Monday, April 16, 2007

Carnival of the infosciences #69

Welcome to the April 16, 2007 edition of carnival of the infosciences.
Thanks to all those who took the time to submit articles and blog posts for consideration, It was much appreciated.

I have decided to divide this carnival into three sections, the fun, the geeky and the Strictly Library.

The Fun

As if web 2.0, library 2.0, and opac 2.0 weren't enough, we now have 'supermarket 2.0'!

Thanks: @ the Library

Strictly Library

The Google's Librarian Central points us towards an article in Searcher Magazine explaining the Google book search digitization project.

Derik Badman presents his Comments and drawings from the ACRL Conference.

Also from the ACRL Conference, Jenny Levine writes about the latest experiments in IM reference services.

Connie Crosby let me know about Ellyssa Kroski's blogpost 'Information Design for the New Web', saying, "Ellyssa Kroski at Infotangle has put together an amazing outline of good, current web design with examples of existing websites. This is for her presentation at Computers in Libraries on Monday, and she has shared it all in a blog post. Outstanding!"

John Dupuis presents 'Is There a Future for Bibliographic Databases?' posted at PersonaNonData which is a guest post he did for Michael Cairns' blog, personanondata

Here are the issues his post mentions:

  • The Changing Nature of Publishing

  • The Changing Nature of Metadata

  • The Changing Nature of customers

  • What's worth paying for?

His conclusion: "It's hard to tell where bibliographic databases will find their place: will they be dodo birds, or will they find a way to survive or even thrive in the coming decade."

The Geeky

Code4lib have published the videos and podcasts from the code4lib2007 conference.

Daniel Chudnov points us at his article about standards for computers in libraries.

Well that's this edition of the carnival of the infosciences, please submit you suggestions to the next carnival host using the
carnival submission form.

The next host for this carnival hasn't yet been announced...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

TimeKeeper Application

Computer workstations in our library can at times be in high demand as there are never enough of them. Manually scheduling users onto workstations and keeping track of how long they have been working is not effective use of staff time. Also conflicts occur when we close, as users will often want to continue working when staff want to leave.

The TimeKeeper application was built to address these situations by providing a countdown timer to limit the usage of the equipment without staff intervention. The original application was built using VB6 but I have rewritten it using VB .NET and it is now way more robust. In its current form it has been in use for over a year in the Windows XP environment and its presence is taken for granted by both our users and staff. In fact the use of this application has assisted greatly in improving our staff user relationships as Library staff now do a lot less "policing" of the workstations.

When building an application which is acting as a "policemen" you have to ensure that the users are informed about what it will do! This is accomplished by several screens which come to the front and have to be acknowledged by the user before they can continue to use the workstation. The first screen at Logon tells the user what is happening and starts a countdown timer when the timer gets near to the end of the session at least 2 warnings are presented to the user (which they have to acknowledge) before the session is closed by the TimeKeeper.

The TimeKeeper application requires that the user cannot access the workstation "Task Manger" interface. This is a setting in Group Policy that would normally be denied users in a managed network environment in any case. (The reason in this instance for doing this is that if the user can stop the TimeKeeper process in the Task Manager then the application is negated.) Assuming that this condition is met then the TimeKeeper is robust and reliable.

I have tested TimeKeeper on an "upgraded" Vista operating system. All seems to work as expected! I will test further on a "clean" installation and I will amend this page accordingly.


  • Instructions for downloading and implementing the TimeKeeper Application.
  • Monday, April 2, 2007

    A Carnival comes to LibraryCogs

    LibraryCogs has the privillege of hosting the next 'Carnival of the Infosciences'.
    The way a blog carnival works is that a collection of blogs on similar topics take turns at hosting the carnival, the host gets sent articles and blog posts from around the web and assembles the links and adds his or her own thoughts on each one. The Carnival of the Infosciences links to articles relating to the library and information sciences field.

    So start sending in your suggestions now, The Carnival is here April 16th.