Sitting in on the NISO Webinar: MARC and FRBR: Friends or Foes?
Well, I guess it’s understandable, since even the most basic bare-bones ebooks are a difficult and challenging commodity to provide. Wear and tear when the tubes get clogged and all.
Per my most recent Google search. That’s a Ghanan currency, by the way. (Viewed the page freely just fine, too.)
It has occurred to me that it would be very helpful in Google searches if years could be searched for the way synonyms for words typically are. For example, searching for ‘Bob Eckels’ also returns results for ‘Robert Eckels,’ Bob being recognized as a nickname of Robert. I know I’ve encountered similar inclusions for a variety of words. In terms of years, it would be nice, sometimes, if searching ’1969′ also caught results for the ’1960s’ in general. I can see how that would be less useful than the names, but when I’m trying to find a person in a reel from some particular year, that particular year may or may not have any significance in that person’s legacy, neither in written material about things they accomplished nor in photographs hanging around the internet. I could–and do– just search by decade from the get-go, but as I said, sometimes a particular year is significant, but it would be nice to automatically pick up a range of years…figuratively widen the net.
Alternately, the built-in ‘search by time’ function could be expanded. Searching for ‘Neil Armstrong,’ for example, limited to results prior to 12/31/1969 results in nothing; limiting results to preceding 12/31/1970 returns a plethora of materials. On the plus side, it has the ability to search by a page’s original chronological context and not just its upload/update timestamp, of which I hadn’t been aware, so that’s nice. (A less famous figure, of course, is still very under-represented.)
Always always always with the creepy, TMI, not-really-useful (it marks you as having a read a post when you visit the page, which is vague at best readership) updates with Facebook. Oh, and there’s nothing on that page that talks about turning it off or exempting yourself from it; quelle surprise.
I’m not a comic book person so I’m actually a bit slow to discover this. Starting this month–oops, technically last month– every issue in the Ultimate line will include a code to get a free digital copy of that issue. Please please please let this trend gain momentum. Is there even a good reason for it not to? It’s not as though manuscripts aren’t already being handled digitally these days at every step from initial submission through editing on to printing. The biggest potential difference between an ebook and a physical version is perhaps page layout (which affects page count), but since I know that that can be changed on the fly just by rotating my iPod touch (no dedicated ereader for me yet), it probably isn’t that big of a barrier.
This is what I want to see more of (though preferably for print books more than magazines, but either way it’s useful).
I was working as a faculty assistant for Jill Hurst-Wahl during part of the time she and Ulla were working on this book, The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook. One of my projects was to contact various people, get them to agree to contribute, and “interview” them– mostly this just meant emailing Word docs back and forth, but I did do an actual interview over Skype as well. Their responses form one of the later chapters, showcasing the variety of information career paths out there.
Sadly, it wasn’t until I was given my copy that I saw I had been credited as Elaine P. Patton rather than Elaine M. Patton. Doh. The hazards of middle initials, I suppose. Nonetheless, it was still fun to see my name printed in a book, and I even appear in the index!
Whew, what a summer. In a previous post, I mentioned the policy paper I was working on with a couple classmates regarding how public libraries (our primary focus; we discuss academic libraries, as well, though) should deal with ebook issues. We sort of fizzled out on trying to professionally publish it (I think we’re all too preoccupied with job-hunting), so I figured I may as well post it here, at least.
The 2 minute PowerPoint presentation giving the most bare-bones highlights imaginable for those who don’t want to plow through our 28-page paper.
I recently completed our “big” project of the semester for IST 667, which was a paper and presentation comparing 2 ILSes from the perspective of a fictional library of our choosing as if we were preparing to do an RFP. My group looked at Polaris and Ex Libris’s Voyager from the POV of a small community college library with close ties to the public library system. Of the two other groups (it was a very small class), one also did Polaris/Voyager and the other did Polaris/Symphony (a SirsiDynix system). [The prevalence of Polaris was due to the experimental collaboration between them and SU's iSchool; our class was provided with a sandbox Polaris system to play with so that we could have hands-on interaction with an ILS.]
The main theme of all of our presentations was how opaque the vendors’ websites are. Polaris provided far more information than did Ex Libris, but it still falls short of the kind of information you’d want to have when planning a massive, massive purchase that you’ll likely be stuck with for many years. Specific features were vague; prices were nonexistent. We discussed this in class, and the reasons seemed to come down to:
- Specificity of the system. Each library wants or needs something slightly different, which will affect the cost. (1b, there may be some haggling over the price, affected by point 2, that further prevents comparison between libraries… besides the whole non-disclosure thing.)
- Interpersonal relations. Maybe the vendor likes or dislikes you or your library or your contact is nice or a jerk kind-of- thing.
Which I can understand, to a certain extent, and of course the whole purpose of the RFPs is to obtain this missing information. But…
It still seems like there should be a simple little form on their websites in which you could check off certain features and enter some numbers and have it automatically spit out a rough estimate for you. It’s not as if scripting the form would be difficult. It’s not as if the concept of a disclaimer noting that the resultant price is an estimate, not a guarantee, is unheard of. When you buy a car there are all kinds of extras you can get, but you’ll still see right up front that the car starts at $17,000 and have a ballpark figure for the total. (And then you can haggle with the salesman.) When I was shopping for laptops, I went through various iterations of configurations on HP’s website, picking out different options. You have info on the base price of the laptop, and each feature you select adds or subtracts a clearly-stated amount from that price.
Now, in the course of finishing up my IST 618 policy paper on DRM-protected content in libraries, I found myself needing further information on Freegal. It has the emptiest, most useless webpage I’ve come across in a while. I search a little more and come up with Sarah Houghton-Jan’s recent post denouncing the service (as well as a slightly older one). Again there’s the same lack of transparency, the extreme expense, the lack of easily-accessible information.
Consider that libraries are supposed to be all about accessing information and content. Contrast with the lack thereof from the auxiliary library industries. Does the universe require a cosmic balance in information transparency to function?