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July 17, 2003

Shush and Shush Again, Wireless Problems, Hot Paper, INASP

:: The Seattle Times has followed up its article on the 1940-ish shushing librarian doll with a piece about the mixed reaction to its appearance. In addition to quotes from librarians for and against the doll comes these words of wisdom from the the president of the company that manufactures the doll:

Mark Pahlow, Accoutrements president, also has received some negative feedback, but says people haven't seen the total product yet, which includes not just the action figure, but the information to be printed on the packaging.

"If they see the context, they would understand the respect and celebration of library science that we have."

Although the packaging isn't complete, Pahlow may add some of its text to the Web site www.mcphee.com soon, to defuse some of the negative reaction.

That sound you hear is my head banging against my desk, again. Um, this doll represents respect and celebration of library science?? WhaAAA--? And this will be illustrated by a product that in no uncertain terms projects the stereotype we've tried to eliminate for decades? I wonder if those of us who think this doll is a rather sad and backwards development are going to think any differently when we read the words on the packaging. Duh.

:: Many universities, institutions, businesses, hotels, coffee shops, and other establishments, are upgrading to wireless. UBC is 75% wireless now, and will be 100% later this summer. With wireless comes a new opportunity for hacking. Read "Walk-By Hacking" from last week's NYTimes Magazine for more on this burgeoning concern. (Registration required. ID and pw: podbay)

:: The current Hot Paper In Environment/Ecology is "Global response of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function to CO2 and climate change: Results from six dynamic global vegetation models," by W. Cramer and 16 others, Global Change Biology, 7(4): 357-73, April 2001.

:: I learned today via the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog about another interesting resource: INASP Newsletter. INASP is the International Network for the Availablity of Scientific Publications, based in Oxford, UK.

May 25, 2003

Farewell to PDA's?

Do you own a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)? I don't, but have been thinking about it for some time. The University of Alberta Library offers a guide to resources and library services for handheld users, and Geoff maintains a good, detailed list of science and engineering resources for PDA's. Yet technology seems to move faster than one can keep up in the 21st century. Ephraim Schwartz, editor at large at Infoworld writes that General Motors believes the time may be approaching for you to get rid of your PDA.

General Motors announced last week that it will partner with wireless carrier Nextel to use Nextelís Motorola cell phones with data capabilities to market a field-force management application to its commercial truck fleet customers. The announcement casts a shadow over the future of handheld devices in the business marketplace.

By selecting a cellular phone, GM in essence said no to Palm, HP, and Microsoft.

IT departments should consider the reasoning behind GMís decision before recommending a handheld solution of their own.

The technology includes GPS, Java, and push-to-talk, and in tandem with ease of use, it becomes hard to chose a handheld over a handset. Cell phones are also considerably cheaper than PDAs.

Can someone slow technology down for just a few minutes, please? (From: Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends)

May 7, 2003

The Wireless Librarian

Is your library wireless, or preparing to become wireless? Bill Drew has created The Wireless Librarian, and notes:

The purpose of this page is to provide a space for documenting my experiences using wireless and to provide resources for other libraries and librarians going through the wireless experience. This site so far concentrates on Wireless LANs in libraries but will be expanded if other wireless technologies start to make their way into libraries. This site does not cover cellular phone use or using cellular phones to access library resources. I will also include links to sites of interest. Images are used with permission of their owners.
The University of British Columbia has 75% wireless coverage, and hopes to be at 100% in a few months. Most of the libraries at UBC are either partially or completely wireless at this time.