Psychology Blog

September 2004
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 Monday, September 20, 2004
Alice chatbot wins for third time. A computer program called Alice has won a prestigious prize for human-like talk for the third time. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
7:23:23 AM    

Cass County's Classy Site.

The Cass County Public Library has a gorgeous georgeous web site, which I would highlight even if the home page wasn't a blog. It really shows how much you can edit blog templates to make them look however you want (in this case, they're WordPress templates), so this one is definitely going in my presentations.

[The Shifted Librarian]
7:13:26 AM    

Thanks, PUG!.

On Friday I was lucky enough to speak about information shifting at the annual Polaris Users Group meeting. Great group of people, and I learned a lot about GIS Information Systems. For example, I didn't realize they were positioning Polaris the catalog to be the infrastructure for a library's site (actually, a portal). A. Paula Wilson and Vicki Terbovich from the Maricopa County Library District talked about the philosophical change between a catalog-based portal and a traditional library web site. Interesting stuff, and I encouraged Vicki to start blogging about this (among other things).

The GIS folks were great, too. I met Anita Wagner and Bill Schickling, both of whom totally get it, as do their staff (at least the ones I met). I have high hopes that they will be the first ILS vendor to blog and provide RSS out of the catalog (despite my rabid desire for my System's vendor, Innovative, to take that title). And I owe Kathleen Cerminaro big time for keeping me on track and making the arrangements that made my trip so enjoyable.

One other thing I wanted to note to the group was that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get started with virtual reference. AIM accounts are free, and some libraries are successful using them, despite also investing in full-fledged VR software.

Other cool things that happened during my time there:

  • When I checked in to the Wyndham and settled in, I couldn't find an ethernet port anywhere. I began to despair that they had not yet implemented high-speed internet access, but when I called the front desk, they told me it was wireless. Score! Very easy to get on the network, too.
  • After my presentation, fellow Treo user Ted came up and beamed his "business card" to me. I think that's the first time that has happened to me at a library-related event!
  • At the vendor fair, I met Emmett F. Erwin, Preseident and CEO of Bibliotheca, who gave me the rundown on their latest RFID tags for CDs and DVDs (picture). He's convinced me, and he told me that the BiblioBus will be at the ILA Conference in a couple of weeks and could stop by our office if we'd like.
  • I met Mary Hedrick from the Harrison Regional Library System in Alabama. She has some great stories to tell about virtual reference, which I truly hope she will blog. She told me that her System has just three full-time reference librarians with MLS degrees and that some of their buildings are run by just one person. They've implemented Ask Us, a virtual reference service, that has increased exponentially the number of residents to whom they can provide reference service. VR isn't always the best tool, but sometimes it really helps.

    Oh, and Mary has a book on a shelf in a library entered as a GeoCache. How cool is that??

And for the PUG attendees, the presentation will be available at sometime on Monday. Thanks for a great experience!

[The Shifted Librarian]
7:10:50 AM