Speed blogging #cawater #climate_change

(TM David Zetland)

The late Pete Seeger sang about water, especially the Hudson River he fought for.

Have trouble understanding California’s water system? Even if you’ve lived in the state all your life? One of the foremost experts on the subject, Jay Lund, explains it all for you in one map.

All dry on the Western Front: Compare last year’s California snowpack with this year’s, in satellite images. Click on “View Image Comparison” to get a side-by-side view with a sliding divider.

Whether or not this is evidence of climate change, the long-term warming trend was sustained in 2013. Read more in NCDC’s Global Climate Report.

Climate scientists are 95 percent certain global warming is happening and human actions are largely the cause. AP science writer Seth Borenstein explains what 95% certainty of warming means to scientists.

President Obama said it Tuesday night:

But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.

You might be inclined to argue, but these three arguments have been discredited:

“The warming is just part of a natural cycle.”

“We’ve been warming up since the last ice age.”

“To think humanity can influence the climate is pure arrogance.”

The Los Angeles Times’ letters page editor has no time for climate change denial:

Saying “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change” is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.

Such errors of fact won’t make it on the LAT’s letters page.

Lest you think that global warming was happening, but has leveled off since 1998: no, it hasn’t and here’s why.

One group that has a monetary stake in the matter is the reinsurance industry. If they bet that the climate will go on as usual and that there will be no more than the usual number of extreme events — and that turns out to be wrong — it could cost them tens of billions of dollars per year. There are no climate change deniers to be found in the reinsurance business.

Finally, if the West Virginia chemical spill were terrorism

90 firms have emitted almost two-thirds of greenhouse carbon in the industrial age #libraries

Just 90 companies have emitted 63 percent of the carbon emitted to the atmosphere since the industrial age began in 1751. That finding has been reported in various news outlets recently. But do you know how researchers determined that?

I have colleagues at various universities: at Cambridge, at the British Library in London, in Sydney, in Johannesburg, Berkeley, to look at collections of annual reports housed in business libraries. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t catalogued so we had to go in person to dusty stacks and find the old reports for most of these investor-owned companies going back to the early 1900s, sometimes even earlier than that.

Generations of business librarians have saved those annual reports, having no idea that people in the 21st century would study them to determine greenhouse gas emissions.

Modeling Real Search Skills in Action #il2013 #internetlibrarian @researchwell

[One last session from Internet Librarian that I haven't had a chance to blog about until now.]

Tasha Bergson-Michelson, formerly Google search educator, now school librarian at Castilleja School
Julie Erickson, South Dakota State Library

Started by asking attendees to jot down some ideas for searching on the topic of the effect of sleep deprivation on the mental processing speed of students.

Here are some of the facets I wrote down:

  • Sleep: lack, hours
  • insomnia
  • Sleep deprivation
  • processing speed
  • mental process*
  • students
  • teenagers
  • adolescents

The idea of this session is not only to do a good search, but to show your users/students what you are doing, so they can apply the techniques themselves.

Reference interview: Ask “What did you mean by that term?” (In the example above, we’d want to know what age students we are talking about.)

A good question: What would the perfect book title on this topic be?

Try adding the word “scholar” in Google to get more academic results.

When you make a mistake, say, “How fascinating” as you try to figure out and explain why the search results came back the way they did. Every failed search teaches me something.

Real-life example: Tasha did a search on “Internet models,” which, it turns out, does not bring up models of how the Internet works. (NSFW)

Less is more: don’t tell everything you know.

Think before typing in a searchbox: who cares about this thing? That will give you a clue to who might be providing information about it online.

Many people don’t know about:

CTRL-F to find keywords on a web page.
Using “-” to exclude terms in a search (boolean Not)
Searching on filetype: and color:

Even when people learn about a new technique, they may not realize it’s transferable. People may learn they can do site:census.gov to limit their results to the Census web site, but not realize they can also do site:bls.gov or even site:.gov.

One good article can lead to more. Try a subject encyclopedia to get started. A New York Times article can lead to more scholarly research.

The librarian keeps you engaged by talking to you.

World’s Strongest Librarian #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Josh Hanagarne
World’s Strongest Librarian

Librarian in nonfiction at Salt Lake City library.

Extreme case of Tourette’s.

Why libraries? Change lives. Great equalizers.

Without libraries, there would be no librarians.

Pro self-improvement, but despises the self-improvement industry.

When it comes to libraries, willing to be preachy. Libraries have saved his life.

SLC director said it’s our job to make a better community, to give the public as much of what they want as possible within the library’s mission.

Ideas: lifelong learning, introduce people to knowledge and people to people, economic empowerment, dream with our eyes open.

Josh: Purpose of a library is to make people free, freer than they could be without the library.

Story of his Tourette’s.

Couldn’t go outside, not even to the library.

Went to the quietest place he could think of — the library — and asked for a job application.


Arranged to offend a homophobe.

Homeless man from Nicaragua said the library was a miracle.

Homeless man named Scott who seemed to be playing a video game was actually designing one. “A library immediately awards you dignity by walking in the doors.” You can be anonymous or you can ask a question.

Woman who had to give up kids for adoption.

woman who was being battered.

Vietnamese man: “You have such lovely Dockers.” Said he found his true love in a Vietnamese newspaper. “Without the library, there is no true love.”

Another man with Tourette’s: only place where they let me be me.

Any time you spend thinking “I can’t believe this is happening” is time you can’t spend reacting. Say, “This is happening.” The sooner you can say that, the sooner you can say, “What next?”

What sustains us is how much you love yourself and how much we love each other.

Old definition of “to free” is “to love.” With librarians, this is where he feels free, in every sense.

When he was 4, saw moth with a 3-foot wingspan. His mother said, “Where do you think it went next?” Libraries are about questions.

We can leave this conference freer than we arrived.

Very inspiring. Everybody in the room got mushy. Standing O.

Collaborative Cloud Strategies and Impacts #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Kenley Neufeld, library director, Santa Barbara City College

Small library, nobody responsible solely for tech.

Needed new system. Wanted to eliminate server and desktop maintenance.

Wanted to expand services, improve student experience and staff workflow.

Wanted to prepare for increased mobile use.

- Cloud-based backend
– Web-based frontend
– Cost savings from not maintaining a server

Went with OCLC Worldshare Management System

Change management:
– Do your homework
– Engage everyone
– Work with vendor on problems

For students:
– Easy account management without a separate authentication (could be a problem, since it requires sharing info with cloud vendor). However, the last piece of authentication data remains local. Works with Shibboleth.
– Notice and reminders via e-mail
– Platform agnostic
– Single search: ILS bundled with discovery service
– Faceted search
– Deeper exposure to resources
– Simple integration of ILL

For staff:
– No servers to maintain, no software to install
– Use Windows or Macs
– Simplified circulation
– Integrated ILL
– Integrated budget tracking
– Instruction: can teach discovery system or individual databases
– Work anywhere
– App development (Used to hand-copy fines from circ system to college system; was able to automate this.)

Would like to have a shelflist, but OCLC hasn’t built that yet. May be in the December update.

Performance is determined by Internet speed. If OCLC goes down, all 150 libraries using the system go down. In Internet access is lost, he has a backup solution.

Over a period of 3 years, they break even. And got the discovery layer that they couldn’t afford before.

Rob Ross, OCLC

Says users are satisfied. Catalogers and system administrators save a lot of time.

Staff working on an analytics model. More reports will be available.

Open platform: customers can build apps or see what others have done. OCLC builds the core functions, but open it up for others to add to.

Traditional deployed software:
– Core apps only
– Closed to community contributions

Cloud software:
– Core apps as scaffolding
– Community empowered to contribute
– Mix and match to heart’s content

– Infrequent, anxiety-producing

– Smaller, frequent updates
– Everyone on the same version

– One person could read the manual and become the master

– Rewards continual learning
– Decentralized system allows mastery by module, distributed expertise
– Future state is — literally — what you make it.

– Staff need to keep learning
– Management needs to reward adaptation over mastery
– Job roles may be redefined
– Working from anywhere is possible. Example: small academic library could bring books to a campus fair and can checkout using iPad or iPhone. Example 2: consortium can do cataloging for members. Example 3: Academic library with world-class Afghanistan collection. Now they can hire somebody and have them work in Afghanistan.

Gains include:
– Contemporary system for all materials formats
– No hardware to purchase or manage
– WorldCat as your catalog of record (can still have local notes), but you inherit all upgrades (such as if another library adds table of contents notes)

- Cost savings
– Time savings
– Patron satisfaction
– Staff satisfaction
– Increased usage of materials

Building Google’s Power-Searching MOOCs #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Tasha Bergson-Michelson

Librarian at Castilleja School, formerly Google search educator

Just because it looks magic doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it.

Google thought it should do a MOOC. Has tools: Youtube, Docs, etc. Can also handle 10 million people at once.

Six hours of content. Wanted to reach a broad audience. Multiple choice/fill in the blank. Semi-synchronous.

Never put a midterm in the middle. Could take it as many times as you like, but had to finish by a certain date. Lots of people complained about that. “Apparently a deadline is not as firm an idea as I thought.”

Five-minute videos plus activity. Offered a text alernative for thsoe with different learning styles.

Videos are hard to edit and it’s hard to get everything in. In the text version, they could include more info.

When writing for 155,000 people, someone will hate every question.

Problem: Google learns from people’s bad queries, so sometimes that would cause the bad query to work for the next person.

People might learn they can search on site:bls.gov and not realize they could do the same thing for census.gov.

People from 196 countries and territories. Questions were too ethnocentric.

Question about whether the word “evolution” occurs in the Google Books copy of On the Origin of Species. Answer differs depending on the edition you search.

Improved each time and never had the same complaint twice.

People learn by watching over someone’s shoulder. How could they emulate that in the MOOC?

People have different ways of doing things.

Made 12 challenges. Didn’t have to do them and didn’t have to do them in numerical order. They required multiple steps and could be solved in multiple ways. Example: identify a feather found on the ground at the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve.

Had to be a right-or-wrong answer or people freaked out. But then you outline your steps, and students could read each other’s answers.

Did Google Hangouts to talk about the challenges.


Did Advanced Power Searching class.

Text usage was about 50% that of video usage. But it varied by topic.

Fish pedicure / worm therapy divide. Yarnbobmbing was a popular topic. If you don’t know what thousands of people like, go for weird.

Didn’t help students with final challenges. They helped each other.

Start with outcomes:
What do you want students to know? Work backwards from there.

A list of technical skills does not equal competencies.

Format and contents must grow out of objectives.

Create a “big-idea” narrative. Key critical thinking skills. Overarching themes. Tie themes back to actionable skills. Such as, not usually just one way to do things.

Align desired content, user needs, and design constraints. How to talk about these things without delving into library science terminology.

Color filtering: If you search for Bach pictures that are white, you get sheet music.

Tesla: different colors for car vs. person.

Soccer players running around: use green.

This gets people’s attention and makes them listen, not the library science theory.

Test and test again:
Groups can be small. Doesn’t have to hugely formal. Prioritize fixes, fix, and test again.

Some loved the advanced format, some hated it.

Some people spent a lot of time on it, some couldn’t.

Connect with students. Use social media to create a community.