DiSC® Personality Profile…06.29.08

29 06 2008

While thinking about what to post today, I was reminded of the DiSC® personality profile testing I was required to take before being considered for my current “librarian/historian” position by our Human Resources Department.  It is interesting first, because I took the test in October of 2004 but was not offered the job until November of 2005.  After a year, I had given up on expecting any interest when seemingly out of the blue the job offer came in a phone call.  Within days, I accepted the position, put our house up for sale, and was planning the 1,200 mile journey.

I understand the history of these personality tests and the reasoning for using them in the hiring process almost everywhere now but I personally believe there is enough error in them to make them potentially dangerous to the individual.  Playing the percentages, however, companies and organizations use them to weed out or drill down to the pool of candidates that will likely make a good fit.  I especially like (sarcasm) the disclaimer on the results that says, “As you read this report, please remember that there are no right or wrong answers, and no one dimension or pattern is better than any other.”  Yeah, right!

Anyway, the DiSC test revealed that my highest dimension is “Dominance-Steadiness.” Supposedly, this is the “classical profile pattern” they name “Achiever Pattern” of 15 “classical patterns that describe the behavior of people with a specific blend of the four DiSC® dimensions.”  There is also an “intensity index” which “represents the range of intensities for each of your dimensions of behavior.”

In the department under whose auspices I work, there is a predilection to emphasize the animal personality types promoted by Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent, i.e. the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever, and the beaver.  Our manager often refers to the behavior characteristics of individual staff as indicative of these animal personality profiles of which she thinks fit although most of the department have not taken the actual DiSC or any other personality profile. 

Of course, similar personality types from the Greeks which Tim LaHaye and other use are the “choleric”, “sanguine”, “phlegmatic”, and “melancholy”.  Putting them together, the lion/choleric/dominance, the otter/sanguine/influence, the golden retriever/phlegmatic/steadiness, and the beaver/melancholy/compliance are basically the same.  

Although my manager may never have looked at the results of my DiSC® testing from a year before I was hired or may have  forgotten them quickly thereafter, I am consistently placed in the “beaver” profile primarily and secondarily in the “golden retriever” profile in passing group discussions of the topic whereas the DiSC® testing results would place me primarily as a “lion” and secondarily as a “golden retriever.”  I wonder why the discrepancy between my manager’s perception and the results of the actual testing?  Mmmmmmmmm… Certainly, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speculate.

In reality, I would tend to agree more with the DiSC® Dominance-Steadiness profile to describe my personality type at work.  I believe, however, these types of tests are too general to be of much value other than for making generalizations or fun office banter.  If accurate, they could be useful in creating better teams.  There are too many testing variables though that seem to me could significantly skew the results despite the specialists’ claim that years of testing results makes them trustworthy indicators of predicting behavior.

Update 01.15.09:

In a departmental social gathering today, I was described as a “beaver” and “lion” personality.  Since the department will supposedly all be participating in the DiSC® this month, the subject came up in discussion. It will be interesting to see if the perceptions of others coincide with the personal impressions of co-workers.

Update 02.20.09:

Librarian Signal Personality “Patterns” Survey And DiSC® Profile Results…02.20.09





Casual Reading Recouperating from Surgery…06.29.08

29 06 2008

My knee surgery went well yesterday so while hanging out on pain pills I have had the pleasure of reading a couple of books for fun.  I am in the middle of a new Sherlock Holmes adventure which was supposedly commissioned by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate called the “Italian secretary.”  I am enjoying it very much.  Quite some time ago, I went through all of the consulting detective’s cases chronicled by the famous Dr. Watson.

Another book I am reading is “Quiet Please” about a librarian’s experiences working in an Anaheim Public Library.  I am finding it particularly interesting because 1) I acquired a library technical assisting degree before my undergraduate degree while working in libraries as did the author and 2) because I have wanted to work in a public library as a reference librarian but was never given the opportunity although I tired many times to get hired by just about any public library when I was unemployed with an MLS and living in Florida between 2002 and 2006.  An interesting point the author brings out in the book which may or may not be true is that many public librarians do not read books.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm…

For any new reader, I have been a special librarian for the last 2 1/2 years.





Open Source ILS Software Alternative Koha…06.26.08

26 06 2008

Previously, I had mentioned the alternative, open-source ILS software Evergreen.  I should also have made note of the other alternative that is growing in popularity as well.  More information about Koha can be found at the LibLime website http://liblime.com/products/koha which I will investigate more closely in the near future.  It appears that there are two versions of the software focused on both large and small libraries, Koha ZOOM and Koha CLASSIC, respectively.

The “About” section of the LibLime website says: “

It all started with an idea: open access to ideas and information not only builds better libraries, it builds better software too. It didn’t take long to reach a tipping point in the library industry. The dawning of a New Erain library solutions continues. Today, LibLime is the library community’s most trusted provider of open-source solutions.

Rather than sell software licenses for static, hard-to-customize software products, we’re informing libraries about the benefits of open source, enabling them to make choices about how best to provide their communities and staff with better technology services. We enable libraries to use open-source software to its full potential by providing outstanding commercial support services – hosting, migration assistance, staff training, support, software maintenance, and development – solutions tailored to each customer’s needs.

Use of open source not only lowers the per-library cost of running software, it also empowers libraries with a higher level of control over customization and the overall direction of software development.”





No Posting Friday…06.26.08

26 06 2008

I will be out of commission Friday and the weekend as I am having surgery for a torn meniscus.  Hopefully, I will be in a frame of mind to post here soon thereafter.





Washington Times Coverage of SLA Annual Convention…06.26.08

26 06 2008

Joseph Szadowski gave a rather enlightened review of the SLA Annual convention and special librarians in general in Monday’s edition of the Washington Times which is excerpted here:

Library Techies: Beyond The Dewey Decimal System http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/23/library-techies/

The modern librarian must be Twitter-savvy and able to manipulate the Web and aggregate RSS feeds as quickly as compile competitive intelligence.

In other words, a librarian must be good at social networking, customizing computer databases, filtering data and getting the facts.

That 21st-century paragon of the information professional was well represented here at the 99th annual Special Library Association’s (SLA) conference last week.

Nearly 5,000 specialized librarians working in such diverse areas as news, energy resources, military, engineering, chemistry and the law descended on the Emerald City to look at how their industry continues to evolve in a world dictated by digital bytes and the immediate access of information.

The opening session’s keynote presentation set the tone for the conference and was led by one of the Internet’s founding fathers.

Vinton G. Cerf, Google vice president and self-professed Geek Orthodox Chief Internet Evangelist for the search leader, looked at the past, present and future of cyberspace.

Mr. Cerf’s early contributions include helping to develop a packet switching network and TCP/IP protocols for ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) back in the 1970s, some of the key pieces of the Internet’s infrastructure.

Prompted by PBS interviewer Charlie Rose, Mr. Cerf offered a prediction that by 2010, 50 percent of the world (more than 3 billion people) will be online thanks to the continued innovations of mobile devices…”





Flickr Uses for Libraries…06.25.08

25 06 2008

Jessica Merritt’s post at CollegeDegrees.com which is almost entirely below (http://www.collegedegrees.com/blog/2008/06/24/how-to-make-flickr-work-for-your-library-50-resources/ ) on “…How to Make Flickr Work for Your Library…” was loaded with useful reference information should I or someone else want to use Flickr in this or another library.  I have used Flickr in the past before it was purchased by Yahoo.  My personal photos were migrated to Yahoo Flickr when this happened.  Unfortunately, I would not upgrade to the non-free version so now only a small portion of my photos are available to me without upgrading my account.  I was given time to move the photos before the big change but obviously it wasn’t enough time for me.  Anyway, here are the ideas about using Flickr professionally (I hope they don’t mind using so much of the post.  The copyright information is at the bottom):

Getting Started

Follow these guides to get a crash course in using Flickr in your library.

  1. Why should librarians care about Flickr?: This librarian makes the case for using Flickr in the library.
  2. Priceless Images: Getting Started with Flickr: Check out this post for an introduction to Flickr for libraries.
  3. Get Flickr-tastic!: This guide will show you the ropes for using Flickr in your library.

Uses

Check out these ideas for using Flickr to get inspired.

  1. Give a virtual tour: See how this library offers a look around on Flickr.
  2. Online Outreach: Sarah Houghton-Jan suggests using Flickr to find images of your library.
  3. Share event photos: This library shares photos of a Charlotte’s Web event on Flickr.
  4. Advocate with Images: This article discusses using Flickr to let your community know what’s going on in the library.
  5. Flickr for a Library Tour: This librarian from the University of Winnipeg describes the details she used to create a photo tour of the library.
  6. Share history: Post historical photos of your library on Flickr for all to see.
  7. Create custom posters: Lansing Public Library made their own READ posters with Flickr.
  8. Promote events: This library promoted their book and bake sale on Flickr.
  9. Libraries and Librarians: This group on Flickr is a fast growing community of librarians around the world.
  10. Show off cool gear: Inspire other librarians by sharing new additions to your library.
  11. Library of Congress: Visit this awe-inspiring image archive to get an idea of how powerful Flickr can be for your library.
  12. Libraries that use Flickr: Check out this list to see how other libraries are making use of Flickr.
  13. Murder by the Book: This Flickr set promotes a murder mystery event held at a library.
  14. Flickr/Yahoo & Library Collection: Find out how the National Library of Australia is building an image bank with Flickr.
  15. Steal this Idea: Flickr for Librarians: This resource offers a wealth of great ideas for using Flickr in your library.
  16. Image storage: This wiki page takes advantage of Flickr’s easy image storage.
  17. How nonprofits can use Flickr: TechSoup offers recommendations for using Flickr.
  18. Teen Trading Cards: Hennepin County Library has used Flickr to get teens involved.
  19. Create a magazine cover: One library used a Flickr tool to create a magazine cover and share it with the community.
  20. Things to Do With Flickr in Libraries: This guide offers a variety of useful ideas for putting Flickr to work.
  21. Celebrate new additions: This library shows off their first bookmobile patron and more.
  22. Show off events: Show your community that your library holds fun events by putting their photos on Flickr.

Tools

Put these tools to work to make Flickr even more useful.

  1. Flickr Storm: Use this Flickr search engine to locate images with specific Creative Commons licenses.
  2. Flickr Favorites via RSS: With this tool, you can have your favorite Flickr users’ favorites sent to you by RSS.
  3. Flickr Machine Tags: This tool makes linking and tagging your photos much easier.
  4. Motivational Poster Maker: Create motivational posters for your library using this Flickr tool.
  5. TechSoup Technology Donations: Thanks to TechSoup, you can get a free Flickr Pro account for your library.
  6. Free Use Photos: This group is full of photos you can use for free and without restrictions in your library. You can also upload your own photos to share with the group.
  7. Flickr Backup: This application allows you to back up your precious Flickr photos and save them locally. This is also helpful if you’ve lost photos, but have them on Flickr.
  8. FlickrSlidr: Use the FlickrSlidr to embed Flickr slideshows on your library’s site or blog in a simple, easy way.
  9. MyFlickr: Put this application on your library’s Facebook profile, and you’ll be able to stream your Flickr photos.

Guides

For specific instructions on how you can use Flickr, visit these guides and tutorials.

  1. Let’s Play Tag: This article discusses best practices for tagging photos and more.
  2. Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging: Follow these tips to make your images easy to find.
  3. Flickr pornography: Discuss how you handle filtering of pornography on Flickr in this forum.
  4. Social Tagging Workshop Session: Learn how you can put tags from Flickr and beyond to work in your library.
  5. Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software: Michael Stephens offers a guide to using social software, including Flickr, in libraries.
  6. Social Networking, Flickr, & MMOGs: You’ll find lots of information about using Flickr in this collection of podcasts and presentations for social libraries.
  7. 10 Reasons to Use Flickr at Your Library: Get inspiration for using Flickr from these excellent examples.
  8. 10 More Reasons to Use Flickr in Your Libraries: This post expands upon the previous one, offering even more ways to make use of Flickr in the library.
  9. Flickr + Libraries = Scary, Scary, Scary to Some Folks: This blogger explains why Flickr is anything but a scary tool, and how you can make the most out of it.
  10. University of Michigan: Flickr: The University of Michigan explains in great detail how to use, and what you can do with, Flickr.
  11. Flickr Learning and Sharing: In this guide, you’ll see how to use Flickr for marketing and building your library.
  12. Flickr for Academic Libraries: This post explains a few things about Flickr, and how you can use it in an academic library.
  13. Flickr for Library Teens: Find out how to best use Flickr for your library’s teenage demographic.
  14. 7 Things You Should Know About Flickr: This document explains how you can use Flickr as an educational resource.
  15. Flickr & Libraries: Read over this librarian’s notes on a discussion concerning library use of Flickr.
  16. Why should libraries be socially networking?: Here you’ll find out why using Flickr and other social tools is important for your library, and a few ways to use them.
  17. Patrons Participating in Library 2.0: Find out how you can get your library patrons involved in Flickr.
  18. Are Flickr Modules Good for Library Websites?: Joomla considers how libraries can improve upon Flickr module use…” 

 © Copyright 2008 CollegeDegrees.com





Twitter “Best” Practices…06.25.08

25 06 2008

Although I don’t use “Twitter” myself, I may do so in the future as needed and opportunities arise.  Many librarians now use this technology.  David Lee King (http://www.davidleeking.com/) blogged the following Twitter insights today which I found interesting and potentially helpful, particularly to a newbie like me:

“…Twitter Best Practices:

1. Have a bio. When people see an interesting tweet, they might click through and want to read a bit about you – the first place they’ll look is your Twitter bio. Most bios provide a brief outline of who you are. For example, mine currently says “I write about, talk about, and work in libraries!” (yes, that’s a very boring bio – I should change it).

Even better – include an invitation in your bio. Here are two examples:

  • I’m a 35 year -old marketing professional who is learning about new media. Help me learn Twitter please! Follow me and I’ll follow you!
  • New followers: please @ me to start or join a conversation.

2. Extra links in your bio.You can add links to pertinent sites and services in your bio. If the URL is long, make sure to shorten it with one of those tiny URL services. Otherwise, the link text will run into the background of the page… and make you look like you look bad.

3. Spell check your bio text.Misspellings look bad. Nuf said.

4. Use a good headshot for your picture/icon:Best practices for the little pic that accompanies your tweets – a headshot of you, smiling. Or maybe you being silly. If possible, show your personality.

Don’t frown – if you don’t look friendly (or you look scary), others might think twice about friending you. And on the web, thinking twice means you’ve lost them.

5. Add a background image. Any image. Silly. Professional. Ugly. The point here is that using the default Twitter background on your account makes you look like a newbie. And that’s bad, especially when it’s so easy to add an image.

Brownie points for using the image like these two tweeters. See what they’ve done? They smartly positioned an image version of a link list that appears in the far left portion of their twitter page. Nice way to share links and promote themselves!

6. Say “Hi” to new followers. When someone follows you, reply back. That’s nice! Here’s one example: “you might be the first librarian I’ve met.  HI!”

Even better – one person direct messaged me with this message: “Welcome New Follower!! How goes it?  Have you tweeted anything that I should know about that I may have missed?” Wow – he’s asking you to introduce yourself in a very direct and helpful (to him) way. Nice.

7. Silly observations:

  • Social media and community manager types tend to play guitar in a band and mention it in their profiles…
  • they all subscribe to Chris Brogan’s twitter account.

8. Finally, don’t do this: I saw one twitter account (that I didn’t follow) with these characteristics:

  • Bio said the person is a “key executive in digital media”
  • No picture/icon was included
  • No background image was used
  • He’s not following anyone
  • He has 7 followers
  • He’s only written 5 updates…”




A Hectic Day in the Solo Trenches…06.24.08

24 06 2008

Today was a literal blur of activity.  Besides normal library and marketing daily work, our department had to create product mock-ups for several potential products for use on television with only a few hours of notice.  This included 3 paperback books, 2 booklets, 2 CD products, and a DVD product.  This is only the first stage in new product development.  But, of course, no stress :-).

We used our 2 in-house graphic designers along with an outside graphic design vendor for these projects.  Others involved included myself, our Department Director, our staff writer, staff proofreader, and our inventory control specialist.  All product mock up materials were created and deadline met.

PDFs, .jpegs, Word docs. and versions for each mocked up product, along with the final approved mock ups had to be monitored, organized, and filed electronically for future reference for the next stage in actually creating the new products and for posterity.





Circulation and the Special Library…06.23.08

23 06 2008

Today, I thought I would touch on the unique aspect of circulation in a special library, specifically the one in which I work.  My library is run under the auspices of the Marketing Department in our large, multi-state, multi-nation, non-profit organization with patrons from various departments but most frequently from my department.

The ILS software we use, Atriuum, has an adequate, automated circulation module.  The patrons here who have been assigned patron numbers are not issued library cards because they currently would consider it unnecessary.  Physical Items that are circulated must be input by the librarian into the system and directly provided to each individual.  In reality, follow-up on returning materials circulated in a timely manner is handled through email notification by the librarian by the end of a relatively arbitrary circulation period.

Unfortunately though, success at retrieving materials is low as there are no incentives to do so and the fast-paced, deadline oriented atmosphere of the organization places relatively low importance on returning materials after they have been used for their intended purpose.  This causes in increase in re-ordering items that are actually not lost but “in use” in someones office or department for a indeterminate amount of time to make sure library resources are available to others who may need to use them.

There are a variety of internal software parameters for circulation designation by patron and item class required by the ILS software which were selected when the software was configured.  However, determining the actual length of circulation and if & when to contact that patron to try to get the material(s) back requires a sense of the particular person’s relative importance in the department and/or the organization.  The longer I work here the easier it is to determine the status of individual patrons.  I am sure this is not unique to my special library but it is important to acknowledge in practice.

“Status quo, you know, that is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.'”–Ronald Regan





Creating New Paths Presentation from Stephen Abram at SLA 2008…06.23.08

23 06 2008

I wish I could attend an SLA annual conference sometime.  In the meantime, it will have to suffice to read blogs from those who attended. 

Stephen Abram‘s session on Day 2 of SLA in Seattle, “Reality 2.0 – Transforming  ourselves and our Associations” offered the most thought provoking ideas – definitely the highlight of my experience at this conference.  Here’s a flavour of what I thought were key points that really gave me food for thought:

(1) What’s wrong with Google and Wikipedia? -It’s okay for librarians to refer to Google or Wikipedia. Britannica has 4% error; Wikipedia has 4% error, plus tens of thousands of more entries. It’s not wrong to start with Wikipedia & Google, but it is wrong when we stop there.

(2) Don’t dread change – This is perhaps the whiniest generation this century. The generation that dealt with two world wars and a depression did find learning new tools like refrigerators, televisions, radios, and typewriters. And they survived. Why can’t we? Is it so hard to learn to use a wiki?

(3) Focus! -We need to focus on the social rather than the technology. Wikis, blogs, and podcasts will come and go. But connecting with users won’t. We must not use technology just for the sake of catching up. There has to be a reason to use them.

(4) Don’t Be Anonymous -Do we give our taxes to a nameless accountant? Our teeth to a nameless dentist? Heart surgeon who has no title? If these professions don’t, then why are information professionals hiding behind their screens. Go online! Use social networking as your tools to reach out to users!

(5) Millennials – This is perhaps the 1st generation in human history that its younger generation teaches its previous generation. However, though there is much to learn from youths about technology, there is also much need to mentor and train for this profession to prosper and flourish.

(6) Change is to come! – Expect the world to be even more connected than it already has. With HDTV, that means more cables are freed up for telecommunications. Google’s endgame is to provide wireless accesss through electricity. There’re already laser keyboards where you can type on any surface. The world is changing. So must information professionals.

(7) Build paths, not barriers – When there are pathlines created by pedestrians, libraries commonly erect fences to prevent walking. Why not create a path where one exists already so that the library becomes more accessible? Librarians must go to the user, not the other way around. If patrons are using Facebook, then librarians need to use that as a channel for communication.

Stephen’s power point presentation is here as well for your viewing pleasure.”





21st Century Schizoid Man…06.20.08

20 06 2008

Mmmmm… The lyrics to the 1969 King Crimson song “21st Century Schizoid Man”:

Cats foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoias poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Polititians funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Death seed blind mans greed
Poets starving children bleed
Nothing hes got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

I guess it’s one of those “you had to be there” moments.





The “Information Experience”–21st Century Libraianship…06.20.08

20 06 2008

I found quite interesting and relevant the following submitted to the ALA TechSourc blog by Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University and bloger of Tame the Web ( in River Forest, Illinois.on June 18, 2008 at http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2008/06/on-the-information-experience-an-ala-techsource-conversation-with-john-blyberg.html which below has been excerpted for this post:

“I find myself returning to John Blyberg’s post “Library 2.0 Debased”  …I applaud John for articulating so many of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over of late: has L2 been co-opted by vendors?  Is talking about “cool technologies” used in the library a solution to all of our problems – the be all end all? Or is it more of a cultural and ecological shift in philosophy, planning and engagement? 

John said some pretty amazing, and frank things: Second Life does sometimes seem weird, empty and a little scary. Throwing a wiki (or a blog or a meebo box or whatever the flavor of the day may be) at your users and congratulating yourself on how “2.0” you are is well and good, but I’ve come to realize of late that if a change in library services, technology-based or otherwise, isn’t well grounded in our core values and mission, it just looks funny. I am all for libraries being technology leaders and for offering access to emerging technologies and delivery methods, I am also eager to see what the true library innovators will do next. What’s next for the outstanding libraries many of us follow across the US and around the world? … What I really appreciated in John’s “debased” post was this: So we need to understand that, while it’s alright to tip the balance and fail occasionally, we’re more likely to do so if we’re arbitrarily introducing technology that isn’t properly integrated into our overarching information framework. Of course, that means we have to have a working framework to begin with that compliments and adheres to our tradition of solid, proven librarianship. In other words, when we use technology, it should be transparent, intuitive, and a natural extension of the patron experience. If it can’t be transparent, then it should be so overwhelmingly beneficial to the user that it is canonized not by the techies, but the users themselves. … the users should be creating the new library landscape…thought I’d give John a good ‘ol friendly virtual shout out and see if he’d want to talk about this further:

JB: Thanks for the shout-out Michael.  You said an interesting thing:  “I’ve come to realize of late that if a change in library services, technology-based or otherwise, isn’t well grounded in our core values and mission, it just looks funny.”  I posed a question to some of our peers on Twitter a few weeks back to the effect of, “how do we measure success in the library?”  Certainly, traditional metrics give us a frank indication of use, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the fulfillment of our mission. If it did, really successful libraries would be little more than fee-less hybrids of Blockbuster and Borders. 

Most of us agree that we’re charged with a deeper significance that goes beyond the distribution of popular materials and the provision of internet access. That’s because we exist within the context of the communities we serve.  The difference now, as opposed to even five years ago, is that we also operate within a global context that empowers us to quickly recall data and assemble it into our own personal nebulae. In other words, information use has become an expression of self–that’s not something libraries ever accounted for.  When I talk about this, I refer to it as the “information experience” because, for the growing number of us who participate in the hive, we build our own network of information and interaction that accompanies us through our lives.  We literally construct highly-personalized information frameworks and place a huge amount of personal reliance upon them.  Ten years ago, this wasn’t the case.

Libraries are ill-equipped to respond to this–we weren’t built for it.  Most librarians are not technologists; we’re saddled with integrated library systems that force us to into outmoded business processes; long-tailers like Netflix and Amazon underscore our inability to develop effective distribution channels; and DRM has effectively shut us out of an emerging and potentially huge media market. 

Library 2.0 is our attempt to redress librarianship for this new ecosystem by doing real work.  We can debate the semantic merits of the term all we want, but it won’t change the inevitability of things like the Open Source ILS, the emergence of collaborative reference platforms, or the fact that people like Marshall Shore have the courage to buck the establishment in favor of finding a better way to serve users.  You don’t take that kind of risk if you’re feeling ambivalent toward libraries.  It takes a deep-seeded passion and love for the industry to put your career on the line like that…

�� Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 American Library Association.





Current Additional Duties for Librarian/Historian blah, blah, blah…06.19.08

19 06 2008

I know I touched on this subject in a previous post but it needs clarification since the current additional marketing duties assigned to the librarian/historian position, which were emphasized as “only temporary” over a year ago, affect my librarian/historian job performance.   My “product production project management duties” are related to my librarian/historian duties on different levels.  The general types of products we produce are printed materials, i.e., booklets, books, posters, etc., audio CD products, and DVD products.  Occasionally, we produce gift items which are designed locally but produced overseas, usually in China.

All of these items involve working with writers who create copy to varying degrees depending upon the type of media.  Once copy is created, the editing stage begins.  There is a back-and-forth between drafts until an approved final version is ready to move to the next stage–typesetting if it is a book or booklet.

Approved, edited copy and reference data like ISBN, exact title, and some conceptual direction is passed along to graphic artists in-house and/or external vendors to begin the process of creating the art pieces, i.e. book cover, CD/DVD box insert/cover, CD/DVD label art, design for other product packaging, etc.  This art goes through an initial design approval process.  When a final design is approved, the art goes through another editing process for the text and the design components.

Audio and video editing is done separatedly.  Dub-masters are reviewed, approved, and sent to one of several duplicators/replicators.  Copies of dub-masters are kept for reference, cataloged and stored.

Once all approvals have been received, the product(s) move to production.  From this point, it is supposed to be the responsibility of the inventory control specialist to make sure orders are prepared, approved, and received. 

There are many pitfalls to avoid and additional tasks hidden within the above-described workflow but I won’t go into those details here.  I must constantly be multi-tasking at the same time in both the librarian/historian job and the product production project management job.

Suffice it to say, that I would prefer not to have to handle the product production area of responsibility but there is no perfect job so one must do the best you can with a positive attitude.  Life is too short to complain or do less than your best.  Additionally, doing the product production project management job well sheds favorable light on the library resource management area.

Hopefully, these additional duties will never eclipse the job for which I was hired.

“These words are razors to my wounded heart.”–Titus Andronicus





Wordle Tag Cloud Art of First Post…06.18.08

18 06 2008

Here is tag cloud art using Wordle for the first post I created for this blog:

Click on image for larger version…





Tags and Using Wordle to create tag cloud art…06.18.08

18 06 2008

A website called Wordle (http://wordle.net/ ) describes itself as “…a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends…” It is an interesting visual which shows the potential power of using tags.

Tags are not used in our catalog using Atriuum.  This may be something that comes in a future release.  Currently, there is not enough use of our OPAC and/or knowledge of tags and their use by our in-house patrons to have a need for them.  However, this is the way things are proceeding.  There are OPAC add-on products available from various ILS vendors now, i.e. AquaBrowser (http://www.aquabrowser.com/).

 





Refresher on the Infamous “Reference Interview”…06.18.08

18 06 2008

I know this is a long post but find it relevant for those who follow in my footsteps here in the organization.  The following is provided by ALA’s MOUSS, Management of Reference Committee, and approved by the RUSA (Reference and User Services Association) Board of Directors, June 2004 (see copyright information at the bottom):

“…1.0 Approachability

In order to have a successful reference transaction, patrons must be able to identify that a reference librarian is available to provide assistance and also must feel comfortable in going to that person for help. In remote environments, this also means placing contact information for chat, email, telephone, and other services in prominent locations, to make them obvious and welcoming to patrons. Approachability behaviors, such as the initial verbal and non-verbal responses of the librarian, will set the tone for the entire communication process, and will influence the depth and level of interaction between the staff and the patrons. At this stage in the process, the behaviors exhibited by the staff member should serve to welcome the patrons and to place them at ease. The librarian’s role in the communications process is to make the patrons feel comfortable in a situation that may be perceived as intimidating, risky, confusing, and overwhelming.

To be approachable, the librarian:

General
1.1    Establishes a “reference presence” wherever patrons look for it. This includes having Reference Services in a highly visible location and using proper signage (both in the library and on the library’s Web site) to indicate the location, hours, and availability of in-person and remote help or assistance.

1.2    Is poised and ready to engage approaching patrons. The librarian is aware of the need to stop all other activities when patrons approach and focus attention on the patrons’ needs.

1.3    Acknowledges others waiting for service.

1.3.1    Employs a system of question triage to identify what types of questions the patrons have when more than two patrons are waiting. Frequently asked questions, brief informational questions, directional questions, and referrals can be answered quickly, allowing more time to devote to in-depth reference questions.

In Person

1.4    Establishes initial eye contact with patrons, and acknowledges the presence of patrons through smiling and attentive and welcoming body language.

1.5    Acknowledges patrons through the use of a friendly greeting to initiate conversation, and by standing up, moving forward, or moving closer to them.

1.6    Remains visible to patrons as much as possible.

1.7    Roves through the reference area offering assistance whenever possible. Librarians should make themselves available to patrons by offering assistance at their point-of-need rather than waiting for patrons to come to the reference desk. To rove successfully, the librarian should:

1.7.1    Be mobile. Get the patrons started on the initial steps of their search, then move on to other patrons.
1.7.2    Address the patrons before addressing their computer screen. Patrons are more likely to confide in librarians and discuss their needs if they do not perceive the librarians as “policing” the area.

1.7.3    Approach patrons and offer assistance with lines such as, “Are you finding what you need?” “Can I help you with anything?” or “How is your search going?”

1.7.4    Check back on the patron’s progress after helping them start a search.

1.7.5    If the reference desk has been left unattended, check back periodically to see if there are patrons waiting for assistance there.

Remote
1.8    Should provide prominent, jargon-free links to all forms of reference services from the home page of the library’s Web site, and throughout the site wherever research assistance may be sought out. The Web should be used to make reference services easy to find and convenient.

2.0 Interest

A successful librarian must demonstrate a high degree of interest in the reference transaction. While not every query will contain stimulating intellectual challenges, the librarian should be interested in each patron’s informational need and should be committed to providing the most effective assistance. Librarians who demonstrate a high level of interest in the inquiries of their patrons will generate a higher level of satisfaction among users. To demonstrate interest, the librarian:

General

2.1    Faces the patron when speaking and listening.

2.2    2.2 Focuses attention on the patrons.

In Person

2.3    Faces patrons when speaking and listening.

2.4    Maintains or re-establishes eye contact with patrons throughout the transaction.

2.5    Signals an understanding of patrons’ needs through verbal or non-verbal confirmation, such as nodding of the head or brief comments or questions.

Remote

2.6    Maintains or re-establishes “word contact” with the patron in text-based environments by sending written or prepared prompts, etc., to convey interest in the patron’s question.

2.7    Acknowledges user email questions in a timely manner.

2.8    States question-answering procedures and policies clearly in an accessible place on the Web. This should indicate question scope, types of answers provided, and expected turnaround time.

3.0 Listening/Inquiring

The reference interview is the heart of the reference transaction and is crucial to the success of the process. The librarian must be effective in identifying the patron’s information needs and must do so in a manner that keeps patrons at ease. Strong listening and questioning skills are necessary for a positive interaction. As a good communicator, the librarian:

General

3.1    Communicates in a receptive, cordial, and encouraging manner.

3.2    Uses a tone of voice and/or written language appropriate to the nature of the transaction.

3.3    Allows the patrons to state fully their information need in their own words before responding.

3.4    Identifies the goals or objectives of the user’s research, when appropriate.

3.5    Rephrases the question or request and asks for confirmation to ensure that it is understood.

3.6    Seeks to clarify confusing terminology and avoids excessive jargon.

3.7    Uses open-ended questioning techniques to encourage patrons to expand on the request or present additional information. Some examples of such questions include:

  • Please tell me more about your topic.
  • What additional information can you give me?
  • How much information do you need?

3.8    Uses closed and/or clarifying questions to refine the search query. Some examples of clarifying questions are:

  • What have you already found?
  • What type of information do you need (books, articles, etc.)?
  • Do you need current or historical information?

3.9    Maintains objectivity and does not interject value judgments about subject matter or the nature of the question into the transaction.

Remote

3.10    Uses reference interviews or Web forms to gather as much information as possible without compromising user privacy.

4.0 Searching

The search process is the portion of the transaction in which behavior and accuracy intersect. Without an effective search, not only is the desired information unlikely to be found, but patrons may become discouraged as well. Yet many of the aspects of searching that lead to accurate results are still dependent on the behavior of the librarian. As an effective searcher, the librarian:

General

4.1    Finds out what patrons have already tried, and encourages patrons to contribute ideas.

4.2    Constructs a competent and complete search strategy. This involves:

  • Selecting search terms that are most related to the information desired.
  • Verifying spelling and other possible factual errors in the original query.
  • Identifying sources appropriate to the patron’s need that have the highest probability of containing information relevant to the patron’s query.

4.3    Explains the search strategy and sequence to the patrons, as well as the sources to be used.

4.4    Attempts to conduct the search within the patrons’ allotted time frame.

4.5    Explains how to use sources when appropriate.

4.6    Works with the patrons to narrow or broaden the topic when too little or too much information is identified.

4.7    Asks the patrons if additional information is needed after an initial result is found.

4.8    Recognizes when to refer patrons to a more appropriate guide, database, library, librarian, or other resource.

4.9    Offers pointers, detailed search paths (including complete URLs), and names of resources used to find the answer, so that patrons can learn to answer similar questions on their own.

In Person

4.10    Accompanies the patrons in the search (at least in the initial stages of the search process).

Remote

4.11    Uses appropriate technology (such as co-browsing, scanning, faxing, etc.) to help guide patrons through library resources, when possible.

5.0 Follow-up

The reference transaction does not end when the librarian leaves the patrons. The librarian is responsible for determining if the patrons are satisfied with the results of the search, and is also responsible for referring the patrons to other sources, even when those sources are not available in the local library. For successful follow-up, the librarian:

General

5.1    Asks patrons if their questions have been completely answered.

5.2    Encourages the patrons to return if they have further questions by making a statement such as “If you don’t find what you are looking for, please come back and we’ll try something else.”

5.3    Roving (see 1.7) is an excellent technique for follow-up.

5.4    Consults other librarians or experts in the field when additional subject expertise is needed.

5.5    Makes patrons aware of other appropriate reference services (email, etc.).

5.6    Makes arrangements, when appropriate, with the patrons to research a question even after the reference transaction has been completed.

5.7    Refers the patrons to other sources or institutions when the query cannot be answered to the satisfaction of the patron.

5.8    Facilitates the process of referring patrons to another library or information agency through activities such as calling ahead, providing direction and instructions, and providing the library and the patrons with as much information as possible about the amount of information required, and sources already consulted.

5.9    Takes care not to end the reference interview prematurely.

Remote

5.9    Suggests that the patrons visit or call the library when appropriate…”

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 American Library Association “…this document may be reprinted and distributed for non-commercial and educational purposes only, and not for resale…”





Auto-Graphics ILS Webinar participation…06.17.08

17 06 2008

In my continuing efforts to keep abreast of our ILS software options for the future, I will be participating in an “AGent Verso” ILS webinar Thursday if I can fit it into my schedule and no emergencies arise.  Auto-Graphics (http://www4.auto-graphics.com/) describes their product:

“…AGent VERSO™ is a complete, 100% web-based, integrated library management system (ILS), designed to help libraries of all sizes efficiently and effectively manage their resources while significantly improving patron information and service delivery. Through a single, comprehensive staff interface libraries can effectively manage all their resources through a variety of integrated modules – including circulation, cataloging, serials, acquisitions, a MARC resource and digital content management- combined with an intuitive, easy to use OPAC…”

We’ll see how it turns out! 

Auto-Graphics Webinar Series – Integrated Library System
Session Name: AGent VERSO™, Connecting library resources with people everywhere
Session Type: Webinar
Date: June 19, 2008
Time: 10-11 am (Pacific Time)
Fee: No Charge




Time Management in the Special OPL…06.17.08

17 06 2008

Being a solo librarian in an OPAL (one person library) in a special library means it’s critical to have effective time management skills.  This is particularly the case for me since I have time-sensitive duties that are related but not necessarily directly related to my library functions.  Multi-tasking on two tracks is basically what must transpire along with a recognition of priorities in both areas.  To date, this has usually not been a problem since the marketing function deadlines normally take precedence over anything else because successfully meeting them is directly proportional to the immediate success of the department and is responsible for direct income generation.

Of course, it helps to know who the “power” patrons are in a special library.  There is a hierarchy in any organization that must be addressed diplomatically and strategically.  It is no different here.  The “rub” comes when it is uncertain which patron’s urgency is paramount and when there is little, no, or poor communication.





To be or not to be “Hyperconnected”…06.17.08

17 06 2008

We are all so busy that there often seems like there are not enough hours in the day.  We also want to stay on top of our “game” and always be moving forward.  The following post by the Librarian in Black (http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/) ,Sarah Houghton-Jan, on “The Hyperconnected Study” was interesting:

“Are you hyperconnected?  You might find you think you are (as Tasha Saecker reports on Sites and Soundbytes).  I think I am too.  To find out how hc-ed you are, check out the Hyperconnected study (PDF), a white paper sponsored by Nortel.

They broke people into four groups:

  • Hyperconnected: Those who have fully embraced the brave new world, with more devices per capita than the other clusters and more intense use of new communications
  • applications. They liberally use technology devices and applications for both personal and business use.
  • Increasingly Connected: Those who are using multiple devices and applications but fewer than the hyperconnected. They use blogs and wikis, but they are half as likely as the hyperconnected to be involved with social networks, a third as likely to use voice over IP (VoIP).
  • Passive Online: Those who use even fewer devices but are beginning to experiment with some applications, like instant messaging, but aren’t ready for more advanced Web 2.0 applications, like social networking or video conferencing over the Web.
  • Barebones Users: Those who are online but pretty much stick to email, desktop access to the Internet, and cell phone use for voice calls.

They then examined those groups in relation to device adoption, region, blurring between work and life, application and device preferences, and on and on. There is a lot of data here.”

Am I “hyperconnected”?  I don’t think so.  At the moment, I am “increasingly connected.”  I don’t ever want to be hyperconnected and chained to technology or a job.  There is a lot positively to be said for those who can and do disconnect at times for reflection, meditation, and other valuable pursuits–even reading–that makes one a better librarian and person.





Virtual Reference Considerations…06.17.08

17 06 2008

Although I can’t see us using virtual reference in my library in the sense it is currently used in libraries at the moment, down the proverbial road I can see how it could be most effective if the concept was clearly explained and promoted to my patrons.  It would require vigilance and adequate scheduling by the librarian(s), however, to be effective.

 

I found this post on virtual reference from the Libraries Interact (http://librariesinteract.info/) blog interesting and a source to refer back to in the future:

 

“…’Even the most savvy reference librarian needs to learn new skills and develop new habits or behaviors to be successful in the virtual environment – especially when using chat technology or other synchronous communication medium’ Anne Grodzin Lipow

 

VR via instant messaging live chat systems will be most effective if you use the same language and types of words as the user.

 

So if they ask questions using abbreviations and SMS language reply that way and vice versa if someone asks you questions using full English language sentences reply that way.

 

Some rules of conversational behavior do not work in live chat e.g.: taking turns at talking. Feel free to send several short messages in a row rather than typing a one single long response.

 

Non verbal cues are not there – therefore you need to keep replies short and use standby messages like “Searching … Back in a min” to indicate that you still have more to say.

 

Remember that you never get up from the reference desk or put the phone down to go and look something up without telling your user what you are going to do and how long it will take. Just the same for live VR chat. Remember silence in VR is the same as you ignoring a person during a face-to-face reference session.

 

·     Keyboard proficiency and ability to type quickly

·     Familiarity with multitasking in a multiple window environment

·     Obtain the greatest, most precise information about what is needed.

·     Understand at what level the material is needed and how much is required

·     Complete the interview and arrive at the necessary key data in as short a period as possible.

 

Best Practice During a VR Session

·     Greet the user and use his/her name in the conversation if they tell you it.

·     Identify yourself by name. You can use a false name, but use one. This is very important to establish rapport with the user.

·     Use scripted “Cut and Paste” messages for common statements because they’re much quicker than typing. For example: “Hi, this is the State Library. My name is Bob, how I can I help you?”

·     All users aren’t the same. Some will want an answer in 5 seconds, others will be willing to wait 5-10 minutes.

·     Some queries are unreasonable to be answered in a few minutes. Tell the user this and get their email address to send them your search results later.

·     Ask the question – are you in an urgent hurry for this? You need this info to make a judgment on how to deliver an answer.

·     Remember to make contact frequently – “little and often” is the best motto! Tell the user what you’re doing constantly

·     Conduct the reference interview as you would on the phone – ask for clarification to ensure you understand what the user needs.

·     An Internet search may not provide the best answer – remember the range of library resources available. Use them.

·     Don’t overwhelm the user with too much at once. Ask if more is needed.

·     Confirm which library resources the user can access (you can’t send a database search result web-page – you had to log on to do the search remember)

·     Ask if the information is on track. Get clarification all the way through the session.

·     Thank the user and ask for an evaluation of the service if they have time

·     Cite the source for any information you give the user…”

 

As with everything else I am learning and considering for potential future use in the library, perhaps one day some of these ideas and concepts can be applied.

 

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”–Ben Franklin

 

 





Back to the future…cataloging non-traditional media…06.16.08

16 06 2008

Almost daily, my position involves cataloging of some kind.  I am currently caught up with the backlog of most of the traditional media for cataloging although new items come in regularly.  Cataloging at the moment mostly focuses on the thousands of archived videotapes in storage.  Most of these are Betacam SP or Digi-Beta videotapes but there are also a large variety of other video formats.  Besides the various video formats to deal with is the problem of having masters, dub-masters, sub-masters, and the video elements for each of them. 

Once I can arrange for a shipment of 3 pallets of materials from our out-of-state storage facility, I will be cranking out cataloging on several hundred video items per week depending upon the amount of distraction from other duties.  A cloud of uncertaincy hangs over this project, however, as I stated in my last post.  Only time will tell how this plays out.  Since I don’t know how or when “the powers that be” will decide on the fate of the videotape archives, I will have to proceed as previously planned.  Hopefully, the matter for discussion will not be shelved and left hanging as has frequently been the situation in the past.

A side note is that I learned when I first began that our television studio has masters and dub-masters but no protection masters kept off-site in case of a disaster.  Although I have addressed this issue with management, there seems to be no earnest desire to create a disaster plan.   The IT Department does provide off-site back-up data storage, however.  It’s hard to understand not wanting to protect the organization’s intellectual property considering the enormous resources it took to create.  Of course, it comes down to immediate costs to management.

Thinking about the non-traditional media in our collections which one day must be organized and cataloged makes my head spin.  Since it is not easy, will require significant time in planning, and there has been no management pressure to address these areas to date, I have put off this area of planning for some time but it must eventually be addressed.  Two major areas are our 1) photographic print, contact sheet, negative, and CD-stored images and 2) our gift premium/memorabilia collections.

When I do have time to address these areas of our collections, I will conflicted over where to start first. I have no experience or training in non-traditional item cataloging.  On-line research seems to show no unified way to handle the classification of these kinds of items.   It appears that many libraries and museums use different types of accession numbering systems created uniquely for their institutions. Do do so seems quite time and cost intensive–good thing I don’t have to deal with it today.





Discovery of Potential Gremlins in library resources…06.15.08

15 06 2008

A few months ago there was a “shake up” in our TV Department which oversees the videotape archives out-of-state and at off-site locations.  The person now in-charge of these items was unaware of my cataloging activities until a recent conference call from the Marketing Dept. percipitated a discussion of what part of the remaining video archives to catalog next.  It all may have been providential since this  person was planning on “weeding” items from storage indiscriminately.  Doing so to cataloged items without my knowledge would seriously impinge on the quality of our ILS database. I hope I can adequately explain what I have done and its value to our TV department and others before anything happens to the collections without my knowledge.  I would hate to lose all the work I have already done and degrade the quality of the database that has been worked on for almost 2 years.  Ultimately, the fate of these resources are not in my hands.





New Evergreen ILS installation…06.13.08

13 06 2008

LISWIRE (http://www.liswire.com/aggregator/categories/1) reported on June 11: “…Whistler Public Library of the British Columbia SITKA (formerly BC Pines) Consortium has followed Prince Rupert, Powell River, Fort Nelson, and Terrace Public Libraries as the next facility to go live with Evergreen, the consortial-quality open-source library software. Whistler Public Library’s new on-line catalog can be viewed at http://whistler.catalogue.bclibrary.ca/. The migration was handled by a partnership between Alpha-G and Equinox Software, Inc. Alpha-G is an acknowledged expert in the legacy system and Equinox is the support and development company for Evergreen. The migration of Whistler Public Library is another step in a process that will see a total of 15 SITKA libraries transition to Evergreen during 2008. Two more libraries, Mackenzie and Taylor Public Libraries, are scheduled for migrations in November 2008. When MacKenzie and Taylor go live, the SITKA consortium will have 18 systems running Evergreen. British Columbia is following a gradual approach to moving libraries over to Evergreen; libraries “opt-in” on their own schedule. Many are anticipated to join over the next several years when their existing automation vendor contracts expire. The SITKA OPAC is here: http://catalogue.bclibrary.ca …”





Evergreen Open-Source ILS option considered…06.13.08

13 06 2008

In reviewing ILS software packages the last couple of years, I have a growing interest in the open source software called Evergreen (http://open-ils.org) .  I would like to learn more about it as time goes on even though there is no way that my IT Dept. would ever consider it as an option for our organization. More libraries of different stripes are choosing this ILS option.  It will be interesting to learn of their experiences in the long term.

As Wikipedia says, “Evergreen is free software available under the GNU General Public License. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Evergreen download page and installed according to instructions found in the documentation wiki. Help and information is available from the development and user communities on Evergreen’s mailing lists. For those not wishing to do it yourself, support, installation, and data migration services are available through vendors including Equinox Software and Liblime.

Evergreen runs on a Linux server and uses PostgreSQL (http://www.postgresql.org/) for its backend database. The staff client used in day-to-day operations by library staff runs on Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computers and is built on XULRunner, a Mozilla-based run-time that uses the same technology stack as Firefox and allows for a browser-independent offline mode. The on-line public access catalog (OPAC) used by library patrons is accessed on-line in a web browser…”





How would you like your “Second Life”?…06.13.08

13 06 2008

Ellyssa Kroski wrote yesterday on iLibrarian about Educause’s “7 Things You Should Know About Second Life” http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2008/7-things-you-should-know-about-second-life/: “Educause has written a “7 things” guide to Second Life. In this two-page document, Educause answers the following questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. Who’s doing it?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?”

Of course, Second Life has implications for all libraries and librarians along with multitudes of others as the populations in virtual worlds increase exponentially.  I have read much about it in publications and online but prefer to remain in the physical universe and not delve that deeply into cyberspace.  I may venture into Second Life from time to time to keep abreast of this seemingly “Brave New World.” 

 





Solo Librarian blog for 2008 SLA Conference…06.13.08

13 06 2008

I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the 2008 DSOL Conference blog  http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/dsol_conference_blog/ describing itself says, “The SLA-DSOL Conference Blog is intended to allow Solo Librarians to participate in every facet of the SLA Conference–from program planning to division open houses and the silent auction!”  Yesterday’s post said to “Check out the Solo Mini Conference Guide- it will give you a listing of Solo sessions, along with location and sponsor information.”  Hopefully, I will be able to glean something from monitoring the blog.  It’s like Forest’s box of chocolates “…ya never know what your gonna get.”  The conference this year is in Seattle, Washington June 15-18.





Blog directories & submissions…06.12.08

12 06 2008

I just learned last night that one should register their blogs with blog directories.  Mmmmmmmmm… it reminds me of the 90’s when you would have to spend a lot of time submitting the URL of your website to the various web directories/search engines to get noticed and increase traffic.  I did have my blog “pinged” by a couple of directories but wonder if it’s worth the time.  I imagine the larger search engines will pick up my blog anyway.  Any comments from the blogshere? 





Dependence on Google, etc…06.12.08

12 06 2008

A post from Lisa Strand on the Wisconsin Public Library Association blog (http://wlaweb.blogspot.com/) on the permanence of research libraries and information’s instability in the age of Google and the web pointed to an interesting article in the June 12 issue of The New York Review of Books titled “The Library in the Digital Age” by Robert Darnton.  In discussing Darnton’s article, Lisa said: “It is because of information’s inherent instability – no matter the format – that the library, and in particular he is talking about the research library, must be sustained.  The title of the blog and what she quoted from the author hits the mark: “‘Long live Google,’ he says, ‘but don’t count on it living long enough to replace that venerable building with the Corinthian columns.'”  Although we are not an academic library and don’t have the iconic “Corinthian” columns, I like the point Darnton makes which is relavant to all libraries.





Bibliographic instruction and planning musings…06.11.08

11 06 2008

I thought I would rehash the need for bibliographic instruction for my patrons, a majority of which are fellow workers in the Marketing Dept.  It’s nice to be needed and depended upon but there needs to be a broader understanding of the uses of our OPAC, the general organization of our collections, and the ability to independently locate physical and electronic resources.  This is particularly critical since I am a solo librarian and cannot be on-site at all times.  Additionally, I will one day–hopefully in the DISTANT future–be translated to another existence apart from the organization.

The discussion of activities to provide perpetuity in many non-profits outside of the governmental sphere, however, is usually anathema.  This foible, along with reluctance for budgetary support of such activities, excentuates many organizations’ laxness in creating and/or maintaining viable disaster recovery and preservation programs.  Like many others, I face this uphill battle in my current position.  Despite a perfunctory recognition of the need, not much seems to happen although we must be persistent and optimistic.

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves [not the 'Lone Wolf', of course :-)]: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”–Matthew 10:16 

Anyway, as a good librarian should, I have made several attempts at bibliographic instruction with varying degrees of success.  Additional attempts will be made as time goes on and circumstances change.  The main deterrent to participation seems to be the time constraints–real or imagined–of my patron/co-workers.

As discussed briefly before, I send email blasts every few months to patrons announcing progress in cataloging and extolling the virtues of our OPAC and collections.  The homepage of the OPAC contains as much bibliographic instruction as is possible within the limitations of the current ILS software parameters.  The vendor said they will address text limitations in the next release.  Hopefully, it addresses the issue adequately and won’t be too long from now.

In April of 2008 , a demonstration of our OPAC was performed in our conference room for any staff interested and who had the time to attend.  Unfortunately, only 4 others were able to attend and the demo had to be curtailed when I was called away to see to attend to urgent, non-library related, product project management matters.  However, those who attended the demonstration were impressed and expressed a heightened appreciation for the library resources and services available.  When an opportunity arises where it would be possible for another batch of patrons to attend, a “new and improved” demonstration will occur.

An introductory tutorial for the use of the OPAC has also been created but needs to be refined.  Its use will likely be limited to the future when our library resources become more visible and useful to the organization, department, and management.  More thoughts on bibliographic instruction and planning will come in future posts.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (Alan Lakein)





Blogger demographics study released…06.11.08

11 06 2008

Judith Siess’ post yesterday at OPL Plus (not just for OPLs anymore) about the demographics of those who blog regularly or occasionally is interesting and relevant for those who question the value or permanence of the activity.  She pointed to a new study available from eMarketer: 

URL: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1006293

To summarize, 70% are white, are an average of 37.6 years old with at least 2 years of college and have an annual income above $55,800 (U.S).  She said,

“They predict the following:

2008: 25.2 million bloggers, 94.1 million blog readers (50 percent of Internet users)
2009: 28 million bloggers, 104.7 million readers (54 percent)
2010: 30.9 million bloggers, 116.1 million readers (58 percent)
2011: 32.8 million bloggers, 135.6 million readers (64 percent)
2012: 34.7 million bloggers, 145.3 million readers (67 percent)”








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