At the Ref Desk (11/20/14): Um, happy Finals Week... [more...]
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Design Fail

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 4/24/13 (2:56pm)

I swear if I get another one of these as a design proposal for the main page of a website, I'm going to sue Microsoft for crimes against usability. (P.S. Why Microsoft? Hint...)

Mom at Reference

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 4/6/13 (8:40pm)

Mom at the Reference Desk dealing with an unruly patron.

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Presentation at UIC IT Professionals Forum: Mapping with Drupal

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 4/3/13 (6:40pm)

Slides from the presentation I gave today (larger version here). A couple people came up afterwards and said it had inspired them to go off and try it themselves.

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On the Nature of Train Wrecks

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 3/26/13 (10:02am)

Matt Enis from Library Journal writes about the 'Fail4Lib pre-conference workshop' at this year's Code4Lib Conference where people talked about failed or problematic projects and the lessons they learned.

As I wrote in comments to the piece, I find the greatest cause of failed projects to be those based on received wisdom. Let’s call it, the ‘Wrong Bandwagon Effect’. Some mis-identified trend is taken up and you can’t argue against it because "everyone knows" -- i.e. received wisdom -- that it's the way of the future. Everyone knows! Only "everyone" never seems to include the end-user. But that doesn't matter since before you know it, yet another mis-identified trend pops up and nothing says 'cutting edge' like jumping from one of these trends to the other. (Classic example.)

This isn't an argument against innovation. Rather it's an argument against not doing one's homework, of coasting along without anyone ever looking back and asking, what's the record for that guru so far?

UPDATE (3/28/2013): Here's an even better, not to mention more contemporary example ...

Photos from Library School Project to Be Used in French TV Documentary

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 2/25/13 (8:19pm)

Well, here's some interesting news: A French TV production company called 'Temps Noir' is producing a documentary for the French TV station 'Arte' on the history of anarchism 'all around the world' and they want to use photos from an online project I did several years ago while at Library School at Queens College, CUNY.

The project was called 'Red Scare (1918-1921), an Image Database' and represented both my interest in American labor history as well as the still rather nascent technology of web content production. We're talking 1997-1998 here.

Anyway, once the project was completed, my colleagues at Baruch College, CUNY, were kind enough to put the exhibit on their servers where it has remained to this day. Every so often, I get a request to use one or more of the photos -- typically for print publication. This is my first documentary. Needless to say I look forward to getting a copy of the final product.

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And Now From the People Who Gave Us 'Smart Tags'...

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 2/20/13 (1:38am)

Kind of ironic ad considering it's from the people who (almost) gave us 'smart tags'. See: http://www.pcworld.com/article/54004/article.html

google_scroogled_2013_02_19b.gif

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Turning Dates to Places on UIC's Recruitment Calendar (Presentation)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 2/14/13 (11:05am)

Talk I'll be giving in April at the UIC IT Professionals Forum :

Turning Dates to Places on UIC's Recruitment Calendar - Mapping with Drupal

Location mapping presents a world of possibilities particularly when wedded with a powerful content management system. We will discuss some of the possibilities particularly in relation to UIC's Recruitment Calendar. This calendar takes advantage of the relatively simple Leaflet mapping library together with the highly configurable Drupal CMS. This dynamic combination allows for staff input of all content, location mapping at different levels (city, state, world) and other advantages such as a built-in reporting mechanism.

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Billboard: Color TV Film Won't Oust B&W (1953)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 2/13/13 (7:46pm)

billboard_1953_07_18_short.png

Tint Talk : Color TV Film Won't Oust B&W

HOLLYWOOD, July 11. -- Like motion pictures, television will continue to use a great amount of black and white film even when color becomes a regular feature in the new medium. This is the opinion expressed by veteran TV producer Jerry Fairbanks prior to his departure for Europe where he's filming a public relations film for Miller Brewing Company.

Expense of filming in color and the superiority of black and white for certain types of productions are the factors which will dictate use of b.&w. for TV, Fairbanks declared. Fairbanks cited the motion picture industry's predominant use of black and white film despite the advent of color.

Color filming is between 25 and 35 per cent more expensive than b.&w., Fairbanks pointed out, while color release prints are between four and five times as expensive. This factor, in addition to what he termed the superiority of b.&w. for low key mystery dramas, will limit the application of color film for showing on television.

"[Source: Tint Talk: Color TV Film Won't Oust B&W", Billboard (7/18/1953): p. 12.]

Perils of 21st Century Communication

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 2/8/13 (1:30pm)

No wonder no one could hear me on Google Hangout -- I forgot to plug in the USB part of the headphone. Shucks.

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