December 22, 2004

Google Print is Cool

Thanks to Mary Minow for blogging about Google's new library project, which is officially called Google Print.

To see it in action, try performing a regular Google search on a classic author. All of the following worked for me: William Blake, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe. Certain subjects will work also, such as English Literature.

You'll see "Book results for" with a cute icon of some colorful books on a shelf.

You are then led to a page somewhat like Amazon's "look inside the book." All you really get is a random look at a few pages, though, if the book is copyrighted. Not sure what good that does anyone.

I tried to find a book that might be available in its entirety but wasn't able to. I reasoned that some of the books available at Project Gutenberg might be likely to also show up on Google Print, but that wasn't the case. I couldn't find The Odyssey or A Christmas Carol. Then I decided to try Google's own example of a book in the public domain, but when I searched for "books and culture" nothing came up. Then I tried "Hamilton Wright Mabie" and it did come up. OK, now I'm hooked. By reverse engineering the URL and putting a high page number at the end I was able to verify that the whole darn book is in there.

What else can I say at this point except Google Print is Cool?

December 14, 2004

Partnership or Rivalry?

Whenever Google comes out with some cool new thing I usually rejoice, but sometimes it does feel a bit like they're encroaching on librarian territory. I particularly remember some of my colleagues grumbling about Google Answers. Today they announced their library project. The first article I read was on the CNN Money page, and I couldn't help but feel the rivalry sentiment encroaching. But then I checked out the New York Times' coverage, and noticed that Larry had strategically sucked up to the librarians, mentioning, "the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize." Well, geez, how can you get mad at that?

December 07, 2004

My Prophetic Dream

It's human to be proud of one's relatives accomplishments, right? I mean after all, if I'm related to somebody smart then maybe my genes aren't too shabby either.

When I was 3 or 4 or 5 I had a very vivid dream that I remember describing to my Mom. I told her I had dreamed about God. When she asked what he looked like I said, "Just like Peter (my older brother), only older and with a beard."

OK, so I'll admit that I run a Google alert on my brother just to see what he's up to, and today it alerted me to this article in Search Engine Watch, describing Peter's book as "the Bible of Artificial Intelligence." Now my dream makes sense.

October 19, 2004


I don't know what possessed me to play with Blogshares, but it's been several months since I even looked at it. Today, however, I gave it a quick look and I have to admit it was pretty fun to make $1200 in about two minutes. One of the stocks that appreciated significantly was Tiny Little Librarian. I'm not sure, but I might have been the one that got it listed ...

August 26, 2004

Gmail Again

I've got more gmail invites available. Email me if you want 'em. (My email is in upper right corner of my blog homepage).

August 18, 2004

Dot Node

One more social networking site. I couldn't help myself. Dot node has an interface remarkably similar to Orkut's, but it doesn't have the page load and time out problems Orkut has. I like it.

August 13, 2004

John Perry Barlow Today

This guy is always up to something interesting and now there are more things than ever going on in his life. Read this one all the way through to find out about his new reality TV show, his conversion to being a Democrat, and getting busted due to the increasing practice of searching checked baggage (I, for one, am constantly finding those stupid notices in my luggage letting me know they were poking around in there).

August 11, 2004


Several longtime contributors to Orkut are commiting "Orkutcide". I recently posted the following in the Orkut Design community in response to this slightly heavy-handed diatribe by Xah. Someone told me they liked my post, so I decided to share it here also. It goes like this:

It is difficult for sincere personal and professional networking to co-exist alongside of frivolity. However, there is certainly a place for frivolity.

When I first started using Orkut in May, I was surprised at how barren most of the serious communities were. Plenty of members, but no discussion.

I soon discovered that the real action was in humorous communities. In these places, and in individual scrapbooks, I quickly discovered who was witty and literate - I was impressed by the quick minds of several posters.

This resulted in my attending a party and meeting some of these people in real life. None of them were teenagers nor morons. All of them were wonderful, intelligent folks, some of them techies and some not.

So, Orkut suceeded in providing a social networking purpose for me. It is not at all what I expected, and it is increasingly difficult to use, what with slow response times and the Brazilian factor, but it is a form of social networking.

Orkut has an identity crisis. It's true purpose must be decided upon and then it's design must be altered to support that purpose. Until then, well, hey, "it's beta."

August 10, 2004


Multiply is another social networking service. A big crowd from Orkut is migrating over there. Some of them also use dotnode, tribe, and friendster - some people like to try everything or do it as research. But several people are switching for the sole reason that Orkut's servers can't handle the load - they are victims of their own success.

It's fun to watch the early adopters playing with this new tool. John Perry Barlow is already on there and has 131 contacts and, of course, they all look like very interesting people. Multiply uses different paradigms than Orkut, but has the primarily the same services. The groups/communities of special interest are still pretty small - I don't know when it was launched.

UPDATE - 8/18/04 - I just noticed that JPB deleted his Multiply account. It may have to do with some of the scuttlebut going around that Multiply claims rights to all the content you post. Also, another thing I didn't like about Multiply is, if someone is your friend, they can automatically see your email address. Dinah Sanders had an interesting post questioning their integrity/intentions on August 15th and others have blogged about it also. My personal take on it is that they're just sloppy. Either way, I don't think their product is all that great.

August 05, 2004


I just found this thing called Blogshares. It's supposed to track data about blogs and tell you their potential value - I thought it was for advertisers looking for places to put their ads, or bloggers trying to figure out if it would be worth it to host Google generated ads.

But it turns out it's "a simulated, fantasy stock market for weblogs where players invest fictional money to buy stocks and bonds in an artificial economy where attention is the commodity and weblogs are the companies."

I have no idea what that means.

But there's this whole page with data about this blog.

Nobody links to me. How sad. But why should they? I don't stay on topic, I don't post regularly, my posts aren't searchable or categorizable ... surely no good can come of this! But I have tricks up my sleeve. Watch this space carefully! Place your bets on me, folks, place your bets ...

August 03, 2004

Distributed vs. Federated

Distributed search seems to be one of the new buzz-phrases floating around. As near as I can tell this refers to things such as being able to search each persons holdings (aack - librarian speak!) on a peer-to-peer network. It also refers to being able to search several libraries catalogs at once with a standard like Z39.50

I always heard the type of search we offer on our website referred to as "federated search". It searches many disparate databases at once and offers all of the results to the user.

But are these two really different? Or is it just distributed on the admin side and federated on the user side? All I know is, there's a lot of jargon out there. And I hate the fact that I can't tag these posts with categories. Hate it, hate it, hate it., WYSIWYG, etc.

I got my archives set up. I am such a yin yang, all this time I was thinking that I needed to create a separate directory for them, but there really is no need for that.

I just realized that Blogger's WYSIWYG editor doesn't work in Safari. One more reason to make Firefox my main browser. I find more and more sites that aren't fully functional in Safari.

Unfortunately, I am just a little bit lazy. The reason I haven't switched completely to Firefox is that I don't want to have to replicate my quick links that I use on that little bar across the top of the browser. I'm already using a utility called URL Manager Pro so I can access any set of bookmarks in any browser on my desktop, but lately I've been grooving on and wondering if I shouldn't just move everything over there. Right now I have almost nothing there. I just like the serendipity of checking it out every once in awhile and watching people add links. The thought of porting my own links over there is duanting. But it could be cool as a tool for work - sharing links with colleagues and patrons.

July 30, 2004

Faceted Search Patent

I was searching for "Avi Rappaport" on the web today, wondering if she might have a blog. Came across this patent related to providing faceted search.

July 29, 2004

Alternative Search

The editors at ResourceShelf couldn't help but poke fun at how lost people got when Google was down for a bit on Monday. They offered the following advice, to which I say, Amen and Hallelujah, and I might add, for those that don't know, many of these databases are available to you online, in the convenience of your very own home, once you get your library card and figure out how it works.

Check out which subscription databases might be freely available to you via your local public, school, academic, or special library. You might actually find something that is more useful than Google.

July 23, 2004

Old Fashioned Search


Brazilians on Orkut

Everyone's discussing the Brazilian invasion of Orkut these days - slashdot, thesocialsoftwareweblog, sociology of online journals, langemark's cafe, boing boing - try a bloglines search for Brazilian Orkut, or Brazilians Orkut.

I dashed off the comment below on a few of these blogs - just some quick thoughts that aren't quite expressed as clearly as I would like, but hopefully you'll get the gist of it:

The problem isn't just about language. The impact on my experience as a user is profound. First of all, Google's servers (and/or the lame code Orkut is based on?) can't handle the load - the user base has just grown too fast, whereas it was growing at a leisurely pace when the majority of users were from the United States. Secondly, netiquette is out the window. The original user base had so much in common, being mostly technorati, that common gaffes were avoided. There was no abuse of FOAF emails, posts were spare and to the point (and often gratifyingly hilarious) with judicious use of links, users knew not to easily take offense and to account for the vagaries of electronic communication. Now take all of that proper behavior and flip it on its head and you have what Orkut is today. A mess.

July 15, 2004

Bloglines Rocks

I cannot believe how incredibly cool Bloglines is. Google should jump on it and acquire them! I never understand how people can offer such amazing free resources. What the heck is the revenue stream? No ads, no subscription fees, just an incredibly useful tool for wading through the morass of information available in the burgeoning blogging world.

I just don't have time to do much current interest reading at my job. I skim Information Today and Information Outlook and that's about it. With Bloglines, though, I can open it once a week or once a month, and quickly skim all the latest from thoughtful bloggers in my field like Gary Price. Today, after 30 seconds of reading, I picked up a very useful tidbit for work about the Foundation Center's new PubHub database.

Bloglines also has a new Clippings function that makes it very easy to save references to particular posts.

I am to be liking this.

June 18, 2004

Photos of Coffins from Iraq

The Meet Joe Blog article provided a valuable link I hadn't yet had time to track down - the fellow who obtained photos of coffins being delivered to Dover AFB through the Freedom of Information Act. His blog is called the Memory Hole, and the photos are here. Viva la FOIA!

I Tole Ya Blogs are Big!

Meet Joe Blog

June 16, 2004

Blogs Are Hotter than Ever

Took a few minutes today to read Library Stuff and was intrigued by the mention of Blogsnow. Kind of a barometer of the hottest meme of the moment. My interest was also piqued by the article Are Blogs Ready for Prime Time?, which notes that blog readers are of a highly sought after demographic for marketers. I predict blogs will continue to be hot for at least the next year while the general public catches up with the early adopters.

Gmail Invites Available

Heck, I'm drowning in 'em. Just let me know if you want one. (Hint - my address is in the upper right corner of this site.)

June 10, 2004

Creative Ways to Use Your Gmail Invites

Suddenly there is a plethora of gmail invites. Somone on Orkut astutely observed that it is like the stock market. The balancing act of supply and demand is amazing to watch and it's all documented on ebay. On Monday accounts were still fetching up to $200. By Wednesday they were dropping to $20, and today they seem to be plummeting further.

I gave a few of mine to some friends on Orkut. And I've looked on but so far nothing quite clicked with me. So, I just gave one to a worthy soul, as facilitated by Jonas' "Do Some Good" idea.

June 01, 2004

Proud Mary

I'm so proud of my friend Mary Minow, and she should be proud of herself. I have to admit, I'm proud of myself too for encouraging her to start a blog. Hers has far surpassed mine, however. Disatisfied with some of the constraints of Blogger, Mary ported the whole blog over to typepad, and she's done a lot with it. It's called LibraryLaw Blog. Check it out!

May 07, 2004

Do I Really Need A Comments Feature?

I am now irritated with Haloscan because whatever it is supposed to load takes forever and sometimes even times out, which means my blog won't load. Grrr!

May 06, 2004

The Day the Orkut Stood Still

Imagine my chagrin when could not be found. Just a DNS error, but it sure kept the masses out. Evan blogged some alternate domains, so I went in to poke around and wave my geek flag high. Most of the folks in there had figured out the numeric IP - I just took the lazy way - good old fashioned research into the "social network".

April 29, 2004

"Too Paranoid is an Oxymoron"

Thus spake Vasil Kolev in an Orkut thread today. His comment was in response to someone who posted a link to the article Spooky Little Orkut, which I haven't really had time to read, and at first skim does seem to have the tone of a hysterical conspiracy theorist, but that doesn't invalidate anything. Just the facts, ma'am, that's what I'm after.

April 28, 2004

Comments Feature Now Available

Since a few people are actually reading my blog (due to Orkut), I decided to get the comments thing going. It was incredibly easy. Thanks, Haloscan!

April 27, 2004

CFP 2004 Gmail Panel

It's good to be back in the flow. I was searching for info on whether or not you can get Gmail to sort the emails in a given window. It's all about search, but what if I want to display my found set alphabetically by subject, or by sender, as I can do in Eudora?

Searching Google for gmail sort emails I came across a cool blog entry of Joe Hall's, which led me to info about the CFP Plenary, which led me to a blog of the plenary session itself (pretty cool). And to think two or three weeks ago I didn't even know what CFP was until Mary mentioned it.

Another Convert!

Geesh, Google oughta put me on the payroll or sumpin! I'm beta testing Orkut and Gmail, and now I'm turning other people on to Blogger. My friend Mary decided that it might be a good idea for her to publish a Blog about breaking library law related news, since she is an expert on that topic. And let's face it, it's a lot easier to slap something up on a blog than to edit your website. At least it somehow *feels* easier. She asked me what blogging system I recommended and I hemmed and hawed quite a bit weighing the pros and cons of RSS, categorization, comments, etc. But in the end, I said, if you want free with zero learning curve, Blogger is it. And voila, within an hour she had set up the fantabulous new Library Law blog. If you read it, though, you'll find out she's not so happy with Blogger's lack of features ...

Brad Templeton's Gmail Article Strikes a Balance

This was a good one to read as a follow up to the two I posted about last week.

April 21, 2004

Read Two Good Articles Today

The first was Tim O'Reilly weighing in on The Fuss About Gmail and Privacy: Nine Reasons Why It's Bogus. I get it. I do. I'm starting to come around to the prevailing geek attitude towards the Gmail product. But I still don't trust the current administration, and I think things like Gmail are a good vehicle for raising larger concerns over privacy and whether or not our government cares one whit about it. I also really liked Tim's point that one of the things people *should* be asking about Gmail, or about any product that "lives on the network" as opposed to your own desktop, is who owns the data?

The second article, Big Brother Gets Wired, assured me that my paranoia over how low the government will go is *not* paranoia at all. The article is about *my* ISP, the most popular local one in my town, and the fact that the owner of it would rather close up shop than kowtow to the recent FBI proposal that the FCC "require all broadband Internet providers to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police." I am really glad I live in a granola-eating kind of town that cares about this stuff. The article caused me to surf over to EFF, where I found this form where you can register your displeasure with this insane idea. As soon as I submit the form I'm going to stick my ostrich head back in the sand because, geez, it's a scary world out here.

Adam Lasnik Rules! (So does RSS)

That's right, Lasnik, not Rifkin (Orkut joke).

I blogged a link to Adam's Gmail review on April 16th, so I'm guessing that's how he found me. Or it could have been through Orkut. But anyway, he told me my RSS feed was messed up. Frankly, I didn't even remember that I had tried to create an RSS feed at all. But his email motivated me to take a few minutes to straighten it all out, and it was really easy. Now I'm registered with Bloglines and I can see my own blog in there. Damn it's cool. RSS so friggin rocks. And Bloglines will be a way better system for managing a blogroll than editing my blogger template (although it will probably take me another few months to getting around to figuring out how *that* whole thing works).

So anyway, props to Adam. Stop by and visit his blog Bladam.

I just noticed his tagline starts with "musings on ..." just like mine. I didn't copy it from him, I swear. Guess it's a pretty obvious choice for a blog.

April 20, 2004

The Proud, The Few, The GMail Beta Testers

Apparently, being a GMail beta tester this early in the game is a bigger deal than I realized. Jason Shellen was bombarded with requests from people who wanted accounts, complete strangers on Orkut are begging me for an account (which I have absolutely no authority to give), and the number of users so far is said to number in only the thousands.

I, for one, have never really understood the appeal of free web-based email. I mean, I have to pay for my ISP anyway. They don't have free ISPs yet that I know of, I can read my regular email through my ISPs web-based interface, so what do I need free email for?

I'm glad to be a beta tester though, because it's really neat sending test emails and seeing whether GMail can come up with appropriate contextual ads or links. Also trying to figure out if their different conceptual approach to managing email (labels vs. folders, archive but don't delete, powerful search) is useful.

And surprisingly, Orkut is really coming in handy for breaking news. I found out today that select Bloggers were offered a GMail account when they logged in to Blogger today. And these are not just high profile Bloggers (some of whom Jason Shellen had already offered accounts). But it's not across the board, either. Maybe the Blogger team just had some fun offering accounts to people who's blogs they liked (almost assuredly a grammatical error in my punctuation there). I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere on the web yet. My guess is GMail is really ramping up so they can unleash to a wider audience ASAP.

[edit] I found out the next day that Evan Williams blogged the Blogger Gmail offer, but not until 6:59 pm.

April 16, 2004

A Thorough Review of Gmail

Google's Gmail - An in-depth look

Getting Sucked into the Google Vortex

I've been invited to beta test Gmail and I can't seem to stay away from Orkut for more than 24 hours ... I feel like I'm getting sucked into a strange Google-land and I'm not sure where it's heading, but it does lead me to many, many things I never would have known about before, such as Subservient Chicken, and this fascinating blog entry on The Secret Source of Google's Power.

April 12, 2004

You're Not Preserving Me!

Noticed this link in the sideblog of infozo: moron librarian. It makes me laugh because lately I've been using the graphic above for my profile on Orkut, and just itching to aim those lasers right at Ashcroft.

TMB - Too Many Blogs

There's 462 LIS blogs listed in Open Directory as of today. The category is edited by Greg Schwartz, the Open Stacks blogger. He seems to be doing a great job with his dmoz category, and yet I'm sure there's a lot of stuff missing. How can one possibly keep up with this kind of information explosion? The mind boggles. Or Bloggles. Whatever. It's enough to make me not want to read any of them because there are too many. Hence RSS, I guess. Anyway, sometimes it's hard to keep up with technological innovations when you're not using them directly for your job. Luckily, we *are* looking into how we can leverage RSS in our work but it is kind of on the back burner.

April 11, 2004

What Kind of Archivist Am I?

"Where are the archives?" you may be asking yourself. Apologies. Since I'm hosting this on my own ISP's server, I haven't yet gotten around to setting up folders for the archives. Patience, dear readers, changes are coming. I am also still contemplating moving to a different blogging interface since Blogger does not seem to be in a rush to support categorization, and we all know how desparately librarians need to categorize things.

Gmail Again (and the Patriot Act)

This Motley Fool article reflects my basic sentiments on Gmail. Again, I realize I may be reacting on an emotional level more than a logical level, but retained data is retained data. It has both commercial value and value to snooping feds.

That is why I have respect and admiration for the stance taken by Anne Turner of the Santa Cruz public library system. (See also.) Ms. Turner not only posts signs warning patrons that their borrowing history could be monitored, she has also instituted a practice of shredding daily internet sign-up sheets. She is one rockin' librarian!

April 09, 2004

Worship Me

I'm super late with this meme but I don't want to forget to record it for posterity - Jenny Levine's Shifted Librarian reminded me of it's existence ...

Why You Should Fall to Your Knees and Worship a Librarian.

Intelligent Human Language

I admit it, today I did a quick google search for "intelligent human agent" just to see who was infringing on my trademark. My favorite hit was this Finnish student's research paper proposal.

This got me wondering why, exactly, we all seem to find "Engrish" so amusing.

April 08, 2004

Dead Archive Source

OK, this may *seem* unrelated to the mission of this blog, but believe me, it's not. I never have time to read other people's blogs but today I took a quick look at Library Stuff because it was on Blogger's home page as a "Blog of Note" (congratulations, Steven!).

Steven had a good tip about yet another place to get recordings of Dead Shows.

Deadheads have long been pioneers of cyber communities (legend has it that Deadheads started the Well, and John Perry Barlow is a big force behind EFF), and they keep some pretty mean databases, too. Many of them are detail-oriented folks, I guess. Check out Deadbase for a shining example.

April 07, 2004

What is Your Data Worth?

No such thing as a free lunch. I *do* understand why a company providing me with a free email service might be justified in reaping some monetary benefit from my demographic info ... but do y'all realize how *valuable* this stuff is to marketers?

Here's a nifty tool that drives the point home:
The SWIPE Toolkit

Link courtesy of a post from the "Google is the Devil" Orkut community
(no, I'm not a member of that one ...).

April 01, 2004


A colleague and former professor, Mary Minow, clued me in to the whole google gmail thing early today. My initial response was like many others - just an April Fool's Day thing. But it ain't so. Mary and I are like-minded in our concerns for privacy issues, and the whole adwords Gmail thing just doesn't SMELL right. Another very close friend, however, argues that email is already scanned by machines to detect spam, so how is scanning in order to serve ads different? My reply is that I just don't want Ashcroft and Poindexter getting a hold of these technologies, or subpoenaing Google to deliver information to keep us all secure.

There's already a pretty big loophole, it seems to me, in Google's published privacy policy for Gmail:

"Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public." read more

What if someone decides they need "protection" from subversive, left-leaning librarians such as myself? What then? Oooh, protect us from the commie, pinko fags, the Daniel Ellsbergs, Allen Ginsbergs, Jim Morrisons, Michael Moores, etc., etc. Open an FBI file on me, quick! Oh yeah, wait, I think there already is one left over from that protest at Vandenburg AFB back in the 80's.

March 30, 2004

Never Mind

I didn't really do the math on that last post. The stuff I found was old. Stay tuned.

Google Doesn't RSS - But Yahoo Does

I've kept in the back of my mind a tidbit I picked up that claimed there was some code you could use to turn a Google News Alert into an RSS feed. Today I was looking for it, and found out from this TeledyN post that Google is not particularly enamored of this concept. Intellectual property and all that, you know.

A little surfing brought me to this solution, however, courtesy of Jeremy Zawodny's blog.

Orkut Goes to Eleven

I've been insanely remiss in keeping up this blog. Oh well. Today I played around with Orkut. It does have a cool serendipitousness to it (why am I so enamored of that concept?). Found an old friend and made some new ones based on recollections of the names of like-minded professionals. But there's only 11, I think, members of the Lipstick Librarians community. Oh well again. These go to eleven!

January 05, 2004

Got TMI?

I was writing too much boring diary-entry crap here so I started a separate blog for that here.

There's still bound to be overlap, of course, and an inability to decide which blog to post to ... like today I was trying to think of a clever balloon-caption to add to a photo of my brother shaking Bill Clinton's hand at Google (something clever about Al Gore, but what??). I was surfing web logs about Gore, Clinton, Google, Norvig ... and I found this guy Kevin Fox's blog, and he had his "friends" blogs listed
and, hmm, how to explain? I KNOW these people ever so slightly, as nodding acquaintances -

Dinah Sanders (metagrrrl) was in my library science program at San Jose State. I ran into her briefly at Internet Librarian.

Derek Powazek started Fray, which made me sit up and take notice enough to go see him speak back in 1997 at some event put on by, I think, Webgrrls before they changed to Digital Eve.

Peter Merholz is, of course, well known as "the other Peter," in his efforts to clarify any shadow cast by Peter Morville, who was also at Internet Librarian, where I saw him speak in his thoughtful, calm, way. One time I drove all the way to Berkeley on a weeknight just to see Morville speak for free at an event put on by BAY-CHI. Thought about bringing my old copy of Info Arch for him to sign but it seemed indecorous ...

... the whole bay area user interface crowd seems so amazingly small, yet I feel an outsider, I guess. You see? I knew this should have gone in my personal blog ...

Hit Counter Bites the Dust

GoStats sent me an email over the holidays explaining that their database had been compromised. So the record of my 10 seconds of fame (hundreds, count 'em, hundreds of hits!) after having been blogged by someone else is no more. The hit counter was re-set as of yesterday, I think.