For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
May 15, 1996 - 3 Ways to Connect to Library Home Page
Over the past year or so, many librarians have been exploring a new technology. That technology is the World Wide Web.
Let me say at the outset that the Web won't solve everything. But, for some kinds of library tasks, it has potential.
The Web also addresses several identifiable trends among our library patrons. More people have home computers and modems. More people are looking for ways to conduct their business and do their research from home. More people are working odd hours.
As I've written here before, the Douglas Public Library District offers a "home page" of its own -- the address is: http://douglas.lib.co.us.
This home page does several things. First, it gives some information about the library: our hours, locations and phone numbers of our branches, brief descriptions of some of our special services, and even the names and e-mail addresses of our Board of Trustees. Second, it links to various library resources: our catalog, an Interlibrary Loan connection, and something we call "Local Reference Information." Third, it connects to a host of other library or library-related sites. More recently, we have also included selected articles from the Douglas County News- Press.
The purpose of this week's column is to tell you the three ways you can connect to our home page.
* Come to the library. At some of our branches, we have set aside a terminal running "Lynx" -- a non-graphical program that lets you surf the internet. Ask one of our staff for directions. Look, too, for our hand-out about using Lynx.
* Connect through the Access Colorado Library and Information Network (ACLIN). ACLIN is free, and you don't have to have an Internet account with anybody. You can connect either from our "Other libraries" option from our main catalog (if you come to the library), or by connecting your home computer to a telephone (see below). * Connect through an Internet account. Just point your browser to the two addresses listed above (http://www.csn.net/~jlarue OR http://douglas.lib.co.us/).
The ACLIN connection is probably the trickiest to explain. These are the steps.
1. Set up your computer's communications program to use 8 bit word, 1 stop, no parity. Set your modem's speed or baud rate to the fastest it will support. (If you can't connect at the higher speed, just back it down one.) Use the VT100 terminal emulation, if possible.
2. Call the ACLIN modem (modems, actually -- they have hundreds). Use any of these three numbers: 786-8700, 440-9969, or 294-7260. When you see the "Annex username" prompt, type "ac" (again, no quotes, but you must type this in lower case).
3. You'll be prompted with a list of terminal emulations. Again, if possible, choose #1 -- VT100.
4. You MAY get asked to choose a menu: the older "gopher" or the new ACLIN or Lynx menu. (I say "may" because the gopher will soon be phased out.) Choose Lynx if necessary.
5. Now you get the main ACLIN menu. You might want to explore a little. ACLIN is adding interesting new selections almost daily. But if you want to connect to the DPLD home page, use the down arrow key to put your cursor on the line right after "Code." Type "dpld" (without the quotes) then hit the Return key. This moves you to "Find." Hit the Return key again. You'll soon highlight a heading for Douglas Public Library District. Press Return a third time. Now you're at our home page. To quit, just type the letter "q" (without the quotes).
I recognize that at first, Lynx seems a little confusing. But you can use just 6 keys to navigate. The space bar scrolls to the next page. The minus sign scrolls to the previous page. The up and down keys move you to the previous or next links. The right arrow key selects the current highlighted link, and the left arrow takes you back to where you were before you chose the current link. Beyond that, you can type the number of a link that appears anywhere on the screen.