At the Ref Desk (4/15/18): File under 'Learn Something New Everyday': Wanna print more than one page (say, 2, 4, 9, etc.) on the same side of the paper? That's what the option "Multiple" is for after typing Ctrl-P. (Thanks to the student who figured this out after he asked me and I told him I didn't know.) [more...]
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Telnet First!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 6/17/13 (11:29am)

Peter Merholz serves up a welcomed reality check amid all the hoopla of 'mobile first':

My concern with "mobile first" is that we'll mistake that for "mobile only" (the way that the Web was seen as the end-all be-all for quite a while) and not appreciate just what our customers are actually doing, nor prepare ourselves for what's next.

I'll be the first to admit, proudly in fact, that 'responsive web design' was clearly the right way to go. We had multiple devices and we needed some coherent way of accommodating them.

But I've never been able to comprehend why this required (at least among some) a second -- and to my mind completely unrelated -- step, namely that of having to start your design at the level of the least capable device (i.e. mobile) especially since 'least capable' doesn't necessarily mean 'least complicated'. You might as well have told people back in the old days, 'design for telnet' -- 'telnet first'!

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+1 for RibFest Website

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 6/10/13 (9:18am)

Yeah, I went to the Ribfest and had a great time. Beyond the event itself what impressed me the most was the website. Great professional job! (And responsive to boot.)

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Back in Chicago - I Couldn't Resist

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 5/27/13 (1:11pm)

Taking the Blue line home from O'Hare I couldn't resist getting off at Western Ave. which put me within a couple of blocks of Honey 1 BBQ. It was a Sunday and they were closing at any minute but I had just enough time to order (and partially devour) an extra-large order of rib tips. Mama mia, Chicago has its advantages!

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Report on the Drupal4Lib BoF at DrupalCon Portland

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 5/22/13 (3:23pm)

Okay, they say this happens every time but maybe 19 people signed up for the event -- and 67 showed up. I'd say it was 'standing room only' except that maybe a dozen people were sitting on the carpet in the central aisle. People were standing alongside all the walls and needless to say there wasn't a free chair in the place.

Even with that number of people, we went from person to person, each telling us his or her name and institution. We had a good mix of academic, public and special libraries. This variety showed up repeatedly in the quality of the discussion.

Nina started things off with a presentation of the new Arapahoe Library District website. We next moved to an open discussion on everything from Drupal's compatibility with repository software such as Islandora to the possibilities of Drupal replacing the ILS entirely. One theme that manifested itself through the course of the discussion was the strong desire to collaborate more on projects. Possible vehicles for this include the Drupal Library Group, the Drupal4Lib ListServ and of course, the Drupal4Lib LITA IG.

Clearly we could have gone another hour but 60 minutes was all we had. People were encouraged to continue the discussions throughout the day and also, at our Drupal4Lib IG Meeting at ALA Chicago on June 30 (10:30a-11:30a).

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Design Fail

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 4/24/13 (2:56pm)

I swear if I get another one of these as a design proposal for the main page of a website, I'm going to sue Microsoft for crimes against usability. (P.S. Why Microsoft? Hint...)

Mom at Reference

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 4/6/13 (8:40pm)

Mom at the Reference Desk dealing with an unruly patron.

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Presentation at UIC IT Professionals Forum: Mapping with Drupal

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 4/3/13 (6:40pm)

Slides from the presentation I gave today (larger version here). A couple people came up afterwards and said it had inspired them to go off and try it themselves.

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On the Nature of Train Wrecks

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 3/26/13 (10:02am)

Matt Enis from Library Journal writes about the 'Fail4Lib pre-conference workshop' at this year's Code4Lib Conference where people talked about failed or problematic projects and the lessons they learned.

As I wrote in comments to the piece, I find the greatest cause of failed projects to be those based on received wisdom. Let’s call it, the ‘Wrong Bandwagon Effect’. Some mis-identified trend is taken up and you can’t argue against it because "everyone knows" -- i.e. received wisdom -- that it's the way of the future. Everyone knows! Only "everyone" never seems to include the end-user. But that doesn't matter since before you know it, yet another mis-identified trend pops up and nothing says 'cutting edge' like jumping from one of these trends to the other. (Classic example.)

This isn't an argument against innovation. Rather it's an argument against not doing one's homework, of coasting along without anyone ever looking back and asking, what's the record for that guru so far?

Photos from Library School Project to Be Used in French TV Documentary

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 2/25/13 (8:19pm)

Well, here's some interesting news: A French TV production company called 'Temps Noir' is producing a documentary for the French TV station 'Arte' on the history of anarchism 'all around the world' and they want to use photos from an online project I did several years ago while at Library School at Queens College, CUNY.

The project was called 'Red Scare (1918-1921), an Image Database' and represented both my interest in American labor history as well as the still rather nascent technology of web content production. We're talking 1997-1998 here.

Anyway, once the project was completed, my colleagues at Baruch College, CUNY, were kind enough to put the exhibit on their servers where it has remained to this day. Every so often, I get a request to use one or more of the photos -- typically for print publication. This is my first documentary. Needless to say I look forward to getting a copy of the final product.

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