Tuesday Fun

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! We all need a bit of fun on a Tuesday, especially since it is final exams week at my university. So I have a few fun things to share today.

First, for those looking for some lovely new icons to use in their designs, check out this icon set from Smashing Magazine: Voyage Icon Set. So much fun to use new icons. I’m a big fan of the free Smashing Magazine sets and have found them really useful in sprucing up our library brochures and ads.

For those who love science, and those who love creative, cool concepts, check out Super Science Friends: Episode 1. I love scientists re-imagined as superheroes.

Also, if you need a moment to relax and enjoy some nature, even if you can’t step away from your desk, check out the Winners of Royal Society Publishing’s photography competition. Absolutely lovely. Makes me want to go wandering out in the woods right now.

I hope you have a lovely week. Allons-y!

Tuesday Fun

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope that your week is going well. Today I have just a couple of fun things to share so you can take a break in your busy day. So let’s get to it.

First, as always, I have to share the lovely This week in fonts. Just makes you want to go out and design something, doesn’t it?

And this amazing post from Gizmodo on old selfies that make Instagram look like a joke. I love photography and old photos, so this post was a wonderful thing to see. Everything old is new again.

Finally, I leave you with this new Simon’s Cat video to share with someone on Valentine’s Day. It is just perfect.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll be back on Friday with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Tuesday Fun

Hello, dear readers! I hope that your week is going well. I just wanted to share a couple of videos to give you a work break for the day. So let’s get to it.

I can’t resist a cat video, so here is one to watch to see a cat do some awesome skateboard tricks.

Also, I’m a sucker for videos that compare current and historic urban landscapes, so I had to share this video of what London looked like in 1927 and 2013. It is really quite lovely.

I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll be back on Friday with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Relaxing and Planning

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your day is going splendidly and you have a wonderful weekend planned. Today I have a few tools and articles to share with you on relaxing and planning. So let’s just get into the tips so you can get on with planning your weekend.

Yes, I want to share some Lifehacker links on planning, just in case you missed them. I find thinking about planning things anxiety-producing, but actually making and executing a plan very relaxing. Yeah, I’m that kind of person. Anyway, if you haven’t thought about retirement planning, you should, and Lifehacker has a great guide to retirement planning. Sometimes, the Internet is wonderful and the online tools in the article are super-helpful. If you have any other tools you recommend, please share them in the comments.

Also good for planning is Lifehacker’s article on creating a master information kit. I’m totally finishing this kit this weekend and making sure the important people in my life know where to find it and how to access it. Being prepared is good. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Another cool tip is this one from Gizmodo on how to get rid of Google’s black bar. Share it with your friends, family members, and patrons who don’t like the new look of Google. They’ll think you are awesome, really. When I told some of my colleagues how to turn off threading in Gmail conversations, they thought it was wonderful. (I happen to love threading, but you know, different strokes for different folks.) Customization of your online experience= brilliant.

I hope you have the time to take a true vacation this summer. As you get ready for vacation, consider implementing danah boyd’s email sabbatical. This is truly a great idea to avoid having to check email while on vacation and also avoid the dreaded email avalanche when you get back to the office. I find breaks away from work email truly wonderful and plan on implementing an email sabbatical when I go on my next trip, which hopefully will be in the not too distant future (*fingers crossed*).

Finally, I want to leave you with another wonderful photograph from beautiful portals. I hope you have some place similar to curl up with a good book this weekend.

Stairs and Doorway

Stairs and Doorway

Have a lovely weekend, full of relaxation, good food and good company (also, a good book and a cup of tea are always nice, too). I’ll be back next week with more tech, archives, and library notes and news. Allons-y!

Social Network Data: Making Sense of What's Online

A bit of confusion about where we were in the program. But we’re all good now, so let’s getting into the session notes on social network data. Allons-y!

Open Standards for Social Data Exchange and Archiving
Evan Prodromou (StatusNet)

Talking about social network data and standards.

Classes of social data include: profile data (who user is, contact information, what user likes, etc.), social media (text, images, audio, video, polls, checkins, events, Q&A), social graph (record of relationships and connections), social curation (commenting, tagging, sharing).

Challenges to archiving social network data:
Most social networks have limits on what users can do to archive their own data. Have API access rules, winner-take-all business models, etc..

Motivations for preservation of digital social network data: digital civil liberties, open source implementers, enterprise social networks, and social network federation. More pressure to create open data formats in order to preserve social network data.

Standards used in Social Network Media
FOAF “Friend of a Friend”: RDF-based
RSS and/or Atom
SIOC: RDF-based (pronounced “shock”), works with RSS and FOAF
Portable Contacts aka PoCo, VCard-like, XML
Activity Streams social media linked, upward compatible with Atom and RSS, JSON version available, exciting and keep your eye on it, increasing use in libraries

Interesting to hear about standards being used, but presentation was too fast to get down all the important information. Check out the links above for more information.

Recommendations: Produce Activity Streams and consume ActivityStreams, RSS, and Atom.

Charting Collections of Connections in Social Media: Mapping and Measuring SOcial Media Networks to Find Key Positions and Structures
Marc Smith (Connected Action Consulting Group)

Talking about nodexl and that most people do not capture information about their networks. People are social and crowds are important. Crowds now gather online (interaction with physical crowds is very interesting too). Online social media for coming together online now serialize comments.

NodeXL builds a graph that looks like a graph based on social media data. Example, creating graphs from Tweets that mention a certain word. You can find some examples on Flickr of these graphs.

In social networks, the most important thing is “position, position, position.” Archiving connections is possible, but few of the resellers or archives of social media do so. Archiving connections is as important as archiving digital object (great for contextualization).

NodeXL makes really interesting, sometimes confusing, but cool looking graphics. My colleague who researches social networks is all over this type of data representations and analyses. Very interesting.

“We envision hundreds of NodeXL data collectors around the world collectively generating a free and open archive of social media network snapshots on a wide range of topics.”

The Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Project
Ray Larson (UC Berkeley)

Dealing with metadata surrounding collections held in archives. Project funded by NEH.

Data from: EAD finding aids from LoC, OAC, Northwest DIgital Archive, and Virginia Heritage; Authority records from LoC, Getty Vocabulary Program, Virtual International Authority File; other biographical sources (eg DBPedia).

EAC is now complemented by EAC or Encoded Archival Context: XML-based standards for descriptions of record creators= authority control. Want to have controlled vocabularies because we have the problem of many different names for same person, same name for different person. (Are they also adding these authority files to LoC? We need standards, but we don’t need a ton of standards that overlap so we have issues about deciding which one to use.)

Very nice looking interface for the authority files. Nice touch: noting from which archives they are deriving the names for the authority file. And then using data to create pretty infographic of connections–still under development. SNAC website for latest version to download and try out.

Take away: Connections are super-important and we need sophisticated ways to capture this information. I’m definitely going to download NodeXL and play around with it. If you use it, let me know how you like it.

Thoughts on Education at the end of the Quarter

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been thinking a lot about education lately, probably due to reflecting on my own teaching during the end of this term. I wanted to share some of the most interesting reads and tools I’ve seen lately on the topic of education.

Have you seen edmodo? It’s a way to create private social networking sites for your classes. Since Ning is now charging money, edmodo seems like a good option for educators. The entire look of edmodo is very similar to another large social networking site which should make it feel comfortable to students and edmodo is must more user friendly than most of the learning management systems I’ve seen. If you’ve used edmodo, I’d love to hear about your experiences. I may use it in the next class I teach as I’m always trying to facilitate more interaction and community.

Speaking of education, I highly suggest you read Anna’s post of her responses to questions about unschooling. It’s a fantastic read and will make you ponder (hopefully) your own educational journey and how you want to see education evolve. Like I wrote in a previous post, I firmly believe that there are multiple ways to gain information and create knowledge. Obviously I feel strongly that there is a place for higher education and am hopeful that I can make changes to the process of higher education that will benefit my students. (But going into details of how I envision higher education evolving is best left to another post.)

This post, “Why Design Education Must Change” is a fantastic read. Many of the suggestions for changing design education apply to education in general, in my opinion. For instance, I believe we need to do a better job educating students at all levels in scientific disciplines. And I say this not just because I have a degree in biology and grew up in a house where scientific proofs and logic were held as the standard to which everything was compared. Understanding science is important so you can discern medical flimflam from sound medical advice, figure out whether the statistics in an article are valid or a lot of hogwash, and logically plan and execute studies in the library. I am a huge proponent of a “well-rounded” and broad education, then drilling deeply into one or more areas for your specialties. But that’s just me. Even if you don’t agree, please check out the design education article, it really is fantastic.

I think that is enough seriousness for one blog post, so here is the winner of Unshelved’s Pimp My Bookcart contest. I had to share because University of San Francisco won and the entry is awesome.

Because it is rather dreary here today, I thought we should end with this lovely clip of the tenth Doctor. I don’t know about you, but watching the Doctor in action always makes my day a bit better and less dreary. If nothing else, the Time Lord knows how to give a good “rally the troops” style of speech.

Have a great rest of your Wednesday and I’ll be back soon with more tech and library fun. Allons-y!

Innovation, iPhones, & Paging!

An Agile Approach to Library IT Innovations
by May Chang: Head of Library IT Services University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Article will be published in an upcoming issue of Library Hi Tech. (If this is disjointed it is because May Chang talks faster than Megan Fox!) The situation: lagging behind in development and innovations, limited resources, lots of students. Only thing she had control over was software project management.

Use predictive approach (i.e. Waterfall) good if low uncertainty
Adaptive (i.e. Agile) good for high uncertainty, “beta mode” thinking, working software is more important than documentation (Ach! From an archivist’s perspective.)

She picked Agile project management approach: read more via the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Used Crystal methodology: “Crystal is a family of methodologies because every project is slightly different and has needs of its own.” You can read more about Crystal methodologies via Alistair Cockburn’s book, Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams. (aka “Google approach,” just get the product shipped in beta and then fix it) Also used mind maps for brainstorming and designing.

Products Learning spaces promotion, digital dashboard and digital dashboard mobile for IT operations, QR Codes, campus tour via augmented reality

Roving Reference & Patron Notification
by John Blyberg, Assistant Director for Innovation and UX, Darien Library

Re-envisioning patron service. Opened a new building in January 2009. In old building, say that reference stats were going down, circulation of materials were increasing. (Reference=knowledge and information services at Darien) The staff was concerned about people not using information services at the library. Nature of the way space was being used was changing as well as a changing demographic. During the day had traditional adult users, but after school a lot of teens came to the library.

Wanted to use a roving reference model: get out from behind the desk and go look for people to help in the stacks, in the learning commons, etc. Instead of “defending the desk,” getting out and being proactive about helping patrons. Wanted to change the experience of the user at the library (break down the barriers between librarians and patrons). Wifi makes this possible (huge investment in the wireless infrastructure of the new building); all parts of the building have wireless access (this if fantastic). Experimented with netbooks, wireless phones (VoIP) for roving reference. But it didn’t work really well because “librarians like to wear skirts and they don’t have pockets.” Now have remote desktop access via OPACs (virtual desktop) which is easier to use than a netbook (and you don’t have to carry a lot of stuff which is annoying if you don’t have lots of pockets).

But how do you find the librarians when they are “roving”? Patrons needed to know how to find the librarians. Wanted an “easy” button. Looked into different technologies: pagers (but need a network plan), Vocera (good for staff to staff communication, but not what they wanted), restaurant pagers (but it was a reverse of what they wanted to do), LifeAlert (tested it, but wasn’t a good workflow).

Opted for an easy button: needed it to be easy, use existing tools, fit into workflow, effective, reliable, and fast. They bought touchscreens for the desks and have a screen that says “Touch Here for Assistance” that patrons can use when there isn’t a librarian at the desk. Just touching the screen pages a librarian. Decided to use notify.io for notification “router”: it is free to use and you can download it to host it on own servers. Can send notifications via IM, email, and Prowl/Growl. Gave librarians iPads and iPod Touch running Prowl so that librarians could be notified when not on the desk. It shows information about where the patron is located and a link to click to notify the patron via the touchscreen that a librarian is coming to help the patron.

Had a service model in mind (stats showed the model was working) and then dedicated development time to make the model work better. Service models should meet user needs.

Major props: Code will be available open source for other libraries to use in the near future.

May Chang’s presentation: Very interesting models and methods for increasing speed of software development and efficiency of project management, but way too fast to summarize yet alone internalize or interpret information. I highly recommend reading the Library Hi Tech article when it is published.

John Blyberg: It’s about being agile and adaptable to changing needs–think outside the box about reference. This is such a fantastic way to deploy a roving reference model and a great way to respond to patron needs.

Foursquare, Location-Based Social Networks & Library Apps

Where are You?: Location and Library Applications
by Jason Clark the Head of Digital Access and Web Services at Montana State University Libraries (he is using the hashtag #lib-location if you want more info/have a question to ask via Twitter)

Talking about location as a concept and what it means for libraries. Content is not king anymore–context is. Or in other words, how do you use location as an important data point for searching. “About half of the queries on Google have a geographic component” (Andrew Foster). Location is a metric for interest–so how do we use it?

Moving to library applications: use mapping of data (creating custom Google Maps), check-in services (Darien Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library use this), Crowdsourcing data (New York Public Library is using this on their map collection), local interest apps (NCSU WolfWalk, San Jose Public Library).

Building Geolocation applications
New W3C Geolocation API: uses Javascript and is very accurate
Yahoo Query Language Location Tables: Web Services, Server-side and/or Client-side scripting
Many other options

BooksnStuffNearby: Beta App
Created by Jason Clark. Browse to it, determines where you are, and uses WorldCat to bring back information that is relevant to your location.

Location Awhere (blog): http://locationawhere.com
Where 2.0 Conference http://where2conf.com/where2010
Geolocation API–diveintohtml5 http://diveintohtml5.org/geolocation.html

Joe Murphy on Trend of Relevancy of Information based on location
Location as trend: heightening information relevancy based on proximity. Foursquare is the most popular location based service, Gowalla is one of the least popular now. Benefit for libraries= claim your venue and use it for connecting with your patrons (can track statistics and also do promotions). Need to think about how to use location based services to connect easily with our user groups. Plus it is kind of fun.

Great session with lots of resources to use when you want to create location based applications and use location based services for your library. Context (i.e. location) of a person is a key information/data point that we need to be using when we are creating search tools and applications for our libraries.

Survival When You're Overloaded

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week has run me over and I’m ready for the weekend. I’m feeling more like I’m in survival mode than in a really productive, “on top of things” mode this week. So I thought, what better to write about on Friday than survival when you’re sure the world is just about to cave in and you just know that the other shoe is perched precariously on the top of an unused card catalog and ready to drop. So let’s take some control over the chaos that is the library and archival world and get back to a good normal.

First, the incredibly helpful, practical, and fairly easy to implement tips for the end of your week. I don’t know about you, but I really dislike getting junk mail so Lifehacker’s article on the best sites, numbers, and forms for banishing junk mail was most appreciated. Let’s stop the resource waste and get rid of the junk mail.

After you’ve gotten rid of receiving physical junk mail, it’s time to tackle the dreaded email inbox. The “zero inbox” policy is one way of dealing with email overload (and I find it fairly helpful), but I also have become quite enamored of assigning email a 15-minute minimum to avoid unnecessary checking. This is great for those of us who feel the need to respond to everything within a minute of receiving it, when it is neither productive or necessary. Creating boundaries is not only healthy for you, but sends the signal that your time is valuable and not to be wasted or interrupted without good reason.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a fan of meetings in general. It’s probably no surprise then that I adore this idea to increase meeting effectiveness by scheduling for brevity. Ten minute meetings? Completely would work for me. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to convince my colleagues that this is the only way to go when it comes to meetings.

Finally, on the tips and tricks front for survival is this WebWorkerDaily post on surviving sudden social network changes. Read it. Trust me, you need to if you are at all hooked into the online social world.

Switching gears, let’s talk about how you’re already perfect. zenhabits is one of my favorite blogs for posts to inspire quiet, balance and joy in life. This post is especially timely as being in survival mode means you rarely think you have time to pause and remember that you are already just fine. It’s also great to share with your friends who are always interested in self-improvement and doing things better. I know I fit into that category, especially with my work. So it’s nice to have such a positive affirmation: you’re already perfect.

I’m continually, pleasantly surprised by how much inspiration I find in Seth Godin’s blog which is obstensibly about marketing. I think his post on demonstrating strength is one of those inspiring posts. The best survival strategy when you’re overloaded (after figuring out how to stop being overloaded)? “Offer kindness.” The world could use a little more kindness.

And, if all else fails, remember:

keep calm graphic

Keep Calm by SchuleLewis

Thanks to Hanna for pointing this graphic out.

Have a wonderful weekend full of reading and recharging for the next week ahead. The Waki Librarian will be back next week.

Giving Thanks for Libraries and Librarians

Okay, so I know that it is kind of hokey to have a holiday themed post, but I was watching the Vlogbrothers’ video below and thought it was superb and I should think about what I’m thankful for in terms of libraries and librarians. Take a look at the video below and then let me know what you are thankful for when it comes to libraries.

I’m thankful for:
1. Public libraries that are still free and open to the public.
2. Free wifi–especially when it is available in libraries.
3. Open source software, especially open source library applications like Koha and Greenstone.
4. Internet Librarian Conference–a great way to meet other librarians that are into technology and making technology work for libraries.
5. Evidence-based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)–a wonderful community of people trying to increase the quality of scholarship, research and practical implementation of research in libraries so we can all make better, evidence-based, data-driven decisions.
6. Banned Books Week.
7. Librarians standing up to the Patriot Act and protecting their users’ rights to read whatever they want without having anyone else in their records.
8. My awesome colleagues who are making a difference every day in students’ lives on our campus.
9. Library school students–the next generation of librarians, archivists, and information professionals who have so much enthusiasm and knowledge.
10. Library blogs–so many great blogs to read, so little time.
11. Archivists–the “new macho heroes of Washington, D.C.” and keepers of history and collective memories.
12. Twitter–finally students are reading the announcements I send out for class, instead of ignoring them (like when I used email).
13. Folksonomies–because I like the word and like to have users create descriptions that are useful to them.
14. Controlled vocabularies–because they make my life easier when I’m researching.
15. New information literacy theories/frameworks–because they treat IL in a holistic manner and not just as a skill set.
16. Open access–I don’t know what else to say about this one.
17. Innovation–keeps librarians and libraries at the head of the pack and in the position to be leaders.
18. Remote access to databases–because if I can’t get it open access, at least I can get at the information away from my desk.
19. Reference help–online, in person, whatever, it is fantastic that the library is a place where you can get help at the time and point of need.
20. Unshelved–a great comic strip for librarians.
21. xkcd–a great comic strip, period.
22.Vlogbrothers-not only because 1 of the Vlogbrothers writes young adult novels, but because they both support libraries, librarians and freedom to read (not to mention have extensive home libraries)
23. The Librarian–yes, we can argue about whether Flinn Carson is a librarian or not later, but it is a fun flick.
24. Rupert Giles of Buffy the Vampire fame–he is one cool librarian.
25. The librarians of Desk Set–’nuff said
26. Librarians who mentor those who are new to our field.
27. Interns from SJSU’s School of Library and Information Science–they come to work with us and are simply awesome.
28. International librarian community–fantastic, helpful, great.
29. Librarian-themed apparel–just for fun.
30. Card catalogs–I love online catalogs, but love the old card catalogs–they make handy storage devices.
31. Being in a profession where there is no such thing as useless trivia–one day it will be used at the reference desk.
32. Patrons that say thank you after being helped at the reference desk.
33. Interlibrary loan–too fantastic for words.
34. Library cooperatives–because we are stronger together.
35. Goodreads, LibraryThing–anything that lets me connect with others and organize my books.
36. Webinars–great way to learn and share without paying for travel.
37. Screencasting software–fantastic for online tutorials.
38. Web 2.0–lowers the threshold for becoming a producer of information online and a boon for libraries.
39. Academic libraries with open stacks.
40. Helpful archivists who love to share their repository’s collections and help researchers.
41. Professional organizations for librarians who help us stay current.
42. Being able to learn every day and apply that learning to improve library services.
43. Destroying librarian stereotypes–little by little.
44. Faculty members who realize that librarians can help their students and have us come into their classes to work with their students.
45. Books–any form or format, I love books.
46. Making libraries the heart of a campus or of a community.
47. Storytime–hook children when they are young, make reading fun, and we’ll have library users (hopefully) for life.
48. Humor–most librarians have awesome senses of humor.
49. Celebration of learning and intellectualism–I love that being a nerd or a geek is totally acceptable and a good thing in libraryland.
50. That I am employed as a librarian–I’m thankful every day to be working in this profession.

Final bonus thing(s) I am thankful for:
51. For everything that I will learn today, the people I will meet who will help me as I help them, and future library adventures.

Have a great Thanksgiving (if you are in the U.S. it will be happening tomorrow), read a lot, and let me know what you are thankful for in the comments. See you all next week.