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Hello from Washington D.C.

Hello from Washington D.C. or to be more specific, Silver Spring, MD. Just about 2 miles from the NOAA offices. A thank you to James for the invite and Dan for getting me up and posting. This first post will be a bit about what I do each day. Most of my other posts this month will focus on content and resources. That said, I will toss in some views, what we our doing at Ask.com, etc. In some cases, a cool tool or resource might not have a direct government info relationship at this point. My hope is that: 1) You learn about these resources and share then at the right time and place with others. 2) Envision how they might be used for government info sharing. So, what do I do during a typical 12-15 hours day? My "day job" is the Director of Online Resources at Ask.com. I’ve been at Ask for 53 weeks this week. It’s a great job but also a great opportunity (and one I take very seriously) for the library community to have a direct voice at a large and growing search company. The other cool part of the job is that I am free to write about other services, tools, resources, etc. The info pro needs to know about a variety of tools. Do I use each tool I talk/write about seven days a week? No, not at all. But I see my role and our role as info pros as becoming important educators and suggesting the right tool at the right time. I’ve heard this described as Information Navigator. In many ways, this is nothing new, we just have more tools to work with and info to disseminate. I think of my role at Ask.com in this way. 1) Outreach. Talking to people not only about what we our up to and providing but other cool tools and resources. That said, just getting people (even info pros) to take a look at something they haven’t seen or used ever or in a long time can be a challenge. 2) Listening I want to represent the library community as best I can. So, I often receive phone calls, emails, IM’s with ideas, suggestions, etc. 3) "In-Reach" and Product Development This means to work with various groups at Ask and talk to them (demo for them) what the library community and info industry is up to. At the same time, I often work with people about specific resources or tools they must know about for their job. So, yes, I get to play "traditional" librarian from time to time. So, that’s part of the day. In addition to Ask.com, I’m the founder and an editor of ResourceShelf and DocuTicker. Both sites are independent of my work at Ask.com. ResourceShelf will be 6 years old soon and we’ve posted something almost every day minus about 10. ResourceShelf It’s a combo of news and new resources. I’m happy to report that ResourceShelf is reaching more and more non-librarians. This gives me the opportunity to promote what librarians are doing these days. DocuTicker is the other site. It’s about 2.5 years old. It offers and non-stop stream of new reports from government (primarily U.S. but also a good helping of UK and Canada), ngo’s, think tanks, etc. It’s very popular with journalists as a place to find primary documents and also a place to find story ideas. DocuTicker.com What began as "something to try" 6 years ago has turned into something that needs the help of others. In the past few years the team that runs FreePint.com/Willco.com has taken a much more active role in the day to day management of the site. Thank goodness for that. Also, we have several contributing editors for both sites. Shirl Kennedy, a military librarian in Florida, is the primary poster on DocuTicker and also helps with ResourceShelf. I couldn’t do it with Shirl and the others. A personal invite to visit both sites. RSS feeds are avilable. and speaking of RSS feeds, something I’ve learned. When we began ResourceShelf it was prior to the age of RSS. Now, of course, we have feeds but we also continue to grow our weekly email "reminder." I would have thought that by now the email list would have lost most of its subscribers because of RSS. The opposite is actually the case. I find this equal parts interesting and a reminder. 1) Interesting because we often forget that RSS is far from the mainstream and email is still a primary communications tool. 2) I often hear from even the most passionate RSS geek that they still want/need/desire the email reminder each Thursday. Why? They have so many feeds coming in, if it were not for the email reminder they would likely forget to visit the site. So, that’s it for the intro. Resources to begin shortly. cheers, gary


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