Posts filed under ‘Web’

Wouldn’t it be cool if….

Much talk on some of the library lists and blogs I read about personalized recommendation services, and about the tension between patrons who want to preserve their borrowing history and libraries who need to protect patron confidentiality.

So wouldn’t it be cool to put the tools in the hands of patrons to manage their own borrowing history? LibraryThing provides recommendations based on the books you include in your library, and allows you to add books to your library by importing files with embedded ISBNs. So adding ISBNs to the “My account” information in the catalogue would be a simple way to enable that. It’s probably do-able, but it would clutter up the display for everyone else, and the point of it wouldn’t be clear to most users.

It would be even cooler if the library catalogue allowed you to export your current “My Account” information. Especially if you could use that export capability to populate LibraryThing and Zotero or Refworks or whatever other citation manager you use.

It would be even cooler if — at the time of chargeout — the system would automatically e-mail you a “receipt” with enough information about your items to allow import.

It might be even cooler if clicking on a link to an electronic resource in the catalogue could be treated as a chargeout, and would generate a similar e-mail receipt. But on the other hand, that might just freak people out.

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November 1, 2006 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

$2.19, or, My career as a Mechanical Turk

Amazon owes me $2.19 for my outstanding efforts at identifying addresses and storefronts in bad photographs of American streetscapes. Yes, it is true. I am a Mechanical Turk.

Since I was earning a meagre 3 cents a photo, I now feel a great kinship to sweatshop workers everywhere. We work hard for minimal pay, but we’re a Proud People. I’m particularly proud of the photo I found of the hugely obese man emerging from a Burger King in Reno. Or maybe it was Miami. I forget.

But today, alas, the photos were gone, and in their place, a new task. We Mechanical Turks are expected to identify the artist’s name on various album covers. My first task was to choose between “Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians” and “Lombardo, Guy.”

Now, I am a librarian by training, and I started out as a cataloguer. I’m pretty sure that GL&HRC is a Corporate Body and should be given the entry here, but I have to admit that it’s been a few years. I’d probably have to consult AACR2 and maybe LCRI and whatever else the Cataloguing Kids are using these days in order to be sure.

And even if I’m right, I’d want to create a cross reference from Lombardo, Guy. Should it be a “see” reference or a “see also” reference? Well, I’d need to do some research on whether GL ever recorded without his Royal Canadians. And then I’d start to wondering whether the Royal Canadians ever recorded without GL. It seems like it would have been really ungrateful of them, and impolite; if they really were Canadians, they wouldn’t have done that, would they? But even if they didn’t, maybe we should give them a “see” reference as well.

And for all this, Amazon was going to pay me the princely sum of 2 cents per authority record! Less than I got for the photos!

I think my Mechanical Turking days are over. I can’t handle the pressure. Now, how am I going to spend that $2.19?

December 1, 2005 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment


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