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Did You Know… Shift Happens


My colleague sent this to me. I never saw the first version. Great food for thought.

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)


Ubuntu Desktop1 I’ve been interested in the Ubuntu Linux OS for awhile now but haven’t really had a chance to mess around with it nor do I have a computer to install it on. Reading about Ubuntu installations in libraries also piqued my interest. I did burn a live CD of 6.06 Power PC (for Mac hardware) and booted up my iBook on it. It worked nicely but unfortunately the OS didn’t find the wireless card. Just a couple of weeks ago Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) was released so I downloaded it, burned a live CD and booted it up on a friends Windows laptop. Everything went smoothly and the Wireless was activated and I was able to connect to the internet. I was really impressed. Everything worked, and this wasn’t even on a full blown installation, just a live CD. I’d like to get an old laptop or desktop and load it up with Ubuntu to play around with. As an alternative OS to Mac OS X and Windows, it really seems to be some serious competition (maybe not in numbers but in functionality). It would be nice to see this OS in public (libraries and schools), I’ve heard stories of Ubuntu being used in public institutions but have yet to see it with my own eyes.

  1. Image of Ubuntu Desktop taken from the Ubuntu Desktop Home Edition Page []

Gaming in Libraries…


Guitar Hero1 DDR Ultramix2

The other night in my LIS 768 class we played video games. This was probably one of the funnest classes that I’ve ever had. A number of people brought in various video game systems (PS2, XBox, Nintendo DS, PSP) and we hooked them up to the projectors and played. We had DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) on one projector and Guitar Hero II on the other. I have seen DDR but never played it. I understood that it was a physical game, but I didn’t really understand how physical. By the time we were done playing I was dripping sweat (this was compounded by the fact that I was wearing a long sleeve and a t-shirt). I’ve decided that I’m going to start a workout regimen that consists of nothing but DDR.

I also had a blast with guitar hero. I was really impressed with some of the music that they had available. I was playing DDR when I heard Danzig’s “Mother” and I was instantly pulled toward the game. It was the chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a rockstar.

If there was ever a way to get people into libraries, this is it.

  1. Cover image from Wikipedia []
  2. Cover image from Wikipedia []

A Vision of Students Today…


A colleague of mine pointed me toward this youtube video. I was really fascinated with how they touched on so many topics and seemed to drive so many points home.

Free Software and Reusing Computers….


In the spirit of our lecture from last week I am writing a post about computer reuse and recycling. Computers are one of those resources that people seem to trash all to quickly. Some quick facts and figures.

  • Only 11% of PCs are recycled; the percentage for televisions and mainframes recycled is lower.1
  • 68 percent of consumers stockpile used or unwanted computer equipment in their homes.2
  • Nearly 2 in 10 consumers that disposed of a desktop computer or monitor in the past year threw them in the trash. Fourteen percent of those that disposed of a laptop computer last year threw it in the trash.3

This is A LOT of computers that are being trashed and unused. This is really unfortunate because although computers can become too slow or lack the memory to run the newest, fastest applications, they can still be functional and their processing power can be put to good use. Ask yourself what you do with your computer. Many people find that all they really do is email and get on the internet. If this is the case then why do you need that newer, faster, bigger, better computer. Why not purchase a two or three year old computer if all your doing is writing papers and checking email?

One thing we can do is recycle our old computers. I’m not specifically talking about salvaging the resources in a computer, I’m talking about refitting computers and using functional parts to build new ones. I found two organization in Chicago that do exactly that. One is Computers for Schools. Computers for schools is a non-profit organization that accepts old computer and then refurbishes them and sells them for 1/3 the cost of a new one (I couldn’t find any prices).

Another organization that has a similar mission but is also promoting free software is FreeGeek Chicago. FreeGeeks goal is to “provide functional computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those who want them.”4 FreeGeek Chicago not only accepts old computers, but they also accept volunteers. They also have a deal in which if you volunteer for 20 hours you can earn a FreekBox (a rebuilt computer). You can buy computers from FreeGeek for $50 (What a deal!). All computers provided by FreeGeek run on a version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.

  1. From the Women’s Learning Partnership. []
  2. HP Fact Sheet, Earth Day 2005. []
  3. From Consumer Report’s Greener Choices. []
  4. From FreeGeek/about. []

Tekkon Kinkreet


The other night I sat down and watched Tekkon Kinkreet (a Japanese term for reinforced concretet). I used to watch a bit of anime but have recently slacked off because I just wasn’t finding a whole lot that I was interested in. Tekkon Kinkreet has to be one of the best Japanese animated movies I’ve seen in a long time. Whether you are just watching it for the beautiful visuals or are intrigued by the fantastic story, this movie has a lot to offer.

The story follows the lives of two homeless boys who live in a city called Treasure Town. One boy is named black and the other is white. Black is the older and more jaded of the two while White is basically an innocent kid. The story is one part urban drama, one part crime drama, one part fantasy and just a dash of sci-fi sprinkled into the mix. The story moves all over the place from humor to heartbreak, then from revenge to madness. If you get a chance to pick this up I highly recommend it.

  1. Image from Comics 212 by Christopher Butcher. Copyright 2006 Studio 4°C. []

IM Reference Interview.


I conducted my IM interview last week and found the library through the Library Success wiki – Libraries Using IM Reference page. It was about 6 at night so I decided to go West coast so they would have plenty of time. I picked Los Gatos Public Library which happened to be serendipitous because the librarian (Henry Bankhead, Principal Librarian) was quite the library 2.0 advocate and experimenter. I had a list of IM ref questions all prepared but I found that the most interesting conversation was about other L2 things. It turns out that Los Gatos Public Library uses LibraryThing for Libraries. LibraryThing for Libraries is a service provided by LibraryThing that allows libraries to add Web 2.0 content, such as tags and recommendations (from LibraryThing) to their catalogs. Catalog plugins are available for all sorts of OPACs and I’m hoping that maybe my work would be interested in experimenting with some L2 content.

Something else that I found interesting is that LGPL has terminals over desktops for their public workstations. Henry seemed to think that it was cheaper than desktops but was less flexible for the patron. I didn’t even know that libraries still used terminals over desktops.

All in all it was a good chat and I learned some fun and interesting things. I’m really hoping that I can mess around with LT for Libraries. Whether the kids would actually use the content provided is another story, but it might come in handy anyway.

I wish I could visit Las Gatos Public Library. It sounds like a great library that is open to change and innovation. Henry Bankhead was great. I highly recommend him for any of your reference needs. The only negative thing that resulted from this chat is that I again realized the depth of my frustration with Chicago Public Library.

IM Interview


  • Do you get many IM questions?
  • How long has your library had IM reference?
  • Who started IM reference?
  • Did you have a hard time implementing it?
  • How did you go about implementing it?
  • How did the IT department react to the idea?
  • How big is your library?
  • How many IM reference questions do you get per shift (roughly?)
    • How about email reference?
  • What is your workflow like?
  • Which patrons get preference?