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Let's Go Surfing Now - A Post from the Cool Librarian Blog


I think I am finally feeling a bit more settled in my new digs, so now it's time for me to get to work.

First up is SurfRI. Apparently, RI is one of only two states (and DC) that does NOT have some sort of statewide library database (or virtual library) system. Um, that's really sad (I am finding that RI in general is woefully behind in the tech realm of librarianship, as a whole - but that's a post/rant for another day). Thankfully, the state library system is looking into rectifying that situation, and has set-up a free trial of a statewide database prototype - SurfRI. The free trial extends through April 15, and it seems that anyone is welcome to go in and take a look around - and I hope you do.

I spent a few minutes checking it out, and , wow, there's a lot of stuff here! I played with the online version of Culture Grams (which for some reason is one of my favorite print reference sources), checked out the EBSCO databases that we don't currently have access to, and cruised the Reader's Guide Full Text (a WilsonWeb product). Cool. Lots to look at here.

What really bums me out, however, is that I did not hear one word about this at work. I wonder how that is possible - do my coworkers not know about this? Or did no one find it interesting enough to mention? Sadly, since we do not currently have any actual leadership and no one to update the website, the best I can do is post it on the not-often-read blog. But post it, I will. And bookmarks, I can make bookmarks (which are much more popular that the blog).

And, oh, I am liking the SurfRI name. I think it fits. I just hope that if this does become a reality that they will change the web interface. The one that is up is fine for a trial, but it's pretty unexciting (and yellow).

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Comment by Jeff Scott on March 20, 2007 at 11:14pm
That sucks that you don't have any statewide databases. Arizona was only recently added to the list. We purchased a statewide masterfile premier and a few other choice databases and use webfeat for one federated search. At first, this was awesome, but webfeat is very clunky and cumbersome. I tried to coin it as the google of library databases (as in it strips down the propriety layer of the internet to get to its value). However, there has been little usage. I have to kick up the marketing a notch. It just hard to promote it when most people don't know what a databases is, and when you try to call it something more common, your library users can't identify it. I had a conversation with someone who read about the ability of learning Spanish for free online through our website. I said database and her eyes glazed over, I said Rosetta Stone and she got it. This is so valuable and so tough to promote. Good luck.

Also, I think we should have a discussion in the forums area about crappy bosses :)

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