Is anyone out there using Yahoo Pipes, Google Mashups, or something like Dapper or Coghead on a library website or for library services? If so, I want to talk to you! I’m writing an article. Email me at email@example.com.
19 July 2007
18 July 2007
You’ve no doubt already heard about the Open Library demo site from the Internet Archive, brainchild of Brewster Kahle and Aaron Swartz. I think it’s a really exciting project, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it soon.
One thing that struck me as interesting is a technical detail. On the “About the technology” page, there’s this tidbit:
We wanted a database that could hold tens of millions of records, that would allow random users to modify its entries and keep a full history of their changes, and that would hold arbitrary semi-structured data as users added it. Each of these problems had been solved on its own, but nobody had yet built a technology that solved all three together.
So we created ThingDB (tdb), a new database framework that gives us this flexibility. ThingDB stores a collection of objects, called “things”. For example, on the Open Library site, each page, book, author, and user is a thing in the database. Each thing then has a series of arbitrary key-value pairs as properties. [...] Each collection of key-value pairs is stored as a version, along with the time it was saved and the person who saved it. This allows us to store full semi-structured data, as well as travel back thru time to retrieve old versions of it.
This sounds really interesting. It also reminds me very much of Maya’s u-forms (pdf), aside from the fact that the identifiers aren’t UUIDs. Although I’m not really database-savvy enough to know much about the underlying infrastructure that makes any of this happen, so my interest is something like an ape staring at a power drill, but still, I thought it worth noting.
8 July 2007
The biblioblogosphere is fluttering with talk about the fluffy librarian-image piece in the New York Times style section. On one hand, it’s one of those “Librarians: we’re cooler than you think we are” articles, and as those go, it’s not a half bad one. I mean, Jessamyn gets mentioned, so that’s one thing going for it right there.
But Karen Schneider calls out what’s lacking. It is, after all, the style section, and there’s a lot of concentration on cocktails, clothes, and tattoos. There’s also a glossing-over of some stereotyping that deserves examining and lack of attention to the things that truly make librarians “hip”. Karen writes,
Jessamyn is of the hippest of the hip not because she routinely uses instant messaging, but because she is such a tireless advocate for small libraries and poor communities â€” the unserved, often voiceless communities many of us (including me) forget about when we get hopped up about some new new thing.
Right on. And she goes on to say,
I am cool in my subversive old-lady tech-loving the-user-is-not-broken way, and getting cooler all the time, and I count among my friends and colleagues librarians of all ages, dress codes, and evening habits.
Karen, if you want to identify as “old lady”, I’ll support you on whatever you want to be. But I have to say, also one of the coolest librarians I know of. Thanks for blogging.