March 27, 2007

Next Generation Librarians :Visions of Our Future

Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Penn State, began her presentation with a video that demonstrated the difficulty of finding something as basic as Time Magazine in the library.

The focus of Cahoy’s presentation was on the library’s web interface. She spoke about using the library’s web site as an instruction tool. Many sites have too many dead ends and roadblocks. Libraries need to create a system that doesn’t need to be taught. Libraries need to move beyond using their web sites as reflections of their organizational models to viewing them as an application and teaching tool. Cahoy believes that students want to follow their own paths and not our links. Students like interactive sites and visual representations that bring our collections to life. The time is right to reinvent the web.

Cahoy pointed out several libraries with good examples of interactive and/or visual representation on their web sites: University of Minnesota’s assignment calculator; Maryville University’s Firefox library toolbar; Brigham Young University Library web page; the use of AquaBrowser on the Queens Library web site; and the open source Nelsonville Public Library site.

Cahoy believes libraries need to use their expertise to make the library’s online presence approach the simplicity and power of the internet. We can get there by involving students in all parts of the process. Public services people need to be involved as well.

Cody Hanson, University of Minnesota, was the second speaker. His presentation, “A Lesson from Web 2.0 for Academic Libraries, focused on adding value to the information we provide to patrons by putting the expertise of librarians “out there.? Examples of sites included Readit and Newsvine. Both allow users to read news events and add their own. Newsvine gathers the latest news and displays it based on what users find important. is “all about user powered content. Everything is submitted and voted on by the Digg community. Share, discover, bookmark, and promote stuff that's important to you!?

Difference between Digg and library is that Digg is publicly vetted by users. Ratings are visible and users can determine the reliability of an article by looking at the raters history of “digging?. Librarians do a good job of evaluating, but in our case very little of the process is visible. Online identity is big part of our patron’s lives and we need to be there, too, by personally and professionally evaluating books and articles. We need to put our expertise out there by exposing our selection process and expertise. By doing this we will add value to the information we provide in the same way we add value by staffing our bricks and mortars buildings

Emily Barton, from Michigan State, focused her remarks on getting the physical building into the flow by providing the right kind of services in the library. We need to know who our users are (Wired, March 2007, article on the “Snack Culture?). Look at their needs from their perspective, not from the view of traditional library services. Librarians need to go out and see what students are really doing. Play is learning the 2.0 way. We need to assess and evaluate what we are doing, how services are being used, and by whom. Libraries need to continually evaluate and assess. Keep an open mind and keep up with users. The best thing libraries can do is prove our value, not just profess it. If you have to tell people it is cool, then by definition it isn’t. Legacy services and functions that seem right for retirement or have no continuing value should be let go. There is no longer a set definition of what an academic library is. We need to do what we can to be relevant on campus and to students

March 23, 2007

An Internet of Objects

I have posted my comments about Peter Morville's discussion about an Internet of Objects over on my personal blog space.

Yes, another a shameless attempt at discovery....

Notes from Beyond the Walls of the Academic Library panel

Diane Dallis, Indiana University. OnCourse

IU instance of Sakai called “OnCourse.? They create templates for class web pages and push them into OnCourse using the library content management system. Instructor does not need to initiate request—librarian can do this for any class, but some faculty members prefer to create pages for library resources themselves. One advantage of having the librarian webpage: when students from the class ask a reference question, reference librarians can refer to the class web page for more context.

Susan Hollar, University of Michigan. Sakaibrary

U-M instance of Sakai is called “CTools.? CTools is basic campus infrastructure. Sakai was not designed to include library resources—“Sakaibrary? proposed to integrate licensed library content. A tool for citation lists is the first development priority and will be included in the Sakai 2.4 release later this spring. Instructors can search library resources via Metasearch from within Sakai, and add citations to their class web resources list. Added a “role? for librarians within CTools. Library Reserves list are sent to course CTools sites via RSS. U-M is developing a new tool to add “Ask Us? link to email reference to CTools.

Usability test findings of the value of this tool:

  • Faculty like it, feel it reduces a number of steps for students
  • Students see it as helpful
  • Librarians are less sure of its value

Next steps:

  • Ability to add citations more easily
  • Next generation research guides: RSS feeds, audio, annotations
  • Identify the librarian more prominently

John Butler, University of Minnesota. UM Portal Project

The University has developed a personalizable portal for the university website. As part of this, they developed “affinity strings? for individuals to describe the academic/administrative categories they inhabit: “ could be the code for a PhD student in Political Science on the Twin Cities campus. There are 9500 different affinity strings, based on combinations of location, status, program and department. The university can develop templates for as many as they choose.

The library has added a MyLibrary tab, and developed templates for many affinity strings. As individual add resources, their choices can be reflected back to their affinity group. Resources can be grouped by who chose it—librarian, enduser, community

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe UIUC. Immersive Environments (Second Life etc)

Definition of an immersive environment:

  • Interact through devices (keyboard, mouse, wii)
  • Avatar as representation of self
  • Can be either a controlled environment with a goal (game) or free-form with no goal, but boundaries are blurry

Second Life has a high experimentation and abandonment rate. 4.7+ million people inhabit it. UIUC teaches a class in “Introduction to Metaverse Building.? One course, “Teaching and Learning in a Virtual World? was taught in Second Life and a GSLIS class met in Second Life.

March 20, 2007

Notes from Wendy Lougee's Remarks

Wendy provided an overview of themes and issues raised by speakers and panelists.

Keywords: distributed, open/collaborative, diffuse, engaged, recombinant, process-based, experiential, and community.

Wendy structured her remarks as questions: What are our library assets? Is it all about search/discovery? Are library data shareable? What is "added value"? What do users want? What do users do? Can the library sustain identity in the flow? Does consortial activity diminish institutional identity? Can social tools work in a serious environment? Final questions: Whither innovation? What can you do? What can CIC do?

The session ended with a selection of clips from the videos that can be seen on the blog in full with reflections, comments, etc. from participants.

Notes by Lisa Hinchliffe

Peter Morville: Ambient Findability: Libraries, Librarians, and the Internet of Things

Peter Morville Presentation Title: Ambient Findability: Libraries, Librarians and the Internet of Thing
Information that’s hard to find will remain information that’s hardly found.
Peter's latest book is Ambient Findability, Peter is a librarian, member of ALA, and Information architect for major companies such as LL Bean, Johnsohn & Johnson, AT&T. Peter fell in love with the web in 1990’s – designing gophers at U. of Minnesota – on to developing info architecture.

Structural design of shared information environments – so people can find what they are looking for. But this is broader than the web. Interface design involves a balance of art and science. Be creative!
Emerging discipline and community of practice - bring principles of design and architecture to web.
To businesses – Peter helps corporate and public entities find multiple ways to find the same information – not about “one right way?
Search interfaces depend on labeling – tremendous pressure on one or two word labels – need to bubble up categories – what lies beyond door #1.

Find this presentation at:
Notes contributed by Loanne Snavely and Ellysa Cahoy

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More Notes on John Riedl

John Riedl is author of Word of Mouse: The Marketing Power of Collaborative Filtering, one of the founders of the company Net Perceptions, and faculty member of the GroupLens Research Group at the University of Minnesota.

He offered four messages and a disclaimer. This messages: Web 2.0 is the social web, people connecting to people, applied social psychology, and the long tail.

The disclaimer is that he does not claim to know what these mean for academic libraries.

He structured his session around the top 10 websites as measured by Alexa. The top 10 are Yahoo!, Google, MySpace, MSN, eBay, Amazon, YouTube, Craigslist, Wikipedia, Facebook and (#11) CNN.

By exploring features of these sites, John highlighted features of the social web including tagging; recursive linking; customer-customer linkages; recommendations; and, scale and speed through mass participation.

Notes by Lisa Hinchliffe

March 19, 2007

John Reidl on Creating the Social Web

Reidl is in the University of Minnesota Dept of Computer Science

Will look at the Alexa's top 10 web sites.

1. Yahoo
Tags. Tag clouds.
HubMed, something someone put together in delicious
GeoRef tags in Flickr

GroupLens did a study about different types of tags and how people feel about them:
-Factual tags (anime) are overall considered useful
-Subjective tags (surreal) are less useful, but everyone feels their own tags ARE useful
-Personal tags (mydvd) are not useful, but 87% people value them for organizing

Delicious tag studies: non power law of tags and tag frequency showing the dropoff of tags after the first 7 or so.

Social structure of the environment may be the very thing that is leading people to create valuable tags.

Can a useful ontology be created in a folksonomy? Is there any way to encourage that?

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Notes for The Agile Organization: Looking to the Future

First Panelist: Frank Menchaca, Publisher of Thompson Gale

Market research used to be like going out and picking a bouquet of flowers and going back to you, the librarian, and saying, “Which of these would you like?? So, before Google (and before competing resources with librarians) librarians used to be arbiters of good product ideas. Now we talk to librarians along a continuum of end users – Thompson Gale (TG) talks to faculty, students, and librarians. Now, they’re all TG’s clients.

TG is continuously looking for new business models. For example, working with British Library to publish 18th and 19th century newspapers. Will force TG to work through some new business models. Obliged to make some material for free, some pay-per-view, and then figure out ways to got beyond these things by thinking about the user experience.

What does wikipedia succeed at? It is accessible. In libraries we’ve talked ourselves into the greatness of authority over the ability to access. Now what drives TG – access - and building the user experience.

Every library tells Frank the same thing – we’ve got to be closer to the faculty.

[Click below for the notes from the rest of this session]

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Second Life Library Tour

Lisa Hinchliffe showed us this tour of Second Life libraries. Check it out!

Another great idea

Emily touts the Picture Australia example from Lorcan's presentation below. The idea of putting the images on flickr was cited by Lorcan as an example of 'syndicating the user discovery experience." He also cited a great example of "syndicating links" whereby libraries are putting entries and links to their special collections in wikipedia. (He gave an example of someone's salmon collection but I didn't catch the specific collection - does anyone remember?). I would be curious to hear if folks know of other libraries that are adding local/unique resources to wikipedia.

Notes for In the Flow: From Discovery to Disclosure - Lorcan Dempsey

As Dempsey says, gone are the days when could have an intimate conversation with 125 conversations and not see it all over the web. With that, we’ll launch the notes for this this conference.

People construct a digital identity around various tools (like Flickr, blogs, Facebook, etc…). from which people construct a digital iddentiy and interact with a whole range of people.

The way this is all tied together is through RSS, URL’s. If you don’t have these, you don’t really exist.

As we think about people moving into a networked environment, the way they want to interact with others and do things, changes.

We’re seeing a shift – when network first arrived, the database was the center of attention… then went to a variety of websites… now what moved to is WORKFLOW – you want to get things done in the network environment. Can think about prefabricated workflows that are seen in things like Course Management Systems, a campus Portal, PeopleSoft…

Also seeing a self-assembled workflow— a combination of resources and tools. If you think about RSS aggregators, toolbars, bookmarks, and beyond in MySpace, etc… the issue is in supporting workflow. It’s not about finding information – it’s about getting work done.

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