Welcome to Online Insider ...
... 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.

Webometrics Rankings

Marydee Ojala @ 8:28 am

Webometrics is a twice-yearly ranking of the web presence of universities worldwide that started in 2004. It covers over 16,000 higher education institutions worldwide to measure their "activity and visibility" on the web. Thus, it attempts to be an indicator of impact and prestige of universitites. It is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a resarch group that is part of the Spanish Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), which is part of Spain’s Ministry of Education. I wonder if they’re upset that no Spanish institution made the European top ten.

The University of Helsinki issued a press release touting its coming in third in the European category, behind the UK’s Cambridge University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Fourth was Oxford and fifth was the University of Oslo. Turning to the entire, worldwide list, the University of Helsinki was 42nd. The top three countries in the overall list were the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Congratulations to the Finns for their "bronze medal" in this open access league table.

Misplaced Priorities

Marydee Ojala @ 2:54 pm

I was actually looking for updates on the performance of Danish athletes in the Olympics when I found this article from the Copenhagen Post (which will become fee-based when it enters the archives) about the cost of building a new main public library in Copenhagen. It would be around 930 million Danish kroner. The consensus seemed to be that it was too expensive, but it was this comment that caught my eye, "The main library’s current location in the inner city is perfect, and I’d rather we used the money on something else, such as an athletic centre." That quote from Social Democrat Morten Westergaard. If we pit libraries against sports, guess which one wins?

Counterintuitive Open Source

Marydee Ojala @ 12:44 pm

My public library just sent me an email explaining that it will be closed for 3 days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to install a new open source ILS (Evergreen). It also told me that, due to Evergreen, it will no longer send emails warning that books were due back to the library and will re-institute overdue fines. Seems like a step backwards to me. Somehow I naively thought that open source was an improvement not a step backwards.

IFLA in Quebec

Marydee Ojala @ 7:00 am

Opening ceremony yesterday at World Library & Information Congress went way too long. Not sure what they were thinking. Do the organizers really think thousands of people want to spend their entire day inside a large and undistinguished conference room when outside the sun is shining and Quebec City is celebrating its 400th birthday with street performers, great food, and lovely parks?

The restructuring of IFLA itself was a topic of interest, although some officers didn’t make the informational meeting as the opening ceremony delayed them.

Irony of the day: The Congress has, as its theme, Libraries Without Borders, but Canadian Immigration was busy defending Canada’s borders from librarians trying to enter. According to the Toronto Star, 27 delegates had problems obtaining visas and 13 were refused. For a country whose television media is doing a fabulous job of covering the Beijing Olympics, this is sad. Also makes you wonder what athletes will have visa problems for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

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