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Current Cites for July 2020 (Final)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 8/1/20 (3:08am)

go to Current Cites
Current Cites for July 2020 is out! You can find the issue here...

The issue is noteworthy for a couple of reasons: first that well-known library star Roy Tennant was ending his decade-long record as editor. My contribution was the featuring of two articles, one a snapshot of life as librarians in this age of COVID-19 and the other an interesting review of information literacy from the 1970s till now.

In addition, I'll be joining Roy in concluding my decade-long contribution. More and more my interests and activities are in library reference. Less tech and more public service -- that's the ticket! So bye-bye Current Cites! It's been a good -- very good -- run!

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The Value of Library Reference : You Decide

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 4/28/20 (5:51pm)

It’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday evening. Student contacts Reference Desk saying he/she is looking for ‘research’ articles on effects of poverty on success in education. Instructor wants list of articles from student by class tomorrow.

Student Worker Solution:

  1. Sends link to Research Guide for Education
  2. Says ‘good evening’.

Reference Librarian Solution:

  1. Explains that there are several databases -- some focused on education, some focused on social science
  2. Steps through how to access these databases by pointing to library’s home page and link to ‘Research Guides’ -- where databases are arranged by subject
  3. In background does quickie search through standard databases, sizing up the lay of the land and then recommends to student strategies/pathways that appear most promising
  4. And oh yeah: Explains how to identify ‘research’ articles through a number of characteristics
  5. Says ‘good evening’.

Observation : Both responses did in fact answer the student’s question. So what’s the diff?

Interview with WGN-TV

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/6/19 (10:36pm)

Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 2019 was an important day -- or rather important evening. It was when WGN-TV broadcast the interview with me [link here] produced by the excellent reporter, Erik Runge. The actual interview took place a few days earlier at the DePaul Library.

The topic was my experience in West Berlin both before and after the Wall came down. The segment also included other witnesses both here and in Berlin. The fact that the reporter included so many other photos of me -- from my days in Paris to a shot of me in lederhosen at 4 years old holding on to Mayor Daley -- made the whole thing seem so much like a personal biography.

That said, I truly appreciate how the reporter let me have the last word. For so long the east side of Berlin was a symbol of oppression while the west side observed tolerance and liberty. It truly was a triumph of democracy -- something I shall never forget.

Update: Erik Runge and the good people at WGN-TV aired a follow-up segment on Thursday evening. The title was, "Lessons from the Fall of the Berlin Wall Still Ring True, 30 Years Later" [link here]. As the title suggests, the piece looks at the lessons from this period together with what people born afterwards think about it. My own comment which they include was to agree that lessons were drawn but that people can forget them -- if only (one hopes) temporarily.

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90th Anniversary of Germania Broadcast - Thanks to All!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 7/27/17 (9:20am)

Monday, July 24th was the 90th anniversary of the Germania Broadcast (background). We celebrated this pioneering German-American radio show in typical 21st century fashion : namely through Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Daddy would have been proud to know that his work spanning more than 40 years was recognized by such worthy groups as the Consulate General of Germany (hence the photo above), the Goethe Institute and the Chicago History Museum. Thank you to all!

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Depaul University 'Library All-Star' Award

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 6/4/16 (3:25pm)

Wow! Awarded the "Library All-Star" Award from the library at Depaul University. They brought the thing over this Saturday. Thanks, everyone!

From the original nomination by head of our department, Terry:

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Site Launch: GermaniaBroadcast.net

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 6/3/15 (4:00pm)

Today was the official launch date of GermaniaBroadcast.net. I announced it on all the usual social networks.

It's actually been up for maybe a month -- with me fiddling around, adding content, rearranging it and the like. I guess, an alternative name for the thing could be, "Fun with Drupal and Content Management".

The site is built around various digital records that we have of daddy, William Klein and his radio show, "The Germania Broadcast" (1927-1970). Working with the data, I managed to organize everything into four principle categories, Events, People, Places and Library (or 'Documents').

The neat thing with Drupal is how you can connect one item in one category with items in any other. Say, the name of a singer pops up in the description of a concert in 1928 which happened at the Auditorium Theater; You can relate the person to the event and location going backwards and forward. The magic is called "Entity Reference" but again, I like to call it, 'Fun with Content Mgmt".

In any case, there's a slightly fuller explanation of the original radio broadcast plus background here: The Germania Broadcast : An Introduction.

Neutrality Rulz!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 2/26/15 (1:27pm)

Happy days are here again! At least for a while.

When people first started hooking up to the Internet, it was a two step -- or two layer -- process: You had your phone line which was owned by the local Bell carrier, and then you had an internet service provider or 'ISP' -- of which there were many.

Then the phone companies developed a slightly faster system (DSL) which, surprise, surprise, the ISPs had no access to. Within a short time, the ISPs simply disappeared. The phone companies, ATT & Verizon, after being broken up for a couple of years, zoomed back to national dominance -- this despite the fact that since DSL, they really haven't done much innovation.

And that precisely is the point where the Internet started to resemble a traditional communication network -- with mediocre service and a handful of players. All I can say is, 'bout time!

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Steve Jobs and the Role of the Humanities in a World of Tech

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/15/14 (9:47pm)

I always thought the best preparation for any computer-based activity, such as web development, was a thorough knowledge of English poetry. Who knew that Steve Jobs agreed with me?

When asked if he was a "computer nerd", he replied: "I wasn’t completely in any one world for too long. There was so much else going on. Between my sophomore and junior years, I got stoned for the first time; I discovered Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas and all that classic stuff." (Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs, 1985)

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?

New Web Design for UIC's Office of Academic & Enrollment Services (AES).

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 7/19/12 (6:58pm)

I'm kind of pooped having spent a fun morning at Dominican University with the "Chicagoland Drupal in Libraries" group. I then hustled back to UIC (thanks Gwen for the lift!) where I had the usual list of web editing chores. I also had enough time to upload this baby:

http://admissions.uic.edu

This marks the final phase of a redesign that I've been working on since the beginning of the year -- spurred on by two requirements:

  1. fresh new look
  2. gots to work on mobile

Happily, 'responsive web design' came along right at the time I was tackling this project. (What's 'responsive design' you ask? When looking at the above page, slowly make the window more narrow. Then go back out. That's responsive design.)

Anyway, I still had to do the 'landing pages'. This one, the Admissions page, is the first of four.

But back to my itinerary: At around 5:15pm, I left UIC and headed over to DePaul for a couple of hours of 'Fun @ the Reference Desk'. It was a relatively quiet night. In Summer, Reference closes an hour earlier (i.e. at 8pm instead of 9pm) so I made it back home before 9pm.

In any case, as I said, long day -- productive just the same.

[Historical note: a certain other unit claimed it was the first to launch a responsive site. Yeah right...]

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