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Things we shoulda done but we were …? [No. 1] May 8, 2006

Posted by unamable in Library 2.0, library thing, LibraryLand, Repatronising.

"Information guides to help members quickly get down the learning curve on any topic." that's what Zimbio calls itself. It also has gurus who "…. organize and review content, and to provide general guidance for [the] portals. This develops into a much more collaborative model "Over time, we expect there to be multiple gurus per portal."

Erm didn't libraries useta do something kinda like that? Except, with all due respect, we may have lost the plot a little in upgrading these valuable services to the digital, or should that be the engagement, age.

Zimbio's features include: a Group Blog, Member Photo Albums, a Linkroll, a Feedroll, a Searchroll, a NewsTracker, a BlogTracker, an ImageTracker, a Notepad & a Forum

In a more formal context SirsiDynix has also connected to the idea evolving something they call rooms which "empowers librarians to collect, connect, and present valuable content – no matter the source – to meet people's needs." They offer a Starter Pack of 10 "rooms": Careers/Employment•Parenting• Genealogy• Entertainment• Reference• Personal Finance/Investment• Travel & Tourism• Home Improvement• Family Health/Fitness• Food & Drink as well as having the Reading Room. Rooms can also be "pointed at" certain patron groups i.e. Schools or Parents. The software also allows you to build your own "rooms"


Underground reading May 6, 2006

Posted by unamable in Blogosphere, LibraryLand.

I don't do it so much these days …. but the guilty pleasure of looking what other people are reading is beautifully captured in the Going Underground's Blog in its May 3 post.

People who need places January 27, 2006

Posted by unamable in Library 2.0, library thing, LibraryLand, Repatronising.
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Just to ride a little on the piece in dave’s blog about the Third Place – I will extract a bit , from The Great Good Place

“The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people’s more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends…They are the heart of a community’s social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, ………”

Glossing over the fact that the Third Places which Oldenburg mentions does not include a library – too serious? too homely? too work-related? We can see in the paragraph mirror which he throws up what we aspire for in our libraries – can we not?
Dave’s (if I may be so familiar) suggested infiltration of the First and Second places. To be somewhat immodest I have been writing this into library plans for a variety of communities, educational and professional, for the last four to five years. In the last three years, the inclusion of wifi and broadband in every project I work through is a given – Singapore is very progressive in that way. In terms of our own library system, several examples come to mind – the access to our digital library from home and our increasing outreach to the work sectors with targeted content and the efforts we are making to reach out to adults, young people, children and senior citizens. The question however remains how do we move our patrons from the usual Googling for recipes at home and perhaps for benchmarking studies for work. (How often do I want a depth of response to my query at work – quite a lot. At home ..not very much unless I am bringing my work to my home)

It is this word “embedding” which keeps coming up for me – and its not just getting the implant artist to make me virtual and findable. It’s somehow getting “the library” to be the first thought after someone feels the lack of a bit of information, a lump of knowledge or a document about something they saw, heard, discussed or can’t quite remember. And then enabling them to immediately do something about it – like the way I flick between TV and my search engine when I feel the depth of my ignorance about an entertainment bubble I am watching. The search engines have got in there and done a wonderful job – especially if you are precise in your needs and only want that quick fill-in-the-blank feeling.

The embedded idea has been around in academic libraries for about a year (to my knowledge) arising out of the embedded journalists during the “assault phase” of the Iraq War. The nearest we in public libraries get to it at the moment is to embed links to the librarian in our webpages, such as RSS feeds, virtual reference or chat services. With the various widgets becoming available we would hope that, for those willingly to use them, they will provide a reminder of the library wherever they appear. Perhaps this is enough unless we really do want to get into a one-to-one relationship with our users cloning our services virtually in response to the continually updating “profiles” or “personas” of our patrons – or is there more?

That “You Know What” feeling January 27, 2006

Posted by unamable in Libraries, Library 2.0, library thing, LibraryLand, Repatronising.
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Very sobering to read Walt Crawford’s piece on the reviled and beloved “You Know What” and Steve Lawson’s followup. One, to me, was a great assessment of what has happened the other recontextualises the whole thing in terms of “let’s more forward”.

Coming from a library system which is relatively well off in terms of access to IT and quite forward-looking with regard to service delivery – we do see that we have the potential and inclination to move forward. But I am aware that there are other libraries in other systems where “You Know What” (o.k…o.k. Library 2.0 and all its appendages) doesn’t amount to very much. Given the other difficulties they face I suppose it must look very faddish and pampered. But even though I come out of system of haves I am still mindful of others who are more preoccupied by more immediate issues.

However, regardless of what Library 2.0 is and how it is defined, or is being redefined each day, it still remains to me an illumination of the possible future. Further, I would say that it actually stops us focusing on issues which concern our incremental irrelevance or impending doom (while of course providing good reasons for our continued relevance and bright prospects). All professions which are in the process of change, as we are need, some form of roadmap even if it seems one to a mythical kingdom. Libraries are connected to:(to borrow from my library system’s tagline)

Knowledge – which is not only what is in our libraries but what we do with what we have and what our patrons do with what they find useful (and how it can become part of what we have – and so the wheel goes round)

Imagination – which is something we deal in whether it is the way that we present our libraries to our public, what happens when people make use of our libraries and how we devise stimulating ways of interacting with our patrons ;

Possibility – realising what we can do with the knowledge we have access to, combining that with our imagination and creating or grasping possibilities for services, interaction and reinvention
So Library 2.0 is to me a range of possibilities that the information/knowledge/library should not be divided by – if the dialogue is allowed to develop there will be something for everyone. Let’s not get bogged down in either the what-it-is or what-it-is not hole or the fact that its all driven by whizzbang software which is here today gone tomorrow. I am a cynical as anyone when it comes to the “next big thing” but I also like my work and the way it keeps changing – it makes getting up each day pretty worthwhile ..and, at minimum, I like that feeling.

Job description for a Librarian 2.0 January 23, 2006

Posted by unamable in Libraries, Library 2.0, library thing, LibraryLand, profession.

Thanks to David King‘s sharp eyes we now have a fairly concise description of the duties for all us budding Librarian 2.0s in here and out there …

  • provide leadership and vision for “transformative technologies” in the provision of library resources and services
  • Creates communication venues and distributes content via digital tools such as blogs and wikis for the library system website
  • Develops and delivers library instruction through podcasts and multimedia webcasts
  • promotes community via new technologies within the library and virtually via IM and other emerging communication mechanisms
  • enhances the Library System web presence with current content and methods for distribution such as RSS
  • investigates and implements new technologies that may enhance the Library System’s web presence
  • provides training and support for other librarians on new technologies

“this is soo real” to misquote Jeff Buckley