Monday, April 30, 2007

Digital collections & Web 2.0

As we become more comfortable with Web 2.0 tools, we are seeing them be used on sites that hold digital collections. Case in point, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. The Walker Art Center has placed pieces of several collections online. Some can be viewed under Collections while others are in an online space called Gallery 9. What Web 2.0 tools are on the site?
  • Blogs --There are six blogs that focus on different aspects of the Center and its mission. Here staff can communicate quickly and informally with the Center's patrons and visitors. (There is even a blog post about a Brewster Kahle speech.) Comments are allowed, giving readers a way of providing additional information or feedback.
  • Podcasts -- These are available on the Internet and by telephone. Obviously, these are truly meant to be heard on one's cell phone while the person is viewing the work live. Not all of the works that have podcasts are available online, but some are (for example).
  • E-mail Reminders -- How often do we see something on an event calendar that we forget to write down? The Center provides an easy way for people to receive an e-mail reminder about any specific upcoming event.
  • Webcasts -- They are recording lectures and panel discussions for use on their web site after the fact. (BTW An upcoming panel is Becoming an Internet Phenomenon.) Those interested in these events may not be able to attend due to a time conflict or geographic distance. By using webcasts, the Walker Art Center is extending the reach of these events.
  • RSS Feeds --There are RSS feeds for different sections of the web site including the webcasts. With RSS, there is no need to go to the web site constantly to find new content. Some of the content can come right to you.
The result?
  • Those who are interested in the Walker Art Center are more knowledgeable about its activities and events.
  • Some digital collections become more "three-dimensional" with the addition of audio and video.
  • People feel more engaged with the Center and its work. We would hope that if people feel more engaged that they are then more supportive of the Center financially.
More institutions need to challenge themselves on adding Web 2.0 tools so that they can reach out and interact with their patrons more. Every tool does not fit every situation, so an institution will need to select those tools that truly fit its needs.

5/1/2007: A commenter notes that the links are "broken." The Walker Art Center site seems to be totally down. Hopefully it will be back up soon. 11:15 a.m. -- Site is back up! Nate @ Walker said they suffered a block-wide power outage.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Auntie Mame and Web 2.0

I attended a workshop in Rochester today entitled "Social Libraries: The 2.0 Phenomenon" which was attended by approximately 80 people. As the day ended, I couldn't help think of the movie Auntie Mame. In the movie, young Patrick has to go live with his aunt (Mame). Mame is a knowledgeable socialite who travels the world. Poor Patrick finds that he doesn't understand everything that Mame talks about. The solution Auntie Mame suggests is for Patrick to write down those things he doesn't understand and to learn about them later. No matter how much you know about Web 2.0, there are always new things to learn and so there are notes written and sites/ideas to look up later.

I came away from today with a list of things I want to learn and I'll organize my learning activities using 43 Things. For me, many of the 43 Things will likely be Web 2.0 or technology related. And I'll likely include some of the 23 Things from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County that are not already part of my weekly repertoire.

I am not the only person who left the workshop with a list of things to investigate. Stephen Abram likely included something during the day that was new from every person in the room. Some, however, may need to learn more than others. As we heard today, there are organizations that block some Internet sites that we need to learn more about. So some of the tools that many take for granted are not known by everyone.

At this point, those of use who are "living" online or who have a lot of interaction with people who are Millennials (or younger) need develop a basic understand of the different categories of tools. We need to know basically what the products are (e.g., Flickr, Second Life, IM, etc.) and have an idea of how they are used. We can't go through this time of change on the Internet without understanding the tools that are being developed and that will -- in some form or another -- become the new communication standards online. We need to use 23 Things and 43 Things (and whatever else) to move us forwards and keep us relevant.

As Abram and others have reminded us -- if you take only 15 minutes a day to learn something new, you can learn a tremendous amount over the long haul. 15 minutes. I'm taking the challenge (my 43 Things in development). How about you?

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Event: Unlocking Audio: Sharing Experience of Mass Digitisation

Unlocking Audio: Sharing Experience of Mass Digitisation
26-27 October 2007
The British Library Centre for Conservation, London

Preliminary announcement (as posted on the DIGITAL-PRESERVATION discussion list):

Unlocking Audio is an international conference exploring the planning and strategies required for the successful execution of large-scale audio digitisation projects, and the technical and practical issues involved.

Aimed at actual practitioners, sharing best practice and looking at emerging standards, the event will to be held at the British Library in London on Friday 26th and the morning of Saturday 27th October 2007.

Invited speakers include:

Kevin Bradley (National Library of Australia) Jonathan Leong (BBC Archives) Pekka Gronow (Finnish Radio archives) David Seubert (University of California, Santa Barbara)

The event will be held at the new purpose-built facility, The Centre for Conservation, located at the main British Library site in London. The Centre contains the technical department of the British Library Sound Archive and includes 10 new soundproof transfer studios, a recording studio, a small workshop and laboratory.

Places are strictly limited to 60 delegates. The programme will include invited presentations, a roundtable discussion, a social dinner and tours around the new audio-technical facilities. Space will be available for displaying posters and small exhibits. Participants will be free to join optional excursions to other sound archives and studios on Saturday afternoon after the close of the conference.

A detailed programme and application information will be issued soon.

"Unlocking Audio"
The British Library Sound Archive,
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB
United Kingdom
Fax: + 44 (0)207 412 7441

27th October is the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

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World Intellectual Property Day (April 26)

Today is World Intellectual Property Day. This comes on the heels of UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, which was April 23. The theme for World Intellectual Property Day is "Encouraging Creativity." Yes, intellectual property (IP) and creativity are linked. Unfortunately, most of us see IP as stifling creativity, but that should not be so.

One group that is trying to ensure that IP does not stifle creativity is the Creative Commons. As they say:
In sum, the Creative Commons toolset encourages and enables participation in creativity by everyone, not only those with access to copyright lawyers. This is as it should be in modern democracies, where the tools for expression and creativity are available to everyone as everyday consumer goods.
How did people celebrate today? There are activities listed here. Maybe you can think ahead to next year and plan an activity in your place of work -- or with your users -- to think about creativity, inventions, and how they are entwined with intellectual property.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Article: Archivists embrace digital page

This is a nice article about the digitization efforts occurring at the University of Toronto with help from the Internet Archive. They have digitized about 44,000 books that are now available for free on the Internet. Later in the article, the author writes about the machines and people working on the project (called the 13 Scribes):
The "scribes" here are a combination of people and custom-built machines that can each scan up to 500 book pages in an hour. Multiply that by 13 such set-ups and two seven-hour shifts every weekday and you can see how the scanning centre manages to copy more than 1,000 books a week.

...The only sounds are repeated soft "swooshes" and the subdued click of cameras. The swooshes come from the rise and fall of V-shaped glass plates that press the pages of books flat to allow high-resolution photography.

The human half of each scribe turns the book pages, pumps the glass up and down with a foot pedal and fires the cameras. All 13 scribes are cosseted inside a light-proof cowling of black fabric, increasing the resemblance to monks in a scriptorium.

The project is efficient in getting the materials online, with some materials available within 24 hours.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last issue of RLG DigiNews

As the introduction states:
The issue in front of you is the last of RLG DigiNews in its current form. As RLG continues to shape its combination with OCLC and create the new Programs and Research division, we are rethinking the publication program that will support our new agenda while providing readers and authors with the kind of vehicle that supports the re-invention of cultural institutions in the research, teaching, and learning process. RLG DigiNews will be an important part of this program. Expect to see it back with a renewed editorial direction. There’s much to do and coordinate but we’ve committed both the talent and the resources to make this happen. Watch for your next RLG DigiNews no later than January, 2008.
The issue includes two articles that give a historical perspective as well as look ahead in our industry:

Like many others, I look forward to this publication's return. For now, these articles have given us much to "chew" on.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Web page: Lincoln and Abolition

The blog post I wrote yesterday has received a couple of comments and made me realize that I should provide a link to more information. As Chris commented, "Parts of a quote taken out of a letter cannot do justice to the great man and the struggles that he was faced with." True. Unfortunately, the Lincoln Memorial does not provide more context for its visitors (and its web site doesn't even mention the exhibit). This web page, though, provides the story for those of you who are curious.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Getting the story correct

Friday I walked around Washington, D.C. and visited many, many monuments. Some I had seen several times before, while some (like the memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt) were new to me.

Under the Lincoln Memorial is a small exhibit about the events that have occurred at the memorial and a small exhibit about President Lincoln. As I read the quotes, I heard a woman near me become disheartened when she read this quote (pictured here). We are taught to believe that Lincoln freed slaves in the South during the Civil War because he believed it was the correct thing to do. Although he did not believe in slavery, his real goal was to save the Union (the United States) which was being torn in two. He finally freed the slaves as a way of destroying the South economically so it could not secede.

It is said that the winners write history. And sometimes history is re-written a bit (or details dropped) in order to improve the story. However, we should strive to get the stories correct, even if we don't like all of the details.

As you work on your digitization programs, please remember to tell the complete stories. Although you may not like some of the details, your users will thank you for your honestly.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

CIL2007: Digitization workshop resources

This post provides supplementary material to a full-day workshop I led at the Computers in Libraries conference on April 19 entitled "Digitization 101: The Workshop."


Digitization is much more than converting a physical or analog object into its digital equivalent. It is about efficiently repurposing crucial information resources to improve how these resources are used by staff, colleagues, and end users. For libraries, it can open the collection to a much larger user-base, whether that user-base is comprised of researchers, students, or businesspeople. Most digitization programs are doomed from the start because the focus is on the conversion process instead of other, critical pre-scanning issues such as selection criteria, preservation of original documents, metadata creation, software and hardware concerns, integration into existing systems, and legal issues. These issues and more are discussed in this workshop: digitization definitions; the five major steps in digitization process; roles for project managers and team members; critical success factors; copyright and other intellectual property issues; marketing to colleagues, collaborators and users; funding; typical program stoppers and inhibitors; and digitization trends.


ADDENDUM (04/22/2007): These are URLs mentioned during the workshop and added here for the convenience of the participants.
04/23/2007: Added additional text about the Sitts book.
04/26/2007: Updated links on Colet and Sitts.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CIL2007: Wrap-up & thank you

The official conference is over and tomorrow are the post-conference workshops (including mine). This has been a very good conference. Excellent keynote speakers, excellent sessions. I heard good comments on the content from lots of people. Information Today and the hotel made some adjustments during the conference in order to better accommodate the participants, including turning a men's restroom outside the meeting rooms into a women's restroom! (Okay, that may not sound like a big deal, but it was to a lot of women.) There was an overflow room for the one small meeting room with A/V so more people could hear/see the presentations (although they could not see the presenter).

As Jane Dysart, conference planner, wrote in a comment on this blog:
Let the planning for CIL 2008 begin! And yes, there will be changes at our event next year at the Hyatt. And for those who are still wondering about why we are at the Hyatt, here's my blog post from last year,
So a final thanks to Information Today for a wonderful conference. Thanks, too, for the wifi access in the meeting room area (ballroom level). Every conference should provide that so that participants can look at URLs mentioned in presentations, download presentations, blog and communicate (often with each other).

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CIL2007: Federated Search

[04/22/2007 -- corrected formatting.]

Frank Cervone and Jeff Wisnewski – Federated Search: State of the Art

Standard features:

  • Support for multiple protocols
    • Z39.50, SRU/SRW. OAI. Other XML
  • Simple and advanced search
  • Post processing of results
  • Statistics

Advanced search features, e.g., integration with other software

Library Journal Automated System marketplace 2006 lists the competitors in this product space.

  • Ex Libris
  • WebFeat
  • Products based on MuseGlobal
  • And others…

However, we need to remove the confusion from having to make choices.

Gone from the marketplace: Endeavor. SirsiDynix’s solution is going away.

Database vendors are enhancing their market share by offering federated search. (e.g., ProQuest CSA Illumina/MultiSearch). But do our users understand the categories, for example, that are in MultiSearch?

Will ProQuest CSA kill MultiSearch in favor of Serial Solutions?

Ovid SearchSolver:

  • Based on Muse technology
  • Hosted
  • Results post-processing
  • Customizable, brandable
  • Integrates faceted browsing

Ex Libris – Endeavor: all of the Endeavor federated search is being integrated into the Ex Libris product line.

  • MetaLib
  • SFX
  • Primo

Metalib 4.0:

  • Now with faceted browsing
  • Interface with eventually be supplanted by Primo


  • Visual navigation
  • Different way of information discovery

Grokker in EBSCO:

  • Visual navigation
  • Exposes relationships between pieces of data that may not be apparent in a text environment
  • A pleasant experience for the user

Encore (by Innovative):

  • Includes tag clouds – associates works with LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) and then associates those LCSH with phrases and creates a phrase cloud

Fretwell-Downing (OCLC PICA):

  • FDI Portal
  • OL2
  • Sounds like there were in the forefront at one point but no more. Frank showed a cartoon of a man yawning.

WebFeat Express:

  • Hosted version of WebFeat Prism
  • $7950 for an annual subscription
  • Several interface choices – brandable
  • OpenURL compliant
  • ProCite/EndNote compatible
  • EBSCO A-Z Integration
  • Trying to make it plug-n-play as much as possible

Who else is in the game?

  • Agent
  • Carlweb
  • Cameleon
  • DOM2
  • Millennium Access Plus
  • Encore
  • Explorit
  • Keystone
  • MetaSearch Solution
  • Muse
  • OpenSiteSearch
  • Polaris
  • Serials Solution
  • Searcher Analyzer
  • WebClarity

Looking outside of libraryland:

  • Autonomy -- with Universal Repository Interfacing
  • Endeca
  • Siderian -- Take Guided Navigation a step further…


  • Number of vendors is shrinking
  • Migration to XML information feeds
  • Integration of content with external systems
    • Organizational portals
    • Bibliographic management software
    • Course management/ learning management systems
  • Increased use of visualization and clustering
  • Greater possibilities for off-site hosting
  • Data pre-processing options
  • Google Scholar / Microsoft Academic Live

They skimmed through a lot of information. I wish they had gone more in-depth and perhaps covered less (deeper information on fewer topics, rather than a small bit of information on a lot of topics).

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CIL2007: Alliance & Charlotte Libraries Get a Second Life: Library Services in a Virtual World

Lori Bell(Alliance Library System) will be introducing Tom Peters (TAP Information Services), Kelly Czarnecki (PLCMC) and Matt Gullett (PLCMC).

Bell began with an overview of SL and gave these statistics:
  • 5,000 people per day visit the Alliance Information Archipelago
  • 2,000 - 3,000 teen visitors a day visit the Eye3You Alliance Island
  • Since April 2006, they have gone from 1 to 10 islands, plus 10 partner islands
  • There are 40 hours a week of reference coverage in the Welcome Area of Info Island
She then gave an overview of the islands.

Czarnecki then talked about the teen grid. One person in the audience is involved on the teen grid. She says that the teens come from all over the world. Those teens do not necessary use their libraries in real life, but they go to the library in SL.

Gullett said the ideal for the Eye4You Island was to think about what teens really wanted. He said the island is a space for interactive programming and building relationships. The kids want to learn, but not necessarily from books. They want to learn from each other and the adults (like Czarnecki and Gullett).

In teen SL, there are 90 islands, but only two that are open to all teens. The others are for specific schools and programs. So the Eye4You Island is only one of two public spaces on the teen grid. They are providing a level of accessibility that the other islands are not currently providing. (Czarnecki notes that some of the private islands will become public, like one developed by the Topeka & Shawnee Public Library.)

Peters said that books and exhibits are driving people to the Information Archipelago. Yes, residents are looking for libraries.

What services do people want?
  • Reference services -- Some questions are "real world" while others are "immigrant" questions (from people who are new to SL and just need help).
  • Programs including book and genre discussions
  • Exhibits
  • Collections
  • Training
Why are librarians in SL?
  • This is a new professional frontier.
  • This is where many of our users and non-users are
  • To attract new users to the traditional library through referral
  • To investigate library services in virtual worlds
  • To provide library services 24/7
  • To meet and work with librarians worldwide
  • To learn and use the 3D web, the emerging web interaction interface
  • Funding and sustainability
  • Volunteer burnout
  • Partnerships are key
  • Steep learning curve
  • What libraries services do virtual world users want?
  • What? You're working in SL? Right...
  • Robust hardware and Internet connection are essential
  • No integrated audio and web yet
  • Highly addictive and time intensive
What's next?
  • Permanent virtual ALS staff working out of the ALS world HQ. Likewise for PLCMC.
  • More "traditional" info resources available.
  • Pioneer "meeting technologies' to facilitate virtual meetings.
  • Integrate Info Island and Eye4You into ALS & PLCMC daily operations so all staff are SL functional.
  • Actively promote the Alliance Information Archipelago.
  • Improve transportation around the islands.
  • Create an Info Island for kids.
Why is AIA/E4Y Good for ALS and PLCMC?
  • Continues ALS & PLCMC traditions for being leaders in the library community
  • Provides national profile and recognition as two of the most innovative library systems in the country
  • Easier to recruit excellent board of directors and innovative staff
  • Seen as a leader
  • Easier to land grants for innovative services
  • Teaching new technologies and services

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CIL2007: Tuesday & Wednesday morning

I'm sitting in Megan Fox's session on "Trends in Mobile Tools & Applications for Libraries." She was a keynote speaker last year, I think, and I remember that she did an excellent presentation. I'm interested in what tools she will talk about.

Earlier John Van Oudenaren -- Senior Advisor, World Digital Library Initiative, Library of Congress -- spoke on "World Digital Libraries (WDL)." I'm looking forward to read what others blog about his session.

What stood out to me was the forethought to create a"free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials." They have four facilities worldwide for doing the actual digitization. These facilitates will help build the WDL as well as provide services for other programs. Being multi-lingual adds a complexity to the program but ensures that many more people will be able to use the web site. In order to do all of this work, the Library of Congress (LOC) is partnering with several organizations around the world. This not only does this allow the project to expand its capabilities, but it also helps to build goodwill and ensure that this is not seen just as a LOC project.

More information is available on the project's about page. I would also encourage you to view the video about the project.

The World Digital Library should go live later this year.

Megan just showed the Samsung Q1, which I saw someone use here. That could be my next laptop!

Yesterday I moderated the " Planning & Managing Digitally Track," which contained five sessions:
What stood out to me, at the end of day, was how the sessions fits together. Jones' presentation on accelerated planning was important to hear. Doing our strategic plans should not take months or years. Using accelerated planning, it can occur in a matter of a few weeks. (Her presentation will be posted here.)

A strategic plan is important as we think about those projects that we want to undertake. Engard and Black both talked about different types of projects, and how Web 2.0 tools could be used to help manage them. Using blogs, wikis, RSS, webcams, etc. can help keep staff and users in the loop on whatever project you are undertaking. They can also ensure that information is not lost, that everyone has the same information, and that there is an archive after the fact. Both opened eyes to how Web 2.0 tools can be used to coordinate efforts.

Of course, both Engard and Black were talking about being innovative. Christina Pikas and I talked about innovative libraries, so our session fit well within this track.

Finally, David Lee King spoke on change. That was the theme -- really -- of the entire day. We need to find ways of letting go of the past and moving into the future. Some people will be resistant to change, so we need to find out why (information-based, physiological/emotional, or "big stuff") and help them work through that resistance so that change is possible. I hope King places his presentation on his web site.

By the way, our keynote speaker yesterday was Andy Carvin. The originally person scheduled was sick and could not make it. Carvin was an excellent last minute stand-in. His presentation was "Using Social Media for Community Engagement." He had more slides than he was abler to show. I would encourage you to view his presentation, follow the embedded links, and think about the change in media production that has been enabled by Web 2.0. A key concept -- the democratization of content. (7/5/2007 - URL corrected for Carvin's presentation.)

Addendum (4:15 p.m.): Connecting Librarian did an excellent job taking notes during the keynote this morning.

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CIL2007: Second Life Dine-around

18 people had dinner together last night (Dine Around) at a restaurant named Urban Thai (excellent food!). I asked the group to answer the following question:
What benefit do you see for libraries in Second Life?
Here are the answers I received:
  • Exposure to special collections that are only otherwise available behind locked doors or to local residents.
  • A different way to reach other users.
  • Another way to provide information and services to non-traditional patrons.
  • A great way to collaborate with museums, library schools, educators, vendors, etc.
  • Virtual gathers of librarians as we figure out how to proceed in the brave, new Web 2.0 world.
  • Libraries providing services in new environment. (Libraries in from the beginning)
  • New platform for distance learning.
  • Reaching new users.
  • People / librarians have access to other people -- authors and collections that would not otherwise have.
  • Collaboration between libraries and other new library groups not possible in real world.
  • To keep libraries relevant to teens and to develop a teen driven approach to libraries by allowing them to create their own space.
  • I see a revolution for the role and perception of libraries...Librarians will take more and more on the role of facilitator like teachers. The increased interaction with young people 9and old) will make this facilitator role more relevant than it is today.
  • Resource sharing, collaboration, exchanging ideas and expertise. Allowing us to develop a collective "brain" from which we can tap into when needed.
  • Draw awareness to a library's special collection. This can identify that library as a niche library for others to contact when needed.,
Thanks for those who generated this list! All good stuff!

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CIL2007: CIL 2008, April 7 - 9 @ the Hyatt

So mark your calendars now. They know that there have been wrinkles in the setup this year and they have adjusted throughout the week. I'm sure next year's setup in this hotel will be better.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CIL2007: Innovative Libraries: Best Practices & Tales from the Stacks

Innovative LibrariesToday Christina Pikas (pee-kas) and I presented at CIL on innovative libraries. This is a topic that we are both passionate about. In 2006, I presented a session entitled "Failing to Innovate: Not an Option." This session that Christina and I did was a natural outgrowth of that. You can see our presentation here. The presentation was well-received and led to many questions (and comments) afterwards -- something we both enjoyed! I want to spend time in this post publicly answering some of the questions, so that everyone receives the same answers.

BTW Christina has posted information here and here about our presentation.

As I mentioned, during our introduction, Christina works in Baltimore (MD) and I work in Syracuse (NY), so we used a number of Web 2.0 tools to work on this presentation including instant messenger (AIM), Skype, Google Docs, and Zoho. We also used e-mail. The PowerPoint was only created last week (after drafts were created in Zoho) and the only time Christina and I were able to talk face-to-face on this were yesterday and today. So we truly relied on Web 2.0 tools in order to make this happen.

How did Christina and I meet? We knew each other from our blogs and met face-to-face last year at CIL.

How did we think of this topic? After my presentation last year, we both realized that we had a passion for innovation and libraries, and decided this was something we wanted to investigate more. (BTW someone commented afterwards that she could hear/see the passion that we had for this topic. I'm glad it came through.)

How was the research funded? There was no funding. We did it because we wanted to. Funding, though, would have allowed us to do more, including visiting more libraries. (We did all of the interview via telephone except for one that was able to be done face-to-face.) Since this was not funded, it also competed with the other items on our plates.

How were the libraries selected? We asked people in the information industry about the libraries they thought were innovative. We did not want to interview the "usual suspects", but wanted indeed to hear from other libraries who are out of the limelight yet are being innovative.

Who did we interview? Slide #9 shows information on the eight libraries where the library leaders interviewed worked. Because we did these interviews under the John Hopkins University Homewood Institutional Review Board, we cannot disclose the names of those we interviewed. As you can see from the slide, the managers worked at public libraries, school library systems, academic libraries and one special (society) library. We had hoped to interview more -- including more from special libraries -- but we ran out of time. (Each interview took an hour, plus time to review and code the results.) Even with a small sample, we believe that we obtain useful data. We also know that there were significant trends in that data, even though the same was small.

What is our definition of innovation? On slide #4, we gave two definitions of innovation. The first one was what we used during the interviews. It was:
The creation of a new process or product resulting from study and experimentation
What innovations did our library leaders mention? First of all, we weren't really focused on what they did as we were focused on their environment, etc., that allowed them to be innovative. Talking about specific innovations allowed us to understand more about their environment, staff structure, use of resources, etc. Hearing about the innovation then was a means to an end. Those innovations were high tech and low tech, and we really did not try to keep a comprehensive list of what was mentioned, since that was not our focus. In some cases, you might not think that they were innovative, but they fit our definition AND were supported by other activities at the libraries. Christina has listed examples in her blog. I would add:
  • Re-doing the process for re-shelving books
  • Re-arranging the staff workroom
  • Implementing new patron services (including services for young children, teenagers and senior citizens)
  • Using MySpace and IM to interact with college students
  • Implementing technology solutions in a methodical fashion across an entire school library system
  • Creating new services
  • Partnering with institutions that are not the usual suspects
  • Implementing library software ahead of the curve
  • Using Web 2.0 tools
What's next? We would like to do an article, but we are not sure when we'll do it. As Christina mentioned, we would like to add more data before we did that article. We'd also like to go back to those institutions we interviewed to talk with them further. Since this is not our main job, I'm not sure when this all will happen.

Anything else? I enjoyed working on this presentation and conducting the interviews. I think we learned a lot and we hope that we were able to transmit our learnings during the session. I'm sure that this will not be the last of this project, so keep your eyes open for an article or more data or ???

Finally, I'd like to thank Christina for her work and patience on this. Without her, this would not have happened. Christina, thank you!

[Photo above is courtesy of Christina' camera and a kind attendee.]

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CIL2007: First ever Info Tubey Awards

Computers in Libraries gave our awards tonight. The awards were given for library videos in YouTube that promoted libraries and library services. (Yes, there really were criteria.) Many videos were submitted and five libraries received awards. Those libraries were:

I'm sure someone else will post the exact videos that were shown at the awards ceremonies. I suspect, however, that all of the videos done by these libraries are inspirational.

Congratulations to the award winners!

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Monday, April 16, 2007

CIL2007: Sunday & Monday

[4/22/2007: Just realized that the formatting was ugly in Internet Explorer because I had copied it from MS Word. My apologies. I think I've fixed it.]

Although a Nor’easter has arrived, we were able to fly from Syracuse to Washington, D.C. with only a 30 minute delay. The Hyatt is very near the airport in an area that was once primarily office buildings (think of the glass windows as creating a “crystal city”) and now contains many hotels and restaurants. In an area that could be dead on Sunday, there was indeed life.

The hotel is gorgeous! Beautiful rooms with flat screen TVs and we may never leave!

Computers in Libraries (CIL) used to be held at this Hyatt, but for several years was held at the Washington Hilton. This year, the conference is back at the Hyatt. Having now been through the first day of the conference, I can tell you that one of the rooms used is too small. The center area, which today was used for breakfast and coffee breaks can get crowded fast. Moving between floors also takes a bit of patience. (The exhibit hall and the ballrooms are on different floors.) Since this is the first year that CIL is back in this renovated hotel, I think that everyone is learning how to use the space effectively. My hope is that next year, the conference can be configured a bit different to help the flow of foot traffic.

I should note upfront that I am not blogging live. I have found that when I blog live, I get to haul my laptop (yippee) and type a lot of information. When I write notes and blog later, I synthesize the information differently (and my back likes me better). Surely someone will blog in great detail about the conference, but that’s not going to be me.

Tom Hogan, Sr. opened the conference and welcomed everyone. There are more than 2,393 attendees at the conference, including those who are exhibiting. Attendees are here from 48 states (not North or South Dakota) and 12 countries (not counting the U.S.). There are 130 speakers and moderators. There are 66 companies exhibiting in the exhibit hall.

The keynote speaker today was Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project. Rainie gave one of the keynotes last year and again did an excellent job. In his position at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Rainie has access to survey data that helps us understand how our use and perception of the Internet is changing.

What is Web 2.0?

  • The web as platform
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
    • This is a recurring theme – the Internet today is comprised on content from many sources, including user-generated content. As Rainie described, younger Internet users want to create content and want their content commented on. The number of people creating content is growing.
  • Data is the next “Intel inside”
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Rich user experience (and a free user experience)

He gave examples of different utilities (functions) for Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. For example, taxonomy (Web 1.0) and folksonomy (Web 2.0); Evite (Web 1.0) and (Web 2.0).

There are six hallmarks of Web 2.0 that matter to libraries:

  1. The Internet has become the computer. Computer users equal Internet users.Broadband adoption continues to increase. Broadband allows users to have a different – more robust – Internet experience. Also wireless connective has increased, allowing people to be more mobile. More people are using the Internet from more places. Broadband turns the Internet into a destination that is fun and entertaining. Broadband has allowed video to be a big part of user experience on the Internet. Broadband allows makes people’s Internet use more social.
  2. Tens of millions of Americans, especially the young, are creating and sharing content online. And the Internet has become a switchboard for social life (including documenting that social life). He had a chart that showed that content creation online diminished by age group; so the younger the person, the more content that person created online.
  3. Even more Internet users are accessing content created by others. People do verify (vet) the information – even the young. If they need to be sure of the information’s accuracy, they do extra searches or check with their social network.
  4. People are sharing what they know and feel online. Some blogs – although public – are really meant for a small number of close friends.
  5. Know how and processing power are increasing and being shared – peer to peer networks, grid computers, open source software.
  6. Users are customizing their content “pages.”

He quoted Pam Burger ( and her five challenges of Web 2.0:

  1. Navigation – transitioning from linear to nonlinear. Allowing information to be re-found.
  2. Context – learning to see the connections between data/information.
  3. Focus – practicing reflection and deep thinking. Having time when you’re not doing continuous partial attention.
  4. Skepticism – learning to evaluate web information.
  5. Ethical behavior – understanding the rules of cyberspace (surveillance & privacy).

He ended with the Michael Wesch video on Web 2.0 which you can see in YouTube. (And if you haven’t seen it, go find it! It explains Web 2.0 in a way that you will understand.)

One of the things Rainie talked about was that kids understand the different levels of friendship and that not all information is meant for all “friends.” We fear that kids are living their lives too openly online, however, the research they have done shows that most kids are being careful. As he said, they’ve gotten the message and are not being too public with their lives.

Ken Roberts, CEO, Hamilton Public Library (Canada) spoke on “Building Communities, Connections & Strategies.” The Hamilton Public Library is an amalgamation that was created in 2001. What is unique about this award winning library is the care and attention they have paid to their web site and online users. One-third of their library visits takes place online (i.e., library databases not just web hits).

In 2002, the library began a community portal project, with many partners, and with the goal of making more community information visible as well as elevating the information that could be found in the library. The portal has increased usage for smaller organizations (not for profits) and helped people find resources, etc., that they may not have known existed. It is the “google” for Hamilton. It uses a robust content management system that allows the partners to maintain their content easily. The portal includes Web 2.0 features (e.g., RSS and web casting). Users use a single sign-on (for any content that requires a sign-on). With the CMS, the library did have to train content creators and has done user training too.

Library cards are now issued online via the portal. The cards are issued after one hour, allowing the library to verify basic user information against a database (address, phone number). People never need to go to a library branch to get a library card.

One of the key things Roberts said was that libraries should spend less money on creating lots of tools and more money on publicity. People need to know what you have! The library has used several publicity vehicles including “advertising” with the Hamilton Canadian football team.

He noted that their community partners on the portal have allowed them to do partnership in other areas. And he gave advice in regards to partnerships.

  • Remember that you are all in the same boat. Their problems are your problems.
  • Your reputation as partner will proceed you.
  • Commitment to a common vision and goals is key.
  • Need to build trust.
  • Must recognize that their will be different organizational cultures.
  • The sustainability model will evolve.
  • The project will be under sourced.


  • Organizational structure/power partners (some partners are more powerful)
  • Inclusion and balance
  • Changing priorities – the vision need to be sold to the entire organization so that everyone has the same priorities.
  • Sustaining the partnership
  • Implementing new stuff

What do you need to succeed?

  • Trust & respect
  • Shared values
  • Engage the right people
  • Start small, think big
  • Integrate with core business
  • Test!!!!!!
  • Celebrate success and excuse mistakes

An outcome from the portal project is that some of the roles (job descriptions) of libraries were changed (upgraded), since they are now interacting more with community groups and are creating content.

Finally, the Hamilton Public Library does have a virtual library branch that covers “any service that doesn’t involve walking through the door.” The virtual branch does have a staff.

The Hamilton Public Library is exploring Second Life, but does not have an island yet that is visible.

Jessamyn West’s ( blog) talk was entitled “Pimp My Firefox” (okay…that was the informal title). Her presentation is online at I had not heard Jessamyn speak before, although I certainly knew who she was. Her presentation was fast-paced and information packed. Go to her web site and look at her full presentation if you are interested in customizing your use of Firefox. I definitely found some things I want to try out!

Karen Huffman – Manager, Knowledge Initiatives, National Geographic Society – and – Derek Willis, Research Database Manager, The Washington Post – spoke on “Mashups, Remixing Info & Making Data Browsable.”

Huffman’s presentation is online at Huffman said that our desktops are moving to the Internet where our users are. This is enabling new opportunities. At National Geographics, the library sees itself as operating the “white space” on the organization chart where they can be change agents. They “learn about emerging technologies through practical applications.” They are re-purposing the assets of the Society for use on the Intranet or Internet.

It was amazing to see what NGS is doing. My notes could not adequately capture what she showed, so look at her presentation. They are being very creative in their use of Web 2.0 tools as well as their repurposing of content.

Having now worked with wikis, RSS, content management, etc., (wow!) they will now be looking at making content Blackberry friendly, social bookmarks, and gadgets. BTW the wiki software they are using is

Her advice was to prototype ideas and to keep things simple and personal.

Derek Willis talked about creating browsable content using Django. Working for a newspaper, he saw content that was not used in the print or online editions, yet was useable. (“What data do you have they you’re not using?” – This is an important question that every organization should be asking itself.) They are using (free). Examples of how Django is being used can be seen at:

He uses Django for browsing not searching. Allows people to browse content and discover what they want.

As wonderful as it was to see what the National Geographic Society is doing, it was also wonderful to see how the Washington Post is making content available to users that was previously tossed out.

I heard Marshall Breeding – Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University – give two presentations today.

Millennials & the Library – Last year, the Millennials were talked about a lot. This year, so far I’ve only heard Lee Rainie and Breeding talk about Millennials. Does that mean that we understand them better? Or does it mean that we’ve defined them enough, we know what they mean to us, and now we just want to innovate to keep them involved in the library?

Some key thoughts:

  • They are comfortable with diverse types of digital media. Can we help them use diverse types of media through the library? Can we help them create diverse types of media?
  • Status and authority do not impress them.
  • They want content that is digital and immediate.
  • They want to discover information more like the way they discover information on the web.
  • They want access to information anytime and anywhere.
  • Satisfying the Millennials will also help us satisfy the needs of other users. More digital. More immediacy.
  • They prefer graphics over text.

Access needs to be:

  • Immediate
  • Collaborative
  • Intuitive
  • Mobile
  • Flexible

The web has created a heightened sense of user expectations.

Breeding showed a video of finding Time magazine on a library web site. At the moment, I don’t know where it is online, but it was very funny! It showed how content can be buried (something we already know).

He talked about decoupling the front-end of library systems from the back-end. He believes that we are working towards the next generation of library interfaces that will focus on discovery and delivery. We can’t be reliant on metadata for discovery (which tied into the final two talks of the day).

Catalogues need to provide equal footing for digital and print collections. Right now they don’t.

Using Google & Search Engines to Expose Digital Content – Breeding talked about how Vanderbilt has made its TV news archives more visible on the Internet by exposing more items to search engines. Right now their work is geared for Google, which is being used by more people than the other search engines. They are using the Google sitemap protocol and Google Analytics to expose content and track usage. The result is that more users are finding their content through Internet search engines when they search on topics covered in the TV news archive. The users do not have to be specifically looking for the archive.

The last speaker I heard to day was Tamas Doszkocs – Senior Computer Scientist, National Library of Medicine – who spoke on Metadata Search & Clustering Engines.

Clustering allows users to find like items. It creates order out of chaos. It allows people to find patterns.

Metasearch is a distributed and enhanced search to find more relevant items.

Doszkocs showed us several web sites that use either clustering or metasearch such as

He talked about four versions of metasearch:

  • Version 1 delivered results from several different databases.
  • V.2 merged the results into one results list.
  • V.3 provides clustered results.
  • He believes v.4 will provide added value features.

The day ended with a reception in the exhibit hall and the opening of the exhibit hall. It was a full day! Tomorrow promises to have even more packed into it.

Personal -- I used to live in College Park, MD so the greater D.C. area (grad school) always feels familiar. Yesterday we were able to go to the Sackler Gallery (Asian art) and visit a tiny bit of the Freer Gallery (and see an exhibit of James McNeill Whistler's miniature paintings). Both galleries are part of the Smithsonian Institution, which are open to the public for free. The Smithsonians are a wonderful treasure.

As always, people at the conference are friendly and helpful. Things here run smoothly because we -- the attendees -- help them to run smoothly. It is an amazing thing.

Most interesting today, outside of the sessions, was trying to cross the street to get to McDonald's for lunch! We were basically crossing a six-lane highway! (We made it with the help of a police officer who stopped traffic for us. Thank you!) Of course, situations like that are where you find people to talk with, which made lunch interesting.

Sadly, it was at lunch that we heard about the shooting at Virginia Tech. More than 30 people have died. All of the details have not been released. While we laughed and learned this afternoon, I know that many others were mourning. My heart goes out to them.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Article: CM vs DM vs KM vs DAM vs SCM vs DRM -- Which One is Right for You?

This is not a library related article, but given all of the acronyms that are "out there" to describe what seem to be similar products, it will be a useful article to some. It will be especially useful to those who are in organizations where the non-library part is considering one of these and you need to have a clue what they are really talking about.

As the author notes, in the IM (information management) product universe, there is:
  • DAM: Digital Asset Management
  • DM: Document Management
  • KM: Knowledge Management
  • DRM: Digital Rights Management
  • CM: Content Management
Can you tell them apart?

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CIL, Digitization, & Innovative Libraries

This week is a bit of a blur as I prepare to attend Computers in Libraries next week (Arlington, VA). My busy schedule includes moderating a track on Tuesday (Planning & Managing Digitally) and presenting a session with Christina Pikas on "Innovative Libraries: Tales from the Stacks." On Thursday, I'll be giving a full-day workshop on digitization ("Digitization 101: The Workshop").

Computers in Libraries (CIL) is a "small" conference of 2,000+ people. It attracts librarians and other information professionals from a broad range of institution types (something that I think makes CIL unique). The conference assumes that people have a basic understand of the topics being discussed, so session presenters are encouraged to skip basic information and get to the heart of the matter.

Outside of the conference sessions, there are networking opportunities that lead to community building. I am looking forward to seeing face-to-face (rather than virtually) those I met last year as well as putting faces to names of those that I've been communicating with but have not yet met "live."

If you are going to be at CIL, please grab me and say "hello." And if we get a chance, maybe we can sit and talk about our favorite subject (digitization).

Finally, I'll be blogging CIL, so you'll see blog posts here next week about the conference.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Google is helping to develop OCRopus. The Google press release about OCRopus is here. The web site describes it as:

...a state-of-the-art document analysis and OCR system, featuring pluggable layout analysis, pluggable character recognition, statistical natural language modeling, and multi-lingual capabilities.

The web site goes onto say:

The OCRopus engine is based on two research projects: a high-performance handwriting recognizer developed in the mid-90's and deployed by the US Census bureau, and novel high-performance layout analysis methods.

OCRopus is development is sponsored by Google and is initially intended for high-throughput, high-volume document conversion efforts. We expect that it will also be an excellent OCR system for many other applications.

An alpha release of the product is scheduled for the third quarter of this year, so it looks like our benefiting from this may be a "ways off." However, it is good to see a major company working on this open source product.

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