DigiWriMo … and we’re off!

I had heard of Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo) before attending THATCamp Hybrid Pedagogy in the back half of October but I heard a lot more about it there. Both halves of that comment are due to the fact that some of the main folks that organized THATCamp HP are also the folks behind Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Technology & Teaching and are the prime movers behind DigiWriMo. On the morning of 27 October I decided to commit and made my pledge at http://www.digitalwritingmonth.com/

What have I committed to?

“… to [digitally] create 50,000 words in the thirty short days of November.” As the DigiWriMo page states, “You will conspire, collaborate, co-author, cooperate, collude, and even compete to reach your goal in whatever form you see fit: blog posts, text message novellas, code poems, Twitter poems, wiki novels, some creative wizardry of text and image, and more!”

My primary intended output is blog posts. But I certainly hope to try my hand at poetry, including Twitter poems, perhaps a short Twitter ‘novella’ or two, and I don’t know what else. I hope to be inspired by some of the exercises they provide and by what others actually write.

Some of my currently intended subjects include our move to Bend, digital scholarly editions, THATCamp Hybrid Pedagogy, ACRL-OR/WA 2012 conference, book reviews and a wrap-up of, and commentary on, the Two-Thirds book Challenge, Facebook Pages, a possible dive down into “narratives,” but that may involve more research than I have time for in such a busy writing month, and barrel-aged beers.

I will be using Scrivener, which I got in the recent MacHeist 4 Bundle, for my writing and to keep track of it. I am not sure I truly need Scrivener for the writing I do but I have heard great things about it and wanted to try it. Considering I got it and a lot of other software, including a 15 month extension to Evernote Pro ($60 value), which I do use, all for $29 I am quite pleased.

If you are looking for tips on writing, and they are prolific on the Internet, perhaps you can find something useful at LINKS OF THE WEEK – DIGITAL WRITING MONTH EDITION at ivry twr blog. That post also brought me to How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day at Pretentious Title blog, which has some good advice for all even though it is primarily aimed at fiction writers. Nonetheless, it seems clear to me that Knowledge (of what you intend to write), Time (understanding when/where/how you are most productive), and Enthusiasm (for what you intend to write) are all clearly important to helping one right effectively and efficiently.

Other related writing challenges going on this month are NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month).

I wish everyone the best with whatever and wherever their writing undertakings take them this month. I hope to see you around the Internets and look forward to the twitter chats ( #digiwrimo ) and the supportive atmosphere and may we all inspire one another.

Got unglue.it?

My tl;dr point:

If only 1/10th of all the librarians attending ALA Annual this coming week pledged $1 to Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth H. Finnegan (1970) then it would be successful.

So, you may not have heard, but there’s this thing called unglue.it.  Or maybe you have but have yet to look into it. It officially launched May 17th.

unglue (v. t.) 4. For an author or publisher, to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an ebook. (From their main page)

I am MarkLindner there and am a very early supporter.

What you can do

You can support the ungluing of books so that the resulting ebooks rights are Creative Commons licensed so readers everywhere may enjoy free and legal access to these works. See this page as a good starting point for more info. The set of faq pages are also a great place to find more information whether you are a reader, an author or a rights holder.

As an account holder, you can add books to your wishlist, support books others have already added, and pledge to support the ungluing of specific works. Since the site just recently launched there are currently 5 active campaigns.

Each campaign includes assorted premium levels, much like Kickstarter. See, for instance, this page for Love Like Gumbo by Nancy Rawles. In all cases (so far), for only a $1 pledge you will get a copy of the resulting ebook if the campaign is successful. For increasing amounts you get other things on top of a copy of the book.

If you are on my actual blog (vs. feedreader, etc.) you can see in my right sidebar widget area that you can also embed widgets for books on active campaigns and those on your wishlist. I currently have two, one for the book I am currently pledged for and one for Patrick Wilson’s Two Kinds of Power which I so very much want University of California Press to … well, do the right thing by.

Why I am supporting unglue.it

I became a member as soon as I saw the official announcement for beta testers (I had been reading about the idea in advance) at Eric Hellman’s blog: go to hellman. There is, of course, now an unglue.it blog where you can read about each of the campaigns and other things.

I have no idea if this model can work but I want it to. Sara and I support a fair few projects via Kickstarter also and we think that crowdfunded projects are a great way to show artists, authors, and assorted rights holders that people do want to support them while getting a quality product for a fair price and that they are willing to put their wallets where their mouths (or computer clicks) are.

During the beta testing there was a call to help test the pledge mechanisms and payment processes (currently via Amazon Payments) and I helped out. I made a pledge for $5, I increased it to $25, and then I decreased it to $10. We were asked to do such wishy-washy things to stress test their systems. The primary premium was a copy of a chapter Eric Hellman wrote called “Open Access EBooks” for a book by Sue Polanka. Increasing premiums were things like unglue.it stickers, autographed stickers, and so on. I was able to provide some useful feedback and left my pledge at $10 so they might have a (very) small bit of operating funds.

When the site went live and first five campaigns were announced I must admit I was a little disappointed. I wasn’t deeply interested in any of those works. I mean they all looked interesting enough but with hundreds of books on hand and thousands more not immediately on hand that I know I want to read they weren’t intriguing enough to me to pledge for any of them. I justified my not contributing by my participation in the beta pledge.

Friday I changed my mind and pledged $7 to Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth H. Finnegan (1970)Why?

  1. I really truly want this model to succeed. To do so they need to be successful early on and this work currently has the most chance of being so.
  2. I am actually truly interested in this book even if it isn’t that high on the priority of the oh so lengthy to-be-read list.
  3. They bribed me. 😛 They offered some additional pledge incentives, one of which was the $7 level which would give me a copy of this ebook, if successful, and a choice of another ebook from the publisher. Oooh, this is the other book I’ll hopefully get myself.
  4. Did I mention that early success is critical to demonstrate to authors and rights holders that this model is a workable one?

What I would like you to do

Please have a look around the unglue.it site. Read the about page, poke at the faqs, look at the bios of the people involved, peruse the blog, check out the books in the active campaigns.

But most importantly, pledge something for one or more of these books. It shouldn’t really matter if you are even personally interested in any of these titles. If the campaigns are successful then these books will be free, as ebooks, for anyone. And surely you know someone you could give a copy of one (or more) of them to. $1 is all it takes!

If you are a librarian, a reader, or an ebook reader, then imho you really ought be contributing to the success of this model. It isn’t the only way forward but it can be a great start. But only if people like us make it one!

If only 1/10th of all the librarians attending ALA Annual this coming week pledged $1 to Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth H. Finnegan (1970) then it would be successful.

We have only 5 days left to make this a success. Won’t you be a part of something this important?

Blog redesign and other putterings

I know most of you never see this site anymore and if/when you do see my posts you are probably seeing them in a feed reader. That’s OK. I probably read about 50% of the blogs I follow in Google Reader and 50% at the blog itself (by clicking through). To get a feel for a new blog or to read one I know is well-designed (say, Walt at Random or via negativa), I’ll click through for the better aesthetic experience.

All that said, I am redesigning my blog. I have scrapped the old Cutline theme that I have used since November 2006. Wow! Really‽

I am using the Twenty Eleven theme from WordPress but along with the Twenty Eleven with Sidebar in Posts child theme. I have been doing some tweaking to it—kind of the point of a child theme—but still want to do more.

I have made some headers, which rotate, from some of my photos and plan on doing more. I am hoping to use a Google Web Font (still need to choose which one) for my blog title. If that works, I may consider finding one for the main text of the blog but I am concerned with loading overhead. I am currently using Georgia for body text, which I like a lot better than the sans serif font the theme uses by default, but Georgia really isn’t that great of a serif font.

I still need to restyle some H3 elements I have used as heading within posts previously as they are kind of small and light, add post counts to the Archives page, take the “!” off the Contact Me! page, do a bit more adjusting of the header area, along with changing the font to something nicer up there, and a few other things. I have added the citation for the inspiration of the title to the tagline area but I’d prefer it to be part of the title properly. We’ll see.

If you are so inclined, please feel free to actually visit the blog and provide any thoughts on aesthetics, location of elements/widgets, etc., missing/preferred elements/widgets, etc. Keep in mind, though, that this is a fairly responsive design and will look different depending on screen resolution, size, etc. For instance, the sidebar items all shift to the bottom on our iPads to leave plenty of room for the body.


Constructing my Books Read in 2010 post

Constructing my previous post, Books Read in 2010, was far too difficult.  Still.

I keep a simple running list of books I read in VoodooPad, a personal wiki, on my laptop.  I record them by date started, author’s last name and title.  When I finish I add that date.  At some point I look them up in a library catalog—generally WorldCat nowadays—and bring them into Zotero and add them to a folder titled Books Read in 20xx.

In the past I have exported that folder from Zotero as a bibliography in HTML and pasted it into WordPress.  With some minor editing I got a decent bibliography including COinS data for every title.  But somewhere along the line over the last year or two things have gone wonky and some interaction between the COinS-formatted HTML from Zotero and WordPress have caused much of that data to be stripped out.  Last year was a real pain and seeing as this year my list was 20-some-odd percent longer I could not face all of that work simply to have much of it disappear no matter how much wrangling and struggling I did.

My next thought was that I would simply use the OpenBook plugin by John Miedema that I am using for book reviews [example post].  I was not looking forward to plugging one hundred or so ISBNs into its input form one at a time but it was in theory doable. [This was due more to how much work I had already done verifying ISBNs, “correcting” those in Zotero and pasting a copy of the ISBN into the text file created with the bibliography exported from Zotero than it was the effort to use the plugin.]

So I ran a little test trying a few “random” ISBNs from the list to see what the Open Library records looked like and/or if they had records for some of my less popular titles.  The results were horrible!  I estimated I would have to add records for at least 20 titles and fix records on 2 to 3 times that many.  I began slowly poking away at them over the course of a couple days—days when I should have been doing other things of course—and although my estimates were highly accurate I got it done.

At some point in my cataloging I noticed that Open Library had recently added a lists feature.  I thought perhaps I’ll just make a list there and point my blog readers to it; although that did strike me as rather dismal.  Of course, I noticed the list feature after I had added or re-cataloged somewhere around 30 books; which meant I had to look them all up again individually to add them to my new list.  ::sigh::

Then I discovered that you can export a list in either JSON, HTML or BibTex.  Sadly I know little to nothing about either JSON or BibTex so if they would have made my life easier—without a steep learning curve first—then I did myself a disfavor by using HTML.

Well, the HTML needed a lot of massaging to look decent once imported into WordPress.  As the native page exported by Open Library it looks OK, but WordPress treats those h3s, spans and divs much differently. [Technically not an export but a simplified page generated from your main list that you can save and/or copy from the source.]

I believe the titles are in the list in the order I entered them, or something close to that anyway.  Sadly, that order bears no relation to anything useful.  Thus, I had to cut and paste the whole list into the order I wanted.  Then I started playing with layout to see what would look decent enough in WordPress.  Once I figured it out I started changing the divs and h3s to spans and removing all the extraneous white space.  By hand.  TextEdit was of no use in the white space changing game.  As I was getting really tired of all the mousing, etc. involved I remembered that Dreamweaver might do a much better job with white space in find and replace.  With hope I fired up the long disused copy of DW and opened my file.  I highlighted a group of white space and a tag to change, hit ⌘-C to copy it, hit ⌘-F to open Find and Replace, saw that the white space was intact, put the cursor in the replace box, hit ⌘-V to paste the same in, deleted the white space I wanted removed, and hit OK.  It did what I wanted so I had it fix the rest of those and went on to the next bit needing fixed.  Thankfully Open Library had been consistent in how and where it added the white space.

After that it was rather simple to verify my data and do the odd minor correction here and there.  As for the ebooks, I pulled those out of my original list exported from Zotero and ginned them up in a text file with links to each book in feedbooks.  Yes, Open Library has ebooks but from what I could find not a single one from feedbooks.  I could have added them but I was in no mood to add another 18 books, and cataloging free ebooks that give absolutely no indication of which text they are was not something I intended to undertake.  Ebooks are great in many contexts!  Ebook metadata is in a despicable state! [That is a rant for another, and previous, occasion.]

Once I had the ebooks fully ginned up in the text file I cut and paste them into the blog post where they went in the list.  Then I wrote the text that went along with the list and waited for the end of the year a few days away.  On the 31st I made a few minor corrections to the list since I finished one of the books I had given up on and added another that I read on the 30th and 31st.  I also fixed the numbers/commentary regarding the other two books and added a bit more commentary.

Sadly, the only COinS data available is for the post itself and I doubt many of you are truly interested in adding my post to Zotero, Mendeley, or whatever.

If I had used OpenBook I could have had COinS.  But I got distracted by needing to fix so many records at Open Library and then by finding the Open Library list feature.  After spending so much time futzing and seeing what it would do for me I had given up on Open Library.  Honestly, I had no desire to copy and paste 100+ ISBNs into it one by one either.  Still, I wonder how well it would have handled the job? [John, if you are still reading, any idea how the plugin might handle 100+ titles using template 5, embedded? Certainly wouldn’t want to be making all those calls to OL live.]

None of this is meant to take away from the OpenBook plugin for which I greatly thank John Miedema!

It makes me sad that it is 2011 and this task is still so darn difficult.  Much progress has been made in the sharing and linking to book data on the web but it is still so crude.  Much of the assorted quasi-FRBRization going on in places like Open Library, WorldCat, goodreads, Library Thing, etc. actually seem to make it worse.  If one only cares about pointing at a title/work then things are somewhat better.  But I cared about editions long before I became a cataloger.  In most cases if someone takes a recommendation from me I could care less which edition of the work they read or listen to in the end.  But in some cases it does matter.  And for my own purposes I want to know which manifestation(s) of the work I engaged with.

Some day the future may arrive and making a list like this in which the titles will bring their own (accurate) metadata along with them will be easy. That day simply has to arrive. Soon.

Then again, I’m still waiting on the flying car I was promised almost 50 years ago.

Books Read in 2010

This list of books that I finished this year is based on the date I started reading each book. Though they were generally finished in something close to this order, some books took much longer than others. I finished a total of 102 books in 2010. Five of these were re-reads.

I read 85 print books and 17 ebooks (epub) this year. I gave up on 3 print books and 2 ebooks (epub), although one of the print books was really just interrupted. I placed it on my 12 Books, 12 Months Challenge list [see below] and I will begin that one again. I am also working my way through a pdf book, Digging into WordPress v3 which is not included on this list.

My ebook reading is off due mostly to changes in travel and other lifestyle-related issues. I have not become averse to ebooks in any way, they simply do not fit my current lifestyle as much as they once did. All of the ebooks I read this year were epub formatted free books from feedbooks.com (except for the one pdf book).

Of the two ebooks I did not finish, one was Lady Chatterley’s Lover which I discovered about halfway into it that it was an expurgated version. Sara who was also reading it as an ebook found an unexpurgated print copy and started over. Although I was somewhat enjoying the story, I did not find it that compelling so said the heck with it. The other was Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women. While this is an important work, she just droned on and on. There are far better examples of effective literature in this genre, even if few this early.

In August a friend of mine introduced the 12 Books, 12 Months Challenge to begin in September. Here is my post accepting the challenge. Is it really any wonder that mine is a baker’s dozen? Here is my list at goodreads, at Open Library, and the 12 Books, 12 Months tag here on the blog. This small image for 12 Books 12 Months designates a book on my list.

If I wrote a ‘review’ here on the blog I have linked to it after the entry for the book as [Review]. All of the 12 Books, 12 Month Challenge books that I have read so far (7) have been reviewed here. There are more reviews at goodreads but most are simple commentary and I am too lazy to go find them and link them. [Do not get me started on the amount of work required to generate, much less format, the following list!]

I received four of these books via the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. They are identified by “Library Thing Early Reviewer copy” and a link to the review at Library Thing.

I read 31 books of poetry, not including the one for weddings. I also read 2 books about poetry (Oliver and Kooser), not including the one on syntax. The author I read the most by is the poet Mary Oliver with 13 titles (12 poetry, 1 about poetry). The author in 2nd place is Roy Harris with 6, four of which were re-reads. The author in 3rd place with 3 titles seems to be Conan Doyle, all ebooks. Perhaps I missed someone else with 3 titles though. There were several authors with 2 books each in my list: Jim Harrison, Wilkie Collins, Anne Carson, Pablo Neruda, ….

How It Seems To Me – Book review and OpenBook trial

I have been wanting to try the OpenBook plugin for WordPress for a while now. When I came back to blogging a few months ago John Miedema posted on his own blog that he was working on version 3 so I decided to wait. Well, he released v3 a couple of days ago so I decided I best step up.

I installed it a few minutes ago, grabbed the handiest book that I recently finished reading and here we are. In this post I chose to embed the HTML instead of having it make a live call to Open Library.

Phil Hey is a professor of English and writing at Briar CLiff University, where Sara works. A week or two back we had the privilege of going to a poetry reading by Phil where we picked up this book and a chapbook of his St. Francis feast day poems [BCU is a Franciscan Catholic university.].  Each year on St. Francis feast day (Oct. 4) Phil gets up at first light and writes a poem, which he collected into a chapbook last year.

I quite enjoyed these poems. They are very natural and primarily focused on the Midwest, small town, and positive feelings. But as one of the blurbs says on the back cover [James Autry]: “In these poems, Phil Hey offers his unconditional and uncompromising Midwestern sensibility without limiting the work in any way that could be described as ‘regional.’ I highly recommend this work.”

Follow-up of iPad use at ILA conference

This a followup to my Iowa Library Association Conference post from last week, which was written on an iPad (at home), about the use of the iPad at the conference.

All in all, it worked great. Thankfully, there was fairly reliable wifi in both the hotel proper and the conference center portion of the Coralville Marriott (which, by the way, is wholly owned by the city of Coralville. Nice!).

I never did figure out how to make a link in the WordPress app but then I never tried again either.

I primarily used the iPad to take notes and to check email, RSS feeds, twitter and facebook. The iPad came configured with lots of apps on it from the Briar Cliff University (BCU) Library, most of which I had no interest in or needed to use.

I used Safari to log into GMail, an app called Reeder for logging into GReader, Twittelator for twitter, and friendly for facebook. For note taking I used Plain Text. The beauty of Plain Text, besides being free, is that it syncs with DropBox automagically. Thus, no worries about what device I am on or if I forgot to get my notes off of the iPad before returning it the library where it was completely wiped and reset to the default setup when I returned it.

Now this setup—in some cases there were alternate apps available—worked for me as I just had to log into these assorted apps with my account info and I was ready to go.

On the other side of the usability and convenience fence, there were two things I did not like or didn’t work well.  The minor one is that in friendly (facebook) there was no F.B. Purity. I swear by F.B. Purity. Facebook still sucks somewhat with it (it is facebook after all) but I despise trying to find the value in facebook without F.B. Purity installed and up-to-date.

The more major issue was that 750words just did not want to act right on the iPad. To even begin to use it at all we used Atomic Browser (paid version)—which is more useful on the iPad than on my Touch—and told it to report itself as desktop Safari. Leaving it set as a mobile browser meant it wasn’t going to work. Even with setting it to spoof as a desktop version of Safari it still had issues.

What I was attempting to do, and was ultimately successful at doing with some heartache, was to copy and paste my notes from that day’s sessions/sightseeing into 750words. It did not like that at all. It would only show a small portion of what had been pasted in, there was no way to force a save, and eventually it would show you all of the text pasted in but the word count stayed at what you had written by hand, if any. You had to leave and come back and then maybe nothing was there or perhaps it had updated but you had to log in again because it wasn’t remembering that you had just been there. In the end it worked but it was a pain in the rear.

In summary, I have several online accounts for which there are multiple apps available that only require one to log in and be on your way. The iPad as set up by the BCU Library worked great for me at this conference, but my needs were reasonably light.

COinS. Screw ’em!


I’m just giving up. There will be no more in my posts; at least for the citations I include.

I’m tired of all the work I have to do to get the citations out of Zotero as HTML, open the source of the generated web page, copy the div with the COinS, paste it into HTML view in WordPress, and then still freaking pray that it works.

I guess I’ll leave the supposed COinS generator plugin that I have that generates COinS for the blog posts themselves activated. Sometimes it fails too.  I had some back and forth with tech support a long while ago and it “failed” for stupid reasons back then. Seems it is still failing for asinine reasons. Really, anyone want to tell me what the offending character is in this post title? The Profession’s Models of Information – some comments

Not only are the COinS for the two citations I used missing but so is the one for the post itself.

This post has all of the COinS displaying that it should, one for the post and four for the four books.

Other recent posts (since I started blogging again in Aug) have varying degrees of what they should as far as the COinS are concerned.

If anyone besides me was actually making use of the COinS I was embedding then I sincerely apologize. The work involved to only get screwed over repeatedly is simply not worth it.

It may be “the future(tm)” but our tools still suck!

Casual-leisure Searching – some comments

Wilson, M. L., & Elsweiler, D. (2010). Casual-leisure Searching: the Exploratory Search scenarios that break our current models. In Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 22 August 2010. Presented at the HCIR 2010, New Brunswick, N.J. Retrieved from http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/ryenw/hcir2010/docs/HCIR2010Proceedings.pdf

When clearing out my aggregator a couple weeks back I came across this article in ResourceShelf (29 August 2010). It is a short, 4-page article which I printed and read on casual-leisure searching.

It appears to be a preprint from an ACM journal but the real info is lacking. I did some Google Scholar and Google searching and determined it to have been a presentation from HCIR 2010 last month. Daniel Tunkelang’s blog was most helpful, even including having the presentation embedded and linking to the mentioned Technology Review article, “Searching for Fun.”

Fourth Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval 22 August 2010

Update: The entire proceedings are available as a (big) pdf from the HCIR 2010 site: Proceedings [pdf: 18.2 MB]  Hmmm, Zotero linked to the entire proceedings; when/how did that happen? The individual article pdf is linked in the 1st paragraph (the one after the citation).

I also found a copy of the preprint at the first author’s uni site.

Casual-Leisure Searching

It turns out that, in fact, it is not only librarians who like to search. Some folks do it just to do it. The authors work in the realm of “exploratory search” and based on two different studies they have done have noticed that information retrieval (IR,) information seeking (IS), exploratory search (ES), and Sensemaking models are all incomplete.

“ES is defined as trying to resolve an information need when the searcher has limited knowledge of their goal, domain, or search system [13], normally involving some kind of learning or investigating behaviour [9]” (28).

They provide a very quick overview of these models and how they assume an information need, and that searching occurs to find information. They then discuss personal tasks versus the work-based focus of most of the research in these areas. Stebbins work on non-work and leisure activities in brought in, situating these activities as hedonistic. The area of the least research on information behavior, especially information seeking, is in this arena of casual-leisure. Some of this is now occurring and they do point to the work of Jenna Hartel and others.

All of these previous models are information-focused but in their work they are beginning to see searching for its own sake.

They did a study on TV-based casual information behaviors and one on harvesting real search tasks from Twitter. This is preliminary work but it is exciting. In the TV-based study they were able to look at both behavior and motivation. One might, if a hard-headed enough nit-picker, describe the behavior as still “wanting to find” but it is the motivation that shows the behavior is tending towards search without finding. These folks still, to me, wanted to find something. But their criteria was so loose that, perhaps, many different things could satisfy what they were looking for.

To me, it is the 2nd study, of Twitter, that shows the most promise in expanding our views, and theories, of search. One could get in a huff and say this is only browsing, except that under the previous models browsing is still assumed to be goal-directed and that it is browsing for something.

Have you ever found yourself endlessly browsing etsy.com, or ted.com, or just sort of leisurely following hyperlink after hyperlink to suddenly notice that 2 hours have elapsed? That sort of browsing or searching has no real goal except to pass the time and, as they note, this can be either a good thing or a not so good thing. But often we do just do this for the experience of it. And I must say that this is one of the few current uses of “experience” that I can get behind. People do, in fact, sometimes search for the experience of it. There is no goal except to pass the time, hopefully in a reasonably enjoyable and non-frustrating manner. But other than that, what is found is of no consequence.

This is another area of daily, mundane, life that as usual until recently has been neglected in science—social or otherwise. Info seeking research began by studying scientists and then corporate work life. Eventually studies of nurses, children, janitors, etc. came along but they were still generally work task related. Only recently has the personal, casual, leisure angle begun to be explored. Now that it is the lack of coverage of our models is beginning to show. Even the more recent exploratory search aspect of information seeking is limited in the same way.

Those who claim that “it is only librarians who like to search, everyone likes to find” are, and always were, wrong.

Digging Into WordPress v3 and its authors rock

This post is for all of you running WordPress blogs.

The short version:

These guys rock hard! Buy this book!

Longer version:

In case you do not know it, there is a blog called Digging Into WordPress which puts out a lot of valuable information on all aspects of WP.

A while ago they released a book and an ebook (pdf), also entitled Digging Into WordPress.  The ebook was $27 and comes with a lifetime of free upgrades.  I bought the book back in March and had all kinds of ideas on how to use it.  As my regular readers know a couple of marriages and a move 10 hours further westward got in the way of a lot of things.  But I have read parts and skimmed many others and I’m here to tell you that this book is useful.

Eventually along came WP v. 3 and their book was out-of-date.  But unlike lots of software books that are released at the same time as, or before, the software itself—and thus how accurate can they be?—they waited until they could do it proper using a fully functional release version just like you and me.

Well, that book was released just a couple of days ago.  I saw the blog post 2 days ago right before bed and noticed that they said everyone who had previously bought it had already received the download link to the new version via email.  But I had not.  So in the morning I checked into it.  According to comments on the announcement post it looked like lots of people had not gotten their emails either, primarily due to overaggressive spam filters.

We were supposed to find our original email receipt and email it to them.  Well, I found an email and started replying and then came up short.  This was the email I got when I put my name on the preorder list in Nov 2009 and was for a $9 discount.  Sadly, I had failed to use that discount.  I found my pdf and accompanying files (comes with some templates) and doing a Cmd-I I got the Finder Info where I had added a note that I got it on 28 March 2010.  I also verified that date in my Google Doc that I keep of all book purchases.  So I sadly and tentatively wrote my reply stating that this was all that I had, the date and price I had paid, and asked if there were some other way of proving I had purchased the book.  Within a matter of hours—keep in mind this is 2 guys and they’re handling lots of email and blog comments due to what in most cases was overaggressive spam filters—I had a gracious and courteous response that my update email had gone to a long gone email address and should they resend it to my gmail address?

So long story a little shorter, I got my updated ebook and I got it with a minimum of fuss. I have since realized why I never got a purchase receipt and why the update email went to an address that I no longer had well before I bought the book.

Godamn PayPal!  I purchased the book with PayPal.  Well, not really true as I was trying not to but it took over anyway.  Grrr!  Well, my PayPal account is stuck with an email address that I am not allowed to change because I cannot reply to the email they send there to verify that I want to change it.  Seriously!  I understand the need for protection of your users but then there is idiocy.  I no longer have that email because my (previous) ISP changed it.  It was my Insight email and Verizon Comcast bought them out and hamfistedly changed everyone’s email addresses.  They also just killed those accounts in full after 30 days.  No forwarding after that date; just dead.  Now even Verizon Comcast isn’t my ISP because I live somewhere else and thankfully no Verizon Comcast here. [Corrected 5 Sep 2010 upon realizing my brain fart.]

So all of this was caused by PayPal not allowing me to update my email address because they asininely assume that we all have perpetual access to every email address we have ever used.  Brilliant.  And so utterly wrong.

Anyway, Digging Into WordPress and Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr are excellent! They did me right and they did so graciously while under fire from many others for these same sorts of technological issues that are often out of our control.

So if you are running a WordPress blog buy Digging Into WordPress v. 3.0 You will not regret it!