Friday, May 27, 2005

New Alaska-themed children's book

The Alaska-themed children's book below was reviewed in Booklist, and thanks to the statewide Databases for Alaskans, you have full-text access to it:

Book Author: Deb Vanasse and Jeremiah Trammell.
Title: Under Alaska's Midnight Sun (Book).
Where Reviewed: Booklist, 5/1/2005, Vol. 101 Issue 17, p1594.
Read the full review.

If you live in Alaska and can't get to this book review, please drop me a line at dan_cornwall (at)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fingerprinting @ your library?

The computer security blog Schneier on Security, has a news item about a plan to replace library cards with patron fingerprints. This story has been reported on in other sources, including LISNews and Slashdot.

Does this sound convenient, worrisome, or provoke some other feeling?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Do you make the first move? How?

One of the reasons that Elise set up the AkLA blog was to try to hold extended conversations that might be better suited to this format than the akla-l list. I think I might have one of those.

What is your personal or institutional policy on helping patrons who appear to be having trouble searching your catalog? Some library literature suggests trying to get to these patrons before their frustration levels ruins their day and yours. Other librarians feel that it is condescending to a patron to assume they NEED help before asking.

My personal experience in offering "preemptive help" is that a few patrons are grateful that someone has noticed their trouble, most say "I'm doing fine," but continue fruitless searching for the next five minutes, then leave with nothing; and a few patrons say something to the effect of "I'm not stupid, thank you very much!"

So what happens in your library? Do you only offer assistance if asked, and if you offer without being asked, how do you approach them and what is the reaction?

Thanks for sharing your experiences! - Daniel

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Library programming and fundraising ideas on the web

Marylaine Block, in her Ex Libris newsletter #248, "WORTH IMITATING," writes about some nifty ideas she has found at library sites recently. She provides links so you can see some of her favorite ideas in action (or articles about them), and says, "Don't just take my word for it about the interesting and useful things libraries are doing. Go out exploring. Using the web to scout the competition can pay big dividends. Remember, the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. "

For the whole article, see

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nice overview of blogging and RSS at WebJunction

Rushton Brandis and WebJunction's Technology Watch Committee have put together a nice overview of blogging and RSS in their article, Blog the Web with RSS: Is it Really Simple Syndication? The article includes five tips for reading blogs and six for writing them, as well as sources for more information. Perhaps it's just that I have been reading blogs more and writing here, but I found the article one of the more helpful overviews, and I especially look forward to reading more of the resources for blog writers!

Monday, May 09, 2005

list serves

Didn't I see a call for ideas on how to clean up some of the list serves so the recipients are still those who need/want to receive the info? How could this be accomplished? I'm thinking of the ecouncil list serve as one that has people on it that are no longer serving as officers, chairs, etc but are receiving the emails...I just got a message from someone today about that.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

My web site - Creative Commons photos

Hi All,

I've revamped my personal web site and added a number of photos -- a few from Barrow, but mostly from Juneau and Douglas. I bring this to your attention because I've placed a Creative Commons License on all the photos on my site that my wife and I have taken. That means that you, students from Ohio, anybody, can use these photographs in any non-commercial way you please without fear of lawsuits. Whether you find the photos worth using, of course is another matter entirely! Another place to look for mostly freely useable Alaska photos is the Alaska Department of Commerce's Alaska Photo Library

Friday, May 06, 2005

Learn the value (or not) of wikis at Slate

Galaxy Quest: Wikipedia is a real-life Hitchhiker's Guide: huge, nerdy, and imprecise, by Paul Boutin, at Slate, discusses the value and drawbacks of wikis. Fun and easy-to-read, this article is great for those of us who are familiar with the term, but not so much with the details. This article is not technical.