The Broken Publib Listserve or Control through Incorporation

I have come here not to bury Publib, but to praise it.

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Ghost of Publib

Ghost of Publib

Last year, OCLC announced that they would graciously host the popular Publib listserve.  With 10 thousand + subscribers representing libraries throughout the world, it certainly represented a win/win situation.  OCLC – which sells its products to libraries would host and subscribers – who buy products from OCLC could continue to subscribe.  OCLC would benefit from the feel-good PR and the ability to data-mine and Publib subscribers could continue to enjoy the communication resource they have contributed to since the early 1990s.

While being hosted by UC Berkeley and Webjunction, Google and Yahoo! and all of the other major search engines readily indexed the discussions by Publib contributors. Even now, a quick engine search of almost any topic regarding public libraries renders a link to a Publib posting from previous years.  

But, all of those links are now broken and the provenance of indexing has been destroyed.  Although you may still view cached files, the only way to get live files is to go behind the wall set up by OCLC.  Access to the root directory is by subscription only, so the search engines would no longer index the content:  http://listserv.oclc.org/   So, everyone who searches any topic ever posted on Publib must now go through OCLC and search the files that they exclusively control. 

What a great benefit this must represent to corporate interests of OCLC! Thousands and thousands of postings on every topic regarding public libraries, created by uncompensated authors, and they now control all of the content and its indexing for almost no associated cost and can monitor and data-mine all usage by the library community.     OCLC established and litigated ownership and control of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) in OCLC v The Library Hotel  and was recently accused of antitrust by SkyRiver and Innovative Interfaces.  Does OCLC now effectively have intellectual property rights to all of the work by Publib contributors?

Hosting a listserv is really not a big deal.  It is fairly low level technology and relatively easy to manage.  With a bit of server space, Open Source programs such as Mailman can be set up that can manage a huge number of subscribers:

http://wiki.list.org/display/COM/Organizations+that+use+Mailman

Hosting by a non-corporate entity such as a library school or a large library system would have made much more sense.  The original iteration with UC Berkeley hosting nested the conversation in a bastion of free speech.  Is removing and blocking indexing censorship? Is vetting all new subscribers appropriate?  Does the ability to restrict access represent ownership? Does hosting a listserve  and controlling access to everything previously written grant intellectual property rights and equate to ownership? Is Publib just another example of intellectual outsourcing?

Time will tell. But, at this time Publib is a ghost of what it once represented. 

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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction listserve are available here: Archives  (Waitthey really aren’t anymore).

Archives compiled after Dec. 7, 2011 are available here: Archives

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Subscribe to the Publib Listserve- Part Deux

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How to Subscribe to the Publib Listserve – Part Deux

The recent migration of Publib to OCLC resulted in a non-intuitive subscription process. As of the time of this posting, the module is still incorrectly configured and Publib archives are in a private area. The following process provided by OCLC will allow new subscribers to register without using the steps for the GUI described in Subscribe to Publib Listserve – Part One

However,  you may still want to access those instructions to see how to access archives and structure your subscriptions.

  • From the email address you wish to use for your interaction with the list, send an email to:  listserv@webjunction.org and put subscribe publib in the body.  You can put this in the subject line as well, but it is not required. (Note from editor: leave subject line blank OR put subscribe publib in it)

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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction listserve are available here: Archives

Archives compiled after Dec. 7, 2011 are available here: Archives

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Subscribe to Publib Listserve

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How to Subscribe to the Publib Listserve

The recent migration of Publib to OCLC resulted in a non-intuitive subscription process.  As of the time of this posting, the module is incorrectly configured and Publib archives are in a private area.  The following steps are a work-around that will allow new subscribers to register.  These steps should also make it apparent how to access the archives.

Update – Jan 15, 2012:   The following process provided by OCLC will allow new subscribers to register without using the steps below for the GUI: 

  • From the email address you wish to use for your interaction with the list, send an email to:  listserv@webjunction.org and put subscribe publib in the body.  You can put this in the subject line as well, but it is not required. (Note from editor: leave subject line blank OR put subscribe publib in it)

 

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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction listserve are available here: Archives

Archives compiled after Dec. 7, 2011 are available here: Archives

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Sometimes a Catalog is Just a Catalog

Sometimes a Catalog is Just a Catalog :

 
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Question: What is the fundamental difference between e-commerce catalog websites such as - HomeDepot, Sears, Amazon, Target, and Walmart and online library catalogs using Horizon, SirsiDynix, Evergreen or III? 
 
Answer: Librarians don’t create HomeDepot, Sears, Amazon, Target, and Walmart catalogs (but they should).
 
Jobs

Working

One of my friends on Publib recently asked me if I thought there were employment opportunities for Librarians in e-commerce and what training would be needed to get a job. 

I think that is a good question to address here with all of the PubLib people.   I am a librarian and I have worked in e-commerce – web design, product development, training, data base management and SEO.  My former employment (after being a public library director) was as a corporate e-commerce manager. I redesigned a 6,000 product e-commerce website, created blogs and alternate websites for its products and within a year had moved it’s US rank in Alexa from about 60,000 up to around 7,000.  I took a year off to complete graduate studies in digital forensics (which I consider directly related to cybrarianship) and recently returned to e-commerce again to manage the databases and organic SEO for an international company with tens of thousands of products specializing in medical equipment and medical supplies.

 
Almost every college, University and technical school has some sort of a degree program now called something like New Media.  The New Media curriculum teaches things like web design, and SEO, and htm*, and programming languages, and social media construction – basically all of this stuff that makes up the web.   But, when all is said and done, what we create in e-commerce is a catalog – a catalog broken down into relevant, related categories with multiple access points and meaningful descriptions – so that the end-user can find what they want and we can get it to them efficiently.  There is a back-end tie to inventory, prices, features, descriptions, shipping, and various temporal factors.
 
traditional librarian

Traditional Librarian

How does that differ in concept from traditional library cataloging?  The argument could be made that traditional libraries do not charge their patrons and the cost / price feature of e-commerce products creates a completely different dynamic.  But, it really doesn’t.  Every professional librarian knows that nothing is free and although there is no direct charge to the patron finding a book in a catalog – the expenses are paid for up-front through Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (oh my!), Taxes and Tariffs and Fees (OH MY!).  Every library book has a tangible cost and there is a small markup that accounts for salaries paid to librarians.  The back-end is tied to inventory, prices, features, descriptions, shipping and various temporal factors.

 
The marketing dynamics of library catalogs and e-commerce catalogs may differ since there is no apparent immediacy to having a library catalog pay for itself.  E-commerce is result driven - the only reason to have a catalog is to facilitate sales and educate the consumer.  But, I believe the every librarian now sees how truly dynamic e-commerce web sites that sell books such as Amazon – by the very fact that they do need to see immediate results – have drastically outpaced the big Library catalogs.  So, although the marketing approach may differ, it really, really should not.
 
Soap Box

Soap Box

So, are there employment opportunities for librarians in e-commerce?  Obviously, there is for at least one.  The problem is Corporate America does not know what librarians can do for them. It has been left to me to explain to the company presidents I have  worked with that Libraries are, in fact,  sophisticated and dynamic inventory control systems – that work just like their supply chains.

Library Schools do not even know that they are training people to create catalogs for e-commerce.   But, they should and given the employment growth outlook for traditional librarianship, Library Schools should be touting the ability of their cataloguers to catalog, organize and describe everything.

 
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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction listserve are available here: Archives Please note: HTML is stripped out of archives. Compose in plaintext or richtext.

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Karen Schneider Tribute

A Tribute to Karen Schneider:  outgoing co-moderator of PubLib

On Sat Jun 18 2011 Publib co-moderator Karen Schneider  announced two major Upcoming changes to the PUBLIB list :

1. Migration of the  listserve hosting from Webjunction to OCLC.

2. Her departure as co-moderator of the PubLib listserve after 15 years of service to the growing Publib community.

Co-moderator Sara Weissman provided Publib with a an overview of some of the many intellectual/  administrative contributions Karen Schneider has made to help develop this dynamic Publib community :

1. PubLib postings by and about Karen Schneider  number over 6000

2. Karen Schneider’s numerous insights include her “Internet Reference Success Stories, job announcements, policy questions  galore, using the Internet for fun and benefit, announcements from ALA and  its many divisions, humorous reference questions, patrons and accompanying  animals, skylights, cafes in public libraries, the homeless, etc., etc., etc. “

3. PubLib subscribers grew from 2,700 to 10,458 strong. 

Nann Blaine Hilyard – Director of the Zion-Benton Library has suggested a fitting, colorful tribute to Karen for her generous contributions to the PubLib community:

To thank Karen Schneider for her years as co-moderator of PubLib, we are going to give her a bookshelf quilt.   If all 10,000 PubLibbers contribute, so much the better—she’ll have a library-filled quilt!  

 By July 31, 2011, PubLibbers are asked to create signature blocks.

Here is how:

  Cut a piece of woven cotton fabric  2.5”  x  5”. 

Any color.

Must be woven.   If there are no sewists in your household or among your colleagues, consider using a a piece from a shirt or a sheet.

No knits.   No textures (no terrycloth or corduroy).

  On that piece of fabric write your name and library or town – however you want to be identified.  (If you use a pseudonym, that’s fine.)

 ♦ If possible use a Pigma brand pen.  (Scrapbookers, quilters, and artists in other media use them.)

Alternatives:  a gel pen, a fine-tip Sharpie, India ink are all okay.

 ♦ Any color of ink is okay.

*DO NOT USE* a Flair, a fountain pen, or a ballpoint pen.

Signature block with margins

Keep a 1/4 to 1/2- inch margin all around the block.   Do not write in the margin (that’s the seam allowance). 

Send the signature block to: Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton Public Library, 2400 Gabriel Ave.,Zion, IL  60099 BY JULY 31, 2011.  

If you want to enclose a couple of bucks to defray the cost of fabric, thread, and batting that Nann will use create the quilt, that would be great. 

  Note:  Nann will bring Pigma pens and pre-cut 2.5” x 5” fabric to ALA Annual, so if you’ll be there, find her!   

Nann Blaine Hilyard, director
Zion-Benton Public Library
2400 Gabriel Ave.
Zion, IL  60099
847-872-4680x 110
847-872-4942 fax
www.zblibrary.org.

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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction listserve are available here: Archives Please note: HTML is stripped out of archives. Compose in plain text or richtext.

A Tribute to Karen Schneider 

Problems with PubLib

The listserves PubLib and Web4Lib have been broken for over a week now.  Digests stopped going out after April 25th and receipt of individual postings is sporadic at best.  Best of PubLib will review the archives, which still remain active and inclusive for the month of April and present the synopsis on Monday, May 3rd 2010.

Because the two mailing lists are distinct with parallel problems, my conclusion is the  maintenance problem exists within the applications at WebJunction. The ListServe moderators have not addressed the problems on the mailing list to date.

The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction  listserve are available here:  Archives   Please note:  HTML is stripped out of achives. Compose in plaintext or richtext.

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Best of PubLib 02.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TVComing Soon!

weekly updateThis edition of Best of Publib covers the week of February 22nd through February 28th 2010. This week included questions about advertising and accountability, use and implementation of ebook readers,  and our new poll on charging library fees to support other government departments. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

Take our poll! 

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The Publib Archives

The Publib archives from the Webjunction  listserve are available here:  Archives   Editor’s note:  HTML is stripped out of achives. Please compose in plaintext or richtext.

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This Week in Best of Publib

Best of Publib Current Topics and Meeting at ALA

This week in Best of Publib includes an interesting combination of self-revelation, librarian aspirations, and children’s literature. Topics we will be reviewing include:

  • Don’t Kid Yourself / Children’s Books / Childcraft
  • If I were a rich man / woman / lottery winnner
  • Visiting librarians – housing librarian travelers
  • Classic literature – definitions and classifications

Diane Harmon – Associate Director at Joliet Public Library – reminds everyone of the upcoming PubLib gathering at ALA being held at:

PUBLIB Get-together at ALA Annual 2009 5:30 p.m. -
Whenever, Friday, July 10, 2009 Sol y Nieve
215 E. Ohio St. Chicago, IL 60611
312.467.7177
 http://www.emiliostapas.com/solynieve.htm

To all the ALA attendees, have a great time and remember the lessons learned in Seattle.

This week in Best of PubLib and Survey 07.02.09

This week in Best of Publib updates:

The PubLib listserve conversation, ironically, delved into the problems subscribers are having posting to the listserve. Numerous subscribers complained of sporadic service and postings that essentially have ended up in the void.  We do not have a record of the postings that never happened, but we are sure that many great topics were potentially discussed. We will review the content regarding the topic of  problems with the listserv and add it to technology/software.

We would like to know more about any problems you are having with PubLib or if you are not having any problems – please fill out this little survey:

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