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Showing posts from April, 2008

Definite improvement from Lexis Nexis

Having had to delve in quickly already this morning, I'm liking the redesign.
My main delight is the fact that, when using Stair Memorial Encyclopedia (our main reason for subscribing), there's now a lovely new option.
Previously, to see a whole section of the encyc, you had to click individually on each separate paragraph.
Now, when you click into a para, there's a lovely option in the top right that says "View whole of"...it's a joy!
Now I can scroll merrily through the encyclopedia, without thinking that it'd actually be quicker to use the paper version!
Well done Lexis Nexis!

Now, off to get used to the navigation (already re-sorted my bookshelf) before someone else needs me to do something useful with it!

Updating the UK Library Bloggers wiki

In response to my original post about needing help to double check entries and add last visit dates for the UK Library BLoggers wiki, the lovely Jo and Christine have kindly volunteered to help out, yay!!!

So, over the next wee while, we'll be revisiting all the blogs already on there, and checking the original quick synopsis is accurate, and adding in a date of last visit.

In my meanderings last night I found that already, in the month since I'd first visited, one blog had shut down and moved to another address with a new focus, and a new university departmental blog had started...it's all go with us library bloggers!

So thanks again to Christine and Jo for giving their spare time to help with this task!

Book sculptures

Now, I've had the problem before of trying to dispose of outdated law textbooks, both recently outdated, and a hundred years or so past it. Not a soul wants the pesky things - not art groups (for interesting materials), not theatre groups (for historic-looking props). It's frustrating, as nobody likes to throw 'good' books out, but out of date law books are almost dangerous - rely on something in an old book that's now been superceded, and you could get in trouble.

So...isn't this a better way to re-use old books?
That's some beautiful book-based things that man makes!

Link via Neatorama

Librarian goodies

I do love Etsy, it's a fab place to find all sorts of funky goods...and after a friend posted a link to this cool necklace (I am SO having that!!), I also found this shop. The maker is a librarian, and there's lots of library themed jewellery. As someone who doesn't wear earrings, most of her fun stuff is something I wouldn't use, but the pendants are tempting...as is the squid librarian...

How to celebrate a Chartership

Be gifted a large pink unicorn pinata by your boss.
Arrange a lunch with your Mentor and boss, explaining to Mentor that a pink friend will be joining the table, and causing much trepidation.
Walk down street with large pink unicorn pinata.
Join Mentor for lunch, and settle Uni at table.
Boss arrives and is happy her suggestion of lunch companion was able to join us.
Enjoy lunch.
Be amused throughout lunch by waiter studiously ignoring the pink unicorn at the table.
Leave and return to office.
Deflect attempts by workmen to beat poor Uni on the way, by telling them that he's too young.

Done!

Sweary words!

People that do things like this to historic books make me mad!!

In a previous workplace, it could be frustrating when you found passages of text in Institutional writings / law reports underlined with ink, and notes made in the margins - the courts won't accept photocopies of defaced texts like that.

But it was hard to argue with the perpetrators, as the ink was from ink wells, and the writing was copperplate...and the original annotator had probably died 150 years before you were born!

Copyright over derivative works

I don't know, I don't think JK's really got a strong case here.
After all, it's just a reference guide to her work - she didn't write it, someone else (a librarian, woo-hoo!) put in that hard work.
I wonder, to take it to an extreme, if she wins this does it mean that travel writers won't be able to write about the countries they visit, because they didn't create them, just experienced them and loved them?
Assuming they even visited them in the first place, of course.

The case is being heard in America, and I'm not clear enough on UK copyright law (other than to know what I can and can't copy in a commercial library) to know if she'd be able to bring the same sort of case here. I have a feeling she couldn't but can't guarantee it.

Either way, I think she's perhaps getting a bit uptight about work created by people who love what she writes, and want to help guide others.

Would you question a Facebook email

If it appeared to come from Facebook, and just asked you to confirm your name, date of birth and email address?
Or would you give an old school friend your eBay password?

Apparently, those details were enough for scammers to steal money from individuals who'd been perhaps a little too forthcoming with personal information on social networking sites.

It does seem that they were perhaps using some of their personal information that they also publicly shared as passwords, but still, how much do you trust Facebook and similar sites?
Would you be as wary about clicking links in an email that appeared to come from them or giving personal info as you would if it came from a stranger?
Do we now trust these sites more than banks, to the extent that an email from them must be authentic and reliable?

Scottish Law Society on the move

The home of the Law Society of Scotland for the last 39 years, Drumsheugh Gardens, is on the market, and hoping to attract offers of over £5.5 million.

What are the odds it'll be snapped up and turned into yet another hotel? And for an added bit of trendiness, they can have it themed like a fantasy lawyers office / library, with law books lining the walls, quiet little alcoves for meetings and discussions, neat piles of important paperwork filed away in lovely units, or locked securely into impenetrable safes...in other words, nothing like reality at all!!!

The Invisible Royal

Ah, so the member of the Royal Family that we all know this is about won’t have to appear in court, as the Crown Prosecution service has allegedly blocked moves for him to give evidence, from the looks of it, by his own request.Erm…why? We all know who he is, ‘cos the gagging order doesn’t apply overseas, and the US press has been having lots of fun, naming him and speculating. Surely it does him more harm than good to be able to stand up for himself in court? If he’s denied the allegations, and been questioned 3 times by police with no charges being brought, what more is there to it?Honestly, it’s REALLY not as if we don’t know who he is!!!!
*Thanks again to the Inner Temple Library Current Awareness for story source*

Dual English / Scottish Law degree

This is interesting news, that the University of Dundee will offer a British Law degree, allowing students to pick and choose modules that will meet the qualification requirements of all Law Societies: Englsih, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish. Since our staff are mostly Scottish qualified, but work in England too, there's now an overwhelming majority of them who have qualified in English law by taking the LLB. Now, while the LLB is essential and useful, there's only so much information you can cram into a conversion course, and there's still gaps in knowledge.

I wonder if this will help sort out the problems we often have, with people not knowing what law applies where, if they have a better grounding in both jurisdictions? Will British qualified lawyers have a headstart in any way on single jurisdiction qualifieds?

Also, I wish they'd do it as a distance learning degree - currently, the library staff have a problem. My boss has a law degree, I have a science degree. …

So, now the UK library bloggers wiki exists...

...and I'm getting daily addition request emails (which is lovely!), I realise that there's a flaw in the data I originally collected.

There's no "visit date", and for something as rapidly changing as blogs, that's not good - things may change quickly, and without a visit date, it'll be hard to know when things happened.

So....anybody want to volunteer to take a trip around the blogs, check what I've written about them for accuracy, and email me with the date of visit / revised synopsis?

No, thought not...guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

Also, the line between "librarian" blogs, and "information professional" blogs is getting harder to draw. The list was set up to pull together all the UK library / librarian bloggers I could find. If people didn't say in their "About" section that they were a librarian, or worked in a library, or the blog was run by a library, they were excluded. So yes, this has ruled out great…

Book talks at National Museum of Scotland

As the NMS will be shutting down half of its display space while undergoing major renovations to add a new level and improve current facilities, there's a pre-shut down celebratory weekend going on over the 26th and 27 April.

As a part of that final fling, there's 2 talks going on, one by Maggie O'Farrell on Saturday, and another by Kate Atkinson.

Although free, there was mention elsewhere about them being ticketed, so if you're planning on going, it might be best to get in touch first and find out about ticket allocations.

When is a cake a biscuit?

And when is it a cake?
According to a recent ruling by the ECJ, it is confirmed that Marks and Spencers Teacakes are indeed cakes, not biscuits, and therefore zero rated for VAT, meaning the taxman may potentially have to repay M&S £3.5 million in VAT payments from the last 20 years.

Of course, if you bought a M&S teacake within the last 20 years, it's pretty unlikely you'll be seeing any of that repayment money!

So, does that mean that Tunnocks Teacakes will be having a shot at reclaiming VAT too, now that teacakes are officially cakes?

Oh yes - Jaffa Cakes have always been cakes too, apparently (I would have loved to have had a bit of that 12 inch Jaffa Cake!!).

Liveblogging from conferences

There have been quite a few peeps whose blogs I read who’ve been attending various conferences over the past few months. Quite a few of them seem to ‘liveblog’ the events they go to, which seems like a good idea in concept – you get the ideas and discussions from the event, as they happen, without having to go, very useful if you’re not funded to attend events, or time / location prevent you from being there.But for me, the reality of reading these posts, just seems like looking at the PowerPoint slides of a seminar you’ve not been to – there’s probably some good points in there, but without attending the associated presentation, it can be hard to make sense of.Very often there’s just random statements or key phrases bullet pointed, like:“user interaction”“funding”“databases”Probably good topics, but lists like these are impossible to extrapolate a thread of discussion from. Posts like these that bounce through a presentation and try and condense it into snappy points are only of use …

Editing Hansard?

Apparently, the normal slight smoothing of minor things in the Hansard reports may have gone too far this time, as reported in the Register and picked up from the original story in the Ideal Government blog.

Slightly worrying - the change to the text makes for some major change in meaning!

The Hansard site iself states: " Hansard is:
"a full report, in the first person, of all speakers alike, a full report being defined as one 'which, though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument.'""

Did they think they were correcting an "obvious mistake" when they changed "hack-proof, not connected to the Internet" to "secure database; it will not be accessible online"?

Should this concern me?

I installed a rather snazzy stat counter type thingamybob from Clicky, and the initial 21 day trial lets me play with all sorts of fun things, like seeing what searches people found this blog through.

Should I be concerned that there's a steady number of people searching for The Naked Rambler, and finding me? Yes, I have posted about him, but really, is it right that "naked" is the 4th most popular term, with "rambler" coming in not far behind? And Banky's also a high result...

*bemused*

I suppose I should be grateful that together, "law", "library" and "librarian" come higher!

Blog hunting lessons

In my traipse through the highways and byways of the interweb, looking for UK library and librarian blogs, I learned a few things about blogs in general, and UK library blogs. I'll try and make sense of it below...
Blog Tips
Have an “About” or “Profile” section easily locatable on your blog. Without this, it's like a book without a “blurb”: there’s no information to guide the reader on what to expect from you, and people may well get frustrated, leave and not return, regardless of how interesting your content is.
Give people some idea of what you blog about. If you blog infrequently, it can take a fair amount of time for a reader to skim through multiple posts and get an idea of what you’re about. A tag cloud is very helpful to allow a reader to see at a glance what your main blogging themes are. Or sort your labels by order of frequency, so people can see what you most often blog about.
Identify, if not who you are (if you want to blog fully or semi anonymously), then at least w…

Useful Scottish legislation course, May 23rd, Edinburgh

Just sent over SCOTSLINK

Scottish Working Group on Official Publications seminar
May 23rd 2008
Venue: Edinburgh Training Centre, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh


From Parliament Square to Holyrood – historical official publications online

A seminar aimed at all users of official publications and statistics. The seminar will provide an introduction to all the new and exciting historical resources currently available online – from Pre 1707 Scots Parliament records, early Westminster through to the Holyrood of the present day.

Programme outline

10.00 Registration and coffee

10.30 Welcome and introduction

10.35 Parliament’s past online : a review of sources
Paul Seaward Director – History of Parliament Trust.

11.05 From archive to internet: producing an online edition of the records of the pre 1707 Scottish Parliament
Gillian MacIntosh St Andrews University

11.55 Prototyping Hansard
Robert Brook, UK Parliament

12.30 Lunch

1.30 O…

Elastic bookshelf?

From SwissMiss, the Elastico Bookshelf...it looks cool, but I can just imagine trying to shelve your books, squeezing one too many in...and the whole lot pinging out.

Which, actually, could be quite fun! :D

*pting*

Blogger in draft

Going to try out the draft version of Blogger...one of the new features means it should allow scheduling of blog posts, which I'll be very happy to have!
I'm going to do a quick check by scheduling this to post at a time when I can't post as I'm working, i.e. the middle of the morning....let's see if it works!

Ruminants, you say?

The Scottish Government sent out this press release recently, and includes this very delicately phrased statement :

The research projects that were discussed included:Developing an animal feed that can reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep - these emissions are a significant source of greenhouse gases That's a polite way of saying farm animals fart!!!

500 years, and still lamenting his troubles with women!

Scotlands oldest identifiable printed book (there may be older ones, but this is the oldest to have a date showing) goes on display at the National Library of Scotland today, for one day only. The Complaint of the Black Knight was written by John Lydgate, and 500 years ago today was printed here in Edinburgh.

Dagnammit - I won't be able to see it - it's only viewable 10am till 5pm! Oh well, will just have to look at it via the online service The Spread of Scottish Printing...

*Whenever I read these old texts, I thtart thpeaking it in my head with a lithp...pethky interchangeable old "f" and "s"!!*

The bookcase bed, and the heart of the home?

This would certainly be fun in a smaller flat - who needs a sofa bed for guests when you can accommodate them with a bookcase bed!!

Not sure I understand the workings of it fully - apparently there's 4 sections to make it into a double, and 2 for the single, but I can only see 2 parts. I assume there's a double layer of mattress, one hidden behind the other, when it's stacked against the wall?



And I also want this done in my house...unfortunately, I think I'm a teensy bit short of the space needed!!

The problems of Edinburgh living

From a link on Improbable Research, this demonstrates the dilemma of locating Edinburgh streets...I would say it would explain why my useless sofa company continues to have to phone me for each incompetent attempt at delivery of yet another broken sofa, but nah, that's just them being utterly useless!!!
By dropping the word "Street" from my address, they've made me un-locateable!

An extract -

Buckstone is a particularly promiscuous forename. Street atlases list All of these: Buckstone AvenueBuckstone BankBuckstone CircleBuckstone CloseBuckstone CourtBuckstone CrescentBuckstone CrookBuckstone DellBuckstone DriveBuckstone GardensBuckstone GateBuckstone GreenBuckstone GroveBuckstone HillBuckstone LeaBuckstone LoanBuckstone Loan EastBuckstone NeukBuckstone PlaceBuckstone RiseBuckstone RoadBuckstone RowBuckstone ShawBuckstone TerraceBuckstone ViewBuckstone WayBuckstone WoodBuckstone Wynd That's 28 different Buckstone streets. And for good measure there is also one tha…

Government + IT = a mess

The GNN (or Government News Network) was nice.
It published the press releases from all the Government departments, and if, like me, you prefered to pick them up through an RSS feed instead of emails, it was lovely, helpful, efficient.

On the 1 April 2008, after quietly announcing it on the 28th March 2008 on their site (where, if you're using their RSS feeds you will never go), the GNN became NDS (News Distribution Service).

They boldly stated "The look and branding of this site have therefore changed, although the services remain the same."

Nuh-uh.

If you took the RSS feeds, these are now all dead, as they are coming from a different web address.
Emails of the press releases are coming from a new address too apparently.

This meant, for me anyway, re-registering as a new user (as they seemed to have wiped my account in the process) and re-subscribing to all the feeds again. Not a great start to the day! Especially when the Government had just announced the "Power of Infor…

Library Blog list wiki

As suggested, I set up a wiki for this list, to allow for easier updating and accessing.
I'll be inviting a few others to co-author it, as many hands make light work!

So, here's the address, come have a look: www.uklibraryblogs.pbwiki.com/

If you're on the list and would like to give yourself a better synopsis than I've managed, please get in touch either via the email here (in oh-so-cunning code on the right, below my profile), or via the link on the wiki. Also, if you'd like to be removed from the list too.

Hopefully, we'll manage to get a nice comprehensive list together on there, and then get RSS feeds from all the listed blogs going...or something technical like that. Grown-ups are going to help me!