Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Science of Reading and the State of Reading in our Society.

This past weeks episode of “To the Best of Our Knowledge” on Wisconsin Public Radio focused on libraries and reading. The episode as whole is enjoyable and informative but the first segment is particularily relevant to our work as it covers the state of reading in our socety and the efficacy of the book as a format.

Maryanne Wolfe, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University and author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain,” spoke of her concerns about the younger generations of readers who were brought up in a world of computers. According to Ms. Wolfe, students are not reading as well as in the past.

In the interview, Wolfe also referenced Nicholas Carr’s article in The Atlantic, “Is Google making Us Stupid?” Wolfe’s worry is that even though younger generations are reading and have easier access to information, they are only becoming “superficially smart.” They are learning in a manner that lacks in analysis and fails to manifest into inference and deeper knowledge of the subject.

“Libraries.” To the Best of Our Knowledge. Wisconsin Public Radio. August 29, 2009. Web.

Carr, Nicholas. ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic. July/August 2008. Web.

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Deep Linking and Harvard Business Press

A recent article in Library Journal by a librarian at Oxford University notes that Harvard Business Press may be backing away from its controversial effort that asked libraries to pay for the right to deep link to Harvard Business Review articles in EBSCOhost’s Business Source Premier.

Flegg, Chris. “Libraries Clash with Harvard Business Publishing on Deep-Linking.” Library Journal, 20 August 2009. Web.

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Tech Sharecase, 20 August 2009


Ryan Phillips, Stephen Francoeur, Randy Hensley, Mike Waldman, Jean Yaremchuk, Joseph Hartnett

Squirrelizer and Cornify

Because we like to have fun as well as talk about serious topics, we started off with a couple of silly sites. Squirrelizer will insert the newly famous squirrel image into your pictures. Cornify will add pretty rainbows and unicorns to a web site or image (until your stomach turns).

Bing News vs. Google News

Google News offers a richer interface with better faceted navigation. Bing’s news section suffers at the moment from not having enough sources to provide, but Microsoft is likely working on lots of deals with news publishers now. It may be that Bing is also working on a finance section to rival Yahoo! Finance (although with the Yahoo!/Microsoft deal from last month, it’s not clear what’s going to happen). It was remarked that Bing is making a more competitive landscape now.

NewsGator announced that they are dropping its longtime desktop RSS reader and focusing on a mobile app version instead. Since Microsoft Outlook 2007 was released, which featured a built in RSS reader, the market for desktop RSS readers has declined. Jean mentioned that she used PHP to code her own desktop RSS reader.


Jean used Visio for a couple of things recently: for planning display cases layouts and for creating a Gantt charts. Maybe at an upcoming sharecase where there is a critical mass of library staff attending, she can give a demo of the software.

Exporting from Aleph

Jean created a script that will allow us to run reports on our subject areas and export to Excel.

Library Technology for Assistive Services

We talked about assistive technology that we have in the 3rd floor room and on the 2nd floor.

Library Web Site Design

A discussion about how we update content in our library web site led to a broader discussion of library web site design and looks at lots of notable sites. One resource that is helpful when talking about web site design is Jon Kupersmith’s Library Terms That Users Understand.

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How Students Learn Research Methods from Faculty

InsideHigherEd has just given Mary George, a reference librarian at Princeton University, a blog on their web site. Titled Keywords from a Librarian, the blog features an initial post in which George explains:

Teaching faculty have immense persuasive power; we librarians do not. What we do have are sweeping views of what scholars are up to, a grasp of how researchers do their business and what evidence ensues, and a knack for identifying and locating that evidence. By and large faculty and academic librarians respect one another’s expertise and collaborate happily. But where and how do our apprentices-either undergraduates or graduate students – learn the process and logic of source seeking? That is the question that haunts me and inspires this blog.

George, Mary. “An Introduction.” Keywords from a Librarian. InsideHigherEd, 18 August 2009. Web.

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Authenticity and Teaching

There’s a terrific post today by Carrie Donovan on the blog, In the Library with the Lead Pipe, in which she discusses the role of authenticity in teaching.

Donovan, Carrie. “Sense of Self: Embracing Your Teacher Identity.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, 19 August 2009. Web.

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Making Online Govt. Docs Stable and Citable

A recent podcast by Jon Udell featured his interview with Silona Bonewald, who represents the League of Technical Voters. Bonewald talked about her efforts to develop a system whereby government documents can have permanent URLs down to the paragraph level (not just the document/web page level). Doing so would make it much easier to have conversations about government documents (think of the conversations, for example, that arise around specific pieces of legislation being drafted).

This slide presentation (with audio!) gives a good overview of the project that Bonewald is working on. Using advanced permalinks to make government information more accessible, reliable, and transparent

Bonewald, Silona. Interview by Jon Udell. Interviews with Innovators. IT Conversations, 11 August 2009. Web. 18 August 2009.
Parsons, Adrian. “ Using Advanced Permalinks to Make Government Information More Accessible, Reliable, and Transparent.” Slideshare, 2009. Web. 18 August 2009.
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Tighter Editorial Control at Wikipedia Leads to Stagnation

A recent article in the Guardian suggests that the rapid growth in the number of new Wikipedia entries and edits has slowed in recent years. It is suggested that the elite group of Wikipedia editors has focused more on controlling content. The change is characterized as a battle in which the “inclusionists,” who wish to expand Wikipedia even if new content isn’t properly referenced, are losing out to the “deletionists,” who are concerned more with overall quality than quantity of information in Wikipedia.

Johnson, Bobbie. “Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits,” The Guardian, 12 August 2009. Web.

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Tech Sharecase, 6 August 2009


Randy Hensley, Louise Klusek, Mike Waldman, Stephen Francoeur, Ryan Phillips, Arthur Downing, Frank Donnelly, Rita Ormsby.


We discussed the history of AirBaruch and potential new services the library would want to offer.

Text Message Reference
Some ideas on how to market chat reference were shared, including promoting it as a service for students “on the go.” Since students are using the chat service from the convenience of their workstations, mobile devices, et cetera, it might be ideal to market chat reference as a service for “where you are.” NYU has a shared phone to cover the service.

Phone Reference

The text message reference led to a discussion on how we provide phone reference. We discussed to what extent
should we promote and field reference questions at the reference desk? We also discussed how we could expand this service.

E-textbooks and E-books

Stephen discussed a pilot project for patron-initiated acquisitions of e-books at BMCC.

The library has been given funds to purchase textbooks in the fall for students; we are looking into the possibility of using some of that money to buy textbooks in an e-book format.

Mike is working with a CIS professor whose class has 2 required books that will be in ebook format (one a Kindle form and the other Books24x7). Newman Library will provide the Kindle.

Supporting Baruch’s Film Studies Minor

With the introduction of a new film studies minor, the library is looking into ways we can provide films to support the classes.
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