Sunday, November 30, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 17

The Google Docs features were pretty easy to use considering that I've used online blogging tools and MS Office at home and at work. To be honest I couldn't envision a situation where I would opt to use it over the tools I have at home or work. I'm also overly cautious where privacy is concerned so I can't see myself putting anything out into Google Docs that I "care" about. Though playing devil's advocate, it does present an interesting option as an offsite system backup for personal or work files.
I could see these tools being used to disseminate material to our customers. In CDD we've got a handful of documents that contain the basic content of the workshops we give such as our weeding workshop power point. If CML created a reader's advisory packet, or book group suggestions perhaps this could be one way in which that content is pushed out to patrons?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 4

Exterior lighting, part one. As it sat in the field our Cruisette had lighting problems with both the stop/directional lighting and the clearance lights. For safety alone the brake lights and turn signals needed to be dealt with first. The lighting in the rear consisted of the original single stop & license plate lamp and two 1960's add-on plastic surface mount lights. The best thing about the plastic lights is that they no longer functioned. Turn signals were not required equipment when the Cruisette was built so there is no real "correct" light fixture to add, but I definitely wanted something period appropriate.
After looking fruitlessly at car shows and catalogs, I was browsing for Camaro speed-parts in a Jeg's High Performance catalog that had appeared in my mailbox when I spotted some fantastic reproduction '39 Ford taillights. They turned out to be high-quality pieces with glass lenses and stainless steel bezels, and a bargain to boot.

Installation was fairly simple once I made a flat template for the required holes. We used a hole-saw, aviation shears and some files to make the oval holes for the fixture, and a drill for the holes for the mounting studs.

Once connected to the wiring the taillights proved to be nice and bright and quite attractive. There is a little corrosion and scale from the plastic fixtures to be addressed when I do the final polish. The extra screw holes from the old fixtures will get filled with Olympic rivets.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 16

Boy, after blogging and futzing around in the Camaro Wiki it was pretty easy to plunge into the CML PBwiki page and start wikiing. I linked my blog and the end then hit some of the "faves" categories. I added some favorite albums which did nothing but reveal my age and musical decrepitude. //

Since CML would flatline in less than 24 hours if lunch were missed I also added to the favorite restaurants page. I couched mine as a hypothetical recommendation to someone visiting Tesch Services here at the Ops Center. Here in Collection Development we visit every location in the system at least once annually so by default we've also created a de-facto cook's tour of Cowtown. We usually rely on branch staff recommendations, or our own collective memory to choose the spot, but we also tend to crave the new and eschew the rut. My utopian dream: a CMLeats Wiki!!!!!!!!! Organized geographically (for my convenience) with realtime raves & rants (& what the hell, while I'm dreaming--menu links), and directions. This could also be a fun Web 2.0 thingy to share during new staff orientation. I've added my four.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CML Learn & Play Thing #15

I checked out (Ha!) a couple of the library wikis. The Princeton Book Lovers wiki kept returning access errors when I tried to move off the main page. Not desirable in a wiki, though the idea is sound. A wiki would lend itself to a book based reader's advisory tool.
I also looked at Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki which struck me up front as one of the best wiki applications for a public library. It could be used system wide or it could be tailored to specific locations. I also liked that it uses the familiar, comforting, Wikipedia layout. It turned out to be somewhat of a bummer to find that random checks in the collection development area found lots of links and someone's idea of a "good " structure but virtually no content. Yawn.
I had a better wiki experience outside of the library world. One of the automotive websites that I haunt launched a wiki at the beginning of '08. They used a clever method to quickly build content--a contest. Numerous prizes, some strong rules and active moderators helped the thing grow quickly in both quality and quantity. Even though I didn't win the tires, the die cast or the stainless Y-pipe, it was a lot of fun to author some pages:

What I find almost more fun than authoring is editing. Lurking and trolling for misspellings, bad grammar, and poor syntax gives one a sort of perverse feeling of being simultaneously covert and constructive. While the concept behind Wikis is to be uber-collaborative and something in which any/everyone can participate my experience with them in practice is that a relatively narrow "cadre"does most of the heavy lifting and many people are not thick skinned enough to handle the ruthless editing required to keep a wiki(pedia) well documented and objective and not a mish-mash of opinion, myth and hearsay (like in a blog!!)

CML Learn & Play Thing #14

I read all of the essays and one in particular resonated (likely because it was the least theoretical and "future-y". Rick Anderson's essay Away From the Icebergs caught me with the first paragraph because it advocates the same position the Collection Development has held as our message and and mantra for years now: that collections are changing and many factors have brought us to the place where we no longer want or need a massive print collection to answer any potential question for any potential customer who might come in...someday...perhaps. Right on the mark. Its a nice affirmation to find that someone trusted by OCLC to write for their site correlates with our message.
Likewise his second point is right on the mark, and I like to think our digital initiatives are making strides towards "eliminating the barriers".
I do feel that his third point is a bit wide of the mark in the assertion that "2.0" by itself levels access to info. Many, many commercial firms are trying to exploit paid access to what they used to sell in books. And the stuff with "real" monetary value--market research & demographics-- still requires a steep tariff for entry whether its ink & paper or electrons.

CML Learn& Play Thing Thing # 13

I did some exploring on delcious and left feeling that there are a few things that it would do for me, but not enough to set up an account. I did like the idea that it could be a shareable aggregator of links or bookmarks and can see how it would be useful in a reference role. It came up during a meeting I attended about Main divisions and basic source tarining for the system. It is neat that a division could compile their go-to websites and anyone at any location could know to go there if they run into a specialized reference question. The page that HFAR set up seemed clear, though I did find it ultimately frustrating that many of the links required an account to login. Great if I work in HFAR and there is a division login, or I've already established an account. Out in NewNorthWestside branch with a customer breathing down my neck wanting an answer while I create my own account.....not so much. I'd probably just make a call to Main like in the old days. It also seems to probably suffer from the same flaw that alot of web link aggregators and bookmark utitlites do--dead links have to be identified and purged manually.
Looking into the tagging social networking part just made me feel rather dim. I didn't readily grasp what the infromation I was seeing indicated. or how I could bend it to my advantage unlike fr'instance Library Thing. Like Bloglines I won't visit delicious again and will investigate, based on yapping with colleagues, the aggregating tools at Google.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 3

Since my long-term plan is to refurbish our Cruisette to be sympathetic with the late Art Deco period I made the choice to go with reproduction, period appropriate, tube-type bias ply tires. These were sourced from Coker Tire, which is THE company to go to for authentic period tires. The new tires were matched to the size of the old tires so there would be no issues with the ride height. Ultimately I settled on 650-16 Firestone whitewalls:
In a bit of serendipitous good luck Coker Tire was attending a monster antique car swap-meet in Springfield, Ohio and I was able to arrange to pick up the tires and tubes at the meet. Wandering through the show I was on the lookout for some sort of vintage car taillights to replace the atrocious late 60's plastic units currently on the trailer. I struck out at this but I did find six glass amber beehive lenses that fit the clearance lights, and I stumbled across a very well preserved "Universal Night Owl" tail lamp/license plate lamp fixture which was an exact match to the VERY rusty original on the Cruisette. You've got to love life when it hands you 50 year old spare parts!

Once these tires were mounted, balanced, and reinstalled our '52 was ready for the road once more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 2

Once the shell was secure, and inspection of the brakes, axle, and wheel bearings showed them to be sound and serviceable the next step was to address the wheels and tires. The tires were at least 30 years old and replacement was obvious. The wheels don't appear to be original. My best guess is that they are some sort of truck wheel from the '50's. Since they were sound and not split-rims I decided to refurbish them. The chassis was secured on blocks and both tires, and the spare were removed.
Discount Tire in Hilliard Ohio stripped the old tires and valve stems and removed them for a nominal fee. What I wound up with was 3 rusty, pitted, slightly mismatched rims. The next stop in the journey was to Columbus Art Memorial for sandblasting. They did a great job and were reasonably priced. At this point time was of the essence since the freshly blasted steel would begin to rust almost immediately with no coating. My father took over the next step and primed and painted the wheels using a black color coat/clear coat enamel. Were I to do this job again I would have taken the time to use some body filler to deal with the pitting on the wheels prior to painting.

CML Learn & Play Thing # 12

Twitter was really easy to set up, but it appears that it can be a quiet lonely world for TT6644 if your web based email account contacts aren't tweeting too....We'll see if my invites get any tweets in return. Subject searches turned up some posts, but I wasn't ready to push through my social discomfort to join in.
11/17/08 update: I figured out how to follow people, but nobody has directly twittered/tweeted at me....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CML Learn & PLay Thing # 11

I'm glad Learn & Play gave me the nudge to set up a Library Thing account. I got to attend a session by the founder when I was at Bookexpo in LA in May. I went away from it very impressed with the data manipulation possibilities that might apply to collection development.
I found it very simple and straightforward to add books, and it was very easy to paste-it and edit and expand some book reviews I've previously written. I will admit I'm more than a little intimidated at the thought of the time it will take to catalog the thousands of books I own. One must begin somewhere:

My only Library Thing regret was not rushing the stage at Bookexpo to grab one of the dozen or so free barcode readers that Tim Spalding gave away.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 1

This is the first in a series of posts that will outline the progress made thus far in restoring our 1952 Airstream Cruisette. When we started to refurbish it in 2002, it had lain fallow for 17 years--literally in a field. Fortunately it had fared rather well with only some modest floor rot caused by open windows and an end cap dent from a fallen pine tree as major issues to address. Most of the dent popped out and should be repairable without panel replacement. A full floor replacement was a given from the outset anyway. The initial plan was to make it roadworthy and usable if only as an aluminum tent. We used some heavy gauge sheet metal and extruded aluminum L brackets to tie the shell and good sections of the floor together to correct shell lift cause by floor rot at the front end. In the process of this work some of the original linoleum floor covering was uncovered. Currently the trailer is carpeted in a blue indoor-outdoor carpet installed in the early 1970's. Prior to that it was carpeted in a yellow berber carpet. This was on top of red and cream-colored layers of paint laid over the original linoleum. Preserving the linoleum is likely not possible due to the planned full floor replacement, but I intend to find a way to preserve and integrate some of it in the final plan.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing #10 with image generators. There was some really (potentially) cool ones on but each of the ones I wanted to use seemed to be a dead link or sat there churning away with no picture. I ended up making yet another Paris traffic sign like many others who visited . Its snarky and aimed at the Germans.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 9

Well so far I've been underwhelmed by the content on the library related blogs I've been following on Bloglines for the past few weeks. Library Stuff seemed arcane and none of the posts seemed to grab me. was also not engaging. Maybe its the vernacular tone, maybe its generational, maybe the open politics make me feel uneasy, but again it doesn't speak to me. I tried Technorati and it served up many of the same in its weighted results. I sampled some more and again none engaged. If anyone knows about a good selection oriented library blog I'm still looking. I also tried Technorati for some automotive blogs and it sort of confirmed what I susoected: that Autoblog, Jalopnik, and Left Lane News are the biggies.