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.

Cycling for Libraries

Marydee Ojala @ 8:55 am

This from Mace Ojala (who, as far as I know, is not related to me):

My dear colleagues, i’m happy to announce that the registration process for “Cycling for libraries” was opened at 12 o’clock CET, 32 minutes ago. There’s only room for 100
participants and this is getting quite a bit of international attention, so make so you and your friends register ASAP. You don’t want to miss this :)

Cycling for libraries is an independently organized un-conference for library professionals, by library professionals. We are leaving Copenhagen on 28th of May and
arriving to Berlin just in time for the 100th Deutscher Bibliothekartag 2011 jubilee conference.

For more information about this absolutely unique, new kind of library-conference see the website and meet us also on Facebook, Twitter
(#cyc4lib) and Flickr (cyc4lib).

It’s time to ride out of our beloved libraries and see what’s out there in the outside world. Time to get some fresh ideas, workshop like there is no tomorrow and get some physical exercise while we are at it!

On behalf of the Cycling for libraries -organizing network and waiting to meet you in the summertime,

Mace Ojala
Turku City Library/Cycling for libraries etc.

Child of the Library

Marydee Ojala @ 9:02 am

Public libraries in many parts of the world face closure due to budget cuts or government policies. Perhaps no country recently has mounted such a vigorous defense of their libraries as the UK. Protests across the country on February 5th included “read-ins” and massive book checkouts. You can find lots of information about the UK situation at Voices for the Library. The #saveourlibraries hashtag on Twitter leads to good tweets on what’s going on.

But what really caught my eye, er ear, was this song, written by Piers Cawley. I recommend everybody start singing this.

Protecting Alexandria’s Library

Marydee Ojala @ 9:26 am

You can read all the articles, tweets and Facebook status updates you like, but nothing has the power of television to bring home the “moral power” of the Egyptian students who linked arms to protect the Library of Alexandria, aka Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Thanks to CNN for this truly impressive footage.

I am so impressed with the passion of library director, Ismail Serageldin, and his belief in the library’s mission of inclusion and freedom of expression. There’s also a good Wall Street Journal article by Michael Z. Wise, “A Symbol for the New Egypt,” published online today that includes an interview with Serageldin.

The Wall Street Journal site also has a Reuters video that is not as emotional as CNN’s, but does a nice job of presenting the facts and showing some of the library’s interior and grounds.

The actions of ordinary Egyptians to protect their cultural heritage is awe inspiring and a huge contrast to civil unrest is some other countries, where libraries were equated with the government and public libraries burned and museums looted. This is not only deplorable, it’s self destructive. Egypt shows itself a model to be followed by the entire world.

AOL Huffs, Puffs, Acquires HuffPo

Marydee Ojala @ 9:29 am

OK, so it’s February 7th, not April 1st, and looks like AOL really did agree to buy the Huffington Post. For $315 million. Not an April Fools joke.

AOL already owns Engadget, TechCrunch, Patch, and other specialized content sites. Huffington Post brings 177 million U.S. visitors and 270 million global visitors to the party. HuffPo co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of a new entity within AOL to be called The Huffington Post Media Group. It will contain all those many AOL content sites. Leaving will be HuffPo co-founder and chairman Kenneth Lerer; president and chief revenue officer Greg Coleman; and CEO Eric Hippeau (who old-timers in the information industry may remember as one-time head of Information Access Company before it was acquired by Gale).

In an internal memo, published by TechCrunch, AOL’s Tim Armstrong called the deal “another major step in the comeback of AOL.”

There will be lots of chatter, I’m sure, about what this means for the search industry (will the search engine pundits begin talking about Google, Bing, and AOL as the major players?), for the news industry (the acquisition of an online news service proves that print is dead?), and for the investing environment (AOL trades on the New York Stock Exchange). What about information professionals? Should we begin to add AOL searching to our repertoire? I’m looking forward to how our speakers at WebSearch University next month will chime in on this, but in the meantime, it seems to me that anyone who was already following HuffPo or TechCrunch or Engadget, or any of the rest of AOL’s content sites, will continue to do so. The deal will close late first quarter or early second quarter, 2011. Unless Huffington decides to integrate all the AOL content into one huge database, which strikes me as unwieldy, info pros will still tend to look at individual sites rather than search AOL. Remember, too, that AOL search relies on Google technology.

With all these content sites, does AOL now qualify as a “content farm” — like the content farms that Blekko says it’s now excluding from search results, according to, among others, Search Engine Land? Should be interesting to watch developments.

Thailand, Singapore, France

Marydee Ojala @ 12:57 pm

Sometimes geography — and timing — just works against you. Conference organizer and publisher Infonortics, Ltd. has rescheduled its Search, Data Mining, Visualization (SDV) conference, originally planned to be held in March 2011 in Thailand and then moved to Singapore. It will now be held in France in April 2012. According to Harry Collier, Founder and Managing Director of Infonortics, the low number of registrations did not justify continuing to plan the Singapore conference. It makes me wonder how “hot” a region Asia is for these types of conferences.

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