Steven Cohen (of Library Stuff fame) is teaching an online class for beginners on weblogs and RSS through LearningTimes.From the program overview:

"If you have ever thought about creating your own weblog or utilizing an aggregator to read news but have been a bit skeptical then this training session is for you. This hands-on training will explore some of the current software tools that are being used to publish to weblogs as well as read content via RSS. During this online workshop, the attendees will have the opportunity to post/publish to a weblog, explore the features available with the software, as well as examine content via a news aggregator."

Get more info on the workshop at the LearningTimes website.

Blake posts on LIS News that up at PLA, the Nancy Pearl action figures are being bought as much as the Orlando Bloom READ poster (ahhh, Legolas). Congrats to Pearl, and a totally random note on Bloom: Why do librarians like him so very much? My theory is that it has to do with more than just his sheer good looks. It’s the whole Legolas-the-Elf character–intelligent, good looking, gentle, immortal–more than it is the actor himself. And elves just seem like the type of people you’d find in a beautiful library somewhere. You don’t see people swooning over Bloom’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean…swarthy pirate boy is not for me, I say. But Legolas, oh yes.

Assistive Technology experts at the University of Buffalo have developed , prototype social-studies electronic textbooks that include text as well as descriptions of all graphic elements (which has been lacking in all Braille textbooks to date). From what I remember of social studies books, there were tons of pictures, maps, charts, and photographs that contained a wealth of significant information. So, inclusion of the graphical elements in this new e-textbook system is a great step forward. The student can either listen to the textbook or read it in Braille. And because the file is electronic, the students can search for certain words of passages, instead of tediously skimming the Braille pages.

Since the site hosting the Borg PC mod crashed (bwah ha ha ha, the power we have), I looked for an alternative site and found one. This site isn’t in English, but it has pictures of the Borg PC mod, so if that’s all you’re after, go crazy. Just please, don’t crash their server too ;)

Borg Cube Case Mod

February 26, 2004 | Comments (3)

Yes, I’m a Trekkie. Yes, I’m a computer geek. And yes, I love this Borg Cube PC-case mod, a creation of Xor’Arch. Sweet case modding gorgeousness.

Check out this article on Overdrive offering digital audio books in WMA format. Downloadable, Windows Media, what more could a girl ask? I know that the California Califa Consortia’s e-book committee (which I am on, incidentally) is considering jumping on board with Overdrive. This WMA option makes it all the more appealing. Ooh, downloadable & accessible. Mmmmmmmm…..

Tech TV’s “Call for Help” ran tests on several multifunction printers, and their ultimate recommendation, based on functionality and price, is the Canon MP390. At $199.99, it’s reasonably priced and does a whole lot more than your typical cheapie home printer. Read the complete results for all printers tested here.

More Vinyl Than Tweed

February 24, 2004 | Comments (12)

How long is it going to take for this stereotype to die? Until everyone who saw The Music Man in its first run dies off?!?!

In a NYT article describing Diane Keaton’s fashion sense (just the fact that this article was written at all distresses me greatly), author Ruth LaFerla refers to Keaton’s dowdiness: “For the better part of her 30-odd-year film career, Keaton has hidden her light under bowler hats, oversize jackets and calf-grazing skirts–and almost always prim gloves–cultivating a persona that on screen and off is less siren than librarian.”

OK, you know what? I’m a librarian AND a siren. And I know there are lots of us out there–male and female. I own more vinyl than tweed, more pleather than wool, and not a single oversize jacket. How exactly, then, do I fit in with Ms. LaFerla’s stereotype, that she so casually throws into her oh-so-high-brow fashion article? To suggest that the antithesis of a siren is a librarian is not only just plain stupid, but also very, very untrue.

Perhaps I’m getting irked over nothing, but I wrote a letter to the editor, I was so pissed. Anyone want to join me?

Rock on, you librarian sirens.

OK, I am going to shamelessly use my blog to solicit some co-presenters for November’s California Library Association Annual Conference.

I would really like to do an IT program on “What’s New in Tech.” I could do it alone if I had to, but panel programs really are so much more interesting. My idea would be to focus on new everything…hardware, software, gadgets, websites, online technologies & services, etc. Very free-form, kind of like throwing 20 new things at people and letting them digest it all later.

I know that I have some California readers. If you’d like to join me at CLA for this “What’s New in Tech” panel, please e-mail me. The more, the merrier!

RLG

February 23, 2004 | Comments (2)

rlg.jpg

Well, I’m not sure how this one managed to get by me, but a big thanks to a certain librarian in Fairfax, CA who pointed out an article, “The InfoDiet: How Libraries Can Offer an Appetizing Alternative to Google,” in The Chronicle of Higher Education (02/20/04) that highlights this lovely resource.

RLG, RedLightGreen, is a search engine that searches over 120 million books. It offers a single search box (like Google) and a five star relevancy ranking system, but the interesting part is the results screen, which offers you suggestions on how to refine your search by subject, authors, and languages related to your search. Inside each item record, you can get citation information in four styles, and also link to see if your local library has the book. I love this idea. I want metasearch engines (like WebFeat) to take a page from RLG’s book, and include this kind of automated search-coaching into their products.

You can find out more about the project at RLG’s homepage.