Digital Culture

LibraryThing for Libraries launches

The most excellent Tim Spalding announced today that LibraryThing for Libraries officially went live with the Danbury Library in Danbury, CT.

I’m in awe of the results.

Seriously, I’m certain this is the future of the catalog. Not just the specific tools, but the idea of leveraging one set of data against another set using easily modified and extensible tools. It’s many-pieces-loosely-joined for the OPAC, and it’s brilliant.

I particularly love the tag browser, as well as the similar books links. Leveraging the LibraryThing data is a wonderful way to start this, but eventually libraries will need a way to share in a P2P system rather than having a central storehouse. We need to be sharing our data in a P2P format, with always-on trickle-and-compare running, updating the tag clouds and recommendations. If we just managed to collect the click-through data of our catalogs, we could manage to put together some pretty robust recommendations, all driven by scholarly activity.

Library Issues

More on authority

I just had to laugh at one of the more recent posts on the ACRLblog about questioning the standard spiel of authority in Information Literacy instruction. Mark Meola says:

This is very simple advice yet I seldom see it recommended outright in the checklists. It’s a tricky balancing act, but in our drumbeat for students to “use authoritative sources” let’s not forget to recommend questioning authority.

I seem to remember someone talking about it at length over the course of the last few years.

Indeed, that is the focus of an entire class that I do, using the sources on this slide (also, up for many years).

Information evaluation without reliance on authority is being taught, and I maintain it is the way it should be taught. Authority is the thing we used to have to use as an explanation, back when actual verification wasn’t possible except for those willing to spend weeks/months/years doing so. We relied on the magical word “authority” in the same way we relied on phlogiston and ether. And just like those, authority is just an explanatory shortcut that is no longer needed.

Library Issues

Jessamyn gets BoingBoing’d

Check it out! Our very own Jessamyn West gets on BoingBoing, and is called an “Internet Folk Hero” by Cory Doctorow…I’ve always been a huge fan of Jessamyn, and happy to call her a friend, but my “proud to know” radar just went ballistic!

Congrats, Jess! (and if you haven’t read her Ubuntu post, or seen the video, do it now!)

Digital Culture

I think I will regret this

Somehow, I feel like Steven Cohen will make me rue the day I point this out, but there’s an amazing new WordPress plugin for Twitter from Alex King called Twitter Tools. It has the ability to post to twitter from your WP blog, from twitter to your WP blog (not sure what happens if you turn BOTH options on, besides the eventual heat death of the universe), and even has an API hook built in to further allow for Twitterific integration. Also built in is the ability to Daily Digest your Tweets on your blog as a one-shot post. Brilliant!

Will work for both Widget and non-Widget loving WP types. I just installed it, and love the flexibility and control. Check the ReadMe for more info.


Collaboration and writing

So, Karen put up some of her thoughts on our collaborative adventure in writing a book over at LibraryWebChic, so I thought I’d follow up with my take on the ongoing quest to write.

We are a long way apart. Thankfully, we have leveraged online tools like nobody’s business. Here’s a short list of the whats and hows:

  • Google Docs: for initial writing, for sharing, for co-editing each others work. I’m quickly forgetting how I ever got things done without Google Docs.
  • Flickr: for the sharing of screenshots for insertion into our final documents. We’ve created a private group with only us as members, and that way either of us can just upload/download the pics we need. Flickr used to raise a stink about screenshots, but they actually have the option to label something a screenshot in the advance settings of their website upload tool now.
  • IM: for lots of communication, and logs that allow me to go back and check what I agreed to do. 🙂
  • I’m using it for bookmarks to things I’m referencing, so that I can go back and build a more formal bibliography later. I’ve also thrown links at Karen that I think might be useful to her sections.

One of the more interesting things that I’ve found out has to do with personal communication style. I don’t like the phone, and prefer text-based communication (mainly because I can review it when I need to refresh my memory). Karen likes to talk on the phone, and hash things out that way. This far, we’ve done a combination of the two, and it’s worked well…I keep bugging her to upgrade her PowerBook to a MacBook so that we can iChat when we have questions, but so far, no go. 🙂

As Karen mentioned, the biggest problem we’ve had so far is the transporting of some of the “finished” chapters, with really large images inline and such. What I think we need is basically on online drop-box that we can both use, preferably with a fast pipe and a pretty ajaxy drag and drop interface.

Digital Culture



Originally uploaded by griffey.

Does anyone else see the disconnect between having a physical message board at Computers in Libraries?

People still leave notes? Really?

Library Issues

Library of the Future

Darien Library

Three Principles

  • Covenant with our patrons
  • Stay ahead of expectations
  • First of the new libraries, not te last of the old

Two Goals

  • Design and Build an absolutely fantastic new library (NB: ummm…thats a goal?)
  • Use technology wherever it will make us more efficient and effective, and however it will meet our patron’s demands

One Rule

  • Tolerate Uncertainty

Continuing Vision

  • Eternal Values
  • New Technology

The library technology center is in the basement! The concept of a street-level greenway that continues into the building is really clever and forward thinking.

“We’re just a cute little public library in Southwestern CT”

Lots of spaces for collaborative work, together and with the staff.


  • Observe
  • Orient
  • Decide
  • Act

Technology Layers in the Library

  • Infrastructure
  • Administrative
  • Staff
  • Patron Indirect
  • Patron Direct
  • P2P

No Tech services, no Circ office…90% of the books are shelf-ready. They don’t care where a material comes from: the ups truck or a patron return, it’s the same workflow.

No cataloging

Outsource EVERYTHING related to Technical Services

What would a library be if it needed no booktrucks? A booktruck is full of things that aren’t in the hands of a patron.

  • Active item back on shelf in 20 minutes
  • Time from ordering a book to first Circ is 18 hours

NB: Holy. Shit.

No more defensive positions. Think of reference as a concierge desk.

Digital Culture

Future of OPAC

Tim Spalding, Librarything:

“The library is the most fun you can have with your pants on.”
“You are not better for being a mall…you can’t leave a mall”


  • Focus on the OPAC, the website and the opac are not seperate things.
  • Allow inbound links
  • Link outwards: Why wouldn’t you link to commercial service?
  • Link Around: ubiquitous hyperlinks..everything is a first level entity. Everything is massively linked, and this is where serendipity comes in.
  • Dress up your OPAC (syndetics): someone needs to create a free database of covers
  • Get your Data out there: including RSS, but people don’t want YOUR content, peope want THEIR content. How do you tell people what you are reading from your OPAC? OMGWTF: LibraryThing sharing data with OPAC, including tags and recommendations.
Digital Culture

Podcasting with a Purpose

Rachael Clemens, Cal State Fullerton

Focused on NURS 505, a nursing class with 40% of the students as distance ed

Modules developed:
What is peer review
and 10 others that I couldnt’ get because she swapped the slide too fast. 🙁

Created PPT? Huh? *shudder*

Tools used: audacity, quicktime pro, sound recorder, digital recorder, Camtasia,digital camcorder, mediasite

Digital Culture

Cool Tools for Webmasters

Yahoo Pipes
Google MyMaps
Yahoo Design Pattern Library
What Is my IP?
The Rasterbator
Web developer/web accessibility toolbar for Firefox
Firefox: Linkify
Firefox: Link Checker
Trailfire – Web Tours

Google Webmaster Tools
Open source web design

Open Source Federated Search
DBWiz – Simon Frasier University
Keystone ILS – Index Data