April 26th, 2011 Brian Herzog
Every spring, the IT Section of the New England Library Association hosts a workshop on some aspect of technology in libraries (past workshops rocked). I'm actually one of the presenters at this year's workshop, along with far more interesting people, and the topic is:
Mobilize Your Patrons: Library Services in a Hand-Held World
2011 ITS Spring Event
New England Library Association - Information Technology Section
When Friday, June 17, 2011, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Where Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston MA 01505 (directions)
Registration (includes lunch!)
- NELA members - $50
- Non-members - $65
- Library school students & unemployed librarians - $35
Registration closes Friday June 3th. Space is limited.
9:00 AM Registration
9:30 AM Keynote - Megan K. Fox, the Director of Knowledge Management and IT, Jobs for the Future
Libraries on the Go: Trends in Mobile Tools and Applications
Current hardware and new technologies are making hand-held computers essential for on-the-go users. Fox highlights the latest development in applications for mobile and hand-held tools and how these can and are being utilized by libraries and information seekers of all kinds.
11:15 AM - Jessamyn West, a technologist living in rural Vermont studying the digital divide and solving technology problems for schools and libraries
The Mayor of Everywhere Using Social Tools to be More Places at Once
Web 2.0 tools are uncomplicated to use and freely available online, and they have been making it easy and even enjoyable to remix, share, and repurpose content. The added new dimension of ubiquitous mobile computing is providing more opportunities for libraries to reach patrons and for patrons to interact with librarians. This presentation will address trends in Web 2.0 and social technology.
12:30 PM Lunch (included in registration)
1:30 PM – 3:30 PM Panel presentation/discussion on practical library applications
- Brian Herzog: Making your Library Mobile-Friendly
Tools and techniques to create a useful resource for your mobile patrons
- Bonnie Roalsen & Ryan Livergood: Talking Walls & Augmented Realities
Using QR codes to extend your library’s services and programs, engage your communities and construct mobile knowledge networks
- Christine Drew: Enabling Mobile Academic Library Users
Accessing student’s technology-use, deploying a mobile site, dabbling with QR codes
3:30 PM The End
It should be a great day. For my part, I'm basically going to go through the steps I took to make a mobile site for my library, and also mention a few other mobile options for libraries.
Whether you're considering maybe possibly thinking about doing something in the mobile world, or looking for new ways to interact with the mobile patrons you're already serving, there should be something for everyone at this workshop - I hope to see you there.
Tags: information technology section, its, libraries, Library, mobile, nela, nela-its, nelaits, nelaits11, new england library association, qr codes, smartphone, smartphones, workshop
February 3rd, 2011 Brian Herzog
Just a few quick blurbs on some upcoming events that caught my eye - the first two for Boston-area people, and the third for all of New England:
I seem to be all about mobile technology lately - and MobileCampBoston is a day-long event devoted to it. The day looks organized into three tracks - Programming, Design, and Business/Marketing, so attendees can focus on their area of interest. Should be a great day of learning, and best of all, it's free.
Boston Radical Reference: Volunteer at the Community Change Library
Members of Boston Radical Reference will be volunteering at the Community Change library, which houses some of the best sources of information on racism in the United States. The plan is to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the collection, going book by book, to catch errors in the catalog, determine subject areas in which to expand, and identify books that need repair.
NELA-ITS Spring Workshop
I'm part of the IT Section of the New England Library Association, and we're designing this year's Spring Workshop to address the intersection of mobile technology and libraries. We're still working out the details, but the overall plan is to devote the morning to a sort of "state of things/orientation" as far as libraries and mobile tech goes, then lunch, and then an afternoon panel of librarians demo'ing ways they're using mobile tech in their own libraries. If you've never been to an NELA-ITS workshop before, they're a good time, and very focused on practical information.
I'll be at all three of these events - if you see me, please say hi.
Tags: boston radical reference, Conferences, event, events, libraries, Library, mobile, mobilecampboston, nela, nela-its, public, volunteer
October 21st, 2010 Brian Herzog
At NELA2010 on Monday, I got to see Ethan Zuckerman speak again. I blogged his "The Internet is NOT Flat" talk two years ago, and although this year he spoke on the same theme, he is dynamic enough to always be both interesting and energizing.
His goal is to broaden people's view of the world, to get us thinking globally as well as locally. Something new in his talk this year was the concept of "bridge figures" - those people in an organization or community that serve as "bridges" between cultures, nations, people, departments, groups, ideas, etc.
These people are valuable because they can make connections others can't, and can move projects forward in new ways via collaborations. They are usually found in the "structural holes" in organizations - the positions that aren't explicitly defined, or the spots where many otherwise divergent areas overlap.
Because of their unique place, they can see things from multiple points of view, see how something will affect different groups, and see what skills each of the different groups can contribute to a situation. They are less susceptible to homophily than most of us (who tend to exist in [and not think beyond] our own social group, department, organization, etc.), and so are better able to develop solutions that address the concerns of all the stakeholders involved.
Libraries often serve this role in general. But can you think of any Bridge Figures within your library?
October 19th, 2010 Brian Herzog
Session notes from a great NELA2010 interactive discussion on reference and where it's headed:
A panel of experienced reference librarians explores the ever-changing landscape of reference service, with particular emphasis on implementing new and emerging technologies. Panelists include Laura Kohl from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, Eleanor Sathan from Memorial Hall Library in Andover, MA, and Pingsheng Chen from Worcester (MA) Public Library.
Laura Kohl - What Bryant University is Doing
- Offer text (using a Droid rather than online), email, IM
- Goal has been to differentiate librarians from Google and add value "Librarians: the thinking search engine"
- Bryant's mission is to be high-touch and hands-on - they don't just offer access, they provide instruction to make sure people know how to use things
- All reference desks computers are dual monitor/keyboard (one faces staff, one faces patron), so it's easy for students to participate in the search, rather than just watch
- Use Jing to create on-the-fly instructional screencasts for chat and email reference questions. These are uploaded to Jing's server, which archives them for reuse
How to patrons know what is available? Marketing all over the place.
- Word of mouth - go into classrooms, tell people it's okay to interrupt us"
- Hang up tear-off sheets all around campus (including in the bathrooms)
- Have imprinted scrap paper at the desk with library contact information at the bottom
- Use Moo Cards for business cards to hand out. Also used clear labels to add more contact information to the back of the standard business cards
- On Twitter, Facebook (include redundant links to everything, which helps when regular website is unavailable), integrate into Blackboard
- Use digital signage using rotating powerpoints, images, or anything else - these are in the library and throughout campus
- QR codes on signs to go to websites or download contact information into students' smart phones
How to measure success?
- Qualitative - comments from students (email, texts, etc)
- Quantitative - track stats (face-to-face, phone, text, email, IM) - face-to-face is going down but students staying longer, and IMs are way up
Pingsheng Chen - What Worcester Library is Doing
Worcester is 3rd largest city in New England (behind Boston and Providence)
Trend 1: People need a librarian more than every
- Across the country, library use is going up
- Nature of questions have changed - fewer questions that can be handled in the traditional way, and knowing the collection is no longer enough
Trend 2: Reference librarians are reinventing themselves to make a wide range of new reference services available to meet users' current expectations
- Provide learning opportunities for users, especially for job seekers (computer books, job search/resume help, workshops)
- Provide personal assistance for job seekers or others (consult with a librarian, resume/cover letter help, set up LinkedIn or email account)
- Provide virtual reference services - email, chat (QuestionPoint), text (My Info Quest), ebooks and databases for online 24x7 reference (and build Gale bookshelf)
- Use web 2.0 and social networking tools to provide help in more than one way and in more than one place - blog, wiki, delicious links, Bookletters, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (do them all, because patrons have their own preferences)
Trend 3: Reference services have a bright but challenging future. So, with less money and less staff, we must...
- provide public and free access to ideas and information
- stay current with new technologies and new resources and be able to teach users those information tools and skills
- offer a wide range of reference services to meet users where they are and connect people to information that matters in their lives
- Bottom line: meet users' current expectations (it's about their experience)
Tags: conference, Laura Kohl, libraries, Library, nela, nela10, nela2010, new england library association, Pingsheng Chen, presentation, reference, screen, table, talk, trends
October 19th, 2010 Brian Herzog
As part of NELA2010, I'm doing a poster session on Quick and Easy Website Mashups - very simple ways to add more information and utility to library websites.
The image at right is an example of the Resources page on the ChelmsfordHistory.org website (a town-wide history project my library participates in). Embedded in the page are four different mashups, which makes it both more useful to researchers, and easier to maintain. Win-win.
If you're interested in seeing easy examples of adding more content to your website, check it out.
Tags: libraries, Library, mashup, mashups, nela, nela10, nela2010, new england library association, web2.0, website, Websites
October 18th, 2010 Brian Herzog
I'm at the NELA 2010 annual conference Monday and Tuesday this week, albeit without wifi or open power outlets in the rooms. As a result, my postings will be few and far between, but this session was a good one:
Trends, Trends, Trends: Innovations in Technical Services, Collections and More
What is going on that is leading us to change the way we work “behind the scenes” in our libraries? The Academic Librarians Section (ALS) and the Association of College and Research Libraries/New England chapter (ACRL/NEC) sponsor Consultants Margaret Lourie and Stephen Spohn to examine issues and trends in technical services, cataloging, and the acquisition and maintenance of physical and virtual collections, e-resources and e-books. Explore the larger issues at work that bring new opportunities to provide more resources to users, make it easier for them to find information they need and do all this more effectively and efficiently.
The Past Environment
- Libraries are warehouses of information (books/serials)
- Monopoly on search - they have to come to us and do it our way
- Information in discrete packaging - silos do not overlap
- Low user expectation - they get what they needed, maybe, and go away
- Big building, print collection owned, repository of physical artifacts, you have to come to us
- Catalog is inventory of what you own (later also what we have access to, or lease)
- All cataloging and reference work done in-house (sense that it was our duty to catalog the internet)
- Plenty of staff to do the work
- Sense of "we know what the patrons need" - relates to what was selected, how it was cataloged, where it was shelved
Work flow was like assembly line
- must follow the rules in all aspects (TS, reference, circ, etc)
- patron needs take backseat to process (fear of "doing it wrong" prevents "just doing it right" [according to patron's point of view])
We don't need to throw everything out, but we do need to question the rules to see what is holding us back.
- Information and tools are created on the fly by millions of people and is available instantly (gone is the idea of librarians cataloging the internet)
- Mix of owned and leased, digital and physical, common and unique, print-on-demand (feeds into instant-info idea - don't need things on the shelf, just print when people want it), ebooks - libraries are going to own less and less of their materials (this is being driven by vendors and shifting business models) - focus must shift to community space
- Others do search better than us, our job is to help filter, not find (search results are not good enough) - we try to compete, but we're losing
- High user expectation - patrons want simple, complex choices24x7, personalized, all electronic, and easy
- Disaggregation of discrete information packages - full-text articles available, aggregated databases and journal sources becoming less important (can buy individual articles, not just entire journal or entire database)
- Buying books is easier for patrons, because they don't need to keep track of due dates and have library staff make them feel like bad people over $0.25 late fees (use Netflix model - patrons pay a few dollars a month and can keep things as long as they want)
- Catalog should be directory of what you have access to (not inventory of owned materials)
- People are mobile and want to be social
- Different devices have different capabilities and requirements
- New role for libraries: foster learning and knowledge, collaboration with community and community service
- We must constantly respond to changes and trends in technology
- Bad economy means
- we need to justify all spending (inherent value is no longer a given - we always try to shield patrons from budget cuts, so how do they know we're in trouble if they never see the blood?)
- less money for resources
- we have fewer staff with more work, so we need to maximize staff resources
- we need to be more efficient
- eliminate unnecessary tasks (ask yourself, "do anyone care about what I'm doing" for ever task you do)
- accept "good enough" cataloging (only what patrons need to find information, not exhaustively complete records (for example, patrons/parents want books in a series, and MARC does not do series well - then we should bend the rules so we can provide this service)
- move work out of the library
- automate (self-check)
- accept that we may have to DO LESS
How does all this affect TS
- Avalanche of new content to deal with - not just owned print anymore, streaming, unique
- Focus needs to be on user needs
- multiple metadata schemes
- Collaborating and contribution
What to call patrons?
- users, patrons, clients, customers, members?
- ask them, see what they say - it's all about the relationship
How would we organize libraries from scratch starting today?
- we collect things - collection development, preservation, resource sharing
- allow patrons to discover them - metadata (it's not just about us anymore) and discovery, reference and advisory, patron experience, borrowing
- publish things - user-contributed content, local publications, digital repositories
- transform - instruct patrons on how to move forward, recombining information
Look at what "summon" search can do (from Serial Solutions)- MARVEL does it. Its "preharvested" search results from designated sources - catalog, databases - better than federated search because it's fast and single search box ("Unified" search).
Tags: annual, conference, nela, nela10, nela2010, nelib, new england library association, tech services, technical services, techserv, trends