Monday, July 25, 2005

Chronology of the "Pope hates Potter Story"

With a lot of recent coverage over how Pope Benedict XVI views the ever popular Harry Potter series, I thought AkLA members and others would be interested in this chronology of the story.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google tip

I just read about a nifty tip for finding business or personal phone numbers. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this one before, so please forgive me if I'm sharing something familiar to all of you. You may already know about using the phonebook: syntax for finding phone numbers on Google. It turns out that you can combine words and numbers for this. For example, phonebook: salmon 907 finds phone numbers for Alaskan businesses with Salmon in their names (such as the Alaska Salmon Bake) as well as for individuals with the last name Salmon. This doesn't appear to work if you type the area code first (so salmon 907 is good, but 907 salmon is not).

I found this tip and many others from Web Search Garage, by Tara Calishain, author of Google Hacks and the weekly newsletter, ResearchBuzz.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Library ELF

This was mentioned on The Shifted Librarian. The Library ELF is a free service offered by a Canadian company. Patrons can sign up to receive notifications of book due dates, overdues and holds. It looks like the system works with Dynix, and is in beta with some other vendors. Many of you may be offering this service yourselves already (I know Capital City Libraries does, which is great!), but if you don't, it might be worth letting your patrons know about this option.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nifty visual search and compare site

I just read in ResearchBuzz about a nifty web site (I don't see an actual name for it) that visually compares Yahoo and Google results. Each result is a dot. Mouse over it to see the URL, and click on it to bring up the page. The dots are blue, and connected by blue lines, if the result is found from both engines, and clear otherwise. My searches had very few blue dots. NOTE: This description does not do the page justice. Check it out for yourself.

I found it pretty dramatic to see how little overlap there was and how the types of results varied. For example, my search on how to use RSS to add content to your web site got more relevant results from Yahoo than Google. This was an important lesson to me, both a reminder of the lack of overlap and a reminder that Google is not only not always the best search engine, it's not always the best general commercial engine. This site might be a helpful tool for illustrating these points to students.

It is probably no surprise to any of you that I have heard these points before, but seeing it this way brought it home in a way that the lectures never did. Might that be yet another lesson?!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Our "Unique Selling Proposition"

A few weeks ago, Marylaine Block sent out a fascinating article in her ExLibris newsletter. In it, she discusses how she feels that "librarians' unique selling SHARING." I think that she has a good point, and that keeping it in mind might make any marketing and publicity a much easier task. What do you think?