Mobile Technologies and the Library

Hello! Wow, it is the middle of the month, but doesn’t it feel like a new year?

In honor of President Obama, here is a short article about the President librarians can love. I think it is just wonderful that the article says that Obama gave a “shout-out” to librarians in one of his weekly addresses. I mean, we got a shout-out. That is pretty darn cool. And, hopefully having an intelligent, well-read president will encourage more people to pick up a book and just read!

Next up, a bit unrelated but not really, is this great research article on the Information Ecology of Social Media. It is from 2007, but still is pretty relevant. I love the graphs showing interconnectivity among blogs and discovering blog communities in the blogosphere. I think librarians have a thing or two to teach the rest of the world about the blogosphere! I need time to do a closer reading of this article, but have office hours ssoon so that will have to wait.

How cool is it that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) now have CDC Mobile? That’s right, they have optimized their website for mobile devices so you can now get credible health information right on your iPhone or other device. Rock on for taking on the mobile revolution CDC!

To end with, here is a great story about text messages saving languages. I think this is just wonderful, not only because I happen to be a huge fan of text messages, but because here is a use of text messages that I bet wasn’t on anyone’s radar when the first lowly text message was sent. However, if advocates succeed in getting more language options for predictive text on cellphones, think of what a boon that would be for the world’s languages, especially in the hands of teenagers (who, after all, are the ones who will be perpetuating the world’s languages). Not to mention, of course, the almost infinite crazy misunderstandings that will happen when people start creating text messaging lingo in their native languages. Now that is going to make for some interesting lost in translation moments! LOL

Mobile technologies are here to stay, a new day is dawning in the United States (sorry for the horrid use of a cliche, just couldn’t resist), and librarians can assist both with mobile technologies and with keeping our patrons informed and hopefully and really well-read. So rock on librarians! Have a great rest of your day, but now I’ve got to jet–I have office hours.

What's Hot in RSS & Social Software: IL2008

What’s Hot in RSS & Social Software
by: Steven Cohen

Not much new for readers
Being advanced, added some things, but no new readers

add-on to Google Reader
added stuff on, different format to feeds
can tweet right from the reader

Firefox reader: just didn’t work out

Google Reader and Bloglines are the two big readers

Google Reader is becoming the more popular reader now
Notes feature–can share feed with others and a note who subscribes to your shared items
Email feature too
Trends feature: fun statistics, can see how much reading done on the mobile, “most obscure”=what you subscribe to and no one else does
Search your reader items–pretty cool, like searching your own little newspaper
Can also read off-line through Google Gears

Cool stuff now: Lifestreaming
Bringing it all together
can RSS the feed from Tublr, allows you to use any URL you own in addition to using a tumblr domain

made by same person who did Gmail (rock on!)
another lifestream application

RSS Tools
Feed Sidebar (Firefox extension: reader on the left side of your browser)
Libworm (database of library oriented feeds, blogs–so cool! can get the feed of your search)
YouTube (can RSS to feeds from YouTube; good to see how libraries are marketing themselves)
Twitter Search (can RSS the feed too–IL2008 is on the top of twitter search right now)
OpenCongress (track any federal legislation, congressmen, etc. through RSS)
JustiaDockets (can see federal filings, anytime a company is sued get through RSS–push it out to your clients)
Ebay (use a third party site to get RSS feed)
delicious (subscribe to tags, other users) follow tag “tools”
Google Blogs Search (can run your blog URL through it)

No RSS? Get a feed from a page
Page 2 RSS (use to get an RSS from any page–really any static page–rock on, only updates once a day)
Update Scanner (Firefox extension, allows you to keep up to date with any page, will scan for updates (you set the scanning settings) highlights new stuff–cool!)

Use RSS to let people in organization know that you are around

Staying Current
WWWhatsnew (keep up, but in Spanish–can get it translated)
Database RSS feeds for your search (I love these)

Know who your FLOs are (Friends of the Library): they are the best marketing for your library

Screengrab (Firefox extension–screencap only part of the screen that you want)

Missing Auctions (now at–looks for all the misspellings of a word on ebay)

Note: This was a totally fun session. Great presenter and very funny! People videoing it and twittering it live!

Take Home Message:
RSS can be used for more than you think! Check out some of these cool tools that you can use in your work and for fun!

Twitter: IL2008

Twitter & How the “Twittest” Use it for Keeping Up
by: Michael Sauers, Christa Burns, Cindi Trainor, and Jezmynne Westcott

Michael Sauers and Christa Burns
Short, fast, easy, mobile
140 characters or less
follow friends, be followed, like IM, but asynchronous, no status
Need friends to have fun and “get it”
Easy to sign-up and start

Verb= tweeting
Methods: via the web, via client (Twhirl), via bookmarklet, via email, via SMS, Blog-to-witter (twitterfeed)
URLs are shortened to tinyurl

Twhirl: on your desktop, works for Twitter and friendfeed
TwitThis: bookmarklet the URL
Twitterfeed: can run through your RSS feed and it will show up in Twitter

Twitter commands
@username: reply
d username message: private, direct message
nudge username: nudge person
l: location information
follow username
leave username
block username (can’t read your topic)
invite phonenumber
#hashtag (tag)

Direct Messages
Sent directly to you, private instead of public

Add friends: follow button under the person icon on twitter

Follow your friends:
read your friends’ tweets via your twitter homepage, can subscribe via RSS, receive tweets via SMS

Reference Questions
Emergency Services
Presidential Campaigns, etc. : can search twitter (tag for Internet Librarian is IL2008)

Twitterference–so many tweets that you can’t make a phone call
No back-up, content is gone
considered too distracting
If you don’t participate, you won’t get anything out of it

7 Tips to a Good Twitter Experience
Follow others
@comment others
link to your stuff
don’t take non-responses personally
be patient
avoid addiction
use your name

Cindi Trainor, and Jezmynne Westcott

Twitter can be a learning tool

Making Connections
Sharing your stuff
Putting it all together
Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Twitter Questions:
How do you make connections?
can add people to your favorites

Tweetdeck: see all your tweets and replies in different frames and TwitScoop (tag cloud) to see the buzz, could also use twhirl

FriendFeed is a social aggregator
Aggregate all your social media in one place, enables conversation
Real time data, live updates for you

Browser made specifically for social media applications
(cool idea, but I don’t like the default skin, I need to customize it)

Take Home Message:
Twitter is great for community and you need community to make it work. But beware because it can be addictive and a great time sink.

Defining & Measuring Social Media Success: IL2008

by: Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Many libraries have presence in social media, but struggling with assessing if it is worth the effort, what is the ROI?

Game Plan/Outline of the Session:
Why be social?
Developing a social media plan
Assessing social media success

Why be Social (Bad Reasons)
Because Oprah said we should
cause everyone is doing it
cause kids think it’s cool

Better Reasons:
Innovative ways to connect with users we may never see face to face
To encourage, promote, innovate, learn and adapt
Markets our services–people like to read reviews from people like themselves
Improve Customer Service
Discover and deliver what users want
Your Google page rank is influenced by it
People are anxious to interact with you online 85% of Americans using social media think companies should have an active presence in social media

Study of Facebook from the UK
Indicates that students use Facebook to connect and talk about academics, could use in teaching and learning

Developing a social media plan
1. Listen: ask yourself–is there a conversation about your library right now? If so, what is being said?
2. Prepare: Define a strategy, define goals (what exactly do you want to accomplish?), pick a platform or two, right platform depends on your goals Social Media at Sun Microsystems: How to Pick a Platform
3. Engage: Start blogging, etc., remember that social media is reciprocal, upload images to flickr, building community on Twitter, etc. just start getting out there
4. Measure: Becoming active in social media is the easy part, assessment is harder.

Need to know your ROI in order to justify using social media
You are not measuring: friendship, happiness, karma, enlightenment, etc.
You do need: quantitative and qualitative metrics

What are you measuring?
The Trinity Approach (Vinash Kaushik
Quantitative: number of blog posts (Boyd’s Conversation Index: take number of posts divided by comments and trackbacks; result should be less than 1), number of facebook friends, views/visits
Have a tangible goal so you can measure it: ex higher satisfaction, fewer desk calls, etc.
Listen, Engage, Converse, take action (cyclical in nature), be authentic in interactions, don’t sound all markety
Metric: take comments and break them down into stars (positive), scars (negative), or neutral and can produce a chart and compare how you are doing
Five things to get started:
1. monitor general search engine results–focus on Google because Google does social media results
2. monitor social media search engine results (like Technorati,, Twitter)
3. create alerts (use Google alerts, figure out how people get to your library, choose comprehensive results setting)
4. analytics: Google and Clicky Web Analytics (
5. Assess nature and sentiment of the activity (deep commenting vs. superficial, users staying vs. bouncing quickly, repeat commenters vs. drive bys)

Take Home Message:
Social media creates a great opportunity for the library to engage more fully with people, but you need to remember to assess and measure the impact of your engagement in social media.