Data Management, Preservation, Curation, & Repositories: IL 2011 Session Summary

First session after lunch! Very excited for this session. It is by Christie Peters and Anita R. Dryden from University of Houston; Susan Chesley Perry from University of California, Santa Cruz; and William Gunn from Mendeley. This session was about data curation and management (and finally we finally heard the term archivist!). Allons-y!

Assessing Data Management Needs at the University of Houston
by Christie Peters and Anita R. Dryden

For more information, they have a forthcoming article in Science & Technology Libraries.

Started needs assessment of data management needs in summer 2010 at University of Houston. Lots of librarians feel that Data is a four-letter word. Many librarians feel that there is a lack of support, qualified personnel, infrastructure and lack of trust from faculty. You need good relationships in order to get buy-in from people.

They got buy in due to NSF (National Science Foundation) Data Management Plan requirements for data storage that was implemented in 2011. Also, the University of Houston wants to attain Tier One status. Therefore, these two initiatives/requirements helped get buy-in to the data management needs assessment project.

Worked with other units on campus. Worried about infringing on other units’ territories. Contacted Division of Research and found out they were overworked and understaffed and eager to work with the library on the assessment pilot study. Got a list of NSF and NIH (National Institute of Health) grant-funded projects for the pilot study. Criteria for inclusion in pilot study: large grant, individual or group projects, and cross-section of disciplines. Targeted 9 NSF and 5 NIH grants and interviewed 7 NSF PIs (Principal Investigator) and 3 NIH PIs. Fairly good response. Interviewed others because often the PI does not manage the data.

Many toolkits for assessing your digital curation needs, including: DCC/JISC Data Asset Framework and Purdue Data Curation Profile .

For University of Houston’s pilot study, did face-to-face interviews. Met with subjects, provided paper copy of the interview instrument, did not record interviews, and compiled responses for analysis. Asked questions about: project information, data lifecycle/workflows, data characteristics, data management, data organization, and data use. Graduate students were most often responsible for the data management.

Results: researchers were not looking for server space or data storage. They did need: assistance with funding agency DMP requirements, grant proposal process, finding data-related services on campus, publication support, and targeted research assistance in the area of data management.

Next steps: Plan to expand the project via establish a data working group and expand assessment. Also, try to get everyone together to see who is providing what support services.

The Great Wave: Extending Current Curation Practices to Data
by Susan Chesley Perry from UCSC

Susan Chesley Perry also works with the University Archives. [Yay! Finally someone is talking with the archivists]

Developing strategies to preserve data sets–both small and large datasets. Digital humanities lack the funding than the sciences. Many faculty are just worried about their grant projects and not about the future preservation and use of their data sets.

It would be great to hire a data librarian, but not possible with the current budget. So, UCSC must leverage existing staff and services. Luckily UC campuses have the California Digital Library (CDL) and Online Archive of California (OAC). Have DMP Tool to help PIs curate their data. One of CDL’s services is Merritt and helps with ingesting data and digital objects for archiving.

Looking to adapt online archiving policies for faculty to use. Need to get faculty to use standards for metadata and file formats, or at least use naming conventions for their filenames.

Looking at crowdsourcing the cataloging and transcription for the collections. UCSC will be doing this for the Grateful Dead Archives.

Embedding Institutional Deposit into the Scholarly Workflow
by William Gunn of Mendeley

Gunn gave an overview of Mendeley. Mendeley has around 120 million documents deposited in less than three years. Interface design is important to success of depositing materials. Mendeley has a freeium model. Currenlty working on a pilot project.

Make it easy for faculty to curate and archive their data sets. Don’t forget to include archivists in this conversation–they are doing a lot of data curation and preservation work, too.

IL 2011 Day 3 Keynote

Happy Wednesday! Last day of Internet Librarian 2011. This morning’s keynote is by Roy Tennant, Stephen Abram, Elizabeth Lane Lawley, and James Werle. Their talk is Internet 2020: Trendwatch Smackdown. Let the discussion begin!

Roy Tennant is the MC for this keynote discussion. James is going to update us with the Internet2 project and then the smackdown will begin.

James Werle on Internet2 and changes in technology: How we consume and use information is quite different now than in the past and the changes have happened very, very quickly. In 1996, 20 million Americans were connected to the Internet and 28% of public libraries offered Internet access. People were online 30 minutes per month. [Crazy to think about, no?]

Future prediction by Cisco, that global internet traffic is expected to quadruple by the year 2015 because more devices connected, more people connected (40% of the world’s population), better connectivity at a lower price, and traffic will be dominated by video. This will be driven, ultimately, by bandwidth.

“Advanced applications require advanced connectivity.” The more interactive and advanced applications require more bandwidth with increase in media richness. Patrons will expect to use these applications at the library in the future. We need bandwidth.

Public libraries and the internet survey from 2011: majority of libraries said that bandwidth was inadequate and they couldn’t increase their bandwidth. This is a dangerous trend: libraries falling behind bandwidth curve. Therefore

Access is essential and it is dependent on bandwidth levels. We need the connectivity in order to help our patrons.

National fabric of NGO research and education networks that are connected via Internet2. Internet2 created in 1996. These networks were created to meet the bandwidth needs. Expand to connect to K12 schools and community colleges in addition to the original universities and research centers. For more information, check out Connections, Capacity, Community: Exploring the potential benefits of research and education networks for public libraries.

Smackdown Time!

Questions go to panelists and then answers/discussions, moderated by Tennant.

What keeps you awake at night? Most transformative trends?

Abram: Polarization of discussion. Seeing shallow polarizations of opinions in librarianship. Example: Apple fanboys defending censoring of books in the Apple Store. Can ban political apps. Why aren’t we saying this is wrong? WTF? Advertising is coming to reading and books. We need to be more aware and deeper thinkers. “It scares me that we aren’t saying this is dead wrong.” Our voices aren’t there. [Amen, brother.]

Lawley: Bandwidth is still an issue, but it is coming. Need to talk more about network neutrality. Will you have a piece of that network? Deep fears of cloud-based content because of Google Docs going down. More interested in what we layer on top of bandwidth. Doesn’t want us focused on intensive technology because it doesn’t have to be resource intensive to be an emotional connection experience.

Werle: Bandwidth is coming, but will it come to a library near you and can you afford it? These are real issues.

Abram: Net neutrality debate is not over yet.

Lawley: We need to be paying close attention to Web 2.0 discussions about what people are willing to pay for and why. Expectations that some things should be there and be there for free. what will people pay for? Cloud part isn’t the important part. The transparency of where you can get to your information is important. A good experience= what people are willing to pay for. Context often trumps content. Presentation matters. What is really valuable is the experience and how people feel. Does your service make people say that your service is really great or that they are really great? You want people to feel success and happy. Think of the users’ interactions at an in-depth level.

Abram: You need to understand that you are a product not a user. Freemium= you have a different value if you pay than if you use the free account. Google+ is using real identities to drive advertising and tie and identity to a card holder. We need to question these services and pay attention to privacy policies. If we are a product, what are we doing? What are the excesses in the information marketplace? What are we going to say to inform the discussion?

Werle: Speaking with a uniform voice: is that best found through ALA through our state libraries? What is the best mechanism? Can we even agree what should be collectively done as librarians?

Abrams: Not suggested a unified voice. We just need to make our voices known. We shouldn’t be drown out by advertising and corporate voices.

Single most disruptive technology trend?

Lawley: Doesn’t want to talk about what she wants to talk about this afternoon. Watching gamification (even though she dislikes the word) because the concepts are interesting and disruptive. [Watch for more on this on the summary of the closing keynote] Return to a love of tangible things. People are starting to care about the quality of paper and physical things. Looking at 3D printers. Seeing 3D printers in the dorm rooms. Students more excited about artifacts than viewing them on the screen.

Abram: App purchasing and subscription-based models for content at the individual level. Looking at frictionless adoption versus seamlessness. Frictionless technologies will change how users behave and get information.

Lawley: Interested in RFID more than QR Codes. Likes RFID because it feels “magical” and “invisible.” [I personally worry about RFID and privacy.] Interested in embedding RFID chips in things.

Abram: Need to look at behavioral consequences of technology. We are shifting the choice to be something that users don’t consciously make. Changing dynamics of the choice. Need to have transparency of how and who is making the choices of what information you get.

Is Internet2 all about public libraries in response to broadband?
Internet2 is owned by educational institutions. Not a commercial space. Some corporate sponsors, but it is for the research and education communities.

Lawley: Inserting virtual objects into still photographs. Researchers used Lawley’s creative commons licensed photograph of her dining room. Inserted dragon into photograph and made lighting on dragon believable. Disruptive for photographic evidence. [Just an updating of the discussions that have been going on since photography began]

Werle: Video conferencing. Price point still high. But the ability to bring people together even if they are not co-located.

Lawley: Likes Google Hangouts because it is cheap and it works. Fascinating. Things need to work in a way that is frictionless for the user. Need to worry about the interface for the user. You come to conferences for the experience. There is real value in being in the same room with other people. Technology doesn’t even come close to this physical experience. Doesn’t teach online because there is no substitute for being in the same room. We are a long way from duplicating or bettering the physical environment and experience.

Abram: Be more radical and spend more time understanding other points of view. Remember our values and figure out how to progress forward. Understand, but we don’t have to agree.

Lawley: Remember to be playful. Think about how to make technology blend into the background.

We need to have deep discussions about important issues such as privacy, advertising and net neutrality. Being in the room with a person is a valuable and technology doesn’t replicate the richness of this experience yet. Technology is wonderful, but needs to be seamless and frictionless.

Partnerships & Relationships for Impact: IL2011 Session Summaries

I’m excited about this session on partnerships and technology! We have speakers from University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Anne Price and Kathy Harden) and The ResCarta Foundation (John Sarnowski).

Internships for Impact
by Anne Price and Kathy Harden from Townsend Memorial Library, small private Christian university with about 3,000 students. Therefore the library has departments of one staff member.

Talking about turning work/study positions into “internships” (mainly internships focusing on design) that meet the library’s and users’ needs. Students are one of the greatest assets. Students and librarians benefit from having an internship program.

Suggestions for creating beneficial partnerships and relationships: create internal and external relationships. Partner with your Art or Graphic Design departments in order to get students with design skills into the library.

Having support from the Library Director is extremely important to building successful programs. [As with so much, having support from upper administration is such a vital element in successful partnerships.]

Benefits to students: develop their portfolios, develop people skills, and get more experience.

Need to give students room to experiment and grow in internships in order to have successful project outcomes.

Student interns help re-design the library’s website and graphics. [Actually, it looks like the interns create almost the entire library website including page templates and stylesheets.] Students also work on READ posters. The students decided to create their own mini-READ posters to see who could be the most creative. Super-popular project and have a waiting list for people who want to be on the posters! [So cool!]

The student interns have also created bookmarks, business cards, and brochures. The library no longer has to outsource the work for business cards, etc. Students also create all the signage and the maps for the library.

The library partners with Career Services as well. Students work on graphics for Career Services, too. They create posters, website graphics.

Some pitfalls: students graduate, students lose eligibility for work-study, sometimes students don’t work out, and the internships are just work-study (they don’t make a lot of money and will go with a better offer).

But, overall, internships are fabulous and worth the time and energy to set up and run.

Builidng a Community Memory by Hosting a “ScanDay”
by John Sarnowski

Non-profit, has open source software using METS and MODS to create digital objects. Software available via the website:

Worked with small libraries on a grant for ScanDay. Trying to get smaller institutions to use the software. If library would host ScanDay, ResCarta would bring hardware and software (10 laptops and used ethernet rather than wifi; 5 flatbed scanners), train volunteers, and create a website in one day. The patrons brought in locally important materials, digitize items, metadata created, patrons received CD of their materials, and a website was created that they could share with friends and family.

ScanDay got patrons connected with the library. Patrons really enjoyed the ScanDay. Lots of great items that were unknown before. Worked with the local historical societies. It was a great way for families to connect and share.

How to do a ScanDay: marketing and publicity to drum up support and interest; round up staff and volunteers to work the scan stations and greeting stations, plus photograhy stations; training on scanners and computers; technology needed: scanners, cameras, computers; paper intake forms (like accession forms and deed of gift for archives).

Flatbed scanning (used Canon Lide scanners): scan worksheet and save to directory, scan items, capture as JPEG, crop/rotate if needed and checked off the items. Software does have the ability to do TIFF images, too.

Document scanning (Fujitsu scanner): used rotary scanner for documents and also more modern photographs that could withstand the scanning

Slide scanning (Nikon CoolScan 5000): had a lot of 35mm slides and VueMaster slides.

Photography: very simple photography set-up.

Gave patrons CD with the images at the end of scanning.

Post-production: OCR text documents, add metadata from intake forms, created a collection per patron using ResCarta software, and created website using ResCarta software.

Training Day: 4 hours of training session for all.

On ScanDay: Setup began at 8am and metadata was complete by 8pm. Scanning from 9am to 2pm.

Results: In Westby, 700 images scanned. 185 images on website. In Galesville, 1400 images scanned. 1200 on website. You can see these slides (with URLs to city’s websites) through the ResCarta site.

Give your students responsibilities and the space to experiment, they will create amazing projects for your library. I’m blown away by the creativity and beauty of the designs created by the students shown by Price and Harden in their presentations.

Tools for Improving UX: IL2011 Session Summary

First session after lunch is “Tools for Improving UX” with Jezmynee Dene (Porneuf District Library), Amy Vecchione (Boise State University), and Nate Hill (San Jose Public Library). This session is about Google Apps and is a nice overview if you are thinking about implementing Google Apps in your library. Let’s get started!

Google Apps at Portneuf District Library
Starting with Jezmynne Dene, Director at Portneuf District Library, who will be talking about Google Apps. Portneuf is a small library and needed something super-simple, thus using Google Apps.

Steps: Purchased domain for library, then got Google Apps account. Very simple to set-up and very simple interface for working the Google Apps.

Google Apps is perfect for the Portneuf Distrcit Library because it is simple to set-up, has the features needed, great for collaboration, and can be used on the public side of the library’s website. [Sidenote: I was so excited when my university went to Gmail and Google Apps. They make my work, especially in committees, so much easier.]

Google Apps at Albertsons Library
By Amy Vecchione at Boise State

Talking about using Google Apps at Boise State. Using Google Calendar for scheduling reference desk, classrooms, and equipment. [I like the idea of reserving equipment through Google Calendar.] Can also use the “Find a Time” feature via Google Calendar to find a time to meet instead of using Doodle.

Mobile integration is one of the reason that Amy likes Google Apps. The sync feature is great.

Use Google Forms a lot with students to schedule workshops. It is always great for tracking who is attending websites and also for tailoring workshops based on who is coming (based on disciplines).

Google sites helpful for fostering community and for working groups.

Interface Design
by Nate Hill at San Jose Public Library

Talking about perception on images for design and a project he is working on in order to get feedback (new, possible iteration of the website).

Size matters. By assigning different sizes to images and fonts, you declare what is important in the design or on the website. Adding information changes the perception of images. Notice the size of things, the color of things, and text (labels). Text/labels are the last thing noticed on a website.

Images work with one another and people will make associations among the images shown.

Need to think about the “big picture stuff” and how the user sees the website holistically.

Nate showed the San Jose Public Library’s website. It is a very functional website. If you know what you want, it works very well. But may not work as well for browsing. Thinking about separating out “informal content” into an “Interests” portal. Trying to get back the browsability of the website. Thinking about using a toggle at the bottom of the page. Interest channels would have multimedia content (from social media sites, blogs, etc.).

Google Apps is a wonderful set of tools for libraries of all sizes. [I personally adore Google Calendars, especially for sharing a group calendar.]

Thinking about the website as a whole is very important in design. Don’t just get caught up in the details, look at the whole.

Building a Single User Experience: IL 2011 Session Summary

Next up is a panel talk by Jason Battles (University of Alabama), Rachel Vacek (University of Houston), and Nina McHale (University of Colorado Denver) on “Building a Single User Experience.”

Nina: Challenges to Creating Library Websites
We need to think about our goals and intentions when developing our web presence.

Challenges to Library Web Shops: multiple tools, multiple access points, branding, organizational politics, programming resources, assessment tools and methods sometimes don’t work for library websites. Talking about each in turn.

  • Multiple tools: lots of disparate sources of content and have content and/or function silos (examples: main library websites, catalog, databases, EZ Proxy pages, etc.) Discovery layer tool takes care of content silos, but you still have function silos
  • Multiple access points for tools: URLs can get crazy and for staff there are a lot of different login pages for different tools. Bottomline, it can get confusing.
  • Branding: Hard to have uniform branding across lots of different tools, especially with proprietary products.
  • Organizational Politics: Applications administratered by different departments can make communication difficult and politics unavoidable.
  • Programming Resources: Some libraries will never have the budget for a programmer. Lack of in-house knowledge and skills can make it difficult to create a seamless website.
  • Commercial Website Assessment Tools and Methods: Sometimes they don’t work for libraries. Can be difficult to reconcile the numbers. Exit pages are not necessarily fails for libraries because they might be going to other content like ILL.

Rachel: Ultimate Goal: Seamless User Experience
If users are seeing many different pages with different design and layout, they will get confused (or at least have a jarring visual experience).

“You need to give it [your website] some love” to create a seamless experience.

Make the interface and branding familiar across the different tools and systems. “You want to create happy experiences on your website.” Create meaningful pages by defining the purpose of the page.

UX is not just about usability. It is so much more. It’s about accessibility, information architecture, ifnromation design, interaction design, writing for the web, etc.

Need to think about your audience, purpose, consistent presentation across the tools and aplications, and functionality.

Having Content Style Guides is very helpful to increase consistency across the different content editors. Resolves questions on problematic elements like abbreviations, capitalization, tone, brand, naming conventions, etc.

Content Style Guides should be part of a larger content strategy.

Jason: How to reach the Ultimate Goal
Lots of ways we can make things better. You will still have Frankenstein (your website made up of many different tools and resources) at the end of the day. But it will be the best Frankenstein you can make.

REST and SOAP to retieve content. Very good for mobile integration. REST=REpresentational state transfer. SOAP=Simple Object Access Protocol. Both are platform and language independent.

Data Structures: Streamline homegrown systems and databases for accessibility by using MySQL databasees and OAI, XML, REST, SOAP.

ILS, IR and Discovery: Most ILS provide APIs, Institutional Repositories often use OAI. Discovery tools: REST or SOAP support is essential.

Content Management Systems: Examples include: Drupal, WordPress, LibGuides. Many options for pulling in content.

Mobile design: Very important and APIs are important in mobile design. Prevent duplicative work.

Websites are an amalgam of many different tools, applications, and resources from many different vendors. Even though we can’t get around that, we can create a more seamless experience for the user by using the tools and techniques talked about in this session.

Slides from this presentation are available on Slideshare.

UX Tools for the Trade: IL2011 Session Summary

I’m *so* excited for this track: a whole track just on User Experience (UX). First up, Amanda Etches-Johnson from University of Guelph on tools of the trade!

Three things to keep in mind when designing your website:

Smaller is better
“Junk drawer” websites are not a good thing. You want to have a simple, clean website. Don’t take a “just in case” approach to designing your website. Focus your website on the majority of stuff your users want to use (aka FAQ approach).

We are not at the center of the information ecosystem for our users
In truth, we are not the starting point for most of our users’ searches for information. We can therefore rethink the way we design sites.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as applied to websites
Websites need to be easy to use and then they should be interesting. Easy is more important than interesting when it comes to your users.

5 Techniques

  1. Don’t redesign your website. People don’t like difference and change. People like things after they are comfortable and familiar with it. (aka “mere exposure effect”) For example, Amazon has never really redesigned its site. It’s essentially the same. Make small changes.
  2. Write for the web. People read functionally online. We scan for what we need. This is why you should think of your site as an FAQ. No one wants to read dense text online. Websites=information not documents. Think of it as a conversation. Active voice not passive voice.
  3. Navigation: Site Name, Page Name, Where Am I?, Where Can I Go?, How Do I Search? Users need to know all five things no matter where they are on your site. Placefulness is important to show where you are in the site and where you can go. Avoid navigational overload. Match labels and your page names.(Vancouver Public Library does this well.)
  4. Visual Design: Appearance matters. White space, typography, images all matter in creating pleasing, useable sites.
  5. Usability Testing: Testing your websites early and often is incredibly important. Critical tasks= must haves for your users. Start with testing for your critical tasks. Design with your audience segments in mind (use your personas). Ask library users and staff what they need and want. Look at analytics (check out using Google Analytics talk for ways to use analytics to test your website. Usability testing in five words: “Watch people use your website.”

Using third parties for usability testing: Getting testing done by someone else, great if you have the resources. But, you learn a lot if you do the usability testing yourself. Morae for software, screencapture for usability testing (thought it could be overkill for most users).

Resources for “less is more” argument to support simple design for website: Etches-Johnson has to get back to audience for articles, but using analytics on your own site can be super-helpful to support your argument for “less is more.”

Number of users for usability testing: 5 users because after you will get redundancy

Librarians conducting usability testing: There is an art to usability testing so you don’t lead the users and don’t pressure the students in the tests.

When do you need a total overhaul, redesign of the website: Sometimes it is necessary on a case by case basis. Sometimes a redesign is not optional (happens if your library is part of a larger entity). Try to keep some elements the same, like where the navigation bars are located.

Attracting non-library users in usability studies: Go low-tech and take wireframes into student or community center to get feedback.

Approach design for mobile devices: Think of designing for mobile first because “smaller is better.”

Designing for accessibility: Very important. Need universal design approach.

The fold doesn’t exist anymore?: We know how the web works and people do scroll, so putting important stuff above “the fold” is not as important as it was in the physical environment.

Simple, clean, easy-to-use websites are best. Usability testing is key and vital to creating a usable website.

IL 2011 Day 2 Keynote: Lee Rainie

Happy Tuesday! Time for Day Two of Internet Librarian blogging coverage and the morning keynote. I heard Lee Rainie, of the Pew Internet Project, speak not too long ago in San Francisco so I’m looking forward to hearing what new information he has to share this morning. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Pew Internet is in the business of primary research. No agenda. However, Rainie advocates for OED to include “Tweckle” as a word to include in the dictionary. (Definition: To abuse a speaker on Twitter during a lecture or a talk.)

Rainie went over 3 revolutions in technology and then talked about how do these revolutions affect librarians and educators. Let’s get to the revolutions:

3 Revolutions

Digital broadband
62% of Americans have broadband at home. Lots of stuff is happening, lots of information overload. 65% of internet users are social networking site users, 55% share photos, 14% are bloggers, 13% use Twitter, and 6% use location services.

Bloggers are few and far between, but are “special” according to Rainie. [Yay! And way to make the bloggers at Internet Librarian feel awesome]

Twitter is “upscale” and the users are omnivores. Not everyone is doing this–only people who love to swim in information.

Mobile Technology
84% use mobile phones. It’s huge. There are more mobiles in the United States than people. 327.6 million versus 315.5 million. 59% of adults connect to the Internet via mobiles (Pew Internet counts connection both via mobiles and laptops.)

35% own smartphones now. Mobile use includes lots of social networking. 56% of adults own laptops. 12% of adults own e-book readers, 9% of adults own tablets. It’s still an elite audience who have e-book readers and tablets. We need to remember that not everyone has these gadgets.

The divide in technology use and ownership= lots of challenges for librarians providing technology and content. Now people want “right now” service and answers. [Patience has gone the way of the landline.]

Social Networking
50% of all adults use social networking. Over 65 years old is a fast growing user group of social networking sites. Pew Internet now studying the tensions in family when parents want to friend their children. Pew Internet releasing the data in November.

Social networking is very important to people. “Social networks are more influential and are differently segmented and layered.” Now first line of information for people is their social network instead of news reporting. People using social networks for evaluation of news and information. Using social networks instead of experts for evaluation and reviews.

Social networks serve as audiences for people. We are content creators, so we are all performers. We are very conscious of the fact that there is an audience. People do this for different reasons: status, networking, etc.

5 Questions for Librarians as they ponder learning communities

Future of Knowledge?
From: Shana Ratner (1997) Emerging Issues in Learning Communities
“Learning is a process.” “Knowledge is subjective and provisional.” [Very postmodern.] Learning is social and personal. Thinking about learning as “organic.” “Learners create knowledge.” Active, problem-based learning is good. [This is what all the educators are talking about in the literature.] Learning is the individual’s responsible.

Future of Reference Expertise?
“New” models: Embedded librarianship (point-of-need help, scout for information, synthesizing and organizing information, and becoming important nodes in the network of connecting people.) [Yay, for cross-disciplinary work and knowledge!]

Knowledge concierge/valet: teacher of social media, “fact checker, transparency assessor, relevance arbiter”

Future of Public Technology?
Even experts don’t know what will be hot in the future. Forecasting what technology will catch on is difficult. Basic trends are evident now: mobile connectivity and location-based services will grow, bigger and thinner screens will emerge, and all-purpose gadgets will be more important.

Analytics are needed and must be updated to determine what will work to actual determine what is catching on and what is working.

Future of Learning Spaces?
Must be constructed for new kinds of learners. Creating knowledge in new ways. Looking at “self-starters”: learning happens outside the classroom (life-long learners). Learning is a social experience. [Collaboration is the hot “new” term for learning.] “Value of amateur experts is widen.” [This is kind of a scary thought as a librarian and a professor.] See this a lot in peer-to-peer communities that are created in health communities. [We heard about this at the Personal Digital Archiving Conference during the health session.]

Future of Community Anchor Institutions?
Have to decide how much work is aimed at helping individuals versus community. Lots of challenges ahead as people want different things out of the library. Creation space versus collections. Solitary space versus space for collaboration. Pathway to information versus an archive (oh, people, let’s talk with archivists so we actually use the term archive(s) correctly.)

Libraries have already been changing in ways to serve the new normal in the community due to all the changes in uses of technology and in learning and teaching. Pew Internet will be doing a 3 year study on how people use libraries and what they want. Yay for getting “market data” for libraries!

Great, funny, and informative talk. Great speaker to start Day Two of the conference.

For more information on this, you can view the slides on the Pew Internet website. You can also read my post from Rainie’s talk in May of this year. It’s interesting to see some of the changes in percentages.

Blackboard Learn: IL2011 Session Summary

This talk on Blackboard Learn is by Anita R Dryden and Christina H. Gola, of University of Houston. I’m excited about this session as my university uses Blackboard and I really want the library to embed our services into Blackboard more fully. Let’s get into the session info!

First, the context: University of Houston is very large (40,000 students) and it is a commuter campus with lots of transfer students. [Sounds a lot like my university, except for the size. We’re only at around 14,000.]

In 2009, library was “sort of” embedded in the course management system (CMS). Some subject liaisons were embedded in courses. Challenges for IT: short-staffed and underfunded. Trying to work with IT to get them on-board with getting the library embedded. Ran into trouble because librarians were working with faculty members and not instructional designers in becoming embedded. [Communication is key to successful partnerships.]

Inspired by Emily Daly’s article in C&RL News: Embedding library resources into learning management systems and used this model to pilot embedding the library in the CMS. Identified courses for pilot, worked with instructional designers to get permissions, and manually linked to LibGuides. Then gathered stats from one semester. Got 3,872 hits in one semester on the engineering LibGuide due to having just a link in an engineering course.

Getting Buy-in
Became part of the Implementation Team for Blackboard Learn. Had training for 4 days. University tranisitioning to Blackboard Learn to centralize IT services and try to get all schools using the same CMS.

Manged to get entire Library tab at the campus level! Students see it on their homepage when they log in! [Wow! That is great!]

Overview of Blackboard Learn
“Heart of the sytem are the course pages.” Embedded links to subject guides. Also have the Library tab and librarians have control over the tab and content on that tab.

Research Guide Links
Librarians have embedded the research guides in the CMS to be at the point of need. Many of the subject guides are course specific. Began looking at automating the process for linking. Inserting a dynamic link in order to pass subject code and course number to database to link up the correct guide to the course. [Super cool.]

Library Tab
Have a very high level of control over this page. [Awesome] Still developing this tab. Library has administrator priveleges and ability for dynamic content from other library systems and focus on point-of-need research help, not replicating the library’s homepage.

In order to have low maintenance, they are using dynamic content wherever possible and trying to have minimal library staff working in Blackboard. Should run itself once it’s set-up.

Communication is super-important! You need to know the organization’s history in order to have a successful partnership and projects/programs in the future. Cultivating these partnerships are super-important for embedding the library’s services at the point-of-need. It’s worth pursuing in order to reach more students!

Best Betas for Learning & Navigating: IL2011 Session Summary

Summary of the session: Best Betas for Learning and Navigating by Gary Price. Gary Price is Co-Founder of INFODocket and FullTextReports. Let’s get into the good stuff.

Presentation is available at (which is great because there are a lot of links to online resources in this talk.

There are a lot of great betas, but remember that betas sometimes need a little work (aka might be a little buggy).

Microsoft Academic: much more robust this year. Ability to create visualizations and has advanced search feature. [I’d never heard of this product, so I definitely agree that Microsoft’s biggest challenge will be marketing and get people to use it.]

quixey: an app discovery tool. [Very cool.] Lots of filters you can use.

Primadesk: aggregates all your cloud services. [Could definitely be a time saver, but definitely raises some privacy and security issues.]

Muse: analyzes emails with visualizations. [I love this application (Collin told me about this last year). It is really fun to use.]

TinEye: reverse image search. Can see who is using the image and for what purposes. Tries to find the exact image, unlike Google’s service which looks for similar images.

Interesting use of Zotero: using it for personal digital archiving. [Makes sense. It is an easy way to save digital objects and add notes, comments, citations, etc. I just use it as a bibliographic management tool. Amazing how different people use the same tools.]

Price’s favorite database: C-SPAN Video Library. Digitized all programs from C-SPAN and available online. Can search video via keywords. [It’s nice that the digital preservation issues were given a nod, even a brief nod, as I always worry about that due to being an archivist.]

National Archives Online Public Access: revamped search screen for searching NARA’s resources. [Having done a lot of research using NARA’s search engines, I can say this is a great improvement.]

You can find out a lot of new tools and APIs through programmableweb. You can get two free, weekly emails about what’s new. [Definitely signing up for these weekly updates.]

One point this presentation brought home to me is the plethora of new tools and services that are coming out seemingly every day. It is nearly impossible to keep up with everything, so it’s great to have a session like this to get introduced into some of the most promising betas. I’ll definitely be checking out some of these resources more carefully for my work and teaching.

Google Analytics: Session Summary

Session by SuHui Ho and Jeff Wisniewski on “Improving your website with Google Analytics’ statistics.” Let’s get into the fun stuff.

Many great features in Google Analytics.

Two reports SuHui covered:

Top Content Report
Most popular pages on website. Can filter and manipulate the results. Most useful for content life cycle management and deciding priorities for updating pages. Also helpful for deciding information architecture of site by figuring out what tasks people are completing the most on your website. Very helpful for designing homepages.

Traffic Sources Report
Can learn how people come to the webpages and where they go on your website. Goes beyond total hit count, which can be deceiving. Can use reports to determine keywords being used in search engines to find your site. You can also find out the referring sites that send people to your website.

Slide presentation availabe on Slideshare

Goals and Funnels (talk by Jeff Wisniewski)

Goals: page a vistor reaches once they have completed a desired action, such as completing a form, getting to a subject guide page.

Funnels: the optimized steps along the way to get to the goal.

You can set up goals and funnels to check how people are getting to certain pages and use the results for figuring out where people are getting lost. [Sounds great for usability testing]

99% of the time the “goal type” is a URL destination for libraries, based on Jeff’s experience.

Jeff did a nice, detailed overview of creating a goal and funnel. Instead of describing how to create it, I’m going to let you go try it for yourself. I think setting up things like this make more sense if you just go do it yourself and “tinker” with it as our keynote speaker, John Seely Brown, would say.

The reports are quite powerful and useful for redesigning your processes to complete tasks on your website.

Google Analytics is extremely powerful. I’m definitely going to be talking with our library’s web team when I get back to see what we are using and what we could be doing better to leverage the power of these reports and goals/funnels to improve our website.

Now time for lunch before the marathon of afternoon sessions. Allons-y!