An Appreciation Of The College Newspaper

I came across this article by way of Library Link of the Day. It’s a good read from a student who admits his love of technology, but also acknowledges there are flaws and hidden dangers in his obsession. Like many student-authored articles I’ve read in college newspapers, when the topic of research comes up the library is the butt of a joke or its irrelevance is duly noted. This one is no exception:

“How did students do research without Google, Wikipedia and Lexis-Nexis? Are you telling me they used “books”? I guess that means they actually had to go to the library and have a proficient understanding of the Dewey Decimal system, two things any self-respecting student of the modern age avoids.”

About two weeks ago I started using INFORM.com on an experimental basis as part of my higher education “keeping up” regimen. I found that they have a nice college and university section under “Hot Channels”. In addition to providing articles from national and regional newspapers, it also provides content from college newspapers. The stories from the college papers offer some genuine insight into the latest issues brewing in higher education, but it’s also a good way to come across student opinions and the occasional article about the state of research for college students. It would be a shame to miss out on many of these articles.

At my institution, Philadelphia University, we have no regular student newspaper. As a mostly professional/career-oriented institution, we lack a cadre of aspiring writers and journalists. There is talk of trying to get at least a weekly student-run campus paper established. I hope those of you who have the luxury of being a member of a campus community that offers a student newspaper take some time to appreciate its availability.

LJ Offers E-Learning on E-Books

Tom Peters sends word that Library Journal is sponsoring an online forum on e-books on November 15th.

From the LJ site, the topics to be discussed include: (1) trends in e-book publishing and pricing models; (2) acceptance and use of e-books by different disciplines and demographic groups; and (3) the impact of massive digitization projects (e.g., Google Print). Scheduled panelists include Warren Holder (Toronto), Suzanne Weiner (NC State), and Jim Mouw (Chicago).

Participation is free, but registration is required through Library Journal.

Against Regulation

The ALA has joined with the American Council on Education and other organizations in filing suit against FCC regulations that could cost college billions of dollars to make eavesdropping slightly more convenient. The plaintiffs argue that the changes are not necessary and that law enforcement needs can be served (when warrants are properly served) without these expensive changes. There’s more coverage of this story in The New York Times, the Chroncle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

I happened to be reading about this news at the same time an Australian friend send me an article about a speech given by Nobel Prize-winning novelist J.M. Coetzee (author of Waiting for the Barbarians among other novels) at the National Library of Australia. His reminder that terrorism as a threat was used to argue in favor of apartheid has caused some controversy as the Australian PM pushes legislation to expand police powers in the name of national security.

Seems ironic that an FBI that can’t get their own computer systems to work wants us to fine tune ours at great cost for their benefit. I guess “Kafkaesque” is a good word for it. Or is “Coetzeean” a word?

Start Your Engines People

It’s official. The “Call for Participation” for the ACRL 13th National Conference, to be held in Baltimore from March 29th to April 1st, 2007, is now available. From the official site comes this description:

The ACRL National Conference offers a forum for an exciting and energizing exchange of ideas on research, practices, developments, and visions in the field of academic and research librarianship. The conference theme, “Sailing into the Future – Charting our Destiny,” recognizes that coming together with other bright minds during the national conference gives many of us a chance to discuss, think, and dream about the future for our libraries. We believe that—as in past conferences—this forum serves as the compass and map to sail beyond our major challenges and truly chart our own destinies.

This call for conference proposals will also appear as an insert in the November 2006 issue of College & Research Library News. I’m looking forward to being there and blogging some sessions.

How Do I Subscribe To ACRLog

We have received a number of requests from ACRL members who would like to subscribe to ACRLog. Unlike an e-mail newsletter or a discussion list, this weblog has no “subscribe” option. To follow the ACRLog regularly, use a news aggregator to capture new posts as they are added to ACRLog. I would recommend that those new to the process of using a news aggregator to capture the RSS feed of a blog take a look at my RSS tutorial page – and I include links to a number of other popular RSS tutorials. It explains how the process works and how to use Bloglines, a popular, free, web-based news aggregator. Bloglines is not the only news aggregator, but it comes well recommended. Here is a preview of using Bloglines to subscribe to ACRLog.

Begin by going to the Bloglines site (you can enlarge the images below by clicking on them) and clicking on the “sign up now” link to acquire a free account.

Within minutes you will receive an e-mail that requires you to confirm your new account. After that you are ready to subscribe to ACRLog. When you first log in to Bloglines you may see a few default blogs in your “feed” list – which shows the blogs to which you are subscribed. You can use the “edit” option to delete those later. Next, click on the “add” link shown below:

adding a subscription on bloglines

Next, as illustrated in the screenshot below, type in the URL for ACRLog (http://www.acrlblog.org) into the “subscribe” box:

bloglines subscribe box

Next, click the “subscribe” button to the right of the box where you just typed in the ACRLog URL.

From the next screen, shown below, choose to subscribe by putting a check in the box – if you are presented with more than one feed to subscribe to – choose the one that has “atom” at the end of the URL – as shown below:

Next, scroll down to the “options” area and as shown below, click on the “subscribe” button to complete the process:

As you become more comfortable with Bloglines and add more feeds, consider creating folders to organize them. When you are done, you should now see ACRLog as one of your feeds. The left frame show the subscribed blogs, and the right frame shows the posts available to read. Here is what it will look like:

A common question is “What happens to the posts after I read them?” After you log out, or if you click to view another one of your feeds, all of the posts you just read are automatically deleted from the viewing area. However, if you need to retrieve previously read posts, there is an option to retrieve them again – up to a month ago.

Another frequent question is “How will I know when I receive a new post from ACRLog?” While most folks get quickly accustomed to checking their aggregator everyday, especially as they add more RSS feeds, if you do want to be reminded, Bloglines offer the “Bloglines Notifier”. It is an easily installed add-on that sits in your task bar and reminds you to check Bloglines as new posts are received:

To find the link to the “Notifier” scroll down the left panel that contains all the feeds until you come to the “Extra” section. Click on “tips” and then scroll through the tips until you come to the one about the Notifier.

I hope this will introduce our readers who are new to the world of RSS and news aggregators to a tool that will make it easier to “keep up” with ACRLog – and many other blogs and news sources as well.