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Internet Librarian Topics 1997-2009

As suggested by Kathy Dempsey, author of The Accidental Library Marketer and one of the fine bloggers at The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries blog, here is a collection of Wordles based on the final program for each of the Internet Librarian conferences from 1997 to 2009.

In the course of compiling this information I was struck, once again, by how far we have come. Currently the Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries conference programs are published using XML and XLST so if we make a change to a session title or description or a speaker’s bio, its pushed out in the XML file and instantly the site s up to date everywhere that information is used. Going back in time for this information was like an archeological dig through the the history of web development all the way back to the days before CSS and to when ITI hand coded the entire program in plain HTML.

When it comes to working with data on the web, there were no “good old days” to look back on with fondness in my opinion.

As requested, here are the source files I used – minus the year seedings:

For a full size animation of the sort below, visit Internet Librarian Through the Years.

Year by Year

Same Time (almost), Same Place Next Year

And so another Internet Librarian conference came to a close. By any measure, it was the best ever. We had record attendance, a program with outstanding speakers, great networking opportunities, a great exhibit hall, receptions with delicious food and drink, excellent organization and facilities, a great location…and to top it all off, let’s not forget the spectacular weather–3 days of beautiful sunshine. So congratulations to all the ITI staff who worked so hard to make it possible and Jane Dysart and her committee for recruiting all the speakers.

Internet Librarian 2007 will again be in Monterey, and the dates are October 29-31. Put it on your calendar now! And why not consider submitting a paper for the program? The Call for Papers will be issued in a few months–watch for it!

See you next year!

Don Hawkins
IL2006 Blog Coordinator and Columnist, Information Today

What’s Hot in Social Software A to Z

Steve Cohen gave a wonderful list of hot social networking software. Here is his list (I haven’t hyperlinked the URLs, but they will be on his web site soon.) After he had presented his list, he invited the audience to suggest more, and they are also listed here.

What a wonderful session! Enjoy!

Don Hawkins
IL2006 Blog Coordinator and Columnist, Information Today


A: Ajax—tool to make interaction easier. Used by every social software site
B: Beta—everything is in beta. Also Browster. Don’t have to move away from a site to view new window
C: CoComment:—keep track of all your comments on multiple blogs. Also Cohen Family recipies:
D: digg:—put up a story and vote on it and it’s ranked. Can search and see everything new
E: Econsultant:—THE directory of cool tools—organized and perfectly categorized. “A beautiful service”
F: Flickr
G: Gmail— Has chat feature. “Beats their search engine”
H: Hype. Lots of networking tools are all hype and won’t survive because they have no business model.
I: Image Editors: resize photos, (quick and easy—free, beautiful tool), Snipshot—can edit PDFs or from a URL.
J: Jenny Levine—queen of social software
K: ??
L: Library Thing catalog your own books and classify them, share them with others in the system. See who has cataloged the same books as you—a great recommendation tool. Many others (Babes with Books)
M: Moo—create cards from Flickr
Meebo—do web-based IM on multiple systems (virtual reference tool?). Never have to DL any more IM tools.
Media convert—convert any media file to any other format
N: Netvibes—create your own “My” page with feeds, blog searches, web searches, weather
O: OCLC—Web junction
P: Pandora—create your own music stations, vote on songs, and it makes you a station, can block songs for time
Purevideo—metasearch for videos over 30 sies
Q: ??
R: RSS—may not be social software. It’s all just “take”
S: Stevens, Michael
Snapper—grab parts of page and create screenshot from the selection–
Slideshare— “The U2 for ppt presentations”—upload ppt presentations and view them or share them
T: Trackback? (may be dead?)
Typo of the Day – people posting the most commonly misspelled words in library catalogs.
V: ??
W: Wikis
X: ??
Y: YouTube (1.6 BILLION hits!!)
Z: Zoho—Virtual office—Web based Word, excel, ppt.

Audience-suggested sites:
Gmail space. Remote file storage. Listen to MP3s without uploading them
Twingine—comparison between Yahoo and Google search results in parallel
Gliffy—collaborative chart building tool
Flock—firefox version integrating, Flickr, etc. into the browser
Qumana—easy blogging tool
CiteULike— for academic papers—creates a citation library and tells you where they’re available—tag and categorize scholarly papers
Picassa—web photo albums—upload and share your photos
Odeo—create podcasts—or upload and share audio files

Pat’s Social Networking A to Z

[Note by Don: Steve Cohen gave a wonderful summary of social networking software. (Steve writes the librarystuff blog, which is published by Information Today, and is contributing to this blog as well.) Following Steve’s model, Pat Feeney, our Guest Blogger, compiled her own list.]

The comments below are mine, but I thank Gary, Greg, Steven, and others for all the links, most of which I have yet to explore. I invite everyone to explore them with me. I know there’s some cool stuff listed below. Many thanks also to Don Hawkins for the invitation to be a guest blogger. If I never blog again, at least I can say I’ve done it!

A:—the new kid on the block—watch out!; Awesome—all the speakers and their presentations

B: Blogging! Bloglines, Book Pricing Comparisons

C: CustomizeGoogle (using Firefox)


E: Exhilarated, Exhausted – what I was for 5 days, depending on time of day!

F: Filangy, Furl (

G: Google – yes still, and forever…

H: Happy to be here this year

I: Infomine E-Alerts,

J: Just wishing I already understood all I’ve heard this week!

K: Kind and generous with their time—all conference participants.

L: LookAhead

M: More—give me more, please.

N: Nexidia

O: Open Content Alliance

P: , Pandora

Q: Questions? Yes I’ve got questions—I’ll probably be bugging some of you soon!

R: RSS, Rollyo

S: Squeet, ,

T: Topix, TerraFly

U: Virtual Training Suite

V; Vendors—saw all I planned to, and others I’m happy I spent time with.

W: Webaroo

X: EXalead ( (OK, it’s the closest I could get to an “X!”)

Y: Yes, I’ll come again!

Z: ZapTxt

Pat Feeney
Unisys Corporation and Infotodayblog Guest Blogger

Social Computing Day

If Tuesday was “mashup day” for me, Wednesday was “social computing” day. I learned lots about wikis, blogs, and some of their non-traditional applications.

Those who don’t understand wikis would be well advised to look at the reprint of Nicole Engard’s article in ONLINE in the conference proceedings as well as her presentation on the conference Web site. (Nicole is Web manager at Jenkins Law Library in Philadelphia.) As she noted, a wiki is an editable website that does not require knowledge of HTML. Anyone can edit a wiki page, and at any time, a page can be reverted to any previous version.

Like many social networking software platforms, wikis empower users (although as a later speaker noted, it is common for users not to exercise that power). Some common wiki applications are brainstorming, policy drafting, or sharing the task of taking meeting notes. Wikis are particularly useful for conferences where people can post their schedules, make connections, find out about the area. (IL 2006 has a wiki—click here.) Many wikis offer an RSS feed so users can keep up with changes.

There is a huge list of wiki software platforms, the largest of which in the consumer space is PBwiki. Wikis can be run on an intranet, as Nicole’s article describes. They can overcome problems such as a lack of easy collaboration between departments, difficulty in finding information, and the need for all content on the intranet to be posted by the intranet management personnel. At Jenkins Law Library, the wiki platform was written in-house; it incorporates the WYSIWYG Pro text editor.

Improving collaboration is a common reason why organizations install wikis. Darren Chase, Informatics Librarian at the Health Sciences Center Library of Stony Brook University, likened their original intranet to a woodpile. They knew where the wood was, but it was difficult to find a specific piece. They looked for a “fast, cheap miracle” that would provide collaboration, a knowledge base for working documents and policies, in-house control, troubleshooting FAQs, and be web-accessible, and easy to use—a very tall order!

Wikimatrix provided Darren and his colleagues with a large matrix to easily compare a wide range off wiki software. They chose Twiki because it offers easy editing, access control, and other desirable features. Darren’s advice to wiki installers is to make it easy, keep it simple, provide hands-on training to users, and offer refresher courses.

The St.Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, IN is a good example of a wiki success story. Marianne Kruppa, Library Webmaster, has a great idea—Don’t Call It a Wiki! Lots of people (including some library staff members) are afraid of technology and will be put off by technology jargon. Instead, call it what it is—a resource list, subject guide, etc. Marianne also highly recommends access to a “sandbox” server for testing new products and services. She also suggests a separate wiki for library staff so they can express themselves freely and have fun.

Librarians have long prepared “research guides”—long lists of sources for their users—but traditional guides are not searchable, have redundant resources, and are not interlinked, so that the same content had to be edited multiple times if it appeared in separate guides. Chad Boeninger at Ohio University, has begun using a wiki for his research guides and has found that wikis do very well for this purpose and make it much easier to maintain the guides. Not only is it very easy to add content, there is an unlimited amount of room for it, but the guides can be organized by categories and are searchable. They have a huge potential for building community.

Wiki-based research guides also make excellent teaching tools because they are easy to update, and there is no longer any need to produce handouts for students and they are always available, even when the instructor is not.

Challenges of wikis include getting others to contribute, maintenance, and keeping the organization and structure current as new content is added. Spam is also a problem. But the advantages are great: they extend the reach of the librarians and make their job easier, and they make information and knowledge more accessible.

The final session of the day turned from wikis to blogs. Walter Nelson, Webmaster at the RAND Corporation has established blogs for non-traditional purposes using Moveable Type. He likes Moveable Type because it can be formatted to look like your Web site; in fact, it can be made to BE your Web site. It is very easy to use, and can be extensively customized. Authors do not need any special software or skills to add content, and it can automatically generate an RSS feed.

Feed2JS is the second part of Walter’s blog program. It generates Java Script that can be pasted into any web page. RSS feeds can be displayed as a bulleted list of links to blog postings, so that users can go directly from the feed headline to the content.

Walter emphasized that it is important to think outside the standard blogging features. Blogs can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as a database publishing tool that produces a database sorted chronologically and by category. Blogs can be used for corporate announcements, event calendars, image databases, and many other uses.

Karen Coombs at the University of Houston uses blogs for internal communications. Some of those she has established are
• Committee blogs to make announcements, post minutes and other documents and gather feedback on what the committee is working on
• Blogs for service points that are maintained by staff working at desks. These are used for announcements of new resources, problems, or questions. The service group blog displays on all computers at reference desk so that the staff can leave notes for each other on what’s happening.
• Blogs for working groups that allow people to share information, post items of note or interest, and reading materials for discussion.

Finally, Aaron Schmidt at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library said that in a public library, nobody cares if you have a blog! Users do not care how information gets on the Web. Blogs are about connecting and social relationships. Aaron has linked the library’s OPAC to a blog, and now users can post comments on items in the catalog. The blog is also used as an uploading and photo commenting tool because it is connected to Flickr.

This was a wonderfully educational day. It provided many ideas for interesting and non-traditional uses of blogs and wikis. I look forward to trying out some of them!

Don Hawkins
IL2006 Blog Coordinator and Columnist, Information Today

All the World’s a Game

Liz Lawley — professor, librarian, blogger — gave a lively final keynote at Internet Librarian. She talked a lot about gaming, fun and play. I definitely want to try the "reverse scavenger hunt" where teams go out and get items, then receive the list of what they are supposed to find and must justify how what they have is what’s on the list. Great for brainstorming, team building, acting, etc. Liz also talked about her expereinces in virtual worlds and games and pointed to some interesting ways in which games can be used in the social context.