Library Juice 6:24 - November 13, 2003


1. Links...
2. Some Meditations on those "Amusing Searches"
3. Workshop On Democratisation of Information with a Focus on Libraries
4. On Diversity
5. The Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award
6. ALA Equality Award
7. 'Versed' the Bulletin of the ALA Office for Diversity
8. The Telegraph in the Library
9. Amusing searches for October

Quote for the week:

"The presumed close connection among information, reason, and usefulness
began to lose its legitimacy toward the mid-nineteenth century with the
invention of the telegraph. Prior to the telegraph, information could
could be moved only as fast as a train could travel; about thirty-five
miles per hour. Prior to the telegraph, information was sought as part of
the process of understanding and solving particular problems. Prior to the
telegraph, information tended to be of local interest. Telegraphy changed
all of this, and instigated the second stage of the information revolution.
The telegraph removed space as an inevitable constraint on the movement of
information, and, for the first time, transportation and communication were
disengaged from each other. In the United States, the telegraph erased
state lines, collapsed regions, and, by wrapping the continent in an
information grid, created the possibility of a unified nation-state. But
more than this, telegraphy created the idea of context-free information --
that is, the idea that the value of information need not be tied to any
function it might serve in social and political decision-making and action.
The telegraph made information into a commodity, a "thing" that could be
bought and sold irrespective of uses or meanings."

-Neil Postman, in _Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology_
(Vintage Books, 1992), p. 67-68.

Homepage of the weeek: Zapopan Martín Muela Meza


1. Links...


Too Much Information
By Nathan Cochrane
November 11, 2003
The Age (Australia)

[ from Library Link of the Day - ]


A principle in decline: Information services and the independent public library
By Anders Ericson
Scandinavian Public Library Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2003

[ sent to a private list by Anders Ericson ]


Digital rights management and the breakdown of social norms
by Christopher May

[ from the First Monday TOC distribution ]


Weapons of Mass Instruction: Anti-War Books for Young People
Compiled by Bruce Jensen

[ sent to Alternatives In Publication TF members by Jenna Freedman ]


Publishers Weekly - Possible Legal Problems for Amazon's Book Search?

[ sent to me by Robin Blum ]


NIST CISD Data Preservation Program
Guidelines and help for preserving optical media

[ sent by Ava Goldman to ncal-lib ]


Babylonian Talmud
The real thing

[ from LII New This Week - ]

2. Some Meditations on those "Amusing Searches"

By Rory Litwin

Each month in Library Juice I publish a list of a dozen or two searches
that led to pages on in the previous month - amusing, or at least
head-scratching, stuff. (They are compiled on the Library Juice website at .) It has occurred to me that many of
these searches are trying to tell us something about information seeking
behavior, and that we can actually learn from them when we are done
giggling. I've made a stab at a typology of the "amusing search," with
lessons and questions arising from each.

The Embarrassing Information Need

Here are a few choice searches of the "embarrassing," type, which range
from the fetishistic to the bizarre to the simply sensitive. (I am removing
the obvious searches for specific types of porn, though some would say
these also represent legitimate information-seeking behavior.)

- beach 2001 bare breasts sociology
- characteristics of men prefered by gays
- questioning if masturbation effects your intelligence
- origins of 4 20
- how to cultivate a submissive woman
- how much are back issues of Hustler magazine worth
- human milk embarrassed
- instructions making gas mask b o n g s
- los angeles what to say in voir dire to avoid being on a jury
- searching to see if i have a warant on me
- electronic penis stretcher
- people who hate the oak lawn library
(The all-caps were in the original searches.)

These represent legitimate questions that an information seeker would
likely be very embarrassed to pose to a real live librarian, whether
because of fear of disapproval or as a matter of sheer privacy. We can
draw a couple of different conclusions from this. One is simply that given
the relative privacy that users (rightly or wrongly) assume that they have
on the net, disintermediation in information services has an aspect that
can sometimes be a positive thing; it provides a new freedom to explore.
Some might argue, on the other hand, that the real life encounter has an
important moral dimension that can confront a person with his own sense of
shame, and that this can be a good thing. For example, the guy needing
weapons might have second thoughts about his plans to waste his family when
he finds himself in a conversation with a librarian who, despite her
commitment to intellectual freedom, can't entirely control her subtle, or
not so subtle, expression of alarm (in other cases it might be disgust or
amusement) in response to the question, and the information seeker will be
influenced to return to a better side of his nature. If our commitment to
intellectual freedom is thorough, however, we should support the right of
an information seeker to access whatever information they might be looking
for without interference based on our own values, and we should acknowledge
that privacy in information seeking is a positive aspect of disintermediation.
(Personally, I think that it's a mixed bag and a phenomenon which should
prompt questions of ourselves about the idea of absolute intellectual

All Over the Map

Some of the amusing searches I've collected illustrate that web searchers
use search engines for a wider range of information needs than librarians
generally claim to or are expected to address. Some of the searches in the
previous list illustrate this; here are some more:

- hippy yearbook quotes
- pictures of anger managements classes
- frankenberry jew
- idi amin's location
- what is the procedure for being strip searched at an airport
- "mary minow" (husband OR married)
- i hate jcrew models
- weird pictures of Jesus Christ
- find top secret information thta your not supposed to know about
- pics of stupid lazy people
- kellogs Once you pop, you can't stop
- fold dollar to find info on Sept.11
- scary background music for powerpoint
- wav library "ta da"

I should definitely point out that the world of information needs that
librarians are capable of addressing is larger than the world of
information needs that we are generally expected to address. So, there
are frequently web searches on subjects that a librarian could handle quite
well, but that a person wouldn't consider asking a librarian about because
he or she doesn't think of these subjects as the kinds of things that there
are likely to have been books written about. Leaving aside the fact that
there is no subject too off-the-wall to have a book written about it, and
the fact that librarians provide more than just books, there are information
needs that an information-seeker might be justified in satisfying for
himself via the web for reasons other than privacy or convenience. For
example, information about individuals who are not public figures is not
really in the province of libraries to collect, but it is possible to find
such information on the web. Another example is the case where a person
needs some type of a computer file (such as background music for a powerpoint
presentation, desktop wallpaper or sounds for his or her system);
the web is the logical place to go, because the file needs to end up on his
or her own computer anyway. (This is an example, however, that begs us to
explore our definition of information. As librarians we function with a
definition of information that has to do with imparting knowledge and
informing decisions, but we also tend to accept the "information age"
definition of information, which refers to anything that can be transmitted
by electrical signals, whether software, music, movies, pictures, or
information in the older sense. On reflection, we might decide that a need
for a digital file that the user ends up owning is more of a collecting or
gathering (or shopping) need than an information need. This is a question
worth exploring.)

In terms of information needs that public librarians would love to help
with but which are too unconventional or "unserious" to bring the library
to mind for most users, there is the question of how to promote the library
and the librarian as an approachable helper. This is where the discussion
of the image and stereotype of librarians, which sometimes seems
self-involved, has actual relevance. We want users to feel comfortable
coming to us with questions about "whatever." We want them to feel that we
are comfortable speaking in their vernacular, and many of us want to tell
the rest of the profession that it is and should be our vernacular too.
But it is a difficult thing to communicate the importance of thoroughness,
accuracy and information literacy without reproducing the impression that
we are, if not sexless, not exactly cool. I believe that the problem may
be inextricable from the nature of what we do at one level, but that at the
same time it can be very helpful in many cases to use an informal manner,
even to the point of not communicating so called "professionalism," when
communicating with information seekers.

Children and the Otherwise Naive and Uneducated

Many web searches reveal searchers who are "not clear on the concept."
They either don't know how web searches work, or they are ignorant of
essential aspects of the subjects they are trying to investigate. Here are
some examples:

- I need a job in San Jose that pays very well with no experience
- am i gay
- how many mins to Pinar del rio
- www. hippies
- what might happen to france
- roman numberals
- summary of supermodels in a report format
- who owns words?
- bun laden
- What is the purpose of a Tree [why do we need them]
- using words for a proffesional request letter
- how to make manipulative female neighbor stay away
- what kind of conditions do potatoes need and provide
- When did the Information Age take place?
- how do I become seriously rich
(Caps in original)

These people obviously need professional help, and we are just the
professionals to provide it. But first, how can we help them find us?
"Ask a Librarian" services are part of the answer, but it makes me wonder:
why doesn't ALA take some of the $1 million it's devoted to that "@ Your
Library (TM)" campaign and pay for banner ads on the web that lead to "Ask
a Librarian" services? And to the extent to which we might consider it
important to get people off their asses and into the library, some effective
marketing on the part of local libraries seems in order. Press releases are
an effective tool to reach the public which are underutilized by most
libraries due to the perception that a good Public Relations program
requires a PR professional. It isn't necessarily the case, as librarians
would find if they chose to read some of the books on PR that sit on their
own shelves. Of course, most libraries don't have a big surplus of staff
time to devote to more than immediate problems, and this is part of the
reason our professional associations are important. In any case,
"marketing" of library services, for lack of a better word, is needed if we
wish to extend these services into new territory.

People Enjoy Surfing Around

I get tons of searches like these, which seem to be aimed at nothing in

- wabbits
- scary shit
- Women
- words with frog
- nobody
- juice -wheatgrass -barley
- surreal OR mentioned OR cemetery OR exempt OR scantiest
- pure unadulterated bullshit
- "largest"

These are people whose primary information need seems to be to surf around,
but presumably they prefer to do it while looking at a TV-type screen in
the privacy of their own home than to browse the catalog and shelves of
their local library (at least at that moment). There are a lot of reasons
for this. One interesting one is the instant availability of the sense of
surprise that search engines offer. Who knows what will turn up - that I
can access immediately - if I type in "scary shit?" It's fun and it doesn't
require an attention span. Library use, on the other hand, does require an
attention span. The thing about attention span that constructivist
educators, who advocate lots of audio-visual accomodation to young
learners' lack of it, don't acknowledge is that our attention spans are
what they are because we have practiced and cultivated the art of
attention, and we have done so because it has been expected of us by our
parents, our teachers, and our society. If we are in a McCluhan-esque
post-literate society, conditioned by technological revolutions which have
superseded the printing press, the question of the role of libraries in
that society arises with a new insecurity. Are we primarily the preservers
and representatives of a possibly obsolete print culture, or should we
gradually transform ourselves into facilitators of access primarily to
sensory culture? This question can be found at the heart of problems facing
librarianship in the 21st Century, but we don't know quite how to deal with
it head-on.

Final thoughts

As you can see we can learn a few interesting things from server logs, but
as a tool for studying user behavior, I would quickly acknowledge that they
are very limited. For one thing, they provide no access to the mind of the
searcher, the way an experimental setting does; they leave us having to make
a lot of inferences about what the searchers were up to. They do have the
advantage, however, of allowing us to get a glimpse of user behavior without
influencing that behavior by our presence as experts (and therefore, to
the experimental subjects, as judges). The same is true, perhaps in a more
useful way, of OPAC search logs. (I don't have access to anything like that
at the moment but would love to spend some time with some. If a reader wants
to contribute something about the usefulness of OPAC search logs it would be
most welcome.)

As a concluding note I want to point out something that may not be obvious.
Many Library Juice readers have access to server logs and enjoy looking at
their own "amusing searches," like I always have. But they're probably like
me (until I sat down to do this article) in that they don't reflect very much
on what makes these amusing searches amusing and interesting. There are
doubtless a lot of different directions that a reflection on server logs
could take. For example, someone else might want to explore the mystery
presented by these traces of people's information seeking and what it
means that webmasters get these glimpses of their lives.

For those who are interested in how I get these search expressions from my
server logs, I do it using a program called AXS by Fluid Dynamics. It is
a Perl script that runs in my CGI directory. I skim through my logs every
few days and see things like this:


A visitor from ( was logged once,
starting at 10:32:10 AM on Wednesday, November 12, 2003.
The initial browser was Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98).

This visitor first arrived from joe schmoe idiom 11-20
and visited


This entry tells me the hostname and IP address of the visitor, the time of
their visit, the referring URL (AXS automatically extracts the Google search
from the Google search result URL; in this case it's "joe schmoe idiom"),
and the page visited. The software can also create output in the form of
graphs showing various traffic statistics. It can be useful for more than
just meditating on user behavior; for instance it can help you diagnose
problems with your site, identify bad links to your site out on the web and
tell you when someone has set up a new link to something of yours. Fluid
Dynamics' website is at The program is freeware.

3. Workshop On Democratisation of Information with a Focus on Libraries

At the Mumbai World Social Forum IV

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 10:03:52 +0200 (EET)
From: Mikael Book <>

This message contains updated information about the workshop from the
website . Other NIGD-workshops are
covered on the page

Please remove the above list of email addresses if you forward this
message or parts of it in your own postings.

                                  On Democratization of Information
                                  with a Focus on Libraries

     Dear Reader(s),

     the libraries have a crucial role to play in the
     effort to democratise information. A workshop on this subject
     will be arranged by the Network Institute for Global
     Democratization NIGD and Bytes for all during the World Social
     Forum IV in Mumbai, India, from 16 to 21 January 2004. (See
     details about the workshop at

    Strengthen the role of the public libraries, formulate global and
    local policy on information, involve library people in the WSF.

    Join the on-line forums
    You are invited to participate via the on-line forums. Please
    register as a member of the forums and contribute views and ideas!
    We intend to add an own forum for each main theme of the
    workshop. Your proposals of themes and/or important separate
    issues are welcome!

                                      Current Workshop Programme

   updated: 10 November 2003
   Title: On democratisation of information with a focus on libraries
   Date(s): First session 18 January (preliminary); Second session 19 January


   Venue(s): One of the sessions will probably take place at the New
             Standard Engineering (NSE) Grounds, Bombay Exhibition
             Grounds, Western Express Highway, Goregaon(East), in the
             northern region of Greater Mumbai (see
   ; we hope one of the
             sessions of the workshop can be arranged in a nearby

     * Representative of IFLA
     * Mike Featherstone, TCS Centre
     * Fred Noronha, Bytes for All
     * Sunil Abraham, MAHITI
     * Other speakers
     * Workshop chair candidate: Mikael Böök, NIGD

   Expected outcomes: Better understanding of the role of the
              libraries among WSF-participants. Involvement of library
              community in the WSF.

   Practical: See And/or use the talk back feature of this


                                     Workshop-related links

   [cool] Information Society: Voices from the South A WSIS-related
                  discussion forum on Youth and Education. Its archive
                  offers articles by e.g. Indian IT-journalist
                  Frederick Noronha, co-founder of Bytes for all.

   [cool] WSIS-100 A series of articles in French by Hervé le
      Crosnier, university librarian in Caen, France. Roughly one
      article per day during 100 last days (5 Sept 2003 - 5 Dec 2003)
      before the first World Summit on Information Society (WSIS)!

   [cool] IFLA Contribution to WSIS Contribution to the World Summit
       on the Information Society by International Federation of
       Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Quotation:

          "Please do not waste resources on reinventing the wheel,
           whilst ignoring existing infrastructures. Instead, apply
           relatively modest resources to existing networks, such as
           libraries. The skill, enthusiasm and commitment of
           librarians will not fail you."

    [cool] Koha is an open source integrated library system made in
       New Zealand by Katipo Communications Ltd. Koha means gift in

    [cool] India plans $2.7 billion IT investment A piece of news in
          Info World, 3 November 2003. Related questions: How much of
          this investment goes into libraries? Which investments in
          libraries is India planning for right now?

     Literature and websites

        The beginning of a modest annotated list of selected readings
        and resources... You can send suggestions via the
        talkback-feature of this page

     Documents, essays and articles on the role of the libraries in
     the democratization of information

     [wink] The Right to Memory by Kay Raseroka, Chair, International
     Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). - The paper addresses
     issues around the right to memory - assuming that, as an ideal,
     such a right is accepted. It discusses barriers to the
     achievement of this ideal from a library and information
     perspective which is in the throes of addressing issues of
     relevance of its services to rural communities. The basic issues
     are that of orality, literacy and information technology, their
     relationship to a right to memory, and the challenges faced by
     the realisation of this ideal. (The paper was presented in a
     Virtual Conference on The Right to Communicate and the
     Communication of Rights, held 11 May 1998 - 26 June 1998)

     [wink] Now We Have a Basis for Library Strategy in Europe by
     Mirja Ryynänen, former MEP (ELDR) and former chairperson of the
     Finnish Library Association. Introduces the REPORT on the Green
     Paper on the Role of Libraries in the Modern World (1998) from
     the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education and the Media of the
     European Parliament.  

     Books and E-books

     [wink] Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word, by
     Walter J. Ong (1982, 2002). This classic is perhaps found on your
     own bookshelf. If not, why not ask your local librarian, or
     borrow it from a friend? Also, there is an ebook edition, but it
     is in the extremely exclusive Microsoft Reader format (or maybe
     not that exclusive, after all), and the pricing is grotesque: USD
     36,15 for the ebook, while this book is available in print as
     paperback from at USD 17,95 (prices per 31 Oct 2003) !

     [wink] UNESCO Libraries Portal

     [wink] The Public Library of Science. Former director of US
     National Institutes of Health Harold Varmus explains the ideas
     behind the science library of the 21st century in an interview
     with New Scientist

     Talk back about this site. - Mika 10 Nov 03

4. On Diversity

Michael McGrorty

       I am old enough to remember when we referred to some of our
non-white citizens by terms which seemed to describe a separate species of
creatures.  When I was a kid, it was common for newspapers to refer to some
person as "Jack Smith, a Negro" which reference was generally included
within stories about criminal incidents, in which, if you got your
statistics through the papers, the aforementioned Negroes seemed to be
disproportionately involved.            

Back then, your Negro didn't appear much in the press except as
victims of crime or perpetrators, unless you read the sports pages, where
there seemed to be quite a few represented.  The few exceptions to this
rule were the occasional minister, social agitator or Jomo Kenyatta.

            Even in California, folks of American birth with Hispanic
surnames were referred to as 'Mexicans,' which was intended to indicate
both ethnicity and where the real Americans thought they belonged.  As I
recall, there was a particular pronunciation of the term which did not lend
a pleasant note to the sound of the word, especially when it was uttered
after modifiers such as 'dumb,' 'dirty' and 'stupid,' all of which were
employed liberally in the vernacular speech of the non-Mexicans of the

            Now that I think of it, there was a decided tendency to
classify folks according to some particular racial or ethnic
characteristic, or at least by a tag leading back to some other land.
This, mind you was the prevalent mode among what used to be called the
Better Classes, folks who would never have been caught sprinkling their
speech with harsher terms of usage.

            My father was German-Irish.  He married one of those 'Mexican'
women back when this was considered an unwise step.  Later, ordinary
well-meaning people asked them "what will become of the children?" as
though they might expect the birth of two-headed chickens.  My brother and
I came out of the oven with unremarkable features; he with blue eyes and
blond hair, me with brown eyes and a reddish mop.  We were, the two of us,
apparently White, to match our surname.  The die of fate had rolled and the
two of us had escaped the fate of being 'Mexican,' just like that.

            The most interesting outcome of this situation is that it has
permitted me to observe the dominant culture from a position of
concealment.  This has often been educational, but only in the sense that
the same is true of a pointed stick in the eye.  On the other hand, the
duality of roles forces a certain reckoning.  One passes through life
asking what it means to be a certain thing, or things.

            And the eyes are opened; perhaps earlier than the eyes ought to
be, but opened nonetheless, with the same sharp stick over and again.  At
dinner with friends, a parent says, "You don't act like a Mexican."  This
is a difficult situation for an eight-year-old.  What does a Mexican act
like?  A consultation with relatives reveals that they live dull and
unexceptional lives.  Much later, we discover that there are girls whose
folks will not permit them to be alone with Mexicans-though I am granted a
pass for good behavior.

            One grows up seeing other people and wondering, 'What is he?'
Pretty quickly I know all the mixed-race kids in school.  There aren't many
in my era.  And I begin the practice of noticing what people are, where
they are from:  origins become important to me.

            At school there is one Negro lady teacher.  There are a lot of
ladies with names that sound German or Irish or English, and a few with
names that seem like something European.  Only one Negro lady, and one man,
in the whole elementary school.  The man is a Jew, and he becomes my
teacher in the third grade.  A nice man.

            In junior high, more ladies, and a Negro man with an odd
French-sounding name who one day refers to himself as 'Black,' as in the
color, but you could hear the capital 'B' in the word as he spoke it; it is
the first time I have heard a man raise himself above the sub-species
designation, and I mark the occasion:  I am ten years old.

            The librarian in our school is a pale lady.  The librarians in
the county branch are pale ladies too.  They have name tags with their last
names that they wear on their tweed or gabardine suit-dresses.  All the
names are pretty much the same.  No Negro ladies, or Black, and certainly
no Mexican-Americans.  We wonder:  what is it that keeps Mexicans away from
these jobs?  My own father is a teacher.  I ask him; he tells me, "That
will change."  He doesn't say how or why.

            Thirty years pass; three decades during which I do quite a few
things for money.  I observe that the rougher things I do, the sailoring
and the truck-driving and the gardening, are done mainly by black and brown
people.  My college professors are duplicates of my elementary school
teachers.  Out in the world again, I become a probation officer:  out of
150 clients, I can count on two hands the ones who are not Black or
Hispanic.  Then I am a federal investigator, pursuing wage violators:  the
offenders are light-skinned, their cheated victims not.

            And then, for a variety of reasons, most related to disgust and
fatigue, I leave that world for library school.  And find that my father
was right.  I have learned to observe, and I do.  The library is a splash
of colors now and ever more so with each passing year, but in my classes
and in the field this somewhat-Mexican boy sees very few men.

            Early in my school career I come across an application for ALA
scholarships.  They seem to have one for minorities.  I do not think of
myself as a minority; all my life I have either passed as a white man, or
nothing at all.  I do not think of my life in terms of obstacles overcome.
But the language of the application refers to inclusion and representation.
One evening I get to thinking about this:  there are not too many
Mexican-German-Irishmen in the library.  When the amusement value of this
idea is spent, I think of this:  That there are not very many men, either.
I ask myself what it is that men might bring to the library, and whether
this can be answered without falling into useless generalities.  But the
next day I apply for the scholarship, despite the unresolved questions.

            Meanwhile, life goes on.  My mother follows my father to the
next world, where perhaps the creator will explain race and human behavior.
My parents have only the identity of the dead, who have no differences, no
agenda, no prejudices.  Here on earth, I attend library school classes.
One day I receive a letter informing me that I have won a scholarship;
there is quite a bit of money attached to the achievement.  Apparently I am
considered a valuable presence in the field, at least in potential.

            Later, when the check comes in, I think of investing in
something that will reflect well upon myself and the decision of the
selection committee.  This passes in a few moments; I have never done
anything based on what might impress others and am not about to begin in my
forties.  So I think about myself and what makes me up inside, where the
jumble of identities finds its union.  I am many things, and indisputably a
man.  Not so much on impulse as I would like to think, I find myself out at
a shop asking a man about motorcycles.  A motorcycle will show them some
diversity, all right.  The salesman sells me one that seems to suit my
personality, or perhaps my insecurities.  I ask him what colors they come
in; brown is not available, but black is.  I tell him to get me one.  These
days, mine is the only motorcycle in the library lot.  How's that for

Michael McGrorty

[ Editor's note: to find out how to contribute to the ALA Spectrum Scholarship
or how to apply, visit ]

5. The Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 09:57:39 -0500 (EST)
To: [lists]

Please consider nominating someone for this award, (and accept my
apologies for rampant cross-posting, but don't let that stop you
from forwarding this message). --> Awards & Scholarships (blue button, top &
center of grid) --> scroll to Futas Award.

The Elizabeth Futas
Catalyst for Change Award


An annual award consisting of $1,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation
of achievement recognizing and honoring a librarian who invests time
and talent to make positive changes in the profession of
librarianship by:
*taking risks to further the cause;
*helping new librarians grow and achieve;
*working for change within the American Library Association or other
library organization;
*inspiring colleagues to excel or make the impossible possible.
The award is funded by contributions to the Elizabeth Futas Memorial
Fund at the American Library Association.

Nomination letters should describe specific actions which
supported/encouraged change and be accompanied by any appropriate
further documentation, including publications, press notices, etc.



Please send six (6) copies of this application and supporting
material to:

ALA Awards Program
Governance Office
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611


6. ALA Equality Award

[EQUILIBR:350] ALA Equality Award
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 13:54:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Detrice Bankhead <>
Reply to:

The ALA Equality Award Committee is seeking nominations for the 2004
Award. The Award is donated by Scarecrow Press and is given annually to
an individual or group for outstanding contribution toward advancing
equality in the profession. The contribution may be sustained or it
could be a single outstanding accomplishment. The deadline for receiving
nominations is December 31, 2003.

The nomination form along with additional information about the Equality
Award is available at the ALA website: - Awards and Scholarships - Equality Award

Your assistance in nominating an individual or group is greatly

Equality Award Committee


7. 'Versed' the Bulletin of the ALA Office for Diversity

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce the creation of 'Versed': The Bulletin of
the American Library Association Office for Diversity.

True to its meaning: practiced, skilled, or knowledgeable; 'Versed'
will bring together the most progressive practitioners and the best
practices in current library-based diversity work. To be published 5
times per year, 'Versed' will be based primarily online on the Office
for Diversity's site with paper printings available twice yearly at
Midwinter and Annual conferences.

Please consider submitting an article or editorial; sharing a
successful program or initiative; reviewing and recommending
diversity-related books and videos of interest to library service (whole
biblio and video-graphics are especially welcome); tackling pressing
social or professional issues; and publicizing diversity related events
or conferences.

Submissions and queries should be sent to or . Submit items as both plain-text in the body of
the email AND as a word attachment. We are currently accepting
submissions for our first issue devoted to changes and emerging trends
in diversity work following the recent Affirmative Action decisions.
Related and general submissions welcomed. Deadline for the inaugural
issue is Monday, November 17, 2003. Be sure to include your full name,
title, institutional affiliation, and contact information.

Please consider submitting to 'Versed' and be sure to share this call
for submissions with colleagues.

Thanks in advance for your support!


Tracie Hall

Tracie D. Hall
Director, Office for Diversity and the Spectrum Initiative
American Library Association
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone 312-280-5020
800-545-2433 ext. 5020
Fax 312-280-3256

8. The Telegraph in the Library

By Richard Garnett, in _Essays in Librarianship and Bibliography_
(New York: Harper, 1899)

Library administration, like all other departments of human activity in
this age, must experience the results of the unexampled development of
science in its application to the affairs of life. The most immediately
obvious of these are the mechanical: so simple a device as the
sliding-press, as will be shown in its place, has saved the nation
thousands of pounds. The most promising field for such achievements has
hitherto been the United States, where the application of scientific
contrivances to ordinary purposes is more general than in Europe, and where
the more important libraries are new structures, where improvements can
form part of the original plan, with no fear of impediment from
arrangements already existing. Next to mechanics photography and
electricity may be named as the scientific agencies chiefly adapted for the
promotion of library service. Photography has been sufficiently treated in
another essay in this volume. The services of electricity will be most
cordially acknowledged by those who best remember the paralysis of literary
work, alike official and private, engendered by a fog at the British
Museum, and in particular recall the appearance of the Reading Room, a
Byzantine "tower of darkness," with a lantern dimly burning in the centre,
the windows presenting the appearance of slate, and dubious figures gliding
or stumbling through the gloom - attendants brought in from the library to
take care that the handful of discontented readers did not profit by the
opportunity to steal the books. All this nuisance has been abolished by the
electric light, which not only renders the Reading Room available for the
public on dark days, but allows the ordinary work of the Museum to be
carried on in all departments; the same may be said of all other libraries.
The beautiful, potent, and above all safe electric ray is an advantage to
all, and in dark days a passage from death unto life for those libraries
where, as in the Museum, gas has been proscribed on account of its danger
and its injurious effects upon books.

The services of electricity to libraries, however, are by no means
exhausted by the electric light. It is capable of rendering aid even more
important, and the more so in proportion to the extent of the library. The
need for rapid communication throughout large buildings has been in some
measure met by the telephone, whose usefulness is impaired by its
incapacity for transmitting and recording written messages. Recourse must
be had to the telegraph - not, of course, that ordinary description of the
instrument where the record is made in dots and dashes, intelligible solely
to the expert - but the printing telegraph, where the message appears in
clear type, or a facsimile of the transmitter's handwriting. The use of
such telegraphs for various purposes, especially those of the Stock
Exchange, is now very familiar, and there is perhaps no place where it
could be introduced with more signal advantage than the Reading Room of the
British Museum.

There is no great reason at present for complaint of delay in bringing
books from the Museum library to the Reading Room; but the system is not,
as so many other points of Museum administration are, one to challenge the
administration and emulation of other libraries. It is impossible to
observe its working without pronouncing it cumbrous and below the present
level of civilised ingenuity. The reader writes his ticket at the catalogue
desk, generally with a pen trying to his temper, and the captive of his bow
and spear. He then walks some distance to deposit it in a basket on a
counter, where it remains until a boy is at hand to carry it to the
corridor outside the Reading Room, where it is put into a clip and drawn up
to the gallery. All these operations are indispensible so long as recourse
is solely had to human muscle, but they evidently involve great loss of
time. The object to be aimed at should be the delivery of the ticket at the
table of the attendants who procure the book in the library simultaneously
with its being written in the Reading Room; and this seeming impossibility
can be achieved by the employment of a writing telegraph by which, as fast
as the message is written at one end of the wire, it is recorded in
facsimile at the other. The present writer has experimented with the
American Telautograph, and, so far as the experiments went, nothing could
be more satisfactory. No knowledge of telegraphy whatever is required from
the operator: he simply inscribes his message with a style on a piece of
tissue-paper, and it reappears simultaneously at the other end of the wire.
Nothing seems necessary but to furnish the catalogue desks with electrical
transmitters (which occupy no great space) instead of inkstands, and to
provide for the carrying of the wires out of the room. When the writer
endeavoured to introduce electrical communication in 1894, he feared that
this requisite would present difficulties, but was assured by experts that
it really offered none. The ticket written by the reader might be retained
by him as a memorandum: if it could be repeated in duplicate at the other
end, one copy might be treated as now; the other, with any necessary
correction, might be pasted at once into the register, saving all the time
now occupied in registration.

It is of course perfectly possible that hitches and breakings down might at
first occur from time to time, from the delicacy of the machine employed,
or from other causes. The machines have not been properly tested, nor can
they be, except by a continuous course of experiment. But whence this
morbid fear of experiment? After Darwin's definition, the apprehension
should surely be on the other side. A single machine, kept at work for a
week, would be sufficient to test the principle. The first experiments with
electric light at the Museum were anything but promising, but Sir Edward
Bond persevered, and the result is what we see.

And how brilliant a result the establishment of telegraphic communication
would be! The saving of time is no doubt the most practical consideration,
but apart from this, how vast the improvement in the economy of the Reading
Room! No more troops of boy attendents, with the inevitable noise and
bustle; nothing but the invisible messenger speeding on his silent errand,
and the quiet delivery of books at the desks: an un-paralleled scene of
perfect physical repose in the midst of intense mental activity. Of course
the improvement would not stop with the Reading Room, and ere long all
departments would be connected by the writing telegraph.

This paper, of course, is not written with any view of recommending the
Telautograph. Instruments better adapted for the purpose may exist,
although the writer has not met with them. He originally proposed the
employment of a printing telegraph as a means of abridging delays in the
Reading Room as long ago as 1876. The great imporvements in administration
introduced at that time, however, rendered the need less urgent; nor,
perhaps, was electrical science itself then sufficiently developed.
Acquaintance with the Telautograph led him to take the subject up again in
1893 and 1894, and he still hopes to find the electric force a match for
vis inertiae.

9. Amusing searches for October

The following are some amusing search expressions typed into search engines,
mostly Google, that led users to pages on during the month of October.

"self absorbed images"
"stupid things you can do on the internet"
Interviews with June Cleaver
erotic underwater library
i want pakistani girls picture clean no sexy
goals and purposes of the hippies
which is beavis and which is butthead?
What is the recipe to mummify something?
stacy wakefield evil
porn kellogs
list of jobs in which absent minded people are handy
lesbian - how to do it
What makes water impure
"biggest penis" "in the world"
"solo librarian" miserable
authenticity juice
bovine growth hormone girls
spud gun canada canadian law
what's so bad about genericide
critiques of bellydancing

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ISSN 1544-9378

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