Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feeds Now Full-Text

So, long overdue, I've changed my RSS/e-mail feeds to full-text. Great debates have waged over whether one should drive traffic to their site with teasers in their feeds or if one should give their readers the whole shebang. Since I'm not trying to make money of ads and the like and I personally like reading feeds without having to jump around, I've made the change.

Additionally, I've added to my feed my Web site's URL (to be updated this winter/early spring) and a "ShareThis" link to make it easy to post the content to social networks and to e-mail.

Finally, I've added a favicon to my blog. I'll probably design something in the future, but, for now, it's a 2002 pic of me with a beard. You can tell that, right? Right.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cleveland's Arcade

Cleveland's Arcade opened in 1890 as one of the first indoor malls in America. Obviously, working in retail, I had to check out this testament to time and consumption.

Driving into downtown from Cleveland Heights foreshadowed what was to come. Many once very prominent business, banks, etc. were shuttered on our way in, and the same was true inside the Arcade.

Maybe it is just the Gen-X in me, but I'm a little disappointed to experience the ashes of my predecessors. I echo my coworker's sentiments when she said, "I wish I could have seen this place when my grandparents were young."

The Arcade is gorgeous, and it still well maintained (probably thanks to the Hyatt which has converted many of the offices on the upper levels to suites). However, it is an empty, hollow, and fairly soulless shell of what I imagine it once was.

401 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 696-1408

Tommy's Restaurant

Tommy's lived up to its hype. It's menu has great variety, the staff is friendly (at least when I went when there wasn't much traffic), and the food was fantastic.

Big Fun

Big fun is seriously the best thing about Cleveland. Forget sports, bars, even *gasp* do I dare write...the Grog Shop. Big fun was a favorite of mine in Columbus in the 90's. You could spend days going through 70's Star Wars iron ons alone. Yet, they closed their Columbus location and have remained in Cleveland ever since.

Remember what it used to feel like going into a toy store? Colors, packaging, and toys you could actually use your imagination with all waiting for you to part your hard earned or gifted cash with? Big Fun brings that all back with old-school Spencer's (in a good way) mixed in. From retro toys to gags like "fart gum," one could spend days alone looking, foraging, and buying their wares.

Added bonus: knowledgeable employees like Redwin make shopping there even more fun.

Big Fun
1814 Coventry Rd
Cleveland, OH 44118
(216) 371-4386


Revive offers fair trade goods in a well-designed boutique atmosphere.

Added bonus: Friendly and knowledgeable staff (Danielle and Rose) and a cool founder (Lisa Dunn).

2248 Lee Rd
Cleveland, OH 44118
(216) 371-2778


Howlies played Cleveland's Grog Shop in Dec. 2008. Their presence while performing is magnetic, and, even though the crowd was minimal, they played with more energy than I've seen in a long time.

Grog Shop

I've painfully witnesses a number of bands not hit Columbus and play at the Grog Shop instead. So, when the chance came up to go for a band that I already wanted to see, I jumped at the opportunity (no thanks to Google Maps whose directions were totally confusing).

The space is fantastic. The size is between Wex's black box and Columbus' Newport. The atmosphere has a layered and slightly aged feeling to it, and you can walk right up to the stage. Although a little more sterile than Columbus' beloved Stache's (think more like Little Brothers), the space is terrific to see the next cool band.

Grog Shop
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd # 1
Cleveland, OH‎ 44106
(216) 321-5588‎


So I had the opportunity to go to Cleveland at the first of the month on business. Knowing that I had around three hours of free time the last day I was up there, I decided to find some cool & interesting things in Cleveland.

I tried searching the hip travel sites and shopping blogs, but very little came up. In fact, Gridskipper's advice was just to avoid the entire city. So, I turned to Yelp.

At Yelp, I happily uncovered Revive, Tommy's Restaurant, and a now defunct indie pharmacy that lead me to Dave's Market. There were a few things I didn't get to like the "Guardians of Traffic" and Cleveland's West Side Market, supposedly the largest indoor/outdoor market in the U.S. However, in all, I think it was a solid three hours well spent.

The following posts highlight the stores, areas, and great concert I was able to fit in while doing some research.



Friday, December 05, 2008

Gift of Reading Campaign

See what happens when you don't read!

Here's the copy:

"The new advertising campaign for The Gift of Reading®
was designed by bleublancrouge on the basis of the following message:
“When a child doesn't read, imagination disappears.” To convey this
idea to the general public, the different advertisements show fairy
tale characters, such as Cinderella and Peter Pan, slowly fading away
in hospital. These characters represent the imaginary worlds of
children without access to reading, which are likely to disappear over

Not a great fan of scarevertising, but these are pretty cool.

Literacy Foundation

Via: Brandflakes

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Mile Project

"MILE (Metadata Image Library Exploitation) aims to promote European cultural heritage and make digital art more accessible by improving metadata."

An interesting collective headed by the Bridgeman Art Library. Below is a link to a video that gives a little history on the Bridgeman v. Corel case. (Note: embedding was disabled by themileproject's request...I don't know about you, but that seems a bit excessive to me.)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saatchi + Saatchi Library

A little 70's for me, but I'll take it.  Here's the description:

"A spiral library is the central gathering space at
this ad agency. The walnut unit combines seating and shelving, with
Varia panels in a seemingly random pattern to accent the wood and
create graphic interest. Seating cushions correspond in color to the
Varia panels, and the unit maintains its design integrity from any
angle. The library forms a spiral in both plan and elevation and offers
a relaxed area for reading, as well as a mini amphitheater for small
inter-office presentations."

Via: 3-form

Monday, November 24, 2008

And you thought B&N was big box

Book Experience Mall in Shenzhen, China, covers 2 city blocks!

Via: vmsd

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lee Walton

Lee Walton's drawings are amazing.  The linework reminds me of the precisionists.

Via: Sub-Studio

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Design by the Book

Design*Sponge in collaboration with 5 Brooklyn-based artist and the New York Public Library has begun a video series entitled "Design by the Book." D*S has invited the artists to take inspiration from NYPL's collection and filmed the results--from beginning to end. It looks to be an interesting series with good exposure to all involved. Above is the 1st one in the series. Other video to be posted on D*S are forthcoming.

Via: Core77

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

rAndom International: A Tribute to Francis Bacon

A Tribute to Francis Bacon. rAndom International (2008).

The triptych "prints" images of viewers by using an embeded camera and light sensitive paper.  After a few momements, the image disappears and the process begins again.

Leonora Oppenheim wrote this about the experience:

"While the Temporary Printing Machine might be a seemingly pointless exercise we enjoyed the interactive experience, the clever use of simple technology and the thoughts it provoked about the futility of trying to capture a moment in time and our obsession with our own image."

Here's a video of the Temporary Printing Machine.

Via: Cool Hunting

Monday, November 10, 2008

Caroline Linder

2x4x. Caroline Linder (2008)

Genius.  Linder inserted LEDs into 2x4s to "slowly reveal patterns fading in and out across the boards."

Seen In: Surface magazine (no. 74, 2008)


Friday, November 07, 2008


So last night Continental Office Environments held an unveiling event for Herman Miller's Embody. I was hoping that it wouldn't be so much pomp & circumstance and more "please take a seat in HM's latest chair." The event opened @ 5 and things really didn't get started until 6:15. Everyone seemed to know each other--so it was a little clique-ish. I didn't bother asking around where people were from, and I had to leave early. Thus, I never saw the chair, except as presented above. Overall, the experience was kind of lacking, but I got free beer and h' orderves out of it (Thanks COE!).

More pics here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


is a new search platform that mixes social aspects (music/video playlists) and federated searching.

The user interface (UI) kicks some serious butt. Although a little dark on my old CRT, the navigation control that rises from the bottom (much like Apple's OS X Leopard) offer the user visual icons and supporting text to various edited categories. For example, the "design" category opens up a window where one can select from various design oriented Web sites like Core77. Sites open within frames (as illustrated in my picture above). This intelligently keeps the user in the Navigaya environment.

Navigaya's environment is enhanced through music, video, and community. Users can create and save music video playlists once they've registered with Navigaya. The lists can be kept private, or they can be made public. Public playlists are linked with a rating system, and users can view and play other playlists based on popularity. User can also search public playlists by artist or username. The video plays in the background, and users can control how much one sees through a "dimmer."

Like other federated searching applications, Navigaya includes some of the most popular search engines. Google, Yahoo!, and MS Live are included. Navigaya also includes popular sites like Wikipedia. Navigaya displays the results in separate windows (frames), and users can navigate through the results by scrolling within the particular search engines. More search engine results are accessed by clicking on the white arrow to the right of the windows.

Although the information is sometimes hard to discern on my CRT and the navigation is a little too touchy when I scroll across my browser to click on other items, Navigaya creates a cool and inviting environment to conduct search.


Via: Brandflakes

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Is Your Patron a Tagger?

Be on the lookout.


Instead of Carrying a Moleskine

I prefer to carry a Rhodia notepad, if anything.

I wrote the following down and now I'm ready to purge it to the cloud. I can't say that you'll be the wiser from reading it. It also brings up the question, "Is the Internet the dustbin of our cluttered minds?"

Anyway, here it is. I was trying to play around with meaning and juxtaposition.

Are these the fruits of your spoils, or did you spoil your fruit?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sometimes I Miss Traveldays

Back in the day, I managed the last Traveldays (B&N>Doubleday>Traveldays).  Located on the back wall, we had a huge, interior-lit globe that you could spin. 

Vagabond, a new travel bookstore in Stockholm has a great look based off of a local area map.

Via: Dezeen » Blog Archive » Vagabond interior by Smånsk

Monday, October 06, 2008

Chiharu Shiota: In Silence

In Silence, Chiharu Shiota

Absolutely amazing spaces created by Shiota.  Here piano and seats are intertwined with a black web stretching from floor to ceiling.

Via: Chiharu Shiota - "Zustand des Seins", CentrePasquArt, Biel Bienne, Schweiz

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brian Dettmer

I have mixed feelings about what Brian does; however, it is cool non-the-less.

Check out his work on Centripetal Notion as well as the following sites the artist directs folks to.




Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hadid/Schumacher's Aura Pieces in Venice

Images of 2 amazing pieces by Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher are @ Designboom.com.

"To mark the 500th anniversary of palladio’s birth zaha hadid and patrik schumacher have created 'aura', which will

be installed at villa foscari la malcontenta as part of the venice architecture biennale 2008."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Communication & Your Brand

I was perusing the library groups on LinkedIn today, and I found that SLA has a number of groups posted. There are some chapter groups, but there are two groups that, according to their headings, look like they are the national organization.

Now, one can quickly determine which is the "official" group and which one is not by the description. However, the unofficial group is first in rank (by searching "libraries"), and it has more members. Interesting.

Is this because it is a more open group and not just a means by the SLA's marketing to have an outpost in Web 2.0 land? Or is it because it is ranked first (and how does LinkedIn rank?). So many question, so little time.

Organizations and their brands can easily be co-opted in our brave new world. Making sure your brand has it presence in this multi-channel, everybody-and-their-brother-has-a-social-site world is imperative.

And if you were late to the party? Well, if that whipper-snapper isn't acerbic like the infamous Perez Hilton, it's better to join 'em. Once you've lost control, it's almost impossible to get it back.

Friday, August 15, 2008


"Bryan" translated into an IKEA piece

Shameless viral plug for IKEA...who cares?! Become the furniture you're meant to be.

Swedish Furniture Name Generator

Via: Brandflakes

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When VJ Means Turntablist

Addictive TV: One Minute Showreel

Call me oldschool, but whenever I saw/heard the phrase video jockey (VJ) I thought of the classic cast on MTV.

Uh, seems I've been living under false pretenses for a good 4 years now. Since 2004, Pioneer has been making DVD turntables (DVJ-1000 released in 2006), and, since 1992, Addictive TV has been making art.

Anyway, Addictive TV is now turning their artistic attention to the '08 Olympics.

Edit, Remix, Rebroadcast

there value for libraries to track/collect/catalog digital
derivatives? Certainly the cultural anthropologist would be interested
in a broader narrative. If we do, where does it stop? Of course,
there's also the thorny problem of digital archiving.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Levi Van Beluw

Levi van Veluw, Landscape video (2008)

Levi's "works constitute elemental transfers; modifying the face as object; combining it with other stylistic elements to create a third visual object of great visual impact. The work you see therefore is not a portrait, but an information-rich image of colour, form, texture, and content."

Levi's work is incredible, and it reminds me sometimes of Gottfried Helnwein.


Levi's Tape (2006) is currently featured on the July/August issue of Domus (no. 916)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Adaptive Path/Mozilla's Aurora Browser

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Here's a nice video about some of the proposed capabilities of the Aurora concept.

The way the user is able to drag a data object from within one Web page to another in order to analyze weather conditions intrigues me. First, the Web page structure, I assume, could not be handled with html. Second, the analysis, I assume, would be handled by a third part app. Finally, it all happens within the browser which made me ponder, "What if all/most of our production software was accessed and used in our browser?"

Spotted by: Ben Kunz

Faber and Faber Meet the Long Tail

Faber and Faber is using Print on Demand (PoD) to resurrect out of print titles. I imagine that, in the future, there will no such thing as out of print.

It will be interesting to see if the publishing houses capitalize on their assets, or, because of the cost to digitize, third parties like Google take up the cause (and part of the profit).

Via: Springwise

Sunday, August 03, 2008

NASA & Web 2.0

NASA is partnering with the Internet Archive to bring photographs, film, and video to the public.  Just as important as bringing all this media to the open Web is making easily adaptable to share.  NASA Images provides options to embed their media into other sites, and they've even created a tool to make presentations using the media (users need to register to access the tool).*

NASA understands that it is no longer acceptable to just throw your information up in a big data dump.  Instead, it must be easy to use, share, and adapt.

*Note: the placement of these options are not quite intuitive.  Instead of creating an overlay over the video--like YouTube, Vimeo, etc., NASA Images uses a toolbar/navigation bar.

Via: Vnunet.com

More Bookmobiles!

This would make such an awesome t-shirt. For more stamp images and the history of the bookmobile, go to The Library History Buff.

Speed Rivals Quality...Somtimes

An interesting article reveals the race for a standard library classification system. Dewey, a protégé of Cutter, worked along side Cutter for several years. After a falling out due to Dewey's fraudulent management of funds, Dewey went on to supply Andrew Carnegie's libraries with his students. Although Cutter's system was more robust, Dewey was able to implant a "good enough" system before Cutter finished.

Dewey was able to capitalize on his speed to production and networking. The scenario is akin to businesses and organizations adopting an "always beta" strategy.

Via: The Republican

Back in the Saddle Again

Time to get back to blogging.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Temporary Hiatus Because I'm on

Next-Gen Bookmobile?

Nah...It's the Cruzin Cooler!

4 Day Work Week for Librarians?

Check out what Dan Gould has thoughtfully stitched together from Treehugger and 37 signals.

Would this pertain to libraries too? The hot trend is to move libraries into the next "third place." I'm doubtful that libraries would or should close. Instead, I say bring on an extra librarian (easier said than done--I can imagine the extra librarian would be at the cost of the other librarian's wages).

For the library-as-third-place concept, check out the Idea Store.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Billboards Never Looked So Good

Billbards no.01 (2008), Branislav Kropilak

Making the mundane beautiful...there is no such higher art.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wikipedia as the "Rest of the Library"

I don't promote the use of open encyclopedias like Wikipedia for information that can be obtained through sources that use a traditional editorial process. However, I do promote the use of such sources when they cover what Jimmy Wales terms "the rest of the library."

Wikipedia is particularly useful for pop culture subjects. As Wales indicates in a recent article in New Media Age, "there are few highly reliable sources" in this arena.

Additionally, institutional wikis and blogs that are selectively open have great potential for the documentation of what would otherwise be tacit knowledge.

Nutely,M. (2008). Open to Ideas. New Media Age.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Let our Congress Tweet!

Social networks subsidized by advertising and our elected officials make strange bedfellows--or at least that what the policies say.

NPR: Congress Members Fight For The Right To Twitter

Via: The Marketing Technology Blog

Standardization Followed by Innovation

Stefano Maruzzi indicated in his interview with Ed Dorrell (NMA) that his strategy for turning Condé Nast into a profitable digital business revolved around "standardization followed by innovation."

Maruzzi goes on to say that in order to innovate, information delivery must be standardized.

Of course, libraries have been standardizing information for ages. However, information delivery (OPACs) has been relatively un-innovative because they lacked user-centric designs. That is starting to change.

There may also be an argument to the siloing of information within our profession. Maruzzi has the ability to restructure his organization because, in the end, financials all lead to one entity. Publicly open libraries (public and academic [to a degree]) are tied to thousands of city/university purse strings. Still I'd argue that the user doesn't see the library in their hometown as any different than a library halfway across the US. The library is the brand regardless of format.

Dorrell, E. (2008, June 5). World vision. New Media Age

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Innovation Without Permission

In a comment on using Web 2.0 technologies for higher ed, Rob S. introduces innovation without permission.

Following the adage, "It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission," innovation without permission navigates a tricky stance between efficiency, productivity, intellectual property, and privacy.


My last post Wordlized.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Know Your User or Be Crowdsourced

The UK government is turning frustration into empowerment by asking groups and individuals to improve how public information is communicated.

Information literacy goes beyond what the library provides access to. Findability, critical thinking, and adaptive reuse/sharing are just some of the skills necessary for info literate citizens. However, the burden should be on us to provide user-centric systems. These systems must foster info lit growth in a non-obtrusive, almost silent way. Thus, automating information literacy instruction.

Show Us a Better Way


Bryan Loar: Librarian and President

To make your own video or to spoof a friend, please visit News 3 Online!

Via: ToddAnd

Gigi Cifali

In her "Absence of Water" series, Cifali has masterfully documented the disappearing bath houses and lidos of London.


Via: Brandflakes

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Age Guidance Labels on Books

It appears that the UK divisions of Random House, Hachette, Scholastic, Penguin Books and Harper Collins have decided to begin labeling books much the same way electronic games are labeled today. Instead of using a coded system as with games, the book labels will give suggested age ranges.

Of course, bookstores already segregate titles according to reading level (Borders uses Beginning Readers, Early Readers, Young Adult, etc.), but labeling the book is a thorny subject.

The folks at No to Age Banding argue that "accurate judgments about age suitability are impossible" and that "it’s also likely to encourage over-prescriptive or anxious adults to limit a child's reading in ways that are unnecessary and even damaging."

Author Phillip Pullman wrote this for the Guardian:

You simply can't decide who your readership will be. Nor do I want to, because declaring that it's for any group in particular means excluding every other group, and I don't want to exclude anybody. Every reader is welcome, and I want my books to say so.

So shall we expect the "industry standard" to reach our shelves?

Via: Design Week

Clive Boursnell

Boursnell has been getting some press for his new book Covent Garden: The Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market.

Now overrun with tourists and the enterprises as well as the design that caters to them, Covent Garden is a shadow of its former utilitarian self. The photographs that I've seen in the Guardian and especially in Design Week are reminiscent of Venice--a connection that is especially strong when considering Venice's history.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Information Smugglers and Photography

Foto by Richard Wilhelmer

We gave up on art as being a window into our world a long time ago. Photography, for a short period, took up the slack. Images on a solid medium like paper (photographs) or images displayed via an electronic screen still contain some of their power of authenticity. Pre-photoshop manipulation was an arduous task usually not performed unless you were a professional. Today, authenticity sits precariously on the question is it real or photoshopped.

Of course, manipulation is somewhat tricky. Through composition, the photographer manipulates the scene. The camera manipulates color and perspective. Atmosphere manipulates objects. And so forth.

However, there is this notion that when we press that button whatever results will be a relatively accurate visual record--sans intermediation.

Everything will change with "Image Fulgurators." Ad creep, protesters, and general revellers will find innumerable applications. Imagine ad placements in your photographs. Imagine political diatribes in public squares. Imagine obscenities on public monuments. Sure, these examples may create dialogue, but it does so from a position of stealth. In an age of transparency, I would argue that the above examples are ill advised.

Although it is hard not to think about its use in negative terms, maybe there are uses that I've not considered. Maybe we'll stop taking so many darn pictures and become better story tellers--eliminating the overuse* of visual artifacts. Or maybe the practice will allow us to enjoy the moment without being a documentarian.

*yes, I note the irony that this post uses an image to illustrate the story. I'm not sure how to reconcile that one :-S

Monday, June 30, 2008

It's All About the Relevancy

"Screw 'information overload': there is never enough information for individuals who crave relevant info."

Well put.

Via: Trendwatching (Infinite Transparency)

Friday, June 27, 2008


"Gates crafted with cardbord boxes then installed in specific alley ways."

Specter is a genius a recontextualizing outdoor, urban spaces.


The Idea Is the Verb

Puma has produced a great series of films for their I-Cycle project. Bringing together empathy (through story telling), DIY spirit, and philanthropy, the first film "A Bicycle Is Born" is a great introduction to the rest of the films and the ideas behind them.

We librarians need to amp up our message as knowledge facilitators. We need to create & promote professional and engaging stories of the personal connections we make with our patrons. I-cycle is a great example for us to learn from.



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Libraries and Gaming

Jaap vande Geer of DOK Library fame recently posted an interesting video entitled, "If you're not gaming you're losing!"

Gen Con, a gaming conventions organization, will be holding Gen Con Trade Day on on August 13, 2008. ALA's Dale Lipschultz gives this description

Gen Con Trade Day, on Wednesday, August 13th, will feature a
half-day program of special sessions specifically for librarians. Two sessions,
one on circulating games and one on using games in library programs, will be led
by Christopher Harris, Coordinator of the School Library System for Genesee
Valley BOCES, an educational services agency that supports the libraries of 22
small, rural districts in Western NY. In addition to his writing on Infomancy,
Christopher is a technology blogger for School Library Journal on Digital
Reshift as well as a regular technology columnist.

A third session will bring together retailers and librarians
that have successfully collaborated on bringing games into libraries (note - you
can get a free five-day pass if you're a fit for one of the final slots on this
panel, e-mail MGriepp@icv2.com).

A final, keynote session will bring together industry
participants from multiple areas to discuss a broad, critical issue for the
future of games.

The afternoon programming will be followed by a reception where
you can meet, mingle, and learn from other librarians, game company executives,
retailers, distributors, and others in the game business.

On Thursday, August 14th, you'll get special early access to the
largest exhibit floor in the games industry, giving you a chance to talk
directly with the manufacturers, take part in games demonstrations, and see the
hottest new releases.

To learn more about this exciting event, click here:


Finally, Tom Storey gives a nice profile on Gamers and Boomers in his article, "The Big Bang."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Context Over Dogma

Chris Bangle, Chief of Design for BMW Group, described BMW's design philosophy as context over dogma. That phrase specifically struck a cord with me, especially when I viewed R. David Lankes presentation on Participatory Librarianship.

As I interpret it, Lankes describes the need to get away from item level descriptions and focus more on how that item may be connected to other items. Lankes argues that the connections are key in new knowledge creation, and the library should provide the user all the tools necessary to make those connections. In essence, the interconnected data (i.e. the whole) is greater than the sum of its parts, and it can be reconfigured anytime to meet the user's specific information needs.

It is analogous to the retail mantra "right product, right place, right time, right price." However, information is not necessarily bound by physicality. Through the use of technology, we have the means to give the user the ability to structure information as they see fit.

The Right Product

The right product is based on the user's need. Having the information accessible/findable is one part. Being able to adapt the information to the user's need is another. Finally, giving the user the ability to easily find it for future use and the ability to share it make the information and services we provide exactly what the user needs.

The Right Place

When contemporary users have an information need, they want the answer quickly and efficiently. Should it matter that the user is in the grocery store, at a ballgame, or in a restaurant? No! We need to be able to provide value-added services regardless of whether the user is in the library, at a computer, or out and about. The right place is wherever the user is at.

The Right Time

The right time is anytime. Whether the physical library is open or closed, access to information should never cease. This could be through proxy access* to databases or to knowledgeable library staff that are part of a consortium like Ohio's Know-It-Now 24/7.

*But why should we have to go to the library's Web site to gain access? We should devise a way to access networks that are library branded but free of the library's Web site. Something akin to what data portability is all about.

The Right Price

Free*. I've commented on this before. Libraries, even special libraries in some cases, should make their services available to the community at large for free. Free in the sense of initially being subsidized. For public libraries, that is through taxation and grants. For academic libraries, that is through tuition and grants. For museum libraries, that's through fees and grants. For special libraries, that is through a reinvestment of profits. In each case, there are real opportunities to create additional revenues through premium services. Those premium services, if shown to the patron/client as being truly beneficial, will offset the cost of the program, and, hopefully, introduce an additional revenue stream.

Our dogma is to have strict control over the organization of our product. In our world of mass customization, user control, and budding transparency, our dogma is our death knell. However, technology is a tool that allows us to contextualize the information for the user's specific needs. Our relevancy depends on the value our users place on us. Context over dogma indeed.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Libraries Should Vaynerchuk-It

About 2 weeks ago, I was introduced to the world of Gary Vaynerchuk, "Social Media Sommelier," via Trendwatch. I've been very impressed with his ability to reach the hearts and minds of people who could have cared less about wine, and he's transformed his family business from a $4.5M/Yr. company into a $60M/Yr. enterprise mostly by using ingenuity, passion, and Web 2.0 technologies.

Recently, Vaynerchuk went into a Borders while attending a tech conference. He found his just published book on the shelf and inscribed a secret password that, if e-mailed back to him, would garner the e-mailer a prize. The act brings together personalization, humanity, and accessibility to a product who's brand is all about those three things.

Libraries have for too long carried the banner of austere authority, inhumanity, and poor accessibility (think most OPACs, go here for Next-Gen OPACs). We need to reach not just library users but all internet users in meaningfully branded ways. We need to demonstrate our passion not as zealots but as information enablers. We need to Vaynerchuk-It.

The Gary Vaynerchuk WLTV Gift Pack #2 Tasting - Episode #147

Data Filters

Information Overload | Information Literacy

We're all familiar with information overload, but how are libraries positioning themselves as information solutions. Information literacy instruction (ILI)
teaches our users to effectively navigate information sources based on
their needs and gives them the ability to critically evaluate the
information and their outcomes. Certainly, ILI gives people a sense of
empowerment by giving them the necessary filtering tools. However,
what if the information recalled still overwhelms? Faceted navigation and clustering may alleviate some of these concerns, but, after reading about ImportGenius @ Springwise, I wonder if libraries don't have the capabilities to bring more value-added, income-generating services to the public.


ImportGenius takes public
data created by US Customs and packages it in a way that makes
searching easy in what was considered by most a massive data dump.
Subscriptions to ImportGenius run close to $400 a month and additional
fee-based modules can be added to the the base subscription.

The New Business Model

Free! Chris Anderson (Long Tail fame) wrote recently in Wired about what he believes to be the future business model--offer
introductory level services or products for free and then offer
upgrades to those at a premium. You can see this already at work with
services like WordPress and Picnik. Libraries already offer many services for "free." I think smart libraries that offer premium services, like Georgia Tech
and many others, are a very viable way to create additional revenue,
especially in the public sector. If marketed successfully, the
additional streams of revenue could fund the creation of more
information-based utility services (specifically, branded utility services based on the same revenue-generating model described above).

Key Take Aways

"Find a way to make public data more accessible, and you'll import some tidy profits yourself!" - Amber York, Springwise

"The first wave is freedom of choice and the second wave is freedom from choice." - Bill Joy, who inspired Peter Gabriel's The Filter (via: Contagious)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Illuminati

Photographer Even Baden has created an intriguing portfolio of young adults and their electronic devices.

They have become part of who we are and how we identify ourselves. These devices ordain us with a wealth of knowledge and communication that would have been unbelievable a generation ago. More and more, we are bathed in a silent, soft, and heavenly blue glow. It is as if we carry divinity in our pockets and purses.

Baden's thesis describes the dissonance created by the connection to others and the disconnection between our immediate surroundings. Of course, disconnection has come up with virtual reality (VR), and I bet it come up when popular recreational reading became commonplace. The question remains whether we should embrace this phenomenon as an evolutionary leap in human consciousness (ala Cyberpunk) or fear it as a neo-Luddite (I mean that in the kindest of terms). Regardless, the library needs to meet their patrons and potential patrons where they're at. For digital natives, that's online at their current social network(s) du jour.

(Note: on the other hand, beware of the danger of network fatigue--maybe offer, via the network, the library as third place)


Friday, May 23, 2008

Kahn and Selesnick

I just came across the work of Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn. Their work is absolutely amazing. Part of the Apollo Prophecies dynamically mixes image and text in a truly imaginative way. While reading the fictional account (which is a little reminiscent of reading something from Bradbury's Martian Chronicles) of astronaut Charles Duke, the reader is treated to a scrolling panorama that compliments the story.

Apollo Prophecies is partially set on the moon which, incidentally while reading Boing Boing yesterday, I was introduced to Dick's Time Out of Joint.

Kahn and Selesnick are currently on exhibition in New York. For more information, check out the links below.

Cool Hunting

Kahn and Selesnick

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Updated Resume

At long last, my updated resume is posted. Now to work on my site. My first foray into Flash can be seen here - http://www.bryan.theloars.com/index2.htm

It's not really where I want to go, but it's a start.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monetizing National Security?

It's clear.
Now, all we need is to have one of these puppies for libraries. (not)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life Before Death: Portraits of the Dying

A powerful and interesting look a living and dying.

"This exhibition features people whose lives are coming to an end.
It explores the experiences, hopes and fears of the terminally ill. All
of them agreed to be photographed shortly before and immediately
after death."


Seen on: Brandflakes

Monday, May 05, 2008

Facebook in Real Life

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, it's making the rounds in the blogosphere right now. I couldn't resist. Especially now that I've just asked a lot of librarians to be friends.

FaceBook In Reality - from www.idiotsofants.com

Friday, May 02, 2008

McKinsey Quarterly Steps into the 21st Century

I was very happy to receive an automated e-mail from McKinsey indicating that they've introduced RSS feeds and social bookmarking. Bravo!

Now, if ARTnews would just get on board.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Best Call Recording Service Ever!

I was looking to record a cell phone conversation. I found many really pricey services that didn't give you the option of downloading the conversation. With a little more searching, I found a much better alternative that will work with my cell phone or a regular land line.

  • Free conference calls with a long distance call-in number
  • Only 10 cents per minute (per caller) with a toll-free call-in number
  • Free MP3 recording with the 10 cent plan
I was looking for a solution that would be free for the person I'm talking to as well as have the ability to have the conversation recorded (with their consent) and easily transferred to my computer for cleanup (think podcast). This is a great solution for recording interviews. For a quick 10 minute interview between two people using the premium plan, it costs only $2. They even partner with a company that does transcripts (though, who & how much are not disclosed).

Now I've got to just line those interviews up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good Enough?

I just revisited the Slate article entitled, "A Librarian's Worst Nightmare." I had been hanging on to a print copy of it for some time--waiting for a moment to comment on it. That time is now.

It talks about the demise of Google Answers and the rise of Yahoo! Answers. The author gives the following simile and reflection:
[Yahoo! Answers] has the same value as listening to two random guys at a bar talk about what to do if you are driving during a tornado.
You may not learn very much by eavesdropping—and you certainly
shouldn't trust what you hear if disaster strikes—but that isn't really
the purpose. The lesson Yahoo! Answers teaches is that, for millions of
people on the Web, it's less important to get a good answer than to get
someone to listen to your question in the first place. [emphasis added]
Reading over it again, I was reminded of OCLC's (and I'm sure other's) reports regarding information seeker behavior. Specifically, our profession's concern over whether "good enough" in the age of instant answers is detrimental to research quality.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


ISSU = An online publishing service that creates products which mimic physical magazines.

I've seen online publications, especially catalogs, take advantage of vector-based graphic designs that mock the appearance and physical characteristics of magazines. Issu opens the gates to let non-programmers create dynamic online periodicals, and it does so free for non-business users.

Users upload their document, and Issu converts the document into flash. Issu presents the pages as if they were bound with shading down the inner spine as well as other rendering techniques, and it is much more dynamic and fluid than a PDF. ISSU has also built in features like commenting, rating, and embedding features for social networks. I think the last point is particularly important for getting your product in front of as many users as possible.

The only critical points I have regard ISSU's zoom feature. ISSU's zoom feature acts shaky as you pan across the pages, and it is difficult to control. Additionally, it would be nice if the scroll on your mouse controlled the zoom while in the zoom feature (ala Google SketchUp) versus the vertical viewing aspects of the page.

In all, I think ISSU is a worthwhile endeavor, and it might be something to investigate for an organizational newsletter, etc.

As seen on Springwise

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

TinyURL.com vs. Tiny.cc

I've used TinyURL.com for a while now. I've never paid much attention to Tiny.cc, but TinyURL.com could learn a couple things from them.

For example, Tiny.cc's user interface aesthetically looks closer to the Web design of 2005+ vs. tinyurl.com's 1998-esque, Windows-based interface. Tiny.cc includes an AddThis button on the top to make it easy to bookmark the site using social bookmarking. And the final blow to TinyURL is the ability to "create personal or unique addresses using a keyword." So, instead of some gobbledygook that TinyURL.com spits out, you can have a very clean URL like http://tiny.cc/mckinsey_award.

I will concede that TinyURL.com does have 2 nice features.
  1. A Firefox Add on
  2. The ability to create a "preview" URL where one is directed to TinyURL.com's site. Once the user arrives at TinyURL.com's site, one can see exactly where they will be directed. This is especially nice if you don't necessarily trust the site you're at
However, Tiny.cc has a Firefox add on, and Tiny.cc uses preview pages (this is one of the ways they make there money through ad revenues).

So, Tiny.cc wins.

Aristotle 1300-2010

I was reading over Sherman Clarke's blog, and he mentioned WorldCat Identities. An interesting feature is the graphic that represents the publishing activity by or about a particular luminary. Above is the publication timeline for Aristotle. It would be interesting to see if there are direct correlations between the thinking of the particular period and the publishing activity. Of course, one would also have to take into consideration the accuracy of WorldCat's records, duplications, etc.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

WorldCat Genius

So, I was requesting that my local library get The Library at Night by Manguel. I wanted to look up the info so they could process it quickly (if it gets approved). Thus, I went over to WorldCat.

Now, I've used WorldCat for some time, and I've seen their links to Amazon. However, this is the first time that I've noticed the little green button above. So, I decided to check it out.

The review page and the following shopping cart are integrated outstandingly well. It is almost seamless & quite beautiful. Yes, the store's design does deviate some from WorldCat's site; however, it is much, much better than Google Checkout and even Amazon's proposition. The design makes one feel as if they've never left WorldCat (though, a link back to WorldCat would be wise).

Baker & Taylor (B&T) & OCLC have teamed up to create this service. Furthermore, a portion of the proceeds go to the library of your choice! Now, I'm sure the library of your choosing is not getting much, but the idea that the library is getting something and that the buyer feels even better about their purchase is genius. Props to both for creating such a well-thought design to a union catalog & shopping experience.

Hmm...with library systems like Ohio State University integrating WorldCat into/as their catalog, I wonder if we might begin seeing that little green button elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Perfect Nightstand for a Librarian

The Marian Lassak designed nightstand dubbed the "Poetry Nightstand" would look great with your designer bookshelf!

As seen on: Coolhunting

Monday, March 17, 2008

Information Is Our Product

Where's Your Value?

I just read an interesting post over @ Junta42. Pulizzi wrote about how marketers must deliver "consistently valuable information." He moves on to write that companies should market their content as they would one of their products--giving their content the necessary human & financial resources for success. Why? Because the consumer now controls what messages reach him or her and only those who offer relevant, value-added information to their potential and existing consumers' lives will win.

Now, libraries have been and are still regarded as repositories--places where books safely rest on hallowed shelves. However, library systems large and small across the U.S. have been providing access to a wide array of resources. Many of these resources are electronic and accessible anywhere a patron has internet access. These resources include a vast array of categories from genealogical databases to full-text research/news databases. Yet, it seems that we don't communicate to the public outside of the library that we are relevant and add value. In fact, besides the widely popular, but only in libraries, celebrity READ campaign, I have not seen any messages.

[Branded] Content, Not Containers

Andy Wibbels lists local search as one of the hot topics for 2008. Sure you can get a product from halfway around the world, but wouldn't it make more sense (especially ecologically) if you could get it from within your hometown? That makes findability extremely important in our wired world. AccessMyLibrary has helped bring local libraries out to where people are (Internet search engines), and a strategic outreach program can provide a strong networking base.

These are some good first steps. We need to continue pushing out to where potential patrons are, and we need to craft our message in such a way that the individual immediately receives and understands our value proposal. After all, information is our product.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Words to Live By

"Robert Stephens
,founder of Geek Squad
captured this spirit of experimentation and wider perspective when he
told a marketing conference: ‘If you look for ideas in your industry,
you're stealing. If you steal ideas from other industries, that's
innovative.’ He also declared that ‘advertising is the tax you pay for
being unremarkable.’"

So, you librarians looking to innovate, go outside the library community. A lesson that was persuasively argued by Don Barlow, Dir. @ the Westerville Public Library.

As Seen on: Contagious

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blogging from Google Maps

Great idea turning Google Maps into a blogging platform with Yahoo's Pipes. This would be great for blogging while on a road trip, etc. Instead of linking to a news source, just like back to the map.


Seen on: Wired

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Librarians Are Vampires...Maybe

The Register

One of my colleagues was kind enough to pass this along to me ;)

BTW, PFY = Pimply Faced Youth & BOFH = Bastard Operator From Hell (Operator being the British term for IT personnel).

Steve Powers

Cool Hunting turned me on to Steve Powers (yet another where have I been?! moment). Actually, I knew Powers as an author from his book The Art of Getting Over, but I didn't realize that he did his own work. Powers recently showed with Barry McGee @ Art Basel Miami (another, why didn't I know about this venue?!). There's a nice little recap @ whatyouwrite.com.


Saw this one over @ Inhabitat when reading about their article on Edina Tokodi.

Freakin' brilliant! Reminds me of 2 things:

  1. Guerrilla Gardening
  2. Alexandre Orion

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Personal Assistants in a Networked World

Inhabitat recently feature Nissan's new electric prototype. I'd seen pictures of it in Intersection, but I didn't realize that it came with a motorized assistant. Dubbed RA (Robotic Agent), it can read the drivers facial expressions and comment. For example, it will ask you if you're doing OK if you look sleepy. Of course, in my mind, I'm thinking something like HAL or Marvin. Yet, this video makes it look cute.

One of the more interesting parts of the RA video is that it was shown as being able to find parking for the driver. That would mean that either the city meters or the parking lot was wired & was able to transmit information wirelessly. Now that's pretty cool.

Then I started thinking about RFID in libraries & scanners in cell phones. I wondered if we might build a resource locating app (i.e. a library branded, digital assistant) that allowed patrons to find books using their cell phones. This would be especially helpful if the range had not been shelf read in a while. Furthermore, it would empower the patron. I guess, though, there would have to be a greater need to have RFID scanners in mobile phones in the 1st place.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mob Rule

The Experience Economy & Libraries

I just finished reading Springwise's article on the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel. Andaz is introducing an interesting marketing technique dubbed "reader-in-residence." Created as a temporary marketing tool to be used during the London Book Fair, the reader-in-residence program takes a famous journalist (Damian Barr) and places him in their hotel as the guests' personal literary concierge. Guests will have the opportunity to consult Barr on reading recommendations (i.e. a readers advisory), and guests can even book a lunch or private reading with him. Andaz hopes these type of personalized experiences will tempt fair-goers to stay with them. Simon Warrington, Anaz spokesman, is quoted as saying, "If we can show as a brand that we're personable, it makes sense for us to do quirky projects like this. It's all about Barr's personality—the hotel becomes his space, and it's not something we can control. This could go either way."

Understanding that your brand has limited control is paramount in this age of consumer centricity. Moreover, in post-industrialized nations where even non-basic products & services have become commoditized, consumer experience with the brand has become increasingly important.

New technologies have helped libraries reach out to their patrons in order to accommodate their patrons busy lifestyles (e.g. podcasting storytimes). However, something should be said about the "library experience." From customer service to building design, we should be delighting our patrons at every opportunity while demonstrating our value to our communities at large.

Friday, March 07, 2008

In the Age of Amazoogle

I was reading the blog Gather No Dust, and Jeff pointed to Wausau Daily Herald's disturbing article on a few librarians being demoted. On the one hand the director of the Marathon County Public Library must provide staff & services that reflect the needs of the community. On the other hand--from the article, it seems that her decisions may not be in the best interest of her community. It was especially disheartening to read her being paraphrased as saying, "Librarians today do less complex work." Yowza! I'd argue in the age of Amazoogle that the days of easy reference questions are over. Furthermore, as public libraries continue to become more aligned with community centers (as is the case with Marathon County), librarians' work will become even more complex as they create new services and information platforms to reach their evolving patron base.

New Business Models & the Library

OK, OK, so everyone is talking up NIN Ghosts. Yeah, yeah, yeah a Radiohead repeat with a better business model. Get the 1st 9 of 36 tracks free.

Wait a minute...let's go back to that business model. As I understand it, Trent Reznor gets to keep his rights to his music by not going through a record label. Moreover, his net profit from the sales are higher because he doesn't have to pay the record label's cost for promotion, etc. It seems like he's doing pretty well. Checking the site this morning, I saw that he completely sold out of his limited edition. That edition was limited to 2500 copies @ $300 a pop. That means just the sales of his limited edition grossed $750,000. I know, it's nothing like your album [funny we still use this word] going gold, but that's pretty good.

So, anyway, folks in the businesses world have finally learned that giving away a little can net you a lot. Starting in the early 20th century, libraries and other "public" institutions began sharing their collections for the greater good (OK, that could be debated). We give a little in the form of taxes while our net as a community far outweighs our upfront cost. Libraries can be the poor man's (or women's) university. They can be a fulcrum of intellectual freedom. And they can be a gathering place for a diverse population. They help individuals, groups, and business alike. The notion of the library as repository is dying. However, libraries are far from dead. They are transforming to meet the diverse needs of a diverse population.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shared Propulsion Car

Another Intersection magazine find is Michel de Broin. He's got a lot of great ideas like Out of the White. Above is his Shared Propulsion Car which is run on pedal power.

Going through the streets of Toronto, Michel managed to get cited for "operating an unsafe vehicle." He's contesting the ticket, and his hope is to pedal his car home after the hearing. Buona Fortuna!


Rory Macbeth

OK, I guess I've been living under a rock because Macbeth has already been recognized by the Tate.

Anyway, Macbeth has some great ideas. Above is a picture of his work on the former Eastern Electricity building in Norwich. He's "painting" Sir Thomas Moore's book Utopia on a building that was set to be demolished.

He was also highlighted in the spring issue of Intersection for spray painting abandoned vehicles. He's quoted as saying, "I'm interested in the fact that they're ephemeral, temporary monuments."


Wednesday, March 05, 2008