Tag Archives: library2.0

Why reinvent the wheel? (a photo essay)

Stone wheel in a trough (by Vincent Jones, CC-BY-SA)

Wagon wheel (by Richard Sonnen, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steamroller (by Rog Frost, CC-BY-SA)

Car wheel (by Mr T. in DC, CC-BY-ND)

Bicycle wheel (from Soil-Net, CC-BY-NC-SA)

Bulldozer tread (by John Schilling, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Eggbeater (by Candice Wouters, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Table saw (by Patrick Fitzgerald, CC-BY)

Wheel of Fortune (by Paul Stack, CC-BY-ND)

Ferris wheel (by Josh McGinn, CC-BY-ND)

Links of interest 4/3/2010

Subject Guides
Springshare have created a Best of LibGuides LibGuide to share ideas about “the best of what the LibGuides system has to offer”.

Gale notes on Twitter that “We analyzed search usage growth for 5k libraries; 20% of them use widgets. The libraries using widgets had 60% higher growth.” Widgets can be built from their website (among other tools for measuring and increasing usage).

Infolit by video
Using video to address an immediate research need is an answer to a faculty complaint with students not researching broadly enough. The librarian put together a video in 30 minutes, posted it on his blog, subject guide, and course management system, and watched the video stats climb as students watched it.

COPPUL’s Animated Tutorial Sharing Project collects video tutorials that can be shared among library systems to avoid reinventing the wheel – including project files so libraries can tweak it to fit their environment. The ones I’ve seen are licensed with a “share-alike” Creative Commons license (meaning you can use it and change it but you have to license your finished product with the same license). You can browse or search for databases eg JSTOR.

Miscellaneous Web 2.0
7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication: Mostly backchannel communication happens at techier conferences but 7 Things points out that: “Backchannel communication is a secondary conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity. This might involve students using a chat tool or Twitter to discuss a lecture as it is happening, and these background conversations are increasingly being brought into the foreground of lecture interaction.”

10 Technology Ideas Your Library Can Implement Next Week “to start creating, collaborating, connecting, and communicating through cutting-edge tools and techniques”.

Measuring the impact of web 2.0 (via a colleague via the LIS-WEB2 mailing list):

Tim Spalding on Social cataloguing

What it is, and what it means for libraries?
Tim Spalding founder of LibraryThing

Introduces self as a failed academic, worked in publishing, started LibraryThing.

Warning: Library Science being practiced without a degree

Started as a personal project, now a company. 850,000 members who catalogue their personal libraries – so far 44million books. Available in 12+ languages. (Not Māori but would be open to that – translations done by members.)

Social cataloguing is “what I say it means” because he invented it! It’s what emerges when personal catalogue goes social. It’s becoming increasingly important to libraries. Used in LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads; Visual Bookshelf, BooksWeRead.

Ladder of social cataloguing:
– started as personal cataloguing and grew from there
– users climb the ladder
– climbing the ladder is more altruism, more cooperation, more social. But participating is primarily for self. There’s some application to libraries but it’s different there.

Live demonstration of adding “History of New Zealand” by Michael King to his bookshelf. Mixture of tags – “new zealand”, “history”, “lianza”, “interesting”. Bookshelf with ratings. Can add from Amazon or many other bookstores or even libraries – 10 libraries in New Zealand contribute data. Can view libraries by list, cover, tag (list or cloud); author cloud or portraits. Statistics on language, number of characters, places. Reviews and ratings. Members’ profiles – social networking component but LibraryThing is more about content than people, reflected in focus on users’ names rather than user icons.

23,000 people adding Twilight. All doing it for themselves but as a result there are now 1200 reviews people can read; tags are added, recommendations are generated (“Will I like it?” – it correctly predicts he won’t like Twilight. 🙂 ) Can follow a feed of new recommendations. There’s also the “unsuggester” – trying to be entertaining around books.

Example of Neuromancer – library of congress has bizarre subject headings; LibraryThing has “cyberpunk” and you can click through to read more cyberpunk. “Chicklit” is sorted by how many people have called it that; cf Library of Congress “love stories” which is just either/or, no sorting. Idea of prototypes – a robin is a really good example of a bird, a penguin is a kind of okay example of a bird…

Non-romance readers think romance readers read romance, but they don’t – they read contemporary romance, trashy romance, regency romance, lesbian romance, paranormal romance….

“If you’re using terms like “social capital” you’ve already passed some kind of brain test” so not worried about vandalism….

“magic” is problematic – Harry Potter mixed in with academic ones.
“leather” even more so

Can do tagmashes to get tagmash “France”, “WWII”, “fiction”

“chicklit” is now an LCSH but not geographically subdivided and will never have a “zombie” subdivision.

Tags: glbt vs lgbt “But those are the same thing!” — but no: the books are actually different. The terms that people use encode all sorts of stuff. Many things labelled “homosexuality” actually mean “anti-homosexuality”.

More than 1.5million covers added (including Albanian, Serbian editions of Harry Potter). When you upload it for yourself, everyone gets the benefit.

Social networking based on books you have in common. “Even if I don’t want to be his buddy, checking out his library will be very interesting to me. Social networking for people who don’t want to talk to each other.”

Most popular group is Librarians who LibraryThing. Conversations about books on groups are tied into the books’ own records.

LibraryThing Local – showing us map of bookstores and libraries in Portland, Maine. Can connect to local LT members; find events at bookstores, libraries. Add a photo of our libraries to these pages!

Example of wife’s books – members have combined all the editions (other languages, etc) FRBR-style. Members have combined “Mark Twain” and “Samuel Clemens”.

“Common Knowledge” – awards, quotes, characters and places in the story, blurbers – all sorts of things not captured in typical metadata.

Series pages – eg Star Wars series. Plus “related series”. Much more information than any library has. Collated by people who know about it – the books’ fans.

How many books does George Washington occur in? How many books take place in Washington, D.C., or in Hell?

LT “member” Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette. No New Zealanders at the moment. Based on eg auction house records. Done by the group “I See Dead People’s Books”. Nice to be able to search Thomas Jefferson’s library – couldn’t do it before; now can see how you overlap with these people. Most popular book among all legacy libraries is Don Quixote; #2 is Complete Shakespeare.

Highest rung of ladder is altruism – flash mob cataloguing where volunteers go to library and catalogue their books in a mob in a day.

Six free ways to use LibraryThing:
1 Make sure you’re in LT Local
2 Make an account
3 Libraries of Early New Zealand
4 Flash-mob catalogue your local historical society, church, health centre…
5 “Community library” to create a shared local library with LibraryThing Groups (eg two churches, a historical library, and a couple of people in town).
6 Grab our free data: common knowledge data, frbrised data etc.

One un-free way:
1 LibraryThing for Libraries eg at Seattle Public Library showing other editions and translations; similar books; tags; reviews. Four or five NZ libraries are using it.

What does social cataloguing mean for library cataloguing?
The end of the world! No!

Defends the value of structured metadata but that shouldn’t be all we have.

LCSH – A book has 3-6 subjects – why? because that’s how many we can fit on a card.
Subjects are equally valid because of… the card.
Subjects never change because of… the card.
Only librarians get to add subjects because of… the card.
Users don’t get a say in how books are classified because of… the card.

In the digital world, none of this matters. In libraries these ideas have still persisted.

The physical library was human. The first wave of technology was dehumanising but social cataloguing can rehumanise the library. Everyone can help. (We don’t need to let them do everything but they can help!) Local matters again. cf Māori Subject Headings – sometimes local communities need headers other communities don’t have.

A note of caution before joining the exciting world of web2.0 – join the exciting world of web1.0! Library catalogues aren’t web1.0. Often you can’t link to library catalogue records; they’re all session-based. Why why why? People need to be able to bookmark and share. And catalogues aren’t indexed in search engines! Why?????

Go with the grain of the internet, not against it. We’re not in competition with the internet. We should be open. Libraries are going the wrong way. LibraryThing gets twice as much traffic as WorldCat. Dogster gets as much traffic as WorldCat.

Be part of the conversation. Trust people: put your stuff online and risk that people might find the “wrong thing” or tag it the “wrong way”.

Choose solutions that favour all this. He thinks open source is the way to go. He doesn’t think open source is necessarily better, but it can be.

Social cataloguing can be a last chance to join web 1.0. Before we start struggling with ebooks struggle with the fact that people can’t find our books on Google! It’s an opportunity to reinvigorate library technology. To reconsider some LIS thinking and improve systems. (Had a LT project to replace Dewey. Turns out to be hard and didn’t work. But it’s cool to try!) Chance to embrace best traditions of librarianship: radical openness, public spirit, focus, connection to the local and social. Why would we lend books but hold back metadata?

Q: Could libraries organise own flash mobs and [? get stuff on web?]
A: Absolutely! Thinks flash mobs are good for things on the periphery, stuff that’s never been exposed eg churches, historical society. So many books exist in private holdings!

Q: What proportion of books on LibraryThing do people catalogue themselves rather than pulling data in?
A: Not sure but probably a small percentage. Zines, comics, etc are the main things.

Web 2.OhMyGod to Web 2.OhNo

Douglas Campbell and Chelsea Hughes

Chelsea Hughes and Douglas Campbell
Nautical theme using the Web 2.0 Map.

MySpace – went to tell musicians “Give us your CDs, it’s the law.” Message was clear but didn’t actively engage; then left and had no exit strategy.

Blogs – started up a couple. Also name “The Collections blog that never happened” – because would be too time consuming for staff to do necessary research. Other blogs (Library Tech and Create Readers have been successful and they’re sticking around.

Flickr – Rights was an issue to start with but now joined Flickr Commons. Staying but passively – adding stuff but not joining discussion and groups.
Learned how to take risks, created relationships. But didn’t have resources to really nurture their pressence – like blogs it’s not really anyone’s job.

2008 Web Harvest
Timeline: anger because of bandwidth. NatLib explained so people were happier. What went well – they were already in the social spaces so were alerted to anger quickly and could respond quickly.

Twitter – worked well because could apply past lessons. Identified as opportunity to promote collections. Tea-break tweets only – no system outages, media releases. Try to be at desk for 30 minutes after tweets go out in case of replies so can stay engaged. Don’t measure success by number of followers but by clicks on bit.ly links and conversations. Low effort so definitely staying. Much went well; so far nothing’s gone badly!

Have tested waters in wikipedia, slideshare, delicious, youtube, but so far haven’t found a good fit at them. These places don’t meet their criteria of having something to offer, someone to tell it too, and a way to sustain it.

Lessons learnt:
Engage, set goals, know your audience, know your limits, know yourself, be social, own it, choose your platform wisely, make it personal, take risks but be smart about it, be casual but not too casual.

Handout folded in shape of boat with chocolate ‘gold coin’ folded inside. Contents will be on Library Tech.

Q: Still doing Flickr Commons?
A: Yes, still adding things, just not more involved.

Q: Are you capturing NZ Tweets through NDHA?
A: No. Not sure how to identify NZ twitterers. Only covers .nz and “known offsite distributors”.

Q: How do you sell Flickr etc to bosses?
A: Get a longer leash to trial it; point to success examples; show them the benefits. Get a three-month pilot agreed.

Q: Re “just do it” – but it’s about the library’s reputation too.
A: If you’re just doing it then use a personal account but also be smart about it.

Being online is just another way of living your life – a staff member could make just as bad a reputation for you at the pub.

Implementing Web 2.0

Paul Hayton

Metrics are important – available on flickr, wordpress, facebok, youtube, witter. Wikipedia doesn’t.

Launch dates all refer to Dunedin Public Library’s accounts.

consider using a secret email address; it negates most IT/Council security uploading hassles. Subject heading becomes title and body is description.
Flash-based tools may break so use the basic uploader
Pro account gives features that are worth it.
Link Flickr to blog, facebook, etc – facilitates crossposting.

Started having news and reviews blogs. In Feb 08 merged to a single blog at wordpress.
Use Google Analytics. Hosting on own servers makes it easy to put code in.
Suggests posting every 1-3 days. Every day is too much, every week not enough.
Include youtube clips, flickr banner and links to other services down the side.

If doing more than one thing then reuse your content! Eg description on images / blog description of event. Push people through to different services by linking blogpost, photo, through to youtube video etc.

Post a little content often rather than a lot infrequently.
Link to other online spaces proactively
Review content using metrics to discover what really is popular content (eg topical links to Swayze-related collection)
Use categories, not tags to standardise search when running a blog with multiple contributors – forces authority control.

Wikipedia article – launched April 08. Anecdotally well-received but hard to read statistics. Have had one instance of vandalism – corrected by wiki community within 24 hours. When Paul started adding stuff he had people telling him he couldn’t put up library-copyrighted stuff.
Establish an account
Declare who you are
Start small, build content as time permits
Add images and links to other online spaces
Reference where you can
Seek other pages with related content and edit to include a link back to your own page

Launched May 08; now 111 videos, average of 40-60 viewers per day.
Invest in a tripod
Recording at 320×240 at 8 frames per second is fine and reduces both file size and upload time
YouTube has a 10min limit
Don’t pan and zoom.
Be consistent in categories and tags

Launched December 2008 – wanted to establish a profile and generate viral promotion; engage in dialogue with fans and deliver targeted promotional info to fans
Address is horrible – get a badge. (Me: if you have 100+ fans you can get a custom address)
Metrics interesting – fans are 64% female which reflects library membership. Highest fans are at 25-34%
Good conversation going.
Have a response plan for if customers engage.
Establish a page, not a group.
Post links to other online spaces
Use the events feature and selectively send invites to fans
If you have a Twitter account, consider linking your status updates to it.
Import blog, flickr content etc to your page.

Launched Feb 09
Can get statistics from various analytic sites eg tweetstats.com
Predominantly events stuff.
Use web stats services to analyse account
Use the power of the + in http://bit.ly/1894XD+ to get stats on how often it’s been viewed.
Firefox – install Power Twitter add-on.
“The more you give the more you get” – the more you tweet the more followers you get – but it’s more about quality vs quantity.

– Strategy – be clear about why and where you’re playing, but you don’t need a full strategy before you dive in. No analysis paralysis!
– Staff/time – better to do one thing well than several things poorly. Look for something you like and do that.
– Learn by doing. Forgiveness vs permission, action vs policy.
– Proactively network with like minds.
– Spend time each week being a ‘naive enquirer’ to learn more.

Q: Release permission for filming booktalks, audiences?
A: Get permission for authors, performers. Camera is generally not on audience – only incidental and not very identifiable. Anecdotally – email from someone in a video who wanted a copy to send it around

Q: Problems with Wikipedia’s rule against editing your own page?
A: No issues.

Q: YouTube filming at low resolution – shouldn’t we film at high resolution for posterity and just upload a low-res version?
A: Yes, valid point – could be something we could do better at. But currently dealing with practical issues

Links of interest 25/9/09

LibLime, an organisation which sells support to the New Zealand-developed open-source library system Koha, has recently announced changes to their practices that are technically legal but many feel don’t abide by the spirit of the open-source license. Library Journal has a basic summary of events with links to key discussions.

A libarian gets a marriage proposal on Ask a Librarian.

Customer service
Being at the point of need discusses placing screencasts, chat widgets, and other tutorials in the catalogue, subject guides, and databases.

Chalk notes as a valid communication format is a library manager’s blogpost about her response to chalk-on-pavement comments about the library. Her follow-up on chalk notes addresses the issue of communication within the library about public responses like this.

Tracking ILL Requests is a “wouldn’t it be neat if” post about providing more information on ILL requests to users.

The APA has an APA Style Blog with all sorts of handy tips.

10 free Google Custom Search Engines for librarians

5 sites with free video lectures from top colleges

Planning the unplannable

I'm attending LIANZA Conference 2009
At LIANZA 2009 I’m going to be facilitating an un-workshop kind of thing on “Getting people onside: making allies to support your innovation“. It’s an un-workshop thing because I’ve just been fumbling this stuff out on my own and, while I’ve got ideas, I bet other people have ideas too; and we’ve got 45 minutes because that’s how the programming worked out. Some of the things I’ve been thinking about are:

  1. the boring-but-necessary ground rule stuff: keep it positive (“This situation is a nuisance but let’s brainstorm ways to work with it” is all good); confidentiality (so we can talk about real life work situations despite New Zealand being a small country); and the twins: participate and respect (aka encourage others’ participation).
  2. maybe a brief warm-up kind of things: brief introductions in small groups (“Hi, I’m Aroha and one innovation I’ve helped launch is … OR one innovation I want to launch is ….”) and/or brief discussion on how to combat the 50 reasons not to change.

    [I am so going to have to take along a timer….]

  3. actual meat – topic ideas I’ve had are:
    • working with organisational hierarchies; networking with other ‘change agents’; getting support from people who don’t at first seem interested/keen; figuring out what other people need and giving support to other people’s innovations
    • communication – communication styles, miscommunications
    • miscellaneous tricks and ideas

    [I’ve been toying with the idea of starting with a quick poll on how long we should spend on each topic. It’d go like this: say there’s 20 people in the room, I’ll name a topic and the time we’ll spend on that topic = the number of people who raise their hand multiplied by slightly less than 2. Very scientific and all.]

  4. perhaps most importantly: a piece of paper for people to write their email addresses on if interested in a mailing list or similar I plan to set up so we can keep talking about this stuff and supporting each other after conference.

I’m trying to balance the “Gotta make every one of those 45 minutes count” impulse and the “Come on, mate, it’s an un-workshop” impulse and probably losing the spirit of both, I dunno. But/so hey: if you were attending a session like this (and particularly if you are attending this session!) what topics would you want to be included? how (if at all) would you want it organised? is group-work too traditional for an un-workshop, or the Fishbowl too intimidating given that the first LIANZA-hosted mini-unconference won’t be held until after this un-workshop?

Oh, and what should I make sure I read (whether about ‘getting people onside’ or about unconference-stuff) before conference starts?

Why academic libraries need to be user-centric

It often seems like public libraries are leading the way with user-friendly websites. I think it’s too easy for academic librarians to say, “Well, it’s different for them: their users are kids and teenagers and the general public. Our users are academically-inclined young adults who should be able to cope with learning the Proper Way of Doing Things.”

The problem is the other difference between public library and academic library users: a public library user is a user for a lifetime. An academic library user (barring the few who go on to research and lecturing) is a user for, say, 3-5 years.

Academic library users don’t have time to learn how to do things the “Proper Way”. They’re too busy writing assignments and working to pay for their next electricity bill. And why should we waste our time teaching them the “Proper Way” – only to have to teach the same lessons to the next year’s intake, and the next, and the next – when we could just fix our interface to let everyone get on with doing it the Easy Way?

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?

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?

Social MARC

Roy Tennant writes that “Tags, ratings, and reviews should help enrich the whole, not one particular library catalog.

The problem is (after convincing TPTB that tags etc really do enrich the catalogue) how to get the data from one library to another. We’re not really set up to share metadata like this with each other. –Uh, no, wait a minute. Isn’t sharing metadata what copy-cataloguing is all about?

What if we simply (went through a huge bureaucratic decision-making process and) created some new MARC fields for tags, ratings, and reviews?

Then it’d be (a programming nightmare to allow customers to update these MARC fields and then to allow libraries to update to and from the network, but otherwise) dead simple to share tags, ratings and reviews with other libraries through the standard metadata-sharing networks.