Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The 27th thing

So, 27 things, done and dusted.

I was most excited to see what libraries are doing to put their virtual collections out where people already are. When the Library of Congress shows up in your flickr photo search, you've accessed a public resource - maybe even by accident. I love that. And I'm thrilled to hear that, as part of an upcoming digitization project, the Sacramento Room will be exploring making images available via flickr.

Podcasts are another favorite of mine, and while I didn't take up the challenge to record a podcast, it was interesting to see what other libraries are doing with the technology. There's great potential for expanding our current dial-a-story programs into podcasts. I also think we should consider recording key author events and making them available via podcast. There are, of course, copyright issues involved with these sorts of activities, but it seems worth the hassle, given the potential for expanding our programming reach.

System-wide, I think 27-things has helped SPL staff to understand why it's important for us to have a presence in the online spaces inhabited by our public. The timing of bringing our (fabulous) digital services librarian on board could not have been better. Our facebook page has taken off, and has already yielded results in the form of customer feedback she's using to develop our mobile-accessible library pages. We're expanding our twitter presence. We're raising our profile in Sacramento area wikis, and we're looking to review sites like yelp to see what other folks are saying about us.

On a personal level, it's been fun to see what my colleagues at SPL are passionate about (and I really hope Natalie invites us all to her new house, once it's finished).

So, when do I get my flash drive?

Monday, July 27, 2009


OK, so here's today. I don't have times written down, but things are in generally chronological order.
  • Skim e-mail, feed reader, twitter, facebook
  • Check voicemail, make list of call-backs (many branches aren't open on Monday, so most calls need to wait until tomorrow)
  • Touch base with my office-mates (there are 6 of us in a large space - 4 Managers, a Digital Services Librarian, and an Administrative Assistant)
  • Respond to weekly reports from branches via e-mail
  • Discover an office-mate has brought us home-made peach pie
  • Attend weekly meeting with fellow Branch Services Managers and our boss, the Assistant Director for Public Services - debrief re. recent supervisor training seminar
  • Have short discussion with my boss re. specific ongoing issues
  • Send agenda items to conveners of 2 upcoming meetings
  • Eat piece of peach pie
  • Discuss with office-mate the possibility of getting library cell plan to included texting, as we're using twitter and other text-based services more
  • Start article on success of new Saturday hours at one of our rural branches; realize can't write it until tomorrow, when supervisor of said library is in and can answer my questions
  • Write 5 brief reports for SPL's 27 Things project - the deadline for all 27 is July 31st, and I want my commemorative flash drive!
  • Look at mock-ups for invitations for a grand opening at the end of August, and wonder how to make all the stakeholders happy with the print pieces
  • Discuss the merits of using a Folkmanis pig puppet to ease difficult discussions in the workplace
  • Open mail - receive a catalog of purportedly indestructible AV cases from a vendor I met at ALA; pass along to Collection Manager
  • Play with a Dell Latitude 2100; we're considering using these for a "check out a laptop" program in one of our new branches; pass to other office-mates
  • Discuss a customer-education sign suggestion with Marketing director
  • Get call from boss re. lapse in customer service at a branch
  • Notice I forgot to eat lunch
  • Write up today's dayinthelife and go home

Five at one blow...

Things 22-26 of my 27 Things

22. "Check out" and download an audiobook from the Library's collection - I used the new myilibrary audio collection for this activity, as I've already successfully downloaded a bunch of material from our overdrive collection. My biggest frustration with both of these collections is actually in the cataloging (or lack thereof). I don't want to have to browse, or rather, I don't want to have to browse through a mass of unrelated materials to see what is available. The simple non-tagged keyword search both resources offer doesn't really work for me. As more and more of our users are using the library without setting foot inside of our buildings, I think we need to think hard about how we treat these kind of virtual services. Are they "add-ons", bells and whistles we include so we can be like the cool kids? Or are they materials as important to the collection as the latest hardcover? Right now, it feels like the two formats are living in separate worlds; I'd argue we need to integrate them better (and a lot more seamlessly) to be truly format-agnostic.

23. Peruse the new SPL website - I like the look and feel of the new website. They've made some improvements lately, most importantly substituting regular GoogleMaps for the GoogleEarth which had been the default map. Most of it seems pretty intuitive, though it's still tough to find JPA board documents, or contact info for the Friends or the Foundation. And it's still worlds better than what came before. In any case, it's a work that is now and forever in progress, and I've been pleased with the direction we've been taking it.

24. Learn a new language with Mango Language Learning - Oh, Mango, how do I love you! I included some straight from the trade show scoop on Mango in an earlier entry. Like audiobooks, this is a resource we make available to customers for use from anywhere. As I've said before, this kind of remote, format-neutral content provision is going to become more and more important. Once again, I think we need to figure out how to leverage this - people are willing to pay big bucks for similar programs, why is it so hard for us to get them to use our stuff for free?

25. Tweet on Twitter - I was a Twitter naysayer. I've been turned - I think it's a useful tool for publicizing the Library. While I've heard all the arguments about mediated relationships and fake intimacy, I also think it's a fun way to keep up with friends and colleagues. Yeah, and I like Facebook, too. I tweet as sarahdentan. If you're looking for ways to justify Twitter as a professional activity, Mashable offers lots of business applications (for Facebook, too).

26. What is Thingfo? Thingfo is invite only, so I'm substituting A Day in the Life of the Library.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Outsourcing collection development

Another report from ALA. Please note, my notes/thoughts/asides/etc. do not reflect policy directions, management fait accompli, or anything else. They're just my thoughts.

UNLV and PHX public, with their CDV partner vendors. I'm concentrating on the PHX experience here.


Started with completely decentralized selection [like SPL], selectors in branches with 4 hrs/wk to do selection. Selecting from reviews, they were only able to spend 25% of book budget, CDV manager was spending the rest based on customer requests. Opening collections were more current, more diverse, and better meeting customer needs. Even selectors saw that that was better customer service.

Now, vendors do selection (PHX moving toward more standing orders where feasible - approval plan time consuming). CDV manager maintains small, centralized discretionary budget for requested materials. Ex-selectors still manage collection, but differently - provide course corrections, refine profiles, speak to vendor biweekly. Time is freed up in branch for outreach, desk time, weeding and collection analysis (important and often overlooked CDV jobs).

Experience is showing vendors do a good job, even naysayers are starting to see that. In some case, vendor can be more on-track than librarians (fixing gaps in GLBT collections, recognizing aging knitting collection) and sometimes can be ahead of the curve. No problem with access to small presses. Ex-selectors are becoming converts because vendor selectors are good, and because it is faster - materials are often on the shelf before customers are looking for them.

Important to communicate the power of the approval plan. Focus should be - what can the vendor do that makes sense for my collection? It's still the library's collection, still needs to be managed, vendor is a partner [or a tool].

PHX using ILS system reports/stats to adjust profiles and budgets. Customer behavior is driving CDV. The customer is now the primary selector.

Complication, slowness of current process is a common reason for moving toward outsourcing. Vendors can also handle end-of-year funds in a way that maximizes your flexibility, bonus!

How to start:
  • Staff has to trust CDV manager and vendor, because the expertise on publishers, new books will shift out of selectors' hands.
  • Understand current process, where you want to be, before you sit down with vendors. It's still the library's collection - know what you DO want, not just what you don't want, from the vendor.
  • Approval plans provide opportunity to prioritize, re-prioritize, re-re-re-prioritize.
  • Expertise of (ex)-selectors important for refining profiles.
How do you train newbies on CDV if they're not selecting?
Lots of CDV to do besides selection: weeding (all new librarians should do lots of this) and collection analysis are and will remain key activities. [I'd add community analysis]

Alice Down the YouTube

A collection of videos created by staff for use in staff education on ethical issues:

Video List

King County Library System Training
KCLS Training – Michael Denton
Patrons Gone Wild
[Search YouTube/Google for "KCLStraining" to find more KCLS videos. Tips for successful training videos - use upper level managers to play "bad patrons" and "bad staff", front line staff for good examples; videos provide discussion starters, don't work in a vacuum; videos can support peer-to-peer learning, as in staff meetings]

Eric Faden
Fair(y) Use Tale
[Fascinating, provides an interesting meta-primer on fair use]

Art Institute of Washington
Goofus and Gallant in the Library
Part 2

Dan Conley
Part 1 – Intro
Part 3 – Customer Service
Part 5 – Where do patrons come from?
[Library student spoof of dated training films still used in his LIS program]

Additional Resources
Denise Raleigh – Gail Borden Public Library
Part 1 Privacy @ Your Library and Part 2 Privacy @ Your Library .

Libraries collaborating across the Academic/Public divide

Finally getting to a series of ALA reports for my SPL colleagues. I do 'em here, because then I can find them again.

"Our Town, Common Ground" - Academic Libraries' collaboration with Public Libraries

Academic Libraries often have as a stated goal some amount of programming for the community. Lends itself well to arts and humanities programming. Collaboration follows staged process: Determine shared/compatible interests; Determine shared resources (strengths/weaknesses); Seek funding (if needed); Balance responsibilities.

Lawton, OK programs:
  • Shared author visit - campus writing workshop, public library author visit program

  • Shared "one book" program - public programs at both campus and PL venues

  • "Oklahoma Chautauqua" - Campus workshops w/ scholars, evening PL public programs

  • Smaller projects - Lunch & Learn - brown bag programs w/ professors; professors doing programming at PL, e.g. archivist on archives v. scrapbooking, historian doing genealogy workshops.

Service Learning programs - Many schools have service learning opportunities or requirements. Service learners provide a motivated source of short-term volunteers, if managed appropriately. If school has good structure in place, even better. Need to work with school Service Learning Coordinator to set up, think about how to tie service to academic goals.
Projects included: Weekly tasks - shelving, computer help, event assistance, storytime prep; "Legacy project" (school requirement) - group planned and implemented daylong Narnia festival with children's librarian's guidance.

Places for SPL to partner with, potentially:
CSUS ; Cosumnes college (has extant programs in ECE, classroom support, might try tech partnership?).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Report from "The Stacks"

I love the enormous trade show that comes with ALA annual. I love the hoopla attached to all things librarian, and in a country where your power can be measured by how hard vendors court you, it's nice to feel like they're still paying attention. While I now have a system (start from the left, up one row down the next, and never, ever, make eye contact with the conspiracy publishers in the small press aisle), I love watching the folks who stop to talk to everyone, who pick up tons of posters to take backs to colleagues at home, and most especially, the first timers who are blown away by scale of it all.

When I was living in England, I went to a library show in London that was billed as the biggest in the country. It made me long for ALA - there were a total of 8 programs the day I went, and the trade show was the equivalent of maybe 2 aisles of what ALA does. While I know a trade-show isn't the be-all and end-all of a professional organization's role (some might even argue it's a distraction), it's one of the many ways the professional infrastructure in the US is more robust than that in the UK.

Before I get in to what I actually found out, a quick impression - the effects of the economic downturn were clearly visible at the show. Fewer quick-and-easy giveaways - I can usually stock up on post-its and highlighters at ALA, and there were none to be found. Galleys were also in short supply, and less easily accessible. For first time ever, I had to wait in line to have face-time with the author to get a book (now that I've skimmed the book, it's clear they're hoping the author's star power will sell the book, which isn't very good, or even very readable).

Which is all an introductory ramble to this post, which is actually about cool stuff I learned and saw on the floor.

  1. Overdrive - Overdrive has started adding Chinese materials, both e-books and e-audio-books. You can see the official press release here; I didn't get much more from the salesperson. Currently, they've got about 300 titles loaded, and given our population in Sacramento, and our uptake of e-materials in general, this feels like a strong possibility for us.
  2. Mango - Mango Languages has been pretty popular amongst staff doing 27 Things. From the Mango staff, I learned they're spiffing up the interface a bit, and they've added a "where to find Mango at a Library near you" feature on their public landing page. They're also adding a bunch of new languages, including spoken Arabic (in the dialect spoken in Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine) and spoken Hebrew. I think Mango is a good example of something our customers use primarily in their homes, via our website, rather than in a library facility. This kind of delivery will, I predict, become more important for libraries in the future, and Mango provides a strong product for us to begin designing a new delivery model around.
  3. Furniture - Library furniture is getting more and more beautiful. I didn't take pictures, but I did grab a bunch of circulars. Boats and busses seem to be big themes in play furniture. And the deco and craftsman influences are still holding sway for adult stuff.

So, 30 some-odd aisles, 3+ total hours, and sore feet. I did end up taking a single totebag, from the folks at Bulldog Packaging. One is exactly enough.

ETA: For a sense of the scale of the thing, look at this picture. Though I have to say, from ground level it felt a bunch more croweded.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hazel Gay

Hazel Gay
Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution
"When she retired in 1961, Hazel Gay had served for 45 years as head librarian at the American Museum of Natural History in New York."

From the set Women in Science, posted by the Smithsonian Institution in honor of Women's History Month, March 2009. Your tax dollars at (good) work. Have I mentioned how much I love flickr Commons?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Horseshoe Fall from Goat Island, Niagara (LOC)

The Library of Congress has just added a bunch of new photos to their photostream, including this one of the Horshoe portion of Niagara Falls. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, and a trip to The Falls was part of any visit from out-of-towners. My most recent trip was in 1995 or so, when my parents made my now husband (then boyfriend) get out of the car to view the falls on the way to the Toronto airport for our flight back to California. The rest of us had seen them plenty of times; we stayed in the car.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thing 21 - Podcasts

I'm a spoken-word junkie. When I'm driving, or doing housework or laundry, I don't usually listen to music. I need my brain to be engaged, and I want to listen to people talking. "I want stories!" Stella yells from her carseat in back, and I concur. Audiobooks are great when I've got longer trips, but right now, I'm mostly listening to KQED. My absolute favorite radio station bar none, however, is the BBC's Radio 4.

Radio 4 is dedicated to spoken-word programming, and it is unlike anything in the US (NPR is its closest cognate). The format is a mix of news and culture reporting, interspersed with comedy programming, plays, call-in shows, and the world's longest running serial drama, The Archers. When I lived in Cambridge, it was on all the time. I scheduled my life by it, and when Stella was born, we scheduled bedtime so I could nurse her down during the 6:30 comedy programming.

So, moving back to the US, it was a wrench leaving all this quality programming behind. Lucky for me, however, there are podcasts available for many of my favorites (including, thank goodness, The Archers.

I used to subscribe to feeds through Google Reader, now I do it direct through iTunes. If you're looking for particularly British (IMO) programming, I'd recommend:
The Archers - British rural soap, updated daily, average length 13 minutes.
Friday Night Comedy - Either the News Quiz (satire) or The Now Show (also satire) - 28 minutes.
Best of Today - Highlights of the daily morning news show. Interviewers are known for haranguing politicians.
Thought for the Day - Included less because of the content than because it would never happen in the US. 3 minute essays by faith leaders on topics of the day.

In thinking about library applications, the obvious thing for SPL would be to put Dial-a-Story, Dial-a-Book, and Telecuentos on as podcasts. Some libraries are doing this already. I wonder, too, if we (this "we" being libraries in general, not just SPL) could convince audiobook producers to let us podcast audiobook teasers, like some commercial sites do.

More on YouTube

I actually do quite a lot with YouTube. We don't have cable, and Stella is sometimes jonesing for screen time when there's nothing available on plain old broadcast TV (or the wind is blowing, which screws up our reception). So we hit YouTube.

Pixar's "For the Birds" is a sure winner:

The advent of branded YouTube Channels has been great for us too. Sesame Street has a channel, for example. Aardman (of Creature Comforts and Wallace and Gromit) has a channel, but it's only viewable in the UK.

Various offices and departments in the US Government are creating channels on YouTube, which is exciting to me from a Government 2.o-wonkish perspective. The US Government has an official channel, with links to various department channels. My personal favorites include the Library of Congress (archival footage made public, swoon), and NASA. What the FDIC channel has to offer, I'll leave it to you to discover, but it does involve Suze Ormond, apparently.

But back to preschoolers and their screen needs - I'll close with a video clip I which every public library would embed in their children's department web-pages, in which the most powerful man in the country stops and reads kids (his and others) a book:

Thing 20 - You Tube!

YouTube has been in the news a lot lately - with the death of Michael Jackson, major news outlets are turning to YouTube for images of people moonwalking, or doing the "Thriller" dance sequence.

Right now I'm at McKinley Library, hanging out while folks from the WWE set up to do a photo shoot for the YALSA/WWE Wrestlemania Reading Challenge. So far it's just a bunch of lights. Talent arrives at 10:30, so I've no idea who is coming.

Will it be Maria?

Or Matt Hardy?

Or someone else?

I'll keep you apprised...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thing 19 - Award Winners!

OK, I went and looked at the Web 2.0 Awards as suggested, and the most recent list dated from 2007, which is like a million years old in web years. So I poked around a little, and found out that cnet has something called the Webware100, an annual list of "cool apps for everyone".

Running down the topics list, I was understandably drawn to the Information & Reference page. And I actually have a reference question, involving a washing machine that leaves linty deposits on everything. So armed with my test question, I gave the suggested resources a spin. Most resources gave me a result, but none of them gave me anything better (or frankly different) than what I got from google. I think search engines are still largely a matter of preference, unless you're talking about truly specialty resources.

I decided I'd better play on some of the other resources, I signed up for Far from the benign silliness of "electronic paperdolls" (as described on the can), this was in fact an uber-branded shopping mall experience, with clothes, accessories and decor all available for the buying. Ick. I'm sure kids (and others) will love it, but it grosses me out.

For what it's worth, in order to keep up with social media applications, I subscribe to Mashable's RSS feed - there's lots there I'm not interested in, but I do star about one entry a day to look at when I have more time.

Thing 18 - Web productivity tools

I've used Google Docs a few times - it's helpful when you're on one continent and your spouse is on another.

The PARC team was thinking about using it for some of our group work, but IT put the kibosh on that - I wonder if we could get away with it now? Certainly a number of SPL work groups are using web-based tools to get group work done - is PBWiki really that much more secure than GoogleDocs?

I wish we could convince our customers to use these sorts of internet-based tools... Imagine how much simpler it would be if folks could just save to the interweb, rather than having to figure out if their particular storage device coordinates with the quirks of the terminal they happen to be using. Nice, no?

I do suspect that web-based storage, rather than storage you carry around with you, is what's coming next. My husband still pays for a backup service that involves some hard storage, but he's got his PhD to worry about - I probably wouldn't trust that to the free net either, but neither would I trust it to a (corruptible, breakable) external storage device I could carry around. When I have something I really, really want to keep safe, I e-mail it to one of my various gmail accounts.

Eventually, I predict, we'll have all our data out there in the ether, to access from whatever device we happen to be sitting at. Convenient, and also risky. Some things (banking?) you may still opt to link to a particular computer. But beyond that, I predict convenience will trump security concerns. I know it has for me already.

As for web-based productivity tools, I want to plug FreeMind, a freeware Mind Mapping program. You do have to download it to your computer, so you'll have to do it at home or come up with a really good reason why you need it at work. But if you're looking for a brainstorming tool, I can recommend this one wholeheartedly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Originally uploaded by sdentan
Stella turned three on Saturday. She got pretty ill Thursday night, so Saturday's picnic in the park was cancelled. She was feeling better by Saturday, so Sunday morning she and I whipped up a strawberry cake (from scratch, even). Devoted grandparents came up for lunch, cake, and the requisite explosion of gift wrap.

Back to library stuff later, right now I'm just glad my sugar got to enjoy some semblance of birthday festivities, even if they were smaller and later than intended.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dipping a toe in to the wiki waters, AKA Things 16 and 17.

So I went and added my blogs (this one and Model for Service) to the blog list on the Library Sandbox Wiki. Then, because I am a sucker for extra credit (pleeease can I have that gold star now?), I headed over to SACWIKI, signed myself up, and did a little stubby entry for SPL.

Please go flesh it out and make it look pretty, OK?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Twitter brought me something wonderful!

So I've determined that many of the "people" who follow me on twitter do so because they're trying to sell something. I don't follow-back (or whatever the kids are calling it) unless there's a good reason to. Generally, I just ignore new followers, unless there's some indication I know them in real life. Unusually, something about MoviesBigScreen intrigued me, and I started poking around.

Good thing, too, because not only do they screen really cool films (I'm bummed I missed God's Cartoonist by one day), they're screening The Hollywood Librarian at the end of this month. I will find a babysitter, and I will be there! Anyone else interested?

And since I'm on the topic, what non-work discoveries have you made through 27-things? Bonus for things quirky-Sacramentan!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Are you following the SPL Model for Service blog? Why not?

Today's post includes some of my favorite goals (so far) from the planning sheets that have come across my desk. Take a look!
Also, the Model for Service blog is a group blog - if' you'd like to contribute, let me know and I'll add you as an author.

And since it's coming up on Mother's day, I'll leave you with a photo of an impish kid, circa 1912, courtesy of the Commons.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mmm, delicious!

OK, we know I'm a sucker for an application with a cute name. So I'm a delicious fan. I'm also a librarian, so I collect information in the e-verse as well as in real life. And at least in theory, I'm a fan of folksonomies, G-d knows I defend them to my sweetie (who holds that folksonomies are the beginning of The End) about their usefulness often enough.


I have a delicious account. Haven't used it in a while, because I can't get IT to download the teensy bit of software that would make it easy to do so from each webpage [insert rant about inflexible computers at work here]. So I opened it up and started looking at the 100+ links that were there from late 2008. And, being a weeder, the first thing I did was junk a bunch of stuff that's irrelevant. Then I started looking at my tags. And they were a mess, but worse than a mess, they were not useful. They added nothing to the searchability of the links, and I spent some time wondering what the heck "development.readings" was about, anyway. And this is my problem with relying on folksonomies.

Harking back to Library School, it is exactly this problem that controlled vocabularies are supposed to address. If you define your terms, and terms are standardized, in theory it makes items more findable, rather than less. Which works great if everyone knows their way around LCSH, aka the Big Red Books. Of course, not everyone gets LCSH (cookery, anyone?) and folksonomies, and customer-driven tagging, are incredibly useful to supplement standardized cataloging (meta-data-assignment, whatever).

I'm not ready to favor folksonomies over standardized taxonomies. Not until my tags are still useful a year after I've tagged them.

Oh, and I'm sdentan on delicious. I haven't done much with the social side of delicious, it's more a web-based favorites list for me now, but I'm not averse to sharing!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Things 10, 11 and 12

I had every intention of playing around with a number of online image generators - via Mashable ("The Social Media Guide", and the only techie blog I'm currently reading) I found a list of hundreds. But you know, I'm perfectly happy with BigHugeLabs and really, I do have this job I'm supposed to be working at once in a while. Thing 10, check!

I had an account on LibraryThing for a bit - after hearing from libraries using Library Thing for Libraries, I played around with it to see if that was something we might use at SPL. Our recent catalog upgrades (covers, reviews, encore) have pretty much abrogated the need, but it's still an interesting solution. Of course, if I'm honest, the main reason I don't mess with LT is because I'm embarassed at how little print I actually read these days. It's the parenting, it kind of cuts in to my free time. Want to know what I'm reading (or more properly, skimming)? Check out this month's Parenting Book Bulletin. Thing 11, check!

And on to Rollyo. Rollyo has everything I need in a 2.0 technology - it's reasonably useful, and it has a cute name. Since I'm pretty far removed from proper reference these days, I was hard pressed to come up with a work-related subject needing a custom search engine. I can imagine a number of engines that would be useful in my personal life, particularly from my past life as a knitter and crocheter - patterns are spread all over the web, and it can be a pain to dig through them all to find that Dr. Who scarf you remember you saw last month. Because I'm currently planning a birthday party for a three-year-old, I went ahead and created a search engine for kids craft activities. Drumroll, please, for thing 12!

Rollyo does suffer from the weaknesses of the search function of the sites you select - that is, it's all straight keyword, and there's no good way to refine results. No worse than any other straight keyword, but no better either.

Web 2.0 - not a bad way to spend my rainy afternoon...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Earth Album

Inspired by Civillibrarian ("inspired" sounds so much better than "copying", don't you think?) I took a look at Earth Album, a mashup that smooshes flickr and Google maps. Behold, Sarah's guided tour to Cambridge:

Here's the campus where I lived for 4 years. I walked to work this way, and worked here and here as a University library clerk.

I ate lunch here, and spent too long here.

And now I'm feeling a little homesick...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lady Constance Stewart Richardson (LOC)

I was going to post a picture of some library managers doing a role-play at a training session, but I opened my flickr account and there was this amazing photograph, courtesy of the Library of Congress' flickr stream. Lady Constance is fascinating - I found the following excerpt in "Every Woman's Encyclopedia":

A daughter of the late Earl of Cromartie and sister of the present Countess of Cromartie-who succeeded to the title on the death of her father, there being no heir to the peerage-lady Constance has earned the reputation of being the most unconventional and daring personage in smart society. She has carried everything before her as a swimmer; has explored parts of India in which no other white woman has trod; has lassoed cattle in Texas; started the fashion among women of wearing a kilt for shooting and fishing in the Highlands, and of riding astride in Rotten Row, while, at the beginning of 1910, she appeared at the Palace Theatre, London, in a series of the classical dances made popular by Miss Maud Allan. Lady Constance married Sir Edward Stewart-richardson in 1904, part of their honeymoon being spent in Somaliland-for Sir Edward is very fond of big-game hunting. The bride's unconventional costume was a soldier's grey flannel shirt, open at the throat, with sleeves rolled up, khaki trousers, and a cowboy's hat. Lady Constance, who is now thirty years of age, has two sons, and lives for the greater part of the year at Pitfour Castle, Perthshire.

According to an abstract of a NYT article, in 1913 she was called to account for her scandalous dance costume and suggestive poses. I'm not sure how scandalous this pose is, but she does look like a woman who flouts convention.

Stumbling upon these pictures, in my photostream, without having to go to a library site - what the LOC has done is to put its collections (which are, in point of fact, public collections) where the public already is, so the public can discover them.

Which is the point of Library 2.0, I think.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Online Collaboration Tools

OK, got this from Stephen's Lighthouse, just blogging so I don't lose the link - ReadWriteWeb guide to online collaboration tools. Sweet!

My creation

My creation
Originally uploaded by sdentan
OK, on to thing #10, playing with image generators. I'm a fan of the fake-painting filter, myself... But now I've got my flickr linked with big huge labs linked with this blog...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Library Blogs

Hey 27-thing-ers, still looking for Library-related feeds? There's a list of the top 50 librarian blogs here. I'm not sure what EdGuru's methodology was, but you might find something that interests you!

Social Media Club

Last night I attended my first Sacramento Social Media Club event – the topic? Government 2.0 & Social Media.

The panel covered a lot, and my notes are a little sketchy (I didn’t bring a notebook, so my notes are scrawled all over the speaker bio sheet), but here’s what stood out for me [my thoughts are in brackets].

Websites are moving out of IT and into Communications [in libraries, into the program/services arena]. Of course there needs to be collaboration among all groups, but IT is no longer the driver/owner of these things. Social networking policy should be decided at the management level, not in IT.

Government is intrinsically conservative/slow at adopting new technologies, but Obama campaign changed everything. From a campaign perspective, the trick now is to use tools effectively, manage client expectations. Metrics don’t yet exist to measure impact of social media – it’s there, but we don’t know how to measure it yet. Building relationships (actually, networks of contacts) isn’t the hard part – it’s keeping that network alive. Also, need to monitor social network for activity related to our organizations. [Individuals are driving this process by personal participation in social networks, the blurring of personal/professional online means institutions have a presence whether they intend to or not.]

Social media can be mapped on two scales, hype and utility/value. For political campaigns, low hype high value is preferred. [Libraries could benefit from high hype/high value – improves our image while being useful – what should we be looking at?]

Government activities:
Social Media Council of the Federal Web Managers’ Council (they don’t do acronyms) is working on best practices for social media in government. See particularly EPA work around Earth Month [and Library of Congress on flickr, YouTube, etc.] Advocating consistency, standards rather than rules. Naming conventions and more here.

Governor is highlighting State dept’s social media presences, will eventually have a directory [why isn’t the Library doing this, or connecting to it?]

Message of the day – social media moves fast, gives quick feedback. Allows us to “fail quickly and move on”.

I enjoyed the evening, it was friendly, informative, and there were snacks and beer on offer. I traded cards with a few folks, including a woman who I first noticed when she tweeted about our recent amnesty week. I left before the serious networking started, but it looked like a fun bunch of folks.

Update: Video!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things 8 and 9

So I took a look at Bloglines, and decided I like Google Reader better. I've already got a number of feeds sent to Google Reader, and I discovered, completely by accident, that all the Blogger blogs I follow through 27 things go to my Reader without any extra effort on my part. So I'm sticking with Google on this one.

That said, I'm always ready for some good Library feeds. I've given up on listservs - anything of substance gets blogged eventually, and 14 years of following the same seasonal debates (xmas trees in libraries - generic holiday cheer or harbinger of the end of religious freedom?) seems enough to me.

This morning I added the Library of Congress blog... You know how much I love LoC (and if you don't, read this). Other folks I read regularly can be found in the "folks I read" sidebar on the left there - I'll be adding more of my regulars soon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Model for Service

The Model for Service blog has just debuted - you can find it here . I hope you'll check it out and comment - it should be a great place to ask questions, get answers, share ideas, and generally take advantage of the smart, creative, and generous community that makes up SPL.
If you're interested in being able to post to the Model for Service blog, let me know, and I'll get you listed. The more people we have participating, the better resource the blog becomes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I have updated, I really have!

So for some reason the blogroll at SPL27things thinks I haven't updated for 8 months. But I have! I have! I hope they can figure out a way to fix it.

Of course, if they fix it and I still have no followers, I'll feel pretty silly...

And I'm including a gratuitious image from The Commons on flickr, because I love the photo and I love The Commons - and DC Public Library has just joined, so they've got even more great images on offer!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm a sucker for fake motivational posters. I threw this one together the Motivator Generator at Big Huge Labs, where you can do this and other things to your photos.

Right now, though, my library-related technology obsession is focused on sighting SPL Amnesty Week in the "civilian world". I do a daily Twitter search in the hopes of finding more references (4 so far, and not all of those are from SPL employees).

Which leads me to another obsession, whether library bloggers/facebookers/tweeters are effectively promoting the library. Right now, the majority of my social network is from the planet Librariana (a term designated by the non-librarian boyfriend of a colleage, attending his first Library conference). Figuring out how to break that wall of isolation and communicate with the real world, now that's the next challenge. I'm pretty sure an official library twitter/facebook/blogger identity would be a good start. I'm finding a number of corporate library presences on the various social media resources I frequent, and they're being followed and friended by people who are simply interested in what the library is doing. I think this would be a valuable tool in our promotional arsenal (and essentially free!)

Friday, April 10, 2009


If Easter is your holiday, I hope you enjoy it as much as this lady did...

(And have I mentioned how much I love The Commons on flickr?)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What's down here?

What's down here?
Originally uploaded by sdentan
I'm testing blogging directly from flickr. I don't have many Library photos in my flickr account, but that will change now that I have something to do with said photos!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

And I'm leaving it up to prove I did it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Library of Congress, how I love you!

OK, I presume we'll be getting to online photo and video sharing (i.e. flickr and YouTube) eventually, but I just got some news that is thrilling to my inner library nerd as well as cementing my love of the Library of Congress.

The LoC is proving to be a real force for pioneering remote access of public collections. They started digitizing their collections years ago, and the American Memory collection of collections is still a fascinating way to kill some time at the reference desk (and learn something, too).

But the LoC didn't stop there. In a move that made lots of archivists and traditionalists nervous, they started putting their collections on flickr, the public photosharing website. In my estimation, this was revolutionary - rather than waiting for the public to find them, they put their materials where the public already was. They also enabled community tagging, making it possible for any member of the public to add a search term to an item. The world did not come crashing down on the heads of catalogers and archivists, and other libraries and museums have built on the work of the LOC. Flickr is now home to The Commons, a searchable, taggable repository of public photographic collections. Again, a great way to spend free time. And as a bonus, most of these images are copyright free, so it's a fun place to look for images to spice up presentations!

This brings me to my latest discovery - LoC now has it's own YouTube channel! I haven't had time to do much digging, and there's not much there yet, but it looks to once again put library material where the users and non-users already are. This seems the ultimate outreach.

I am so pleased that my tax dollars support the work of this institution. They are expanding the possibilities for libraries and archives beyond the walls of their buildings, and I can only hope we all go along for the ride.

Monday, April 6, 2009

27 Things, here it comes!

Well, it's time to start 27 Things. I first started this blog when I was following along with "All together now", the SLJ version of PLCMC's 23 Things, but then I got busy and it all kind of slipped away. This time I'm hoping to stay on track a little more closely.

So this week's assignment is to blog about the 7 1/2 habits of successful learners, particularly what is easiest and what is hardest:

Easiest, for me, is having confidence as a learner. This is fairly hard-won for me, as my achievement in school was, shall we say, mixed. I don't like being told what to do, and that includes homework, studying stuff I'm not interested in, and a bunch of other things that are important in school. Lucky for me there IS life after high school, and I've found out in the world I'm pretty adept at figuring out how to do stuff when left to get on with it. I'm also quite sure that breaking computers (particularly library computers) is very difficult, so I'm not afraid to poke at them until they do what I want them to.

Hardest was a little tricky to decide on, but for the purposes of this post, I think I'll say "Begin with the end in mind". I, like many people, am excited by the whiz-bang of technology. And I do believe the whiz-bang has practical applications - laugh if you must, but the process of color-coding my outlook calendar has been a real help in terms of getting myself organized and prioritized. Thank you Office 2007! But I do sometimes wonder about the practicality of some technologies... They're fun, but what's the end? Particularly as the technology is ever changing?

I think, for me, the answer has to be this: Right now, a good portion of our customers and potential customers are using this technology to an extent I don't even understand. The "end", for my 27 things, is to have a better idea of where they're at (or maybe where they were last month). The ideas for personal applications will come, or maybe it won't. But at least I'll have a better idea of the environment I'm working in.