03 November 2003

Issue Intro: BiblioTech is Born

Welcome! You are viewing the first issue of BiblioTech, a student webzine by and for the students of the School of Information Resources and Library Science. BiblioTech was conceived of following a short email sent to yours truly with a link to Marginal Librarian, the student webzine of McGill's library school. In this email, said student fantasized about a hip, witty, intelligent online forum by and for SIRLS students. She implanted a thought in my brain, and then it grew and started kicking [ow]. With the help of my editors and contributors, the idea grew to full-term and can now officially be called "my baby."

The [working] name of this webzine, BiblioTech is meant to evoke our commitment to diversity. The word "biblioteca" in Spanish means "library," and one of the greatest strengths of our school is the way it recognizes the perspectives of Hispanic and Native American communities. The "tech" part speaks to the fact that we recognize the importance of technology in our field, whether we like it or not! [Unfortunately, we later found out that this name is quite popular in the library community, and we desperately need an original title! Send your ideas to echadd@u.arizona.edu and the winning title gets a free LSO t-shirt!]

My gratitude goes towards all who made this happen - the Library Student Organization, the editors, and especially the contributors. I look forward to many more issues to come . . .


Lori Ito Hardenbergh
Web Editor, BiblioTech

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Review - Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

by Mary Gorman

In April of 2002, the Google Engineering Team released an API (application programming interface) to their search engine technology. Initially aimed at software developers, the Google Web API program offers three services that developers can integrate into their own applications: access to the company's search engine; access to cached Web pages; and a spelling correction API that points users to alternate spellings of misspelled words typed into the search engine.

The authors state in the preface that "the idea of Google Hacks is not to give some exhaustive manual of how every command in the Google syntax works, but rather to show you some tricks for making the best use of a search and show applications of the Google API that perform searches that you can't perform using the regular Google interface". (p. xviii)

Google Hacks book cover

Learn to save time and get more precise results from your Google searches by getting the most out of Advanced Search or building/modifying code using the API. Sections devoted to search syntax are particularly helpful. Mari Stoddard, Head of Educational Services at Arizona Health Sciences Library, is a fan of Hack #11, date-range searching. The syntax allows you to narrow your search results to fresher content and to compare results over time.

Although Google doesn't support "stemming", Hack #13 explains the full- word wildcard. (Google's wildcard character is *). Combine a special syntax with Google News (#32) and take advantage of its clustering capabilities.

Try out examples of other hacks online at hacks.oreilly.com/pub/ht/2.

In Chapter 8, The Webmaster Side of Google, topics range from the PageRank Algorithm and Google's AdWords program to how to remove your content from Google. You don't have to be the webmaster of a commercial site to find this information useful.

Mari Stoddard thought this book was helpful "for people who don't spend their lives researching search engines" like she does because it organizes the hacks in one reference tool. Even if you don't use the API, "Google Hacks" offers the information broker, librarian, software developer and everyday google whacker "Tips & Tools" for more efficient and effective searching.

Calishain, Tara and Rael Dornfest. Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 2003.

Mary Gorman is a May 2003 SIRLS graduate currently working at the Arizona Cancer Center. Combining her background in medicine and information science, she coordinates data and safety monitoring for clinical trials of new drugs.

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Review - Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out

by Lori Ito Hardenbergh

Who can resist a book with a chapter titled, "Labia Lumps, Chunky Discharge, and Other Things They Never Taught Me in Library School"? Released this past summer, Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out takes no prisoners as its contributors ponder everything from the backtracking of '60s values by ALA's baby boomers to librarian imagery in erotica. This edited volume is a sequel to a 1972 self-published book titled Revolting Librarians. The original is worth checking out for its historical value alone. The editors of the 2003 volume, Katia Roberto and Jessamyn West gathered essays from ten of the original writers from the 1972 book for this version and it is interesting to see what thirty years has done to these radical librarians.

Revolting Librarians Redux book cover

The book contains some of what you would expect in a book by revolting librarians. There are the requisite essays on the suppression of civil liberties through the Patriot Act along with essays detailing the problem of cultural representation in the Library of Congress Subject Headings. And of course, there's something both by and about Sandy Berman, a living legend among progressive librarians. But there are also quite a few surprises. Ever curious about the astrological breakdown of librarians? You'll find an extensive article complete with enough statistics to make you break out your notes from IRLS 506. [Leos dominate the field, with Aquarians an astrological minority.] Another notable essay concerns what services librarians can offer to day laborers.

From my perspective as a library graduate student, however, my attention was drawn to the section titled "Library School is Revolting." This collection of essays explores questions such as "Are we really learning the practical skills necessary to be librarians, such as public relations and professional writing?" and "Is accreditation really a big deal?" While I felt fortunate that some of the not-so-subtle digs at library schools didn't really apply too heavily to SIRLS, some of it is familiar enough to make you laugh (or cry).

I also felt myself drawn to essays that dealt with the everyday work lives of these revolting librarians. I have not been in the library world my whole life. In fact, I applied to library school less than one month after the idea of becoming a librarian occurred to me for the very first time. Any writings that describe the "real world" of librarianship, therefore, pique my interest. I also feel that I am developing my own professional identity as a progressive librarian. Seeing myself in some of these essays ("Sure, I could staff a reference desk at an anti-globalization protest!") helped this vision of myself begin to take form.

As is the case with many edited volumes, the quality of the essays is a little uneven. Every essay will not merit a close read by all aspiring librarians. However, there is enough thought-provoking content in this book to make me recommend it to any library students out there who believe in challenging the status quo, questioning authority, and thinking for themselves.


  • Roberto, Katia and Jessamyn West, eds. Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Inc., Publishers, 2003. Z665 .R44 2003 at the Main Library.
  • West, Celeste, ed. Revolting Librarians. San Francisco: Booklegger Press, 1972. Z665 .W47 at the Main Library.
  • Librarian.net by editor Jessamyn West - A library-related news weblog that's been "putting the 'rarin back in librarian since 1993." Includes a link to information about purchasing Revolting Libarians Redux.

Lori is two-thirds of the way through the SIRLS program. She aspires to be an academic librarian specializing in the social sciences so she can pretend like her M.A. in cultural anthropology isn't worthless. When not organizing dead people's documents, she is webmistress/listserv manager/BiblioTech web editor for the Library Student Organization. And to the left is one of her retired racing greyhounds, Paco.

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The Rise of PDAs as a Ubiquitous Computing Option

by Erin Chadd

Looking at the evolution of technology can provide a glimpse at what the future has in store for information providers. Learning about technological evolution can therefore affect decision-making processes related to library and information systems. Studying technological trends can guide information providers to new technologies and they can be better prepared for the reactions of their customers to these new technologies. It is vital for information providers to examine the big picture of how the new technology will influence their services. There may be unexpected expenses associated with the new technology, customers may not be accepting of the new technology, or the technology may have an insurmountable learning curve for the general population.

As more and more people realize the advantage of having certain information available to them anywhere and at anytime, they will increasingly accept the need for PDAs and ubiquitous computing.

Stuart Glogoff addresses several of these in his article, "Information Technology in the Virtual Library: Leadership in Times of Change."1 Glogoff encourages librarians to "seek out opportunities for your library to participate in exciting new electronic initiatives� and build an infrastructure that positions the library as an active participant in knowledge communities."2 Glogoff makes a number of assumptions and predictions regarding technology. He points to some key technologies that he believes will play important roles in the future. These technologies include interactivity, wireless communications, delivery of electronic resources, and ubiquitous computing (having computers everywhere throughout the physical environment). In the three years since this article was published there have been great advances in many of these areas. The one that is of greatest interest to me is the concept of ubiquitous computing specifically as it relates to the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs). In today's society the ability to have access to information anywhere and anytime can be a great advantage. Glogoff states that "collaboration technologies, enhanced by the increased capabilities and the Internet's reliability, are providing people with new ways to merge their skills, arrive at insights, and exchange resources." 3 PDAs are offering information providers a new way to deliver information to their customers, whether students, library patrons, or medical professionals. The possible uses are far reaching and we are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg regarding their application.

The use of PDAs stems from the trend over the past few years toward the realization of ubiquitous computing. Since Glogoff's article was published,this trend has continued and gained significant momentum. Personally, I have seen PDAs come to be a vital tool in university administration. I work in a dean's office at the University of Arizona, and in the past two-and-a-half years I have seen everyone from the dean to the assistant deans to the office staff incorporate PDAs into their work lives. This technology has changed the way business is done. It has cut down on paper usage, made processes such as scheduling more efficient, and made networking among people smoother. PDAs are also becoming indispensable in other environments such as libraries, hospitals, and schools.

Libraries striving to provide their clients with new ways to use the library's myriad services are also beginning to use PDAs. For example, the Cleveland Public Library has begun circulating eBooks and digital media. The director of the library, Andrew Venable, Jr., states, "The new� digital book collection will be another example of our dedication to utilizing technology for 'Access-Anytime-Anywhere.'"4 This technology could have tremendous benefits for libraries in terms of bringing in new clients attracted to the use of technology.

Another arena that is utilizing PDA technology is e-learning. Here PDAs offer an additional way to transmit knowledge to students. In this environment the use of PDAs is referred to as mobile learning, which Paul Harris defines as, "� the point at which mobile computing and e-learning intersect to produce an anytime, anywhere learning experience." 5 By looking at how technology has evolved in the past, e-learning providers can look to the future and hopefully have a better idea of how and if new technologies will be accepted. Harris points out, "After all, the most ubiquitous mobile learning instrument is the book. The difference is that a book isn't connected. M-learning offers the advantages of a book, but it is also connected." 6

An additional environment where PDAs are having an enormous impact on the way business is done is in the medical field. For example, hospitals are using PDAs to enable doctors and nurses to access data as they make their rounds. 7 This has a tremendously positive effect on workflow and efficiency. Putting information directly into the hands of those who need it most is crucial in the medical field where information is constantly changing and lives are at stake.

PDAs are becoming more commonplace in information provision and it can be assumed that the trend will continue. There are many niches yet to be explored where PDAs can make a real difference in the way people deal with information. For example, I recently purchased my first PDA. I only did so because I finally had a real need for one of the features it provides me (anytime access to class materials). As more and more people realize the advantage of having certain information available to them anywhere and at anytime, they will increasingly accept the need for PDAs and ubiquitous computing.

By examining the evolution of technology, information providers are better able to make decisions about and prepare for the future. The interrelationships between certain technologies such as wireless communication and PDAs can reveal critical knowledge needed to ascertain the best decision that information providers can make. Looking at the big picture of what has come before, what is currently happening, and what can be expected in the future can assist information providers in making wise decisions regarding which technologies to embrace.


1-3 Glogoff, Stuart. "Information Technology in the Virtual Library: Leadership in Times of Change" Journal of Library Administration 32 3/4 (2001): 59-80.
4 "Cleveland Public Library to Open Circulating eBook Collection" June 21, 2003, at <http://www.contentreserve.com/news01062003.asp.
6 Harris, Paul. "Goin' Mobile" Learning Circuits July 2001, at http://www.learningcircuits.org/2001/jul2001/harris.html.
Embrey, Theresa. "Today's PDAs Can Put OPAC in the Palm of Your Hand" 22 3 (March 2002), at http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/mar02/embrey.htm.

Erin started the SIRLS Program in Spring 2003 and plans to graduate sometime in 2004. She would like to work in a special library/information center, perhaps specializing in the medical field. She currently works in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dean's Office where she designs web pages and supports the assistant dean for Native American Programs. In her spare time she likes to read (of course) and work on her house.

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