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.

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

Library Issues

Pimp my Firefox with Jessamyn West

Presentation and handouts available at

Firefox is open source, standards, compliant, cross platform

NB: Jessamyn is a great speaker…you can get some from the presentation, but she’s great in person

Demos how to install a Firefox add on: Google Favicon
Adding a keyword to a search field, allowing you to search the form/site from the address bar using only a keyword
Greasemonkey! Does as sorts of fun scripty stuff including removing ads and pressing buttons for you.

Digital Culture

Organization 2.0

Our heirarchical organizations may not survive the web 2.0/library 2.0 shift.

2.0 tech is changing the way we think about when we work, where we work, and how we work

We have become more distributed in our tools, more collaborative, etc…but not in our expectations or work hours.

Organizational change: nothing is more difficult. it is fundamentally about making choices and changes, and both are scary

Org. Structure

    Past structures are not effective in present or future work processes
    Younger the staff, the more comfortable they are with tech, collaboration, more uncomfortable with top-down
    Small, agile groups move faster than large bureaucracies
    Leadership & Followership are Critical Success Factors
    85/15 rule: process & Structure problems beat people problem hands down
  • Form follows function
  • Functions Change quickly
  • Form drives behavior
  • Reporting relationships create loyalty (who you report to is the most important aspect)
  • Collaboration decreases as distance increases (more than 50 feet apart)

Stability signals staleness and death
Clarity dissolves conflict

Authority and power is increasingly associated with the people that know and understand the 2.0 principles

2.0 Leadership
Make the invisible, visible
Make the intangible, tangible

Most of the time, most of the people do what they do best.

Library Issues

Computers in Libraries, Monday Keynote

Lee Raine from the Pew Internet & American Life Project
Web 2.0

Asked by the Pew American Life to not advocate for anything…simply collect information.

“I adore librarians”

What is web 2.0? Show’s the “Ask a Ninja” Podcast episode. “That is web 2.0”

6 Hallmarks of Web 2.0 that Matter to Libraries
1. The Internet has become the computer

    Broadband is growing
    Wireless is growing
    The number of people who access the internet from the library has double in the last 4 years
    Broadband makes video a big part of the internet experience.
    62% of Internet users under 30 have watched YouTube videos
    The number one indicator of basic political knowledge: watching Colbert and Daily Show
    Internet use is more social

2. More than half of teenagers have profiles on social sites like MySpace or Facebook: The social comes to the virtual.

    Older teenage girls are the heaviest users of the social sites, far more than boys or younger girls
    51% of young adult internet users have uploaded photos to the internet. This means that visual images are increasingly the currency of communication.
    About 40% of teenagers have posted their own creations online
    33% of college students have a blog…(NB: That’s a full third, people! Pay Attention!)
    26% say they remix content they find online
    19% of young adults havae created an avatar that interacts with others online

3. Even more internet users are accessin the content created by others

    Not a huge single set of users….Long Tail group
    44% of young adult internet users seek information at Wikipedia
    Wikipedia users, statistically, have the higher levels of education over non-Wikipedia users
    Information Seeking is not to find sources, it is to find people…they reach out to their social circle for more info, not to other sites.

4. Many are sharing what they know and what they feel online and that is building conversation and communities

    33% of young adult internet users have rated a person, product, or service online.
    32% of young adults have tagged content online
    25% of younger internet users have commented on videos

5. People are sharing their expertise and resources online

    44% of internet users participate in peer-to-peer exchanges
    10,000 to 30,000 active developers in the Open Source movement

6. Online Americans are customizing their online experience

5 issues libraries must struggle to address

    Navigation: linear to non-linear
    Context: learning to see connections
    Focus: practicing reflection & deep thinking
    Skepticism: learning to evaluate information
    Ethical behavior: understanding the rules of cyberspace
Library Issues Podcasts

CALA 2007 presentation: Web 2.0 > Library 2.0

Here is the Quicktime of my presentation from last night to the Chattanooga Area Library Association on Web 2.0 and Library 2.0. While a small crowd, they were very interested in what we’re doing at MPOW to try and move ourselves into a more 2.0 mindset and process.

Thanks to Jessamyn, from whom I borrowed the kitty scared image and the general “Don’t fear the user” concept. I briefly considered just using her slideshow and talking over it, because she puts things together so well.

Warning: this is the full-size QT, so be warned.

And I’ve noticed, the QT can be flaky when you try to play it directly…save it, or try this flash version to view it in browser.
Digital Culture

the devil’s plaything

My hands have been far from idle these last few days. In fact, they’ve been nearly frantic…you certainly wouldn’t know it was Spring Break around here. I know that my life has gotten overly full when I realized that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t written here in days. Days!

In no particular order, here’s some of what’s keeping me up at night.

Old database page at UTCThe complete overhauling of our Database pages at UTC. We’re moving away from this organization eventually (going to be aiming for a more holistic presentation of our informational sources) but for the interim we still needed to update to the new website look and feel. While I was at it, we worked up some better ways to present the information, like collapsing the database descriptions using javascript. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. The pic is of the old page, the new one can be seen here. Throw me some feedback if you have any.

LITA podcast logoThe LITA election podcasts have started, and over at LITAblog things are getting good and busy. Some really amazing content in the podcasts…I’m thrilled with the way they turned out. I heartily recommend people head over and listen or subscribe to them before voting for LITA officers. Congrats go out to Jane, Karen, and David for helping make this a reality, and to the existing LITA officers for supporting it. More podcasts to come from LITA, so stay tuned to LITABlog for those…we’re hopefully going to seriously up our audio/video capture of portions of ALA Annual this year.

Lupton Library Alert BlogThe launching of the first official Lupton Library blog. I’m not linking to it, and it’s not google-able, because it’s designed to be an internal communications device…we’re trying to reduce the number of emails that get sent around updating people on status of things. Plus, its handy that it’s searchable and categorizable and such, so that we can return to it and see that, for instance, our printing system has been down 3 times this week. The goal is to get people familiar with seeing/using a blog, and the move forward more aggressively with a public one.

On top of the above projects, its Goal/Evaluation time around the old UTC. This is a hard year for me to evaluate, as I’ve officially had three positions this year, and my goals I wrote 12 months ago seem less than appropriate now. Oh, and, of course, today was the application review date for our two open positions, so I have stacks of applications to look at.

I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to technology usage. While we are using a blog (WordPress, of course) as an alert system, I made some concessions to existing technology usage and comfort. For instance, rather than teach everyone in the library the blog interface, as simple as it may be, I set up the blog so that it can be posted to via email (and only from the email addresses of our faculty and staff). In this way, there’s no learning curve for use…simply add the blog to your address book, and send away. It’s a bit of a hack (using Postie for WP and a cron job to force Postie to grab the pop email) but it works.

My question is: when does helping people move into the realm of enabling? Is there a point where, in moving forward, you risk leaving people behind, and how does that get managed in your organization? Libraries haven’t had to deal with this issue for very long…as I said to someone today, prior to the online catalog, libraries really hadn’t changed significantly in a long, long time. There are plenty of librarians who made it through that change…how was that handled, and did you have people who just refused to move away from the card catalog? Did you just have to remove the catalog to get them to move on, and how was that handled politically?

And after all that, what I should have really been doing was writing my due-all-too-soon book chapter. *sigh*

Digital Culture

Make your own Battlestar

Battlestar castI got on the Galactica bandwagon well after most everyone I know…I watched the first few episodes, but never really got sucked in.

Then I got tired of everyone I know talking about it around me, so I just decided I’d catch up on the fraking thing and see what the buzz was about. I’m still not caught up (just finished Season 2) but it’s a good show. There are tons of things I have serious issues with, and I’m just not quite able to get the complete suspension of disbelief going like for Firefly or Heroes. But it’s good, solid, sci-fi TV.

One of the reasons that I decided to start watching, believe it or not, was the coolness of the show’s creators and promotional team. They just launched a Battlestar Galactica VideoMaker page that has on it clips and sound effects to use in your own Galactica videos…amazingly forward thinking of them, and a great way to garner my respect. They were also one of the very first shows to include podcasts of commentaries, which is an amazingly great way to interact with your audience, and add value to your product.

I definitely appreciate the willingness of the Network to involve the audience in new ways, and think this is one of the few ways that commercial video will survive. We are quickly moving into an entertainment era that is post-consumer, and the really interesting shows are providing alternate means of interaction beyond the passive. It’s a brave new world out there, and we’ll see who’s around in 10 years.