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Submitted by Frank Webster on Wed, 2011-05-04 08:49

"Recommender" features built into online catalogs have been a controversial issue in Library Land because they rely on a record of individual borrowing that is perceived by many librarians as a threat to patron privacy.

Columbia University Libraries (CUL) has been a leader in the protection of patron privacy since Director Paula Kaufman rebuffed the FBI's attempt to keep international students' reading habits under surveillance in 1987.

EDUCAT is set up to break the connection between reader and book once the item has been returned and any fines satisfied.

This article in D-LIB Magazine proposes an anonymous recommender that works in conjunction with the catalog:

Adding Value to the Library Catalog by Implementing a Recommendation System

Submitted by Frank Webster on Mon, 2011-05-02 08:51

This article in Bloomberg Businessweek explores new trends in online publishing and higlights two new sites, Byliner and The Atavist, that specialize in content that is longer than the typical magazine article but shorter than what we think of as a book.

What Is A Book?

The article also points out trends in self-publishing by Amanda Hocking, author of nine paranormal romance young-adult novels, and Barry Eisler, author of two bestselling thriller series.

Hocking is now moving from self-publishing to traditional publishing because she is feeling overwhelmed, but Eisler is moving from traditional publishing to self-publishing so he can get more control and more money.

Submitted by Frank Webster on Thu, 2011-04-28 11:48

This article in Bloomberg Businessweek reports renewed interest in online learning companies by venture capitalists to the tune of $177 million:

Educational Tech Gets a Second Look

"Education is having its Internet moment," says Rob Stavis of Bessemer Venture Partners, a prominent venture fund.

Submitted by Frank Webster on Mon, 2011-03-28 10:47

This article in Bloomberg Businessweek describes the highly-successful Western Governors University (WGU) affordable alternative to state colleges and for-profit online universities geared toward older students.

Online Education, With a Low-Cost Twist

Tuition is one-half to one-third of typical for-profit program.

The average age of students is 36 and rural, first-generation, low-income, and minority students make up the majority of the school's population.

  • No full time faculty with tenure and benefits.
  • Mentors by phone and e-mail.
  • Tuition-driven non-profit pricing model.
  • No lectures or required class attendance.
  • Student assessment based on performance on online tests, projects, and assignments.

Submitted by Frank Webster on Thu, 2010-09-23 12:32

Ten Usability Tips Based on Research Studies:

How could we use these research-based ideas to improve our web site and other tools?

I was most surprised by Tip 7. Whitespace of Text Affects Readability.

Who knew that margins affected both reading speed and comprehension?

1. Forget the "Three-Click Rule"

2. Enable Content Skimming By Using an F-Shaped Pattern

3. Don't Make Users Wait: Speed Up Your Website

4. Make Your Content Easily Readable

5. Don't Worry About "The Fold" and Vertical Scrolling

6. Place Important Content on the Left of a Web Page

7. Whitespace of Text Affects Readability

8. Small Details Make a Huge Difference

9. Don't Rely on Search as a Crutch to Bad Navigation

10. Your Home Page Isn't As Important as You Think

Liberated from Six Revisions, a website that publishes practical and useful articles for designers and web developers.

Submitted by Frank Webster on Tue, 2010-09-21 10:11

Managed Hosting Comparison Guide

You never know when something useful will show up in the SPAM.

This free guide promises to compare side-by-side 12 of the top vendors, including:

  • PEER 1
  • Rackspac
  • Hostgator.com
  • Singlehop
  • NeoSpire
Submitted by Frank Webster on Thu, 2010-09-16 09:49

The University of Texas at San Antonio designed its new, entirely bookless Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Library to engage students in an online format within a contemporary new space.

The library offers:

  • 425,000 e-books
  • 18,000 e-journal subscriptions.
  • Skilled science and engineering librarians to help students who need research assistance.
  • ultra-modern furniture and space age decor
  • 10 desktop computers, a printer, a scanner and five large LCD screens.
  • group study niches and three group study rooms outfitted with whiteboards.
  • pre-loaded collections of eBooks on eReader devices such as iPad or Kindle for students to check out and take home.

"As our campus becomes a national research university, it is important that we continue to create communities that engage students," said Krisellen Maloney, UTSA dean of libraries. "In this library, we encourage collaboration. We want to hear our students talking and solving problems together. This is the beginning of their training as professional engineers and scientists."

Submitted by Frank Webster on Mon, 2010-08-23 10:45

In a time of bail-outs, cut-backs and lay-offs, the Los Angeles Unified Public School District is now the proud owner of the world's most expensive public school building.

Los Angeles Unveils Costliest School in the Nation

According to MSNBC, the renovation of The Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, cost $578 million.

Now named Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, the complex will house 4,200 K-12 students.

Submitted by Frank Webster on Thu, 2010-08-05 08:42

According to an article in yesterday's SearchCap, the daily newsletter of Search Engine Land, Google is going to allow businesses the opportunity to respond to reviews on Google Places.

Google Now Lets Businesses Respond To Reviews On Places.

I immediately hightailed it over to the Teachers College, Columbia University Place and found that the single review links to an article in TimeOut New York about free psychological help.

Excuse me?

Anyway... apparently the Gottesman Libraries is just waiting for a place to happen.

SearchCap also linked to an article on buzzmaven that I think is useful for anyone who has to respond publicly or privately to user feedback:

15 Tips for Responding to Google Place Page Reviews:

Submitted by Frank Webster on Mon, 2010-07-26 09:27

Who says small business technology reviews have to be geeky and humorless?

How The Real Housewives of New Jersey Changed My Life

She ripped out her rival's hair extensions at a charity event?

And I missed it!