IA & UX Meet Library Technology

The class I enjoy the most this semester at Indiana University is Information Architecture. It is a class where theory and practical application are blended so that we can create something tangible, but also understand the approaches – my favorite kind!

As usability.gov defines it, Information Architecture (IA) “focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way.” While the class doesn’t necessarily focus on Library Science since it is offered through the Information Science courses, this concept may sound a bit familiar to those working in a library.

In the class, we have chosen a small website we believe could benefit from restructuring. Some students chose public library websites, and others websites from the private sector. Regardless of each website’s purpose, the process of restructuring is the same. The emphasis is placed on usability and user experience (UX), which the ALA Reference and User Services Association defines as “employing user research and user-centered design methods to holistically craft the structure, context, modes of interaction, and aesthetic and emotional aspects of an experience in order to facilitate satisfaction and ease of use.”

Basically, it means structuring content so that a user can use it to a high level of satisfaction.

Peter Morville and Co. developed this honeycomb to represent User Experience Design.

Peter Morville and Co. developed this honeycomb to represent the multiple facets of User Experience. Check out his explanation here.

Keeping usability and UX at the forefront, much of our semester has been focused on user demographics. We developed personas of specific users by highlighting the tasks they need to carry out and the kind of behaviors they bring to the computer. For example, one of my personas is a working mother who wants to find the best dance studio for her daughter, but doesn’t have a lot of time to spend looking up information and gets frustrated easily with technology (may or may not have been influenced by my own mother).

We also developed a project brief to keep the main benefits of restructuring in mind, and we analyzed parts of the current websites that work for users, and parts that could be improved. We did not (and could not) begin proposing our restructured website until we had a solid understanding of the users and their needs.

While learning about usability, I thought back to my graduate school application essay. I discussed focusing on digital libraries and archives in order to improve accession of materials, which is my goal throughout my career. As I’m learning, I realize that accession doesn’t mean digitizing to digitize, it means digitizing then presenting the materials in an accessible way. Even though the material may be released on the web, that doesn’t always imply that a user will find it and be able to use it.

As technology increasingly evolves, keeping the goals of the library in sync with the skills and needs of the user is crucial. This is where information architecture and user experience meet library technology.

How do you integrate usability and user experience with library technology in your institution? If you are an information architect or usability researcher, what advice do you have for others wishing to integrate these tools?

Game Night at LITA Forum

Are you attending the 2014 LITA Forum in Albuquerque? Like board games? If so, come to the LITA Game Night!

Thursday, November 6, 2014
8:00 – 11:00 pm
Hotel Albuquerque, Room Alvarado C

Games that people are bringing:

  • King of Tokyo
  • Cheaty Mages
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf
  • Star Fluxx
  • Love Letter
  • Seven Dragons
  • Pandemic
  • Coup
  • Avalon
  • Bang!: The Dice Game
  • Carcassonne
  • Uno
  • Gloom
  • Monty Python Fluxx
  • and probably more…

Hope you can come!

Jobs in Information Technology: November 5

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Assistant University Archivist for Technical Services, Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ

Dean of University Libraries, Oakland University, Rochester, MI

Digital Production Services Programmer – IT Expert, University of Florida, George A Smathers Libraries, Gainesville, FL

IT Expert – Programmer, University of Florida, George A Smathers Libraries, Gainesville, FL

Physician Directory Specialist, Froedtert Health, Menomonee Falls, WI 

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Come Map with Us! LITA Education Webinar Series

Maps images

Join LITA Education and instructors Mita Williams and Cecily Walker in “Re-drawing the Map”–a webinar series! Register for a single webinar or all three at a discounted rate! Can’t make all the dates but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinars.

Full details

 Web Mapping: moving from maps on the web to maps of the web
Tuesday Nov. 18, 2014
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Mita Williams
Register for this webinar

Get an introduction to web mapping tools and learn about the stories they can help you to tell!

OpenStreetMaps: Trust the map that anyone can change
Tuesday December 9, 2014,
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Mita Williams
Register for this webinar

Ever had a map send you the wrong way and wished you could change it?  Learn how to add your local knowledge to the “Wikipedia of Maps.”

Coding maps with Leaflet.js
Tuesday January 6, 2015,
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Cecily Walker
Register for this webinar

Ready to make your own maps and go beyond a directory of locations? Add photos and text to your maps with Cecily as you learn to use the Leaflet JavaScript library.

Cost:

Single Webinar:
  • LITA Member: $39
  • Non-Member: $99
  • Group: $190

All three webinars:

  • LITA Member: $99
  • Non-Member: $279
  • Group: $499

Registration Information: 

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)

OR

Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?
For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org.

 

LITA Online Meeting – Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Central.

The LITA Board invites you to join this meeting online on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Join the meeting by clicking the following link:

http://ala.adobeconnect.com/r47eqi6dp6a/

View the meeting agenda:

http://connect.ala.org/node/230328

If you have any questions, recommendations, or wish to discuss any of this, please leave a comment or contact the LITA office at 312/280-4269

Free Web Tools for Top-Notch Presentations

One does not simply (Boromir meme)Visually appealing and energizing slideshows are the lifeblood of conference presentations. But using animated PowerPoints or zooming Prezis to dizzy audiences delivers little more appeal than packing slides with text on a low-contrast background. Key to winning hearts and minds are visual flair AND minimalism, humor, and innovative use of technology.

Memes

Delightfully whimsical, memes  are a fantastic ice-breaker and laugh-inducer. My last two library conference presentations used variants of the crowdpleasing “One does not simply…” Boromir meme above, which never fails to generate laughter and praise. Memes.com offers great selections, is free of annoying popup ads, and is less likely than other meme generators to be blocked by your workplace’s Internet filters for being “tasteless.” (Yes, I speak from personal experience…)

Keep Calm and Ask a LibrarianKeep Calm-o-matic 

Do you want your audience to chuckle and identify with you? Everyone who’s ever panicked or worked under a deadline will appreciate the Keep Calm-o-matic. As with memes, variations are almost infinite.

Recite This

Planning to include quotations on some of your slides? Simply copy and paste your text into Recite This, then select an aesthetically pleasing template in which the quote will appear. Save time, add value.

Wordle

This free web tool enables you to paste text or a URL to generate a groovy word cloud. Vary sizes, fonts, and color schemes too. Note that Wordle’s Java applet refuses to function smoothly in Chrome. There are other word cloud generators, but Wordle is still gold.

Dictation

This is the rare dictation tool that doesn’t garble what you say, at least not excessively. It’s free, online, and available as a Chrome app. Often when preparing presentations, I simply start talking and then read over what I said. This is a valuable exercise in prewriting and a way to generate zingers and lead-ins to substantive content.

Poll Everywhere

Conduct live polls of your audience using texting and Twitter! Ask open-ended or multiple-choice questions and then watch the live results appear on your PowerPoint slide or web browser.  Poll Everywhere and equivalents such as EverySlide engage audiences and heighten interest more than a mere show of hands, especially for larger audiences in which many members otherwise would not be able to contribute to the discussion. Use whenever appropriate.

Emaze

This online presentation software offers incredible visual appeal and versatility without inducing either vertigo or snoozes. Create your slides in the browser, customize a range of attractive templates, and access from any device with an Internet connection (major caveat, that). You must pay to go premium to download slideshows, but this reservation aside, the free version is an outstanding product.

DoNotLink

Ever attempted to show a website containing misinformation or hate speech as part of an information literacy session but didn’t want to drive traffic to the site? DoNotLink is your friend! Visit or link to shady sites without increasing their search engine ranking.

Serendip-o-matic

Simply paste some text, and this serendipity search tool will draw on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Flickr, Europeana, and other open digital repositories to produce related photographs, art, and documents that are visually displayed. Serendip-o-matic reveals unexpected connections between diverse materials and offers good, nerdy fun to boot. “Let your sources surprise you!”

So . . . what free web tools do you use to jazz up your presentations?

Jobs in Information Technology: October 29

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Head of Guin Library, Oregon State University, Newport, OR

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Midwinter Workshop Highlight: Meet the Field Research Presenter!

We asked our LITA Midwinter Workshop Presenters to tell us a little more about themselves and what to expect from their workshops in January. This week, we’re hearing from Wayne Johnston, who will be presenting the workshop:

Developing mobile apps to support field research
(For registration details, please see the bottom of this blog post)

LITA: Can you tell us a little more about you?

Wayne: I am currently Head of Research Enterprise and Scholarly Communication at the University of Guelph Library. Prior to joining the Library I worked for the United Nations in both New York and Geneva. My international experience includes work I’ve done in Ghana, Nepal, Croatia and Canada’s Arctic.

LITA: Who is your target audience for this workshop?

Wayne: I think this workshop will be most relevant to academic librarians who are supporting research activity on their campuses.  It may be of particular interest to those working in research data management.  Beyond that, anyone interested in mobile technology and/or open source software will find the workshop of interest.

LITA: How much experience with programming do attendees need to succeed in the workshop?

Wayne: None whatsoever.  Some experience with examples of field research undertaken by faculty and/or graduate students would be useful.

LITA: If you were a character from the Marvel or Harry Potter universe, which would it be, and why?

Wayne: How about the Silver Surfer?  By living vicariously through the field research I support I feel that I glide effortlessly to the far corners of the world.

LITA: Name one concrete thing your attendees will be able to take back to their libraries after participating in your workshop.

WayneYou will be equipped to enable researchers on your campus to dispense with paper data collection and discover new efficiencies and data security by using mobile technology.

LITA: What kind of gadgets/software do your attendees need to bring?

WayneNothing required but any mobile devices would be advantageous.  If possible, have an app that enables you to read QR codes.

LITA: Respond to this scenario: You’re stuck on a desert island. A box washes ashore. As you pry off the lid and peer inside, you begin to dance and sing, totally euphoric. What’s in the box?

WayneA bottle of craft beer.

More information about Midwinter Workshops. 

Registration Information:
LITA members get one third off the cost of Mid-Winter workshops. Use the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 during online registration to automatically receive your member discount.  Start the process at the ALA web sites:
Conference web site:
Registration start page:
LITA Workshops registration descriptions:
When you start the registration process and BEFORE you choose the workshop, you will encounter the Personal Information page.  On that page there is a field to enter the discount promotional code:  LITA2015
As in the example below.  If you do so, then when you get to the workshops choosing page the discount prices, of $235, are automatically displayed and entered.  The discounted total will be reflected in the Balance Due line on the payment page.
preconference
Please contact the LITA Office if you have any registration questions.

Are you an iPad or a laptop?

I’ve never been a big tablet user. This may come as a surprise to some, given that I assist patrons with their tablets every day at the public library. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nexus 7 tablet. It’s perfect for reading ebooks, using Twitter, and watching Netflix; but the moment I want to respond to an email, edit a photo, or work my way through a Treehouse lesson, I feel helpless. Several library patrons have asked me if our public computers will be replaced by iPads and tablets. It’s hard to say where technology will take us in the coming years, but I strongly believe that a library without computers would leave us severely handicapped.

ipad_laptop-01One of our regular library patrons, let’s call her Jane, is a diehard iPad fan. She is constantly on the hunt for the next great app and enjoys sharing her finds with me and my colleagues. Jane frequently teases me about preferring computers and whenever I’m leading a computer class she’ll ask “Can I do it on my iPad?” She’s not the only person I know who thinks that computers are antiquated and on their way to obsoletion, but I have plenty of hope for computers regardless of the iPad revolution.

In observing how patrons use technology, and reflecting on how I use technology in my personal and professional life, I find that tablets are excellent tools for absorbing and consuming information. However, they are not designed for creation. 9 times out of 10, if you want to make something, you’re better off using a computer. In a recent Wired article about digital literacy, Ari Geshner poses the question “Are you an iPad or are you a laptop? An iPad is designed for consumption.” He explains that literacy “means moving beyond a passive relationship with technology.”

So Jane is an iPad and I am a laptop. We’ve managed to coexist and I think that’s the best approach. Tablets and computers may both fall under the digital literacy umbrella, but they are entirely different tools. I sincerely hope that public libraries will continue to consider computers and tablets separately, encouraging a thirst for knowledge as well as a desire to create.

LITA Forum: Online Registration Ends Oct. 27

Don’t miss your chance to register online for the 2014 LITA Forum “From Node to Network” to be held Nov. 5-8, 2014 at the Hotel Albuquerque in Albuquerque N.M. Online registration closes October 27, 2014. You can register on site, but it’s so much easier to have it all taken care of before you arrive in Albuquerque.

Book your room at the Hotel Albuquerque. The guaranteed LITA room rate date has passed, but when you call at: 505-843-6300 ask for the LITA room rate, there might be a few rooms left in our block.

Three keynote speakers will be featured at this year’s forum:

  • AnnMarie Thomas, Engineering Professor, University of St. Thomas
  • Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist
  • Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Founder Trans*h4ck.

More than 30 concurrent colleague inspired sessions and a dozen poster sessions will provide a wealth of practical information on a wide range of topics.

Two preconference workshops will also be offered;

  • Dean B. Krafft and Jon Corson-Rikert of Cornell University Library will present
    “Linked Data for Libraries: How libraries can make use of Linked Open Data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users”
  • Francis Kayiwa of Kayiwa Consulting will present
    “Learn Python by Playing with Library Data”

Networking opportunities, a major advantage of a smaller conference, are an important part of the Forum. Take advantage of the Thursday evening reception and sponsor showcase, the Thursday game night, the Friday networking dinners or Kitchen Table Conversations, plus meals and breaks throughout the Forum to get to know LITA leaders, Forum speakers, sponsors, and peers.

2014 LITA Forums sponsors include EBSCO, Springshare, @mire, Innovative and OCLC.

Visit the LITA website for more information.

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) members are information technology professionals dedicated to educating, serving, and reaching out to the entire library and information community. LITA is a division of the American Library Association.

LITA and the LITA Forum fully support the Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALA Conferences