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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Twittering NFAIS

Marydee Ojala @ 2:22 pm

I was going to blog NFAIS this year, but instead decided to continue the twittering experiment that Karen and I began at INSOURCE in Prague. So you’ll find conference coverage here. Cindy Hill is also twittering the conference. The internet connection is pretty awful, it comes from the hotel’s food court. Both Cindy and I have had our connection fade in and out. I may blog some of the key points of the conference in retrospect.


Marydee Ojala @ 10:42 am

I’m accustomed to hearing about mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world. Microsoft bids for Yahoo. Thomson buys Reuters. Reed Elsevier plans to acquire ChoicePoint. But when I heard about two boards in merger talks and involved in due diligence, I didn’t really expect it to be Palinet and Solinet. These library cooperatives have been around for decades. In fact, when I was in library school, I interned at PRLC, which was later merged into Palinet. The merger of Palinet and Solinet would create a membership organization of more than 3000 institutions. Benefits, according to the press release, which can be found on both consortia’s web sites, include a stronger library community, expanded education curriculum, more consortial savings opportunities, technology leadership, and increased capacity for innovation. If this goes through, which seems likely, will other consortia join in? Will we end up with a national consortium? Interesting.

Weathering NFAIS

Marydee Ojala @ 2:20 pm

I’m looking out the window at snow, which earlier in the day was hail and before that freezing rain. I’m scheduled to go to Philadelphia tomorrow for the NFAIS conference. The Phiily airport isn’t looking too hospitable today. I can only hope it gets better tomorrow. It’s not just NFAIS’ annual conference, it’s also the 50th anniversary gala. The conference theme is The New Information Order:  Its Culture, Content and Economy. Lots of good speakers and interesting topics. I’m really looking forward to it and will exceedingly disappointed if the airline gods rule against travel.

Answers Announces Competing Slam?

Marydee Ojala @ 8:52 am

At the instigation of Illlinois librarian Bill Pardue, September 10, 2007 was deemed "Slam the Boards" day.  The idea was to mobilize the librarian community to go to the various "answer" sites on the web–places like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, and AskVille–and provide really good answers rather than the sometimes half-baked ones provided by the general public. By identifying themselves as librarians, the theory went, Slam the Boards would raise the visibility of librarians and libraries, demonstrate the power of their reference and research skills, and highlight the vetted resources available to people at their library. Following the success of the September 10th slam, the next slam will be on March 10, 2008, right after Daylight Savings time begins in the U.S.

Meanwhile, over at Answers.com, they’ve decided to launch an "AnswerThon" on March 1-2, 2008. Yes, on a weekend. Yes, right before the announced dates for Slam the Boards. From the press release: "AnswerThon contestants will tackle questions on WikiAnswers, the user-generated content, community-based Q&A site of Answers.com. WikiAnswers registered contributors can learn more and sign up here: http://wiki.answers.com/static/answerthon.html." The person answering the most questions and/or correcting and improving existing incorrect answers will be the winner. The winner and first two runners up will receive Amazon gift certificates (amounts said to vary but dollars are not specified) while they and the next ten runners up will receive WikiAnswers t-shirts.

Why is Answers.com stealing a march on Slam the Boards? Should the Slam be moved up to the weekend?  Or should librarians embrace both?



Say What?

Marydee Ojala @ 8:11 pm

With the announcement of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo, the press seemed to come up with a generally recognized name for the newly merged company, should that ever actually happen — MicroHoo. A search on both Factiva and Nexis told me that there have been a couple of hundred uses of the term since that announcement. The reverse, YaSoft gleaned almost no hits. But think about potential other combinations:

NewsCorp buys Yahoo and names it NewsHoo. Or combines it with Dow Jones for DowHoo. Or with Factiva for FActHoo or HoosFacts?

Ok, maybe not.

But what if Thomson sells Dialog to NewsCorp, which combines it with Factiva. Then we might have DialFact or FactDial.

Or Yahoo actually is sold to an obscure Indiana company and becomes Yahoosier.

If any of this happens, I will be amazed.

More on INSOURCE Tweets

Marydee Ojala @ 8:39 am

Karen notified me that she’s blogged our Twitter experiment. From her email to me:

"I have just blogged about our Twittering experiences



It seems that you can only display 200 ‘tweets’ in your own timeline or on somebody
else’s page. I have not been able to find any reference to date expiration.

On the missing tweets/updates, this is a known bug and they are working on it. See

My main problem with using Twitter to microblog events is the lack of opportunity to fully comment on and/or analyze the presentations in the post. I think blogging is vastly more flexible and easier for the reader. This assumes, however, that there is a live Internet connection. As Karen points out, the INSOURCE organizers were absolutely fantastic in providing both free wifi in the conference room and electricity for us.





Twittering INSOURCE

Marydee Ojala @ 9:50 am

I spent most of the past week in Prague at the INSOURCE conference. Both Karen Blakeman and I decided to experiment with Twitter to microblog the conference. You can find Karen’s coverage at www.twitter.com/karenblakeman and my tweets are at www.twitter.com/marydeeo.

It’s quite the experience to confine your comments to 140 characters while dealing with people speaking in Czech and the simultaneous translation being disrupted by static apparently caused by the proximity of laptops, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.

But it was a great conference!

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