Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IMLS Task Force

This week, I attended the first meeting of the Institute of Museum and Library Service's 21st Century Skill Task Force. This task force was appointed to help IMLS develop the strategic focus of their upcoming Report on Museums and Libraries and 21st Century Skills and a self-assessment tool that will allow cultural heritage tools to determine where they are on a continuum of institutional skills.

IMLS has asked us to look at three areas: What are the critical elements of 21st century skills (for our public, not our staffs) and how do these relate to libraries and museum? What are the competencies and aptitudes that museums and libraries need to deliver 21st century skills? And what are the key strategies that these institutions can undertake in promoting and integrating 21st century skills into services and programming? (To find out more about 21st century skills, and to see the document we are using as a guiding text, start here, then if you want to take a deep dive into the topic, go here.)

The Task Force consists of 18 people, including people with stronger museum or stronger library backgrounds. One of the first things we discovered as we introduced ourselves around the room is that the distinction between having a museum background and having a library background is a fuzzy one. Deborah Schwartz, the president of the Brooklyn Historical Society, includes a major research library as part of her museum. I used to run a public library with a gallery space.

That's not to say we sat around and sang "Kum-Bi-Yah," or anything like that. There were heated discussions about the alleged elitism of art museums. There were excellent exchanges about the language we use to describe what we do and how these words vary among types of institutions. Carlos Tortolero from the National Museum of Mexican Art and I had a prolonged debate on whether museums or libraries had done a better job in responding to changes in the information environment (he thought libraries, I thought museums---go figure).

One of the most interesting discussion was over the question of aspirations. If we are doing our jobs well, what do we aspire to happen to our members? And has this changed in the last few decades? I contended that there were no changes in aspirations, only in the tools we use to service those aspirations. But Nina K. Simon of Museum 2.0 (a new candidate for my list of Top 10 Cool People) pointed up one thing that really is new: the individual's desire to be seen as an individual and to have the services tailored to himself or herself. This simply wasn't possible before, and it really wasn't expected. But changes in technology mean we can make the experience---library or museum---individualized, and this truly is a new aspiration. Lively discussion followed on whether or not this was a good thing. Some contend it is the only way we can survive in the modern world; others see this as the end of the civil society that comes from shared experience. One lonely voice seemed to think that both points of view are right.

(By the way, Nina's blog post "Is Your Museum Website a Walled Garden?" is very instructive. In fact, if you change the word "museum" to "library" in that post, it asks the questions we should be asking ourselves, and gives some outstanding advice.)

We meet again in September, and I'm looking forward to continuing this exhilarating discussion. And I would look forward to hearing from you in the library world about how you see your library's role in furthering education and the development of 21st century skills in your community. Add your comments to the blog, or write to me directly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Checked out Cuil

I checked out Cuil, tempted by the Chronicle's coverage of the new, "bigger than Google" search engine. Not thrilling, IMO. But maybe it will grow on me. It does have a nice black screen, which might save lots of energy--but it might not. Did I mention we want to see Wall-E last weekend?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Small and Rural Library Month

You won't find this on the calendar, but July is turning into Small and Rural Library Month for me.

Earlier this month, I was honored to be asked by Bernie Vavrek to be part of a meeting at Clarion University's Center for Small and Rural Libraries, formerly the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship, to discuss the major needs of these libraries. We had a fascinating discussion, and generated some interesting ideas that will be shared soon. Watch for some new initiatives from the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (full disclosure: ARSL is organizationally housed at WebJunction, which is part of my OCLC portfolio). Their conference, at which I'll be speaking with Joan Frye Williams in September, could be one of the most interesting tickets around!

Then later this week, I'm participating in the first conference call meeting of the Small Libraries Advisory Group. This group will advise OCLC on ways to make its services more attractive to small libraries. I recently engaged in a brief discussion on Catalogablog about this group, and I offer the same invitation to It's All Good readers: if you have suggestions on how we can make help bring more small libraries into the cooperative, I want to hear them. Add a comment here, or e-mail me at OCLC, and let me know what you're thinking!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ALA video

David Lee King created a video from ALA in Anaheim. Of course I can't resist posting it, because he was one of our speakers this year at the OCLC Symposium (video now available). For some reason the video requires IE, note to self. If you didn't make it to ALA this year, you can still go to the blog salon by proxy, sort of, by watching the video...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blog salon photos

I finally posted them, although I didn't have nearly as many as I thought I did. Add your own links in comments!

Friday, July 18, 2008

We've been quietly digging out

So you may have noticed we have been suspiciously quiet since ALA. Is it because we used up all our decent ideas at the LITA Forum? Blog salon?
  • I think it's because we're all trying to dig out from the "ALA preparation" hole that we (at least, me) invariably find ourselves in.
  • Chrystie is busy launching a new WebJunction site.
  • I spent a week in Ohio and now have a new official role as the consumer marketing guru for (My words, not OCLC's).
  • George is valiantly trying to have a summer in between speaking engagements and entertaining IFLA fellows.
  • Eric, well, Eric last I know was organizing a baseball outing. But that was in his spare time.

If you missed the WorldCat Challenge at ALA, the WorldCat pool and wheresworldcat tagged photos are starting to grow. If you need a WorldCat t-shirt, more are coming later this summer. The first appearance was at ALA, but I'll let you know as soon as they're available. Or sign up to receive WorldCat updates and you'll know when they're out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fair Use Synchronicity

Some days, it just works like this: in the last 24 hours, two interesting pieces on what constitutes fair use have crossed my desktop.

Andy Havens, that inexhaustible fountain of interesting online information, shot me this web site from the Center for Social Media at American University. The Center has developed a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use, which they intend to "help...creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use." (I hope that this direct lift from their site is within the bounds of fair use. If not, just address the consent decree directly to me, and I'll sign...) There is also a wonderful short video on their site that points up the thorniness of this conundrum.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a long but intriguing PowerPoint presentation called "Disruptive Scholarship: An Idea Whose Time Has Come | Re(Use) / Re(Mix) / Re(New)" from Gerry McKiernan, an Associate Professor and Science and Technology Librarian at Iowa State University Library. McKiernan states in a cover e-mail, "In this presentation, we will review the Read/Write Traditions of the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences; analyze key Past / Present / Future Participatory Technologies; and explore the potential of Web 2.0 for creating/fostering Disruptive Learning / Scholarship / Teaching in the 21st century." A slightly different version of this presentation was offered at the 3rd International Plagiarism Conference in the UK last month.

America's Libraries in the 21st Century

If you did not get to the ALA Conference in Anaheim, or if you were there and didn't get to attend the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy's program titled "America's Libraries in the 21st Century," drop whatever you are doing and watch this program, now.

Three of the best thinkers and speakers in our business are on the podium, presenting in this order: Joan Frye Williams, Stephen Abram, and Jose-Marie Griffiths.

After a lively Q and A session, Dave Lankes concludes the program with one of his patented, soul-stirring, "Come to Dewey" summations that would make Clarence Darrow or William Jennings Bryan proud.

This is the best 90-minute investment you'll make in your career this year.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

News about Alane

I am sure all of you have been wondering what our beloved Alane has been doing, since she's moved North. Now I have a great answer: she's become the new Executive Director of the British Columbia Library Association.

We are so proud of her and expect to see even more great things come from BCLA now!!
Chrystie on why she loves Twitter:

From the LJ ALA 2008 wrap-up.

WorldCat Challenge t-shirts

Originally uploaded by bobrobboy
Kate Gaylord models the WorldCat Challenge t-shirts we gave out at ALA.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Word Spy

Having trouble finding the latest neologisms or tech terms that seem to enter the lexicon every day? From my colleague Andy Havens comes this tip: check out Word Spy. From its web site, this description of Word Spy's purpose:

This Web site is devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases. These aren't "stunt words" or "sniglets," but new terms that have appeared multiple times in newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and other recorded sources.

Bronx Lab School Kids Tackle Bike Trek

I've mentioned Adventure Cycling's Underground Railroad Bicycle Route in this blog several times. Next month, a group of students from the Bronx Lab School in New York City is going to cycle the Ohio leg of the route.

To find out more about their plans, or to help defray their expenses, check out their website.