So much of the discussion about Wikipedia focuses on issues of accuracy, not only in Wikipedia, but also in Britannica and other “professional” resources.
Regret the Error is a blog covering media corrections, retractions, apologies and clarifications, and they never lack for material — sometimes amusing, sometime appalling. There are also links to the corrections pages of major newspapers and media sites, other sites on accuracy and Regret the Errors annual The Year in Media Errors and Corrections lists.
Regret the Error is edited by Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist and author based in Montreal.
You probably know that Flickr is a site for sharing photographs, and a great resource for finding photographs of nearly anything you can imagine, or a patron could need. But Flickr is also an excellent consumer resource for anyone interested in buying a new digital camera, or in improving their technical skills with the one they own.
Most digital cameras embed your jpg files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data, recording the camera settings such as shutter speed, date and time, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used.
Zotero is a free Firefox extension that lets you gather citations from a variety of sources, organize and annotate them, and print or export bibliographies in a variety of formats.
It knows how to recognize and extract bibliographic information from many resources, including the NOBLE library catalog, our EBSCO databases, and many other sites including Amazon and the New York Times. When you are on a page with information about a single book, CD, movie, etc., you will see a small icon for that format in the location bar. Click on it, and you’ll save the citation to your Zotero library. If you are on a search results page with a list of books, CDs, etc., you will see a folder in the location bar. Click on this, and you can select which titles to add to your bibliography.
This is a photograph I took of a sculpture of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem. When I added it to Flickr, I wanted to credit the sculptor, but I didn’t know his name. I decided to try looking this up in SIRIS, a database that I had heard about but had never tried, and I was really impressed with what I found.
SIRIS: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System — The Smithsonian provides access to much more than information about its own collections. The Inventory of American Sculpture provides authoritative information on nearly 32,000 outdoor sculptures collected from a nationwide survey known as Save Outdoor Sculpture. The information and indexing for each work is extensive and impressive.
For example, see the record for the sculpture shown here: SIRIS: Nathanial Hawthorne. The information includes not only the name of the sculptor, but the names of the architect, founder and fabricator, a complete description and references. The indexing is extensive, and you can click on the links in the record to find other works by the sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt, other works administered by the City of Salem’s Public Works Department, or even other works featuring novelists, canes or hats!
These databases should be really useful to people working on Flickr, Wikipedia, blogs and other personal and collaborative projects. They are also useful to librarians for reference and also for local history projects.
Journalism and librarianship are twin professions in many ways. Both professions share the goal of providing people with information, and both deal with issues of intellectual freedom, objectivity and accuracy. And we’re both always trying to anticipate the interests and needs of our readers. We look at trends, events in the news, local situations, seasonal changes, everything, and wonder, “What will this mean to our readers? What will they want to know more about?”
Poynter Online is a journalism site, but there’s much here of interest to librarians. I particularly like the Al’s Morning Meeting column by Al Tompkins. It’s a collection of reports of news stories, trends and events that journalists can use as ideas for local feature articles, and librarians can use as ideas for collection development, book displays, blog postings, pathfinders, newsletter articles, training sessions, etc.