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* Sunday, March 25, 2007

20070319-06 CIC Conference: Next Generation Librarians

Sorry - I just realized I never changed the status on this post from "draft" to "published," which is why it's showing up late.

Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Penn State

showed a video called "finding time" that showed someone trying to find stuff on their website
this video is awesome! - please put it online, Ellysa!!

"I wish that I had known that the solution for needing to teach our users how to search our catalog was to create a system that didn't need to be taught." - Roy Tennant

there are too many dead ends and too many clicks in our universe that students have to navigate - this is not why I became a librarian

I don't ever want to say "click here. now click here. now click here" ever again

"Google recognizes that it is an application and immediately provides you with the user interface while libraries are still stuck in the mind set of web 'pages.' " - Bill Moody on Web4Lib

the next step after putting a search box for your catalog on your home page
need to view our web presence as a teaching opportunity

showed the first web page she created as a children's librarian - the jellybeans danced! it's link-based, text-based, one link to another; that's what the web was ten years ago

now students want to determine their own paths & we have to think how to present information to them

Ross Singer's exchange - "This is *the* search form."

noted some statistics from the OCLC Perceptions report

Educause recommendations for library web pages:
- students like interactive web pages; wonder why we're not visualizing our services online
- we need to have visual representation that brings our resources to light
- the report sounds a lot like Info Island

some existing websites that personify good instructional design
- Minnesota's Undergraduate Virtual Library
- this page is all about engagement when they come to our site
- personifies active learning
- student calculator lets the student drive the process
- ways to bring learning to life
- Maryville University
- Firefox library toolbar
- search button for "Find Some Articles" on the search box takes them directly into Ebsco (bypasses SFX and other databases); gets you into *something,* which is a gutsy choice
- Brigham Young's Harold B. Lee Library
- all of the organization's information is gone from the front page (hidden behind tabs and collapsible menus)
- Queens Library's implementation of AquaBrowser
- Kansas State Libraries
- show an assignment planner with tabs; interesting visual metaphor
- Nelsonville Public Library
- showed Koha catalog that looks like Amazon

"Librarians need to use their expertise to make the library's online presence approach the simplicity and power of the Internet." - Stanley Wilder

we need to design simple interfaces in order to help people

How do we get there?
- involve students in interface planning
- give a small, informal group the chance to work, with students

put her presentation on SlideShare :-)

Cody Hanson, Minnesota

"A lesson from Web 2.0 for academic libraries"

his lack of experience is a "feature"

can use the web to add value to the information we provide patrons online
communicate the value of our service

showed eboy poster of web 2.0 landscape (Jenny: I still want this!)

showed digg and described how it works
more than 1 million registered users
155,000,000+ pageviews as of January 2007

it's important for us to realize that there are people out there that value vetted information, including from a community, as opposed to a faceless algorithm like Google News

at digg, though, the information is publicly vetted by people

we do a great job at recommending within the building, but it's only implied online; little evidence of human intervention in what we offer online

online identity is a big part of our patrons' lives and we need to take that to heart
we need to be in their flow
- make personal and public recommendations of sources and articles
- expose our selection processes
- expose our expertise

we will add value to the information we provide patrons online
- do it the way we do it in the building, devoting resources to it

we will better communicate the value of our service by being public about it

Emily Barton, Michigan State

nature of the academic environment is changing
we need to know what they're changing needs are, not just who they are

the work they are doing is more collaborative (more peer-learning curricula)
- design facilities to help them accomplish this
design new services or change what we are doing to adapt to their needs

showed Unshelved's "One person one computer" comic strip

we need to develop unified delivery services in the places that they need them now
challenge of thinking about spaces that aren't necessarily "library spaces"

encourage librarians to play

need to assess and evaluate what we're doing

1955 book quote about academic libraries

keep an open mind and keep up with your users


- do you think the gaming trend will be relevant to graduate students and faculty, not just undergrads?
- Cody: video games have been on the forefront of designing interfaces like Ellysa discussed; he came back to games after a while and found that you no longer needed fat instruction manuals; essentially the first level or two of the game is a tutorial, so you learn as you play; that's something we can learn from games that can be relevant to all patrons

- can you comment on the management structures of your libraries in terms of your sense of empowerment and opportunities to educate your colleagues and administrators
- Ellysa: thinks academic libraries are the best because they are so large so management is spread out; if you start a blog at a school library, your colleagues know about it and come after you, whereas Penn State is so huge that no one even notices if you start a blog; good way to experiment
- Emily: empowerment is there in her job, but she has four job titles now
- Cody: never expected to become a librarian; thought he'd continue working in the web world but was pleasantly surprised to see the innovation going on at Minnesota and other academic libraries; it's refreshing

- how would you recommend we market what we do?
- Emily: academic libraries serve a lot of different people and you would market differently to each group; as many ways as you can reach them; did a poster series during their "ask a librarian" campaign
- Cody: the best thing we can do is prove our value, not profess it; undergrads are marketing-savvy and they know if a service has to tell you it's cool, then it's not cool; best thing we can do is demonstrate our expertise and put faces to that expertise as professionally as we can
- Ellysa: stealth marketing is also important; integrate into as many places as we can

- do physical additions like commons, cafes, etc. help libraries?
- Emily: information commons are being designed as more than just computer labs; you're combining technology and library resources to provide a service; you're also providing help; the library's role for her isn't just to provide them what they can get from journals and books - they include this but the technology and other pieces, too
- Cody: the idea of creating spaces for people to collaborate in, both physically and virtually, is a valuable function libraries can serve and does fit our mission of allowing access to information and flow between students and faculty; thinks the skepticism brought to this is valid and need to question the goal - if the goal is just to bring more people in in the hope that we'll realize how great we are, then that might not be the best use of our resources

- what do you see as legacy services and functions that seem ripe for retirement? what can we let go of?
- Ellysa: legacy *values* we could let go of are "this" is what an academic library is - an academic library doesn't have a MySpace page or make balloon hats or isn't in Second Life; need to be an exciting, vibrant place
- Cody: the paper "The Guardian" in the U.K. told their staff that the primary channel is now the website; we need to think of our online libraries as our primary libraries and treat them accordingly
- Emily: let go of "this" is my job, I'm just a cataloger, I don't need to keep up

- isn't there something to changing the vocabulary used about academic libraries? undergrads don't know what a bibliography is; the expertise - if you can explain it - has value
- Cody: yes

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