Friday, May 23, 2008

I could be in online trouble

If giving a fake name and date of birth to MySpace is a criminal act...

Admittedly, I've not actually done anything criminal online, but I regularly make up a false date of birth / location / name when signing up to various websites.
I refuse to give the real information when I beleive that all it'll be used for is to track what I'm doing on the site, and target marketing at me based on that information. Same reason that I don't have loyalty cards - if they want market research, they can put some work into it, rather than stalking my shopping habits!

We're constantly being told to be more aware of how important and sensitive our personal information is, and not give it away without careful thought and consideration of the basis for the request for it.
But by giving false information when we don't believe the request for out personal details are justified, we're breaching the terms and conditions of various sites.
How can you win?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Help locating a librarian from the 1990s

I had contact via this blog, asking for help finding a librarian that someone used to work with in the early 1990s.

I've posted the text of the email below - if anybody knows her, or of her, get in touch with me and I'll pass the info on (I've withheld his email), or pass his info on to her. Since, as he says, we're fairly well networked, I'm hoping somebody will see this and get in touch.

Also off to post on the CILIP Communities board - I have a vague idea that CILIP has a register of members, but I'm not sure about that. And if she's married and changed name, or left the profession, there's not much hope of finding her, but here's hoping!

Dear Jennie,
This may be a slightly odd email; but I am trying to trace a friend who when I met her was working her BA in librarian(ship?) at Birmingham Polytechnic (now the University of Central England) and subsequently worked as a Librarian at Blakenhurst prison in the Midlands. Her name is Valerie Evans and she worked at the prison during 1993/'94, but I am told she subsequently left.
I was wondering if:
The library communinity is fairly well networked in the UK and whether someone might know her or indeed work with her now.
Alternately:
Whether she works in some affiliated library/IT service somewhere in the UK.
If by some staggering coincidence/chance you might happen to know of her, I would be delighted. If not, could you give me some pointers as to where I possibly look for her if she still works as a librarian. My email address is xxxx@xxxx
I am in New Zealand at present and trying to find her is as you can imagine a difficult task. I would be very happy to hear from you. You will find a photo of her attached
Kindest Regards
Neil Allister

Why Web 2.0? The opportunities and challenges for the legal sector

I've foolishly been allowed to organise a training event for the Scottish Law Librarians Group, and if you're a member of the SLLG, it's free for you to attend, yay!


Why Web 2.0? The opportunities and challenges for the legal sector

You are cordially invited to a seminar which looks beyond the hype at the challenges and opportunities Web 2.0 provides for information professionals in the legal sector. James Mullan will explore some of the technologies that are currently available and provide practical examples of how these can be used within an Information Services unit. There will then follow a chance for those who wish to investigate these tools to experiment with them on the computers provided, and have informal discussions with James about any of the topics covered in his presentation.

James Mullan works as an Information Professional at a large city law firm and is an active blogger, owning the Running Librarian Blog. He is a well known Web 2.0 evangelist and administrates BIALL's blog and Facebook profile. He has also spoken at numerous events including Knowledge Management for the Legal Profession and Online Information and has written widely on the subject of harnessing collective intelligence by means of Web 2.0 technologies...

The first half of the seminar is expected to take between 45 minutes to an hour, with computers and refreshments available for the following hour of the second half of the event.


Date and time: 3.30pm, Friday 20th June
Venue: Edinburgh Training Centre, St. Mary's Street,
Edinburgh (location maps and directions available
from: http://www.edintrain.com/location.asp )
Cost: Free to SLLG members


Thanks to James for agreeing to make the trip up to the Frozen North!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Advocate blogger

As pointed out a few weeks ago by lo-fi, there's a new Scottish legal blogger...and he's actually a proper, qualified grown-up who knows what he's talking about, unlike me and my random mutterings...

Jonathan Mitchell QC, member of the Murray Stable, has revived his online presence with a blog on Scots law and legal practice, with regular informative and helpful posts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tally-ho to Dublin!

I forgot to confirm that I've been allowed to skip off to Dublin in June for the BIALL Conference, for law librarian-type fun, games, and edumacation.

I'm looking forward to it - a chance to catch up with the people I already know from Scotland who're going (we like a good conference jaunt, there'll be anything up to a dozen of the Scottish Law Librarians Group going that I know of, and as there's only about 100 of us in total, that's a good showing!), and to meet some of the people I know online, who I haven't actually met in person yet. I'm hoping they'll be nice to me and overlook my inner geekiness...I wonder if any of them can be bribed with tablet, Edinburgh Rock, and C U Jimmy hats....

and you know, what? I may even....learn something new!
Although I think Guinness may be involved at some point, and I've never found that to be much of a memory aid before... ;-)

The police in Aberdeen aren't holding a grudge

No, of course not.
They just really, really like Sgt Eros / Stuart Kennedy, and they like to see his act as often as possible, to see what reason they can find to arrest him again.

I'm sure there are far more important things going on in Aberdeen that need police attention. And this wouldn't be in any way related to both a sheriff and appeal judges finding their previous attempt to prosecute him to be ridiculous, and thrown them out.
Would it?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Terrible poetry trumps...erm...Harry Potter

Mr McGonagalls works attracted a bid of £5,500, while a 1st edition of Harry Potter and the Philosphers Stone only managed £5,000.
Bad poetry has a special sort of attraction from the looks of it!

Am I X, Y, or Millennial?

I was born in 1978.
In some places, this makes me a Generation X-er...in others, I'm Generation Y...
Then again, I might be a Millennial, who were born between 1977 and 1995...

Depending on where you look, you can find someone who'll tell you you're either X, Y or Millennial.

Does it matter which Generation you are?
And what happened to Z?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Following the Hedgehog Librarian

As posted on her blog, a library meme.


"Below are the top 106 books tagged “unread” in LibraryThing.

The rules:

Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your To Be Read list."

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment

Catch-22*

One hundred years of solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi: a novel

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick

Ulysses

Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Iliad

Emma

The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations*

American Gods

A heartbreaking work of staggering genius

Atlas shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Memoirs of a Geisha

Middlesex

Quicksilver

Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian

A portrait of the artist as a young man

Love in the time of cholera

Brave new world

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum

Middlemarch

Frankenstein

The Count of Monte Cristo

Dracula

A clockwork orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible

1984

Angels & Demons

The Inferno

The Satanic Verses

Sense and sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

To the Lighthouse

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels

Les misérables

The Corrections

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Dune

The Prince

The Sound and the Fury

Angela’s Ashes

The God of Small Things

A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present

Cryptonomicon

Neverwhere

A confederacy of dunces

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Dubliners

The unbearable lightness of being

Beloved

Slaughterhouse-five

The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake : a novel

Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed

Cloud Atlas

The Confusion

Lolita

Persuasion

Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Freakonomics

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The Aeneid

Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit*

In Cold Blood

White teeth

Treasure Island*

David Copperfield*

The Three Musketeers


Some points about this list -

I have a definite avoidance of girly 'period' novels going on: I can't stand hard-done-by swooning heroines who have to be rescued from their tragic circumstances by the actions of an honourable man!

I quite like Dickens.

I like science fiction / fantasy.

Some of the books I've never heard of, so I can't tell if I want them on my To Be Read list!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To join or not to join?

I have a terrible, dirty secret. One that will make some librarians gasp in despair, and others maybe will feel relieved that they're not alone.

You see, I'm not actually a member, or user of public libraries.

There, I said it!

In fact, the only time I've been a member of a public library was at Uni, when I joined the local public library...and never used it. As a child, my Mum was a librarian in the local branch, and she just borrowed out books for me on her ticket, so we never got around to getting me a readers ticket. In secondary school, I used the school library, and sometimes the local library, with Mum still borrowing books on my behalf.

Now, as an adult, what I do is go to the local charity shops, buy a pile of whatever books from there that take my fancy at £1 each, read them, then give them back for resale. This means I give to charity twice over, once with the sale to me, and again with the donation back to them to resell. Also, I'll have an occasional shop at Amazon, buying enough of the £3 paperbacks to get free shipping, reading them, then again, giving them to the charity shops. I very rarely keep any of the books I buy, due to both space issues, and a knowledge that it'll be many years before I've forgotten enough of the contents to be able to read them again without thinking "I know what happens next".

I don't have any dependants, my money is entirely my own to spend as I see fit, so I don't feel that spending £15 to £20 a month or so on books is extortionate, although I realise there could be many people who would think spending that much on books regularly is insane.

As someone who isn't addicted to a particular author, reads fast but hates deadlines (ie return dates), tends to choose books to pick up based initially on their spine art, and is constantly fighting a book hoarding instinct, is there really any reason for me to use public libraries?

What could persuade me to switch from my buying and sending to charity habit, to joining and using a public library? Purely in relation to books - I'm aware public libraries have a lot more than just books in them, but I have my own computer and internet access, and don't want to join any sort of groups, so it would have to be the books that would tempt me in.

Am I a bad librarian for not being a member or user of my local library?

I don't understand

Why has this man been allowed to only perform community service after stealing 288 items worth £26,00 from the Catholic Archives in Edinburgh, as blogged before?

The reason for not imposing a custodial sentence? He had already served time for similar thefts in England, so a custodial sentence would be "oppressive".

Erm...so now a valid defence is "he did it before elsewhere, but he's very sorry"?
Surely that's not right?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Worth waiting for!

I'll definitely be having a good look at the online archive of the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament, from the first surviving act of 1235 to its dissolution in 1707.

It's been a huge amount of work (11 years), and looks very impressive! I used to like reading the 19th century reprints of the Acts which this work replaces, so this should make things a bit easier!

Even found a few mentions of my family name...and attempts by a widow sharing my surname to be paid the money her husband was due fromt he Army, back in 1649. She got it ;-)

Records of the Parliament of Scotland to 1707.

The trouble with Scots

As an accent, apparently if baffles transcribers in Devon, leading to mistake in court transcripts.

Although the residents staying at Her Majesty's Pleasure in Barlinnie may prefer their accomodations new name of Barrel Annie....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Turning off Beacon

So, as I continue to get pop-ups on Kongregate asking if it's ok to publish what games I'm playing in my Facebook feed, I decided to try and find out how to turn off Beacon...which I didn't even know was turned on. It seems to only be doing this because Kongregate is an American partner site.

It's in there, in the Privacy settings. If you want to do this too, go to:

Privacy >
News Feed and Mini Feeds >
Actions on External Websites >
Tick box marked "Don't allow any websites to send stories to my profile."

Save changes.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I did NOT like that!

So, I was sent a link to a fun game, Chronotron.
I was playing away, getting past versions of myself to work out puzzles, when a little pop-up appeared on the bottom right of my screen, saying that Beacon was telling my friends I was playing Chronotron on Kongregate, before sliding back into obscurity.
So I went over to Facebook, and sure enough, that information had appeared in my profile!

This is my first encounter with Beacon, and needless to say, I don't think my friends want to know when I'm playing a game on a totally separate website, so I disabled it immediately.
But I didn't know that Beacon was activated, or affected UK users? Maybe I need to find out more about it, as who knows what else it'll be informing my friends I'm doing on other websites!

Friday, May 09, 2008

"A bunch of over-the-hill slappers"

A judge in Canterbury's certainly spoken his mind about the behaviour of a trio of women who robbed and assualted a 31 year old man.

Can't say I disagree with his assessment of them though!

Link via Arbroath

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Totally off topic

But...I just booked my tickets for the opening night of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!
How excited am I?!?!?

Yeeeeeeeeee-ha!!!!

*bounces off into the distance*

Current strangest blog search terms

I do get hits on here from some very odd search terms (which has actually prodded me about another point, to be blogged on later), but I have to say, todays is probably a winner, just for the disturbing thoughts about the searcher that it brings to mind:

"ruminants and librarians"

Is there someone out there looking for librarians that chew the cud? Or do they think that somewhere, there's a librarian in charge of a library of ruminants, all peacefully grazing in fields according to their classification?

Enquiring minds want to know....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

JK Rowling wins appeal against photo use

JK Rowling has won her appeal against the use by a newspaper of a photograph of her young son, taken while he was being pushed by her in a buggy on a street in Edinburgh in 2004.
And frankly, I don't blame her.
Regardless of what she does or doesn't do in her professional life, that should not have any effect on her personal life. If she's at a professional event, she knows she's going to get photographed, and she prepares herself for that.
She shouldn't have to worry about photos being taken of her and her family while they are enjoying private, family time together, or even, as in this case, just going down the street. And her children shouldn't have to grow up worrying about being pursued by photographers, when their personal life has nothing to do with their mothers job.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Result of criminal appeal to be shown on TV

The appeal by Nat Fraser of his conviction for the murder of his wife Arlene will be filmed today, and the footage shown later on the BBC.
There will be no footage of Nat Fraser himself, or of the members of the public, just the judges giving a summary of their verdict.
I think this is a good step for the Scottish justice system. This case been very controversial, with huge difficulty for both sides in proving guilt or innocence. Being able to see the judges explain, themselves, exactly why they will uphold or quash the conviction should be far more persuasive to the public than a reporter reading out a transcript.

Lets just hope Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill, Lord Johnston and Lord Osbourne make their judgement easily intelligible to the layman. And laywoman.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Future publishing of posts in Blogger now active

Yay, the draft feature (was which starting to get annoying, as I had to remember to go to Blogger in Draft to do a future post) has now been launched as a standard feature of Blogger.

I had already been using this feature on both my personal blog and this one, but it'll be a bit easier to do now.

Woo-hoo!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mr McGonagall again

Strangely timed, after my post of a couple of days ago, but a collection William Topaz McGonagal's work will be auctioned here in Edinburgh on the 16th of May.

Ah, the mangled wording and dodgy rhyming of The Tay Bridge Disaster - rock on Mr McGonagall!

Copyright and CaseCheck

Got time off for good behaviour yesterday, and was allowed out for a CILIPS training event: "Copyright in the digital age: an introduction for information professionals".


Chair:
Tony Donnelly, Chief Librarian Glasgow Metropolitan College

10.00 Registration and coffee

10.30 Welcome and introduction

10.35 An overview of copyright in the digital age (JISCLEGAL)

11.00 Keynote Managing digital rights (Paul Pedley, Head of Research at the Economist Intelligence Unit)

11.45 The challenges of digital preservation (Simon Bains, Digital Library Manager, National Library of
Scotland)

12.30 Using Creative Commons licences (Dr Charles Duncan CEO Intrallect)


1.00 Lunch

2.15 Managing intellectual property rights in digital learning materials:The Trust DR project. (John Casey, EDINA)

3.00 Digital licenses: a practical guide (Alan Rae, Dundee College)


3.45pm Summary and close


Unfortunately, John Casey was unable to attend, but I was actually a bit relieved about this - I had the Scottish Law Librarians Group AGM to attend at 4pm, to could have been pushing it for time otherwise!

The content of the seminar itself was very interesting, but I couldn't help but feel that I had a bit of a headstart on librarians in other subject areas - working in law, I already knew about most of the topics covered. Looking at the text of legislation wasn't something new for me, I know about database rights, and the British Horseracing Board case and its implications, and the other cases mentioned throughout the day. Some of the speakers were aiming at an academic audience (although their main points worked for all information professionals), and discussed things relevant only to a purely academic setting, such as ERA, which I had never heard of.

Overall, it was a good refresher course, the Creative Commons section was very useful to me: I've never really considered Creative Commons before, but that's probably because I don't create any material of note. Also, the bit on the challenges of digital preservation was very good too. I have to admit though, I'm slightly disappointed that it wasn't actually going into more depth about copyright, and the effects of new technology on it. I was hoping for perhaps a bit more detail about what is and isn't possible to do with digital materials, but I suppose that's hard to do, without having everyones electronic content licences there to examine!

The best thing about the event I think was meeting another law librarian, Kate McIntosh - it's always nice to get to know more people in the profession, and as an added bonus, she's also fab! (and apparently reads this blog, which is the first time I've met a 'real' person I didn't know who knew of it...*warm inner glow*)

Afterwards, it was off the the SLLG AGM (with me managing to slip in late for the last bit of the Committee Meeting...BAD Committee member me, being at a course instead of a Committee meeting!!), where Stephen Moore from CaseCheck talked to us about his fabby product.

Basically, it's a collaborative blog where recent Scottish cases of note are posted, with a synopsis from experts, saving shedloads of time trawling through the horrendous ScotCourts website for judgements. And I'm not exaggerating, it's awful - if you want an exercise in lunacy, try doing a few searches on it, and wondering how it can return results of 300% accuracy... CaseCheck also covers Employment Appeal Tribunal cases (another one that used to be a nightmare to search, and still can be, it's very unforgiving). And even better...it's FREE!!!

Here's how it works (as far as I can remember - I was suffering slightly from copyright-overload, so forgive me if I get some bits wrong) : Experts in their field (e.g. Digby Brown for the personal injury section) will write the expert opinion on each case, and users can comment on the cases posted on the site, which encourages discussion of the legal points brought up by each case. Links to the source material are provided wherever possible, and also to legislation if available.

A weekly email newsletter brings topics of possible interest to the legal profession straight to your inbox (I already subscribe to this, and shamefully, I like the gossip bit best!), and the recruitment section is very busy, and growing.

There are RSS feeds aplenty (this is indeed a spiffy thing!), and they're experimenting with Yahoo Pipes to see how they can use them to enhance the site and their offerings.

Overall, it's a brilliant new tool, especially for any Scottish law librarians looking to keep up with the output of the courts!

Although the Terms and Conditions section appears to ban reuse of material, I did ask yesterday if it was possible to use the postings, with the source properly attributed, within our internal current awareness service, and was told this was fine, as it's basically a free a type of marketing for the service. Once I have this confirmed in writing / an email (I don't work for lawyers for nothing you know!) I'm likely to be making it a regular visit...now, where do I find the time to add this material to current Awareness from!??!

Spidey lodges at the Library of Congress

The LOC Blog reports that they've acquired 24 pages of the original drawings for the first appearance of Spiderman in print.

Maybe his Spider Senses told him he'd be safe in their archives?
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