Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Meme me up , Scotty!

Because all the cool kids are doing it, here are five non-librarian blogs that I read on a regular basis:

1. Miss Snark, the literary agent. A daily hit from the cluegun keeps this wannabe writer on his toes.

2. Parent Hacks. Crowdsourcing child-care wisdom since 2005. I only wish I'd discovered this site sooner!

3. Whedonesque. All things Joss. Because I have a problem.

4. Simply Recipes. Food porn at its best!

5. High Maintenance Machine. The online sketchbook of Matthew Reidsma, one of America's up and coming indy comic artists (the fact that I occasionally appear in his strips have absolutely nothing to do with this plug*).

* Don't believe me? Check out Fleen's recent review of the genius that is Matt Reidsma!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why don't you Twitter?

In case you missed it, there's a new Web 2.0 craze making the rounds: Twitter, a social networking service which allows you to post short dispatches from your browser, instant messenger, or even your cell phone. Posts are instantly broadcast to anyone who subscribes to them in their preferred method of delivery, making Twitter a real-time method of communication regardless of the platform. Since the format is intentionally truncated - 140 characters or less - Twitter encourages rapid-fire posts and is thus best suited for updates on the fly.

Not surprisingly there's been a lot of skepticism about the whole Twitter thing, not just from the Old Media (which reflexively hates on anything which threatens its hegemony, a la a recent article in the WSJ which went out of its way to knock both social networking and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards) but from the established powers of the blogosphere as well - Wil Wheaton wonders what the point of it is, although that hasn't stopped him or someone impersonating him from creating a Twitter account - along with a coterie of 69 followers waiting for him post something!

I think this lack of interest may be a function of one's ability to blog in an unfettered capacity, as what Twitter does is enable someone who might otherwise be inclined to blog if not for his or her daily constraints of work and life to blog nonetheless, albeit in attenuated form. Perhaps my newfound obsession with Twitter would be less intense were I not so busy these days that blogging has become a rare luxury for me? I like to joke that Twitter is the crack cocaine of blogging, but maybe it's actually more like methadone - a way to get your fix, when the real thing ain't forthcoming.

At any rate, Twitter is worth a second look, especially for those of us in library-land.

(And if you feel like stalking someone, I'm oodja)

UPDATE: The folks at The Joy of Tech give us an amusing summary of "what not to tweet about on Twitter".

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dispensing all kinds of reference

"Excuse me."

I look up from the Reading Room desk to find a very perplexed-looking elderly gentleman. "Yes?"

The man looks at his wristwatch, up at our wall clock (which is still running an hour behind, natch), and back at me. "I was under the impression that this room closed at 10pm."

"We do."

The man looks at his watch again. "Was there some sort of time change that I missed?"

Daylight Savings - always good for at least one chuckle at a public service desk, though usually it's not three whole days afterwards! The frightening thing is that this guy has been running late for everything in his life since Sunday, kind of like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld when he decides to spring ahead before everyone else.

Mmmm, delicious feeds

Like any good information professional I'm always on the prowl for interesting and useful RSS feeds. Well, here's a whole boatload of them, courtesy of Resource Shelf:
ResourceShelf friend Pete “RSS” Weiss sends along the following. For some of you, these might not be new. However, for others they will be and worthy of a quick mention.

+ Library of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office Feeds
Feeds include:
++ Library of Congress Subject Headings Weekly Lists
++ Library of Congress Classification Weekly Lists
++ New on the Web
++ New Webcasts
++ What’s New in Science Reference
++ Copyright Office: Current Legislation
++ Federal Register Notices

+ Historic Documents from the National Archives
Always something interesting. To see a historical document from another date, use this url:
ResourceShelf friend Pete “RSS” Weiss sends along the following. For some of you, these might not be new. However, for others they will be and worthy of a quick mention.

Share and enjoy!

The Library Ass gets a gig

No, that's not a gigabyte, it's an actual (non-paying) gig. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Sourcebooks, Inc., an independent publisher located in Naperville, Illinois, who wanted to know if I'd be interested in reviewing some of their more recent imprints with no strings attached. Flattered as all get-out, I of course accepted, and yesterday I came home to find a DHL package on my doorstep that was chock full of books. So expect a couple of readers' advisory-style posts over the upcoming weeks!

Apropos of my imminent mancation to Florida to take in some Spring Training baseball with my brother and his friends, the first book I'll be featuring is The Entitled, a work of baseball fiction by six-time National Sportswriter of the Year and NPR commentator Frank Deford. At least now I'll have something interesting to read on the plane!