Monthly Archives: July 2010


There’s an interesting post on Tame the Web today about the use of Google Translate to chat with patrons from Italy.  Great idea!

I hadn’t realized that Google had this service, though I’ve stumbled across the function.  I’m using Google Chrome as my web browser almost exclusively, and the translation tool automatically pops up as a toolbar if you come across a page or search in a language other than English. (Or whatever you’ve chosen as your primary language, I presume.)

Playing around a bit, it looks like the kind of tool that will be very handy.  It’s even got a link to listen to the correct pronunciation. Translate has also gotten me thinking about how we learn and what we’re requiring in academia.  For instance, I’m interested in history (it’s my undergrad degree) and have been pondering the pursuit of further education and study in history.  One of the requirements is at least reading knowledge of another language.  It’s occurring to me that, with a tool like this, that requirement isn’t quite as necessary.

Granted, a person should be able to translate better than a computer…..but then again, maybe not.

In the meantime, this is a terrific tool to use with visitors from other countries, new immigrants, and folks who are simply interested in learning another language.

Essayez-le! Aller s’amuser!

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

Marketing brilliance

Many of you have seen the fabulous Old Spice commercials with the ridiculously good-looking spokesperson.  The Old Spice people started a Twitter phenomenon last week when they invited people to submit ideas for their Old Spice Guy to talk about.  One guy even proposed via the Old Spice Guy.

She said yes.

A librarian took up the gauntlet and asked for a library-themed ad,and requested that library tweeps retweet the request.  The Old Spice folks responded with this delightful piece:

This is marketing genius, not to mention hilarious. “Let’s eat peanut butter.”  “Stop throwing pigeons.”  I don’t know who writes this stuff, but they’re a hoot.

The Old Spice YouTube channel has had over 6.5 million views.  That’s a lot of advertising.

There are a couple of interesting things at play here.  First of all, the idea is fabulous. The viral quality of the campaign seems like a new twist, and once the ad for libraries was up, it was tweeted, passed along on Facebook, and no doubt emailed around the library world.  How many Old Spice ads might you have watched without this campaign?

Andy has a great post on the whole phenomenon, including a link to how the Old Spice people managed to pull this off.

Sheer genius.

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

To PhD or not to PhD?

I’ve been pondering a PhD for a while.  Now that I’m working for an academic institution, I’ve been thinking about this more frequently, and am still on the fence.

On the one hand, having a PhD would give me the credentials to play with the faculty on more even terms, and allow me to teach. And there’s the cachet of having the degree.

On the other hand, it’s a lot of work. And, frankly, it’s not all that necessary for a librarian, even in an academic setting.

The other issue is that there are no online PhD programs.  Why?? There are doctoral degrees available online, but none in Library and Information Science. There are no doctoral programs in Library and Information Science here in Minnesota; the closest program is in Madison.  The Madison program is not online, and implies that part-time folks are not all that wanted. UW-Milwaukee mentions the possibility of an online PhD program, but gives no hint as to when this might happen.

When I was looking into a master’s program, thank goodness there were a number of online options.  Why are there none for a doctoral degree?

So, still pondering.


Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Me and mine