Thursday, November 01, 2007

Day Three of Internet Librarian 2007

This final day of the convention was a less intense day for speeches and sessions. I spent more time talking with other librarians.

I did attend two sessions and enjoyed both. Darlene Fichter led off with a talk about mashups and data visualizations. In short, some wonderful graphic tools are at the disposal of librarians. Maps have lent themselves to use in mashups most of all so far, because the map data is freely available and the resulting information is so handy.

Steven Cohen followed with a tour of RSS-related tools. He demonstrated Google reader most of all, persuading me that I should give it a try again. Among other revelations was Tumblr, which brings together all your personal uploads and posts into one spot, and page2rss, which can make an rss feed out of a page that doesn't have one.

Lunch with librarians (mostly public) from Massachusetts, Kansas and Alabama. Dominant topic at my end of the table was reimagining the OPAC, followed by the need to keep pushing for change. Encouragement in that area came from the most experienced librarian at the table, who said that what one is told is possible will change if one can demonstrate sufficient need or opportunity, though it may take repeated demonstrations.

Off to Google on Nov. 1. I will have a chance to meet with an officer of Google Books. That service has more frustrations than rewards for me right now. Even as the database grows and results improve, I think it still needs improvements in the search engine. Maybe, on the other hand, I am expecting it to look too much like the OPAC I am familiar with and that the public loathe. Maybe keyword searching is enough just to get snippets of info out of a book whose formal subject heading may be about different matters altogether. But the weird thing is, they've started adding subject headings and acting in that respect like an OPAC. By that standard, Google Books is a poor OPAC.

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