Friday, February 24, 2006

Why has George Michael got chocolate on his face?

Because he got careless with his whisper and might just end up on this site I overheard someone talking about. Sounded good and suppose it's vaguely funny. I suppose I was expecting an upmarket Pop Bitch - thought it might have had some meatier overheard conversations though. You know, the sort business discussions or telephone conversations you hear on the train where the people involved are oblivious to who's listening. I recommend the (very) packed Thameslink heading south from Kings Cross around 7pm time for this.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Grey matters (2)

In a previous blogpost we brought up the subject of grey literature. Since then I've come across this ACRL article. It lists a few links to greylit solutions.

Fancy a new job?

Cunard's newest luxury ocean liner, "Queen Victoria" will be making its maiden voyage in December 2007. It boasts: a Royal Court Theatre, a floating museum , a grand conservatory, a 270 degree lounge called the Hemispheres and a wood-panelled library containing 6000 books. They also reckon the library will have two full-time librarians. I wonder if they've recruited them yet . . .

4 Extra Pages!

I'm so excited I have to blog it. Managing Information has four extra pages this month!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Love in the library

You've had speed dating, internet dating, lock and key parties and dating in the dark, well now there's Bib-dating. It's from Belgium and involves books, Belgians and body fluid. Reading this you'd think it was a novel idea, but the British Library have been holding so-called Mingle Nights since 2004.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Don't you just hate it when . . .

Users phone you up and ask you to do a Lexis search and then they tell you exactly what search terms to put in? It goes something like this:

USER: I'm looking for articles from the American press on reparations and slavery.

ME: Going how far back?

USER: The last couple of years should be fine.

ME: No problem.

USER: It might help if you use the search terms "reparations" and "slavery".

ME: !

USER: And it would probably also help if you just looked in the American press.

ME: !!!!!

I may adopt a similarly patronising approach the next time I'm a customer. I can't wait to see the reaction of the bus driver when I start telling him at what point along the route it would be helpful to open and shut the doors . . .

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Blogging a dead Morse

Was trying to find a blog on the late, great TV detective Inspector Morse and got slightly side tracked with this. Nothing could have prepared me for the Sumyung librarian blog.This chappie promises to, "tell the absolute, unwashed truth about public librarianship and updates on the latest nerdy web shit either, although I reserve the right to briefly explain something in the process of its denigration". Just check out the 'Gugel' post. I feel a kindred spirit here.

PS: I'm still looking for that Morse blog . . .

Perfect pictures?

The new Internet Resources Newsletter has just dropped into my inbox and it's as good as ever. Too much important stuff to mention here so I'll skip all the Web 2.0 links and go straight to the, er, pictures. Yotophoto is a useful search engine for finding free-to use stock pictures while the Wilfred Thesiger gallery has some brilliant images from the great explorer.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Liking the ladies' library lots

On Wednesday 1st February we got yet another opportunity to sample some of the varied delights the world of information has to offer. This time it came in the form of a tour of the Women's Library, just a short walk from Aldgate East tube.

This proved to be an interesting and enjoyable afternoon (even for our vastly outnumbered token boy). On arrival, we discovered the library was in fact an archive and a museum as well, and so we started with a guided trip around their current exhibition "What Women Want: stories from the Women's Library". This gave us a fascinating taster of their 5000 object strong museum collection, with exhibits ranging from sufragettes' banners to plastic surgeons' brochures. The exhibition's artwork also provided a means for local women's groups to express themselves, including HEBA - Brick Lane's skills and training agency for women.

The museum's all embracing representation of women's experiences proved in turn funny, tragic, educational and thought-provoking (although this was possibly lost on the school boy who suggested on the comment boards at the end of the exhibition that what made women beautiful was make up!)

After the museum tour we continued upstairs to the reading rooms where we were given a brief introduction to the library's collection of 60,000 books and pamphlets and 2,500 periodical titles (I was particularly excited to note this included the entire back catalogue of J17!)

All in all a great tour, our only regret being that we missed out on a snoop around the library's 400 archive collections.

Cartoons 101

Cartoons have never been so popular (or should that be unpopular??) If you want to get hold of political cartoons from UK publications vist the Political Cartoon Society or Cartoon Hub.

Oh and if you want to have a look at "those" cartoons they're here

Can you always count on articles? (pt 2)

Seems like the GHB is setting the news agenda. The Guardian's getting in on the word count act too - see what the paper's readers' editor, Ian Mayes, has to say in today's edition, here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Can you always count on articles?

Word counts are increasingly used instead of column inch measurements. They might seem simple but there are a number of pitfalls. From painful experience, here are a few tips:

If you're comparing coverage between papers, use the same search parameters or the results won't be comparable.
If you're looking for stories about a subject, and time constraints mean you can't read through every article, restrict the search to articles with the key phrase in the headline/lead paragraph, as results will be more reliable
Skim through results to remove any articles that aren't strictly about the topic
Remove database headers and footers, such as the Lexis Nexis section and load-date fields, before you count.

Instead of using a calculator, paste the text into Word and use the word count facility - much quicker and more reliable!
Record the number of articles along with the word count - this gives a clearer picture as broadsheets tend to print fewer articles with more words, whereas tabloids print more, but shorter, stories.
Word counts by their very nature don't take into account accompanying photographs, which may skew the results, as tabloids use more pictures and less text
Explain your methodology when you submit your results - if anyone queries the figures this will help prove your point.
Remember that word counts aren't an exact science, but simply a snapshot of what is available on a database on a given day - and make sure your editor knows this

For recent examples of newspaper word counts seeThe Times and Even blogs are getting in on the act, here and here. And there's a non-fan here.