Friday, April 28, 2006

Enquiry of the week

Can you find me an academic paper on the rise of women taxi drivers reportedly being asked for sex by their male customers?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Shoot the text messengers.

Read here why shooting library users who use mobile phones in the library is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Librarians forever!!

The lastest issue of AUKML's newsletter, Deadline (sadly not online yet), includes an excellent explanation of why information professionals are still far better than Google. Omer Ali, Time Out's listings editor, is obviously a fan of the librarian, and this quote deserves to be repeated in dissertations across the land.

"It would be a very sad indication of our arrogance and the decline in our estimation of knowledge if we thought that the superficial research the internet affords can in any way beat a well-trained librarian."

For those of you from foreign climes, AUKML is the Association of UK Media Librarians, and here'stheir site - well worth a look.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Loss of Mirror library

The Daily Mirror no longer has a library. Or rather, as reported in the Press Gazette's Axegrinder column, it does but from now on all cuttings are compiled electronically by cheap labour in Delhi. I'm sure they're doing a fine job although there are worrying stories about the Horse Racing cuts becoming' 'Orse Racing' and, er, the 'S' being missed off Scunthorpe. Of course this could be sabotage but I suspect the mistakes are real...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Can't see the map for the trees.

I'm not sure why, but a journalist who is lost in a park phones up the department and asks us to locate a certain tree for her. Needless to say the web isn't crawling with park maps that identify every tree contained therein.

And talking of trees: I found this tale of woe on a favourite blog of mine, newsarama. The writer's house had been damaged in a tornado. It encapsulates the attitude of some of my esteemed colleagues rather well.

The reporter showed up with a cameraman and I began to explain how the Insurance Company had ignored my little baby son, how his health had been jeopardized, how we had been misled intentionally on five or six separate occasions.

The reporter lady looked genuinely dismayed: “I thought the tree was still stuck in the back of your house,” she said.

“No, it slid down to the ground. The story is about the Insurance Company. I have a little premature baby with underdeveloped lungs and there is a huge hole in the roof. There’s fiberglass insulation everywhere. They keep ignoring us.”

The Television reporter looked pained. “We can’t do that story,” she said. “They advertise with us.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The seldom visited fourth page.

An survey by iProspect has found what most internet users already suspect - that most people only bother to look at the first few results of a web search. It found that 62% of search engine users click on a site on the first page of results, with 90% clicking on a site within the first three pages (up from 48% & 81% in 2002).

This confirms either:

a) Search engines are amazing at doing their job
b) Searchers are amazing at doing their job
c) Searchers are lazy

I suspect that c) is the correct answer. And hope that professional searchers are digging deeper into the results pages . . .

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What's the point?

A recent poll by British Market Research Bureau found that the proportion of internet users in Britain who have never heard of a blog, or blogging, fell from 45% to 30% over the last three months. It also found that just 2% of UK internet users publish blogs with only 10% - around 2.8 million people - of internet users view a weblog once a month or more.

With such a low audience, I don't know why I even bother.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Ignore it and it might just go away.

We've all done it, that's right at some point we've spotted a bit of librarian bashing in the national media then almost tripped over our corduroy pants, so eager are we to stick the offending cutting on departmental noticeboards or broadcast it to next to no one on blog sites. Librarians have always been an easy target for the media, too easy some might say.

Back in 1995 I remember telling someone I had successfully landed a job in an academic library, she told me about her friend who appaered on a Richard and Judy makeover for Librarians. When the feature went live Judy was muscled out of shot as Richard with his well trained sartorial eye delivered a pronouncement on the inevitable transformation, it was that good. I later found out the "girls from Manchester Libraries" were told to ditch what they wore to the studio that day and instead rummage through a box of tatty clothes which they had to wear for the broadcast. The point being it would make good T.V. Another friend applied for Channel 4's Faking It only to be rejected for not fitting the stereotype.

Faced with such cynicism by those running the media, how are we as ninja like trained assasins in librarianship suppossed to react?.

I suggest not retaliating with nunchucks or throwing stars but, maybe simply ignoring it? absurd you might think, but surely flagging up such stories (like I'm doing here) we only draw attention to the issue and make the 'cool' people who shape the news agenda think we really are insecure about our image.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Dave's new friend

The Guardian's April Fools about Coldplay's Chris Martin joining the Tories and writing a song for them made for very jolly reading on Saturday morning. Even better though was the news in the Observer that the Labour Party's media monitoring unit fell for the tale and distributed it to most of the government. Maybe they we seduced into thinking it was the real thing by the impeccably researched (and genuine) box of facts that accompanied the story. Listen to the song here