Library News, etc.

Since ALA Midwinter just wrapped up, there has been more news than usual floating around the library world. This post is a brief summation of some new stuff. If you do not really care about things like RSS in libraries, information literacy, and how blogs and other technology is changing the way libraries do business, you might want to skip this post.

There is talk of RSS feeds and how libraries can use them in our OPACS to help the user, and us, monitor information and sort searches. Some of the talk has shifted recently into just who RSS is geared towards. Aaron Schmidt over at Walking Paper makes some good points about the impact, or lack thereof, of RSS on the public at large. RSS and aggregators are still firmly in the discourse of the info and tech savvy. Schmidt makes the point that RSS could just be another technology fad that will go the way of email in terms of spam and hacking. While I agree that RSS could be hacked, as everything eventually is, I think that it will continue to evolve and become even more useful in the future. Of course, people have to learn that it exists and how to use it first.

Jenny, The Shifted Librarian, has an excellent post on what it means that OCLC Research has an updated computer system that is 30 times faster when searching MARC records. She emphasizes the point that you could carry around a whole WorldCat database on your iPod and still have room for songs. She asks, “What does it mean when a patron can carry around the whole, freaking WorldCat database?” What does it mean? As technology gets smaller, will we enable patrons do download and search our catalogs? What are the copyright issues here for the software? Could open source information impact these ideas? It will be great to see how this discussion develops in the next few years.

And more on downloading. Boing Boing reports that there will now be games that you can download, over and over, in a PDF format. Being someone who loves games myself, I am intrigued by this idea.

K.G. Schneider is blogging real-time from the Blogging, Journalism, and Ethics Conference. This is the running post so far in which many good things are brought forward.
Observation: this group is all white and 80% male… how does that affect what journalism looks like?

While I think that the web does have some diversity, I wonder about this as well. Is blogging and web design going to have “glass ceilings” so to speak?

–Jane, has to run