News from other blogs

I’m a fan of the Free Government Information blog, and here are two examples of why:

  • 50-State Agency Database Registry Launches Historical Materials, including a page for official records databases.
      “These pages just launched, so they are a little light on content. The Registry volunteers will be adding to these pages in the next few weeks.If you are registered with the ALA GODORT wiki and would like to help the effort along, please browse the state pages or search for words from the historical categories and copy and paste databases from the state pages to the appropriate subject page.”
  • Fed shredding on the increase since 2000, “Radar Magazine has analyzed federal spending on paper shredding contracts since 2000 (see chart at left) and shown that there has been a 600% increase on these contracts since George W. Bush took office.”

Courtesy of a post on Director’s Corner (written by the director of the Smith College libraries), here’s a link to a potentially interesting podcast:

A Discussion on Disconnects Between Library Culture and Millennial Generation User Values.”

A 50-minute podcast recorded during the EDUCAUSE 2007 Annual Conference . . . The panel continues the discussion addressed in a 2006 EDUCAUSE Quarterly article by McDonald and Thomas on the disconnects between library culture and millennial generation values. Panelists will cover three broad areas of demographics, design, and social outreach as related to the needs of the millennial library researcher.”

Although there appears to have been no discussion of it in the world of archives (except for two comments on my post), the library community has had quite a bit to say about the LOC’s Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control report. If you have some time (maybe even you, David at The DIGITAL ARCHIVE), I’d suggest you take a look at some of their comments to get an idea what’s being proposed. They’ve even saved you time by tagging their posts with a groovy tag, “WoGroFuBiCo” – take a look here.

Also of possible interest to archivists is an announcement of an alliance between the Zotero project at the Center for History and New Media and the Internet Archive. Of the five “key elements of the project” is:

1. Exposing and Sharing the “Hidden Archive”

The Zotero-IA alliance will create a “Zotero Commons” into which scholarly materials can be added simply via the Zotero client. Almost every scholar and researcher has documents that they have scanned (some of which are in the public domain), finding aids they have created, or bibliographies on topics of interest. Currently there is no easy way to share these; giving them a central home at the Internet Archive will archive them permanently (before they are lost on personal hard drives) and make them broadly available to others.

We understand that not everyone will be willing to share everything (some may not be willing to share anything, even though almost every university commencement reminds graduates that they are joining a “community of scholars”), but we believe that the Commons will provide a good place for shareable materials to reside. The architectural historian with hundreds of photographs of buildings, the researcher who has scanned in old newspapers, and scholars who wish to publish materials in an open access environment will find this a helpful addition to Zotero and the Internet Archive. Some researchers may of course deposit materials only after finishing, say, a book project; what I have called “secondary scholarly materials” (e.g., bibliographies) will perhaps be more readily shared.

But we hope the second part of the project will further entice scholars to contribute important research materials to the Commons.

And references to this site are making the rounds, but I’m stealing this from The Shifted Librarian:

Play a Game to Feed Some People

Please go play FreeRice right now. It’s a great example of using gaming for some serious good.

  • Click on the answer that best defines the word.
  • If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.
  • For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people–everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

I’ve tried this site–be careful–it’s addictive! But all for a good cause.

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