Sunday, November 06, 2016

NYLA2016 : I STILL Don't Want to Talk About It

Woman with hand over her mouthOne of my favorite NYLA sessions continued to be "I STILL Don't Want to Talk About it".  This year the expert panel included Gerald Nichols, Lisa Rosenblum, and Mary Jean Jakubowski. Prior to the session, the panelists solicit problems from public libraries, which are then anonymized and used during the session.  They specifically seek out problems related to staff and patrons.  During the session, they used those problems to talk about solutions which often include advice on needed library policies.  It is always a fascinating and educational setting.  

While the problems used during the session are anonymized, they are also specific. And no notes would actually capture all of the information and nuances. So rather than publishing my notes, let me say these things:
  • Every library needs to have written policies which govern staff and patron activities and expectations.  
  • In the case of a public library, the library's board of trustees should be involved in creating those policies and assuring that they are implemented.
  • A public library should not just adopt the policies of its municipality.  Rather the policies should be specific to the library.
  • In some instances, a library director may also need to rely on legal counsel.  Every library should have legal counsel that it can contact/use.
  • Staff should understand the policies.  They should also know who to refer policy questions to.
  • Library directors need to be willing to enforce expectations and policies.

NYLA2016 : Marissa Richardson - I Got the Job! Now What?

PoppiesMarissa Richardson provided information on the decisions one needs to make after accepting a job offer and before starting that position, as well as a few for those first few months in the position.  She noted that 6.9 million people move for work each year, so you are not alone in this activity.
Some of the questions one needs to ask, should actually be asked before accepting the position:
  • Are the salary and benefits appropriate and will that salary work for you?  Use to look up salaries and see what you should be paid. Consider if you are willing to negotiate.
  • What is the cost of living for the place you're going to move to?  Use a cost of living calculator.  There is one at and there are others.  Be honest about what you can "live with" and what you can "live without."  What is truly important to you?  What are the things that support your lifestyle?
  • Do you need to account for a partner or family?  How will that impact the offer and the move?
  • Does your new employer offer a moving allowance?  If not, how will you get yourself and your stuff there?
  • Is the political climate in your prospective new home amenable to you? 
If you get to your new job and location, and are having a hard time adjusting, consider seeking support.  Check the National Alliance on Mental Illness web site for resources,

Overall Richardson asked us to consider our options and be open to new experiences.   She advocate for self-care along the way. Finally, she noted that if the new position is not what you expected, you should consider your options.  Rather than staying in a position that is not suited to you, you should consider it a stop on your journey and move on.

NYLA2016 : Elaine Lasda - Get Fancy With Your Library Data

Data Collection Scenario A
Data Collection Scenario A
Elaine Lasda, @ElaineLibrarian, Her slides will be available at

Some stakeholders respond better to data. In fact, many of our stakeholders respond well to data.   Data can tell us about our impact.  Anecdotes can play very well, too, with some people.

What is data?  Lots of things are and format can affect what you can do with it.

Elaine Lasda focused on quantitative data during the session, but wanted people to realize that data isn't always numbers.

What are the limitations to data?  
  • People can argue over the interpretation of the data.
  • It doesn't account for a person's gut (feelings).
Data can provide actionable insights.  (This is what we want.)

Data Collection is where it starts.
  • Remember garbage in, garbage out.
  • Was the data collected correctly?
  • Does the data fit the purpose?
Data collection scenario "A" (see image)
  • Need a clear definition of what you're looking for.
  • What is the best way of collecting the data?
  • Make sure that the data is collected accurately.
  • As much as possible, eliminate the possibility of errors in the data.
Data Cleaning: (See tools list below.)
  • Data cleaning can take up to 80% of your time.  While it is critically important, it is not "sexy."
  • This is putting the data into the format that you need and doing any normalizing.  
Data Cleaning Resources
Data Cleaning Resources
Data Analysis:
  • Going from data to information to knowledge to wisdom

Data Collection Scenario B
Data Collection Scenario B

Remember that correlation does not mean causation.

How do you get data from non-library users?  One person paired public library staff with board members who then went to different places on a Saturday to interview people.

Data Presentation:  With the chart and graphs, make sure the scale does not lead people astray in interpreting the information.

Top10 Worst Graphs in Science (web page)

Elaine suggests that people use free and low cost data tools.  She said that you don't always need  expensive tools.

Her library has use data analysis to improve workflow.


NYLA2016 : Dr. Daniel M. Russell - In the library of the future

Photo from NIH Library of Dr. Daniel Russell
Photo from NIH Library
Dr. Daniel Russell works for Google.  He is a Senior Research Scientist focused on Search Quality and User Happiness.  He describes himself as a cyber-tribal-techno-cognitive-anthropologist.  He is both a research scientist and a software engineer.  His web site is   His presentation is available here.  His presentation went quickly, so the notes below are incomplete, but may provide information that you might not glean from the slides themselves.  .

He said that we adapt the technology we're using for whatever we're trying to find at the time.  That technology changes the way we think and how we interact with information.

Learning to use the tools, for example:
  • Using google translate in a novel setting
  • Finding help on academic assignments 
What do we need to know about finding information in the Internet age?

Students use google to answer simple questions.  More difficult questions go to the reference desk.

The card catalogue was a static index.  Indexes now are more flexible because  they are digital.

Knowing cultural convention genres/media helps you define the questions.  

We need to be able to find tools that help us define the question, e.g., Metadata EXIF viewers.

He noted that people need executive skills which will keep them on task, and not get distracted.

As searchers, we need to know what is possible.

Google has public data for use at

  • The literacy of information
  • Knowing what the information is...
  • How to use and interact with the information 
  • Knowing how to use information in "hand to hand" combat

Finding text on a page is fundamental online reading skill.
  • Survey of 2225 US-English Internet users, 90.5% do not onion how to "find" on a page.
  • 51.1% of 545 US-English Internet using teachers do not know how to "find" on page.

Spoof sites, e.g., Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.  Sadly students don't have enough life information to help them spot spoof sites.

We live in a time when extraordinary videos need extraordinary evidence.  We need to know if a video could be true.

Emoticons and abbreviations can get in the way of understanding the question or understanding the answer.

Google image search will allow you to upload an image and search using it.

We live in a world where content change, and can radically change quickly.

YouTube - every minute 200+ hours of video are uploaded.  3 billion videos are watched each day.  70% of the traffic is international.

1.8 papers are published in ~28,000 journals.  What percentage are vampire journals?

Where are you supposed to learn these literacy skills?

The underlying information space is growing. More answers are available.

The creation of time lapse videos made by taking many photos of the same location,   The photos are sorted by time before the video is made. Assembling the collocation on content.

Question everything and be curious.  Do one more search!  Many things are trivial to look them up, so do look them up!

We need to learning how to ask questions.  It has always been a skills.  Now it's a critical skill. 

Dig into who owns a web site. Check the address.  Who else uses that address?

There is a web site that allows you to clone an article and then alter the article.

We have vastly more content, but what is its quality?

Basic skills include:
  • Learn how to ask the right questions.
  • Know what tools are available.
  • Understand space of information available
  • Can search effectively
  • Can understand how to interpret the results
How to become informate:
  • Take a class...continue to learn more
  • Become more aware
  • Subscribe to 
  • Understand
  • Play a serious game 
  • Teach a class
He has an a class online, Power Searching with Google.  Check his web site for other resources.   The site also contains a link to his blog.

Dr. Russell's contact info

NYLA2016 : Garry Golden - Tap your inner futurist: Libraries and the future of sustainable communities

Photo of Garry Golden from his web site
Garry Golden
The keynote was given by Garry Golden, @garrygolden.  His presentation is available at along with additional resources.   Below are my notes.

Foresight 101: Foresight is routed the studying social change. We associate thinking about the future with prediction. It is impossible to make predictive statements about the future. Rather futurists use a framework called the cone of plausibility. What is plausible? What are a set of scenarios? What signals of change then make one scenario more plausible than others?

Paying attention to the signals of change is the first task. Not being surprised by the future is your first measure of success.

"Everyday make an effort to move toward what I do not understand." - Yo-Yo Ma

The mechanisms of change to watch:
  • Trends - continuities - they give us our plausible futures 
  • Events - discontinuities - they give us our possibles futures. Events cannot be forecasted. 
  • Choices - discontinuities - they give us our preferred futures. 
Drivers of change for sustainable communities:

Demographic transitions
  • Aging populations is the most significant unprecedented change coming in the world. 
  • This is the biggest sustainable change in terms of demographics. 
  • Sustainability from a personal standpoint is going to include wearable technology. 
  • Wearables are compelling and creepy.
The demographic transition model
  • Some populations are starting to contract, meaning that they have fewer children than adults. 
  • The U.S. Demographic dividend - the impact of the baby boomers 
  • The challenge is the transition from the boomers to the millennial. 
  • Not enough Gen X for them to make a difference. 
  •  And the boomers are still working, so Gen Xers aren't getting the high paying jobs. 
  • Libraries need to take the demographics of their local communities and frame it as a story. 
  • Create a population pyramid (visualization).
What does sustainability mean for an aging population? It is about it a personal sense of resilience. What percentage of your population is aging?

Aging strategies:
  • Aging in place 
  • Active aging 
  • Creative aging 
Universal design: libraries and beyond
  • How do libraries need to design their services for an aging population?
  • MIT has developed a suit that allows you to understand what it like to experience a day as an older person.
Mobility: libraries and beyond
  • Equity and access 
  • Autonomous self driving cars could make a huge difference. 
  • Ollie has created an engaging people mover. 
Substance use disorders
  • Resilience and regeneration 
  • Versus the  "silent epidemic" 
  • Aging populations are particularly vulnerable to this.
Can/should the library be the first stop for aging services?
What does sustainability mean to millennial adults?

Libraries and the reframing of social justice issues: equality and equity
Everyone gets the same things versus everyone gets what they need.
How can we get millennials to see us (libraries) as partners?

Transforming energy:
  • Climate change has its own cone of plausibility. 
  • The Yale Climate Change Conversation Project
  • Policy changes everything in the energy world. 
  • New York has arguably the best framework for transforming energy use.  REV 2030. 
  • How do we integrate energy systems? 
  • Beyond solar: fuel cells as foundations for community micro grids. 
  • Can the library be the central power generator for a local micro grid?
Blockchain + trusted transactions:
  • Hard to describe. 
  • The Internet of trusted transactions. 
  • It rethinks transactions. 
  • It's just a decentralized database plus process automation. 
  • It is a way of verifying who owns what. 
  • It uses math to mediate transactions. 
  • There are public and private blockchain systems. 
  • Smart contracts disperse payments 
  • Distributed marketplace 
  • Peer to peer interactions 
  • A shared economy - the Napster for everything 
  • Dubai and the U.K. are leading the blockchain in the public sector.
Next steps:
  • Start conversations 
  • Ready for urgency graph 
  • Follow smart and informed people. 
  • Follow memes and events. 
  • Use killer questions. These are questions that people have to research in order to answer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Podcast: Pallante Leaves the Copyright Office

Last Friday, Christopher Kenneally and Andrew Albanese discussed the recent news of Maria Pallante leaving the U.S. Copyright Office.  Given that a few days had passed since the news, Albanese provides a useful take on the situation.  You can listen it it here (14 minutes).