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Library Blog

New names for library services

New services get attention for going into what seems like uncharted territory, but to those of us familiar with libraries, sometimes it seems like commercial repackaging of old ideas.

According to a recent blurb in Entertainment Weekly:

"Chacha - Must Text Addiction

Have a question. Send a text. Get an answer! Behold the power of ChaCha, which replies to your queries not with automated responses á la Google but with a real live person sending a custom answer. Call 1-800-2-CHA-CHA or text 242242 with a question - factual, philosophical, or otherwise - and get a well-informed reply in minutes."

A "real live person" will answer your questions? This sounds familiar. Interestingly, it looks like ChaCha has unadvertised library involvement already. This pushes the quality above the Yahoo Answers bar.

What is being offered here? Instant text messaging reference services. A number of libraries have started offering SMS reference services. But how useful is this form of Q&A? Texting has some functional limitations - it only allows for very brief questions and answers. This is ok for quick facts. But does a "real live person" need to be involved in this?

Consider this quick comparison of ChaCha (real live person) and the also free Google SMS service (your plain old Google search):

This was a sample question seen on the ChaCha page: "What is a prof". Both services tell you essentially the same thing ("'Prof' is short for 'professor'.") But the automated Google response is a little better (and in all likelihood, faster) in that it gives you a sourced answer (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

In any case, everyone at LaGuardia already has access to a team of real live professionals. You can email us anytime, and get an answer from someone who has access to costly subscription resources and years of collective experience. Plus you can come and see us in person for some actual face time.

Does texting the library sound like a good idea to you? Let us know.

Spring II 2009 - Library Hours

The Library's opening hours for the Spring II Session are as follows:

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 - 8:45 pm

Friday - closed

Saturday - 9:00 - 4:45 pm

Sunday - 12:00 - 4:45 pm

Intersession - Change in Library Hours

Intersession, Spring I 2009 - Change in Library Hours

Please note the change in library hours during the three day intersession.

The Library will be open on these days and times:

Wednesday, 6/17/2009 - 7:30 - 4:45 pm

Thursday, 6/18/2009 - 7:30 - 4:45 pm

Friday, 6/19/2009 - 7:30 - 4:45 pm

Regular schedule resumes on Saturday, June 20.

The Search Engine Wars

Search Engine Wars Continue

With Microsoft aggressively advertising its improved rebranding of Live Search, Bing , and the recent unveilings of other new search engines, Google's hegemony is facing a moment of challenge. Search Engine Journal summarizes this in a blog heading "Cuil Meets Wolfram Alpha - Gives Birth To Google On Crack":

It looks like we still have to wait for the next step in search engine evolution.

What’s going on in the LaGuardia Library?

Take a look at this semester's Library Notes newsletter and find out more about library faculty and staff projects, new books and new databases:


Take a Look at The Encyclopedia of Popular Music

We have a trial of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music which will be accessible until July 2nd.

Try it out and let us know what you think of it. It is cross-searchable with the rest of Oxford Music Online.

To take a look, go to the Library's webpage>find articles and books online >Music>Encyclopedia of Popular Music.