Your Desktop: The Movie

October 26, 2009

In virtually all libraries today, there will be many more people using the library than just those who come through the door. Our patrons are increasingly accessing our resources and services virtually, to the point where some never use the physical library at all. This has challenged libraries to find creative ways to provide comparable … Continue reading Your Desktop: The Movie


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Censorship Gets Smart

October 26, 2009

As we all know, Judith Krug—the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, who passed away April 11, was an extraordinary woman, a force for the freedom to read and view and write and think as we please. She was a hero and role model for us all to live up to, and she left … Continue reading Censorship Gets Smart


Digital Divide on the Inside

October 26, 2009

Technology and reference are intertwining strands of public service. As our systems get more sophisticated, and as our desire to overhaul and remake those systems gets more intense, libraries need librarians who are tech-savvy and back-office staff who are pure tech. But is the drive toward more technologyoriented public service a one-way street? Or is … Continue reading Digital Divide on the Inside


LITA Forum Speakers Make the Case for Mobile

October 26, 2009

After the opening session at ALA’s Library and Information Technology Association National Forum, held in Salt Lake City October 1–4, American Libraries caught up with LITA Past President Andrew Pace, who said there’s a lot of work involved in diversifying the keynote topics. Each is chosen to strike a balance between “fact, fun, and fancy,” … Continue reading LITA Forum Speakers Make the Case for Mobile


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Wikipedia Growth Slows

October 26, 2009

The once-exponential rate of growth in Wikipedia's size is slowing. The number of new articles per month peaked in 2007 at about 60,000, declining steadily to about two-thirds of that figure today, according to research by the Augmented Social Cognition Research Group at the Palo Alto Research Center. The number of active editors crested at … Continue reading Wikipedia Growth Slows


E-readers in Action

September 24, 2009

E-books are nothing new, and librarians and library patrons have long struggled with their lack of utility. Reading on a computer screen for long periods of time is not most people's cup of tea and leads to hundreds of pages-long printouts in many a library lab. However, in early 2008, e-books began to make waves … Continue reading E-readers in Action


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What Do You See?

September 23, 2009

On what was apparently a slow news day, the front page of the July 29, 2009, New York Times featured YAWA—yet another Wikipedia article—a variation on the enduring theme of “Wikipedia is changing the world; how shocking” (or how wonderful, depending on the mood of the reporter). This one highlighted an exploration of the ethics of … Continue reading What Do You See?


The Download Dilemma

July 27, 2009

A little over a year ago, I received an e-mail from Cantaloupe Music announcing the release of a new live recording of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, available solely as a download-only digital file through iTunes and the label’s website (Cantaloupe CA21045). At Northwestern University we typically buy most CDs released by Cantaloupe, so I … Continue reading The Download Dilemma




Why Johnny Can’t Search

January 2, 2007

A couple of generations ago, a catchphrase entered the American lexicon, representing growing concern about the quality of education and in particular a perceived decline in literacy. “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” from the title of 1955 book by Rudolf Flesch, became a byword for the perception of relaxed standards and concomitantly lower achievement in schools. … Continue reading Why Johnny Can’t Search