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B/Logging In: How to Subscribe to Newspapers, Blogs, Etc.

Do you read newspapers, magazines and/or blogs online? Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to go to each and every website? Wouldn't it be easier if all you had to do was go to one website and see the latest from CNN, Sports Illustrated, Wired News, etc.? Well, Bloglines is the answer.

"But I'm not a blogger!" Don't worry, you don't have to be a blogger or a techie. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Create an account by providing your email address and password, then click on "Register."

  2. Go to your email account, open the email from Bloglines Validation and validate your email address by clicking on the link supplied.

  3. A new window will open: "Account Validation Completed." You may now copy and paste the following into the address panel of your browser: http://www.bloglines.com/public/filipinolibrarian.

  4. Choose and subscribe to the feeds of your favorite sites by clicking on the links shown in the illustration below:

    Note: Unfortunately, no Filipino newspaper is available for subscription. And that's why I added the Yahoo! News search results for "Philippines" in the list of feeds. You may also want to check out rickey.org, a site better known for its "American Idol" focus; and Kung Fu Librarian, which specializes in Asian martial arts, including Filipino Kali.

  5. Once you've subscribed to all the feeds you want, just bookmark or add Bloglines to your favorites and visit it as often as you wish to see if anything new has been "delivered."
If you would like to know more about the technology that makes all this possible, check out "RSS For Non-Techie Librarians" by Steven M. Cohen (LLRX.com, 3 June 2002) or "RSS readers keep you up-to-date with your favorite sites" by Andrew Kantor (USA Today, 2 January 2005).

This post was inspired by Joy Weese Moll's "Bloglines for Librarians in Three (and a half) Easy Steps."

Related post:
The Real Revenge of the Blog People
Of Bloggers and "Blog People"


Online Filipinos

From "11.8M Internet users in the Philippines in '04, says IDC" by Erwin Lemuel Oliva (INQ7.net, 30 March 2005):

Internet users include both residential and commercial (business) users. Further increase in their number will be driven mainly by national economic performance, the eroding prices of broadband Internet services and computers, and online gaming.
Based on the population projections of the National Statistical Coordination Board, the current population of the Philippines should be about 85M. So about 14 percent of the population are online—in a country where more than 50 percent are below the age of 20, and 33 percent are officially considered poor.

Something to think about...


Txt-literate but Literarily Illiterate?

How many Filipinos would rather spend money on a good book than buy a prepaid card for their cellphones? How many students on the MRT actually carry around literary titles instead of textbooks? Why is it that non-textbook publishing houses in the Philippines continue to experience dismal sales?

--"Adopt-a-Writer project fosters love of Philippine literature" by Marie Aubrey J. Villaceran (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 March 2005).
The lack of interest in literary matters can be demoralizing, but if the high cost of books and the scarcity of libraries at which these may be borrowed are factored into the equation, we probably should not be surprised.

The Philippines is said to be the "Texting Capital of the World" (Christian Ramilo). Instead of fighting this reality, why not acknowledge it? And if this were to be "married" to the Filipino penchant for cliffhanger endings (proof: the popularity of telenovelas), Filipinos of all ages would be reading novels on their cellphones in no time.

"Cell Phones Put to Novel Use," an Associated Press story (Wired News, 18 March 2005), indicates that the technology is already available:

In the latest versions, cell-phone novels are downloaded in short installments and run on handsets as Java-based applications. You're free to browse as though you're in a bookstore, whether you're at home, in your office or on a commuter train. A whole library can be tucked away in your cell phone—a gadget you carry around anyway.
It's only a matter of time before either Globe, Smart or Sun comes up—along with either ABS-CBN or GMA—with the latest innovation: the phonovela. But is it literature? As far as I'm concerned, the first step is to get people reading—anything—and then, hopefully, they will want to read more.


FO: Newer Maps

You may want to check out the following if you're looking for maps of the Philippines:

  • The map collection of the Perry-CastaƱeda Library, University of Texas at Austin, has country, city, detailed, historical, regional and thematic maps. Most were produced by the Central Intelligence Agency. The oldest is a map of Manila (1851), while the newest (2004) is the kind that most travel guides have.
  • The language maps of Ethnologue show where each of the different Filipino languages and dialects are spoken. A list of spoken and extinct Filipino languages is also available.
  • If you are a teacher, then you may find the printable blank map from about.com useful for geography tests.

In some cases, maps are automatically resized to fit your screen. Don't panic. A button with arrows will appear on the lower right of your screen. Click on this button to expand a map to regular size.

(Series: Filipiniana Online)


Early Maps of the Philippines

Not many libraries mount exhibits that make it into the newspapers. But the Rizal Library has done it again.

From "Belgians map the Philippines" by Felice Prudente Sta. Maria (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 March 2005):

The Kingdom of Belgium, in celebration of its 175 years of Independence, and the Juana Madriaga Garcia-Natividad Galang Fajardo Collection provide a gem of an exhibit featuring the "rare treat of viewing not one but five different editions of the earliest separately printed maps of the Philippines," writes Leovino Ma. Garcia, dean of Ateneo's School of Humanities in the show catalog.
It's interesting that one of the references cited at the end of the article is Philippine Cartography 1320-1898 by Carlos Quirino. The book is said to be "the must-read, must-have for Philippine map collectors!" Quirino was director of the National Library from 1962-1966.


FO: International Children's Digital Library

Happy Easter! If you ever feel the need to read a Filipino story to a child, then the International Children's Digital Library is for you. It has a full-color, digital collection of children's books in different languages. There are 28 Filipino books, 12 of which are award winners. Most are available in English and Filipino, and most were published by Adarna House. You'll need an Adobe Book Reader to read the pdf files. (Series: Filipiniana Online)



It's Good Friday. And I just got some good feedback...




A Filipino library has made it to the front page!

"Library rescues works of women writers," by Elizabeth Lolarga (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22 March 2005), is about the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings (ALIWW), which is actually one of the special collections in the care of the Rizal Library.

Edna Z. Manlapaz conceptualized ALIWW as

a place "where women writers can be invited, threatened, cajoled and flattered into donating papers for the use of scholars and readers." ...She credited the Jesuits for "seeing the vision, sharing it and literally giving us a room of our own" on the third floor of the Rizal Library on the Ateneo campus at Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
The only problem I have with the article is that the library does not seem to have a librarian, only founders and directors. Maybe someday...


FO: Bibles in Filipino

Bibles in Your Language provides ways to read the Bible in the Filipino language of your choice. "Quick Picks" in the menu bar has: Cebuano, Ilokano and Tagalog. Clicking on "Complete List" will show you: Hiligaynon, Pangasinan, Samarenyo (or Waray-Waray; languages are referred to using the website's terms). And then, of course, you can always go to "Alpha Picks."

Clicking on any of the languages will not lead directly to the Bible of your choice. Instead, you will be shown a list of Bibles that are available for free or may be purchased on the Internet.

(Series: Filipiniana Online)


Are We Poor Because We're Catholic?

Holy Week is serious business in the Philippines. Consider this post an invitation to reflect on why the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, is predominantly poor.

The following are newspaper articles that illustrate the extent of the problem (or lack thereof):

The following are the bases for the articles listed above. They tend to be heavy reading but, hey, it's Holy Week, suffer a little!

Finally, the following is an article directly addressing the question posed by this post. It's quite interesting that the word "population" is not mentioned at all.


The National Library

From "The Decline of English," Isagani Cruz's Separate Opinion column (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 20 March 2005):

I don't know how things are now with our public libraries, but during my student days they were quite popular with book lovers. They were well-stocked even with the current best sellers that we could borrow and read for free, and come back for more. I was a regular customer and used to walk from my house in Sampaloc, Manila, to the National Library at the ground floor of the old Legislative Building on P. Burgos Street. Every visit was an adventure.
It is important to remember that Cruz, a former justice of the Supreme Court, graduated from high school before 1941. Sadly, the National Library that he remembers is not the same one we have today. But I will leave it to Cruz to discover for himself exactly what has changed; this post will be about the online presence of the National Library.

Type "national library philippines" into any search engine and it will lead you to this website—"Welcome to the Library Catalog." No history, no address, no telephone number, no services offered.

I would like to say more but I think anything I say at this point will just get me into trouble, so I hope no one will mind if I just keep my mouth shut. Hey, it's Holy Week already! The suffering will probably be good for me...


The Real Revenge of the Blog People

(If you are not familiar with the term "blog people," please read Of Bloggers and "Blog People" first.)

From "Librarians' words to ponder," the third item on Frank Barnako's Internet Daily column (MarketWatch, 17 March 2005):

The chatter on panels and in receptions about the Internet, and the several live blogs covering the event, clearly show that librarians are anything but introverted and low-tech, as stereotypes would have it.
And then, of course, there's "CNN gives bloggers some respect," from Jon Friedman's Media Web column (MarketWatch, 18 March 2005):

"Millions of people are listening to what these guys have to say," notes David Bohrman, CNN's vice president of news and production and Washington bureau chief, said of bloggers. "It's a fascinating evolution of a different kind of journalism."

Now, if blogs were so "unpublishable," how come so many people are reading them? Bob Dylan: "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."

Here's hoping that stereotypes about Filipino librarians will also be shattered... oh, maybe in a decade or so!


FO: Project Gutenberg

Go To Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg provides free electronic books (eBooks or etexts) on the Internet. It has 16 Tagalog works, most written in the early 1900s. You may also want to check for specific authors who wrote in English or Spanish (or whose works may have been translated) because books and articles by Jose Rizal are available.

(Series: Filipiniana Online)


Filipiniana Online

From time to time, Filipiniana materials available online will be featured here. The following definition of Filipiniana will be used:

Books and non-book materials about the Philippines, produced in or outside the Philippines, by Filipinos or non-Filipinos, in any of the Philippine languages, or in a foreign language.

—Isagani Medina, “Collection Building: Filipiniana,” in Developing Special Library Collections, Filipiniana: Proceedings, November 24-26 (Manila: Philippine Librarians Association, 1992), quoted in Salvacion M. Arlante and Rodolfo Y. Tarlit, "The State-of-the-Art of Filipiniana Collections in the Philippines," in Sanghaya 2001 (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2001).
Please feel free to suggest resources to be featured.

Previous posts:


Of Bloggers and "Blog People"

If you already know what blogs are and would just like to syndicate this blog, please click this: If not, please read on.

Weblogs—or blogs, for short—started out as online diaries: entries arranged according to date. But now they've become alternative sources of information—as well as a means for communication—that librarians cannot and should not ignore.

I will not re-write what has already been written—and written better—about blogs. Below are links to articles, websites and blogs that can give you an idea of what can be done and what has been done with blogs. In addition, I have also provided a short introduction to a controversial reference to "Blog People."

To find out more about the blogging phenomenon, read "The Blogging Revolution" by Andrew Sullivan (Wired, May 2002) and the entry on "weblog" in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. You should also know that the "blogosphere" (a term coined by William Quick in 2001), is all around you.

To see the best blogs last year, check out the 2005 Bloggies. (Awards will be announced in Texas today, so the list of winners should be up by the time you read this or soon after.) To see the best Filipino blogs, check out the Philippine Blog Awards.

To know more about how blogs are being used in other libraries, check out Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library's Services by Darlene Fichter (InfoToday, Nov/Dec 2003). For a list of librarians' and libraries' blogs by country, see Library Weblogs. For all kinds of library-related blogs, see the blogs listed in the Open Directory Project.

To understand why librarian-bloggers are up in arms over comments made by Michael Gorman, editor of AACR2 and president-elect of the American Library Association, see "Revenge of the Blog People!" (Library Journal, 15 February 2005), where he calls bloggers "Blog People" and says that "A blog is a species of interactive electronic diary by means of which the unpublishable, untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar, can communicate their thoughts via the web."

Librarian-bloggers—and even author Neil Gaiman—did not take this ad hominem attack sitting down. For a summary of what bloggers have said about "Gormangate," check out "An Accumulation of Random Facts and Paragraphs from the Blog People on Michael Gorman" by Blake Carver (LISNews, 4 March 2005). For a list of some of the best library-related blogs—enumerated for Gorman's benefit—see "Family Feud" by Marylaine Block (Ex Libris, 4-11 March 2005).


Public School Libraries

It's not very often that librarians make it into the news in the Philippines. And so, even though I was planning on building up gradually to the state of public school libraries in the Philippines, let me just get this off my chest:

…[S]chool library conditions are not conducive to effective library service as required by modern education… Books are merely accessioned, but neither classified nor catalogued… This is accompanied by an unbalanced or disproportionate distribution of books… The housing conditions provided for the library, if any, are poor, and the furniture and equipment are inadequate… The library is not open long enough for students to use it to the fullest extent. Opening the library is only a matter of “if time permits” for the librarian. Some schools do not even open their libraries at all… Library instruction is given; but [it] is inadequate, disorganized, and has no definite place in the curriculum… The… librarians have not had any training in library work. Even liberally interpreting the term “trained librarian” to mean a librarian who has taken any course in library science, the data compiled show only 29 per cent who qualify as possessing “technical training.”
No, this is not from the latest news article about Filipino public school libraries. The findings quoted above were taken from a thesis written 65 years ago (Concordia Sanchez, “A Survey of Philippine Public Elementary School Libraries” [M.A. thesis, University of the Philippines, 1940]).

"Public School Librarians are Have Nots," by Peachy Limpin (Manila Bulletin, 6 March 2005), is the latest news article about Filipino public school libraries. But it's not very encouraging:
I gave a brief lecture on information literacy two Fridays ago to public school librarians from Manila... [T]hey were all computer literate. This may not sound a bit surprising but seeing the audience composed of 40s and 50 something, I assumed that some might still be technophobic... what the librarians are afraid of is forgetting what they have learned since they are not using the system yet because most of the public school libraries have no computers in the first place... Another reality that struck me was that there was only one librarian from among those present who has ever used a search engine.

While it may seem good that the public school librarians were "computer literate"—because they had been taught to use computers—the fact that only one had "ever used a search engine" makes me wonder just how "computer literate" these librarians were. And what if Limpin had visited the libraries managed by the public school librarians who listened to her? She would have seen what most Filipino librarians—or any Filipino, for that matter—would instinctively know: that what Sanchez wrote about public school libraries in 1940 is still very true today. With or without "computer literate" librarians.

Please don't get me wrong. This is not a put down, just a statement of fact. In a future post, I will discuss why public school libraries in the Philippines have been neglected, and how a few have managed to flourish despite this neglect.

To understand the situation further, see "Scrounging Funds to Finance Public Schools in the Philippines" by Marites Sison (25 April 2000). Please note that this article is not about libraries but the schools themselves.


Licensed Librarians

See also "Who Can Take the Librarians' Licensure Exam?" and "Legal Issues on R.A. 9246."

Librarians need a license to practice in the Philippines. And just like doctors and accountants, we need to take a board exam.

The Board for Librarians (its members as of 2005 were Perla T. Garcia, Corazon M. Nera and Elizabeth R. Peralejo) takes charge of administering the exam. You can learn more about the Board, including exam schedules, results and board resolutions, through the Professional Regulation Commission's website. It has a link to the original law creating the Board, but since this law has already been repealed, you're better off checking out the Chan Robles Virtual Law Library, the Lawphil Project, or downloading Republic Act 9246 (pdf) from Congress itself.

If you want to know how the practice of librarianship in the Philippines came to be regulated--including the passing rate at the board exams from 1992 to 2002--please read The Professionalization of Librarians in the Philippines by Antonio M. Santos.

If you would like to know what happened at the 2004 board exam, please see the speech I delivered at the oath taking ceremonies. The 2004 results may be viewed through the Philippine Daily Inquirer (pdf) or the Manila Standard (html).


The Philippines

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines...

Have you ever wondered why there's a the before Philippines when there is none for most countries? I am neither a historian nor a linguist, but I will attempt to answer this question because there does not seem to be an explanation anywhere else on the Internet.

Q: Why is a the used with Philippines?

A: The Philippines used to be known as the Philippine Islands. When independence was attained and the country's name was shortened, the extra the applicable to the Philippine Islands was retained for the Philippines. But this, of course, is just my best guess...

For more information about the Philippines, please check out the following:


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