Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Diet Coke and Mentos Video

This is a piece you may have seen on the news recently about what happens when Diet Coke and Mentos are combined, but in case you missed it, it's just too amazing to pass up. If it inspires you to go out and do likewise, at the end of the video is information on how you can enter your own video in a contest.

Just don't try this in your stomach!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: Director’s Note

This post is from Marta Westall, CFLC Director:
This is a busy time of year at CFLC; we are ending one fiscal year and beginning another. Many reports and documents spew forth from my keyboard and our preparation for the annual audit is in full swing. Whew!

Please welcome our two new Board Members, Betty Johnson, Director and Professor at Stetson University's duPont-Ball Library and Diana Long, Assistant Director of Altamonte Springs City Library. Thanks are in order for their willingness to take on this assignment and thanks to all of you for participating in the election.

CFLC’s Vendor Discount program is expanding. Watch our Vendor Discount Page for developments. We have established a partnership with our sister cooperative in Jacksonville, NEFLIN, enabling us to contact more vendors as well as offering vendors a larger customer pool.

Some fun news:
Both Suzi Holler and I will be serving as Mentors for librarians accepted by the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute. Since we each served as mentors last year, I guess we did okay given that we've been asked to take on two more participants.

Suzi Holler will be the keynote speaker at the PLAN Annual Meeting and the Library Association of Brevard's Annual Workshop. [PLAN is the library cooperative in the panhandle.]

Two of CFLC's sessions on Ask a Librarian have been nominated in the "Best Transcript Nominations"!!

It’s an exciting time, with new classes being debuted and many of our other classes assisting library staff throughout the region. We are teaching in more locations than ever. If you are interested in bringing us to your library, please contact me. I am currently working on the 2007 schedule. Over the summer we taught classes at:
  • Brevard County Public Library System
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Indian River Community College
  • Lake Sumter Community College
  • Lake County Library System
  • Leesburg Public Library
  • Osceola Library System
  • University of Central Florida
  • Volusia County Public Library
We’ve also welcomed two new members, Daytona Beach News Journal and Christ Community Church of Daytona Beach.

Happy Birthday, Google!

Google turns 8 today. Check out the celebratory logo!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: WorldCat

As of August, WorldCat, the OCLC database with 1.3 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide, became available as a standalone site on the Web in beta test mode.

WorldCat has been available in the Open WorldCat project for some time, making it searchable through the Google, Yahoo! and Windows Live search bars using the phrase "find in a library" plus the title.

To look at what each of the versions of WorldCat offers (including via FirstSearch) see this comparison table of the various features. One of the major differences between the two sites is that the standalone version searches the entire WorldCat holdings, where the Open WorldCat participants only access a subset of the data. also shows an additional screen where users can narrow their search by various fields (e.g., author, format, language).

An additional feature from the new beta site is "a free modularized version of the search box" that anyone (or any library) can download to place on a Web page or blog. Two other tools, the WorldCat Search Toolbars and the Create a WorldCat Link for an item, have been available for some time.

When you take it for a spin and kick the tires, you may find that some library catalog links work better than others. If you find yours is one that does not connect directly to the item's record and you'd like to see one that does, in the CFLC service area both the Orange County Library System and the Volusia County Public Library catalog links do go directly to the appropriate record.

Try it, you'll like it!


Monday, September 25, 2006

ALA Assortments: Banned Books Week

September 23 to 30, this week, is Banned Books Week. Not only is it Banned Books Week, but this year is also the 25th anniversary of same.

Everything you are likely to want to know about it can be found at the American Library Association site here, including a Kit, text for public service announcements, a history of the week, how to defend against book challenges, lists of challenged books, and much more. The ALA Store also has quite a bit of Banned Books merchandise to sell here.

Also, this year, the public is invited and encouraged to vote for their favorite banned book from a selected list, found here.

Additionally, Celebrate Your Freedom To Read, a blog entry by ALA President Leslie Burger on the Official Google Blog, describes a joint venture where visitors to can use Google Book Search to explore 42 banned or challenged books that appear on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. Interested readers can search or see basic information about these books and can then check for them in their local library or buy them online.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Pangrams

From my CFLC colleague Diane comes this great Friday Fun Thing on Pangrams, or "holoalphabetic sentences"- those which use every letter of the alphabet at least once. "Pangrams are used, like lorem ipsum [pretty interesting history there, too!], to display typefaces and test equipment."
Thought this might be a Friday Fun Thing sometime in the future - I was reminded of these in an e-zine and didn't know there were so many examples. Heck with the quick brown fox! My favorite is:

"Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz." closely followed by "Two driven jocks help fax my big quiz."
As for me, I'm pretty fond of "How quickly daft jumping zebras vex." Indeed!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: Wednesday Welcome to the Biblioblogosphere

No, a "Wednesday Welcome" is not going to be added to the regular features; just too much in keeping with the rest of the alliterations to resist...

This post is to welcome to the biblioblogosphere (see here for earlier explanations from this blog) several new CFLC member participants.

An unofficial and inconclusive survey reveals the following new (or relatively new) CFLC member blogs:
  • VCPLBlog - from Volusia County Public Library
  • The Director's Blog - from Jonathan Miller, the newly appointed Director at Olin Library at Rollins College
  • Library Leader - from Mary Anne Hodel, Director and CEO of Orange County Library System (OCLS)
Also from OCLS are two slightly longer-standing blogs:
Here are some RSS News Feeds (meant to be subscribed to using a news reader or aggregator):
Apologies if this post missed any blogs or RSS feeds from member libraries. Let us hear from you if yours isn't here!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: CFLC's Reference Desk

No, this isn't a standard Tuesday's Tool overview, especially since this is a tool that many of you know and already use. It's actually a plea for some feedback.

CFLC is considering a facelift for its Reference Desk page. No content change, just cosmetic surgery to update the look and functionality. (And by the way, there's a workshop centered on that page at CFLC tomorrow morning [description here], if any of you can get there last minute!)

Following is a list of some model virtual reference collections out there, presented in no particular order. (Consider them all Tuesday's Tools and add them to your own collection of bookmarks!) Most of all, however, look at them with an eye toward their structure and organization, and please give us feedback (just click on "Comments" below or e-mail me at the address in the right-hand column header) about what features you would like to see or which model you would prefer as part of the CFLC page. No promises about the whats, wheres, or whens, but we really would like and greatly appreciate the feedback.
And for a completely different take, check these out for structure only, not for content.
Looking forward to your input! Help us make this more useful for you by spreading the request for comments among your colleagues!


Monday, September 18, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: Hispanic Heritage Month

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome!

September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month/Mes de la Herencia Hispana. The background is explained by the Evergreen State College (WA) Library, "The U.S. Government, in wanting to recognize the accomplishments of Hispanic-American citizens created by [sic] Public Law 90-498 National Hispanic Heritage Week on September 17, 1968. The law was later amended by Public Law 100-402 expanding the event to National Hispanic Heritage Month on August 17, 1988." More background is found in this article from Hispanic Heritage Plaza, more on the legislative history, including excerpts from the relevant legislation, can be found here and this year's Presidential Proclamation here.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Facts for Features, more than 42.7 million people, or 14% of the U.S. population, are now of Hispanic origin. See also some of their related multimedia releases (not all of which are current) and check out the Pew Hispanic Center for some of the latest "research and surveys on the U.S. Hispanic population."

Schools, classrooms, and libraries across the U.S. will be featuring displays, lessons, activities, and more to celebrate this diversity. In investigating how to do so, along with some of the "expected" kinds of lesson planning, game, and reading links (explored below), there are a few surprises, as well. Check out Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the National Register of Historic Places, a fascinating list of links that provide virtual tours of places "that deal directly with the ingenuity, creativity, cultural, and political experiences of Hispanic Americans." The Smithsonian Institution, with Ford sponsorship, presents OJOS, Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement, a virtual exhibition. For a local (Florida) flavor, see La Florida: Honoring Our State’s Spanish and Latin American Influences.

Also, the History Channel's site, Hispanic Heritage Month (NOTE: from 2005) announced a student photo contest which will be repeated in some form this year, though the rules are not yet posted. Click here and you can sign up for an e-mail to remind you of the contest (and its up-to-$2000 prizes).

Libraries will find the following to be especially useful:
Lesson planning assistance can be found here:
Activities for kids and families can be found here:
¡Que disfruten de estos enlaces! Enjoy these links!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

FLA Filings: More From Annual Conference

It having been a very busy few months, it's been difficult to keep up and catch up with blogging all the interesting goings-on around libraryland. This post was begun real-time and has been worked on several times since...herewith, then, some very, very belated Florida Library Association program notes and links to materials in no particular order from the 2006 Annual Conference.

In the Technology Training Interest Group program, Carol Bean, Ginny Howerton, and Kate Todd presented Seniors in Cyberspace, a well-attended active learning session with plenty of object lessons about what it's like to have to learn with some of the "nasty aging tricks" that our bodies are wont to play as we grow older. The program included some surprising statistics and numerous suggestions about how to present computer concepts effectively to a senior audience. Click to see the accompanying handouts, bibliography, and PowerPoint slides. Some of you may have gotten to hear Carol Bean present a session with a similar theme (I Feel So Stupid - Old Age Meets New Technology) at the Technology Training To Go conference in Orlando (August 10 and 11).

Yours truly had a scheduling conflict and missed what was purported to be a lively and engaging panel presentation cum discussion for the LINCC User Group, the 3rd Annual Ask a Librarian User Forum. According to an e-mail to the Ask a Librarian (AAL) group from Diana Sachs-Silveira, the Virtual Reference Manager for AAL, "The main themes that emerged at the meeting included: the need for easy to use, reliable software; maybe a new simplified interface that would work with cell phones and PDAs; more marketing to librarians, and prospective users (both in and out of the library); expanding hours of service and a possible academic desk." The detailed discussion questions and meeting notes are available in the public part of the Ask a Librarian site here.

Diana Sachs-Silveira also commented upon a related program saying:
At FLA, the Telephone, Email and Chat Reference Services interest group hosted a session Let's Provide a Chat Service that They Want! A Focus on Teens to Twenty-Something's with Joe Thompson, the project Manager of Maryland's AskNow.

The program was very interesting and focused on chat reference and younger users. I thought the Ask a Librarian Community as well as those in the FLA Interest Group would like to view the presentation. It is now online at:
There's another program that may or may not eventually get its own entry, but for now, in the interest of actually getting this posted before the next annual conference rolls around, this is a wrap!


Friday, September 15, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: Librarians' Internet Index

Tuesday's Tool is very late this week. Does it count that it really was started on Tuesday?? :-(

In keeping with the 9/11 theme from earlier in the week, the intent was to see what compilations were still out there collecting and keeping up with subsequent activities. That led to one of the great starting points for any research question, Librarians' Internet Index (formerly Librarians' Index to the Internet). The site underwent a name change and facelift in July of 2005, but the content is still the same great carefully selected, annotated, and organized Web information.

With a tagline of "Websites You Can Trust", this site is publicly funded and compiled predominantly by librarians in California, and fueled by the weekly newsletter, New This Week, available as an e-mail subscription or as an RSS feed.

This is an extremely useful, human-compiled project and their September 11 and Beyond collection is still one of the best out there on the subject.

As an aside and finishing the theme, a couple of other excellent pages that lead to 9/11 content include 9/11 Events and Aftermath from ResearchBuzz and Society > Issues > Terrorism > Incidents > September 11, 2001 from Google Directory.


Friday Fun Things: YouTube

This amazing video, entitled A Beautiful Mind was discovered by CFLC's Director on YouTube. Extraordinary look at a savant they call "the human camera."

Additional Note Added Later: Forgot to mention, there are some audio problems with this clip, so turn your sound up to hear it as well as you can.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Cuteness...and More's been busy, so the blog hasn't. Might as well start posting again as it ended last, with a Friday Fun Thing, even though it's a Thursday.

In the news today is a story about the birth of a panda at Zoo Atlanta. The zoo's Panda Cam will have videos of mother and baby starting Friday, Sept. 8, at 10 a.m.

What this news brought to mind was a story from the summer of 2005 that was easy to miss about the baby panda explosion in China. One zoo in Sichuan (southwest China) had 16 pandas born in one season. The pictures (each site a little different) of 16 of the fuzzy adorable little critters are simply too cute not to view and can be seen here, others as a slideshow here and here, and if that weren't enough, video from Reuters of the "panda kindergarten" here. There are numerous other sites, but these were the best of the ones sampled and it's mostly the same pictures repeated elsewhere.

If 16 baby pandas all at once don't peg your cute meter, try for frequent doses of panda goodness, including links to a number of panda cams.

If pandas aren't your thing and you feel you're missing out on the "awwwwwww" factor here, there's a blog that will help you out of your dilemma and straight into Cute Overload. Check it for regular picture postings of (mostly) baby critters of all sorts.

If, on the other hand, you can do without cute but really like amazing (with occasional cute thrown in), check out the astonishing wildlife photos of Tanja Askani, a German wildlife photographer who specializes in wolves; she lives on a wildlife preserve with them and has captured moments on film that you won't believe. If you have the time and/or interest, this Web site has hundreds of her photos of wolves, wolf cubs, deer, rabbits, owls, birds of prey, funny little bright red squirrels that appear to have been in the henna bottle, and more. If you click on the thumbnail of the deer and sunflower (on the left where it says "andere Tiere"), you'll see a small sample of a number of her brilliant and unusual animal shots. (And good luck tearing yourself away!)

By the way, if you browse her photos long, you'll find yourself wishing for a way to translate German to'll find several language translators linked at the CFLC Reference Desk here (under Translation Tools).

All together now, "awwwwwww!"