• How to rig an election

    No matter where I’ve gone today and for the past few days, I keep running into people (on both sides) who are sure that if Their Guy Doesn’t Win, it’s going to be because of dirty tactics.

    I’m not an expert in this stuff. Not by a long shot. But I thought it would be fun to work out, for my own benefit, types of election fraud and what to really worry about.

    Note that... <more>

  • Wanted: a better proxy server

    We in the library world have a problem. We spend a zillion-with-a-Z dollars subscribing to online databases, purchases which presume our ability to make sure only authorized people can look at them. The alternative is to be in breach of contract law, which I’ve been assured is something we’d like to avoid.

    The problem I see is this: The limitations of our proxy server software restrict how we can write contracts with our vendors.

    The... <more>

  • Planet Code4Lib in a snapshot

    Inspired by the Inquiring Librarian, I just used Wordle to create a “tagcloud” of the current Planet Code4Lib feed.

    What kills me is the tiny little “Library” in the lower left-hand corner.

  • Intuition-based librarianship?

    Not long after I started working in the library, I heard someone talking about “Evidence Based Librarianship.” Like the good little kind-of-a-librarian I’d become, I looked it up and found this article which states that:

    EBL employs the best available evidence based upon library science research to arrive at sound decisions about solving practical problems in librarianship.

    My immediate response was, of course, What the $#!&% is everyone else doing?

    The sad... <more>

  • The friend of my enemy's friend's enemy's...err...

    Move over, Axis of Evil! Our 43rd president, George W. Bush (and you gotta know that his dad hangs on to that ‘H.’ with two white-knuckled hands) is now in search of “the surest way to defeat the enemies of hatred.” Of course, we’re the best of friends with hatred here at Robot Librarian, so we should be safe.

  • Google Doctype -- open documentation, open code

    Because you can never have too many open encyclopedia-type-thingies, Google has launched Google Doctype, a “Google-sponsored open encyclopedia and reference library for developers of web applications. By web developers, for web developers.” It’s set up to use an open license (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License) and, unlike other similar resources, is explicitly set up to include code for testing and browser-compatibility tables generated by running that code against different browsers. Simple, direct…... <more>

  • JSON, JSON everywhere

    Via Ajaxian, just saw an announcement for Persevere, a network-centric, JSON-based generic storage engine. It features:

    • A REST-based interface over regular old HTTP
    • JSON as the native data going in and out, including circular references and such
    • Search interface based around JSONPath
    • RPC interface based on JSON-RPC
    • Seemingly buzzword compliant across the board

    I’ve been thinking about these sorts of servers a lot lately (couchdb and strokedb are... <more>

  • Psst. We're not printing cards anymore

    [From a series I’m calling, “Things About The Library I Think Are Stoooopid”, part one of about a zillion.]

    I’m going to wallow in a little bit of hyperbole here, but only a little.

    The problem

    Suppose, just for a moment, that you’re a computer programmer working anytime in the last twenty years, and someone wants you to set up a data structure to deal with a timeless issue – how to keep track... <more>

  • UPenn library has video "commercials"

    The University of Pennsylvania Library has a set of video commercials touting their products – some of which are musicals! Worth a look-see.