Monday, February 28, 2005

You Gotta Love Michael Gorman

Love Michael Gorman? Sure I do! Despite a wee bit of negative response to Michael's rampage on bloggers, Michael's got personality and character, period.

I've enjoyed Michael Gorman's opinionated rants for years, and will continue to do so. I don't always agree with him, but the man delivers his considered opinion in a very clear and entertaining way. Take a peek at the McCarthyist tone to this sentence (and tell me that it wasn't fun to read)...

"For the record, though I may have associated with Antidigitalists, I am not and have never been a member of the Antidigitalist party and would be willing to testify to that under oath."

Do I think he's a luddite? No, not really. He's a well educated and critical thinker. He's also a bit of an arrogant academic - but that's ok, if he drops that part he's no fun at all.

If you haven't read his LA Times response to the Google-Libraries partnership, he's called the project an "expensive exercise in futility", basically saying that we're fooling ourselves into believing Google will give us access to 'world knowledge'. I'm not about to disagree with that. We should never be surprised what 'good marketing' can make people believe.

While Michael's prone to write with 'both-barrels-a-blazin', I have my doubts that he's fully considered who he's tangling with. He won't be changing global opinions, or opinions within the Library community, using the aggressive tone in his article above. Can he wage an issue based debate (battle) with a whole community of Bloggers? In normal circumstances, my money's on Gorman. Unfortunately, I think he's going to require a blog to do so.

For the record, I also have questions about the Google-Libraries digitalization project. Not to the digitalization itself, but as alluded to, the notion that Google will be sold as more than a finding tool; that it will be a fool's replacement for reading longer discourse (with the associated loss of context). That said, and seeing as it's not my money, I say let's do it! It's going to happen regardless of who's for or against it, and it will be a powerful finding tool.

Besides... once public domain works have become digital, we Librarians can start collection building again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Can I Have Another Connie Crosby Please?

One of the compelling reasons to read blogs is the ability to get inside another person's head. Just knowing someone else's opinion can help validate or redirect your decision making process. The trick is to find people who face the same issues you do.

I read a lot of blogs south of the border which are informative on many larger issues, but the one I anticipate most is our colleague Connie Crosby's blog, which I highly recommend. I like Connie's blog because it's Canadian and because Connie gives you more than outside links - she provides commentary. It's not always extensive, but even a thumbs up or down from Connie makes a difference... to me.

I asked Connie when I started this blog who I was missing. Was there any other Canadian Law Librarian blogs I could tap into? She didn't know of any either. So... if there are no others, how about you? Really! We all have valuable opinions, and the power of publishing can be realized if we do this together.

If you do start a blog, let me know. I'm saving some space on the right hand side of this blog for a Canadian Law Librarian Blogroll.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Law Library Cost Recovery White Paper

Just picked up on this paper via Joe Hodnicki (pdf, 15 pgs.) by Kinglsey Martin of West:

White Paper: Cost Recovery for Online Legal Research

Guess what I'll be reading on the train ride home tonight? ... Also, just to be handy, here are the web accessible links from the bibliography:

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Google Maps - Wow, Now That's Impressive!

New from Google labs, check out Google's new maps feature (includes Canada!):

I am so impressed... do yourself a favour and have a look. You can drag the map around (or the zoom feature), rather than clicking on arrows or '+' and '-' signs and waiting for the page to re-load. When you've maneuvered the map to where you want it, you can click on 'link to this page' and the URL turns into a fixed position & zoom height on the map.

This (by far) puts to shame any map website I've been to. Can you tell I like it? :-)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Weblogs and Podcasters, Oh My!

Two trends that are seemingly inescapable for Librarians these days - Weblogs (or Blogs, or for those of us in the legal sector - Blawgs), and Podcasting. In order to keep us law library folk up to speed, here are a couple of introductory primers that I think are really helpful.

Since you're reading my blog, I'm not going to go into any kind of explanation on this, but I will point you to Lis Riba's great primer on Weblogs (which I found via Steven Cohen's Library Stuff), called - what else - 'Weblogs in a nutshell'.

The second concept, Podcasting, is newer and kind of related to Blogs. Think of it as a blog for audio files (MP3 being the most likely format). Someone records themselves talking (or perhaps an audio file of a seminar), then uses a blog to distribute (or broadcast) the audio files.

Cindy Chick has a new post on LawLibTech that may describe the process better. For another take / explanation, click over to 'Invasion of the Podcasters'.