Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Creating a podcast

Yesterday after listening to a podcast I decided to see how easy creating a podcast is.  I used some recorded lectures that were saved in MP3 format.  I used the same service, PodOmatic that was used for the podcast I listened to.

I edited the audio files using WavePad, which I used to create all my audio lectures.  Since the creation of the original files my editing skills have improved.  I removed some noise and a few "ahs and aaahs." and added a signature ending.

PodOmatic makes the process very easy.  I uploaded the files,  created some metadata such as the title and keyword, hit publish and it was done.  I do have to put some pictures or visuals up.

The first file is from a course in science reference literature called "Interview with Dr. Robert Friedman."   Dr. Friedman, a biologist talked about using a library and library research in his work.  To view this episode, follow this link:

The second file is lecture 7 from a course in Judaica library service. "Library resources -- American Jewish Community." To view this episode, follow this link:

Let me know what you think.  I have more lectures that I could add.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What were they thinking?

I was in a public library last week and saw the title: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jesus. I have always wondered what this publisher was thinking when they call their readers "complete idiots." I looked on the publisher's web site and here's how they refer to their readers, " Smart People Read Idiot's Guides, You're smart, curious, at ease with yourself, and interested in learning." If the reader is smart why use the word "idiot" in your title? Why don't they call the series the "beginner's" or "learner's" guide? Does the title mean you are are "idiot" if you learn about the topic of the book? Another publisher has the right idea with a series for self learners called "teach yourself."

Using my educator's hat, I want to encourage people to learn and make them feel good about learning new topics, not demean them with labels such as "idiots." If a teacher walked into class on the first day and said, "Good morning idiots, this is a course that will help you master U.S. history. Open up your idiot's guides to find out what you don't know," the teacher would never get the respect of students.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another sad day for Illinois libraries

In an open letter Alice Calabrese Berry, executive director of Metropolitan Library System, which serves the city of Chicago, DuPage County and areas of southern Cook count announced that they suspending most of their services as of June 30, 2010. 95% of their operating costs comes from a grant from the State of Illinois. The State has not paid the promised money and there is no indication that they money will arrive before December. See for the full letter.

Library Systems started in Illinois in 1966. They have saved money and shared expertise. No single library can afford to do everything. Resources and expertise must be shared. Libraries are good investments.

Style Sheets II

A school librarian on LM_Net wrote:
When citing a publisher do you cite the imprint or the publisher?

For example ...

Covey, S. (1999). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Melbourne, Vic,
Australia: Information Australia.


Covey, S. (1999). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Melbourne, Vic,
Australia: The Business Library (which is an imprint of Information

First let me state Stuhlman's rule for citations --
All citations must be reversible -- a reader must be able to search for the same
item that you are referring to.

APA style for listing authors violates Stuhlman's rule. Name
authority is a very important part of the cataloging process. I have
two children with names that begin with "A." If following APA rules,
no one would be able to tell which child wrote the listed article. I
came across two published psychologists with the same first and
second names. Only if you used their middle names would you be able
to distinguish them.

Next keep in mind the audience for your citations. Congress has not
passed any laws requiring you to use a particular citation
style. Keep in mind the reader who needs to look up your source.

The answer to your example depends on what is on the title page. The
title page is what the publisher wants us to use as the book's
identification. Look at how the book was cataloged by a cataloger for
a professional opinion. If you are using an Australian imprint of
Covey's book, the pagination may be different from the American
imprint. Then again it may make no difference. Since I am sitting
in Chicago and the book is on my shelf, I am not going to bother with
the imprint you used.

If you are publishing an article, follow the rules for the
publication. If your teacher requires you to follow a style, follow
those rules. Otherwise use common sense and be consistent so that a
researcher, librarian, or teacher in another time and place can find
your source.

If your teacher has problems deciding how to best interpret the rules for citations, send him/her to me.


Edited comments from the original questioner --
The faculty is quite insistent on using APA style and I know that they are quite exacting about referencing.

I certainly take your point about a citation being reversible. Many times I have tried to track something that looks interesting from a reference list - and I also take your point about the names. People can't tell whether it is my brother or myself who is writing the item unless they look at the second initial.

On the title page of this edition 'The Business Library' is acknowledged but
that is the imprint and I am getting conflicting advice about which to use.
But you reminded me that I have a subscription to our national cataloguing service.
I checked and it credited The Business Library as the publisher. So that's what I am going to stick with.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Name Authority

A psychologist friend, Robin B. Zeiger, made a new website and asked for some feedback. It looked good and I made some minor comments. Visit the new web site When I checked using a Google search, I found another psychologist in Silver Spring, MD with a web site had the name Robyn S. Zeiger. Google is great for finding "near" matches. These names could cause some confusion if they were in the same city. Since the have different middle initials and spell their first name differently any library cataloger would know they are different people. What would happen if a person heard the name and didn't know how they spelled their names? Would they go to the wrong web site? There is no name authority in the non-library world.

Library Data Base Access

Chicago Public Library had to curtail their hours as a cost cutting measure. That means that all branches are no longer open from 9 am to 9 pm. One some days the hours are 12n to 8 pm and others 10a - 6 pm. Hours are staggered so that nearby branches are open late on different days. This is a reasonable accommodation based on the need to trim the budget. Personally I visit the library in person mostly for recreational reading and videos. I visit rarely as I don't really think the branch is a pleasant place to visit. Chicago happens to have most of its population within 2 miles of one of their 79 branches. Each branch serves about 35,000 residents. This compares to the nearby suburbs of Skokie (population 63,000) with one location and Evanston (population 74,000) with a main library and two small branches. One county I did consulting for had one library in the entire county serving a geographic area much larger than the City of Chicago.

Libraries supplement their physical hours with 24/7 access to data bases. Most data bases are available to library card holders from any Internet connection. One exception is JSTOR. This is full text data base for the humanities. Some journals have more than 50 years of material available. CPL only has a license for the use of JSTOR within a branch building. Last week I needed access. I went to my local branch 35 minutes before closing. I couldn't use a computer because the reservation system would allow access so close to the 6 pm closing. I just needed 15 minutes. I went to the catalog computer. I could search JSTOR, but the computer was locked so that I couldn't save an article or e-mail it to myself. I went to the reference librarian to ask if there was a work around. I was told that I could go to another branch that had evening hours. Access to the computers was not within her control.

I sent an e-mail to the administrator in charge of all the branches with a copy to the branch librarian, but received no reply. They probably still think that I am a trouble maker because 15 years ago I pointed out that my son couldn't reach the keyboard for the computers and requested something for him to stand on or a computer that one could sit down to use.

The library  has a valuable resource that  cost more than $10,000 year, but access is not easily available.  Even if I were to go to branch my research time would be limited to the time they allow for their open computers.  There is no priority for research as opposed to recreational or personal use. Probably  most patrons have no need for JSTOR or any research level data base.  I wonder how many times the reference librarians have ever used these data bases?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sad Day for NSLS

I was saddened to read on the web site of North Suburban Library System that all their full time staff have been laid off. The State Illinois has not paid them for many months and the money from reserves ran out. This was not a surprise since for many weeks they announced that May 31 would be their last day of doom. I thought just some of their staff would be laid off. The shook was that everyone except the delivery van people have been laid off. This included the director, Sarah Long, who was once president of American Library Association.

In Illinois library systems were created to help with resource sharing, continuing education, professional development, networking, and much more. The systems serve all kinds of libraries including public, academic, school and public. All cost were paid by the state; member libraries paid no membership fees. Many years ago I took a class in HTML and was able to prepare my first web site. That first page is still on the web with minor updates even though I have not been with that organization for more than 10 years.

Every week I looked forward to reading announcements and ads concerning what was going on in the north suburban area. They were much more active than the library system that covers the City of Chicago. This blog was listed in their "Reading Room" that featured library oriented blogs. I hope that some how, the State of Illinois will find ways to fix their financial situation so that NSLS can re-open.