Recent Events

Author Archive | Don Hawkins

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

CIL 2014 closed today.  The dates for CIL 2015 are March 23-25.  Mark your calendars now!

If you missed a presentation (and there were lots to choose from!), you can click here to see the speakers’ slides on the conference web site.


Students and E-books

Students and E-books panel: (L-R) Edward Walton, Erica Swenson Danowitz, Michael LaMagna, Sarah Hartman-Caverly

Students and E-books panel: (L-R) Edward Walton, Erica Swenson Danowitz, Michael LaMagna, Sarah Hartman-Caverly

E-book usage by students continues to be of interest. This session featured two presentations reporting the results of surveys of students to determine their usage and whether e-books would supplant printed books. The first was by Edward Walton, and was based on the Diffusion of Innovations Theory which states that to be adopted an innovation must possess a compelling advantage over the technology it succeeds or there must be sufficient external motivation to compel its adoption. Applied to books, this means that to overcome printed books, e-books must overcome the beloved and romanticized technology of printed books.

The purpose of Walton’s study was to investigate whether 8 factors related to e-book adoption by undergraduate students would cause them to replace printed books. Walton did a 4-question survey of 263 students. Here are some general results:

  • Compelling use. The survey revealed a correlation between leisure reading and students’ choice to use e-books. Students are using e-books for reading for leisure and conducting reserach, but there is little use of e-textbooks, which was surprising.
  • Compelling advantage. A relationship exists between formats available and students’ choice. When both printed and electronic books are available, students overwhelmingly choose print.
  • Forced adoption: There is a relationship between forced adoption and students’ use of e-books. When the e-book is the only format available, students will use them.
  • Convenience: A relationship does exist; when convenient, students will use the e-book.

A significant conclusion to be drawn from the survey results is that libraries should buy books in either the electronic or printed format but not both.

Walton concluded that forced adoption is a major reason for student use of e-books. When it is convenient to use e-books, they will use them. E-books are both loved and hated, sometimes by the same person.

Walton was followed by a joint presentation by Erica Swenson Danowitz, Michael LaMagna, Sarah Hartman-Caverly from Delaware County Community College (DCCC) in the suburban Philadelphia area. DCCC has both rural and urban locations, 13,000 students, 4,000 of who are at branches where there is no library, and 5,000 distance learning students without any access to printed books.

Because of space considerations, a weeding program was undertaken in some of the libraries, which then began to order e-books. To ascertain students’ attitudes towards e-books, a 10 question survey, in both print and online format, was done over a 3 week period in learning commons on main and branch campuses. 138 responses were received.
Here are some results from the questionnaires:

  • Over 90% of the students frequently or constantly access the internet on a mobile device.
  • 71% of them prefer print books if given a choice.
  • Only 15% of students do all or most of their reading from e-books. 55% do some reading from them, and 30% do not use them at all.
  • 40% of the students used e-books for academic reading.
  • About half of them use e-books for leisure reading.
  • 62% said that downloading was an important e-book feature, and 53% said that printing was important.
  • 42% prefer to have a choice between print and electronic formats for the same title.

A free text question provided some interesting responses: e-books could help save a tree, the idea of offering e-readers loaded with e-books was liked, students were willing to use e-book texts for some subjects but not others (math, physics), they wanted a free class explaining e-readers to people new to the format. Techology issues mentioned were: the reader froze too many times and wasted too much time, some students must have printed materials. The survey did not mention the most important factor: cost, cost, cost.

Students cannot resell books when they are done with them like they can with printed books. They have the perception that cost of e-book production is much less than printed books. The ability to navigate text in electronic format lends itself to leisure reading because it is very linear.

Collection development considerations include: there is a divergence in student interest and preparedness to use e-books. Reference works are used more in e-format.


Library Services and Google Glass

Jen Waller Wearing Her Google Glass

Jen Waller Wearing Her Google Glass

Jen Waller, Interdisciplinary and Instructional Services Librarian, Miami University, Oxford, OH (it was a university before FL became a state!) ,was chosen as one of 7,000 testers of Google Glass, a wearable computer. Testers were selected by tweeting or uploading a video with the tag #ifIhadGlass saying what they would do with Glass. Waller believes that Google should be working with librarians on Glass because it is an information delivery tool. She has been a long-time Google user and is not afraid to give them feedback. To become a tester, she paid $1,500 (which was covered by a library innovation fund), and she had to travel to New York to pick it up. There, testers spent 45 minutes to 2 hours with a “Glass Guide” (a customer service person from Google) who demonstrated how it worked, and fitted and adjusted the Glass. Waller was impressed with Google’s excellent customer service.

The inspiration for Glass came from seeing more and more people with heads down checking their smartphones. Hands free operation will become increasingly important; we hardly realize how many times we fumble with our phone as we’re trying to do something else. Hands free is unbelievably easier! It is important to keep the human aspect in mind when we are evaluating and using new technology.

Waller teaches an Information in the Digital Age course at the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS) at Miami University about how digital technology is transforming areas of inquiry. All aspects of the information cycle–ethics, literacy, etc.–are addressed in the class The instructors are librarians. Waller also works with instructors to schedule sessions about Glass and privacy.

Glass was the hook that got students excited talking about privacy and creative uses for Glass. The main privacy concern is that people can take your photo without your knowledge using Glass, and for this reason, Glass has been banned in many places. But people can already do this with cell phones or telephoto lenses, so Glass is not really the issue. The fear is about:

  • Instantaneous dissemination. We used to have to mail copies of photos to people with film.
  • Persistence of online data. Once a photo is uploaded, it is there to stay on systems like the Wayback Machine, Twitter archive, etc. Students do not understand the complexities and impacts of this.
  • Ease of search. People and things are very findable on the internet.

Other objections to Glass include:

  1. The platform: Glass wants you to use all of Google’s products which Waller thinks is putting too many eggs in one basket. There are privacy implications of relying on Google for many things. Glass requires you to have a Google+ account and automatically uploads your photos to your account; however, you are not required to share them or make them public.
  2. Technical issues: The right side of Glass is a touch pad with directional swiping and tapping to select something. It is too easy to tap and uploads and shares something. One wrong tap and you might be sharing something you don’t want to. Google is developing apps for Glass (“Glassware”).
  3. Connection issues: Glass has difficulty working on closed networks. Google wants you to use an Android phone to connect your Glass to Wi-Fi (MyGlass). You need a laptop for this. A lot of data passing through Glass is not secure.
  4. Glass is hard to use with corrective lenses because it interferes with the field of vision. Waller found that she cannot see things at a distance when she is wearing Glass.

Some hands-free apps are very useful: during exercise, cooking, etc. Some apps ask your permission to access your acount. According to a study that appeared on Inside Mobile Apps, 55% of today’s apps make their privacy policy available before downloading; 31% make it available within the app after downloading; and 28% have no privacy policy at all. We trade privacy for convenience. Students have not thought that when they knowingly sign up for services and provide information, they are not aware how it will be used. Students live online now and have created online personas, but they cannot control the persona of the information that is gathered behind them.

Much of a librarian’s work revolves around sharing, to which Glass does not lend itself well. It is a singular and personal experience (like sharing your mobile phone). Without any outreach, Waller got many requests from students who wanted to borrow her Glass, even a local high school student. There is a lot of negativity surrounding Glass; for example in articles such as Why Glass will never be OK. Glass is creepy, etc.

Glass will change over time, and it will get smaller and be less intrusive. Google has recently introduced titanium frames in several colors. Waller gets a lot of joy sharing Glass. Some academic libraries are having events to use Glass and circulating them (University of North Carolina, Yale, Claremont Colleges). Glass users must submit an application saying what they will be doing with it. Most Glass accounts are tied to a person, and the terms of use prohibit renting, leasing, or giving the device to someone else. Since they are linked to a person, libraries have felt free to loan them. Google has a Glass Development Kit (GDK) to design and develop apps for Glass.

Useful apps for libraries include FieldTrip, which was originally developed for mobile phones (augmented reality) but is now Glassware. It overlays historical information on the world around you. ShelvAR is an augmented reality tool for shelf reading and inventory management in libraries. It is a perfect app for Glass because it would free the user from the necessity of holding the mobile phone up to the books.

Waller doesn’t yet love her Glass, but she feels that it is extremely important to evaluate new technology and find uses for it. Sometimes she goes for a month or so without wearing her Glass, and then has a period where she wears it almost every day.

Waller’s Presentation Drew an Enthusiastic Crowd

Waller’s Presentation Drew an Enthusiastic Crowd


Extreme Makeovers and Mindsets: The Tuesday Evening Session

(L-R) Erik Boeskesteijn, Nate Hill, MJ D'Elia

(L-R) Erik Boeskesteijn, Nate Hill, MJ D’Elia

The always popular Tuesday evening session featured three information industry pioneers describing some of their forward-looking projects: mind shifts and a startup mentality, a library’s transformation to take advantage of a fast Internet network in the city, and trends for libraries leading to the most modern libraries in the world.

MJ D’Elia began by discussing mind shifts. To do mind shifts in our organizations, we must change how we think. We need a way to handle the complexity of our environments and think about the processes that help us, and we need deep dive experiences into our users as well as the people who never use our services. If we want adoption, figure out what it means to be a user, what they need, then anticipate that need. Explore adjacencies–what things need to be beside each other. Provide permission and optimism for new ideas and have some fun. Get to “yes, and” instead of “yes, but”.

Prototype and get comfortable with how we build products. Then we need to pitch them and sell what we are doing. Build the minimum viable product: what works but isn’t fancy, at least to start. Get out of your building and talk to people and find out if your assumptions are right.

The solution to mind shift is how we think + how we do. If we don’t change, we will have bottlenecks, roadblocks, and frustation. You don’t want to have new ideas and energy but continue to use old methods. The process goes from how to what. Startup thinking is creating under conditions of uncertainty. See Think Like a Startup, a white paper by Brian Mathews, published in 2012. Startups don’t have customers; they have ideas; libraries are similar. We have lots to learn from startups.

A “Startup Weekend” in Toronto in November 2012 was powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. See their website for events. It brought together developers, designers, and business developers. If you had an idea worth building, you pitched it for 1 minute. The best ideas are selected, teams are formed, and spent the rest of the weekend coding, designing, and talking to customers. By Sunday evening, the teams were pitching a working system to the judges in an effort to win a prize. This is entirely different from work; it was intense and time-constrained. It was also very different from academic conferences because it was very hands-on. MJ did a startup weekend for library education last weekend with 35 librarians, 25 developers, 10 designers. Attendees came from all types of libraries: government, corporate, and public.

Projects developed by the 4 selected teams were:

  • HUB: library materials + community resources in public library catalog.
  • Spacevalet: a mobile app to help find available study space in the library.
  • Raisin readers: an early literacy app to track books read to kids, set up profiles, get recommendations from the library, and reward reading.
  • Sticky bookmarks: platform to ark erotic book content (this could be used for any type of content).

Nate Hill described the 4th floor and library transformation of the Chattanooga TN Public Library. When a new director arrived recently, the public library was a real mess and one of the worst libraries in the country. Then a former mayor decided to make the library his legacy, which led to many new people coming in to reinvent the library.

Chattanooga has a gigabit network under the whole city–the fastest internet in the country–which has changed the culture of the town. Designers, entrepreneurs, and developers are flocking to the city. The 4th floor of the library, with 14,000 square feet, was changed from a dumping ground and turned into beta space where new services for a new library system could be tested. The public was invited in to participate in the process; the staff was not afraid of the mess.

The library partnered with relevant people around town, such as co.lab, a startup accelerator. They began thinking of the library’s 4th floor as a startup. At one event, 450 people came! Looking at new audiences is much easier than move an old audience. One program was a Maker Day: a 3D printing extravaganza which impresses everybody. 13 people showed off their hobbies, ad 1,000 people came to look.

Then the entire staff was moved to the 4th floor so they could hang out with people who came in. This created the need for new positions, so”smart people” were employed for 20 hours a week to be guides.


  • Teams of people move to the city for a month to use the gB network.
  • Engage 3D–hacking cameras to build a cheap video conferencing system using a public access to the network.
  • DevDev (developing developers): a summer of code–curriculum for kids. Put designers and developers together to run a summer camp. 50 teenagers learned basic HTML, Python, 3D printing, etc.

This summer, DevDev will be back to commercialize their project. A second summer camp, Bright Spark (little sparks, big ideas) will investigate how kids might be able to help solve business problems.

Regular hackathons are held on the 4th floor, such as the National Day of Civic Hacking. 48 Hour Launch is a business startup experience designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level.

Even if these programs are not actually held at the library, it still participates in all these programs.

Further information is available here.

Erik Boeskesteijn, well known to CIL and Internet Librarian attendees from his presentations on his previous work at the Delft Public Library, his Shanachie Tour, and his blog This Week in Libraries (TWIL), described his independent company, DokLab, which was spun out of the Delft Public Library. It hosts makerspaces, startups, and tests products, and aims to create the most modern library in the world.

Here are Erik’s 6 library trends of the future:

Six Library Trends

Six Library Trends

And here are a few of his thoughts on today’s environment:

We are in the age of constant communication and device addiction. Our most important task is to get people together and get them talking with each other. Go out on the streets and talk to the non-users and show them what the library can look like. Sometimes it helps to get help. If you want people to participate, success stands or falls on designing the invitation to participate.


Embracing the Innovative and Non-Traditional

(L-R) Hannah Sommers, Jill Strand (Moderator), Robert Goldstein, Dorotea Szkolar (speaking)

(L-R) Hannah Sommers, Jill Strand (Moderator), Robert Goldstein, Dorotea Szkolar (speaking)

An inspiring session featured three librarians working in non-traditional environments giving their views on their careers, the profession, and its future.  Dorotea Szkolar, DigiTech Manager at GroupM (a global ad media company with 400 offices in 80 countries) launched and manages the internal digital library used by agencies to enhance their campaigns. There has been an exponential growth of information and sharing. The world produced 14.7 exabytes of new information in 2008, nearly triple the volume of 2003. Anyone anywhere can now share information. Google has become a verb! Most businesses know they need to use big data and information, but they are overwhelmed and confused. This is challenging for companies on a global scale.


Frequently, time is of the essence. The answer is librarians! They are of immense value to industry.

Value of Librarians

Digital libraries are very different from databases which store numbers. How do users know what they need and where to search? They need a digital library which has immense value to industry and gives insight, making people more productive.
Librarians bring unique skills set.

Match made in heaven

Many people don’t know what modern librarianship encompasses and what librarians can do for them. There is a great opportunity to hack information overload for modern businesses. The number of terms being used for people means that companies do not know the people they need, but they know the skill sets of librarians. They don’t think the same way our field is organized. There is a persistent notion that librarianship is dying and that the MLIS is a waste of time because what we do is so highly specialized. We have much more value to offer beyond the stereotypes! Many people are excited to learn that librarianship is more than books, Dewey, and hair buns!

We need to create a new tradition of librarianship and stop the traditional/non-traditional labels. Ultimately, it does not matter what we are called as long as what we do and our skills are recognized as really awesome and will be more key in today’s fast paced information world. Think of us as creating the new tradition of modern librarianship.

Hannah Sommers, Library Program Manager, and Robert Goldstein, Product Manager, National Public Radio (NPR) followed and said that our career is full of possibilities and uncertainty. Our careers are ours to manage, which is a responsibility and a privilege. Entire industries and careers are being eliminated by technological innovation. Work will be managed by internal, crowdsourced, and outsourced employees. Where are the jobs going?

Robert built the NPR music library. They realized that the future was not in one-off transactions. He embarked on a second career when his band disbanded and he became a product manager at NPR. His skill set and his band had an impact on his work as a product manager. He had no plan to be at NPR; it was the serendipity of his past experience. It is important to have a development map but it does not represent the reality of the world you are traveling through. You need to have sets of experiences to see yourself through different circumstances.

Robert’s first transition was arriving at NPR to do a real job. He had to learn the culture, adapt, and realize the music librarian was a full time job. Then he realized that what he was doing did not meet NPR’s vision of what services should be provided to customers. So they tried an experiment to automate the music cataloging process and make CDs available to users. What followed was a lot of spontaneous exploration of dealing with thousands of CDs and catalog them to support NPR’s employees. It was a transition for the employees but for him as a product owner and a fear that the system would not work and also a fear of how the younger people would relate to a non-technical person. But he was successful and it changed everything he does in becoming a product owner who supports NPR’s content division. He took the risk of creating his own demise and reinvented himself to do something he never imagined he would do. We all must figure out if we have a compass and where it’s pointing. Do we want to follow that direction or fight it?


Usability Tips and Learnings

Usability panel: (L-R)   Stanislav Bogdanov ,  ELizabeth Fox, Ginny Boyer, Alexandra Zealand (moderator, standing), Virginia Bacon

Usability panel: (L-R) Stanislav Bogdanov , ELizabeth Fox, Ginny Boyer, Alexandra Zealand (moderator, standing), Virginia Bacon

Speakers on this panel described how they created user-centered experiences for their users. Stanislav Bogdanov began with lessons he learned at Adelphi University, where they did 2 website redesigns in last 2 years. Four common problems were encountered:

  • Lack of student participation. Participation was obtained by raffling off a hot new gadget which resulted in an increased response rate by a factor of 10. Even when cash was offered, students almost always preferred to get the gadget rather than cash. And the Gadget should be a hot new one; last year’s models were not nearly as attractive.
  • It was impossible to cover everything, especiallly using written or digital forms. The design research method allowed students to share their opinions instead of prompting them with a form and was much more successful. Always use output from the first group of students as input for next group.
  • Committee bottlenecks resulted in hours being spent in multiple meetings talking about small details. So a small task force was formed within the committee, which was composed of people with a design eye. They were tasked with making the decisions. This is an example of the “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach, and it presented finished products to the entire committee for approval votes.
  • Lack of funding for usability studies. The benefits are priceless but it is hard to convince funders to give money for prizes, and it is hard to fix all the issues once the design is done.

Bogdanov recommends the simple approach of using a pencil and paper to sketch out design because it is cheap and quick. Get the template, see how content is laid out, and then find an online editing program to copy/paste elements to see how it fits. Show this to students to get their opinions, then print out the screens and give the printouts to people and ask the questions.

Elizabeth Fox said that at South Dakota State University, they are continually improving their site and are always trying to make it better, not doing a redesign. They did a survey, which is a good way to find the most vocal users.

Design considerations:

  • What do you want to know?
  • What do you want to know about?
  • What demographic info will help answer your questions?

Major key in design: focus survey on what you want to know and know what you want to know.

You can find questions in the literature to ask users that have already been tested. Look at several questions and ask the ones that will give you the answers. Their survey was sent to faculty/staff email list, but they did not realize it also included students working at the university, so they got results from a significant number of students. Delivery to students was done by setting up computers in the student union and recruiting students to take survey. This was not successful; so few surveys were taken that it ws not possible to analyze the data. Recognize that most people have survey fatigue before you start.
They offered candy as an incentive, but there are better incentives for students. $5 gift certificates to bookstore worked well.

Analytics can be useful in analyzing the results if you plan for them before the survey. Statistics programs cn be used to analyze quantitative data. SAS and SPSS are very expensive; R and PSPP are open source versions. For qualitative data, Nvivo is expensive, Atlas is less expensive, and MaxQDA is equivalent to Atlas.

Ginny Boyer and Virginia Bacon spoke about crafting a user-centered experience at East Carolina University (ECU) Libraries. There were formerly 2 libraries, which were merged. Users needed to know difference between 2 libraries to use the website which was awkward.

In the first stage of the merger, they started sharing new tools, combined into one under the ECU brand. Both sites were brought together with the same interface. Best practices were followed and user feedback was obtained. Let best practice be your guide! Don’t skip a needs assessment and avoid the idea that historical functionality needs to be replicated on the new site. Knowledge based on anectodal experience may not tell you what your users really want. Prioritizing librarians’ needs over those of the users can be a problem; keep the focus off ourselves. Good communication is necessary in the development process.

In the second stage there was no staff to define usability so a task force was needed. Determine the outcome and use campus resources. They reached out to faculty in the department of communications to teach them how to measure usability. Gather stakeholders, document the process and engage the administration. Define responsibility for the long haul. Be prepared for the time commitment to get the work done.