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Daniel A. Freeman's Posts

The Kindle's Impact on the Book Publishing Industry

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on September 19, 2008 - 10:48am

New York Magazine has been providing some fantastic coverage of the changes in the book publishing industry that Jason is discussing. In a fantastic series on the current state of book publishing, they are pondering whether current trends could spell doom for the entire industry, but also covering the different ways that publishers are trying to re-invent themselves.


Tech-Savvy Teens Can Help Design Your Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 25, 2008 - 11:04am

I think one of the coolest things about a library is that in addition to the service that it provides directly, it is also a forum. Each library serves a community and in turn, that community uses the library to discuss and learn more about who it really is, what its needs are and how they can be addressed. Libraries are the leaders in serving their communities, but only because they allow these communities to lead them.

For public libraries, young patrons are particularly important. A young library user is likely to be a lifelong library user, so the library must be a place where children and teenagers can feel like their needs are going to be met. In Massachusetts libraries are taking some exciting new steps to ensure that teens have direct input. Libraries across Massachusetts will be served by advisory boards with teenagers that will help design and develop new facilities. Read More »

Library Technology in a Slow Economy

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 13, 2008 - 1:39pm

This past weekend CBS News ran this report, which examines how in an economic downturn, many families using their libraries for low-cost fun and entertainment.

While it’s clear that a rough economy increases the demand for public library services, that hardly means we’re recession proof. From Boston and D.C. to California, hard times have meant budget cuts for libraries. (check out ALA’s Funding News page).

The effects of these budget cuts affect all aspects of library service, and technology is no exception. Despite the fact that providing access to new technology is a high priority to many public libraries, in many cases libraries have had no choice but to reduce their technology budget. Read More »

Can Bookmobiles Help Close the Digital Divide?

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 7, 2008 - 2:31pm

Long ago, in the twitterless, 1.0 dark age of 2003, I got one of the coolest jobs in the world—I was a bookmobile driver at the Champaign Public Library.  Aside from the obvious perk of getting to drive a huge bus around town, this job really gave me a perspective on how libraries can be a bridge to bring different communities together. To me, the most fulfilling part of the job was knowing that in many cases, we truly were bringing library services to people who would not have had access to them otherwise.

The bookmobile served everyone—we stopped at retirement communities and pre-schools, the most-upscale neighborhoods and the most economically challenged.

I was thinking about my old job because I stumbled upon this post at No Shelf Required discussing Overdrive’s Digital Bookmobile. Read More »

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Librarians Exploring Cuil

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 1, 2008 - 9:30am

In the culture of the Internet, the sound byte and 24/7 cable news networks, as soon as something is praised, it gets torn down and trounced. This process has accelerated so quickly that it sometimes seems like the two things are happening simultaneously.

This has definitely been the case with Cuil As soon as Cuil developed a mainstream media buzz, the mainstream media was there to kill the buzz, declaring it “No Threat to Google”. As anyone who watches cable news knows, it can be tough to have a conversation when all you’ve got is two diametrically opposed sides screaming their heads off at one another. Read More »

A Comment on Comments

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on July 31, 2008 - 10:35am

If you've been adding comments to our posts recently, you may have noticed that your comments, once added, disappear into the abyss. This morning, one of our more vigilant bloggers noticed this and let us know. It turns out that when we switched over to Drupal, we did not configure our "comments" settings the way that we wanted to, and all of our comments were sent to a queue where they were waiting for approval. Since we didn't know that, it seemed to us that no one was commenting. So for the past couple of months we've been in the ironic position of wishing our readers would comment more on our posts, while our readers were wondering why we weren't allowing them to comment.

For anyone who has been confused by this unfortunate situation, please know that we not only allow comments on the site, we absolutely encourage them. Facilitating an open and ongoing dialogue, and allowing unfettered reader comments is a huge part of that. As of today we have reconfigured the site so that you can comment all you want. We've even posted the comments that had been waiting in the queue. Read More »

A “Cuil” New Way to Search

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on July 28, 2008 - 2:20pm

You don’t have to Ask Jeeves to know that a lot of search engines have come and gone since the web went mainstream. While in the past we may have yahooed, hot botted or altavista’d our way around the web, today there is no question that Google is king. Even if Google isn’t your preferred search engine, it’s hard to deny that it is the most popular engine, an industry standard and an unparalleled innovator. Google has been on top of the world for some time, but the race for something newer, bigger and better never stops.

Enter Cuil. Designed by a group of engineers and programmers who were instrumental in developing Google itself, this new search engine was launched today with the goal of “solv[ing] the two great problems of search: how to index the whole Internet—not just part of it—and how to analyze and sort out its pages so you get relevant results.” Cuil claims to index 120 billion web pages--3 times more than Google. It also boasts an innovative, customizable search results interface that is markedly different from the interface on Google or anything seen on previous search engines. Read More »

The Ever-Growing World of Gaming in Libraries

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on July 25, 2008 - 9:04am


It seems like the role that gaming plays in libraries is expanding exponentially. What once seemed like a trend is now a deeply entrenched part of our profession. Gaming is playing a bigger and bigger role in academic, public and school libraries all over the world and librarians are not only increasing their gaming content and its availability, but are also using it prominently in library programming and public service.

Our colleagues have been working hard to keep up with constantly evolving technology and increasing demand, while trying to ensure that there is a method to the madness of the gaming world. Gaming played its largest ever part in the 2008 ALA Annual convention, with hoards of librarians attending gaming-related programs, meeting with vendors and participating in the open gaming night at the Anaheim Hilton. The blogosphere is abuzz with positive feedback about this year’s programming. Read More »

Reflecting on Annual

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on July 10, 2008 - 9:58am

Now that we’ve all recovered from the conference and our California suntans have faded away, we’re ready to share our conference experience with the rest of the world.

The 2008 ALA Annual Conference was a huge success. Attendance was excellent, the programming was outstanding and the technology available to members was unprecedented.

In the coming weeks we’ll be taking a look back at the conference as our bloggers reflect on what they saw and learned. We’ll also be posting links to some of the presentations, audio, video and photos from the conference, so if you weren’t able to make it, you can still get a taste of what you missed. Read More »

YouTube and the Library World

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on June 19, 2008 - 2:30pm

Earlier this week, some of our colleagues at Booklist became Internet-celebrities when the video “Booklist Editors Read for Fun 2007” became a spotlight video on YouTube.


The video got me thinking about how YouTube has the potential to be a powerful vehicle for Reader’s Advisory and for library services in general. As it turns out, libraries all over the country are way ahead of me, and are already using YouTube to post book reviews, book discussions, and even guides to Reader’s Advisory. Read More »

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