reception in the Watson Library.

We are purposefully leaving the topic broad to encourage creativity and variety but as food for thought some aspects we are interested in here are: the tools used (wikis, blogs, Post-it notes), success stories, disasters, public vs. private documentation, best practices, training interns and new staff, etc.

The format will be fast paced with 4-5 minute informal presentations from as many as 10 speakers, a sort of Pecha Kucha or Ignite talk style in an effort to get as many ideas flowing as possible for the discussion to follow.

If you are as excited as we are and would like to be a speaker please reply with the topic of your presentation, and whatever hardware or software you require (PowerPoint, internet connection, easel).

We will let you know by February 24, 2014 if you have been accepted as a speaker but all are welcome to join us for the discussion! Please feel free to forward to anyone you think may be interested and thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Andrea Puccio

Dan Lipcan

John Lindaman

Tamara Fultz

I think this will be worth the time and effort to attend.

Another Chapter Submission

Good news: I submitted another book chapter, this one covering our library’s implementation of the Summon discovery tool by Serials Solutions. The bad news is that the chapter is late. But it’s under the stated word count, well written, and I’ve worked with this editor before, so one hopes she’s not of a mind to reject it our of hand. We shall see.

In the mean time I need to finish working on another chapter for the same anthology (which is on the use of Google products in libraries); I promised to have that ready in a few days. I suppose I should get to it.

Back to work.

Lunar Calendar Silly

Since today is Chinese/Lunar New Year’s Day, and this is the year of the Horse according to the Chinese zodiac, and my editor just brought Three’s advertisement to my attention, here’s a bit of horsey silliness to start your day.

But since we still work in libraries, here’s a bit of library silliness to go with it: some astounding book sculptures by artist Terry Border.

So Happy New Year if you’re of a mind to observe it (I was raised near and now work in proximity to Manhattan’s Chinatown, so it’s hard for me not to), and Happy Friday if you aren’t. It’s all good.

7 Uses I Can Think of for Google Glass

Google Glass just got some cool new glasses frames. This is a nice development, especially for those of us who are visually challenged enough to need prescription lenses.

Beyond the fashion sense (or lack thereof) involved in this, I decided that while the gizmo itself is still a bit on the goofy side, it became something to lust after when combined with a real-world application (read, “sight”). That led me to wonder whether it was being used in libraries. And that led me to to do a bit of searching to find that yes, indeed, libraries are putting the tools to the test:

Library Journal has this report concerning the uses that Colorado’s Arapahoe Library District has put their new equipment to, while OEDb managed to think of 6 things libraries can do with Google Glass. Meanwhile the folks at Claremont Colleges Library haven’t actually begun to use their new equipment but they are gearing up for an exploration of its uses a bit later this spring.

While I’m not a GG developer and the technical facets of developing for this type of tech are beyond me (for now), I do have a list of tings I’d ultimately like to see Google Glass do:

1. Call Number Linking: At the moment we have StackMap installed on our online catalog. It’s helpful, but it’s tough to carry a monitor off to the stacks with you. . Why can’t location maps be projected on a Glass screen that leads you to the correct shelf?

2. RFID Linking: Scan a bar code with your eyes and watch the ILS register a checkout or a discharge.

3. Combine BookMyne with Google Glass: Since BookMyne is a SirsiDynix product (which allows you to search the online catalog from a iOS or Android powered device) you’d have to substitute your own vendor’s equivalent, but I think the application is there. The utility of building a similar type of functionality into Google Glass should be obvious.

4. Metadata Scanning: point Google Glass at a shelf of books that have been tagged with RFID sensors (or, since we’re talking about optical recognition technology, possibly just a call number tag) and watch the title, author, and borrowing history flow past your eyes. There’s no reason to stop there, either. If a book isn’t available you should be able to shoot an e-mail request for it or place it on hold with a spoken command.

5. Inventory Control: Metadata scanning taken to the umpteenth degree. The only difference would be the scale of the project. Except in this case, you’d scan a shelf of books visually and log them as ON SHELF. 30,000 print items in an hour? With a few people and the right tools, why not?

6. HelpDesk: Google Glass can already send e-mail; having the institution help desk on speed dial and a built in metadata cache fill in appropriate data about the nature of the request should be elementary.

7. Self-help instructional videos from the user’s POV: This should be a no-brainer, and it’s one of the uses that OEDb has already described in their blog post.

I’m sure there are other uses, but these are what come to mind as I go over my daily grind in tech services. I comprehend that this is a bucket list; I have no clue what level of attention SirsiDynix or other ILS vendors are planning to unleash on Google Glass, if any. But  I think that these are natural things to wish and work for as we progress from handheld devices into handless ones. The vendor that provides these new tools will clean up. It’s that simple.

Something to think about.

NYTSL Event:”Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Yes, I know we had a bit of a snafu with the earlier posting of the NYTSL Fall Program–let’s just say that stuff happens, and leave it at that. Anyway, this one sticks:

NYTSL Fall Event Registration

Register Now for the Fall Event:

“Authority Control in an Out-of-Control World”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Registration and Refreshments: 5:00-6:00 PM NYTSL Business Meeting & Program: 6:00-8:00 PM

Featuring:

Ethan Gruber, Web and Database Developer, American Numismatic Society Building Interlinked Prosopographies: A New Approach.

Ethan Gruber will discuss the development of xEAC, an open source framework for creating, maintaining, and publishing collections of EAC-CPF records using XForms, a W3C standard for editing XML in next-generation web forms.

Daniel Starr, Associate Chief Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art Daniel Starr will discuss authority vendors.

When: December 4th, 2013 5:00 PM   through   8:00 PM

Location:

The New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street)

New York, NY 10018

United States

 

Tonight: Book Signing at CUNY Grad Center

I realize this couldn’t possibly come any later, and you surely already have plans for this evening. But in case you don’t, consider dropping by for this free event:

NYTSL, ACRL/NY, METRO,  and other local library organizations are collaborating to host a book talk and reception with Susanne Markgren and Tiffany Eatman Allen, authors of Career Q & A:  A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career.

More info about the book is available at:
http://bit.ly/13ZiajC

This event will take place on Thursday, November 7,
2013 from 4 to 7 pm at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365
Fifth Avenue, room C204/205.

The authors will discuss their book, and then additional
local contributors will join them for a panel discussion
followed by audience questions and finally a reception and
book signing.  Refreshments will be provided.

Discounted copies of the book will be available for purchase from InfoToday.
There is no charge to attend, but please register at:  http://metro.org/events/433

Questions about this event can be directed to Tom Nielsen at tnielsen@metro.org.

Other local organizations have generously helped to make this event happen at no charge, including:  InfoToday, ACRL/NY, ARLIS/NY, the New York Library Club, SLA NY and The New York Society Library.

Enjoy!

Neil de Grasse Tyson’s Intelligence-Priming Reading List

Neil de Grasse Tyson answered a recent post on Reddit that asked which books the whole world should read. Openculture.com printed his list here.

Tyson’s reading list is as follows:

1.) The Bible (eBook) - “to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”

2.) The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

3.) On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”

4.) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (eBookAudio Book) – “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

5.) The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (eBookAudio Book) – “to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

6.) The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

7.) The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

8.) The Prince by Machiavelli (eBookAudio Book) - “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

I like the list a lot, but I think the commentary could use some tweaking. The Bible, for example, is far too complicated a work of literature to be summarily dismissed as a mind control tool, even though he’s right in observing that’s how it gets used more often than not.

The Wealth of Nations, for another instance, is a more fully  developed continuation of Smith’s earlier work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which deals much more fundamentally with the ethical and moral construction of modern industrial commerce than the later book does, which is one reason it’s less widely studied in business schools.

Similarly, Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War as a primer in how to defeat an opponent in any contest of power. Its principles apply to the political and commercial realms as well as to the battlefield.

Lastly, The Prince is widely thought of as an instruction manual for achieving and maintaining power, but there’s a school of thought that says Niccolo Machiavelli intended it to be a sarcastic screed against the machinations of the great houses of Europe.

Anyway, Paine, Darwin, and Newton are the three on this list I still need to actually read over a weekend. How about you?

This is Halloween, This is Halloween

Update: the RFID gates seem to be working again. (Huzzah!) Now we just need to upgrade/update/replace the software that the circulation control system we implement for use with the gates on the circulation PCs. Hopefully we’ll take care of that in one fell swoop tomorrow morning.

In the meantime . . . in an awesome display of stunningly choreographed music and technology, I present to you: the Singing Halloween House.  Yes, it’s a Facebook page but it’s public.

Enjoy!

 

 

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