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Blast from the Past: Public Library Issues and Reflections at IL2008

B106 – Public Library Issues & Reflections
Enjoy this roundtable session from Monday, October 20, 2008. The session was described as “Join the day’s speakers for an interactive, round-robin, expert response session with plenty of audience Q&A! Reflect on the day’s insights and ideas and share your thoughts with colleagues.” Listen in to this Q&A session that may be even more relevant now than it was in 2008.

Internet Librarian Topics 1997-2009

As suggested by Kathy Dempsey, author of The Accidental Library Marketer and one of the fine bloggers at The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries blog, here is a collection of Wordles based on the final program for each of the Internet Librarian conferences from 1997 to 2009.

In the course of compiling this information I was struck, once again, by how far we have come. Currently the Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries conference programs are published using XML and XLST so if we make a change to a session title or description or a speaker’s bio, its pushed out in the XML file and instantly the site s up to date everywhere that information is used. Going back in time for this information was like an archeological dig through the the history of web development all the way back to the days before CSS and to when ITI hand coded the entire program in plain HTML.

When it comes to working with data on the web, there were no “good old days” to look back on with fondness in my opinion.

As requested, here are the source files I used – minus the year seedings:

For a full size animation of the sort below, visit Internet Librarian Through the Years.

Year by Year

See You Next Year

The ITI blog team has enjoyed bringing you the news and happenings of IL 2008, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator

Fast and Easy Tuneups

We are used to tuning up our cars, but did you know that your web site can be tuned up too?  Jeff Wisnewski from the University of Pittsburgh presented 35 fast and easy tuneups for web sites.  You can see the details on his slides.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator

Closing Keynote: People Want Technical, Tangible, and Social

At 3:45 Wednesday afternoon, a big group of hard-core conference-goers settled into the comfortable Steinbeck Forum for Internet Librarian’s closing keynote. Once again, Liz Lawley, director of RIT’s Lab for Social Computing, delivered the show’s final thoughts. Her topic was Learning and Play in a Social and Mobile World, and she talked about lots of gadgets, crafts, and how they engage people both in person and electronically.

Lawley ran through a number of wild and crazy new gadgets, such as the Nabaztag rabbits and "Home Joule," which montiors home energy usage. There were too many to list here, but you can find them all on this site. The one that stood out most to me was Botanicalls, a small electronic device with attached probes that you stick into the soil of a household plant. The probes monitor soil moisture and the device will call or twitter you when the plant needs to be watered. Interesting? Sure. Necessary? To me, personally, this one was a bit much. I figure that if a person wasn’t so busy with electronic gadgets, he or she might be able to remember to water their plants all by themselves. But hey, that’s just me.

Then she talked more about crafts, and how people came together through creating things, both in person and online. Even online shoppers want tangible things, handmade items, and she cited sites such as Etsy, "your place to buy and sell all things handmade." These sorts of sites, she said, work "to bring people together in a physical, geo-local sort of way," and she wondered why libraries weren’t doing more of this. Why not open rooms to knitting clubs? Why not open rooms with wi-fi and lots of outlets for group activities? Why not offer more cafes where people can come together and eat or drink without leaving the library building?

She talked a lot about knitting and crocheting, too, asking the audience how many did such needlework. I was surprised by how many responded (myself included). In fact, I was sitting near one perfect example of what Lawley was discussing — one attendee who was very engaged in the presentation had a laptop in front of her and was knitting at the same time. wow!

People want to be involved in all three ways — technical, tangible, and social — and libraries can do more fun and interesting things to fulfill those desires.

~Kathy Dempsey

Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter



Making Movies: Lights, Camera, Action!

This was a really wonderful, all-encompassing talk by Sean Robinson and Kaye Gregg from the Allen County (IN) Public Library. They had worked together on a cool zombie video that won an InfoTubey award earlier this year, so I was sure they’d know their stuff, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve heard others discuss how to take a video that was shot quickly with an inexpensive digital camera and use software to edit it. This session, tho, was all about shooting the video in a more planned-out, professional manner. You wouldn’t have to be rich or own lots of fancy equipment to benefit from it, however. Here are some of the many great tips the duo shared for making great-looking videos:

  • For the best lighting, shoot in the morning or evening, but not at mid-day.
  • Shoot some still photos at the time & location you plan to make the video so you can see how the lighting will look.
  • Make your participants feel at home so they’re more comfortable when the cameras start rolling.
  • Combine lights from various angles to get good lighting, especially on faces.
  • Secure the area before your shoot so you don’t have people walking through your scene.
  • Be aware of the locations of security cameras or sensors so you don’t set off any alarms, especially if you’re shooting after hours (ie, in an empty library at night).
  • Be very careful about microphone placement to achieve the best sound.
  • Hold a written script just under the video camera so the actors can read it while still looking at the camera.
  • Use people who are natural hams; who are unafraid of the camera.
  • Layer your audio and video to build a soundscape piece by piece.
  • If you can’t get good audio recording during the shoot, then record that seperately and dub it in later.

All of their advice related back to planning — careful planning makes for better work. And since they practiced what they preached for their own presentation, it’s no wonder that these experts put on such a good show themselves.

~Kathy Dempsey