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Ready to Meet the Challenges

Conferences to me are all about networking, learning, asking questions and answering others, sharing, and really stretching our minds to embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s a chance to prepare for the challenges ahead. This year’s CIL certainly provided the opportunity for all these things. And, indeed, there are challenges, which can and should be seen as exciting possibilities. A number of sessions highlighted what libraries and librarians face: Web 2.0, digitization, new technologies, search engines, Google, and more.

I like how Gary Price put it in the Friday session titled SEs and Libraries: The role of libraries on the Internet. “Is there a role for libraries and librarians on the Internet? YES – and we need to speak up louder! It’s time to shine. We have huge roles as educators. Information literacy is more important than ever.” He noted that marketing and branding continue to be issues of concern for libraries. He advised attendees to learn from Google about the power of viral, word-of-mouth marketing.

Another speaker in that session, Chip Nilges of OCLC is responsible for the Open WorldCat program, a shared platform that adds a syndication model to WorldCat. It’s an exciting time to be working on behalf of libraries, he said. But the recent report on users’ perceptions of libraries noted that 84 percent of users start their research with a search engine. His advice: “The name of the game is meeting the user at the point of need.” To do this, Open WorldCat partners with Google, Yahoo Search, MSN, and Ask. For users it provides a “find in a library” function for book results. Recent enhancements include enhanced data feeds, inbound linking via ISBN, ISSN, OCLC number, and permalinks. All of this has more than doubled the traffic on WorldCat. It has also increased a library’s impact.

Challenges for the information professional? You bet. Bring it on.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

KD’s Quote of the Day, #3

Everything has a price; it’s just not coming out of your pocket for this one.

K. Matthew Dames, publisher of Search & Text Mining Report, explaining part of the reason why everyone can search Google for free. In exchange for letting people search for “free,” Google gathers tons of information about users that the company can leverage in other ways.

Time to take all my new knowledge home!

Kathy Dempsey, CIL magazine, Editor-in-Chief

Cervone’s Good Geeky Utilities

Frank Cervone, the software geek at Northwestern University (otherwise known as assistant university librarian for information technology), gave a very useful talk about free and inexpensive products that can provide protection against all manor of unsavory and dangerous items in our IT environments. He covered 5 categories of products: antivirus, firewalls, spyware detection and removal, Anti-trojans and rootkit removers, and generally useful utilities.

While I was familiar with some of the products he discussed, many of them were new to me. And, I’d never even heard of a rootkit (rootkits compromise computer systems without detection). I particularly appreciated his assessments on strengths and weaknesses of each. For example, he recommended using a virus detection product like
Bitdefender 8, even if you use one from Norton. While ZoneAlarm is a firewall product I use, he noted that Outpost Free Firewall offers a bit more than ZoneAlarm in the free version and does real time connection monitoring (processes and ports).

Frank said that much of his work lately has been directed at spyware detection and removal. One that stood out was Spybot Search and Destroy. He said he uses this in the library as the first line of defense. Recent changes to program make it even better for system start-up checking and it allows you to fix registry inconsistencies. The product provides flexibility that some others don’t.

He covered a long list of products and provided a lot of URLs. He said the presentation would be available on the CIL site. I highly recommend taking a look at this when it is posted. Our computers are just too important not to protect properly and he’s had a wealth of experience testing these products. He did mention a “favorite”—CCleaner, a registry and file cleaner that works very well.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.

Reflections & Connections @ CIL 2006

Managing Digital: Innovations, Initiatives & Insights has been a great theme for the Computers in Libraries conference this year. So many speakers have built upon the talks of other speakers and conversations they have had with colleagues. It’s wonderful to see things come together after months of planning.
Several speakers told me today that after converstaions and hearing other presentations, they changed their still-to-be-presented talks. Brian Pomeroy, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, changed the title of his talk from The Exploding Future of Social Communication to The Exploding Future & the Value of Foresight. Not to worry — updated presentations will be online at the CIL web site in a few weeks. Watch for them.
Jane Dysart, Program Chair, CIL2006