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Internet Librarian! April 26, 2006

Posted by nanette in Thoughts.
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I received an e-mail today from Jane Dysart, one of the organizers for Internet Librarian 2006. My session has been accepted, and I'll be part of what Aaron calls "the cool public library track"! This means that I will definitely be going to Internet Librarian this year, and that Tim will probably be going with me.

The title was changed from "Pimp My OPAC" to something generic about OPACs and user experiences, but I'm sure I can still call my piece of the presentation "Pimp My OPAC." Yes, I did say "my piece of the presentation," because my session has been combined with a session co-presented by…Glenn Peterson.

Dude, I feel like such a poser. Lil' old me…and GLENN PETERSON, who is behind one of the nicest-looking, most usable OPACs out there. Glenn Peterson, whose presentation at the CODI conference last year opened my eyes to the cool things you can do with ugly ol' SirsiDynix HIP. Glenn Peterson, whose latest project has set the library weblog world aflutter, and for good reason.  

I'd better get a whole lot smarter before October. I've got to learn how to hang with the superstars!

In other-news-related-to-our-library-website, I got to see some mockups of possible site designs. They are great. Just…phenomenal. The web design firm the library has hired for the site redesign has really run with this project. We are on our way to an attractive, functional web site.

Also, I answered an IM reference question today. My shifts tend to be really slow (I'm on from 9-11 on Friday mornings and from 2-3:30 on Wednesday afternoons) so questions are rare. I felt like I gave a most excellent reference interview and I helped the patron find the information he needed for his school report on Lisbon, Portugal. Now I'd just like to get more questions…


Well, it’s about time… April 10, 2006

Posted by nanette in Uncategorized.
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…that something was posted here other than Tim's daily del.icio.us links, which, interesting though they are for Tim, are not very exciting content for a weblog.

My name is Nanette, and I am a public librarian in the same community where Tim is an academic librarian. I managed to wheedle my way into an invite to write for the YALT Blog during one of our (all-too-frequent) conversations about libraries and technology. My main interests are public libraries and technology, especially making tech more accessible for our users (including staff). I'm actively involved in several professional organizations, including the oft-maligned ALA (as well as three of its divisions–ALCTS, LAMA, and PLA–and one roundtable, NMRT) and the Illinois Library Association. I'm also an alum of the Illinois State Library's Synergy leadership program (class of '05) and a board member for my library school's alumni association.

Though I am not nearly the technology expert that Tim is, I'm learning. I've been doing a lot of minor tech-type stuff at work over the last several months as part of my library's major web site redesign, including a bunch of research into how to improve online catalogs to make them more usable and intuitive. This led to a proposal for a session at the 2006 Internet Librarian conference, which I'm hoping will be a practical, "how to fix your library's online catalog" session for public librarians. Nobody needs to be told that the majority of online catalogs stink. A-duh! Most of us agree on that at this point, and continually repeating that fact only serves to frustrate us further! And it seems like vendors–for reasons that are beyond my grasp–don't have much of an impetus to make them better or more innovative, which is why I advocate taking matters into your own hands, listening to your users and your staff, and doing what you can to make your nasty, fugly, difficult-for-mortals-to-use online catalog into something better.

This summer, I'm taking a Javascript class at the local community college, and Tim and I are going to learn Ruby. (Tim will probably learn it much faster than I will, seeing as how he knows forty computer languages already. Okay, so I exaggerate…he only knows ten or twelve.) I want to go from being a library tech person who only talks the talk to being a library tech person who can both talk the talk AND walk the walk. So much of what you'll see here from my end will be my baby steps towards that goal. I don't know what you'll get from Tim, aside from his daily del.icio.us links.

Greasemonkey: Bloglines + Del.icio.us April 1, 2006

Posted by Tim in Code.
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I've been playing around with the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox more and more these days. It's not that I haven't known about it, it's just that I didn't really stumble across really useful Greasemonkey scripts on Userscripts.org until recently. I guess it's all coincided with my switch to Bloglines from Google Reader. (Sidenote: It's not that I really disliked Google Reader, it's just that Bloglines has so much more to offer right now. Plus, I can decide to forget about my RSS feeds for a day or two with Bloglines, and still have a chance to catch up. With Google Reader, they just "roll" past and are never heard from again.)

In any case, this is all to promote my very first Greasemonkey script! Since I'm an avid del.icio.us user, I felt an immediate need to be able to post items directly to del.icio.us while browsing my Bloglines feeds. Since the only script on Userscripts.org which "claimed" to do this didn't actually work, I made my own.

If this is something that interests you too, go visit Userscripts.org, download my Bloglines – Post to del.icio.us script, and rate it! It adds a "Post to del.icio.us" link below each item in Bloglines, which allows you to post the item directly into your del.icio.us account (via a popup window). My only disappointment in it right now is that I couldn't get it to just open up a new tab (and actually put the focus on that tab). Greasemonkey provides a nice little "openInTab" function, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to change the focus to (i.e. "jump to") that new tab. However, for version 1.0, I still think it's worth a download!