Just a reminder that the library camp is tomorrow, Thursday March 20th. More information is on libsuccess.org:
The next Library Camp will be held Thursday, March 20th, 2008, at the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, from 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM. The goal is to get a bunch of people together, and let them talk about whatever they'd like to talk about, within the rough purview of libraries and library technology. We'll start with all getting together with a blank schedule to talk about what we'd like to talk about and fill in a few slots on the agenda. We've got time for four sessions and room for at least 3 concurrent sessions, so there could easily be 10-12 different things to talk about during the day. We're working on providing breakfast; lunch is on your own, but there will surely be groups heading out to nearby places in downtown Ann Arbor. There is also a mid-range hotel near by (The Campus Inn, $200/night, orbitz has for $99/night), and a very cheap place a little further out that's not half bad (Lamp Post Inn, $45/night).
I'm still digesting all the discussions and information from code4lib but I remembered a conversation I eavesdropped on. Casey reminded me it was between him and Adam Brin of Tri-College. The gist was that they had put a "txt this record to me" feature onto the catalog, without any real demand, which then took off to everyone's surprise. It was one of those "that would be cool" that then turned into a "how did we do without it" for some students. I believe they rapidly went up to 60 messages a day. You can see an example on The Selfish Gene. The feature itself sends the title and location info to your cellphone via SMS. They are using the free SMS email gateways I believe while Casey went with a pay service.
Most of my SMS plans allowed free incoming so I would have probably used this during my long college years. With the potential younger audience at public libraries I've heard discussion on whether kids racking up SMS charges using the catalog would be a good thing. Ed would also like free alternatives which probably wouldn't be hard for email if your already using the email gateways. I've already thought about all his options including adding it to our twitter script. When I revisit catwrap I'm going to look more into custom catalog experiences based on profile information such as twitter, email, phone, etc. With a little information in the profile it would be possible to slim down the display with just the applicable features (send to twitter, send to del.icio.us, etc).
As you've probably read elsewhere Google finally released a way to get book availability on Google Books. It's a fairly simple web service where you hand it an identifier and it gives back whether the book is on Google Books and how much so (no view, partial view, full view) along with cover images. AADL previously scraped for the information which I've now disabled and used the new API instead. It was fairly easy with a little jquery and small changes to catwrap. I'm not yet using ThingISBN/xISBN so the results aren't that great. LCCN/OCLC identifiers would probably also help.
And as Tim at LibraryThing and jrochkind found they seem to be going for basic and client side which limits what you can do with it. I haven't had time to look into what's allowed in terms of caching or how many requests per client before being shut down. It would probably help to do the calls server side and cache for all the lccn/oclc/isbn possibilities in the long run.
From Library Journal: Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians
Our catalogers began to disappear with the takeover of that function by OCLC, the nonprofit that aspires to be a corporation in this brave new retail library world. The standardized result of the effort is bypassed by patron and librarian alike, as they turn to the more friendly Amazons, Googles, et al., for the less precise, more watered-down "metadata" that has replaced what used to be cataloging. Apparently, users don't miss the old catalog, except as a familiar artifact, which is testimony to how low this dumbing down has taken us.
The resulting "destination" libraries resemble the cookie-cutter design of the grocery store, aimed at making sure everyone who comes in goes out with "product" (books, CDs, DVDs, or downloads). What the patron takes is of as little concern to the storekeeper librarian as it is to the supermarket manager. The success of the enterprise is measured in the number of products collected by patrons, now called "customers." It is no longer measured in the usefulness or impact of the service on the quality of life in the community served.