Thursday, January 15, 2004

NEWS! Send me your news!

Yup, it's true. Cathy Perley has handed off the MIDLINE Editor's baton to the SSL. Thanks Cathy for a job well done!

In particular, I am interested in finding out what your library did to observe National Medical Librarians Month. You won't have to write an article or anything. Just send me a quick e-mail and I will put all the stories together for the newsletter. You gotta see the "Got Info?" promotion poster featuring the staff of the Covenant Healthcare System Libraries that was featured in the latest WHSLA Newsletter!

Have you visited the Mars Rover website yet to see those out of this world photos?

Sunday, January 04, 2004


They are everywhere as we end one year and start another. For you searchers, there are the Yahoo! Top Searches 2003, Ask Yahoo! Best of 2003 questions, and Google's 2003 Year-End Zeitgeist.

Of course, CNN has the Year in Review with the War in Iraq as the top story. And their list of Global Influentials. Dave Barry has his take on the year's news with Between Iraq and a Hard Place. Reuters looked at the Wierd and Wacky news for 2003.

For those of you who want to stay in style, the Washington Post tells us What's Out and In for 2004. And I hope that I don't get caught using any of the Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness !

Yahoo's Tech Tuesday told us about the Biggest Tech Flops Ever and Products Before Their Time. Fortune has the Best Technology and Worst Technology of the year.

And lastly, this story is a warning for all of you who are confirmed "pack rats" like me. I hereby resolve to clean off my desk...tomorrow!

I wish for all of you dear readers a healthy and happy 2004!

Saturday, December 27, 2003


As the year winds down, the "Best of the Year" lists start appearing. I enjoyed this one over at yourDictionary.com Top Ten Word Lists of 2003. CNN ran a story about the lists Web Site Picks Year's Top Word. The word: "Embedded," as in the reporters assigned to accompany military units during the war, beat out "blog" and "SARS" as the top word of 2003.

The Independent reviewed the year's best Science books. Many of the books are about mathematics, so that leaves me out! The only one I have read is A Short History of Nearly Everything which was a fun read. As I mentioned last post, I read Shirley Hazzard's The Great Fire. Could not put it down...I even had to take it with me to my son's basketball games to read during halftimes and between games. Highly recommended by the SSL!

You might find something useful in 15 Top PowerPoint Tips over at PC Magazine. I will use the minature slide show tip for sure.

As a mom, I enjoyed J.M. Coetzee's comments when he received the Nobel Prize in Literature: "My mother would have been bursting with pride. My son the Nobel Prize winner. And for whom, anyway, do we do the things that lead to Nobel Prizes if not for our mothers?" Coetzee's Nobel Prize website is great. You can click over to the text of his Nobel lecture (which is wonderfully whimsical) and even see his fancy diploma. I better get working on reading some of the things in his bibliography.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


This evening, I went over to the public library to borrow holiday music CDs. Unfortunately, my favorite, the Charlie Brown TV special soundtrack, was checked out. However, I WAS able to check out the Jingle Dogs Christmas Unleashed CD. I love to torture my poor husband with the Jingle Bells Boogie track!

Looking for holiday gift ideas? A book is always a great idea. You might want to look at the Economist best books of the year list Home Entertainment. Based on their review, I checked out Shirley Hazzard's The Great Fire from the library this evening. I will let you know if I liked it...

A dictionary is always a great gift for the student on your list. MSN's Slate has this review of collegiate-type dictionaries. The Merriam-Webster is rated tops. Myself, I have always preferred the American Heritage which is listed second.

Just for fun on the web, I have been watching the weekly installments of the new animated Dr. Who series "Scream of the Shalka" over at the BBC Cult website. And believe me, the Shalka can scream! The BBC Cult sites are fun. I am a big Star Trek fan (I prefer the term "Trekker.") and the BBC Star Trek site is fun. I raised my son to be a Trekker too and we eagerly await the new Enterprise episode each week. My favorite Star Trek captain? Why, Voyager's Kathryn Janeway of course!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Are you interested in blogging too? To join the blogger club, you will need to choose which blogging software to use...well, you are in luck. The latest PC Magazine has a new review of Blog Tools. The only good thing the reviewer has to say about our host Blogger is that it is easy and free. And it is! This article is part of a number of articles on web communication tools "Take Back the Net."

Also in the issue is a case study Blogging for Business showing how blogging can help fight crime. Maybe this blog stuff can really be for more than just fun...

Have you seen the MLA Policy Statement on Expert Searching yet? One thing that I liked was that the first expert searching skill mentioned is being able to do a good quality reference interview, the "ability to accurately identify an information need through effective personal interaction and to clarify and refine the need and retrieval." It takes a good old-fashioned librarian to get the job done right!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Nice to see you! I was waiting until after MIDLINE was published on the web to post any more entries to SSL ... but publication has been delayed, so I am just going to keep on blogging!

Our host for SSL, BLOGGER, has some helpful hints for those of you who either blog from work or discuss work on your blog -- see How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog.

This one had the bloggers buzzing last week ... PC Magazine pundit John Dvorak says that the blogging revolution is over. The reasons why? "The first is wholesale abandonment of blog sites, and the second is the casual co-opting of the blog universe by Big Media."

Blake Carver over at LISNews is editing an upcoming issue of The Reference Librarian (Haworth Press) covering blogging and librarians. Anyone want to contribute?

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful one! But Monday's was even better!

Are any of you out there fans of Calvin and Hobbes? At our house, we have all the comic collections. Who could not love a book entitled Something Under the Bed is Drooling? There is a great article about Bill Watterson in Cleveland's Scene magazine.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

WELCOME MIDLINE READERS! Come on in -- I'm glad you are here!

Scroll down for more information on Blogs and Blogging in the entries for 10/15, 10/7 and 9/30. To learn about using RSS news aggregators, see the 11/19 entry.

Earlier this week in this very blog, I complained that some of my links from my earlier "Add to Favorites" were already "dead." Well, this isn't so uncommon. A study to be published in Science found a notable number of unavailable Internet references in the bibliographies of journal articles in three major journals. Here is the press release describing the article “Going, Going, Gone: Lost Internet References.”

Feel free to send your comments on this blog to me!

Clare Leibfarth "The Sensible Shoe Librarian"

Monday, November 10, 2003


Maybe this is some corollary of Murphy's Law...just as soon as you publish an article recommending websites, some of those websites will just plain "die."

One link in my Summer 2003 "Add to Favorites" has not been updated in quite a while (Business Daily Review) and another is being updated only sporadically (Human Nature Review). Just my luck!

Some of my "favorites" are still out there going strong...I still get my daily e-mail updates from SciTech Daily Review and I check Arts & Letters Daily a few times a week when I need a humanities "fix."

So, dear readers, if you notice that any of the links that I suggest to you are dead or dying, just email me: LEIBFARTH@exchange.oucom.ohiou.edu.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Are you interested in using RSS as an alternative to daily news and blog checking?

Best place for the librarian to start learning about RSS is RSS for Non-Techie Librarians by Steven M. Cohen. Another excellent librarian oriented explanation of RSS is the PowerPoint presentation Looking at Content Through RSS Colored Glasses by library blog gurus Jenny Levine and Steven M. Cohen (again). Not much else I can say after you have read through this. This Wired News article is also a great RSS explainer.

A recent article in PC Magazine, RSS News Readers Browse for You, reviews four inexpensive news readers. Another article in the same issue, Getting the News Out, discusses RSS specifications and uses of syndication.

If you don't want to install aggregator software on your PC, you may wish to consider using Bloglines to scan news sources. The feeds are stored on their server and are accessible from the web. Here is a short article explaining its usefulness.

This Yahoo directory lists websites for popular news reader software.

This article in Editor & Publisher and this LLRX article explore the notion of RSS as a spam-proof alternative for e-mail publishers.

Special thanks to Marlene Porter for her assistance in pulling together these web links!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Did you see the lunar eclipse? We had clouds earlier, but it cleared just in time for me to barely miss totality, but I did see the refracted red moon. Very kewl! Even teenager son thought it was worth standing out in the freezing cold to check it out.

All you need to know about the eclipse is here. Click around, the entire NightSky site is very fun.
"What are you reading now?" This is the first thing that Larry asks me each time he sees me. He owns the local Domino's Pizza franchise, has seven children and somehow finds the time to be a voracious reader!

So...right now, I am reading Agatha Christie's "Murder in Three Acts" and before that "Murder in Mesopotamia." What started me on this Christie binge? While perusing Arts & Letters Daily a few weeks ago, I followed the link to this article examining Christie's enduring popularity. British journalist Johann Hari calls her "an intensely and relentlessly political thinker," pointing out that "at a time of massive social transformations in areas as fundamental to individual identity as gender, family and class, Agatha offered the soothing balm of Burkean conservatism." I was particularly intrigued by her hostility to feminism. So I thought I would read a few novels and see if I agree with Mr. Hari....

One note, the Sensible Shoe Librarian is reading these Agatha Christie novels in "Large Print." My husband finds this amusing...he makes a big deal about how he is younger than I am -- but only by 4 little months!

On the non-fiction front, I just borrowed Alberto Manguel's "A History of Reading" on interlibrary loan at the county library. So far it is delightful!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I hope that my blog isn't angry with me! I have neglected you for so many weeks! I am sorry! I don't want my blog to feel like it has been abandoned...like all those dead web sites out there. Are never updated websites "deadwood," or should they be archived?

The reason that I have been neglecting you, dear blog, is that I have been slaving away preparing a lecture for the medical students on Evidence Based Medicine resources. Most of all, I wish to thank all my fellow medical librarians out there who have created some wonderfully useful websites on EBM. Sure makes my life easier!

Here are two resources that I recommended to the students:

I "freely borrowed" ideas like crazy from Jo Dorsch's excellent Evidence Based Medcine website. Thanks Jo!

The Evidence Based Resource Center sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine Library and the American College of Physicians New York Chapter was beyond useful. Be sure to look at the Teaching & Learning links.

I was suprised to find a lot of "stale" EBM sites out there. This category includes some of the "classics," which are definitely suffering from waning interest by their supporters.

And no wonder we librarians feel overwhelmed sometimes! Did you know that the amount of new information has doubled in the last 3 years? But unhappily, the amount of wisdom in the world does not seem to be increasing...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Unshelved is running a series of strips on the Librarian Action Figure...

Check out Tuesday's strip -- note the quip about librarian figures!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Back again...turns out that I don't have to drive out to pick up the cross country running teenager son after all! More fun for me out here in the blogsphere...

Over the next few days, I am going to post links to more interesting stuff about blogs, blogging and bloggers as a supplement to my MIDLINE article on blogs.

I've been a Blogdex watcher for a long time, but there are many other sites with similar information, tracking what is going on out in the blogsphere:

Popdex is the "website popularity index."

blogsphere.us is kewl. In addition to a Top Sites tab, the Trends tab has commentary on the latest blog and Internet happenings.

Blogsphere Ecosystem scans daily to see what blogs have the most incoming links.

And finally, more lists of blogs by librarians:

Library Weblogs from Peter Scott at Weblogs Compendium. The left hand links are to useful articles about blogging for librarians. I like the title of this one: "Blogging Your Life Away." Sounds like me!

Open Directory Project LIS weblogs page

Someday when I am feeling more confident in my blogging abilities, I will submit SSL to the lists...
Sent off the "final" version of the next "Add to Favorites" article to Cathy Perley yesterday. Yipee!

Found this interesting blog today...it is the blog of the instructor of a class on blogging at NYU! If I can ever find the time, I would like to look at the student blogs to see how they are using what they are learning. Shows just how versitile blogging can be as a communication tool.

Today's other little find is Research Buzz which covers the world of Internet research.

I was so excited today cause when I did a Google search looking for retailers of sensible shoes (so that I can replace my aging SAS pairs), this very blog was on the second page of the search! I have arrived! The SSL can now be "googled!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

GW joins the blogger ranks!

The President's Official Blog.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

What are all the bloggers out there talking about today?

Easy! Here are several sites which keep track of the links that are popular with bloggers:

The Daypop Top 40 and Blogdex are fun to scroll through. Today, all the buzz is about the blogging survey that I mentioned on Sunday. Daypop has some other useful lists for those of you wanting to keep your finger on the pulse of the bloggers: Top News Stories and Top Word Bursts.

Technorati has similar blogsphere pulse-keeping lists. They have a Top 100, of course, and be sure to check out the Hot Links. The very coolest thing is finding out if anyone is linking to your blog. And so far, absolutely no one is linking to the SSL...I am still waiting to be discovered!

One warning...if you are a more "modest" middle-aged type person like I am, you will for sure see words and links to sites that you find objectionable. Here at home, the handy dandy McAfee Guardian filter will not display these sites when the teenager is using his own login, thank goodness!

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Is blogging addictive?

Do bloggers keep up or is it just a phase? This survey has fascinating statistics about blogging habits. This story in The Register explains it all.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Thanks to LISNews...here is the latest on the raging Librarian Action Figure controversy!

From the Wall Street Journal no less, read "Lost in the Stacks." Note the change in tone of the opinion piece as Mr. Laswell begins his attack on ALA.

Read the comments page on LISNews.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Better late than never!

The Sensible Shoe Librarian will now share her opinion on the Librarian Action Figure!

I like it. And if no one buys me one for Christmas, I will be SO disappointed...

You might have noticed that I have the link to the description at the Archie McPhee retail site over on the side bar.

One of the reasons I choose "Sensible Shoe" for the name of this blog is that I simply do not mind being a plain old librarian. Key words: plain and old. I wear non-fashionable clothes and sensible shoes every day and I am unabashedly middle-aged. However, I wear fancy blended lenses instead of half-glasses and do not have a bun. I am not out to shatter any stereotypes...I just want to help people find the information they need, period.

This NPR report by Melissa Block ("Librarians feed our hunger for knowledge...") is the one I enjoyed the most. She interviews Nancy Pearl who sounds like a great gal. Ms. Pearl's response to the "librarian rage": Lighten up!

Here are the Seattle newspaper article announcing the action figure and here is an article with the responses by librarians.

LISNews has some librarian responses here.

I enjoyed this take in chicklit.

"You don't look like a librarian!" is a thoughtful analysis of the issues.

You might also want to take a look at "Image and the Librarian."

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

This morning's subject: Bloggers on Blogs

Blogger Con is this weekend.

And here is a blog posted by Blogger Con bloggers.

What is a blog?

When should a link be included in a blog? Blog guru Dave Winer's take on The Rule of Links.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Interested in blogs by librarians?

LISNews lists them here.
Here are some interesting web sites for blogsphere newbies:

The Greg Schwartz article "Blogs for Libraries" is great and includes 6 reasons to write your own blog.

The Blogger "About" page tells what a blog is and how to make one.

The June 30, 2003 PC Magazine article "Building Blogs" includes a useful section on blogging service providers, including Blogger which I use for this blog.

Also in PC Magazine, "Blog On" reviews the blogger service providers in detail.

Check out the Top Five Tips for Webloggers.

"The Blogging Process" even includes a colorful flow chart for bloggers.

The Blog Herald has "more blog news more often."

In June, the Ninth Circuit Court extended First Amendment libel rights to bloggers. Click here to read the Wired article.

Find out about the famous Bagdad Blogger Salam Pax here and about his new book here.

A Special Welcome to Cathy Perley!

I am having quite a lot of fun getting this blog going. I am going to put in entries with additional resources relevant to my "Add to Favorites" articles.

Look again later -- I have a lot more that I want to add and change!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

What am I reading now?

Walking a Literary Labyrinth: a spirituality of reading by Nancy M. Malone. Today I read the chapter on "Theology as Spiritual Reading," where she laments that "theology has been virtually divorced from spirituality" and that contemporary theology is "hopelessly daunting" when it need not and should not be.

I am looking forward to reading some of Sr. Nancy's book suggestions.

Read a book for free!
What, you ask, are my sensible shoes?

Two pairs of black SAS Free Time oxfords worn on alternating work days.
Welcome Midwest Chapter Librarians!

I hope you found the latest MIDLINE "Add to Favorites" column informative!


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