Monday, July 30, 2007

Biblioblogosphere Survey 2007

Picked up from a post on Enquiring Minds, this survey on Information Wants To Be Free should be interesting to see the results of!

I’ve been and done, before I do my usual of planning to do it ‘later’ and later being a long, long time after…

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ooopsie Mr Policeman!

Perhaps this just isn't Sir Ian Blair's day!

I'll be interested to see where all that stuff has been being stored since it was seized! I'd like some Banksy stuff myself!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Giving up on Google

Well, it’s public policy blog at the moment anyway. I don’t know if it’s Blogger itself being mad (early this week it seemed to re-publish the feeds of almost all blogs I subscribe to, or maybe it was Bloglines that did that….who can tell!), but the Google PPB seems to have decided to randomly republish its posts, in any order, on a regular basis. Or maybe the posts are being updated, but to be honest, the amount of times the same posts are re-appearing, I can’t be bothered to analyse them…

So, for now, it’s bye-bye Google blog!!

Another reason why I’m happy to be vague…

On MySpace and Bebo, I don’t have my full name, my first school, my mothers maiden name, my date of birth etc listed anywhere… all information that’s very useful for the nasty-types out there to make hay with.

With the launch of this search engine in early August, I’ll be even happier about my vagueness about my personal details on social networking sites…not that I’ve done anything so terrible that it means I don’t want anyone to find out about it ( my hobbies are scintillatingly dull, and don’t usually involve anything illegal…usually…), but it’ll probably allow even MORE people I purposely lost contact with after school / Uni to get in touch with me. It’s already annoying me that I felt I had to allow certain individuals to ‘friend’ me on Bebo when I don’t actually like them that much (but feel I can’t say no to them in case of bad feeling about the ‘snub’), but when the people I’ve spent years trying to escape track me down through this…yeesh!

Maybe I should have titled this post “When Social Networking Goes Bad”, in time honoured style of bad American video-clip shows…

What's with the image?

So, I was following the debate over the last few weeks on whether that New York Sun article and various others are a good thing or a bad thing for librarians.

Now, I don't quite gets the fuss. We're librarians, and we have a stereotype about us. Everyone knows stereotypes aren't totally true...as a Scot, the stereotype is that I should be ginger haired, pasty-skinned, and unhappy about having to spend money...and in reality, only the money one's true! ;-)

Here's a few more more:
Lawyers are evil, doctors are noble, firemen are brave.

We know stereotypes aren't true, so why bother fighting them? Will it really make the world a better place if people know that librarians aren't actually all old ladies who wear tweed, half moon glasses, pearls, and sit behind big intimidating desks in dusty libraries and say 'shhh' a lot? That sometimes we have a drink, act a bit silly

And what the hell is a guybrarian? Is librarianship such a female dominated world that they're a rarity, and need a special description, based on their sex? Do female welders want to be called welderettes because they're female, and their gender is essential in their job title? People, the profession is librarianship, making youmale librarians just plain librarians, not guybrarians. But if you insist on it, I'm going to start calling myself a librarianette!

But seriously, yes, it's nice that librarians are in the papers, that they're young and having fun...but wouldn't it be nicer if they were in the papers because they're doing innovative things with technology, giving access to learning, doing fabulous things in their jobs...not because they're playing drinking games based on Dewey Decimal.....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Unrecognised number

I don’t think I’ll be opting-in when these people call me up in the future. My mobile number is only given out to friends, or if essential, businesses that may need to contact me for something like a delivery time / date alteration.

My home number’s on TPS, I LIKE my privacy.

But…I can see the usefulness of a directory…

Then again, I don’t like my life being intruded into by a phone that I carry around with me, at least the landline is in a fixed location and I can walk away from it / ignore it, if you don’t answer your mobile people immediately assume you’re dead …hmmmm, dilemma.

Is it bad to want other people to join in, but not play myself?

Info originally in CILIP Weekly Information World 13 - 19 July 2007

Slightly ironic!

Isn’t it amusing that the first prosecution for breaking the English smoking ban would be in a pub called the Happy Scots Bar?

Now, that’s just setting a challenge for a Scot to find a Happy English Bar in Scotland and do the same…although the quest might be similar to finding a needle in a haystack, to be honest!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nerdy Rules

I’m liking these rules.. isn’t it strange how most of them relate to the frustrations technology causes us…

Particularly liking Sturgeon’s Revelation!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today I discovered splogging!

I never knew that there was such a thing...blawgs were the most unusual combination of 'blogging' with other words that I'd come across.

Now, I discover splogging: setting up spam blogs and filling them with AdSense ads. I don't quite get the point...methinks I need to read this article in more depth when I can actually concentrate!

Personally, I just quite like the term!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Turning the pages...in a different way.

Is it just me, or is it offensive that this judge thinks we just "turn the pages" of books?

And also, I personally know people who've had to have operations on their hands to repair damage caused by their work as a librarian. I've felt the aching pains in my wrists and thumbs after spending hours photocopying old cases for users...the thumbs take the strain as you flip the books to photocopy them...I'd say it's pretty clear that librarians CAN injure themselves by "turning the pages of a book".

Big Brother is watching you....flying on internal flights

C'mon British Airways, what good are these measures really going to do, other than create feelings of huge paranoia and fear in your passengers?

Why will you need to scan faces twice? Do you think people are coming through with Mission Impossible style rubber face masks and false fingerprints, escaping detection by eagle eyed security staff (who're otherwise occupied trying to figure out if over 100ml of baby milk is allowable, and confiscating highly dangerous nail clippers in case they're used on the flight to threaten anyone with a nasty nip), then ripping them off as soon as they think they're clear of security?

Will it really be a case of "your face doesn't fit here mate"?

And would it not have been far simpler to just keep international and domestic lounges separate?

Or would that mean you'd have no good excuse for introducing yet more invasive tracking of individuals in the name of 'security'?

Link via RFIDNews

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You know, if you’re going to be bad in court…

do it with style!!

I’d like to know what type of MP3 player it was: Apple, Creative, Microsoft et al could have a great marketing opportunity in this: “quiet enough to get past a judge in court”

Link from Boing Boing

And there's more jury-room gold here!

Are we WEEEing properly yet?

So, the WEEE (the prime contender for the title of "Most Ridiculously Named Regulations EVER"...seriously, have you been able to read about "separating different types of WEEE", and types of containers for different types of WEEE without sniggering?) Regulations came into force on the 1st of July 2007.

So, that should mean that when you buy a new appliance, the very least the provider must do would be to advise you about how and where to dispose of the appliance you’re probably replacing. They should be a member of the Distributor Take-back Scheme, or allow in-store take-back. At least, that’s what this document from the Environment Agency tells me.

So, why is it that, after buying a TV from Dixons online, we’ve received precisely NO information on the WEEE Regulations, our duty of responsible disposal, or where / how to do it?

Our old TV is now being rehomed by Freecycle, but what if I didn’t know about this, and if I didn’t know that I had new duties under WEEE? (sniggering at that phrase!!)

Dixons really haven’t come out of this with flying colours…wonder who’s going to be the first retailer officially spanked for failure to comply?



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh no, wait…

Links to some documents from 2007 and 2006 on the old DTI site still work, so at least we can still access them (for now).

Links to some pages from 2006 and 2007 actually have a redirect…which is an advance.

Apart from the fact that the redirect takes me to a page that I’m ‘not authorised to view’


1. You are not authorized to view this page

You might not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials you supplied.


If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page, please try to contact the Web site by using any e-mail address or phone number that may be listed on the www.dti.gov.uk home page.

You can click Search to look for information on the Internet.

2. HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden
Internet Explorer

I think it’s an advance, but I’m not altogether sure….although the fact that a redirect from a DTI page to a BERR page actually sends me to a DTI screen and advised me to go to www.dti.gov.uk, not www.berr.gov.uk makes my poor brain hurt.

DTI / BERR – I despair!!!

Ok, so as well as deciding to suddenly change departments / name with no notice (in itself enough to make me scream with frustration), those clever chaps and chapesses at the ex-DTI have gone one step further…and shifted most of the materials onto the new www.berr.gov.uk web address.

With no redirects.

Wonderful.

Here comes a good few weeks of altering every single damn link to their materials that we’ve ever posted to our current awareness service.

Even changing the ‘dti’ part of the web address to ‘berr’ doesn’t work.

They helpfully tell me this when I click on a link:

The DTI web page or document you are looking for has not been found.

Administration

The DTI web page or document you are looking for has not been found.


We have restructured our website, and the information you are looking for has been moved, or you have clicked on an inaccurate link.

* If you are looking for a specific piece of information, you may find it easier to use the search engine or our Site Map.

* If you are looking for a particular document DTI has published, you can search our Reports & Publications site.

* If you still cannot find what you are looking for, call our Ministerial Correspondence Unit on 020 7215 5000 or email us.

Please update your bookmarks with the new URL.

Really? You think I should update my bookmarks? Why, what a splendid idea, I couldn’t have thought of it myself! And now, despite the fact that using it makes me weep with frustration, I’m meant to use your internal search engine to try and discover where you’ve put all those lovely, useful documents that we’d linked to because they were, well, lovely and useful!

*sigh*

Thursday, July 05, 2007

RFID item tracking

Now, I confess, it’s a longed-for dream to be able to instal RFID tracking for our books…I’m going to have a look at the video of this at home tonight, when I can actually hear what they’re saying!

I’ve got to say, being able to pinpoint exactly where specific items are would be a VERY good thing for me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Losing information

I had a summer student come to me this week and ask me to fix back on the installation instructions for a CD that the sellotape holding them on had yellowed and fallen off from…a hint perhaps of its age! Although a 10 year old book isn’t that old in the grand scheme of things…

The CD itself was long gone, but the installation instructions remained.

They were for:

M.S. Word for Windows 2.0

Wordperfect 5.1 for MS-DOS

Wordperfect 6.1 for Windows

Unsurprisingly, I made an executive decision not to keep those instructions, but I thought about them when reading this story from the BBC.

How many people still have information stored on floppy discs (the ‘hard’ floppy discs, not the floppy-floppies, as I remember from my far-distant youth…) but don’t have a machine that can now read them? It’s one of the only good points about my creaky, 7 year old home pc, that I can actually put these things into it and access the information.

One of the things on my eternal to-do list is to save the data to my pc, then burn it onto a CC…but how long will a CD last me?

Should I actually really be uploading the data to a secure website?

What if that site dies, taking my info with it?

What format should it be in?

How long will it be safe / readable in that format?

Technology is changing so fast now. I know of someone who managed a while ago to pick up an interesting device: a microfilm reader built into a suitcase. Allegedly for reading schematics for military vehicles and fixing them in the field (my personal fantasy of it being a spy-case, for reading top-secret-type things was crushed), it was the height of innovative portable technology at the time, and now is just an interesting, outdated lump of metal, glass and plastic. Will the Blackberries (or Brambles, as I’ve heard them called) and iPhones of today be the car-boot hunters treasures of tomorrow?

You know, I really don’t envy the National Archives their task!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Turning the Pages for a treasure

IWR reports on the release of the British Library Turning the Pages software to a wider audience. I was lucky enough to be at a roadshow on British Library technical developments in March, held in the National Museum of Scotland. (As an aside - Boy, do those people know how to make a great goodie bag...messenger bag, notepad, funky folding cube of notable images from holdings, there was even a big bar of chocolate!).
I was practically drooling at the lovelyness of it all! I really wished that my former workplace would be able to afford the insane cost of digitising (and then the ongoing hosting of the digitised material) any of their historical collection, but it's out of the reach of most libraries without a very wealthy patron...which is why when I read the IWR post I was reminded about the BL competition for public libraries, one from each area of Britain, to have a "hidden treasure" from their collection digitised.

The entries closed on the 29 June 2007....shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards ceremony at the BL in early September. I'm dying to find out what amazing books will be made accessible through this!

I have one, and his name be Wolverine!

Apparently, every librarian needs a nemesis. I have mine, although I must admit, I share him with my boss. However, his ability to frustrate attempts to help him, evaporate knowledge from his brain, palm off his work to others and daydream through essential training sessions does mean there’s more than enough nemesis-ness to go around….

Basic Blogger

Reading the article by Nick Holmes in Legal Information Management about law blogs, made me think about just how little I really know about certain technical stuff.I’ve been blogging personally since March 2006, so I can post, I can hyperlink, I can insert pictures, yet I still don’t know how to make a banner. HTML is a mystery to me (new look Blogger = so nice!!), I can’t trackback visitors (to either blog), and I failed when trying to put a statcounter in the code of this one.

I’m a techie failure.

But, I ask myself, do I NEED to know all these things? A banner makes things look prettier, and I may not be able to do it myself, but I know people that I could ask to do it for me. I can live without prettyness, and save favours for essential times. Do I really need to be able to rummage in HTML? Why would I need to track back visitors, other than for my own personal interest? Do I have the time to learn how to do any of these things anyway, and if I do, would I be able to spend enough time on them to make me actually good at them?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should be happy about the fact that I’m able to do a lot, and accept that I don’t have to be able to do everything.

I think that works for life / work too.

Sorry Jennie Law!

I admit, my choice of blog name was not particularly clever or well planned. I didn’t expect to get linked to, or even read, so I just thought, when Blogger prompted me for a name, “erm, my name, yup. That's taken. Ok, so it’ll be mainly about law / my work…so law will do. That combination's not taken yet. Yay. Job done.” It's not particularly anonymous, but I don't think I need to be anyway. Although a lady does like to retain a little bit of mystery...

I didn’t think there’d be a lady out there actually called Jennie Law. Or that she too would be a librarian! Perhaps I should get in touch and apologise for accidentally stealing her identity as my blog name?

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