Thursday, December 30, 2004

Donate to the Tsunami Victims

I want to wish everyone a happy 2005.

Let us also take some time and remember those who are no longer with us and those who will need our help this new year. Take it upon yourself to do something for somebody else, whether it is volunteering with a local charity, giving food to food banks, or just giving the last buck in your pocket to the person on the street corner.

I also want to include a link to CNN's page dedicated to charities that are helping victims of the Tsunami. Please think about donating to one of these charities.

Have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Krafty Librarian Has a New Job

That is right, the Krafty Librarian has a new job. :)

While I am sad to leave my current library where I have worked with wonderful colleagues and learned a great deal, this new position offers me an opportunity to grow and expand in ways that are not available in my current position.

It will also be a bit of culture shock for me. My current library is a VERY LARGE medical hospital serving a VERY LARGE and well known hospital with over 14,000 employees. My new library is much smaller. However, I am very lucky the new library is well supported and used. They just moved the library into a new facility last year.

My new library uses a card catalog and it is expected that I will move their collection to an online system. So I welcome any tips, suggestions, warnings, and advice. This will be my first experience doing this sort of thing.

I am looking forward to this and I will keep you all informed of my events.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Buy Stolen Books on eBay

I am back from my Christmas holiday with my family in St. Louis. I was very lucky to have left Cleveland when I did because I did not get hit by that huge snow storm that pretty much paralyzed Ohio and Indiana. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday. So let's get back to blogging....

I have heard from other librarians that people are stealing rare or just very expensive library books and selling them on eBay. Well here is an article from the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, "Former library employee pleads guilty to selling ancient texts." David Breithaupt, who was a night supervisor at Kenyon College Library, plead guilty to stealing Kenyon's rare books and selling them on eBay. More than $50,000 of rare books were stolen and then sold to people on eBay. Breithaupt, sold a copy of Ptolemy's "Almagest," which closed on eBay for $4,750. It would cost $7,000 to replace the 16th century book.

In the April 14, 2004 Columbus Dispatch (sorry archives not free online) Breithaupt and his girlfriend's financial records, "produced during the trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster, showed $744,130 in unexplained, nonwage bank deposits from 1995 to 2000."

According a brief article in American Libraries Online, Breithaupt claimed that the library fabricated the whole story to cover up the fact that staff had thrown the valuable materials into the trash, where they claim to have found them.

"The disappearance of letters, manuscripts and books was discovered in April 2000 when a Georgia college librarian bid on a Flannery O'Connor letter listed for sale on eBay by Breithaupt's girlfriend, Hupp. The librarian soon realized, however, that the letter matched a photocopy of the document that Kenyon provided him in 1993. He called Christopher Barth (director of information resources at the Olin and Chalmers Libraries at Kenyon College), which led to the search of Breithaupt and Hupp's home in April 2000." (April 14 Columbus Dispatch)
****my thoughts***

Yeah to the alert librarian!!! I am sure Kenyon College has expressed their thanks, but would like to as well for me and other fellow librarians. THANK YOU!

So there you have it in black and white, stolen books are being sold on eBay. I am sure this is not shocking to some librarians. One thing to for librarians to think about is that this is not just happening to rare book collections I have heard on my email lists that some medical librarians have found their expensive medical books stolen and sold on the internet. (Medlib archived email Aug. 4, 2003)

While I wouldn't recommend searching eBay for every book that is missing in your collection, it might be worth it if you start to notice very expensive or large amounts of books are gone.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Google is being sued over Google Scholar name

Now here is a little bit of interesting librarian watercooler talk.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) filed a complaint on Dec. 9 against Google Inc. for the use of the trademark “Scholar” for its Google Scholar literature-search engine constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The ACS complains that Google's use of the word scholar infringes on ACS’s SciFinder Scholar and Scholar trademarks and constitutes unfair competition. SciFinder Scholar is a desktop research tool designed for academic scientists (launched six years ago). It provides (for a fee) an estimated 1,000 colleges and universities access to all of CAS’s databases, including information on journal and patent references, substance information, regulated chemicals, chemical reactions, and chemical supplier information.

So, the ACS is worried about trademark infringment and possible confusion between the two products.

Interesting....So, what is your take on this?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Penn State Tells Students to Stop Using IE

Well, it seems that there is a major university tell its students stop using IE. According to Penn State's IT division recommended to its students (80,000+) and staff to use alternative browsers, such as Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, or Safari. Their rationale is that IE poses too many security threats and problems. They believe the alternative browsers would "help minimize exposure to attacks" common to IE.

Well duh...not having or using IE minimizes your risk of attacks that focus on IE vulnerabilities. That is like saying I am minimzing the amount of money I spend on gas by not using my car. IF I don't have it, then I am not going to be effected by it and its problems.

What seems to be more significant is this is a large educated body that is actively discouraging IE use and one has to wonder how Microsoft can address this.
On a side note, one has to wonder how many students and staff will actually listen to their school's IT department. My bet is most people will be using their IE despite the recommendation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Doody's Core Titles in Health Sciences

By now everybody knows that the Brandon Hill List for medical libraries is gone. Doody Enterprises has created Doody’s Core Titles in the Health Sciences 2004 (DCT) a new service for medical library community.

This list of core titles represents the collective judgment of 92 Content Specialists and 82 Library Selectors about what titles represent essential knowledge needed by a professional or student in 119 different health-related disciplines. The list is intended to serve as an aid to collection development librarians responsible for collecting titles in clinical medicine, basic science, nursing, allied health, and other associated health-related disciplines. The 2004 edition of DCT features 1,912 titles in 119 different specialties.

In producing DCT, Doody Enterprises, Inc., hopes to fill a void created by the discontinuation of the Brandon / Hill Selected Lists for the small medical library, in nursing and in allied health.

Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences, 2004 edition, is now available online. For information on this product and how to access it go to

For opinions on Doody's go to Medlib archives.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Google is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database

Well, guess what greeted me this morning after a 1 1/2 hr. commute into work through snow? (It is usually a 30 minute drive.)

The New York Times article "Google is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database."

Google entered into an agreement with Oxford University, Harvard, University of Michigan, Stanford, and the New York Public Library to scan their material, digitize it, and make it freely available online.
According to Michael A. Keller, Stanford University's head librarian, "Within two decades, most of the world's knowledge will be digitized and available, one hopes for free reading on the Internet, just as there is free reading in libraries today."

Me thinks, hmm didn't they already say that 20 years ago?

Ok I think this is kind of cool. I am very excited that librarians are involved in this project. This makes me think/hope/pray that this will be done right. I am not belittling non-librarians, it just seems that when it comes to organizing particular informational things, librarians tend to do it better. (Librarian's do it better...hmm should be a t-shirt slogan if it isn't already.)

Some obstacles or issues that I am concerned with are copyright/money and librarian roles. Copyright/money: For older material this is not as much of an issue, but for newer books, journal articles, and other copyrighted publications this could be a big issue. How is Google going to make this all available on the internet for free? My guess that is that a majority of these newer items will not be free.
Librarian roles: I said earlier that I am excited that librarians are involved in this project. My only concern is what will be the roles of librarians once these documents are available online for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I don't think librarians should hoard information as a ways of ensuring their longevity. I just think that librarians need to re-evaluated their roles as providers of information. Once Google has all of the information, Google will be the provider. What will librarians be, especially to the user who will think everything is online anyway? There needs to be greater push from librarians to have a greater presence in our academic and business society, heck our whole society.

What do you think? Read the article and share your thoughts.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Most Effective Search Engines Yet Invented — Librarians

Ok I couldn't let my previous downer post be the only thing I have written in a week. (My apologies for not writing as often, there are reasons which you will know soon.)

So here is a link to a wonderful article from William R. Brody, the president of The Johns Hopkins University, praising librarians as "most effective search engines yet invented."
It is a great article and he ends it with, "Today's technology is spectacular — but it can't always trump a skilled human. Have you hugged your librarian today?"

We all need a hug.

Kids Shun Books for Online Information

If you need another thing to sigh and roll your eyes over, there is an article on where kids are no longer using books or other print material for their research. They go to click, highlight, and copy their information.
Here is a teaser quote from the article:
"Georgia Tech professor Amy Bruckman tried to force students to leave their computers by requiring at least one book for a September class project.
She wasn't prepared for the response: 'Someone raised their hand and asked, 'Excuse me, where would I get a book?"

Maybe it is the mood I am in but sometimes I feel as librarians we are losing two step to every step we take forward in educating people on finding information.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Serials Solutions Offers Central Search

I just received an email from Serials Solutions about their new product called Central Search. According to Serials Solutions, Central Search is a "powerful federated search engine, allows patrons to search disparate digital resources from a single, easy to use interface. Combining industry leading search technology with robust results handling, Central Search dramatically reduces the time required to search multiple resources, while introducing your patrons to the richness of your collection."

I am disappointed but not surprised. Soo many questions and concerns regarding this product. How does this handle databases that have very specific controlled vocabulary such as Medline? The best was to use a database like Medline is to know the MeSH headings, use them appropriately. In my opinion this can not be done effectively with a product like Central Search. To me it seems like Central Search is a glorified Google Scholar that access just your databases and journal subscriptions. Do we know anything about Central Search's ranking or relevancy for search results? How does it handles synonyms or different spellings? My guess is that it is a natural language search engine. A Natural language search engine used to search controlled vocabulary database is just a disaster. People are lulled into thinking they have searched everything (and searched it well) thoroughly when they search something like Central Search or Google Scholar.

Like I said I am not surprised that Serials Solutions has created a product like this. Unfortunately the masses demand this kind of product. Look at all of the students and researchers who think Google Scholar is wonderful and solves their information needs. We as librarians have failed in alerting our users to the pitfalls of such searching.

The only place I think Central Search might work well in is a public library. The reason is that most public libraries do not have scientific controlled vocabulary databases. Their databases tend to be more natural language and work well with the various demands of the public library user. However, I just don't see how Central Search can search multiple databases effectively when you have a diverse selection of databases and you have both natural language and controlled vocabulary databases. Hey, if Serials Solutions can prove me wrong, I will blog about it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Top 5 Emerging Technologies for Small Libraries

WebJunction has a list of the Top 5 Emerging Technologies for Small Libraries.
1. Flash and USB drives
2. Wireless Access
3. Thin Clients
4. Upgrading Operating Sytems
5. Technology Planning

As I said in one of a blog a while ago, the floppy is going the way of the dodo bird. Get on the flash and usb drive train before you are left at that station. When replacement time comes, make sure your new computers have usb ports on the front, it will make life easier for you and your flash drive users.

I can only dream of wireless access here at my library. However, I am in a hospital library and our wireless is locked down like State Secrets. Rightfully so, you can't have unsecure network access in a facility that has tons of patient data.

Thin Clients: I can only speak from what I see of our patrons. It is ture, patrons want everything (all applications and storage) to be at one centralized server so that they can access it whenever wherever they want. They want the computer in the library to have the same stuff and access as the computer on the desk in their office. We are close but not their yet. Again that comes to an issue of network security in an hospital environment. However, it is slowly happening.

Upgrading Operating Systems and Technology Planning should be no brainers, but many places are afraid to get a new operating system due to the up front costs, but the time and money you will save on service calls and trouble shooting will eventually cost you more than the operating system. You can take some of the bite out of the upgrading of your operating systems or hardware by planning for your technology.

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The Krafty Librarian has been a medical librarian since 1998. She is currently the medical librarian for a hospital system in Ohio. You can email her at: