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Eagle Picks up Baby in Montreal: How it was faked by Stephen

As my RSS feeds and social media feeds fill up with this video this morning, I thought it was a good example to use for media literacy training in schools and libraries. Here’s how it was faked: All The Reasons That Baby-Snatching Eagle Video Is Fake  Golden Eagle Snatches Kid As my son [...]

Read more at: Eagle Picks up Baby in Montreal: How it was faked
Posted: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 14:36:22 +0000

I created something delicious last weekend by Anna

chocolate salted caramel peanut butter cookies

Some friends host a cookie exchange party every year, and they have a panel of judges determine which ones are the best. I decided to do something a little different this year, rather than following a basic recipe for the same old, same old. I started thinking about [...]

Read more at: I created something delicious last weekend
Posted: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 22:15:43 +0000

Face2Face Book News by David Lee King

Just some recent Face2Face-related book news! For those not up-to-speed, my newest book, Face2Face: Using Facebook, twitter, and other Social Media Tools to Make Great Customer Connections, was published in September. Book News, Inc recently published a short review of my book. Here’s the review: King (digital services director, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) [...]

Read more at: Face2Face Book News
Posted: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:00:21 +0000

Year in Review by Sarah

It’s the year in review! Below are my favorites from 2012, just because.  I did this last year too (2011′s version): Book – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Movie – Iron Sky Band – The Album Leaf Song – “This is How It Ends” by Devotchka Serious Technology – Nexus 7 tablet Less Serious [...]

Read more at: Year in Review
Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 15:01:49 +0000

Pigs for the holiday feast (1) [Flickr] by Travelin' Librarian

Travelin' Librarian posted a photo:

Pigs for the holiday feast (1)

Read more at: Pigs for the holiday feast (1) [Flickr]
Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 04:54:06 PST

Newberry College Offers Social Media Major by j

Via a Washington Monthly blog post, RKO told me a college close to my heart, Newberry College, now offers a social media major. According to the press release: “Offered through the Department of Arts and Communications, the Social Media major will be an original interdisciplinary program that would capitalize on the strengths of existing courses [...]

Read more at: Newberry College Offers Social Media Major
Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 01:46:59 +0000

Back to the World of E-Books and E-Readers by kathyp

This past year has been a frustrating one for me as an e-book selector and an e-reader trainer.  I found that I had to take some time to step back and just calm down.  Ranting about the various publishers and their practices did nothing to remedy the situation.  This is still true, even as we face [...]

Read more at: Back to the World of E-Books and E-Readers
Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 20:21:14 +0000

Video Interview: The Importance of Choice for Igniting Student Passion and Learning Through Research Projects by The Unquiet Librarian

Earlier this week, I ran a short feature on our art gallery inspired by student research.  In the video below, Teagan takes a few minutes to discuss her work and the importance of choice in igniting student passion in research/inquiry projects. Filed under: Media 21, Participatory Librarianship and Learning Tagged: choice, inquiry, multigenre, passion, research, …

Read more at: Video Interview: The Importance of Choice for Igniting Student Passion and Learning Through Research Projects
Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 19:00:46 +0000

Pinterest Contest Idea from Peachpit by pollyalida

Peachpit Press, the folks that publish the great Visual Quickstart series (and more!), are running a nifty Pinterest board competition. Basically you create a board with the name they provided, repin their pin with the rules and then pin 5 or more of their products. If you win, you get some free books. What a [...]

The post Pinterest Contest Idea from Peachpit appeared first on

Read more at: Pinterest Contest Idea from Peachpit
Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 03:10:11 +0000

We Want Ebooks for Libraries by Michael

Read more at: We Want Ebooks for Libraries
Posted: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 14:33:14 +0000

Face2Face: Interview with David Lee King for the Education Institute by Rebecca Jones

David Lee King is a Librarian and Author.  He is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, where he plans, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends.  He speaks on emerging trends, website management, digital experience, and social media.  His second book, Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections, has just been published by Information Today.  Juanita interviewed David today for the Ontario Library Association’s Education Institute.

Q:  Libraries have always been face to face organizations.  What tips do you have for Libraries to transform into F2F organizations on the web?

Just do what you always have done.  Libraries are really good at F2F – just get up from the info desk more often – but we are built to interact with our public.  Do the same thing online!  We’ve done a little bit with virtual ref – other “traditional” virtual services like that have been around for 10 – 15 years.  We can do the same thing online – with social media, you really do need to be proactive – get out with leading questions into your patrons’ space.  Jump start that conversation. 

Q:  How can libraries make more community connections using Twitter?

Twitter is really simple and really difficult at the same time.  What will you say in 140 characters?  Just sign up and start holding conversations!  Within an organization, you might have to come up with a few goals:   who do you want to friend?; who

Continue reading Face2Face: Interview with David Lee King for the Education Institute

Read more at: Face2Face: Interview with David Lee King for the Education Institute
Posted: Tue, 04 Dec 2012 22:28:16 +0000

Help the Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative Identify the Role of Public Libraries in Their Communities. by Bobbi Newman

Please consider taking a few minutes to answer this survey. This short survey is being conducted on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries (GL) Initiative. The purpose of the survey is to help the Global Libraries Initiative identify opportunities to focus their current support of public libraries in ways that foster innovation and dramatically accelerate positive and lasting change in libraries throughout the U.S. and around the world. The vision of Global Library Initiative is one where libraries, world wide, provide public access to information for people who would not otherwise have access, and that this information is relevant to them and used in ways that improve their lives. The GL Initiative has been supporting public libraries for over 15 years because they passionately believe libraries are vital to healthy vibrant communities. Libraries offer access to information and knowledge to all community members and in doing so they bring opportunity to all. Leadership and staff of the GL Initiative believe that public libraries are grappling with how they can best meet the needs of their communities in a time of extraordinary and rapid change. With this change, comes both challenges and opportunities. The GL Initiative wants [...]

Read more at: Help the Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative Identify the Role of Public Libraries in Their Communities.
Posted: Sun, 02 Dec 2012 19:03:56 +0000

Ignite Sessions at #ALAMW13 by pcsweeney

This year at Midwinter, the ALA Think Tank is excited to announce the first ever Ignite ALA! If you’re not familiar with Ignite, Ignite is a geek event that is being held in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events … Continue reading

Read more at: Ignite Sessions at #ALAMW13
Posted: Sat, 01 Dec 2012 18:50:25 +0000

Publication! by Jim DelRosso

If you’re expecting another job listing, you are gonna be disappointed and possibly confused. We’re actually done with those for a bit (though you have a couple hours left to put in your name on the most recent one). I spent the first part of this week home sick, the better part of the month scrambling among [...]

Read more at: Publication!
Posted: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:39:40 +0000

Some ideas and fun for Friday as I’m off to Portland for WACES! by dwakimoto

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you have a relaxing weekend before you. It is hard to believe we are halfway through November already. The time does seem to start going more quickly at this time of year. I'm off this weekend to speak with one of my colleagues at WACES (Western Association for Counselor Education & Supervision) this weekend. I'm really excited to be speaking at a conference that isn't in my field and can't wait to see how we are received. I'll hopefully post some thoughts and photos next week. But first let's get to the ideas and fun for the weekend. ...

Read more at: Some ideas and fun for Friday as I’m off to Portland for WACES!
Posted: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 17:33:26 +0000

Evidence for Advancing Library Agendas by Jane Dysart

I’m looking forward to chatting about how to get evidence for advancing library agendas with Frank Cervone, Vice Chancellor for Information Services & CIO, Purdue University- Calumet.  On Nov 27, I will be chatting in one of the Education Institute’s Conversations with Leaders series on  Using Evidence to Advance Library Agendas with Frank .  Frank recently wrote a piece on this topic  for Marketing Library Services & here’s an excerpt:

Most libraries are within larger organizations that have resource constraints, so the primary goal of any library advocacy effort is to convince decision makers that it is more important to fund the programs and services of a library opposed to something else. Regardless of who they are, the concerns of the people we direct our advocacy efforts towards are the same. Ultimately they want to know what the compelling reasons are for funding the library. It is vitally important that the advocacy efforts of the library speak to the needs and concerns of funders.

This is a problem in many cases because librarians use approaches that do not address the concerns of the funder. Too often, library advocacy is based on sloganeering, such as the “Libraries Matter” campaign. The problem is that these slogans are too vague and generally do not speak to the population at large. We need to change our approach so that it is focused on the things that matter to our funders.

Hope you’ll join us for the conversation and make sure you bring your questions and comments too!

Continue reading Evidence for Advancing Library Agendas

Read more at: Evidence for Advancing Library Agendas
Posted: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 13:11:29 +0000

Pioneer’s Progress - MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference by

Friday, October 19, 2012
Pat Leach, Director, Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln, NE

A few years ago conversation began in Nebraska about using open source ILS for whole state. A lot of libraries could join, take advantage of software, save on cost of ownership, work together.

Began to migrate to Koha. Lincoln – May 2011. Libraries as small as towns of 100, Lincoln is 270,000.

Share software. Contract with PTFS LibLime – they do training, developing. Preparing for extraction/migration into the system.

Consortium great opportunity to work together, problem solve together, make product the best it can be working together.

Tami Teasley, Lincoln City Libraries – demo

Each library page, totally customized for them, users don’t even know you're in a consortium.

Default search is Keyword. Think Google. Can switch to others, if you as a librarian, are more comfortable with author, title, etc.

Book cover images come from Amazon, free service.

Patrons can make purchase suggestions thru their accounts – library will reply – yes, we’ll buy it. No we won’t, please try ILL. Suggestions come into acquisitions for libraries to accept/reject.

Patrons can create lists.

Staff side of Koha:

Can see all consortium info/holdings.

Advanced search – limit to branch/library.

Steve Fosselman, Grand Island Public Library
Membership chair of consortium

To join:

Contact Steve – send letter of interest. Public library – accredited, other libraries also accepted (WNCC first non-public!), have a web based catalog, able to accept MARC and willing to have web based catalog.

Complete application.

Pay $400 membership fee.

Clean up your library's holdings, patron data, weed collection as needed.

Quote for migration will be sent by Koha/PTFS.

Then you work with technical committee and PTFS to migrate.

Membership costs:
Initial fee $400
Setup fee from PTFS – depends on size of your database, max is $1500
15 cents per bib record
$200 assessment fee for first year maintenance. Then maintenance fee based on your legal service area, operating revenues, collection size, and circulation. Minimum $400.

Charges are determined by the consortium members, not vendor.

Richard Miller, Nebraska Library Commission:

Library improvement grants – federal money. LSTA from IMLS. We don’t know yet what our federal allocation of LSTA funds are – after election and federal budget is known.

NLC is very supportive of this effort, it’s important for the state. Vendors are also realizing that open source is the way to go.

Some technical issues at beginning for some libraries. Consortium now has a dedicated tech person (Andrew "Sherm" Sherman) who will go to any library and work with them on any problems.

Laureen Riedesel, Beatrice Public Library:

Recognition/celebration of progress made so far. Balloons, certificates, ribbons!

Read more at: Pioneer’s Progress - MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference
Posted: 2012-10-25T14:16:00.000-05:00

17 Things to Soak Up - MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference by

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Carrie Turner – Westside High School, Omaha, NE

Went to AASL Conf. – saw presentation by Alicia Duell, Riverside Brookfield High School – they branded their program - t-shirts and mugs made for it.

Brought 23 Things down to 17 so teachers not so overwhelmed.

“Thanks Web 2.0 Fairy!” video – YouTube. To introduce program to principal/tech person.

Why was this appealing?

1-1 high school

Web 2.0, 3.0 and beyond is important to teaching

Who were the players?

Principal and district technology coordinator – approval for idea, time to introduce to staff, $ for prizes, incentive is important.

All HS teachers invited to participate – over 160 teachers.

In spring – round 2 – will open up to aides too. Spring 2012 first time, trying it out with just teachers first.

Wanted to use a web 2.0 tool to introduce program to teachers – used Xtranormal. Showed during staff meeting. Used names of common web 2.0 tools in conversation. Nice :)

Gave them a survey to see how much interest there was. Are they familiar with tool? 80 responses out of 163 teachers. Feedback was positive, had backing of principal and tech person.

Told teachers they would be eligible for lots of prizes. $50 gift card to Nebraska Furniture Mart – biggest prize.

Typical 23 things format. 1 thing each week, called them ’missions’, wrote on a blog they created. Give links to other places to learn more, or other tools/resources so they knew there are other things out there, not just the one tool in the program.

Locked down, not public. On a school server.

Week 1 - Create their blog.
Week 2 - Photos & images – places to post, mashups
Week 3 - YouTube, TeacherTube, screen recording – teachers have access to YouTube, students don’t. so, for teachers personal learning, not anything they can use in the classroom.
Week 4 - RSS & newsreaders
Week 5 - Play week
Week 6 - Tagging, Social bookmarking & Technorati – students get tagging, many teachers don’t know what they are.
Week 7 - Wikis
Week 8 - Summarize thoughts on the program. Would they do it again?

Questions -

Any in person meetings? No, all independent, so they could do it whenever they had time. At home, during class when students are working.

8 weeks good amount of time? Would have made it shorter. Never stretch it longer. Almost like pulling teeth each week to get them to do that week’s thing.

23 things – NLC? Yes, she borrowed from that. :) Other suggestions – missions about databases.

Prizes – cheap, fun things off of Amazon and Etsy.

Read more at: 17 Things to Soak Up - MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference
Posted: 2012-10-25T13:55:00.000-05:00

I Was Wrong! by Brian Hulsey

I’ve gone over and over in my head how to start this post after a very long hiatus from writing for the blog. A dear friend of my in libraries used to describe blogs to me as the carcasses of dead kittens strewn about the Internet, and I must admit that the analogy is apropos. [...]

Read more at: I Was Wrong!
Posted: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 11:34:47 +0000

Transitions by bibliosk8

Well, I have made this blog active again. For a couple of years I was running bibliosk8 on a self-hosted installation of WordPress. It worked great, until the shared server I was renting space on got hacked by a PHP … Continue reading

Read more at: Transitions
Posted: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:42:33 +0000

Why I've Had To Neglect This Blog by

Hello Everyone!

I know it's been quite a while since I last wrote, but there's a very good reason -- I'm too busy! Seriously, several things have come my way that demand nearly every waking second of my time.

First and foremost, of course, is my job here at the library. It seems the new acquisitions started rolling in hard & heavy in July right after the new Fiscal Year started. Add to that the plethora of donations from the public, more than I've seen in the 4 1/2 years I've been here! Not only have we added many, many books, movies, audio books and other media to the collection, but we have also greatly expanded our eBook offerings in response to the big upswing in eReader usage in our area. From Christmas until now, we have fielded the most questions about using eReaders of various manufacture since the devices were first introduced!

Secondly, I have been asked to write a monthly column, called The Geek's Garage, for the Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives' monthly newsletter. In my monthly missives I talk about all aspects of technology, especially as it pertains to library use. But I don't limit it to that; I ask the readers to please send me ideas on which to write, because they are the reason the column even exists.

Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen to me occurred in October, when I was approached by a friend with a business proposition. I was asked to help get a new web startup off the ground. At the time it didn't have a name, but has a very unique application that will be VERY big. I accepted, and I am now the Director of Technical Operations for! As of right now, Peerascope is still in testing/beta status, but I encourage you to go check it out. Basically, it simplifies getting on the Internet for new users, older folks and everyone else by putting all your favorite web sites on one page. It looks similar to a smart phone's applications drawer, and you can drag and drop your favorites easily. The best part is that even if you switch devices, you'll still have the exact same look scaled to fit the device you are using at that time! In other words, it will look the same whether you are on your desktop, smartphone, tablet, eReader, or whatever else you have that is web-enabled! All you have to do is sign up!

That being said, I am still working at the library full-time. I work part-time at Peerascope after I get off work at the library, which is only possible because that office is within 10 minutes' drive of the library.

The other big thing is of course Summer Reading at the library. We have so many events, and our staff is so small, that I am covering the front desk a lot. When I'm not doing that, I am cataloging new acquisitions. If I'm REALLY lucky, I get to do some minor IT work that needs to be done.

At home, it's yardwork season, and I'm also raising a vegetable garden that requires my attention. So that takes up most of my weekend time. All else is spent with the family or sleeping!

Anyway, I'll write more as time allows. So...

'Til next time....

Read more at: Why I've Had To Neglect This Blog
Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2012 22:26:40 GMT


Please note that this blog has been officially retired. Please follow along with my writing at, and on Twitter at @jenniferkoerber. Thanks much, and see you in the ether!

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Posted: 2012-04-27T09:08:00.001-05:00

CiL 2012 - Steal These Ideas: 11 Free Marketing Strategies to Try Today by

Friday March 23, 2012

Lindsay Sarin, Andrea Snyder & Julie Strange

Presentation Slides and Resources at

Marketing isn’t scary.


Marketing is like building a house – build it from the ground up. Good foundation, renovate when needed.

Good Foundation

Step 1 - Assessment – start with your staff – must be willing to have an honest conversation though, and be willing to listen; look at your numbers – who’s coming, what’s being asked, what resources are they looking for that you don’t have; ask the user! Gather feedback – doesn’t have to be formal, just ask them.

Sometimes the truth will hurt – must be willing to be honest and actually look at what the problems are.

Figure out what you need to assess.

Step 2 – Create a Blueprint - clear goals – visualize where you want to end up.

Step 3 – Clear the Decks – choose what is essential and eliminate everything else. It will be hard, but needs to be done. Examine things you like from others and replicate it.

Step 4 - Create Your Message – what do you want to convey? Keep the message simple. Think about where it will be – can you read it on your website? Colors are important. Collect ideas – from outside the library world, too. Cut 60% of the words from what you start with.

Step 5 - Reduce Pain – keep current customers happy while you’re making changes. Ask them what’s bothering them. Use your library like a customer – look for the little things you can change that will make a big change in someone’s day.


Step 6 - Be Brave –new programs to reach new audiences and promote the library. Stuffed animal sleep over. Order groceries at your library. Look for a need in your community and address it. Go to where your users are – leave the library!

Step 7 - Give people something to do – tell them why what you offer is applicable to them. Get their input as you’re building new programs/services. Active message.

Step 8 - Steal Ideas – steal ideas from other libraries and outside libraries. DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL! (Personal note: one of my fave mottos!) Immerse yourself in outside events, how can you bring that into your library?

Step 9 - Get into the Community – go to local events. Represent the library. Constantly suggest the library to help people. Elevator speeches– you will need different speeches for different programs and audiences. Keep your librarian brain on at all times.

BONUS TIP: if this then that -


Step 10 - Asses the Results – will depend on what you were trying to accomplish. Debrief after everything. Talk to your patrons and staff. What went well? what didn’t? what should we never do again? Learn from it.

Step 11 - Build a Toolkit. Capture all ideas. Successes and failures. Templates.

Share your ideas at:

Read more at: CiL 2012 - Steal These Ideas: 11 Free Marketing Strategies to Try Today
Posted: 2012-04-15T21:55:00.000-05:00

CiL 2012 - Target Marketing Using GIS: Using Market Segmentation to Know What Your Customers Really Want by

Friday March 23, 2012

DianaFriend, Director, Communications & Marketing, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
They hired CIVICTechnologies to create Community Connect – Mark Futterman.
Cross GIS information with patron information.
Find out what your market segments are to focus services.
GIS=Graphical Information Systems Data
Perception vs. Reality – get the data, don’t just assume you know what your community situation is. TSCPL learned they were very wrong about many of their perceptions of their patrons and community.
Used market segmentation to create topic neighborhoods – group books by what users really want – example: phrase books in the travel neighborhood (section).
(Personal Note: For TSCPL librarians who couldn’t attend CiL, they did a video of their part of the presentation. Nice touch! Would Skype also work?)
Community Connect identified the services, collections and programs that match the different geographic areas’ interests, using the Market Segmentation data.

Read more at: CiL 2012 - Target Marketing Using GIS: Using Market Segmentation to Know What Your Customers Really Want
Posted: 2012-04-15T21:43:00.005-05:00

My CiL 2012 Presentation: Innovation on a Shoestring: Free & Cheap Tools by

It's that time again! Time to actually use this blog for something - sharing my conference notes! It seems like the only time I post anything here is after I've attended some conference sessions, or presented at a conference, and get the urge to share what I've learned. And, I'm OK with that.

Oh, sometimes I'll throw something else in for fun, like a Nebraska Learns 2.0 lesson. But not as often as I'd like to.

But, I still do love my blog site for it's perfect ability to gather into one place all of the other places I wander online. They're over there to the right -->

So first off, here is the presentation I did last month at Computers in Libraries 2012 with Louise Alcorn from the West Des Moines (IA) Public Library. We were very pleased to have a good crowd who stayed to the very end of our session, even though the exhibitor's reception (with free food and booze!) was coming up right after us.

Related links are on my Delicious. Louise and I plan on adding more links as we find relevant articles, blog posts, etc.

Read more at: My CiL 2012 Presentation: Innovation on a Shoestring: Free & Cheap Tools
Posted: 2012-04-03T10:19:00.003-05:00

Thoughts on Windows 8 Developers Preview - Lots of Pictures! by

So my Dad calls me up to ask me if I've seen the latest Popular Science article about Windows 8. I don't subscribe to that magazine, even though it's one of my favorites, so I told him that I hadn't. He explained to me that there is a download link for a Developer's Preview edition of Win8. I hemmed & hawed a little, because I don't use Microsoft's software any more than I have to. But being THE geek at the library, I figured I'd better take a look at it because Microsoft will be forcing this "upgrade" on everyone in the next couple of years, and I'm sure it will be as much fun to administer as the last versions have been. You know, fun like a root canal!
The hardware requirements are being billed as a feature -- you can run it on the same equipment as any current machine that runs Windows XP. The following was taken from an article:
Windows 8 Developer Preview System Requirements

You will be happy to know that Windows Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7, which means that the final release will most likely work well on computers purchased three to four years ago.

1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
In order to take advantage of touch input in the new operating system, you will need a screen that supports multi-touch. This is only a requirement if you intent to use touch.
In order to run Microsoft's new Metro style Apps, your screen will need a resolution greater than 1024 X 768.
I was pleased to see that should I have a moment of weakness & install this operating system, I could do it on the machine I currently use at home. Additionally, any other machines in house that are capable of running Windows XP can run Windows 8 as well. So, I attempted to install this on an extra laptop that already had a Linux distribution on it. My mistake, it wouldn't install.

You see, to install the Windows 8 Developers Preview, it has to go on a machine that is already running Windows XP or Windows 7. That means that you will have to either sacrifice everything on your hard drive for the sake of testing, or you will have to use a partitioning tool to make space for the install. According to the hardware specs, you must have a partition with a minimum of 20 GB available. The one I used on this machine is 25.1, as that's all I could spare on it as it is a tertiary production machine. 

Another caveat of installing this preview -- it's just like any other proprietary operating system and wants to take over your computer. In other words, unlike Linux, it's install or nothing. Most Linux distributions will let you run off a live CD that doesn't install anything on your computer; it all runs from your computer's memory. You click reboot, Linux shuts down, spits out the Live CD, and the computer reboots into your installed operating system!

This version of Windows installs light years faster than any previous version, but that doesn't mean ANYTHING, because this is very much a feature-incomplete demo. For instance, none of the included "apps" work (just eye candy to show you what it could look like). Out of the 35 "apps" pictured on the Metro screen, only the Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer!), the Control Panel, and the Desktop "apps" do what they are supposed to do. The rest are just placeholders.

It is a developer's preview, so there really isn't anything there of general interest. In fact, the "//build/" app for developers doesn't even work. Go figure.

As you can see, this interface is very much geared towards tablets, smart phones & other devices with touch screen capability. There is no Start button - the word Start at the top left is just text - and clicking on any of the tiles or my user name causes things to happen. As a developer, I would have to think that unless I had a huge (touchscreen) monitor (24+") where I could lay out what I'm working on in a logical fashion, this particular interface would be quite annoying. I'm thinking Microsoft may be trying to drive the touchscreen market here, but at least you aren't stuck with a touch screen interface right now. Microsoft may decide that Metro is for everyone, but I doubt even they would shoot themselves in the foot so foolishly. Wait. They did produce Windows ME and Vista. Never mind.

And so, here is the desktop that you get when you click/touch the Desktop tile at the bottom left of the group of tiles. Also notice the icons for Internet Explorer 10 and Windows Explorer, both of which work perfectly.

The Windows lock screen looks more like something you'd see on a smart phone or tablet, with a beautiful landscape picture and a large, easy-to-read clock with the date. And, just like with the iPhone and Android phones, it is designed to use a swipe gesture to unlock the device. In this case it swipes upwards, which you accomplish with a mouse by dragging up from the bottom of the screen,

which gives you the log in screen, or welcome screen as Microsoft call it:

Well, I've probably used enough of your bandwidth with these pictures, so I'll wrap it up for now. I'm a bit anxious to see how this last gasp from Microsoft goes for them. They have so much catching up to do in the smart phone & tablet arenas that it will be difficult for them to make some inroads. What might make it easier for them is the fact that they have such a large market share of  the PC platform (including laptops & netbooks), that enterprise-level business could integrate them fairly easily. The only problem there is the fact that there is momentum now in corporate policies accepting non-standard, personal devices and operating systems. Plus, many software providers no longer produce Windows-only solutions, making Microsoft's day in the sun just a little more shady.

'Til next time...

Read more at: Thoughts on Windows 8 Developers Preview - Lots of Pictures!
Posted: Fri, 03 Feb 2012 21:42:59 GMT

Library Day In The Life, Round 8 by

Hello Again! This post is going to outline a day in my librarian-geek life, because I like the Library Day In The Life project started by Bobbi Newman. It shows that librarians are not necessarily the cardigan-wearing, bun-headed shushers of days gone by. We are a diverse group of individuals that come from all walks of life!

So today I:
6:00 am -- Hit the alarm button on the clock. Clock hits floor. Good.
6:05 am -- Put the skillet on the stove to preheat
6:06 am -- Started the coffeemaker. 
6:08 am -- Put sausage in the skillet.
6:09 am -- Say good morning to my wife!
6:10 am -- Daughters' alarm goes off, scares me awake. It's loud.
6:15 am -- Fix Fruit Loops & Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the girls.
6:17 am -- Finish fixing my breakfast of sausage & eggs from my chickens. I'm also a farmer-geek.
6:18 am -- Sit down to eat in front of my computer to catch up on email & forums.
6:30 am -- Yell at the girls to stop fighting & get ready for school.
6:45 am -- Watch weather.
6:53-ish am -- Take a shower to help the coffee wake me up.
Get ready for work
7:25-ish am -- Leave for schools and work.
8:00 am -- Arrive at work.
Turn on a few lights & all the computers.
Check my work emails & catch up on news.
8:30 am -- Go downstairs to empty the book drop and shelf books.
9:00 am -- Turn on the rest of the lights & open the front doors.
9:15 am -- Go back upstairs to finish news & emails.
9:45 am -- Catalog the latest movies.
12:00 pm -- Take a break from cataloging to go eat lunch with the AARP. I love these days, because it's good, old-fashioned home cooking!
12:30 pm -- Back upstairs to check emails, print a couple of HTML5 & CSS3 papers, and finish cataloging the movies -- only one left! I'm a librarian-geek.
12:40 pm -- Print the labels & take the movies downstairs.
12:45 pm -- Back upstairs. Boot tech services computer with a Linux live CD so I can use gparted to set up the hard drive for Windows 8 Developer's Preview install.
12:50 pm -- Start this blog post -- gparted takes a while on a large hard drive!
1:05 pm -- Restart the computer & load the Win8 DP disc. 
1:15 pm -- Computer restarts, and there is no option to boot into Windows XP. Uh oh.
1:15 pm -- Restart computer again, spamming the F8 key to see if I can get the option to pop up in the advanced startup menu. XP isn't there either. Face goes pale.
1:16 pm -- Turned to my good friend Google on another machine to see what I did wrong, or if there is a way to have XP show up in the Windows 8 bootloader. After some digging I find that there is, thankfully. Breathe a sigh of relief. Color returns to face.
1:30 pm -- Decided to load the 64-bit version of Windows 8 DP. It finishes installing right around...
2.15 pm -- CRAP!! I gotta get the stuff downstairs to set up for Games @ the Goodnight!!
3:00 pm -- Got the tables & chairs set up, the Xbox & Wii set up, and the popcorn machine set up. Gotta go back upstairs & set up an "emergency" station for our technology-averse outreach librarian. Left her a note.
3:15 pm -- The kids are starting to show up. Not too wild today (yet).
4:30 pm -- They've been quiet....too quiet.
4:45 pm -- Cleaning up.
5:00 pm -- Back in the office, checking email & setting the startup parameters to include Windows XP as a startup option. Go to Computer --> Advanced Settings --> Startup --> check the box to include earlier versions of Windows. Restart, and when the computer gets past the BIOS screen, you should have the option to boot into earlier versions of Windows.
5:25 pm -- After confirming things are working right in XP, time to shut down & go home! 

That's what my day was like today. Tomorrow will be little different, although I will probably write another post on my initial impressions of the Windows 8 Developers Preview.

Read more at: Library Day In The Life, Round 8
Posted: Fri, 03 Feb 2012 14:03:39 GMT

SOPA, PIPA, and Libraries by

Boy has it been a while! I've been feeling guilty about neglecting my blog lately, but life @ the library has been quite crazy this last half of 2011. Since my last post in October, I have completed my class, developed a mobile app for the Goodnight Library, built three new machines, and cataloged what seems like a million books & media. Oh yeah, I found time to check out a new CMS as well, but that's another blog post. ;)

So if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've seen me post a few times in the last couple of weeks or so in opposition to the House Bill called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate Bill called Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Both are financed by the movie, music and Big Pharmacy industries, and both threaten to destroy the Internet as we know it. In no uncertain terms, if either of these are signed into law, the Government will have forced the ability to shut down a site & fine its owner(s) for each IP-infringing instance onto Online Service Providers (OSPs), without any form of due process defined.

The bills shift the enforcement of the law to the OSPs, who are not trained in law enforcement. The way everything is worded, all a claimant (IP owner) would have to do is say that a site is infringing on their copyright or patent, and the ISP would be forced to shut that site down without due process for the owner(s) of the site! In other words, no more YouTube, Facebook, or any other sites in which music videos can be shared or embedded by the average person.

Regardless of the fact that the Internet is PUBLIC DOMAIN, and that once something is put into the PUBLIC DOMAIN, it is PUBLIC PROPERTY owned by no one, the MPAA, RIAA and Big Pharma feel the only way to stop piracy is to destroy the Internet. They have failed with lawsuits against individuals, they have failed to produce what people want, and now their sales are suffering from a dying business model. So, they're desperate and will try anything to save their livelihood.

But what does this mean for Libraries? Well, everything! If the Internet is censored and we haven't been in the fight, what does that say about Libraries, champions of free speech? What if it is ruled by some judge or jury somewhere that Libraries can be considered Internet Service Providers? Does that mean we have to start enforcing the law and approve every activity in which our patrons engage?

Well, for starters, how many of you out there in Libraryland provide Internet access to your patrons? How many of you actually filter or monitor what your patrons are doing? If it were determined that your library's IP address was the destination of some illegally-shared files, guess what? You're liable under these Acts for not stopping the downloads. You're aiding in piracy. You could have your Internet service taken away and face MASSIVE fines. The same would apply if it were discovered that either a patron or an employee were uploading illegally, or had set up a file sharing service through your Internet access. It wouldn't even have to be a library computer -- just about any laptop is capable of functioning as a file and web server. And then, the civil suits will follow.

I say, "No thank you!" I have too many other things to do in my job, than to have to sit an monitor a computer screen that tells me no one is doing anything or visiting a site with illegal material on it. As a consumer, I say, "HELL no!" If I can't buy a copy of a song at a reasonable price AND enjoy it the way I want to, then I don't want to do business with you. I want to download a song and be able to burn it to a custom mix on a CD to listen to in my car. Let's face it: you producers can't make a CD with one great song and ten other, crappy songs and continue to stay in business. I want to be able to make a copy of a movie DVD to prepare for the inevitable demise of the purchased copy. I can't afford to buy a new copy of everything I use every time one goes bad! Let me buy what I want to buy, and then use it the way I want. I'm one of those you will punish unintentionally, because I would never share any media over the Internet with anyone. You were never able to stop "illegal" cassette dubs, and you will never be able to stop illegal file sharing. The Internet and its users are bigger than you. Whatever happened to "fair use?"

As a rational believer in a free market system, I'd like to say also to the financiers of the bills: If you can't adapt to change and overcome your close-mindedness and other difficulties, then it's time for you to close up shop and let the next generation of content providers take over. Authors, unite under the banner of self-published! Hollywood -- the Indies are HERE, and more and more folks will get better at special effects. Just look at what's happening on YouTube! With the advent of cheap HD video-capable cameras & even smart phones, your days became numbered under your current business model. Musicians, follow Radiohead's example of pay-what-you-think-it's-worth if you are brave enough to see how good you really are. I'd bet we'd see a lot more musicians out there writing their own stuff, instead of these wannabes that perform the scripts the RIAA hand out!

The ISPs are not all against these issues either, though you'd think they would be. Having to police users' use of their services means increased costs, which of course would be passed on to the subscriber., probably the largest domain registrar in the world with over 50 million domains, originally supported SOPA. This prompted a massive protest and call to action by GoDaddy customers, making Thursday, December 29th the day to boycott GoDaddy by moving their domains to another registrar. GoDaddy has since changed its stance, but it appears the boycott will happen anyway.

And of course, other providers are looking to cash in on this protest by offering deals and ramping up advertising campaigns. I personally administer accounts at, and got an email from them this morning that clarifies their stance on SOPA/PIPA and takes a not-so-subtle jab at
Dear Sir/Miss,
You may have heard about Protect-IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA) currently under consideration in Congress. If passed, among other
things, SOPA requires Web hosting companies like 1&1 to police websites in
order to prevent them from communicating copyrighted information on the
internet. We would like to make sure you are aware of 1&1’s official
position on SOPA.

As a global provider of domains and hosting services, we oppose the Stop
Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect-IP (PIPA) Acts currently under
consideration. While we observe the concerns of those who are troubled by
the potential impact on protecting intellectual property online, 1&1 feels
there is an urgent need to strike a balance between dissemination of and
access to information and protection against its illegal use within the
public domain.

The US government is currently reviewing SOPA and PIPA as possible ways to
prevent unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials available on the
internet. These current proposals, if passed, would allow for significant
interventions into the technological and economical basis of the internet.
This could put the vast benefits and economic opportunities of entirely
legal and legitimate e-business models at risk. Generally, companies
offering technological services should not be forced to be the executor of
authority in such matters. If they were to act upon every implication of
content infringement without any judicial research into the actual usage of
its customers, the integrity behind their customer’s freedom of
information and speech would be enormously harmed.

1&1 Internet, Inc. has worked through associations and with related
companies to ensure that these aspects are taken into account. Thus, we
welcome the serious consideration by the US Congress of the potential
harmful effects on Internet freedom should SOPA and / or PIPA be passed as
law, and hope the stability of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS)
remains intact.

We encourage every Internet user concerned about these plans to contribute
to the debate and to raise their voice with their local representatives in
the House or Senate. One way to express your concerns could be to use one
of the websites that emerged to protect user interests in the current
legislative debate, such as

At 1&1 we support you, our customer, and an open internet. If you find that
you are supporting a company that encourages SOPA and wish to drop them as
a provider, please follow the simple instructions contained on the website
linked below.

Thank you for being one of our extremely valued customers, and for taking
the time to read this.

Best regards,

Frederick Iwans
General Manager 1&1 Internet Inc.


I am happy that feel this way about SOPA & PIPA, and because of that I will continue to be their customer.

Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and recent contributor to Business Insider, had this to say in his article:

The bottom line is that DMCA works. Its safe harbors have allowed the Internet to become the US's most important new industry in a century and an a critical job creator. If we need to amend the DMCA, let's do it with a negotiation between the interested parties, not with a bill written by the content industry's lobbyists and jammed through congress on a fast track. [emphasis mine]

You may want to take some action yourselves. I totally understand this, and once I got this email I immediately emailed my Congressmen. You can do the same, and the more voices they hear from their constituents, the less they will listen to the money coming in from the movie, recording & pharmaceuticals industries. It's an election year -- they WILL listen more closely to voters!

Contact your Representative through the House of Representatives' online form, which will help you ID your Representative. Alternatively, you can call the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (TTY at (202) 225-1904). 

The Senate form isn't quite as pretty and easy to use as the Reps' form, but you can still select your Senator easily enough. This form, once you select your Senator, also gives their direct phone line so you can call them.

I urge you all to call and tell them to vote NO on SOPA and PIPA!

'Til next time...

Read more at: SOPA, PIPA, and Libraries
Posted: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 16:56:52 GMT

I’ve Moved! by Roy Tennant

This brief post is just to let everyone know that I’ve now picked up shop and moved over to The Digital Shift. Find the blog here: And the RSS feed here: See you there! Roy

Read more at: I’ve Moved!
Posted: Fri, 23 Dec 2011 17:44:42 +0000

IL 2011: Closing Keynote: The Great Gamification Debate by

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Liz Lawley, Director, Lab for Social Computing, Rochester Institute of Technology

Gamification is the application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming environments.

Lee Sheldoen – “the multiplayer classroom”. How to use game mechanics in the classroom – instead of grades, exp points. Students are doing better, more engaged, better grades, hand in more assignments. – Ian Bogost – gamification is bullshit. “–ification is simple, repeatable, proven techniques. Is always easy and repeatable, and it’s usually bullshit”.

Earning points in games like Scrabble and Words with Friends, isn’t because you got a 50 point word, but because it was difficult. The feeling of accomplishment is very important.


Microsoft Research gave some money to help them get started, and is continuing to fund it.

Foursquare – gamification that really seems to work. Allows you to reflect back on what you’ve done and think about your accomplishments.

4sq&7yearsago – emails you each day to tell you what you were doing a year ago.

Experience of competence is important. Students should want to do it, not just do it for the reward.

What behaviors did we want to reward and encourage?

What feelings of competence could we engender?

What did we want our students to remember and reflect on?

Bartle’s Player Types – kinds of people who play MUDs. Killers, achievers, explorers, socializers. Too generic a model, overly simplified.

New way of thinking of achievements – apprentice, journeyman, master. Individual and shared (group work). 

Just Press Play.

Game launched last week at RIT.

“Why can’t students get achievements for being awesome?” Game that overlays students day-to-day activities. Beta launched for RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media. 720 students.

RFID keyfobs for some activities – go places. Some activities give them cards (faculty collectible cards).

Experiences the students will remember. Humor, playfulness, engaging with people around them. Humanizes faculty for students. Connects students to each other.

Will open source at end of summer!

The platform is important, but also need to spend time thinking about the content, designing the experience. What works for students at RIT won’t be the same for students at another univ. Will have to modify for the kind of content your students will respond to. Put the time and energy into it and you can really transform with the power of games.

Sense that they’ve really accomplished something that matters.

Read more at: IL 2011: Closing Keynote: The Great Gamification Debate
Posted: 2011-11-20T23:41:00.002-06:00

IL 2011: Talk About: eBook Preservation by

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Goal is to represent our professions rather than our employers.

Talk about: eBook PreservationTalk about: eBook Preservation

Sue, I’m a librarian and I’m concerned about:
  • Usability
  • Authenticity
  • Discoverability
  • Accessibility
What does it mean to preserve ebooks? Just the text? The experience? Links, multimedia

In what format should digital format be preserved? Will it serve us in the future?

Who’s responsible/ who owns them? Library, publisher, aggregator, author? Who has the right to make backup files?

What are the trigger events? Items kept secure until checked out.

Can I move to a different interface? Do I have the right to take my archive files with me and take them to another aggregator? Is the content provider saving items in format that will work in any interface?

Do I have the ability/right to remove a title that needs weeding? Is it completely removed? Or is it stored somewhere else I can access it in case it’s discovered that I do need it again?

Who pays for preservation? Built into price of book? Access fees? Separate access fee? Or just the cost of doing business?

Rolf – publisher

Publisher is involved with beginning, middle and end of content creation.

1-Ownership: perpetual. 2-Publisher owns copyright, library owns product. Challenge is what lies between those 2 statements. Limitations – not everybody will win.

Big issue from publisher perspective is resourcing. Dollars and cents. Who pays for preservation. Publishers have the basic responsibility to participate in all the major digital preservation initiatives. LOCKSS CLOCKSS

Also need to make the investment to protect the version of record. Hard to determine because there are so many dynamic items out there.

Aggregators – a growing and preferred purchasing sector. Every publisher licenses their content to several. Who’s protecting who? Is publisher protecting aggregator who protects libraries? Or something else? What is aggregator’s mission? Contractual issue – preservation doesn’t come up in discussions with aggregators. The legal language is going to be the ultimate protector in how we tighten up issue between publisher and aggregator.

Preservation Before Dissemination

When publisher creates content we need to start thinking about preservation before dissemination. Be strategic. Proactive- plan for change is the most difficult thing for a publisher to do. Still live in book world. Need to be collaborative with aggregators and libraries. Knowing that not everything will be resolved, but publisher needs to wake up and figure out how on a collective level we can create a safer environment for content. Digital preservation is something that every publisher needs to start creating - an operational model that is resourced. Create some standards, have a profound effect  on how we can protect the content that you own.

Ultimately, it’s knowledge that your end user will always need.

Ken - aggregator

What does it mean to preserve ebooks?

Light archive – the aggregated databases that exist today, either thru aggregator or publisher. Collection of ebooks on a platform that can be accessed by users on platform.

Dark archive – creating a repository to ensure that if there’s some event that warrants it that there is still the ability of your users to access the content. Closed, tightly guarded. Only reason someone should need to go in is to inventory, make sure it’s all there in case needed.

Is the text all we need to preserve?

Publisher owns copyright and original file. Publisher’s decision for what becomes the item of record.

Portico – take publisher’s original file, create normalized version of file – all in same format.

CLOCKSS – take capture of last user interface version, prior to a trigger event, and preserve that.

Who is responsible for preserving ebooks?

Publisher owns rights to book initially, grants rights to aggregator to release books. Can also grant rights to organization to preserve. Rights can be assigned to others.

What are ebook trigger events?

Publisher exits business or ebook no longer offered anywhere. Publisher has to approve trigger. Not a trigger – if aggregator exits business, because books are still available elsewhere. If library stops paying for access to platform. Same reason.

Weeding ebooks

Platforms were designd to be additive, unlimited shelf space. What is the right treatment? Choose archive as status, actually just hidden, later access can be reenabled. Manually, or ‘checked’ out? Permanently deleting? Entitled to dark archive version?

Who pays?

We all do. Publisher is owner- should preserve book. Consensus seems to be in at least 2 places. Aggregator putting redundancy in platforms and copy in dark archive. Library – up front fees or ongoing access fees. Preservation efforts.

Preservation initiatives- scalable? Sustainable?


Considered asking digital archivists? Publisher – no, question of scalability. (MY NOTE: not sure  I understand the answer)

Read more at: IL 2011: Talk About: eBook Preservation
Posted: 2011-11-20T13:57:00.000-06:00

IL 2011: eBooks and the Future of Publishing, Lending, Learning by

Ebooks and the Future of Publishing, Lending, Learning
David Bowers and Stephen Abram
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

eBooks from publishing perspective and where we see things going in the future.

David Bowers, Oxford University Press

Individual is the focus.

Libraries – the original Google. People come to libraries to learn. Issues – budgets.

OUP – is not for profit. Univ has been only shareholder in entire history of OUP. Not kicking back profit to people as shareholders. Looking to generate a bottom line, kick back to univ, so they can share knowledge. Oxford Index.

Content Aggregators

Contract with EBSCO ebrary, Miilibrary, eLibrary. Take Oxford data, package into product.

Ereaders –

Typically, eBooks that have been made and distributed to the vendors are electronic copies of traditional print books.

iPhone and app store changing that. Apps can bring more to books. Maybe reader wants something more – a chapter, an article. Ex: look inside all available books about molecular biology from a single app.

Users rent an app from publisher?

Stephen Abram, Gale Cengage Learning

We want to build stuff that helps people learn. That’s what motivates us (people in publishing). 800 librarians on staff.

Biggest project – thinking of the future. what will the textbook look like over time? What’s going to happen with large print. What will childrens books look like?

Textbooks – needs to be device agnostic. Browser independent. Learning management system independent. ADA compliant. Learning style independent. Testing new versions of textbooks in 150 schools in north America. Mobile independent. Use social tools.

Childrens books – 1st experiences in childrens books. What’s the right form of book? Why are there pages? Scroll thru instead, like a video game. Does it have to have the same ending every time? Does everything have to be in the same place every time you open the book? Move the mouse around. (MY THOUGHTS – what do childrens educators/ experts think about this? Is a change every time good or bad? Or is the consistency what kids need?)

Reference – non fiction. We use nonfiction asynchronously. How do we pull info out of multiple encyclopedias about 1 topic? And have it in whatever format we want, and assemble as my own book on the topic I need on the fly. Frame quality information, that has been quality selected, frame it to serve our users.


Copyright – if you had training in copyright that’s more than 5 years old, it’s no longer valid. Things have changed too much recently. Need to update your knowledge. Laws in US and other countries is changing.

Read more at: IL 2011: eBooks and the Future of Publishing, Lending, Learning
Posted: 2011-11-20T10:31:00.003-06:00

IL 2011: Tips on Redesigning Library Sites by

Monday, October 17, 2011 

Making Connections: Conversations, Collaboration and Negotiation in a Library Website Redesign Project.
Michael Epstein - University of San Diego, Copley Library

When working on redesign, conversations were most important. Relationships are as important as tools and tech. successful collaboration with stakeholders. must be able to communicate needs of a library website.

In USD context –

Previous univ wide redesign, library not involved, given templates – very locked down version of page, ‘place your content here’, resistance to being boxed in by templates that we hadn’t been included in the conversation about, this led to benign neglect. Didn’t implement them.

Then, CIO named interim director of library, nobody was happy with old templates, not just library. New redesign. Since CIO was director of library, could have conversation with him about library role in redesign. Instead of entire redesign, doing a few depts. at a time. Library website redesign team formed – librarians and IT.

IT and librarians – defensive at first, one size does not fit all, needed to explain why library is different, needs are diff from other departments on campus. Agreed to look at other library websites. Helped IT see how library is different. 


Daily conversations on content and design. Constant communication was key.

Web advisory group within library.

Univ stakeholders unhappy with new template. Not sure who, just some people from higher up. New consultant hired. Meetings with consultant. Library had place at the table. People interested in branding and uniformity vs. unique dept needs.

Lessons learned:

-Look for opportunities to collaborate with non-library personnel.

-Build relationship thru conversations, negotiations, compromise.

-Communicate unique needs of library users with other stakeholders and other people you’re working with. Can’t assume they understand what you’re working with.

-Be willing to give up some control in return for a truly collaborative approach. It’s OK, you don’t have to do the whole thing. As long as you are both able to express your needs and work things out. – a redesign case study
Virginia Franklyn - Pikes Peak Library District

Old website about 8 years old, too small.

Project plan – read Project Management for Dummies. Really helped. Drew up project plan with timeline. On a wiki so all staff had access via intranet.

Choose framework.

Looked at WP and Joomla. But decided Drupal was best for them. Big websites use them, like what they needed. Geared toward staff data entry and patron participation. Received so much help from the community.

Had to learn Drupal. Drupal 6 by David Mercer. Drupal 7 is out now, should use that, but Drupal 6 was available when they started.

Did every example in book to learn it. Yes, very steep learning curve, but it worked to learn it. Drupal community is amazing. Drupal southern Colorado user group, library BOFs, consultants. But mostly trial and error. Broke website a lot when in development. Have a sense of humor about Drupal. Don’t have a strict timeline because things will come out of left field.  Be flexible.

Website survey – needed to know how to set up site. Catalog/my account. Suggest a book. Find classes/programs. Became sections for site.

Website layout


Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. How to make a website intuitive. Get user to what they need as easily and fast as possible.

Usability testing after basic infrastructure was built. Usability Hot Team. Doing 3-4 usability tests is optimal. But do at least 1. “Of course, everyone knows usability tests are very important, and must be done.”

2 years and 1 baby later… = blog of how they did it.

Extreme make-over
Marin County Free Library

Moved from a centralized to open control. Moved from proprietary CMS to open source.

3 big takeaways – patience,  perseverance, passion for the project.

Integrating social media very important. Big 5 – Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube.

Free labor – internship program with univ.

Also decided to simultaneously rebrand site. Realized too late it was a terrible idea.  Concentrated on content development.

Social media committee. Weekly meetings.

Used Google docs as repository. Constant communication.


-When evaluating vendor proposals – get examples with similar budget as yours. So you know what you can really expect to get.

-Get expectations from vendor of when things will be done.

-Wireframes – use different term, like diagrams. Some staff didn’t understand the term and had blocks about it which lasted throughout project.

-Useful tools – content spreadsheet detailing all content, who was responsible, deadline. Google docs.

Read more at: IL 2011: Tips on Redesigning Library Sites
Posted: 2011-11-20T02:56:00.000-06:00

IL 2011: Drupal vs. WordPress vs. Joomla - CMS SMACKDOWN!!! by

CMS Smackdown!Monday, October 17, 2011

Blake Carver, LISHost
Kendra K. Levine, Librarian At Large

LISHost – 400 sites. 200 WP, 100 Drupal, 1 Joomla.

What is/Why use CMS? Centralize control, free up people to make content, not techie, non-geeky users can set up own pages.

Empowers other people to create content. Timelier, universal changes easier/quicker. Users end up having a nicer relationship with the website. More user friendly.

Goals of a CMS – what’s important to you? Make life easier? Flexibility? Easier for technophobes? Functionality(calendars, widgets)? Get code out of the way so people can actually do work?

Audience question - Used to get rid of webmasters? “any dummy can do it, so don’t need webmaster”. Wrong, still need someone to maintain it.

“CMS removes impediments of keeping website current.”

CMS Smackdown!
Blake and Kendra
How to choose:

-Complex vs. simple

-How big is website?

-Learning curve- who’s going to be updating website? can they pick it up quickly?

-Who’s going to use it? Designers/users/webmasters?


-Library specific modules/plugins

* Budgets, Personnel, Time

What’s open source?

Get code, modify it, share it back to community.

Free – speech vs. beer vs. kittens

-Stared 2001, kid in dorm created bbs, powers 2-3% of sites on internet now.
-Acquia – company created by inventor.

-2003, company is Automattic
-Support, hosting, services
-14.7% of top websites in world. 22 of every 100 new domains registered.

-“Open source matters” website

All of them-

What makes them great-

Huge developer community, lots of themes, modules, plugins, widgets, scalable, complex yet flexible, regular security updates, tools.

What makes them suck-

Huge developer community – conflicting themes/plugins, PHP versions – servers must be kept up-to-date with current version, modules/plugins/widgets can have issues because of outside changes, security updates.


-Installation- all pretty easy, one click installs for all 3, DRAW.

-Scalability – Drupal – best at managing huge amounts of content.

-Library specific stuff – depending on what you want, probably Drupal.

-Appearance – WP slightly, theme searching interface is very good. Unless you like to code/modify themes, then Drupal.

-User management – Drupal. Seemingly infinite roles/permissions. WP – not bad, started as one person/one blog, but getting better.

-Customization – all equal. Drupal and WP – lots of modules and plugins. Joomla - not as many, but there, can customize with time/patience.

-Ease of use – WP. Nice dashboard. Drupal, has done a lot of usability testing, working on it.

-Configuration and maintenance – WP. One click install, one click update. Batch update all plugins. Drupal – more intensive, have to do some in shell yourself, can configure every little thing and have to configure every little thing. WP – can, but don’t have to to get it to work.

-Upgrade and security – WP – easier for regular user. Drupal - more difficult, FTP, have to touch files on server. WP – seems to be less secure, not bad tho. Drupal a bit better.

Winner = Drupal and WP.

Drupal – big, powerful, good for a lot of pages files, WP - easy to set up, your mom can do it. 

Questions –

Another criteria – what if person who picks and installs the CMS you choose leaves? Is there someone else to support? What about Plone?

Which is easiest to learn when previous person leaves? Depends on complexity of your site, not dependent on platform you choose.

RFP – what limitations shouldthey look out for? How technologically advanced are your staff? Size of lib/staff?

WP – hosted on .com or on own server? Limitations to hosted – can only use their themes, if you want to do lots of customization, have to host your own.

Final thought from Kendra - Not one right answer – it’s what is right for your situation.

Read more at: IL 2011: Drupal vs. WordPress vs. Joomla - CMS SMACKDOWN!!!
Posted: 2011-11-19T13:09:00.000-06:00

IL 2011: iLibrarian: Virtual, iPads & Mobile Devices by

Monday, October 17, 2011

Willie Miller Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Indiana Univ. Fall 2010, iPad learning community. Gave faculty iPads - go play. Figure out how to use them in teaching. Univ. funded initiative.

Library instruction with iPads.

Mobile research – library’s mobile site.

Journalism – use several different news/media apps. Compare how different apps display/discuss the same topic.

Collaborative concept mapping – Popplet – work together on project. One group used this as presentation instead of doing PowerPoint.

-Measuring outcomes

209 respondents to survey

Just started in Spring 2011

“all tools you need are right there and customizable”
“convenient and fun”
“easier for collaborating”
“time wasted when iPad wasn’t working properly”
“I’m faster writing notes on paper than with an iPad”
“found myself wanting to play with the apps rather than focus on course material”
”can get lost in the iPad and not focus on group work”
“checked my email and Facebook rather than participating because it was easier to hide”

-Best practices

Plan activities in detail and test technology – be able to troubleshoot problems.

Convey expectations – the amount of work expected.

Monitor activities carefully – make sure they’re on track, not checking email/Facebook.

Curate resources – keep everything in one folder – "this is the work for today".

Cultivate mobile information literacy.

Consider device limitations. Ie. Database searching not for iPads. iPads load pdfs slower than PCs.

Library on Demand
University of La Verne

Linda Gordon

Supplemental, not replacing in-person contact with students and instructors. Maximize our outreach during busiest 1st 2 weeks of semesters.

Optimize outreach activities.

Optimize student learning preferences.

Darryl Swarm

Pilot program – one campus, 5 classrooms, get feedback from staff, students.

Phase II – add campuses, one at a time.

Phase III – individualized/specialized instruction.

Kitt Vincent

3 facets of pilot program


Adobe Acrobat – standard that can be used in the future, already licensed to the univ. 200-250 students at one time. Screen sharing.


Faculty at remote sites.


Campus staff as project support.

Lessons learned:

-Skype – logins wiped every night.

-Hardware acquisitions – takes forever to go thru the proper channels to purchase microphones, etc.

-Leadership changes/commitment/monetary promises.

-Naming conventions changed throughout the project.

-Hardware durability – dropped in classrooms.

Read more at: IL 2011: iLibrarian: Virtual, iPads & Mobile Devices
Posted: 2011-11-18T16:39:00.001-06:00

IL 2011: Transliteracy & 21st Century Skills for Library Users by

Monday, October 17, 2011

Learning for Life Online at the Boston PL
Jennifer Koerber, Web Services Librarian, Boston Public Library

-Choosing a structure

Blog? What if people join then abandon their blogs? Tons of dead blogs. Wiki? Chaos. Ning – ad based, closed. Moodle – would work well as part of an overall training program. Lot of work to set up.

Take a few tools, put them together to create the platform. WordPress site, Facebook page – that’s where people already are, wouldn’t have to come up with a whole new blog. Twitter – another convenient tool for pushing the lessons out. In person events at branches, off site, other conferences – trainings, social meetups, unconferences.

NTIA grant – laptop lending program and training.

Decided to wait until laptop program started to launch Learning for Life Online.

Each entry - Intro, what is it? How is it useful? Suggestions for trying it out, helpful resources.

No formal registration – drop in program, no way to scale it to a large city if having to register.

Track outcomes – Google analytics, Facebook shares, followers, Twitter stats.

Colorado Public Computer Centers
Jaimie Hollier, Project Coordinator, Colorado Public Computer Centers, Colorado State Library

BTOP – 80+ new and enhanced Public Computer Centers. And trainings – how and why they need to be online. Jan-June – trained over 3000 people.

Lessons learned:

-Digital literacy is a functional building block toward transliteracy.

-Partnerships are paramount to success. Too much to do, too many people to reach, too little funds.

-Step back and take a look at the big picture. Instead of ‘we’re teaching email’, should be ‘ we’re teaching people how to connect to their families’, teach something that means something to the people, otherwise they won’t remember it.

-Follow and inform national policy. People care that libraries have a place, tell people.

Digital Core – FCC. Working with IMLS, Microsoft and E-rate. Getting people out training on digital literacy.

Digital Promise. How do we make learning better thru technology?

Digital – not fulfilling the need it was supposed to be for, NTIA knows that. So they’re working on it, keep an eye on it.

Read more at: IL 2011: Transliteracy & 21st Century Skills for Library Users
Posted: 2011-11-18T15:00:00.000-06:00

IL 2011: From Training to Learning: Institutionalizing Innovation and Creativity by

Monday, October 17, 2011
Nancy MacKenzie and Lisa Hardy, Calgary Public Library, Alberta, Canada

Calgary Public Library - 800 employees, 18 branches, serves city of Calgary, a little over 1 million people.

Organizational structure – barrier to change, need to figure out how to create a space in the structure to innovate.

2 initiatives at Calgary PL.

1st Learning Initiative: Librarian Led CPL Supported Training


1-Explore relationship between traditional reference and community info question.

Librarian – lead the exploration, articulate the unique contribution of the library, have courage.

CPL – provide the space and structure to start the conversation.

2-establish organizational direction in working with our communities in different ways.

Librarian – identify opportunities, personal learning requirements, provide leadership and direction.

CPL – create structure that supports innovation, creativity and leadership, and success in and for the community, alignment with strategic directions – how what librarians are doing aligns with organizations directions, measure success – identify strategies and measures.

3-Provide real leadership opportunities for librarians.

Librarian – seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

CPL – Leadership Action Team (LAT), provide opportunities to emerging leaders, mostly librarians but not exclusively. Series of workshops, traditional staff development day. develop valuable public speaking skills, participants say being able to work with CEO is a great benefit.

Emerging leaders training program – develop managerial skills.

Formal project management training – planning, project reporting, timelines, alignment with strategic directions.

Coaching – managers learn about effective listening, following intuition, less about problem solving and direction and more about supporting people in their training.

4-Support librarians in taking responsibility for their own learning- in a system supported way!

Librarians – identify what their learning needs are, come up with strategies to share and further system learning.

CPL - $$, structure and time.

5-Explore the relationship between who we are in the community and who we are as a community.

2nd Learning Initiative – Future Action Think Tank

Engage staff in thinking about future of libraries, sharing ideas, influencing innovation and being a part of change instead of just having change happen to them.

Future Action Team runs the think tank.

Staff engagement very important. How do you plan an event for everyone?

-Pre-conference – blog, ”what is a library future?”

Engage staff and spark curiosity.  Encourage conversations.  Open tumbler blog. -feel free to read and contribute.

Imagine the Future – 1 day event, scheduled for Dec. 7. Needed to do something different from previous traditional leadership training, which was too formulaic and didn’t encourage innovation.

-Futures Fair – departments present on what they do, like IT, etc.

-Field Trips – send staff out to different organizations to talk about Collections, Services, Spaces, Staff & The Workplace, Technology. Asking other organizations who serve the same community the library does, to further understand the community. 80 staff. $5000 budget. Return midafternoon. 1 hour of reflection time.

-Tackle Teams – informal groups, formed based on common interest in a topic. Read, discuss share with peers, provide a channel for them so ideas will be heard throughout organization.

To attend, Staff submit ‘expression of interest’, why they want to come and participate. Not just required attendance like previous training.

Read more at: IL 2011: From Training to Learning: Institutionalizing Innovation and Creativity
Posted: 2011-11-17T16:01:00.001-06:00

IL 2011: 20 Steps to Better Web Services by

The Librarian in Black.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sarah Houghton

We are broke
Free=useful, maybe we’re becoming too reliant on free stuff. Maybe we should learn and do things ourselves.

#1 – Where to put your website
Blogger – still flexible platform, small, easy.
Drupal – if you have lots of time to learn it. Super flexible, make it look how you want it to. Open source. Good for larger site needing a big redesign.
Squarespace – Almost free. For around $500, did entire city website, CMS that works, mobile platform hosted. Easy to learn. Even staff who hate technology and websites are learning and blogging.

#2 – Images
Gimp – image editing program. Like Photoshop. Open source, free. Intermediate to advanced people.
Picnik – in browser photo editing. Simple photo editing tool. Flickr uses it.
PictoBrowser – Flickr slideshow. – high quality photography. For finding stock photos that aren’t illegal for you to use.
Creative commons search in Flickr.

#3 – Hot Topics
Addict-o-matic – pulls in items from many sites – Twitter, Bing, Google blog, YouTube, Flickr, etc.

#4 – make ur codez priteeez
beautifyer – java, css

#5 – Surveys and polls
Google forms – excel spreadsheet with results.
Polldaddy – simple polls, see percentages, easy to embed in website.

#6 – Slider
Wow slider – rotating slide show, doesn’t use flash – good. 10 minutes to have one up and running.

#7 - Translate
Google translate – free, it works, language of your choice. Put it near top of page, users will never get to the footer. Audience comment – do not use for medical info, terrible.

#8 – Remote assistance
LogMeIn – remote access to pc or mac. Email with link, gives permission to drive their computer. Free. Make sure they know after the session is over you can’t be in their computer anymore.

#9 - Wireframing
Balsamiq – mockup websites. Premade graphics as placeholders.

#10 – Test your mobile stuff
W3C – mobile OK checker, simple, easy, it works.

#11 – Stats
Google analytics – free, simple, easy. Insert tiny snippet of code into your site. Don’t need any skill.

#12 - Skype
Use for online ref/chat. People are using it anyway.

#13 – Social management
Tweetdeck – monitor multiple twitter accounts. Alerts.
Namechk – check for already used user names, when setting up profiles.

#14 - Webcast
Slideshare zipcast – for webcasts, like WebEx but free, live video feed plus slides and chat. Had up to 200 people on at same time, no load issues. Archives.

#15 – Video
JayCut – browser based video editing tool. Upload video, edit, then download finished product.
YouTube - video editing has gotten better.
Animoto – create video of still photos add animation, music. Free pro account to non-profits.
Xtranormal – give it a script, makes an animated movie.

#16 – Audio
Audacity – audio editing tool.
Podbean – host audio.

#17 – Learning environments
Moodle – good, hard to learn and implement. Good for full feature online class.

#18 – Infographics – build your own.

#19 – LibraryThing
Strong, simple.

#20 – Google
Really good free stuff.
Plus – might be able to integrate into our websites.

Read more at: IL 2011: 20 Steps to Better Web Services
Posted: 2011-11-17T14:58:00.010-06:00

Internet Librarian 2011: Better Late Than Never by

It's been a month since I enjoyed yet another great time at Internet Librarian in Monterey, California. Since then I have been crazy busy both at work and at home, so haven't had any time to share my experiences there. I've finally decided to get this done, before the next one sneaks up on me. First an overview of some things, then I will post my notes from the sessions I attended.

On Sunday morning, October 16, Michael Sauers and I presented our pre-conference on Webcasting and Podcasting. We shared how we run the Nebraska Library Commission's NCompass Live online show with a small, but very lively, group of librarians.

On Tuesday evening, I attended the Great Web 2.0 Face-Off. A hockey themed competition to see who knew the the best collaborative tools out there. Yup, you read that right. And it was Awesome! I think I learned something, but it was hard to tell thru all the laughing. I hope they keep this on the program!

Blue Team!
Lisa, Michael and Blake - The Blue Team!
Red Team!
Ruth, Jeff and Amy - The Red Team!

On Wednesday morning, Michael and I once again did his monthly NCompass Live Tech Talk, LIVE from the conference. A few friends, who brought their friends, and even one of our pre-conference attendees, had a lively discussion about many issues floating around the conference that week.

Live broadcast of NCompass Live

And, there was also a bit of non-conference fun...

Rotisserie Truck!
Rotisserie Chicken Truck at the Farmer's Market!
Royce on the beach
Hanging on the beach.
Sleeping Seal
And seals, of course.
Cannery Row
Shopping and dinner on Cannery Row.

Next up...what I learned at Internet Librarian!

Read more at: Internet Librarian 2011: Better Late Than Never
Posted: 2011-11-17T14:34:00.010-06:00

Back To School! by

No, I'm not touting the classic Rodney Dangerfield film (although it's really funny!), I'm actually going back to school to work on my Bachelor's Degree. Yesterday saw the start of my first class at Northern Kentucky University! I am working towards my degree in Library Informatics, which should hone my geek skills to be more effective in a library environment.

I can only take one class a semester due to budget constraints, and now that I've started my first one, I'm really glad that is the case. My first class is Ethics of Information Technology, and basically it's a class in philosophy that concentrates on the ethical issues of the IT world. It's very time consuming and is forcing me to dust off some brain cells that I haven't used in, well, let's just say a very long time. The time consuming part so far has been having to read articles & watch a (mostly boring) film with talking heads from the upper echelon of the philosophical studies world, explaining what several facets of philosophy are and how they came to be studied. Hold on a second....


Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah. It's not like I've never been to college or I've never studied anything difficult before. It's only been five years (already?) since I graduated with my A.A.S. in computer programming. But, given the time requirements of this class, the fact that I'm overhauling the Friends of Kentucky Libraries' website, and the stuff I do at work and at home, I'm really happy I'm only in one class.

Anyway, I'm happy to get this journey started! Go Norse!

'Til next time....

Read more at: Back To School!
Posted: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 17:34:39 GMT

Do Something. Anything! by

Countless times over the years, we've all seen and heard this expression in one form or another. A prominent movie that featured this exchange was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, when Ron & Harry were battling the mountain troll in the girls' bathroom. It was a "life-threatening" situation in which immediate action was necessary!

Thankfully, life isn't usually like that unless you work in an emergency room or as a paramedic, but that doesn't mean we should sit idly by and watch life carry on. We all have life experiences we can pass on to someone else, whether in our own profession or not. For example, I've only been working in the public library field for four years, but I have over 30 years of computer experience if you count the BASIC programming I did as a child and the office programs I've used over the years. In addition to that, I had worked in fast food, retail & manufacturing before I finally decided to make a career out of being a geek. I guess you could say I've been about halfway 'round the block when it comes to my life education.

So coming into the library field with an AAS in computer programming and about 5 years' documented experience as a geek has given me the opportunity to pass on some tech knowledge to other librarians -- not just here, but at the state level also where I give presentations on various tech subjects.

I'm not one to sit around and 'just do my job.' I'm always working on something, even at home, whether it's computer-related or not. I do computer work on the side, to be sure, but I also work on both my vehicles and I maintain a vegetable garden. My wife & I serve on the Simpson County 4-H Council and are leaders of the Cloverbuds Club. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Kentucky Libraries, where I am also their tech guy and overhauling the website.

My point is, if you are bored with your job or are looking for ways to spice up your existence, Do Something! Anything! And what brought this post about is this image I received in an e-mail:

Life is too short to stand by and not TRY to make a difference! I've maintained that you are only as young as you let yourself be. I also maintain that you will never know your potential until you start exploring your limits. I'm going for it. Join me!

'Til next time...

Read more at: Do Something. Anything!
Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 19:52:08 GMT

Considering my personal brand by

For Thing 3 of CPD23, we were asked to look ourselves up online to see what comes up in search results.

I actually egosurf every now and then, just to see what's out there. In the past, it was interesting to see webpages from my old job, over 10 years old, still with my name on them. Some website clean-up was in order there, I think. :) I also used to find, pretty high in my search results, information about a Presbyterian minister with my same name.

Today, things are very different. I have profiles/accounts in all sorts of social networking sites, and they are what comes up now when I look up myself. First result is my Facebook page, 2nd is this blog. Then, in order, there is me on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, SlideShare, MySpace, speaking at Internet Librarian 2011, Vimeo (oh yeah! I forgot I had an account there. Heh.), my Google Profile..

Hey, that next one isn't me! There appears to be a Christa Burns in Portland, OR at Portalnd State University. Cool.

Oh, there I am again. The last search result on this first page is my WebJunction profile.

Page 2 of the search results starts out with me - Flickr, LinkedIn (again?), T is for Training. But then, other Christa Burns' start creeping into my results, and now it's a mixture of all of us.

So, how do I feel about this? Perfectly fine. I put myself out there, on all of those sites, on purpose. Sometimes, just for my own use, sometimes to connect with friends and family, and sometimes for work/professional reasons. Some people keep their personal and professional online personas separate. I don't. For me, it's just too much work to do that. Should I create 2 accounts everywhere? Who do I share what with? What if my work colleagues find out that (gasp!) I went to the zoo??? Really? I can't be bothered. I have a job, but I also have a life. I am not my job, I am Christa. So, you will find me online speaking at library conferences, promoting Nebraska libraries, participating in serious library discussions. You will also find me online playing D&D, visiting my mom, dressed in my Halloween costume, playing with my cats and ferrets.

Mango margarita with jalapeno infused tequila at Mi Casa, Breckenridge, CO. Yum!
And I don't share anything, anywhere, that I won't mind people seeing. It's the internet. People will see, somehow, anything you put online. I personally feel that the illusion of' 'privacy' doesn't really exist on the internet. If you're going to be online, you must understand that people will see you and your stuff. If you have a problem with that, don't put yourself online. Pick and choose wisely. So, you will find a picture of me online drinking a margarita. It's OK, I'm a grown-up, I'm allowed. But, you won't find a picture of me doing a naked handstand on a bar in Cancun. You're welcome.

Read more at: Considering my personal brand
Posted: 2011-09-21T16:09:00.000-05:00

Investigation: CPD23 Blogs and their bloggers by

Yeah, so I lied. I didn't catch up with CPD23 last month like I said I would. [insert typical blogger excuses about life and work and whatever here] But, I'm back now and I think I'm ready to go. So, let's do this!

According to the Delicious list, there are now 783 blogs registered to participate in 23 Things for Professional Development. WOW! And for Thing 2 I'm supposed to explore these blogs and get to know their writers? Where the heck do I start? Well, when in doubt, start at the top. So, I started looking at the most recently added blogs.

I've been involved in running one of these 23 Things programs myself in the past, and we currently have an ongoing program like this at MPOW. So, I wasn't surprised to find many of the blogs started with great fanfare and energy about participating in this great project, but then sadly abandoned. It's just the nature of the beast. It seems like a great idea at the time, but then various factors conspire to prevent you from working on it. It's OK. It happens. I think, just having heard that these kinds of programs exists is a success. Maybe it wasn't possible to jump fully into this one, but maybe when the next one comes along, the time will be right.

So, on down the list I go. Now I've decided to do a quick and dirty comparison of posts from local, Nebraska, participants and participants from other countries. I'm curious to see what people from completely different places will say about the same things. Now, I didn't go thru all 700+ blogs, of course. :) But, I did read thru 5-10 from the list. And I was happy, and I realized not really surprised, that librarians from all parts of the globe seem to have the same issues, concerns, problems, ideas, etc about the topics presented to them in CPD23. Very cool! Now, there are local flavors to the posts of course. Recognizing people and places mentioned in Nebraska-centric posts is a very different experience than not having any idea what posts from other countries are talking about. But, the best part about it? It made me want to learn more about locations I've never been to before! And before I knew it, I was sucked into the internet, surfing away.

Finally, I had to drag myself up and out so I could write this post. I'm sure I'll end up back there again someday, though.

Read more at: Investigation: CPD23 Blogs and their bloggers
Posted: 2011-09-21T14:39:00.000-05:00

Remote Desktop From a Phone by

I'm sitting here in the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center at the G-FIRST Conference listening to the opening plenary panel talking about cybersecurity and remote access and thought, "I wonder if there is a remote desktop client for my phone?" So, a quick look on the Android Market revealed several choices. I ended up installing the 2X Software offering, and after a quick and easy configuration, I was able to access & log in to the Library's server!

I will say that the experience isn't the most comfortable for someone with big fingers. After all, we are talking about administering a Windows 2003 server, which doesn't have the ability to reflow its screen to smart phone size. For that matter, while I was able to see and use the entire desktop and native Server programs, the circulation program I opened was chopped off without any scroll bars to access all the information and controls. However, being able to access the server alone is reason enough to install such an app since most administrative tasks happen natively on the server, platform.

This app connects via the RDP protocol,  so it will likely be a whole different ball of wax when trying to access a Linux server. But then again, that's what SSH is for ;)

So it would seem that in this increasingly connected world, I have yet another way of being a geek.

'Til next time....

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Read more at: Remote Desktop From a Phone
Posted: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:18:59 GMT

Catching up with CPD23 by

A couple of months ago, I heard about a new 23 Things program from a friend and colleague of mine, Bobbi Newman. It's called 23 Things for Professional Development. It's like many 23 Things programs you may have participated in, but has a new twist - rather than being about new technologies and resources you can use, it's geared towards your own personal professional development. I thought that was pretty cool! A different take on the 23 Things concept and something very useful to everyone.

So, I'm participating in 23 Things for Professional Development. Yes, I'm a bit late getting started. (Insert standard 'OMG it's been so crazy at work and at home!' excuse here.) But, that's OK because they built in a 'catch-up' week just for me! Well, not just for me I suppose, but for me and anyone else like me who hasn't got started yet, has fallen behind, or just found out about it. Yay!

Another cool thing about this 23 Things program - it's being run by a group of librarians in Cambridge, England! But, it's for anyone in the world who wants to participate. A worldwide 23 Things program for library folk? I couldn't miss out on that! That's something I'm really looking forward to - learning from library people across the globe.

So this is your early warning - I will be playing catch up with this program this week, so there will be posts every day. Crazy, isn't it! :)

Thing #1 - check!

Read more at: Catching up with CPD23
Posted: 2011-08-08T17:45:00.000-05:00

Camping in Kansas by

139/365 - S'mores!Well, library camping, that is. Last Friday, I attended Library Camp Kansas at Kansas State Univ. in Manhattan, KS.

It was hot outside, but the sessions inside were very cool. :) These are my random notes from the sessions I attended.

Lightning talks – filter out people who tweet too much. Rated 1-11. Tweet more, rated 11, text is smaller.

Gimlet – State Library of Kansas – like libstats, for people who don’t have a tech team. Free for site. Reports - $10/month - Buffy Hamilton. Curate, collect, aggregate resources on specific topic. Magazine style dashboard. post to FB, twitter, tumblr. Free. RSS feed.

IMDB to MARC Converter. Amazon record to MARC converter. -Kate Wise, Kansas Weslyan Univ.

Breakout Session #1 - Rethinking lifelong learning

Heather Braum – traditional education is ages 5-22. Libraries are like education, but 0-grave. In past, could get job, and just do it till you retired. Didn’t have to keep learning new things. Now we learn and learn and learn.

Research saying younger people prefer to learn in short quick bits, like how they multitask. Older people remember learning in longer sessions, like hour long lectures. Libraries have all of these types of people they have to help – how do they do it?

What do you geek?

‘Databases’ – users don’t know what it means, are intimidated by the word, don’t know how to use them. Call them ‘apps’ instead? People know that word.

Public library in Virginia – advocacy – library as part of education. Got legislators involved in thinking of libraries just like schools, as far as $ is concerned.

CLASS – Salina Public Library, KS. Community Learning and Skill Sharing. Semester long classes.
Salina PL – went to river festival. Caught people reading anything – book, magazine, Nook, etc. gave them buttons. Promoted the library.

Atlas of New Librarianship – know your community and serve their needs. Let some things go. Only 3 people using VCR tapes? Get rid of them, move on. Sell the tapes to those people.

People who have a good library experience in elementary school, will be more likely to use college/public library. Not intimidated, understand what a librarian is for.

Library Journal article – libraries as creation places.

Focus on what we can do to impact our community. Let go of things that don’t work. Put $ and time towards things we can do. Don’t dwell on ‘libraries are going away’. Change what we do.

Breakout Session #2 - TED Talks in Libraries – Heather Braum

What is TED? Technology Entertainment Design. Inspiring, educational, challenged to give the best talk of their life in a short time – 20 min max. Captures and curates what people are doing in society.

Originally conf in CA. thousands of $$ to attend. 2005/6 – starting releasing videos online for free.
Local TEDx events. Licensed thru TED.

TEDx Oklahoma City – application form – why should we invite you? They wanted a cross section of people. So they choose who got to go.

Breakout Session #3 - Outreach

Govn’t docs. Relationship between public libraries and university or state libraries who have gov docs. Do the public libraries know about the gov docs that the state or university library has?

Outreach for public libraries to help university students who are overwhelmed/intimidated by university library? Community college/distance ed students are going to the public library for help now. What can public library/university library to do work together to help the students go where they should be – ie, the university library.

Read more at: Camping in Kansas
Posted: 2011-07-18T10:09:00.001-05:00

What libraries can learn from Tosh.0 by admin

Tosh.0 Tuesdays 10pm / 9c Twitten By Tosh.0 Videos Daniel Tosh Web Redemption OK, I’ll admit it. I watch Tosh.0. I watch it religiously. I know that might make some think less of me. The show is unapologetically disgusting and offensive. For those who haven’t seen it, comedian Daniel Tosh shows video clips found on the Internet and then makes fun [...]

Read more at: What libraries can learn from Tosh.0
Posted: Mon, 18 Jul 2011 01:56:12 +0000

Library Day in the Life Project by

It's time once again for librarians all over the world to capture their day's activities and show that our jobs are much more than sitting at a desk & checking books in and out. Bobbi Newman's Library Day in the Life Project does just that -- shows off how lots of different librarians from different types of libraries spend their time on the clock! For some librarians, we are the Jacks (or Jills)-of-all-trades and do more than our job descriptions require. So here's how my day is going so far:

7:45 Arrive at work & turn on the lights, computers, printers and copier.
7:55 Check e-mail, answer some, send a collaborative note to a colleague, read a thank-you from a patron on helping him choose an eReader for his wife.
8:15 Read a couple of bits of library-related news.
8:20 Turn on a computer in the process of being provisioned for public access.
8:22 Read the log from the anti-virus scan, see no errors.
8:25 Start on this post!
8:30 Go downstairs to get the book drop in, and start checking in last night's deposits.
9:00 Take the bookmobile to Springfield, TN for service.
10:50 Return from Springfield, TN, sans bookmobile.
11:00 Go to lunch.
12:00 Return from lunch, start catching up on e-mails.
12:15 Examine a patron's laptop as to why it won't get through its startup repair procedure, determine that it's a corrupted machine with no viable restore points, start the factory restore process. Windows 7 goodness, that!
12:23 Sent that laptop on its way with its owner!
12:45 Start cataloging.
12:50 Respond to a fix from our ILS provider.
12:51 Return to cataloging.
1:30 Break from cataloging to finish up public access computer. Read antivirus log (yay, no threats found!), install DeepFreeze, thaw the computer, make final desktop adjustments. Go install the computer at its station, restart after Windows finishes installing drivers for the hardware down there, freeze the computer and reinstate its circulation status. Thank God that's over!
2:00 Talk to my wife, who's come in with two of my girls to get books for them to finish their Summer Reading lists. Discuss supper options, with no conclusive menu from me as I ate waaaaayyy too much for lunch and don't want to think about food!
2:10 Back to cataloging!
3:30 Bookmobile librarian comes in to 'give me a break,' meaning that she needs the Tech Services computer to enter her circulations, do her transfers and get the bookmobile stuff up to date. So I'll work on this post some more.
3:47 Put batteries in charger for tomorrow's Games @ the Goodnight session.
3:52 Started triage on another patron's laptop.
3:53 Researched & found that the laptop is of 1997 vintage AND a Compaq, which means that it MUST use proprietary Compaq components if anything needs replacing. #proprietaryfail
4:15 Downloaded a Windows 98 Boot Disk & determined that this computer has a failed hard drive, a stuck F1 key, a dead battery and is generally ready to be buried. Played Taps.
4:20 Back to cataloging.
4:43 Fielded a Readers Advisory question from a patron.
4:50 Back to cataloging.
5:25 Finished for the day, wrapping up this post!

So my days are usually filled with IT & cataloging duties, but right now through the end of the month, you are just as likely to find me at the circulation desk, covering when we are shorthanded. We only have a staff of 11 (counting the cleaning lady, who is actually a contract worker), so I go where I'm needed.

Read more at: Library Day in the Life Project
Posted: Wed, 06 Jul 2011 22:29:30 GMT

Cutting the Cables, Redux by

Hello again! I posted an entry back in September 2010 about cutting the cables at home in regards to phones and Internet. This post is a follow-up to that, just to let you know how it's going.

We have changed some things around, but we are still cable-free in terms of both services! We dropped the satellite Internet, since it proved to be unreliable when I needed it most -- during a rainstorm of course -- to remote into the library and see what was going on with one of the servers. Plus, we were consuming enough data that we were starting to bump into our 17 GB cap that Wildblue imposes on its customers. Don't think we weren't happy to have the 1.5 Mbs download speeds when the weather was clear, but that data cap is a deal-breaker for an online family! Additionally, the modem seemed to behave a lot better after we signed up for the Pro package, which I think just paid them to ramp up the transmission power from the satellite to the ground station. And please don't think this isn't a great service; it is well worth a look if you live in an area like several residents here, where there is a state line involved (Tennessee) and the carriers don't want to infringe on territory by placing cell towers too close to their competitors or internal territorial divisions! This creates a fringe area where no one gets good cellular reception, and the cable companies don't want to run miles of line for a few subscribers, and where the only phone company in town doesn't want to invest in equipment for the same reasons.

Anyway, my brother-in-law is the owner of the Radio Shack & Scottsville Cellular store in Scottsville, KY, and he is a dealer for our regional cellular company, Bluegrass Cellular. Bluegrass has a nifty device that allows you to surf the Internet at speeds that rivals basic DSL service. For the purposes of this discussion, basic DSL service offerings are those that advertise speeds of "up to" 3Mbps. Most basic DSL packages are in the neighborhood of 512Kbps - 1.5Mbps, so it is a fair comparison in my eyes.

The Axess MV400 is a wireless broadband router that uses the cellular phone network to provide high-speed wireless Internet access. Bluegrass Cellular is the ONLY cellular provider in our area that has 3G or better speeds, and they have partnered with Verizon to bring 4G to town later on. Once that happens, I may jump ship with my cell phone, since AT&T have no interest in a small rural community -- they've said as much -- which tells me that they are no longer concerned with growing the cellular business. If AT&T were concerned, they would be pursuing every line of revenue.

So to keep this from becoming another AT&T-bashing session, let me point out that we are extremely happy with our new service. We get download speeds in the neighborhood of 3.5Mbs, which rivals mid-range DSL service, and uploads as high as 1.8Mbps, which beats most basic DSL offerings. On a consistency note, our average download speed is around 900Kbps, with our uploads in the neighborhood of 512Kbps.

Since we ditched our satellite TV service, we have watched all our shows over the Internet. This service is hands-down better than satellite Internet could ever offer, in large part to the higher bandwidth and low latency in the connection! Whether it's Netflix on the Wii, HD video from YouTube, Hulu or a network's offerings, the videos load relatively well and have few pauses or buffering issues unless someone else in the house is online watching videos also. Since I don't watch NASCAR or much baseball, I guess I'll have to wait & see what football season brings as far as sports goes.

This service is also very beneficial to me professionally. I have used the Linux operating system (OS) & open source software almost exclusively for the last five years, and I really like to experiment with the new & updated OSes that come out from time to time. As you can imagine, these files are not small! I have downloaded and used one that is over 8GB in size, and that much data takes hours to download on all but the fastest connections.

The ability to download any Linux distribution, burn it to USB/CD/DVD, and try it without installing it are the biggest reasons I switched from Windows. I can do this all for the cost of a CD, DVD or USB flash drive, and a little of my time. I can try any piece of open source software I want, at any time, without installing it on my hard drive. When I'm done, I simply restart the computer, remove the live media, and boot up normally. You can't do that with Windows or Mac OSX at all, unless you have a lot of patience, don't mind backing up all your data, installing the OS, restoring your data, and then rinse, lather, repeat for each version you want to try. And then there's the money and time to shop for the software to make Windows & OSX productive! For that price, I will continue to experiment, I will continue to be vendor-free, and use my computer the way I want.

Thanks, Bluegrass, for the ability to have high speed Internet in an otherwise under-served area!

Until next time...

Read more at: Cutting the Cables, Redux
Posted: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 19:10:16 GMT

LiveJournal's Android App by

As I sit here waiting for my hot and sour soup to cool, I thought I'd give this app a go. I'm finding that the more I use my phone for more than just a phone, the more I'm replacing my desktops and even my laptop for daily tasks like checking emails & Facebook.

Since this is a test run, here is a picture I took with my phone the other day:

This is the road in front of my house. I live on a hill,  but my road is now under water, the result of all the rain & storms we've had lately.

Well, my food is here, so I will go for now and blog some more later. 'Til next time....

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Read more at: LiveJournal's Android App
Posted: Tue, 03 May 2011 16:37:33 GMT

The Tree is Dead; Long Live the Tree! by

I ran across an interesting post and response on Facebook today. The post is a very thoughtful insight to the whole eBook conundrum, painting eBooks as not much more than a marketing ploy. He makes some good points, but I will have to disagree with him, based mostly on the number of patrons I'm seeing (and from whom I'm getting phone calls) that want or need help with their shiny new eReaders that they got for Christmas or for a birthday present, and his final statement about eBooks being a distraction from the library's mission. The All These Birds With Teeth blog, authored by Joe Grobelny, states:

Finding ways to help people access information, for pleasure or otherwise, and then giving them the tools and the know-how to create new knowledge is bigger than books or ebooks. The true mission of the library is to lower the barriers for access into the “information economy” and frankly, the ebook is a distraction from the real mission of libraries.

Now, it seems to me that his statements here are contradictive. If the eBook is another medium through which people access information (think New York Times, e-textbooks, and online encyclopedias), then wouldn't the mission of the library be also to help that person get over the "barrier for access into the information economy?" Not sure I understand his statements here, unless it is to illustrate that the whole eBook fracas with HarperCollins is a distraction from the library's relevancy as a community support center. Perhaps it is, but then it just hurts the publisher, because several authors have come forward publicly in support of libraries, and even have denounced the actions of HarperCollins.

Claire Eike, a librarian for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, posted two responses, the second of which is the one that got my wheels turning:

...we see all these studies that people are reading significantly less. I think we have to redefine "reading" to include online reading and dialoging.

I couldn't agree more with Claire. Reading needs to be redefined to include online & electronic media. Reading is so much more than words printed on dead trees these days, and really has been transforming from paper to electrons for several years. School children are even being given electronic textbooks (e-textbooks), school libraries are going all-digital, and some schools are even handing out iPads for student use! With the advent of computers getting cheap enough for the average person to afford, the transformation started. Granted, back in the 1980s a PC cost well over $2000, but it was still cheap enough that more of the public could put one in their homes. Then, when services like AOL came along and offered "cheap" dial-up Internet service (for $29.99/minute!) it became even easier for people to do research online, then printing what they needed on their tractor feed, dot-matrix printer.

In the 20 years or so since, more and more advances have been made, to the point that we can now carry a device on our hip, or in our pocket, that has more computing capacity than those first PCs. On those "smart" phones, which are now more like tablet computers that make phone calls, we can watch video or read eBooks, which are really not books at all, but electronic files that never go away. And that, of course, is the point of contention for publishers who have obviously not learned anything from the MPAA or the RIAA in their attempts at monetizing online file sharing.

But how many of us actually use them, or need them to the point that we have bought a device dedicated to the purpose of eReading? For my money, I'd get an iPad or an Android tablet, simply because I wouldn't want a single-purpose device. I like to be able to do more on a device that's able to do more. The original Nook, the Sony Readers, and the Kobo Reader all have rudimentary web browsers, but they are horrible for web surfing!

So I can figure about when the tipping point of reading electrons more than paper came about, but how much of that can we attribute to reading works distributed by a publishing house? Technically, a work is published when it is first put into a medium, whether physical or electronic. But how can we track the myriad of blog entries, YouTube videos (many of which are text juxtaposed over a slide show with music), online documents, self-publishing sites and other avenues for authors to distribute their works? Nearly anyone who has an eReader will use an online service from which to download/checkout eBooks, so unless a library is subscribed to a service through which the patron's account gets authenticated, then the library does not get credit for the circulation. How can the definition of reading be made to fit all the new media that come out seemingly yearly, for any purpose?

Read more at: The Tree is Dead; Long Live the Tree!
Posted: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 20:52:00 GMT

CIL 2011: eBooks & Their Growing Value for Libraries by

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Amy Pawlowski, Web Applications Manager, Cleveland Public Library
Sue Polanka, Head of Reference and Instruction, Wright State University Libraries
Ellen Druda, Librarian, Internet Services, Half Hollow Hills Community Library
Rosemarie Jerome, Librarian, Half Hollow Hills Community Library
Bianca Crowley, Biodiversity Heritage Library Collections Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution

Sue Polanka and Amy Pawlowski

Cleveland PL - started in 2003 with 1000 titles, now have 55,000.

Public Library Future
Library Journal report - 72% of public libraries offer eBooks.
5% circulate preloaded ereaders. 1/5 of US pop read 2 books a week.

Academic Library Future
94% of academic libraries offer ebooks.
by 2020, 80% of budget will be econtent.
87% of students say online libraries/databases have an impact on their learning.
50% of students find etextbooks have an impact their learning.
65% of academic libraries offer or plan to offer services via handheld device
by 2015 25% of textbook revenue will be etextbooks.

Value for Libraries

24/7 access
Econtent meets users where they are - distance ed, virtual reference, mobile websites, self service research - LibGuides
no shelf/storage space needed
free ebook collections - provide links, add records to your catalog (will cost $$)
Stay current/relevant by providing service to growing demographic - by 2015 30 million US will own eReaders.

Economic Impact
collection development budget will have to shift from print to econtent.
cost effectiveness - print - cost of book, shipping, processing, cataloging - ebook - cost of book and cataloging.

Position Your Library
Public Library

Find/create a consortium purchase to afford it.
Know the products/platforms and how they work.
Create programing around devices
Collection development plan - must add new titles regularly.
Figure out how it will fit in your budget - is it part of materials, databases, something new?
TRAINING - for staff.

Academic Library
Must be viable on campus
Future is eContent, not just eBooks
Understand your limitations - vendors, DRM, formats - work together towards a sustainable future
ALA task forces on Digital Content - get involved, watch what they're doing.
Library Renewal - created by librarians.
Brand our content so patrons know its being purchased and provided by the library.
Digital textbooks - make sure your faculty knows they're coming.

eBooks and Reading Clubs
Ellen Druda, Librarian, Internet Services, Half Hollow Hills Community Library

Traditional book club readers have trouble with technology, not really interested in eBooks/eReaders.

3 groups of readers
- tech-savvy eBook readers
- Traditional book club readers
- everyone else

Want to pull readers together.
Need staff training first.
Laptop. Sony reader, iPad Color Nook. One-on-one training for patrons - works best with their users.
Marketing campaign - "Ask Me About eBooks". Staff wear buttons. Provided with script so they know what to say.

used iDrakula - updated Dracula story - communicate with text, email, etc, instead of letters like original. discussion group - Skyped in author, Bekka Black. mostly attracted teens.

Nook - brought in a Barnes and Noble rep to show it off.

Book discussion summit to be held in April - try to get all types of readers together.

The Evolution of a Summer Reading Program
Rosemarie Jerome, Librarian, Half Hollow Hills Community Library

For years, did it all on paper - registration, review slips - 2-5 people typically registered each year.

Went digital for registration - over 50 registered.

Reviewer's blog - available to everyone.

Skyped in author Jennifer Egan. 40 registered, over 100 reviews on the blog.

Books on the Go
2011 marketing plan to combine summer reading program with eBooks. hhhlibrary .org - Readers' Connection.

Fishing for the Right Content in a Sea of Free E-books
Bianca Crowley, Biodiversity Heritage Library Collections Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution

Add titles weekly, all for free.

Work with the Internet Archive to scan, digitize, store their items. Send metadata along when scanning is done. Use non-damaging scanner.

Entire BHL collection is public domain. Open access. Can re-use, re-purpose for your own use - encouraged!

Can download eContent items from Internet Archive into your own catalog. Created search based on LCSH subjects. Need to be careful about what it will bring in - some great items, some bad hits. Need to refine search terms and try again.

Looking for more digitized repositories that they can add to their catalog.

Read more at: CIL 2011: eBooks & Their Growing Value for Libraries
Posted: 2011-03-22T16:22:00.000-05:00

CIL 2011: Empowering the Reader in a Digital World by

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Al Carlson, Tampa Bay Library Consortium
Chad Mairn, St. Petersberg College

Al Carlson

The book is the content, not the package.

"Diagnosing the DVD Disappointment: A Life Cycle View" - as every new device has come out its rate of adoption has become faster.

History suggests that libraries won't be ready - we never have been ready!


Dedicated eReaders

Kindle - not library friendly.
Nook - digital lending, but one book to one person one time.
Sony eReader - see it most often in library.
Skiff eReader - flexible display, hasn't really caught on.
HPs Flexible Display - mylar sheet can hold video display with no power.

Good for extended reading.

Non-dedicated eReaders

Kindle for PC
Nook - app for pretty much every device
Android ereading apps

Good for quick bursts of reading.

OK to have both!

ePublication Formats

Main ones we use - EPUB, PDF, AZW(Kindle)

Dueling formats - hard for patrons to see the difference between EPUB and AZW. And they don't care. They just want to read.

Dueling DRMs - Adobe ADEPT, Apple's FairPlay, Amazon's proprietary.

DRM is software lock that controls access to a file, need special key to unlock it.

Good or Evil? Yes.

Librarians Against DRM


How will/does ePub affect Public Libraries?
Access - website becomes the library.
Delivery - instant home delivery. no need to visit the library.
No overdues.
Storage - costs a lot to keep books around. can put entire collection on a 1 or 2 terabyte drive - costs about $60.
Ownership - stored, checked out from, and returned to their server. Do we really own the books anymore?
Publishers reluctance to sell to libraries - term limits, limited range of vendors.


75% of students still prefer print textbooks.
CoreSmart - download and use for 180 days. - limited.
Courseload - etextbooks and course management system, browser based
Flat World Knowledge
Inkling - trying to go beyond the book, adding,

The Kno, textbook tablet - $599.

Browser based books - truly device agnostic.
HTML 5 - content stored offline, access via the cloud.

Books in Browsers 2010 conference. Internet Archive.

How should libraries respond?

No rule that says libraries cannot convert EPUB to AZW for patrons, or mention calibre.

Live Demo
Kindle, calibre on computer already, DRM free book. book in EPUB format. use calibre to convert to kindle format so patron can read it. Took about 2 minutes.

What about DRM?

Is it legal to strip DRM? depends on who you ask. hasn't gone to supreme court yet.
not illegal to know how. Libraries can be the place with the least DRM or the least annoying DRM.

New model for patron - SHRED

Search, Holds, Rental, Electronically purchase, Donate to the library

Possible Academic model
Borrow or buy ebook, add notes in Photoshop like layer, return or sell back, retain the notes, sell notes to next student who buys book.

Libraries - be aggressive with publishers about getting ebooks in the format you want.

Read more at: CIL 2011: Empowering the Reader in a Digital World
Posted: 2011-03-22T12:01:00.000-05:00

CIL 2011: EBook Publishing: Practices and Challenges by

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ken Breen, EBSCO

1997 – ebook on CD with 127 page print manual on how to use it.
1998 - NetLibrary was founded. Last year EBSCO bought NetLibrary.

NetLibrary – next year, brand and name will be retired. Will become eBooks and eAudiobooks on EBSCOhost.
Ownership – 3 models - single user, 3 users, unlimited users/per book.
Consortia by number of libraries in group.
Lease – 1, 7, 14, 28 day lease.
Subscriptions – continue audiobooks, will consider ebook.
TitleSelesct will be replaced with EBSCOhost Collection Manager (ECM). Purchase, patron driven, EBSCO experts.

Leslie Lees, ebrary

Founded in 1999. Over 3700 institutional customers, 19.2 million end users. Acquired by ProQuest.
Subscription model – over 50,000 titles. Patron Driven Acquisition. Short term loans.
DASH – Data Sharing Fast – upload PDFs and add metadata.

Bob Nardini - Ingram

Coutts info services, academic arm of Ingram.
2008 study – academic libraries - 43% of ebooks are held in print too. Print and ebooks are living in coexistence, and we are a part of the biblioecosystem.
Signed agreement with OCLC to ILL ebooks.

Mike Shontz – OverDrive

Our role is as an library advocate. Create a marketplace where libraries can make an informed choice.
Will be more DRM free ebooks in the future.
Libraries must interact with the publishers to tell them what we want/need.


Adobe is main mechanism for DRM. Ebrary – we have proprietary software, but rights are determined by the publishers. Publishers are more willing to give looser DRM on their own systems but not on 3rd party aggregators.

Publishers you work with? Differences between OverDrive – public libraries and others who are more academic based.

Downloading pages? Ebrary – tries to support downloading a chapter – have to work with publishers. Ingram – started with 10, now up to 60. EBSCO – working with publishers to up to 60 pages.

When will be able to loan ebooks? Ingram – signed agreement with OCLC for ILL. ebrary – have short term loan.

Read more at: CIL 2011: EBook Publishing: Practices and Challenges
Posted: 2011-03-22T11:18:00.002-05:00

CIL 2011: Innovative Marketing Tools and Strategies by

Monday, March 21, 2011
Speakers: Stacy Bruss and Nancy Allmang, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Nancy Allmang

Audio Podcasting
Started small - $20 microphone. Podcasting for Dummies, Audacity. They use a PC - said they had a hard time finding free music to add. (Personal Note: Recommendation from audience - "there is plenty of royalty free music available, just Google it.") Heard that Macs come with Garage Band and free music to use. Coworker took podcast home and used his Mac to add music.

(Personal Note: You do not need to purchase a Mac to find music for a podcast. Go to Creative Commons and search for music. NTS: Attend "Podcasting & Tools: Endless Opportunities!" on Wed. for more info - 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM)

Video Podcasting
Contracted with staff at NIST who knew how to do this. Cost $5000 and 7 months! (Personal Note: Um...what?!)
But, they learned how to do it themselves. Bought a MacBook Pro, video camera, microphone, took class at Apple store to learn how to use MacBook to do it. Best length is about 1 minute. Do voiceover later, don't record audio during filming.

Stacy Bruss

New staff do day and a half orientation - library gets 10 minutes. Use videos to help them remember about the library.

pptPlex - plugin for PPT 2007 and 2010. Allows for zooming presentations. Allows you to repeat images, words, ect, but doesn't feel like it. (Personal Note: It's Prezi for PPT.)

Digital display - 7 seconds is best length of time for each slide/screen to be shown - tested by walking by display and seeing how long it took.

CamStudio - to capture actions on your desktop - keystrokes for accessing a database, for example. Use PowerPoint to loop it.

Market the same item using all of your marketing channels - not every customer knows or is exposed to all of your channels.

Repeat marketing messages. Repeat them again when you think you've repeated it enough.

Prezi - used with digital display.

Xtranormal - create video cartoons with text script that you enter.

Read more at: CIL 2011: Innovative Marketing Tools and Strategies
Posted: 2011-03-22T10:10:00.001-05:00

CIL 2011: Promoting with Web 2.0 by

Monday, March 21, 2011
Speaker: Curt Tagtmeier, Fremont Public Library, Mundelein, IL

Article in Sept issue of Computers in Libraries.

Medium sized public library - offer free services galore - YouTube,, Twitter, Mobile Joomla, Meebo, Blogger/Dapper - the library staff think it's Awesome!

How can patrons benefit from all of these free things without needing multiple logins? Keep patrons in a place sponsored by the library?

Facebook! Why should libraries be on Facebook? Because that's where the people are.

Fremont Public Library on Facebook -

111,000,000 US users, 100 million mobile users, 500,000 apps, average user has 130 friends, average user is connected to 80 community pages/groups/events.

Facebook offers the best of many social networking sites in one - photos/Flickr, status updates/Twitter, videos/YouTube, IM/Trillian, private messages/email.

Mobile potential - for patrons and library staff - library staff can update page and patrons can view updates from almost anywhere.

Facebook Zero - can use FB on non-smartphones.

Mobile Site: A Case Study - created a mobile site using Joomla - looked just like an iPhone app, but wasn't. Lots of headaches by creating it themselves. Nobody used it. For smaller library - too much work for too little payoff. Now just a static site.

Secrets of Facebook Success - Be unique, practical, innovative, fun. Don't just duplicate your website, don't only feed info about programs. Facebook page needs to be different, interesting, useful. Feed in articles you find that might be useful to your patrons. Look at what other libraries are doing. Read up on apps that might be useful to your library/your patrons.

"Facebook Marketing for Dummies" new book just came out. Great info.

Things you might not know about Facebook:

- can embed an RSS feed into your library's page - your library blog.
- can create customized links on side of page using FB Markup Language - widgets, calendar.
- Administrators of page can now post as a page instead of as themselves - comment comes from library, not you. (Personal Note: I LOVE using this!)
- apps can be added to page - Goodreads app, for example, YouTube - share a video playlist of trailers for new DVDs at the library.
- - share playlists of new music recently purchased by the library. Podcasts - sign up as an artist, iLike provides streaming player, can listen to it directly in Facebook.

Future apps:

- - extract info from any web site using data mapping. rss feeds, Google gadgets. Just started experimenting with it.
- Use Facebook as a Reference services tool - embed Meebo into FB page for IM reference.
- embed library catalog.
- Wall as discussion board - Facebook Book of the Month Club - great idea, not working so well yet, that will happen, just have to try and see what your patrons like and use.
- Book trailer videos
- Twitter vs. Facebook - Twitter is active communication, Facebook is passive communication. Followed famous authors, retweet their posts, patrons liked seeing what authors were saying.

Read more at: CIL 2011: Promoting with Web 2.0
Posted: 2011-03-21T14:04:00.001-05:00

Say Hello to Our New Little Friend! by

The Goodnight Memorial Library is proud to announce that we now have an early literacy station available for children up to 6 years old! It is located beside the catalog computers on the 2nd floor and is available during normal business hours. Here's what it looks like:

It's a system we purchased from AWE, Inc., a supplier of early learning & early literacy stations to the world, really, with systems going to all types of libraries and organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs and Head Starts.

The system is very kid-friendly, with a set of tiger-themed headphones,

a child-resistant keyboard, which should last a good amount of time due to the fact that there will be no drinks around (I hope!),

and a themable, easy-to-navigate interface for kids to play educational games:

In "testing" this product, I found that it really is kid-safe and appropriate for small children, with all facets of knowledge and concepts available to the young ones. Everything is included, from basic shapes, motor skills, colors and language development, to basic math, science, foreign languages (are there any, anymore?), and health and science, all taught by characters your kids already know! Learn Spanish and other subjects with Dora the Explorer, as well as Mercer Mayer's Little Critter and other popular characters! AWE even went so far as to reassure everyone that the content wasn't selected willy-nilly, as evidenced by the "Educator-selected content" header:

The theme-ability of this station is one thing that's good -- there's a default, cartoon-ish theme, a space theme, which you can see two pictures up, a princess theme and a jungle theme. Additionally, you can change the character and the language from English to Spanish, as shown in this picture:

We hope you are able to bring your young ones in to use this machine regularly -- we think they'll enjoy it and will learn something without even knowing it!

In order to ensure a bit of fairness for everyone, all sessions are limited to 30 minutes, and this station is only available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no Internet access on this machine, so parents needn't worry about objectionable content coming in by mistake. We ask that parents please supervise their children while they are in the library using this machine, especially if they haven't had much exposure to computers. While it is made to be both child-friendly and child-resistant, these things won't last with lots of abuse.

Read more at: Say Hello to Our New Little Friend!
Posted: Fri, 04 Mar 2011 17:03:16 GMT

Biting the Hand That Feeds You by

So I'm working along this morning, reading other librarians' blogs when I come across this post about a change in OverDrive Media's licensing of e-books (OverDrive is the company that powers KY Libraries Unbound)on Librarian By Day:

The first bit – ownership of ebooks will now expire after a certain number of check outs to patrons. Libraries may no longer own them forever and ever. This is unbelievable! And a HUGE step backwards in lending rights and library access.

The past several months have brought about dramatic changes for the print and eBook publishing and retail industries. Digital book sales are now a significant percentage of all publisher and author revenue. As a result several trade publishers are re-evaluating eBook licensing terms for library lending services. Publishers are expressing concern and debating their digital future where a single eBook license to a library may never expire, never wear out, and never need replacement.
OverDrive is advocating on behalf of your readers to have access to the widest catalog of the best copyrighted, premium materials, and lending options. To provide you with the best options, we have been required to accept and accommodate new terms for eBook lending as established by certain publishers. Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher’s requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached. This eBook lending condition will be required of all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher’s titles for library lending (not just OverDrive).

The second bit of bad news – publishers want to meddle in your library card policies:

In addition, our publishing partners have expressed concerns regarding the card issuance policies and qualification of patrons who have access to OverDrive supplied digital content. Addressing these concerns will require OverDrive and our library partners to cooperate to honor geographic and territorial rights for digital book lending, as well as to review and audit policies regarding an eBook borrower’s relationship to the library (i.e. customer lives, works, attends school in service area, etc.). I can assure you OverDrive is not interested in managing or having any say in your library policies and issues. Select publisher terms and conditions require us to work toward their comfort that the library eBook lending is in compliance with publisher requirements on these topics.

Normally I wouldn't care a whole lot what the publishers are doing -- usually all I have to do with them is to catalog their information in our system. But now they are saying print books only last 26 checkouts on average? They have no clue! I'd love to see a citation for this number so I can disprove it with experience!

Of course librarians, library users and authors from all over the world have tried hard to bring Twitter down today, expressing both outrage and incredulity over this sudden policy. Josh Hadro revealed in his Library Journal article that the offending publisher is HarperCollins (HC). Instead of going the route of most other publishers and simply charging more, HC have decided that print books only last a year in a library setting. This is assuming that books check out for 2 weeks and aren't chewed up by dogs or left in the rain. They also fail to realize that libraries spend money on gallons of glue, miles of tape, rubber bands, and other supplies repairing these books over the years. Translated message to HC and all other publishers: WE WILL NOT SPEND MONEY ON NEW BOOKS IF WE DON'T HAVE TO!

At least one author, Courtney Milan has chimed in as well, at least from outside the HC family. On her blog, she likens this new policy by HC to "eating your seed corn," an old saying for using up your supply of seed that will grow your crop next season. Perhaps this is the case (maybe HC is quitting book farming?), but what they fail to realize is that libraries are fertile fields of both guaranteed sales and future customers, as well as sprouting new readers and customers for the future!

Another non-library blog,, has also expressed dismay and concern over the future of e-books as well:

...given that I’m sometimes the 8th or 10th person on a waiting list to check out an ebook from the Philadelphia Free Library, I can’t help but wonder if this new restriction would mean the book will disappear before I make it to the front of the queue — or just as bad, a cash-strapped library might have to pay for another license for me to read the book for “free.”

OverDrive has to keep publishers happy or it won’t be able to provide any books to libraries, so it should come as no surprise that the company has added the self-destruct button to digital library books. But I can’t help but wonder if the move won’t severely limit the number of books available for check-out from public libraries across the US.

Here's a great breakdown of what all this means for libraries by The Librarian in Black, Sara Houghton-Jan.

Should you feel so inclined to follow the discussion on Twitter, follow the hashtag #hcod.
Should you feel the need to rant at HarperCollins, the e-mail address to use is
And finally, if you would like to tell OverDrive what you think of them kow-towing to the publishers, they are @OverDriveLibs on Twitter, OverDriveForLibraries on Facebook, and their standard inquiry form.

Lots of us in the library field are feeling a bit betrayed by OverDrive right now, as well as by HarperCollins, so I ask that you please join the fight and tell them how you feel!

Read more at: Biting the Hand That Feeds You
Posted: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 22:17:01 GMT

Comments on my blog by

I found out something rather accidentally just now. If you delete the notice in your LiveJournal Messages page, everything gets deleted! Duh, right? Well, that's all well and good until you delete the notice that someone has posted a comment to one of your entries. It turns out that it deletes that comment in the entry as well!

Bad form, LiveJournal!!

Read more at: Comments on my blog
Posted: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 23:27:31 GMT

Software Testing by the Big Boys by

Every time I log in to Yahoo! when I'm using Google's Chrome/Chromium Browser, Yahoo! has to tell me that my browser hasn't been tested for the "new" Yahoo! Mail. Now, I've been using Chromium, Google's truly open-source version of the Chrome browser, for more than 6 months. You'd think that in that period of time enough Chrome/Chromium users would have used Yahoo!'s services that they could get some real-world data. Instead, we get this:

I guess Yahoo! either doesn't care to remove this notice, or are thumbing their nose at their biggest dominator. Google isn't so much a search competitor anymore as it is a dominator. But then again, Gmail stayed in Beta status for years before Google deemed it worthy of final release status.

I understand well the need for software testing when the application is deemed to be an enterprise-grade software, but come on, Yahoo! We're talking about a mail aggregator, RSS Feed aggregator and Ajax-enabled content displaying web page! Admittedly it looks fairly complex when you do a 'view source' right click, but at its heart the web page is simply CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

I guess I'm just trying to say that I'm tired of having to click the "Go On to Yahoo! Mail" link when I want to check my mail. There's been enough testing done by the public to say that Chrome/Chromium works. You guys don't have to provide support for another browser outside of Firefox or Internet Explorer, but that seems incredibly short-sighted when you consider they are but two fish in the sea.

Read more at: Software Testing by the Big Boys
Posted: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 18:45:22 GMT

The 87th Annual Masters of Library Science Croquet Tournament by

Learned of this from a fellow FriendFeed librarian. Awesome!

Read more at: The 87th Annual Masters of Library Science Croquet Tournament
Posted: 2011-01-12T00:10:00.000-06:00

A quick thanks by

My thanks to Deborah Elizabeth Finn, who not only gave me kudos for some of my consulting work, but also points out the valuable possibilities for collaboration between nonprofit technology workers and librarians.

To my librarian readers - what ideas spark when I suggest offering our information organization skills to local (or not so local) nonprofits? How else can we help our communities in this way?

Read more at: A quick thanks
Posted: 2010-11-22T14:45:00.004-05:00

Presentations from Internet Librarian by

Catching up is hard to do, it's true. Just in time for your weekend perusal, here are the presentations I gave at Internet Librarian back in October.

Read more at: Presentations from Internet Librarian
Posted: 2010-11-18T16:01:00.004-05:00

Tales from the Inside by

This post isn't library-related, but it does tie in quite nicely with my career.

My kids are having fun playing in the Edubuntu Operating System, an educational suite incorporated into the Ubuntu Linux OS. The particular release I am installing is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, a.k.a., Lucid Lynx. The LTS designates that it is a Long-Term Support version, to be supported for at least three years. With Ubuntu's six month release cycle, it's a good thing to use a stable, supported OS as a base for an educational system. By the way, there are lots of school systems around the world that use Edubuntu, even here in the United States. It's a great idea, especially with the prohibitive costs of licensing Windows or Mac-based software and hardware.

So I've done a lot of work on computers, both inside the software and under the hood. But in the last 27 years of fooling with them, I don't think I've ever see anything like this:

What you are looking at is the backside of an old Nvidia GeForce MX4000 graphics card that was installed in an old HP Pavilion computer my kids have been using for games. The yellow arrow is pointing to a blob of bubble gum. (WTH, right?!?)

I'm still scratching my head as to how it got there, because I KNOW it wasn't there when I installed that card, and to my knowledge, I'm the only one who's unscrewed and removed the case on that machine since we've had it!

I guess this one will go down in history as one of those great tech support mysteries....

'Til next time!

Read more at: Tales from the Inside
Posted: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 17:18:34 GMT

Internet Librarian Conference, and Why by

Tomorrow will see me, along with hundreds of my colleagues, converging on the city of Monterey, CA, for the 2010 Internet Librarian Conference. It's an opportunity for me to get away from the routine of daily cataloging, beating on computers and the circulation desk. It's an opportunity for me to sharpen my IT skills, get new ideas to help us be a better library, and provide better services for our patrons. Finally, it's an opportunity for me to meet colleagues I follow on Twitter and Facebook, as well as meet new ones.

I'm really looking forward to this conference, and I realize just how fortunate I am to have both my Library Director's and Board of Directors' support for this conference. With the number of states and communities ending support for their public libraries, and the funding cuts we have sustained here in Kentucky, I fear that major conferences like this will fade away due to lack of attendees. So it's vitally important to attend this conference to see what my colleagues are up to in the realm of technology, because technology is what drives the world and the consumption of information more so today than in years past. For libraries to stay relevant to everyone, we must adopt those technologies and instruct our patrons in its use. If you haven't been to your local public library lately, you ought to go check them out. You never know what you might find behind those doors!

We must also teach each other our ideas that work well, and help each other figure out why other ideas haven't. E-mail is good, and there's always the phone, but you can't beat one-on-one, personal interaction when there is a tough or complicated issue to discuss. Plus, it's just plain cool to be able to tell your co-workers, "See you next month!" :)

I'll be posting from the conference some, so keep an eye open for my new posts.

'Til next time.

Read more at: Internet Librarian Conference, and Why
Posted: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 22:12:45 GMT

Internet Librarian, ahoy! by

And, that's really about it. Check out my schedule and see where I'll be, give or take a turn down on the boardwalk.

Read more at: Internet Librarian, ahoy!
Posted: 2010-09-14T14:12:00.003-05:00

Cutting the Cables With Scissors by

This post isn't necessarily about library technology, but can (and will) be a story heard more and more often.

At my house, we used to have the usual avenues to the outside world: land line phone, dial-up Internet (we live out in the sticks, no cable or DSL available), and satellite television. Then we got cell phones.

We lived with having both land line and cell phones for a while. With dial-up we had to have a land line phone line, so keeping the phone made sense. Our regional cellular carrier covered enough of where we went that we realized that we didn't need long distance phone service any longer. So we dropped it, and that was the sound of the scissor drawer opening.

Then we realized we were using the cell phones more for local calls, since mobile-to-mobile was free. We also realized that our cell phones were becoming our primary contact number more often than not. So we dropped our land line phone service to _just_ phone service -- no caller ID, no call waiting. Still have to have it for dial-up Internet. That was the sound of the scissors coming out of the drawer.

We switched cellular carriers to AT&T (then Cingular), because I was traveling outside our regional carrier's area more frequently. I could talk to more of my family for free as well, and the phones were better and plans were a bit cheaper. Now the scissors are open, but we still had the land line, which by this time had no actual phone on it, just a line to the modem in use.

We decided in January 2010 to go to satellite Internet service, something against which I have railed in the past. Yes it is more expensive than any other consumer-grade offering and we're on the hook with Wildblue for two years, but it does bring broadband to the house. Besides, the area in which we live is prone to lightning strikes, and we had spent roughly $195 over about 5 years in replacing modems for that reason. Cable one has been cut, as we canceled our land line phone after the satellite stuff was installed.

We started with the "Value Package", which was mediocre at best. It was the cheapest offering at $59.99/month, but we were regularly having to reset our satellite modem as much as 5 times daily, which is totally unacceptable and indicates there is a problem. Our download speeds were between 80Kbps and 250 Kbps, which was like lightning to dial-up users. We soon realized that we were getting close to the ceiling on our service, which was limited to 7.5GB of data in a rolling 30-day period. So we upped to the "Select Package", which gave us some breathing room at 12GB, and also increased our speeds to a theoretical 1Mbps. There was an improvement in download speed, and we only had issues with hitting the cap when I would play with a new Linux distribution and have to pull updates. We haven't hit our cap yet, but we could. With the Select package, we were still having to reset our modem quite often and paying $79.99/month, but we still had broadband.

So my wife & I sat down and did some figuring. We were paying between $90 & $100 for satellite television with Dish Network. We could upgrade our Internet package and watch TV online, but where are the majority of our shows? We both have shows we watch on the SyFy network, we can get most of the major networks' programming over the air, and whatever else we watch (I love to watch the PowerBlock on Spike TV) we can grab from Hulu or the show's own site.

So we did it. We cut the final cable. We pay $89.99/month for our Internet service, and get 1.5Mbps downloads (closer to 900 Kbps) & a cap of 17 GB. But we are not paying one red cent (we're actually saving about $50/month overall) for our television content. We are a week behind what subscribers see on our SyFy shows, but you know what? I don't care. We've got a little more money in our pockets every month now and we still watch what we want, when we can.

Cable and satellite services are a species headed for extinction anyway, as more and more content goes online and is fed over the Internet. Closer to the junk pile already are CDs and DVDs, as well as Blu-Ray. BR will have a short future in data storage, but it's a technology that is too late in coming. The advances being made in flash memory and Solid State Drives have rendered it obsolete, along with all the restrictive, constraining DRM crap that the MPAA and RIAA have foisted upon movies and music.

We've cut the cords and cables, and are happy about it. So far we've not run into any problems and we look forward to the future!

Read more at: Cutting the Cables With Scissors
Posted: Tue, 07 Sep 2010 18:53:53 GMT


So lately I've been playing catch-up here at the library, mostly with cataloging and other librarian-type jobs. But I've also been working behind the scenes, testing open source Integrated Library Systems (ILS), and talking to other vendors of ILS to determine what's best for us at this juncture. We've had the same ILS provider since 2002, and things aren't going as well as they should most of the time. Additionally, it doesn't work on Windows 7, Linux or Mac, so it really is nearing its end of life, along with Windows XP.

I've also built and deployed four new machines for public access, as the computers being replaced are eight years old and starting to show their age. They all have dual-core processors & 2 gigabytes of RAM, as well as an onboard Nvidia GeForce graphics chipset to handle any online games and most other games that a patron may bring in on a USB stick. Patrons are also able to view HD video content as well, which should cover future viewing options as more and more content online goes HD. It's just a little insurance, warranted by the fact that lots of camcorders and even some cell phones can do HD video. And besides, it's just a better user experience for our patrons.

One other thing I've been working pretty hard on is a presentation on how open source software use in libraries can help with cutting costs and reducing headaches. I know that open source software isn't for everybody, at least not yet. But with the right tools in place a library (or an individual, for that matter) can break free from vendor lock-in and ongoing costs of staying with that vendor. By ongoing costs, I am referring to annual licensing fees, hardware upgrades, productivity software purchases, and even software updates that many proprietary vendors charge. Since the IT industry changes so quickly and we are rolling into many of the scheduled "point releases" for the open source guys, I'm finding that this presentation is a work in progress. I will present at the KPLA Fall Conference at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY on September 17th.

I also plan to go to the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, CA, October 25th-27th. Being able to go to a conference that deals with both the Library and IT sides of my job is a great help in that I can stay on top of my job in both categories. I am very fortunate to be able to attend such events; lots of folks can't, and have to rely on others to pass on the information accurately and in a timely fashion. This is all well and good, but in order to maintain professional knowledge and viability in a rapidly-changing profession, we have to have that information as soon as it is available. Knowledge truly is power, and it is the enabler of sound decisions that shape the future of an organization.

Read more at:
Posted: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 15:30:35 GMT

Summer Reading is Ovah!!! by

And thank God! As I've posted before, one of the downers to working in a small library is the small staff. It's not really a downer, but it does make it inconvenient when I'm trying to get an IT project or some cataloging done and I have to cover the circulation desk. Being one of ten is a bummer when there's tons of programming!

But it was a great Summer! I haven't seen the final numbers yet, but I'd bet heavily that we've set some records this year in terms of attendance and variety. We showed three movies every Tuesday in June & two Tuesdays in July, had a henna tattoo artist, theater troupes, scientists doing bug & reptile programs, Tae Kwon Do & T'ai Chi demos, financial advisors -- you name it, we probably had it. The Bug Guy was really neat, because he brought in a microscope that you plug into a TV (similar to this, but professional); only we plugged it into an LCD projector so he could show his water bugs on our 8'x10' movie screen! Can you say 1950's horror movie?!

At any rate, now that I have "more time" to do my thing, I'll get back to posting a little more regularly. I have lots of photos to show!

'Til next time!

Read more at: Summer Reading is Ovah!!!
Posted: Tue, 03 Aug 2010 21:46:56 GMT

Library Day in the Life by

For at least today and tomorrow, I'll be participating in Library Day in the Life, a neat view into the working lives of information professionals of all stripes. I'll be updating via Twitter, since that's about my attention span.

Follow me at @eclecticlibrary and see what I do all day. I promise - no lunch blogging.

Or, follow the whole merry crew.

Read more at: Library Day in the Life
Posted: 2010-07-26T10:30:00.004-05:00

Howdy! by

On Friday, I participated in my first T is For Training podcast/chat session and it was a hoot and half. Chatting about social media in libraries and how we can bring training to patrons wherever they may be. You won't hear my voice on the podcast, but you might next time.

So, to anyone visiting via the T is for Training page - Hallo!

As a quick update, I've recently switched positions at the BPL from Generalist/Acting Branch Manager to Web Services Librarian. I've been settling in to the new job for the past few weeks, and the nascent blog posts are starting to compose themselves in my head. Watch this space....

Also, I'll be attending and speaking at Internet Librarian in October, so if you're going to be there take a gander at my schedule and say hi!

Finally, I'm looking for good library-focused examples of social media guidelines and web-writing style guides, either as combined documents or separately. If you've got a good one to share or point at, let me know.

Ciao, and you'll be seeing more of me now.

Read more at: Howdy!
Posted: 2010-07-19T11:08:00.002-05:00

Further Musings on the iPad by

So The Goodnight Memorial Library has had an iPad for about a month now, exploring the possibilities and potential of the device for patron use.

As I've stated before, it's a great time-waster, with little use in a productivity setting, at least in terms of creating documents, spreadsheets or Keynote presentations. Sure, Apple sell iWorks, their answer to Microsoft Office, and it does create/save/edit MS Office files, but only in iPage. Numbers (Apple's spreadsheet program) can only open & save in its own format, and the same applies to Keynote. The real downer, at least for me when composing a document, is the on-screen keyboard, which requires the user to press two keys to get at the special characters such as #, %, &, and ^. When doing complex passwords or lots of equations/number crunching, this can be a pain.

Additionally, most of the documents, music, videos and anything else you transfer from computer to iPad requires the media to be dragged through iTunes, and even then it may not play well. Apple do not allow any MP3s or other audio media on its machines unless they are stored in and played through iTunes. PDFs are supposed to be platform-agnostic, but they don't render well on the iPad. See this post from my colleague, Valerie Forrestal, for more on PDF files and a video demo.

There are others in the Information Technology world who would agree with me, and have done some of the same things that I have in terms of eschewing the passé desktop or notebook and using the latest & okay device as a replacement for the jobs they do. It just won't do these tasks well enough to be adopted by businesses for that purpose.

Yet another downer is security. It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and for years that link has always been the end user when it comes to basic device security. Some boneheads leave their devices in taxis, on the table to go refill a drink, or where ever, and there is nothing any IT Pro can do about that. Some folks have a need to have the shiny new device & steal them. Not much you can do there, either, but with the right tools in place can at least protect data by wiping the device remotely or track the device to that secret underground lair.
Apple does try to help a little with some advice located here, as well as some PDF documents to which I have linked in this post. Since the iPad does run the iPhone OS, many of the procedures and practices used for securing iPhones can be applied to the iPad as well. Here is Apple's Enterprise Deployment Scenario guide, their Security Overview for the iPhone OS, and their Enterprise Deployment guide. They are all PDF documents, so you will need a PDF reader like Adobe's Acrobat Reader or Foxit Software's Foxit Reader.

Now, this device does have some very cool features and is very useful in other arenas, namely watching videos, playing games, surfing the Internet and potentially as an e-reader. I know, Valerie's blog post states that it has no usefulness now, but as the device matures and is refined I suspect we'll see more and better features. I'm not ready to give up on the device yet, but I think that in the end, Apple will not be as IT-friendly as we admin-types would like, given their largely consumer-driven focus.

Read more at: Further Musings on the iPad
Posted: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 19:19:22 GMT

Reflections on a PC-Free* Day by

*Okay, relatively PC-free. I was at work, and since there is no app for our Circulation software, it was required that I use our Circulation PCs for library business.

Our library recently acquired an Apple iPad for testing compatibility with our downloadable e-books, audiobooks, and music. This is my review of my experiences thus far with the iPad.

The iPad model we got was the $499 base model, with 16GB of storage and wi-fi connectivity. Since this is for testing usability and compatibility, and we don't want to pay AT&T for another, too-expensive data plan.

The iPad is essentially an over-sized iPod Touch, also an Apple product. Both have touch screens, accelerometers, the iPhone Operating system (iPhone OS) and wi-fi connectivity. For those with failing eyesight (or just can't see as well as you used to), the iPad may well be worth your money, at least more so than an iPod Touch. That being said, there are a few shortcomings that I'll get into in a bit.

For starters, when you take the shiny, new Precious out of the box and attempt to turn it on, you are greeted with a screen that graphically (no words!) tells you that you MUST plug it up to a computer and sync it with iTunes, which you MUST have installed on that computer to even use the iPad. So, if you have an aversion to iTunes and its Digital Restrictions Management scheme, don't buy an iPad.

However, once it's all synced up and registered with Apple, it's a pretty nice device if all you want to do is waste time. Don't get me wrong, it's a great media consumption device, but has very limited use as a productivity device. For starters, the keyboard is my major hangup. I wouldn't dare to attempt to write a blog post with it, because to get to special characters, like %&$*^#, you have to press two extra buttons, and then press another button to get back to the alphabet. It's also frustrating when trying to enter complex passwords on a secure site.

The touch screen on the iPad is excellent, exceeding my expectations, which I must admit were limited to the experiences I've had with credit card readers and cell phones, and the occasional Nintendo DS. The screen is very sensitive, but not so much so that you end up clicking something you don't want to click. Scrolling is very smooth, but does require that you keep consistent pressure while dragging your finger(s). Pinching two fingers together on the screen zooms in and spreading them zooms out, which is very handy in map applications where you might desire a street-level view over a city- or state-wide view. Dragging a single finger left or right across the screen will scroll left or right in an application, or between screens to show different apps.

So now we move on to the media consumption aspect of the iPad. One of the first things that struck me as odd right off the bat is the fact that there is a YouTube app right on the home screen. With all the brouhaha lately between Steve Jobs and Adobe, and the fact that the iPhone OS won't support Flash, I was quite surprised to see that there. Clicking on it takes you out to YouTube, where of course you can watch any non-flash video. The few I looked at were of lower quality but watchable, so until content creators & browser manufacturers get into supporting the new HTML5 video codecs, this loss of quality will be the norm rather than the exception. I must also add here that there are apps that will take you to sites that will play high-definition video, but again, those videos are not flash-based.

Now on to the apps. Some of these apps are great, others, not so much. Since the iPad shares the iPhone OS with the iPhone, it is only natural for the developers to port iPhone apps to the iPad. Therein lies a major problem with those apps: they were created and optimized for the 3.5" (diagonal) screen on the iPhone. When in standard '1x' mode, the app looks just like it would on an iPhone, complete with the border, look and feel of being on an iPhone. When you push the 2x button in the lower right corner, you get a low-res, pixelated mess. Now, the developers did provide a feature called "scaling up," but the net effect is to downgrade the experience to the point that you feel like you are back in the 8-bit graphics days -- fuzzy, pixelated graphics & text like those seen here in the game World Class Track Meet.

The text is grainy and difficult to look at for very long, and any graphics are very low-res, looking very much like the picture above. For a device with the ability to render high-quality graphics and HD Video, I expected a much better experience.

I'm testing this iPad for use in our library, so I have to look at it as both an end-user and a system administrator. As an end-user, all I can say is I want one bad enough to have to wipe the drool off my chin. As a system administrator, however, it is a total nightmare. Since it is so new to the market, there are no apps for locking the machine down. Maybe I'm a little old-skool, but this device does have the ability to log on to a network, and it has no means of keeping a user from changing the device's settings, something that could prove troublesome in the event of theft. Hey Steve, how about giving us sysadmins some love?

That being said, there are apps you can use to control what media is stored on the iPad, but what good is that if you can't stop a user from changing the settings and/or deleting media and apps from the iPad? Additionally, since there are no external data ports to hook up an external hard drive, there's no way to re-image an iPad like you can with a standard PC or laptop. If there are any libraries out there using the iPad already, I'd love to hear from you and discuss what steps you've taken to secure your iPads, media and apps.

In conclusion, I'd have to say that I wouldn't want one for anything but traveling on vacation, where I'd have to do a minimum of typing. For that reason, I can't justify spending the money on one personally, even for the base model. I like a device that can multi-task, something else the iPad can't do, and has a keyboard that I can use without having to press six buttons to type one character. Am I old for wanting this? Yes, I guess I am, but I like what I like, and I can spend $500 on a fully-functional netbook or laptop, and run Linux or (gasp!) Windows.

So if you are in the market for a very nice, time-wasting video device, e-reader, or basic game platform, and have the money to spend, get an iPad. If you have to manage content and/or user access, need a keyboard that is easy to use, or simply don't like iTunes, don't get an iPad. The choice is really up to you, and you will really want to think about your intended use before you make that choice.

Read more at: Reflections on a PC-Free* Day
Posted: Wed, 26 May 2010 03:40:21 GMT

Managing Online Life link list - Part I by

Hi, all. I'm speaking today (in about 4 hours) at the Massachusetts Library Association's annual conference about "Managing Your Online Persona." I'll have a link to the presentation up on this blog soon. While you wait, check out a few articles on how you create and maintain your online professional presence. Enjoy!

Crafting an Online Persona by Craig Anderson (slideshare)

Who Really Owns Your Social Media Persona? by Drew McClelland

Fired for Facebook and Twitter by Phil Gerbyshak (and make sure you read through the comments for more)

The Psychology of Social Media: Can a visible brand ruin your life?" by Jennifer Leggio

How to Friend Mom, Dad and Your Boss on Facebook....Safely by Sarah Perez

Our Emotional Lives in Social Media by Aliza Sherman

A Guide to Protecting Your Information Privacy on the New Facebook by Jay Hathaway

Read more at: Managing Online Life link list - Part I
Posted: 2010-04-30T09:38:00.003-05:00

Technology and Librarian Training by

Okay, so it's been a while since I have posted. This week has seen me in beautiful Bowling Green, KY, for the Kentucky Public Library Association (KPLA) Spring 2010 conference. The Twitter hashtag we were using is #kpla10, if you want to search some of the information given over the course of some of the presentations. I'm putting this out there for you, KY Librarians, who attended the conference and didn't get to some of these, but anyone can look because it's all pertinent information for all librarians!

Anyway, being the geek that I am, I attended most of the technology-track presentations at the conference and learned something about the librarians in this state: Most of them want to embrace and use technology and social media but have no idea how to start or to manage it once they are using it. I'm not saying our state's librarians are backwards, idiots or even that they are technophobes. I'm saying that the technical presentations enjoyed a larger crowd than I remember from a couple of years ago, and that the need for technical training for librarians in Kentucky is at an all-time high.

Seriously, as librarians in a world that is hurtling towards digital everything, we HAVE to stay on top of what's on the market & on the Internet or we risk falling behind in this world and losing our relevancy and value to our patrons & taxpayers! Too many times I hear, "I didn't know you could do that," or "How do you do that," usually within the basic operations of a computer such as printing on a web site or in regards to some particular feature of a piece of software. Most of the time its the staff here, but I also heard it a LOT at the Kentucky Public Library Association (KPLA) conference, even from some of the presenters!

I'll be the first to admit that I probably spend too much time on the Internet, but in my line of work it pays to be on top of what's out there, technologically speaking. It is through thorough research and development that we figure out what's best for us and our patrons. I have been on the Internet a lot in the last couple of weeks, working on an open-source ILS server for testing purposes. It's up and running, and without the help of users & developers on the Internet, I would probably STILL be trying to figure it out. It took me about five days, off and on the project, to get it done. Without the online help, it probably would have stretched into a couple of weeks or even longer.

So maybe I'm a little bit jaded in my evaluation of the state of technology training for librarians in the state of Kentucky. But if we librarians, perceived as our communities' information experts, don't know how to change a printer when trying to print from a web site or PDF document (File -> Print -> select printer -> OK or Print), or don't know how to be effective online searchers, or don't know how to connect an iPod to our Wi-Fi service, what do we really know? How diminished does our reputation as information experts become? Will that patron come back to ask us how to download an e-book onto a Nook or Kindle?

Chances are, those librarians who are either unwilling to get involved with computers past the circulation desk or deem themselves too old to have to learn about them will call on the younger generations to fix the issue. But quite often, the younger ones (30- and 40-somethings) don't know much more either, and in turn call the IT guy. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and love helping people. But not only do I do all the IT work, I also am the Technical Services librarian. You know, the mysterious one who puts all the new acquisitions in the system. I try to do my best to explain the situation and demonstrate to my fellow staff members how to resolve each issue, and it has helped a lot in terms of reducing interruptions. But after this weekend, I strongly suspect that librarians statewide, and maybe even country-wide are lacking in the latest technical training.

So what do you think? Do you know how to connect an iPod to Wi-Fi? What about a Microsoft Vista- or Windows 7-equipped laptop that won't connect? Did you know that restarting a computer will fix most Windows issues? How do you feel about the technical knowledge level of your staff? Yourself?

I'm not saying that all librarians should be experts in computer operation and use. But some basic training on how to do some simple stuff would greatly expand our usefulness as an institution and as individuals.

Read more at: Technology and Librarian Training
Posted: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 22:20:55 GMT

Contact your Senators to ensure school and public libraries survive! by

Ask your senators to support library funding!

Yesterday at 3:23pm

From the American Libraries Association Office:

Please call your U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., today and ask them to sign onto a “Dear Appropriator” letter that is circulating around the Senate. This letter will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be asking the committee to support the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL) program in its FY2011 budget.



Congress is currently drafting the federal budget for fiscal year 2011.It has never been more important than now that Congress fully funds the LSTA, the only annual source for federal funding to libraries. As Congress writes next year’s budget they need to understand that dollars from the state and local levels are at an all-time low, and libraries can not continue to do their important work without this funding.

In this “Dear Appropriator” letter that is circulating around in the Senate, the signatures are urging the Appropriations Committee to include $300 million in funding through LSTA in the FY2011 budget. Please contact your two senators’ offices and tell them about the work your library does in the state and community.It is always a good idea to stress what programs and resources your library provides to help build the local economy, help kids with their homework, and so much more. After you have explained how libraries are an incredibly valuable investment, please ask your senator to sign onto the “Dear Appropriator” letter supporting LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL).

School Libraries

In his FY2011 budget request, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with five other literacy programs. This would mean that school libraries will have to directly compete with other dissimilar programs to receive federal dollars under the President’s plan. However, Congress is drafting their own budget for FY2011 right now, and there is no word yet if they will go along with President Obama’s recommendation of consolidation. Congress needs to hear from you NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.

Right now there is a letter circulating around the Senate urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for the ILTSL program. This amount would make money available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program. Please contact your two senators’ offices explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education. Please ask them to sign on to the ILTSL and LSTA “Dear Appropriator” by customizing the letter below.

The deadline for the “Dear Appropriator” letter is April 14, so please contact your senators today and urge them to sign on! Also, please ask your friends and library supporters to contact their senators as well – we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials so these programs receive the funding they need.

To take action, please take the following steps:

1. Please go to
2. Customize the sample letter as you see fit – remember, a personal story on how your library benefits your community matters the most!
3. Enter your contact information.
4. Press Send.
5. If you would prefer to call your representative, feel free to dial the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask for your representative. The switchboard will transfer you to their office. If you need to locate your members of Congress, please go to
6. Please ask your friends and supporters to call. We need as many signatures as possible on these letters and your grassroots efforts could make the difference.

Kristen Murphy
American Library Association

Read more at: Contact your Senators to ensure school and public libraries survive!
Posted: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 15:52:39 GMT

Contact your Senators to ensure schools and public libraries survive! by

Ask your senators to support library funding!

Yesterday at 3:23pm

From the American Libraries Association Office:

Please call your U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., today and ask them to sign onto a “Dear Appropriator” letter that is circulating around the Senate. This letter will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be asking the committee to support the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL) program in its FY2011 budget.



Congress is currently drafting the federal budget for fiscal year 2011.It has never been more important than now that Congress fully funds the LSTA, the only annual source for federal funding to libraries. As Congress writes next year’s budget they need to understand that dollars from the state and local levels are at an all-time low, and libraries can not continue to do their important work without this funding.

In this “Dear Appropriator” letter that is circulating around in the Senate, the signatures are urging the Appropriations Committee to include $300 million in funding through LSTA in the FY2011 budget. Please contact your two senators’ offices and tell them about the work your library does in the state and community.It is always a good idea to stress what programs and resources your library provides to help build the local economy, help kids with their homework, and so much more. After you have explained how libraries are an incredibly valuable investment, please ask your senator to sign onto the “Dear Appropriator” letter supporting LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL).

School Libraries

In his FY2011 budget request, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with five other literacy programs. This would mean that school libraries will have to directly compete with other dissimilar programs to receive federal dollars under the President’s plan. However, Congress is drafting their own budget for FY2011 right now, and there is no word yet if they will go along with President Obama’s recommendation of consolidation. Congress needs to hear from you NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.

Right now there is a letter circulating around the Senate urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for the ILTSL program. This amount would make money available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program. Please contact your two senators’ offices explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education. Please ask them to sign on to the ILTSL and LSTA “Dear Appropriator” by customizing the letter below.

The deadline for the “Dear Appropriator” letter is April 14, so please contact your senators today and urge them to sign on! Also, please ask your friends and library supporters to contact their senators as well – we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials so these programs receive the funding they need.

To take action, please take the following steps:

1. Please go to
2. Customize the sample letter as you see fit – remember, a personal story on how your library benefits your community matters the most!
3. Enter your contact information.
4. Press Send.
5. If you would prefer to call your representative, feel free to dial the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask for your representative. The switchboard will transfer you to their office. If you need to locate your members of Congress, please go to
6. Please ask your friends and supporters to call. We need as many signatures as possible on these letters and your grassroots efforts could make the difference.

Kristen Murphy
American Library Association

Read more at: Contact your Senators to ensure schools and public libraries survive!
Posted: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 15:49:32 GMT

Digital Commonwealth, here I come! by

Evening, folks. Since I won't have my laptop with me at the conference tomorrow, I'm posting a link to the presentation I'm making at Digital Commonwealth's 4th Annual Conference tonight. For your pre-reading pleasure:

Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Libraries

Enjoy, and I hope to see many of you tomorrow at DigiComm, mid-April at Computers in Libraries or at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference at the end of April. A busy spring!

Read more at: Digital Commonwealth, here I come!
Posted: 2010-03-24T19:51:00.004-05:00

End of year thoughts by

In another forum, I was asked:

You have a less "books=sacred objects" view than many of the people we know in common. Would you say your view is common among librarians of tour acquaintance, or are you an outlier there (too)? Have you always felt that way about books or did you come to it along the way?

Excellent question. To be clear, I believe that individual books can be sacred objects - important/rare editions, religious texts, original manuscripts, individual inscriptions, etc. - but that the format of any physical manifestation of ideas isn't sacred in and of itself. Books are ultimately just collections of glue and paper and cloth; it's the concepts they hold or the meaning we imbue them with that can make them sacred.

In particular, I believe that everyday books are meant to be engaged with, interacted with and responded to. For someone who's a tactile and kinetic learner, this means that I have to write out my thoughts and responses for that engagement to happen; the most convenient, immediate and relevant place to do that is in the text itself. I write in books all the time, and prefer to own the books that really speak to me so I can do so without guilt. I've always worked this way, back into middle school; in college, I preferred to buy the most written-in, highlighted books I could find to continue the conversation the previous owner(s) had started. Marginalia fascinates me, and its place in history is vital. Writing in library books does have historical precedent, too, but I'm less okay with that due a strong "if it doesn't belong to you, you don't get to permanently change it" ethic.

Amongst librarians, there are far more folks in the "books are just paper" camp than you'd think. I'm certainly not an outlier there. Not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as I am, but most of us have to recognize that fact for the very practical reason that we cannot house all of the books in the world forever. Libraries are not warehouses and not all libraries are even archives or research collections. Each individual title that comes onto our shelves gets chosen for its relevance and usefulness to our patrons. Periodically, we review the evidence of that continued relevance and usefulness - number of total check-outs, most recent check-out, date of publication, wear and tear - and when it's become obvious that something's no longer useful, it needs to go, to make room for something that is. Even archivists don't keep everything (ask my friend at the Congregational Library Archive); librarians of all stripes use their best judgment to determine what stays and what goes as a collection changes over time.

When librarians choose to get rid of an item, we do try and see if it can be useful to someone else somewhere, either by relocating the item to another location or by selling it. Then, when it's falling apart beyond repair, or when mold or bugs or water or scratches have damaged it beyond use, the item gets recycled or trashed. Like any other object in our lives, books and DVDs and CDs can carry more negative weight than positive weight; when that happens, it's time for them to go in the most environmentally sound way possible.

All that said, it's occasionally fun for me to watch patrons squirm when I suggest that the paperbacks they've carefully stored in a New England fieldstone basement for the past 30 years are best off destined for the recycling box or trash barrel. Sure, some collector somewhere might want them and they might have some historical value....but they could also give everyone who touches them an upper respiratory illness or contact dermititis. People are more important than books, always. Not necessarily ideas (V for Vendetta and Farenheit 451), but always more important than the physical paper object.


After writing all this, I found a deeply practical (if occasionally defensive) article on What Books You Could Live Without in the NY Times. Read through it all, and the comments below, for some specific criteria in what might stay and what might go as you weed your own collections.

Read more at: End of year thoughts
Posted: 2009-12-28T22:19:00.003-05:00

Who Am I Online? Part I at CMRLS by

Here's the presentation link for tomorrow's workshop at the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System: "Who Am I Online? Part I: Creating a Consistent Personal or Institutional Identity."

I was very happy to note that all of my examples had either stayed precisely the same or improved (as examples good or ill) for my purposes. I'm happy to update a presentation with current information, but these were particularly good illustrations of my points.

Read more at: Who Am I Online? Part I at CMRLS
Posted: 2009-12-10T22:44:00.002-05:00

Last of the Presentation Posts for a while by

It's been a heck of a spring, with road trips and lots going on back in Boston. For now, however, the presentation season is over.

Tomorrow, I'll be running the Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Libraries workshop for the Boston Region. Presentation notes can be found here. Unfortunately, the slideshow is too big a file to upload to Google Docs, but I'll tweak it a little bit and post the link here soon.

On that note, given the increasing upsurge in demands on my time, I'm considering the future of this blog very carefully. Updating only once every other month is just Not Working, but there just hasn't been time for more. I haven't decided to retire Eclectic Library or put it on formal hiatus quite yet, but it's a possibility.

But now, it's very early in the morning and I've got a presentation to give in a few hours. G'night!

Read more at: Last of the Presentation Posts for a while
Posted: 2009-05-26T00:21:00.004-05:00

Taming the Infoclutter at CTLA! by

Tomorrow's road trip (or, more precisely, train trip) is to fair New Haven, CT to speak at the Connecticut Library Association's annual conference. This is my first invited speaking engagement (based on my Cybertour back at Internet Librarian 2007) and though it's an old familiar topic, I'm nervous.

I'm also a vain creature who's found a natural home in the spotlight, so I'm sure I'll be fine.

All of which is to preface the notes for the presentation:

Taming the Online Infoclutter: Using RSS to Keep Current and Manage Overload


Read more at: Taming the Infoclutter at CTLA!
Posted: 2009-04-28T22:10:00.003-05:00

Who Am I Online? Part I by

Tomorrow, I'm leading a new workshop on online identities at the Boston Region. Your presentation links du jour:

Who Am I Online? Part I: Creating a Consistent Personal or Institutional Identity

(and some additional examples)

Who Am I Online? Part II: Using Personal Start Pages and Other Digital Identity Tools (first given March 25, 2009)

And now, time to make sure there's a well-rested trainer presenting tomorrow.

Read more at: Who Am I Online? Part I
Posted: 2009-04-21T22:31:00.004-05:00

A small moment of Awesome by

As a trainer and semi-evangelist for social computing (aka, 2.0), I'm often called to justify why it's important that library staff are familiar with and understand how this "2.0 stuff" works. Here's another example for the case file.

I'm the new Acting Head of my branch, and I just got a phone call from someone at the Massachusetts Rehab Commission. Apparently, for the past few weeks, if you searched on Google for the Allston Branch of the BPL, you got our listing...with the MRC's phone number. Our number is there too, but theirs is first and they've been getting a lot of calls for us. She asked me if I was the person who 'subscribed' to Google's business listings for us. heh

I asked her to walk me through the process, and I saw where the listing had gone wrong. I also saw that magic Edit button. A little bit of conversation revealed that the MRC had done a program here recently, and they'd put out a flyer with our address and their phone number. Some helpful participant had gone back and edited the Google entry for our branch with that "new" number. heh, again

Fortunately, what was done can be re-done, and I quickly edited the results myself and removed the number. It might take some time for Google's cache to clear, but most of the immediate onslaught of calls should stop. I asked the very relieved MRC admin to call me back if the issue persisted.

If I didn't know that anyone can edit those Google information boxes, I wouldn't have known what to do.

If I wasn't familiar with the tools and tricks of Google, I wouldn't have known what to do.

Certainly, if I wasn't familiar with the concepts and processes of how the internet works nowadays, I wouldn't have known what to do.

This is why it's important for library staff of all stripes to learn about this stuff. It's why I present lectures and teach workshops and 'coach' courses on social computing. So that when these questions come up, we know how to approach the problem and actually resolve it...not just throw up our hands in frustration and hope for the best.

Read more at: A small moment of Awesome
Posted: 2009-04-17T11:23:00.002-05:00

Computers in Libraries...Day One-ish by

In the midst of a spring full of travel, here I am in Crystal City, VA at Computers In Libraries. For budget reasons, I'm only officially attending the conference tomorrow, but I did manage to catch the last panel in the Collections, Communities & Collaboration track today. No online notes, as I left the laptop back in my hotel room, but an excellent presentation on Continuing Online Community Engagement.

After a sneak attack on the Exhibitor's Hall and a signed copy of David Lee King's new User Experience book, I headed out to Harar Mesob -- "The only Ethiopian restaurant in Crystal City" -- with a group of intrepid gourmands. A extremely tasty meal, and I made an impression on the server by asking her for a preparation of ayib that she'd never heard of.

A quick side trip to a cafe/gelateria on the way back to the hotel, and I've spent the rest of the evening drinking a latte and finishing off a mint chip gelato while catching up on some much-neglected social networking.

Tomorrow I'll spend most of my day in the Social Software: 2.0 Tools, Tricks & Tales track before jetting my way back to Boston tomorrow night. Zoom zoom zoom....

Read more at: Computers in Libraries...Day One-ish
Posted: 2009-03-30T20:31:00.003-05:00

Who Am I Online? Part II by

A quick post with the presentation link for

Who Am I Online? Part II: Personal Start Pages and Other Digital Identity Tools

presented today at the Boston Regional Library System.

Read more at: Who Am I Online? Part II
Posted: 2009-03-25T06:38:00.002-05:00

Infoclutter Presentation at CMRLS by

A quick post to put up the link for today's "Taming the Infoclutter" workshop at the Central Mass Library Region.

Taming the Online Infoclutter: Using RSS to Keep Current and Manage Overload
November 18, 2008


Read more at: Infoclutter Presentation at CMRLS
Posted: 2008-11-17T23:54:00.004-05:00

Wow...nearly six months, huh? by

If you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you know that the busier my offline life is, the less likely I am to post here. Since April 2nd, I've coordinated blogging at the Massachusetts Library Association annual conference (May), put up and taken down the 2008 Allston-Brighton Art Exposition (June/July), presented another workshop for the Boston Region, Technical Directed a real-life comedy of errors for my local community theater company (April through August), traveled, hosted, and helped keep a branch operating far below optimal staffing levels running smoothly.

So, no, I haven't really had the time or energy to post here.

However, I am going to be coordinating a 10-week online program for the Boston Region -- 26.2 Things in Boston -- and I thought I should update my own blog before asking others to create theirs.

I do hope to be posting more here as a part of that effort, working my own way through the program, and my reflections on leading that program. We'll see, though. I've stopped promising more substantial posts, both elsewhere and here. Life is as it will be, you know?

For now, thank you for bearing with my absence. All is well, and life proceeds apace.


Read more at: Wow...nearly six months, huh?
Posted: 2008-09-16T18:48:00.004-05:00

Presentation Notes from Reaching Patrons by

Last week, I presented the newest version of my "Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Libraries" talk at the Boston Region. Thank you to everyone who participated, and as promised, here are the notes and slides.

This presentation was expanded and adapted from "Online Outreach for Libraries" by Sarah Houghton-Jan, the Librarian in Black.

Read more at: Presentation Notes from Reaching Patrons
Posted: 2008-04-02T14:44:00.003-05:00

Theoretical Job Description for the Librarian with a Laptop by

In my last post, I mentioned the idea of a "Librarian with a Laptop," who goes out to coffeeshops and other co-working facilities and brings library services directly to patrons. Here's a pie-in-the-sky job description for such a role, too much for one person to handle but an idea of what might be:

Job Description: Digital Outreach and Training Librarian
a.k.a. "Librarian with a laptop"

Basic Function: Under direction of [an appropriate manager], to provide online and in-person training and outreach to staff and the public in the use of online library services and emerging technologies.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Initiates, develops, plans and implements the Library's online services initiatives through personal consultations, onsite and offsite workshops, online and offline outreach, and other programs as developed.

2. Offers professional development to staff at centralized locations and at staff workplaces in emerging technologies, current databases, online outreach, and other subjects as determined by recognized need and staff surveys.

3. Trains and develops staff members to realize their potentials and use that developed potential to provide the best library service.

4. Attends public meetings around the city to present information about the library and offer tailored trainings to constituent groups (e.g., schools/PTOs, business/civic associations, cultural/immigrant organizations, etc.).

5. Maintains working relationships with educational institutions, social and community groups and businesses with regard to online library services. Facilitates cooperative efforts with these organizations to provide systematic service to larger constituent groups.

6. Writes training and promotional materials for city-wide library resources for distribution within library buildings and to promote city-wide library services in local business and organizations, including both print and online formats (blogs, RSS feeds, etc). Coordinates and encourages contributions by other staff to such publications.

7. Conducts and coordinates "Librarian Is In" sessions at local coffeeshops to reach prospective business and student patrons.

8. Travels to branch locations to provide direct training programs to the public on emerging technologies, current library resources and other subjects as determined by user surveys.

9. Recommends and/or plans changes in service and new services through the library digital portal.

10. Works with the Digital Services Manager to revise and update policy and procedural provisions affecting the delivery of online library services.

11. Responsible for oral presentations and written reports on assigned activities to senior management, trustees and other stakeholders.

12. Actively participates in system-wide committees, training and other professional activities.

13. Represents the Library on city-wide and state-wide committees, and at professional conferences.

14. Peforms other realted and/or comparable duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:
1. A Bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university and an MLS from an ALA-accredited library school.

2. Five years of pertinent professional library experience.

3. Extensive knowledge of current library resources, practices and policies; substantial knowledge of library profession trends, theories and best practices; broad professional outlook.

4. Demonstrated interest in community and library work; demonstrated ability to use and teach searching via search engines and proprietary databases; demonstrated ability to work well with staff and public.

5. Demonstrated ability to assume responsibility and carry out assignments independently; proven oral and written communication skills, especially through electronic media; demonstrated knowledge of the techniques of programming and presentation; initiative, dependability, good judgment, tact and courtesy.

6. Flexibility and the willingness to learn and adapt; a commitment to professional development. Willingness to participate in professional activities and to expand on professional knowledge.

7. Proven ability to interpret and apply library policy; to analyze and solve problems; to generate new ideas; to organize and manage complex activities; and community relations.

Read more at: Theoretical Job Description for the Librarian with a Laptop
Posted: 2008-03-25T19:22:00.004-05:00

A thoughtful return by

Hello, all, and welcome back to the Eclectic Library. The very short reason for four months of silence? A lack of time and a lack of focus....I was too busy to keep up with my own professional reading and just didn't have very much to say.

Suffice it to say, with spring comes refreshed thinking. In particular, this post from Nate Hill over at Catch and Release about a Library Outpost service model stopped me short and lit a fire under me. After you've finished reading my post (;^), go and check out his.

Nate's idea was to create Library Outposts in places where people are already congregating -- near business centers, schools, apartment complexes, etc. These would be streamlined library buildings, with little to no print material but lots of space for computers and events. With this in mind, here’s another idea for you: From those library outposts, as well as traditional branches, librarians can make forays out into even more targeted areas of the community. Send a “Librarian With a Laptop” into coffeeshops and other places with free wifi to raise awareness of library resources among entrepreneurs and self-employed freelancers, researchers and writers. Set up in a corner of the space with a tabletop display promoting the library’s services, the nearest branch or Outpost location, and a few bullet points of what the library offers. The librarian can showcase database offerings and catalog functionality and help answer reference on the fly.

Think of these roving librarians as another tier on your service model, one even more focused on serving patrons as individuals rather than on the building as the primary resource. You might even use such forays as proof-of-concept for your Outposts, by sending the roving librarian in first to stimulate interest in the area you’re thinking of putting an Outpost later.

I'm not the first person to think of this, not by a long shot, but it's such an easily-implementable idea that I'm going to share my version of it with you. Also, it does seem to be an initiative coming more from academic libraries rather than publics, but we can serve so many more of our patrons remotely in this same way.

Next post, the job description for this Librarian With a Laptop, public-library style.

Read more at: A thoughtful return
Posted: 2008-03-25T08:07:00.003-05:00

Taming the Online Infoclutter presentation links by

Just to have both versions of the presentation in one place:

Workshop for Boston Region

Cybertour from Internet Librarian 2007

One week of vacation and one week of holiday work seems to have added up to no posts for much of November. I guess I know what my New Year's resolution will be, eh?

Read more at: Taming the Online Infoclutter presentation links
Posted: 2007-11-27T11:42:00.001-05:00

Uh-oh, our cover's blown! by

Apparently, IL2007 made WoWInsider: Librarians Who Play World of Warcraft references the WoW Ladies LJ community, which references The Librarian in Black's coverage of the WoW session at IL2007.

More citations than my reference class paper, but there you have it. One more stroke against the school-marm librarian image, dangit, and I must say that I'm pleased. In fact, tomorrow morning, I'm going to repost the following call:

For a long while, I've been wanting to do a calendar of decidedly non-traditional looking librarians: tattoos, motorcycles, dreads, piercings, non-natural hair colors, cosplay/costumers, funky geeks, eclectic hippies, thrill-seekers, etc. I've got some connections amongst Boston-area photographers (and assorted oddballs), but I'd like it to be as global as possible.

So, who's in? Who's willing to be seen as an antidote to the bun-and-glasses type? I'm not asking anyone to reveal parts of themselves they'd prefer to keep personal, but if you're truly comfortable flying your colors in public, why don't you think about it?

Let's say this will be a 2009 calendar, eh? Who's in?

Read more at: Uh-oh, our cover's blown!
Posted: 2007-11-01T20:17:00.000-05:00

Wednesday...and an attack of nerves by

In theory, I was going to go to at least part of the two morning sessions, but the attack of nerves I inexplicably developed before my Cybertour short-circuited that. Which was annoying, because it meant I missed Mary Ellen Bates and Casey Bisson talking about their favorite and best topics. Rats.

The Cybertour itself went fabulously, with about 25 folks in the audience. A few came up afterwards to tell me how useful it was to get all of those organizing tips all in one place, which was the whole point. Of course, I managed to get the best feedback possible: "I really wish I could stay for your talk because it sounds great. Could I have your contact information?" Neat.

Remember, if you want to see everything I've done on the Infoclutter presentation, just click the tag over there on the right or follow this link. The slides are there, along with some ancillary material.

I did attend the afternoon sessions, but neither one was quite what I was looking for. (Here are the notes.) I've heard Chad Boeninger and Paul Rival both speak before, and their last session was a quick tour through the various free tech tools they use with their students. What they did that others didn't was a walk-through and demo of Jing, a downloadable multimedia snip-and-share program that seems like a breeze to use. It's definitely up high on the sandbox list for me, my copious free time of course.

The last session was originally about visual display search engines (neat!) but it was replaced by a lecture on meta data and topic maps. Interesting, but not what I was looking for.

And thus ended the conference. I hopped on the Monterey Airbus back to San Jose and slept the whole way home. Overall, it was a less heady experience than IL2006 had been, but in the year between I've gone from being amazed at what librarians are doing to being excited to see what I can help make happen myself.

But not today. Today I rest, and tomorrow...I'll see what comes. Enjoy!

Read more at: Wednesday...and an attack of nerves
Posted: 2007-11-01T13:57:00.000-05:00

IL2007 -- Tuesday presentations by

A much better day of it today -- lots of fascinating programs and great speakers. And, to cap things off, an honest West Coast earthquake during the evening session! 5.6 on the scale, just north of San Jose. We felt a jolt, but not much more. My wishes for safety amongst those closer.

Here are today's notes.

First of all, if you can have Rebecca Jones come and speak to your senior management team about the importance of being a 2.0 organization, do it. She has an energy and a conviction about the process of being Library 2.0 that translates beautifully.

Equally engrossing, Meredith Farkas and Helene Bowers explained the ins and out of staff training via Library 2.0-type initiatives. As someone who's trying to be a part of such an initiative at my home institution, I paid close attention and got some excellent background thoughts. Now it's just time to turn it into a proposal and results.

In "I"m at Web 2.0, Are You?", Amanda Palmer of the American Bar Association outlined ways in which she enticed and supported non-tech-savvy folks into learning and applying 2.0 tools in their work. Given the potential audience for my trainings back home, this was vital information. As part of the same session, David Alsmeyer from BT Libraries went through the steps he's engaged in to reach an older, but already tech-savvy and well-educated population. After the session, I told him about my "Librarian with a Laptop" idea; it seemed to go over well.

The other speakers from today were less relevant, but interesting. Now, I must pack my bags and get a good night's sleep before tomorrow's presentation. More on this after the show!

Read more at: IL2007 -- Tuesday presentations
Posted: 2007-10-31T01:47:00.000-05:00