Friday, February 20, 2004

Lots of Stuff Happening with the News Division Web Site
A few weeks ago, a fellow news librarian saw one of my pleas for volunteers for the Web site and passed it on to some classmates. That e-mail was forwarded to a few e-mail discussion lists and several people have stepped forward to help with sections of the site. There is now a page of Election Resources, thanks to Lauren Pressley. Alexandra Tyle submitted and updated some sources for the International News Archives page, which now has a new URL, too. A few others are working on some pages and will send me updates in the next month or so (I hope).

The preliminary program for the 2004 SLA Annual Conference has recently been updated to include the schedule of events in the latest issue of News Library News, which is only available online. Any tips about Nashville (restaurants, getting around, things to see and do, other hotels, etc.) would be a nice addition to this page.

And don't forget that the deadline for the Vormelker-Thomas Student Award, a stipend to help a graduate student to attend her/his first SLA Annual Conference, is Monday, February 23 and the Hayden Fellowship for professional development deadline is Saturday, May 1.

--Jessica Baumgart, Special Libraries Association News Division Webmaster

News librarians deconstruct Presidents' day:
Savannah Morning News librarian Julia Muller has an article on the holiday's history on the Savannah Now Web site. And Michael Miners sent this very interesting email to Newslib:
    "Pardon me for a long email that amounts to nothing but preaching to the choir, but I thought this would be if interest.

    As part of our daily almanac we recently published that Abraham Lincoln's birthday was designated a Federal holiday in 1892. I was asked to verify this after a reader called to correct us. A call to the Lincoln Presidential Library confirmed that the reader was correct; Lincoln's birthday was NEVER a federal holiday.

    Here's what is interesting:

    A Nexis search reveals 10 newspapers published the same statement this month. The statement has been published in newspapers approximately 88 times over the past 19 years (my paper published it 7 of those times) and it looks like AP has moved the information every year since 1985.

    The editor who I spoke to told me she had "googled" it before we ran it and found it to be correct. I pointed out to her that she only found what she was looking for. As per the discussion earlier on this list, Googler beware. A Google for 1892 Lincoln Birthday Holiday does give quite a few supporting documents, but it turns out that only Illinois made Abe's birthday a holiday in 1892.

    This reminded me of the famous example of Maya Angelou being referred to as U.S.Poet Laureate or former Poet Laureate. You will all be horrified or amused, depending on your ilk, to discover that a Nexis search reveals that particular item is still being misreported by reputable newspapers. I won't name names here but go look yourself. (And it begs the question, is Nexis any better than Google?)

    This kind of thing is why I love this job - it's also why we are needed.

    P.S. Were it not for a very helpful and knowledgeable employee of the Presidential Library, it would not have been easy to confirm the statement one way or another because I found several conflicting sources. For those interested, there is a well researched explanation at: ."

In other news about researchers vs. Google, Newslib's Jessica Baumgart recently
took a challenge to try a research request that Google Answers wouldn't try, and writes about it in her blog.

-- Liz Donovan, Miami Herald

Friday, February 13, 2004

News Library News:
The latest edition (Winter '04) is now posted in PDF format. It includes a main article on RSS by Jessica Baumgart, an article on the Oregonian's newsroom blog, tips on favorite reference sources from 24 news librarians, and much more. Enjoy.
-- Liz Donovan, Miami Herald.

For those coming to NewsLibLog for the first time via NLN or newslib-L: If you'd like to contribute to NewsLibLog, and you're a News Division member or a news librarian/researcher, send me an email (link on right) and I can invite you to set up a password. Or email your contribution to me or Jessica Baumgart, and we will post for you.
-- Liz