Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2007 Survey of the Biblioblogosphere

I don't know how many of you missed Meredith Farkas' new survey. Please respond if you have not!

[And this may be my shortest post ever![

ALA Nominating Committee

My friend ALA President-Elect Jim Rettig posted about the ALA Nominating Committee. It is so important that I not only provided the link to his post, but am re-posting the message below:

The ALA 2008 Nominating Committee is soliciting nominees to run on the 2008 spring ballot for Councilor-at-large. The Councilors-at-large will serve three-year terms, beginning after the 2008 ALA Annual Conference and ending at the adjournment of the 2011 Annual Conference. Members who wish to make nominations should submit the followingi nformation: nominee name present position institution address telephone fax and e-mail address. Self-nominations are encouraged. All potential nominees must complete the Potential Candidate Biographical Form. Nominations and forms must be received no later than September 1, 2007. Nominations may be sent to any member of the 2008 Nominating Committee. Committee members are:
W. Lee Hisle, Chair
Vice President of Information Services & Librarian of College
Connecticut College
E-mail: wlhis@conncoll.edu

Nancy Bolt
Nancy Bolt & Associates
Golden, CO
E-mail: nancybolt@earthlink.net

Tyrone Heath Cannon
Library Dean
University of San Francisco
E-mail: cannont@usfca.edu

Jon E. Cawthorne
Associate Dean
San Diego State University

Alma Dawson
Louisiana State University
E-mail: notaed@lsu.edu

Karen E. Downing
Foundation and Grants Librarian
University of Michigan
E-mail: kdown@umich.edu

Loida A. Garcia-Febo
Asst. Coordinator, Special Services
Queens Library, Jamaica, NY
E-mail: loida.garcia-febo@queenslibrary.org

Dale H. Ross
Trustee, Ames [IA] Public Library

Jennifer A. Younger
Edward H. Arnold Director of University Libraries
University of Notre Dame, IN
To encourage diversity and leadership development, the Committee will refrain from nominating current Councilors for election to another term. However, the Committee encourages all current Councilors who wish to continue their service to the Association to file as petition candidates. Petitions will be available from Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, Council Secretariat, ALA, 50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611, Email: lgregory@ala.org, or during the 2008 Midwinter Meeting. Petitions require 25 signatures of current ALA members.
One of the more interesting things about the ALA Nominating Committee is that, in the course of your ALA career, you can only serve ONCE, lifetime, on this committee. It scares me to recognize so many names over the last several years!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

WiLS World - Correction

Tom Peters was not referring to a blog post, but to the book Everything is miscellaneous : the power of the new digital disorder by David Weinberger. [And if I did the link to World Cat correctly, you will be taken there to see which library near you owns it. I find it fascinating that it automatically adjusts for the location of the IP address of the ISP, rather than wherever you are really from. A private email and I will tell you how I know this.]

WiLS World co-conspiritors

I missed a fellow blogger at WiLS World! Sharyn Heili of Libraries and Librarians Rock was there also. Sorry Sharyn!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

WiLS World - Net Neutrality

Bob Bocher, my e-rate hero, did a great presentation based on his work on the ALA level. (He is second from left in the photo I linked to.)

He posted his presentation before the program (way to go!), but did have paper handouts. His defense of the paper handouts (so 20th Century) was that the paper industry is important to the Wisconsin economy.

Common carriage dates to the Middle Ages when the crown required that "public service" entities like those managing river crossings, could not refuse service to those who have ability to pay. This carried over to telecommunication including AT&T (the old "Ma Bell") in the 1930s when the New Deal began to regulate telephones.

Bob gave a great overview of the underlying structure for telecommunications services in the US today. [It reminded me why he was so good as the Chair of the E-Rate Task Force a couple of years ago.]

The power point includes a great chart showing the growth of DSL and death of dial-up. He notes that the FCC considers "broadband" as 200K, and that is a fairly low level, "but of course the FCC often operates at a fairly low level."

Net neutrality is critical for who controls what happens, right now, end users control what happens on the network (gaming, for instance), but with out net neutrality, the provider of the pipe/fiber may exercise control over the priority for service across the Internet.

Innovation is at the edges of the network. What new and exciting innovations have come from telcos or cable companies? None. Innovations come from the edge of the network.

There are some real concerns which the network providers have. They must be able to manage the network: security, traffic management, illegal content. They also need a return on their infrastructure investments.

Have there been abuses or discrimination? Net neutrality was in effect from September 2005 - 2006, so that there has not been a long history. There is an allegation from Vonage that some carriers are refusing to allow Vonage packets.

Roadblocks are more possible the further the message goes. The more networks touched, the more the possibility that one network [controller of a circuit] may choose to not pass the information (packets) quickly. Question was asked, who would investigate, and there is not a good answer nor is there much trust that the FCC and FTC would effectively investigate.

If net neutrality breaks down, it would mean that libraries (and consumers) would be in a more difficult position in choosing a provider since you would need to ask about all their special deals.

The FCC did require ATT to adhere to net neutrality as part of its purchase/merger with SBC. This has tempered the rush to a legislative solution.

WiLS World - Day 2 -- Tom Peters

The morning began with the member breakfast which included an update on the scenario planning process for WiLS and then a report on the member survey which was done over the winter. Interesting stuff for those in WiLS and concerned with its governance.

Now on to Tom Peters and his talk Brave New Online Worlds: Social Networks, Online Communities, MUVEs, and the Future of Libraries.

Thesis: as we think about the future relationship between libraries and social networks, online communities, and virtual worlds, many of us do not see an important relationship. But this will have a profound effect on librarianship in the 21st century and beyond.

Need to do some scenario planning to figure out the relationship between individuals, communities, and libraries and how that is changing. What is a community? It has:
  • shared environment
  • shared interest
  • shared needs
Continuum: individual, family, communities, societies

Communities support "public goods" and there has been a change in support for public goods. Trend is away from high value for public goods. Public good institutions have had erosion in support. For example National Parks need to generate revenue through charging entry fees.

Libraries serve communities.

Can libraries create communities.

[My attention was diverted by a series of phone calls related to events in my personal life. I got back in time to hear Tom recommend that we read this post by David Weinberg.]

Correction/expansion: see my post on 7/29

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WiLS World -- Break out sessions

R & D for Libraries by Pete Boguszewsski & Stephen Meyer

You have to have clear goals.

Those who try to get it right the first time fail just as often as those who don’t.

Virtualization lets you try stuff and fail without affecting services.

Free does not mean free as in free beer.

Open source lets you tweak.

Inside Evergreen by Jason Etheridge


  • Georgia Pines
  • Equinox Software (company formed by developers to support software outside and now in Georgia
  • University of Windsor
  • British Columbia Public Libraries
  • IRC channels
  • public mailing lists


  • Old software sucked
  • no room for growth
  • software was dictating software
  • hitting ceilings (overloading fields with information)
  • finger pointing was futile


  • focus groups
  • clean slate
  • question every assumption
  • be agile with many iterations and prototypes

Yes, but how?

  • GPLS hired some software developers
  • building blocks (open source) are often a commodity
  • leveraged existing systems (PostgreSQL, Apache, Jabber, Mozilla, and help from Code4Lib
  • Built the rest

Jason then gave a full tour with great details and examples of using the Pines system. It was very technical and detailed, but information packed.

WiLS and Pines

Lamar Veatch, state librarian of Georgia is about to/beginning to talk about PINES, the open source catalog created for the state of Georgia. Richard Grobschmidt from the state library agency here in Wisconsin gave a humorous introduction, look for a Flickr photo soon. Lamar is wearing the traditional WiLS World garb -- Rob is not. They are both active in COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.

Lamar Veatch as the car salesman selling the features, brought Jason ... who is one of the team of four who wrote/assembled the software.

Pines = Pines Information Network for Electronic Services and is the single patron/catalog ILS for all 159 counties in Georgia. Provides the single, almost state-wide library card. 46 public library systems including 265 facilities and bookmobiles.

Started as a Y2K project which included providing services for even the smallest libraries. They also were having discussion about creating a single state-wide card. The leaders in state government endorsed the idea, and found sources for software.

High speed internet connection to all libraries. Backbone funded 25% by state money and 75% by E-Rate funds. That makes Pines possible.

Funding per capita is different. Ranked 45th in local funding per capita, but #5 in state funding per capita. This means that public libraries are much more dependent on state funding. State grants even provide funding for staffing in individual libraries.

Consistent policies across the state because of the needs of the software. Including fines and fees. Money stays where it was paid except for lost items whose funds go back to the owning library.

Pines Governance includes a board of 9 representatives elected by members with committees by specific task areas.

Goal is a "non-sucky" easy to use interface and better customer service.

System is funded and paid for by the state, so the local money stays local, and it not required in the local budget. This includes training, and planned system replacement. Cost estimate in install stand-alone system would be $15 million plus $5 million for maintenance including staff. Current budget is $1.6 million or about $1.00 per registered user or about 1/10 of the cost of free-standing systems.

Users don't care about jurisdictions any more. Don't care about boundaries.

[I was called out of the meeting, and got back just in time to collect the info below]

Evergreen Development Page

And the PINES home page

Key point and quote from Lamar Veatch: "We can control our own destiny, since it was designed for our libraries. It could run on a laptop for one library, but it also runs for a large consortium with sophisticated needs."

Bloggers at WiLS World

I have met some of my blog favorites here at WiLS World. A partial list (with blogs)

Dorothea Salvo - Caveat Lector
Andrew Pace - Hectic Pace
Tom Peters - on ALA Techsource
Barbara Misselt - Multitype Librarian
It is great to have names and faces and physically meet these folks!

Blogging WiLS World

I am here in Madison for WiLS World. This is a great opportunity for meeting colleagues. Andrew Pace has just started the keynote. While he is using Power Point, he is not doing "death by Power Point." He is a great speaker, even if he is talking very, very fast.

One of his first screens has as its title:

Library 2.[Gr]0[an]

He described millenials as having an "impatient sense of entitlement." I love that phrase. He also used this quote (whose source I did not catch): "The worst level of Internet serviced that users will accept is the best level of service they have ever seen."

Other points.....
  • In his list of "2.0" techniques his lists ended with: Rinse and repeat.
  • He defined "2.0" as -- Better, faster, cheaper
  • Standards are a lot like toothbrushes: Everyone agrees that they are important to have, but no one wants to use somebody else's.
  • He is showing some great shots of his academic library and the inside of their building....
  • "Era of the traditional integrated library systems is over." Andrew Pace
  • Great lie of the early 21st century is interoperability.
  • Software as a service: how can we get this thing to more people at a cheaper cost.
  • Doesn't have to be perfect, perfect is the enemy of good.
  • Nice demo of Endeca at NCSU [but it was 75 minutes in before he even got there! Good job Andrew!]

His presentation is will be available either later today, or tomorrow. Is now and the second link on this page.

Stay tuned for more.

[Link info updated 3:13 pm after verification by Andrew.]

Monday, July 09, 2007

A new Road Trip from Hell -- Michael Moore is right!

I survived the trip back from DC. Now I am dealing with the paperwork which piled up in my absence. Among them a doctor's bill.

Yesterday I saw the movie Sicko which is Michael Moore's latest. It is a scathing indictment of the political establishment, the pharmaceutical industry, the health care industry, but mostly of the health insurance industry.

Today, I had such a run in. First, it is nearly an act of God to talk to a person, and that after punching in series of numbers including your "ID." (Of course this is not a number which you can find on any document from the company!) Then when you finally get a real person you have to tell them all the very same information which you have just punched into the phone seventy-two times.

I was calling because the doctors office had billed for two things. One of which (because I have an HRA to cover the deductible), I have a check for, and have been waiting for a bill from the doctor's office for several months.

The second item I had asked about in May (for service provided in February), and was told then that everything had been paid directly. The doctor's office, of course, said that they billed because the insurance company had refused to pay.

The insurance company says something like "the procedure was not appropriate for the diagnosis." Of course, it was some clerk saying this about a test that a Medical Doctor had ordered. Probably what happened....somebody used the wrong code, most likely because this insurance company is in a different region than the doctor.

Ugh. I hate this. Michael Moore was right!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The End of the Road Trip from Hell

When last I left the saga, I was in a cheesy hotel in Dallas.

My traveling companion and I could not face 48 hours there, so we "hotwired" a new hotel (which was wonderful). I went back to the airport to try to get luggage, to no avail. The ticket agent looked to see if she could get us on an earlier flight. She broke up with laughter when she saw that the next flight to Minneapolis (which held 130 seats) had 149 on the standby list! We did get to go first class.

I rented a car for 2 days (using the ALA member discount with National. It was less than $13 a day (plus fees, of course) for an intermediate car. Then it was off to T J Maxx to get something clean to wear. Then eating, drinking, and a trip to the pool.

Saturday, we went to see a movie (Evan Almighty ... a light fluffy comedy) and head to the airport. More drinking in the airport and then first class seats home.

Our luggage was actually at the airport and not too hard to find, and then a cab ride.

Today looks and feels a lot better. In total, the trip took 84 hours from when we left downtown DC. We stayed in three hotels and traveled who knows how many extra miles. It is good to be home again!