Patrick Stewart in the Library

It’s not every day that you get a former Captain of the starship Enterprise in your Library, but today was one of those days! Patrick Stewart is the current Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, and was born just down the road in Mirfield.

The refurbished library opened it’s doors to students in September (see photos), but today was the official opening ceremony of the Student Centre (which is the entrance floor of the library). To celebrate the event, we had a string quartet playing in the foyer, and Patrick Stewart gave a speech and unveiled a plaque.

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No sooner had Patrick walked in, he headed straight for the Info Desk…

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Lisa (left) is looking slightly surprised and that’s my better half Bryony sat on the right.

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After an entertaining speech…

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…Patrick unveiled the plaque…

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…drinks were served…

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…and he personally thanked the library staff for their hard work over summer…

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I’d thoroughly recommend getting a string quartet to play in your library entrance — it definitely sets a nice ambience :-)

What day of the week is it?

I’m getting to the point where I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but I do know I’m having a lot of fun!

Yesterday was the JIBS Workshop in London (photos here & presentation here). There’s lots I’d like to say about the debate that ended the workshop — especially regarding Nick Woolley’s narrow definition of “Library 2.0″ — but it’ll have to wait for another day. In the meantime, if you’ve not seen it before, I’d recommend reading Cites & Insights 6.2 (from late 2005) for Walt Crawford‘s take on the various early definitions of Library 2.0.

Tomorrow it’s a 90 minute workshop on “2.0″ (with the emphasis on play) at the National Science Learning Centre in York.

Today was really cool — Cathy Slaven (Library Systems Manager, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) dropped in to sunny* Huddersfield for a few hours of “2.0″ chat, a bit of mutual Pixies worship, and a swift half of Black Sheep at the Head of Steam. If there isn’t a Facebook group called “Library Systems Managers who like the Pixies” yet, then there should be!

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I’m extremely grateful that she chose to make Huddersfield one of her stopping points in her brief tour of the UK and Ireland, and I could have happily chatted all day long! All the very best wishes for the rest of your visit Cathy, and I hope you enjoy travelling through Europe to Vienna :-)

Next week, I’m heading off to OCLC’s office in Leiden for a day long developer’s meeting. The day after, I need to be in Stoke-on-Trent for the SirsiDynix Symphony Development Forum. The trouble is, I’ve just discovered that there are no trains after 9:35pm from Birmingham International Airport to Stoke-on-Trent (where I’m already booked into a hotel) and I don’t land until 9:45pm! If I’m lucky, I should be able to get the last stopping train to either Stafford or Crewe, then a 15 mile taxi ride to Stoke-on-Trent, and hopefully arrive at the hotel sometime after midnight :-S

The week after that, it’s Online Information 2007 (which lasts 3 days).

…roll on the Christmas holidays! ;-)

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* I lie, it rained… it rained a lot!

HIPpie update (20/Nov/2007)

Just a quick update — I’ve not had too much spare time to work on HIPpie since announcing it, partly due to work and conference commitments, but I have been slowly beavering away.

The first chunk is some of the back-end code for the “did you mean” spell checker. To try and make the code as re-usable as possible (especially for other OPACs), the back-end has been coded so that it can be used as a standalone web service:

library.hud.ac.uk/wikis/hippie/index.php/Spell_checker

Various options can also be specified to affect the output, e.g. for “newmonia thrombrosis”:

The grand plan is that anyone who wants to make use of it (either as a web service or the code that will embed into HIP) will have an account. By logging into the account, they’ll be able to specify a dictionary to use (e.g. standard US English) or they’ll be able to upload a their own word list (e.g. generated from the indexes in the ILS).

It’s still early days, but if anyone has any comments or suggestions, please get in touch!

OPAC keyword cloud

This is crying out to be done like the visual word map in AquaBrowser, but here’s a browseable tag cloud based on data from nearly 2 million keyword searches on our OPAC.

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The code looks for other keywords that were entered as part of the same search (e.g. “ethics of nursing care”) to draw out the most commonly used words. For example, the most common keyword used with “performance” is “management”. The size of the word in the cloud is determined by how often it appears with the search keyword.

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I’ve not removed keywords that generated zero search results, so the cloud for “acrobat” includes “abode”. (I’ve now removed zero result searches)

I’ll have to have a play to see if there’s a way of incorporating the cloud into the OPAC — for example, if you used a vague/general keyword such as “health“, then maybe the OPAC could suggest more specific searches for “health care”, “mental health” or “health promotion”?

CODI 2007

The events last week clashed with CODI 2007, Pittsburgh.

In previous years, I’ve tried to bring together all of the blog posts covering the event, so here’s some of the bloggers who covered the event:

…I can’t believe that there were only 2 active bloggers covering the event, but that’s all I could find on Technorati and Google Blog Search — if you’ve blogged the event (or know someone who did), please leave a comment!

There are currently 252 images on Flickr tagged with codi2007.

Catching Up – CILIP Glasgow & Talis Insight 2007

Just quickly catching up and catching my breath!

My two presentations from the last 7 days are now available on slideshare — both were effectively the same:

There’s also a selection of photographs from both events on Flickr:

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Some of my favourite quotes from the various presentations at both events:

  • [about Librarians] “We don’t do cool… we do dull and worthy” (Brian Kelly, UKOLN)
  • [about liability] “There is a case to be made for putting a bag over your head and ignoring it” (Betty Willder, JISC Legal)
  • [about Facebook] “We’ve got to ban Facebook — it’s too popular!” (Brian Kelly, UKOLN)
  • “You’ve got to eat your own dog food sometimes” (Ken Chad)
  • “If you’re not, you should be sharing services” (Ken Chad)
  • “How many of you have looked at a printed encyclopaedia in the last month? [couple of hands are raised] How many of you have looked at Wikipedia in the last week? [lots of hands are raised]” (Peter Godwin)

…next stop — Waterford, Ireland!

[update] For some reason, Slideshare keeps deleting the Talis presentation. I’ve now uploaded it 4 times now, and each time it’s disappeared from the site an hour or so later :-(

The Talis slides can be grabbed instead from here.