Tag Archives: dreams

Libraries and sharing

In December last year Dale Askey wrote a Code4Lib column, We Love Open Source Software. No, You Can’t Have Our Code which raised some discussion for a while.

But of course it’s not just software.

Oh, I haven’t personally experienced libraries refusing to share information. In fact when I was researching our “Library on Location” project, everyone I contacted was more than happy to give me stories, photos, even survey data. But… I did have to track them down from oblique references in old blogs and newsletters and email them, one by one.

And we put our own Library on Location reports online, which I’m glad we could do. But… we had to ask if we could do it, and only our conference paper is in any kind of official repository sort of space.

Is this consistent with our profession’s attempts to convince academics to put their research papers and data into institutional repositories?

And is it an efficient, librarian-like way of organising the accumulated knowledge within the profession?

Statistics.
User surveys.
Projects that work.
Projects that don’t work.
Projects that might work but we ran out of funding.
Projects that would work if we could share the workload with another institution.

This might have been why the Library Success wiki was created. It’s a great idea, but its contributors are individuals, not libraries, so it just doesn’t have the kind of oomph I’m thinking about.

What if…

What if every library in the world brought their anonymised circulation data, their IM reference statistics, their anonymised usability testing and survey results, their project reports, their lesson plans and handouts, and their iPhone applications out from their hard drives and their intranets and made them publically accessible?

What if they all licensed this stuff (and photos and podcasts and vidcasts and…) with a Creative Commons or GPL license?

What if they all created a single website where this stuff could be stored and searched in one place?

What if that website allowed space for libraries and librarians to comment and collaborate on and add to each other’s work?

No, seriously, I mean it

At the end of the month my library’s delegates to LIANZA2008 are going to report back to the rest of the staff about what we got out of the conference. I got 4 things out of conference, 3 of which were:

  1. Leadership – future taking vs future making
  2. Innovation – just do it
  3. Why are they presenting on this topic when we’ve gone further in our analogous project and have more experience of how it works in practice? Oh yes: because it never occurred to us to share.

So in my allotted 5 minutes of the reporting back, I plan to pitch the idea that we should move all our (sanitised if need be) project work from the intranet to open webspace.

What about the rest of the world?

How to give a successful workshop: lessons learnt from a dream

I don’t dream about work every night. Just the nights I actually get enough sleep to hit the appropriate REM cycle. But when I do, why not share the lessons learnt? I take no responsibility for workshops based on this advice…

  1. Know how many people will be taking the workshop.
  2. Limit the number to something you can handle.
  3. Make sure there are enough workstations for everyone to work at.
  4. If people continually arriving will disrupt the workshop, close the door soon after starting.
  5. If people continually leaving will disrupt the workshop, chain participants to their desks soon after starting.
  6. Prepare a realistic lesson plan with built-in leeway.
  7. Check all equipment, internet connections, URLs, logins, etc, beforehand.
  8. Have a list of all necessary URLs, logins, etc. In multiple handy places.
  9. If workshop participants need URLs, logins, etc, email them in advance. And have handouts ready as well.

If all else fails — as it clearly had in my dream — be prepared to be flexible:

  1. If you originally planned to run an interactive workshop and find that due to hundreds of people turning up this is impractical, just deliver a lecture instead.
  2. If you originally planned to cover two topics and are halfway through your time having barely started on the first, just shrug off the second one.
  3. If you originally planned to show examples but can’t remember your log-in / can’t find the URL / can’t get the wireless connection working, just move on to something else.
  4. If despite utter confusion and chaos you’ve managed to muddle through to the end and attendees inexplicably begin applauding, accept their thanks gracefully. It isn’t often one has an anxiety dream without the anxiety.