LSJ Editors' Blog: April 2006

29 April 2006

The future of data storage?

According to New Scientist Tech, researchers have discovered a potential way to store data at a density millions of times greater than what is currently possible. Kurt Kleiner writes here:
Researchers at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia, and Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, discovered that water turns barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanowires into a potential form of computer memory....Jonathan Spanier, a team member from Drexel University, estimates that the wires could theoretically be used to make computer memory drives with a density of 10,000 terabits (1016 bits) of data per cubic centimetre. By contrast, current flash memory drives store about five gigabits (5 x 109) of data per cubic centimetre.
Just how much information is contained in 10,000 terabits? Eric Berger puts it into context:

By way of comparison, the entire text of all volumes in the U.S. Library of Congress comprises about 10 terabits. The Internet -- you know, where you're reading this -- is about 100 terabits....Within the space of about 100 cubic centimeters of this memory you could store every printed word, from Webster's dictionary to Gutenberg's bible. With 1,000 cubic centimeters you could store every word spoken by every human being in Earth's history.

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27 April 2006

Innovative public libraries enable digital media downloads

For a month now patrons of the Chicago Public Library have been able to download over 1300 audio books from its Digital Audio Books Catalog. After downloading the free OverDrive software, patrons can check out up to 6 titles for 21 days, after which the they are automatically "returned to the shelf" and become available for another patron to check out. Some items can be legally burned to CD, on an item to item basis. OverDrive works with many portable devices, though notably not the iPod.

Not to be outdone, Denver Public Library now uses OverDrive for its digital audio books collection and its digital video ("eflicks") collection. --More info from CBS Denver--
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Some exciting local news today: UB's own Dr. June Abbas and the students of her Digital Libraries class unveiled the Firebrary: the Buffalo Fire Historical Society Digital Library. Congrats June, et al., it's beautiful! I particularly like the pics of the 1896 smoke mask, and accompanying audio commentary.

...more about the making of the Firebary.

Past Digital Libraries classes created the Bentley Snow Crystal Collection and the Pierce Arrow Musuem Digital Library.

Are you involved in an interesting student project? Let us know about it:
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25 April 2006

Blogging at the ALA

American Library Association president Michael Gorman got the blogosphere riled up last year when he published an article in Library Journal entitled Revenge of the Blog People!, which contained, among other things, this statement: "Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts."

President-elect Leslie Burger, by contrast, has a blog of her own. In this post she explains why it is important for us to engage with the blogosphere.

And another ALA VIP is now blogging: Mary Ghikas, Senior Associate Executive Director, has recently started The Green Kangaroo.

What a difference a year makes!
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22 April 2006

Is the Book Burro friendly?

There is a free add-on to the Firefox browser called Book Burro which does something very interesting: it senses when you are searching for a book on the Web, gives you the prices from several online bookstores, and tells you if the book is available at your library (for now it only works at a select few libraries, but soon ,they promise, you will be able to customize it for your own local library).

Let's imagine I'm searching Amazon and I come across The Enduring Library by Michael Gorman and I think Now there is a book I have got to read. I'm about to Add to Shopping Cart but instead I glance up at Book Burro and I see that the Seattle Public Library has a copy of it. With one click it takes me not only to the SPL catalogue but specifically to the record for The Enduring Library, which confirms that the book is available. So I put the credit card back in the wallet and I head to the library--bad for MG and Amazon, perhaps, but good for me and the SPL.

Seems pretty great, no? But I wonder if there are other implications. What is stopping a reader in Seattle, for instance, from searching Amazon instead of the SPL OPAC? This is, in a way, the opposite of attempts by librarians to catalogue the Web to be searchable in library catalogues. Perhaps in the future we wont even go to the OPAC to find library resources; we'll go to Google OPAC or somesuch. And we'll put up with the advertisements because it will work. Of course none of this would be an issue if OPAC design was not so outdated...but that's a subject for another day.

The Book Burro site doesn't say much about the technology behind it. Anybody care to enlighten me on how it works?
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21 April 2006

LSJ Seeks Editorial Board Members

Library Student Journal is now officially forming its editorial board.  The board's
primary responsibilty is to ensure a high quality of peer-review and to assist the
editors in making editorial decisions. Members will be asked to review papers
on topics familar to them. For more information about the role/duties of the
editorial board please go to

To apply, please send an email to with a current CV or resume
attached; write "editorial board" in the subject line, and in
the body state your
name, affiliation, expected graduation date, primary interests and experience in
the field, and a paragraph explaining why
you are interested in serving on the
board (less than 200 words please).

Please apply by May 6.

Any questions, feel free to email us at

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19 April 2006

Getting started with blogs and RSS feeds

I'm a recent convert to blogging/RSS feeds and I hope to convert many of you LIS students as well. RSS is worth knowing about for two reasons: RSS feeds are the best way to keep updated on new developments in the field, and RSS has great potential as a tool for better serving our communities. With RSS you can subscibe to the feeds of your favorite journals, newspapers and blogs through an aggregator, and any newly published information from those sources will be automatically sent to your desktop. No searching, no surfing, no nothing, it's just there! So please, take a couple minutes to subscribe to a feed or two--I promise it will save you hours in the long run.

How do you get started? There are, let's say, three easy steps: Find an aggregator. Subscribe to some feeds. Read.

A google search will find some good free aggregators. Bloglines is a popular one. I personally like gmail's "Webclips" feature-- a very simple aggregator already attached to all gmail accounts. If you use the excellent and free Firefox browser, you can even add feeds to your Bookmarks by clicking on the little orange icon on the bottom of the window or on the right side of the address bar.

All aggregators have a feature to search for and subscribe to feeds--do a search for "library" to find some good library blogs, etc.--or if you know the feed url you can cut and paste it into your aggregator. Ours is: .

For more details check out Getting Started with RSS: The Fifteen-Minute Tutorial
by K.G Schneider's, aka the Free Range Librarian.

Eli Guinnee

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10 April 2006

Introducing Library Student Journal!

Welcome to the LSJ Editors' Blog!

Library Student Journal is the international peer-reviewed journal for future information science professionals edited by students at the University at Buffalo.

Beginning May 2006, we will be accepting submissions. Right now, we are in the process of forming the editorial board. If you would like to be involved please see our website for information on how to apply, or contact us at

Here at the LSJ Editors' Blog my coeditors and I will tell you about new articles in LSJ and alert you to whatever LIS news we think students should know about. Please feel free to post comments about things we've posted, or email us when we've overlooked something important.

Eli Guinnee, editor
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