Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Still no luggage, but other goodies

It's Wednesday. The luggage has been gone since Friday night. I have to wait out today before I can make a claim to US Airways. I finally broke down last night and bought new toiletries, a replacement trackball, etc. Funny how not having my toothbrush or my trackball has made me really grumpy the past two days.

Good news is, I have two interesting tidbits to share with you:
Additional blog posts in the works--want to tell you about Ben McConnell's talk last week for his book, Citizen Marketers! (of course, my coveted signed copy is IN MY LOST LUGGAGE!)

Ah well. The sun is shining, and tomorrow is March 1.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lost luggage, Academy awards and Monday morning

Back at home, after a wonderful week in Ohio.
I have photos to download, awesome presentations to report on, great insights to share...

But first, I have to complain about my lost luggage. I am, in fact, not the first to complain about US Airways losing my luggage. I want to sing their praises for actually getting me home on Friday night after being delayed for high winds out of LGA. But now, after 3 days of no toothbrush, no work files and no COMMUNICATION from them--I am starting to get a little testy about it.

It also doesn't help that my super cool VoIP phone is refusing to play this morning, too. So the four hours of conference calls I have scheduled will be completed with my mobile phone. I guess I should just be thankful I have a back-up.

Watched the Oscars last night and was pleased to see that the Academy is recruiting for a Librarian/Archivist. You heard it here first!

Last thing: Eric is adding a few cool clips to the sidebar from Blogflux and a few other places.

Sometimes just the act of posting makes me less grumpy. Feel free to share your lost luggage recovery tips...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Gone to Ground

I'd like to think that dozens of IAG readers have been wondering where Alane is, but I suspect--no, I am positive--that is not the case. Well, I suppose all of us, actually, have been posting infrequently and/or sporadically. I think there are several reasons for this.

One would be the obvious "we're really busy" because we really are. I think all of us have big projects we are managing or participating in as well as any number of the usual workplace busy tasks--and the latter are definitely not worth writing about.

The second is, perhaps, that the biblioblogosphere is a rich and varied place these days, full of interesting voices and writing, and increasingly, overlap in subjects addressed. In May 2004 when we began, there were far fewer people writing about library matters and things that matter to libraries which meant, quite honestly, less competition for eyeballs. We are generalists here at IAG and so appeal to all or no one. Also, when we began, we were the only OCLC staff blogging as OCLC staff and that is not so three years later. There are nine blogs* written by people who clearly or slightly less clearly work for OCLC. (And there are, of course, personal blogs written by people who work at OCLC.)

The third is....ennui? Februaryitis?

And fourth, for me, is that much of what I am reading and thinking about is related to our forthcoming report. So, while I am reading truly fascinating, thought-provoking stuff, I am loathe to share at this point as I, selfishly, want everything to be fresh when we publish the report. But, this is probably silly because not all IAG readers will read the report and it's also a really old way of thinking about writing. Chris Anderson basically wrote The Long Tail as his blog and this didn't dilute the resulting book a whit. There are other similar examples.

OK, I'll share....just not today.

Today, Ben McConnell from Church of the Customer is here at OCLC in Dublin to speak to staff and interested outsiders about his and Jackie Huba's new book, Citizen Marketers.
"A solitary citizen today with a broadband connection and a few cheap tools has a substantially better chance of influencing the public's perceptions of billion-dollar corporations than ever before. With a voice, a vote and a vocation, tens of millions of Americans are involving themselves in the cultural lives of business. The "social media" of blogs, podcasts and social networks are fusing pop culture with traditional marketing, and it's causing all manner of disruption."

Looking forward to this!

*That's not a test. They are Lorcan Dempsey's weblog, Outgoing, Weibel Lines, Hanging Together, BlogJunction, Walt at Random and Libraryman. Updated! How could I have forgotten 025.431: The Dewey Blog. Sorry, Dewey Manor dwellers!

Monday, February 19, 2007

five weeks to a social library

Meredith Farkas' first update on her Five Weeks to a Social Library project was posted today. I'm fascinated by this project because it has that "do it yourself" notion that made Helene Blower's Learning 2.0 program so successful - will this one have the same spirit of wonder and accomplishment? Looks that way! Sounds like everyone really got into the blogging topic - I look forward to hearing more.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Social Networking & Privacy Video Clips

As part of the work we've done on our next report, we had three discussion groups convened to ask young people questions about their use of social networking sites (like Facebook) and issues relating to privacy.

The first session was done at my hair salon, Rafiel's Signature Studio (hmmm, thought there was a web site, but I can't find it). The second and third were at Mcmaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The sessions were filmed and our in-house media wiz, Rich Skopin, took the raw film and turned it into five segments we used at the Symposium last month. We've put the segments up on the web, and you can watch them--they're all short. Scroll half way down this page for the links. (Below them you'll see the links for the podcasts from the Symposium)

Why my hair salon you might be wondering? During one appointment, I was chatting with Emily about what I was doing at work, and I asked her, so, do you use MySpace? Oh yes, she said, and so does everyone else here. Ah-ha! Instant focus group! Actually not all the staff is on MySpace--Raphael, the owner is not.

The McMaster groups were undergraduates in one and graduates in the other...and if you listen, you'll hear many references to MSN which seems to be more popular in Canada than in the US.

One of the evaluations that we got from the Symposium suggested we should "provide examples from a greater cross-section of society. Soundbites are all from very well-spoken young people." I think you'll agree that the young people are all very well-spoken, thoughtful and not unaware of the risks and issues related to using social media--but, I wonder if this commenter didn't realize that the staff of Rafiel's has high school educations and trade diplomas as compared to, say, the grad students working on their second or third degrees. Proof that being well-spoken is not a de facto by-product of advanced education.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the clips--and keep checking back to the report web site because we'll be adding more stuff as it's ready.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Look of Love

The look of love,
Is in your eyes.
...And what my heart has heard,
Well it takes my breath away.

“The Look of Love” – Dusty Springfield (Wikipedia entry ; music & words by Burt Bacharach & Hal David)

One of my favorites, this hit song has appeared in various movies including the delightful 60’s film Casino Royale (WorldCat) and has been covered by a number of singers. There are also other songs with the same title (the one best known to me, at least, being U.K. band ABC’s 80’s MTV-friendly tune [music video]).

The look of love on this Valentine’s Day in the U.S., at least, is apparently green: an estimated USD $16.9 billion spent by the smitten and hopeful on Valentines in 2007 – spent in part on:

  • Greeting cards (Hallmark offers 2000 different Valentines cards)
  • Jewelry (Around 8% of annual jewelry sales in the U.S. occur in February)
  • Candy (Hershey estimates it sells 1.5B Kisses every Valentines)

(Source: “What It Costs To Say 'Be Mine'” in a special report, The Business of Love, of Forbes)

And now we also find out that Valentine’s Day flowers may be an environmental hazard given the news that “the flowers that make up the average bunch have flown 33,800 miles to reach Britain.”(Source: “Valentine bouquets 'are bad for the planet'”) Yikes!

In the Forbes report mentioned earlier, an article (“Dating Darwinism”) describes that the latest spin on speed-dating, a sort of wealth-dating -- i.e. an event matching very attractive women with very wealthy men. And if that seems unfair, worry not, a follow-up pairing of wealthy women and attractive men is planned. Romance isn’t dead – it’s just been updated to pair banking with beauty contests! ;)

And Valentines makes for a robust cartoon and/or child-as-audience publishing corpus. Looking variously in FictionFinder and, one finds such Valentine’s Day-themed masterpieces as The Valentine That Ate My Teacher and Valentine Kittens. Given that Valentine’s Day as a holiday may have been spawned by Chaucer (see Wikipedia entry), the literature -- if not the commerce – of the holiday seems to have taken a downward spin.

So, gentle readers, wherever you are, may this Valentines be just what you hoped for. And the after effects of the holiday be less than is feared.

Valentine's tips

Sent it to IAG twice yesterday, but it never made it. Here's the boring old link to the PLA Blog's coverage of the March of the Librarians You Tube video. Yes, he does say "mate" in the same sentence at ALA.

Also, from Business Week, some tips from the girls at 3iYing for a more modern Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Calling the Book Helpdesk

Very very funny. Monk calls the helpdesk to get assistance with a difficult new technology, "the book."

"So, you can't open it?" "No, it's just been lying there." Scrolls were much easier.

I can't see where the video comes from--a Scandinavian country which, to me, makes it sound like a Monty Python skit. David Weinberger posted the link at Joho the Blog.

UPDATE: Jan 22/07. It appears that this video "has been removed by the user." A clue as to why is provided by our colleague David who sent this info to me
"It's from a show called Øystein & Meg (Øystein & I) produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting television channel (NRK) in 2001. The spoken language is Norwegian, the subs in Danish. It's written by Knut Nærum and performed by Øystein Bache and Rune Gokstad."

Perhaps the poster to YouTube didn't have permission to post from the television channel.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Not wishing to get into politics here. But I couldn't resist sharing my good fortune of living in the Granite State during U.S. Presidential campaign pre-primary season. I missed Hillary this weekend but did manage to score a ticket to see Barack Obama this evening.

Speaking of politics, I also wanted to pass along a very good book I've started reading, Sidewalk Strategies by Larry Tramutola.

Sidewalk Strategies is all about local elections. Larry has 30 years of experience working on local political campaigns--and his consultancy concentrates on "public good" kind of entities like schools, hospitals, libraries, and more.

So be it local, state or national--elections and the political process are the bedrock of democracy in the United States. Of course, I'd like to say freedom of information and unfettered access to education through the public library is a deep stratum layer within this bedrock. But my gut tells me (no research results yet) that a generation younger than I may not see this bedrock as especially impressive or even very important to their daily lives. Why or why not?

Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message

For those avid readers of the Church of the Customer blog, you already know what's coming in this post. If you don't yet read Church of the Customer (or listen to the podcast), I would recommend it! Basically, author Ben McConnell is coming to OCLC to speak to staff about the idea contained within his and Jackie's new book, Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message.

Here's the write-up on why we think it's cool (thanks Carrie!):

Ordinary people (i.e. consumers) are banding together to form whole communities of online advocates. The power to publish is no longer held by gatekeepers. Anyone with an internet connection and some knowledge of social media can broadcast their opinions to many.

Businesses are quickly learning that these individuals can either boost their sales or plummet their revenues, sometimes overnight. Suddenly, anyone has the ability to influence consumer loyalty, product innovations and marketing campaigns.

A new participatory culture of business has emerged. Are you prepared?

Since 2000, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba have been researching the effects of word of mouth on customer loyalty and how that can build into customer evangelism.

Their previous book,
Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force, was praised by The New York Times as “the new mantra for entrepreneurial success,” and Forbes dubbed it “the word of mouth gospel.”

McConnell and Huba have advised companies such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Ulta, General Mills, Discovery Education, Eli Lilly, PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and others. They are also advisory board members to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).

Ben McConnell will speak at OCLC Online Computer Library Center in Dublin, Ohio February 22, 2007 from 2-3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. (So we can plan for seating!)

Ben McConnell will also be available for signings after the presentation.

For directions to OCLC, click here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

1001 Posts

Well, we are like Scheherazade in that we've told 1,001 stories here at It's All Good since our first post on May 20, 2004. Although, as far as I know, none of us will be executed if we stop telling stories--but I could be wrong.

It's fitting that our newest IAGer, Chrystie, made the 1,001 post.

If we posted all the stories we come across, we would be way way over this number--Alice and I seem to exchange at least two emails a week bemoaning the number of items we would like to blog about and don't find the time to, amidst all the other things we have to do.

So, perhaps a brain scan that can read my intentions and then make words based on what I planned to blog about will help get more things out of my head and into IAG.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, and University College London and Oxford University in England, have apparently developed a technique for doing at least the first part of this--looking inside peoples' brains and reading their intentions before they act, according to this article published in The Guardian Online today.

Very "future-y" and Minority Reportish. Maybe public libraries that charge fines for overdue materials can recoup money earlier in the process--say, before the material is even borrowed--by scanning the brains of borrowers and fining those who clearly have the intention of returning stuff late.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Eye Candy

Although it has been critiqued (read comments) for not (itself) dismantling content from format, this little piece posted on you tube is a wonderfully entertaining presentation on Web 2.0 (and why we would care). Enjoy.

13 Ways of looking at a public library

With indebtedness to the research team and only marginal similarity to Wallace Stevens's work. The list below is a tour de force of what a public library is, was, and is in the process of becoming--for communities across the United States:

  1. Technology center: Provides access to all forms of technology and software that people may not otherwise have access to, making the library relevant in the 21st Century.
  1. A resource for small businesses: Provides all the resources a small business would need – including free private office space, computers with internet access, phone, copier, scanner, and fax machine. It would also provide access to online databases like ABI Inform as well as other business related resources like books about finances, marketing, etc.
  1. Workforce training center: Provides instructor-led classes on entrepreneurship, presentation skills, computer skills, sales generation, financial planning, marketing and other business related topics in order to improve the workplace skills and marketability of community members.
  1. Source of all government forms/applications: Acts as a one-stop-shop for all government forms as well as provides resources and advice about filling out the forms and submitting them.
  1. Resource for job seeking: Provides resources and consultation for resume writing and interview skills to aid community members in their job hunt. In addition, it provides free Internet access for searching online job seeking services like and
  1. Resource for tax preparation: Provides tax forms, access to tax preparation resources and step by step guidance during tax season.
  1. Health Resource center: Acts as a health information resource by providing the most up-to-date health and medical information, flu shots and other vaccinations, health insurance and Medicare information and advice.
  1. Teen center: Provides a safe place for teens to gather outside of school, get help with school work, and have access to the Internet and computer games.
  1. A community center: Serves as a community center that provides free meeting space to hold group meetings, attend/host special events or spend time socializing with friends.
  1. Immigration center: Provides a place where immigrants have access to government forms, books and other information resources in languages other than English. It also provides literacy classes and other English as a second language (ESL) courses to help immigrants adapt to the community.
  1. Music and art center: Acts as a cultural center where community members can come to learn about different types of music and art through books and other resources, but can also create and display their own art and perform their own music.
  1. Research Center: Provides access to information on a wider variety of topics than you can find anywhere else through its online databases, reference materials, and the expertise of librarians.
  1. Social center: Offers a café and lounge-like atmosphere for people to gather and socialize.
Of course, I'm not saying that every public library should be all of these things--but it's a nice consolidated list of many, many of the aspirations we've heard/felt/thought/seen, for public libraries in this country. Looking through this list, it feels like a little bit of paradise. (If only there was a beach or swimming pool--but I am sure that will come in PL 2.0.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meta-blog question

Question for the floor:
Is it better to trash the links to your blog that have nothing to do with your post?
Or better to accept incoming link traffic, even if it's basically a bot--because it drives up your SEO?

For example, for the post below, on Rural and Native libraries, the Sports Guru blog linked to us. Well, I'm flattered but there is nothing sporty or guru-ish about the post. Not to mention it is quite apparent that Sports Guru is a machine-created auto-blog. No editorial brainpower there. So I just deleted their link to us.

Thoughts? My gut would say delete them because the links aren't relevant. And relevancy, usefulness to the user/reader is going to trump pure link love. If it doesn't now, it will soon enough for search engine algorithms. Black box/black hatters notwithstanding.

What do other people think?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries

ALA has an advocacy site for Rural, Native and Tribal libraries. This is cool--I didn't know they had this sort of specialization, but I am enthused to know it has been going on for awhile now.

I knew WebJunction had a special team of people doing work with rural and tribal (First Nation) libraries. Of course George and Chrystie will know more than me on this! (And it gets top billing on the page for Best Practices.)

In particular, the ALA site has a nice PDF tip sheet that gives you A Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library. This is great!

I am thinking about advocacy in particular because I just sat in on a call with the Reference Interest Group at OCLC Members Council--where I know Eric and George are, right now, in Quebec City. The group was interested to hear what we're doing on advocacy, and of course gave us some good guidance on what OCLC should concentrate on, from the members' perspective! For all of us not in Quebec City, chime in here and I will make sure your voice is heard!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

social networking tools

Thanks to Sarah for sending along this info from Learning Trends newsletter, published by the MASIE Center:

Ning - Build Your Own Social Network: I am impressed with a new and free Social Networking capacity building system, Ning. You can create your own social network, make it open or closed, and easily add/delete/create the features you desire. These can include forums, blogs, member data bases, You Tube type video and more. What is most interesting is their approach to an "Open Source" model. You can see and clone any development done by another Ning site. I would be interested in asking a number of our TRENDS readers to build course/class models on Ning. Access the site at and then send me a link to your site. We'll publish these in a future TRENDS. This is great example of Web 2.0 design.

It looks similar to what pbwiki and wetpaint are doing. I think this newsletter blurb is another great example of using existing tools, instead of building them, to get collaboration going on the web. I think I've already mentioned Nancy Pearl's book lust site. I think it's great! If only these SN tool-builder folks would let us (subscribers) host the tools ourselves - anyone know of anybody doing that?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jackson County Library

Being the up-to-date librarians you are, I am sure you've already heard about the Jackson County Library's closing.
NPR covered it this morning. Listen to the story from Jeff Brady. National media is great for raising national attention.

Of course I, in my rose-colored-glasses world, wish the national media would pay attention when things are going great and we're serving more people than ever before in more ways than ever before...but I guess headlines like LIBRARY THREATENED TO CLOSE sells more papers/attracts more listeners than LIBRARY CREATES SMARTER CITIZENRY. Which headline inspires you to read it?

Incidentally, the Jackson County Library created a nice calculator page on their site to help you put a dollar value on their services. I am sure they would be happy to share the back-end of their coding with your library's Webmaster, should you want to implement a tool like this on YOUR site.

Their blog is also well worth reading. Especially see the "My Library" stories from library users.

I hope our National Advocacy project with the Gates Foundation can help raise awareness about the importance of library funding, with both consumers and elected officials. That's the idea, anyway. Did I mention I am the project manager for this, on the OCLC side?

Side note: As part of our project, we actually talked to State Librarian of Oregon, Jim Scheppke.