Friday, March 29, 2013

Needed skills for working in digital asset management & a metadata story

Today, Henrik de Gyor spoke via Skype to my class that is studying digitization (Creating, Managing & Preserving Digital Assets).  One of the questions asked was about the skills digital asset management professional need and he responded by pointing us toward this blog post on the topic.  Later a student asked which coding language I thought he might learn and my response was XML.

There are other markup languages, like HTML, which means that learning one (like XML) will help a person learn others.  I think anyone who is working with web sites needs to understand markup languages. (A point that was proven later in the class, when one of the students led us in a short Drupal workshop.)

Henrik mentions the LAMP stack in his blog post, which includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, and a scripting language (e.g., PHP, Perl, or Python).  I know from conversations that organizations need people who understand MySQL as well as a scripting language.  I also learned from my student this afternoon that originally you needed to know LAMP in order to install Drupal, so these are indeed worth are the other coding languages and technologies that Henrik mentions.

How do you learn these technologies?  Yes, you may be able to find a class to take.  For those that want to learn on their own (and can be motivated to do so), there are sites like Codecademy that can help.  No matter how you learn, be willing to learn through trial and error.  Honestly, you will learn more from your errors than from your successes.

Alligator at Florida Gulf Coast UniversityOur conversation with Henrik covered many related topics in an hour, including metadata. Once we had ended the Skype session, I told the class my latest metadata story.

On Monday evening, I was walking to my car when my cell phone rang.  Imagine my surprise when the person on the other end said she was from NBC News!  She had been trying to contact me to ask in person to use a photo of mine on the evening news.  The photo taken at Florida Gulf Coast University, that carries a Creative Commons license, had already been used by the Atlantic Wire, which is how she found out.  But how did the Atlantic Wire find it?  Metadata.  (I'm sure of it!) [If you do not watch NCAA basketball, the you don't know that FGCU has unexpectedly advanced in a tournament and gained national attention.]

I must admit that this was not the first photo that has caught the attention of a company (NMAI, New Orleans, Lucille Ball's grave)  I have a good eye, a decent camera, and a drive to add metadata to my photos in Flickr.  In fact, when I'm looking for a photo to use, I turn to my Flickr account first because I know that I've done a relatively good job organizing and tagging my photos there.

Is metadata important?  Yes...vitally important to our digital libraries and our DAM (digital asset management) systems.  But there is nothing better to demonstrate the power of metadata than being able to say that metadata led to a photo from Flickr being on the evening news!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#JSC2013: Jill Hurst-Wahl - Digital Literacy & eBooks: The Grand Challenge

Joint Spring Conference 2013On Friday, March 22, I delivered the closing keynote at the Joint Spring Conference (JSC) hosted by the Academic and Special Sections of the Kentucky Library Association and the Kentucky Chapter of the Special Library Association.  The spring conference is generally held in a Kentucky State Park, many of which have small resorts.  Accommodations, therefore, were like being in a hotel, while being close to walking trails, wild life, and a natural calm.  The conference attracted approximately 100 people from seven U.S. states and Canada. I was impressed with the breadth and quality of content, including the poster session.  This is definitely a conference that more people should know about! (photos)

Since I closed the conference, I used my keynote to deliver content and get the audience to engage with each other.  This was a time to brainstorm, sometimes using content from other sessions.   And it was fun!

Thanks to the JSC crew for hosting me.  As always, the hospitality of Kentuckians cannot be beat!

Friday, March 22, 2013

#JSC2013: Colin Magee - Using LibGuides to build a website

An advanced presentation on LibGuides.

The problem - the library did not have a lot of control over the website.  They thought that using LibGuides would help them gain control of their website.

The standard academic library website look similar to the University of Kentucky Library website.  

Asvury Theological Seminary had done what Colin had in mind.
Four best practices:
- every service we provide should be integrated into LibGuides
- the people who deal with patrons are the best ones to design something responsive to the patrons.
- it's easier for us to change our plans than to expect all of our users to change their browsing habits.
- don't make them click  any mor than they have to.  Fewer clicks makes for happier users.

Static versus dynamic content - Using LibGuides for dynamic content.  IT wanted them to not use LibGuides for static content.

Examples of dynamic content:
- database A-Z list
--- a list that students can access, but actually more important for staff.  
Links are reusable throughout the LibGuides.  If something changes, it only has to change in the A-Z list.  
--- start by creating a spreadsheet of all databases that includes producer, title, and URL (with ezproxy info).
- subject guides
--- includes dynamic search boxes
----- LibGuides allows you to create your own search boxes.  Check the LibGuides help pages for information.
----- requires editing HTML.  Colin has created a cheat sheet to help with that.
----- he advocated that you use Firefox when building search boxes, rather than IE.
- can become the front page that students in specific subject areas see.  Promote the LibGuide rather than the main library website.

Colin's directions for creating specific search boxes are t:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

#JSC2013: Matthew Cook - Adapting walking labyrinths to academic libraries

The extended mind theory - the tools that you use become part of your mind

The computer is not perfect tool for extending the mind outward. It doesn't relate to the physical form.  It doesn't have a spatial component.  The computer also is a tool used for distraction.

Young scholars use physical space for their work, e.g., learning commons.

Starting in the 1990s, secular environments in the West began installing walking labyrinths.  People used them to calm down.

There have been labyrinth specific studies.  There have even been studies of the effect of labyrinths on incarcerated individuals.

Walking meditation improves the person physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A walking labyrinth in a academic environment provides a short escape.  Allows people to have a short physical activity, calm down and refocus.

Installing a physical labyrinth can be cost prohibitive.

SPARC: spatial meditation tool - his creation!
Waiting for approval to install one at Oklahoma Univeristy.  It is a projected labyrinth, where people can select which historic labyrinth that they want to walk.  Can include information on the history of the labyrinth.

The SPARC would be 15' square and cost approx. $10-$15K installed.

OU has used other stress reliever during finals week, including therapy dogs, prayer  room, etc.  

#JSC2013: Kathryn Lybarger - Ebookmobile 2.0 - Revamping services based on user feedback

We know how we catalogue ebooks, but how do patrons find them?
How we tell people about physical books doesn't always work well for ebooks.

Ebookmobile - she created this software
- New ebook feeds
- Pulls from voyager
- Feeds specified by call number ranges
- Easy to specify

Created some math-related feeds and sent them out to mathematicians

People wanted feeds for specific cataloguing statuses
- ebooks for the law library or med center
- ebooks with original cataloguing 
- feeds for specific types of non-ebooks
--- feeds based on subject headings
--- feed based on a series
--- feed based on a broad area like "Russia" no matter the material type
--- arbitrary database queries

Modified the software, but now a librarian needs to be involved to setup the feeds.  Provides the types of feeds that people are asking for.

Working in including a cover service.  Right now the info included in the feed is just the title.  Needs to figure out what information people want to see.

Ebook-mobile -> e-bookmobile

- Cache 
--- scripts run at night
--- feeds can be used  in multiple places

Need to work on understanding when an item should be considered new.
Feeds currently display the titles.  Want to include cover art.  Need to figure out what people want to see.

#JSC2013: Rebecca Vargha - Mind Reading 101

Mind reading 101 is the class that they don't teach in library school. 

How can we communicate more clearly with staff, customers and stakeholders?

Managing customer expectations in libraries through effective communications

Communication (order is not important)
- asking the right questions
- create a clear and consistent message
- don't leap to conclusions
- recognize that people have different communication styles
- use good judgment
- know your audience
- know your communication style

How do people hear you?
- What we say is 7% of what they hear.
- How we say it is 38% of what they hear.
- Body language 55% of what they hear.

Book "How to talk so other people listen"
- listening requires that we give up our favorite human pastime - paying attention to our own selves.

Focused listening

Good / communication examples & lessons
- people and staff come with their own assumptions
- recognize that our users don't get as excited as we think they will be
- so much of our communication is electronic. No visual or vocal clues.
- use signage and graphics - experiment

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#JSC2013: Juanita Richardson - the art and science of win-win negotiating for effective communication

Bad news - her slides got sent to the ozone.  Good news - her slides got sent to the ozone!

What can be negotiated?  Everything!
Even if we think we haven't don't a negotiation, we have.  Negotiation underlies many of our communications.
The end product should be an articulation of what has been agreed.

There  used to be a win-lose viewpoint of negotiating.
However, both sides should come to an agreement that benefits both sides.

A win-win can become win-lose if the resulting relationships is not a long relationship.
Focus on interests rather than positions. Principled negotiation.
- in compensations negotiation think about fair compensation versus a specific salary.
End up with an agreement that can be measurable.  SMART goals.

BATNA - best alternative to a negotiated agreement
- need to understand what your real bottom line is

Phase 1 - before the negotiation - spend time to...
- conduct research
- gather facts
- conduct a SWOT analysis
- think about the interests of the other side
- figure out the negotiating style of the other side
- understand what the bottom line will be for them
- "you can't win if you don't play"

Phase 2 - during the negotiation. At the table...
- come with an open attitude
- anticipate questions
- propose an agenda
- be in an information sharing mode
- be ready to question assumptions.  It's ay to do that.
- be explicit in how the "deal" will be launched and communicated
- make sure your commitments are realistic
- be aware of how your staff will react to the deal, as well as their long term roles
- be prepared for the tactics that the other side might employ
--- good cop, bad cop
--- intimidation
--- artificial deadlines
--- don't show your cards first 
--- limited authority
--- high ball, low ball
--- take it or leave it
--- literally get up and leave
--- get the product into the person's hands.  Will feel difficult to get rid of it.
- the longer you talk, the more likely you'll create an effective agreement
- explore underlying needs
- talk about all of the facts and interests - active listening
- arrive at a written contract
- "you won't get what you don't ask for"

Phrase 3 - after the negotiation
- debrief with your team
- talk about what you learned
- "whatever you negotiate,  you going to have live with"

If the deal looked good on paper, but went wrong, why?
Don't be in it for the quick "sell".
Consider all of the pieces.

Implementation minded negotiator versus deal minded negotiator

Open with the question - how do we create value together?

#JSC2013: Elaine Dean - Reference is a two-way street: using data to improve library services

Libraries collect data about everything!  We report some of the statistics to associations and other organizations.
What are their needs saying about the services that the library is providing?
Data-driven decision making and evidence-based practice

"EBP is 'the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.'" (Sackett D, 1996)

Why did they come here?  Why did they come to me?
Her library does have a drop in the number of people using reference services.  But why? Those that come are coming for a real reason.  What brought them in?  What can you learn from that?

Penn State University Libraries (multiple campuses) has over 100 service points.  They are using Desk Tracker to collect statistics.
Data collection needs to be consistent across campuses.
You need to operate as a system.

Data collection is just as important as assessment!
- if you don't have data collected in a usable way, you cannot do assessment.
- need to collect data for the things that you want to assess.
- know what you want to assess, then think about the data that you will need.
- use the notes field to enhance the information being collected.

Using data collected, Elaine found out that 35% of reference transitions included a technical component.
- personal computer support
- mobile device support
- account management
- software support
- mediate support
- and more...!
Used the data to talk to IT and get IT to place a support person in the library to handle these questions.

Desk Tracker is not meant to help you pull data out of the notes field.
Instead use what you know: entry terms and barcodes
Barcodes the entry terms to allow people to enter data more quickly and more accurately.
They were able to create barcodes themselves and at a low cost (basically time and paper).

In tracking questions around journal access, they were able to decide on resources needed to support digital journal access.  They created videos, that can be used on-demand, to help train people on accessing journals.

Create a solution, then move onto the next problem that needs to be solved.

Future plans for analysis:
- Analyzing content into themes to support website redesign 
- Identify  topics for instructional videos
- Continuing to evaluate the impact of the IT support specialist on library service
- Evaluate mobile/handheld resource program 

Our users are telling us much more than they realize.  We need to listen closely.

Data helps us justify our responses.

#JSC2013: Steven Bell - cutting through the noise: academic librarians need to capture [and be] the signal

When you communicate with your community members, you need to be authentic.  They need to be able to trust you and vice versa.

Signal-to-noise ratio - top level signal with minimal noise.  The vast amount of information that comes to us is mostly noise.  If there is so much noise, how can we get people's attention.

Make it a conversation & Make it about them - Steven talked about the two throughout his presentation.

"19 most annoying people on Facebook." - similar article at 

The role of a poet is to be the antennae of society.

Formal methods - 
- surveys - the problem  becomes survey fatigue.  At Temple, there is an office that approves all surveys and when they are done.
- focus groups - people may tell you what they think you wants hear
- advisory boards - Temple's library uses three advisory boards

Informal / nontraditional methods -
Carpet time - walking around and engaging in conversations
Observation - participating design studies.  CLIR has training on this.
Social media monitoring - respond so that your placing information out there too.  

Be aware of "social spankings" and how you respond.  Your response could come back to haunt you.
Also recognize when people are venting versus giving pointed feedback.

Be the beacon - create a strong signal
- know your community members
- deliver something unique
- give tips. Empower users.
- be a trusted advisor. It takes time and energy to become a trusted person.
- look for other signals

How do we actually make it a conversation?
- You need to be creative and look for opportunities that will get people engaged.  An interesting example is @charmin and #tweetfromtheseat
- Temple library has created a social media group (social media journalists) to create content.  To help, they have created social media guidelines for the social media journalists and training.  It is a strategic organized approach.

Why authenticity matters...we trust people who are in our communities. We serve by establishing trust with those around us.  We trust people with similar value systems.  You need to act in line with your beliefs.

Steven recommended the video from TED entitled "Start with why" .

Next steps:
- assess your antennae/ beacon status
- study how conversations are created
- consider a social media group
- focus on "them"
- talk about how the library can lead

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why conferences matter

Topher Lawton and Maurice Coleman
Topher Lawton & Maurice Coleman
I attended my first SLA conference in 1992 in San Francisco.  On the cross-country flight, I spotted a woman reading the conference program.  At baggage claim, I struck up a conversation with her (Kate) and that was the start of a long friendship!  In 2001, when I came to Syracuse University to teach on-campus classes, Kate - a librarian and an instructor  - was the person who gave me advice about how to handle a three-hour class.  It was exactly what I needed to learn at that moment!

For years, I would pack in as many conference sessions as possible.  They gave me content that was of value to me, my employer/consulting clients.  For a while, I even wrote a report of the SLA conferences that was published in Searcher magazine!  In hindsight, through, the sessions are a blur and what remains are contacts that I made, especially those that have had a bearing on my life and work.

On Friday, I asked in Twitter for people to share their best memory from a Computers In Libraries Conference.  Most of the memories shared were about meeting specific people.  Yes, we go to sessions and we learn from them, but the people provide access to relevant information after the conference is over (or even before the conference began).

While we can network (meet people) anywhere, why go to a conference to do it?  The conference provides context in terms of topics, industries, job focus, etc.  I know when I go to conference "X" what type of people are going to be there. That context frames my conversations and expectations.  Every session isn't just a topic, it is an opportunity to talk to other people who are interested in that topic!  So now I come home with notes on the topic and business cards (or Twitter names) of people who I can talk to about it.

All of those people that we interact with at a conference are a gateway into larger topic-focused networks.  For example, take Maurice. Several people in Twitter mentioned meeting Maurice Coleman as being their memorable  moment.  And...yes...Maurice is a memorable person...but also of interest about Maurice is that he can connect you to a network of library trainers and other people, who are passionate and vocal about what they do.  It is a group that will share what they know and do so joyfully.  What a great example of networking at its best!

As you head to your next conference, remember that you are entering a community of people that have a similar focus as you. Since you can never know everything about the topics of interest to you, take time to get know others at the conference. Talk about your points of view, problems, opportunities...even wild ideas.  Exchange contact information.  And then...follow-up...and look forward to the next time your paths cross.  (Heck, make sure your paths cross!) 

I tried to work the photo above into the text of this blog post and it didn't "flow".'s the story about the photo.  Imagine being a grad student, writing a literature review, then meeting at the ALA Annual Conference one of the people that you cited.  Because Maurice knows me, he went to the SU booth in the exhibit hall, just to say "hi' to whomever was there.  Toph was smart enough to ask, "Who are you?" and the rest is history. I look forward to them crossing paths again at CIL in a few weeks.  I also look forward to introducing Maurice to 15+ additional LIS students that I know are attending the conference.  They all need to have him in their network.