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Magazines > Information Today > March 2003
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Information Today
Vol. 20 No. 3 — March 2003
What's New in ITI's Other Publications
By Lauree Padgett

Greetings from the Great White North—Northeast, that is. This winter is feeling more like Newfoundland than New Jersey. As the snowflakes fall yet again, it's time to "dig out" a few more worthy articles from the Information Today, Inc. (ITI) vault. This month, we'll be looking at selections from Computers in Libraries, MLS: Marketing Library Services, and Searcher. We'll also get a preview of a few ITI books that are about to debut.

Myth, Myth? Yes, Yes!

If you—or your library—haven't jumped on the PDA bandwagon yet and think you have a mile-long list of reasons to support your prudent delay, get ready to be proven wrong. Nancy John and Dennis Tucker may shoot all your ducks out of the water in their article "10 Myths About PDAs—Debunked!" (Computers in Libraries, March 2003, p. 26).

From myth #1 ("It's Just a Fad") all the way through to #10 ("No One Else Is Doing It"), John and Tucker will counter the untruths (myth #2: "Only a Few People Have Handhelds") with the reality ("10 million Americans are using mobile devices for Internet access"). For instance, if you're of the opinion that PDAs don't have much to offer librarians (myth #4), they write: "Even if you don't provide services to the public, PDAs can prove indispensable for library staff." The agenda (datebook) function and address book are two popular uses for staff, as are the to-do list and the memo pad options.

As for the argument (myth #8) that PDA service will become obsolete in the near future, the authors' rebuttal points out that in today's fast-changing technology, 2 years is a lifetime. And, they emphatically add, "shrinking your Web site and offering mobile-accessible services is the future." In other words, the time may have come for you to get those PDA services up and running—and PDQ!

Fundraising for Dummies

Need to raise awareness—and funds—for your library? If you're like most people, when someone says the word "fundraiser," your immediate reaction is to run the other way and never look back. In her article "How to Successfully Plan a Gala Fundraising Event for a Library" (MLS, March/April, p. 4), Shawn Elizabeth Personke may help you realize that a gala might be just the ticket to not only promoting your library or media center, but to changing people's perceptions. This can help you gain needed dollars as well as new, enthusiastic patrons.

Personke starts with this very basic, but often overlooked, credo: "Before you jump into the fundraising fray, do your homework." By this she means find out what might get the people in your community excited. Talk to different community members, from civic leaders to existing library patrons, to see what might be an appropriate venue or theme for a fundraising event.

Personke also suggests checking in with other nonprofit groups that might be willing to share some valuable pointers from their own fundraising experiences.

Once you've picked a theme that will pique local interest, the next important step is to find out if you have enough manpower to take care of all the various tasks, such as planning, preparation, actual setup, hosting, and cleanup; enough money (or donations) to cover your expenses; and enough space to accommodate the anticipated turnout. A to-do list is also crucial. Who is in charge of food and food service? How is the publicity being handled? What will actually take place during the event? Then take each item from the to-do list, determine where it falls in a timeline leading up to and including the day of the event, and make sure someone is assigned to (and understands the requirements of) each task.

Lastly, budget wisely. A budget should calculate all estimated sources of income and expenses. As Personke notes, "A budget can make or break an event because it helps you stay within your means and clear a profit." When the event is done, the work is not quite over. Evaluation will help to determine if financial goals were met and will also aid future planning teams. Don't forget to rate how the entertainment and food were received (was the buzz from attendees favorable?), if the advertising was effective, and so forth. If you plan well, your gala may be the first step in creating a new, more positive image for your library that complements its mission and goals.

That's Entertainment!

Winter seems to bring out a bevy of award shows—usually set in (sigh!) warm climates—such as the Golden Globes, People's Choice, Screen Actors Guild, the Grammys, and of course, the coveted Oscar, which celebrates its 75th year on March 23. But there's much more to the billion-dollar entertainment industry thanthe often skin-deep and scantily clad celebrities with their sometimes touching, usually too-long acceptance speeches. (Think of Richard Gere's speech when he picked up the Best Actor Golden Globe for Chicago. Gee, maybe that's why Oscar skipped over him.)

Anyone who ever needs entertainment-related info (or is just a showbiz junkie) will want to check out Tara Breton's article, "Entertainment: Play It Once, Sam, for Old Time's Sake" (Searcher, March 2003, p. 56). Breton breaks down where to go for a wide range of categories. For major industry trends, the award goes to Plunkett's Entertainment & Media Industry Almanac, which lists the top people, agencies, and associations and how to get in touch with them; new technologies; and other "tops," such as theaters, radio stations, theme parks, etc. Hoover's Web site provides industry snapshots of categories such as movies and music.

For market research, Breton sizes up well-known sites such as Datamonitor and Jupiter, and small gems like Show Biz Data. As for ratings, you might be interested to learn that Nielsen's numbers aren't as vast as you might think. Was your fave TV show canceled because of a mere 5,000 viewers' opinions? Of course, if you need to know what the biggest grossing movies of all time are (and how many Harrison Ford really starred in) or if the last episode of M•A•S•H still ranks as the highest-rated program ever, Breton can point you in that direction too. This way, you can combine business with pleasure and maybe come up with the pie-winning answer the next time you play Trivial Pursuit.

Book 'Em

You may know that ITI not only publishes a passel of periodicals but also puts a lot of books on the shelves. The Accidental Systems Librarian (soon to be a major motion picture starring William Hurt—OK, I'm kidding!), by Rachel Singer Gordon, is designed to help information professionals deal effectively withlibrary technology, whetherthey've been formally trained to do so or not.

The latest offerings from the popular Super Searchers series (edited by the equally popular Reva Basch) take a bite out of the Big Apple. In Super Searchers on Madison Avenue, author Grace Villamora asks 13 researchers at top ad agencies to share their online research strategies and war stories. Software for Indexing, by Sandi Schroeder, is the latest in the series of books that ITI produces on behalf of the American Society of Indexers.

Finally, if you've become a Webmaster—by choice or under duress—but haven't received official training for the role, you'll want to check out Julie Still's latest title, The Accidental Webmaster (soon notto be a major motion picture starring William Hurt).

If you'd like more information on any of these soon-to-be-released books, go to

That's All Folks

Well, it's time for me to call it a column. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll dream tonight about attending a gala fundraising event, where I'll win a PDA as a door prize and get to mingle with some of the entertainment industry's bigwigs, like Spielberg, Hanks, and Clooney. Think I'll steer clear of Chuck Barris, however. I hear he's got a dangerous mind.


Lauree Padgett is Information Today, Inc.'s manager of editorial services. Her e-mail address is
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