Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Does an Earthquake Do to a Library?

Today's news that a moderate earthquake shook California quickly spread through the social networks (well, a 5.8 earthquake isn't moderate in my books!) It was only a matter of time before some video surfaced. I was excited to see that the first footage I saw was of the damage in a library. I had never thought about what the after-effects of a little quake would be on a library--

This is from Daynah, taken when she happened to be taking video and photos at the Science Library at UC Riverside.

I am relieved to see no one was hurt, although I'm glad I don't have to do the clean up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twebinars - Are Webinars Using Twitter Going Too Far?

Anyone who follows my blogging probably knows I'm a bit of a Twitter fanatic. Still, I'm not sure about Twebinars, the new webinar series using Twitter.

The current Twebinar series is being sponsored by social media monitoring company Radian6 who, incidentally, are based in Fredericton, New Brunswick (I think that's so cool!). The series is being hosted by my favourite social media community specialist, Boston-based Chris Brogan.

But the idea of following a program along on the web and then chatting with fellow participants using Twitter leaves me wondering--how useful will the Twitter discussion part be? It is not like all participants will be following one another, and if I'm even more chatty then usual (and I'm pretty chatty!) will my Twitter followers not taking the Twebinar be completely annoyed? I know why they did it this way-because it helps raise awareness of the series amongst the "early adopters" on Twitter, and I'm sure it is hoped this will therefore raise awareness of Radian6 among them and their network. I don't have a problem with that.

I'm interested in seeing how all of this works. I missed the first in the series but am going to catch the second tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 pm ET. It's called Who Really Owns Your Brand? You can read more about it here and if you would like to join me you can register for free here.

The third in the series is The Importance of Listening on Tuesday, August 19, 2 pm ET.

Regardless of whether the Twitter part works or not, Chris Brogan is always entertaining, informative and inspiring, so it will definitely be worth your while.

Slaw Update

Do you read Slaw, the Canadian co-operative law blog? We're now three years old! I try not to re-post from one blog to the other, but as a result I suspect not everyone reading here knows I post over there as well. I hope to start regularly posting references to Slaw just to help keep track. Here are my posts (so far) for July:

It's interesting to see them altogether. I have even more of a Web 2.0 slant on things than I thought!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Law Library and Legal Vendor Relationships

Over on Slaw today Simon Chester posted excerpts from an article on by Alvin Podboy called Legal Information Needs a Little Kedging. The subject of library and vendor relations is close to my heart, and I have worked on both TALL and CALL committees over time to help improve relations. I had not heard of the sailing term "kedging" before, but it seems to me quite appropos in this context--I encourage you to read the full article.

The post on Slaw got me a little worked up and I posted the following (too long!) comment:

[rant on]

I firmly believe law librarians and legal vendors should be working in partnership, to
understand one another and work to each other's mutual benefit.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries' Vendor Liaison Committee and similar liaison committees in our local associations work closely with the vendors to build good relations. It is through these good relationships that we can address issues and work to the benefit of both.

Case in point is the CALL VLC subcommittee on loose leafs that explored--sometimes in pain-staking detail--issues surrounding loose leaf services. The result is the CALL- VLC code of good practices for loose-leaf publications. Both librarians and vendor representatives participated, were open and forth-coming during the process, and as a result we managed to reach a consensus.

I really hope that we build on the good work done by the association committees and abolish the unfortunate attitude some still hold that vendors are somehow the "evil empire". Without vendors and publishers helping in the creation and supply of our books and other information, we simply would not have libraries.

Librarians can work, on an individual or organizational level, with their vendor representatives to guide them towards products and services they would find most helpful. If they find something objectionable, they need to find diplomatic ways to explain their positions and help the vendor or publisher understand the concern. Having good day-to-day relationships with the vendor reps goes a long way in helping with this.

[rant off]

What do you think? How can we improve relations?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Slaw Post: Viacom Vying for Your YouTube User Records

Yesterday at the Slaw blog I wrote a summary of the Viacom v. Google order that came out, ordering Google to release YouTube user records to Viacom.

I'm in the middle of reading Joseph Jaffe's latest book Join the Conversation (disclosure: I have a review copy for the purposes of blogging about the book) and see he anticipated this controversy. In the context of companies having to earn the right to become part of an existing community, he writes:
The major media and the music and entertainment companies like Viacom and Disney just don't understand that the larger world does not revolve around them and their self-contained worlds (real or virtual) anymore. They see YouTube stealing their lunch and their logical gut reaction is (a) to sue and (b) to create a cheap imitation. Try as hard as they might, and no matter how much money they sink into the beast, what they will never have going for them is the intangible sense of belonging that is community. (page 215)
He hasn't written any response to the latest order, but I hope he does try his hand at it. Some people say there is no way this order will stand, that it will be appealed. But then, why is Google talking about giving anonymized records? Will they give Viacom what they are asking for in such a way that it will become onerous (and therefore teach them a lesson)?

We live in interesting times indeed...

Some quick related links:

Steve Matthews on Rogers' Canadan iPhone Pricing

I can't help but agree with Steve Matthews' assessment of the pricing situation for the to-be-released iPhone from Rogers.

It's frustrating. Since I gave my blackberry back when I left my law firm I'm been holding off getting any sort of PDA or smart phone to see what would happen. I'm frustrated that a 3-year contract is required for any kind of reasonable pricing, and even then unlimited data is not available. I would love to start using a live-streaming video service like Qik but it will just not be practical without unlimited data.

I feel this is holding our whole country back from keeping up with the rest of the world's mobile industries. This 1990s thinking ("let's see how much money we can get out of them") is still holding back wide adoption of mobile technology. If they would drop the pricing so many more of us would sign up immediately.

I'm inclined to hold off buying any of the shiny new toys from Rogers (iPhone, Blackberry Bold, or the Palm Centro I was really coveting) because of the pricing. As someone who wants to be on the leading edge of computing, I'm just not sure what else to turn to. My current 3-year cell phone contract with Bell is up and I'm equally frustrated with the service I've had with it. The phone itself is nice, but the pricing too expensive to use all the funky web and music features. And the voicemail interface has a lot to be desired.