Tuesday, December 30, 2008

9 in 2009

LibraryThing is suggesting that people read 9 books in 9 different categories, all in 2009. Thanks to Robyn for this information.

There is a new page on the readers advisory wiki for any reading lists which this reading inspires.

I also think this has strong broad reference implications as well - how about reading 9 books of relevance to 9 different areas of referance and information services work? I will have to think about my 9 categories of reference work, but would probably include changes to reference service delivery including roving reference, community information, readers advisory work, and local studies for a start. I will let you know how my reading goes (it will be a mix of books, articles, online reports, blogs, videos and podcasts).

What are your 9 books and the 9 categories they represent?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Google: magazines

Google has announced it will be adding select magazines to its book search; New York Magazine and Popular Mechanics are amongst the titles cited. The magazines are offered in a full text format.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meeting New Users in Wikipedia

I've just read an interesting article by Dreanna Belden called Harnessing Social Networks to Connect with Audiences: If You Build it, Will They Come 2.0? (Internet Reference Services Quarterly; 2008, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p99-111). Unfortunately it's not available in full text online as far as I can see but it is indexed in Ebscohost Masterfile Premier, which all NSW libraries should have access to. You may even subscribe to it at your library - if not you can request a copy from Sutherland Library through Interlibrary Loans.

At the author's library at the University of North Texas they are using Wikipedia to drive traffic to their digital library initiatives. They add references to relevant Wikipedia articles that link to items in their digital collections. When I read this it struck me as so obvious. Why aren't all libraries and librarians taking a much more active role in editing the references in Wikipedia articles? This is what we do best isn't it? The author gives some statistics in the article suggesting that they are receiving more referral traffic through Wikipedia than through Google Search.

Talk about putting your reference service 'in the way' of the user. If users aren't coming to the library for their information searches then lets put our services right in front of them where they are looking. How much could libraries improve Wikipedia articles by adding some comprehensive reference and reading lists? It doesn't have to be limited to referencing resources held in digital collections either. The combined book stock of libraries worldwide offers enormous opportunity for reading lists across the range of Wikipedia articles.

Book references could be linked to Worldcat records as a way of guiding people to libraries as the place to find a copy of the book (rather than Amazon, which so often happens online for book references).

I see this as a similar philosophy to Slam the Boards. You might not be directly helping your immediate local users but a cooperative effort by libraries creates a better outcome for everyone.

This is such an obvious idea that I can't believe that librarians aren't already doing this. Maybe they are? Maybe you are? Have you ever heard of this going on in libraries?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Is Web 2.0 a Revolution?

In the final post in my series on Clay Shirky's book, Here Comes Everybody, I want to share with you his idea that Web 2.0 tools may actually revolutionise society, and consider what that might mean for Libraries.

In my first post I introduced the idea that new technology can only effect societal change once it becomes ubiquitous or invisible. When Web 2.0 tools become ubiquitous everyone becomes a content creator. This is what Chris Anderson calls the democratisation of production in his book, The Long Tail. Shirky argues that once the lines blur between producers or publishers and consumers there is a fundamental change in the way our society operates, that "the category of 'consumer' is now a temporary behavior rather than a permanent identity." (Here Comes Everybody, p. 108). The result is that previously impossible things start occuring.
The hallmark of revolution is that the goals of the revolution cannot be contained by the institutional structure of the existing society. As a result, either the revolutionaries are put down, or some of those institutions are altered, replaced, or destroyed. We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the media businesses, but their suffering isn't unique, it's prophetic. All businesses are media businesses, because whatever else they do, all businesses rely on managing of information for two audiences - employees and the world. The increase in the power of both individuals and groups, outside traditional organisational structures, is unprecedented. Many institutions we rely on today will not survive this change without significant alteration, and the more an institution or industry relies on information as its core product, the greater and more complete the change will be. (my emphasis)
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, p. 107

What is the role of Britannica in the age of Google and Wikipedia? I think they're trying to work that out themselves. What role do reference librarians have when only 1% of college students begin their information searches at a library? (OCLC Perceptions report, 2005).

I think that information is the core product of libraries and that the sharing of information now and into the future will profoundly affect how libraries operate. What do you think?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Google Book Search

Google and the US book industry have finally reached an agreement over the scanning of books for public access. Google will pay the authors of works scanned without permission at least 45 million dollars in compensation. Under the new agreement users will be able to view millions of in-print & out of print titles with the option to buy the titles or segments of the title (a sample of the books will be accessible for free). With the agreement reached Google will once again commence the scanning of titles for inclusion in their Book Search product. The new Google scheme will start in the US with plans to reach similar arrangements with publishers and authors in other countries. The US Association of publishers and the Authors guild are calling this a revolution akin to the iTunes phenomenon.

It will be interesting to see how this initiative will evolve and what if any impact this will have on Libraries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Six Degrees Makes for a Small World

Did anyone see the documentary, How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer, on the ABC on Tuesday night? In a case of serendipity it examined an idea that was explored in Clay Shirky's book, Here Comes Everybody, that I was about to blog here. I highly recommend it and if you missed it you can still catch up with it on the ABC web site.

This documentary was about a relatively new field of science called network theory. It used the Six Degrees of Separation game, the idea that any two people in the world can be connected within six steps, as a way to explain Small World Networks. How come I know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows anyone in the world?

The answer goes something like this:
In any social group most people know all the other people in the group because the group shares something in common and there are many such groups. Most people can be considered to be part of several of these small groups - your workmates, friends, family, and so on. There are some people, however, who are part of many more of these groups than the average person. These highly connected individuals form the connections that create the small world phenomenon. While you may not be highly connected there is a good chance that you know someone who is - that is that you know someone, who knows someone. So when you meet someone new and after a brief conversation you realise that you both have a common friend you say, 'it's a small world, isn't it'. These highly connected nodes in the network are called hubs and they are the key for linking disparate nodes. This is essentially how Myspace and Facebook work.

Shirky devotes a whole chapter to small world networks and how social networking tools make use of these small worlds to bring people together. As I was reading this chapter I started wondering whether libraries could capitalise on these highly connected social hubs and convert them into library champions. How do we identify the people in our community that are part of many smaller social groups and get our message to them in the hope that they will pass it on? Indeed, can libraries become these highly connected social hubs for our communities? Surely we are in a position to bring together disparate groups - to make the library a place Does this have any implications for how we might engage in online social networks.

I don't have answers to these questions but I'll bet some of you have suggestions. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here I Come Too...

In a case of me tooism I've also just finished reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky. I agree with Linda and recommend that you track down a copy if you're interested in how social networking via the web is changing the way society operates. I think it has big implications for libraries - but if you've read anything I've written before you'll know that already.

I was struck at certain points throughout the book at how eloquently Shirky illustrates the impacts of technology and I thought that there was a bit too much to put into a comment on Linda's post. I think I'll create a series of posts of the next week or so, sharing some quotes and ideas from the book.

One of the main themes of the book that came through to me was that technological change can only create a revolution once the technology has become ubiquitous. Call it a paradigm shift if you like but Shirky argues that we are only just heading into the territory where the Web 2.0 tools are 'not new' and that we are only beginning to see the ways that these tools will change the way society works. He poses a lovely tech history question to illustrate his point:
Which went mainstream first, the fax or the Web?
People over 35 have a hard time understanding why you'd even ask - the fax machine obviously predates the Web for general adoption. Here's another: which went mainstream first, the radio or the telephone? The same people often have to think about this question, even though the practical demonstration of radio came almost two decades after that of the telephone, a larger gap than separated the fax and the Web. We have to think about radio and television becasue for everyone alive today, those two technologies have always existed. And for college students today, that is true of the fax and the Web. Communications tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring. The invention of a tool doesn't create change; it has to have been around long enough that most of society is using it. It's when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that really profound changes happen, and for young people today, our new social tools have passed normal and are heading to ubiquitous, and invisible is coming.
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody. p105

Clearly Web 2.0 is not pervasive in Australian society and in the wider community of public library users yet. Some would argue therefore that libraries are wasting their time implementing services aligned with Web 2.0 as most of our users aren't using those tools.

In the early days of the web there was much talk in the library world about how this new tool - the Internet - would revolutionise library services and that we needed to be involved in how it developed and how people navigated the Information Superhighway. Then along came Google and made finding information on the Internet simple and reliable. Meanwhile, our OPACs haven't changed remarkably in the last 5-10 years. There great for finding a particular title or author but if you visit your library's online catalogue wanting a 'good book' on management the OPAC can't help. There's no relevancy ranking, no indication of what others thought about this book, no indication of what are the really seminal texts.

Somehow, despite our intentions we got left behind as a destination for people seeking information. I don't want libraries to be in that situation again. I would argue that we need to start using some new communications technologies and integrating them into our services so that when they do become invisible libraries don't disappear with them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here comes everybody .... wait for me, I'm catching up.

I've just finished reading "Here comes everybody" by Clay Shirky which has helped me understand the fascination with blogs and social technology. In chapter 4 he explains it so well. Basically blogs are a conversation between people similar to those conversations you might overhear at a mall, at a cafe, in the train, etc. So these "conversations" are not meant to be read by everybody, only those people interested. If you're not interested, then the blog isn't for you. To quote Shirky on p. 85 "It's simple. They're not talking to you."

Before I read this chapter I really didn't get the whole concept of blogs at all and I didn't understand the attraction of them. So I've really come full circle to now being a blogger (still learning!) myself.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in this area - he uses some great examples of what technology and groups organised around social technology can achieve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Beth Jefferson on Bibliocommons

I've just been listening to a fascinating interview with Beth Jefferson, founder of Bibliocommons - a social discovery system for libraries. Bibliocommons gives libraries a way to allow their users to contribute to the metadata of their collections by allowing them to tag, review and link items in the catalogue. It's a similar idea to what Jon Blyberg is doing with The Social OPAC. The best way to understand is to have a play with the Oakville Public Library Catalogue, which is running the Bibliocommons software.

What really struck me about this interview is the insight that Beth had on the role that social search and discovery can play in library services. Where Web 2.0 ideas, the Internet, library users, librarians and library collections fit in the puzzle that is the future of libraries.

A couple of points that had me nodding my head...

First of all, there is a recognition that the Internet is changing the ground rules under which libraries operate, but also that public libraries have a high participation rate from the community. We are in a very good position to harness the knowledge and good will of our users to improve our service

One of the roles of libraries has always been to facilitate the seredipitous discovery of books - the perennial RA question, "I just want a good book to read". Traditionally OPACs have done a very poor job at answering this question. Web 2.0 has shown how much benefit there is in social discovery (think Amazon recommendations for instance).

The vast majority of people who visit their library online do so to undertake tasks within the catalogue - search for books, check their account, etc. Integrating the social discovery tools directly into the catalogue places them 'in the flow' of our users and provides us with the best opportunity to gain maximum benefit from them. Sharing this social data between libraries (who use Bibliocommons) gives the critical mass of users required to give the social data relevance.

Librarians have traditionally seen themselves as expert navigators of information. However, we may be better served in the long run by providing the tools that let people facilitate social search and discovery as a means of information navigation. Combining these tools with traditional library discovery tools may give us the best of both worlds.

Beth makes many more observations in the interview than I have outlined herebacking them up with interesting data and there is much value in what she says. If you kind of understand the Web 2.0 concept but are wondering how it might fit with libraries I strongly recommend you have a listen to this podcast.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The State Library of NSW joins the Flickr commons

The State Library of New South Wales has joined the Flickr Commons. We are the tenth organisation to join. The first was the Library of Congress, closely followed by the Powerhouse Museum. You can read the Powerhouse Museum's discussion of their engagement on the Commons.

Have a look at our photographs on Flickr.

This is currently the State Library's most favourited photograph on Flickr.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Has Slam the Boards been a success?

At the reference seminar back in May I mentioned a study being done in the US on the impact Librarians may or may not have on answerboard traffic. Initial findings are now available and a discussion is taking place on the Answer Boards Librarians wiki. It's early stages yet, as the whole Slam the Boards phenomenon is yet to celebrate it's 1st birthday, and the various restrictions of the study (only using Yahoo Answers and focussing on the 10th day of the month as it applies in the US - discounting many of the early-bird answers supplied by Australian and New Zealand Librarians) must be taken into account, nonetheless it has certainly been a worthwhile adventure!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A reference renaissance - conference

If you weren't able to be in Denver in early August you can catch up on many of the presentations from A reference renaissance. Quite a few of the PowerPoint presentations are now available from this conference.

What ideas from here inspire you? What other ideas do we need to consider for reference and information services?

Do you think there really is a reference renaissance occurring?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Three new reports

Comscore reports that 26 million people in Germany watched more than 3 billion videos online during May.

Are libraries factoring this into their service delivery - including the provision of reference and information services?

Universal McCann report on the number of adults using social media in the US.

The latest Pew internet report looks at how people use the internet on a daily basis.

All of these reports have big implications for libraries.

What changes do we need to make? What do we need to keep the same?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Libraries Building Communities

The State Library of Victoria has produced some very interesting looking research into the role that public libraries play in society. The reports cover such ground as the value libraries bring to communities, who uses libraries and who doesn't, example of best practices and more. I haven't had a good read yet but there looks to be some very interesting stuff.

Read all about it and download the reports from their web site: Libraries Building Communities

Thursday, July 3, 2008


For those of you interested in the discussion about online reference and the use of answerboards you might be interested in this recent post on the PLV Director's blog. In it she looks at reasons why people may go online rather than to their local library.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Google Scholar and Google Books Stand Alone

Did everyone see this...

Google Books and Google Scholar are set to be left as the 'last man standing' in the mass online digitisation game as Microsoft cancels its Live Search Books & Academic programs.

This via Sarah at Librarian in Black:
Libraries and publishers who before had a choice now have to go with Google if they want mass digitization of their materials in an affordable way. Microsoft wanted to make money, and online books were expensive to produce and weren't making money. And yet, Google's projects are going strong. I hope that a non-corporate entity springs up to take up the slack and compete with Google's commercial model.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Britannica vs Wikipedia

Have you heard people suggesting that Wikipedia is no good on the basis that anyone can edit the articles? Have you thought it yourself? At least one contributor to the Britannica blog certainly held similar views - but, the times they are a-changin'!

It seems that Britannica is "throwing open its elegantly-bound covers to the masses. It will allow the “user community” (in the words of the encyclopedia’s blog) to contribute their own articles, which will be clearly marked and run alongside the edited reference pieces".
Josh Fischman - The Wired Campus

Here's the announcement from Britannica. Fancy that!

Thanks to Michael Stephens for the heads-up.

Friday, May 30, 2008

More from the seminar

For those who have not yet added fresh + new(er) to their rss feed, have a look at the recent post Conversation, the Commons, museum futures, and ‘architectures of participation’.

It mentions Cathy Johnston's slam the boards presentation last week highlighting the role of libraries have in 'asserting relevance'. We can't just assume that people know we are relevent we need to continue to demonstrate it, inform people about our relevance and assert it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reference @ The Metcalfe presentation: Answer Boards & Public Libraries (Cathy Johnston)

This is the presentation I gave at the Reference @ The Metcalfe reference seminar last Wednesday. My aim here was really to inspire other Reference Librarians to think outside their Libraries & consider the enormous potential of Answer Boards and how we can market Libraries & especially Reference Services to the many people asking questions there. It was also a big push to get more and more people involved in and actively participating in Slam the Boards!

If you were at the Seminar I'd really like to know what you thought of my presentation, but more importantly I'd love to get feedback about your impressions and experiences with Answer Boards and especially from participation in the monthly Slam the Boards! event.
Answer Boards and Social Searching was a Week 8 activity in the Learning 2.0 program run by the State Library of NSW.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Beyond 4 Walls: Presentation Slides and Links (Martin Boyce)

Beyond 4 Walls: Imagining Reference Services in a 2.0 World was presentation given at the Reference @ the Metcalfe Seminar yesterday. In the presentation I looked at a possible future for reference services and argued the case for starting to plan for that future now.

You can view a version of this presentation below.

If you can't read the text view the presentation on Slideshare, where you can see it in full-screen.

The links mentioned in the presentation can be found on my del.icio.us bookmarks.

If you view this slideshow or saw me present then please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Evaluation of seminar

If you attended the seminar yesterday please complete the evaluation here here

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some ideas from David King

Have a look at this recent presentation by David King (he blogs under David Lee King).

Think about these ideas as they relate to your library, in particular the reference and information services. This may be a good way to start limbering up for the seminar next week - it will be a great opportunity to think about some big ideas and how they are relevant at a local level.

Reference at the Metcalfe Seminar links

The following links will be referred to by presenters at the upcoming Reference at the Metcalfe Seminar. Additional links will be uploaded as they are made available.

Corporate Library Services- the City of Sydney Experience
Kathryn Joss, City of Sydney

Weblinks and email addresses referred to in presentation:
Local Government Collection, City of Sydney Library

NSW Local Government Corporate Librarians Group:

Kathryn Joss, Corporate Librarian, City of Sydney Library:

Online Communities: RSS feeds (Ross Balharrie)

To learn more about Rss feeds and how they can help you keep up to date with your favourite sites checkout the Learning Library 2.0 website; week 4 lesson.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Reference Renaissance: current & future trends

While we await our own Reference seminar in May, it's worth keeping an eye on what other parts of the world are up to. Coming up in August in Denver, Colorado is a 2-day event titled: Reference Renaissance.

Rumors of the “death of reference” have been greatly exaggerated! Reference service now encompasses not just traditional forms such as telephone, email, and in-person point-of-service, but also Instant Messaging, Text Messaging (SMS), blogs, wikis, library pages on MySpace and Facebook, and virtual reference desks in Second Life.

A Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends conference will explore all aspects of reference service in a broad range of contexts, including libraries and information centers, in academic, public, school, corporate, and other special library environments. This two-day conference will incorporate the multitude of established, emerging, and merging types of reference service including both traditional and virtual reference. It presents an opportunity for all reference practitioners and scholars to explore the rapid growth and changing nature of reference, as an escalating array of information technologies blend with traditional reference service to create vibrant hybrids.

As we venture into exploring our own future within Reference, the ways it has changed and where we see it going from here, the results of discussing these changes/futures with each other can only lead to bigger and better things. I see our own Seminar in May as a perfect opportunity to have some of these discussions and they are conversations I'm certainly looking forward to.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 Reference at the Metcalfe Seminar 21st May

Ahh how time flies, May is fast approaching and that can only mean one thing! Yes, you got it; the annual Reference at the Metcalfe seminar is just around the corner.

Reference @ the Metcalfe.
When: 21 May 2008 Where : Metcalfe Auditorium at the State Library How to book : follow this link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=zQ7uu4CvXocX0It7NwW2GQ_3d_3d and fill in the details of each person who will be attending from your library.

Program highlights:

Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum - he blogs at www.powerhousemuseum.com/dmsblog/

Martin Boyce with some big ideas for public libraries in the areas of reference and information services - he blogs at http://blog.sutherlandlibrary.com/

Ross Balharrie talking about collaborations already happening in NSW between reference and information staff - he blogs at http://www.nsw-risg.org/weblog/ and http://www.nsw-risg.org/newtech//

Cathy Johnston talking about Answer boards and public libraries and what they have in common

As well there will be a Dangerous ideas session during morning and afternoon tea. You will be asked to share your ideas (via post it notes) on the following Ideas for the future What I like best about being a Reference Librarian is ..... My favourite reference tool is .... Follow this link http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/using/location/index.html for information about the location of the State Library of New South Wales.

2008 Program

Suggestions of change for Library of Congress Subject Headings

Radical reference is collecting ideas (due 27 April - sorry for the short notice) for new/changed subject headings and cross references for Library of Congress Subject Headings. Information about how to submit your ideas is available from the blog. Think about ideas which would help you in the provision of reference and information services.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dangerous ideas at PLA Minneapolis

One of the sessions at PLA in Minneapolis was called Dangerous ideas. It included questions such as:

What if librarians would promote and participate in the development of Wikipedia?
What if we made decisions that are not based on scarcity?
What if libraries large and small invest together to adopt open source solutions?
What if teens in the library were our partners instead of our problem?
What if we learned to advertise the allure of libraries as successfully as soft drinks and junk food?

For more information see Webjunction.

What are some dangerous ideas for reference and information work?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Keeping on doing reference work

David Lee King is blogging from PLA about various sessions he has been attending.

In particular look at What Does it Take to be Good at Reference in the Age of Google?. It won't take you long to read - and it shows the need to continue learning, and thinking creatively about the reference and information work which we do.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

IMLS National Study on the Use of Libraries, Museums and the Internet

You might like to have a look at the report on the IMLS National Study on the Use of Libraries, Museums and the Internet. You can choose the amount of detail you want to find out about from links on this page.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Hyperlinked Library

Yesterday morning I went to a presentation by Michael Stephens, Librarian and educator who writes and speaks widely about Library 2.0, entitled The Hyperlinked Library: Trends, Tools and Transparency. Michael has posted the slides and the links he discussed on his blog so you can follow them up if you're interested.

It was a wide ranging talk about preparing your library, staff and users for the kind of hyperlinked environment in which we now exist. There was one theme from the presentation, however, that particularly interested me and which this blog post is about.

Several times in the presentation Michael used the phrase, "Libraries tell stories". What he was talking about was that whether we realise it or not the physical and digital spaces our libraries occupy, along with the decisions we make about what our users can and can't do in those spaces, send messages to the people who come to use them. Take a look at this photo from his presentation - go click on it and read the comments on Flickr.

oh no
Originally uploaded by aaron schmidt

There were a bunch of similar examples and what he was really talking about was what kind of experiences are we providing for people who visit the library, whether that be the physical library or our digital presence. There was another example in the talk (and forgive me if I get the details slightly wrong) where a customer at a store in the US went into a change room to try on some clothes, only to find that the change room was a mess with a heap of clothes piled up in the corner. The customer took a photo of the mess with their mobile and uploaded it to Flickr. Within a day it made a major newspaper!

It's often quoted that customers who have a bad experience talk about it to 10 times the number of people than do those who have a good experience. I don't know about the numbers but I do know that the connectedness of the digital environment makes it easier than ever before to spread the word quickly. Can you imagine a situation in your Library where a user takes a photo or video on their mobile phone of a bad experience they have and shares it with all their friends via Flickr, YouTube, Facebook or their blog?

The examples of negative stories that Michael used in his presentation all come from well meaning libraries that were trying to create an environment that benefits all their users, but who had lost sight of the bigger picture. It reminded me of the idea of the Tyranny of One, an idea first drawn to my attention from another blog post in which a library director discusses her library's review of policies and practices. She states:
...in many cases we have implemented policies and practices because of the minority of people who do the wrong thing, and in the process make things more difficult for the majority who do the right thing...
When we put up a sign or make new rule are we doing it for the benefit of our customers or for the benefit of the library staff? What kind of stories are we telling our customers? Consider the following example as a comparison with the sign above.

courtesy please sign
Originally uploaded by Mary Carmen6676

David Lee King discusses customer experience regularly in his blog and I strongly encourage you to have a read if this area interests you.

At the start of this post I suggested that Michael Stephens was one of the foremost writers and speakers about Library 2.0. What he is saying here is the essence of Library 2.0. Library 2.0 is not just about adding Web 2.0 tools and technologies to libraries. The technology is just a means to an end and the end is that we need to be telling better stories and providing a better experience to our users.

This is why we are running a Learning 2.0 program at my library. It isn't because we want the Library to have a YouTube account, gather friends on MySpace and look cutting edge. The program is running to allow staff to get an understanding of the hyperlinked environment in which libraries now exist.

The skills gained as a result of Learning 2.0 are just there to allow library staff to tell better stories to their customers in new ways and in new places.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

VALA day 2

To say Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa spoke about copyright would be true, but he also spoke about active community based lobbying about proposed changes to copyright law. He gave his vision of the future and highlighted some interesting international examples of legal and yet creative use of copyright and creative commons licensing.

VALA day 1 part 2

Also watch out for Peter Lor's paper and podcast. He took an international approach to discussing the information economy.

Other papers/podcasts to watch out for include
Joann Ransom of the Horowhenua Library Trust and their community project Kete Horowhenua and Deb Stumm and Christine Sayer of the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland stories project.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

VALA - day 1

The key note speaker this morning was Andy Powell of Eduserve. Watch out for the podcast of his talk and for his paper to become available - both would be well worth hearing/reading. Powell talked about global repositories as a model instead of institutional repositories. He also reminded us to consider the architecture of the web as an model, instead of trying to reinvent what is there. Libraries could look to global repositories like technorati and flickr.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A new definition of reference

RUSA has redefined reference.

Reference Transactions are information consultations in which library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources to help others to meet particular information needs. Reference transactions do not include formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.

Reference Work includes reference transactions and other activities that involve the creation, management, and assessment of information or research resources, tools, and services.

For more information see the RUSA blog.

Beyond the hype

For those who did not make it to Beyond the hype (and I am amongst that number), videos and papers of the presentations will be available soon from their site.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Skilling Up for the Next Generation

There was an interesting post on the ReadWriteWeb blog recently suggesting that Sexy Librarians of the Future Will Help You Upload Your Videos to YouTube. The article presents a future where one role of librarians is to help people improve the discoverability of their online content. You should read the whole post but here is a snippet:
'Imagine a future when you go to the library with a 5 minute video you've just made about last night's Presidential debates and that librarian says to you:
You should upload it to YouTube and tag it with these four tags - two broad and two more specific to existing communities of interest on YouTube and the topic of your video. Then you should embed that video in a blog post along with some text introducing it and linking to some of your favorite posts by other people who have also written today about the Presidential debates. Make sure to send trackbacks to those posts!...
...Would that be great, or what?'
What I find interesting about this scenario is the recognition that the findability of information is a big challenge. The networking aspect of social software - blogs, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, etc allows people with converging interests to become recommendation engines. These are the spaces that potential future library customers inhabit. Libraries need to not only understand these new spaces but also to ensure that we are disclosing our content in these places so that our customers can discover us.*

So, how would your staff cope with an enquiry like this? Has your library started planning for the future skill sets your reference staff will require? Does your marketing strategy include online communities? Have you considered running a Learning 2.0 program in your library? If not, why not? Would any of the arguments in these posts sway you toward training staff in new technologies?

*See my comment on Ellen's post about Planning for the Future for a more in depth explanation of what I mean about discovery and disclosure.

Library of Congress and flickr

The Library of Congress has just announced a project called The commons. This makes some of their images available on Flickr and available for tagging. You can also add comments to the Library of Congress images. It is like a very large local studies project.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Library conferences

In case you are interested in what library conferences are happening where in 2008 have a look at this list compiled in Canada. It includes some Australian conferences.