Quite a bit of Google

The current Google librarians’ newsletter contains some useful articles/links.

I’m hearing good things about Google docs&spreadsheets. Here’s the newsletter on the subject — written to appeal to librarians but the tool has benefits to other types of user:

Share and edit with Google Docs & Spreadsheets

"We launched Google Docs & Spreadsheets, an online word processor and spreadsheet editor that lets you to create, store and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in real time. If you or your patrons know how to use any word processing or spreadsheet editing program, you can easily use Google Docs & Spreadsheets. It’s great for your library users, since they can work on writing and research without having to save files to a disk; all of their work is stored safely online, and can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. It’s as simple as checking email.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets is free and supports all standard formats – DOC, XLS, OpenOffice and more – so you can upload and edit documents and spreadsheets you’ve created using other programs. And in response to users’ requests, we recently updated the spell check feature so you can check your documents in more than 30 languages.

If you’d like to let your patrons know about Google Docs & Spreadsheets, here’s a quick online tour."

There’s other good reading in this newsletter issue, on Google Scholar, blog search and so on. Here’s the complete table of contents:

Letter from the Editor

Features:
  Q&A with Google Scholar’s founding engineer
  Meet the Scholar team
  Video: Scholar overview at ALA 2006
  Add Scholar to your site

Updates and Releases:
  A new way to browse books online
  More books in more languages
  Create your own search engine
  Explore Africa with Google Earth
  Share and edit with Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  On alert for bloggers
  Connect with literacy activists around the world

A blog is born

Announcing the birth of a new blog: Reference@ Duluth. This is a very special blog, because although it is not actually Dave Lull’s blog, it is run by colleagues of his  as representatives of the References and Services division of the Duluth (Minnesota) library — so I am wondering how much longer Dave’s blogospheric activities will be limited to being a "delightful cross pollinator" and owner of a tribute blog.

So far, the categories are Duluth history (rather an alarming proportion of lynchings);  "notable Duluthians" (so far only one but a nice one); and resources (the genealogical meta-database Ancestry). Rock on, Duluth librarians.

A footnote: I know from experience at work that it is hard to make a link out of a string with an "@" sign, because the string wants to turn into an email address. So maybe its name will change to ReferenceATDuluth — as I wish could happen to websites like news@nature.com and so on. (See, it has tried to turn itself into an email address!) What I did to make the link to Reference@Duluth is to make the link without the @ and add the @ in later. Any better ideas?

Masterworks under the hammer

Edison_1 A collection of 22 light bulbs used by Thomas Edison in 1890 to defend his patent will be auctioned at Christie’s on Wednesday, 13 December. These bulbs were apparently discovered in an attic in a house in the United States, still in their original wooden case. Apparently they are expected to fetch about £300,000.

Other items listed in the "Landmarks of Science" auction are works by Einstein, including his "first scientific essay" (in quotes because I wonder how they know?); Newton; Darwin, including a first edition of the Origin of Species; Galileo; Kepler; Linnaeus (who has a 300th birthday coming up, by the way); and other luminaries. See here for a list of all 151 lots. See here for details of the auction, viewing times, and a picture of the box of bulbs.