The new Seattle Central Library (opening on May 23rd) has the following items which make me shiver with jealousy:

  • free wireless access in every corner of the library
  • sound domes that contain the music coming from speakers in the YA area from leaking into other parts of the library
  • wireless “smart” necklaces that let library staff communicate and respond from anywhere in the building
  • 400 public use computers
  • software that will provide a floor map diagramming each book’s location, so the catalog will tell you a book’s call number and show you exactly where to find it (being developed by a library staffer)
  • a book sorter that uses RFID chips to automatically take the items to the correct bin or branch truck

Thanks to Baa Baa Blog for the link.

Under e-FOIA (Electronic Freedom of Information Act), agencies are required to post frequently requested FOIA material on their websites. Funny, though–many agencies do not have any frequently requested materials linked on their websites, and those that do are slow to update their lists. As Scott Hodes asks in his LLRX article, “Can anything be done to enforce this aspect of the E-FOIA law?”

In response to George W. Bush’s gung-ho attitude toward adding an amendment to the Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and woman, an author at Kuro5hin has written a well-argued proposal for three additional amendments: The Right to Privacy, The Right to Self, and The Right to Companionship. I love the blog-world.

Check out this study of federated searching products commissioned by the National Library of New Zealand. They looked at every product I know about. The results are detailed and I think will serve to help those of us shopping around for federated search products in the upcoming fiscal year, like me for instance. Thank you New Zealand! Lots of good stuff is coming from there lately…

Wow. Weird toys. Very weird toys. The one that really gets me is BABOOCHI. The weird thing is, people will buy these things…

In a shameful display of homophobia, Card has written an article against gay marriage, claiming that the “dark secret of homosexuality” is that homosexuals only want to get married to give themselves a false sense of normality. Card also wrote a well-publicized article back in 1990 entitled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” which is even more anti-gay. Goes to prove that artistic talent and being a good person don’t always go hand in hand. Shame on him.

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 😉