Tag Archives: vala14

Library as Future #vala14 #p6

Joe Murphy Library as Future

Don’t have a choice in all this – outside world has burned down the way we’ve done things. But can exercise vision in what we build for the future. Also note that the burning is ongoing: change is constant.

Future of libraries will always have to do with inspiration points from the past.
“She who has more curiosity has more strength”.

Do libraries have a future? Well, do we want to engage in the ongoing story of our communities?

Diffusion of creativity in the industry – trend seen in makerspaces, globalisation vs localisation, self-publishing. Use conversation points to inspire.

Identify microprojects that are far-reaching and have tendrils of benefits across the community – library as connector, supporter, future-enabler. Supporting research -> supporting entrepreneurialism.

Internet of Everything
Nest letting you control things in your house (thermostat, lights, etc) with your phone.

Need to face what’s going to be impacting our environment.
Libraries as change entities – open our space to be laboratories, experimental zones.
Libraries as pivot engines – able to make quick turns with new pressures/opportunities
Partnerships as growth – locally with independent publishers and small libraries, with researchers and business, with vendors. And across usage expectations. He recently got a subscription to a print newspaper, not for news, but it’s fun to read this way. Partnering with coders.

New platforms for libraries – smart cars, smart tvs, wearables. Wherever there’s a screen there’s an opportunity for the library because library is still about facilitating access to information. Concept of moving screen from palm of hand in smart phone to somewhere else (wristwatch, google glass…). This stuff is open to developers so the future of these is what you make it.

Libraries as gap filler. Every gap is an opportunity for libraries. Need to harness energy from the tensions of change in our community.

“Now accepting Bitcoin”? [I’m reminded of an article a month or two ago that argued, tongue-in-cheek, that Bitcoin had got a lot more cachet due to its massive crash. Maybe this is true, but it’s kind of disturbing.] Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver actually being used.

Mobile usage continuing to grow and to shift. Messaging had the highest growth – beating out gaming, news, everything. Trends have converged and settle down. A few years ago trend of messaging with pictures and everything included these features. Amazing growth in Snapchat. Opening it opens the camera – photo comes first, caption comes next, last is choosing the audience. Can control how long the photo will exist (10 seconds). Privacy important, as is impermanence and ephemerality. Not saying libraries should use it, but shouldn’t disregard it.

Stop investing in excelling at past strengths. Question about new things is always what old things to give up. We know what we do, we know what we need, we know how we have to appear. There are legitimate important reasons to maintain print collections – for PR if nothing else.

Aereo lets people rent an aerial to watch cable via streaming. (Legal as demonstrated by many many many court cases….)

Gets annoyed at “Netflix for books? that’s a library” – Netflix doesn’t fine people or block people from borrowing.

Library space at SFSW – positioning librarians in the technology space.

Librarians need creativity, curiosity to be change agents. Job description should start “Able and willing to accept change” while directing change.

QR codes didn’t really take off in libraries but we had a good conversation about them – about connecting physical and online content. Will always be a need for a physical point of access to online information.

With new tech shouldn’t ask what’s the point, should ask what opportunities it provides for growth.

Don’t focus on if we have a future or what it is. Focus on how we can get to the future. “Nothing to fear but death and obsolescence.” Books create inspiration, libraries create opportunity.

New workflows and skill sets in Alma #vala14 #s42

Melissa Parent and Lesa Maclean Go with the flow: discovering new workflows and skill sets in Alma

Fully hosted. Not a “library management system” but a “library services platform”. LMSs are built around a catalogue with holdings – description and access for physical resources, not good at dealing with electronic resources. LSP – new info architecture unifying resources management, print and electronic resources and workflows in one place, all systems in one system. [Yebbut I’m still tagging this with LMS though. As described really this just sounds like it’s not a *bad* library management system. I mean, it may do things really really differently it’s still a system that manages library stuff.]

Before Alma had Voyager LMS, SFX link resolver plus central knowledge base, Verde ERMS to do admin work of acquisitions, licenses, trials, relationships between eresources etc. Voyager and SFX tied into Primo discovery layer. Alma (also tied into Primo) unifies resource management – print and eresources together – description, access and management all in one place.

Ebook workflows: under Voyager took 17 steps to get ebooks from ordering to access. Had to edit data in extra steps with MarcEdit; activate in a separate SFX workflow; enter relationships and license associations in Verde. Under Alma it’s 7 steps: data automatically edited with normalisation rules at point of import; ebooks automatically activated in Primo; relationships/license associations automatically created. Idea of automation and human intervention on exceptions only.

Sounds wonderful and is wonderful but complex and powerful and takes time to get used to.

(LMS about managing bib records; Alma about managing actual resource.)

metadata management Institution zone Community zone
populated with eresources that can all share
inventory ebook connected into the institution zone by an “intellectual entity” ebook

By activating something in the Community Zone it pulls it into Primo discovery – but still being managed by Ex Libris, linked to Community Zone intellectual entity. So get a read-only copy of shonky Community Zone record. But can create a local copy of the record and unlink the bad record. Inventory is responsibility of vendor, but associated with our good bibliographic record.

Wonderful but complex for staff. People used to dealing with print-only now dealing with print and electronic. Dealing with both records and inventory, distributed across different layers and different zones. This can lead to confusion about what Alma is and uncertainty about when they see something in Alma is it normal (just new) or is something wrong?

Eg user encountered 7 duplicates on inventory ISBN search but didn’t recognise this as an issue.
Eg user loaded same file twice. Recognised it so went into problem-solving mode and deleted acquisitions info, inventory, bibs – but didn’t recognise that Alma should have just noticed the matches.

Next steps
Innovation requires collective effort – need to get everyone on board. Need more training and orientation. Need to look at the print/electronic division of knowledge – old division of tasks between staff doesn’t work with new technology.

Q: Monash – share your feelings, challenges, ideas. Do you have a feeling of how many records you’re likely to modify from Community Zone and how many to live with?
A: No systematic plan at the moment, just ad hoc. What about at Monash?
Q: Don’t know, probably quite a lot.

Q [me]: Can you feed back modified records to Community Zone for benefit of other libraries?
A: Not yet but Community Zone still in development and working group in place – not sure if they’ll develop in this way though.

Q: Were the changes as big in other teams as for you?
A: Circulation staff had things to sort through.

Q: How does this work with suppliers? Some libraries using suppliers like YBP to activate ebooks. Do you maintain traditional relationships or work on platforms?
A: Never thought of this, discussion hasn’t come up. What’s happening at Adelaide?
Q: Currently go to platform but not sure how it relates to sources like ebrary.

Small library going big #vala14 #s44

Anna Gifford and Julie Rae Size doesn’t matter: how a small library went BIG

Australian Drug Foundation – working to develop healthier attitudes to alcohol and drugs through various evidence-based programmes. Don’t want to ban everything, but do know huge impact on people and cost to country.

Deliver info via websites, phone info services, library. Organisation starting to question what was the value of the library, how current is it, what does it do?

Found those who knew about them thought they were great, but most people were finding own pathways to info they needed. Needed to stop talking library and start talking information. Needed to embrace digital.

Started dreaming and reimagining themselves. Gave speculative vision to organisation – and they bought it….
Wanted to leverage own expertise but knew they couldn’t do it alone so wanted to cross-pollinate skills internally and develop partnerships externally eg with Deakin, with an indigenous organisation. Staff development to build skills eg in communication, technology, social media, critical thinking, research methodology, scholarly communication. Improve profile in the organisation and improve organisation’s profile.

About breaking down implicit walls.

  • downsizing physical – big collection review and vigorous weeding of out-dated material and material widely held elsewhere. Digitised some. Trusted parts of internet to stick around. Went to digital journal subscriptions. By loosening grip on ‘The Collection’ could build in ways hadn’t been able to think about before.
  • developing single search solution – previously had a piecemeal setup. Needed a single search to all owned and leased datasets; an authentication layer; and a hosted service. Ended up with Primo/SFX/EZproxy.
  • expanding membership – lots of people wanting access, negotiated with funder to open up membership to anyone.

Coming back to information services side of things – looked at other ways of pushing info out. A couple of them are licensed to tweet to for the organisation as a whole – find a nugget of knowledge from their content and push it out. Automated SMS service: NZ initiative where people text the name of a drug and get and SMS back with basic effects/harms etc. Popular at events and with ambos. Built website targeted at parents – info about drugs and tools to talk to kids about it.

Why would a library so small try to do so much? It works. 15% growth in members in less than 6 months. Leverages the ‘special’ in special libraries. Acknowledges that old model of libraries is outdated and needs to change – but that we can change.

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you think” –A.A.Milne

The librarian in the context of eResearch #vala14 #s43

Natasha Simons and Sam Searle Redefining ‘the librarian’ in the context of emerging eResearch services

Thinking about kinds of skills and knowledge that they’ve found useful and how other libraries moving into this area could gain skills / support transition. Various ways working in eResearch is quite different from traditional research support.

eResearch Services
* technical solutions – promoting tools already available, like an onsite survey manager (has just reached 1000th survey); adapting existing solutions; building custom solutions
* advice, referrals and consulting
* partnership with other providers like ANDS, Nectar, RDSI, QCIF, NCI

Apply for lots of internal and external grants which has helped grow teams to 30 people but most on term contracts.

Similarities between eresearch services and research support
* directly working with researchers
* providing advice
* supporting compliance with policies/mandates
* seeking funding
* metadata support

* combine client and technical services
* organised around projects in flat structure. Focus on project management, change management
* often have to challenge stakeholders’ assumptions, promoting change, convincing people of long-term benefits to short-term pain.
* primary working relationships aren’t with other librarians – mostly with IT who don’t always understand/respect their skills/experience

Need to be able to use your knowledge of your lack of knowledge to fill the gaps in your knowledge.

What we bring as librarians:
* being brokers and boundary spanners – babelfish translaters between different groups that have their own languages (software vs metadata) and cultures
* understanding the braoder policy environment and working well with different stakeholders
* promoting standards – legislative, ethical and technical. Software developers often focus on user needs above compliance/reporting/interoperability requirements.

Paper identifies eight topics; talk concentrating on three:
* metadata skills – might need to focus on collection level instead of item level, or on admin/preservation/rights management instead of just subject-based. Much has to be learned on the job.
* scholarly communication – awareness of developments in open access, research methods (someone reads lots of research not for the research but for the discussion of methodology)
* project management

More in paper about development pathways too (self learning, workplace learning, education, training).

Curious whether there are personality traits that have a bearing. 2008 study suggests different librarianship specialities attracts different personalities. Technique-oriented vs people-oriented. Sam and Natasha think “adaptive archivists and systems librarians” and “adaptive academic reference librarians” best fit librarians moving into eResearch support.

For people who want to move into eResearch support, some will find it easier than others. Need to be aware of your preferences and able to assess how well they fit with the area you’re moving into. No clear pathway into it – or through/beyond it either.

For organisations there are implications for recruitment and training – instead of focusing on skills need to develop traits like resilience and assertiveness. Managers can support transition through professional development on both skills and traits.

eResearch teams can benefit from librarian involvement but much work will go on whether we’re involved or not so need to sell our value to researchers and IT.

Q: Looking 2 years in the future, are we looking at a multidisciplinary thing rather than silos of library vs departments?
A: Good way of looking at it. Need teams of people with range of skills. They do consultations as a team (software developer, data specialist, etc) instead of one librarian going out. Resource intensive but better outcome and get more respect of what they can bring to it.

Q: Have tried this but danger of overwhelming the researcher. [Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!]
A: Need to balance it and would avoid taking more people from ‘our’ side than their side. Not just descending on one researcher, trying to work with a group of researchers – even a research team with multiple projects to improve their practice generally.

Q: More on the eResearch Hub?
A: Research Hub pulls together stuff from grants system, data repository, etc etc – researcher profile system on speed.

Professional development in the social media age #vala14 #s36

Holley Adams, Hugh Rundle and Hannah Munn ‘I read this thing’: bringing professional development into the social media age

The problem they thought they were solving was not seeing engagement of staff with printed journals.
Subscribe to lots of LIS print journals/magazines – routing slips for circulation, lots of inefficiencies, cost, stafftime. Most available on ProQuest/EBSCO and accessible by RSS/email alerts but staff don’t really use them for professional learning. Staff also less aware of open access resources. And print is at odds with sustainability issues.

Some turned to Twitter, following blogs, reading articles online. Some exasperated with slow routing. Some just didn’t bother. In discussing issues, questions arose:
* What are staff reading?
* Where?
* Do they share? How can we do this?
* Do they belong to communities?
* Do they discuss them? Can we capture this?
* How do people bring ideas back to teams?
* How to oldies recruit/engage those getting started?

More they talked, more they realised they needed a new model – otherwise solving last century’s model with this century’s tools. Want everyone to learn, contribute to peer reviewed articles and general chatter. Want to increase discussion about current thinking in LIS.

“Student teachers were most successful at learning when they blended their online learning with existing communities of practice” (Mackey and Evans)
“For informal learning, professionals should be located together, have time set aside for learning, and have internet access” (Lohman)

Wanting to create a workplace learning network.

Many staff building personal learning networks but needed a solution that gave all staff something they could use comfortably/easily. Tension between wanting open network and some staff being anxious about work/personal convergence. Ideally familiar to staff and easy to use. Decided they didn’t need one perfect tool – needed an ecosystem of tools.

  • WordPress blog “I read this thing” so there’d be a central place for the project and a place to aggregate other social media about it. Lots of early posts about setting up RSS feeds and blogs to follow. When traffic dropped, added RSS widget to intranet which has worked well.
  • Twitter hashtag #coblspd (maybe not so easy to remember but avoids namespace collision of first choice). Excellent for sharing links to info. Only a handful have used hashtag and is increasing. More would be using it if only they could remember what it was!
  • Set up a Yammer group – closed environment for those who don’t want to be out in the world.

Launched staff survey to get idea of existing reading/writing. Found out most staff doing lots of self-directed learning – mostly online. What they needed was a better way of sharing that learning. (Will rerun survey again soon to see if any difference compared to half a year ago.)

Structure of “benevolent anarchy”. Some facilitators but hoping that will one day become unnecessary. Still leading people to this sharing model. Ten staff contacted them about journal routing and said they want less print and would rather access online. A handful have contacted about setting up RSS and joining MOOCs. Slightly larger group using hashtag. (Others sharing things and forgetting hashtag.) Lots of staff reading blog – want to draw them out to sharing.

No-one’s used Yammer, probably because has never been incorporated into any workplace structure/routine. Many don’t know it exists or think it’s a waste of time. “Social media that only lets you talk to your colleagues is a little weird.” So instead they send an email roundup of tweets – this has raised awareness of project. (Staff are busy and sometimes need to be reminded.)

Biggest discovery is richness of staff sharing, often just happening in quiet ways.


  • survey your staff to get a baseline
  • ask about preferred delivery method
  • look for combination of tools that work for your workplace. Don’t just copy/paste from another organisation
  • don’t be afraid to make changes if/when something doesn’t work
  • Always Be Collecting Data – eg link shortener that lets you track clicks (what clicked on and from which delivery method)
  • Q: Curious about decision to not use learning management tool.
    A: Wanted it to be open, relatively unstructured. Learning management tools too closed and complex: hard to administer, have to talk to IT, staff needing to learn how to use new thing. Wanted it to be more about sharing than a formal learning process.

    Q: Were management open to this or did they have to be convinced?
    A: Technically Hugh’s part of management team but project came out of pub discussion. Talked to manager but would have done it regardless of what manager had said anyway!

    Q: Did you have to do staff training?
    A: Yes and no. A bit disappointed at takeup – but then readership stats are encouraging. Need to talk to people one-on-one to find out why they’re not using Twitter, are they using other tools. So no training yet, but will do one-on-one.
    Q: Can we reuse your content?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Have you considered a bookmarking tool like Diigo?
    A: Yeah. But gets nervous about these because has seen too many die. But could be a tool to bring in. Very easy to integrate into other platforms.

    Comment: Is a casual staff member who discovered this (without context) from link on intranet.

    Q: What about old-fashioned brownbagging it?
    A: Considered it and then got too busy. But on the ‘would be nice’ list.

Developing eResearch@Flinders #vala14 #s35

Amanda Nixon, Liz Walkley Hall, Ian McBain, Richard Constantine and Colin Carati We built it and they are coming: the development of eResearch@Flinders

“eResearch” – use of info/comm technologies in a research space:
* in data management
* high performance computing
* collaboration tools
* visualisation / haptics (tactile sense of using computing)

Operating at Flinders Uni since April 2012, started with ANDS/uni funding and longstanding relationship with academics. Using core library skills:
* liaison with researchers
* liaison with service providers
* metadata creation
* service ethic

Structure is partnership between library/ICT. Includes statistical consultant, metadata stores project officers, eresearch support librarian, open scholarship and data management librarian. Because they’re new do a lot of reporting: to library senior staff committee, info services executive, eResearch advisory committee.

Primarily dealing with data storage (big or small, complex or simple), high performance computing, collaboration skills. Identify tools and services, refer researchers to service providers, prepare info on return on investment, do outreach to researchers.

ReDBox software (had a ReDBox community day for all institutions using/developing this)
Planning, coordination of data management services – set up ReDBox, got it running, and right on cue ARC are requiring data management plans. Have done lots of outreach but now as result of ARC rule changes researchers are coming to them.

Statistica consultant – individual consultations and workshops, covering use of SPSS, NVivo, handles licensing

Mapping old skills:
staff management -> staff management
researcher liaison -> researcher liaison
vendor relationships -> eResearch service provider relationships
assessing value of resources -> assessing value of eResearch tools
referral to services -> referral to eResearch tools
metadata creation re publications -> metadata creation re research data

New skills:
business analysis
social media
event management
managing software development
having an ear on the ground to make connections

Why does it work?
* we come from the library which is well-respected so good PR
* we do good liaison
* building on existing skills
* building on institutional knowledge
* don’t know all the answers but can find them
* most importantly: there was an unfulfilled need

Launch by vice-chancellor, 8-session staff development programme to introduce library staff to what they do. Since ARC rule change haven’t had to do any coldcalling because people are calling them. Brokering more access to federally funded data storage. In uni Research Strategic Plan and Info Services Strategic Plan.

Q: How to show you’re successful?
A: Want to collate list of new relationships built because of matchmaking, successful grant applications where they’ve given advice, publications coming out of things. Don’t know how to pull it together yet but probably a matter of following up and keeping relationships going.

Q: What KPIs do you have?
A: Strategic plans very high-level – getting people involved in things. Usage stats of data storage. Further down the track as business model changes, more cost, might be harder to create useful KPIs.

Customary practice when the law says ‘No’ #vala14 #s34

Tom Joyce Relying on customary practice when the law says ‘No’: justified, safe or simply ‘no go’

Copyright is a fundamentally flawed system – it will continue to disappoint. Level of protection tends to grow because it grows to protect the most valuable works. Australian Law Reform Commission has made a report on copyright – don’t know what Attorney-General will do about it. But doesn’t want to do anything to ‘damage industry’. Changing copyright comes with high political cost. IP obligations increasingly woven into trade agreements.

Norms vs law:
It took a quarter century for the law vs norm gap to be closed re time and format shifting. “There are risks associated with following a non-black letter law path, but those risks can be made manageably low.”

  • look at accepted (albeit evolving) norms
  • look for consonance between norms and evolving thinking
  • look at past behaviour of copyright owners as indicative of future behaviour
  • try to identify sector-wide approaches

‘Fairness’ is key. US has “fair use”, Australia/New Zealand have “fair dealing” exceptions but more restrictive and limited to categories eg ‘educational’. ALRC suggested potential listing of fair uses: research/study, criticism/review, parody/satire, reporting news, non-consumptive, private/domestic, quotation, education, public administration.

Seeking permission – engaging in diligent search but can’t find creator so go ahead anyway – is an evolving norm. Realistically you’ll only get 20% permission for works over 30 years old. “Copyright’s unpleasant family secret, which is neglect” – Treatment of orphan works is a stark failure.

Some organisations rely on takedown notices – throw everything up with a note “Contact us if you want to take it down” – but he doesn’t recommend this.

Q: If law changes here, whose law applies?
A: Works created elsewhere are protected here because of Berne Convention, but are protected under local jurisdiction/legislation.

Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations #vala14 #p5

Mia Ridge Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations

Should museums, libraries and archives be places where new creations are inspired and made? Yes – they always have been inspiring novels, etc. Ability to engage has a deep impact on people. A broad view of making: researching family tree, fixing and tweaking things, creating entirely new things. May do for relaxation, for stimulation, to learn new skills, to use old skills. Prefers “Maker attitude” over “Maker culture”.

Everyone probably grew up making: lego, macrame, home electronics. With lego changing and becoming more pre-configured, do kids still have the access to a toy that gives them the opportunity to make?
Hacking – setting yourself a challenge and trying to solve it in an elegant way and/or in a time limit. It’s a communal activity, even if not physically in a room with people. Github is a conversation.

Maker spaces. Not fussy about definitions. Shared equipment. Cf the tool library. “The average drill is used for twelve minutes of its entire life cycle.” http://makeitatyourlibrary.org/

Baking can be creative – or it can be putting together a cake mix.
Collecting now you don’t need to own the object – can pull collections together in Flickr, Pinterest, DigitalNZ, etc.
Content creation on social media – blogging, tweeting.
But different levels of what making can be.
Augmented reality – still broadcast – someone else has already determined what the experience will be but you’re just triggering.
Yarn bombing.
Ravelry pattern pulled from Trove newspaper page – recreating the past.

Crowdsourcing: transcribing text that exists – Old Weather transcribing ship logs to get weather data. People doing this getting intrigued by incidental info on the page, getting interested in particular ships, noticing lots of people becoming ill and wondering if this is the start of the Spanish Flu?

3D printing trilobite by MuseumVictoria. Met Museum of Art doing a lot as well. Jonathan Monaghan doing a 3D mashup Leda and the Marsyas. Learning by copying is actually an oldschool model.

Sugru – stuff in a packet that’s strong, slightly yielding – can use to fix things, mould things exactly to your hand. Reliable enough that mountain climbers use.

Kickstarter cf the 19th century subscription model “I’m going off to the South Pole, please to fund me.” Makey Makey. Lower barrier to entry can be very important.

As a child, had to type games into computer line by line from magazine. One character wrong and it wouldn’t work. And started noticing some numbers related to eg number of lives. Nowadays tools exist (eg Scratch) but don’t come with computer, you have to go hunting for it.

Why she likes making: it’s “hard fun” – you might fail and have to unpick why and fix it. Hackathons as a retreat – removed from everyday constraints, in shared environment, but very very hard. In one, she (and others) made Serendip-o-matic, simultaneously releasing code on Github.

It’s always been about problem solving. Museums have loads of objects with rubbish descriptions, eg “Pot”. Set herself the challenge of taking boring science museum objects and trying to get people to engage with them via casual gaming. Wanted to take advantage of the “I’ll just play one more game”. By putting a game narrative around it, people were less intimidated.

In some ways going back to the days of bespoke. Can tailor things, fix things, follow your imagination, gain new skills, creating fans, creating community. (Creators shouldn’t flip out when fans critique them – these fans are engaging because they love you/your stuff.) Having fun, learning, thinking through making, deeper engagement with science and heritage.

Four keys to fun:

Easy fun (Novelty) Hard fun (Challenge)
People fun (Friendship) Serious Fun (Meaning)

Ideally a makerspace will include all kinds.

Engagement: attending -> participating -> deciding -> producing

Pretty scathing of modern Lego – not just the deeply gendered nature of it, but there’s so much less creativity involved than there used to be. Need to create spaces where kids can take risks and be self-motivated in their learning.

Maker spaces can be physical, digital, but also intellectual. (Doesn’t give examples of physical spaces because we’re librarians, we know how to look them up.) Could have a space next to a sausage sizzle. Could have a hack day – something powerful in just blocking out time/space, facilitating meetings between people. Intellectual space by opening up content/data for people to use it. People adapt existing software, even create new software – not just people interested in culture/heritage, but also those who think it’s just fun to play with. However you need to think about who has agency.

hotlinked Je participe, tu participes, il participe, nous participons, vous participez, ils profitent

Libraries aren’t always as welcome as they’d like to be. We have little hedging constraints that contribute to uneasiness. “Have your say” but not listening to answers we don’t like can be worse than never asking. Is our language encouraging or intimidating? Be a secret shopper: look at others’ maker spaces, look at how shopping centres run events.

It takes time to get spaces right – learn with your communities, understand the potential of new technologies.

  • Curate a collection online
  • Hold internal hack days
  • Create space to be playful
  • Try visualising your data
  • Hold an editathon – improve Wikipedia where it lacks content relevant to your area (great way to get people to think about referencing)
  • Reflect, learn, share – even if it didn’t work out perfectly tell people so they can learn from our mistakes and we can learn from theirs

Q: [Musing on craft and Diderot]
A: Have sanitised how we think about knowledge. It’s how we do things as well as how we think about things.

Q: “Creativity good, libraries increase creativity, therefore libraries good.” But what is creativity?
A: It’s a continuum. Lots of photography is hugely creative but you’re working with what’s already there. Is just snapping everything creativity? It’s not a binary state

Q: Wondering about ‘boring issues’ of liability with drills and sewing machines.
A: Well, there’s the argument of natural selection… Tension between organisations needing to protect themselves and you’re working with things that could injure you. Schools must have dealt with this. Could actually make maker spaces more exciting to tell kids that this is a dangerous activity.

Q: [something about visualisations]
A: “You must learn to code” trope is a bit iffy. Coding isn’t a special skill but does require an investment of time. Need to teach kids that world is structured by software. Visualisations can be useful to teach that. Textmining methods – can tweak the algorithm and even if they don’t understand the mechanism they can get the idea that the algorithm affects the results.

Comment: “Cotton wool children vs free range children”. One school got rid of all rules, and incidences of bullying hugely dropped.
Comment: It’s about letting go.
A: Often we don’t quite trust the audience to understand what they should do so we set up these really boring paths. OTOH a completely unscaffolded experience is no fun either. So need to work out where we let go.

The book of the world #vala14 #p4

Matt Finch The book of the world: crossing boundaries in culture and outreach

(One of those talks where it all tells a coherent story but is impossible to blog coherently. Semi-random highlights below.)

“Hub is just what you call something when you know it’s really important but you don’t know what it does.” Can lead to mission creep. The hub sits in the middle but never kisses the ground, it’s the wheel that actually contacts things.

How much can you create a space that levels out imbalance of power between storyteller and audience? Make it a game so you don’t know what the outcome will be. Does zombie activities – includes police and fire department as allies of participants. “Yay library as hub, lots of networking and community engagement, tick tick tick” – but actually this was about stepping into the world of the story. Performance as well as static things on shelves.

Cites Dr Who script The Book of the World (PDF) in which the TARDIS is described like a book: can show you anything anywhere anytime – it just takes your body as well as your mind.

“If you have one or two central spaces for books and ideas in a city, all the energy flows through those spaces, and it has a catalysing effect.”

Tension between outreach and control. Bentham’s panopticon to monitor whole library… or whole prison…

Troubled by “Zombies vs Unicorns” book debate where students had to pay to be audience. And Cory Doctorow coming to events – but had to pay to enter. Can still not see videos, just Facebook images. What if you took him to suburb and used contacts to get a big event and beamed it back to privileged city centre to get your visitor numbers needed there? Hitchcock festival in London did just this, set in Waltham Forest which has no cinema so put Vertigo on in the church, arranged walking tour of neighbourhood.

Tensions when reading ambassador cut literacy programme….

Cataloguing comics to add 650 fields for characters who don’t appear in titles but kids will still want to find the comic. Weird that this is happening ‘at periphery’ urban library, but all about access.

Librarianship not just about being rockstars and ninjas and movers and shakers; it’s about being on the coalface dealing with ordinary people in your actual community.

Budget cuts are going to come, and they come in sly ways and they come fast. It’s marginal branches that are most at risk. Executive director of ALIA selling books from collection at county fair to raise awareness and get a stay of execution.

Solve the small issues, look to the unglamorous problems, go to communities most in need. We’re all out there on the edges.

Think social #vala14 #s20 #s21

Wendy Abbott, Jessie Donaghey, Joanna Hare and Peta Hopkins The perfect storm: the convergence of social, mobile and photo technologies in libraries

Looking at libraries’ use of Instagram and photosharing. Identified 74 libraries in April/May 2013 – seems to be early days compared to Facebook. Broke down to a few special libraries (eg Smithsonian) but mostly public (slight majority) and academic.

Survey sent to 65 libraries that could find contacts for, 29 responded. 15 agreed to individualised followup and 10 in fact followed up. Also used Nitrogram to monitor 20 library Instagram account over 4 weeks. Took ten most-ilked images from Nitrogram images – turned out that identity and affective were more important than functional images.

Libraries don’t target specific groups – just anyone and everyone with Instagram account.
Issues: having trouble coming up with content to share. Some found it hard to share responsibility among staff since it’s a mobile platform; also issues editing images. Most libraries use staff personal equipment. Public libraries more likely to use employer equipment.
Most libraries share across multiple platforms. Found visual content got better engagement than verbal updates.
Less than 50% provided training – usually self-directed or in-house social media training.
Uncertainty of how much to follow/interact with students. Would be good if there were norms!

UCLA Powell image of tree that fell down, with Harry Potter spin because undergrads often refer to library as Hogwarts – very individualised to their population.
Emily Carr Uni library use same background for all images to create cohesive style
Public Libraries of Singapore – pets with books
Los Angeles County Public Library – connect with shared love of local sports team
Melbourne University Library – dolls in library
Some have very specific uses – eg educating re cuts to library budgets, or promoting maker space, or promoting photo archives.
“Library selfies (and shelfies)” – used to construct identity. Often want to construct friendly identity for library.

Thinking about goals:

  • what your message is
  • think about your target audience overall and how that might differ per image
  • how you want to engage your audience
  • how you’ll evaluate
  • how the images will be used and where they’ll appear

Data and paper online

Q: Any licensing issues?
A: Not an issue for us because creating own images. Used a Creative Commons image once – just add attribution over the top or underneath so not an issue.

Q: Would some places have issues with their PR office?
A: Didn’t cover in their research because only surveyed places that already had accounts.

Kathleen Smeaton and Kate Davis Is it Tweet-worthy? Privacy in a time of sharing

“Content forwarding” for retweeting without adding own content/analysis/critique, and for conference tweeting of the “Kate just said” variety.

52 participants completed survey, all in full. 32 consented to being followed via social media for a week – actually only chose 12. Respondents from students, graduates, deputy university librarian. Most had one account, a few had more than two. Most self-reported lower than they actually tweeted. Likewise self-reported professional tweeting as higher than actually tweeted. 64% said would tweet on controversial topics. 85% identify profession in profile – important part of online identity. 22% identify org in profile and 50% identify in tweets.

Tweets on controversial topics almost always liberal. Are there few conservative librarians or are they just very quiet? OTOH mostly tweeting about controversial topics were retweets, not original tweets – evidence of some tentativeness.

Approaches to tweeting can change over time, often more relaxed once involved in tweeting community. Work and life collide – unless deliberately separate identities they merge together. “Context collapse” can be a concern when associate yourself with organisation. Many tweet personal beliefs; many tweet for organisation on own personal account. What are the impacts on governance? Most tweeting librarians are wise to risks and take a commonsense response. Organisations need an appropriate flexible policy in place – loosen up and trust professionalism of staff.

Lots of livetweeting, forwarding content. Two thirds of professional content was content forwarding. 15 tweets from 4 participants gave a professional opinion on something. Unwilling to put forward a professional opinion even if willing to raise controversial non-library topics. Is it safer to talk about politics than library policy?

86% of tweets were replies to a conversation. Building relationships. Some only tweeted professionally with no tea-table banter. “Informers” share information with goal of cultivating followers and relationships, while “Me-formers” share info about themselves. Not everyone wants to indulge in disclosure about shoes and cats – but this is valuable for building relationships. Disclosure seems to be the main catalyst for conversation.

Useful professional tool, perhaps because of personal discussions.