April 14, 2011

March Reference Notes

The new issue of Reference Notes is now available.

This issue uncovers a plot by early spring to unseat fall as Conference Season. We report on the Library Technology Conference in St. Paul, the Computers in Libraries conference in Washington D.C., and the Electronic Resources and Libraries conference in Austin, TX.

We also report on the exciting number of MN librarians recently published in the professional literature. Check out the (admittedly inexhaustive) list in the "Announcements from the Field" article.

And if you've tried to wrap your head around the recent Google Books settlement, perhaps you'd compare your progress with our attempt. Let us know how we did!

With that, or with any of these articles:

Library Technology Conference 2011
Announcements from the Field
"Our History Is Our Strength"
ELM Spotlight
Conference Highlight Webinars
Computers in Libraries 2011: In Case You Weren't There
Google Books Settlement Rejected, Digital Public Library Proposed
WJMN Featured Courses
Geek the Library Correction
Spring Electronic Resources Trials

January 3, 2011

Professional Development Opportunity

ALA TechSource (Free) Webinar - Midwinter Tech Wrap Up

A look back at ALA Midwinter Meeting from a library technology perspective. Our panel of experts will analyze and discuss what they learned and what trends stood out.

Whether you couldn't be in San Diego or just didn't have time to explore all the featured technology, join us for this enlightening discussion and Q&A.

• Jason Griffey, Head of Library Information Technology, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and blogger for ALA TechSource and American Libraries

• Kate Sheehan, Open Source Implementation Coordinator, Bibliomation Inc., and ALA TechSource blogger

• Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University Libraries, Library Automation Writer and Expert

• Tom Peters, Director, TAP Information Services and ALA TechSource blogger

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
1:30-3:00pm Central

To register <>

December 1, 2010

ACRL Webcast - A Mobile Bridge: QR Codes and Libraries

Live Webcast
January 26, 2011
11 a.m. Pacific | 12:00 p.m. Mountain | 1:00 p.m. Central | 2:00 p.m. Eastern

90 minutes

Registration for this event is now open!


One future of library services lies in applying mobile technology to bridge the gap between print media and digital information. QR Codes are two dimensional barcodes scan able by smart phones that link real-world objects to online data. They offer an opportunity to leverage mobile devices to access digital information and extend the power of rich print or analog media into mobile learning and research environments.

This webcast will introduce this powerful yet simple mobile technology and will explore the many possible applications of QR Codes in academic libraries. Joe Murphy (Yale Science Libraries, libraryfuture on Twitter) will discuss the implications of QR Codes for information engagement, learning, and discovery in a mixed media age and will demonstrate the potential power as well as the complications of leveraging this emerging technology in our libraries. Learn how best to create and employ QR Codes to enhance library services, collections, and spaces to keep our libraries part of our patrons' information flow in a digital and mobile world.

For more information and to register visit:

RSS Service Achievement Award

From RUSA Listserv:

When you think of RSS, does someone in particular pop into your mind?

Do you know someone who is always willing to step up to the plate and help RSS attain its goals? Or perhaps this person has made a significant contribution in one aspect of RSS?

If you know someone, shouldn't this person be commended for his/her work?

If you answered yes, then take a few minutes and nominate him/her for the first annual RSS Service Achievement Award!

Nominate someone today!

The Reference and Services Section of RUSA is pleased to solicit nominations for its first annual RSS Service Achievement Award. This award, which will be presented at the annual RSS Open House and the RUSA annual awards ceremony, honors an RSS member's contributions to the section. The recipient will be chosen based on either sustained contributions towards attaining the goals of RSS or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section. To make a nomination please send a letter detailing specifically how the nominee has met either of these criteria to the award committee chair. The deadline has been extended to January 15.

November 22, 2010

Free online conference from WJ: Serving the 21st Century Patron

From OCLC Cooperative eNews:

You are invited to attend WebJunction's second free online conference, "Serving the 21st Century Patron," on December 1-2.

Over the course of eight sessions and with several speakers, we'll focus on the changing needs and evolving approaches related to customer service in 21st-century libraries.

Be sure not to miss the final session, Battledecks, which challenges speakers to present an unknown set of slides--and the audience gets to choose the best result!

Space for the conference is limited, so register now.

Staff are also encouraged to attend as a cohort under a single registration: not only does this allow more people to attend, but you benefit from face-to-face discussion, as your group convenes in a single room with the sessions projected. Members who did this at our first conference provided these tips for successful cohort attendance.

* Get session and registration details

April 8, 2010

March Reference Notes

The brand-new issue of Reference Notes is now available on our brand-new website!

In the March issue, we unveil several new pages on the AskMN website, hear feedback from a librarian using AskMN, spotlight the EBSCO HealthSource databases, provide strategies and resources to tackle even the toughest readers' advisory question, and take a break from text with several library-related cartoons, like this one.

Here's the March Reference Notes TOC:

Readers' Advisory: A Practice
AskMN Updates
AskMN - A Librarian's Answer in Real Time
Library Technology Conference 2010
ELM Spotlight: Health Source
EBSCO Purchases Netlibrary
ELM Vendors Offer Webinars
Multilingual Minnesota
Note Taking in Today's World
Mobile Funnies
New Policy to Get Broadband up to Speed?
WebJunction Minnesota: New Group and New Courses

Thanks for reading!

October 20, 2009

History Day @ Your Library

Teachers and media specialists along with public and academic librarians involved with History Day are invited to attend this info-filled day focused on making the most of library resources for students and teachers working on History Day in Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
8:00am - 4:30pm
Minnesota History Center - St. Paul, MN


Two attendees from the same library/organization can attend for the price of one!

If you've already registered, just have your friend write your name in the appropriate box on the registration form - it's that easy!

Please register by October 28

Also remember that Metronet has Continuing Education scholarships available for members in the 7-county metro area. Scholarships can cover the cost of registration, a substitute, travel costs, etc. Visit to learn more and download the application form.

Metronet, Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), and History Day in Minnesota are joining forces to present a conference-style workshop to help teachers and students effectively use library resources. Participants will learn the steps of a History Day project and how it differs from the ordinary research project. Twenty break-out sessions on research, reliable resources, and responsible use of information will provide tools and tips on making History Day a success for students, teachers, and librarians. A special panel of "Innovative Individuals in History" will highlight the day.

Lunch in Café Minnesota and parking are included in the $40 registration fee. Registration deadline is October 28 and space is limited to the first 100 registrations. Online registration can be found at Additional information (publicity flyer and sessions/schedule) can be found at Questions? Email

Metronet and MELSA are state-sponsored organizations that work to bring all kinds of libraries--public, university, school, and special--from around the metro area together to tackle relevant issues and services.

August 11, 2009

July Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web

Where has the summer gone? July zipped by, but not before we could capture some of the happenings from it for our monthly Reference Notes newsletter. You'll find our highlights from the ALA Annual Conference, including the following stories:

- More Effective Online Tutorials
- Who Cares About Privacy?
- Social Learning & Political Engagement
- OCLC Symposium - Leadership Beyond the Recession
- Using Twitter to Enhance a Digital Reference Cooperative Service, and
- K-16 Information Literacy and MN Librarians at ALA


- New ELM Databases!
- Consumer Health Information on the Internet
- Metronet Information Literacy Conference
- Multimedia Resources, and
- Upcoming ELM Webinars

Check out our Reference Notes page for this and past issues of the newsletter.

July 16, 2009

Text a Librarian @ Cornell University Library

Virginia Cole from Cornell spoke at the QuestionPoint User Group meeting on Sunday, July 12 at ALA. These are notes from her talk:

-using Mosio product
-'beta' project started in January, 2009 - wanted to point out that they are just testing the waters
-web-based account via
-worked with Mosio to make sure cell-phone is stripted in transcript
-indicators for 'new', 'working on', 'closed', and 'repeat customer' for librarians
-replies/answers chunked out based on # of characters
-can preview response to see how many text replies a response will take, can modify if need be before sending
-can add comments to replies
-their website says: "Text us anytime and we will respond between..."
-get notification via email or IM if you want - customization per individual librarian acct
-auto responders
-roll out - small advertisement for controlled traffic
-at first not getting texts - noticed a tech problem - several rounds of troubleshooting
-questions coming into queue - each librarian has own login and can set own notification
-concerned about time lag - but no issues with that (between time question asked and time response sent - usually within 24 hrs, except weekends)
-Fall - will integrate with other online reference options for librarians to monitor (moving out of 'beta')
-not finding a lot of research related questions so far
-Altarama can give you an institution-specific # for txt contact - may cost extra - Mosio can too - again, may cost extra
-Mosio has a text-to-speak option

July 11, 2009

ALA Program - Virtual Reference Discussion Group

Sat. July 11

Opening presentation by Julie Strange, Coordinator Maryland AskUs Now

using Twitter and Facebook/MySpace - for different reasons/purposes

using twitter because staff page was running off Front Page (not easy to work with) - wanted a way to update staff page frequently with questions being asked by patrons from chat service - moved to twitter feed

-not promoting but to use the feed it has to be public - people started seeing the posts and began replying/answering them via twitter
-also post customer comments (from feedback forms)

-following others because they wanted to open up the direct messaging
-they're opening up communication/starting relationship
-use search feature in twitter to find what people are saying about your library - gives you an opportunity to insert yourself in the communication - being proactive

-proactive reference - putting answers to (anticipated) questions people may want to know about and adding - jumping the gun
ex. for Thanksgiving Day - add to page "How do you create a vegetarian Thanksgiving?"

Q: Have you had any issues with privacy?
A: No, we haven't had anyone objecting or complaints. We just decided to do this and put it out there.
AskCO (also on twitter) has statement on their website: "We reserve the right..."
Managing the social network sites:
-3 people work on them - it was starting to get to be too much for one person so Julie asked for volunteers from participating libraries for help
-one person solely works on MySpace
-her and another person work on updating Facebook and Twitter

looking at saving more time by repackaging content from one point - drupal. staff page is moving to drupal platform which will allow management and updates from one location to go out to all points: twitter, facebook, myspace, staff page, portal

they're finding us through statewide portal but also through serendipity - no promotion

ALA Program - Best Practices in Virtual Reference

Sat. July 11

VR Best Practices

Lynn Conaway-Sillipigni; Marie Radford
Seeking Synchronicity Research Project

Focus: Online & Telephone Surveys

VRS Users: What's Hot
Word of Mouth
Of the NetGen's 100% said they would recommend it to their friends
48% said they already have

Give Me the Facts
-answer the question

Be On Target
-be quick
-be convenient!!!
Know Your Stuff - they value subject matter, willing to wait for a subject specialist
Low tolerance for inaccurate information

Be Personable
-be friendly
-if you can't find the info offer to get back with them, follow up is ok and appreciated

What's Not (Hot)
Negative Closure

Did you already check the catalog? - found that users will abruptly end if asked this question. Need to ask in a different way - Where have you already checked?

Grumpy Librarians
-librarians seeming unconcerned and not willing to continue the conversation, had the feeling the librarian was ignoring me

-be politely, friendly and engage with patrons

VRS Staff/Librarians: What's Hot
Leveraging Complex & Specialized Knowledge
-with vr we are able to better leverage our knowledge and delegate (follow ups)

Information access to remote users
-many librarians find it easier to instruct via this method, many users find face-to-face instruction better
-if the user wants to know where/how you found something then that is the teachable moment

Positive Feedback
-many times we are looking for the user to give us something back

Tell Me More
-users are willing to engage in extra conversation of research

Morphing Modes
-using vr as the starting point and morphing into other modes such as email or phone or face-to-face
-going the extra step to make them a satisfied customer

What's Not (Hot)
Convoluted or Confusing Questions
-not able to meet the patron's exact need
-it's ok to say this might take a little more time to find...
-let them know if the question needs subject expert

Imposed Queries

Co-Browsing & Other Pesky Software
Co-browsing doesn't work, can make the interaction frustrating and difficult to help patron

Grumpy Users
-try to depersonalize, if you think of it as the person already upset before coming it can help

Unrealistic Expectations
-users have different expectations than what we can deliver
-millenials trust online more than print (sometimes)

Disappearing Users
-why did they go away?

What we learned
Vrs users want:
-access to electronic resources
vrs librarians want:
-clear questions
-query clarification
-positive user attitude
-resolved interactions

What we can do
-convenient authoritative, reliable services
-accurate information
-positive attitude

-slides on the seeking synchronicity website

Natalie Tagge - IL AskAway Coordinator - What do you do when you lose funding?

In the beginning... there was a grant
What happens when the grant money goes away?
-IL does not have statewide access anymore.
-have done a consortial purchase to make it cheaper for libraries to continue
-as of July 1, 2009, Natalie is no longer the coordinator, no coordinator

what are the basics?
Quality and Sustainability

Quality of the service - you need to have people coming back

-core group of over 200 libraries
-support of IL State Library
-statewide vr advisory board

-still have the support of IL State Library, just no funding
-vr advisory board now meeting when necessary instead of once monthly
-moved to a more participatory web presence - now using webjunction: >

Quality = Training
Librarians need varying levels of training
-trying to make the training as accessible as possible
-in-person training is really helpful, especially with newbies
-now they are doing it online and it's more like a radio show

-make sure to train on the basics

Define your basics
-policy page/link up on website (access via local libraries website)
-answer a chat question
-ask them if they need more information
-use the person's name
Follow Up
-answer follow up questions

AskAway basic training
-IL State Library Wimba room
-chat practice queue
-screencast (Jing)
(free resources)

Extras: AskAway IL, AskAway WI, and AskMN monthly best practices sessions - helpful for librarians to network, communicate, guest speakers

Other Challenges
Growth & Support

Who is there to market the service? word of mouth still works on both end

Support is an issue for technical support but QP is/will be picking up the slack

Statewide service effect on question quantity
Jan '08 - May '08: 12,872 questions
Jan '09 - May '08 11, 500
Anticapated a bigger decrease but only had a 9% decrease.
Why not more?
Zipcode on form wasn't required before but now they need to put in actual zipcode to be routed to a participating library.
No statewide marketing - when the service worked, it worked on a local library level. They weren't/aren't thinking about a state library but were/are thinking of their local or school librarian.
-it would have been a harder transition if their service wasn't so local based.

Q & A time:
Q: What are good characteristics to look for in picking/training librarians for vr service?
A: The same characteristics that you would look for for a desk ref librarian. Someone that has a good report. Be yourself online, relax into it. We have found 2 huge items that boost accuracy: clarify the question and ask if you have answered their question
-our research has found that time constraints aren't as bad as librarians think, just stay in touch with patrons

Q: Are library schools addressing this?
A: Yes, some library schools do, some have, like, reference part 2 dealing with chat. There is a library school partnership with QP using it in the classroom (missed the school)

Q: Do you have any sense of how many consortia are looking in next five years for funding.
A: Some states are facing grants ending or have already ended.
Q: What should consortia do to prepare?
A: You need to have a lot of meetings to map things out, be aggressive to get names of people responsible for advocating, continue fighting for funding, continued support

Q: ?
A: (NT) We had a pricing model for first three years, managed price for libraries. Built into culture that this is going to cost you to participate. Grant subsidized, for the most part, after first near. If you have folks pay something for it, it has more value and they want to support it more. We started planning the fiscal budget more than a year before it ended to make sure libraries could adjust to it.

Q: About the abrupt disconnect - do you like it's because the user has realized they need to put some effort in the answer? Do you have any info/study about why the disconnect?
A: There is someone working on this. Finding when asked "Have you already tried 'X'?" they leave. Beyond that, don't know, could be their battery died, they had to leave. When you push out a page to them they think that's the answer and then they're gone, tell them you're searching and wait for the best page! - This is counter to what most librarians have been doing. The question "What have you already done?" can evoke guilt and shame.

(NT) I use the skills I had from when I was a waitress more for vr service than I do over what I learned in library school.

Q: Users said they were willing to wait for a specific answer - what did you mean by that? Timeframe.
A: People are will to wait, as far as timeframe, it's situational. We have also have seen with email, I can email that info to you tomorrow will that be ok? Users are ok with that. We still think that if we don't get them something in the next 5 minutes they won't wait. They will, just be up front about type of question, when you're getting back (15 minutes or 1 day or longer).

Procedural questions, when trying to answer a procedural question for a library other than your own take the longest time.

Q: Is giving them a phone number for follow up/referral ok?
A: It's situational. If they can connect with a live person that's friendly, or you call them is helpful. It also goes both ways - would it work for you if you can call?

ALA Conference - OCLC Symposium

The theme this time was Leadership Beyond the Recession. I had the same thought during the session as I did before going in - "Is this really something for me?" I didn't feel as though it was directed to me or relating to my job. However, the OCLC Symposium has always done a good job of giving me things to ponder. This was no exception. The keynote speaker, Joseph Michelli a corporate speaker, talked about "branding the experience", "creating a functional as well as emotional bond with the customer" and "driving the experience from the inside out". This all seemed very over my hand and felt as though this should have been directed to higher ups rather than me. However, as I was walking back to my hotel room after the Symposium I started thinking "How can I apply these principles to my own position? With the people I work with, come in contact with, are my customers? Maybe it doesn't need to start from the top down, but can start at my level and spread out from there?" I can do what I can but it will only go so far if there isn't support within the system I work to make it permanent. I'm still muddling over those principles and will do so again when I'm back in the office communicating with my colleagues.

As usual, the notes from the session are somewhat 'raw' and probably have plenty of grammatical errors in them. Please read beyond them :)

July 10
OCLC Symposium
Leadership beyond the recession

Intro by Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Global Vice President of Marketing

-Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.

-will be talking about experienced leadership, important for foging ahead

-The User Environment
-The future
-Housing values
-Library funding

-The future
-The need for services that libraries provide will grow
-Library staff will continue to create new beginnings
-Libraries will continue to transform lives

The Opportunity
-Users and patrons are taking a breath - reevaluating their activites, their budgets, even their core beliefs
-Personal and civic budgets are being stretched. People are therefore reevaluating their activies, budgets, and beliefs
-People have moved from a trade-up mentality to a trade-off mindset. The majority ofpoeple have already made behavioral changes to cope with eceonomic factors, including visiting the libraries

-The future can't be simple "more of the same"

Keynote speaker Joseph A Michelli, author of The Starbucks Experiencde: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

Connecting through Transformative Experiences

Driving Change
(talking about regression: last skill mastered, first skill out)
Drving Support/Sustainability
(ex. Starbucks: creating profits - they live on this, it's what they focus on)
Libraries sustainability comes from positive user experiences
Talking about Pike Place Experience ex,
-business failing, owner doesn't know what to do, going bankrupt, brings in consultants
-listen to users/front end
-listening to all sides
-one employee said, "let's be world famous"
-bottome line, treat everyone like they are special, world famous
-create an experience where you treat people like they are world famous
-they understand their base/their product
-treating people like they are world famous isn't what libraries should do, but we should understand our base and our place, listen to our stories and understand our people

-find out what is relevant to them, something that tells people how the experience will go

another ex. - Ritz-Carlton: "Create the home of a loving parent" - create an experience based on user needs/wants for product
-everything that guides this notion is based off of this experience
-they put in process all the things needed (for their employees) to deliver the experience of creating the home of a loving parent
Starbucks: "Create the third place - the living room of the community."

The Library Brand Experience:
"From a place of purposeful information... to a place of personal and community transformation?"
You say how it's going to be and how people are going to feel and they you deliever it through all contact points with your users.

What we know from consumer behavior
"Even in difficult times 50% of consumers will pay more for a better experience (2009, Harris Interactive)
50% of customers leave businesses because of bad experiences (Accenture)
Companies... successful in creating both functional and emotional bonding with customers has a better chance of success

-need to focus on transformational value (purpose)

Transformative Drivers
-helps create who you are
-makes you feel good about yourself
-allows you to appreciate the beauty of life
-you come away felling you really learned something
-fills you with hope and optimism
-empowers you
-helps you seek the truth
-serves a serious purpose

-helping patrons guide the transformation outside the library
Leading it on the Inside
Are we driving the experience for our library staff so they can bring it to the patron (deliver to the patron)
-Connecting the experience to employees:
Selection > Orientation > Day 21 (check-in, regroup) > Day 365 (celebrate your birth) - this works at the Ritz-Carlton, but it wouldn't necessarily work in a library

User Experience in a Production Only Model:
-Users often feel confused or "stupid"
(Sometimes we don't even know how we set up an experience from the patrons-side to know how they should feel)
-What can we do to make it easier for the user?
-What is the transformational "yes!" libraries can create?

Loyalty and Engagement CE-11 - The Rational
-Overall, how satisfied are you with...?
-How likely are you to use again....?

What would it take to have someone in your community say, this library is SO for me that I'm willing to fund it? To get more on board, to get a whole community on board?

I can't imagine a world without a library because....
Information < Transformational
Institution < Infrastructure
Nice < Necessary
Past < Future
Altruism < ROI

Making it Unique, Personal, and Memorable
In business, not every customer is equal, they can/are rated differently
We have funders and non-funders. We can't treat the non-funder differently.
Creating Different Transformational Experiences

Is your brand pomise experiential? Does it reflect transformation, infrastructure, necessity, the future, and ROI?

Have you created staff, user, politician, academic leadership, and community exoeriences?

What can you do to effect product quality, effect execution on user centric delivery and elevate caring to a lofty level of service professionalism?

JM defines service as: A flawless product, delievered exactly as a member wants, in an environment of caring.

- break -
Discussion forum with:

Joseph Michelli
Steven Bell, Associate U. Librarian at Temple University
Charles Brown, Director of Libraries, Public LIbrariy of Charlotte and Mechlenburg County
Ed Rivenburgh, Director of College Libraries at the State University of New York at Geneseo

Q for Charles:
Can you talk a little bit about what you are doing in your community to create unique experiences?
CB: I found that in most libraries there is still a culture of hierarchy and culture of change. We worked to change our library to a matriarchy. We changed the public service model to create new and unique experiences. Changed service model, Library for Youth, Imagine That, serves all youth. Opened in 2005 and has served over 1 mil. since then.

ER: Do we even know what we're doing? There are only 2 places you should be on campus, in class or in library. We have tried to make it clear to staff to make sure they're at least in the library.

SB; I learned about the Wow! Experience by reading books like the Fish Fly Pikie's Place Market book, and others, and figured they wouldn't work that well for our library but tried to set path for totality (even has to work at all the touch points: signage, copiers, catalog, circ desk), the meaning (creating achievement for people, hope), relationships (create meaning through relationships. Put together the totality, meaning and relationships and we will be different from other information provider because no other information provider delivers meaning.

Q: Dealing with unions, change, budgets.

ER: We can't do it alone, administration has to support it/ius. We can't do it alone. We're almost trying to overcome the negativity of the unions that they bring in. We've had some interesting situations like hiring, we want to hire the best we can. We have to be careful of who we select. Sometimes we can't always get the person we want.

Q: JM, how does this happen at the Ritz-Carlton?

JM: They say : We're going to make it compelling for you to participate with us that unions aren't going to want to mess with it. They work around it by elevating the culture.

ER: Even in terms of professional development. You can create a lot of opportunities for your staff that you can't normally do with unions. We are getting these dictums coming down from state or regents or admin or whoever, saying we can't spend money on travel or professional development. We have got to figure out ways around that, especially for younger staff.
SB: We have rules, we have to get around these rules-based mentalities to make our staff have empowerment to do things better for patrons.

JM: Starbucks certainly has rules, there are only 5 guidelines and those guides are rules-free.

ER: You do need to trust that staff are going to handle those situations.

CB: It's for our library to become the best public library in the US by 2010. Staff are behind this. We go out and seek conversations with staff to come up with ideas. They feel this is very powerful. Frank Blairs, my colleague, has done a great job of harnessing 2.0 technology to create that as well. It gets people involved, issues/ideas just bubble up these ways and it's very not that expensive.

Q: I'm head of public services for a medium sized academic library. I get to hire and train all new staff when students leave. We are doing a lot of cross-training. I would like to head how I could go about creating that brand with our student workers.

SB: Talk to student workers about what they would like to see. What business are we in and what are our core values? Understand that awareness and build from there.

CB: We know from our surveys it's frustrating for the public to have all these separate service desks. That is something we are working toward and pusing out later this year, cross-training/central service desk(s). We see some resistance but this is where we are moving. I think we can really serve our client base much better.

ER: I would actively encourage you to have a one-stop service center. Patrons don't want to be bounced around. One service point where are points can happen. All types of activity. It's because of cross-training that we can do this. It has really worked out very well. Now we are thinking about bringing the reference desk over to that area as well and not have a separate ref desk.

JM: Book, the Dream Manager, what is your dream? What can make you one step closer to that? Then I use that to look at it for the library. How can the library develop staff/patrons/community. That will bring them on board. You will not get the kind of passion from them if you go about it without having see this as part of their dream.

ER: If you're going to have a survey for staff don't ask questions that directly relate to their work, ask them questions about situations and how they would deal with them.

Q: One of the things that many of us working in libraries don't realize how intimidating it can be walking into a library. Having to walk up to a desk to ask a question can be very hard. Make them realize that you are as human as they are and make connection.

JM: Engage with people, change in focus on very liniar approach

CB: If we can have greeters like they do at Wal-mart that can make a really big difference.

ER: Every connection we have with another person, we either come off as delighting or disappointing. Everything about the physical library screams out our values. We are use to it. But what does it look like for the user?

SB: We just had a survey, people weren't saying I had a great experience at the ref desk but they are saying I had a great experience with Christina or David... They don't see the service but they see the person.

Q: We have a brand new circ desk that looks like a counter at Starbucks. It's kind of cool. We are still talking about condensing and combining the ref desk. That may not be the place to look at. We are focusing on getting rid of the circ desk and make it look like self serve check out lanes like at a grocery store. The purpose of the circ desk is to check out your material and get out of the library. Ref staff are seen as on a pedestool. We need to come down and be less formal.

ER: I disagree that the purpose of the circ. Desk is to simply move objects back and forth. You have people who see that it is my job to transact this book and nothing else and that's exactly what they do. How do we get all staff to take extra steps to see all aspects of circ desk.

JM: The circ desk can be defined as the Fond Farewell. You define it. You might do it for engagement. As long as people know that they are getting another relationship piece out of it, that's good.

CB: I like Joseph's point of making it a Fond Farewell and having a greeting too. I was staying at a New York hotel. I had an automated check-in, check-out. I was never greeted or acknowledged. The price was right but I'll never stay at that hotel again. We need to keep looking for places for relationships. As a customer, I do like to be acknowledged.

Q: Can you talk about other ways to capture customer service/loyalty?

JM: Knowing the volume and traffic is one veribal, you can have all the traffic in the world and it may not be relevant. What is your contribution? Define your value, communicate it. Get in the loop of funding that affects you. Tell them that you're not just holding books.

SB: We have all these inputs and outputs which are great but they probably won't get us any closer to the patron experience. Asking the question do you interact with the library because you have to or because you want to? The more we have to's the closer we are getting to adding value.

Q: Our language has to change. This is not the library - they need to see it as MY library. Librarians shouldn't see this as their theifdom but as part of the community. I always say to students, this is your library, what are we doing right for you and what do you want to get from it.

Q: One of the things that JM put in his talk is stories as currency. Panel discuss:

SB: Quick story is people are starting to put more value on stuff and less stuff is going in landfills. Poeople are holding on to things more. Start small.

CB: We worked with staff to avoid layoffs. They felt positive that admin elicited their support to help through budget. We are going to continue through this hard time to advance. There can be positive experiences.

ER: If you are focusing on the outcomes, they are directly related to our staff members and how we treat them.

JM: All business is personal. Libraries have a huge advantage over this. As good as is they can't win against libraries and people wanting to have human experiences that are memorable and transformational.

April 20, 2009

Streaming Video of 4/16/09 "An Ounce of Prevention" Teleconference

Minitex is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence teleconference, "An Ounce of Prevention: Health Reference Basics."

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

February 22, 2009

Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence 2009 teleconference, "Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark."

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

Program Overview
Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

A. A Primer for Programming

1. Identifying Your Patrons' Needs
2. Planning for Successful Implementation
3. Adaptation is Key
4. Common Pitfalls

B. Programming for Youth

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

C. Programming for Adults

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

D. Programming for Seniors

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

E. Question and Answer Session

January 27, 2009

Reference Sources and Web 2.0: Publishers’ Perspectives

This was turning out to be a really good presentation and then, just as we began to dig into the rich black dirt of the discussion forum, the fire alarm goes off in the hotel! That has never happened before. Everyone sat a little confused looking at each other and then we all got up and left. It's too bad. I was really looking forward to the interactive portion and the Q & A's.

In any case, here are my notes of the session:

Monday, Jan. 26, 2009
Reference Sources and Web 2.0: Publishers’ Perspectives
Discussion Forum

Intro: David Killian, George Washington University

Panelist: Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Pres. Alexander Steet Press; Jeff Penka, Manager of Cooperative Reference Services, OCLC; Samir Singh, Innovation Officer, ProQuest; Semmel Nunn, VP for Product Development, Readex

First up: Jeff Penka
2 different types of consumers from oclc’s perspective: our customers in the cooperative and their customers – they keep this in mind in their planning and structure for 2.0

their cooperative is worldwide
referring to O’Reilly’s notion of harnessing collective intelligence is at the heart of oclc’s cataloging, resource sharing, and virtual reference cooperative activities: - touch the entire web, users and attributors…
building web-scale for libraries: Maximize uptake, create local value, build web-scale, move to the network, increase efficiency – think big but go local

create a compelling user environment
make oclc web services a valued part of library operations
increase oclc’s global reach – grow it

build it in small parts, built on 2.0 principles:

profile management:
nearly 300,000 registered users in worldcat
showing users locations near them with resources they are looking for
managing your own lists, share with others, watch what others are doing, building it seamlessly to build into their own spaces
tagging, embedding into worldcat
reviews and ratings
just putting it out there isn’t good enough, people need to see and feel it, why its useful for them
partner reviews with other places like amazon…
embeddable search boxes, downloadable widgets – being out where they are, point of need
embed search, with results, never have to leave your page

Visibility, traffic:
Worldcat library profile page, get a better picture of your library than what they might find at google…

WorldCat Local: all the small pieces, localized to you the user

QP Widget:
Chat widget, html snippet, facebook, myspace, etc…

Make oclc web services a valued part of library operations
WorldCat API-
10-15 developers from cataloging institutions in North America and Europe
leveraging shared resources

Engagment, participation, and conversation – products works page where people can go to see what oclc is building, trying to be transparent, can comment there
Blogs, wikis…
Making sure we’re connected within the community

WoldCat Hackathon…. (sorry, lost it)

Next up: Remmel Nunn
Readex is a publisher of academic resources whose users are students and teachers
Trying to make easier the research process for undergrads but especially grad students
Referring to the web: there are changes of degree and changes of kind:
Changes of degree is like water getting warmer
Changes of kind is when water turns into steam, completely transformational

Are we at that transformational stage yet with the web? No,
Web 2.0 for readex was a way for us to assist humans to give them a tool to work with
We don’t use the phrase, web 2.0, (perceived as bogus)
One thing researchers deal with is annotated text – hugely demanded and age fast
Selective annotative text, was a way for scholars to be isolated from all printed sources

Crossroads: toolbar, opens up references about what was said, commented about that text (must subscribe)
What we found with crossroads (there are over 200 projects going with crossroads) – virtually all the projects are being used by faculty members. Allows them to communicate with other scholars across boundaries on the same subject area
Interactive teaching tool as well as annotative tool
Finding the tagging and annotations are more of a collaborative effort among scholars

I think there is a transformation coming out of this, digital humanism
Web 2.0 is going to create a different way of doing research of how scholars go about research. It will start asking different questions for them.

Next Up: Stephen Rhind-Tutt
Will be talking about 2 aspects of 2.0:
-participation & community
-folksonomy and taxonomy

2.0 for the publisher:
-surrendering control
-loss of proprietary gateways to content
-expensive, new technologies
-most content not created by publishers
-large new players with enormous network advantages
-mission statements of smaller presses (like Alex. Street Press) similar to libraries mission statements

ex.: Primary sources in the women’s movement
a scholarly community that brings together feminist thinkers, scholars, others
Carol Hanisch, wrote Personal is Political, over 260,000 times cited, important article, did a follow up to the article and published directly online through alex. Str. Press. Allowed her to have a more relazed form to her writing and clearer thought

Some bad examples as well. Author wanted to do metadata for an article and completely mislead with wrong subjects and tagging…

Usage and importance of different versions of an article – most in the community want peer-reviewed work
Without some form of editing a lot of the material brought to the plate can’t be used

Alex. Str. Press has streaming music and videos, subscribers are invited to created their own playlists, for classes, research…
The playlist harnesses what people want to do and builds on this, sharing

Tagging, overtime they improve with use

Taxonomy v folksonomy
Taxonomies are bad with new terms and evoloving terms, folks. Are better
Tax. Are better with structure and hierarchy
Search precision, customization (better in tax.) and effectiveness (better in folk.) vary.
Variable most important is popularity

Ex: for folk. With flickr, if you try a search for cirrus it can’t differentiate between the airplane and the cloud, taxonomy is great with this

Both are really helpful, useful

Last up: Samir Singh
What is web 2.0
Read/write web – encodable, task oriented
Ex: great example of a task that use to be done inside a vertical piece of software that is not connecting people

Embracing users as relevant source of information – users to users interaction over time is envaluable

Tagging, personal, selfish need – doing it for yourself to organize yourself
Improved user task performance:
-personal organization
-sharing and co-creation

increasingly common interaction model

ex. At ProQuest
product Development
-wikis to coordinate design discussions across distributed teams
-collaborative (vote based) feature requestiong and ranking in our GradShare q/A community
-blogs to share news and keep distributed to keep teams up to date on new information

GradShare Q/A Community for Graduate Students – very new, just announcing here are ala
-free site to help graduate students get advice form peers across achools
-recommends local reference solutions from Library

recent version of Elibrary (K12)
-users can create and share interactive timelines and presentations
-more features coming soon

recent bowker inverstment and distribution of librarything data to libraries
-it’s a community that successfully formed itself on the public web and being brought in to library world

some challengers:
-identity (registration)
-adoption and network effects

mission: create indispensable research solutions that connect people and information

Q & A:
What can you share about your experiences with time management?
Readex – we have a full-time person that monitors this, there hasn’t been an instance where we’ve had to go in and moderate our users.
Sighn- choose between moderation – pre/post moderation – felt both were overkill

-firealarm went off!!!

Pretty much ends discussion…

January 26, 2009

Thx for the txt: communicating with users in their space

Here are my notes on the session about communicating with users in their space.

Personal note: The title of this session was completely misleading. I don't know if they did this on purpose to lure people in to the session or if they really attempted to get librarians actually doing text messaging or anything in that area. Bait and switch or just trying to hard? No where in the presentations did they mention the word "text" or "texting" - not until someone in the audience asked "Is anyone in your libraries doing text messaging or sms with your patrons?" All three replied no. On the other side of that I did find David Lee King's presentation interesting and noteworthy. He's a great presenter overall. I will follow up by checking out D.C. PL.

Here are the notes:

Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009
Thx for the txt: communicating with users in their space – 3 speakers

Communicating with Customers: using nothing but buts & bytes
David Lee King, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

ILL and text communication with resource sharing – patron communications

David: explaining layout of website, ways of interacting, meebo, blogs, comments…
Outside webiste: facebook, myspace. Individual lib – YA lib has own facebook page, has 500 friedns
Art gallery blog
They’re doing videos about the library, events, hidden services, book reviews, promoting themselves.
Put vids on youtuve and embed them on their website in relevant and appropriate places.
Twitter – using for many different things, just set up, goals: push out important stuff – events and new materials, and to connect with other Topeka residents. Library Director will have own twitter acct soon
If doing twitter, its good to have goals of who you are following and will follow you
Connecting with local people, media, state gov groups
Hubbell lib in nola is using twitter to have conversations with their patrons
Iphone: what can I do with my cell phone with the library in mind? Check web pages, check email, search books, reserve books, patrons are doing the same kind of things. Range of patrons, not just under 30 group.

Are you ready to meet them and provide services in those spaces?
When writing blog post, write as if writing to best friend, come off friendly, don’t be scary – stay professional, upbeat and helful but not scary
Leave space for others – communicating, blog posts should be a conversation – 2way street. Ask for comments, feedback, ideas, thoughts…

Cindi Trainor, eku libraries,
No more dead-end silos

Where do users start – google
1% started with library search engine when looking for info (2005 stat)
Aug 2008 Pew Internet Project, 40% of users do a search engine search everyday

User want the info they need, only infor they need right now for free.

Take the library content and put it in front of your users when and where they need it
LibX toolbar, context menu, browser cues, auto links, google scholar integration. create your own plug-in

You can customize the toolbar to have anything you want in it: cat search, author search field, title search field, search academic search premier, it adds items in your context menu, customize it to do things individual user wants it to do

Highlight isbn and right-click to search resources related to that item, don’t need exact isbn, it will collate info
It will look for things that it thinks is an isbn
It points to browser cues – in any website and point to title and can perform a catalog search – lib icon points to the cues leading the user back to the catalog
Coins – embed citations in a webpage from databases and take you back into database directly to that article – wikipedia pages used for course syllabi is a great place to use this
Magic Button – copy and paste and entire citation or portion and drop it in the magic button and it will link you up with the articlei
If you’re off campus – right click to reload what you’re looking at to have it reload in your library’s sfx reader

It takes about 20 minutes to put together, many extensions in the plug-in
Go to and build a new edition

Live demo – did google search for james still, went to wikipedia page copied and pasted a title from the page into the libx search bar and found the article in the library’s database
Another example points to citations with “get more” buttons next to some citations that links directly to sfx page for library

Rachel Van Noord – webjunction
Engage your community: five principles for developing online learning communities

Based off of gates foundation computer lab grants
Build a community to support access to internet, all components
Online learning community for library staff, all areas, evolved into many groups
Promote active learning online, help people connect with acess and content
Go big… or go home, what’s that one idea that you’re holding on to that you want to promote to your community and staff and stakeholders
Root your implementation
Webjunctions constatntly asking for feedback, looking for by-in, looking for partners
Coming soon:
Leadership and nurture: communities need this
Do you wait for an invitation before joining an online community? That’s true of a lot of people we are serving
What do your users need to get started – get started section in overview
Created a 23 things-like program to intro folks to new wj platform

Continuum of engagement: want to see some members so engaged in wj that they become leaders to others

It’s gotta be blended (4th principle)
Blend online and face-to-gace interactions
Blending is also about synchronous and asynchronous interactions – ex. Tough times group, members, discussions, webinars (town hall meetings)
Where is the information about what’s happening in your library off the library, partnering

5th principle – partnership is the key
building partners makes you stronger
-resources, people, functions, groups, ideas…

how to be an expert – push forward

Q & A time
What can libraries do on their sites to get their blogs indexed to make them appear higher in google searches.
-put it out there with good keywords on your blogpost

how do you find the friends and time to do so many sites, and funds?
-tools we use are all free, mney is no excuse, time thing – it’s more of what your library’s priorities are, priority is connect with patron then make that part of connecting with patrons, prioritze your time
break it down into chunks, do a little bit here, little bit there
-keep doing it and practice and integrate more social practices into your workflow and it will become faster and easier

do you know much about public libraries using LibX? It doesn’t seem too intuitive, not sure how we could do that?
-look at materials in libx, there’s lot’s of info online

how are you making it accessible to users? And how does that match with public access for all?
-my library has a “red carpet room” for vision impaired people, we use normal software, don’t know if it works with im. Accessibility is always on the list of priorities, considerations.
-we don’t have any special software to accommodate students and factulty but work with individuals
-wj continually works to make userfriendly with screen readers

Catherine greenhill has a good libx and camtasia guide pages

Do you have any plans to things with texting?
-it’s on the list of things to do, we looked at text a librarian service, we’re at the process of looking into it.
-we’re looking at the ability to add sms message in to catalog to text yourself a message about a record – Kentucky state is doing this

d.c public library new ipone add – have you seen it?
-yes, looks really neat, not sure if so useful in Topeka at the moment. Think about what your users are doing. Bigger city, probably worthwhile.
-mobile apps, putting catalog on phones is where we want to go.
-d.c. library will be a library to watch

January 24, 2009

ALA Midwinter - Denver, CO

I arrived yesterday in Denver for Midwinter. First on the agenda was OCLC's Symposium From Linking to Thinking: How we’ll live when information surrounds us.
David Weinberg and Nova Spivak were the guest keynotes to talk about the future of the web. When it came to the Q & A section, it became a lively discussion with some folks asking about their experiences and knowledge of what libraries do. There was some validity in the questions but I think it the best thing I got out of the talks was the information about the growth and movement of the web and where it's heading. We as librarians need to know this stuff. I'm not hurt or take it personally if they say things like "metatdata will become the data" and "focus on the findings rather than the search" and "humans will be removed from the search process". By staying on top of this information we can bend and stretch to the needs of people for access to information as we always have. I think we are doing a good job of breaking the archaic structure of what a traditional librarian does. The point is that things will continue to change and we can be creative in the ways we manage and organize information and guide users. I'm excited to hear what they had to say. I'm excited to hear where the web is going.

So here are my notes from the session (not proofed for spelling, sorry):

Friday, Jan. 23 – OCLC Symposium

From Linking to Thinking
How we’ll live when information surrounds us

Roy Tennant – moderator
David Weinberger, technologist

Libraries in an age of abundance

Ebooks will help move books from a private activity to a social activity – one moment away from this transformation

We’re now entering an age of abundance – we get an abundance of good stuff and crap – mostly dealing with the crap – manage it ok – but now there’s an abundance of good

Libraries help us navigate through the content…. They’re symbolic, they symbolize – rich or poor you all get access to the same stuff
It makes sense to have a building to collect stuff – collections have value, well organized content – there is a place for knowledge and culture

Not having links out is an act of stinginess these days, books are stripped of their value because there are no links out to other content, more info.

Need to be able to manage this abundance – the information produces more info – metadata, info about the info – it no longer needs to fit on a 3x5 index card, we can add info as much as needed

The metadata connects everything, searches can bring back everything including the kitchen sink, metadata is the level to pry open the data

The old ways of doing things don’t scale, allow the public to add info, can’t do it ourselves, we need to do it together – we have to do it together because it doesn’t scale, of course it’s not going to be quite right, made by humans,
Metadata frees us to learn more

In the world of abundance, good enough is good enough. Some exceptions, medical, air traffic control, good enough is not good enough but most all else, with so much info, good enough is good enough

Knowledge isn’t the highest level, understanding is – we know how to do knowledge, we’ll keep doing it, symbolic roles – equal access, knowledge is scarce

Nova Spivack – semantic web pioneer and publisher of the Twine search/sharing tool

Library 3.0
What does the semantic web mean – the social graph just connects people
The semantic graph connects everything
Metadata view - you can reduce everything to little bits of relationships
Everything is becoming metadata
We’ll be building a higher resolution web
The data carries it’s own metadata – embedding it
The web becomes a database – in the semantic web the data is self describing, my program can go in and grab your info without having to go through an api/programmer to request the info
The idea of the semantic web is software can understand the web, no human involvement – we have to get humans out of the loop – if we have to do it all it’s not going to scale
We can leverage that by enabling different applications and people to learn about a program and embed the metadata

The internet
The pc
The web – web 1.0
Social web – web 2.0 – front end web, create more interactive programs
Semantic web – web 3.0 – entering into this period, the front end isn’t going to change all that much – this will be back end change -
Web os – web-based apps, web starts functioning like an operating system
Intelligent web – web 4.0 – intelligent agents, ubiquitous agents that are embedded into your phone that tell you what to do

Five approaches to semantics:
Tagging – anyone can make a tag – very easy to abuse, massive numbers to help weed out the junk
Statistics – trying to estimate the value of a page
Linguistics – natural language processing – artificial intelligents to retrieve pages
Semantic web – all about metadata, how you get the metadata is whatever
Artificial intelligents – read and interpret the knowledge

Approaches : make the data smarter/make the software smarter
Grow each area to eventually get to A.I.
Future of information retrieval:
Productivity/amount of data
Moving towards leveraging the social web – we use people as a search enginge as we move to web 3.0 we want to combine that with the web then move to reasoning (web 4.0)

How to add semantics:
Manual: Hard/Precise – individual hand – tagging by experts – easy/fuzzy: large group collective tagging by non-experts
Automatic: hard/pprecise: database integration-taxonomy management easy/fuzzy:

Libraries that learn
Digitize everytning and putit all online
Automatically self-assemble and self-organize
Personalized interface for each individual and group – giving everyone a personal card catalog – and then learning from that – recommendations and filtering becomes very important
Intelligent assistance (human and automated)
Detect and adapt to changing needs and usage

Q & A:
What are your impressions of libraries, conceptions?
-David: Libraries are, increasingly, maintain their value. Given money to spend is proven support. The tools they use, I’m somewhat familiar.
-Nova: I think catalogs are irrelevant, my observation, is I’m an information junkie, it had tremendous value in college, today, it’s inconvenient to get to when going to google is good enough, bringing the experience of discovery to the web is invaluable, having libraries do that is where it’s at. Exploring on the web – today, exploring the stacks – back then. My experience was focused on knowledge and discovery.
-David: going through stacks, discoveries, it’s a good thing, physical things can be frustrating

- break

Q&A Debate:
Nova: keyword searching is extremely inefficient. If there could be some kind of agent or automated process. Natural language interface would be great, dialoging would be better. Need to put the emphasis on finding not the search.
David: will typing words into a little box ever go away? Maybe, eventually, but it will get better. It will uncover better knowing what we want to find and know what we didn’t want to find.
Nova: hunt and peck v. map and compass, we need a little bit of both – this is what we are moving to more, keyword searching with faceted taxonomy. Give people a sense of location and place.

What role will mobile phones/technology be?
Nova: gps/locationware with data overlays – augmented realities, resources relevant to location – location awareness – overlaying data – geo tagging – talked about embedding mobile chip in contact lens, now, not so great but in 20 yrs from now, we’ll have photo quality visualization in the contact lens
David: information put in by social networks is a good way of filtering relevancy of info
Nova: the mobile device platform is already larger than the pc platform. How should mobile devices change to use them the way we need to? That’s what we should be thinking about. They’re wallets, they’re ebooks, they’re games, this notion of being able to carry around with you everything you need is great – having a mobile assistant. Acess might be very different, we need to think about dialog-based speech interfaces, mobile devices are ideal for that.

I would encourage you to take a broad look at what is meant by search than what is found.
David: we focus on the search box when we’re searching, provides us with endless links to traverse. Sometimes we find, sometimes no. we link and click and on to the next thing, that isn’t finding info it’s exploring. The real searching we’re doing is link to link to lnik, not the search box.
Nova: the inefficiency is deliberate (google) because there is money involved in the number of clicks per answer, might lose revenue, user.
David: aren’t ontologies put together by humans suffer the same effect as sticking with your same social network?
Nova: google is nothing more than a statistically based pile of data, most popular. Social search says don’t just search your own network search the networks that have the expert places or specialized networks. Ontologies are very biased, no way around it,
Sematic web – oil – ontology integrated language, mapping – what does it mean. Say want is inferred. There can many ontologies as desired and can map between them then link and integrate

What are the skills sets needed in the info system?
Nova: one of the good things is you won’t need too much about programming, you will be able to create metadata without, there will be people underlaying that but it will become more available. Discovery, social content is moving more to the individual. I think we will see twitter and other social places be the place of info discovery.
David: skills are required, typing, its familiarity with the social tools, yes but also being involved in smart social networks, being in the right twitter stream, you’re smart because you’re increasingly smart becase you’re in a network.
Nova: soon we will reach a point we’ll have more computing power than the brain has and do some amazing things and augment humans. Today the burden is to be like machines and we need to get rid of that. To go forward the intelligence in not inside, it happens elsewhere, leverage a network.
David: Andy Clark – Being There – really good book.

What can libraries do to become more relevant?
David: I actually do research for things I write, I have access to Harvard library, digital content, things that would make things easier is – scan the books already, databases, ejournals are a nightmare, can’t search across the whole thing, need more open access. If we could get this life for researchers would become easier
Nova: if I had a digital library and wanted more people to use it I would link in to google because ubiquitous is important.

January 12, 2009

Teaching & Learning in Second Life - Conference

Alliance Library System and LearningTimes are pleased to announce an exciting conference featuring science and virtual worlds. On January 30th we are "Stepping Into Science" and taking the day to explore the possibilities of using virtual worlds to learn about and teach science. The conference will be taking place entirely in Second Life and will feature a keynote and panel discussion as well as small breakout sessions, field trips and an opportunity participate in "Science Friday", NPR's live broadcast from Second Life.

For more information and to register, click here:

Speakers and field trips will include:

- Troy McConaghy (Scientist and Educator who has been involved with Second Life for over three years)
- Dr. George Djorgovski (Caltech and Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA))
- Joanna Scott (Writer for Nature and manages Second Nature on Second Life)
- Adrienne J. Gauthier, M.Ed. (Instructional Technology Specialist, Steward Observatory)
- Tony Crider (Elon University)

This online conference provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the latest in science education using 3D, immersive, virtual worlds.

It is ideal for anyone who might be at any stage of implementing education projects using virtual worlds.

There will be many opportunities to ask questions and discuss ideas with our speakers and guides as well as others attending the conference.

Those new to Second Life are encouraged to attend! We'll even be offering Second Life orientations before the 30th so if you've been meaning to check out Second Life, but haven't quite gotten around to it this is a great and structured opportunity to learn about some fantastic projects and also take Second Life for a spin.

The conference will be held live online in Second Life on January 30th. The registration fee is $65 per person. (Group rates are available.)

For more information on the conference, please visit:

Please freely distribute this invitation to those you might thing would interested in attending!

December 15, 2008

Library Challenges & Opportunities 2009 teleconference, "Information Literacy for Life"

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Library Challenges & Opportunities 2009 teleconference, "Information Literacy for Life"

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

November 17, 2008

We'll be at MLA

I, along with Evan Rusch from Minnesota State University - Mankato and Brian Lind from Rochester Public Library, will be presenting on AskMN at MLA this Wednesday from 2:00 - 3:15pm. I'll be talking about the history of AskMN, what it is about, how we've been helping Minnesota residents, some statistics about the service overall, and then hand it over to Evan and Brian to give their perspectives from a public and academic library viewpoint and the service has been received in their institutions and impacts on staff and community. So join us if you can. We plan for this to be more of a panel discussion with lots of questions from the audience.

November 13, 2008

Soaring to Excellence 2009 Teleconference

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence 2009 teleconference, "Reversing the Ratchet: Basic Technology Adoption Strategies for Library Workers."

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.

Don't miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

July 1, 2008

Keeping in the know with the ALA Conference

ALA Conference Logo  If you can't attend ALA here are some sites I found that contain some highlights, videos, blog posts, etc.:

May 7, 2008

ARLIS Two Innovative Sessions

Two innovative sessions that are available on the web are What’s Hot & What’s Not: Trends in Technologies and Services in Libraries and Visual Pedagogy: Do You See What I See?.   The first session showed innovative projects using web 2.0 tools, such as mashups to display public art location on campus along with links to the library catalog about that artwork/artist. The second discussed innovative techniques to engage patrons, such as a fellow IU graduate of mine, Jessica Bozeman, at Depauw University discussed their recent Murder Mystery to involve art students with databases, print collection and visual resources in order to solve the murder. 
 You can find posters for these sessions and others, at:

ARLIS They Never Covered This in Library School: Maps

I was lucky enough to attend a three-hour workshop on Maps and Atlases at the Denver Public Library, lead by two map librarians and one art librarian. We learned the basics of reading a map, such as projection, coordinates, title, direction, scale and legend. I learned that with maps it is best to start narrow (look for the most specific area/location) and then broaden it out if you can’t find it. Also, the scale of 1:24,000 is the USGS most common scale to get the most details. What is the most famous ariel photo in history? A photo of Cuba in 1962. We played with Google Earth and Terraserver. Along with learning about this great FREE resource by a map collector in California, David Rumsey, who is digitizing his entire collection of over 17,000 historical maps for free educational use. You can find this site, at:   
I hope to create a short workshop using this as the basis for the MINITEX region, so stay posted! Also, don’t forget that MINITEX Reference Service has access to the U’s Map Library and we use it to answer numerous genealogy questions using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and the Andreas maps. 

ARLIS Sell It!

Another presentation I went to at ARLIS was Sell It! The session presenter was Jeanette Valenti, a Professor of Human Communication, and discussed presentation techniques. It was very nice because she got audience interaction by having us discuss within a small group what makes us nervous, and what works for us to minimize those feelings of nervousness? The first point she made was to know your audience! Know that your audience is rooting for you and wants you to succeed. She also suggest practicing so you are familiar with props, dialogue, etc. Also, carpe diem; seize every opportunity to speak from meetings to impromptu presentations- you get better with practice. Be organized- keep it simple and stick to the main points. Use human interest components, such as humor and stories, but be true to yourself. (For example, I am really poor at telling jokes, so rather than trying to be funny I tell a story or share a current event.) Another item she suggested is to have a backup plan. How often does technology fail just when you need it? Have screen shots and handouts to supplement and save you if the technology fails. These and others were the highlights of her presentation. 

ARLIS Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk

Prior to the Art Librarian Society of North American Conference I assisted in adding content for the Web 2.0 Tech Kiosk. At the conference I staffed the booth, answered questions on Web 2.0 tools, and demonstrated things, along with creating first-time accounts for participants. Rebecca Cooper, a colleague and the Kiosk coordinator, at The Society if the Cincinnati Library, created wonderful MOO Cards and other handouts that had our wiki URL and a place to write down login information for newly created accounts. It was a wonderful experience, with approx. 120 participants visiting over two days. Also, we got some major press from the closing speaker on literacy, David Silver, who was fabulous and used us as an example in his blog post he used as a basis for his presentation. You are read his post here:
You can look at our wiki to learn more about Web 2.0 technology, at:

April 21, 2008

The Millennial Instructor

For years we have been talking about the digital native and now the millennial student. What about the millennial instructor? This was the focus of a presentation by Carl Berger, from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, at the University of Minnesota this past Friday. 
Every year the University of Michigan surveys their students and instructors on technology use.  In 2006, with a 17% response rate (474 faculty, 2,057 students) to their survey, they found that digital natives were great at multitasking, are comfortable with technology and use it a lot, and the age of 90% of the population was between 18 and 30. The interesting thing they found was that 50% of the median respondents were younger than the digital natives. Meaning, not every young person thinks of themselves as a digital native or uses technologies classified as a digital native. The digital native’s least preferred way to learn was online computer classes and their preferred way to learn was by self exploration. According to students, both digital native and the majority, claim that an instructor not knowing how to use technology was their greatest barrier to learning through technology. Another interesting thing is that students do admit they don’t have all the skills to use technology, but later in the presentation when we move to instructors, instructors rank skills as a low barrier for students. There is disconnect there. 

Continue reading "The Millennial Instructor" »

April 18, 2008

Spring Conferences!

Planning for spring conferences is heating up! There are (or have been) a number of new and ongoing learning opportunities specifically for or including reference services staff this spring 2008:

• PLA, March 25 - 29, 2008
• MnPALS Reference User Group Workday, March 28, 2008
ARLD Day (Academic and Research Libraries Division, Minnesota Library Association), April 25, 2008
MINITEX ILL Conference, May 5, 2008
e-Learning Summit, May 21 - 22, 2008
Midwest Library Technology Conference, May 29-30, 2008

In light of these exciting and unique opportunities, the planning committee for the University of Minnesota/MINITEX Library Information Network Reference Symposium has decided to cancel our 6th Symposium, on May 12, 2008. Rather, we strongly encourage you to register for and participate in these unique opportunities. We'll see you there!

April 10, 2008

26th Annual Johnson O'Malley Title VII Indian Education Conference

Location: Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Fond du Lac Reservation, Cloquet, MN

Dates: July 17-18, 2008 (1-½ days of workshops and speakers)

July 17 8:30-5:15
July 18 8:30-12

The mission of this annual conference is to provide quality training and resources for administrators, educators, teachers, and parents that meet the unique cultural and educational needs of American Indian learners.

Fee: $50 in advance/$75 after June 1

Program Proposals: If you have questions, please call the Department of Education-Office of Indian Education, Roseville at 651-582-8831 or Valerie Tanner at The College of St. Scholastica (218) 723-6014.

For questions concerning registration please contact FDL Accounting: 218.878.7536

Bridget Paulson
Program Accounting Director
Fond du Lac Reservation
1720 Big Lake Road
Cloquet, Minnesota 55720
Fax: 218-878-8152

For all other questions:
Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Jennifer Trotterchaude, 218.878.7547

For registration forms and additional information:

April 8, 2008

Midwest Library Technology Conference 2008


Midwest Library Technology Conference 2008
May 29-30, 2008
Macalester College
St. Paul, MN

A conference bringing libraries from around the region together to share how changing technologies are affecting the services they provide to their users.

Featuring keynote presentations from:

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

Rachel S. Smith, VP NMC Services, and Alan Levine, Chief Technology Officer, from
the New Media Consortium, an organization which co-authors the annual Horizon Report
on emerging technologies that will have an impact on learning organizations and whose
initiatives include examine how technology can drive the formation of new knowledge,
expand dialog, and fuel the exchange of ideas.

A wide variety of sessions will be offered during the conference including sessions on:

· Usability testing of library web resources

· Digital gaming in libraries

· Designing multi-media content for libraries

· Creating and sharing local digital collections

· Use of open source software in libraries

· Next-generation web interface tools

Registration will be available soon.
Check the conference web site for additional information:

April 7, 2008

SCImagine! 2008: Robots take over the Library

Three robots, three student groups…a battle of the intelligent versus the artificially intelligent.  

Friday, May 9, 2008
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Free, open to public
Upson Room, Walter Library 102
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Come see live robot demonstrations and the latest creations of artificial intelligence by students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. The presentations will be accompanied by light refreshments and stimulating conversation.

SCImagine! emphasizes the Science & Engineering Library's role as an intellectual gathering place on campus. Each spring the library showcases university teaching, learning, and research in the physical sciences and engineering offering fascinating presentations and lively discussions.

April 1, 2008

PLA Conference TidBits

John Wood, Keynote at PLA

I probably should have blogged the conference last week as now things are a bit fuzzy since I let the weekend go by before getting all this down.  Though I did take lots of notes!  I thought I would share, in one blog entry, some highlights of the PLA Conference for me.  First and foremost was the amazing keynote given by John Wood, of Room to Read.  John wrote the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which talks about his experience creating Room to Read and his belief that every child on earth should be educated and that "world change starts with educated children."  John worked for Microsoft for several years before going on a 3 week trek to Nepal where he realized that he could do so much more for the world by attacking three main problems:

1) 110 million children age 4-10 are NOT in primary school

2) 800 million people cannot read or write

3) Two thirds of that group are girls and women.

Two begin to conquer those three main problems, Room to Read focuses on buildings schools, creating multilingual libraries within those schools, and offering scholarships for girls.  John's motto is "dream big" and that's exactly what has made Room to Read such a huge success.  So far Room to Read has opened over 280 schools around the world and has distributed 2.8 million childrens books. 

John highlighted seven key points in his business model:

  1. hire strong and entrepeneural local teams
  2. engage the community with challenge grants
  3. invest heavily in human capital (train librarians who will in turn train others)
  4. monitor and evaluate
  5. have an intense focus on results (what gets measured gets done)
  6. make efficient use of donor dollars
  7. run like a business (fundraising, fundraising, fundraising)

John has amazing vision and passion about this project and is really making Room to Read a huge success.  If you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak I would highly reccomend it, but bring some tissue, because you just might get a tear in your eye, I know I did.


Great Libraries for Dummies


I really liked this session by Greg Buss of the Richmond Public Library, British Columbia, because he layed out 5 easy steps to achieve excellence in your library and also gave the top 10 things to do to achieve excellence in your library.  So much of this is common sense but sometimes we just need to hear it in a more organized fashion to really get it. His five easy steps to success are as follows:

  1. Think like a customer
  2. Determine the core functions of your library (empower the customer through information)
  3. Set priorities
  4. Manage resources
  5. Implement with urgency and enthusiasm

For more information on this session check out the upcoming April issue if Reference Notes!


The Cutting Edge: The Latest Information on Web 2.0

Jen Maney of the Pima County Library in Tuscon, AZ, made some great points about Web 2.0 and libraries.  Web 2.0 levels the playing field for libraries and allows us to meet users as individuals.  It gives us the opportunity to experiment with all of the Web 2.0 tools available to us.  Jen stressed that there is no "right" tool for all libraries.  All libraries, all users are unique and librarians should really experiment to find the right tools for their users.  As she put it, "design for uncertainty and accept that your future is uncertain." 

Everyone is Getting Crabbier

The last session that I'll highlight here is Everyone is Getting Crabbier, presented by Sandra Nelson.  Sandra is a Librarian and Consultant with Nelson Consulting (her own business) and gives presentations and training to librarians and library managers all over the country.  Aside from the keynote at PLA, this was probably my favorite session.  Sandra has a great sense of humor and had the audience laughing and participating.  One thing she said that is probably true for alot of us is that some days our biggest sense of accomplishment is writing a to-do list, when really our biggest sense of accomplishment should be checking things off that to-do list.  So what can we do about stress and crabbiness?  Here are the four things that Sandra reccomends to get us on the road to less stress and more happiness and contentment:

  1. Prioritize (be more effective then efficient)
  2. Plan and organize (as librarians I think alot of us already do this)
  3. Simplify (learn to say NO)
  4. Manage the clock

The fourth point, manage the clock, Sandra suggested looking at time in 15 minute increments rather than 1 hour increments.  She said that you would be amazed at what can be accomplished in a 15 minute period.


This was my first experience at a PLA Conference and I found most sessions I attended interesting and relevant for all types of libraries and librarians. 


March 30, 2008

Off your seat and on your feet

The last session I went to at PLA was “off your seat and on your feet”  presented by two engaging librarians at Columbus Metropolitan Library.  There they truly focus on the customer.  They looked at numerous customer service orientated organizations like Blockbuster, Nordstrom’s and Starbucks.  They stressed the difference between knowledge and data.  In the end they focused on the customer, and tried to turn all the No’s into YES,  To do this they needed staff buy in, which was difficult.  Fears of never sitting down while doing roaming reference, health concerns, off- desk duties etc. were discussed (you can see a sample in their handouts on the PLA site).  They focused on streamlining processes within the library, and even got a call center.  Reference librarians now sit behind counters that can be no longer than 7 feet (in one instance it is less than 4 feet and needed a special keyboard in order to fit).  The idea is the library staff member can easily walk around and enter the area from any side… also they want the librarians moving throughout the library assisting patrons when time allows.  They use Vocera as a walkie talkie between staff and as a telephone.  They also enhanced their webpacs and put them around their libraries so librarians did not have to carry around tablet pcs which are rather heavy if on your feet for hours.  It was an excellent presentation that focused on where libraries are going and the multitude of steps needed to get there.  My favorite part of the whole thing is that  each branch got to design their own reference desks- no cookie cutters.  They were given guidelines and then the library staff were to tell them what would work in their unique location.

March 28, 2008

Reader's Advisory Toolkit III

Another session I went to yesterday was, Readers Advisory Toolkit III. It was VERY interesting- wish I went to the first two. The first presenter talked about promoting the backlist. She had an interesting idea: if you promote one new author or book you should promote four older authors or books 1:4, and vice versa. She also discussed displays, which I never thought to incorporate music to read by in a display- very cool idea. 
The second speaker focused on genre studies. She stressed the importance of just reading a couple books in each genre, even if you dislike the area, because it allows you to identify with the patrons by saying something like, “well, I haven’t read __(author/title), however I have read ___, can you tell me more about __.” Also, to not focus on what we think a genre is- patrons use different terms to describe what they like/dislike. Also, write notes on every book you read/listen to. 
The last speaker (and the one I enjoyed the most) discussed how we can stay afloat in RA and not be quite so overwhelmed. She showed websites, blogs, Publisher’s sites and library awards we should be aware of and track. I HIGHLY suggest you down load the handouts for this presentation because her resource list is quite extensive and a great place to go to be in the know about what is coming down the pipe in publishing in 6+ months. She also stressed to only use 4-5 RA site, otherwise you will get overwhelmed by e-mails or RSS feeds and not want to check it/read them. Excellent talk and very engaging!!!

Who uses the Public Library

Yesterday morning I went to the Who uses the Public Library session.  It was very interesting to see statistics that contradict my assumptions. One of the researchers found that there was no correlation between the use of the Internet and declining use the Library, which is something I thought was occurring. One interesting fact was that patrons use 2.4 sources per information interaction. This really hit home for me the need to do the reference interview, so we know what they really want before we start consulting all our resources, because after 2 we have lost them. It was also to see that we get more bang for our buck with online resources than in-person… it is more economical since it reaches more people. However, another study showed that online people just use the catalog to see what is in our collections and to look at digital images- they overlook databases, etc. This is an area we can improve on. I also suggest if you want to review all the statistics and slides you look at the PLA handout website. 

What does it take to be good at reference in the age of Google?

This morning I went to the session What does it take to be good at reference in the age of Google?, presented by Joe Janes, columnist for American Libraries. His session was witty and toothy- lots to think about. He argued that basically Google has the market on ready-reference. Google is good at the specific, semi-sophisticated to fill a momentary gap.   Google has: breath, orient, everywhere all the time, FREE, QUICK, EASY and GOOD ENOUGH, from the free Web, and brings people closer together. He argues that Google can do ready reference, such as finding the capital of Belize faster than we could, so it is not an area we should fight for. But, what is more important is what Google can’t do that library staff do: gathering, select, decide, understand, help, depth, accuracy, print/fee-based, highly sophisticated search, be part of a community. 

Continue reading "What does it take to be good at reference in the age of Google?" »

March 26, 2008

Attending the PCA/ACA Conference

Last week I was at the Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, where I delivered a paper I wrote for my Masters in Liberal Studies program titled “Tame the Web: An Analysis of Librarianship Pop Culture.” I was not the sole representative from the University community; another student in the MLS program presented in the dance area, and Marie Harvat presented on the Children’s Literature Collection. It was a fascinating conference; it was difficult to choose from the 40+ panels offered during each time slot from 8am-10pm every day. 

Continue reading "Attending the PCA/ACA Conference" »

February 25, 2008

Sessions of Interest at PLA next month

If you are planning on attending PLA please keep in mind these 2 sessions hosted by Susan McGlamery with QuestionPoint:

1. Thursday March 27, 9 AM to 10 AM (user group meeting)
Regency Room, 2nd Floor

-User group meetings are very informative and allow you to connect with librarians across the nation/world that are using QP. You get to hear what others are up to, best practices, latest information from QP, tips and tricks. This session Jeff Penka will be talking about the latest feature to be released in the next month or two, Qwidget. Qwidget allows you to embed a chat window on any and every page you like that will allow patrons to instantly connect to your chat service when a librarian is logged in. Very similar to MeeboMe widget or Plugoo widget.

2. Friday March 28, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM (panel presentation)
Lake Superior A - 5th floor

-Panel presentation will be on best practices by peers in the QP community, how they are running their services, and reports back on assessment of services.

*Both of these are at the Hyatt Regency,

January 12, 2008

Evaluating Emerging Technologies Featuring Aaron Swart

Info from flyer:
As librarians, we have to keep up with the latest innovations.
But with so many competing technologies, what’s to keep us from wasting our time and money on fads and faulty solutions?
Aaron Swartz, will be sharing his strategies for analyzing emerging technologies. As the co-creator of the Open Library project, co-founder of Reddit, former adviser to Creative Commons, and co-developer of RSS, he has been one of the web’s most insightful pioneers.
His presentation will provide a framework for guiding you toward the resources that can best help you serve your customers.
This is an opportunity to listen to a leader in the information field and to engage in a dialog with him.

How to Pick Winners
“some technology is best left alone”
but which?
Maybe better to say how to pick losers

Story #1
9/11 truth people – have a movie to tell you what they think – Dick Cheney knew about 9/11 before it happened, other suspicious thoughts, conspiracy theories – going down technical raffles quibbling over details.
Need to step back and look at bigger picture. The conspiracy theory that Bush and Cheney were in on it. Doesn’t make sense. Want to go to war so make elaborate plan.

Story #2
Second life. There’s all these great things about it like distributed metaverse. Why do we need this? What this or that. Step back and look at bigger picture. Showing example of “The Office” and characters on the show using Second Life.

Rules are a substitute for thought

“Should we use Second Life?” then go off on tangent on how Aaron thinks Second Life is for losers.

Think for yourself

Not going to give us a series of rules today but things to think about that may be useful
Start out with ideas
Most of you probably already have an idea out there to evaluate
Give us tools to evaluate
People think in categories – once people have a category for a product they won’t think of it in other terms
Reddit similar to Digg, trying to explain the differences but couldn’t get through to others
Google, yahoo, a lot of internet tools are locked into their own silos – can’t add or edit to your liking

DRM – digital rights management – perfect example of making something people don’t want – “Wow, I really wish I could do less with my ebook today!”

Reddit – they got a lot of people who found out about it, have core base, but hard to find new people
You can’t google for unknown unknowns – lot’s of similar products like that out there

You have to make something that people can want, find, and do

Million of ants strategy
-everyone knows something about something – put these people together – wikipedia

it has to fit into reality

censorship – everything in computers is read in 0’s and 1’s – the internet can’t figure out what’s going on in the middle, only end to end, if no one can see what’s going on in the middle, can’t see your credit card numbers, porn, whatever, you can’t censorship

DRM also uses encryption – DRM wants you at the end from reading it, but only sometimes, have to give someone the key to unlock it so they can read it, music industry hasn’t figured this out yet

Data availability – thought that everything is available on the internet – not necessarily true

Need an idea, unique, people will want, find, use and has to be openly available

Aaron’s test case – Open Library
Currently have 6 employees working on the project
What does it look like? – one page per book
One site, has to be editable, like wikipedia but more complicated, has fields instead of open text
Has to be a hub, buy borrow, or download a book
Currently @ ½ mill. Books digitized so far
Also has reviews
Goal – make all the books more interesting
Libraries (catalogs) don’t have much of a presence on the web – yet
Want to use FRBR but much more – this book rebuts this book, is a response to that book and so on
Scan ondemand, pay 10 cents per page to scan the book if it isn’t up yet
Print on demand is the other part of that
Author bibliographis

The Test
It has a lot of competitors – like Amazon
Amazon doesn’t go back that far
OL’s goal is to make more books available
OCLC WorldCat – not very open, their trying to work with them on that
Google – doesn’t have much of a community around their book search, their bad at building community
OL wants to be the wikipedia of books, make it open and have many people working with them

LibraryThing – place where you can go to keep track of your books in your library, people have uploaded 22 mil. + books

Research – a lot of people think this means “search” or google
OL wants to integrate in where to find info like “this book you’re looking for is at this library which is 1.2 miles from your house”

Reality of OL
Structured wiki
Infogami – built to load all the books into and it holds pretty well
Need data availability – been a bit trickier – it’s been difficult to have libraries collaborate and give them copies of their catalogs, other companies are being more helpful but libraries are sticky
Plea to get libraries to be more flexible – go to your library and talk about this project

Questions from audience:
Q: Most catalogs are available on the web. Why don’t you want to use that?
A: Most OPACs you see on the web is end user view, they need the data, other end

Q: Open WorldCat can do that. How do you compare?
A: Open WC doesn’t really let you collaborate, it takes your info but doesn’t let others work with it. We do link to Open WC

Q: Do you think these traditional websites work anymore? What do you see that’;s on the horizon that’s more about library site just about clicking links to find info
A: You have to dig down, go to a special interface to find stuff, one thing libraries can do is create a community to allow people who are interested in the same kind of books come together. It would be really exciting if libraries started embracing that. We’ll see that kind of technology develop and become more and more poplular

Q: Are you hoping to extend OL to other formats than just books?
A: Yes, definitely, we have a plan to expand and take on other things such as journal articles, after journal articles move on to music and movies.

Q: How are you working with publishers?
A: They have been more willing to work with us than libraries. They have been giving us feeds to add to books. Rights issues, working on getting rights from publishers, working with public domain books, being careful not to step on the rights of publishers.

Q: The borrow option in OL – where does that go?
A: Right now it links to Open WC but we would love to open that up to libraries directly, we would like to work with libraries to do that.

Q: How do you deal with duplicate records?
A: We’re working on that right now. Merger algorithms, FRBRization, when you do a search you will be able to get a result and then from there to other editions and then to locations.

Q: Talk a little bit more about how the OL would be useful to libraries. Contributing to your project would help to know how will this impact students and libraries.
A: I think we need to start thinking of the bigger picture long term. We need to start thinking that libraries aren’t going to be existing on their own, look towards a shared catalog. One site to search shared catalog and then from there bring them back to their localized level. I don’t have a perfect solution but it’s time to start thinking about this and I think OL is good foundation to work from.

Q: What’s your long term goals?
A: Collaboration will be done by users, little money as oversight to contribute to the sight. Everything will be open in as many ways as possible. We want as many people will be able to integrate with it as possible.

Q: What is the usage so far?
A: Right now it’s still a demo site so it’s still early. We see dozens of people going in and making changes so it’s hopeful, want to work with wikipedia and that should open more doors to more people. Promising way of looking forward.

Q: What are your community building ideas?
A: Partly linking to LibraryThing, support what they’re doing, linking to other community building sites, intergration of other parts. What you’re reading right now and seek out others that are also reading those books and connect with them, get suggestions for other books, collaborate in other ways.

Q: Why did you come up with this?
A: I have an irrational love for libraries. Weird to say to this audience, I’m not pandering. I always wanted to bring this place I love online. Being able to build a reputation for obscure books to the web and share that with others.

Q: Library catalogs are authoritative – idea. How are you going to deal with other people going in and messing with the data? Like if someone doesn’t like a particular book.
A: There’s just not much you can do to add your political view. Also, it’s really obvious when people add errors. Ask reasons why people added or made changes. Maybe changes will have to be reviewed but start as open as possible and only start locking it down as needed.

Q: How do you see other digital library objects, special collections, how will they become part of OL?
A: OL can start making digital scans available to more people. Connecting more people to the resources. We want to include the rare and special collections in one place.

Q: What about primary source stuff?
A: Right now it’s kind of out of scope because we’re focusing on books but it’s a long term thing. The more data the better. If you’re reading a bibliography about an author or person it would be incredible to be able to link back to original letters and documents to have a better well-rounded view of the works.

Q: Is your project for profit or non?
A: We are totally a not for profit collaboration between as many groups as possible, in the open.

Q: Have you approached the IMLS people about your project?
A: We have but not much. We don’t hold out too much hope but maybe long term we’ll start to be able to use them to have the OPAC people to come to us.

Q: Are you hoping that libraries will eventually start using OL for their OPAC instead of what they already have?
A: No, but it will be an underlining thing, there will always be a difference between the actual OPACS and open OPACs.

Q: Open WC and social tagging.
A: I would love to see Open WC add social tagging to their catalog. But their moving slow. OL is not just social tagging, there’s more to it but we would still love to work with OCLC and seeing if there is a place/way for collaboration.

January 9, 2008

ALA Midwinter Prep

I will be heading off to ALA Midwinter later this week and will (technology willing) be, once again, blogging my way through the conference.

I have been frantically trying to arrange my schedule for the all the meetings and presentations I want to attend. I think this every ALA conference - if I could only clone myself life would be much easier.

Are you going to be at ALA Midwinter? Maybe we can get together or I'll see you at one of the events. If your not going I will try to send out some useful information via the blog about happenings. Check back regularly.

September 28, 2007

Reference Symposium


The University of Minnesota Libraries and MINITEX Library Information

6th Reference Symposium 

"Serving Users in Your Communities: Inside and Outside the Walls"
will be held

Monday, May 12, 2008

Continuing Education and Conference Center (formerly the Earle Brown
Conference Center)

St. Paul Campus
University of Minnesota 

This all-day conference will feature speakers on Library 2.0 and outreach to
communities of users, posters sessions, and much more.

September 25, 2007

Minnesota Library 2.0 Summit

On Friday, September 14th, I attended the Minnesota Library 2.0 Summit, sponsored by the Health Science Libraries of Minnesota. Michael Stephens, author of Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software, and the Tame the Web library blog, was the speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and learned a lot from it. He covered the background, history, philosophy, and best practices of Library 2.0 or social software. He covered blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasting, and gave everyone a chance to try Guitar Hero during breaks. Michael is a professor of library science at Dominican University and in 2005 was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers. To keep up with Library 2.0 and new technologies Michael suggested some things that we, as librarians can do:

  • Be a trend spotter
  • Form an emerging tech committee
  • Try learning a 2.0 program
  • Create a “what’s new” blog for your library
  • Explore the presence of users

And, three important things that he tells his students over and over again,

  • Scan the horizon for the next big change
  • Learn to learn
  • Adapt to change

July 31, 2007

collabortive Virtual Reference Symposium : Session III

Should Virtual Reference Software Work? (A panel of vr software vendors)
Panelists: Susan McGlamery & Jeff Penka, OCLC QuestionPoint : Angela Pfeil & Sean Zinsley,

Facilitator: James Duncan, Colorado State Library

-looking at the disconnect between wants and needs
-what goes in to creating this technology

4 topics:
-authoring, programming, development
-supporting these products - real world demands
-forecasting, research, future developments - what's on the horizon
-pricing - what is involved in establishing a pricing model for your product

What did it take for your company to reach today's point in product software
Tutor: we purchased it from existing company, we saw a problem with reliability
-we wanted to take the existing product and put it on a new platform to make it more stable - took one yr, next yr tweak from customer info/complaints/wants

-number 1 goal to keep stability, keeping people connected and keep vr platform live

QP: 2 yrs ago 24/7 ref and qp came together, 24/7 ref coop initially used different software products
-QP represents 2 things, technology/platform & 24/7 coop
-how do we extend support at a local, national, international level
-looking at tools for adaptation
-reference management system - evolution #1
-combining 24/7 coop and qp
-building tools for coop, we're our own software development - not a lot of vendors out there that fits that so we do it ourselves

What kinds of real world skills do you bring to this field?
Tutor: you have to hire people who know what it's like
-we have tech savvy people in our support roles, good w people in understanding those needs
-there is a high burn out rate, keeping staff that understand your needs can be difficult
-it costs a lot of money to have all the servers and disc space and staff
-technology gets out of date fast - need to upgrade servers on a regular basis
-as we get more customers the problems/demands increase
-nature of the product - want multibrowser/multiplatform software... lot's of questions/requests

QP: we benefit from having the oclc structure to tie into
-training, implementation, are things you think about - points of scale - have to adapt depending on how you're approaching things
-administrative activity
-community management, community engagement, cooperative
-the coop is the way we provide 24/7 service - we have @ 1200 libraries, statewides, regional groups and individual libraries
-energize our participating libraries
-managing the 24/7 back up librarians - @60 in all different time zones
-engaging the wider community in promoting vr

forecasting/research - what's in the horizon? How do you balance needs of today?
QP: the libraries that are currently using the product - QP user counsil - also have 24/7 ref coop advisory board
-meet the users at the point of need (mandate)
-where are our users now? - how can we serve their needs
-when we work w the users' council - watch things like sustainability, work on end user experience
-trying things out - one of the trends we're trying to do is "public preview" but make it scalable
-look at benefits and feasibility such as IM integration - working w outside vendors like AOL
-context - ref brings context - meaning to discovery - how do we make that piece happen
-point of need and set up - we're trying to build qp that allows you to do those kinds of things like advertise in myspace, youtube...
-cobrowse - what its role

Tutor: we watch the same trends
-I'm a product manage for our product and I'm a librarian, we're encouraged to participate in all the listservs, watching all the same things
-at tutor functions fall to different people
-we want to have a stable platform to build on - ease of use features don't mean as much as stability
-make sure clients are aware of upcoming changes
-it's important in developing software as it is as developing collections, we follow the same type of procedures of gathering info from our clients

Pricing - what is involved in establishing or refining pricing for your system or software product?
Tutor: out general pricing policy is to look at size of your patron pool
-estimate how much it will cost to serve that audience, to provide that service
-this isn't a business that's going to make you rich
-contract renewals, depends on how the service was used - need to find a balance for what being used and what you're paying for

QP: we look at trends for adoption
-we're confident now we have a pricing model we're going to keep in the next few years
-the pricing model is preventing collaboration
-there's a priced for the tools, and a price for participating
-our goal is to go after large states and the global arena
-we have regional partners, pricing models that have to adapt by regional

forgive me, this is where my laptop battery decided to end, notes went on paper at this point and I can barely read my own writing...

Questions from the Audience:
Q: Is IM the enemy?
T: No, it doesn't do everything we want it to do:
-no file share
-no scheduling
-doesn't allow multiple logins
-making bots & customizations only work for specific versions, have to update constantly

Q: IM is outpacing VR 3:1
T: you can not discount current software/companies for fads
-trend to drop VR for IM is that where we should be putting concentration? - it's a preference
-it comes down to $$ - eventually we'll have to pay for it in one way, shape or form

QP: everything in QP or Tutor was because someone needed it - you're trying to get that stuff in there
-co-browse has been redefined based on libraries needs
-if you're doing what you need to w/o us then we've done out job
-privacy and storage or transcripts - where is IM with these
-no transfers, no reports
-balancing act of needs

Q: Please detail the what extent your product is ADA compliant
T: we haven't done anything - we run it through screen readers, use 3 rd party
-but not there yet

QP: ADA compliant - InfoEyes - we worked w them to find out what is needed - what does usable & accessible look like?
-we're building a "universally" accessible interface for blind and everyone else

Q:Links to Ask A Librarian services in, what does this entail?
QP: open to any library that subscribes to OCLC
-don't have to subscrive to QP
-can have Tutor or Docutek or email or just a contact web page linked there
-it's based on particular libraries not a specific service

Q: Do you offer pricing based on function? only email, only chat...
T: our pricing model based on staffing/service not by feature

QP: we tried tier differences but we've simplified things now - standardized
-complexity increases cost

Q: What kind of software training do you offer, how, is it priced differently?
T: I (Angela Pfiel) do all training based off of Buff Hirko's book
-part of 1st yr pricing cost/implementation
-documentation kept online and accessible to all clients
-they also do train-the-trainer
-after 1st yr they could do something special but encourage to go to online docs.

QP: part of 1st yr. implementation
-contact person, to make sure things are going smoothly
-can do in-person training, self-paced materials, train-the-trainer, coop. training
-quarterly updates

Q: Do you see VoIP in near future?
QP: did it, passed it, may come back to it
-it's not on our road map in the next 12 mos. but we'll keep watching it

T: no, we don't see a huge push for it - not on our near horizon
-need to bring in 3rd party - it would be 2 yrs out at least

Q: We're still shaping VR - What is the possible relationship between one librarian w multiple patrons and visa versa?
T: we do one-to-one communications
-we're in the business of connecting one patron to one librarian - that's what we do

QP: our current referral system kind of meets that
-we are looking at expanding that - we do have the ability to have multi-librarians to collaborate on one question but it is cumbersome
-not looking at one librarian to multiple patrons
-we do have e-learning environments in webjunction but can't fold it back into a transcript

Q: Interoperability of services between vendors
QP & T: haven't looked at it in the last couple of yrs.

Q: Is cobrowsing only important to academic libraries??
T: there's no standard definition of co-browsing
-in my experience it seems more important in academic area

QP: in our coop we found co-browsing very important in utilizing other libraries' pages
-co-browsing is poblematic
-I don't know if it's more important in academic but they like to show partons where resources are located

T: I agree w Susan (QP) - libraries like to describe what patrons need - it's important for us to ask our patrons if they need it
-why keep trying to put $$ into it if patrons don't want it?

QP: at ALA in the discussion group - most talked about thing was "fix co-browse"!
-it's valuable but how valuable?

Q: How do your products work w PDA's and mobile devices?
T: it's @ 10-20 mos. out
-it's definitely something we're interested in

QP: we do already have deployment through chat2 - next generation chat
-it's in our immediate work we're doing

July 5, 2007

The Record Breaker


ALA Annual Conference 2007, Washington D.C. boasts a record breaker turnout of 28,635 people (21,466 registrants and 7,169 exhibitors). These numbers surpassed the previous ALA record of 27,962 people set in Chicago, 2005 and last year's annual conference in New Orleans at 16,964. With over 300 sessions and programs, topics ranged from Web 2.0 technologies and applications to new perspectives on information literacy to library promotion and fundraising ("It's Official: ALA Conference Is a Record Breaker," Library Journal: Academic Newswire, June 28, 2007).

Three noteworthy programs included a RUSA MARS Hot Topics Discussion Group Libraries2Go: Library Services for Handhelds, an ACRL Arts Section/Instruction Section program Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy, and a Women's Studies Section program Once Upon a FURL in a Podcast Long Ago: Using New Technologies to Support Library Instruction.

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May 29, 2007

Minnesota Rural Summit, 2007

Recently, I attended the MN Rural Summit held this year in Brainerd, May 10-11. There were about 200 in attendance to hear talks on improving community involvement in creating public spaces on interest, the digital divide and how to close in on that gap, and health care and education trends for the future. Unfortunately, the Rural Summit will be taking a break while organizer, Jane Leonard, focuses her efforts as Chair for the 2008 Minnesota Sesquicentennial that will be held next May. In the photo above, MN Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, and Dr. Reatha Clark King, Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission (holding the banner) and Jane Leonard hand over the "Official" Sesquicentennial banner and a book to Mary Ann Van Cura, Coordinator of Library Development and Continuing Education at Minnesota State Library Services. The banner and book will make its way to public libraries throughout the state over the course of the year in celebration of the upcoming state sesquicentennial. People will be encouraged to write their stories in the book to be shared as part of the celebration. Look for the banner and book at a library near you!

May 16, 2007

Teleconferences - Check it out!

I have attended a number of College of DuPage teleconferences sponsored by MINITEX this past year. Each teleconference has been thought-provoking, challenging, and great material for discussions. Some of them have been in an interview format of one or two librarians while others have had several guest panelists addressing particular topics, issues, or challenges in today's libraries.

The interviews have included Steven Bell, Director of the Paul J. Gutman Library, Philadelphia University and Aaron Schmidt commenting on new Web 2.0 technologies and their possible library applications and challenges. Another outstanding teleconference was an interview of Rachel Singer Gordon author of The NextGen Librarian's Survival Guide in which she presented a very balanced approach to the popular current issue of generational perspectives in the library workplace.

The panels have wrestled with charged issues such as the state of library education, professional development, and certification as well as library relevance in the digital age.

If you have not been able to attend these teleconferences in person, please check out the desktop streaming opportunities and borrowing past teleconferences on VHS tape to share with your colleagues. These are bound to inspire and spark good discussion in your own library.

May 8, 2007

MNSCU Librarians Day

MINITEX was invited to participate in the session “Creating Online Information/Library Tutorials: Finding Best Practices” at MNSCU Librarians Day on May 1 at North Hennepin Community College. Sara Ring and Carla Steinberg Pfahl contributed to the presentation. Through examples of Articulate Presenter and Camtasia I illustrated some best practices and how MINITEX distinguishes tutorials from archived webinars. The handouts included a sheet of Recommendations for settings within Camtasia, along with a comparison of various tutorial products. I presented after a gentleman from the company Lode Star, which MNSCU will have a license to use to create tutorials- again Lode Star, like Camtasia, etc. does all the coding for you, so you just plug in your content and away you go. After my presentation Tom Eland from Minneapolis Community and Technical College discussed their direction and goals for tutorials in the distance learning arena and also to supplement in class instruction. The session brought up much discussion of best practices- hopefully this topic will be discussed further at MNSCU and statewide events.

MN ESL, Bilingual & Migrant Education Conference

On Friday, May 4, MINITEX Reference Services exhibited at the MN ESL, Bilingual & Migrant Education Conference. I was amazed by the great turnout and amount of inquiring attendees, especially ESL and ELL K12 teachers that have never heard of ELM. They were VERY interested to hear that the databases were broken down by grade levels, and each entry had reading level indicators. The K12 teachers also perked up to hear that many education journals were freely accessible to them through the Professional Collection and Academic Search Premier.

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November 27, 2006

TIES Conference

TIES Conference Presentations:

ELM, MDL and MnLINK: the Express Tour - Tuesday, Dec 5 11:20-12:10pm

Minnesota's Virtual Library: Hands-on ELM Overview - Saturday, December 2, 8:30am-11:30am

November 3, 2006

Best New Technologies: Keeping Up with the Storm

MINITEX is pleased to announce the following College of DuPage teleconference is available via streaming video.

Soaring to Excellence 2007: Library 2.0 and Beyond

Best New Technologies: Keeping Up with the Storm

This video will be available via video streaming until December 27, 2006. After this date MINITEX will have a copy of the program that may be borrowed.

Here is the link for video streaming The Best New Technologies teleconference.

October 20, 2006

New technologies teleconference 10/27

Did you know you can view the College of DuPage Challenges & Opportunities and Soaring to Excellence teleconference?

This conference will be a nice discussion of web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, blogs, and social bookmarking. (To prep for this webinar consider watching our recorded webinars on podcasting and folks-a-what? Visit to view them!)

To register to attend this teleconference at Wilson Library, go to

To register to stream to your desktop, go to Residents of MN, ND, and SD will not be charged. College of DuPage will forward links directly to registrants.

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STEM Conference

Mary Parker and I exhibited at the STEM conference (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education. We interacted with a few eager teachers who never have heard of ELM before and wanted to learn how to incorporate it into the classroom. See a few examples in the extended entry!

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Technology Integration & You Tube dilemma

While at the MEMO conference the Reference Staff were invited by TIES to participate in their Key Instructional Contacts monthly meeting that following Tuesday. I was able to attend and meet many technology staff members from schools such as Wayzata, Blake, Eden Prairie and so forth. The meeting was very interesting with several examples of in-house surveys that were created and administrated to measure technology integration in the classroom. During the open agenda discussion the topic of video sites was brought up (i.e. You Tube and Google Video) to determine what the practices of the schools were. It was split about 50/50 that some blocked the sites completely, others “heavily” filtered, but a few were encountering issues at their schools, especially if they offered video production courses- these are the sites that teachers often pull good and bad examples from. One suggestion, that I particularly liked, was to restrict the sites from the whole school but allow access to the IP address for the teachers’ computers only. Very interesting dilemma they are now facing. I look forward to their next meeting in December which will discuss student testing standards.

July 31, 2006

2006 MLA Conference

Plan to attend the 2006 Minnesota Library Association Conference
Creativity & Collaboration ~ Minnesota Libraries Lead the Way
September 27-29, St. Cloud Civic Center

Join us for two presentations:

E6. MINITEX, ELM & Minnesota Digital Library: The Express Tour (MINITEX)

Thursday, September 28, 2006
2:00 to 3:15 p.m. Session E

Staff from MINITEX Reference Services and CPERS (Cooperative Purchasing and Electronic Resources Services) introduce you to and answer questions about four important statewide library services: MINITEX ; ELM ; MnLINK ; and Minnesota Digital Library
Jennifer Hootman and Christine Kline, MINITEX

C5. A New Way to Read: NetLibrary and eBooks (MINITEX)

Thursday, September 28, 2006
8:00 to 9:15 a.m. Session C

NetLibrary is an eBook collection available to Minnesota residents via their libraries. Initiated in 2000, the MINITEX NetLibrary eBook collection contains more than 15,000 titles in academic, popular, and professional subject areas. Learn about the shared collection, access methods, and staff tools that are available to MINITEX libraries. Jennifer Hootman and Christine Kline, MINITEX