Sunday, June 21, 2009


Europeana is a new virtual library of images, text, recordings and videos from all over Europe. The digital artifacts come from museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It is currently in beta, so it's not as slick as I hope it will be. But it will eventually have millions of digital items available to access.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dumping Dewey

A co-worker of mine came into the Rivendell library yesterday and asked me if I had seen the article in the paper about libraries getting rid of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system. I found it on the web today from both the Denver Post and Library Journal. There is a library district here in Colorado that is in the process of dumping the DDC for something they apparently came up with called WordThink. It is based on BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communication). Basically, they are going to make the districts libraries set up more like bookstores in grouping their books. They say that this is better for browsing and that people complain that they don't understand how the DDC works.

Good luck. I see so many problems with this. How will someone be able to find an exact title if it isn't shelved in an exact place? They may have figured out a way to do this, but it will involve some kind of system that will still be a mystery to some people.

Lots of books could go in two or more different subjects. Does a book on the History of Christianity go under history, Christianity or more generally, religion? It's not a bookstore where you can put a few copies in one place and some in the other.

I also think they are doing a huge disservice to their patrons by not teaching them how to use the DDC or any classification system. It really isn't that hard understand once it is explained. You can then use this knowledge in any other library that uses the DDC. You wouldn't say to someone that can't read, "Oh, that's okay. You don't need to learn to read. We'll have you listen to audiobooks instead." No, you teach them.

The DDC and the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) systems both group books by subject. That's the whole point of classification systems in the first place. I run two libraries, one with DDC and one with LCC and I see people browsing all the time. They sometimes need some help finding right area to look in, but that is what we librarians are for.

Good luck to them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sigh. When will it end? Yet another search engine has been launched, this time by none other than Microsoft. Which means there is a large number of people who won't use it for just that reason. Be that as it may, Microsoft now brings us....Bing. Yes, like the cherry. Or the last name of Chandler from Friends (which was the first thing I thought of when I heard the name of this thing--or Miss Chanadaler Bong for those who remember this episode one of the best episodes ever). But I digress.

Bing was developed to give Google a run for its money. Good luck with that. Anyway, I did my normal Henry VIII search and it looks pretty much like the way Google returns its results. There aren't as many advertisements along the right side like Google has, so that is a bonus. One thing I do like is when you put your mouse over the line that comes up on the right side of any of the results, it will pop up a window that shows the first few lines of the webpage. It also has available on that thumbnail links to other websites referenced on that page. This thumbnail gives you the ability to preview the site without having to go to it. That's pretty handy.

It also has your search history on the left side of the screen. This is cool because it will help you remember what you may have already tried when searching for something, or what worked and you want to go back. On the left side it also gives you related searches that might be helpful.

Across the top are images, videos, shopping, and maps (like Google maps). One thing that Bing does that Google doesn't in connection with the videos is that when you put your cursor over a thumbnail video, it will start playing the video. The images are more interactive with the cursor as well.

In the end, it does pretty much the same thing as Google, only with a few more interactive bells and whistles.

One interesting thing: When I searched Henry VIII on Google, I got 5,770,000 results. When I searched the same thing on Google, I got 10,200,000 results. Five million more hits? Why? And to what end? I'm not going to look through 5 million, let alone 10 million.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft and Bing can make a dent in Google's stronghold.