Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on web 2.0

Speaking of YouTube, Media Week this week reports that the site has a 59.9% market share among video-sharing sites; it's nearest rival, Google Video, stands at 16.6%. Not bad for a service that only launched a year and a half ago. YouTube is a useful tool for researchers as well as a chance to laugh at people (see previous post), with up-to-the-minute news broadcasts, particularly from the US - check out Keith Olbermann's defence of Clinton, aired yesterday on MSNBC, for starters.

The good old days

Also, check out this presentation of how news and broadcast librarians in the 1980s went about their daily tasks. It was prepared and produced by the SLA News Division with photos contributed from over a dozen news media libraries. Younger readers might like to note that it was made before the advent of the World Wide Web.

Librarians become stars of the web (2.0)

During the recent AUKML conference in Edinburgh speakers frequently referred to the phenomenon of Web 2.0; a world of wikis, blogs, RSS and other such revolutionising cyberspace inventions. In particular the video site Youtube has captured the attention of millions of users worldwide. It makes me proud to see fellow librarians utilising the medium to demonstrate their creativity and humour as well as their technical skills. A fine example is Adventures of Super Librarian and a special mention must go to St Joseph Public County Library for its interpretation of a Madonna classic. Less inspiring though is Marion the Librarian who needs to loosen her bun, ditch the twinset and get out more.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Banned books week

Meanwhile, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is celebrating Banned Books Week. The handbook includes a list of banned and challenged books with links to related articles, posters, and links to related sites.

AUKML conference

It was the Association of UK Media Librarians (AUKML) annual conference over the weekend. Held in Edinburgh, it was the usual serious thinking/serious drinking fest with several delgates staggering around night and day. Links to talks will appear soon but one of the speakers, UKOLN's Brian Kelly, has bookmarked bits of his here. Some were slightly bemused to find the hotel in the midst of the city's red light district although it must be stressed that the social events were most definitely upmarket.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Internet could have been invented earlier

I recently stumbled a across a yellowed cutting that fell out from a cuttings file on the actress Pauline Collins. The article (pictured left) taken from the now defunked national newspaper "The World Today", suggests that the internet could have been invented by the British Government in 1971. Instead the money was diverted to save a small needle factory in Devon.

Or alternatively, I had too much time on my hands and created the cutting myself using this

Traying off-message

The undoubted success of New Labour's PR machine will warrant a fat chapter in media studies text books, long after Tony Blair leaves Downing Street. For those of us at the sharp end of spin culture it's easy to get a little jaded of politicians blurting out the party line. It's hardly surprising then, that news librarians, journalist and editors (in that order), long for well-drilled ministers to slip up or stray "off-message", some do it quite naturally, others are just unfortunate.

Pity then MP Caroline Flint's recent appearance on BBC's Newsnight. Tasked with having to defend the Government's relationship with troubled technology supplier ISoft, the Junior Health minister put in a performance Mr Tony would have been proud of.

Having survived a mauling by presenter Emily Matlis imagine Flint's horror then as she pressed play on the video later that evening. Although she maintained a fixed glare at the camera it was the tea lady in the office background who stole the show. Ghanaian born, Nana Amoatin , seemed unconcerned about such weighty matters as government bungling, choosing instead to carry out her tea duties, live broadcast or not. Admirable dedication you might think, but it was Mrs Amoatin's amazing techinque of carrying a full tray of mugs on her head that caught the eye of this librarian. Having passed on the sighting to the Guardian's diary columnist the item was published and sure enough a flurry of reader's emails lit up the editors inbox, eventually prompting the busy editor of BBC's Newsnight to pen an explanation for the programme's blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How to bribe the editors

Just spotted nytimes.com column Ask the Newsroom. It's been running for a few months, giving readers an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a major daily. This week, assistant managing editor Richard L Berke describes the daily editorial meetings; apparently chocolate is the way to get your story on the front page. Maybe I should try that next time I write a sidebar.

A peek into the Guardian news conference is availbe daily from the Comment is Free website.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Google News Archive (again)

Over on ResourceShelf, Gary Price has some interesting things to
say about Google News Archive. Well worth a look.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Google News Archive Search

You can access the archive here

Google living in the past.

According to reports, Google is extending its news archive so that it goes back two hundred years! Having been a slave to expensive news databases such as Lexis Nexis for years I find it difficult to get much content going back earlier than the mid 90s (and that's the 1990s). One wonders how useful Google's freeNews Archive will actually be.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shhhhhh!: comedy or tragedy?

News International's much anticipated freesheet thelondonpaper launched last night. I admit it was an impressive debut; its 'Love' section recounting readers' "dates from hell" and the love columnist with advice for those "back on the market" was especially enticing. However the scoop which will surely secure thelondonpaper's lead in the battle of the freesheets is the revelation that Scottish comedy genius Armando Iannucci has produced a new library based sitcom with Father Ted writer Arthur Mathews called 'Shhhhh!'. An original title for what Mathews describes as a ‘a stupid narrative comedy set in a municipal library’. One can only hope that the show shatters the negative stereotypes us information professionals regularly suffer but I suspect there will be at least one hilarious character with a tight bun and a mothballed cardie. The sitcom will star Morwenna Banks, Rebecca Front, and Simon Greenhall, who played Geordie Michael in I'm Alan Partridge and the pilot is being taped this month.

Monday, September 04, 2006

At the end of the day

"At the end of the day" was the most over-used cliche in British newspapers and websites between January and June 2006 , according to a new survey by Business news and information provider Factiva. There were 3,347 mentions, closely followed by "in the red" and "level playing field". The research found that financial turns of phrase were most popular, a pattern followed in most of the world's English speaking press. Biggest surprise though was the absence of "looks like a librarian" - must be a mistake. And if the survey was restricted to the library/ information management media, I'm sure that "thinking outside the box" would feature highly.

Here's an index of cliches with a slight US bias, where you can summon up a cliche quicker than shit goes through a goose.