At the Ref Desk (7/22/14): Word of the day: 'exabytes'. Can't wait for the flashdrive. [more...]
Subscribe to Chicago Librarian RSS

Two Pictures, Same Street, Then & Now

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 1/30/13 (12:45am)

I caught a video clip from WTTW about the Great Snow Storm in Chicago of 1967. One of the photos (see above top) which came in at around 2m30s in the clip looked familiar. I could make out the Kroger's Supermarket sign and off to the left on the storefront were what looked like the final few letters of 'Barry Regent' [Cleaner's]. That would place it on Broadway just north of Wellington. I'm not 100% sure but the 2nd photo (courtesy of Google Street View) is a bit more recent. The supermarket is long gone -- replaced by Dominick's which later (2005) succumbed to fire -- but the Cleaner's is still there. All of this is just around the corner from where we used to live on Broadway & Barry.

Topic: 

Aggregation without Consolidation

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/21/13 (2:50pm)

Aggregation without Consolidation -- can lead to confusion. Check it out...

Topic: 

Drupal in Academe

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/7/13 (7:25pm)

Nice graphic (from a couple of months ago) by the people at Acquia. "71 of 100 Top Universities" run Drupal? I have a feeling that if any sub-unit is running Drupal, the University then qualifies -- so this shouldn't be a surprise. Still.

Topic: 

The World is My Reference Desk?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 1/5/13 (11:52am)

Um, the world is my reference desk? First day back!

Topic: 
Location: 
Institution: 

Messing Around with WordPress

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/3/13 (9:54pm)

wordpress-logo-circle.jpg Yeah, I know: why bother? Still, I can imagine loads of instances where the client/friend/member-of-your-family just requires a simple site where they can add content on their own. In any case, it's open source, uses PHP and mySQL, etc. So, in a sense, it's family.

Anyway, I went through the "Famous 5-Minute Installation". It worked about as smoothly as a Drupal Install. No problems setting it up. The message at the end about expecting more steps and 'sorry to disappoint' was kind of cute. On the other hand, simply installing the thing is still a long way from actually putting something together that approaches a final product even for a simpler site.

Topic: 

NYT Article: 'Libraries See Opening as Bookstores Close'

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 12/27/12 (10:36pm)

Okay article I guess but is this news to anyone who's been in a library in the past 10-15 years?

"As librarians across the nation struggle with the task of redefining their roles and responsibilities in a digital age, many public libraries are seeing an opportunity to fill the void created by the loss of traditional bookstores.... Today’s libraries are reinventing themselves as vibrant town squares, showcasing the latest best sellers, lending Kindles loaded with e-books, and offering grassroots technology training centers."

What, no mention of DVDs? In any case, the original incentive was not to replace these 'traditional' bookstores but rather not to be replaced by them.

P.S. The term 'traditional' is a bit ironic since the 'big box' model of bookstores was a manifestation of the 1990s. "Traditional" for me means the mom-and-pop shops which existed before and (happily) after the rise and fall of the monoliths.

Perils of Outsourcing Your IT Expertise

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/24/12 (3:51am)

This article on the differences between the Obama and Romney campaign operations has been making the rounds. I think the best approach to its catalog of hits and misses is a healthy dose of skepticism. I mean, did the fate of Romney's campaign really hinge on whether they put together a documentary film showing "how Romney had helped average people in personal ways"? Who knows? Anyway, what really caught my eye, was this comment about the organization of Obama's IT team:

As [Harper] Reed assembled his team, he insisted on being given leeway to hire some of the best techies in the country, from ­Facebook, Craigslist, Twitter. Moreover, he insisted the team be largely internal, rather than have the enterprise be divided up among outside consultants.

Meanwhile according to this great article in Ars Technica, the Romney campaign was stricken with a severe case of outsource-a-ritis:

... [T]he Romney campaign did what many corporations have done in tight times—it kept its IT budget in check and heavily outsourced technology relative to its budget, keeping only a few strategic efforts in-house. At the same time, top executives took care of their own base, bringing in their own companies and those of friends to provide key services. While it wasn't exactly a consulting feeding frenzy, the Romney campaign left most of its technological fate in the hands of outsiders—and even internal projects like Orca were dependent on quick fixes from outside talent.

Topic: 

Current Cites for December 2012

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 12/21/12 (3:01pm)

go to Current Cites
Current Cites for December 2012 is out! You can find the issue here...

Current Cites for December is out. I wrote about an interesting article on library staff magazines in the UK in the first half of the 20th Century. The author did a good job explaining the context of why such magazines were becoming necessary -- more complex systems of communication, transportation and information management, growing organizations, increasing wealth and leisure time for working people, all of which predated the computer/internet by 50 to 100 years.

An Offer I Can Refuse

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/21/12 (1:23pm)

Sorry, Adobe but your emails offering me, 'All the CS6 you want -- just US $19.99 per month', is probably the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I'm frankly not interested in renting out software on a monthly basis.

Adobe_Students_ROICS6CCM19.99V2_300x250_img.jpg

Topic: 
Institution: 

2012 Colloquium on Digital Humanities

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 11/19/12 (3:23pm)

I'm not much of a numbers guy but I appreciated the first round of presenters at the 2012 Colloquium on Digital Humanities which took place this weekend at the University of Chicago. The theme was 'big data'.

Here Diane Cline (U. Cincy) is giving a talk on "The Social Network of Alexander the Great" and a major part of her presentation were lines of connections, shown on a graph, between Alexander the Great, people who he knew, people who knew him, people who knew the people who knew him, etc. -- all charted out as a series of spiraling lines and nodes.

Location: 

Pages