Tuesday, October 30, 2007

IL2007: Notes from Monday

Tom Hogan started off the day by welcoming people to the 11th Internet Librarian and the 8th in Monterey. He said that 48 U.S. plus Washington D.C. are represented at this conference. There are also people from 11 foreign countries. In total there are 1,554 people attending, including 102 exhibitors and 67 people who are attending the exhibits only.

The phrase "Internet Librarian" was first used in June 1993. What is the retronym that describes a non-Internet librarian? Excellent question! He's asked people to put suggestions on the evaluation forms.

Lee Rainie, from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, did the keynote, "2.0 & the Internet World." Lee always has lots of data...too much to takes notes on. Thankfully, his presentation will be online on the IL2007 site. I would also encourage people to check out the Project's web site and read materials there. Their stuff is always very readable. (Once I get more time, I may place some info from his talk online. 11/26/2007 -- Well, I guess I not going to get any notes online from his talk. His presentation, though, is here.)

Sarah Houghton-Jan and Aaron Schmidt did a session on "Online Outreach: 2.0 Marketing Strategies for Libraries." Their presentation -- and most others -- will also be on the Information Today web site. They talked through many tools/strategies for getting the word out about a library: (categories)
  • Search engine findability
  • Library directory listings
  • Blog search engines
  • Wikipedia
  • Wikimapia
  • Community web site info
  • Blogs and forums
  • Presence where it's warranted
  • Social review web sites
  • Q&A sites
  • Blog geo-search engines
  • Online phone directories
  • ..and more..
They did mention many specific tools which are listed on their slides.

"Putting Evidence-Based Practice to Work" presented information from Frank Cervone and Amanda Hollister. The key is -- to me -- is that (1) we know how to gather the evidence (and its not hard) and (2) it allows us to make better decisions about the content of library web sites (which was the focus of both presenters). Evidence-based practice has come to us out of the medical community. It is a more accurate -- less emotional way -- of making decisions, since you are making those decisions based on evidence (information). There are many workshops on this topic, so information professionals who need to acquire this skills should be able to learn it.

Meredith Farkas and Joshua Petrusa did a presentation on "User Generated Content." Their presentation and other information is here. Why do user generated content?
  • We don't know everything
  • Insufficient metadata exists (so let others help build it)
  • Findability and refindability
  • Stories people tel about items are of value
  • Interaction leads to personal connections
  • People are doing it!
Why shouldn't you do user generated content?
  • No control
  • Multiple terms are used to describe the same thing (no authority control)
  • People tag selfishly (content is self-centered)
  • People tag incorrectly
  • Cheap cataloguing but harder to do accurate retrieval
Frank Cervone and Jeff Wisniewski did a lively presentation about "What's New with Federated Search." Research at their institutions has shown that users are using federated search software and that usage is increasing. In addition, people are looking at full-text that they receive from their searches, although it is not known if the users like the articles.

They note that there continues to be consolidation in the industry and vendors swapping the tools that they are using. The slide they used to demonstrate this became a jumbled mess! Companies/products mentioned during the presentation included: (there may have been more)
  • SirsiDynix
  • Innovative
  • VTLS
  • Muse
  • TLC
  • WebFeat
  • Vivisimo
  • Aquabrowser
  • Grokker
  • Autonomy
  • Siderian
  • dbWiz (Simon Frasier Univ. Lib.)
  • Keystone DLS (Index Data...as well as their newer product)
  • LibraryFind (Oregon St. Univ. Lib.)
  • Federated search for articles --> federated search for OPAC and articles --> federated search for all content
  • Number of vendors is shrinking
  • Open source is increasing
  • Progress on standards
  • Resources migrating to XML format feeds (XML gateways)
  • More holistic approach to content
  • More affordable turnkey solutions
  • Data pre-processing options
  • Visualization and clustering
  • Greater possibility for off-site hosting
As part of the session "Federated Searching Feedback, "I spoke on "Federated Searching Feedback:Walking the Talk?" This presentation was born out of the conversations I've had over the last year with libraries and federated search companies. I've found that companies don't want to provide "too much" information about their products, so it can be difficult to quickly and easily learn the details that you want to know.

Besides talking about the benefits and shortcomings of federated search, I also gave advice to libraries and federated search companies. Advice for federated search companies included:
  • Talk to people (everyone) about your products
  • Use language we understand -- don't use "your own terminology" that doesn't relate to anyone else's terminology
  • Provide screenshots & explanations -- especially of key/unique features
  • Be more transparent
  • Talk openly about how you price, even if you won't talk openly about your prices (e.g., full-time employees, full-time students, number of connectors, etc.)
  • Help us compare “apples to apples”
  • Realize our growing sophistication -- our requirements are changing
The trends I mentioned included:
  • Clustering
  • Visualization
  • Incl. OPAC & Internet sources as a norm
  • Open source
    • dbWiz (Simon Frasier Univ. Lib.)
    • Keystone DLS (Index Data)
    • LibraryFind (Oregon St. Univ. Lib.)
    • OpenSite Search
  • More installations
  • Built-in to database products, not separate software
  • Ability to search across databases from one product automatically
Finally, Sarah Williams and Angela Bonnell talked about the feedback they gathered on their installation of their federated search product ("Federated Searching Feedback From Usability Testing & Focus Groups"). They presented interesting data and I'll post a link to their presentation once I have it. (11/2/2007: Their presentation is here.)

09/29/2008: Corrected URL for federated search presentation to: http://www.hurstassociates.com/ppt/jhw_a105.ppt

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