Archive for November, 2009

The most famous library of all

…has a profoundly, spectacularly, authoritatively shiny nose.

Technically speaking, the British Library, the Library of Alexandria, and Borges’ Library of Babel are probably in the lead for sheer mythical stature. The Library of Congress, however, has some mean subject headings to its name. More importantly, its appeal to me as a blindly, violently patriotic American can not be overstated. I was delighted to learn that they feature a regular podcast, and can think of no better way to round out my short tenure at this blog than by exploring it in depth.

Now, for the dichotomy I’ve set up between “general interest” and “about the library” in prior posts, take note: this is, resoundingly, NPR stuff. Though it goes without saying that I would not at all mind a “history of the Library of Congress” series, the current offerings are exceptionally well-produced.

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Self-loathing; brevity

Hello again.

I thought I’d pop back in for one more quick post, as we near the end of our time together. Because I’m sure you’re as eager as I am for me to double back home to lovely (read: nepotistic) Connecticut, I give you the Fairfield University library podcast. Like Arizona State’s “Library Minute” series, most of these are designed to advocate and explain the library’s various services. Where ASU was puzzling, however, Fairfield is a veritable wunderkammer of “what is going on here?” To wit:

  1. The two formats that podcasts are distributed in are iTunes and RealPlayer. There is even a friendly link to download the latter, in case you uninstalled it in 1999.
  2. Various journal databases (e.g. Academic OneFile) have been personified via some dress-up doll software, with the resultant image posted alongside the relevant podcast link.
  3. Each of these podcasts are presented as an interview with the particular database.
  4. Rather than the blogroll used by most podcasts we’ve seen up to now, these are just up and listed on one very long page. It might’ve been updated last week, or two years ago.

Fairfield, I think I love this. I haven’t any idea what it is or how it happened.

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Bill Gates and the Beaver State Mandate

Thinking up the titles is my single favorite part of doing this, if you couldn’t already tell.

I must say that after six posts, I feel like we’ve laid the groundwork pretty well for what’s to be expected from these podcasts. We’ve discussed RSS syndication vs. iTunes, audio vs. video, and how podcasting can act as a microcosm of digital collections. In other words, it’s now time for something completely different.

(Incidentally, I’m watching the new Monty Python documentary, “Almost the Truth,” while I write this, and although there’s not a lot of new material, late-60s John Cleese and Michael Palin are just as entertaining as late-20s Pythons from where I’m standing.)

In the interest of not going progressively further off track with each post, however, I am now going to shout some key words at you.




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Convergence is evil

I’ll be frank: I really don’t care forĀ  “Vodcasts,” or whatever it is that podcasts with a visual component are usually classified as. Regardless of whether my mobile phone supports video (and in fact I think it does, I’ve just never explored the possibility), for me they exist in a wholly different sphere. A podcast is something you can listen to, however intently, and gleam some interesting information from on your way to work (or a lovely mirepoix). Video demands infinitely more attention; in fact, I’m not comfortable watching video on my phone, because I don’t want to stare into my lap for the duration of my commute while my neighbors pretend not to be watching over my shoulder. Not wanting to deny Web 2.0 its due, I try to click on the majority of YouTube videos that friends send my way, but these are, invariably, time-wasters during which I really can’t or shouldn’t be otherwise engaged, and this runs completely contrary to my interest in podcasts.

That said, Anali Perry, vodcaster extraordinaire, is a hero.

In addition to saving the world, she’s the Assistant Collections and Scholarly Communications librarian at Arizona State University, from which she hosts the Library Minute video series regularly posted to their library’s blog, and which I cordially invite you to view after the jump.

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