Professional Development

In the '2007 SAMM' Category...

SOLINET: Caroline’s Wrap Up

Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:16 pm

Lauren did a good job of describing the closing session, there is nothing I can really add to it. Overall, I thought that the conference was good. Libraries clearly need to change their methods and librarians need to change their perspectives if they plan to stay relevant. I know, I know, how could libraries not be relevant. Well, unfortunately it seems to be happening whether we like it or not, so we need to do something about that.

During the closing session I started thinking about our students, faculty, staff, and patrons in general. Who am I and who are we to say what they want and how to deliver what they want? I think we can assume certain things about our users: they want information quickly, they want it as accurate as possible, but they don’t care how they get the information they are seeking as long as they get it, and fast. And there are a lot of new technologies out their, but how do we know what they are really using.

I have come away with several ideas, but one idea for sure: I feel like our Library needs its own student group. This would be a group of students from each class, some student assistants, some students from other student organizations maybe, and this group would help shape the Library, what we offer patrons, and how we offer services to patrons. This group could even help with Wake the Library and marketing opportunities. We would have to have at least one staff member, maybe two, advise this group, and then maybe we could get this group recognized by student government and this group would be an official student group on campus. I think with the ever changing library world, it makes sense to have a group of the same people we are trying to serve help us in this endeavor. Maybe even include a faculty member.

I did enjoy rooming with Lauren, we both have a lot of ideas and it was nice to bounce ideas back and forth. Also, I enjoyed tasting her not vegan friendly meal at lunch (it was like tasting whether something was poisoned, I know the people at our table thought we were crazy) and finding appropriate food :-) . We both had a nice time at dinner that night with Erik, during which Erik and I decided to get dessert and almost died when the waiter brought back what could have been enough to feed 6 people. We prevailed over dessert and finished our servings, but it’s not something I plan to attempt again anytime soon.

After a stop in Charlotte to attend UNCC’s graduation on Saturday (fastest, shortest graduation I have ever attended, and that makes it the best by far) I made it home yesterday and have been catching up ever since. I’ll be happy to get back to work tomorrow.

SOLINET: Lauren’s Wrap Up

Friday, May 11, 2007 8:07 pm

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!

SOLINET: Is MyLibrary Going Down the YouTube?

Friday, May 11, 2007 7:53 pm

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.

SOLINET: The Changing Research Environment

Friday, May 11, 2007 7:46 pm

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.

SOLINET: Atlanta, GA

Thursday, May 10, 2007 10:19 pm

Lauren did an excellent job of outlining the keynote speech and the first concurrent session, and I have to agree that the Roy Tennant gave an amazing presentation. I felt really motivated afterwards. What he mentioned, and Lauren so tremendously outlined, are points that we all need to consider and start discussing at ZSR.

I was hoping that the first concurrent session was going to be a little more focused on privacy and social networking than it was, but it was still a good presentation.

Lunch was good, and although I missed the author speaker (Gwyn Hyman Rubio), I plan to get her books Icy Sparks and The Woodman’s Daughter, they seem interesting.

In the afternoon I attended three more sessions. The first of these sessions was entitled “We Change Our Buildings Our Buildings Change Us.” The director of the Georgia State University Library and one of her librarians discussed their experience of renovating their building. They have a portion of their website devoted to this major GSU Library transformation. One thing I found interesting about this project was/is its funding. With permission and acceptance from student groups on campus, they school has added a student fee to every students’ tuition (undergraduate and graduate students) of $35 to pay off the costs of renovation. The way they presented this possibility to these student groups was also very good, coming from the position that the students deserve a better library, as opposed to we want a better building for us. After all, we are about our patrons.

The second afternoon session I attended was a repeat of a session offered earlier: “Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve.” There is so much out there right now, and of course it’s hard to stay ahead, but the presenters point was that we can’t stay ahead, we just have to be aware of upcoming additions. There are a lot of things out there right now. A few examples given during this session of new technologies: Wapedia.mobi is the mobile version of Wikipedia; more use of Opera (web browser), lots of examples of blogs and social networking sites such as OverheardinNewYork.com (there are a lot of these Overheard sites, I think we need an OverheardinZSR or OverheardinLibraries); Semapedia (this may be a little too much); OQO (I want it); and so on. There will always be something, but we were reminded to watch out for “Technology Tsunamis.”

The last session I attended was the best, but I am biased. Erik and Lauren presented on “Social Software and the Future of the Library,” and they did a fabulous job. As an observer of the presenters and the crowd, people were furiously taking notes, especially when Erik was talking about our recent methods of teaching Information Literacy using the wiki. A lot of people were interested in what they had to say, and I was very proud to be a part of the Library that they were so perfectly representing.

All in all a very good day, and a worthwhile conference. Tomorrow is the closing session and then we’re all coming home.

OCLC talk on social software and privacy

Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:16 am

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.

Tennant kicking off SAMM 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:14 am

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!


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