Showing posts from December, 2010

Giving the Buzzer: Hoi Polloi Fact Checking Game Shows, Rabble-Rousing Due to Network Research Errors

Fox network researchers came away with a black eye recently, when the wild west of invisible internet folks noted they made an error when they ganked a couple on the new show Million Dollar Money Drop. The show told the couple - who had bet $800,00 - that their answer of the Post-It note being in stores earliest was not true, and that it was the Sony Walkman that hit store shelves first. Amateur researchers across the internet shouted about the error until Fox caved and admitted the error. It does my librarian heart good to see people so interested in looking deeply for an answer instead of just taking a game show host's name for it.

I bet the Fox execs are missing the pre-internet days before the gainsayers could catch them out, or are hoping they were asking questions based on polls they had conducted (and could funge the data for). Back when folks just shut up and accepted what they were told by authorities.

I wish my students were as diligent about their fact-checking. This le…

For the Love of Librarians: On Book Reviewing

An interesting topic came up recently, which comes up every so often when folks start discussing book reviews. I'm a regular fiction reviewer for Library Journal, largely in the fiction section (mystery, horror, thriller, paranormal, etc.). I also occasionally review for such journals as Journal of Access Services, Journal of Web Librarianship, Choice and a few others.

A Philosophy of Reviewing: A Pleasure & a Service

I very much think of reviewing as both a pleasure and a service to the profession. Like most of us, my free time is precious, and I have a long backlist of personal need-to-reads in addition to the books I review for various publications. For reviews, I am often asked to read authors I haven't come across before in the genres I'm most familiar with. This is an exciting opportunity for me to hear fresh voices.

In terms of service, I review in the hopes that folks making purchasing decisions (either for their personal libraries or for their place of work) find…

Takeaways from Yahoo's Delicious Debacle

Folks can laugh about the "sky is falling" reaction to Yahoo's leaked information that the social bookmarking site Delicious was being sunsetted, but given how reliant those of us who are active on the social web are, and how much of our information is logged and stored by entities outside our control, it holds some lessons, both for users and service providers.
1. You as a provider are not unique, and your users will bail if you shaft them, are perceived to have shafted them, or if there is a rumor you may shaft them. I don't know if there's a report yet on what the number of signups over at Diigo, Pinboard, or even Google bookmarks

2. You as a company should not assume that any confidential meetings are confidential. Especially if those meetings entail laying off 10% of your workforce. Be PR-ready with such announcements. Come on, guys. If Apple can't hold out without a leak, doubtful that you can, particularly when you've just majorly pissed off the prod…

Sad List of 2010 Heroes

Zuckerberg walked away with Times Person of the Year. Which I find baffling. Yes, Facebook as a product is incredible in terms of connecting people, even if it is used largely to poke people, announce breakups, and copy and paste meaningless messages. But given the outcries of privacy issues it creates - and Zuckerberg's remarkable reluctance to take those user concerns seriously - I'm rather surprised about the decision. I probably shouldn't be. He's a bazillionaire with his very own movie.
Many wanted Julian Assange (WikiLeaks founder) or Bradley Manning, the Army private who worked on classified networked and distributed any number of classified diplomatic cables and top secret government documents, to have been the choice, and here I leap into librarian heresy: I'm not going to call Assange or Manning heroes for wholesale datadump of classified material.
In any case, Zuckerberg, Assange & Manning. The Tea Party, which is not, in fact, a "person," bu…

2011 or Bust: The Commitments

I'm not going to call these resolutions, since the very word reeks of failure, given the past thirty years. No, this year I am making some personal commitments to myself. They're all pretty selfish and me-me-me, but I also think they'll help me be better to others. They're very much related to my last post, "Making a Better Me: Lessons Learned in 2010.'

If I have my way, 2011 will be Colleen's Year of Busting.

1. Butt-busting

I'm going to admit it. I felt so much better when I was hitting the gym five days a week, two or three of those with a personal trainer. I felt better physically; stairs did not make me as tired, I had more energy throughout the day, and my aches and pains were minimal. I also felt mentally better - my gym time was a really fantastic way for me to downshift from work time to home time (which I have failed miserably at for 2010, and which, according to Tony Schwartz, is pretty important). I slept better. I felt more comfortable in my …

Making a Better Me: Lessons Learned in 2010

Inspired by Justin the Librarian's "Eight Things I Learned" and Bobbi Newman's "The Four Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in 2010", I thought I would contribute my own list. (Meme, anyone?) I've actually been thinking quite a bit about this in the past few weeks, as I've been assessing what I've done, what I haven't, the person and professional I'd like to be, and the general rollercoaster ride of 2010.
Lesson #1: Overextension /= Overachievement
I have had the very good fortune of being invited to speak and write a great deal this year. I have a difficult time saying no (first of all because those invitations are usually a result of a proposal I wrote, and that would be rude; secondly, you never know when the well will dry up!). This resulted in a lot of travel, a lot of deadlines, a lot of late nights and working weekends. On top of my actual job (which is fabulous), the three courses I took toward the doctorate this semester, and my crea…