Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fact Check.Org - Truth vs. Facts

Fact Check.org is a nonprofit, nonpolitical resource for citizens that have learned to verify before trusting anything from a political, corporate or public resource.

Funded by the Annenberg Center on Public Policy and located at the University of Pennsylvania, Fact Check.org evaluates the truthfulness of statements made by politicians, advocacy groups (both politically left and right) and other organizations that use the media to advance their message. It accepts no monitary donations.

Fact Check.org

On the day that I visited there was an explanation that a false e-mail is being circulated that members of Congress don't pay Social Security taxes. The site provides the documentation to validate that members of Congress do indeed pay Social Security taxes and can received benefits.

Another section deals with the claim that the Republicans created the Department of Homeland Security when in fact the White House resisted the departments creation. Again there is documentation to support that fact.

The Democrates do not get off easy either, they ran an web video that associated terrorism with undocumented workers. The video has since been removed.

With the political season about to begin this site is a necessary resource.
http://factcheck.org

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing...

I'm excited, new school year, getting closure to my goal of graduation. I gave the first of my presentations to the Lib 104 class.

Yikes! The class must have thought I was a nut job. I was talking really fast and presented a lot of topics without enough explanation. Here is the thing. I knew what I wanted to say. I did say it but I discovered I did it backwards. I either talk too much or too fast.

Doing presentations is hard. But learning to give presentations is an important part of the program. It is also a part of the library assistant's job when you have to explain concepts to patrons and/ co-workers.

The only way to learn how to do them perfectly is to muck up once in a while and then find the help that you need. So after beating myself up for a few minutes, the length of a 25 minute bus ride, I think I can find some help.

The first place I checked out was Ask Oxford's section on giving presentation. Very helpful.

Another page on Oral Presentation Skills by Mark D. Hill had a section on Academic Interview Talks which kinda matched what I was trying to do in format. I'm sleeping with that printout.

Guy Kawasaki is one of the pioneers of computing. He was around when Apple computers were just being born and is well known in computer land. Guy is also a great writer and speaker. He gives great tips on his blog.

Finally, from an unexpected source, Dyslexia at College has a really neat page on helping dyslexic give presentations. It is a brief, step by step guide. I don't have Dyslexia (I think) but it really made a lot of sense to me.

So here is what I should have done:
  1. Slow down. I had twenty minutes. I used 15 of them.
  2. Ask the question "How many folks know what a blog is and have you been to one? I did do this but asked at the end of my presentation. I could have helped people understand better what blogging is and gave a better foundation for the talk.
  3. Give an overview of what blogging is and show a few examples.
  4. Introduce the PCC Library Tech blog
  5. Explain why it is important for my classmates to know how to do this, and more importantly what is the return on the investment. Like job opportunities, networking, skill building, gaining information. The good stuff.
  6. Ask for their contribution to the blog.
  7. Offer to train anyone that wants to learn how to blog. It really doesn't take a lot of time.
Now that I have my tools in place I will be ready for the next classes. I can't promise that I will slow down, (I can try) but I do think it will be different.

I hope. If you were in the Lib 104 class and actually followed up on the "unofficial homework" please leave me a comment. Just click the comment link down below and you can tell me what you experienced.

NewsLib - Specialized Library Blog

Newslib is a specialized library blog for Librarians, News Researchers and library workers who support newspapers, television programs and documentaries.

For example, if a reporter needs background on a topic a News Librarian can help gather accurate information.

Sometimes a News Researcher can help generate news stories. There is a great example in an article found on the American Journalism Review site; where a News Researcher plowed through the statistical data to find fraud in Katrina based assistance.

On the blog you can also find job openings, networking opportunities and links to others news librarian sites. One of the best is a link to the Special Libraries Association News Division web site. You can get a good feel for what it would take to work in the profession.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Matter of Translation - Altavista's Babelfish

Within the space of three weeks I have been communicating with people who speak French or have had someone send me a message in French. I do not speak French, nor can I read or write it. It is not that I lacked opportunity.
Altavista's Babelfish

It is because I was a 13 year old person who could not perceived that this would be a good thing to study. I and some other ding-a-ling in my class made the point to our French teacher that we didn't know anybody that spoke French and would never meet anyone so why waste our time.

Idiot! This is when you need time travel to go back and whack yourself upside the head.

Which brings me to today's post. I got a message from one of the list serve that was in French. I could make out Lebannon and library but nothing else. This is the blog of the original post: http://bibliban.over-blog.com

I'm interested but can't read it. Not a problem. I visit http://babelfish.altavista.com/


I type in the website or blog address, choose my language and click translate.

It is not perfect. It is a machine translation so I can get about 75 to 80% of the intented meaning of the blog. You also can just type or copy a block of text to get a translation.

I have been communicating with some folks in France and I find that I need to be careful typing English that will be translated by Babelfish.

In a multi-language world it is good to have a back-up at the tip of my fingers.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quick Study - Consumer Information Guide

Part of my time was spent watching way too much television, especially the UHF channels. In pre-21st Century television this was the main place to check out cartoons created in Japan, old Sci-Fi television programs and commercials for the Ronco Veg-A-Matic.

There was also an abundance of public service announcements. There were plenty for what is now known as the GSA Federal Citizen Information Center, aka that place in Pueblo, Colorado.

The Consumer Information Guide is a gateway to free or low cost publications that help citizens and consumers make informed decisions. You can use it to get up to speed on a topic, as a free hand out to help patrons requesting information or as a starting point in researching a topic.

www.gsa.pueblo.gov

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mrs. Manoogian's Blog - A Librarian's Journey

Wow - you never know who you will meet and meet again. A while back I did a small video clip of Mrs. Manoogian. She just found out about the clip and was kind to send me a comment.

I followed the trail and discovered that she has a blog http://hyesearch.blogspot.com

She has been blogging since August 2004. Mrs. Manogian has been everything from a library volunteer, library assistant, teacher, librarian and now she is studying for her Ph.D at UCLA.

It is a small world. if I get the chance I need to do some serious talking with this lady.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Song Mnemonics - Help Learning Classifications

Any kid who watched ABC-TV's School House Rock knows what a conjunction is, how a bill moves through Congress and those pesky multiplication tables.

Songs can really help you remember information. When I was taking Library 103, I could not remember the Dewey Decimal System. No amount of dry reciting was sticking classifications in my head. I needed something catchy like "Interplanet Janet".

Or perhaps an old jump rope tunes like "Pizza, Pizza Daddy-O" or "Old Lady Mack aka Miss Mary Mack" A number jump rope song like "Ten-20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, A 90 is okay if you are shaky on the 10 tables but it didn't work for Dewey.

I had to simplify. I needed to get the number and the classifications together. I needed something I could say as I walked to the bus stop or doing laundry. The light bulb moment hit me at the 99 Cents Only Store.

Zero generalities books on the wall,
Zero generalities of books,
Take one down and pass it around,
Zero generalities of books on the wall.

Yep. For learning the ten major classifications of the Dewey Decimal System you can you use a time honored classic like "99 Bottle of Beer on the Wall". This does work but like anything else you have to practice it. Which I did for the mid-term but not enough for the final.
Ouch.

Library of Congress Classification system? Well I'm still working on a song that I can remember but one of my classmates, Gordon, had good luck with " A Your Adorable, B Your so Beautiful. SuDocs? - You are on your own.

Just For Fun

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Net Neutrality - Tier Access

This is my attempt at explaining the concept of Net Neutrality-Tier Access and how it could affect not only Shatford Library but all libraries and the general public. It is a complicated subject, but at the core is the right to control information.

A Wee Bit of Technical Background - Simplified

The phone companies provide the transmission “backbone” of what is now called the Internet. Every second of every day data is traveling through the phone company infrastructure.

The current data that is transmitted is plain old telephone service (POTS), E-mail and most forms of Internet connections. It is also includes Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP or Internet Phone services) Audio and Video content not to mention data from cable, satellite and broadcast television stations.

My Understanding of Tier Access

The phone companies are actively pushing for new legislation to create a tier or metered access. For example, Amazon.com would pay more for having more traffic and using more bandwidth than I would pay as a blogger.

Shatford Library may not generate the same level of bandwidth as Amazon.com but there is a cost to provide library Internet services. There would be an increase the amount PCC and Shatford would have to pay to provide those services.

As a blogger and consumer of audio/video content, the phone companies feel that I should pay more for my bandwidth usage than a person just sending and receiving e-mail.

The phone companies want the freedom to increase the cost of providing the services without restriction or regulation. On the surface it seems fair; you use more, you pay more.

The reality is that Amazon.com does pay more money for access. They purchase multiple high speed transmission lines. Shatford Library also spends quite a bit of money to provide web access to staff and students. As a blogger, I pay for my ISP connection to the Internet as well as my normal phone service.

The phone companies are getting paid. They now want the right to more compensation. A lot more.
  • With Tier or Metered Access Amazon.com would be required to pay much more money because they are using a certain level of bandwidth as determined by the phone companies. Not only that but if a competitor of Amazon.com wanted to purchase an exclusive contract that a certain section or domain of the Internet is “Sponsored by” the phone companies could block access to Amazon.com.
  • Shatford Library would pay a much higher rate because staff, students and faculty would generate a certain level of usage. If the rate becomes excessive the college would have increase the budget or the library would have to reduce or eliminate providing its current level of access.
  • If my Internet Service Provider could no longer eat the cost of the number of member free web sites and blog traffic it could make the decision to reduce, limit or charge me more for my access and content. I might also lose the company that host the videos and the company that provides free blogging services.
This has real implications for all library patrons, workers and book junkies alike. Okay, maybe not the Luddite bookies but it would have a dramatic effect on users who cannot afford home access and depend on libraries for Internet connections. What happens when libraries can't afford to provide anything more than basic connection?

More Information:

There are many sides to this topic. Tier Access is just one aspect of the discussion about Net Neutrality.

Dive in and join the discussion.

Make a New Plan - DIY Planner

I used to be a free thinking soul. I could remember 10 different things to do and tack on the 11th for fun.

Alas, those days are gone. I now put the keys in the same spot. I have paper and computer calendars. I have to write it down and review once a week and that is just to remind me to look at the pile of the "to do's" and "you gotta's".

Yeah I know I have to register for classes. You didn't know - we meet up on August 28th!

Fear not, we have a bit of help. DIY Planner doesn't care how you organize your life. You can be analog or digital person. The site will help you get it together, er... so long as paper is involved.

The categories on the left of the screen offer tips on the various ways you can get your life in order. Best yet, there are many free downloadable forms you can print out and use to help you stay connected with you ever increasing life duties.

http://www.diyplanner.com