Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jeff Bezos Interview

I would strongly recommend the interview with Jeff Bezos in the current issue of Newsweek (December 20, 2009-January 4, 2010).

Given how much Amazon influences the way the public sees the book and media business, many of the comments he makes have impact on the library business as well. My favorite quote is in response to the question, "How do you define what Amazon is today?" Bezos replies, "We start with the customer and we work backward."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blog Salon at ALA MW 2010

While you've got visions of sugarplums dancing in your heads (or you are up to your elbows in pre-holiday task lists), wanted to give you the scoop on this year's Blog Salon at ALA MW 2010. We're going Old School.

That's right. You asked for it, we delivered: We're back to the suite in Boston (!).
Here are all the details:
OCLC Blog Salon at ALA MW 2010
Sunday, January 17
5;30 pm-8 pm
OCLC Red Suite
Westin Boston Waterfront (connected to the convention center)

Can't wait to see familiar and new faces in Boston. All library bloggers/tweeters/mashers/readers welcome! And while you're planning your dance card for the weekend, be sure to sign up for some additional OCLC events at ALA MW 2010, too. You could have breakfast AND cocktail hour with OCLC on Sunday!

* Reminiscing? Previous Blog Salon photos on Flickr works well for that!
* Not attending this year? Leave us your comment and we'll post them for everyone in the room...

Friday, December 18, 2009

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore...

Joan Frye Williams and I have just released a new podcast for the holidays. Check it out here.

And happy holidays. Things will get better!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Four stars for "The Customer-Focused Library"

The Customer-Focused Library: Re-Inventing the Public Library From the Outside-In, by Joseph R. Matthews was published September 30 by Libraries Unlimited. In this outstanding work, Joe persuasively lays out the case for re-imagining what the library does from the point of view of the customer.

One of my favorite quotes is from the introduction: "Remember---The world is going to change with or without you...and If you don't like change...GET READY! You are going to like irrelevance even less." (This is the formatting as it appears in the book.) Joe lays out what we lose by being shackled to tradition, and offers ideas that can make the library future much more positive. He's optimistic in the face of the resistance of traditionalists. In fact, he quotes Lewis Mumford, who wrote, "Traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past."

The book isn't perfect; the black and white illustrations don't do justice to the subject, and there's one chart on page 84 that you need a microscope to read. But these quibbles don't detract from the value of the title. It's not too early to be thinking about holiday gifts for those public librarians on your list...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PieLab

Just heard a story on NHPR's Word of Mouth about a very cool project called PieLab. You might have read about it in Fast Company recently. It's basically built on the premise that when conversations start happening in a community--and young people/designers are involved, good things will come out of it. It's another idea to come out of Project M, which is a really interesting workshop group of people who come together to envision a better world through design. And they're making it happen. Sort of like a Rural Design Studio for graphic design/creative thinkers. (And you remember when I swooned after I read Rural Studio, don't you? That was after Frank Lloyd Wright but before Room to Read).

I am so taken with this idea, I want to drive to Greensboro, Alabama right now and visit PieLab. But at 1500 miles away, I guess I will have to wait for the t-shirt. Or give PieLab investments as Christmas gifts. Applaud this idea wholeheartedly.

Maybe we should start serving pie once a month in our libraries? Here's a video to help you get in the spirit:

PieLab Promo from Project M on Vimeo.



What sorts of inspiration might we draw from this for our own community spaces within and around the library?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stretching Out

I freequently talk about the need for librarians to look beyond our professional organizations and journals to discover new insights about the world around us.

Alison Circle, one of my favorite LJ bloggers, just did a wonderful short piece in her blog, Bubble Room, about her experience as a member of the American Marketing Association. She makes the case for stretching out beyond our usual stomping grounds better than I ever could.

Friday, November 06, 2009

WorldCat Mashathon underway


mashers
Originally uploaded by Alice Sneary
Here in Seattle at the WorldCat Mashathon Seattle. Great ideas and questions coming out. This morning we're building some lightweight apps with Yahoo Pipes and most of us are finding success!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ruminations on Leadership

Last week I had the honor of serving as a mentor at the Eureka! Library Leadership Institute, sponsored by Infopeople and the State Library of California. Led by my two favorite leadership and organizational development gurus, John Shannon and Becky Schreiber, this was an intense six day program designed to help newer members of the profession understand their own attitudes and aptitudes for leadership.

One of the themes that came out repeatedly during the week was the importance of the role of the directors and managers of these new library workers (some with MLS degrees, others without). The people who felt they had some level of control over their work, who felt like they were using all their talents in what they do, and who felt supported by upper management, tended to be much more optimistic and much likely to want to continue in the profession.

This idea was borne out in a recent study conducted by Education Week, Public Agenda, and Learning Point Associates, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. (Full disclosure: I'm the current chair of the Learning Point Associates Board of Trustees.) The report showed that fully 40% of America's classroom teachers are "disheartened." One of the leading characteristics of these disheartened teachers is the lack of support they feel from their principals and administrators.

Do we want 40% burn out --- or worse --- in the library profession? I don't think so, and I know the people who use our libraries don't want to see that. (I'll let you insert here the places you are forced to visit where the staff are less than enthusiastic about their work, and how that experience makes you feel.)

Joan Frye Williams and I did a program for the ASCLA President's program at ALA in Chicago about "Revitalizing the Library Experience." In fact, we'll be doing a slightly revised version of this as a webinar for Infopeople next month. But somehow, I think we may also have to think long and hard about revitalizing the library worker's experience. How can we get beyond empowerment to creativity? How can we be focused on getting to "yes," instead of defaulting to "no?" Where are the opportunities to allow every library worker to shine? How can branch managers, department heads, and directors support their staff when they're right, and help them learn, productively and without recriminations, when they're wrong?

Tough questions, but if this stuff were easy, they wouldn't have to pay us, right?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Register now for the WorldCat Mashathon


If you're at all interested in Web Services or library-related APIs, the upcoming WorldCat Mashathon in Seattle is the place for you.

To be held on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 5-6, the Mashathon offers a place for library developers (and non-developers who simply want to learn more) to get together and create some cool stuff. In other words, if you're curious about Web Services, APIs or how to create a mash-up, this is a great opportunity for fun, learning and collaboration. Here's a quick run-down of the details:

WorldCat Mashathon Seattle
Sponsored by the OCLC Developer Network and the University Libraries of the University of Washington.
Thursday-Friday, Nov. 5-6, 2009
Odegaard Undergraduate Library, University of Washington campus
Register now


You bring your laptop and ideas, and we'll take care of everything else.
There's a US$ 30 registration fee, but there may be assistance if that's the only thing keeping you from mashing...See you there!

Friday, October 16, 2009

LITA 2009, very quick thoughts – (Better late than never)

The LITA forum earlier this month was one of the best conferences I have ever attended for thought provoking presentations and terrific conversations between sessions and over meals. There were many presentations worthy of speaking about but I have pulled out two here which can be linked to for more information.

First is Kenning Arlitsch and Kristin Antelman on The Future of Libraries is IT (and some people just don’t get IT). They surveyed 240 future library leaders with 72% responding. At a very high level summary they found that these librarians prefer more flexible and externally focused culture. Those interviewed often felt thwarted by current organizational cultures in their academic libraries. The entire presentation is here.

Another very interesting lightening talk was by Jim Muir. He showed a new service he created called Carmen Library Link. Carmen is OSU's course management system. Library Link is a web service Jim created that allows librarians to easily create resource guides which are then linked to from specific courses. He plans to make this open source – more here

If the LITA forum continues to be this good more librarians need to add it to their must attend list.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More linked data

A couple weeks ago I blogged on how cool linked data is for re-use in Web sites and apps. Well one of my colleagues at OCLC has come out with another linked data service worth checking out. It is based on VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) and can help you find people's names as they are rendered in other languages. But rather than explain it all I'll just let you read Thom's explanation here.

Registrations now open for November events

We've got some great events lined up for November, that registrations have just opened up for. Here are two that have recently crossed (or emanated from) my desk:

WorldCat Mashathon Seattle
Odegaard Undergraduate Library in Seattle, Washington
Thursday-Friday, November 5-6, 2009
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
University of Washington

Join fellow developers for the next two-day WorldCat Mashathon. The Seattle Mashathon will follow the same format as previous events in Amsterdam and New York. Participants will spend the two days brainstorming and coding mash-ups with Web services to take advantage of all that WorldCat, the world’s largest and most comprehensive bibliographic database, has to offer. Developers from the library community and beyond are encouraged to attend.

Why attend the WorldCat Mashathon?

*Brainstorm potential apps for the WorldCat Search API, our bibliographic grouping services and other OCLC Web services.
*Get a preview of the new WorldCat Basic API.
*Gain development access to 1.4 billion items from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.
*Integrate these resources with many others to create innovative new services.
*Meet fellow developers across the information industry.
*Share your creative vision and be a part of the next wave of online library development.

Register now
for the Mashathon


OCLC Digital Forum East
: Convergence: Where Metadata and Access Meet for Digital Discovery and Delivery
Arlington Public Library in Arlington, Virginia
Thursday, November 5, 2009
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Arlington Public Library, Central Library

For the first time, OCLC will bring this popular event to the East Coast. Experts from the museum, archival and library communities will discuss current projects and initiatives that explore metadata creation for digital discovery and delivery. Among the distinguished speakers are:

*Dr. Youngok Choi, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science, The Catholic University of America
*Susan Chun, Principal, Cultural Heritage Consulting; Founder and Project Lead at Steve.Museum
*Dr. Jennifer Goldbeck, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College of Information Studies
*Taylor Surface, Director, Digital Content Management Services, OCLC
*Kate Thiemer, author of ArchivesNext blog, creator and manager of the "Best Archives on the Web," "Movers and Shakers in Archives" awards, as well as the "Archives 2.0" wiki

The Forum is designed to offer an intimate meeting setting where participants can share knowledge and create networks with other organizations. Join us for some small group discussion and networking with your peers. This is an ideal educational opportunity for librarians, archivists and museum staff who are charged with creating digital access to collections.

Register now for the Digital Forum East

###

I saw all the tweets coming through about Digital Forum West--so East will not disappoint, I am sure. And what can I say about the Mashathon? I am totally biased, but it's a great way to immerse yourself with structured data and imagine what cool things you can do with it, for two days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why linked data is cool

I recently spent 30 minutes with one of my colleagues, Michael Panzer, learning about the joys of linked data and why it is so cool. He has created a linked data proto-type for Dewey (http://dewey.info ) that is now publicly available for re-use. Michael told me the three rules for linked data which I’ll roughly paraphrase as:

1. Use URIs for everything
2. Every URI gives a useful description of the object
3. In the description provide more links to other useful stuff

I must say I got pretty excited from my layman’s low level technical view of the mashability of this type of data service. If like me you are new to linked data I would explain it simply as:

· You have a data element that is unambiguous, such as Dewey number 641 and you know this number is indeed a Dewey classification number.
· You know the site where someone has created a linked data service that will give you additional information about that number
· You can now programmatically create the URL from your piece of data that will retrieve additional information about the data object which you can re-use in your own service.

Here is one example of a URL for Dewey 641: http://dewey.info/class/641/about. The 641 was data in your system and the rest of the URL was created by your program.

Note that this actually returns you what both 640 and 641 are classifications for: Home & family management and Food & drink respectively. But what is even nicer is it returns that information in nine languages appropriately tagged so you can re-use it in any of those languages. Another nice feature is while the machine sees the raw data a human can see HTML.

Pretty nifty service for easily beefing up your own data with further information. Michael has also blogged about this new service at: http://tiny.cc/qu4UV

Friday, September 11, 2009

Keeping Your Head...

Today George and I presented "Keeping Your Head While Serving the Community" at the Association for Small and Rural Libraries Conference in Gatlinburg, TN. Play our slides if you'd like, though they may lose some context without the audio.



This conference has been a big boost for my spirits. I've been serving on the ARSL board since February as an ex-officio member from WebJunction, and even that didn't prepare me for this wonderful conference. I learned that Kansas librarians arrived by bus, having driven the 16 hours to Gatlinburg from their home state (I'm sure some of them traveled longer). Further, I have to say, Kansas really represented the social networking scene by being the biggest contributors to the #ARSL2009 hash tag! I forgot to add the tag most of the time I was there, so, that was sort of lame of me, but Go Kansas!

It was also really good for me to have the opportunity to present with George; an honor. I think it's fair to say that I was a little bit slammed with work-related things before this conference and so I didn't have the time to collaborate as much as I would have liked before the presentation. But I thought our content went together very well and I really enjoyed doing the presentation overall. If you by chance saw us, please tell me what you thought of our talk (a dose of my own "evaluation" medicine, so to speak ... so that I too can iterate!).

My favorite presentation of the day introduced me to Give Em the Pickle a customer service slogan from Mr. Farrell (of Farrell's restaurants -- it may look totally cheesy, but this guy is hilarous and has great advice for serving our patrons well). My favorite interactive session of the day was from the State Library of North Carolina on "getting your community back to work". I have more to say about that, but it will have to wait for another day...

Finally, I had amazing conversations with colleagues all weekend either working in small and rural libraries, or working in state libraries to support small and rural libraries. It has been too long since I've been out and about. Cindi Hickey, thank you for giving me the encouragement I needed about the presentation! I tell ya, it really helps me to remember why we do the things we do back at the office.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plans for new WorldCat Basic API announced


The WorldCat Search API has been enhanced, so that now library developers can build apps that show only their library's results. I know from talking with the product manager and being at the Hackathon and Mashathon that LOTS of people have been eager to see this feature go in. Read all about it over on the Developer Network blog.

The BIG news is that there is a new WorldCat API coming, called the WorldCat Basic API. One awesome thing about it, is that it will be accessible and available to anyone and everyone for noncommercial use.

Did you read that right?
Everyone will have the chance to include library results in their apps? Anyone? Even me?
Yes, I am pleased to report that WorldCat API access is becoming more like the Hard Rock Cafe: Love all, Serve all.

I'll let you know when the WorldCat Basic API is available. For now, if they haven't already requested it, have your developers request a WorldCat Search API key if you're a qualifying library.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introducing...the 2010 Jordan IFLA/OCLC Fellows

Drum roll, please...

It's my pleasure to introduce the incoming class of Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellows. (Long title, great program.)

The 2010 Class includes:

· Miss Sasekea Harris, Librarian, University of the West Indies, St. Andrew, Jamaica
· Mr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Cataloger Librarian, Library of Congress, Cairo Office, Cairo, Egypt
· Mr. Elchin Mammadov, Senior Information Specialist, Baku American Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
· Ms. Catherine Muriuki, University Librarian, Pan Africa Christian University, Nairobi, Kenya
· Miss Sidra Shan, Assistant Librarian, International Islamic University Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan
· Miss Shao Yan, Group Leader, National Library of China, Beijing, China

This class will bring to 50 the total number of Fellows we've hosted in the past 10 years.

The information and application for the 2011 class are already in place. The deadline is February 28, 2010.

Friday, August 21, 2009

SXSW panel picker

Pick OCLC's panel for SXSWMatt posted about this already, but I wanted to point out to you RSS/text-only readers that we have a snazzy SXSW Panel Picker icon now, for a limited time only.

The proposed panel title is "Discovery, Identity and Rights: Three Deep Web Problems," but Matt needs you to go in and approve the proposal so SXSW knows what a great presentation and discussion this panel would be. The proposal page has more details--but for anyone who's ever been frustrated with awesome content your library has, that no one seems to find or know about (because of licensing restrictions, no share policies, etc.), this session is for you.

And especially even if you're not going to SXSW yourself, you are STILL encouraged to make your voice heard. SXSW encourages it. So let's make our collective library voice heard to this very Web-savvy audience. Go to http://bit.ly/vuPu5 and pick the thumbs-up sign. You'll be asked to register, but it's a very simple process.

The selection process closes on Friday, Sept. 4, so take action now to help raise the visibility of online library content to a wider audience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are you doing something "cutting edge?"

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2009

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is soliciting nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology.

“We want to showcase libraries that are serving their communities with novel and innovative methods and provide the library community with some successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways,” said Vivian Pisano, Chair of OITP’s America’s Libraries for the 21st Century Subcommittee.

If you wish to submit a nomination, please complete this form and send it to the American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, 1st Floor, Washington, D.C. 20009 or by e-mail to ainouye@alawash.org by September 1, 2009. Further details about the nomination process may be found here.

The America’s Libraries for the 21st Century Subcommittee will review all nominations and conduct selected interviews or site visits to identify those libraries that are truly offering a best practice or most innovative service. Libraries or library service areas selected will be publicized via the OITP Web site, highlighted through ALA publications, and featured in a program at the ALA Annual Conference in 2010.


E-mail submissions to ainouye@alawash.org.

For questions, contact:

Vivian Pisano, Chief of Information Technology
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415/557-4340
vpisano@sfpl.org

South by South West Conference panels

For those of you thinking of attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference this coming March you may be interested in a panel proposal I have submitted for the conference. Our intent is to delve into the issues surrounding authentication and access to deep Web content and sustainable business models for this problem. If the panel sounds interesting you have the chance to vote for its inclusion in the conference. It does require you to create an account to vote so they can avoid old adage “vote early and vote often.”

There is also another interesting proposal put forth by Cecily Walker of Vancouver Public library titled “Can I Reserve This Book With My iPhone?”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time for a New Mindset

One of my favorite ways to start a presentation is with the Beloit College Mindset List, which "provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college," according to the web site.

The list for the incoming class of 2013 (!) has just been published.

Read. Enjoy. Feel old...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Community Trumps Technology

I’m just back from the 2009 Information Delivery Services (IDS, Tweets on conference) Conference in Oswego, NY and as always came away with a great deal to think about. This group started with the SUNY 4 year colleges with leadership from SUNY Geneseo to improve resource sharing workflows and turn-around times. This year’s conference showed the group has grown both in membership and in scope of building collaboration between libraries in the project.

During the keynote by Genie Powell from Atlas systems, she made a statement that I had to write down to mull over, “community trumps technology.” Most interesting -- the examples Genie used were from outside the library space and in the social space. The point she eloquently drove home was that technology is not what binds people together but rather commitment to a common cause and desired outcomes.

So much of my time is spent working on products, services and technology it was a refreshing point of view to be reminded that these are simply tools to allow libraries to achieve their individual and collective goals. The real success of libraries depends on groups like IDS where libraries form a trusted community, agree to break down barriers to cooperation and take mutual risks to achieve a stronger service to their constituencies.

I look forward to more opportunities like this one to share the cool things that are happening in libraries today.

Welcome to IAG, Matt Goldner


It's my pleasure to welcome Matt Goldner as the newest member of the It's All Good team. In his new role as Product and Technology Advocate for OCLC, Matt will be on the road quite a bit visiting libraries to see what things are happening in the community. His most recent venture took him to New York to a resource sharing group, but I'll let him tell his story himself, in the next post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Applications for 2010 OCLC Minority Librarian Fellowship

Call for Applications for the 2010 OCLC Minority Librarian Fellowship Program

Application deadline: September 8, 2009

OCLC has announced the expansion and increased support of the OCLC Minority Librarian Fellowship program designed to provide a unique opportunity for aspiring library professionals from historically under-represented groups.

OCLC’s Minority Librarian Fellowship offers an opportunity unlike any other. As the world’s leading library cooperative, OCLC offers global exposure through its enterprise-wide product portfolios and operations. OCLC Minority Librarian Fellows will spend time in an assigned host unit, such as Metadata Contract Services or Question Point, working on content-specific projects such as cataloging or cooperative reference services. In addition, the Minority Librarian Fellows will spend time in the Global and Regional Councils division, with an orientation to OCLC and the OCLC member community, participation in OCLC governance meetings, and opportunities for shared learning experiences with many library and information professionals. Each Fellow will have a unique and specifically tailored experience.

More information is available online here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Webinars on how to get stimulus funds

This crossed my desk this morning, and I thought I'd share it with IAG readers.

ARRA Federal Grant Application Information at www.Grants.Gov

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new feature at www.Grants.Gov to help users find and apply for Stimulus Bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]) funding opportunities. The website contains information about finding and applying for all federal grant programs. The launch of this Recovery Act feature on the homepage of Grants.Gov will direct users to ARRA opportunities, other ARRA resources, upcoming webinars and links to www.whitehouse.gov/recovery and www.recovery.gov.

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “Grants.Gov is the single government-wide source for information about grant programs across the federal government, and many agencies and departments across government are working together to bring this information to the public. Now we are making it easier for individuals to find critical and time sensitive Recovery Act grants from all over government on the Grants.Gov page with new technical improvements to the site and an aggressive outreach campaign to the public.”

HHS will host on a webinar series targeted towards potential grant applicants on the following dates: Thursday, Aug. 13; Tuesday, Aug. 18; and Thursday, Aug. 20. Webinar topics include “Introduction to Grants.Gov and the Recovery Act,” “Finding Recovery Act Opportunities” and “Registration to Submit Recovery Act Opportunities.” Each session will include time for questions and answers. The webinars will be recorded and made available on Grants.Gov. To register, go to the Recovery Act feature on the homepage of Grants.Gov.

The website is a cross-agency site and has information about more than 1,000 available grant programs involving all 26 federal grant-making agencies, and HHS is the managing partner of website. All these agencies together award more than $500 billion in grant funds annually.

For more information, visit www.grants.gov, www.whitehouse.gov/recovery and www.recovery.gov.

Friday, July 31, 2009

CLiC Webinars

The nice folks at Colorado Library Consortium will be hosting two "Lunch Lessons with CLiC" webinars featuring the Colorado State Library's Sharon Morris and me. The two half-hour programs, on September 1 and 2 at noon Mountain time (that's 2 pm Eastern, 1 pm Central, and 11 am Pacific for the time zone challenged), will be distillations of the programs I did in Colorado back in February, March, and April, focusing on the From Awareness to Funding report.

Registration for the programs is open now, free of charge, and you don't need to live in Colorado to participate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Retail Grumpiness, Wholesale Unhappiness

John Petric is a music critic for one of Columbus's alternative newspapers, The Other Paper. He also apparently has spent too much time working in retail, primarily in a record store (shades of the movie High Fidelity). In his rant in last Thursday's edition of the paper, he takes off on his customers. At first I was amused, then I was dismayed how much his caterwauling reminded me of the way we talk about library users.

Bottom line: if your store is set up to make your users feel stupid, and if you use your own jargon instead of speaking their language, don't be surprised if they don't come back.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Credit Where It's Due

If you are applying cutting-edge technology of which you are particularly proud, here's an opportunity to show off what you're doing. No cash seems to be involved, but the bragging rights could help lift staff morale!


For Immediate Release
June 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is soliciting nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology.

“We want to showcase libraries that are serving their communities with novel and innovative methods and provide the library community with some successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways,” said Vivian Pisano, Chair of OITP’s America’s Libraries for the 21st Century Subcommittee.

Nominations should be sent to the American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, 1st Floor, Washington, D.C. 20009 by September 1, 2009. Details about the nomination process and an online submission form are available on the OITP Web site.

The America’s Libraries for the 21st Century Subcommittee will review all nominations and conduct selected interviews or site visits to identify those libraries that are truly offering a best practice or most innovative service. Libraries or library service areas selected will be publicized via the OITP Web site, highlighted through ALA publications, and featured in a program at the ALA Annual Conference in 2010.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Last Call for Support Staff Institute

Registration closes soon for the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute, coming up August 2-4 at Denison University in beautiful Granville, Ohio. New speakers and programs have been added, but you need to act fast to take advantage of one of the best bargains in library continuing education.

Today (Wednesday, July 15) is the published deadline, but I have it on good authority that if you get your registration into the Institute a day or two late, you'll still be welcome!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New venture

As some IAG readers may know, as of July 1 I took on reduced responsibilities at OCLC in order to develop a consulting practice in library strategy, implementation, staff development, and governance.

The first fruit of that new practice is georgeandjoan.com, a joint venture with Joan Frye Williams.

Please check out our site, and leave some comments there!

OCLC Blog Salon location updated

News flash: We've been upgraded from the Hilton Boulevard Room C to Boulevard Room AB. Spread the word. And if you're not attending ALA, we'll post lots of photos and videos after that fact. The Shanachies will definitely be creating some memories.

Facebook event link.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OCLC Sympsium on Leadership Beyond the Recession

Cathy De Rosa kicks off the OCLC Symposium on maintaining leadership and thinking about how to deliver great customer service.

People are thinking differently about their choices today--no longer trading up but trading off. Libraries have the opportunity to differentiate.

The future can't simply be "more of the same."

Joseph Michelli
How do we drive a change experience with sustainability? (If we increase our foot traffic, we have to increase the funding.)
When Fish Fly
The New Gold Standard
The Starbucks Experience

Example from the Pike Place Fish Market: if you approach it only as a transactional business, you will lose. The first act of love is to listen: Let's treat people who come up to the Fish Stand as being World Famous. (An experiential brand was born.)
They focused only on creating the experience that the customer was really something special. (They stopped worrying about selling fish.) The product is exactly the same as it was before...

It's not about being interesting, it's being interested in people. The relevance goes up. It's not about entertaining people, it's about being relevant.

Experiential Brand Statements:
Ritz-Carleton Hotels. "Create the home of a loving parent." Things magically pop-up and show up. Every employee from the first day is told that this is the brand experience. Everyone on staff is given $2,000 per day to increase people's experience. They put a process in to deliver this experience.

Starbucks. "Create a third place--the living room of the community."

What We Know from Consumer Behavior
*Even in difficult times 50% of consumers will pay more for a better experience. --2009 Harris Interactive
*50% of customers leave businesses because of bad experiences.--Accenture
*Companies ...successful in creating both functional and emotional bonding with customers are [much more successful].

Can we build experiences that reinforce the library as a transformative place?

We have to live the brand on the inside first. For employees--this is a place for you to personally transform and for you to help others. (Example of employee experience in a production only model--Finnish Tax man died in his office. No one knew for 2 days.)

Ritz-Carleton. Selection process for employees (not hiring--being selected, we're going to listen to you.) Day 21 check on employees. Day 365 birthday celebration of staff being with them. This is a designed touchpoint map.

What experiences can we drive to help make it clear: this place is where you go to have life-changing experiences.

Designing Different Experiences Based on Actual Customer value.
RBC Bank rates each of its 2 million customers. High value customers get special treatment. Customer attrition is down 50% in the last 5 years. Unprofitable customers down by 6%, too.

Questions to ponder:
Is your brand promise experiential? Does it reflect transformation? Infrastructure? Necessity? the future? ROI?

Have you created staff, user, politician, academic leadership, and community experience touchpoint maps?

Can your staff articulate an experience--or a transaction?

**It's all about Service.**
Service is a flawless product, Delivered exactly as a member wants, in an environment of caring.

Create an experience so people can't resist the urge to pull the lever for "Yes."

Getting ready for the OCLC Symposium


We're getting ready for the OCLC Symposium here in Chicago at the Hilton Grand Ballroom. The presentation is ready, movies queued and backups made. I'll be blogging/tweeting as much as I can, although there's no internet in the ballroom. (Hilton FAIL)

Chicago!!

 
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 04, 2009

"This We Believe"

Joan Frye Williams and I have posted a new podcast. It's different from our usual fare, in that it follows the format of the radio program "This I Believe." We invite you to add your comments, and even your beliefs, to improve the conversation on the future of libraries.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shenanigans with Shanachies: the OCLC Blog Salon

You've heard the rumors and they're all true:

The Shanachies are going to be the special guests (along with Michael and Jenny) at the LITA President's Program at ALA this year, and then we'll continue the fun at the OCLC Blog Salon.

OCLC Blog Salon
Sunday, July 12
5:30-8:00 pm
Chicago Hilton, Boulevard Room C (2nd floor)

It's definitely walkable from the Intercontinental to the Hilton--but it's something like 1.5 miles--so wear your trainers or hop a quick bus. If you do walk, just head south on Michigan Ave. and you'll see the Towers on your right, across from Grant Park. Go up the big stairway in the front, but instead of heading into the Grand Ballroom (like you did on Friday for the OCLC Symposium), head towards the front windows and make your way to the Boulevard Room C where we'll be whooping it up.

The Shanachies (Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer, Geert van den Boogaard) will have all their video equipment at the Blog Salon--so come out and meet them and other like-minded bloggers, tweeters, 'tubers, coders, developers and generally anyone interested in tech/social/outreach/frivolity. You may be in the next Shanachie movie!

The Blog Salon is sponsored by OCLC bloggers (official and less so) and the OCLC Developer Network.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Jersey Rules!

Did you see this today? The US Secretary of Education and the Governor of New Jersey did a story time at a public library, and they recognized the importance of children's programs in public libraries to success in education.

I've been waiting my entire professional career to see this kind of recognition! Now it's time to leverage, people, leverage. Follow up with emails and calls to Secretary Duncan's office, thanking him for this exposure and asking him to include public and school libraries in the distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds.

State and local funding for libraries is being pummelled across the US. Now is the time for us to grab for the brass ring.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What can we learn from Coke?

Coca-Cola Company recently announced that it has created a new type of fountain vending machine that will give consumers unprecedented choices in creating their own beverages. The new machines, called Freestyle, allow people to mix and match in ways that the old six spigot machines can't match. A brief description of the machines and what they represent as technology can be found here.

Bob Evans, a columnist for Information Week, opined this week that there are six lessons that corporate chief information officers can learn from the creating of this new machine. These six lessons apply equally to library officers. The lessons include understanding where the choke points are across your demand chain; effective internal collaboration; keeping in touch with your funders; product co-creation with your users; external collaboration; and being at the table when new ideas are being considered within your environment.

Mr. Evans's full article is here.

Geek the Library campaign is live!


Although aimed at consumers, librarians will also have fun looking through the Geek the Library site and then adding in what you geek.

The ‘Geek the Library’ campaign, made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights what people are passionate about and how libraries can support them, in an effort to heighten awareness about the critical funding issues public libraries face.

Kick-off events happened in Savannah, Georgia, yesterday and will be in Des Moines, Iowa, later this week. Greater Savannah and central Iowa are the two areas selected to begin this community-based campaign pilot set to run through December.

‘Geek the Library’ features local advertising that introduces ‘geek’ as a verb, and encourages the public to talk about what they ‘geek’—whether it’s engineering, superheroes or art. The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something—everyone ‘geeks’ something—and that the library supports them all.

What do you geek? Submit it to the site!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today Show Library Report

Truth be told, I haven't watched The Today Show since Dave Garroway and J. Fred Muggs were the hosts. But today (Thursday, June 10), they had an excellent report on the role of public libraries in communities hit by hard economic times. The link is here.

This might be a great piece to share with your funders, Friends, staff, and others who think it's all on the web now!

Friday, June 05, 2009

New York Public campaign: Shout it Out for the Library!

LOVE this new video PSA from the New York Public: "Shout it Out for your Library!" Mario Batali, Amy Tan, Better Midler, Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Walters and other celebs voice support for the library and reiterate the value of the public library for the community.



Also like the blocker page they have up now about supporting the library monetarily, on NYPL. It's a great way to remind people that while the library is free to use, it isn't free to maintain and run.

Having worked on previous advocacy campaigns with OCLC, I know the challenges of finding the right audience for your we-need-financial-support message. Especially with the down economy, you have to make every marketing dollar count. YouTube and Twitter are great ways to get the word out to new audiences. Using local celebrities isn't all bad, either.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday WebJunction

"When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was hardly new.

When I was Three,
I was barely me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be Six now forever and ever."

-A. A. Milne, "Now We Are Six" (via Sharon)

If you have not been to WebJunction lately, please visit, sign in, and add your avatar to your profile in preparation for our big splash about web-based tools for connecting next month.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Could your library be an artistic space?

In reading the NYT's article on Tight Times Loosen Creativity, it made me want to be able to have libraries assist in the creative efforts somehow. Whether it be a gallery space for local artists to display their work (probably already happening in a lot of places already?), or a space to work and give tutorials for people (the basics of oil painting, how to get started with clay modeling, etc.), or perhaps simply a quiet space to renew personal creative juices...

The library can surely be a part of the creative solution for everyone, as we soldier on through the economic recession.

Yes we have career information and yes, we can help job-seekers find resources for resumes. But the greater good is the hope You as the Librarian bring to people. The Library is a Place to Go where people are welcomed and encouraged to learn, branch out and become more of the idealized people they see themselves as.

The Library can be a part of that creative growth.
For artists. For students. For people. Are there activities your library is already doing?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Should libraries have ebooks?

There's an interesting debate on "eReport: Digital Publishing Downunder" about whether or not New Zealand libraries should be stocking ebooks. Does this new technology cut into an author's royalties? Why should taxpayers be subsidizing a personal habit? Aren't there plenty of commercial alternatives to libraries?

Those of us who are older than dirt know that these arguments have been trotted out every time ANY new item was introduced to libraries. I'll bet Gutenberg had this argument when the first Bible rolled off his press. OK, maybe the author wasn't worried about royalties, but still...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute

I stumbled upon this Edy's Ice cream promotion--the Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute. It's about helping neighbors meet each other and neighborhoods come together. I LOVE the way they have done this--with the emphasis on the people. The ice cream is simply the backdrop of what brings them together. Plus I am all into video these days and especially like the idea you can enter a video submission.

I wonder if there might be a few branch libraries that would want to host a Neighborhood salute similar to this with a local ice cream shop?

Here in New Hampshire, it might be with Annabelle's.
In Columbus, it might be with Jeni's.

What's your local ice cream shop? Would they want to partner with you for a library promotion? Recent reports show that more and more people are showing up at the library every day. It would make their business look as socially responsible and neighborhood-friendly as I'm sure they already are. And it gives people a nice reminder that the library is a great place to meet your neighbors--and potentially cool off in the A/C inside.

All hail to neighbors coming together over ice cream at the library!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New OCLC report now available about online catalogs

The research report, “Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want”, came out recently. Authored by an OCLC research team headed by Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services, the report presents findings about the data quality expectations of catalog end users and librarians. I haven't actually had time to crack it yet myself (!) but am looking forward to the long flight to Amsterdam for the WorldCat Mashathon when I can.

From the news brief, the Online Catalogs report offers:

· Insight for readers seeking to define requirements for improved catalog data

· Information about the metadata elements that are most important to end users in determining if an item will meet his or her needs

· Support for the enhancements end users and librarians would like to see made in online library catalogs

· Insight into the end user’s discovery experience

· Findings for readers in areas associated with contributing, synchronizing or linking data from multiple sources in library catalogs and integrated library systems

If you've already read the report, what do you think? Do these findings ring true with your experience, or with what you observe about your users?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day


There may still be an event or two you can participate in, to celebrate Earth Day.

Remind your library supporters that using the library makes every day an earth day. (Sharing resources, sharing knowledge, bringing people together under a common desire to improve their lives through a richer, more complex world view. (Or simply knowing how to fix their truck...)

I love the polar bear in this image...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oracle to Buy Sun

Holy cow! I hadn't heard anything about the possibility of this acquisition.
More information at the Sun news area.

Of course, I have not been keeping up with my Jonathan reading, either.

What does this mean for Java and Solaris? I guess it remains to be seen. Hmmm.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More on OLSSI 2009

The Ohio Library Support Staff Institute, has opened registration for OLSSI 2009. The title is fun: "The Superheroes of YOUR Library: SUPPORT STAFF!" (Having just read the paperback compilation of the 12 Watchmen stories, I am back into superheroes. Or maybe I'm just reliving my youth...)


Anyway, the conference will be held August 2 – 4, 2009, on the beautiful campus of Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

OLSSI has added a discounted Early Bird Registration Rate of $200 until May 15th. And their scholarship contest is still open for first-time attendees.


This is a great opportunity to build skills in your front line and behind the scenes staff, and expose them to some new ways of thinking about libraries. As Alan Kay said, "Point of view is worth 80 IQ points!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Third and final installment on How to Survive a Network Attack

It's been a crazy week here at OCLC. Lots of good stuff in the works. I have been joking that the whole company will exhale a collective sigh of relief when all the planned spring and summer upgrades/enhancements/releases finally go through.

I spent an extended holiday weekend last weekend in my hometown of Alva, Oklahoma visiting as many family members as possible. Where else do you find a baby calf, a rabbit, a dog, 2 kittens and an indeterminate amount of chickens in the same backyard? I love it!

I was recently reminded that I hadn't give you the final installment in the IAG occasional series on "How to Survive a Network Attack" for small and medium-sized libraries. If you have IT people who specialize in security, rock on. If not, maybe these tips will help. This is the third chunk.
Find the previous two chunks are here:
Reduce the likelihood of an attack.
Have visibility into the problem.



Determine what you’re up against.

In the middle of a problem, it can be easy to jump to conclusions that will lead you astray.

* Is there really an attack going on, or is there another cause, such as a misconfiguration, equipment failure or power outage?
* Is your network the target of an attack, or is it the source?
* Is your network the target of an attack directed specifically at your organization, or are you caught up in a larger issue?
* Is the apparent intent of the attack to cause a service interruption, or are interruptions the side effect of a different type of attack?

Be able to block.
* Choke points in your network: Identify in advance the most efficient places in your network to perform filtering. A good place to look is Access Control Lists on the router that connects your network to the Internet.
* Quality of Service (QoS) controls: Even better than being able to block is to be able to control the amount of resources devoted to different types of traffic. With QoS controls configured in your network, you may be able to throttle the bad traffic while ensuring that there are enough resources devoted to critical services.
* Maintain a relationship with your Internet Service Provider: By the time traffic reaches your network it may be too late, and it may be more than it can handle.

Above all, don’t panic.

###

My take is that there are people who make their living providing security for online services. And lucky for libraries, there are data streams that are much more prone to attacks, too. I know we all love our MARC XML (sent through RESTful queries, no doubt) but banks and health care providers deal with data that is every bit as sensitive (I would argue much more so) than library data.

So if we take some pro-active steps, we will probably survive a network attack just fine and even live to tell the tale.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Judith Krug

Word came yesterday of the passing of Judith Krug, the longtime director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation. What a loss for the library profession.

There will be many obituaries written about Judy over the next few weeks. They'll focus on her unwavering commitment to intellectual freedom, her years of slugging it out with censors, her creation of Banned Books Week, her many honors. But I remember Judy best as my colleague at ALA during the 1990s.

Judy was tough, acerbic, and had more than a touch of the cynic about her, especially when discussing ALA politics. But she leavened this with a sense of humor that could take you totally by surprise. She had a way of looking at the world that was so fresh and so insightful that it was as if you had never seen what she was talking about before.

Arguing with Judy was a trip! She always knew more than I did, but that lack of knowledge didn't stop me from trying. After years of working in public libraries, and dealing with real challenges to books in the various collections I tended, I thought she could be awfully self-righteous and ivory tower about her attitude to the would-be censors. But I came to realize that Judy served as the moral compass for intellectual freedom. Maybe we couldn't always be as absolutist as she was, but we needed her to be the point to which we aspired.

Cancer is the only foe Judy couldn't lick. Please help remember her by joining me in making a donation to the Freedom to Read Foundation in her memory.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

2009 WorldCat Mashathon in Amsterdam

Because I'm an organizer for the event (whahoo!), I am pleased to announce the WorldCat Mashathon registration for Amsterdam is now open. Here is the *official* announcement:

Join fellow coders for the WorldCat Mashathon in Amsterdam, May 13-14. Sponsored by the OCLC Developer Network and International Institute of Social History (IISH), the two-day event will be held Wednesday and Thursday at IISH headquarters in Amsterdam.

The European Mashathon follows on the heels of a previous WorldCat Hackathon in New York City. Participants will spend the two days brainstorming and coding mash-ups with local systems, OCLC Web Services, and many other Web Services to embellish existing, and create new, library services.

WorldCat includes national catalogues from the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia and many more—so there are plenty of potential uses and apps just waiting to happen.

Why attend the WorldCat Hackathon?
• Brainstorm potential uses for and play with the WorldCat Search API.
• Gain development access to 1.2 billion items from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.
• Integrate these resources with many others to create innovative new services.
• Meet fellow developers across the information industry.
• Share your creative vision and be a part of the next wave of online library development.

Ideas, outcomes and code from the Mashathon, together with a participants list, will be shared during and after the event for others to download and build on.

Learn more and register for the WorldCat Mashathon
on the OCLC Developer Network wiki.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

One from the Road

Here's the latest podcast in the "Thinking Out Loud" series, a recap of my recent road trip in California with Joan Frye Williams. As always, life on the road can be amazing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More screen time

A new study measured screen time and found all of us are on about 8 hours a day, unless you're in the magic aged 45 to 54 bracket, and then you enjoy more screen time than any of the rest of us--excluding our young friends under the age of 18.

I find this number actually lower than I would expect. What do you think?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Have you *ever* visited WebJunction?

If yes, please take a moment to tell us about it. All you have to do is complete this short survey about your experiences with our service and about your current concerns and interests in Libraryland. Good? Bad? Meh? We want to hear it all.

We report all the results back to the field (on our site), but the open-ended responses to the field-based questions never fail to provide me with new insights on what we're thinking and doing (in aggregate).

Many thanks in advance to over 1000 of you who have already sent in your responses.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Scholarships for Library Support Staff Institute

Michael Bradshaw at the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute (OLSSI) tells me that in recognition of the sorry state of library budgets these days (especially in the travel and continuing education lines), the group is offering three full scholarships to attend the 2009 Institute, to be held August 2 through 4 at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

The application form is here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sony E-Book Reader Adds Free Content...from Google

Users of the Sony E-Book reader will now have fast access to about 500,000 public domain titles via Google's Book project. The news release details the simple process Sony and Google have developed to provide this access. All of a sudden, Sony can leapfrog the total number of Amazon's Kindle offerings. They had about 100,000 titles before this announcement, now they move to 600,000. Amazon offers just under 250,000 titles via the Kindle store.

Many free titles are also available for the Kindle, but speaking as a Kindle user, I know these are not easy to access.

The implications for libraries are obvious. What is our mission in a world where e-content is widely available for free? And what happens when Google starts making instant paid access to their copyright-protected materials available, not only to e-book readers but to anyone with a computer or a mobile device?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New WorldCat keyword widget

Released this weekend, the WorldCat keyword widget is pretty darn cool. You'll have to scroll down, though, to see it on our antiquated page layout (if you still read on the big screen, rather than your aggregator). Perhaps (sigh) it is time for some actual design skills to help us out here at IAG. I am feeling the need for some visual freshening. Or perhaps it's just spring fever.

Our original intent in keeping It's All Good in its current polkadotted fashion was to encourage everyone in libraries or library school who, like us, had limited design skills, attention spans and hours in the workday to devote to blogging to consider its merits and see how easy it was. "See," we said, "See how we're using it in the totally out-of-the-box, you don't need special tools way." But by now that ship has sailed...

But back to the WorldCat Keyword search widget. Designed especially for content pages or blogs that are relatively narrow in scope, you can build a refined keyword search right into the widget...and then of course you can also change it and get results right in the cute box. Play around with it and see what you think. Better yet, put it on a couple of blogs/pages and see what your users think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Google Voice coming soon

Just read the New York Times write up on GrandCentral ("One Number to Ring them All", and meandered over to the site to see just how cool it is.

Impact for libraries?

Upside: You'll have a better chance of actually reaching people, to prompt returns, ILL requests available, things like this. Free conference calls mean you may be able to save some telecom expenses, possibly.

Downside: Local users may not have local phone numbers.

Other thoughts?

The big picture, as I see it: Innovation, helped along by Google, is not limited strictly to libraries. Now the phone company (along with the media, news and advertising industries) is getting in on the action. Hey, suddenly being in the library field makes us look as cutting-edge as we feel somedays. We've already experienced the Googlization learning curve and are on the optimistic upswing from it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Record your WorldCat story

I've been working on a sort of "StoryCorps" project for WorldCat and library cooperation--except it's video. It's really simple. All you do is record a quick blip about Why You Love WorldCat.org, and upload it to YouTube to join the growing collection.

We're inviting everyone to record their "WorldCat stories" in video form. It can be a simple as telling the world why you love a specific WorldCat.org feature (10 seconds), or as involved as relating the time when someone you knew absolutely couldn't find the Ukrainian resource she desperately needed, until a library staff member suggested WorldCat and she found the actual digitized art object itself. (2 minutes or, as long as you like).

If you're headed to the ACRL conference, we even have a videographer lined up to do the video taping for you. It will be at the OCLC hospitality suite at the Seattle Sheraton, room 3102 from 1-4 pm.

If you're at SXSW Interactive, lucky you! Record yourself in the midst of all the fun.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Library coverage in US News and World Report

The latest post over at the Professor's Guide blog on US News and World Report features 10 Tips on Getting the Most Out of your Library. Geared for high school/college students and their parents, it is something you can point to for incoming 1st year/freshmen, etc.

Plus it's written by yours truly! (So true confessions it mentions WorldCat.org by name...but it is meant to promote Libraries in General.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Alice heads West

We have a series of meetings scheduled next week in Dublin, so I will likely be talk, talk, talking instead of write, write, writing. (Well, truthfully it should be list, list, listening...but there we are.)

The second tip in the series of "How to survive a network attack" comes to you today from the OCLC security team:

Have visibility into the problem.

A key to identifying and recovering from a denial of service condition is being able to quickly and accurately determine its causes. Here are some utilities that you will want to configure in advance, in order to properly prepare for an attack:

* Web server logging: Web server logs are often the best source of information for determining the source of the attack, since they usually contain the client IP address.

* Network connection data: If your network devices don’t already log basic information about all network traffic, you may want to deploy a network auditing tool such as Argus . Argus logs contain the time, source IP address, destination IP address, and traffic characteristics such as protocol and port for the traffic that Argus is inspecting.

* Intrusion detection: Early detection of the problem is critical. Intrusion detection systems like Snort can be configured to send you alerts in the event of behavior that has the characteristics of an attack.

* Log analysis tools: Regardless of the type of logs, you’ll need to search and analyze them quickly. You may want to have a system with a utility like Splunk ready to go before a problem hits.


Wow, with names like Argus, Snort and Splunk, you'll be more secure in no time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Library ROI: A Brief Webliography

First, a confession. I've been holding this list for months. Don Reynolds sent this to me back in the fall of 2008, and I've been meaning to post it every since. Today, the guilt finally overwhelmed me, so I went in and checked all the links, tossed out or updated the bad links, arranged the list in chronological order from oldest to newest, and threw myself on the mercy of the court.

REPORTS ON CALCULATING A LIBRARY’S RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Compiled by Don Reynolds, Past President of the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, and Director, Nolichucky Regional Library, Morristown, Tennessee
Updated February 20, 2009

Public Library Benefits Valuation Study. St. Louis Public Library, April 2001.

Library's Contribution to Your Community. Illinois Regional Library Systems, 2002/3.

Libraries: How they stack up. An OCLC Report. OCLC, 2003.

Value of Public Library Service. Massachusetts Library Association, October 2003. Also available: "Estimated retail value and Values explained" and Calculator work sheet

The Economic Impact of Public Libraries on South Carolina. January 2005.

Taxpayer Return-on-Investment (ROI) in Pennsylvania Public Libraries. Pennsylvania Library Association, September 2006.

Value for Money: Southwestern Ohio’s Return from Investment in Public Libraries. November 2006. Report Summary

Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. Urban Libraries Council, January 2007.

Worth Their Weight - An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation. Americans for Libraries Council (Libraries for the Future), May 2007. Two notes:
1.) This report summarizes all the various valuation projects from around the country.
2.) I was having some trouble getting this to download, but was told by Libraries for the Future that the website issue is being addressed.

Update: Betha Gutsche from WebJunction offers this alternate site for finding "Worth Their Weight." Thanks, Betha!

Vermont Library Association’s Library Use Value Calculator - What is your library worth to you? August 2007. (Note: Follows Massachusetts model.)

Return on Investment for Public Libraries. Library Research Service (Colorado), 2007/8. Note: This site also includes numerous case studies of individual libraries. Individual ROI Calculator.

Return on Investment (ROI). North Suburban Library System (Illinois), 2008. (Note: Two calculators are available here, one for a library’s return on investment to the community, one for the ROI for an individual.)

Maine State Library’s Library Use Value Calculator. Updated 2008. Note: This approach also follows Massachusetts model.

New York Libraries: How They Stack Up! Revised October 2008. Printable brochure version, also revised October 2008

Warm up for Code4Lib

A few of us are gearing up for Code4Lib 2009 in Providence, RI next week. Very fun. I am going to be at the OCLC Grid Services Boot Camp, to learn, take photos and I hope take a few videos as well. Promises to be a good time, given the list of attendees. Wish I could stay for the whole conference, but someone has to mind the store (as they say).

As a techhead warm-up and the start of a continuing series of somewhat random but helpful tidbits, I was chatting with one of the security officers at OCLC and he compiled a list of tips for surviving a network attack. I'll give these to you in bite-sized pieces.

Here's the first one:
Reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Like campers who tie their food up in trees to keep bears away, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any enticing tidbits for Internet attackers.

Here are a few key findings to look out for:

* Unpatched systems: Attackers wanting an easy target will look for systems that are behind in updates.
* Open web proxies: Misconfigured proxies can attract a lot of traffic because they may allow remote users to get around firewall restrictions or to get unauthorized free access to resources.
* Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities: Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of web application vulnerability where an attacker can use your web pages to attack other users.

Stay a step ahead of the attackers and identify these and other weaknesses in your systems with a vulnerability scanner like Nessus. Nessus is a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool, so make sure that you have the proper authorization, that you have familiarized yourself with how it works, and that you choose your targets carefully.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The One Minute Critic

I just stumbled over a delightful site: the One Minute Critic, brought to you by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. The vlog is a great example of librarians having fun highlighting their collections, using WorldCat lists to help people in their community connect to their library and providing sheer entertainment value in ways both high-tech and low-tech.

The 10 Classic Cookbooks list caught my eye, and then I found myself wanting to watch all the One Minute Critics! Incidentally (and interestingly)--this library system has one of the highest referrer rankings of WorldCat.org. In other words, lots of users find their materials through WorldCat.org, and they send a lot of traffic to WorldCat.org. It's a virtuous circle--WorldCat connecting people with libraries and great library materials (like cookbooks!)

Watch for the surprise take at the end. So fun!