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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Belated notes from ITSIG #lianza11

[I'd dumped my laptop back at the hotel to recharge (and give my hands a rest) before coming to the ITSIG workshop but ended up writing some notes longhand - all without attribution, sorry.]

To define a social media policy, you need to know why you're doing it, who for, and what values you want to uphold. (I noted this especially because it reminded me of the planning process that I got out of Sally's Project Management workshop.)

Libraries and publishers don't understand each other and need to work together better. This is the point of view that HarperCollins are perfectly within their rights to insist on their 26-loan deal. An audience comment pointed out that we accept a lot of crap from publishers in terms of interfaces that even librarians can't cope with, they're so broken, let alone our users - should we just deal with it? The answer was yes and no - we have to buy the stuff (we can't just tell our customers, "Sorry, you can't have that super popular book because we're having a tiff with the publisher") but we do need to work with publishers to improve things.

[Personally, I think there are ways to phrase it that could leverage the customers' unhappiness - eg, "Sorry, you can't have that super popular book because the publisher broke it so it would take longer to set up your ereader to use it than it would to read it," because honestly it's not much more of an awkward conversation than, "Sorry our catalogue claims it's available when the publisher's removed it from their holdings," or "Sorry the loan for this academic textbook you need to refer to regularly for the next few months expires after a mere four days," or "Sorry the site claims getting this is a three step process when it actually requires installing and upgrading and more upgrading and escalating to various levels of library support." None of these latter situations make us look any better - unless we explain it's the publisher's fault, people will still assume it's the library's fault, so why not go for broke?]

"Librarians don't need training, they need to learn." (I believe this got retweeted a few times.)

In training/learning sessions found library staff who couldn't right-click, unfamiliar with installing software, nervous about Adobe signup. Users buying ereaders who struggle to find the on-button. (Or bought by people for parents.) We have to be engaged in helping with tech issues or we'll become just a repository.

Also need to look at the challenge of getting other ebooks, eg from NZETC, downloadable by people whose devices are based around aps.