Recently in The Dreaded Misc. Category

The Adaptive Path Library

*** Originally Posted on the Adaptive Path Blog ***

Adaptive Path has a lending library for its employees and interns to use. The San Francisco Library has been around for about four years and we have 488 books in the collection, plus periodicals. I am the Librarian for the San Francisco Library; our other studios are working on creating libraries of their own.

The Adaptive Path Library

The library is run as a small, special library, much like the scientific library at the Rowland Institute at Harvard, where I used to work. There are no due dates and no fines. People check out the books for as long as they need. A few times a year I send a reminder email of the books folks have checked out and remind them to return them if they are no longer using them.

I use Delicious Library as the library catalog. We are still in the process of getting the catalog online. Luckily the collection is small enough that folks can browse the shelves for what they are looking for, or they ask me.

The library uses real library supplies, such as plastic book jackets for hard covered books, checkout cards and book pockets. Each book is cataloged and assigned a Library of Congress catalog number. I decided on Library of Congress because of the technical nature of the books in the collection. Most of the cataloging is copy cataloging using the Library of Congress catalog or OCLC’s World Cat.

Checkout Cards

We don’t have a strong collection development policy. Many people donate books to the library. We have a monthly budget to spend on books. Folks will make requests for a title or I will order something that I think people would be interested in. I send out an email to the company with the new titles whenever I add books.

I think the most important principles for a studio library to have are:

1. A way to keep track of what books there are and who has what checked out.

2. A clear organizational scheme so people can find a book on the shelf.

3. Plastic jackets for hard cover books really does help protect them. The jackets get really beat up quickly otherwise.

I don't think it matters what system (e.g., Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress, your own organizational system) you use as long as it meets those three points. I used a traditional library system because that's what I know and I knew it would scale. The important thing is that the books are there and people can find them and use them.

AP Library Shelves

Berkeley Humane Society Needs Your Help

Please re-post to boost the signal.

They had a fire this morning that destroyed most of their facility and killed several animals, including 12 cats. They need donations, volunteers to help with clean-up, and people to temporarily foster pets.

Tales from Redesignland

I'm totally enjoying the blog Tales from Redesignland. He has an adorable little comic that he does that wouldn't be half as funny if it wasn't so true.

I'm tempted to decorate the halls of AP with his motivational posters like this one.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

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"I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same." — Suw Charman-Anderson

I signed up and pledged to blog about a woman in technology. Turns out 1832 other people have also signed up. I wanted to blog about Dr. Lene Vestergaard Hau, a Danish physicist who works in the field of quantum physics.

I worked with Lene Hau when I was a librarian at the Rowland Institute for Science in Boston, around 1997-2000. Lene ran the group working on atom cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation. While I and her team were working there, they slowed the speed of light! I remember walking into the Institute one morning, and the team had put up a spoof of those Volkswagen Beetle ads that said "0 to 60? Yes.", but with numbers for the speed of light: "300,000 km/sec to 17 m/sec? Yes!" Eventually they were able to stop it.

Lene now works at Harvard University. She has published numerous scientific articles and papers, and was honored with Harvard University's prestigious Ledlie Prize in September 2008. She was Elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on January 16, 2008.

In 2002, John Preskill wrote a poem about her, called Lene Hau.

I admire Lene for her amazing achievements. Physics is a branch of science that is still dominated by men. Lene is incredibility smart and talented. She has risen to the top of her field. I'm proud that I was able to work with her for the little bit that I did.

You can learn more about her on her lab's page at Harvard and on her wikipedia page.

Women of Web 2.0

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Fast Company has an awesome article today on the women who are making Web 2.0 go. It's so wonderful to see these amazingly talented and inspiring women called out. And that fact that I know a bunch of them makes it that much more special.

Way to go Leah Culver of Pownce; Rashmi Sinha of Slideshare; Dina Kaplin of; Marissa Mayer of Google; Cyan Banister of Zivity; Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins, and Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer; Caterina Fake of Flickr; Gina Bianchini of Ning; Kaliya Hamlin of OpenID; Mena Trott of Six Apart; and Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. You are all an inspiration!

Updating RSS Feed

I'm moving all of my blog feeds over to Feedburner so I can track the stats more effectively. If you are reading this site via RSS, it would be most awesome if you could update the link to [ ].


The Management

Buy a Truck, Get a Gun!

The people in this country never cease to amaze me. The BBC had a story this morning about a car dealer in Missouri that is running a special promotion. Buy a vehicle and get a gun!

The owner is quoted by the BBC as saying "We're just damn glad to live in a free country where you can have a gun if you want to. [I recommend the Kel-Tec .380 pistol, which is] "a nice little handgun that fits in your pocket."

Good Old Days?

Every time I start waxing nostalgic for days gone by, and thinking that it would have been better if I had lived in an earlier time, I need to remember this:

Today on Today

I was just fast-forwarding to through the Today Show episode I recorded today, looking for the interview with Dooce. I was watching the show go by (god I love Tivo) and I realized that it has been *years* since I've watched the Today Show.

I used to watch the Today Show all the time, when I first moved out on my own. I think it's because it is what my mother always used to watch in the mornings when I was growing up. And on some level, being a responsible adult meant watching grown-up shows like the Today Show.


All I could think about as I watched the show go by was all the consumerism and the plastic people, and how shows like that are the epitome of what I hate about popular culture. I thank my lucky stars for NPR and the intarwebs so I can get my news another way.

Heather did a great job though. I'm so glad she is getting the recognition she deserves for all her hard work.

Color Wheel as Tag Cloud

--- Originally posted on the Adaptive Path Blog ---

Dolores Blog showed thousands of colors to people and asked them to name the colors they saw. They then plotted those names on a color Wheel, printed in the color. They have a blog post describing the project. The resulting image is beautiful. They then added a filter so you can search for different color names and see where it is on the wheel. It's based on a study to test the universality of language.

When I first saw this, I thought it looked like a type of tag cloud. I like how their filter let's you expand and contract the colors that appear on the wheel. It certainly helps to illustrate how ambiguous language is. I love that there are at least four different colors all called "chocolate."

It also started me thinking about what other types of visualizations could be done. There are certainly lots of things that could be done intersecting it with other data, depending upon what you are interested in. Being able to see the color names along with if the namer was colorblind, their gender, native language and other demographic data would be interesting. I found myself wanting to click on a color name to get more information like how many times that name was used for this color.

What ideas for visualizations do you have?

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