Thursday, June 30, 2011

Event: Educational Programs from the Center for Intellectual Property (CIP)

I spoke with people from the Center for Intellectual Property (CIP) recently and picked up a list of their upcoming events.  If you have an interest in intellectual property courses or events, check out the CIPs offerings.  Note that members of the CIP have access to additional programs (e.g., Community Conversations).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Event: International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011

The International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011 (TPDL), which will be held in Berlin (Germany), September 25-29, 2011, has extended its early bird registration to July 11, 2011.  The conference program is now online at

Article: The First Decade of Web Archiving at the Library of Congress

Abbie Grotke, from the Web Archiving Team Lead at the Library of Congress, had written the first of several blog posts about the LOC's web archiving activities.  In providing context about their activities, she wrote:
We’ve collected over 240 terabytes of content, in almost 40 event and thematic collections. Our strengths are in government, public policy and law: we archive U.S. national elections, house and senate and committee sites, changes in the Supreme Court and legal blawgs.

We also build web archives with our special collection divisions – the Manuscript, Prints and Photographs and Music divisions are archiving sites related to their physical holdings. In recent years Library staff in overseas offices in Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, India and Pakistan captured born digital content documenting elections and other events.
In her next post, she will discuss the collaborative work that they've been doing.  Check the The Signal blog for the follow-up post.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thinking 20 Years into the Future

This blog post is based on the plenary session I gave at the 2011 New York Archives Conference (NYAC) and is not a transcript of my talk.  I must admit that taking a long view is starting to color many of the conversations that I am having.  If you have thoughts on this, please share them with me by commenting on this post.  Perhaps thoughts on your organization's long-term vision or on the strategy planning process that you are using?  Or how the long-term vision is impacting your work today?

Poppies I love gardening!  I grow flowers, herbs and a few vegetables.  I work in the yard - maintaining all of the plants - so they will look good this year and next.  The results please me and others.  (I do have the best looking yard on the street!)

Maintenance does take time and sometimes is hard, but I do it because it is necessary.  And I do it even though I spend part of June - when the yard is full of blooms - at the SLA Annual Conference.  Just because I don't get to enjoy the flowers all the time doesn't mean I'm not going to do the work to keep them looking beautiful. 

Do you know someone that owns a bonsai tree?  A bonsai tree will outlive its owner and should outlive several owners.  Anyone who owns a bonsai tree isn't just maintaining the tree so that it looks good today; the person wants the tree to look good for years to come and for the next owner. That person is thinking even longer-term than I am when I work on by garden!

bonsaiEach of us - who works in a library, museum, archive or some other cultural heritage organization - does all we can to maintain our organization's resources.  We all work hard to keep the organization alive and sometimes that is not easy. 

Right now we are all focused short term...let's say the next 12 to 24 months.  What's going on?
  • We worried about the economy and how it is impacting our budgets (and tightening them).
  • Our staff members are stressed.  They may be stressed because some of them have been downsized.  They may be stressed because they are fearful that they will lose their jobs.  They may be stressed because they are doing more with less.
  • We are worried about our competition, which includes other cultural institutions, stores, games, the Internet, etc.  We are all trying to figure out how to get our users/customers/members to pay attention to us and not to our competition.
  • We need our users to not only pay attention to us, but to also be loyal.  We need them to be loyal - and do demonstrate their loyalty - in order to help us gain more funding and support. (It is likely that we're stressed because we don't know how to assess our impact on our users or the level of their loyalty.)
  • We're also trying to change because we know that we can't do things the same way as we have in the past.  Change is never easy, yet change is necessary.
Yes, the short term - the next 24 months - has us stressed (panicked).  The good news is that stress can help us focus and get things done.

We aren't thinking too much about the long term...let's say the next 10 years.  However, we should be gathering information on what futurists and other think the next 10+ years will be like.  What technologies will we be using?  What services will people want?  What will the economic, business and regulatory environment be like?  And what will our living environment be like?  There are people who are thinking about these things and publishing their ideas.  Reading or listening to what they have to say can help us determine our own path and the things we need to focus on longer term.

By the way, we shouldn't just read the futurists that agree with our point of view.  We need to hear as many ideas as possible because neither will be completely accurate.  Sadly, we won't be able to judge their accuracy until the future arrives, so getting a broad picture of the future can help us consider the steps we need to take to make our version a reality.

PoppyHowever, let's not think about the next 10 years; let us consider the next 20 years.  20 years means that we're thinking about the next generation.  I would assume that none of us will be working for our current employer in 20 years, so this means we're thinking about what will be going on for our successor or our successor's successor. Yes, the view out that far is fuzzy, but any insight we can garner will help us set our compass. (By the way, stop and consider what you think your organization will be like in 20 years.  Can you conjure a vision?)

In my vision of the future, I see:
  • Your organization still exists!  Yes, it may be quite different than what it is now, and that is okay.  (As I lay out the rest of my vision, you'll see why your organization still exists.)
  • Your organization has built tight collaborations with other cultural and service institutions.  For example, your organization has recognized that the business across the street shares the same customers, so why not collaborate on programs, marketing, or perhaps just one event?  How about collaborating or partnering with a social service agency?  By 2031, your organization has decided to collaborate with everyone and that has made it stronger (and its reach greater).
  • Your organization is co-located.  It has both a physical and a virtual presence, and there is no difference between the two.  None. Whatever I can do in the physical space, I can do in the virtual space. And virtual is the same no matter what device or technology is being used.  We won't be thinking about what we do on Facebook, on a smartphone or on some other tool.  We'll just be thinking about what we can do virtually.
  • Your organization will deliver information and content to users wherever they are.  Users will be able to access information/content 24x7 from anywhere in the world. Everyone who accesses your information has access to it all.  
Our squash is blooming!As I said, it is a fuzzy vision, but if that what 2031 will be like, what do you need to do now?
  • Expand your definition of "patron".  We use several different words for those people that visit our institutions including users, customers, clients and members.   I like the word "owner".  If members have privileges then owners have responsibilities.  We want those people that use our services to understand that they are responsible for ensuring our funding and our access to resources.  It is a very different way of thinking and it can change the relationship between you and those people that come through your door.  How do you get them to see themselves as owners?  Start now - in small ways - to educate them about their role as owners in your institution.  Start to change your language, how you talk with them, the information that you give to them, and your expectations of them.  This will take a while to implement and to reap the rewards, so you'll need to be patient.
    • You will also need to take the limits off of who your institution serves.  I know there are budget and funding implications in this, so it is not something you can do overnight.  However, start the conversation now about who your organization should be serving and be ready to think differently about the answer.
  • Take the limits off of your definition of "virtual".  Don't think in terms Facebook, Twitter, web sites or whatever.  Think in terms of what you want to offer, and then work to offer the same features and functionality e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.  Again, this isn't going to occur overnight, but it is something you need to begin to discuss with whomever helps you with your technology needs.  Get them on-board and then work toward this goal. 
  • Explore new and cutting edge way of delivering content.  Your user/member/owners will migrate to the new, cool tools and will expect you to be there too.  I changes, which means you'll need to change technologies likely more frequently than you're used to.  That's okay.  You don't need to be on the bleeding edge.  Be on the leading edge or really close to it.  If that scares you, then find someone to collaborate with.
  • Enter into collaborative arrangements and find those that will last.  Collaborate with the business across the street and the agency across town. Collaborate on one-time events, on market efforts, on longer term projects, or whatever you can a collaborate for.  It's okay to start small.  Do one this summer and then don't wait too long to do another.  And keep doing them!
Most importantly...start n-o-w!  Take small steps, recognizing that each step will move your organization closer to being (remaining)  a vital and important organization in 20 years. Yes, every step you take will help your organization be sustainable and have a bright future.

Pink roseWhere will you be in 20 years? Wherever it is, see yourself reading the news about your old organization.  Yes, it still exists, although perhaps differently than it does today...and it is doing wonderfully!  As you read the news, you remember an idea you had in 2011.  It was a small idea...a little step forward...and look at what you started!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

James Kane & Loyalty

James Kane, Closing KeynoterAt the SLA Leadership Summit in January 2010, James Kane spoke on loyalty.  Out of that came the loyalty project that several SLA chapters are doing with Kane as well as his appearance at this year's Leadership Development Institute (LDI) on June 12 and his keynote on June 15. Having now seen him twice, I understand why people were so enthusiastic about him.  He is an excellent storyteller with a message that every organization needs to hear in order to understand its members/users/customers.

First here is the handout from James Kane related to his keynote and notes from Don Hawkins.  Neither is a substitute for being in the audience (and neither will my notes).  If you get an opportunity to see Kane in person, take it.  [Update 2/7/2012: The handout link is now to another version of the handout.  The one that he had made available for SLA is no longer available.  If this link no longer works, use Google's advanced search to search his web site for a PDF and you may find a current version.]

Kane has studied loyalty.  He had defined what loyalty is and discovered what makes each of us loyal.  What surprised me is that loyalty is more complex that I imagined.

While we are focused on people being loyal, we need to recognize that people (e.g., our members) fall into four categories:
  • Antagonistic
  • Transactional
  • Predisposed
  • Loyal
Amazing as it may seem, there will be people who are involved in your organization (e.g., members, customers) who don't like you!  For some reason, they are still involved with you and they - as a group - will never go away.  Thankfully, antagonists comprise a small percentage of the group.

Most of your members/customers/users are either transactional of predisposed.  Those that are transactional buy a product or service without feeling any long term obligation.  To borrow an analogy from a former boss, they see the organization as a soda machine.  They put their money in and get a soda.  Next time they may go to a different machine or even decide to forego a soda and head to a drinking fountain instead.

People that are predisposed like what you have, but would go someplace else if something better came along.  These are the people that were happy to shop a the Great American grocery store until Wegmans came to town, and then switched where they bought their food. (This eventually led to Great American going out of business.)  As Kane says, having customers that are happy with you isn't enough, because happy customers will leave when they realize they could be happier someplace else.

People who are loyal do not measure the relationship based on price or convenience.  They are loyal because the organization (or store, etc.) makes their lives better or easier.  In one of his slides at LDI, he had a goal of having 20% of the organization identify themselves as being loyal.  (Identification is done through a survey on those factors that demonstrate loyalty.)

Now here is what interested me the most...not everyone will be loyal!  We all know that to be true, but we don't stop to think what that means to our organizations/businesses.  Yes, we want people who are truly loyal.  The truth is, though, that we need those people who are transactional or predisposed.  We need to attract them, even if it means attracting a different group of them every month/year. And if we want to build organizations only for those that are truly loyal, then we need to spend time thinking about what that means in terms of services and obligations, as well as the number of customers/members/users.

Thinking about conferences (and not just about SLA), those that are predisposed will attend if - for example - their employer will pay for it, it is geographically convenient, the sessions seem to be useful, and there isn't another conference that looks better. 

Someone who is transactional will attend the conference but may have sensitivities about place, topic, etc.   I could imagine that person might even join the organization in order to get a lower registration fee, but wouldn't see that as a long-term commitment.

Those that are loyal will attend no matter what! With them there is the feeling that which trumps everything (e.g., geography, etc.) that the conference will make their lives better.

Thinking about the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference, about 50% of the audience each year is attending their first CIL.  Of the other 50%, there is some segment that has attended many of them.  For them, the conference is a "family reunion", where sitting around and talking is as important (or more important) than the sessions.  These are also the people who will go the extra mile to help make the conference a success, because it is "their" conference. 

James Kane is working with several SLA chapters on a loyalty project. The goal is to help the chapters engage their members so that more of them are loyal. Kane's handout gives an overview of the things that must be considered when developing loyalty.  You'll notice that loyalty is a two-way street.  You must give of yourself in order to receive loyalty.  Giving isn't always easy because we think we might be giving something away for free.  That "giving", however, can take a number of forms and what is received is important (loyalty).

Kane has written two books and I suspect a few articles.  I need to get my hands on some of his writings to inform my thinking, because I'm going to be thinking about this for quite a while.  I'll try blog about this more as I gather more information.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I did at SLA Annual Conference Now that I'm on the Board of Directors

SLA conference logoThe Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Conference is now over.  In past years, I've blogged the event either here or in the SLA blog during the conference, but this year didn't have time to do either. Remember that last year, I was a candidate for the Board and "being a candidate" dominated my conference.  Now that I am on the Board, I spent most of this year's conference carrying out Board duties.  In this blog post, I want to tell you how I - a member of SLA's Board of Directors - spent my time.

Friday, June 10:
  • Had a seven-hour Board meeting, which included spending time working on a strategic plan for SLA. (Relevant blog post by Rebecca Jones, who facilitated the strategic planning.)
    • As we do our strategic planning, we are focusing on the year 2014.  We understand that is only three years into the future and it is a recognition that moving forward cannot wait.  As someone (not on the Board) said, "change is hard and change is good" and that seems to be very appropriate for our process.
    • Prior to attending SLA, I gave the plenary speech at the New York Archives Conference, where I asked attendees to think 20 years into the future.  I think there is a benefit to looking 10-20 years into the future - even if the view is fuzzy - so that you can begin to consider how an organization will exist for the next generation.  I'll blog about this later this week.
  • Had dinner with the Board of Directors, SLA staff and Board candidates (each paid her/his own way).
Saturday, June 11:
  • Had a 1.5 hour open board meeting, which included several reports on various Association activities and time for members to address the Board.
  • Worked with other Board members on the strategic plan for three hours.  We still have work to do, but we made an amazing amount of progress over the course of seven hours total.  Thanks to Rebecca Jones for donating her time to facilitate the process.
  • Had dinner with the members of the SLA Information Technology Division board (each paid her/his own way).  I have been their professional development chair, so I attended the dinner as a member of that group.
  • The SLA Baseball Caucus had an informal get-together and I stopped late in the evening to say "hi".  (I'm a member of that caucus.)  According to an email afterward, 83 people attended this event!
SLA Fellows 2011Sunday, June 12:
  • Attended the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) from 7:30-11:00 a.m., but had to step out at 8 a.m. to troubleshoot something with a continuing education course that the IT Division sponsored (and which I helped to arrange).  I left LDI at 11 a.m. so I could get lunch for the CE instructors, who were also teaching in the afternoon.  (Their teaching schedule gave them no time to get lunch and have time to relax.  It seemed like getting lunch for them was the least I could do so they'd have time to breathe.)
    • James Kane, our closing keynote speaker, talked at LDI about loyalty.  His SLA survey data on loyalty was very interesting, as well as what he knows from working with other organizations.  Based on their responses, people fall into one of four categories: antagonistic, transactional, predisposed, and loyal.While we may want everyone to be "loyal", he believes an organization like SLA should have 20% of its members who are truly loyal.  Most will be divided between transactional and predisposed.
  • From  ~12:30-1:30 p.m. I attended in the IT Division board meeting.  Because of a conflict, I couldn't stay for the entire meeting.  I attended this meeting both as a member of the IT Division board (Professional Development Chair) and as its Board liaison.
  • From 1:30-3 p.m. I attended the Information Outlook Advisory Council meeting as their Board of Director's liaison.  The Council asked two companies to present information on making Information Outlook an ejournal.  The two presentations were interesting and will help the Council better frame what it wants to consider.
  • At 3 p.m. I ducked into the exhibit hall (Info-Expo) for a few minutes before heading back to my hotel room so I could change for the evening events.
  • I attended the awards ceremony and opening keynote from 5:15-7 p.m.   The keynote was given by Tom Friedman, who wrote The World is Flat. (notes, notes added 06/21/2011)
  • Went to the Awards Reception, which all of the Board members are expected to attend.
  • Stopped by the IT Division Game Night to support that effort (as an IT Division member). ( back to the hotel room late in the evening, which is actually normal for the conference.)
Monday, June 13:
  • Proctored the Food, Agriculture and Nutrition (FAN) Division Business Meeting (breakfast, 7:30-9:30 a.m.). Proctoring means that I took some specific notes which I'll give to the SLA Division Cabinet Chair. All Board members are expected to proctor division business meetings.
  • Attended the Academic Division board meeting (10:00-11:30 a.m.). I am their Board liaison and so I attended in order to get to know this division better. They did give me a few questions that I need find the answers for!
    • Besides the IT and Academic Divisions and the the Information Outlook Advisory Council, I am also the Board liaison for the Virtual Worlds Advisory Council, Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Advisory Council, and several SLA chapters (Kentucky, Florida and Caribbean, Iowa, Arizona, and Oklahoma).
  • Neal-Schuman hosted Ulla de Stricker and I in their booth for an "meet the author" event from 11:30-12:30.  Neal-Schuman is the U.S. distributor of the book we wrote.
  • ESPN's Doug Glanville at SLA2011
  • 12:30 - Lunch!
  • Attended a session entitled "Going Mobile at the Smithsonian" (1:30-2:30-ish).  Inspiring to see the apps and mobile websites they have developed, as well as hear their thinking behind some of this work. (notes, added 06/21/2011)
  • Talked to Maurice Coleman, host of T is for Training, who then turned our conversation into an interview and podcast.  Once I have the podcast URL, I'll include it.
  • Attended the SLA Baseball Caucus meeting (4-5:30), which had Doug Glanville, Nadia Dajani, and Dickie Noles as its speakers.  (notes)
  • Attended the International Reception (6 p.m.)
  • Ended the evening between the Elsevier Dessert Party (music and dancing) and the IT Division Author Night (quiet conversation).
Tuesday, June 14:
  • Members of SLA's Board of Directors are asked to personally thank exhibitors for being in the Info-Expo.  I had 16 exhibitors (vendors/companies) to thank, which I did between 10 a.m.-noon and 3:00-5:30 p.m.  I not only thanked them, but also tried to engage them in conversation about their SLA experience as well as their products.  
  • Attended the session "60 apps in 60 minutes", which was a very popular and information-packed event (noon-1:30 p.m.). (presentation
  • Attended the Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Advisory Council as their Board liaison (2-3 p.m.).
  • Attended the Division Cabinet meeting which began at 5:30 p.m.
  • Attended the Joint Cabinet meeting which started after the Division Cabinet meeting had ended.  It ended at 8 p.m. (While I may not have truly needed to be at these two evening meetings, it was very useful to hear what our unit leaders are thinking.)
  • After a late dinner, I went to the IT Division Dance Party, which is one of the events of the conference.  Had the pleasure of talking to several SLA members from the UK who were attending their first SLA conference.
Wednesday, June 15:
  • Had breakfast with a friend/colleague.
  • Attended "Opening the Special Library:Open Source, Open Content and More" (10-11:30 a.m.)  Mike Linksvayer, one of the speakers, has his notes in SlideShare.  The other speaker talked about (10-11:30 a.m.)
  • Attended "All of Your Copyrights are Ours", which speaker Dorothea Salo retitled "I own copyright so I pwn you!"  ("pwn" is a term used in gaming and it basically means "own", but with more intensity.)  (The slides are okay, but you really need to her what she said on each slide.) (12:00-1:00 p.m.) (notes, added 06/21/2011)
  • Quick lunch!
  • Attended the Association's business meeting and the closing keynote by James Kane (2:00 - 4:45 p.m.).  While Kane' keynote was on loyalty (as is the project he is doing with the Association), he has blogged for SLA on the topic of "selling what others need".  Meeting someone's needs is one component of building loyalty. (notes, added 06/21/2011)
    • I'll need to write a separate blog post on Kane's presentation.  Between his comments on Sunday and those on Wednesday, he gave us much to think about in regards to SLA as well as our places of work.(My blog post, added 7/7/2011)
  • After 5 p.m., got dinner and a brew with members of the Kentucky Chapter as well as a growing number of "honorary" members.  After a long week, it was then back to the hotel, where I worked on this blog post.  (It took me a lot more writing and editing before I got this blog post done.)
Random Notes:
  • I'm pleased that I was able to attend five conference sessions, plus the two keynotes.  Given the things that kept landing on my schedule, I feared that I wouldn't be able to attend any sessions.
  • It is very interesting to have a lengthened conference because of my Board commitments.  I ended up being in Philly for six nights related to the conference.  Our longer time at the conference means that our conference expenses are more than those for other conference participants.  (We also meet before the Leadership Summit and meet monthly via conference calls.)
  • Board members are often approached with questions, ideas, praise and complaints during meetings, social events, etc.  That actually means that we never have real downtime, except when we're in our hotel rooms.  We're "responsible" and our members don't let us forget that (thank you!).
  • An SLA member had asked me prior  to the conference what the dress code was.  SLA is not as informal as Computers in Libraries or some other library/information conferences.  Maurice Coleman noted that SLA attendees and vendors generally dress alike during the day (business or business casual).  Personally I believe that what we wear shouldn't matter as long as it doesn't get in the way of what we're trying to do.
  • I created a for the conference - an instant free newspaper that finds stories based on Twitter. allows you to specify which Twitter streams it will search for stories (URLs in the stream), then does the selection based on its own algorithm.  I used the conference as a reason to learn about  The results - a daily newspaper - garnered a few readers and kudos.  Now I'm going to turn it into a weekly newspaper and modify the criteria so that it will remain relevant (I hope).  Will it really remain useful?  Time will tell.  
    • If you are curious about the that I created, you can view its archives and read past stories. Look for the word "Archive" on the right side of the paper (near the top).  You can select a specific date to view.
  • Maurice Coleman also noted that SLA is not a conference where people haul around a lot of technology (laptops, iPads, cameras, smartphones).  I think part of this has to do with the amount of walking that we do because of the space the conference covers.  Hauling a laptop from session to session sounds less desirable when getting from session to another may have you walking two blocks (inside the convention center).  It may also have something to do with our attitude.  Perhaps we don't see this as a high-tech conference.  Clearly the rooms are not laid out to be amenable to the audience using lots of devices that must be plugged in.
    • While I did take my laptop to the Board meetings on Friday and Saturday, I used my iPhone for the remainder of the conference for tweeting notes and occasionally used pen/paper.
  • The 2012 Leadership Summit will be January 25-28, 2012 at the Intercontinental Hotel Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia.  For those of you unfamiliar with Atlanta, Buckhead is a suburb and is not downtown.  It does look like there are low-cost ways of getting from the airport to the hotel (train).
  • The 2012 SLA Annual Conference  will be July 15-18 in Chicago, IL.  Yes, the conference will be in July!  The Academic Division is checking with its members to see if this will cause financial headaches because many academic institutions have a July-June financial year, and this places two annual conferences in the same year for them.  If there are a substantial number of people who are affected by this, perhaps there would be a way of shifting some of the costs into the 2011-2012 financial year?
  • Finally...always good to see old friends and make new owns!  And while this was my 20th SLA Annual Conference, there are still many people that I do not know.  I hope to continue to meet more of you whether it is via some online social site, email or a face-to-face event.  I don't want you to be a stranger to me and I don't want to be stranger to you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Video: A Day Made of Glass...

While this is a promotional video for one company (and one of my former employers!), as we think about the future, it is important to consider how, when and where user might connect to information. What if it will be like this?  What would that mean for us (libraries, archives, schools, digitization programs, etc.)?

Monday, June 06, 2011

My June schedule and thoughts about the future

I have a busy two weeks ahead of me and hope that I'll see some of you.
  • June 9, 8:40-9:15 a.m.,  New York Archives Conference (NYAC), Saratoga Springs, NY - Plenary - “Convergence & Sustainability: Why Our Future is Bright”
  • June 11, 9:00-10:30 a.m., SLA Board of Directors Open Meeting (participant), Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA 
  • June 12-15, Special Libraries Association Annual Conference (SLA) (attending), Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
I have been in several conversations over the last year about the future of libraries and the information profession.  My talk at NYAC will build upon some of those conversations and the thinking that is going on in various sectors.  With everything that we've experiences in the last two years, our focus has become focused on the short term (now through 2 years).  Several conversations are focusing on the next 10 years, yet I believe that we need to look 20 years into the future and what we want to see at that point in time, then decide what we can do now in order to make that vision a reality.  If you will be attending NYAC, be prepared to be challenged in your thinking and attitude!