Tweaking the New FriendFeed Interface

FriendFeed went live yesterday with changes to the user interface and back-end systems. The changes were moderately positive, taken as a whole, but there are aspects of the new user interface that I don’t like — the color scheme, the removal of the service icons, and the (over)-use of whitespace. Fortunately, with Firefox plus a few extensions as my primary browser, I’m able to tweak the interface to be closer to my liking. If your tastes resemble mine, I both feel sorry for you and want to help you improve your view of FriendFeed.

OCLC’s WorldCat Local “Quick Start”

Last week, OCLC announced a “strategy to move library management services to Web scale.” With this move, OCLC is rebranding “WorldCat Local” to include functions typically associated with an integrated library system. From the press release:

OCLC plans to release Web-scale delivery and circulation, print and electronic acquisitions, and license management components to WorldCat Local, continuing the integration of library management services to create the Web-scale, cooperative library service. OCLC will begin piloting the Web-scale management service components this year.

Intervention by IA Denied; Deadline for Objections Extended

New York Judge Denny Chin recently issued two rulings in the Google Book Search settlement. In the first, he the request by the Internet Archive to intervene as a defendant in the lawsuit (and thus, presumably, be on firmer founding to guide aspects of the settlement). In his response, Judge Chin said:

The Court has received requests for pre-motion conferences by the Internet Archive, Lewis Hyde, Harry Lewis, and the Open Access Trust, Inc. seeking leave to intervene in this action. I have construed their letters as motions to intervene, and the motions are denied. The proposed interveners are, however, free to file objections to the proposed settlement or amicus briefs, either of which must be filed by the May 5, 2009 objection deadline.

Advances in OpenSearch Definitions

Screenshot of adding the OSU Libraries Catalog Search

Earlier this month, Ohio State University Libraries launched the OSUL Labs area. (Congratulations and kudos to Eric Schnell and the others at OSU that have taken this step to “include customers as active participants in the development and/or testing of new products and services.”) Their first release is an OpenSearch definition for the library catalog. It has been ages since I’ve messed with OpenSearch, and I didn’t remember (or didn’t know it was possible) to have the function add the OpenSearch definition right from the OpenSearch menu, as shown in this figure from the OSUL announcement of this feature. (What I remember is the “programatic” way of doing this.) The autodiscovery is done with a special <link> tag in the head of the HTML:

<link rel="search"
  type="application/opensearchdescription+xml"
  href="http://library.osu.edu/opensearch.xml"
  title="Add OSU Libraries Catalog search" />

Some Navel-Gazing: A Meta-Post about DLTJ

I usually don’t post about the act of blogging itself (I wonder how many middle-aged blogs have a similar post), but the confluence of a couple of things caused me to look at DLTJ with a critical and curious eye. The first was the work by David Pattern in Measuring the emotional content of librar* blogs. The second was a post by Leslie Carr on the effect of Google users in finding information.

ANEW Categorization

Graphic showing the ANEW quadrants

Figure 1. Graphic showing the ANEW quadrants.

Letters Begin Flying in Objection to the Proposed Google Book Search Settlement

We are starting to see objections to the Google Book Search Settlement this month in advance of the May 5th deadline set up by the court. The first comes from the consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog (found by way of the American Libraries news feed). They have submitted a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking the antitrust division to delay the settlement until the “‘most favored nation’ clause favoring Google is removed and the deal’s ‘orphan works’ provision is extended to cover all who might digitize books, not only Google.” The letter in PDF is available on the Consumer Watchdog website. The objections revolve around the provision that require the Books Rights Registry to give Google the same terms as anyone else who enters into agreements with the Registry (noting that more favorable terms might be required by a new party in order to compete with Google) as well as the fact that the copyright infringement protection for digitizing orphan works only extends to Google.

Clarification Offered for “Technology: The textbook of the future” in Nature

A recent issue of Nature published an article by Declan Butler called “Technology: The textbook of the future” included a paragraph about OhioLINK’s exploration of digital textbooks:

Ongoing tests of CourseSmart e-textbooks by the University System of Ohio show that they reduce costs — the average US student forks out some $900 annually on print textbooks — and students using them perform just as well as when using paper versions, says Peter Murray, deputy head of new service development at the Ohio Library and Information Network in Columbus, Ohio, which assists the University System of Ohio on the project.

Beyond Federated Search Redux

It started with a post by Carl Grant on the Federated Search Blog: Beyond Federated Search – Winning the Battle and Losing the War?. I bookmarked this in Delicious and copied this extended quote from the text into the bookmark:

I’ve long argued that librarianship on top of digital information is about the authority/authenticity/appropriateness of the information provided to the user, as opposed to the overwhelming amounts of information available via other search tools that don’t provide that differentiation. In order to meet those tests, one thing that is clear is that libraries and librarians should never cede control to other organizations over the content they offer to their end-users. It doesn’t matter if that happens because the content providers fail to provide access via federated search, or whether the library has allowed third party organizations to determine what content they can access via a local index discovery tool. Ceding this control cripples the ability of a library to build unique and precise informational offerings that target the needs of their end-users.

This in turn got pulled into my FriendFeed stream and the ensuing discussion seemed too valuable to let sit there, so I’m creating this post with those replies and adding a little bit more of my own thoughts. (Since all of these were public comments, I believe it is good nettiquete to reproduce them here with attribution. If not, please let me know…particularly if you are one of the people quoted!)