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 @


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

Juan Francisco Casas

Photorealism done with a ball-point pen. Amazing.

Seen on: We Made This

The Ornamented Life: A Web Site

Doug Black @ Cool Hunting brought Joana Meroz's work to my attention this morning. Meroz has a lot of great ideas like Flower-Power Screws. With Meroz's Crackery Tableware, she salvages chipped & cracked china. She then glazes the cracks with gold luster. Meroz highlights the imperfections by transforming the crack into a flower design. The pieces are unique and both classical & contemporary.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mark Jenkins

Jenkins makes some incredible sculptures with tape.

MapLib: Musee des Beaux Arts

Cool idea - mashup Google's annotating map function & art. Too bad spam ruins it.

Katie Parker

Cool artist that knows how to work the negative space.

Jonathan Yuen

Yuen created an absolutely amazing portfolio & was awarded @ the 2007 SXSW.

Librarian, The (1947)

Always a classic. For more commenting check out the Internet Archive @

The Well

The Skull & Bones Society for the literati? OK, that's a little overboard. But I'm still curious & not willing to pay to join.