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Current Cites for July 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 7/29/11 (1:58pm)

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Current Cites for July 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

IM Widgets More Effective Than Crummy Old Links for Library Chat Reference

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 5/16/11 (8:04pm)

First, I like this study of Chat Reference at S.I.U.-C. because it stresses the need to take its results in context. Maybe you're getting more questions about holdings because you've now got your IM widget on all the database pages listing articles your users are looking for, etc. In any case, the fact that they now have their IM Widget on those pages instead of a simple link seems to have significantly increased virtual traffic:

"The number of SVR ['Synchronous virtual reference' -- i.e. IM] questions increased by another 1,000 in the year when the library embedded a widget into the SFX link resolver menu and EBSCOhost databases. Even though the Ask A Librarian link had been included in the SFX menu and the EBSCOhost banner for many years, an increase was recorded only after the widget was embedded. The increase in SVR questions supports the notion that placement of a widget can influence use."

Julie Arendt, Stephanie J. Graves, (2011) "Virtual question changes: reference in evolving environments", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 Iss: 2, pp.187 - 205.

Current Cites for April 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 4/30/11 (7:17pm)

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Current Cites for April 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

My selection this month was a short but witty intro to the wonderful world of academic publishing written by Stephen K. Donovan called "The Sign of Four".

We Were All Librarians and All Human Beings

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 4/1/11 (2:29pm)

From an article written in 1944 about the Good Old Days of librarians in Chicago in the 1890s:

William Warner Bishop (1944): "As I look back on these formative years I am struck most of all by the sense of fellowship and solidarity among librarians. It was a new profession in our American conception of its possibilities; there was no little of the "missionary" spirit among its members, and there was much kindly feeling and much sharing of information and experience. A newcomer was made to feel at home. One instinctively felt he could rely on and trust his colleagues. I had a beautiful illustration of these solidarity ten years later, during my first summer at the Library of Congress. One of our messenger boys went swimming in the Potomac and was unfortunately drowned. His people came from a village near Milwaukee. They were too poor to come on to Washington, and the body was sent to Milwaukee to be transferred to their home. I telegraphed to Agnes Van Valkenburgh in the Milwaukee Public Library without any hesitation, and that great-hearted woman not only met the train bearing the corpse but went, provided with flowers, to the small town and to the funeral. It was a perfectly natural action on her part and on mine. We were all librarians and all human beings in distress at the sudden death of a very minor member of our calling. The incident is typical, and I like to recall it. We all felt not only pride in our work but a sense of responsibility toward our fellow librarians. It is a great thing to have been a member of such a profession."

Current Cites for March 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 3/31/11 (4:09pm)

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Current Cites for March 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

I wrote about two articles, first about a Library 2.0 postmortem written by Walt Crawford, and second, about an excellent study of library databases evaluated for accessibility which concluded, to universal embarrassment, "no database included in the study was rated as largely accessible".

Reference Fail

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/24/10 (9:31am)

Library-Journal-logoLibrary Journal's got an article getting a lot of attention by Jean Costello with the provocative title, "Why I Don't Use Libraries for Reference Anymore".

Current Cites for October 2010

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 11/7/10 (3:49pm)

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Current Cites for October 2010 is out! You can find the issue here...

Screencast on Using Drupal Mentioned in Code4Lib Journal

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 9/13/10 (7:37pm)

This is nice. The screencast I put together on creating a database listing using Drupal is mentioned in a Code4Lib article:

Code4lib Journal

"Creating a Library Database Search using Drupal"

When Florida Gulf Coast University Library was faced with having to replace its database locator, they needed to find a low-cost, non-staff intensive replacement for their 350 plus databases search tool. This article details the development of a library database locator, based on the methods described in Leo Klein’s “Creating a Library Database Page using Drupal” online presentation. The article describes how the library used Drupal along with several modules, such as CCK, Views, and FCKeditor. It also discusses various Drupal search modules that were evaluated during the process.

[h/t M. Weaver]

Hub of Communication

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 7/24/10 (2:15pm)

Pretty accurate description of a librarians' activities at the reference desk from last month's Computers in Libraries:

...With a telephone receiver wedged between your shoulder and your ear, you are waiting patiently while the patron on the other end expresses his information need: "I am looking for a book; it is blue ..." Beep, beep -- a tone alerts you to the presence of a second caller. Just then, ding -- a little yellow envelope appears in the lower-right corner of your computer--a decade earlier, a voice would have kindly reminded you that, "you've got mail." Ding -- a new window pops into existence; an instant message. Amid all of this confusion, a patron walks up to the desk, crosses her arms, and taps her foot impatiently. You smile and hold up your index finder -- the universal signal for "one moment please." Ding -- something is flashing in the toolbar: your text messaging service. In a desperate attempt at triage, you are clicking away feverishly, minimizing and shuffling windows, each containing a separate application. Oh, and don't forget about your library's Facebook and Twitter accounts ... [Johnson, Benjamin E., "Google Voice", Computers in Libraries, (30, 5): June 2010]