“Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Google But Were Afraid to Ask”…12.03.08

3 12 2008

For those following Google development, the following post by Ouriel Ohayon [http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/02/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-google/] on the TechCrunch blog links to a December 2008 revealing French slide presentation:

“… This is the title of this very interesting 34-slide presentation on Google prepared by FaberNovel, a french consulting firm. It is hard to realize the real nature of thisjust 10 years old giant given the number of services it has continuously released, updated (and sometimes shut down) or acquired.

This presentation gives a great overview of the company’s overall strategy and the reasons it has become what it is today.

Google_14Q_en.pdf (page 4 of 33)

It addresses some key questions about the company’s future, presented in the slide above: how Google won’t be affected by the crisis (not so sure about that if you consider their own stock update: the WSJ has a good article about the upcoming downturn), its relation with Microsoft and its advantages on Facebook, its footprint in the infrastructure and mobile world…”

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own…”


Librarians and Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicators…12.02.08

2 12 2008

Looking back at traffic to various postings, there is considerable interest still in personalilty types/traits and testing of librarians.  It would be interesting today to redo “The Scherdin Study which used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to determine if the results have significantly changed.  The results of the original study were summarized by Anne K. Beaubien in Library Journal in 1995 and posted on the “Image of Libraries in Popular Culture” website [http://besser.tsoa.nyu.edu/impact/f01/Focus/Image/DarLynn/dntopic1.htm]:  

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) confirmed some of the most deeply ingrained stereotypes in the 1970s and 1980s: that librarians are process-driven and shortsighted, and tend to shy away from any type of confrontation. The MBTI was used to determine an individual’s personality based on four dichotomous scales: Introversion/Extroversion (I/E), Sensing/Intuition (S/N), Thinking/Feeling (T/F), and Judging/Perceiving (J/P). The Scherdin Study determined the following percentages for librarians’ personality traits: 63 percent Introverted, 60 percent Intuitive, 61 percent Thinking, and 66 percent Judging. Traditionally, ISFJ was the personality type assigned to librarians, but Scherdin determined that the ISTJ and INTJ personality types were most prominent in librarians and were also found in the following occupations: Computer professionals, chemists, electrical engineers, high-level corporate executives, auditors, life and physical scientists, school principles, dentists, lawyers, and judges, according to CAPT’s Atlas of Type Tables. Scherdin asserts that an array of dynamic qualities are needed to meet the challenges of the Information Age and staff MBTI profiles can help create strong project teams that work well together.”

According to The Personality Test Center [http://www.personalitytest.net/types/descriptions/infj.htm], “INFJ”s typically do well at the following occupations:

“career counselor
educational consultant
special education teacher
editor/art director
HRM manager
merchandise planner
environmental lawyer
job analyst
mental health counselor
educational consultant

I particularly like it that they point out the following truth: “…And it is very important to remember that people can, and frequently do, fill jobs that are dissimilar to their personality… this happens all the time…and sometimes works out quite well…”


Librarians Signal Personality “Patterns” Survey and DiSC Profile Results

Lone Wolf Librarian and the Briggs-Myers Personality Profile Test Results

Creative Commons Copyright Licenses Made Simple…12.02.08

2 12 2008

There is a very good Creative Commons copyright license overview entitled “The beauty of ‘Some Rights Reserved': Introducing Creative Commons to librarians, faculty, and students[http://www.acrl.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2008/nov/beautyofsrr.cfm] by Molly Kleinman [http://mollykleinman.com/  which is excerpted here:

“…Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that created a set of simple, easy-to-understand copyright licenses. These licenses do two things: They allow creators to share their work easily, and they allow everyone to find work that is free to use without permission. The value of those two things is enormous. Before Creative Commons licenses, there was no easy way a creator could say, “Hey world! Go ahead and use my photographs, as long as you give me attribution.”

Similarly, there was no place for members of the public to go to find new works that they were free to reuse and remix without paying fees. Creative Commons changed all that. As it says on its Web site, ‘Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright—all rights reserved— and the public domain—no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work—a ‘some rights reserved’ copyright.’2

The licenses come in three languages: Human Readable, which is a very brief and easy-to-understand summary of what is permitted and under what conditions; Lawyer Readable, which is a legally binding three-page deed; and Machine Readable, which is the metadata, a little snippet of code that makes it possible for search engines like Google to search by Creative Commons license, and return only those works that are free to reuse.

There are six major Creative Commons licenses that all include different combinations of four basic requirements:

Attribution: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work—and derivative works based upon it —but only if they give you credit the way you request. This element is a part of all six licenses.

Non-Commercial: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work —and derivative works based upon it—but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivatives: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only exact copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike: You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work…”

Making Library Technology Changes Easier…12.02.08

2 12 2008

Since it seems like many of us librarians have a difficult time instituting and/or accepting change and much has been written and discussed about it, the following excerpt from Ed Batista’s “Technology is Soft” [http://www.edbatista.com/nonprofits/index.html] post this last May on his Executive Coaching and Change Management blog [http://www.edbatista.com/] is relevant and helpful.  I would suggest reading the post in its entirety here: http://www.edbatista.com/nonprofits/index.html

“Given the topics I’ve discussed here over the last few years–leadership and management, personal and organizational development, and the effective use of technology–if you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you’re someone with an interest in making change happen and that you see opportunities to help your organization or your community find better ways of doing things, particularly when technology is a factor.

So here’s a mental model to help make the process of leading change easier: Technology is soft.

Let me make a brief detour in order to explain what I mean by that.  In the late 1970s Tom Peters, Bob Waterman, Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos developed a framework for analyzing organizations known as the “7s Model” which looks at different aspects of an organization and which I still find highly useful.  (The graphic at left is from BuildingBrands.)  The 7s Model is often interpreted as dividing organizations into “hard” and “soft” elements–the former category includes the three concepts in red at the top of the graphic:

• Strategy
Your high-level goals and how you plan to achieve them.

• Structure
An organization’s “blueprints”: how people and resources are allocated, how work and responsibilities are distributed.

• Systems
All the ropes, pulleys and gears, so to speak, that get things done in an organization.

These elements of the model are seen as “hard” because they’re more easily reduced to tangible artifacts–plans and documents and infrastructure–but that designation also reflects a value judgment in our language.  “Hard” stuff can be complex and difficult, but it’s also serious and important.  “Soft” stuff, in contrast, is ambiguous, unreliable, secondary.  (I hope it’s apparent that I think this is bias needs to be challenged, and Tom Peters agrees.)

We’ve traditionally located technology among the “hard” elements of an organization, and that’s what usually comes to mind when we think about “Information Technology.”  We have IT plans, IT departments (or people whose responsibilities include IT), and, of course, IT systems.  Thinking about technology from this perspective may seem logical, but I believe the implications are profound, unhelpful and increasingly outdated.

Some aspects of technology will always be classic “IT”: hardware, storage, connectivity.  But these are commodities.  You get the best price you can for them, and you don’t expect them to add strategic value to the organization.

I believe the strategic aspects of technology that have the greatest potential to actually make a difference in an organization fit into on the other side of the 7s Model, the “soft” side:

• Staff
Not the org chart–that’s part of the Structure–but the real, flesh-and-blood people, and all their strengths, weaknesses, hopes and aspirations.

• Style
Management style, or organizational culture: The tacit norms that govern how work gets done and how people interact.

• Skills
The full range of competencies possessed by an organization, including interpersonal skills, learning.

Thinking about technology as “soft,” as an aspect of an organization’s staff, style and skills, may seem counterintuitive, but increasingly this is where it truly resides (and it’s where you’ll have the greatest leverage when driving technology-related change.)…”

I posted other great material from Ed Batista in August about “The Influence Pyramid and the Solo Librarian” [ http://lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/the-influence-pyramid-and-the-solo-librarian080808/] which may also be of interest if you’re reading this.

1936 Version of Universal Access to All Human Knowledge…12.02.08

2 12 2008

Here’s an interesting and humorous historical post from BoingBoing entitled “Canned Libraries: the 1936 version of ‘universal access to all human knowledge’” [http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/01/canned-libraries-the.html] on the LC and libraries by Cory Doctorow:

“In this 1936 Modern Mechanix article, a fantasy about shrinking the Library of Congress to fit ‘in a few small filing cabinets’ on microfiche/film. Once this is done, copies of the great library will be distributed to worthy institutions all over the world.

This is one of the Ur-dreams of librarianship, what Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive calls ‘universal access to all human knowledge.’ Today’s Internet was shaped by people who share the dream. It’s a beautiful one.

Each volume so reduced in size is housed in a sealed cartridge not much larger than a 12-gauge shotgun shell. When desired for reading, it is inserted in a small cabinet, the light turned on, and the copy is projected upon a screen, enlarged to comfortable reading size and unaccompanied by glare…One of the greatest advantages of film books is that small schools and libraries with limited space and money can afford to have all the material which is now available only in the large cities. Files of perishable newspapers can be photographed and thus preserved indefinitely. The cost of making film books will be much below that of printing regular books and their small size also eliminates the storage problem.”

Canned Libraries Open New Vistas To Readers (Aug, 1936)

Library Reinvention–Salvation in the 21st Century?…12.01.08

1 12 2008

The UK’s Guardian book blog post today “Long live the library revolution” [http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2008/dec/01/libraries-casanova] from Adam O’Riorden points out what many have been thinking.  Here is an excerpt:

“Most of us were saddened to read about the increase in public library closures and the fall in spending on libraries. But hidden in among those facts was one vital clue to the changing nature of librarianship: spending is up on CDs and DVDs. To traditionalists this is another nail in the coffin: the library as they know it is on a road to ruin filled with screaming children and kids playing computer games. However, reinvention might just be the salvation of the library in the 21st century…

Librarians are the gatekeepers and guides to a world in which information is now in abundance, and the democratisation of access to it is of ever-increasing importance. These changes aren’t universal, and many libraries still struggle by on shrinking levels of funding. However, it should come as no surprise to us that any profession that can name Giacomo Casanova and Marcel Duchamp among its number is well on the way to reinventing itself and that, despite the cuts, this should be some small cause for celebration.”

Librarians Should Consider Alternatives as Information Entrepreneurs…12.01.08

1 12 2008

Here is an excerpt from Become an Information Entrepreneur posted today by Kim on the Rethinking Information Careers blog [http://lisjobs.com/rethinking/?p=19] which many librarians need to consider or at least keep open as an option in these trying economic times:

“One of the great things about being an information professional, librarian or otherwise, is the wide range of things you can do to (as they say in the corporate world) ‘create multiple revenue streams.’

For example, in addition to — or instead of — your current job, you might consider using your information skills to do freelance work such as writing or research. Or, you may want to explore becoming an information entrepreneur, someone who creates an information-based product to sell to others.

Product vs. Service

What’s the difference between a product and a service? A service is generally provided to a client, and is tailored to the needs of that client. It’s generally provided “on demand” — in other words, a client asks you to provide a service, which you do in response to that request.

A product, on the other hand, is some type of predefined ‘package’ of information that you offer for sale or license to customers. Your goal is to create your information product once, then sell it multiple times (as opposed to a service, which you offer one-on-one to a specific client). Essentially, you’re ‘productizing’ some aspect of your information expertise.

Additionally, if you’re currently working as an independent, creating an information product allows you to:

  • create passive revenue, which allows you to ‘scale up’ your business without having to add more staff
  • create multiple revenue streams from one initial effort (ask yourself: how many ways can I sell this information?)
  • have less client dependency — if you are selling a product, you are less tied to client ups and downs for all of your income
  • separate dollars earned from hours worked — you can be bringing in revenue even if you aren’t working billable hours
  • identify potential market niches for which you can create additional, related products…”


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