Textbook Disclosure Rules in U.S. House Bill

The Chronicle of Higher Education had an article today [subscription required] about legislation pending on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that in part includes rules for disclosure of textbook selection and pricing. The lever is the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a major law that governs federal student aid. (In other words, it is unlikely that, if passed, an institution would not follow these proposed rules because it would mean not getting federal financial aid money for their students. Nice lever, eh?) The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the “College Opportunity and Affordability Act,” the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, on Thursday, February 7th.

DLTJ the Target of Real Dead-Tree Junk Mail

Dorothea Salo started a conversation late last year that was picked up by Walt Crawford and others about receiving unsolicited “PR spam” with the expectation that the content of the message will be blogged about. In a related matter, I got my first example today of someone scraping DLTJ to send me junk mail through the U.S. postal service.

Junk Mail to DLTJ’s President, Tom Wilson [?]

The Cost of a Phone Call Drops to Near Zero

The title of this post is true, under certain circumstances. Last week’s e-mail brought word from Michael Robertson of Backdoor Dialing – Free Calling to Millions of U.S. Phones. By using Gizmo, the freely available, no-spyware computer-based telephony application, it is now possible to call about 10% of the mobile and land lines in the country for no per-minute charge. This looks like another chink in the armor of the traditional voice telecom way of doing business, on their way to being disrupted out of existence (as they are known today).

DLTJ Updated, Readers Yawn

At least I hope that is the correct headline. I’ve been having some problems with this installation of WordPress lately — in particular, I could no longer activate or deactivate plugins — and the only solution offered in the WordPress codex was to start with a fresh installation of WordPress. Now you know how I spent my free time this weekend. While doing so, I updated the Barthelme theme and along the way gained some really need Semantic Web coolness to the underlying XHTML of the blog pages. The version of Barthelme is still a heavily, heavily hacked one, but hopefully the clean up this weekend will make it possible to keep up with new versions of the underlying theme files without major headaches. I also updated all of the plugins and cleaned out lots of old cruft in the plugins directory and in the theme files. As a result, the pages seem to load faster. Maybe that is just my wishful thinking.

Google and DataNet: Two Ships Passing in the Night, or Maybe Something More?

Wired Magazine’s blog network says “Google to Host Terabytes of Open-Source Science Data” while the National Science Foundation (NSF) is reviewing submissions to the DataNet solicitation “to catalyze the development of a system of science and engineering data collections that is open, extensible and evolvable.” On the surface, you might think they are working on the same project, but there is more here than meets the eye (or, rather, the ear listening to these two sound-bites).

Disclosure: OhioLINK is a named party in a submission by The Ohio State University to the NSF DataNet solicitation. We’re looking forward to a positive reception to our proposal in the first round of DataNet reviews.

What’s the Deal with NCIP?

What’s the deal with NCIP? For those that don’t know, NCIP is the NISO protocol that attempts to “define the various transactions needed to support circulation activities among independent library systems.” For example, “patron and item inquiry and update transactions, such as hold or reserve, check-out, renew, and check-in.”

Ann Arbor District Library Camp, 20 March 2008

Formal information about the AADL Camp is available on the Library Success wiki, including logistical details, a list of people that are planning to attend, and a list of possible topics. Registration at the Library Success wiki is required to edit the page.

Last month, Ed Vielmetti posted about the plans for the Ann Arbor District Library Camp 2008 on March 20th, 2008 in Ann Arbor, MI. For those unfamiliar with the “camp” conference format (also known as an “unconference”), it is modeled after the Open Space Technology style from Harrison Owen. It focuses on creating the right meeting for the people who attend. As such, there is not a pre-set agenda or predetermined list of speakers. Instead, the agenda is formed as the meeting starts based on the interests and skills of those that come. As Harrison says, the technique is effective when “real learning, innovation, and departure from the norm are required. When you aren’t quite sure where you are, and less than clear about where you are headed, and require the best thinking and support from all those who wish to be involved, Open Space Technology will provide the means.” For a more gentle introduction to the camp/unconference topic, see The Rules of Bar Camp.

10 Great Reasons to Attend ODCE 2008

Still deciding whether to attend the Ohio Digital Commons for Education 2008 Conference – The Convergence of Learning, Libraries and Technology? Here are 10 great reasons to register today.

  1. Meet, connect and share success stories with colleagues from across Ohio. ODCE 2008 will provide endless opportunities to talk with 300+ faculty, librarians, administrators, IT gurus and others facing the exact same challenges you do.
  2. Get ideas, practical knowledge and tools you can use on your campus right away. With its focus on teaching and learning, student success, moving Ohio forward, and transforming technologies, you’ll leave ODCE 2008 with many new ideas and best practices to try.

Pointless E-mail Disclaimers

I’ve been collecting disclaimers that appear on the bottom of e-mail messages in a draft post on DLTJ for about a year now — every time I’d get a new one with a different twist, I’d save it anticipating the day would come that there would be enough humor here to share with the rest of you. That day has come. There wasn’t one that disclaimer that finally pushed the publication of this post over the edge; just the accumulation of examples. Identifying information has been removed, but the humor was left intact. If you recognize your institution/company in these examples, please laugh along with me. If you are the lawyer or pseudo-lawyer that drafted these, please do us all a favor and find something else to work on. Like drafting disclaimers for toothpicks and such.

Google Map of ALA Midwinter Hotels

Here is a map of official conference hotels and a link to download the KML file into Google Earth.

ALA Midwinter 2008 Hotel KML Location file

I’m somewhat disappointed by the display of the KML file through the Google Maps API. The KML file contains <address> tags, which in the Google Earth desktop application appears to enable the “Directions From” and “Directions To” options. It is entirely possible that I’m missing something in the KML file — it was created by exporting a folder of placemarks from the Google Earth application. The raw KML file, suitable for importing into Google Earth, can be downloaded from the link under the map.