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.

Chasing Tchotchkes; Grading Giveaways

Marydee Ojala @ 2:23 pm


The free article in the May/June 2009 issue of ONLINE is about the conference giveaways that the author, Cybele Elaine Werts, judged to be the best (and the not quite so good) of SLA’s 2008 conference exhibit hall in Seattle. I thought that was kind of a fun approach to take, so decided to open up a bit of a contest for this year’s exhibit hall. Even in tough economic times, I’m betting that there will be conference swag on offer by at least some exhibitors. So if you see an exhibitor with a freebie that relates to the service it’s selling, is useful, relates to info pros, includes the company name and website, and is designed to be kept in your office, then come by the Information Today Inc. booth and enter our little contest. Thanks!

Making a Hash of It

Marydee Ojala @ 4:18 pm

The Centennial conference of SLA (aka the Special Libraries Association) is next week in Washington DC. Hard to believe such a progressive organization has been around for 100 years. That’s quite an accomplishment. As usual, there will be way too much going on and I will end up totally exhausted. There are continuing education sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The Exhibit Hall is open Sunday afternoon. I’ll be at the Information Today Inc. booth on Sunday if you want to catch up with me. Sunday evening is the opening session with Colin Powell speaking. Monday is crammed with sessions, demonstrations, business meetings, and lunch in the exhibit hall — unless you’re attending one of the many vendor lunches (I think I’ve been invited to at least 4).

Since librarians have been such early adopters of Twitter, I’m expecting the hash tag for the conference to be trending next week. That is, if we can figure out what the hash tag is. I’ve already seen #sla, #sla2009, #sladam, and #slakm. If every division decides to use its own hash tag and if a session is sponsored by multiple divisions, there won’t be enough room to say anything other than a list of hash tags in the 140 characters Twitter allots to a post.

At the Information Today team blog, we’re going to settle on the sla2009 tag. That just seems to be the most logical one to use.



Marydee Ojala @ 11:48 am

I’ve been somewhat disappointed by the reviews of Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, which MSFT is describing as a "decision engine." I began to have the distinct impression that even reviewers who I consider to be extremely tech-savvy, like the Wall Street Journal’s Katie Boehret,  hadn’t looked at Microsoft’s Live search engine in awhile. Some of the things reviewers noted as being new, such as the colorful front page with its little information snippets about the picture, have been on Live (the U.S. version only) for quite awhile. On Monday, Greg Notess published a NewsBreak about Bing that clearly demonstrated he understands the nuances of both the new search, er decision, engine and its Live progenitor.

But will people really adopt the word Bing as a verb? I’ll just Bing that for you? Or, Bingo, Bing got me the answer I was looking for? Then, there’s Bada Bing, Bing Bling, and Bing being the cherry on top. Not to mention Bing Crosby, who might be crooning a Bing tune were he still alive. And, apparently, the word has various meanings in Chinese. The chances for punning about this make me giddy.

Not really in the pun category, but definitely in the "having fun with the name" department is the commentary and "press release" from Stanley Bing, the Fortune columnist, at his blog. He expressed “moderate outrage” at the branding of the new search engine with his name and suggested that the two brands come together with Mr. Bing as logo, symbol and spokesman.  Note that "Stanley Bing" is a nom de plume.

For more on Bing, and other search engines, but probably sans puns, look for Greg’s column in a forthcoming issue of ONLINE and at WebSearch University.

US Government Data

Marydee Ojala @ 8:33 am

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a great article by Laura Gordon-Murnane, published yesterday at Information Today’s NewsBreak website, titled "Data.gov: Opening the Doors to Government Data".  With a new administration in Washington, new attitudes towards open, tranparent and accountable government is leading to more accessible information, something all information professionals should applaud.

Yesterday’s NewsBreak on Data.gov is just the tip of the iceberg. Laura will be giving a session at WebSearch University on this very topic and I’m sure will expand greatly on the availability of US government information and bring us up to speed on newer developments in this very important area.

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