New Social Networking Etiquette Resource…12.11.08

11 12 2008

Kevin Purdy’s post today on LifeHacker entitled “Social Media Netiquette” [http://lifehacker.com/5107249/social-media-netiquette]  about a new resource on social networking etiquette:

“Social media maven (and Lifehacker alumnus) Tamar Weinberg has written up “The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook over at her Techipedia blog, and, based on the breadth of advice and coverage of networking apps, it’s not an inaccurate title. Learn what not to do to benefit from LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed, and other communities from someone who really knows.”





“Resources and Discussions” For Librarians in Tough Economic Times…12.11.08

11 12 2008

Since there was so much interest in my last posting, here is some help about “tough times” from our friends at WebJunction [http://www.webjunction.org/toughtimes]:

“…Resources and Discussions

We expect to have some active discussions here via the discussions tab. Check them out and start one yourself! Also, the series of town halls listed below that spawned this Group will be archived here via the documents tab as well as a pathfinder, Focus On Libraries In Tough Economic Times, which highlights content, courses, discussions, and webinars related to Libraries in Tough Economic Times.

Virtual Town Hall: Focus on Tough Economic Times

Join one of the remaining sessions or check back for the archives


web-junction-economic-picture

 





How Librarians Should Deal With Tough Times and Potential Lay-Off..12.11.08

11 12 2008

This is an excerpt from a good post by the Embedded Librarian [http://embeddedlibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/embedded-librarianship-and-tough-times/] about our library professionals dealing with these tough economic times and the looming potential of lay-offs: 

“…The first point to acknowledge is that there are no guarantees and no way to inoculate yourself completely against a layoff. Good people lose their jobs in spite of their best efforts. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait passively for the axe to fall. There are things you can do to improve your chances of survival.

What things? I’m reminded of another good friend, not a librarian but the executive of a small nonprofit. Faced with the last serious recession, in the early 1980s, this leader turned up the marketing communications to her constituents several notches. She went out and built new relationships and strengthened existing ones. Largely, this was done through intensified communications and information sharing — in those days, via a newsletter. The strategy worked, the organization survived the tough times and went on to prosper when better days returned.

It seems to me the embedded librarian is well positioned to do what my friend did. As an embedded librarian, you know the needs of the organization. You know how decisions get made and who makes them. Communicate. Share information. Make yourself valuable, and visible to the decision makers. Tailor your services to what the organization will need to survive the tough times. Don’t automatically keep doing what you have been doing.

Now is the time to ratchet up your communications and relationship building several notches. There are no guarantees, but it could make the difference.”





“So You Say Your Library is Really about Books, so ‘Who needs anything 2.0?'”…12.10.08

10 12 2008

Stephen Abram of the SirsiDynix Institute and President of SLA has placed online his 2-part article entitled “So You Say Your Library is Really about Books, so ‘Who needs anything 2.0?'” which is about “about 25 ways to use 2.0 stuff to promote books“:

So You Say Your Library is Really about Books, so “Who needs anything 2.0?” part 2 (Dec. 2008)

So You Say Your Library is Really about Books, so “Who needs anything 2.0?” part 1 (Nov. 2008) (Scroll down to the end for part 1 and other archived ’08 columns)





Google Search Wiki With “OFF” Button Soon…12.10.08

10 12 2008

From TechCrunch today [http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/10/google-search-wiki-to-soon-include-an-off-button-thank-you-marissa/]:

 

“Hallelujah. Google Search Wiki will soon have an off button.

I spoke with Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience Marissa Mayer this afternoon at the Le Web conference in Paris, France. Among the topics we discussed: Google Chrome (it’s coming out of beta) and Google’s new social and wiki features…

Mayer also said that it is ‘very likely’ that they will add a toggle button to allow users to turn the feature off. When pressed on timing, she said ‘early Q1.’…”





Visualizing Library Data to Improve Service & Increase Circulation…12.10.08

10 12 2008

I really liked the post below from Nate Hill entitled “Data-based decision-making at the Bushwick Library” which is excerpted here:

Brooklyn Public Library is making a giant, concerted systemwide effort to boost material circulation right now… My plan is to rearrange my library based on circ statistics with the intention of exposing the highest circ materials to the most library users. Have a look.

Below is an image of the Bushwick Library floor plan with all of the shelves color coded and labeled to explain what materials are where in the building. I’m unhappy with the current arrangement.

  • the world language material circulates too well to be tucked in the back corner
  • the fiction collection is jammed in an awkward spot
  • young adults do not have their own space
  • parents cannot sit next to children in the children’s section

bushwick_shelves_current

Now have a look at the way that this maps out when you make bubbles for material types and display the number of items circulated in each bubble in fiscal year 2008:

bushwick_circ_current

Terrible, right? Look at the weird shaped young adult space. Why is the fiction and the world language stuff jammed in the back, while the comparatively low circulating non-fiction is out on the main floor? Another fun discovery when you visualize things this way: look at how much circ you get from the DVDs and videos which take up a tiny amount of floor space.

OK, now take a look at how the space can be rearranged to smooth things out for out users.

  • The world language collection comes out to the main floor
  • The fiction collection comes out to the main floor
  • Young adults get to hang out in their own little nook
  • parents and children can hang together in the childrens area

bushwick_shelves_proposed

And, just for good measure, have a look at the way the circ bubbles look in this new and improved floor plan:

bushwick_circ_proposed

It is incredibly revealing when you use maps and visual aids to reveal patterns in your data, especially when your data is describing the movements of real books located on real shelves in a real space.  Data doesn’t always make sense until you look at it right, but when you look at it just right it can steer your decision making in ways that will improve efficiency…”





Library Service On the Edge…12.09.09

9 12 2008

I liked a recent post from the Loose Cannon Librarian (head of reference at the Darien Library) [http://loosecannonlibrarian.net/] which  is excerpted below from his presentation Internet Librarian 2008. This portion is about current library service.

“…Ultimately, everything we’re doing or experimenting with is for our patrons. We’re trying to move past ‘giving them tools’ and into making the library experience so seamless and easy they don’t need new tools to use it. Joseph Muennich of CraftySpace was talking about Drupal and OSS in general and said, ‘the more you give away, the better it is‘. Even though libraries give away information, traditional service models have included a lot of holding back- we’ll give it to you if you can find it or if you approach us in just the right way.  Our service models keep trying to lower that bar. Free isn’t free if they have to jump through our hoops. Take away the hoops, reduce the threshold to free. We need to let our patrons in and learn from them…





Google Expanding Magazines Online…12.09.08

9 12 2008

The following excerpt is from the Official Google blog today from the posting  entitled “Search and Find Magazines on Google Book Search” [http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/search-and-find-magazines-on-google.html]:

“The word ‘magazine’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘makhazin,’ meaning storehouse. Since Daniel Defoe published the world’s first English magazine back in 1704, millions of magazines catering to nearly every imaginable taste have been created and consumed, passed from person to person in cafes, barber shops, libraries, and homes around the world. If you’re wondering what cars people drove in the eighties or what was in fashion thirty years ago, there’s a good chance that you’ll find that answer in a magazine. Yet few magazine archives are currently available online.

Today, we’re announcing an initiative to help bring more magazine archives and current magazines online, partnering with publishers to begin digitizing millions of articles from titles as diverse as New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony

You can search for magazines through Google Book Search

 Over time, as we scan more articles, you’ll see more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Eventually, we’ll also begin blending magazine results into our main Google.com search results, so you may begin finding magazines you didn’t even know you were looking for. For now you can restrict your search to magazines we’ve scanned by trying an advanced search.

For years, we’ve worked to make as much information as possible accessible online, whether that information comes from books, newspapers, or images. We think that bringing more magazines online is one more important step toward our long-standing goal of providing access to all the world’s information.”





Social Network Adoption Worldwide…12.09.08

9 12 2008

Stephen Abram, out-going SLA president, pointed out on Stephen’s Lighthouse [http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/archives/2008/12/country_ranking.html] the following stats on global social networks adoption from from ComScore [http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=2592]:

comscore.gif





Help for Librarians Dealing with IT Departments…12.09.08

9 12 2008

Helpful guideines for dealing with your IT peoplefrom  Ulla de Stricker [http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/sla_lmd/2008/12/dear-ulla.html]:

“…Job 1 is to build collegial relationships – possibly through jobs 2-3 below if there arent opportunities to build “coffee bridges” – with IT staff members (not just the IT manager). Common areas of interest such as social networking and personal identity security could be conversation starters.

Job2 is to ensure IT team members understand the role of the library or information centre as being similar to their own: “Just as you providethe indispensable tools and data by which business is carried out, so do we provide access to resourcesto support employees decision making.” Arranging a lunch presentation to IT – showing how employees use and depend on the information supplied by the library – could be a good way to begin the orientationprocess. In this job, it is important to signal to the IT team that we are well aware of their current work focus, work load, and enterprise contribution.

Job3 is to cast any request for support into an enterprise business case: The knowledge workers are asking for X and we have done Y but now need the support of IT to accomplish Z. Under no circumstances should a request for support be interpretable as a “request from the library”. Under all circumstances should such a request be presented (for example) as “employees are in need of… so they can perform their jobs to meet [organizational goals]; while the required content is indeed available, IT support is required to now present it to the desktop”.

Job4 is to (a) describe our requirements in language IT professionals can translate to what it means they need to do and to (b) detail what we have already done and will/could be doing. A table of tasks with desired delivery  for the IT manager planning out resources. Such a table is most likely to result from prior consultation with IT personnel, which presupposes job 1 was achieved and is constantly attended to.

The bottom line is … make the case with a view to organizational gain. Its not about what the library wants (do discard any library lingo). Its about what the organization needs in order to succeed.”





Creative Commons Survey Deadline Extended…12.08.08

8 12 2008

From Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing  [http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/boingboing/iBag/~3/478641929/deadline-extended-on.html]:

Creative Commons has had such a great set of responses to their challenging, though-provoking survey on what constitutes “non-commercial use” that they’ve extended the deadline until Dec 14 — you’ve got six more days to weigh in!

Creative Commons is conducting a study on the meaning of “NonCommercial” and you can weigh in by answering a detailed questionnaire on the subject. We’ve extended the deadline for participation to December 14 (originally December 7) as we’re still getting healthy response via all those who blogged about the questionnaire this week.

NonCommercial study questionnaire extended to December 14





3rd Annual Library Resources Management Report…12.08.08

8 12 2008

Last Friday, I submitted my 3rd annual library resources management report to my department head.  Hopefully, the report will be read at some point.  Although I would appreciate some type of feedback, experience has shown that it is not likely.  Discussion and direction regarding library resources management are almost always only dealt with during an emergency or crisis.  Important questions remain unanswered and there is a general lack of strategic planning or concern in this particular area. 

The above comments are merely observations.  They are not intended to criticize personnel or the organization.





“Librarian Trends” in Employment from Simply Hired…12.08.08

8 12 2008

Here is an interesting graph and stats from SimplyHired [http://www.simplyhired.com/a/jobtrends/trend/q-librarian] on “Librarian Trends”:

librarytrendsgraph

“This graph displays the percentage of jobs that contain your search terms. Since April 2007, the following has occurred:





Gaming: “Video Games: Adults are Players Too”…12.08.08

8 12 2008

Here is an excerpt from a new study from The Pew Research Center [http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1048/adults-are-players-too] “Video Games: Adults are Players Too“:

“More than half of American adults age 18 and older (53%) play video games,1 and about one-in-five adults (21%) play everyday or almost everyday. While the number of video gamers among adults is substantial, it is still well under the number of teens who play. Fully 97% of teens play video games.2

Independent of all other factors, younger adults are considerably more likely than older adults to play games, and the likelihood that an adult is a video gamer decreases significantly with age. Fully 81% of respondents 18-29 years old play games, while only 23% of respondents 65 years old and older report playing games.

Overall, men (55%) are slightly more likely than women (50%), and urbanites (56%) are a bit more likely than rural-dwellers (47%) to play any kind of digital game. There is no significant difference in game playing across income groups or between suburbanites and adults from other locales.

A person’s education level is another predictor of video game play. Some 57% of respondents with at least some college education play games, significantly more than high school graduates (51%) and those who have less than a high school education (40%). Current students who are 18 or older are also avid players. Notably, 76% of students (82% of full-time and 69% of part-time students) report playing games, compared with 49% of non-students…”





“Mr. Bean” Goes to the Library…12.08.08

8 12 2008

Posted on Libraries Interact [http://librariesinteract.info/]:

“Need a jump start to your day? Then watch this 9minute clip of Mr Bean visiting a library and all the disasters that take place subsequently .. you will laugh and quite possibly cry as well!

WARNING: Librarians who deal with rare books may find some scenes disturbing (seriously).”





RSS Tag Clouds…12.05.08

5 12 2008

Here is an extremely interesting blog post from Ken Varnum on the RSSLib blog  entitled “FeedVis: An RSS Tag Cloud on Steroids” [http://www.rss4lib.com/2008/12/feedvis_an_rss_tag_cloud_on_st.html]:

FeedVis is a word cloud/feed visualization tool. Give it a bunch of RSS feeds (inOPML), it will digest them for you, and present a word frequency chart which you can interact with by selecting date ranges, specific blogs, or both.

I selected about 75 RSS- and library-related feeds and generated an OPML file, which I then uploaded to FeedVis. This is what the interface looks like. Across the top is a time scale — a yellow bar indicates each day in the 30-day window, with the number of posts for each day shown. Beneath that is a word cloud, showing the most common words in the collection of feeds for the selected time period (in this case, all feeds for all 30 days).

FeedVis Word Cloud for All Blogs

If you select a single blog, FeedVis focuses on that blog and redraws the word cloud for you with a slick AJAX effect. The size of the word shows frequency (per thousand words), as you’d expect. The color indicates recent shifts in popularity. If a word has been used more in the selected time period than overall, it shows up as green. If a word has been used less frequently in the selected time period than overall, it’s red.

FeedVis Word Cloud for one Blog

You can interact with this data yourself at http://jasonpriem.com/feedvis/index.php?account=varnum. Of course, you can also create your own by exporting an OPML file from your favorite RSS reader (no more than 100 feeds can be imported at once, however).”





“Why can’t we replace the ‘Read’ posters that portray libraries as places of things with ‘Ask’ posters that show them as places of curiosity?”…12.05.08

5 12 2008

I think the question raised by David Lankes “Why can’t we replace the ‘Read’ posters that portray libraries as places of things with ‘Ask’ posters that show them as places of curiosity?” in his post  “Bullet Point: Have Libraries Lost the Search War?”[http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/blog/] hits the proverbial nail on the head. 
I would recommend taking a closer look at his post.  Dave goes on to say, “Why do library gaming programs have to be some sort of lost leader to reading when gaming is a literacy unto itself? Who said the catalog has to be the public face of the library on the web? WHY CAN”T LIBRARIES REINVENT SEARCH?”

You can see an interview with David from ALA annual here:





Letting Management Know What the Librarian Does…12.05.08

5 12 2008

Judith Seiss on the OPL Plus blog brings to our attention today in her post “Let Them Know What You Do”  [http://opls.blogspot.com/2008/12/let-them-know-what-you-do.html] an article about publicizing our librarian efforts which are often unknown or misunderstood by the “powers that be” in our organizations:

“This is a wonderful article by Lori Tarpinian [Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC, Boston, Massachusetts] in the December 2009 issue of AALL Spectrum (13(3):22-24) [ http://aallnet.org/products/pub_sp0812/pub_sp0812_Let.pdf]. The tagline is: ‘Show management that reference librarians don’t just ‘look things up,’ and technical services librarians don’t just ‘put cards in books.’’ Read it to find out great ways to inform your bosses just how much value you add to your organization.”

Any way that we can effectively showcase our actual work to those who don’t comprehend the scope of our activities is a plus!





“Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You”–book review…12.05.08

5 12 2008

This is an excerpt of a book review posted by Cory Doctorow  [http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/05/googling-security-bo.html] on BoingBoing about an interesting new book which will be of interest to all of us “Googlers””

Greg Conti — a West Point instructor in computer science and information war – has taken a long, hard look at the amount of information Internet users explicitly and implicitly disclose to Google and the results, collected in his book Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You? are sobering.

Conti enumerates all of Google’s (often fantastic) services, describes how compelling they are, and then notes what information you disclose when you use them — even when you only use them inadvertently (say, when you send email to someone with a Gmail account, or when you load a bookmarked Gmap that’s been sent to a group of logged-in Google users, thus tying yourself to those users as part of the same group).

In slow, methodical steps, Conti builds his case: our complacency, Google’s capacity for building compelling services, and the inadequacy of our browsers and other tools in alerting us to potential information disclosure have created a situation where Google ends up in possession of an alarming amount of information about us, our beliefs, our movements, our finances, our health, our employment and our social circles…

I’ve given the subject of privacy and Internet use a lot of thought, but even so, Conti’s book opened my eyes to potential risks I’d never considered. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s worried about what’s happening to our ability to control the aggregation of our personal data.”





Focus for and Purpose of the Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian’s Blog…12.05.08

4 12 2008

I am re-posting the purpose of this blog here taken from my “About” page to keep me on track and to let anyone who may be visiting and/or interested but who may not have viewed that page to understand the ONLY focus of and purpose for this site so there is no question:

I will post to this site a running commentary on my solo librarian ‘…experiences setting up a library from scratch…and on a shoestring budget’ along with relevant links and posts from others that I personally find helpful in my position and in keeping me current with the state of librarianship.”





“Enrich, Simplify, Enrich, Simplify, etc.”…12.04.08

4 12 2008

Think about it…a worthy objective for librarians.

The following image is from the Abject Learning blog [http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/brian/]:

enrich-simplify





World Library Automation Systems and Services Market Report Availaible…12.04.08

4 12 2008

LIS Wire reported today [http://liswire.com/node/295] on the release of the April 2008 “World Library Automation Systems and Services Market” 225-page report which appears to be a valuable resource for those investigating ILS software options and is available for ONLY $3,950.

LIS Wire reported: “The report analyzes the North American market for Library Automation Systems and Services in US$ Million. The major product segments analyzed are Integrated Library Systems, Non-Integrated Library Systems, System Maintenance Services, Others (includes Hardware and Associated Library Services). Annual forecasts are provided for for the period of 2000 through 2015. The report profiles 51 companies including many key and niche players such as Auto-Graphics, Inc., Book Systems, Inc., Brodart Co Automation Div, CASPR Library Systems, Inc., COMPanion Corporation, CyberTools, Inc., Eloquent Systems, Inc., Ex Libris Group, Electronic Online Systems (EOS) International, Inc., Follett Software Company, Infor Library and Information Solutions, Inmagic, Inc.., Innovative Interfaces, Inc., Insignia Software, ISACSOFT, Inc., Keystone Systems, Inc., LibLime, Mandarin Library Automation, Inc., New Generation Technologies, Inc., Open Text Corporation, Open Text, Inc., Polaris Library Systems, SirsiDynix, Softlink America, Inc., Surpass Software, SydneyPLUS International Library Systems Corporation, The Library Corporation, and Visionary Technology In Library Solutions Inc.”

I’m sure the report was primarily generated for and will be useful to those in the ILS competitive marketplace and they can more likely afford to acquire it.  

However, for those to whom the data could help in determining which ILS software packages and companies to investigate for possible use, the cost is likely prohibitive, especially to smaller libraries or systems.  From my experience in 2006 trying to ascertain which ILS packages were available, sufficient for my application, technically compatible to my IT Dept., and would meet my organization’s budgetary constraints, this kind of information would have been invaluable. Knowing the history and longevity of various vendors, their place and role in the marketplace, and their plans for the future are also contributing factors in the ILS software selection process. Of course, I would have never been able to convince the “powers that be” in my institution to pop for a $3950 report.  Our eventual ILS software purchase and installation was only a few thousand dollars more.

There are other sources, however, so those who cannot afford such reports must be resourceful—LIKE A LIBRARIAN! :-)





Wikipedia to Make Entry Editing Easy for Low-Tech Contributors…12.04.08

4 12 2008

Lifehacker reported today [http://lifehacker.com/5101437/have-you-ever-edited-wikipedia]: 

CNET reports that Wikipedia has received $890,000 in funding specifically aimed at creating an easier to use interface for readers with a low level of tech knowledge. Wikipedia’s goal is ‘to identify the most common barriers to entry for first-time writers, and then work to systematically reduce or eliminate them.’ It’s an excellent idea, considering the obvious fact that there are presumably countless potential contributors with a lot of knowledge but a low level of tech skill. Still, since most of our readers are a tech-savvy bunch, it got us wondering:

It’s not clear when the new and improved interface will reach public eyes, but all the new code will remain open source for those of us who’ve set up ou own personal Wikipedia using MediaWiki’s software. Until then, check out our previous guide to contributing to Wikipedia.”





Defining “Non-Commercial Use” in Creative Commons…12.04.08

4 12 2008

From Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing today “What is Non-Commercial Use?” [http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/03/what-is-noncommercia.html]–inquiring librarian minds want to know, doesen’t everybody?:

Creative Commons is running a study on what ‘non-commercial’ means to different people — creators, remixers, corporations, webmasters, and so on. Many of us give out our works under Creative Commons ‘non-commercial’ licenses (I do!), but there’s a lot of disagreement about where the boundary between commercial and non-commercial lies. Your contribution to the survey will help Creative Commons refine this border and come up with something that we can all point to when a disagreement arises.

As previously announced, Creative Commons is studying how people understand the term ‘noncommercial use’. At this stage of research, we are reaching out to the Creative Commons community and to anyone else interested in public copyright licenses – would you please take a few minutes to participate in our study by responding to this questionnaire? Your response will be anonymous – we won’t collect any personal information that could reveal your identity.Because we want to reach as many people as possible, this is an open access poll, meaning the survey is open to anyone who chooses to respond. We hope you will help us publicize the poll by reposting this announcement and forwarding this link to others you think might be interested. The questionnaire will remain online through December 7 or until we are overwhelmed with responses — so please let us hear from you soon!”

Non-Commercial study questionnaire 





The High Cost of Current Information…12.04.08

4 12 2008

Marketing guru Seth Godin‘s blog today “The high cost of now” [http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/12/the-high-cost-o.html] , excerpted below, is relevant to our cost of information and ROI:

The closer you get to the source and moment of information, the more it costs.

If you wanted to be the first person to see Nokia’s new phone, you could have flown to Berlin, as Robert Scoble did. Or you could have been the second person by obsessively hitting refresh on his posts. Or you could have been the tenth person by having it show up in your feed later in the day. Or you could wait a week and see it everywhere. Or in a year, get one on eBay for $5…

If you want to know how the stock market did in 2006, you can spend ten seconds and find it in Wikipedia. If you want to know about today, you’ll need to invest a few clicks and you’ll get the delayed results. Or you could pay a lot of money for a stock market terminal and get the current prices. Or you could even risk prison and get some inside information about what’s going to happen before it happens.

More than ever, there’s a clear relationship between how new something is and how much it costs to discover that news

Sure, go ahead, stay hyper-current, but realize it’s not free

The interesting questions:

Are you getting what you’re paying for in your quest for now?

Is it worth it?

Sometimes, in our quest for the new, we overpay. Most of the time, moving down the curve will decrease your costs dramatically, without hurting your ability to make smart decisions. Alternatively, when you choose to spend the time (or money), leverage it like crazy…”





The Future of the Reference Desk Revisited…12.04.08

4 12 2008

The following is a interesting post [http://laurenpressley.com/library/?p=722] from Lauren Pressley’s blog with forward thinking on “The Future of the Reference Desk“:

I’m not sure the reference desk makes the most sense anymore. I say that, though, based entirely on my own experiences at my own institution. Most of the questions I get are either way out of my league and something for a subject specialist, or they are super simple ‘how do I print’ or ‘where is the restroom’types of questions. Rarely am I asked something that is challenging enough that I’m glad to be there but also isn’t a four hour long, in-depth issue.

So I think about what reference should be like. I work on strategies to make it easier to automate parts of reference. I try to focus on really, really good instruction. I look for ways to help students help themselves.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I know it’s not one-size fits all. (I have a friend who has reference shifts so busy that she never takes work to the desk, and I know there are a lot of other places like this.) I wonder if there should be more help on the website, clearer interfaces, information literacy marketing campaigns.

So, I did some digging and found a bunch of articles, blog posts, and conference presentations on the topic. Here is a random sample (I’ll get around to the rest later) in date order:

2007, March 26: Debating the Future of the Reference Desk by Steven Bell and Sarah Watstein

Arguments for getting rid of the desk:

  • Wireless technology enables a different type of reference model
  • Students and library staff can answer questions, librarians can sometimes make mistakes
  • Triage technologies allow librarians to focus more time on other work
  • The real time consuming questions should be addressed away from the desk
  • “Getting rid of the [symbol] does not mean getting rid of the service”
  • Human touch of reference can move to other areas such as instruction, residence halls, academic departments, etc.

Arguments for keeping the desk:

  • Desk is tied to history and culture
  • Personal service is more important due to technology
  • Searching gets more complicated due to fancy new tools
  • In person reference allows for more meaningful teachable moments

2007, April 10: Whither Reference? At ACRL, Skepticism Persists from Library Journal Academic Newswire

  • (At least some) reference departments are seeing a serious decline in numbers no matter how they adapt their services
  • chat, roaming, deskless, and walkie-talkie reference
  • IM, MySpace, Friendster, Second Life
  • Terminology might be a problem. “Reference” is a librarian’s term.

2007, April 20: Are Reference Desks Dying Out? by Scott Carlson

  • The University of California at Merced does not have a reference desk (and never did)
  • Adapting reference means librarians can provide the service even when away (at a conference, etc)
  • Reference traffic has dropped 48% since 1991
  • Using technology and spaces that students are comfortable with, librarians can provide reference without the desk”




Great FREE Webcasts from OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries)…12.04.08

4 12 2008

Here are some upcoming FREE webcasts not to miss from OPAL:

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT:

    A Casual Conversation with John Budd    

    John Budd is Professor and Associate Director of the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He also is the author of several books, including the 2008 publication, Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship

    The Casual Conversations series is designed to be up-close and personal from a respectable online distance. While there are many conferences (in-person, online, and in-world) where librarians can hear leaders in the field make formal presentations about interesting projects, there are few opportunities to hear these same leaders discuss informally what they currently are working on, their future plans and goals, the challenges and opportunities facing librarianship, their personal pet peeves, etc

    Host: TAP Information Services 

    Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

   

  • Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 3:30 Central, 2:30 Mountain, 1:30 Pacific, and 9:30 p.m. GMT:
      Web 2.0: MySpace? Yes!    

      Depending on your customers, you might find that MySpace is a better fit than Facebook. For Lisa Sarm, it is. Sarm currently works at Lincoln Library, the Public Library of Springfield, Illinois in the Youth Services Department. She enjoys working with patrons of all ages, but enjoys teens the most. She received her Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies in 2004. 

      Join Lisa and discover the fun way your library can build a web presence using MySpace. In addition to finding out what’s worked for Lisa, we’ll talk about signing up, privacy, customizing and more! The program will last approximately one hour. 

      Host: Rolling Prairie Library System 

      Location: RPLS OPAL Room

  • Friday, December 19, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      ALA Connections Salon: Gaming Connections with a Special Guest TBA    

      The December installment in the series of ALA President Jim Rettig’s ALA Connections Salons will be a free informal online discussion with an ALA expert on gaming in libraries. 

      Like European discussion salons, the ALA Connections Salon provides a relaxed environment (online, of course) where ALA members can participate in formal and informal discussions centered around a timely topic. 

      Host: American Library Association 

      Location: ALA OPAL 100-Seat Online Room

  •  





    Searching 2.0 Preview…12.04.08

    4 12 2008

    Michael Sauers, “The Traveling Librarian” [http://www.travelinlibrarian.info/], posted the following about the non-final, pre-publication “Searching 2.0 Nearing Completion” chapter from Neal-Schuman which he described as “…sample pages from Neal-Schuman to show me the proposed layout for the book…free to take a look but keep in mind that these sample pages should not be considered final.”

    You can read this interesting piece here: Searching 2.0 Chapter 2 Sample [http://www.scribd.com/doc/8641729/Searching-20-Chapter-2-Sample]





    Open Source ILS in Library Technology Reports lastest issue…12.04.08

    4 12 2008

    A Bibliographic WIlderness blog post “Library Technology Reports on Open Source ILS” [http://bibwild.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/library-technology-reports/] says,

    “The newest issue of Library Technology Reports is now available in ProQuest.

    Library Technology Reports; Chicago, Nov/Dec 2008; Vol.44, Iss.8

    (EBSCO carries fulltext for LTR too, but their latest issue online is 14:7 as of this time.)

    This issue is about Open Source Library Automation (ILSs), and is written in it’s entirety by Marshall Breeding.

    As usual, Breeding does an excellent job. He delineates the open source ILS landscape, writing clearly, concisely, and accurately.  Probably not too much new information in there for the techies among us who already know this stuff (although I learned about two existing open source ILS options I hadn’t known about, one used in K-12, and the other internationally, both developed by an existing vendor, rather than customer-developed like Koha and Evergreen).

    But it’s perfect for sending to administrators and non-technical librarians to understand what all this open source stuff is all about. If they don’t trust and/or understand us when we explain it, maybe they’ll trust the respected name of Breeding, and understand his very clear prose.”





    Thinking Like a Librarian…12.03.08

    3 12 2008

    I would recommend an archived webcast from Dr. Ken Haycock, Professor and Director of the School of Library and Information Science, San José State University given earlier this year at the SLIS Colloquia titled “How to Think Like A Librarian.”  Like me, you may want to check out Dr. Haycock’s new book  The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts coauthored with Brooke E. Sheldon.

    You can view the “How to Think Like A Librarian” webcast, which is based upon the introduction to his new book, here: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/media/media.htm








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