Category Archives: 2009

Coverage and discussion on ALA Midwinter 2009

Top Tech Trends Midwinter 2009 Video

Because the connectivity was so good this year for Top Tech Trends at ALA Midwinter 2009, we were able to use Ustream to live stream the video. That also means that it’s archived by Ustream, and embeddable….so here it is! The entire Top Tech video, to watch at your leisure!

We’ll also have an audio-only download/Podcast coming in the next few days, for those that want to listen on the go. If you have other suggestions for where this should be posted, or if you embed the video somewhere, let us know!

LITA Program Planning Comittee (PPC)

Topic discussed:

  1. Schedule corrections for Imagineering and Public Libraries & Technology Interest Groups
  2. Program planing submission process. We need to streamline the process, remove the manual process and cange it with a web-based form if possible, and have it ready by Annual 2009 for 2010 program submission. At this point, it might be difficult to achieve it in six months if we rely on ALA IT to build the infrastructure for us. A working group would be established to assess and provide recommendations
  3. Program proposal work flow. The PPC committee would like to see if individuals could submit a program proposal without going through formal Interest Group channel. Another working group would be created to research and provide recommendations.
  4. LITA Manual section 10 on Programs at ALA Annual Conference and how to make the manual more user friendly. A group of PPC members would look into this.
  5. Looking at possibility of LITA PPC to sponsor a program, especially to help new members and/or incoming IG chair to organize a program.

We’re getting a new program proposal from the International Relations Committee. They’re planning to bring topics on technology and developing world:

  • OLPC (One Laptop per Child) project.
  • OACIS (online Access to Consolidated Information on Serials),a project to digitize and make available selected scholarly humanistic Iraqi journals. Also a similar project, AMEEL (A Middle Eastern Electronic Library), to digitize about 100,000 pages of scholarly journal content from ten Middle Eastern countries, as well as providing technological training and infrastructure between those institutions.
  • United Nation efforts on bringing new technologies to the developing world.
  • Tentative schedule is Saturday, 8-10am.

Top Tech Trends from Karen Coombs

Its Top Tech Trend time again. Every time I’m asked to come up with trends I sort of get a pit in the bottom of my stomach. How to choose trends?

  • Should I choose tech things that have changed they way I think about technology this year?
  • How specific or narrow should my trends me?
  • How accessible to non-techies

Also, I worry about getting a diversity of opinions and people feeling they the trends the trendsters put forward are too general or obvious. Picking trend is hard for all these reasons, plus you don’t want to pick something that turns out to not really be a trend.

So, this time I’m categorizing my trends a bit.

My personal A-HA trend

Web applications which are extremely flexible, versatile and extendable. For me the app that has typified this in my work this year is Drupal. Drupal is a veritable swiss army knife which can be used in a variety of ways. I’m been playing with it for our library’s intranet, writing about using it as a library website CMS, and experimenting with using it for digital library collections. I’ve been nothing but impressed. And while this particular app my come and go, the idea that software should be built in this way is one which has made a distinct impression on me. It is influencing the way in which I’m asking my developers to build and what new software I’m choosing substantially.

The everyone’s going to say it but it needs to be said trend

Mobile technologies are changing society. They are here to stay, they are only going to get better with time, and we need to expect mobile devices to be a significant portions of our usage. Enough said.

The one which scares the sh!t out of me

The waking digital preservation nightmare Whether it is books digitized by Google, videos posted on the web, or Flickr photos the explosion of digital content for which there isn’t a clear curation plan has create a void which few libraries seem to be willing to step up and fill. Getting to know more about about digital libraries in the last year has given me a greater appreciate for just how difficult the job of preservation is. It goes beyond backing stuff up. You have to make sure the bits you started out with are the bits you currently have. You have to migrate file formats and technologies become obsolete and you have to make sure you have the right to migrate formats. There seems to be a serious lack of this taking place in commercial content sharing ventures.

The trend which I think may empower smaller libraries the most

Hosted supported open source software There is an increasing number of companies both in the library and non-library world providing hosting and support for open source software. LibLime and Equinox should be familar to folks now. But companies like CraftySpace (which provides Drupal-based website design and implementation), The Cherry Hill Company (Drupal – demo site), and incsub (which provides support and development for WordPressMU) as well as library consortia are getting in the game. This could change the game for smaller libraires causing a rise in the adoption of open source. Some consortia efforts worth noting in this arena?

Top Tech Trends from Sarah Houghton-Jan

I’m not able to be there at the session, but I’m sharing my top trends below. Please add your own thoughts in the comments section. Discussions often bring out the best in all of us!

  1. The Art of Web Presence Maintenance
  2. With libraries extending their web presences out beyond the borders of their own websites proper, the coordination and successful maintenance of these presences has become a skill in its own right. How to successfully leverage a Facebook page for your library? How to successfully use Wikipedia to promote your library’s services? On which sites should you be present? How to successfully use YouTube for library videocasts? The list goes on and on. The skills include the ability to creatively manage your different presences, updating them when appropriate, keeping information current, participating in new sites when warranted, and deleting outdated presences. More libraries are designating people other than their traditional website managers to manage these extended parts of their web presence. For many libraries it is a decentralized process, while for others it is all done by one person. Managing a library’s extended web presence truly has become an art, and an art that each library needs to (and seems to want to) learn about. I see the future bringing more and more libraries focusing on this aspect, and the real skills that these tasks require, such as customer service, web skills and knowledge, writing skills, etc.

  3. Plug-ins, Widgets, and Hacks, Oh My!
  4. Websites are no longer stand-alone entities. They are segmented bits of code, little pieces of functionality, all grouped together to make dynamic and interactive pages. The number of plug-ins, widgets, and hacks in the last year that can be used effectively on library websites has increased dramatically compared to previous years. This has a lot to do with services opening up their APIs, more people interested in creating technology that works for them when they can’t find an existing version. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for any library. Most of these services are free which has resulted in many, many libraries taking advantage of them. The number of libraries taking advantage of these will continue to grow, especially in times of difficult budgets when “free” is the only choice.

  5. My Kumpyootur Kan Has a Kloud
  6. Cloud computing has been discussed a lot in the information community in the last few years. Libraries have taken advantage of this already by using services such as Google Docs to offer services or enhance communication. When cloud computing becomes the norm (which I and others think it will in the next few years), this will be a boon for library users. Their services, files, software permissions, etc. will all be stored remotely by their service providers. They can use our computers, which will likely have to be less robust (less software installed, as an example), to access their super-awesome services and get their personalized profile right there in the library. But what about those users who don’t have services? What will the library provide as a standard, and how? Cloud computing will be an amazing development in information access, but it probably won’t end the complains in public libraries about wanting the library to purchase or provide access to obscure services/software. Sorry :/

  7. Online Training Has Its Debutante Ball
  8. To date, most libraries (and by libraries I mean library managers and supervisors) treat online learning like it isn’t valid. Not in your library? No? Think of this: does your manager allow/encourage staff to go to in-person classes held by the library staff, your parent organization, etc.? Does your manager equally, if at all, allow/encourage staff to view webcasts, review online tutorials, look at online training materials, etc.? Most libraries that I have visited (a mix of public and academic) have little time for staff to go to training, and little funding at that. However, they will happily pay for an in-person class that also involves an hour of travel time for the attendee, but not give the same person time to watch a webcast on the same topic from his/her desk. It’s almost as though there is an unwritten rule: “If you’re at your desk, it’s not real training.” While as a trainer I completely agree that some topics require in-person classes, most topics can be covered through online screencasts, webcasts, written tutorials, and the like. Fortunately, in the last year I have seen more libraries opening up to online training as a valid training delivery method. I believe that this also has to do with budget difficulties. Less money = a need for creative training approaches. Incidentally, this applies for your users too. Create a screencast of your email basics class and point users to that. With increased demand for classes on email, resume writing, finding a job, etc., it pays to offer an alternative to the waiting list for the in-person class.

  9. Less $ = Less eResources (a disturbing trend)
  10. I conducted an informal survey of libraries in my area to see if their eResource budgets were being cut because of the bad budget year (and the many to follow in all likelihood). It seems that eResources (databases and eBooks) budgets are being cut more than the traditional collection budgets are. This could be a San Francisco Bay Area anomaly, but I’m guessing not. And I’m wondering why it became OK to consider eResources less essential than physical ones. Times are tough – which is precisely why eResources make more sense. They have a higher return on investment, examining cost vs. use, (up to 5 times as much in my studies). They are accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection, any time. And for the bulk of them, there is not a limit to the number of users who can access the information at any given time. Especially for periodicals, eResources make more sense than physical ones. And yet, this year, periodical budgets aren’t being cut but periodical database budgets are. This is disturbing to me as it shows an overall “second class” status for eResources, while in my opinion the return on investment for materials should be what counts most. I am distressed to think that now that we have finally climbed that mountain where most library staff accept the place of eResources in our libraries, we are sliding back and saying that they aren’t as important to us, or our users. And that’s why the trend is disturbing – did we ask the users? What do the users think about this? What would they prefer, if given all of the information?

Public Libraries Technology Interest Group Midwinter 2009

Meeting had a nice surprise of some new faces… with 15 people in attendance. Yea!

What can you see as usefulness of a group like PLTIG? We had a lively discussion on some ideas:
Competencies in technology in small & rural libraries … survey being done by Emerging Leaders.
Roving Service model and the types of technologies that would support that development.
This could be a place where the technical and non-technical could connect.
Table talks where you could learn from an expert …
Want to listen to what other libraries are doing.
Look into webinars for sharing the information/content
Training structures for libraries (drop-in training and mobile technology … e.g. I-touch)
ACRL pre-conference on how to set up Facebook Apps; search plug-ins; widget box; Google gadgets; libex toolbar;
Sometimes it’s the little libraries and how they are “making do” with smaller budgets & smaller population density… so how does it affect service models.
Mid-sized libraries can have more flexibility in building something new….
The web has changed what smaller libraries can done, leveling the playing field.
The program aspects of what is available tech-wise that librarians can use right away.
Is there a concern about “fragmentation” vs. “consistency”?
Isn’t just important to have a framework… can IT depts do that for staff?
Some people may be dropping those Internet charges and will that mean that “in-person” activity increase even more?
Digitization projects are becoming more important in building content.
What about consortia and what is the impact of delivering technology services to libraries? Cooperation is key.
It looks like we can spin our business meeting into an Ask the Expert moderated discussion with such topics as I-phone apps; Facebook Apps; Roving service technologies; “Delicious” or Online tagging; Best practices… maybe providing a venue to promote what is already out there such as Tech Notes; Is there any technology smaller libraries should skip?;

Advertise “Ask an Expert” in PLA … and other divisions.
Paul will email everyone who is here to ask who they know could be experts…

Then we discussed the SRP program for Annual… assuming we get our Sunday afternoon slot.
We reviewed the panel participants and decided that screen shots will be best for demonstration purposes.
We should also have a hand-out that shows comparatively what each vendor/system is providing.
5-10 minutes per person and then 20 minutes for questions.
Presenters could include the “end-user” experience, their goals, how they implemented, what worked and what didn’t, evaluation. And how to overcome the password protection issue and/or how to retrieve the information. Perhaps each presenter could just pick 2 or 3 topics out of this list in person but everything would be available in a virtual hand-out.

Great meeting!

Top Tech Trends LiveBlog

We’ll be live blogging the conversation with the Top Tech trendsters on Sunday morning from 8-10am (Mountain Standard Time). Watch this post! Follow all the discussion and join in to make comments or ask questions.

Click Here

Please note that we will not be able to post all comments during the session. Before and after the session, please feel free to leave comments or questions in the comments to this post.

Trendsters participating in the session:
Clifford Lynch, Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)

http://www.cni.org/staff/clifford_index.html

Karen A. Coombs, Head of Web Services, University of Houston Libraries.
“Library Web Chic” blog: http://www.librarywebchic.net/wordpress/
Karen Coyle, librarian and consultant in the area of digital libraries
Blog: http://kcoyle.blogspot.com/index.html
Karen Schneider, Community Librarian at Equinox Software.
“Free Range Librarian” blog: http://freerangelibrarian.com/
Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University.

http://lib1a.library.vanderbilt.edu/breeding/

Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer, Research, OCLC.

http://roytennant.com/

UPDATE: blogger surferblue posted a nice list of the links mentioned in the session as well as an excellent transcription/summary of what was said by the trendsters. Thank you, surferblue! :)

Emerging Leaders – Class of 2009 – Orientation Session

From 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM the Class of 2009 Emerging Leaders met to learn about their assigned projects, meet with their groups, and learn about the expected outcomes of the program. Presentations by Leslie Berger, Maureen Sullivan, Connie Paul, and Peter Bromberg taught lessons on leadership and working in virtual teams. Jim Rettig and Keith Fiels also stopped by to offer their thoughts on the impact of the Emerging Leaders program within ALA. A brief synopsis of their talks follows, but you can also view their PowerPoint presentations by visiting: http://wikis.ala.org/emergingleaders/index.php/2009_Emerging_Leaders_Program

All of the speeches and leadership lessons were interesting and dynamic. However, long blog posts sometimes are not, so below you find the key points and lessons from the talks:

Leslie Berger spoke on leadership and what she hoped the Emerging Leaders would gain and also give back to ALA. Her key points included the following:
– Ask and challenge. Then ask and challenge. Ask why, why, why, why? Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and constantly ask yourself and others “Why do we do it this way”?
– Be bold – don’t be afraid to speak out and ask “the old guys” questions (a reference to older, more experienced members of ALA that new members may feel intimidated by)
– In ALA it’s not about who’s right, it’s about reaching our goals together as an organization.

Maureen Sullivan drew on her immense experience in library leadership and consulting experience to provide the following leadership insight:
– The five key elements of good leaders are: they challenge the process, they inspire shared vision, they enable others to act, the model the way, and they encourage the heart.
– She recommended the work of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner for further insight into what makes great leaders.

Peter Bromberg spoke on the key skills that are necessary to successful virtual teamwork – a huge part of the Emerging Leaders program.
– The habits of successful virtual teams include: strong orientation towards results, high levels of communication (some kind of synchronous communication is key), the embracing of technologies that work well for all team members, accountability on behalf of all, and excellent team dynamics.

Keith Fiels stopped by for a few moments and let the Emerging Leaders know the keys to being great leaders within ALA:
– Show up, volunteer when the opportunity arises, and you promise something, deliver on it.

Jim Rettig spoke briefly on the importance of transparent organizations and mentioned that in many ways, the work that the Emerging Leaders do is very much like the work of President Obama – it creates change and if done correctly lends to organizational transparency.

Connie Paul led a variety of activities throughout the day, including goals assessment, identification of team goals and strategies and ice breakers.

Again, for further information and to view the presentations, visit the Emerging Leaders wiki at http://wikis.ala.org/emergingleaders/index.php/2009_Emerging_Leaders_Program

NGCIG Meeting: Interoperability of Next Generation Catalogs and Users

The LITA Next Generation Catalog Interest Group will meet on Sunday, January 25, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in
Colorado Convention Center Room 110

We will have presentations and discussion about two examples of recent next generation catalog endeavors.

Beth Jefferson (Founder of Bibliocommons) will share real world examples and implications of “Transforming online library catalogs from searchable inventory systems into engaging social discovery environments”.

John Mark Ockerbloom, University of Pennsylvania Libraries and chair of the Digital Library Federation’s ILS-DI Task Group will “Outline the DLF ILS-DI recommendations, describe some of the activities inspired by or related to the recommendations, and discuss what fruit they can bear”.

The demand for new ways for users to discover relevant library resources has grown tremendously in the past few years. Application development and deployment has been limited, however, by the need to interoperate with any of a variety of integrated library systems. In 2008, a Digital Library Federation task group published a set of recommendations for standard functions that could be used by discovery applications to obtain metadata and other services from any ILS. They included a basic level of ILS-application interoperability that was endorsed by most ILS vendors, as well as more advanced levels that may allow even richer interactions in the future.

A brief IG business meeting will follow the discussion.

“What’s happening at Midwinter”

For each conference, ergo biannually, ALA insiders and ALA staff route information about what’s happening in their area(s) of the Association to Mary Ghikas, who attempts to make sense of it all.  The result of all this effort is a ~30 page document deatiling some of the major goings-on at a given conference/meeting. I’ve found these handy since I “discovered” these three or so conferences ago.

Midwinter 2009‘s “What’s Happening“document  is now available [PDF].