Monday, August 30, 2010

IAG, we hardly knew ye!

Today, we bid adieu to "It's All Good." It has been an exhilarating six year run, but now it's time for us to move our blogging focus elsewhere.

Alice Sneary, Alane Wilson, and I started "It's All Good" when we hit the road to talk about the OCLC Environmental Scan back in 2004. We used this blog to share ideas we'd heard, interesting articles we'd seen, or soapboxes on which we wished to climb. Alane says IAG was the first corporate blog in the library world, and I have no reason to disagree with her.

Alane left OCLC a few years ago to return to Canada (*sniff*), and Chrystie Hill stepped in as our new writer (yay!). Our colleagues Eric Childress and Matt Goldner also did a few cameos here. But now, we're trying to consolidate places where OCLC-related content might appear, and some of the outliers are being brought into the fold.

Chrystie manages BlogJunction, part of her WebJunction work, and she'll continue to blog there.

Alice contributes to The OCLC Developer Blog and the WorldCat Blog.

I'll be contributing to the The OCLC Cooperative Blog, and given my other work role, to the blog Viral Optimism with my consulting partner Joan Frye Williams.

Before we sign off, there are two people who need a big thank you, people without whom there would have been no "IAG."

First, Alane Wilson gave Alice and me the gumption to move forward on this idea. Someone who never saw an envelope that didn't need pushing, Alane convinced us that there were enough ideas worth sharing that we would never run out of material. She was so right.

And a big thank you to OCLC President and CEO Jay Jordan. Jay reads the blog, sends us comments, and has supported us right from day one. In fact he found the blog before I even let him know we were doing it, and even so, he didn't fire my sorry tail.

Check us out in our new digs, and we'll see you down the road!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Last chance to register for OLSSI

Registration closes July 6 for:

The Ohio Library Support Staff Institute: Libraries ROCK!
July 25 – 27, 2010, at Baldwin-Wallace College
Berea, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland

This will be the ninth annual conference, and it's still the same low price of only $225, for three days and two nights of outstanding classes, programs and lectures, along with evening entertainment and activities.

There's a FAQ here for information on lodging, parking, meals, and other logistics.

The full class and instructor list, and the registration form can be found here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Free consulting at ALA

Joan Frye Williams and I be participating as a team in "Consultants Giving You," a new project offered by PLA and coordinated by our good friend and colleague Paula Singer. We'll be available for half-hour blocks of free consulting on just about anything you want to talk about on Saturday morning, June 26, from 9 to noon in the Independence Room of the Washington Hilton, during the upcoming American Library Association conference.

If you want to sign up for one of our time blocks, just email us.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ohio Library Support Staff Institute 2010

Registration is open for the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute 2010. The Institute will be held July 25-27 on the beautiful campus of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. This is one of the premier continuing education events for library staff each year, and this year should be no exception. (Full disclosure: I'm speaking at the Institute on Monday, July 26. You have to take the bad with the good, right?)

This also has to be one of the best deals in library continuing education. Registration is $225, and includes two nights' lodging, meals, all course materials, and even a T-shirt! But, as Ron Popeil might have said, if you act before May 1, registration is only $200. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Congratulations to LJ's 2010 Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to all the 2010 Library Journal Movers and Shakers. Being just back from a quick-but-much-needed long weekend vacation, I had forgotten that March 15 was already hereand the announcement went out today.

So hooray for innovation and librarians who are making things happen in their respective communities. And full disclosure: yes, OCLC is sponsoring the microsite, which of course is why I suddenly remembered the timing.

Monday, February 08, 2010

using social media v. building online community

I've been working with a large cross-functional team at OCLC that's looking across all of our content management needs and thinking through what we need (functionally and otherwise) to evolve and improve our websites. Perhaps not surprisingly, I've come to the process with a strong desire for seeing systems that support interactive features, anything that shows the personality, the humanity and the voice of our cooperative.

So far, the process has helped me sort through what, exactly, I mean when I say that. I've already seen one vendor demo where they checked "yep" on a RFI response to "web 2.0 stuff" (don't worry, we were more detailed than that) but in the demo they showed us what they really meant is that a user can click a star rating or share/post this content to their facebook profile. And that's what they mean by 'interactive capabilities.' I'm not disparaging the vendor, because what they did offer in the way of personalized content management and other critical features seemed incredible - and you can't have it all. But I was surprised that their definition of web 2.0 capability was so much different than mine. On reflection, I should not have been so surprised. There is a difference between "building online community" and "using social media" and therein lies the differences between me and Mr. CMS Vendor.

To help me out with the rest of our demos happening later this month, below is a short list of capabilities that I think are useful for facilitating community with your web-audience. * I'll be looking for each of them as we move through the rest of our exploration of the current CMS world.

Site visitors can:
  • find content, conversations, and people through search and browse
  • see the images and names of real people wherever users have contributed content
  • subscribe to and see new and most recent content from site authors and users
  • register as a member of the site
Site members can:
  • create and edit a user profile
  • create and edit threaded comments or discussions
  • add tags, ratings, or other user-contributed metadata
  • select interests and see personalized or private content based on those preferences
  • with permission, add or manage content (such as moderating a group or adding new content to a section)
Site admins can:
  • extract visitor, member, and author activity for site management purposes
  • push and pull web-content via extensions, plug-ins, or widgets
  • establish private content and assign permissions to view content

On the other hand, if there's anything that I've learned at WebJunction (an online community for library staff) it's that none of the tools we use make or break the online community. It's the people who spend their time "at WebJunction" (which is now a lot bigger than our website) and their willingness to share and support one another there. So, I remind myself again to not get attached to any one function or space.

Most certainly, these are not all the elements we'll need in an enterprise CMS. In fact, I wouldn't prioritize some of these things over the other things we're looking for. But in terms of interactivity and community building with our web-users, I'm hoping this gives us a good start. And I'm very hopeful that I'm able to check off a few more of these items as we proceed through the rest of our selection process. Even though I know it's not about the tools, I know that some of these features will certainly help us along.

I share this with you because I'm curious if you think there are things that I've missed, or things that I have here that you don't think are important. What have you learned in designing your websites and selecting your content management tools? What have you learned in using other websites that you'd like to see more prominent in library services?

* My list is based on a group process started by Deb Lewis, a group discussion facilitated by Sharon Streams, and a "success criteria for online communities" working document contributed to by a number of my colleagues at OCLC.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Technology Essentials

When economic times are tough staff or professional development can be one of the first things to go. It's a bummer because just when many library staff most need new skills or support from their colleagues, resources just aren't as readily available to ensure that they have what they need to meet new challenges in their work. It's so important to find cost-effective ways to connect - to share what we're facing, what we're learning, and how we're coping.

WebJunction's first online conference is happening next week on February 9 & 10. The conference theme is "Technology Essentials" and there are five sessions with fabulous speakers lined up for each day. Recently, ALA TechSource interviewed our conference organizers, the incredible Sharon Streams and Jennifer Peterson. I tell you these people that I work with are crazy awesome, btw. In their interview, I was struck by their perfect description of the goals and purpose of the conference:

The goal is to provide an affordable and accessible venue for library staff to share practical and timely solutions for their needs! Now more than ever, we need to band together to solve problems, and that we recognize that attending an in-person conference is completely impractical for many library staff. Looking at how online programming has changed over the past five years, I think we’re in for an exciting time of online conferences!
The full interview is great - exploring trends and topics in online conference planning and attendance, but also the reasons why we might be seeing more of these down the line. I don't ever think that online connections will take the place of the benefits of in-person meetings or face-to-face interactions. But when we just can't get to see each other (for whatever reason, but cost is obviously a big one) this is one way we can try and connect anyway.

Please pass the word on to anyone you think might enjoy or benefit from these free online sessions. We look forward to sharing how our first online conference goes.