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Tuesday 23 December 2008

Non-English blog roundup #10

Bibliobsession has posted a set of slides on Towards Library Ecosystems (French). It begins with an introduction to web 2.0 then points out, "A collection doesn't exist without its users and its uses." (slide 61) It goes on to discuss the library as an ecosystem: "creating links with other ecosystems in order to benefit from network effects which guarantee it a social utility".

Bobobiblioblog (French)
  • asks medical students if they've used Wikipedia - pretty much all have. Have they edited it? None - "Ah, no, once, a timid young woman whispered that she'd corrected a spelling mistake in one article.") Bobobiblioblog wonders whether "the general rule is perhaps to have a consumerist attitude towards Wikipedia - using it without participating in it". [I don't think it's necessarily as bad as that - remember the general 90-9-1 theory: 90% use it, 9% contribute occasionally, 1% contribute regularly.]
  • writes about adding an institutional filter to PubMed so that users of MyNCBI can filter their results to those that their institution holds. [Alas, when I try to register for MyNCBI I get 404 file not found, so I can't play with this myself.]

Vagabondages (French) points to "liquid bookmarks" (Japanese).

Kotkot writes about sustainable libraries (French), asking what sustainable development might mean in a library. The post includes a list of ideas like turning off screens overnight, using rechargeable batteries, reduce tape consumption on books, double-sided printing, create a comfortable bike shelter, etc.

Bib-log (Danish) announces the Roskilde public library mobile site.

Benobis lists French genealogy resources (French).

Via Klog come the steps of digital preservation in 1 slide (French).

De tout sur rien (French) suggests getting our users to scan book covers to go into a cross-library pool particularly if vendors put restrictions on us using theirs.

Monday 8 December 2008

Disintegrating glue, photos, and old theses

Another team in my library is digitising one of our older theses but had a problem with a couple of pages so asked me to scan those pages from our deposit copy. Unfortunately we had the same problem - the glue used 50 years ago to glue photographs into the thesis has lost any and all adhesive properties it once had.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the pages in question were of several photos of oscillographs - and I had no idea either where each one went or which way up it went.

Fortunately someone in the other team had the bright idea of matching the back of the photo to the indentation in the page. I had another look at our copy - there was no indentation, but the old glue left a browning stain so the back each photo had an individual pattern (finger prints, brush strokes, dappling, or at least different shaped corners) which was the mirror image of that on the page.

And then I used an OHT transparency to hold the photos in place while I scanned them (since I don't want to use any glue before talking to our conservation people). Mission accomplished!

Monday 1 December 2008

Non-English blog roundup #9

On a meta note, Google Reader now incorporates automatic language recognition and translation. For some reason this doesn't come across to the Reader widget in iGoogle, so what language I see depends on where I am -- this is actually a bonus because, while I read far faster in English, Google Translate can produce... unusual results.

Bibliothèques 2.0 (French) reports that the library in Toulouse has latched onto the city's SMS contract to SMS users for
  • the first overdue notice, and
  • notice that a reserved book is available.
They also send a pre-overdue notice by email, and additional overdue notices by email then by post. They acknowledge that SMS, at 10 euro-cents apiece, is more expensive than mail. But I think (and evidently so do they) that it's worth it to get a book back earlier and save the need of sending a post message later. We introduced SMS messages for overdue hourly-loans at our own library, and the number of times you see a student sprinting inside with the book - they didn't mean to have it overdue, they're just busy and preoccupied - makes it all worth while.

La Feuille highlights a quote from Marin Dacos' post about ebook readers (French): "Readers of today display all the shortcomings of physical books and almost none of the qualities of digital text." [This is an example of where Google Translate fails utterly, with "The reading of today are the shortcomings of the book and almost none of the qualities of the text." Reading is just stupid, are is odd, and why oh why does it simply miss out a word (numériques) that it can't cope with? Though I'll give it 'shortcomings', which I stole for my own translation.]

Álvaro Cabezas reports on the integration of Google Scholar results into Google proper (Spanish). If you don't have access via a library subscription you can click on the "All 3/whatever versions" to increase your chances of finding an open access copy or preprint.

Also from Álvaro is a great post on The user as generator, and the library as redisseminator of content (Spanish again). [Another failure of Google Translate, which renders "como redifusora de contenidos" as "of content as redisseminators". I see what it's trying to do - Romance languages often write an X of Y where English would have a Y X - but it's being incompetent about it; there's no earthly reason why a machine couldn't get the correct "as content redisseminator".] He points out that creating and maintaining a website full of quality content takes time and money - but also that web 2.0, with its remixing ideology, provides the opportunity to reuse existing information, and the opportunity to empower users to do some of the work for us. Risks, yes - but weighed against the risk of being "relegated to the archaic image which society, in general, holds of libraries"....

And via multiple blogs, the new Europeana went down due to popular demand shortly after launching. "Europe's digital library, museum and archive" hopes to re-open mid-December, at which time it will "be bringing you digitised books, films, paintings, newspapers, sounds and archives from Europe’s greatest collections." More about the project is available in the meantime at the project development site (English; Europeana itself will be in multiple languages).

Thursday 20 November 2008

Non-English blog roundup #8

Jeroen van Beijnen (Dutch) links to Idée Labs (English), which is playing with image recognition and visual search software. One of their neat tools is Multicolr, which searches among 10 million Flickr images for those with the colour(s) you select.
[Now, if you combined this functionality with book cover images in the catalogue... I do have to admit that my scheme to take over the world and add cover colour as a MARC field to improve searchability has a subtle yet important flaw: people aren't necessarily any more accurate in their memory of what a book looks like than in what it's called, who it's by, or what the course code is that it's a textbook for.]

Bibliobsession talks about an idea for an express computer station where readers can scan in a book's barcode and find reviews of its contents (French): "It's never been as easy to get hold of a book. On the other hand, it's never been as difficult to make choices among the abundance of titles. Note that this doesn't mean that libraries no longer have the function of providing access, but simply that this can no longer be our main raison d'etre."

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Completely legal video remixing

It wouldn't be strictly legal, though it ought to be, to remix clips from a TV show with pop music to create my own music video, so naturally I've never done such a thing, or at least if I have you can't prove it.

But for a while I have been considering grabbing some out-of-copyright music from Project Gutenberg, and some historical video clips from... well, Google used to have a bunch if I can just find them again, and Gutenberg has a few... and doing a completely legal remix. Just as soon as I have time.

Today I found out about Memory Maker which does just that:
Craft your own expression of what 'Coming Home' means with this video mixing tool. Remix photographs, graphics, film clips, and music from the years following the First World War and then share your new video with friends and family. The Memory Maker is hosted by the Auckland Museum, with members of the National Digital Forum and others providing the unique content.

Being theme-based, the selection of clips is small, and what you can do with them isn't as complex as what you could do in, say, iMovie - but it's an incredibly smooth click, drag and play interface. Head on over to see what videos people have made with it and make one yourself.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Hanging books

In a micro-update to my non-English blogs series: Vagabondages (French) shows off several methods people have come up with to hang books rather than just plonk them on a shelf.

I must have had this in my mind when I was trying to figure out how to display all the piles of books I'd got several of the branch libraries to send me for a summer reading / job hunting display. Because flash out of nowhere I realised that our book display whatchamacallits could hang quite nicely over the top of our display stand.

Thursday 6 November 2008

LIANZA 2008 Day 4 summing up

It's weird that it's now over and moreover I'm not just back at home with my cat (who cuddled up to me all night) but also back at work. Day 4 was as great as all the rest.

Marilyn Waring started off talking about her work with various communities, and how quantitative "objective" research just isn't sufficient to work out what the underlying problem is in a lot of cases - you need to talk to the people living the experience and get them involved in the research.

Meg Upjohn and I talked about our Library on Location trials. Kris liveblogged our talk and the questions and answers. We really enjoyed presenting and the audience was great.

At lunch I went to the Aotearoa People's Network presentation -- it was really inspiring hearing how the implementation has affected so many communities which would otherwise be left out, or at least left for last, in a market-driven majority-rules approach.

Helen Mandl talked about the extension built onto their library and the ensuing refurbishment. There was nothing revolutionary but we did get to see how the 'learning commons' ideas could be applied in a practical way.

Dylan Horrocks gave the last keynote, bookending the conference - talking about how the stringent anti-piracy laws don't actually benefit the artists, but rather the corporations; and how peer-to-peer file-sharing is going to become more and more predominant and change the economic model. Did I mention he's a great speaker and very entertaining?

I kept up the liveblogging: see Waring and Horrocks and Aotearoa People's Network and Mandl (you'll need to scroll down as this link contains three days' worth of stuff now).

Food report for the day: I forget morning tea as we were preparing for our talk. Another buffet lunch - took it into a lunch session so had somewhere to sit while eating. Small scones with jam and cream to taste for afternoon tea - very tasty though the jam was quite sticky to spread.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

LIANZA 2008 Day 4 keynotes liveblogging

We'll be starting again at 9am NZ time (that's one hour from when I post this). The concurrent sessions I'm attending today will be liveblogged separately as usual.

LIANZA 2008 Day 3 summing up

Today was slightly more leisurely - I still think I got my full money's worth, just that it's nice to come out and have enough brain left that you can remember what sessions you've been to without checking your notes.

First off, Lawrence Lessig's keynote was fantastic. For one thing, he's got a quick thumb on the powerpoint clicker, and his voice/slide synchronisation is so perfect that the images become an extension of his voice -- from a technical standpoint alone it was a joy to watch. His message was great too: he started off talking about the much broader context of corruption in government, justice and health, and then brought in copyright and libraries in a way that made us a part of that context: it was really moving and inspiring. With questions as well we ran over the scheduled time, and I'm sure we would gladly have listened to him for another hour as well. If you want to know more, you can read the live-blogging Kathryn, Kris and I did of the talk.

We then had the LIANZA fellowship awards and the AGM. I virtuously went to the AGM -- but must confess that when I saw that the first slide was "financial audit", I followed the unconference "two feet" rule and went back to the exhibition area. Sorry if I let the side down... but the vendors had jelly beans.

Speaking of vendors, the conference organisers had the brilliant idea this year of an "Exhibition Passport" - a card with a square for each exhibitor. If you all the squares stamped, you can enter a prize draw. It's a great way of getting people to visit stands they mightn't otherwise stop at, and it makes a great ice-breaker too -- one doesn't feel quite as greedy asking for a stamp as asking for a pen.

At lunch I went to the SLIS meeting because they were playing half of the video of Stephen Abram's speech from when he visited Wellington. The video didn't do justice to what was obviously a greatly appreciated talk but I was impressed by the way he adapted his speech to include a huge amount of local-relevant content.

My first session of the afternoon was a Second Life workshop led by Kathryn Greenhill. It was a great introduction and tremendous fun -- even if we never figured out why the scripts on my bookcase wouldn't work! At least I could see how it was working for others. At the end I snagged a moment to have a quick fly around the island.

I got back into the live-blogging with Lynette Makin's "Homework on Wheels", talking about the bookmobile initiatives in the Upper Murray region. It's a bit tangential to the work Meg Upjohn and I have done on Library on Location but wonderful to hear how varied the things were that they could do with this service.

The final session I was tossing up between three, but ended up at the Unconference one by Kathryn Greenhill and Constance Wiebrands, and I'm very glad I did. They gave a smooth and energetic presentation, demonstrated a Library Karaoke and a Libjam session with amazing flair, involved the audience, and just generally taught me a whole lot that I hadn't known before. It was particularly good hearing audience experiences of unconference-type things going on in NZ already.

My liveblogging of Abrams, Makin, and Greenhill and Wiebrands is here (you'll need to scroll down as this link contains two days' worth of stuff now).

Finished at 5pm and had a quiet evening before practising for the presentation Meg and I are giving on Wednesday.

Food report for the day: Morning tea appears to have been forgettable, but I'm sure it was perfectly pleasant. We had another delicious but awkward buffet-style lunch (ended up finding a wall where we could sit on the floor) concluded with macadamia-and-caramel tarts (a bit too sweet) and small chocolate cakes (not too rich). Afternoon tea consisted of absolutely divine fruit kebabs (grape, rockmelon, honeydew melon, and pineapple) which had me going back for seconds more than once. We had these another morning, but I was very glad to see them make an encore.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

LIANZA 2008 day 3 live-blogging - now with added Lawrence Lessig

Starting shortly - feel free to comment as we blog:

LIANZA 2008 Day 2 summing up

This was a busy day. The first keynote, Mason Durie, talked about transformational leadership - he used examples of historic New Zealand leaders to show the difference between responding/adapting to change and actually leading the change. He was very much for this latter kind of leadership, and though I suspect for every one person leading change, you need a whole bunch running along behind adapting to fix all the things the leader hasn't thought of, I also suspect it's a lot easier to find people good at adapting to change than people good at leading change.

At 10 we had the 3M Award presentations: the CareerSearch database at Auckland and the online reference consultations at Massey. Over drinks after, a few of us agreed that Canterbury ought to enter these Awards one of these days.

Charlotte Clements, and "surprise guest" Timothy Greig, talked about the investigation they've done into online chat services - looking at proprietary software vs open source, they found the latter did everything they needed and was a more familiar interface for the users as well. In fact the lack of bells and whistles was a plus. They're going with Pidgin and a Meebo widget. They haven't yet launched it but think it could be done within a week including staff training time ("5 minutes" for the technical stuff, though that's because they've already ironed out some bugs); in question time, a few people from Canterbury were able to talk about the way we've implemented and rostered our AskLive service using Meebo.

The ITSIG presentations at lunch went on a bit longer than I think they'd planned, so I don't know when they had time for their AGM. I went for the LibGuides stuff, but there was lots of interesting bits and pieces, including the Auckland City Libraries new website which looks fantastic.

Samantha Callaghan talked about the dilemmas in digitising matauranga Maori (essentially knowledge created by Maori and in a Maori framework). Some stuff is culturally sensitive so you need to consult on it, but what I brought out of the session that you shouldn't let this requirement stop you from doing it - otherwise you end up with a real imbalance in what's available online. She said there was a point where they stopped consulting and just did it because if they'd consulted everyone there was to consult, they'd still be consulting even now. And all the feedback they've had so far has been positive.

Keitha Booth and Andrew Matangi talked respectively about Open Access for government information, and the NZ Creative Commons license - and a bit about using CC for govt information to make it open access! It was a good introduction and I'd love to use CC for some of our library stuff as well, as I know some US libraries have.

The second keynote of the day, Mark McCrindle was a great speaker - lots of anecdotes, and stopping to get us to play a game with our neighbours that was completely unrelated to his topic, but the idea of stopping he brought back to the idea that attention spans are decreasing. He was talking about how different environments have shaped different generations -- I tend to think that generalisations can be taken too far and too literally sometimes, but there are still differences that we need to be aware of.

(For more details of these see my live-blogging: here for Durie, I think the 3M Awards, Booth and Matangi, and McCrindle and here for Clements and Greig, ITSIG, and Callaghan. Sorry for the way this is split, it made sense at the time.)

And finally the LIANZA awards, and drinks, and then we went out for dinner.

Food report for the day: Lunch was buffet-style -- very nice, but the lack of places to sit down necessitated a lot of balancing, which isn't conducive to cutting things. The gingerbread at afternoon tea was to die for. Alas, I spent so long trying to decide whether to ask for the recipe or just smuggle a basket of it away that I ended up not able to do either.

Monday 3 November 2008

LIANZA awards 2008

Joint Letter of Recognition: Bicultural Development
to the Maori Subject Headings Steering Committee
(Anne Anderson, Jenny Barnett, Alison Elliott, Kitty Murray, Glenn Taitoko, Lisa Tocker)
and to the Maori Subject Headings Project Team
(Robyn East, Rangiiria Hedley, Judy Keats, Anne Reweti, Whina Te Whiu)

Rua Mano Award
Hinerangi Kara
Sheeanda Field

LIANZA Fellowships
Rosalie Blake
Alan Edwards
Beverly Fletcher
Geraldine Howell
Michaela O'Donovan
Alison Fields

LIANZA Associates
Marleene Boyd
Megan Clark
Kim Taunga
Kris Wehipeihana
Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui
Sheila Ford
Cherie Shum
Janet Upton
Samantha Searle
Julie Anne Farquharson
Craig Murray
Margaret Walker
Louise Booth
Helen Brownlie
Elizabeth Finnie
Bernie Hawke
Mark Hughes
Andrea Simonsen

LIANZA Award of Merit: Management
Hilary Rendell

LIANZA Award of Merit: Marketing
Anne Thompson, Mercine Davidson, Chelsea Hughes for "Be heard forever"

Edith Jessie Carnell Travelling Scholarship
Bernie Hawke

Crown Records Management Scholarships
Jackie Claridge and Anne Dickson

YBP/Lindsay and Croft Award for Collection Services
Linda Geddes

Emerald Research Project Prize
Nicola Rawnsley

3M Awards for Innovation
2nd prize - Helena Westwick, Uni of Auckland for CareerSearch
1st prize - Jane Brooker, Massey Uni, for Connecting Virtually With Our Students

LIANZA 2008 concurrent sessions

These are the concurrent sessions I'm attending over the next few days - feel free to comment!

Kathryn Greenhill is also blogging the sessions she's attending.

LIANZA 2008 day 2 live-blogging

Just starting now - feel free to post comments!

LIANZA 2008 day 1 summing up

So I was a bit scattered yesterday afternoon, trying to figure out why the wireless was so flakey -- of course it turned out to be fine once we got into the presentation room itself.

The two keynotes (see our liveblogging yesterday) were both great, with very different moods that both reflected the conference theme of "Outside the Box".

Dylan Horrocks gave a really lively talk about the history of comics, neither traditional art nor traditional story-telling, a genre that's gained respectability in part because it's developed to a point where artist/authors can work outside the box in a way that can only be seen as real art.

Diane Mara's talk on Pacific people in New Zealand was very personal, at times emotional, and it was obvious that it came very much from her heart. In a way her story spoke of life outside of - excluded from - the European box; and I think alluded also to the hope of breaking out of the box that stereotypes put people in. And when else has a keynote presentation ended with librarians dancing in the aisles?

We then went to the exhibition welcome and though there are lots of the usual pens in evidence, I'm getting the impression that even the vendors have been thinking outside the box. More investigation is definitely required on this front.

Food report to date: super fruit kebabs. Generous sized glasses of wine at the exhibition welcome, and delicious orange juice. Very interesting hors d'oeuvres -- not in a bad way, more a thought-provoking way. (For example, they're currently provoking the thought, "Should hors d'oeuvres really be thought-provoking?")

Day two begins shortly; I'll embed the live-blogging for it in a new post.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Live-blogging Sunday 2nd November


Arrived at conference in Auckland - have attended the powhiri and chatted with a few people - currently testing the wireless and seeing if we can get onto the live-blogging website.

I'll be live-blogging the keynotes and as many of the sessions as I can (the live-blogging should be embedded on the conference website, and on Wednesday morning Meg Upjohn and I will be presenting a paper on Library on Location.

More later when we've got the wireless tamed...

Thursday 9 October 2008

Annoyed Librarians

The last time I noticed much general discussion of the Annoyed Librarian was at the time of the "I am not the Annoyed Librarian" meme, which seemed a nice light-hearted bit of fun. So much of the vehement disapproval of Library Journal giving the AL a column has taken me by surprise. This may be because I'm the kind of person who sails blithely over all sorts of social undercurrents; in fact I'm reminded of an old high school friend asking me a few years after the fact, "Remember when [two girls among our friends] were found kissing behind the bikeshed?" And... no, I seem to have entirely missed what sounds like it must have been the biggest bit of gossip of the entire school year.

Leaving aside the "What did I miss?" factor, though, I haven't yet seen any reason to convince me that the column is a bad thing.

Among the AL's fans, there seems to be some concern that they've "sold out", or at least compromised their voice. Somehow I don't think that's going to be a problem. I've also heard some concern about whether they can sustain a regular column, as opposed to a blog post whenever the mood takes them; but again I don't think there's any reason to think they can't.

Those who aren't fans seem to be primarily of the view that Library Journal has only done it for the expected boost in traffic, and that the journal shouldn't be a place for negative and unconstructive rants by an anonymous author.

Only for the traffic? I rather suspect so, but that doesn't make it a bad thing. Like it or not, the AL has a lot of fans; why shouldn't Library Journal make a place for them in the hopes that they'll stay to view some of the other columns? (Just for fun, substitute "gaming" for "the AL", "libraries" for "Library Journal", and "books" for "some of the other columns".)

Should the journal be a place for negative etc columns? I think it shouldn't be a place that publishes only such columns, but I don't think it should be a place that publishes only "Rah rah, we're doing great, guys!" columns either.

And are the AL's posts in fact only unconstructive? Well... yes and no. The AL is a devil's advocate: they take their arguments, in my view, to unsupportable extremes. But they do make valid points among the wilder ones. Much as I love library 2.0 and its potential, not all that potential is always purely beneficial or even practical, and if we're going to build something new we have to be open to hearing that. Just because the AL doesn't provide a constructive solution doesn't mean that they haven't pointed out a valid problem that needs a solution.

Finally: anonymous? No. Pseudonymous, yes. The difference is that when the AL signs their name, we know it's the same person who signed as the AL last week; whereas when someone writes anonymously, it might or might not be the same person who wrote all the other comments on the thread. This means that the AL does have a reputation to gain or lose, and can be held accountable as the Annoyed Librarian for what they say.

If the AL made personal attacks on individuals, that'd be different -- but I haven't seen that happen and haven't heard of it happening either. Until/unless it does, I can't think of any reason why Library Journal shouldn't give them a column.

[Random disclaimers/disclosures: a) I don't often read the AL these days - not my thing and not enough time - but I've never hated it. b) I have my own pseudonym in other parts of the 'net (discoverable with minor effort and/or lateral thinking), and I can tell you that my reputation under that pseudonym is every bit as important to me as my reputation under my birth name.]

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Innovations in Information Delivery

I gave a talk this morning for U3A Mountfort. The slides and links are up at my website.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Non-English blog roundup #7

Bambou (French) reports back from the 1st Congress of the International Francophone Association of Librarians and Documentalists held in Montreal in August. Part 1 covers the success of the conference (280 attendees) and part 2 is a review of the National Library and Archives of Quebec where the conference was held (62 opening hours a week; 2000 comfortable seats; film and music rooms, services for people with disabilities, distance services, federated genealogy search engine, collection for new arrivals, etc; but on the downside strict lending rules, busy webpage, austere catalogue.)

Marlène Delhaye writes (French) "I love LISTA (Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts) (English), saying "I think it's a shame that it's not promoted more".

Álvaro Cabezas writes (Spanish) about reference management software, "one of the star products in the academic community". "The market offers various tools, both proprietary and open-source software, free or paying, desktop or [...] online". He links to a Wikipedia article comparing the various tools (English) - comparisons include operating system support, import/export formats, citation styles, database connectivity, and more.

Lionel Dujol writes Some noise in our libraries! (French) inspired by the start of Marc Maisonneuve's book "Le catalogue de la bibliothèque à l’heure du web 2.0" (The library catalogue in the time of web 2.0). He (or Maisonneuve) riffs off the concept of librarians trying to keep libraries quiet and trying to keep search results free of 'noise': "A new-generation opac must be able to give our users results, no matter the request and no matter the noise. For a user can always adapt to noise, but not to silence, Maisonneuve emphasises."

Linked from the same post is a document of requirements for the modern website of the modern library of our (modern) dreams (French) found on the French Bibliopedia. "The idea of this page is to gather everything that we expect today from a library on the web." It includes sections covering:
  • general recommendations
  • the catalogue
  • the user account
  • social networking
  • editing / CMS abilities
and additional ideas for user service.

Non-English blog roundup #6 (from June!)

Giving up on an attempt to play catchup more thoroughly...

Biblog (Danish) reports that international conference "The Smart City And Its Libraries" is arranged by Copenhagen Libraries for Wednesday 8 Oct to Friday 10 Oct. Programme here (English).

Documentación, biblioteconomía e información writes about the battle of citation reports between Elsevier Scopus and ISI Thomson. Álvaro Cabezas, arguing from the point of view of transparency, that Scopus has been gaining ground over the last few months: "ISI is not transparent, and that which is not transparent is suspect."

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Filming students

I started out a bit intimidated by the idea of accosting random students and asking them to appear in a video forthe web, but it turned out to be straightforward and I got a really positive response.

Mostly I set up in the library foyers - I had my laptop and microphone on a booktrolley so could record then and there. I generally ignored students on their way out (likely rushing to a lecture) in favour of those coming in. I didn't have any tangibe bribes, but did want to 'offer' something, so generally started with "Hi, have you seen the video on the library homepage?" Then I could show them where to find it and, while they were watching a bit of it, explain what was going on and ask them if they'd help out.

To my surprise, about 1 in 3 agreed. This varied by branch: at one branch it was more like 1 in 10. At some branches, the librarians introduced me to likely candidates. But even approaching people at random, I could typically record half a dozen volunteers in not much more than half an hour.


What did they say? Responses fell fairly evenly among the old triumvirate:

Place: a warm place (it's currently winter in NZ), a quiet place. (Best new motto we'll never use: The Library: There's no-one around.) A place to study, essentially, though one or two mentioned hanging out with friends.

People: they see librarians as friendly and helpful - one made a point of saying that (contrary to expectations, one infers) the librarians aren't intimidating or scary.

  • computers and internet
  • books and journals
  • everything needed for studying
  • easy to find and use

A couple of days after the second video went up, a colleague asked for a transcript so she'd know what people were saying. This reminded me I'd been interested in the possibilities dotSub provides. I got permission to put the videos up there as well. It was dead simple to transfer the videos across from YouTube, and the interface is incredibly user-friendly, so (as I already had the transcripts from when I'd been editing the videos) it took me less than two hours to create the subtitles for both videos - that's less than 20 minutes per minute.

Monday 18 August 2008

Library Week video

I finished editing the second of our Library Week videos late on Friday (I needed it in a couple of different formats and had forgotten how long it takes to save out of iMovie project format - and then of course I discovered a couple of things that needed a last-minute edit) but still in time for IT to get them up on our homepage for the start of Library Week.

Then I went home and blobbed for the weekend. The video only took about 20 hours of actual work, but cramming that into 2 weeks (along with organising a "Blue Skies" forum and doing desk shifts and everything else going on) was... hectic towards the end. But doable. And a heck of a lot of fun.

I'll blog more on the experience later, but in the meantime here's the finished thing:

Tuesday 5 August 2008


Success at uploading to YouTube:

FriendFeed - reading format verdict

Reading FriendFeed as an RSS feed via GoogleReader:

+ I don't have to log in
+ One less thing to remember / tab in Firefox to keep open
+ I know what items I've read and what I haven't - no losing my place when items with new comments shift around

- I get items significantly later. And for some reason the feed is currently frozen on August 2nd.
- If I want to comment I have to log in anyway - then start trying to catch up when I'm not sure of my place given that items with new comments have shifted around
- I don't get notifications for new comments
- Something else I can't remember. As a Dirk Gently character said, my brain is like one of those things with holes in it.

I think I'm going to be sticking mostly with the web interface from now on

Monday 4 August 2008

Pre-Library Week video

I've been working on a two-pronged Sekrit Project for my library's Library Week celebrations: part 1 has just been unveiled on the library home page -- "Library Video", in the News section.

Part 2 is to do essentially the same thing over again except with students instead of library staff. Current plan is to start filming tomorrow and have the completed video ready to go when Library Week begins on the 18th August. <crosses fingers>

[Technical details: filmed with webcam and external microphone on an iBook, recorded and edited entirely in iMovie (except opening and closing images which I made in some image program I now forget). Filming was about 7 hours (includes travelling between various branches on campus) and editing of photos and footage about 14 hours.]

Friday 18 July 2008

Library on Location trials

Via a link from iLibrarian I just discovered another library trying out the roving librarian model.

This reminds me I need to work on our report from our second trial (which went even better than the first trial, and we've got some great statistics).

I'm also steadily working on tidying up my list of libraries roving beyond the library walls. If anyone knows any more examples I could add to the list, please let me know!

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Social MARC

Roy Tennant writes that "Tags, ratings, and reviews should help enrich the whole, not one particular library catalog."

The problem is (after convincing TPTB that tags etc really do enrich the catalogue) how to get the data from one library to another. We're not really set up to share metadata like this with each other. --Uh, no, wait a minute. Isn't sharing metadata what copy-cataloguing is all about?

What if we simply (went through a huge bureaucratic decision-making process and) created some new MARC fields for tags, ratings, and reviews?

Then it'd be (a programming nightmare to allow customers to update these MARC fields and then to allow libraries to update to and from the network, but otherwise) dead simple to share tags, ratings and reviews with other libraries through the standard metadata-sharing networks.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

28 words

Playing with Page2RSS, I discovered that Google have found a way to fix its hidden privacy policy. (I'm blase about such controversies, but I like an elegant solution.)

Friday 4 July 2008

Database RSS alerts - Ovid

I've worked out the mystery from my last RSS alerts post: search alerts can be created on Ovid for Forest Science Database and GEOBASE but not for Biological Abstracts.

And I can now confirm that those RSS search alerts do in fact work (I got an alert for 58 new items including the word "properties" from the Forest Science Database this morning). So Ovid is redeemed.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Non-English blog roundup #5 (French)

Still catching up, so pulling together a bunch of French content this time:

Bernard Rentier writes "A university which wants to be on the cutting edge of information as a communication tool cannot be unfamiliar with these new practices. It must even use them, not to "reform" them, even less to control them, these two objectives not being acceptable, but if it's a tool frequently used by many students, the Institution must be able to adopt this new concept and make itself a usage of it that is "sympathetic" and perceived as positive by everyone."

Risu suggests an easy method of increasing your library's visibility: enter it into Google Business Center with contact details, website, description, photos and videos, opening hours etc. "The whole thing takes 5 minutes and it's free."

Thomas on Vagabondages talks about "Lottobook", a game where every participant pledges to send a book to the winner. The winner is drawn and receives n-1 books, while a runner-up receives 1 book (from the winner) as a consolation prize and so even the winner doesn't know they've won until all the books arrive in the mail.

A meme being passed on via Marlene's Corner: "to give you the contents of my day as a 2.0 librarian on Monday".

In Bibliobsession:On DLog, Dominique writes about The two branches of the library:
Let's not confuse
  • the physical item;
  • a particular edition of which the physical item is a clone among clones;
  • the work, which is immaterial
I draw from this a new conception of conservation: no longer only for the future or for researchers, but also for the public, here and now."
And a new report has been published, Report on the digital book (pdf) by Bruno Patino, 30 June 2008. Very roughly, from the executive summary:
The entrance into the digital age seems to be happening later for the book than for other cultural industries. However, many publishing sectors such as professional, practice or reference books are already largely digitised. This development, so far, has challenged neither the commercial model, nor relations with authors, nor the customs of readers. But what would happen if digitisation were to accelerate, even to take over? Such a hypothesis, even if it cannot be predicted with certainty, still merits that the key players in the sector prepare for it, bearing in mind the very important effects that it could lead to on the precarious equilibrium of the book industry.

A particular vigilance should especially be brought to a possible new competition between the rights holders (authors and publishers), whose remuneration of their creations should be preserved and increased, and the access and network holders, who don't necessarily have any interest in increasing the intellectual property rights.

In this context, two elements are essential: intellectual property must remain the cornerstone of publishing, and publishers must retain a central role in determining price.

The committee therefore recommends a series of measures organised into four actions:
  1. Promote an attractive legal offer. [eg look at interoperability of digital content - formats as much as DRM; interoperability of existing metadata; pursue the policy of supporting digital books[
  2. Defend intellectual property. [don't modify intellectual property law, which can accomodate digitisation; open inter-professional discussions about the rights of authors]
  3. Put in place provisions allowing rights holders to have a central role in determining prices.
  4. Conduct an active policy with respect to community institutions. [Establish a bureau to promote intellectual property-related policy; request a lower TVA tax for digital cultural content.]
Discussion in various venues has ensued and seems likely to continue apace....

Friday 27 June 2008

Non-English blog roundup #4 (Dutch)

I've been saving up a whole pile of stuff and then more came in when I was down with a cold, and then I just got behind. So I'll start off with a bunch of old content from Dutch blogs -- fair warning, it turns out that my Dutch is even worse than I thought it was. Hopefully it'll improve, and in the meantime, machine translation is improving all the time...

On ZB Digitaal:
  • comments discuss the reliability of IP address tracing to find the location of visitors -- the problem being that it depends on the address provided to the registry by the server. [In New Zealand this means that no matter where you are in the country, if you use ISP X you'll show up in server logs as being in City Y.]
  • the 7 Vs of young adult librarianship: freedom, trust, responsibility, imagination, narrative, enrichment, cheerfulness. [Alliteration loses something in translation.]
On Wowter over het Web:
  • Wouter introduces a wiki for Dutch biblioblogs, nlbiblioblogs
  • a great post discussing at what point libraries should adopt new technologies. Wouter leans towards the experimentation side of the spectrum, rather than waiting for everything to be perfect, and gives an example of the unintended benefits of a comments feature in a catalogue. "When the library as an organisation is not exploring and playing with the possibilities than the organization is not teaching learning (thanks, wow!ter, for the correction -DF 30/6) anything." [I ended up reading this through Google Translation which is startlingly readable though it doesn't deal so well with compound words. Where you see "commentaarmogelijkheid", read "the ability to comment".]
And on the Bibliotheek 2.0 Ning group, Jeroen van Beijnen writes about one solution to writing in the margin of library books: transparent post-it notes. [I personally as a reader don't mind if someone had pencilled in one or two notes. In pencil. And not many of them. OTOH, I do think that (following links all English) readers should be careful, when correcting a book's historical details, to ensure first that it's not an alternate history book. The author of the book in question maintains that "we should hold off on the brain-wipe until the second offence"; a comment on her post leads to a LiveJournal community for found marginalia.]

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Database RSS alerts - Errata

A few things I missed the first time around:
  1. Ovid:
    • has Contents alerts which work immediately.
    • I went in again this evening to try to create an RSS search alert which might actually send me results ("trees" perhaps not being general enough and "effects" apparently being a stop word, I thought I might try "properties"), and couldn't find my way back to create a search alert at all. So I went back to the instructions I'd written for our postgrads on how to do it... and discovered that the RSS button isn't now where it was two days ago. I have screenshots so I know I'm not going mad:


      Yes, I've tried both logged in and logged out.

  2. ProQuest:
    • I commented on Tame The Web that I hadn't received any alerts yet from ProQuest; I now have.

  3. Scitation provides alerts:
    • on addition to the database
    • search alerts
    • by RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

  4. Standards New Zealand:
    • also has Topic alerts

Monday 16 June 2008

Database RSS alerts #3

Concluding my investigations of what alerts various engineering databases provide (part 1, part 2) with a few loose ends...

  • RSS "Editor's Choice" average 10-15 alerts a week per 'industry' - the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server
  • Email search alerts "continuously updates" - but only the account administrator is authorised!

  • when database updated
  • search alerts (contents alerts for PsycArticles journals)
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

Ovid (eg GeoBASE, Biological Abstracts, Forest Science Database)
  • weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or when database updated
  • search alerts
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server
  • Note: I'm not convinced this worked - my feeds are sitting happily in my RSS reader with one post each saying "Newly created Ovid feed" but I'm still waiting for any alerts to appear...

And various databases that have no RSS capabilities:
  • Agricola
  • CE Database
  • FireInf
  • Index New Zealand
  • Kompass
  • NLM
  • NTIS
  • Transportation Research Information Services Online

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Exploiting library catalogue data

At some point I'll catch up from when I was down with a nasty cold and do a proper non-English blog roundup installment. In the meantime this leaped out at me:

Marlen's Corner (French) quotes from a survey about catalogue use (also French) saying approximately: "[...] we must say that the quality of library data is their advantage compared to other data sources. The problem currently doesn't come from these latter, but rather from the lack of exploitation of the library data's potential by search engines, and from the lack of visibility that the interfaces give them."

Every now and then I talk about how I want a catalogue that lets users search by colour. There's just that tiny detail that we'd first need to catalogue the colour of a million-odd existing volumes and redesign the search interface... But seriously, we catalogue books with all sorts of obscure information -- by size, for example. Why do we do that? More to the point, since we do do that, why don't we exploit the fact that the information's there: why can't users search by size? Why can't we limit our searches by "has illustrations", "has colour illustrations", "includes maps"?

(Is there any catalogue that can do any of this?)

Thursday 29 May 2008

Database RSS alerts #2

Continuing on my investigations of what alerts various (engineering) databases provide...

  • daily or weekly
  • contents alerts
  • by email or RSS (copy and paste the URLs listed)

  • on publication
  • by email: contents and topic alerts
  • by RSS: search alerts - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

Earthquake Engineering Abstracts
  • when database updated
  • search alerts (contents alerts for PsycArticles journals)
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

IEEE Xplore
  • on publication and you can set an expiry date
  • contents alerts
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

  • by email: search alerts daily, weekly, monthly, or trimonthly, and you can set an expiry date and choose the subject header
  • by RSS: search or contents alerts on publication; expires after 3 months "unused"; the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

NZ Index
  • interface and features haven't been updated, near as I can tell, since sometime last millennium, so basically nothing

I'm continuing to wish that databases wouldn't automatically form RSS feeds to include the stuff which has to be edited out by hand before the feed is any use at all. Really how hard can it be to provide an url that works out of the box?

Monday 26 May 2008

Non-English blog roundup #3

Via betabib (Swedish), RSS4Lib has a list of library web pages that list experimental, beta, or trial web tools and services.

Thomas on Vagabondages (French) discusses CollegeDegree's "25 social networking tools"; I was particularly interested by Daft Doggy, of which Thomas says "If I've understood correctly, Daft Doggy is an application which lets you record a session in a web-browswer and then... replay the [web-surfing] visit, modify it, and add commentary."
Thomas also quotes Fred Cavassa who says, "Have you noticed that the term 'web 2.0' is no longer fashionable? [...] Now we speak of social media."

Dominique, bibl. prof. (French) links to her presentation from the ASTED/CBPQ colloquium about profession wikis in libraries: the example of the University of Quebec network (powerpoint).

Via Deakialli, Desde los Zancos 2.0 interviews Dídac Margaix Arnal (Spanish). To a question about promoting collaborative library 2.0 technologies faced with hesitant managers, Dídac suggests talking about:
  1. personal experience - how web 2.0 tools have helped you professionally;
  2. experiences of other libraries;
  3. the fact that the tools are free; and especially
  4. "we have to assume that Web 2.0 is the form in which digital natives communicate, relate to each other, inform themselves, compare information, etc. If we want to converse with them, we'll have to use these tools [...]"

Bibliobsession 2.0 (French) talks about the idea of using Cover Flow for catalogue displays. There are tools for creating coverflow displays: "for the English-speaking library geeks, this post on The Corkboard presents other technical possibilities to do the same thing, and there also exists Protoflow to do the same thing."

Marlène's Corner (French) reports the launch of Hypothè, "a blog platform destined to lodge journal blogs [...] As for the journals, the blogs will be subjected to a selection process [...]" The posts aren't intended to replace articles, but to accompany and facilitate the publishing process.

Friday 23 May 2008

Linking away from the library

David Lee King's notes from a session by David Weinberger, specifically "a blogger that links to other places tells people to 'go away.' The hope is that readers will find that valuable enough to come back to you." reminded me of something I'd been thinking about yesterday.

There's a bit of resistance to library pages linking outwards to other sites and services. The reasoning goes that "If students wanted to search on Google Scholar they'd go there, not our databases page" and "If students wanted to search on Amazon they'd go there, not our catalogue."

Which is true and in the past I've had no answer for it. But these days there are so many different places to go to and search, who wants to check each one individually? That's why we have rss readers, and federated searching, and Meebo, and social aggregators.

These days, where (to pick numbers at random for illustration purposes) you might have a dozen sites each with an average 40% chance of finding what you're looking for, you don't go to the site which has a whopping 50% chance. You go to the site which makes it easy to go to the other sites and ramp up your chances to 90%.

So if Google Scholar searches 80% of the library databases, and the library databases search 80% of what Scholar gets, but Scholar has the "Full Text @ My Library" link and the library has no link to Scholar -- then where are students going to go?

And if Amazon searches a bazillion books that will require extortionate shipping costs and weeks to reach New Zealand at all, and the library catalogue has a million books that are actually here for free, but you can get your LibX plugin to link from Amazon to the library catalogue, whereas the library catalogue stops with "Sorry, could not find anything matching [your title], the end, have a nice day" -- then where are students going to go?

Okay, it's not quite that simple, if only because most students haven't actually heard of Google Scholar or LibX so they're actually going to be searching sites that don't link back to the library at all. But the principle of the thing remains. Just because a resource or service is outside of the library doesn't mean we shouldn't link to it. Libraries are meant to be all about the added value, aren't we? Well, linking outward adds value -- the sort of value that makes it worth the while of our customers to spend their valuable time using our service.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Thought of the day

Grey literature consists of white papers that can only be found with the Black Arts.

Friday 9 May 2008

Non-English blog roundup #2

Deakialli DokuMental (Spanish) writes about navigation and filtering with tags - also discusses facets. "What is the problem? That description and navigation are different concepts." This post made me think about searching using social bookmarking sites. I use Diigo which only has an AND search - as far as I can tell (and I hunted a bit) there's no way to do even an NOT or OR search. has a few advanced search options, but still no truncation search. As far as I know, there's no reason this couldn't be done, and it would make a search for "blog OR blogs OR blogging" much easier.

Documentalistes (Catalan) briefly evaluates Google Image Ripper, a site where you can type in your image search and it brings up the full-size images instead of the thumbnails. I note that it doesn't solve the duplication problem: it would be Really Cool if a search for "madame de lafayette" didn't include both images #1 and #5 which are identical. (Literally: took it straight off Wikimedia. Some kind of pixel-by-pixel matching algorithm? Yes, yes, strain on the server and would slow down the results. Still.)

DosPuntoCero (Spanish) talks about some surveys described in the book "Libraries and the Mega-Internet Sites" (ISBN: 1-57440-096-7) The blog has pretty bar graphs for
  • librarians' attitude to Wikipedia (untrustworthy, use with care, as good as print encyclopaedias)
  • whether libraries have a YouTube account (yes, no, planned for the next year)
  • whether libraries have published photos on Flickr (yes, no)
The bars are blue for public libraries, red for university libraries, green for special libraries. My executive summary: public libraries are more liberal towards all these things than university libraries; special libraries are between the two on Wikipedia and Flickr but way down there on YouTube.

Biblog (Danish) links to Intute, "a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners." (quote from Intute's page) I definitely need to explore this more. My colleague reminded me that Intute also created The Internet Detective which teaches students how to work out whether internet pages are trustworthy or not.

And just for fun, betabib (Swedish) links to an (English) interview with a helpdesk operative on the Death Star. If I weren't hungry for my lunch I'd work out how to be web2.0pian and embed it here, but my cheese and pineapple sandwiches are calling to me.

Wednesday 30 April 2008

Library on Location

Last year a colleague and I took a laptop and some borrowable material out of the library to a couple of places by student cafes to see what kind of interest we'd get. (We originally planned to call the service "Laptop Librarians", but some of our other colleagues have very dodgy minds, so we ended up calling it "Library on Location" instead.) We ran six trial sessions, then Christmas and various other projects intervened, but we eventually wrote up our Library on Location report (pdf, 166kB).

Short version: it was fun, feedback was positive, staffing is not always easy.

We felt it was definitely worth further investigation, so we're now running a second trial with a fixed time and place to see if having a regular service increases usage through familiarity. One of the things we're doing for that is getting our wonderfully cooperative colleagues to collect desk statistics back at our respective home branches to see how statistics "on location" at the same time compare.

Thursday 24 April 2008

Non-English blog roundup

I've always liked learning other languages (three in high school, a couple more at university, two more when I travelled to their respective countries, medieval Danish when I started writing a fantasy book set in medieval Denmark...) and a while ago it occurred to me that not only are there library blogs written in languages other than English, but it'd be nice to make some of what they're saying accessible to the English-speaking world.

I read two posts this morning that inspired me to start today. Note that my grasp of the Scandinavian languages remains patchy, but hopefully my translations aren't too misleading.
  • Daniel Forsman on Betabib (Swedish) reports that "Inspired by Penn State's work I've just built an 'HTML | iGoogle gadget generator' for our direct search function." You can see the resulting widget on the Jönköping Högskolebiblioteket homepage under "Direktsökning" - the dropdown menu allows searching in various databases, and the "+Google" button allows users to add the search to their iGoogle page.
  • Erik Høy on Biblog (Danish) points to Mellop, a website which gives you a free email address that lasts for 15 minutes. Why would you want an email address that you can't use for longer than that? Well, a lot of web services require you to give an email address when registering, which they send your password or confirmation to. Maybe you don't trust them to not keep spamming you, so give them a Mellop temporary address, receive the email with the password/confirmation, and throw away the Mellop address. Warning: if you later forget your password for the web service, you'll have a hard time convincing them to give it to you again now your Mellop email address no longer works.

LibWorld has a great round-up of blogs in various countries, which I'll have to look through properly at some time(s). Does anyone know of any other non-English library blogs I should be following? I can probably get more or less sense out of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages. I probably couldn't get much out of Korean, but it'd be fun trying.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Playing with Slideshare

I prepared this presentation for an interbranch information librarians meeting this afternoon to update people with how we supported a particularly large library assignment earlier this year. Then I got the urge to play with Slideshare. I probably shouldn't have been surprised with how easy it was...

Saturday 12 April 2008

Computers in Libraries 2008 (LONG!)

I wasn't at this conference (obviously, for those who know me) but I've been attempting to keep up via blogs and wanted to make some notes for myself about some of the cool things I've been reading. So what follows is a screed of super-brief notes gathered from various people who were there, in many cases blatantly plagiarised sans attribution from their blogs. Sorry about that, folks...

Programme at InfoToday

Keynote - Pew Internet... (powerpoint at Pew Internet)Lee Rainie
  • 60% of teens use the library in 2008 compared to 36% in 2000
  • Lack of awareness is an inhibitor

Fast & Easy Site Tune-Ups
Jeff Wisniewski
  • use code to keep copyright / last-updated dates fresh
  • contact info -> hCards
  • add labels to forms, checkboxes etc for accessibility

Widgets, tools and doodads for library webmasters (presentation at slideshare)
Darlene Fichter, Frank Cervone
User-Generated Content
Roy Tennant
  • more content is better, more access is better
  • plugged Kete
  • WorldCat going social; LoC using Flickr...
  • Are you set up appropriately to meet your goals?
  • user engagement is a good thing

Library Web Presence: Engaging the Audience
lots of people including Ellysa Stern Cahoy
  • widgets!
  • LibGuides subject guides - still need marketing but usage more than doubled in first month
  • Research Jumpstart at Penn for freshman - stripped down to basics
  • faculty and grad students like being able to build their own page with feeds and widgets

Hi Tech & Hi Touch (pdf at the Shifted Librarian)
Jenny Levine
  • Patrons don't care whether they're being reached by high or low technology; they just want high touch. (eg new books list - not just titles and authors, but blurbs and/or covers which give more info)
  • Link to ILL with "We don't own this, but we will get it for you."
  • Idea to present a database of the week via SlideShare
  • MeeboMe widget, email link, library hours etc on the null-search page in the catalogue

Innovation Starts with "I" (Slides at LibraryBytes)
Helene Blowers and Tony Tallent
  • Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is doing new things.
  • involves creativity, strategy, implementation, profitability
  • Don't ask for permission - ask for support!
  • Sell your vision multiple ways - on paper, face-to-face, presentation. Tell a story about how it could change life for a user.
  • "book bundles" that they bind up with yarn, ready for patron to "grab and go"

Innovative Marketing Using Web 2.0. (Slides at Digitisation 101)
Helene Blowers and Michael Porter
  • library brand is books and community - not logo
  • consumers impact the branding - let them promote you
  • use web 2.0 to tell stories
  • make the branding portable
  • Hennepin their community to submit a photo of reading Harry Potter to the website and Flickr

Mashups for Non-Techies: Yahoo! Pipes (powerpoint, links, more at CIL2008 wiki
Jody Fagan
  • no programming involved - just plug in information

Keynote: Innovative & Inspiring
Delft guys Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer, and Geert van den Boogaard
  • made documentary re libraries, travelling around US
  • video they made available here
  • "The book is one of the best technologies ever invented, but it is a technology."

Transparency, Planning & Change: See-Through Libraries (pdf at Tame the Web)
Michael Casey and Michael Stephens
  • Don't ask staff for input if you're not going to use it.

Drupal in Libraries slidecast at OEDB
Ellyssa Kroski
  • Ann Arbor District Library has module to integrate OPAC into website - new website gave 40% increase in traffic
  • also used in classes, for intranets, for planning, workshop sign-ups...
  • being used to empower staff to be able to contribute content to the website directly without the filter of a webmaster
  • library specific modules eg MARC and Z39.50
  • many conferences, resources, mailing lists etc for support

Libraries A-Twitter & Using (Dutch writeup here)
lots of people including Michael Sauers
  • Systems are using twitter for event publicity and reference
  • used to create on the fly pathfinders, catalogue in-house and web resources and other uses - bookmarks here

Facebook Apps & Libraries' Friendly Future (slideshare)
Laurie Bridges and Cliff Landis
  • sticky site: average user spends 20 minutes on the site
  • library apps exist but little used because not social
  • people WANT to interact, but they can't find out how on a library site
  • It is never a mistake to give users more options.
  • *you* initiating friending with students or patrons can make you seem like Uncle Creepy, so it's best to let them initiate it.

Harnessing New Data Visualization Tools (slides at slideshare)
Darlene Fichter
  • data is free but in a raw state that is not yet usable by most people

Catalog Effectiveness: Google Analytics & OPAC 2.0
Rebekah Kilzer, Cathy Weng and Jia Mi
  • use of Google Analytics to understand how its OPAC is used

From Woepac to Wowpac (writeup in Dutch)
lots of people including Karen G. Schneider
    (Me: I love this title)
  • Interoperability is essential: like using APIs
  • Blyberg: The fact that we can't put together a quality OPAC isn't because it's hard to do, but rather that it is systemic and representative of the greater libraryworld problems
  • blogger: Putting a pretty face on a lousy ILS doesn’t get us where our patrons need us to be.

IM service, making it successful (writeup in Dutch)
Super Searcher
Mary Ellen Bates
Libraries as Laboratories for Innovation
Matt Gullett and Greg Schwartz
  • Need: Talent; Time and space; Support from admin
  • Play background music to help control volume in area

Leading Technology in Libraries
Gina Millsap and David Lee King
  • Library Director 2.0 - less hierarchy, involve all staff
  • Library Director 2.1 - customer service is job #1; do pilot projects; treat staff as customers
  • Job descriptions for all staff now say they will participate in the digital branch through blogging (NB based on talking to staff)

Pecha Kucha (podcasting powerpoint at Openstacks | IM slides at slideshare)
6 people with 6min40s to talk each
  • blogger: What if we were all challenged to do a high quality presentation in 6 minutes?
  • IM: 75% of online teens use to communicate; get happy with Meebo widgets for point-of-need help
  • podcasting: audience growing
  • wikis: like barnraising. Easy creation and *searchability*.
  • videocasting: use your users to staff your videos
  • facebook: "Myspace might kill you, but Facebook won't." Facebook highlights the user.
  • sceptic: If 2.0 is the solution, what was the problem?

Keynote: libraries as happiness engines (writeup in Dutch
Liz Lawley
  • happiness: satisfying work, experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like, chance to be part of something bigger
  • concept of "productive play"
  • games include collecting, points, feedback, exchanges, customization - can we build these into learning tasks?
  • Seriosity game to reduce emails sent

Technology Training for Library Staff: Creativity Works (pdf at Librarian in Black)
Sarah Houghton-Jan, Maurice and Annette
  • why train? confidence, saves money, serves users better, etc.
  • work with staff to brainstorm, plan
  • task-based
  • incentives
  • technology competencies and training material
  • Technology Petting Zoo project

Tech Tools for Effectively Managing Information (list at cil2008 wiki)
Roger Skalbeck and Barbara Fullerton

    Learning From Gaming
    Chad Boeninger
    • borrow ideas from successful social sites
    • how can we encourage more exploration in libraries?

    Gaming for Adults
    Martin House and Mark Engelbrecht
    • promoting in community worked better than on web
    • Users who have experienced the gaming events tend to gravitate toward the staff who run the gaming events afterwards when they are in the library for another need or reason.
    • The attendees come to the library more after the gaming events. They also use reference materials as their primary activity in coming to the library.

    Online Outreach for Libraries: Successful Digital Marketing (pdf at Librarian in Black)
    Sarah Houghton-Jan
    • place teasers where the users are; bring them to the library
    • list and links at the Utopian Library
    • from the floor: Sending people to a poorly designed website is worse than not being there at all.

    Findability: Information Not Location (powerpoint at rss4lib | writeup in Dutch)
    Mike Creech and Ken Varnum at U Michigan
    • multiple websites for multiple branches - rationalising content and form
    • focus groups, online survey, and one-question survey randomly on pages: either "What did you come to this page to do?" or "Why do you come to the library's website?" Conversations with stakeholders, used Google Analytics
    • MTagger on all pages including catalogue - after 1 month 1000 tags by 300 taggers
    • anything searchable is an RSS feed. open APIs]
    • now choosing open-source search tool and CMS

    Greg Notess
    • most people don't click things at top so integrating image results etc into main search results
    • Google Scholar: added elsevier titles, most frequent authors list.
    • Zero Phrase Search: Google change - they’re working on changing results - sometimes it will say No results found and will just search for the phrase without quotes - sometimes it won’t tell you no results found.

    What’s Hot in RSS & Social Software (links on speaker's wiki | writeup in Dutch)
    Steven Cohen

      Eric Atkinson
      • implementing Kete at Orange County Library System

      The New Generation of Library Interfaces
      Marshall Breeding
      • You want to make it so easy that users aren’t thinking about the interface but rather are thinking about the content.
      • enriched content
      • Can the library community bear the cost of this new OPAC? Can we afford to not do it or do it so slowly that we become irrelevant?

      Going Local in the Library: Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Local 2.0
      Charles Lyons
      • Wikinorthia library-created local wiki (Meredith Farkas' idea to create a university wiki, where the library could gather information from all different groups on campus to create a truly helpful resource for new students)

      Virtual Reference: Endless Possibilites
      Dan Sich and Derik Badman
      Collaborating with YouTubers to Enhance Library Instruction
      • involving students a good idea

      InfoTubey Awards

      Wednesday 2 April 2008

      5 thoughts on blog statistics

      I haven't yet worried about stats for this blog, but for our (academic) library blog I keep a fairly close eye on what websites/websearches our readers are coming from and what they're doing once they get here.

      My favourite tool for blog statistics is - it gives you huge detail on the latest 500 hits for free, and it's invisible. A few random things I've discovered as a result:
      1. A google search for the name of our blog, or for the name of our library plus the word 'blog', brings us up at the top of the results - and people are finding us that way.
      2. A really effective way to get hits is to post information on the blog on how to research the first assignment of the first year of university for a class of 700 students, and get the lecturer to put the link up on Blackboard for them. We were getting well over 100 hits a day while that assignment ran - in the high two-digit figures of distinct visitors - about 10 times as many people as usual. And a month after the assignment was due, we're still getting people coming from that link.
      3. Another good way to get hits is to give a tutorial, then post a summary of the tutorial afterwards, and send the link out to them. Okay, if all this did was get hits it'd be worthless - might as well just send them the summary directly - but some of the people do browse around some of the other categories, and may even return another day...
      4. Our statistics are slowly growing. We usually get 10+ hits a day now, even though I've weeded out as many library staff as I can identify as staff, when it used to be less than 10 a day even including staff. Sometimes it's even 10+ people a day....
      5. The stats showed that someone had put a perfectly reasonable search term into the blog search box. I looked to see what results they'd have got and discovered it was just a dead end "0 results" results page, which didn't seem very helpful, especially since I knew there was bound to be information about the topic somewhere on the main library website. So I wrote a hopeful email to our wonderful IT people, who wonderfully obliged me with this modification (note the "library website" link automatically brings up results for whatever search the user tried on the blog. AskLive is our virtual reference, now running on a Meebo chatroom).

      Thursday 27 March 2008

      A bit of colour

      My not-so-secret desire is to add cover colour as an official MARC field and allow users worldwide to search the library catalogue by colour. (See the New England School of Law and University of Huddersfield mockups.) It'd be brilliant: you could go to the advanced search screen and select:
      • title: Mechanics of Materials
      • location: Restricted Loan
      • colour: oh, about there on the colour circle
      Green Eggs and Ham
      In the meantime, I'm working up to total World Catalogue Domination by subtle steps. The other day I forwarded "Getting Books to Move" from Stephen's Lighthouse to a colleague, who came up with this display.

      Click through to see it on Flickr - we had fun adding notes linking each book through to its catalogue record. (Not the sort of thing I'd want to do for a weekly display unless there was a definite market for it - but lots of fun.)

      Wednesday 26 March 2008

      Not having a good Web 2.0 day

      It's my late night tonight so, thrust straight onto the busy desk at 1pm after a quiet weekend I was already suffering from first-day-back syndrome. Between requests for "Mechanics of Materials" (my new canned catalogue tutorial introduction now begins with "Do you mean the 'Mechanics of Materials' by Hibbeler, Gere, Craig, Riley, or Beer and Johnston?") I've been trying to catch up on a couple hundred blog posts. I've got a good system for this which combines Google Reader, Firefox's tabs for the interesting ones, and the generally excellent Diigo's bookmarking for the keepers.

      Today Diigo wanted me to sign in. I figured this was because I'd been gone several days over Easter, so I complied and went back to bookmarking. It kept wanting me to sign in, but (between requests for "the blue Mechanics of Materials" - this narrows it down to either Gere or Beer and Johnston) I found it easier to keep complying and bookmarking than to stop and wonder why. Only after a few hours of this did I notice that one of my bookmarking attempts was giving me a small error message. And only half an hour later did I realise that nothing I'd bookmarked today had in fact been saved.

      Half an hour later I worked out the reason: Diigo has been upgraded to Diigo 3.0. I had read about this earlier in the day (some guy reviewed it and complained that other reviews missed the point - but it being a bad Web 2.0 day I can't find the review anymore) and put it on my "investigate tomorrow maybe" list. I hadn't realised that failing to immediately download the new toolbar completely broke any functionality the old toolbar had had.

      That? Not User-Friendly.

      I now have the new toolbar, and it is indeed cool, but not cool enough to assuage my bitterness at having to wade back through a couple hundred blog posts and rebookmark everything of interest.

      Oh - maybe I got the news about Diigo by email; that'd explain why it's not in my Google Reader results. I can't check right now because my institution's email system seems to be on the blink.

      Thursday 20 March 2008

      Overdrive to offer 3000 DRM-free books

      Via walking paper scraps, OverDrive Breaks the iPod Barrier for Downloadable Audio - by the end of June 3000 audiobooks will be available in mp3 format with no "digital rights management" (aka "crippling") - so they can be played on Macs, iPods, etc. They're also apparently going to release an "OverDrive Media Console for the Mac" which presumably lets their normal range of audiobooks be played on Macs (but not iPods etc).

      This is great news, and hopefully one more sign that DRM might be gradually going out of fashion. It's not just that it's nasty to restrict how a person can listen to something that they've paid for; it's that making it hard for people to listen to your music (or watch your videos or read your books) is a great way to induce them to look for alternatives - like piracy.

      And DRM does diddly-squat to prevent piracy. Codes can be, and regularly are, broken; there's free software all over the internet to extract audio and video from 'protected' files, and even if there weren't there's still audio capture and video capture programs (just like screen capture but more so).

      So DRM a) doesn't prevent piracy, and b) induces your potential customers to consider turning to piracy. So what was the point again?

      Fortunately a lot of people are starting to realise that not only is DRM fairly useless, but giving stuff away entirely free can make you money. In the science-fiction world, for example:
      • the Baen Free Library (Eric Flint writes in 2000, "Dave Weber's On Basilisk Station has been available for free as a 'loss leader' for Baen's for-pay experiment 'Webscriptions' for months now. And — hey, whaddaya know? — over that time it's become Baen's most popular backlist title in paper!");
      • Tor's "Watch the Skies" promotion (sign up! the editors are nice people who won't spam you, and this week they're giving away Jo Walton's Farthing, which is a stunning murder mystery set in a 1940s England where Britain made peace with Hitler. Jo Walton is also nice people, and the book is brilliant. Having a pdf of it is really nice -- and I'm still going to buy it in paperback).
      A huge number of books on my bookshelves are there because I first read them in a library; or I first borrowed them from a friend; or I first found a sample chapter or the entire thing free on the internet. I wouldn't have taken the risk on them otherwise. So this is money I paid because -- and only because -- I could use things in ways that DRM actively prevents.

      So what was the point of DRM again?