the library is the arsenal

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

My People

Here is my new crush. I just can't keep my hands off of anything he writes!

And here is my new family. I'm going to have to get cracking on my application for membership.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Books n' books

We can't join, but we can go to the exhibits. I give you: The Grolier Club. Be sure to check out the library, it lets us in on the collection a bit. Just don't smudge your nose on the screen, they will politely but forcefully ask you to leave. The exhibit that the librarian at the Met is putting together is here , we are invited as Pratt students. I am totally posting. Thanks Jess!

If you have to live in Michigan....

Ann Arbor District Library in my home state has a neat feature on its website. In the catalog type in your favorite book and then click on the "card catalog image" link on the lower right. It's pretty cool. You can add notes and little scribbles on the old card. Who says nostalgia is dead? Nicholson Baker would be happy to see that, check it in LJ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

another for billey

Developing a Shape-and-Composition CBIR Thesaurus for the Traditional Chinese Landscape
Tang Li


In the past decade, content-based image retrieval (CBIR) has been investigated extensively. Current research has suggested that the two elemental issues in CBIR, feature extraction and similarity measures, tend to be domain-specific. This paper develops a shape-and-composition CBIR thesaurus for Chinese landscape paintings dating from the Song to Qing periods (960-1911). The features were extracted from studying approximately 1,000 Chinese landscape paintings. The thesaurus emphasizes discrimination among object types in order to improve retrieval of relevant images. Therefore, it adopts not only basic shapes but also line and shape combinations. Furthermore, special shapes are developed for those object types that are either unique to Chinese art and culture, or are a peculiar shape that cannot easily be abstracted into basic shapes. Although it is domain-specific, the approach of developing and classifying the thesaurus may be applicable to CBIR of non-Chinese art images and CBIR in general.

Full text of the article.

From Library Student Journal.

student discount at metro

I can't go, but maybe you guys are interested:

Current library school students can attend this program for a special price of only $25.

Exploring Encounters with Chat Users: An Introduction to Virtual Reference
Date/Time: Monday, November 5, 2007 – 10:00am to 1:00pm
Location: METRO, 57 E. 11 Street, New York, NY 10003
Presented by Marie L. Radford, Associate Professor at Rutgers SCILS

Description: Is chat reference for you? What do chat reference librarians say about their experiences (positive and negative)? This interactive workshop will present the information you need to provide and evaluate virtual reference. Research reveals that many similar interpersonal skills important to face-to-face reference success are also present (although perhaps seeming to be a bit foreign at first) in the chat environment. Sample chat transcripts will be discussed and critiqued with focus on rapport building and relationship development. Expect an interactive and fun session that will enable you to develop confidence and improve chat reference at your library.

You can get the special LIS student price ($25) by registering online at with a credit card or mailing a check with the METRO registration form .

If you have questions or problems, be sure to e-mail Professional Development Manager, Kate Todd, at or call (212) 228-2320, x. 15.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

from my sister

Hilariously reinforcing stereotypes ("bun of patience") and showing a surprising amount of insight for a non-librarian ("Sorted Speech allows the librarian to speak sensibly in alphabetical or categorical words"). Though I wish "Sorted Speech" were actually the power to catalog everything you've said or heard. Then I'd remember what Kyle and I were giggling hysterically at on Wednesday night, and it would be filed under "Hilarious."

PS. My new goal is to become the most hooly of hooligans. Look out.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Forgot about this paragraph in Sexy L, until proofing just now:

"Audrey regaled her female co-workers with horror stories of the swampiness of New York heat waves as an attempt to diffuse the jibber jabber threatening to pick apart the rich stock of romantic details she was now holding to herself. The tactic was quite obviously accounting for a certain frustration among the constituency of the library’s staff area, especially in the cataloging department, where discussion of Audrey’s date seemed to be transforming marc records into something entirely more epic. Librarians were just as in to dirt as Ladies Who Lunch—they were just more inclined to draw parallels to classic referents. Audrey could tell that several women were just dying to whip out a quote suited especially for her, undoubtedly from either Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Portrait of a Lady."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

library remix: the slideshow

The kind folks at Metro have made the Powerpoint presentation from the workshop I went to last month available online. Enjoy!

First Post!

Random stuff that may be of interest to you three, because of your particular histories/passions (more later....):



TaggerSteve Museum

Digital Libraries


from: David Wagner


I got my art degree at the University of Minnesota and lived in Minneapolis for many years, the Paris of the Midwest. I'd be living there now if it wasn't so cold in the winter
and hot in the summer. It's a wonderful town.
The wonderful downtown library on 3rd street was one of my major hangouts
(even at night - the new Federal Building across the street has an enormous
layout of granite slabs that became a big scene for performance artists,
skateboarders, street theatre, and most important, girls.) and had
voluminous stacks. I know about the fireplaces now - I am a public art
consultant, and was involved in some of the art in the library. I remember
getting blank stares when asking about where the books were going to be
stored. I visited the library in late February and it is very pretty, but

The library I am building here will be called the Library of the Sky. A
reference to the land here, which is spectacular big sky country, and to my
own particular background in aviation, art and history. I have been
involved in many projects, usually public art, that incorporates wind,
aviation, air, and sky. I also have a considerable collection of American
and Asian fiction.

I had a couple inspirations for my library. One is my very close friend,
Jim Wells, who was the director of the Washington County Library system in
the Twin Cities for many years. He always had an unconventional approach to
book and film collection, and especially, the way it was accessed. Needless
to say, never very popular with the Library Board, or with some of the
librarians (he forbade the use of Google by his librarians), but he retired
a couple years ago and now sends me a large box of books every few weeks.
I was also very impressed with the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. I
lived in Oakland for the last 6 years, and I happened into their non
descript building because I got lost looking for the studio of an artist I
was working with. Their approach to collection layout, dependent on context
and proximity, was eye opening to me. I didn't know you didn't have to use
the Dewey Decimal System.

Jim and I are still formulating a way to approach this. I am planning to
purchase a large chunk of the collection of Tal Streeter, a New York
minimalist sculptor who retired here in Santa Fe recently and a very old
friend of mine, and this has made a change in the way we are looking at the

But I enjoy your concept very much. Let me know if you accept books from
donors and what is the best way to do this.

You're right - The Hell Hole was written by a husband and wife team. Their
photo inside depicts a fun loving couple - cocktails, cigars, and palm trees


David Wagner
4007 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Tel 505 795 5286

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Discovery Report #4: Jess

Peter Brantley, a regular contributor to O’Reilly’s blog, Radar, recently posted his notes from a workshop he attended in his role as the Executive Director for the Digital Library Federation, whose aim was to discuss and create a model for dealing with online footage coming out of the Iraq War and other places. This footage is obviously often violent and shocking, and many online archives and websites have been asked to remove such material. The question is complicated not only by the mission of archives to collect and make documents (especially those of historic importance) available to the public at large, but also by questions of rights, privacy, censorship, social and personal responsibility. In the end, the group decided that the archival mission of maintaining an accurate historical record and access to information should be of primary concern, though user feedback would determine whether certain videos and images should be preceded by a warning or removed altogether. The comments at the end of the post continue the conversation, wondering if the term “terrorist” isn’t a relative one in times of war, to which Brantley responded with a graphic description of one video (preceded by a warning), and a firm declaration that such actions, no matter who performs them, are terror, that war is terror, and that it is the duty of archivists to preserve documentation and access to that documentation in the hopes that they will be informative, potentially even enlightening.
In a case like this, where the mission of archives of any type is called into question by an urge to protect, self-censor, or respond to public criticism, it is heartening to see a thoughtful discussion take place among professionals. Archives and other repositories of digital information have an especial vulnerability to public scrutiny since their contents are more widely and easily accessible. I am glad to hear that the participants in this workshop came down on the side of transparency, conservation and preservation rather than following in the footsteps of a media that has yet to show the American public what is happening on the ground in Iraq, either because of outside political pressure, or a sense of self-censorship and misplaced propriety. It is important that the terrors and horrors of war are preserved, studied, and openly available to the public, especially in the case of a public that is funding a war. The question is, as it always must be in any kind of information center, who decides what is information? Who decides what is valid, and what can be accessible to all? In the end, if libraries, archives, and other repositories of information are to maintain the democratic ideal and serve the public good, the urge must be towards full disclosure of information. For the sake of future generations, if not our own, it is of vital importance that a record of this war is preserved, and with this war, more than any other, there is an opportunity to maintain nearly immediate access to the record of the war, and from many more vantage points than ever before. Archivists and other information professionals have a duty to posterity above all else. They should be sensitive to information that is potentially dangerous, even lethal, and provide disclosure about potentially upsetting, traumatizing information, but above all else, they must preserve the public record for study, and whenever possible, to check the record for authenticity.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Open Library

Open Library is a digitization project, much like Google Books, only with librarians. In other words, my dreams come true.

Here is their page regarding librarianship. They're working on a new schema, calling it futurelib. This all seems a little bit pie-in-the-sky, but I tend to run on the optimistic side myself. I signed up for their listserv on my Pratt email. I'll let you know if anything good comes up.

information as art

Click the title above for one thing. Click here for another.

Friday, October 5, 2007

a blog about blogs about libraries

Shoot the Moon

"Books, films, and other informational materials are the weapons of this propaganda effort; THE LIBRARY IS THE ARSENAL. "

-Eric Moon, 1965

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Libraries and the Long Tail with a Technical Divide

In this article, Dempsey analyzes how the “long tail” effects libraries that operate within the online environment. He briefly explains what a long tail means, how this impacts libraries, and suggests ways to improve the current system. Chris Anderson coined the long tail argument in his October 2004 article for Wired magazine. There he explained that huge online distribution businesses (such as can sell more items from hard to find niche markets than it will from frequently requested items in popular markets. The number of niche items far outnumbers the orders placed for popular items. Dempsey applies this argument to the library, which contains “the full range of what has been made available as well as what is now available.” For the library to sustain a long tail and subsequently a viable future, it must employ a number of tools similarly employed by online search engines and large media distribution businesses. These include the unification of search systems, analyze catalog use and circulation, “provide transaction support” and utilize an increasingly semantic web. The key as Dempsey puts it “is about make it much easier to allow a reader to find it and get it, whatever ‘it’ is.”
I actually enjoyed this article and agreed with many of Dempsey’s opinions and suggestions; however I take issue with his assumption that everyone is has internet access or at the very least a computer. His long tail library would serve only the technological elite, leaving the digitally divided behind. He cites Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, (1- Books are for use. 2- Every reader has his or her book. 3- Every book has its reader. 4- Save the time of the reader. 5- The library is a growing organism.) and suggests the use of semantic systems as way to advance them. It is amazing and incredibly useful technology, but we cannot forget how these continuous changes will affect those not plugged into the network. How libraries will respond to their needs?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

information architecture needs semantic structures

An interesting slideshow about the relationship between semantics/ontologies and IA.