Saturday, June 24, 2006

Carroll's story "weeks from publication"

"Editor & Publisher" reports that Jill Carroll has completed the story of her kidnapping and 82 days of being held in captivity, but The Christian Science Monitor does not expect publication to occur for several weeks. World Editor Dave Scott elaborated, saying "we do not have a pub date." He added that Carroll's story is "long and multi-part" and that she is taking the time she needs to do story edits as she continues to recover and to deal with the murder of her interpreter.

Scott also alluded to the possibility that retaliation toward journalists is a real concern, so Carroll and her editors are debating how much detail to offer in the story.

Since her release, Jill "has maintained a low profile" and has refused interview requests and declined invitations for her to appear at award presentations. Monitor editors will represent her at such functions.

Thanks to Cyberspastic for the link.

Buyouts and Layoffs

Romenesko reports that The Dallas Morning News is preparing to offer buyouts to 50, and one source has indicated the number could be much higher, of its employees as part of a restructuring plan that will increasingly focus on the newspaper's Web presence.

The Bello Corporation, which owns 11 daily newspapers in Texas, California and Rhode Island, earlier this month laid off 60 employees at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California and rumors are that The Providence Journal in Providence, Rhode Island will face a similar downsizing of staff.

The news come on the heels of the announcement made earlier this week that Sun Media Corporation is eliminating 120 jobs across its Canadian enterprises. 30 of the positions to be cut will be at the "company's flagship paper, the Toronto Sun" and will affect "reporters, editors, photographers, librarians, researchers, freelancers and some managers."

OCLC to digitize early San Francisco newspaper

OCLC or the Online Computer Library Center Inc., located in Dublin, Ohio, has received a $400,000 grant from the National Digital Newspaper Program that will enable the digitization of 100,000 pages published between 1900 and 1910 of the San Francisco Call, formerly the city's top morning newspaper.

The paper began in 1895 as the Morning Call and eventually became part of the San Francisco Examiner. Today it is a free daily newspaper, owned by the same group that publishes the Washington Examiner and the Baltimore Examiner.

The National Digital Newspaper Project, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is in the midst of a 20-year project to digitize "historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922."

OCLC expects to complete the work in 2007.

Teen vows she will marry man she met on MySpace

Katherine Lester, the 17-year-old (she had a birthday this past week), Michigan teen who flew to Jordan on her way to the West Bank to meet a man she met on MySpace has said she and 20-year-old Abdullah Jimzawi will be together someday and that they will marry.

Lester, her father, Terry and stepmother, Krista, were interviewed on "Good Morning America" on Friday. "I love him very much," Katherine said in reference to Abdullah. In a taped segment that aired as part of the interview, Abdullah says that he and Katherine "can't live without each other" and that he's willing to wait forever if necessary for the two of them to be together. In response, Katherine got very weepy and said "It's true ... I love you. That's all I can say." They have resumed communicating online since Katherine returned home to the United States.

Terry Lester says he doesn't blame MySpace for the situation with his daughter, rather he believes the cause is a lack of communication between he and his daughter and he and his
ex-wife, with whom he shares joint custody. Lester has allowed Katherine to resume her online conversations with Abdullah, but he now monitors them.

"Our initial reaction was to isolate her, to lock her up and just keep her safe here in America," Terry Lester says. "But that's unrealistic because you can see the love they have for each other." He feels that if he tries to end the relationship, Katherine will lose confidence in him and when she turns 18 in a year, she will leave the country to be with Abdullah. Lester is also encouraging Katherine to undergo counseling and to research the Middle East and its religion. When asked if she planned to convert to Islam as Abdullah has stated she intended, she declined to answer, saying she isn't sure yet. She added that she plans for Abdullah to come to the United States rather than her traveling to meet him.

And to confirm this story is making its various players famous: Katherine has her own entry on Wikipedia.

MySpace lawsuit -- Addendum

A followup to my post on the MySpace lawsuit. NPR's "All Things Considered" aired a segment on it today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

35 ways to use feeds points to Steve Rubel's list of 35 ways you can use RSS feeds.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Newspaper offers webcasts of daily news meetings

Another huge thanks to Cyberspastic for passing along the information that The
Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington is webcasting its daily 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. news meetings.

MySpace lawsuit

A 14-year-old Texas girl and her mother have filed a $30 million lawsuit against, saying the site "fails to protect minors from adult sexual predators." The girl was sexually assaulted by 19-year-old Pete Solis after meeting him through the popular Web site.

Lawyer Adam Loewy, who is representing mother and daughter, says ""MySpace is more concerned about making money than protecting children online." The lawsuit contends that the site does nothing to confirm the age of its users and that measures currently in place to protect users under 16 from being contacted by strangers is "utterly ineffective."

Lauren Gelman, the associate director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, takes a different view, saying she doesn't think MySpace is responsible for what users choose to do away from the site. "If you interact on MySpace, you are safe, but if a 13-year-old or 14-year-old goes out in person and meets someone she doesn't know, that is always an unsafe endeavor ... we need to teach our kids to be wary of strangers."

Ironically, MySpace has announced that it will now require members 18 years or older to know the e-mail or full name of any 14 or 15-year-old member they wish to contact. (Thanks to Cyberspastic for the info.) Not surprisingly, various safety experts say the changes will do little to stop online predators.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Certain Web sites blocked in L.A. Times' newsroom

Liz Donovan of Infomaniac mentions various reports that the Los Angeles Times is using blocking software to prevent newsroom employees from accessing certain Web sites.

More MySpace Mayhem

My local paper ran an AP story in today's edition about this situation, but the plot thickened today.

Katherine Lester, a 16-year-old from Michigan, had a runaway juvenile petition filed against her in Tuscola County Family Court after she ran off to the Middle East to meet up with a
20-year-old resident of Jericho, West Bank, Abdullah Jimzawi, whom she met online through Katherine, who made it to Amman, Jordan before being intercepted by U.S. officials and put on a plane back to the United States, was ordered by the court to surrender her passport and to undergo counseling.

Jimzawi, who goes by the MySpace name of abdullah psycho and whose page features a caricature of him ripping his heart out of his chest and handing it to "Kath'" with the words, "I give you my heart" has said in recent interviews that he and Katherine are in love and planned to marry. He also says that Katherine had planned to convert to Islam. (Katherine's MySpace page is private.)

For her part, Katherine hasn't spoken publicly since returning to the U.S. on June 9th, but in a statement, her mother, Shawn Lester, responded angrily to reports that Abdullah's family is upset a wedding didn't take place, saying "... It is very disrespectful, because in our country a 16 year old is a child and needs parental consent to marry. Neither Katherine's father nor I were asked for permission. We were not told that a boy existed much less that marriage plans were made. There is no way that either Katherine's father or I would ever allow a child to marry. This family aided and abetted a minor child in violating the laws of the United States. What are they thinking?"

What I find particularly disturbing about this case are the various comments that have been posted on Abdullah's MySpace page, telling him to hang in there and most saying that they see nothing wrong with what nearly happened.

Linguistics quiz: Yankee or Rebel?

Cindy posted something similar recently and I thought of her when I listened to this piece on NPR's "Morning Edition" today.

In it, host Steve Inskeep speaks to Robert Beard, the co-developer of the "Are you a Yankee or a Rebel?" quiz. Beard holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and is president of

The quiz consists of 20 questions which ask you how you pronounce certain words. What's really great about it is that when you select an answer, it will display where in the U.S. that pronunciation tends to be used.

I particularly liked the answer I got to Question #15, "Where might you get water in a public building?" My answer: Bubbler, which was answered with a reply of "Heavy bias in southern Wisconsin and Massachusetts." Amazing.

My final score was "39% Dixie. You are definitely a Yankee."

I should mention that since moving to Ohio I've been told that I have a noticeable accent by several people. The first comment came from the doctor who I had to see as part of a
pre-employment physical for my new job, who said I sounded like "I was from Cleveland." Another notable exchange came from the tax man, whose first question to me upon our introduction was "Are you from up north?"

Google U.S. Government Search

Thanks to TVC Alert Research News for mentioning Google U.S. Government Search, which made its debut last week. According to the "About" description, searches can be done across the entire Web or within United States, federal, state and local government sites. The page can also be personalized through the addition of various topics and feeds of interest.

CNN offers video podcasts starting today

Thanks to Lost Remote for the news that CNN will today begin offering six video podcasts, targeted primarily at those falling into the young demographic category. According to David Payne, senior vice president and general manager, "For the most part, the podcasting audience skews much younger than CNN’s television viewers and, perhaps surprisingly, somewhat younger than even users of They don’t necessarily want to see polished newscasts, but they want to see the action and make judgments for themselves."

The podcasts include:

* All Access – Backstage Pass: A behind the scenes look at how the news is created and delivered. (This one definitely piques my interest.)

* SHOWandTELL: A look at cool tools and technologies.

* Ask Glenn: Q&A with Glenn Beck.

* The Grist: "Odd but true stories."

* Now in the News – Commuter Edition: Fast news updates for people on the go.

* In Case You Missed It: "Sights and sounds" from major news events and the "most dramatic video from the day."

Teddy Bear thumb drives

Maybe it's because "thumb drive" has become a familiar part of my vocabulary the past few weeks as I've been posting to a Web site the presentations from the SLA annual conference, (yes, I'm an official Web geek now) but this post on j's scratchpad caught my eye.

Are you shocked to know that I would love to receive one of these for a birthday gift? My birthday is next month by the way -- *hint*

Monday, June 19, 2006

Washington Post, Newsweek launch PostGlobal reports that The Washington Post and Newsweek have launched a joint blog, PostGlobal, which will feature discussions of top news items among some of the "world's
best-known editors and writers."

The worth of investigative journalism

Brant Houston, the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, wrote a piece which ran in yesterday's The Dallas Morning News praising the efforts of investigative journalists, whose work he believes is needed by newspapers now more than ever. In fact, Houston refers to investigative reporting as "the beleaguered newspaper industry's best franchise for the future."

The 2006 IRE annual conference, held this year in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, concluded yesterday.

Thanks to Romenesko.

SLA Conference blog

To get a feel for some of the things I experienced at the SLA conference in Baltimore, check out the SLA 2006 Conference Blog. Yours truly was not an official blogger this year after serving in the role last year, but I hope to rectify that next year in Denver.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

2006 Great Lakes Regional Conference

If you didn't get a chance to attend the Special Libraries Association's annual conference, another option I would strongly urge you to consider is the 2006 Great Lakes Regional Conference, which will be held September 6 -8 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Great Lakes Regional Conference is held every few years or so. The last, which I was able to attend while I was a graduate student, was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the fall of 2003.

My recollection was that there was an opening reception Wednesday evening, with a full schedule of sessions on Thursday and a half day on Friday.

I am tentatively planning to go, since it would require me taking only one vacation day and the location is within a reasonable driving distance. (I'm guesstimating about four hours.) Anyone for a carpool?

The Indiana SLA chapter is spearheading the conference planning, so keep an eye on their Web site as more details become available. And if you're interested in volunteering, contact Indiana's chapter president, Lisa Greer Douglass.

Conference presentations

Many of the News Division-sponsored presentations that I attended at the Special Libraries Association's annual conference are now available on the Division's Web site. Among my favorites was a session that looked at four newsroom wikis, "Keeping Current," which explored how librarians can stay up to date on the various trends and technological tools that we are innudated with on a daily basis and a presentation by my colleague and fellow SLIS grad Debra Bade, about her efforts to record the knowledge and memories of longtime employees of the Chicago Tribune.

One thing the Division is very proud of is that each session was recorded, which will enable us to offer podcasts in the near future. Stay tuned for information on when those will be posted.

Friday, June 16, 2006

LII merchandise

Librarians' Internet Index, or LII, has teamed with to offer merchandise ranging from magnets to boxer shorts which will help continue LII's Web site and its free weekly newsletter. All the offerings feature the distinctive logo "Websites you can trust."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back from Baltimore

I returned from the SLA annual conference in Baltimore about an hour ago and since it's fairly obvious because I'm back online so quickly, yes, the computer was the second thing I turned on after getting in the door. (The first was the light.)

The conference was wonderful, with some very informative presentations put on by the News Division. As always, it's a lot to absorb though and I'm going to wait until the weekend when I'm a bit more coherent to post details.

I had a great time hanging out and talking with Amanda, Megan, Sara, Emily, j, Betsy and all my news librarian colleagues. There was one news librarian who wasn't able to be at the conference because of family obligations. I truly missed seeing him, as did his colleagues. (If he reads this, I think he'll know I'm talking about him. :)

Baltimore was nice as well. It was fairly easy to get around, particularly down to my favorite location, the harbor. I had dinner there one evening and the weather could not have been more perfect.

The National Aqaurium, where the News Division's banquet was held, was really fun. Dinner was in the underwater dining room, where we got an opportunity to see the six dolphins who make their home there. The dolphins weren't cooperating though. Their trainer was giving them balls and other toys to play with, hoping it would encourage them to swim within the front tank, which is what those of us in the dining room are able to see. But despite the encouragement, the dolphins took their toys and went out of eyesight to have fun in the back tank. I didn't mind though, we got a few glimpses of them -- they are very beautiful, graceful animals.

As for the travel, a few bumps along the way and I thought my bad luck was continuing when my flight out of Baltimore was delayed a half hour, but I managed to make my connection on time and return to my apartment about the time I was expecting.

That said, I'm exhausted and heading to bed. Conferences are wonderful, but they do a good job of wearing me out -- it's so hard getting old.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Newspapers heading for extinction? points to this post by Dakota Sullivan on the Online Publishing Insider blog that argues that while newspapers may be nearing their end, their online components could be facing the opposite situation.

In other news, I'm packed and ready to head out bright and early tomorrow for Baltimore. I confess that I'm a bit anal when I prepare for a trip, making a list and checking it over to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

The landscape is much different this year. I'm living in a new city and state and have a different position title and employer. Soon I'm going to find out how many of my Wisconsin colleagues remember who I am.

This should be a great conference though. Tomorrow night I'm having dinner with six of my esteemed colleagues from across the country and world and will spend some quality time networking, after which I will head over to a gathering for Midwest SLA chapters, where hopefully a great deal of Wisconsin folk and SLIS alumni will be.

I'll be attending sessions on wikis, newsroom research, knowledge management and digital archiving and preservation and that's just a small fraction of my schedule.

I feel very lucky to be attending my third annual conference. I truly enjoy seeing my colleagues, sharing our successes and frustrations and being reminded why I love being a librarian.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

JFK Library and Museum to digitize collections

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which I had the pleasure of visiting in January 2005, has announced that it will undertake an expected ten year project to digitize
"48 million pages of documents, 400,000 photos and 1,200 hours of video," as well as "7.5 million feet of motion-picture film and 9,000 hours of audio recordings," and will make them available to the public online.

President Kennedy's papers will be dealt with first and library archivist Allan B. Goodrich says they could be available online in 18 months.

Senator Ted Kennedy, the late president's youngest brother, said Wednesday that "President Kennedy loved history and drew inspiration from it. Hopefully, by making these collections widely available, we can inspire new generations in many lands."

For someone like me who is fascinated with presidential history, is a strong proponent of presidential libraries and museums and a librarian who believes in providing access to historical materials to the largest possible audience, I am thrilled by this announcement and the potential it holds.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Looking for incredible blogs

Ken Leebow is writing a new book, "300 Incredible Blogs on the Internet," and is looking for reader submissions. So if you know of an incredible blog (this one perhaps?) send Ken an e-mail and let him know.

I've sent him a message with my choice for an incredible blog. Won't you do the same?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Conference prep

I'm honestly wondering how productive I'll be this week since my mind seems squarely focused on one week from today, when I leave for the Special Libraries Association's annual conference in Baltimore. I've been exchanging schedules and cell numbers with many of my friends and former colleagues from Wisconsin and I cannot wait to see them again since it's been nearly a year since I've done so. Amanda, Megan, Sara and I are planning on dinner together Monday night and I'm hoping that Betsy and j may be able to join us for at least part of the evening.

Amanda has kindly agreed to bring her digital camera along and we're hoping to post an album of our travails on Flickr shortly after we return to our respective homes.

Speaking of home, I'll be back in Madison the last week of September for the SLIS centennial and maybe I'm overestimating the number of friends I still have left there, but Paisan's anyone? And yes, I know it is moving to West Wilson, I keep up with the news in Madison.