Monday, July 31, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: AAA Staff Day

CFLC staffers exhibited at the American Automobile Association Staff Day on July 19 in the gorgeous atrium at AAA in Heathrow, where tropical vacation was the theme of the day. In photo #1 are (l to r), Dawn J., Suzanne W., Marta W., and Diane H. In photo #2, Diane H. was snapping the photo and Dan W. took her place in the line-up. Thanks for the invitation, AAA!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Blue Ball Machine

Calling all Rube Goldberg fans! Today's post takes you to the wondrous, marvelous Blue Ball Machine. (Actually, it's been circulating through e-mail with the question, "Have you ever wondered just how your computer works?") Not much functional or useful to this site, but it certainly is fun! Warning: use care in opening at work, as it is accompanied by goofy music from Pee Wee's Big Adventure (and, no, that was not personal knowledge; it gives the name on the site!).


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tuesday's Tool Bonus: Official 2006 Holidays

Under ordinary circumstances, rather than posting on a Wednesday about a newly found tool, a note about this site would simply disappear into an idea file for a later "Tuesday's Tool" entry. The holiday coming up, however, necessitates posting immediately, as you wouldn't want to miss it!

The tool? OFFICIAL 2006 HOLIDAYS! Daily, Monthly, Weekly, Bizarre, Crazy, Unknown, Silly, Weird, Dumb Observances & Celebrations. While aimed at a young audience, the validation process on this site is much more stringent than on many similar sites out there. Libraries, classrooms, and homeschoolers start your bulletin boards, promotional ideas, and/or lesson plans!

The holiday? Get ready for it! TOMORROW, July 27, is official Take Your Houseplants For a Walk Day. (Could I make this up?) It's also official Walk on Stilts Day. If you really want to cover your bases, perhaps tomorrow you should take your houseplants for a walk while walking on stilts...

Seriously, Friday, July 28, is the Seventh Annual (did you miss the first six?) System Administrator Appreciation Day. As it says on the official page dedicated to this international celebration, "If you can read this, thank your sysadmin." Don't pass up this opportunity to say thank you to a frequently berated and underappreciated group of vitally essential professionals!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: Wikipedia Revisited

In a previous post, details were given about why Wikipedia, the massive user-composed interactive encyclopedia, had finally been added to the CFLC Reference Desk page, some of its strengths and weaknesses, and later in an addendum, how to use it for an instructional exercise on critical thinking.

From a friend yesterday comes a heads-up to an excellent article about Wikipedia in The New Yorker Fact Column, entitled "Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?" The article begins with a startling statistic (on March 1, 2006, Wikipedia hit the million-article mark); does some thought-provoking comparisons with Britannica (analogy: “Wikipedia is to Britannica as ‘American Idol’ is to the Juilliard School”); gives some interesting--and sometimes scary--analysis of contributors (the most prolific contributor has written a whopping 72,000 articles since 2001! [the largest edition of the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica, in comparison, has only 120,000 entries total]); summarizes some of the more controversial entries (ethnic issues, Baltimore's climate, and cheeese, among them); and provides a fair amount of detail about the administrative issues and policies behind the behemoth. The "love it or hate it" attitude of most users and contributors and the reasons for both are well conveyed.

Well worth a read for anyone in reference service or instruction or for anyone who is simply curious to know more about the tool or the technology.


Monday, July 24, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: Ode to the Copyright Code

From the USA Today blog Tech_Space comes an entry pointing to this delightful find, The U.S. Copyright code, in verse. The more you know about copyright, the funnier this Seuss-like composition is, but knowledge of the code is not a prerequisite to enjoying the piece. My personal favorite: Chapter 7, which discusses the Copyright Office per se.

By the way, should you be someone who's simply been wanting to read Title 17 of the U.S. Code(!), the chapter and section numbers in this verse actually link to the full text of the copyright laws; but be warned - you'll likely find the verse to be the preferable, not to mention more intelligible, version!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: Sweet Thanks

Some thank-yous are, literally, sweeter than others! (Thanks back to you, Lisa!)

(And, for you chocoholics out there who want to lick the screen or play a guessing game upon viewing these photos, Lisa tells us that the chocolates come from DeBrand Fine Chocolates in her home town of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and DeBrand tells us that the assortment includes "12 incredible truffle variations including the following flavors: Key Lime, Almond, Caramel, White Pecan, Coconut, Mocha, Macadamia Nut, Dark Chocolate, Deluxe Nut, Milk Chocolate, Black & White and Raspberry.")



Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: NPR Podcast Segment

Today's Friday Fun Thing is the first post here for a podcast segment, a long-ago entry entitled The Short List: Stuck in the Middle from National Public Radio's Day to Day podcast. If you aren't familiar with podcasts and want to learn more about them, CFLC has a Podcasts workshop on Tuesday, August 22, 9 am to noon, at Brevard County Public Library in Cocoa. You do not need an iPod (or any other MP3 player) to listen to The Short List, as it will play on any computer with Windows Media and speakers. Listen to this very brief and very surprising entry and see if you can guess what the list items have in common.
Day to Day, March 19, 2004 · The creative folks at Transom team up with Melissa Harrell of North Carolina to produce the latest Day to Day Short List, detailing forgotten items left in an unusual place.
Good luck with your guesses--and I bet you'll listen to the list twice!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blog Business: Demo

I'm demonstrating a blog entry to a class at CFLC.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: ZoomInfo

This Tuesday's Tool is ZoomInfo, an unusual search engine best described in its own words:
ZoomInfo is a unique summarization search engine that finds, understands and saves useful information about people on the Web. The patented search technology continually scans millions of corporate Web sites, press releases, electronic news services, SEC filings and other online sources. Then, it intelligently compiles a concise summary about a specific individual or company.
An animated overview of how the technology works can be found here. The tagline for ZoomInfo is People, Companies, Relationships. As long as the people, companies, or relationships are actively written up on the Web, they're likely to show up here, frequently with a list of affiliations and associates. Search ZoomInfo for an uncommon non-directory take on a people-finding tool.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Librarian Trading Cards

Okay, so Friday came a little late last week. :-)

That notwithstanding, get out your digital camera and prepare your own trading card!

Flickr has a group specifically for Librarian Trading Cards..."Librarians creating baseball-like trading cards to market their talents." Still a fairly new undertaking, this relatively small group of photos can easily be viewed as a slideshow (click on "see all X photos" then see upper right of screen). Ranging from the serious to the tongue-in-cheek and from the current ("I'm blogging this") to the notable (Dewey, Ranganathan, Casanova) to the fictional (Marian the Librarian, Mary Hatch [of It's a Wonderful Life]), this is an interesting tour through some of the (mostly) self-described and varied characters populating libraryland and the biblioblogosphere.



Thursday, July 13, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: CFLC "Globe" Trotting #8

This time, the CFLC Globe trotted to Moline, IL, where it visited the John Deere Pavilion (playing the Globe version of Where's Waldo?) and the Rock Island Arsenal in the Mississippi River (can you tell which is which?).


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

OCLC Oddments: Resource Sharing Issues

Two recent announcements of concern to members from the OCLC Resource Sharing List:
[From Monday, July 10]: OCLC regrets to inform users of ILLiad, Clio and additional third-party services that use Web services to communicate with OCLC Resource Sharing, that attempts [sic] the following actions receive an error message: "An unknown error occurred...."

* Attempting to update to update requests to received
* Responding "no" to a Conditional
* Delete a request associated with a conditionalized response
* Updating of Lending requests to 'Shipped'
* Updating Borrowing requests to 'Returned'
Additional actions may result in the error message as well.

OCLC is blocking the attempts to update these requests. Each discrete request may fail multiple times, as each update is performed. A fix is planned for approximately 11:00 pm Eastern time Tuesday, July 11. The next attempted update following this fix will update these requests properly.

If a request subject to the error message above must be processed before the fix is installed, users may do so through WorldCat Resource Sharing at

We apologize for any inconvenience and confusion this problem is causing our users.

[From Tuesday, July 11]: Due to problems updating requests (as outlined below and distributed Monday, July 10, 2006), OCLC will be treating today, Tuesday, July 11, as a non-referral day to allow our users an extra day to handle requests.

We apologize again for the inconvenience and confusion that this is causing our users.

CFLC Chronicles: CFLC Nametags

Attention workshop participants who find yourselves in a session sans CFLC-generated nametag for some reason: the bar has now been set for filling out your own! Seriously cool, Nathan!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: Portals to the World

If you or your patrons need reliable, categorized information about or from a country, Portals to the World from the Library of Congress may well be your answer.
Portals to the World contains selective links providing authoritative, in-depth information about the nations and other areas of the world. They are arranged by country or area with the links for each sorted into a wide range of broad categories. The links were selected by Area Specialists and other Library staff using Library of Congress selection criteria.
Links lead to Web sites (many of which are bilingual) both from and about the selected nation. While the structure of the entries varies, the entries themselves typically begin with general information and proceed to business, culture, education, geography, government, search engines, society, and much, much more.

The more detailed profiles from the Library of Congress Country Studies series (intended to "focus primarily on lesser-known areas of the world or regions in which U.S. forces might be deployed") are also referenced within each entry whenever one exists.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Outer Space Sign

In honor of Discovery's mission this week is this fun post from the Outter Space Sign Generator [sic] site. (Now, if he would just hold the CFLC Globe...!)

At the bottom of that page or here, there are also links to other "generators", e.g., license plates, banners, Dummies books, and more. Go forth and be creative!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: CFLC "Globe" Trotting #7

Ooooh-la-la! Guess where ze globe has been trotting rezently?? (As usual, click on the photos for more information.)

Photos are thanks to the sister-in-law and niece of a CFLC trainer.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: Fourth of July Bounty

In honor of Independence Day, herewith a round-up of some sites that will help with today's holiday celebrations and festivities (and later ones, too).

First, a site from the New York Institute of Photography that will be useful to either 4th of July celebrants or attendees at some of the local (Orlando) nightly displays: three how-to articles on fireworks photography.

Next, the "Your Holiday Helper" section of The Weather Channel changes with the seasons and holidays to keep you aware of weather issues plus help you plan outdoor activities. (For example, there's a section right now on planning a picnic.)

From the Library of Congress comes American Memory's "Today in History: July 4" site linking to multimedia sources for songs, documents, speeches, photos, related topics, and more to educate about the history of the holiday. Useful to research any day of the year.

If red, white, and blue food is your thing, there's quite the collection of recipes at Fabulous Food's 4th of July/Independence Day page. Also provides links to virtual postcards, holiday history, fireworks safety, and more.

For fun activities for kids and families, there's this 4th of July page from Kaboose (formerly Kid's Domain). With crafts, foods, books, games, etc., this site always delivers great ideas.

Of course, with all the anticipation surrounding the planned and oft-postponed shuttle launch this week, the various NASA sites are a must. The mission page itself for STS-121 Discovery is found here [note: it did launch on the 4th and a photo of the ultimate firecracker (captioned "the rocket's red glare") plus videos can be found there], the NASA Space Shuttle Launch Archive site is good for past mission information, and the NASA Kennedy Shuttle Operations page gives background information on the whys and hows of the shuttle and launch operations.

There's much, much more out there, but rounding out the list today is a site that will likely answer any other questions you might have about how this holiday is celebrated, The Fourth of July Celebrations Database, which includes chronologies and geographically indexed information about celebrations from 1776 to the present.

Happy Independence Day!