Effective Use of Social Software to Promote, Describe, Discover, and Organize Government Information - Jodi Carlson, University of Minnesota, Duluth - Heather Tompkins, Carleton College - Amy West, University of Minnesota
social software: email, internet, IM, blogs, photo-sharing sites, RSS feeds/readers, social bookmarking, wikis, browser extensions, online software, podcasting
was skeptical about who would want to hear her talk about govdocs but is coming around to podcasting being a great idea for a target audience
sample of feeds she reads:
lists from the government printing office
figure out what you want to do and how and then find the tool that will do it
professional development: sharing expertise
put together links to publication catalogs for international organizations in del.icio.us
next speaker, Jodi Carlson – collaboration
using Yahoo Messenger because it’s free and it’s the only one that does conferencing (JL: I’m not sure this is right, but I have to find out what they mean by "conferencing") went to IM because VR software was too difficult and kept crashing use Trillian now because does gtalk and jabber (if you buy the pro version) highlighted Meebo
also mentioned Bloglines
next speaker: Heather Tompkins
believes blogs are most widespread form of social software
notes you can subscribe to colleagues’ bookmarks; she subscribes to some Furl accounts
showed Feed Reader
for upper-level students, interested in teaching them to use this for their research
two examples from Furl for course prep while she would prefer for classes, she would bookmark everything but it got out of control was constantly trying to reorganize them then she found Furl, where she can bookmark, categorize according to her own headings, clip excerpts, add comments, and more
highlighted Writely for group projects (talked about a group in a history class on campus using it)
is different from a wiki:
showed one of her subject headings: “just because”
tips for finding and evaluating:
recommend you ask patrons what they are using, just so you know, not necessarily so that you use everything
they tend to read their feeds at the desk – good time to do that
things that have come up in the last few days:
don’t use something just to use it, don’t spend time on it if you don’t need it
presentation is available at http://people.carleton.edu/~htompkin/MLA2006.ppt
JL: I liked how they used real-life examples. I'll have to steal some of them for my presentations :-p
I love Library Journal, and I have praised them in the past for opening up their articles for free on the web. If I was blogging more, I'd be linking to them more because they have some great content. You can tell they like publishing controversial editorials, too, with the current issue being an especially good example. Take a look at the following columns:
It's too bad I couldn't share my thoughts about these articles on the pages themselves. Unfortunately, you have to know that if you want to comment on Sophie Brookover's thoughts, you need to go to her blog post about it at http://www.popgoesthelibrary.com/2006/09/self-promotion-lj-nextgen-column.html. I guess there's just no way to share thoughts on John Berry's or Thomas Washington's columns unless you send a letter to the editor (print or electronic).
The problem is that this just doesn't work for me anymore. I actually had time this morning to write a quick comment of my initial response to each article. Instead of just typing in boxes on the LJ site, though, I've spent time writing this blog post, and LJ has lost my contribution to the discussions they were trying to promote by publishing these columns. I don't want to send a letter to one person so that it can be published later. I want to engage in a conversation with others right now who have strong reactions to these articles. I have no reason to come back to these pages to check on the discussions, because there aren't any. I wish there were.
This is one reason I encourage libraries to offer at least one blog (start with "what's new" at your library) and turn on the comments. You have patrons that feel this way about your website. Luckily, you can fix this pretty easily and for free.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment!
Update: LJ had this functionality in the works, and they've already added it to the three articles listed above. Thanks, Francine!
- Lou Carbone
Disney was incredibly clued in in 1979 (as opposed to Howard Johnson's)
one organization comes to mind when we think of organizations so big that people will participate in the planning of an event and go there - Harley Davidson!
would I go to your library as a resource for how I'm going to feel after the experience?
what pushes us into these experiences where we have a preference to go somewhere and we don't even know why we go there?
you might pass other grocery stores on the way to your favorite one - why? because of the experience
recent poster child for experience is Starbucks
attitudes are important and drive behaviors, but what drives attitudes are emotions
what becomes fascinating is knowing how customers/people think
95% of what we process is in our unconscious
stimulii based on functional clues but also have humanic clues
sees libraries building experiential buildings and doesn't think we need to do that
physical aspects of the experience can come together if you know the roles
the important factor is that you cannot not have an experience - it's impossible to not have an experience
5 Disciplines that Choreograph that Experience:
learning - creating - doing
the opportunity is huge and we can transform libraries
his thoughts based on audience questions:
Who are they? How do they learn best?
did an interactive Powerpoint demo with response remotes in the audience (I love this)
had three students on a student panel to talk about their experiences and information needs
first panelist - thinks it was right that they are about the "now"
first panelist - always has her cell phone and her iPod
had to explain what Facebook is at this point
first panelist hates working in groups because it allows more room for human error
what is great about libraries? (disclaimer - all three panelists work in the library)
do you use net resources more than library databases for research?
do you use a public library? do you read for leisure?
what's up with Paris Hilton? the Lindsey Lohans, etc.
would you come if we offer library workshops? what kind would attract you?
so you would use Flash tutorials online to learn how to use the library?
do you think you need to learn more about the library or do you think you can get by?
would you be willing to ask those questions more over IM?
in email, do you want answer or to teach you how to do it?
how civic and political-minded do you think you are? do you plan to vote in the upcoming election?
Defining Services for Undergraduates
themes for redesign of services
defined problem statements for each theme using:
top three votes from students were space, a single search engine for all library resources, and an information commons for one place to get all of your information, help, and services
decided to implement:
important to do:
(unfortunately I couldn't type fast enough to capture the other things)
came up with 3 levels of investment: gold (perfect world with necessary resources), maroon (a little watered down), and gray (more watered down)
showed new home page and dissected what is on it, includes some social pieces
rethought their whole branding process; launching into a more specific survey now
what messages would resonate with them?
will start branding with these themes
showed Uthink as being part of community theme
moderator closed by noting that one day he found his son handling 35 different IM conversations
For a presentation I'm doing later today, I started a list of Libraries Using MeeboMe for Embedded Chat on their websites. It's over on the LibSuccess wiki in the Online Reference section. I only knew of four, so please add a link if you know of others.
I didn't start a similar list for libraries using Chatango for this purpose, because I don't know of any. Again, if you do, please add. Thanks!
easier to update subject guides because you can immediately modify them
started the ALA Annual wiki for the Chicago 2005 conference because she didn't know much about the conference or about Chicago
Intuit, IBM, car companies are all creating internal wikis but also to communicate with their customers
all wikis start out as a single page
discussion pages for talking about issues related to the wiki
recent changes page is the one that shows all of the changes - watch this for spam
differences between wikis and blogs:
question about how to track changes like you can in Word
why not wiki:
Examples of wikis:
Wikis for planning conferences
Wikis as websites
wikis are good for pages that are updated frequently
great for when you want to hear from users
area guides becoming popular:
question about setting up navigation
question: should wikis stay focused on a topic, as opposed to blogs?
people can add topics as well as content
question about culture of wikis - letting users interact with specific articles but not change the article itself
wikis that build community:
lots of conference wikis, especially in the library world
- grassroots feel makes for a better-used wiki
can use Wikipedia's guidelines as a model
conference wiki elements
could involve the presenters; could ask speakers questions
attendee schedules and profiles in Internet Librarian 2006 wiki
during the conference
after the conference
question: can you post something twice, once protected and once open for modification? others could add their own versions?
question about using wikis instead of ALA's Online Communities product
question about accessibility of wikis
question about keeping wikis private
question about moving content from wikis members have already started to the ALA server
how to develop and maintain a successful wiki
there is a WYSIWYG plugin for mediawiki
skins make the wiki look pretty
steal documentation from Wikipedia
Mary Ghikas explained the three rules for the New Orleans wiki based on legal advice
try to be as transparent as possible
need a logo that is 135 x 135 jpg or gif for ALA wikis
A lot has changed in two and a half years. In 2004, Michael Stephens, Bob, and I tried to contact Warner Brothers to get permission to post the St. Joseph County Public Library's staff in-service day video because it uses Madonna's song "Ray of Light" as its soundtrack. We never did get a response from them, and the idea fell by the wayside.
In 2006, however, online culture (culture in general, really) has changed with the advent of user-generated content sites like You Tube, and I am thrilled to note that today, Michael posted the video for everyone to see! Not only are we seeing a lot more mashups of this type of content, but now, acknowledging that the "genie is out of the bottle," Warner Brothers is officially licensing their content for use in user-generated video.
This also shows the power of Web 2.0 and how viral it is (libraries really need to figure out how to join in and become viral). I have a DVD copy of the video that I show to people when I can, usually a handful of them at most when we can gather in a room. In fact, right now John Chrastka has my copy because my laptop doesn't have a DVD decoder on it so I couldn't show it to him on my computer and he had to take it to his. Talk about sneakernet....
Now that the video is on YouTube, though, I can just point the whole world to it, and everyone can see it and be inspired by it. Every library in the world can see it now at no bandwidth cost to SJCPL, no physical media cost for more copies of the DVD, and no more limitation on simultaneous use. Plus, it's a great plug for Madonna's song.
What does this tell you about the future of online video in the context of libraries?
Two years in internet time is an eternity, but look at what a difference it makes.
Go watch the video - it's truly incredible! It totally rocks, and it does everything I talk about in my presentations - it humanizes the library, shows the vibrancy of it, shows off the staff and what it takes to keep things going, and more. Now this video does that out where the users are, out where everyone can see the power of it!
I was hesitant to buy the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report because the cover story is about What Parents Need to Know about MySpace: Your Guide to a Kid’s World on the Internet, but in the end I figured it would be good fodder for a blog post about hyperbole in the media. My eyes started rolling on page 48 when I read, “To many parents, who may have gotten an eyeful of its sometimes titillating profiles and photos, MySpace seems like Lake Wobegon gone horribly wrong: a place where all the women are fast, the men are hard-drinking, and the children take an above-average interest in imitating them.”
However, the further I read, the more my eyebrows arched in surprise, impressed with both the content and the tone of the article. I highly recommend it, and I think every public library director should make sure her board members and staff read it. In fact, I’d love to see a collaboration between ALA , state library associations or libraries, or even just local libraries with U.S. News to distribute the article to parents through libraries. It only mentions the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) in passing, but it helps illustrate that parents can do far more than this legislation ever would and that online social networking is now a fact of life. It would be like banning email, which you’ll notice Congress isn’t debating, even though it’s a form of online social networking. Hmmmmm….
As Stephen Abram said at the South Carolina Public Library Technology Institute yesterday in response to a question about this legislation, we don’t teach our kids to drive by removing all of the roads.
The article goes on to make specific recommendations for talking to your kids about MySpace and similar sites, and it explains that how the term “friends” online is very different for kids than it is for adults. There’s even a great graphic that dissects a sample MySpace account and warns what to watch for. It’s interesting that the author listed a few specific, online applications, and I’d love to see public libraries pick up on that. This article could be the basis for a lecture (or better yet, a hands-on class) for parents to help them proactively help their children online. Why not let them play with instant messaging, uploading video, and writing blog posts on the library’s computers? Let’s partner with Wired Safety to train more kids in more communities and grow this resource. What better way to help educate and connect them to their kids’ online worlds, while also showing that parents don’t need to rely on government to raise their kids?
Since a form of the House's DOPA legislation may still come up in the Senate during the current session, it’s important librarians understand the impact of this type of legislation. ALA is working on a couple of things that I’ll point to soon, but if you haven’t been tracking this or have only heard the hype about the issue, please make sure you read this article (and its sidebars). ALA’s Washington Office has been great in educating me that the language of these bills is really more about banning “interactive web applications” from school and library computers, not just “social networking” sites or MySpace. It’s much broader than most people realize. You might not use – or even understand why someone else would use – MySpace, but everyone online uses interactive web applications. Remember, one of the legislators voting on your use of “interactive web applications” in a public library is the same person that thinks those applications would be delivered via internet tubes.
I asked Amanda Etches-Johnson to start a new page on her wonderful Blogging Libraries Wiki for listing blogs written by library directors/administrators specifically from an administrative view, and she quite nicely obliged. We give you... the Library Director page! I added the ones I know about, but I'm sure I'm missing some, so please help out. I organized the links by state (figuring non-U.S. libraries could self-organize by country), but maybe by library type would be more effective? What do you think?
Oh, and if your library is blogging in general and isn't listed on this site, please be sure to add your URL(s). When I give presentations that include blogging as a topic, I always point to this wiki and tell librarians to look for libraries of a similar size or geography and contact them for further information about how to get started.
Stephen Abram is blowing away the room. Public television is recording today's South Carolina Public Library Technology Institute put on by the way cool South Carolina State Library for possible future podcasting. Flickr pictures are under the tag TechExpress2006, and Curtis Rogers has already youtubed Patti Butcher's opening address (Patti is the Director of the State Library). Wow, do these folks get it.
I didn't have much chance to blog about it during the summer, but I was honored to be one of the judges for Talis' first annual Mashing up the Library Competition. I thought it was a great idea, and I was happy to see lots of submissions. Winners were announced the other day, and John Blyberg won first prize for his Go-Go-Google-Gadget, which put Ann Arbor District Library feeds into Google’s home page for those patrons who cared to add them. Here’s the description from the Talis page:
John’s entry epitomizes everything I’ve been talking about for the last four years – shifting library services to where the user is, getting our content out from behind the wall, and making it easy for patrons to put our services where they want. I hope enterprising libraries will follow John’s example, and I hope the ILS vendors will help those libraries that don’t have programmers on staff to do this.
I was also happy to see that the Second Life Library won second prize, as this is another great example of taking library services out where the users are, rather than forcing them to come to our sites, either physical or virtual. From one post wondering out loud what might be possible to the incredible job and plethora of services that Lori Bell, the Alliance Library System, and the hundreds of volunteers from around the world have built. It might be a virtual world, but it has taken a lot of human effort and especially vision. This is the kind of wonderful synergy and teamwork that can be harnessed when organizational culture fosters creativity and innovation.
Here’s what the Talis page says about the SLL entry:
What’s really cool about their win is that the prize money will go into further development of Info Islands I and II, where the librarians are providing services. I’m still very excited about this whole project, and I plan to open my virtual ALA office on Info Island soon. :-)
There were several other very interesting and creative entries, so be sure to take a look at all of them. Even better, the next competition is officially open already. Rather than just waiting ten months, Talis wants to encourage innovative mashups all year-round, so you can submit new entries at any time. Paul Miller notes, “We will periodically assemble a team of judges to select the best submissions since the last time entries were judged. In addition, we will seek to reward particularly innovative or compelling examples on an ad hoc basis, outside the normal cycle of judging.” The Talis Library 2.0 Gang will be talking about the competition in the September 13 podcast. Michael Stephens and I are in South Carolina to give a presentation for the State Library's Public Library Technology Institute, so unfortunately we won’t be able to sit in on it, but I look forward to listening to my fellow judges’ thoughts on the entries.
So get your motors running now. Next round, I want to see something no one has thought of yet, something that really puts libraries out there on the cutting edge and blows us all away. I have great faith in librarians to accomplish this.
"Members of the American Library Association are change-agents within their communities. From public to academic to school to research and special libraries, ALA members have an immediate, dynamic impact on the quality of life in a community; on successful student learning outcomes; on the sustainability of critical engagements with the past and the extending access to tools for charting a new future; and on the usefulness of work/life in every field of human endeavor. And this blog would like to show them off."
His latest post is a list of Travel Awards for Annual 2007, which is basically ways to help get your way paid to attend the big show.
And you want to attend the big show, because we have some very cool things planned. Things I can't talk about yet or I'd have to put a hit out on you.
Just a quick note that all of my presentations archived on the old SLS and MLS websites are officially 404ing now and are gone.
Therefore, I've finished adding all of the ones I have to my Presentations Wiki, going back to 1998 as best I could. If you've linked to any of my presentations in the past, I'd really appreciate it if you'd update the URLs so that folks aren't dealing with dead links. I get at least one request a week for a past presentation, so any updates or pointers to help get people to the new URL would be great. Thanks!
Official link: Jenny Levine's presentations
I had the great pleasure of meeting and talking with John Kirriemuir in Holland last month at the Ticer Institute. He was there to present a session about Digital Games and Digital Libraries (Powerpoint file), although unfortunately I couldn't stay to attend it.
Others have picked up on his presentation, including The Rambling Librarian.
"Coherent, informative slides and surprisingly self-explanatory (for a powerpoint slide). Worth taking a look indeed. Of particular interest to me was Slide 43 onwards - 'Impact - 12 Areas where libraries and digital games collide....' "
In the comments on the post, Ivan also says, "In my view, what's stopping NLB from adopting Gaming in libraries is the lack of concrete measures (of the outcomes from implementing gaming)." I think that's pretty true for most libraries that are still on the fence about this, regardless of type (academic, public, school, or special).
So how are we going to mesaure actual gaming services in the library (not just collections or supporting materials)? Do we use the same outcomes we do for other groups that meet in the library? We use attendance figures for so much - programs, knitting group members that gather in the meeting room, kids and parents attending storytime, people who attend movies we show, and the like. Even in academic libraries it's still about the door count, the number of books checked out, the number of times a database is used, the number of times reserves are checked out, and the number of reference questions asked.
Or do we somehow try to measure participation, like we do for the summer reading program or the teen advisory committee? Is there a way to equate the literacy of the number of books a kid reads in the reading program versus the literacy a kid needs to advance playing a video game? We don't measure the actual literacy of the kids participating in the summer reading program, just the numbers. We just hope the readers are reading and learning. Does starting with Dance Dance Revolution show the obvious physical benefits of gaming, allowing us to move the discussion to the mental and learning benefits of gaming?
In the end, though, whatever numbers we use, they blow away whatever else we're doing for teens. And for twenty- and thirty-somethings, too. For those libraries that run family game nights, true or false: your attendance numbers for these events rival or better your storytime numbers?
What about comments and feedback from patrons, which has been overwhelmingly positive according to every library I've talked to that offers gaming. Is this a valid measure?
What do we use? For the directors out there, what would convince you to try it?
I was at the North Suburban Library System yesterday to give a presentation about social tools for libraries. Wow, did the time go by fast, but it was a great group of librarians. Thanks to all of the great participants for a lively session! The slides are now available as a PDF on my presentationas wiki.
After we finished, Sarah Long (NSLS Director) asked me to do a quick podcast, so we briefly chatted about social tools and my new job at ALA. Even though I am part of Talis' Library 2.0 Gang Podcast, my schedule just hasn't meshed with theirs yet, which I believe makes Sarah's podcast my first one (direct link to MP3 file)!
The ALA Website Usability Survey is now live. Anyone and everyone can fill it out, which I heartily encourage you to do. For all of us that have ever rolled our eyes and complained about the website, it's time to put our money where our mouth is and formally provide constructive criticism. The survey will be available for the next month.
Here's an excerpt from the email ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels sent to ALA members.
"We are currently conducting a usability assessment of our ALA website. This assessment is designed to take a very thorough look at the website, its problems and strengths, in order to guide ongoing improvements, development, and redesign.
I want to emphasize that ALA staff were not allowed to modify the second half of questions in the survey in order to allow the results to be compared to national results done with the same questions. It's a standard and well-known usability test, even though several of us would have like to at least re-word a few of the questions.
Please fill out the survey and help ALA move forward with the website!
Jessamyn West has an interesting post about MassAnswers, the statewide virtual reference service for Massachussetts. It says a lot of the things that have occurred to me during the last three months, but I'd like to see more discussion about the answers piece.
During the last few months, I've used a virtual reference service three times. This is after my battles two years ago just to access one, log in, and connect to a librarian. At least now, I've been able to connect and ask my question. I was looking for specific statistics each time. The first time, I was too lazy to run the search myself. The second time, I was under the gun and needed a number. I did some research myself, but only came up with websites and wanted a more authoritative source to triangulate the answer I had found. The third time, I did some research but quickly gave up, thinking someone who does live reference could get to the answer faster. When asking each question, I made sure to note all of the sources I had already tried, in the hope that the librarian wouldn't have to duplicate any effort and would automatically try the next level of resources.
In each of the three instances, the librarian came back with a URL from the top five results of a Google search. Clearly. There wasn't even a pretense of anything else. If you can believe it, one of them even unkowingly sent me a link to a friend's blog that referenced a report that mentioned a potentially useful statistic. I thanked the first librarian, disconnected, and spent my time doing the research myself. But the second and third times, I really needed the librarian to find an authoritative answer, so I kept asking for more. In one case, I had to actually ask, "Don't you have databases you can search that are more authoritative that Google?" At which point, the librarian sent me a link to my home library's list of databases. Talk about not understanding the concept. In another case, I was given a URL to a list of reports and told one might have what I wanted. When I pointed out that none of the titles seemed relevant to my specific request, a further search of the web ensued.
Even worse, after a half hour of trying to answer my question, one of the librarians had to "hang up" and disconnect because the virtual reference software was causing their computer to freeze. The person offered to email an answer to my question the next day.
I kept asking myself why these virtual reference transactions were different than if I'd approached the physical desk in person. None of the questions I asked were as difficult as Jessamyn's, and I know each had a viable answer. None of the librarians did a reference interview, and only one of them asked at the end if what they had found answered my question. In person, they wouldn't have asked about my home library. I try to imagine walking up to a desk and being handed a URL or told to go back to my home library to search its databases, without so much as a divining question or a specific answer (or even the promise of one).
So like Jessamyn, I wonder what value we are providing to people when we promote these services but then just offer Googled results. As pointed out in the comments on her post, sometimes that is helpful to some users. But at what point should the virtual librarian begin to look somewhere other than Google for an answer? Why do we know when to do this in person but apparently not online? What is a virtual librarian and what value does she add?
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