Friday, May 23, 2008


Further my infatuation with Old English (OE), sparked by Dr. D. S. Lee's lectures, I just discovered James Rumford's wonderful retelling of Beowulf. The back cover points out the he's used modern English words that come from Old English almost exclusively. The language is beautiful, as is the book design, the length is good for the impatient and there are wonderful touches: after the introduction we meet Beowulf in the original, "Beowulf is min nama" - Beowulf is my name. The final line is also included in OE.


I've long thought that what needed to happen in order to restore the standing of the United States within the community of nations was for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to be tried at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Then hearing Mac Maharaj and Padraig O'Malley on Fresh Air, I'm wondering of some sort of international reconciliation might not be a better path.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sites: Word file or Google Doc?

When I'm using a Google Sites wiki and I've got a document I want to associate with a page, should I attach a Word (or Excel or PowerPoint) file or should I link to a Google Docs file?

  • If it's too complex to be a Google Docs file, then it should be an Office file.
  • If I want several people to be able to work on it at once then it should be a Google Doc.
  • It probably shouldn't be both.
  • Any other guidelines?
  • How to transition from having everything as Office files on the local server to having Google Docs in the cloud?

I can't seem to get those Ubuntu USB install to work

Yesterday I tried two Ubuntu 8.04 installs to USB from a full install and a (for lack of a better term) lesser install. Neither worked.
  • The full install booted and asked me to log in but then went to a blank screen - the desktop never loaded. I could Ctrl-Alt-Del and get the shutdown options, but that was all.
  • The lesser install (it only requires a 1GB usb drive) would not even boot.
Both are install from the live CD which works fine. Both I tried both twice to no avail. Suggestions welcome.

Photo Book for Mom

I want to make a book of photos of Mom. What are the option?

Whither tinyurl?

Yikes! Here's what it says this morning:

500 - Internal Server Error

This server has encountered an internal error.

Follow these instructions: change the domain name that appears in the URL in the address bar of your web browser from to and leave everything else the same. Press the "go" button or hit the return key to be redirected to the page the TinyURL you followed goes to.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

But following those instructions it still doesn't work.

Has it been overwhelmed by twitter?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cataloging Graphic Novels

  • Husson College, Bangor, 5/16/08
  • My Google Notebook for this is here.
  • monographs "never end" as distinct from serials
  • Graphic novels are a format.
  • There is a graphic novel material type.
  • Searching
    • Don't search by ISBN - you'll miss it hasn't been assigned
    • Rather, search by title
  • Overlay - wipes out the destination record - that's OK if there are only 3 lines.
  • Copying is a less drastic alternative to overlay.
  • If you've got a bad record, don't create a new record. Fix it.
  • "You're in a fix mode when you're doing these graphic novels"
  • Don't put prices on the 020. You can remove it if it's there.
  • If the paperback is basically the same as the hardback (it can be a cm or 2 off and a few pages off) it should be on the same record.
  • An adapted work is entered under the adaptor. You still give credit to the original author (245 |c & 700)
  • If it's not on the title page don't put it in.
  • 100 is main entry
  • 245 is title and statement of responsibility.
  • 245
    • |n numbered part
    • |p part name
  • 245 is the hardest part.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Health and Microwave (and other) Radiation

So far I have not found convincing anything I've heard or read about the danger of cell phones and wifi and similar technologies.
  • Disclaimers:
    • I have not myself read any actual scientific studies that discuss these issues.
    • It is my hope that these technologies do not affect human health adversely.
    • I think it is possible that these technologies cause measurable health effects.
    • I think it is possible that these technologies don't cause measurable health effects.
  • What I've heard and read:
    • A panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California. What I heard of this discussion (I didn't hear all of it) was focused around the Bioinitiative Report.
    • Back in December I did some searching and found and an article "How Cell Phones May Cause Autism"
  • Why am I skeptical?
    • None of what I've read or heard so far is at all specific about the dangers. It doesn't discuss or differentiate:
      • different frequencies of radiation
      • different power levels of radiation
    • The discussions have a fearmongering style
    • In at least one case it seemed as if the guy had hooked onto this issue and was riding it for all it's worth.
    • There's no discussion of comparative risks. For example, if a study shows some risk, how does that risk compare with the risk of riding in an automobile? As Marvin Minsky said, we need a department of homeland arithmetic.
    • There's reference to information bearing radiation, or something like that - I don't recall the exact wording. But it's as if the information in the radiation will somehow mess up the information in our DNA. But perhaps they're just using the term to differentiate wifi and other fairly low energy radiation from microwave radiation which is actually strong enough to cause heating.
My Google Notebook on the topic is here and here are my links tagged radiation.

What I don't like about Google Sites

  • No tags (or facets) on pages
  • I can't create a page in a manner comperable to using CamelCase in a traditional wiki.
    • For some reason, this makes pages much less representative of concepts.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google Apps for Libraries

  • Notes:
  • Ellsworth Public Library 5/14/08
  • Mark Arnold
    • Deer Isle/Stonington School
  • Google Apps
    • Sites - when to attach a .doc file and when to have the doc in Docs
    • What about Google's right to use anything on your site.
    • How to do specific things with Google Apps?
    • How to transition from disks to Apps?
  • Don't call it an email account, since that can cause problems

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lucas Gonze and Jon Udell

I listened to this Interview With Innovators. It brings to mind:
  • Dr. Lee's discussion in his last lecture on manuscripts about the lack of authorship.
  • Duncan Cragg's microweb
  • All the cataloging stuff about work and manifestation, etc. and the LibraryThing version of that.
  • Clay Shirky's talk at the Long Now Foundation.
  • Being useful. - serving
  • Ride match
This is a very unfocused talk, but very worth while.
  • audiokatia
  • rss
    • and Jon's frustration at its limit adoption
  • syndication
  • Bitzi
    • provides a unique identifier for a file
  • syndication
  • music playlists
  • curating

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Microphone Craft

Update: Here it is, via this search.

In the past week or so, NPR had a story on a couple in the southeast who manufacture microphones. The reporter was a women who noted that she and her ilk are "people of the microphone." I think the couple live on a farm and have chicken or geese or something like that. I've not been able to find the story with NPR's search, which I frequently find annoying.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Why I'm grumpy about apps that aren't browser based

Application implemented in the browser automatically have these feature (unless the designer actively disables them, which alas, they sometimes do):
  • use anywhere - it's hard to find a computer that doesn't have a browser
  • variable font size - really small fonts are really annoying
  • text search - I expect it to be available - it it's not, it's annoying
  • copy and paste from the text - with formatting
  • multi-platform - Windows, Mac & Linux, obviously, but also, in may case, Palm
  • spell check on text input
  • view source - I like to know how things work
  • save page - it's sometimes convenient to have a local copy
iTunes is a good example of this problem. I'd like the text to be larger. It's search is good, but being able to search the visible text of the screen would be even better.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Reading via the index and table of contents

When I pick up a non-fiction book in a bookstore or a library I seldom begin my examination by looking at the content. Rather, I look at the table of contents to get a general overiew, and then in the index to see if it has references to people or concepts that I already associate with the topic. More atomization.

The Most Concise AACR2 as JSON

(see "The Most Concise AACR2." by Michael Gorman from American Libraries 12:8 (Sept. 1981), p. 499; - reprinted in Foundations of Cataloging : a sourcebook available here and here and available here via MARVEL!)

Rule 1. Describe the item you have in hand. Record the following details in this order and with this punctuation:
Title : subtitle / author's name as given ; names of other person or bodies named on the title page, label, container, title frame, etc. -- Edition (abbreviated). -- Place of publication : Publisher, Year of publication.
Number of pages, volumes, discs, reels, objects, etc. ; Dimensions of the object (metric). -- (Name of series)
Descriptive notes
Examples of descriptions
  1. His last bow : some reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes / A. Conan Doyle. -- London : Murray, 1917.
    305 p. ; 20 cm. -- (Murray's fiction library)
  2. A white sport coat and a pink custacean / Jimmy Buffett. -- New York : ABC, 1973.
    1 sound disc. ; 12 in.
    Backing by the Coral Reefer Band.
  3. Little Ernie's big day / by Norma Eustace ; designed by Doris Manier. -- 2nd ed. -- Chicago : Little Folks, 1980.
    1 filmstrip ; 35 mm. -- (Big day filmstrips)
If the item is a serial...


"author's name as given":"author's name as given",
"names of other persons or bodies named on the title page":"names of other persons or bodies named on the title page",
"Place of publication":"Place of publication",
"Year of publication":"Year of publication",
"Number of pages":"Number of pages",
"Dimensions of the object":"Dimensions of the object",
"Name of series":"Name of series"}

Example 1:

{"Title":"His last bow",
"Subtitle":"some reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes",
"Creator":"A. Conan Doyle",
"NumberOfPagesEtc":"305 p",
"Dimensions":"20 cm",
"SeriesName":"Murray's fiction library"}

Example 2:

{"Title":"A white sport coat and a pink crustacean",
"Creator":"Jimmy Buffet",
"PublicationPlace":"New York",
"NumberOfPagesEtc":"1 sound disc",
"Dimensions":"12 in",
"DescriptiveNotes":"Backing by Coral Reefer Band."}

Example 3:

{"Title":"A white sport coat and a pink crustacean",
"Creator":"Jimmy Buffet",
"OtherPersonsEtcNamedOn":"designed by Doris Manier",
"Edition":"2nd ed.",
"Publisher":"Little Folks",
"NumberOfPagesEtc":"1 filmstrip",
"Dimensions":"35 mm.",
"SeriesName":"Big day filmstrips"}

Why is field identification using punctuation so important to Michael Gorman? It's arcane and difficult for a machine to parse. Why not use labels which are at least somewhat self-documenting (and therefore somewhat less arcane) and easy for a machine to parse. He seems to be fine with MARC, but remember that it was created essential to computerize the process of typesetting the catalog cards the Library of Congress used to sell. An important characteristic of those cards was the use of various typographic conventions (font size, bold, layout) in addition to punctuation. We've long since given up on that attractive and marginally useful aspect of catalog presentation and Gorman is not (any longer, at least) complaining about that.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Test post

This is a test post via blog.gears.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Old vs New - Cataloging rules and tags

The old way: lots and lots of rules, some of which are meant to define and then take into account the needs of the user.

The new way: let the user define her own needs and take them into account as he sees fit, and then aggregate the result, both statistically and by tagger.