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Convert Files and Videos Online and Get them by email

Do you want to download a video from a video sharing site like YouTube and play on your mobile phone? You just need an online service like Zamzar. Just provide the URL of the video. Select the format in which you wish to receive the converted video. Here you want it to play into your mobile phone, so .3gp format would be most appropriate. Provide your email address where the converted file would be mailed. In few days, your desired video will come through email. Download it and transfer it to your mobile phone. That is it. You can utilize this service for free provided you restrict file to be converted up to 100MB. Not just videos, you can also utilize this service for converting other file formats as well. Say from PDF to Word File.



DSpace 1.5 Released

DSpace 1.5 has been released. It is more customizable now with theme-able Manakin User Interface.

Digsby = IM + Email + Social Networks

Digsby is a multiprotocol IM client that lets you chat with your friends on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber.


Do you twitter? I am getting addict to it.

Few weeks back I came to know about something called "twitter". It is light web based application where you can write short messages. Others can read these messages. If you wish, you can control who all can read these messages. Reading others’ messages is called “following” in twitter’s terminology.

You can write whatever you feel like. It is basically meant to tell your friends on what you are doing at a particular moment. What is your mood? What are you thinking at a particular moment? Or how do you wish to react to your surroundings. You can write whatever you feel like provided it is limited to 140 Characters. If you share a long link, it will be automatically converted into a shorter link through "TinyURL". You can write messages either by going to its site and logging in, or adding "twitter" as your buddy in your Instant Messenger like Google Talk, or sending these by SMS (I have not tried it) or logging via your GRPS enabled phone.

I normally login from my GPRS enabled phone while away from my system. My MTNL phone is quite affordable in this matter - just 2 Paise / KB for its GPRS service. Most handsets are now GPRS capable. But you have to subscribe to GPRS data service from your service provider and install settings. Your service provider will send you the settings through SMS on request. You have to simply save these. Once you have GPRS on your set, the Internet is in your phone. You can surf the net through you phone’s browser. I would again like to recommend Opera Mini. You can download and install it in your phone (Your phone should able to run Java applications). For better experience I would recommend smart phones starting from Rs. 7000 onwards especially with expandable memory.

Now coming back to twitter, what is big advantage of using twitter? Well there is no answer to it. It is one of the social networking applications. If you believe in online communities, then it is for you. There are many other applications built around the twitter. You can generate RSS feeds from it and Mash it on your blog or site. Libraries are experimenting with it elsewhere. What all I can say it that is a Hot application these days and I am already addicted to it. You can follow me at twitter. To some it may appear very silly thing to do, yes I was also not very much convinced to start with. But not now.


Why plagiarize when we can write?

Just back from a seminar on "Trends and Strategic Issues for Libraries in Global Information Society". We got printed proceedings of the seminar. While going through this proceedings, one paragraph looked very familiar to me. Oh, we had written it only few months back to report a group discussion on open access. This report, we made widely available over net through various discussion forums. We had also archived it in our repository. This familiar looking paragraph was included in a paper. I quickly jumped to reference section of the paper to see if we are lucky to get a citation. In vain, I should have remembered that people, who plagiarize, don't mention their actual source. It is their trade secret so won't even mention indirectly. For them, references are mere formality, so they will cite sources which they might have not even seen before.

But why get got? There are number of softwares for rewriting articles. Just have a look at "The best article rewriting software on earth". It mentions about software tools which will rewrite for you. Simply paste the text and you will get new text different from the original. These includes WordFlood 2.0, Content Rewriter Pro and Essay Town. Some payment may be required to get fully functional versions. With the help of these tools one can rewrite articles and hope to escape being caught by search engines like Google. However, do you know the best software? No prize for guessing it right, it is our brain. One can definitely use tools along with brain. WordWeb could be of great help. It is a small free utility to serve as English thesaurus as well as a dictionary.

There are no copyrights on ideas. Only well documented innovations are protected through patents. But coping ideas' written expressions as such without acknowledging the original authors is called plagiarism. It does not go well in academics when someone is trying to project others' idea as one's own. Punishment is mostly in form of bad reputation among peers and negative employer's assessment. Better would to express the idea in one's own words. Tools can help you if you are at lost for better words. Importantly, it won't cost anything if you cite the original author. At the most you will have to add more line in your word processor.

It is always a bad idea to plagiarize Open Access material because everybody knows about it. Being openly accessible, such material is widely indexed by Internet search engines. It will always show up. Modern search engines are designed in a fashion to understand which one is original and which one is plagiarized.

Visiting University After Twenty Years

One day around 11 a.m. my mobile phone plays the ring tone – “Musafir Hu Yaro”. I could not check up whether it was a fine morning or not, but the call was from one of my teachers – Prof. Ranjana Vohra. She taught me “Library and Society” and “Library Management” during my B.Lib.Sc. and M.Lib.Sc. I had acquired these degrees way back in 1985 to 1987 from Department of Library and Information Science, Panjab University, Chandigarh (India). Prof. Vohra is the only teacher left in the Department who taught me. Others have either left or retired.

The phone call was an invitation. Panjab University, Chandigarh was celebrating its Diamond Jubilee. As part of these celebrations, Department was organizing a two day seminar on the theme “ Trends and Strategic Issues for Libraries in Global Information Society” from 18th to 19th March 2008. ICSSR had agreed to sponsor the seminar. Being an old student, it was obviously a matter of joy to receive such an invitation for participating and contributing a paper.

Mr. Rupak Chakravarty, a young and dynamic Lecturer of Department suggested later that I should write on OpenMED@NIC. He is computer savvy lecturer with prominent online presence. I guess he knew my interests. I decided to revisit my experiences with OpenMED@NIC and few lessons learned from it. I am of the opinion that Institutional Repositories are among the most important and immediate future strategic issues for the libraries. I took keen interest in writing the paper and completed it within the specified time frame. Went to the city beautiful on the D-day.

The city bus service is good. The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) runs it. Somebody told me that recently they implemented a new fare policy. It is now a fixed fare. You can drop at the next stop or the last stop of the bus you pay only Five Rupees.

Panjab University has a beautiful campus. I had always admired it. It looked very familiar to me. I could feel as if the time has stopped and only new students have taken place of old students like me.The early morning, with street lights still on, gave a hypnotic feeling.

The seminar started with usual inauguration session. Keynote address was interesting as the speaker was taking about open access in length. He included it in the future strategic issues. I remember, only a couple of people including myself use to speak about open access in India around the year 2004 in an email forum i.e. Lis-Forum. My turn for presentation came after lunchtime. Session chairman gave me just seven minutes, but I exceeded the time limit. I had sixty slides to show but then could just run through. This time I experimented with my slide show. I compiled number of images picked from various sources and tried to convey the points included in my paper. I think people liked the presentation but I wanted to tell more.

The diamond jubilee celebrations included many other events including some cultural events in the campus. However the Department of Library and Information Science had just the seminar.

I took a small break from the seminar and visited A C Joshi Library. Well it the name of the main library of the university. I was its regular visitor during my Library Science education. In fact I was found here only in those days. Moreover I had also worked in this library during my earlier carrier. It was for a very short period – for about eight months between March and October in the year 1988. It was purely an ad-hoc position arising out of a leave vacancy. After that I left Chandigarh for a job at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Delhi.

Panjab University Library is among the most functional libraries. You will notice that noise prone areas like staff working area and staircase is at the maximum distance from the reading halls. The library stacks act as insulation wall between these. It has Four Floors, but you can enter only the First and Third Floors from the main staircase. The Second and Fourth Floors can be called as false floors as these are meant for stacks only. Entrance to these floors is from the reading halls on first and third floor. Each reading hall has a ‘Reference Desks” at one side. The position is such that the staff can easily observe the readers sitting on tables and those entering into stack areas. Now they are keeping watch in the stack areas with help of technology. The staff can observe the stack areas with closed circuit TV cameras.

Lobbies connect the main staircase area to reading halls. In the lobby of the first floor there is a long card catalogue.

I am very familiar with this Card Catalogue. No, I did not use it much for locating books during my student life. It is familiar because I had filed cards into it during my short job period.

The Indian Languages Catalogue is obviously in different alphabetic series.

But there is change now, in addition to this card catalogue, there are Web OPAC workstations kept on its sides.

Well that is not touch screen terminal. It is an ordinary workstation.

During my days, the cards were written by hand. For that staff needed a good ‘Library Hand’. Library hand is a writing style in which the words should be clearly legible and letters should not be connected with each other. I know, somewhere in the sea of cards, few would be in my handwriting. Now they don’t write with hands. Cards are generated from library software system and printed through laser printers on special stationary.

I had to rush back to the concluding session of the seminar. Wish I could explore the library further, but there is always a “next time”. I learned later on that they are going for implementation of RFID. It would improve library house keeping and management. I know it is a huge task but it helps in saving the time of the readers and the library staff.

I had a nice and fruitful time during the seminar. I interacted with number of Participates, Department Staff and Students. I had heartily discussions Prof. G.C Bansal during lunch breaks. He is also one of my teachers but now retired from the Department. I also had in-depth interaction with Prof. Jagtar Singh, Prof. Sewa Singh and Prof. Satija.


Lies told by enterprise software sales people

According to IT Project Failures blog, there are 7 common lies told by enterprise software sales people. It lists out the following lies and how these should be interpreted by the customers.

Lie 1. My solution is the one that best meets your needs
Lie 2. My solution does not require much of your company’s IT resources
Lie 3. My solution is supported well
Lie 4. My solution will save you time and money
Lie 5. That will take 2…maybe 3 weeks to develop
Lie 6. Here are my prices
Lie 7. Here are my contract terms and conditions

What about open source softwares? They are at least better in the sense that there are no sales persons.


Why open source software for libraries?

Simple answer, libraries have to survive much longer than the software and its providers.

Information Technology gets obsolete every year. Just see the history of computers - take just one particular operating system - DOS to VISTA. Have you realized how fast the things have changed over a short period of time - in just two decades! Do libraries change that fast? No! and there is absolutely no logic that they should also change.

What does that mean? - if a library is using a particular automated procedure - it won't change that easily because the whole library system would have to undergo changes. Not only the procedural changes are difficult to decide and manage, these are expensive too. Library procedures are not only tightly coupled with each other but also to standards and best practices. How many times AACR II has changed in last two decades? While you might have seen how different versions of softwares have come and gone? The sad part of all these versions is that their developers declare that they won't provide support for the earlier versions. If these are proprietary softwares, libraries will have to migrate to new versions or just get struck with a system for which no support is available. Well the migration strategy never provides optimum results because the technology gets obsolete before it is fully implemented. Thus libraries are put on perpetual migration route. Had a library used an open source software, chances are that library staff would had learned to use and maintain the software system. It means that it can still be managed and enhanced by the library staff - because the source code is available. Thus its long time survival is ensured to large extent.

Libraries should use open source softwares not because these are free or cost less - but as a Leader in Open Source for Libraries i.e LibLime has put it:
Use of open source not only lowers the per-library cost of running software, it also empowers libraries with a higher level of control over customization and the overall direction of software development.
And to add over here - Open source softwares are for long term. This suits the long term nature of libraries.


Definition of Open Knowledge

FrontPage - Open Knowledge Definition - Defining the Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Information
A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it

(Via Open Access News)

Social Networking Sites and Chronic Illness

Web 2.0 and Chronic Illness: New Horizons, New Opportunities,” by Neil Seeman is an interesting article about health and Illness groups on social networking sites. It is a fact that today social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Orkut etc. rank in top 10 popular sites. There are number of Health and Illness related groups or virtual communities on these sites. People share illness related information freely as their actual identity could be masked. Article cites and example from Second Life (a virtual community site). Good Will Stacey is a medical librarian in this virtual world who answers members' questions and educates on how to evaluate credibility of health information.


Top cited articles according to Scopus

You can get list of top 20 cited articles in various subject areas from Scopus from the link - Topcited. This is freely accessible list. Scopus is otherwise a paid service like Web of Science. These rankings are based on a type of indexing called "Citation Indexing". There are also free services like Google Scholar that rank articles according to citations they receive. More the citations the higher the rank. However this methodology has it's own limitations.

Librarians have been 'tagging' for centuries.

There is a post on delicious blog » who says librarians (and teachers) don’t like tags.

Well, it is very natural for librarians to be "tagging" internet resources. They have been selecting best books and documents for their libraries. While doing so they have been keeping their users' requirements in mind. Librarians have been cataloging and classifying to organize books and other reading materials in most helpful manner suitable for their users. Internet resources, like books, are documents containing recorded knowledge. Why should not librarians be selecting and indexing them? Call it indexing or "tagging" if you wish, but they have been doing it since ages.

Educational Videos Directory?

Public University for public online lectures. It intends to spread knowledge through knowledge sharing.

To me, it appears more of a directory listing and search engine to find educational videos. It links to original sites hosting the videos lectures along with comments.


Semantic Web

Semantic Library - Data, meaning, content
..Semantic Web is about creating relationships between data. This gives data flexibility and strength. Open data enables raw research information, records and more to be shared and built upon by others. Because of the power of data, many not-for-profit designers and activists are putting their energy into developing mashups and visualising information..


Google Newsreel - Broken?

We are using Google Newsreel on our Balachaur Blog. The keyword used is "balachaur". It used to work fine by culling out news related to Balachaur ( a small town in Punjab). However today I have observed that it is showing all irrelevant news (from US).

Others have also reported problems with Google Newsreel in past. Something wrong?

Internet has positive impact on Libraries and Museums - a report

The IMLS National Study on the Use of Libraries, Museums and the Internet
The study concludes that “the amount of use of the Internet is positively correlated with the number of in-person visits to museums and has a positive effect on in-person visits to public libraries.”

Collection of Hindi Poetry

U.S. History - Digital Libraries and Archives

250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives | OEDb
..This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories..

Hindi eBooks

Some good Hindi eBooks from authors like Premchand are available from C-DAC's Digital e-Library. These are in DOC or PDF formats and can be downloaded for free from the site.

English Hindi Dictionary

English Hindi Dictionary | अंग्रेजी हिन्दी शब्दकोश ( site provides an English to Hindi Dictionary as well as a Hindi to English Dictionary online. You can also download smaller student dictionaries from the site.

Really a praise worthy effort.

Keyboard shortcuts

Do you prefer keyboard shortcuts instead of reaching to mouse and leaving the keyboard? If yes then KeyXL Keyboard Shortcuts is for you to learn various shortcuts for various programs.


Free Web Authoring Tool

Nvu - The Complete Web Authoring System for Linux, Macintosh and Windows

An open source Web Authoring System like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

Free Tools for Trainners

Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has an article on 25 Tools to help Learning Professionals. Most of them you might already be knowing or using - Like Firefox along with plug-ins;; Google Reader; GMail; Skype; Google Calendar; Google Docs; Flickr; Ning; Wordpress; pbwiki; YouTube and twitter.

Other tools in the list are those which are not so common yet. These are:


Horror of closed-access publishing

Left the following comment on ‘The horror of closed-access publishing’ according to Jonathan Eisen « Pimm - Partial immortalization

The question here is different -

- Who is producer of the first hand information? - Scientists / researchers.

- What does the scientists / researchers gets after giving away
their research results? - No immediate monetary benefits from the
journal (Never from the Journal).

- Who does the quality control? - Fellow scientists and researchers acting as peer reviewers.

- What do the peer-reviewers get? Nothing, Not even their names are revealed.

- Who are the editorial board members? Eminent scientists and
researchers. Will get the tag of being on editorial boards or perhaps
annual subscription to the journal.

- Who are the publishers? Not scientists / researchers. Have marketing and distribution skills. Reap all the profits.

- Who are the readers? Scientists / researchers. Will Consume
expensive public resources to do research and produce papers to give
away free to publishers.

This model was necessary before internet era. Publishers had control
on distribution channels in the academic publishing and book trade.

we still need this? Or Open Access is the answer?


CiteSeerX is a scientific literature digital library and search engine that focuses primarily on the literature in computer and information science.


School Library 2.0

Web 2.0 - All about harnessing collective intelligence ?

O'Reilly -- What Is Web 2.0
..The central principle behind the success of the giants born in the Web 1.0 era who have survived to lead the Web 2.0 era appears to be this, that they have embraced the power of the web to harness collective intelligence..


Hindi typing tool

Librarians' own - It is social bookmarking by librarians. provide the masses (but mostly ourselves) a place to catalog our media collection, whether it be books, DVDs, CDs..

Guide to Twitter

You might be wondering what is all this coming on the left hand side. Well I have put up my twitter over here. Twitter is an online service that enables you to broadcast short messages to your friends or "followers." It is also called micro-blogging. Newbie's guide to Twitter will give you more on twitter. I can use my GPRS enabled phone to update my status or leave small messages. Well I can also do that by sending SMSes, which I have not tried yet. I don't think you require that - GPRS charges are much lower as compared to that of SMS. It may noted twitter is free, charges you pay are the one which are charged by your mobile phone service provider. Need not say, that you can use your Internet to update your status. If you include any long URL in your message, it is automatically shortened through service. There many services with which you can integrate your twitter.

Web 2.0 and Education

Open Library

Open Library
Imagine a library that collected all the world's information about all the world's books and made it available for everyone to view and update.

Making WordPress Themes

Library 2.0

Just exploring Library 2.0 lessons and the training blog hcplc=Lib 2.0. Is it all about blogging, RSS, Wiki, Tagging? No, I think it is all about library readers and their active participation in Library's content and services. There has to be difference between Web 2.0 and Library 2.0.