Sunday, January 31, 2010

Money, tickets, passport

Money, tickets, passport
That should do it. Oh, and smartphone and presentations on netbook. And luggage and?

Olá Brasil!

Brazil 2010
Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Olá Brasil!

I'll be attending a couple of meetings and workshops in Brazil in the coming days. For those of you who know me, you know that the tropics aren't my favorite climate, but Brazil and Amazonia are a hard to miss locale!

I'll fly into São Paulo and have some time to recoup before three days of meeting around the Biodiversity Heritage library (presentation to be posted shortly); our hosts, BIREME, have organized the meetings under the title, Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial. From there, it's on to Belém in the Brazilian state of Pará, the gateway to the Amazon. 2010 is the United Nations' International Year of Biodiversity and Brazil is kicking it off with the XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia - Biodiversidade e Sustentabilidade. I'll be giving a talk there on the Biodiversity Heritage Library.


São Paulo: 3-5 February 2010
Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial
BIREME - Centro Latino Americano e do Caribe em Informação em Ciências da Saúde

Belém: 7-9 February 2010
XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia - Biodiversidade e Sustentabilidade
Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia

Additional Resources

Thursday, January 21, 2010

At look back at the Beatles, from 3000 A.D.

This is a great little video that gives some perspective on the sometimes overly authoritative pronouncements of historians.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Metadata mashups: Why library data has failed and can it be saved?

Great ALA panel discussion on metadata mashups: Kurt Groetsch Google), Karen Coyle (Open Library), Rene Register (OCLC).

The focus from the three presenters was how large scale projects are attempting to use/reuse library data (that's been created over hundreds of years) in new an exciting ways.

Creators of these new big projects are using lots of library metadata and dealing with it, but they are also getting data from lots of different places (Amazon, end-users, publishers via ONIX records, etc.). Library data sometimes plays well here, and sometimes doesn't.

Take away quote (Karen Coyle in response to the question, "Can libraries really afford to still be in the metadata business because we can't scale"): Libraries need to focus their energies on items that others don't care about but which still need attention Why would a library spend time on the new Stephen King novel, when millions of people do care and  will be happy to edit.  Libraries should focus on the items without current metadata or metadata that needs improvement that is not being done.

Some takeaways:
- please make metadata as fine grained as possible [Google]
- throw out MARC (said jokingly, but I don't think so!) [Google]
- be more open to new sources of data [Open Library]
- Onix is a mixed bag because of publishers' outsourcing creation [OCLC]
- Onix is useful, more machine-readable than MARC [Google]
- current metadata flow is very confused [OCLC]
- bibliographic metadata has a very long life cycle these days, from creation at the time the item is "published" through it's use in commercial areas, to random searching on the web, do later commercial reuse via things like POD [OCLC]
- like it or not, EFFECTIVE metadata will live in a social networked environment [Open Library]
- and at the same time, this will make popular stuff well done (Tolkien) but the mass of material will have to rely on concerned communities (e.g. libraries) for some level of metadata [Open Library]
- cataloging becomes an "ecosystem" where metadata lives and grows [Google]

Karen Coyle on Open Library

Karen Coyle speaking on Open Library. Shocked to hear her say that no one but librarians care about alphabetical order. Who led I say!

All about the ice ...

The Elsevier Desert Reception at ALA Midwinter in Boston had an amazing amount of ice sculpture, as well as great desserts and a good band.

Some attending wondered how much of their Elsevier payments went just for the ice ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday HAL 9000!

HAL: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It's called "Daisy."
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
In 1968, when the film first came out, I forced my mother to take me to see "2001: A Space Odyssey" about 3 times at the aptly named "Century 21" theater in Reno (remember those good old days of smoke curling up through the audience to cast a special nicotine haze over the film! After the third time, she said I had to go by myself. I went on to see it around 8-9 times in during the first release and many more times since then (and of course, had multiple readings of the novelization by Clarke as well as his original short story, "The Sentinel"). And The Lost Worlds of 2001, and The Making of 2001, yadda yadda (!). Can't say I really cared for the sequels, but that's another story ... this post is all about HAL.

It was/is a great film. And it star, if not the Black Monolith, was, of course, the HAL 9000 computer. Today, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer) turns 18 years old (or 13 - in the book version of the Clarke/Kubrick story.

Yes, as "he" notes in his fantastic death speech, HAL was "born" on on January 12, 1992. And his birth occured at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois. Yes, on the same grounds (fictional in HAL's case) where, at the University of Illinois, Mosaic, the first graphical web-browser was born at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in April 1993 (or just shortly after HAL became operational).

Here's a link to HAL's dialog in the film.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Visa pix

For heading South American way...

177 ways of looking at the Washington Monument (2009)

Here's a slideshow of the 177 pictures I took of the Washington Monument, primarily on my way into work in the morning. Most of the photos were taken between 8 am and 9 am, and from roughly the same spot. Interesting to see all the events that take place on the Mall over the course of the year, including, this year, the Presidential Inauguration. A few of the event (Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Book Festival) put up tents that blocked my view.