Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strategy: Well-intentioned practice for putting digitized collections of unpublished materials online

After the March 11 seminar entitled “Undue Diligence: Seeking Low-risk Strategies for Making Collections of Unpublished Materials More Accessible", the speakers, presenters and attendees worked on a document entitled “Undue Diligence: Seeking Low-risk Strategies for Making Collections of Unpublished Materials More Accessible.” Ricky Erway said:
We purposefully called it “well-intentioned practice,” because we do not intend for it to be guidance for crossing all the I’s and dotting all the t’s – nearly impossible for collections of unpublished works, but rather a set of actions that the profession agrees are reasonable.   It is designed to embolden librarians and archivists to be more proactive in providing access to digitized collections of unpublished materials. 
This one-page document provides good advice for institutions without creating a list of rules to be followed. Some of it seems obvious, but are likely ideas that we forget when thinking about a strategy.  Definitely worth reading, bookmarking and telling others about.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SLA2010: Me the candidate for the Board of Directors

As I mentioned before, I have been nominated to run for a position on the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Board of Directors (2011-2013).  Yesterday, I made my first presentation as a candidate and I thought I would share here some of the information that I provided.

First, people wanted to know why I was running for the Board.  Running for a Board position is something that I've thought about for several years.  And I'm pleased that this year I was asked to run.  But why run?  I have been an SLA member since 1990 and attended my first conference in 1992. (I've been to ever conference since then.)  I began volunteering at the Chapter level soon afterward.  I've held leadership positions at the chapter and division levels.  I've also chaired two association-level committees.  So I have a long history with the Association and it is the professional organization that I consider "home".  Through SLA, I've found friends, colleagues, clients and mentors.  SLA has provided ways for me to hone my leadership skills.  It also provided many ways for me to give back to the profession.  Because of all of that, I want to see the organization continue to grow and succeed, and I want to help with both by contributing by experience and knowledge to the Board.  

Yes, I know that being a Board member is a huge time commitment.  Besides attending two conferences per year (Leadership Summit in January and the Annual Conference in June), there are monthly conference calls and additional activities that a director must attend to (i.e., special projects assignment by the Association President).  One of the things that a candidate must do is receive the written support of his/her employer because of the commitment involved. Thankfully, my dean was very happy to give her and the school's support to me!

SLA runs what I call an "non-campaign campaign".  Candidates are forbidden to engage in the campaign tactics seen in other associations (e.g., ALA).  Instead, SLA strives to create a level playing field where members are able to learn about all of the candidates and then decide whom to vote for.  For example, if a Chapter asks one candidate to speak, all of the candidates for that office should be given an opportunity to speak (in person, virtually or in writing).  Most interesting is that candidates cannot ask for endorsement and no SLA unit or person can offer an endorsement.  Candidates can't make campaign promises, but we can talk about what we stand for and what we hope to accomplish. 

When are the elections?  Ballots are cast online in September and results are released in early October.  (I'm assuming the same timing as 2009.)

Will people vote for me?  I hope so!   I also know that I need to talk to as many members as possible -- in as many different ways as possible -- so they will know who I am and why they should vote for me.  If you're an SLA member and have ideas on how I can connect with more people, please let me know.  I'll be reaching out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the channels that SLA provides.  Where else (how else) would you recommend?

Finally, as part of our communication with Association members, every candidate is writing blog posts in the SLA blog in response to specific questions.  Below is my response to the first question. We will be video recording responses to additional questions at the Annual Conference and those recordings will be made available online.  We'll also take part in a variety of meet-and-greets at the conference.  If you would like candidates to address your unit, please contact them directly.

Jill Hurst-Wahl - Candidate for Director - Question #1 - Imagine you have just finished your term on the SLA Board of Directors, what did you accomplish?

Jill Hurst-Wahl
My bio says I believe “technology can be used to make information more accessible, organizations more transparent, and people easier to find.”  At the end of my term, you will see that I have impacted how we network with each other to fuel our professional progress and add energy to the Association. I will also have helped to make connections between people and units who can collaborate or assist each other.

As information professionals, we thrive on ensuring that others have access to the correct information at the right time. You’ll look back and see how I have supported efforts to provide industry and professional information that will help you remain highly-valued individuals.

The adoption of social media and online social networking increases information flow, our networks and transparency. Looking back, you’ll see the positive impact I’ve had on our use of web 2.0 as individuals and as an Association.

Monday, April 19, 2010

For New Yorkers: Envisioning Year 2035

This is truly my own opinion and thinking, and not the opinion of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries or any other person or organization.

We used to laugh a lot
But only because we thought
That everything good always would remain
Nothing's gonna change there's no need to complain
"Losing Hope" -- Jack Johnson

Today Bridget Quinn-Carey (Council chair), John Monihan, Jerry Nichols, Mary Muller and myself traveled to Albany for the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries annual meeting with the NYS Regents Cultural Education Committee. We were accompanied by Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey Cannell and members of the State Library.  Regents in attendance included James Dawson (chair), Karen Brooks Hopkins, Joseph Bowman and Charles Bendit. Regent Bendit will be joining the Cultural Education Committee in July.  Regents Phillis and Tilles were absent.  (One was sick while the other was attending a different committee meeting.)

The Council's report pointed out what we all know -- libraries need funding and support.  Our message was received with compassion and with a splash of "cold water".

The 2010-2011 budget is already late.  If passed with the Governor's budget cuts, libraries will receive their fifth cut to state aid in two years.  That will bring state funding to libraries back to its 1998 level.

It is already anticipated that next year's budget (2011-2012) will be worse than this year's.  The economy is improving in certain areas, but other areas are lagging and that is impacting the government's revenues.

Libraries are not the only cultural education group that is suffering, but as librarians and library workers, we feel our pain the worst.

Questions emerged about pursuing other funding streams (e.g., private funding).  We reminded the Regents that libraries are pursuing a variety of funding sources.  We also know that alternate funding streams aren't available to all libraries, especially small rural libraries where there are few businesses that might support a library with donations, etc.

The most provocative question came from Regent Bendit who asked if we were to start from scratch, how would we envision "the library"?  After the meeting, Regent Bendit, Jeffrey Cannell and I continued that line of thinking and wondered what functions a library might have in 2035 --> 25 years from now. Bendit's thinking is that if we can envision what the goal is, then we can work toward it.  This is classic scenario planning where you create a vision of what you believe will occur (or want to occur) and then figure out the actions that will be needed before that.  The actions might be those that will help that future come into being or will ensure that you (and your organization) are well-position for that future.

As I drove back from Albany, my mind continued to think about 2035.  Yes, we all need to spend time thinking about what libraries will be in 25 years (or at some other point in the future), because it provides a goal that we then can work toward.  Let's remember that it was a long-term goal that got the U.S. to land on the moon in 1969.

We also know that established organizations have a hard time changing, especially if they ignore what the future might bring.  IBM couldn't react the PC developments in a nibble-enough fashion, which had a negative impact on the company.  Microsoft has become less flexible, leaving it unable to compete as effectively as it would like with Google.

With libraries -- as well as museums and archives -- we have established traditions, services, processes and target audiences.  We have buildings and other "inventory" that cannot be changed over night.  We also have a workforce that generally has the same vision for what a library is, as well as library science students in the pipeline who already have framed in their heads a fairly similar vision.  Moving toward 2035 also means that our library educators, library science programs and accreditation guidelines will need to change.

Yup...moving from here to 2035 isn't just saying here's what we need for next year; it's recognizing what steps we need to take each year so that our journal is complete in 25 years.

To help you begin to think about 2035, consider these questions:
  • What will be the demographics in our communities in 2035?
  • What will our environment be like in 25 years?
  • What will the economic forces be?
  • How will people access information, entertainment and news?
  • What will our education system look like?
  • How will students interact with learning material, teachers and classmates?
  • How will people interact with their cultural heritage?
The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries talked briefly after our meeting with the Regents on how we can begin our own envisioning process.  We know that we'll need to include many other people in that process, including other members of the cultural heritage community.  So stay tuned...or...better yet...think about 2035 and share your thoughts with us!  Feel free to leave a comment here or contact a member of the Council.

The lyrics at the top of this blog post played on my car CD player tonight.  What caught my ear was that thought that we always think things will be the same.

Image / CC BY 2.0

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

CIL2010: QR Codes

At least two of the sessions mentioned quick response (QR) codes.  According to Wikipedia:

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Moreover, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.
QR codes are growing in popularity in the U.S. and being adopted by libraries.  One article on the subject is:
Walsh, Andrew.  Quick response codes and libraries. Library Hi Tech News.  v. 26, n. 5/6. p. 7-9.  (If you have access to the Emerald database, you can find the article there.)
There could be many uses of QR codes in libraries.  For example, using a camera phone with a mobile browser and free QR code software, a patron could use a QR code on a bookshelf to locate and read a related guide on the subject (libguide). 

At Computers in Libraries, QR codes were created for all of the bloggers and placed on the bulletin board.  These became conversation starters because most people have never seen them or used them.  And people could try them out in a safe environment.  (JD, nice idea!)

CIL2010 QR codes for bloggers

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CIL2010: 23 Things for an International Audience

Karen Hartman and Susana Wang - U.S. Department of State

184 Information Resource Centers worldwide with 455 staff members.  (There are more embassies than that.)  The libraries are for use by people of the country.  Each library is supervised by a local employee and staffed with 1-3 employees.  there are 30 Regional Information Resource Officers responsible for managing 6-10 IRCs.

Karen said she would liked have done 23 things 3-4 years ago, but in the government that was not "the thing".  but now there is a new administration and things are different.  IRC staff need to be on the cutting edge in order to maintain relevancy and importance to Embassies.  IRC staff train librarians, teachers and journalists on current information issues ans techniques.  23 things will help to narrow the digital literacy divide between tech savvy staff and those who don't actively seek to learn new technologies.

Karen notes that more than 700 institutions have done 23 things worldwide.

The State Department's 23 Things in on the intranet and with a Creative Commons license.  This was the first thing on the State Department web site with a CC license.  Several of the things deal specifically with technologies unique to their mission of outreach.  One of the things they included was SharePoint.  They also had a thing on webchats, books 2.0, SMS, and web site statistics.  The did introduce the topic of virtual worlds, but didn't have people enter a virtual world.

Everyone on IRC staff - no matter what they did (e.g., delivery) - were able to sign-up to do the program.  People that finished 23 Things received an iPod shuffle.

Everyone in the Department of State can see 23 Things and others have shown interest in it.

The blogs that participants create are private. They are only shared with other administrators, their IRO, and others that they choose.

Dept. of State is using Facebook!

125 participants.  49 completed.  15 people completed 1/3 or more of the things.

Why didn't people finish?
  • Not enough time - heavy workloads
  • Scheduled during a peak holiday time
  • Intranet problems

90% of non-finishers said that they plan to do the program again.

In Taiwan, the staff worked on it as a group and they all finished the 23 Things.  Working with others seems to help people finish.

Favorite things:
  • Creating and finding blogs
  • Online book catalogues
  • RSS
  • Document sharing
  • Mashups
Least favorite things:
  • Virtual worlds
  • Mobile web - had them look at their embassy's web site on a mobile web emulator.  Most sites looked horrible. BTW most of the world does have mobile enabled phones.
  • Mashups

CIL2010: Ref Desk Adventure: Simulation Game for Training

Scott Rice and Margaret Gregor - Appalachian State University

The need was to train students to work in the Instructional Materials Center.

In the game, a patron comes to the desk and asks for help.  The student is presented with a choice of answers as well as other things that can occur.  At the end of the game, the student received a report card.

Making the Game:
  • Preconceptions - need to work through them
  • Verbosity vs. allergic to verbiage - tried to compromise
  • 6-8 topics versus more - kept with 6-8 topics
  • Knowledge-based view vs. process-based view
  • Evaluation of screencats - included graphics and screencasts
  • We negotiated a lot
Pretest before the gave students the game:
  • 10 questions using Google Forms
  • Target test group -First test group was too knowledgeable.  Had to find students who didn't know anything about the IMC.
  • Test was multiple choice and some students could figure out the correct answers
After the pretest, students then played the game.  8 Adventures.  Includes 29 screencasts!

The post-test showed that students did learn, sometimes significantly.

Scott used form-based software to create the scripts.  Thinking about the scripts -- and branching formula -- can be the most difficult part of writing the game. What happens when the person answers "X"?  What do they see?  Do?  Need to think through the scenarios.

Next Steps:
  • Use/test with brand new students workers in the fall (with no previous experience)
  • Add a hints section
  • Use real voices
  • Add evaluative questions to post test
  • ADA compliance
  • Special collections <--New game
Student worker - "This is good training.  I had no idea that so much material could be found in the IMC.  Every desk worker should learn these skills."

This game allows them to offer consistent training.  It takes less staff time to do the training.

The software that Scott has developed is open source and is available on the Appalachian State web site.  If you are interested in it and cannot find it, contact Scott.

BTW Scott co-edited the book Gaming in Academic Libraries.

CIL2010: From Podcasts to Blogs and Beyond!

Scherelene Schatz - New Jersey State Library - Using internal webinars to train library staff across the state. She ysed to travel across the state to do training.  Now that she is using webinars, people also have access to the archived webinars (a new feature that was available with the face-to-face sessions).  She is using a discussion list and blog posts to promote them. 

Scherelene is using HiDef Conferencing for the webinars.  The webinars are done by phone, rather than VOIP because everyone has access to a phone.  The conference site allows her to setup a registration form.  The site will also allow you to set polling questions and evaluation questions that you will want to ask during or after the session.

One interesting feature of the software is that it can tell is participants are paying attention.  I wonder how it knows if you have switched screens and doing email or something else?

  • Make sure that the event is on your calendar!  (Not that any of us would forgot about an upcoming training session.)
  • Be organized
  • Include time for questions
  • Ask students to mute their phones  (If possible, tell them how to do it.)
  • Send handouts in advance.  Some people need handouts for notetaking.
  • Using the polling questions to keep people active.
  • Look at the evaluations and see what can be changed to make the webinars better.
  • Look at any reports that the software will give you.

Jason Puckett  (Georgia State University Library) & Rachel Borchardt (American University) -One of their podcasts is Adventures in Library Instruction.

What is a podcast?  RSS+MP3=podcast

A single audio file is a monograph.  A podcast is a serial.

Podcasting can be done cheaply and will sound fine.  Some institutions may have studios that are nore fully equiped for creating audio/podcasts. 

  • Short podcasts can work very well with people that may have a short attention span.
  • Don't use a script because it can sound very scripted.  Do have some rough notes.
  • One voice can be boring, so have 2-3 people and make it conversational.
  • Makret it to students and teachers.
  • Work with your marketing deparment on your marketing efforts.
  • It is okay to experiment.
  • Putting podcasts in iTunesU can help to get the podcasts out to a broader audience.
  • Podcasts can be hard to assess.  Yes, you know the number of downloads, but you may not get good feedback.
  • Having podcasting partners means that you can share responsiblities.
They like Arizona State and the podcasting they are doing, including something called "Library Minute".  Check out

 One of the sayings from this conference is "Free like kittens, not free like beer."  Kittens require care and feeding.  Podcasts are like kittens.

Rachel talked about using podcasts to supplement other instruction efforts.  They would have students listen to a podcast before an instruction session.

CIL2010: Peer Training for Digital Literacy

Lisa Mages, Jennifer Manning & Rita Tehan -- all Information Research Specialists from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress.

The peer training they are talking about occurs in two divisions within CRS.  ~170 employees located on multiple floors with a variety of skills and abilities.   Some are incredibly technically proficient, while others are limited in what technology they use or feel comfortable using.  Who can train staff on things that others take for granted?

Their program was inspired by a program at National Geographics.

Peer training began four years ago as a grass roots effort, lead by 5 people.  Fixed schedule with two classes per month.  In 2.5 years, 62 classes with an average attendance of 15.  Over 40 employees have participated as speakers or instructors.

Types of sessions:
  • Tips and tricks for existing resources
  • Introduction to research tools
  • Introduction to tech concepts
  • Conference and trip highlights
Classes are repeated as necessary.

Managing the program:
  • Core group - They meet quarterly to plan the next three months - topics and speakers.  Use discussion boards in SharePoint to help with planning ans reduce email traffic.  They recruit new hires to help.  New employees can get better known by doing these. (Looks good on their annual reviews, too.)
  • SharePoint - It is a repository of documents, discussions, etc.  They use the free version.  One benefit is that handouts are available for reuse.
  • Standard operating procedures - helps to lessen administrative burden
  • SurveyMonkey is used for participant feedback
  • Increase digital literacy 
  • No financial costs
  • Minimal admin burden
  • Accessible documentation
  • Train the trainer
  • Share conference knowledge
While there are a number of challenges, they recommend that others try it.  Challenges:
  • Finding time in addition to daily work
  • Cancellations
  • Recruiting new presenters
  • Not integrated with staff development plans
  • Pressure to expand

CIL2010: Staff Development: Soft Skills, Firm Results

Janie Hermann - Princeton Public Library - Did an unconference as staff development day (Camp PPL).  Had buy-in from the top, but staff was reticent.  From previous staff development day, they knew that this would meet people's need.  Why do it?
  • Save $
  • New experience for staff
  • Allow for active and shared learning
  • Introduce new web tools
The logo was done in-house by a staff member who really wanted to create it.  The person went out of her comfort zone to do it. 

Asked people for feedback on what they wanted to discuss in "Birds of a Feather" sessions.  Also asked people if they wanted to give lightening talks.  They used Google Forms to gather this information. Out of this they came up with 17 choices.  They used Zommerang to narrow down the choices.

They closed down the library for the day.  They do it on a day when the public expects them to be closed (Nov. 11).  It becomes a floating holiday for staff.

Some staff challenged themselves to do presentations who had not done any before...or to use technology that was new to them.

Created a wall where people could share ideas.  The event was very visual. 

Colleen Harris & Mary Carmen Chimato - North Carolina State University - Their library gets 14,000 visits per day (2008-2009).  The lend technology as well as books, etc.  Because they lend technology, more people need to know how to use them and support them.  In addition, there is technology built into the building that needs to be supported.

First Annual ADS (Access & Deliver Services) Staff Retreat, Aug. 5, 2009.  What they learned from the staff retreat:
  • What more feedback at every level
  • More delegation
  • Allow risk taking
  • Generate higher expectations
  • More training 
  • Acknowledge achievements
What does excellent customer service look like?  If you require this, then define what it is.  How will you know what it occurs?  Create indicators, measure, whatever will help you and your employees.

Find and exploit learning internal and external learning opportunities.  But not everything learns at the same rate and not everyone can (or wants) to learn what you need to learn.  Two challenges - desire & ability.

Actual versus desired performance.  Are your employees doing what you desire?  What are the firm consequences if they do not do what is desired?   Can you have a discussion about the person's performance or do you need to go down a disciplinary route?  Be specific.  Also empower them to be part of the discussion.  Gain agreement and make it their personal responsibility.

BTW it is NCSU that create WolfWalk, which uses digitized images.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CIL2010: Training in the Cloud: 30 things in 20 minutes

Resources from this presentation are at

I'm listing below what was mentioned during the presentations (categories and tools).  Most of the tools are services that exist on the Internet and in  (a version of) the cloud.
  1. Scheduling - 30 Boxes
  2. Scheduling - Doodle
  3. Curriculum development - wikispaces
  4. Curriculum development - Delicious (diigo)
  5. Mindmapping - freemind, mindmapster
  6. Resource sharing - Custom start pages - netvibes
  7. Feed My Inbox --> RSS to email
  8. Blogs
  9. File sharing -- Google, Slideshare
  10. File sharing - Dropbox - file sharing, folder sharing
  11. File sharing -
  12. File sharing -
  13. Communication during class - Twitter
  14. Communication during class -Friendfeed
  15. Anytime class space - Ning
  16. Anytime class space - Jing
  17. Live class space - Skype
  18. Live class space -Tinychat
  19. Live class space -  dimdim
  20. Evaluation - Poll everywhere
  21. Evaluations - Online surveys - SurveyMonkey, Zommerang
  22. Archiving - SlideShare
  23. Archiving - Audacity
  24. Archiving - Wink
  25. Archiving - UStream (mentioned "Archiving - TalkShoe" which was not on a slide)
  26. Google & Zoho
    1. Forms
    2. Sites
    3. Documents
  27. Sharing video - Vimeo, YouTube, BlipTV, TeachTV
  28. Zotero - For creating bibliographies
  29. Elluminate - chat, whiteboard, video

CIL2010: Paul Holdengraber & David Ferriero

David Ferriero (Fair-ree-o) is th 10th Archivist of the United States and "collector in chief". He now blogs at AOTUS.  Aotus is not a monkey or a pea (check Wikipedia) but it stands for the Archivists of the U.S.

The Archives is an independent agency that reports to the Office of the President.  They provide record management advice to government agency.  They also collect records.  The presidential libraries are part of the National Archives system.  They have also assumed some responsibility for the classification of information.  The National Archives has 44 locations & 10 billion items.  (He oversaw more locations when he worked at NYPL, so Paul jokes that this is a demotion!)

David is into his fifth month on the job.  He is meeting with staff as well as members of the stakeholder community.  Trying to get a sense of the staff.  In employee satisfaction, the National Archives ranks second to the bottom.  He is trying to understand what the issues are, so they can be addressed.  The current survey has a response rate of 77%.  He is reaching out through email, voice mail and even Facebook to encourage people to complete the survey and to be honest in their feedback.

David is the highest ranking librarian in the Administration!  Paul calls him "the most powerful librarian in the country."

Why is it important that a librarian be in charge of the National Archives?

When he was first contacted about the job, he felt that they were looking at the wrong person.  He got two phone calls, then a face-to-face meeting with the Obama transition team.  He then traveled to D.C. to meet with a larger group and realized that he could make a difference in the setting.  He always is looking to make a difference.

He has two important projects:

National Declassification Center -- 400 million pages that need to be declassified over the next four years.  At the end of December, the President issued another plan around declassification.  The government has an enormous backlog of documents that need to be declassified...records going back to World War II.  Only national security can keep a record classified. 

The federal government has 250 agencies.  2400 different classification guides.  They are suppose to be reviewed every five years.  Half of them haven't been reviewed in the last five years.

Open Government Initiative -- Dec. 9, 2009, Obama issued the initiative about Open Government Plan.  Three pillars.  Open government will be built from the bottom up.  A large of this will be built on social media.  This is where his blog comes in...Trying to get citizens involved.  To create community.

David - "You can't have open government if you don't have good records."  Records cannot be an afterthought.  Records need to be created with an eyes toward how they will be maintained.  The CIOs and record managers in each agency will need to work together.

What influence does the Administration have over the Archives?  FDR was the president that told agencies that they must deposit their records into the National Archives.  We at a similar point in history.  The Archives now must get agencies to deposit their electronic records.

Keith Richards - Rolling Stones - "The public library is a great equalizer". 

He sees part of the mission of the Archive is to educate the public about the government.  He meets with groups that come to the Archives and encourages children to write to the President.  He has seen letters sent to past presidents, including letters he wrong to Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.  His military service record is in the Archives as well as those of many others including Elvis.

David - "Nice having a boss down the street, but not in my face."

David is touring each of the 44 facilities and is meeting with staff. 

At MIT, they never closed because they took federal money.  So he laughs when he thinks about D.C. shutting down for four days due to snow.  During that time, he walked around, talked to the guards, read the Lockheed Martin contract, etc.  He learned that the guards had never been given a tour of the Archives and that is something that he is now arranging.  They should know what is in that building and why guarding it is important.

Saving versus preserving - We're not saving material (electronic records).  His work is guided by the two acts (Federal Records Act & Presidential Records Act).  One of the acts still does not recognize email as an electronic record. 

Digitization - the large commercial digitization projects have developed standard language that locks up the content for some length of time (five years...or a lifetime).  But these are public records (e.g.,  He recognizes the investment that the commercial firms are bringing to this effort, but these records should not be locked up.

Does David read on an ebook reader?  No.  There is something about print on page that has not been duplicated with ebooks.  He does a lot of reading online and uses many online resources in his work.  But he reads for pleasure on paper.

He sometimes reads a book every night.  He is currently reading a book about Abraham Lincoln being a vampire hunter.  (Lots of applause!)  Just finished reading a book about Walt Whitman and his siblings.  The author used collections at Duke Univ., NYPL and the National Archives to write the book.

What is his greatest burden?  What keeps him up at night?  (Vampires!)  "It is the electronic records, clearly."

Greatest joy - getting to know the staff and the collection itself. 

What recommendations to those here today?  Push your supervisors.  Look for opportunities to be involved.  Get your ideas out there.

Who does he look to for direction?  One of his best hires in his entire career was Josh Greenberg at NYPL.  He learns continually from him on digital information and packaging information.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CIL2010: Digital Commons: Building Digital Communities using Digital Collections

Jim DelRossoJim DelRosso, from Cornell's ILR School (and Digital Commons), is the presenter.

Interest -- people have interests which brings them to the library.  Assessment helps libraries understand interest in larger contexts. Jim notes:

The need to listen to our patrons is related to the how much they agree with us.
The need to educate our patrons is inversely related to how much our patrons disagree with what we are doing.

Outcome-based assessment - How are user lives going to be different once you implement the service? 
Once you understand what they need and how their lives will be different, you can creative effective marketing of the service.  (I can tell that he took IST 613 - Planning, Marketing and Assessing Library Services in the SU iSchool!)

They are not only surveying users, but also gathering information from Google Analytics.

We need to dig deeper into how user audiences interact with collections.  This needs to be studied.  He doesn't know of good studies on this topic.  If you know of any, let him know.

Interest should lead to a sense of ownership among users.  A sense of ownership has nothing to do with who bought the material.  It is who values the materials.  A sense of ownership comes to light through user-generated connect, user-requested, and user-organized connect...all which can occur in/with a library.

They are uploading a lot of user-created content to DigitalCommons@ILR.  But libraries do continue on scholarly content, which means they may be judging the content.

Jim notes that browsing digital content needs to be improved.  He'd like to see a Pandora (music) for books.  Can tagging help?  Can users not only add tags, but delete tags? (see Powerhouse Museum)  That would help to ensure that the tags are appropriate, because people who are really invested in the collection will want the tagging to be good.

Investment is Jim's last point.  If people are invested, then the interact more directly with each other.  Librarians are part of the conversation, but not the center of the conversation.  (He just quoted Dave Lankes.)  Libraries need to create places where conversations can occur.

Jim believes that investment look a lot like community.  When people are invested in something, they find those that are also invested in the same "topic" and create communities.

Should we weed digital collections?  Should we accept everything?  We need to know what other options are available for digital content.  If something doesn't fit our collection, we need to be able to refer the user/contributor to someplace else.  You do need to know and communicate what type of content is truly appropriate for your collection.

CIL2010: What is the Computers in Libraries Conference?

I am again at the Computers in Libraries Conference (CIL) in Crystal City, VA. Nearly 2,000 people are attending this year, including participants, speakers, exhibitors, and people who are coming just to visit the exhibits. People have come from 47 states and 17 countries. This is the 25th year of this conference and one person (Marshall Breeding) was honored for attending all 25!  Every year, it seems like 50% of the attendees have never been to a CIL before.

I'm sure that CIL has changed over the years. Currently the speakers and audience are focused on the use of technology in libraries in order to improve library services.

By libraries I mean public, academic and special libraries of all sizes. I suspect that most participants are from public and academic libraries. Here, however, the type of library that participants are from doesn't matter, but the fact that the library is using or wants to use technology to serve its users better.

By technology, I generally mean computers, handheld and mobile devices, social media, social networking tools, databases/OPACS, and Internet technology. People here are interested in the use of technology to improve user/patron services, to connect better to user communities, to deliver library content in new ways. This is a group that has some interest in digitization, but a larger interest in how those digital materials can be used in new ways. (Think of WolfWalk and Duke Mobile.) Yes, there have been sessions here on digitization, but it is not a major focus for this conference.

What is very interesting to me is who attends CIL. This is a group that includes librarians and library workers...those with MLS degrees and those without...and here they are seen and treated as equals. In fact, academic degrees here really don't matter, but rather what you do (for real) and what you know.

Attendees are very technology savvy. They come with technology - laptops, smartphones, cameras, etc. - and they use it constantly. This is a group that networks both in person and online. This is a group that values what each person does and knows, and wants to be able to tap into it.  Networking here can lead to job opportunities, project opportunities, and the sharing of cool ideas.  But networking here isn't just a three-day means staying connected afterward with those you value through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and SlideShare.

For me, this is a conference full of energy from people and ideas. Everyone leaves the conference both tired and jazzed.

Finally, if you want to follow the conference, go to its new blog/content site at  All of the keynotes are being screencast on that site.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Question: How are you assessing the impact of your digital collection?

A colleague is looking for examples, resources and case studies on the assessment of digital collections.  He is looking for information on assessments that aren't just counts (number of hits), but on the impact of the digital collection to the user community.  If you have examples of assessments that you have done - or maybe pointers to case studies, etc. - please let me know.  Thanks!  He will be very grateful.  (And I'll share what I hear with you.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Event: Digital Libraries à la Carte, July 26-30, 2010, the Netherlands

As received via email.

From 26 – 30 July 2010, Ticer’s international summer school "Digital Libraries à la Carte" will be held at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. You can pick your choice from a completely renewed ‘menu’ of five one-day modules.
  • Module 1: Strategic Developments and Library Management
  • Module 2: The Library in the Scholar's Workflow and Research Data
  • Module 3: Libraries - Partners in Teaching and Learning
  • Module 4: Mobile Technologies in Education and Library
  • Module 5: Web 2.0 and Linked Data in Libraries
The informative website can be found at Those registering before 1 May 2010, will receive a €150 discount.

Learn about:
  • Supporting your institution’s strategic goals
  • Your library’s return on investment
  • The role of libraries in research assessment
  • Digital scholarship
  • Data management and re-use
  • The scholar’s workflow
  • Research support services
  • Web lectures
  • 21st Century literacies
  • Physical learning spaces
  • The use of mobile devices by teens and young adults
  • Mobile technology in teaching and learning
  • Mobile enhanced library services
  • eReaders in education and libraries
  • Web 2.0
  • User-centred design of next-generation library services
  • Linked data
  • Open annotation
The course is targeted at library managers/directors, deputy librarians, library middle management, digital library project managers, IT/systems librarians, IT specialists, information specialists, research librarians, teaching and learning support staff, and publishers and researchers.
Course director is Wolfram Neubauer, Library Director, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ). Top speakers will present their views. Below is just a small selection.
  • Paula T. Kaufman, Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, measures the return on investment of her academic libraries.
  • Carole Goble, professor at the University of Manchester, is director of the MyGrid project and knows how to get in the scholar’s workflow.
  • Tony Hey is Corporate Vice President of External Research at Microsoft Research and an expert on data-intensive science.
  • Andrew Treloar is Director of Technology at the Australian National Data Service and can tell us how to get started with research data services.
  • Susie Andretta is senior lecturer in Information Management at the London Metropolitan University and editor of the Journal of Information Literacy.
  • Kristen Purcell, Associate Director, Research at Pew Internet & American Life Project shares research results on the use of mobile technology by teens and young adults.
  • As E-Adviser Teaching & Learning at JISC, Adam Blackwood explains how to enrich the student’s learning experience with mobile technology.
  • Tito Sierra, Associate Head for Digital Library Development, NCSU Libraries, successfully concluded several mobile library projects.
  • Anne Christensen, responsible for the beluga system at the State and University Library Hamburg shares her expertise on usability.
This learning experience is recommended by LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries), SURFfoundation, JISC, DEFF (Denmark's Electronic Research Library), CBU/KUB (the conference of university libraries in Switzerland), Helsinki University Library, and NFF (Norwegian Association of Special Libraries).

Further information
Ms Jola Prinsen, Manager Ticer
Tilburg University, Library and IT Services
P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
Tel. +31 13 466 8310, fax +31 13 466 8383,