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Librariana, bibliomania, and information glut from around the Internet.
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Asker zemkat Asks:
Hey! (I am also library-computer) What's the SuDoc plugin doing (or not doing) for you in Chrome? The install buttons should work as expected, but using the plugins is a little weird -- when you press the install button, you'll be prompted to assign a keyword to the search engine (I use "mocat" and "cgp" for these). After it's installed, you can type that keyword in the search bar, press tab, and it will prompt you to search.
text-block text-block Said:

Ah, you’re right, it does work in Chrome!  I can get it if I go to your OpenSearch Engines page and use the buttons there (though I have to give it a keyword, just as you said).  Sweet!

The first time I tried adding plugins in Chrome, I was on the OpenSearch Engines page, but I was inadvertently using an incognito window, and nothing would happen when I selected a button.


I am working on a government document (retrospective) cataloging project, part of which is verifying SuDoc numbers that appear on the piece or in non-GPO OCLC records. Authoritative SuDoc numbers can be found in Monthly Catalog of US Government Publications (January 1895 through June 1976) or Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, (1976 to present, although some older than 1976 are being added).

Both sites have powerful search capabilities, indexing many fields, but today when I’m using them, I only want to do one type of search: confirm that this SuDoc number is authorized for the piece I have in hand. Both allow searching by SuDoc number, but the field is embedded in a lengthy form, and is in a different place for each.

Each search/confirmation takes maybe a minute or two but when you’ve got shelves worth of material to catalog (mostly in thin envelopes) with more coming down every day, those minutes add up!

To speed up this process, I wrote some OpenSearch browser plugins that allow you to search each catalog from your browser search bar. Just select the correct catalog from the drop-down (based on document date), type or paste in the SuDoc number:


and it will display the search results from that catalog.

The source code for these plugins is available on github, or you can install them (and any of my other plugins) straight from my web site. Instructions for installation and use with various browsers can be found in my blog post.

One of these was very quick to write; once I identified the SuDoc form element, I was able to easily adapt one of my other plugins to do the task. The other catalog requires “initialization” before you can start searching, so I started by completing that step in a non-displaying iframe (“Just one moment…) before re-loading the page with the form submission.

Passing this along because it is so darn cool (though I can’t get it to work in Chrome, only Firefox).  Thank you!

Libraries and online content aren’t mutually exclusive. It takes something of a hearts-and-minds campaign to make people realize the role the library plays here—not just in terms of making informed decisions about the information they consume, but in that our buildings have so much more than just books.

Toby Greenwalt (aka theanalogdivide) in this great profile of the man & his work at PopCity. Congratulations, Toby & thanks for representing libraries so well!

(PS, Toby’s excellent webinar, Fostering a Culture of Innovation on a Shoestring, is also available for your delight & edification.)

It’s often easy for us to slip into librarian jargon when explaining something to a student but sometimes the most effective way to increase their comprehension of a subject is to abandon the technical terminology. This does not mean talking down to them but, instead, reframe it in terms that better fit their own life experiences.


Here’s part 1 & 2 of Eli’s 2010 talk on ebooks titled “Libraries are Screwed”. It’s quite possibly the most important thing that anyone’s said about libraries in the digital age and I believe it’s up there with Ranganathan et al.

Part 2 in particular has a renewed relevance to our conversation on eBooks-in-libraries, what with Amazon’s ebook subscription service being the thing people are talking about. (Please do watch part 2!).

Eli lays it out: the time of “libraries as distribution centers for popular fiction" is over. (Sure, we’ll still do that now and in the future, but we’re going to continue to ride into the sunset as municipal budgets get cut as long as we continue to think of libraries in that model).

Some important quotes:

"In an internetworked world, when you can download anything from anywhere, the idea of having a local copy only makes sense to a hoarder.
No digital native is going to get excited about waiting to receive a digital object, and what’s the sense in making someone give something back to you when you still have it even after you gave it to them?
The purpose of libraries when they were created was not to purchase commercial content for use by the community but to store and organize the content of the community.

Please do watch this (at least part 2), think deeply about it, and share it widely. It’s a more important message in 2014 than is was in 2010.

Reposting because this lecture is an oldie but goodie.

Collette J. at A Wrinkle in Tech discusses why she decided to get rid of the “decimal” portion of the Dewey Decimal Classification of her school’s nonfiction:

  1. I’ve stealthily been shortening the decimals to whole numbers on all the new books for the second half of the school year.  It hasn’t impeded students’ ability to find a book in my professional opinion.
  2. Students don’t learn about decimals until at least 3rd grade.  I want students to use the nonfiction WELL before that.  I let kindergarten and 1st graders check out nonfiction, especially with the Common Core 50/50 fiction/nonfiction expectations barreling down the tracks.
  3. The main point of the Dewey Decimal System, or METIS or any other system of organizing books, is to make them easy to find and use.  I think sometimes we forget that.  If we can make it easier to find a book or audiobook, more students will find what they are looking for and consequently spend more time actually reading and learning.
  4. If a student goes from the Spring Ridge library to another library that uses the full decimals, they will still have the basic skills to find a book.  A number still denotes a topic.  567 is still dinosaurs, with or without the .9 after it.
  5. And finally, I’m not going to change all the call numbers myself.  I’m having Mackin do it for me for $300.  My collection has just over 12,000 titles.  I can think of much better uses of my time than sitting at a computer editing copy records in Destiny one at a time.  Some very clever computer programmer will write some code and change the call numbers for me, plus the price is right.

It’s an interesting read.  Tech services librarians and school librarians, what do you think of her decision?  Would you have done the same?  Why or why not?

Video is at the link, but unfortunately I can’t embed it.

So in Creative Experience we have Mac computers and they’re all set up in collaborative work areas we call them pods,’ says Andrea Johnson, the Creative Experience Specialist. ‘They have the iLife suite on them which is Garageband, iMovie and iPhoto and we also have Adobe Creative Suite Six which includes Photoshop and Dreamweaver.’

Hey, nice. Any other public libraries do this?

In Brief: A call for articles based on an open source outline

On January 20th, 2014 nina de jesus posted “Outline for a Paper I Probably Won’t Write.” The editors at In the Library with the Lead Pipe approached de jesus to see if she might like to write it after all. We also discussed her idea to release her outline with an open source license and see what others would write. We are thrilled to announce that de jesus agreed to both.

If you are interested in writing an article for us based on this outline and would like to work with a Lead Pipe editor, please email ellie@leadpi.pe by August 13th, 2014. If you would like to write your article without going through the Lead Pipe peer review process, please email ellie@leadpi.pe by September 10th, 2014 with a link to your completed article. You are not bound to follow the outline to the letter. We welcome divergence and dissent.

Depending on the number and quality of submissions we receive, we will either publish all of the articles together as a digital edition or we will publish de jesus’s article here along with links to any other articles published using this outline.

The deadline for the completed article is September 10th, with a publication date of September 24th.

This is a great idea! And based upon her outline, I’d read the heck out of de jesus’s paper.