Wednesday, August 30, 2006

21st Century Library Design

Contract Magazine
August 01, 2006
Intro: Social Intelligence
By Holly Richmond

"Is today's library the new mall? That notion may not be such a stretch. Simply replace rows of retailers with stacks of books, and by some accounts you're headed in the right direction. 'We've lived through the mall generation,' quips Mark Schatz, AIA, principal at Field Paoli in San Francisco. 'I'm hoping that, in some measure, the library will replace that experience for the next generation.'"

Monday, August 21, 2006

My Schooling Has Ended, But My Education Has Not

It's official. I've completed my Masters degree in Library & Information Science. It's been a long and winding road, and I've gained so much over the last five years.

My undergraduate degrees prepared me with the foundation to conduct research. My graduate degree has focused that training in the specific area of librarianship (even more specifically in management and art librarianship). A wiser man than me once said, "Your education will never end" (Theodore Morris, PhD, Personal Communication, August 2, 2006). I certainly hope Dr. Morris is right.

I'll miss APA style, but I look forward to a new era of Chicago Manual Style. I also look forward to going to more annual conferences, meeting more librarians, and being part of a new generation of librarians who will revolutionize our profession.

(In case you’re part of an older generation of librarians and that last sentence rubs you the wrong way, don’t let it. It is your wisdom & skills which will enable the next gen. You are our key to success as much as our generation’s ability to create & innovate.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This Is Only a Test

So, here I am finally switched over to Firefox, and I love it. Take a look...

See that button right next to the address bar? It's lit up bright orange because it knows my website has Dublin Core Metadata. What happens when I click it? All the gorgeous DC metadata appears neatly formated. Now, at the bottom-half of the screen you can see some sort of text editor. Well, that Performancing. Basically its a wysiwyg editor. So, I can blog by simply hitting a button on Firefox. How cool is that?! Oh and you may have noticed that Firefox looks like Safari. It's a skin I downloaded. Be afraid MS, be very afraid.

Friday, August 04, 2006

OCLC & Library Management

Tonight, George Needham (VP for Member Services, OCLC) gave a talk to our Library Management class with Don Barlow (Director, Westerville Public Library)

Needham went through the various publications of OCLC (free downloads here), and he particularly focused on the report Perceptions of Libraries and information resources. Unlike his presentation to Nancy Lensenmayer's Library Automation class, he focused particularly on user perception stats-not on the disaggregation of information.

Here are some of the takeaways:

1. The Perceptions report was in response to librarian resistance to the early OCLC Pattern Recognition (environmental scan) report
1. Librarians were paraphrases as saying the Pattern Recognition did not represent their constituencies; however, librarians had not conducted any basic research (i.e. scientific research, I was not meaning rudimentary).

2. Friends and links from other sites are how new websites are found

1. This is very, very cool because social networking sites have really become mainstream. What a great opportunity for libraries to get linked in.

2. Needham indicated that one possible marketing avenue could be word-of-mouth (WOM).

1. I asked Needham what he thought about viral marketing, and I wanted to see how he would respond to the specific strain of marketing called stealth marketing (I should have made that distinction in class. Stealth marketing is a deceptive tactic in which the receiver of the message does not know that the message is disengenous. For example, a "tourist" asks a bystander to take their picture with the tourist's Sony Ericsson cell phone [Of course the "tourist" was a paid actor and their objective was to start a conversation about the cell phone - go here for the CBS report]. Stealth marketers hope the message will become viral).

2. I had brought up the Proctor & Gamble (P&G) example of mothers becoming "paid" representatives. I indicated there was a fine line between a testimonial and deception.

3. Needham did pretty well with his answer, but Barlow's answer is what really stuck out in my mind. He said that the political ramifications of such a technique [if uncovered] would be an enormous setback to the library. I'd add that it would be fatal.

3. Meet the customers where they are

1. Search engine optimization (SEO) is something libraries should definitely get into. From the basics of just adding your site to the search engine's index to paid sponsorships, I think this is definitely the way to go.

2. Fellow classmate, Joe Weitz, and I had a great conversation about this after class. He had the insight to say, "We should meet the customer where they're already at." Meeting the customer online in search engines is exactly how we can do this. Joe brought up that even general topics could be linked back to the library. For example, a person looks up the Cincinnati Bengals football team on Google. One of the first hits would be something like "Cincinnati Bengals @ Your Library." Genius.

3. Another way to reach customers is through there browser. Augmenting what can be done in individual search engines, we've got the tools to link our catalogs (yrs, I know those need to be completely overhauled) to any webpage through Firefox (hopefully, I.E. and others soon). See my Open Source for the Reference Librarian post on 6/25/06 (LibX Firefox extension)

4. We must have a "bone-deep" knowledge of our users.

1. This goes to the heart of "user driven libraries" (the title of Needham's presentation)

2. Focus groups, basic research, applied research, environmental scans will help.

3. We must go to the users first to find their needs and create programs and services from those discussions. Instead, we've been creating services that we think the user will want and then promote it [Barlow].

In all it was a great presentation.