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The Wired Library

Our Last Column, Part 1: Aloha and Greatest Hits

by Michael Porter and David Lee King on April 30, 2013

David: Hey, wait a minute! Does that title say “Our Last Column”? What’s up with that?

Michael: Yessirree! Aloha seems like the right thing to say; in the Hawaiian language, it means affection, love, peace, compassion, and mercy. All things we hope our dear readers have for us when we make bad jokes in the column. Aloha has also been used as a greeting to say goodbye and hello.

David: So we’re going to Hawaii?

Michael: No (though that’d be pretty sweet). Actually, we are going to stop writing this column in Public Libraries magazine!

David: *gasp*

Michael: And we’re moving to American Libraries magazine!

David: *GASP!*

Michael: Yep. Look for us in the January 2012 issue. It seems hard to believe that we’ve been writing this PL column for almost five years, starting with our first collaborative article about . . . how to collaborate!

David: And collaborate we did! Since 2006, we have written thirty articles together in multiple library-related magazines; collaborated on two music videos, one complete with related articles by industry thought leaders; and we’re currently working with a crew of smart folks on a nonprofit devoted to improving electronic content and access issues for libraries.

So now we’re gearing up to say “Aloha!” In this spirit, for our last two PL columns, we’d like to take a look back at the topics we wrote about to see what, if anything, has changed!

Column #1: Collaborating with Wikis

Our first article focused on how we planned to write these columns while living hundreds of miles away from each other. We experimented with PBWiki and
Google Docs. In the end, we stuck with Google Docs—it met our needs quite nicely. In the article, we also included a sidebar, listing five wiki resources:

  1. 1. Wikipedia—still useful.
  2. PBWiki—changed its name to PBWorks.
  3. Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki — created by Meredith Farkas. Library Success is still useful for libraries. You should check it out!
  4. MediaWiki — Wikipedia and countless other wikis are built on this free, opensource software developed by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  5. JotSpot—At the time, we mentioned that Google had just bought JotSpot. It has since morphed into Google Sites, part of the Google Apps Productivity Suite.

So how did we do? Not bad at all! Both of the tools mentioned in the article are still around, and all five of the sites mentioned in the sidebar are still active and useful (though two went through a name change). Not too shabby for our first column. I just wish that much of my hair had stuck around over those years!

Column #2: Thirty-Seven Sites

Well then, how did our second column fare? This column was titled “Thirty-Seven Sites in Two Thousand Words or Less.” It’s always scary to make a large list of websites— they tend to disappear fast. Believe it or not, there were only a few changes:

  • #2. Bloglines. Almost died, but MerchantCircle has kept it running. As of today, it still exists.
  • #11. Blockbuster. They’ve had quite an interesting couple of years. On September 23, 2010, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and
    on April 6, 2011, Dish Network bought them. Dish Network’s current plan is to keep 500 to 600 Blockbuster stores open.
  • #12. Peerflix. Gone.
  • #19. Myspace. It is the social network that will not die. On June 29, 2011, Myspace was sold to Specific Media. Apparently, Justin Timberlake also took a small stake in the deal. So believe it or not, it’s still around—and Timberlake’s Myspace page is royally tricked out.
  • #36. Feedster. Gone.
  • #37. Delicious. In December 2010, Yahoo! scared Delicious users everywhere when an internal memo found its way to the Web that hinted at “sunsetting” the site. Thankfully, Yahoo! just wanted to sell it off, and did so on April 27, 2011. Avos Systems, a company created by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen—the guys who created YouTube—bought it. Fingers crossed on this one!

Our list of thirty-seven sites actually survived the fast-paced changes of the Web! Out of thirty-six sites (we actually listed Delicious twice—once for the site, and once for our list of resources saved there), only two sites have disappeared. The rest are in the midst of changes, but so far are still around. We’ll have to wait a couple more years to see what happens to Bloglines, Blockbuster, Myspace, and Delicious. If only Avos Systems could have saved our hair the way they saved Delicious!

David: You know what they say: Hair today, gone tomorrow!

Michael: Ha! Coming up next month: websites, e-books, videos, and we say aloha!



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