Saturday, May 30, 2009

A new world indeed

Michael Stephen's article "Into a New World of Librarianship" had a portion which best sums up where I think our focus should be.

"Librarian 2.0 gets content This librarian understands that the future of libraries will be guided by how users access, consume and create content. Content is a conversation as well and librarians should participate. Users will create their own mash ups, remixes and original expressions and should be able to do so at the library or via the library’s resources. This librarian will help users become their own programming director for all of the content available to them."

I like this statement because it helps us focus on solutions for getting our content (books, programs, services) to "them" where "they are" and how "they" want it and letting "them" know they need and want it in the first place. Fine and dandy, you say. How can the library make people want and need our DVD's when delivery systems for movies are 1) growing in number, 2) part of a format war that will never end (heard of blu ray before 2 years ago?) 3) dispensed in ever convenient ways (inside Safeway for a dollar, Netflix for a few dollars per month, TV show episodes for free on Hulu), and we have limited hours.

While I don't have answers to these questions yet, nor do I think a consultant exists that can definitively say do this, this, and this and you'll be fine, I believe we need to start somewhere. Downloadable movies is a start. The resolve the "open hours" and "I want it when I want it" issues. Also, we will never know just what device people are going to choose to view or receive content and they have no mechanism or desire to impart that to us since the number of delivery and playback systems is exploding. So let companies do that dirty work (let them make products "everyone" can use) and we can spend our time finding creative ways to market/push the service.

Another point well made by Rick Anderson, in "Away from the Icebergs", is making our services easy to use for our patrons. "If our services can't be used without training then it's the services that need to be fixed--not our patrons." This has several consequences or meanings. One, library vendors wanting our business should take note of this and make products accordingly. Every RFP should have this grading element in it. Second, all of the 2.0 technologies are competing for people's time and attention; in this bombardment who will stand out? Someone with a quick and easy solution or someone who makes it a chore just to understand how to get started?

We've got so much to do; I'm going to grab a book and relax!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Technocrati is not about pulsing house music

Thanks for pointing out the basic and advanced search ability. While I love Hawaii I don't think this boat will help me further grasp 2.0

Advanced searching eliminated nearly all of this clutter and is a must.

For fun I took a peek at the list of the 100 most popular blogs. I've heard young people use the term "epic fail" and wondered what it meant. When I saw this blog, then, I had to take note; Being ever sensitive about the quantity, quality, role, and design of signage in the library I got a chuckle from this picture. Now, why was FAIL Blog #39 when searching under "authority" rankings and it was not on the top 100 list under # of fans? I guess the adage that by the time adults find out about something it is passe with the younger crowd. Lolcats was #22 on the authority list but #63 on the fan list--go figure. When I have more time perhaps I'll dig deeper to find out the algorithm used to get those disparate results.

Looking at the top 100 tags was interesting. I would think the free-wheeling nature of the tagosphere would lead to a variety of popular terms or more specificity. However, the biggest terms in the cloud were life, music, weblog, and news. I was buoyed by the presence of more natural language (as opposed to LC); people understand what "celebrities" and "nightlife" means and it has a universal meaning. I'm in the camp that tries to organize around words and terms people are familiar with; if they are to be independent searchers they shouldn't need to learn another "language."

Delicious' bad taste

They say you should never go to bed angry; maybe you shouldn't blog after getting beat down by technology either.

After seeing this (trying to add delicious to my blog):

job_name is the name for your posting job, which can be anything
out_username is the login name you use for your blog
out_password is the password you use for your blog
out_url is the full URL of the XML-RPC interface for your blog
out_blog_id is your blog ID number (which is probably 1 if you have only one blog)
out_cat_id is optional: the category ID number in your blog where you'd like to put these posts
out_hour is the hour (from 0-23 in UTC) to post your links at daily

or when trying to put the "social" in social bookmarking by adding button to my toolbar:

Installation denied: Abort, retry, cancel.

Maybe I'll give it another shot at home but for crying out loud if you have to work this hard to shave a few seconds off I'll pass. I don't need the hassle.

Here is what my hopes for Delicious are/have been/were.

While on the desk, roving during our new Model of Service approach, or being on SPL's new "Text a Librarian 24/7" desk from 2-3AM (I'll take the graveyard shift for awhile) I have a portable Internet device of my dreams in my hand. A teen mentions how much they liked Patterson's Maximum Overdrive books and now that school is out they would like a few recommendations. At this point I would pull up my Delicious account and search my tags for the perfect list of suggestions. I could zap them off to the patron's Blackberry or phone or laptop or take them to the shelf where we have the title.

So far I'm having difficulty finding out how to get to this point. I do, however, like a couple of things about Delicious. First, tags allow me the luxury of more specificity in categorizing sites than simple bookmarks. In the above example I could tag this site with multiple descriptions such as "series recommendations" "I need a new book to read" or "I'm bored and want a fast-paced action series". A bookmark folder named "Teen book reviews" is too broad. I would have to create several bookmark folders with specific names and put the same website in each folder. I prefer using multiple tags for one site. Second, I did a search on U2 and found a gem of a site. It contained a list of fan-written descriptions of the meaning behind many of their songs. Another site had the Biblical references in each of their songs. This filtering of sites is quite helpful and I am a fan of this tool.

For now I will redouble my efforts to create a better collection of bookmarks for my time on the desk. I'd like to have my Delicious account open when I come out to the desk; it is more efficient than "favorites" and doesn't require me transferring them from my office to the front desk, and vice versa.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How do you "Rollyo?"

A few folks have asked for instructions on embedding Rollyo into your blog. Try this:

1) On Rollyo's site choose "Dashboard" along the top of the site.
2) Next, select "Searchbox" down the right hand margin
3) Type in your site name (in my case "Stack of Stuff")
4) Paste in your Blogger blog URL (in my case
5) Copy the code that appears in the "Copy and Paste Code" square on the lower right
6) Log in to your blogger blog site.
7) Click on ‘Customize’
8) Select ‘Add a Gadget’ inside the ‘NavBar’ area.
9) Next, select “HTML/JavaScript” in the “Basics” area. I titled mine “Rollyo” and pasted the html into the ‘Content’ box.
10) Click save. That should do it.

Let me know if you have any trouble following my instructions or if I missed something.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rollyo news

Delicious and "favorites" are two things I've tinkered with in the past. Both have their drawbacks and limitations. Right off the bat it seems like Rollyo offers better potential as a reference resource than favorites or Delicious.
For patrons who don't want or need an all-inclusive search, just a compact list, this fits the bill. Another nice feature is the e-mailing of the link to your Rollyo. It beats writing down all the sites on piece of paper. Furthermore, once you are in a Rollyo and you do a search it mines the sites for specifics. In other words, if you are at the desk and you tell a patron about 'x' site and that it has book reviews inside you don't have to show them the button clicks to get there. Simply get them to the Rollyo, search for reviews, and voila the direct link to them is found. As an example, I used ALA's teen book section as a site. It is quite cluttered and full of additional links. Instead of trying to explain where reviews can be found just type in the search.

For fun, I searched for an existing Rollyo about U2 and found some sites I hadn't visited before. We always say there is no need to recreate the wheel; there is no reason not to take advantage of other's research.

Finally, in order to keep as much as I can in one place, I'm going to try and add Rollyo to my blog spot.

Have a great week.

Library Thing

My first reaction to this product was its ease of use; GoodReads tends to be a little clunkier. However, I was only able to choose books I'm currently reading or want to read. I found this a bit limiting because there are many books I'd like to tell people about; most of the titles in my catalog I've already read. In ease of use it definitely tops GoodReads; I can't transfer all my GoodReads material over smoothly or efficiently so a decison needs to be made.

I did a search on tags I used to see if my understanding of a tag's use matched others interpretaton. For the most part it worked surprisingly well. Voila, I had another list of titles to check out on the topic. Not bad.

"Members with your books" is another interesting feature; this is a good place to find books you would never find on your own or think much of. I liken it to the patron who comes into the library and looks on the 'recently returned' or 'waiting to be shelved' carts because there are bound to be books, of all stripes, on the cart that someone else liked or read.

I will have to test this out some more and see all its bells and whistles.

Image Generation

This was a fun exercise and I see some potential here for promoting library events or decorating your branch and having a blast doing it. Our new library card was found using an image search. I chose the 'motivational' template from which is quite easy to use. For this instance I just had to find the picture on the net and save it to my computer. Quite simple.