I really enjoyed SOLINET! For me, it was one of those conferences where the call for presentations proposal looked interesting, but I didn’t actually know what to expect from the conference. What I found was that SOLINET was very different from other conferences I’d been to. For one, it’s compact. There were four general sessions and and opening and closing speaker, which made for six sessions in just over 24 hours. That’s a lot of information really quickly! It’s also not a laptop conference. There wasn’t wireless, and in most cases, the only other laptops I saw were in the laps of other WFU folks. But for me, what was most impressive was the programming. Many conference sessions that I’ve attended in the past have been of the “how we did this one project really well” variety or they’ve been really basic introductions. However, for the 2007 SOLINET conference, I can honestly say that there was at least one really interesting thing about each session I went to, and in most cases there were many interesting things. Good content! Of course, this caused me more stress through the first day, as Erik and I were presenting in the last time slot, and I realized the bar had been set pretty high. After taking a break to run through things one more time, I felt better about it, and I think the presentation went well. It was a good size group, and at least from where I was standing, it seemed like folks were interested in the things we’re doing. A few people came up afterwards and said “this is just what we need to be doing” or some variant on that theme. It’s really great to be at a place where we’re doing so many of the things that being talked about at this type of conference–and to know that we’re really out there taking some risks and seeing positive results. So, all in all, I really enjoyed SOLINET, and am thrilled to have had the opportunity to present there with Erik. It was great to have Caroline as a roommate and to have her looking out for me at lunch, too. :) The drive home was slow and long, but it’s good to be back. Tomorrow is graduation!
During May 2007...
The final program of SOLINET was “Is MyLibrary Going Down the YouTube? Reflections on the Information Landscape” from Diane Kresh. It was an interesting presentation, if, for nothing else, it reiterated what I had been hearing in the other sessions. This was the most on-message conference I’ve ever been to. And, since I like that message, I felt comfortable with what was said, and only took notes on a few key parts:
- We should be thinking about the sustainability of libraries
- Based on responding to the evolving needs of users
- Lots of content being generated, changes the context we’re operating in
- Information is increasingly local, organic, participative
- How can libraries collect, manage, or describe this?
- Some change drivers: ubiquity of communication tools, new workplace structures, blurred distinction between production and consumption of information, changes in other media industries
- She cited the “did you know” video.
- “The real change is a cultural one and it’s deep. Users are telling us it’s all about access, and libraries are all about ownership….” But she changed the slide before I could get it all. It looked good, though!
- Discussed the need to have a tolerance for risks, interest in change, manage multiple priorities, and daring to dream
- Mentioned the ever famous Learning 2.0 out of PLCMC
- People want to find it, get it, and get out
- Brought up one of my favorite points: that users who are learning about new technologies have an expectation that we understand them, too (esp. when they’re technologies that enhance research)
- Another obligatory Long Tail reference
- How should the philosophy of librarianship change due to the change in creation and delivery tools, change in environment, change in culture, etc.
- Should we approach privacy differently? Less privacy for better service?
- Suggestions for keeping current: Pew Internet reports, ChangeThis, TechCrunch, Tame the Web, Shifted Librarian, Library Stuff, Librarian in Black, Current Cites, First Monday, D-Lib, New Atlantis, Normative Data Project for Libraries
- Practical ideas: identify partnerships, be opportunistic, re-examine library education, increase cross-cultural access, achieve system and content integration, on stop shopping, change library organization to meet new demands, build community, protect privacy and role of the library as the information commons, assess progress continually, evolve.
- Technology is the easy part, changing the library culture is hard.
I missed the second session in order to have more time to review for our presentation this afternoon. I don’t know that you ever feel totally ready to give a presentation to strangers, but I’m as ready as I can be. Here are the notes I took from the third session, “Libraries and the Changing Research Environment” from Lorcan Dempsey , OCLC.
- Finding that once the information was online, but now we go online to get things done.
- Growing amount of activity online around specific tasks (flickr, meebo, facebook, remember the milk, etc).
- But still prefabricated CMS style websites.
- Digital identity is spread out over network.
- Again, pointing out Hennepin County. They have a search box bit of html that can be pasted into MySpace, etc.
- Again, pointed out the University of Minnesota undergrad page (which, again, is really great!)
- Discussing integrating library services into Course Management Systems. However, I can’t help but wonder how much longer the CMS will last.
- NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship) is the realization of this for specific subject area.
- Creates a set of tools to help people get things done.
- Discussed commonality of social sites that many have personal side, but also social side. Move between the two.
- Then: user built workflow around the library, Now: library must build its services around user workflow.
- If you want to bypass on-site navigation:
- Must optimize for search engine: how to get people to find your stuff?
- Must optimize for link resolvers.
- Must use RSS
- Then: resources scarce/attention abundant, Now: attention scarce/resources abundant
- Brand is the online version of real estate. Building brand draws people in.
- Obligatory discussion of the long tail.
- Put your material in the hubs: special collection links in Wikipedia, images in large image engines, etc. There are observable increases in use.
- Put your information into people’s workflow. Then when people stumble across it, they’ll come to your page.
- Unified search with low transaction cost (like OhioLINK)
- Get information into:
- Institutional workflow (portals, CMS, IR)
- Personal workflow (toolbars, RSS)
- Network level workflow (Google, OhioLINK)
- Integrated experience.
Social Networking, Libraries, and Privacy by George Needham, OCLC
Caroline and I attended this one together. I’m attending primarily due to our privacy audit, so I’ll focus my notes on the privacy issue.
- There is about to be a new OCLC report on this topic next month!
- Libraries set up for time when information scarce and time unlimited, now it’s unlimited information and scarce time.
- Collaboration is the one thing about the current information environment that librarians have and other organizations/people don’t.
- Library ELF (woohoo!) as a self-service pre-overdue notice, but then they have access to personal check-out information.
- Library created content on websites (story time podcasts, video lectures, etc)
- Collaboration in open source information
- Hennepin Count Library Bookspace: social networking for book people, a community for people who like to read
- We win on trustworthy and accurate/quality, but we lose on reliable/always available, cost-effective, easy, convenient, and fast. People value the latter categories more than the former.
- What profession works like reference: general person at desk regardless of question. Most specialize and personalize service. Puts us in the really good “zone of mediocrity.”
- Information war over, we lost. (Apparently the theme of the conference.)
- “Civilians” know the role of the library: place to learn and read, free information, support literacy, research support, etc.
- We do some online things more than other “civilians” like business related social networking sites, blogging, UGC, but we don’t use IM, social network, or chat as much as our users.
- We also read more than general public. Center of our universe, but not for the public: LOW TEXT WEBSITES.
- OCLC asked people how important privacy is to them: librarians found it less important to keep information than public, but when the questions focused on library sites, stats turned around. We said more important to keep library sites private than users did.
- Interestingly, people said, “Stop making it feel like church.” It’s about quiet, but also about environment, alter of the reference desk, sacred texts, etc. This is the library experience. How do we make it more casual and inviting?
- We shouldn’t be a place for people who know how to find information, but to help people who don’t.
- Soon, the report will be here: OCLC Membership Reports
Not so much about privacy here, but certainly there was content about the cultural shift that we’re experiencing. The report should have more information about privacy.
There are a few ZSR folks typing as Roy Tennant gives the keynote address, so I’m just going to hit a few point that I think are particularly interesting on “Envisioning Our Future: Critical Issues for Libraries.”
- The points in his talk aren’t really about the future, it’s now.
- Google makes decisions differently from libraries. For example: Michigan allows full text cut & paste, but Google won’t (then others could index it, too).
- Open Content Alliance allows downloadable files: very open!
- Increased need to split inventory control from discovery.
- Centralized systems require segmented content based on topic, intended audience, etc.
- Asked audience to join with him to kill off the term “OPAC” as “public access” is an anachronism. He suggested “catalog” instead.
- Systems optimized for librarians, not users. Amazon, etc. are easier for most people.
- “Copernican Revolution” We are no loner the center, our patrons are.
- Make local collections show up on the web when folks are searching for information.
- Massively Centralized systems drive users to the local library.
- We lost the battle on search. We should refocus our efforts on adding a lot of value to our particular user communities.
- ILS won’t be the finding tool, not good at that.
- Drop wall between local and what can be gotten through ILL.
- “Only librarians like to search, everyone else likes to find.” (Brought the big laughs.)
- Demoed several existing technologies: Open World Cat, OCLC tag cloud, OCLC covers/timelines/most widely held/etc, results with just author/title/description—what people want, Penn Libraries integrates everything into one page (awesome).
- The next generation ILS will be whatever the vendors offer us.
- Next generation finding tools should be able to find materials across catalog, articles, repository, etc. It will also allow faceted browsing, relevance ranking, provide data from other systems, etc.
- Make link resolver button go away: it’s just one more click for users!
- Goal should be to eliminate as many clicks as possible.
- Mentioned COinS: Thanks, Kevin, for keeping us current!
- Pointed out UCLA science & engineering page that allows faculty to browse several TOC (which they wanted), has RSS, good subject page.
- University of Minnesota Libraries undergrad page is fun and useful! I liked this page!
- University of Rochester course page (showed Women in Society) included metasearch box for WGS databases, librarian contact information & photo, websites, media, books, journals, etc.
- Faculty and students have different things they need/want. Faculty wants experience about their field, students around papers.
- We no longer control how people find information, must play well with other systems.
- What will work: know clientele, learn new technologies, use imagination/creativity, provide easy access, market, it’s ongoing.
- Erik asked about federated search/centralized discovery, should we give up and give it over to Google Scholar? RT answered by saying intentionally used SD instead of FS. Google centralized indexing so didn’t have to go out to each database. RT said it’s a good question & answer isn’t clear. We have a role for tailoring content, maybe use API with Open World Cat (or the like) and hook up to our own system. There’s a role for us to play even if Google Scholar or Open World Cat has centralized searching. Metasearching is painful.
Can I just say this was a great talk? This was a great talk. I recently wrote a paper on Google Books for school, and another on the open access information commons. These papers sparked an interest in all things open and in the general information commons, and this talk reinforced my interest and ideas about this. Great way to kick off the morning!
On Friday, May 4th I attended a one day conference at North Carolina Central University on Digital Libraries. The morning sessions included two presentations on the digital divide and included a discussion on the differences between technical factors (lack of availability, connectivity, expertise) and social factors (lack of community focus, lack of training, difference in use vs intended use). The afternoon focused on a presentation by NCCU students on a digital library course and their experience in creating a digital library using ContentDM in addition to other current projects. Carter Cue from WSSU talked about the Digital Forsyth project!
For Monday & Tuesday this week I am in Durham, NC attending the EBL/IP conference. The noon luncheon featured a talk by Dr. Griffiths on an approach to applying return on investment (ROI) studies to libraries and academic institutions. While the talk went into great detail, one of the most interesting comments was a short section on how the library chose to report data. They tuned documents to specific user populations and took an opportunity to have some dedicated space in a local newspaper to publish a single statistic/graphic every month (ala USA Today). Dr. Griffiths indicated that these statistics were very widely used and consumed as compared to the more complete reports!
The afternoon included a session on EBL in collection management and evidence based approaches to information literacy instruction.