Computers in Libraries 2007
April 16 - 18, 2007
Attended by Mary Marks - Head of Technical Services
The theme of this year's conference was "BEYOND LIBRARY 2.0 - Building Communities, Connections & Strategies". The 3-day conference had over 75 sessions including keynote speakers, break-out sessions, poster sessions, evening workshops and short cybertours. It was amazing to see what other libraries are doing with the latest technology and how they have gone about implementing their programs, policies and procedures.
In the following brief summary I will mention some of the more noteworthy sessions that I attended. Links to all presentations will be posted shortly on Information Today's website: http://www.infotoday.com/cil2007/presentations/default.shtml
Congratulations to the NJ State Library for winning one of this year's (the first) InfoTubey Awards. They created a YouTube video showing various library patrons and their 3 reasons why they love the library. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeQI25n8qPQ
Keeping One Click Ahead
Presented by Gary Price of ResourceShelf.
Mr. Price is always engaging and always interesting as he presents the newest and coolest Internet sites. His full list of links are given in his presentation at http://digbig.com/4spgs
A few interesting comments from Gary - Many Web 2.0 sites are not proving as successful as expected. The level of social interaction on many sites is below expectations. He would not be surprised if many Web 2.0 sites are gone within a year or two. How much is fad? How much is function? Don't overestimate popularity and usage of Web 2.0 sites - our skills as reference librarians are still very much needed. See Reuters article: http://news.com.com/Study+finds+weak+participation+on+Web+2.0+sites/2100-1032_3-6177059.html
Some highlights (use presentation link above to get to these sites):
- Skyline Globe - a 3-D digital globe (good-bye Google Earth!)
- TerraFly.com - another 3-D map
- Citizendium - similar to Wikipedia, except all entries are signed by author (less spam)
- Market Research Library from U.S. Commercial Service - an excellent source of international market research
- Meebo - software that let's users of various IM products connect together
- Zoho - free versions of word processing, spreadsheet and wiki software
- Tucows - Web 2.0 downloads
- Farecast - search for flights from all major carriers; provides trends as to whether prices will rise or fall in the near future
- Firefox - another plug to use Firefox instead of IE.
Cool Tools & Toolkits for Webmasters
- Yahoo Pipes - an RSS feed aggregator that can filter feeds and apply logic. Graphics-based (no XML). Can use this to post new articles written by faculty members on our webpage.
- Google My Maps - created personalized maps. Good for our maps/directions page. Show a picture of our libraries within the map. Very cool. Must have a Google account to use.
- Yahoo Design Patterns Library - why start from scratch when redesigning your webpage? This is a web design knowledgebase, dealing with usability issues, also how to implement certain features on our webpage. CSS available to "steal"
- What is My IP? - a very quick and easy way to determine your own IP address. Try it!
- Lots of plug-ins for Firefox. Including Gliffy a project planning tool (instead of MS Project which most of us do not have installed on our PCs); a web developer toolbar that has a built in linkchecker; Pixer a free image editor. If you are not on Firefox (instead of IE) you should be!
- Google Webmaster Tools including a sitemap builder, open source web design tools, open source clip art, and open source stock photography.
- Grazr - using widgets to display RSS feeds on your website.
Information Design for the New Web
This session was particularly interesting. The speaker talked about the trends in web design and showed how design and functionality has changed over the years. This is what we should be doing to "keep up with the Joneses".
- crowd as much information on the page as possible
- little white space
- lots of text
- lots of things going on
- lots of white space
- make your main objective very clear (think Google's single search box)
- little text - people don't read, they scan
- include the social expectations (sharability)
Three Guiding Principles of New Web Design
- Simple - be wary of "choice overload" (some choice is good, too much choice is not better). LESS IS MORE! This provides a lower learning curve for users. They will be more likely to come back.
- Centered design
- Rounded corners
- San serif and lower-case fonts (more casual)
- Large fonts to point out main focus
- Simple persistent navigation - set apart from content, usually on top of page
- Strong complimentary colors (not monochromatic)
- Lots of white space
- Some tools to consider:
- AJAX - allows processing of information without having to reload the page
- SNAP - allows users to preview the page before clicking on a link
- Social - users want to interact with the information they find
- Send to a friend
- Alternative Navigation - visual representations of what is important
- Tag clouds
- "Top 10" lists
- Related Information (other sites)
- Relationship maps.
Using a CMS to Build Community: Rhumba with Joomla
Joomla is an open source CMS product that can be used to develop websites. The presenters declared that it was easier to use than Drupal - and provided a much more professional looking website. Use of this would require IT staff support for initial setup. Joomla is supposedly the "up and coming" open source CMS product - outpacing Drupal, Plone, and Mambo. It however, does not integrate well with the library catalog - this would need to be an outside link. See the South Caroline State Library site as an example of a library site designed with Joomla http://www.statelibrary.sc.gov/
Project Planning Using Blogs and Wikis
Presented by Jenkins Law Library.
- All library projects are now done using blogs and wikis.
Create a project blog while the project is in progress. No need for scattered emails and trying to remember who to send the emails to. All the pertinent project information is all in one place. Eliminate the problem of some people knowing somethings and others knowing other things. This way everyone knows everything.
- All team members can add posts and comments.
- Web based - full text searchable (no more searching for filed emails)
- Provides an automatic archive of project decisions.
- Creates a library without departmental borders.
- Staff no longer have to save everything.
Use a wiki once the project is complete.
- All final policy documents should be stored here (along with the various editions thereof).
- All final project documents.
- Wikis have many of the same benefits as blogs.
- Makes everyone feel included.
The software that Jenkins used was developed in-house. However, free-ware suggested included Joomla and WordPress. http://opensourcecms.org allows you to demo various open source CMS systems without having to download the entire version.
Must have buy-in from administration before the staff will be willing to use. Administration has to use it as well.
Learning with Blogs & Wikis
Why use a blogs and wikis in education?
- It's easy to use
- It's hosted - so you don't need server space
- You can create outgoing RSS feeds, so people don't have to come to your site
- It's a good way to get feedback from your users
- Wikis are particularly useful when working on group projects. Everyone has the moste current version of every document.
Middlebury College faculty use blogs and wikis instead of Blackboard. It provides a more open form of communication between faculty and students.
Five Weeks to a Social Library
- Free online course that you can use to train your library staff.
- Available at http://www.sociallibraries.com/course/
- Use incentives! Do not threaten your staff. Make it fun! Give prizes!
- Mediawiki must be installed by IT. PBwiki is hosted.
- OPAL - small fee required to use web conferencing.
Guiding Libraries & Info Pros Through Change
Change is external. Transition is internal. Focus on the transition.
Three steps to transition:
- Saying good-bye - letting go of the past and "how we used to do it"
- Shift into neutral - focus on the details; you have to want to change; many get stuck at this point.
- Move forward - start behaving in a new way. Management's reaction to resistance is what causes the problems (resistors see it as "survival")
Three levels of resistance:
- Information based - you don't understand it; not enough information about the change.
- Emotional - feelings of incompetence; job feels threatened.
- Bigger stuff - personal history, etc.
How to Navigate Change
- Understand WHY others may not want to change.
- Describe change succinctly (1 minute or less)
- Plan carefully.
- Use different forms of communication.
- Help people respectfully let go.
- Constant communication.
- Administration/"change leader" - Actively model new behavior
- Administrators and supervisors need to be on-board.
- Use incentives
- Tie the change to a new project, to solve a current problem, or to the library mission.
Keynote: The World Digital Library Initiative
John van Oudenaren of the Library of Congress spoke about the World Digital Library Initiative. He stressed that it is NOT a large-scale book digitization project. This project will create a "digital library of significant original materials including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings representing all the major cultures of the world."
- Promote inter-cultural awareness and understanding
- Provide a resource for educators
- Expand non-English and non-Western content on the Internet
- Acquire rare content of interest to scholars and the general public
Current participants include:
- Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- National Library of Brazil
- National Library and Archives of Egypt
- National Library of Russia
- Russian State Library
- United States Library of Congress
See their site at http://www.worlddigitallibrary.org
Make sure you check out the cool video when you visit the site.