Monthly Archives: September 2006

Community building through your web site

Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian

Introduced myself to Jenny as the person who schlepped Michael through Minnesota. There may have to be some coordination of Tame the North t-shirts for IL, so we (Aurora, Jenny and I) can arrive as the Stephens Fan Club…

Talking about creating community on library web sites. Online tools help the library. Blogs help by allowing comments – involve the community. Ann Arbor District Library has integrated the blogging software with the library catalog. Post on new catalog elicited posts from patrons on system, and helped debug the system. Board member responded to patron post on the blog with a post addressing the issue. (Cool!) One blog post with an expletive was edited for publication with strategically placed **s. Another patron took that one to task for using inappropriate language. The community is self-correcting. AADL has gaming tournaments, and kids can comment on the tournament on the blog. One blog post had 461 comments posted – how many comments have you gotten from teens at YOUR library?

Blogging levels the field. A small public library, Flossmoor Public Library, has a blog. Blogging isn’t something that requires a huge IT staff. It will make you more efficient and will bring people into your website.

Western Springs – historical organization in Chicago area. Photo of one house has a comment from the granddaughter of the people who lived in the house, along with one from the current owners.

Photo blogging with Flickr: shows the vibrancy of the library, humanizes the library, and puts the library community online.

RSS & community: syndication of your library’s website allows it to be seen by people that might not normally see it…

Web 2.0 means the web is more interactive – things come to me instead of me going to them.

Library content in RSS: teen events, library catalog for new items, materials by genre or type (for instance, new DVDs), programs, classes, books by subject matter.

ProQuest is offering an RSS feed…sometime. Academic library – site lists ProQuest feed for accounting news, headlines by field.

Ebsco also has feed, though getting it is clumsy. Note to EBSCO – please make this easier!

Your library needs to provide an RSS feed! Display headlines, partnership with schools, work with local newspapers. School libraries – use RSS for class projects, pathfinders, etc.

Community Hub. “Small Pieces, Loosely Joined.” Collaborate with community agencies – parks, Chamber of Commerce, schools – and create a community blog. All contribute. (What a cool idea!)

LaGrange Public Library uses and syndicates to their website. Uses Flickr for library photos. Has a blog through Blogger. Uses localized news service Grabs feed from local newspaper. Uses SuprGlu to coordinate. Voila! Community website created.

Be a buddy and offer live help. Instant messaging and chat – patrons are using. People can add the library as an IM buddy. “Quick answers to simple questions.”

Meebo – IM aggregator. Meebo Me: Allows someone to ask an IM question without installing Im software.

6 things you can do now:

  1. Read Blogs
  2. start a what’s new blog for your library
  3. appoint a trend reporter on your staff who watches and learns
  4. train your staff to use RSS aggregators
  5. advocate for RSS built into products you are paying for – like the ILS systems, etc.
  6. learn about library 2.0

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Filed under Blogging, Libraries and Librarianship, MLA06, Techie stuff

Getting Clued In

Getting Clued in to Experience Management  Lou Carbone, President & CEO, Experience Engineering.  Author, “Clued In.”

[Really bad lighting – the poor man is on a stage, in the dark.  What the?]

Firm based in Minneapolis.

At Experience Engineering, “we live, eat.,sleep, breathe, and unravel the riddle that is human experience for a select group of clients who want to manage experience – and the value that experience can create.”

Fabulous ad talking about creating “Once Upon a Time” experience, using movie scenes and John Williams’ moving music.

“What a wonderful world we live in when we recognize the value we bring to people’s lives.”

Working with Howard Johnson’s restaurant chain changed his life; as a kid, would visit HoJo on trips.  Worked with them for their final 6 months of existence.  Would be in meetings discussing minutiae to save money.  Talked about dropping 3 flavors of ice cream to save money.  Realized company was so driven by short-term goals that they had lost sight of their mission and value.

Second client that changed his life was Disney – one of the most clued-in organziations on the earth. Very in tune with the customer and the experience created.  Main St was designed out of forced Hollywood perspective, so it looked on entering like it went on forever….but at night, leaving as you’re tired, the street looked very short.

Disney embedded clues in each frame of the cartoon.  Looked at things from customer’s perspective.  What are they feeling?   Parks have millions of these clues.

Realized “the power of the mouse.” Trip to Disney costs more than a trip to Europe, yet we go back again and again because of the way it makes us feel.

Organizations create experiences.  People become satisfied, loyal, committed, become apostles, and ultimately take ownership.

What organization comes to mind when we think of people becoming so part of the organization that it brings people to North Dakota to celebrate?  Harley Owners Group.   Went to a HOG rally in SC.  People were tattooed everywhere.  (Photo of guy with tattoo on the top of his head.)  People of all ages, shapes, sizes.  Emotion bond and feeling of ownership was incredible.  HD has created extraordinary value.

Experience preference model:

  • rejection – negative differentiation
  • acceptance – no differentiation
  • preference – positive differentiation

Delightful story about his experience with barber Truefitt and Hill.

[Finally someone got a clue and turned the lights on so we could see the guy…]

How we feel in experiences is so powerful and is becoming more and more important.  The world we live in has changed.  Our economy and skill sets, what we learn is built on an old model of “Make and Sell” – how do we become more efficient at making and selling?  The world has moved to a world of sensing and responding.

How to create agile organizations that are building value for communities?  Critical factor is understanding the role that experience plays.  The value that an organization creates is based on the experience.

The poster child for experience lately has been Starbucks.   Very sensory experience – sounds, smells, etc.  ‘

Traditionally in experience management we look at behaviors – travel patterns, shopping time, etc.  What drives that is attitude – am I loyal to the company, do I like the experience, etc.  What drives the attitudes is the emotions – do I feel respected, valued honored when I come to your place?

How often do we ask, “How does our library make you feel?”

The experience is linked to the brand.

Everything starts from customers’ deep emotional needs and desires.

If we want to know more about customers, we need to know how they think.  “The tangible attributes of a product or service have far less influence on consumer preference than the sub-conscious elements derived from the total experience.”  95% of our processing takes place on an unconscious level.

Customers consciously and unconsciously filter a barrage of clues and organize them into a set of impressions.  Some are rational and some are emotional.   Functional clues – functionality of the good or service.  Mechanic clues – physical stimuli – sounds, smells.  Humanic clues – people – body language, tone.

How different does “Exit Only, Please” feel as compared to “Do Not Enter” ?

It’s impossible not to have an experience. The question is how do the clues you’re sending make the customer feel?  We can systematically and purposefully design clues to create feelings that emotionally engage and bond the customers.

Five disciplines in experience mamagement:

  • exeperience assessment
  • experience audit
  • experience design
  • experience implementation
  • experience measurement or stewardship

An experience motif is what our customers will feel about themselves and the experience.  Do not fall into the trap of how they will feel about us.  How they feel about themselves they will associate with how they feel about us.  How would people describe an experience with you?

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The Minnesota Library Association conference has officially begun. I arrived Monday afternoon, since I was one of the presenters of a Spanish Language Outreach workshop as a pre-conference session on Tuesday. The rest of the gang from MPOW arrived this morning.

The conference is in St. Cloud, Minnesota at a lovely spot on the Mississippi River. The river starts just north of here, so it’s still a relatively small river. Downstream a few hours near LaCrosse, it’s a mile wide. Amazing.

This afternoon Jenny Levine is speaking….I’ll be live-blogging that one, for all interested. Stay tuned.

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YouTube as a PR tool!

OK, so this is undoubtedly the coolest thing I’ve seen in quite awhile. Michael Stephens (again!) reveals a video done by his former POW, and it’s fabulous. Jenny explains why it hasn’t been released until now:

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.

It’s a bit lengthy, but more than worth the time. The outtakes at the end are a hoot, too.

I don’t know how difficult it would be to create one of these, but what an incredible PR tool!

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Moo Cool

Michael Stephens, as always up on the hippest stuff out there, points to a neato new service: Moo. They print small photos from your Flickr stream, and you can personalize them on the back. I ordered a bunch just to see how it works; they’ll arrive in 10 days.

If nothing else, it will give me some photos of the grandkidlet to show. (I’m given to understand I am not adequately fulfilling my Grandma duties, since I don’t carry a passel of photos with me at all times. )

They look to be small enough that you could conceivably use them as business cards….and how cool would a series of library cards be with a photo montage of the wonderful programs you offer?!? Giving one of those to a Council member or Senator would certainly be more memorable than a traditional business card.

Quick update:  I just got a confirmation email:

I’m Little MOO – the bit of software that will be managing your order
with us. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will
print it for you in the next few days. I’ll let you know when it’s
done and on it’s way to you.

Remember, I’m just a bit of software. So, if you have any questions
regarding your order please contact customer services (who are real
people) at:

I’m going to like these guys.

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Future thinking

I attended a meeting Monday that featured an interesting speaker, with thought-provoking ideas on the future generally and on the future of libraries, specifically. Thomas Frey is the Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute, a think tank for futurists. Frey arrived to speak dressed like his institute’s namesake, in Rennaisance dress complete with feathered cap and laced vest.

Some highllights:
Pythagoras and Archimedes are remembered as Greek mathematicians of the highest order, but there are no Roman mathematicians of note. Why? Primarily because Roman numerals (I,IV,IX, etc.) are in and of themselves equations, and therefore don’t lend themselves well to the computation of complex mathematical formulas. Hmmm. What tools are we using now that are preventing us from doing innovative things? Hmmm.

Frey named the juncture between the end of an era and the beginning of the next as Maximum Freud, and then questioned the group to see what we thought might be approaching Maximum Freud. Fax machines, floppy disks, invasive surgery….

In discussing libraries, Frey talked about the Confluence of Influence; people are no longer satisfied with just receiving information. They want to create it.

We are approaching the age of hyper-individuality. It’s a time-compressed world, and we are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience-based economy.

Employment trends are revealing that the average time spent on a job in 2006 was 4 years. 45 million people work from home all or part of the time. Given the theory that this trend will continue, libraries may find themselves in a position to provide service to those who work at home. What should that library look like, and services could it offer? Some brainstorming ideas from the group:

Library for people who work at home:

  • Social director
  • Private space
  • Daycare
  • Technology center
  • Integrated patent support/research
  • Access to more expensive/cutting edge technology
  • Mentoring services
  • Use of satellite branch for grocery, etc
  • Data backup services

Just in case vs. just in time thinking;there’s an entire generation today who thinks that if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist. Thought – top right hand corner of each internet page should have an “Oh, Yeah?” button to verify source. (cool idea.)

We haven’t finished inventing the ultimate small particle for storage. Paper is still our most stable technology. Think of an archaeologist 200 years from now. If he finds a book, he can translate that….but what if he finds a floppy disk? Or a CD? Will the technology exist then to translate that material? Technical formats constantly changing: floppy to CD to stick, etc. What will information look like 200 years from now? How stable is our technology?

Search Technology will become increasingly more complicated – will become the role of librarians in the future.

  • The word “set” has the most definitions, followed by “run” at 66 definitions.
  • The word “home” will get you the most search results in a search engine, followed by “here.”
  • There are a number of words that are “dead” word – so overused online, it will skew results.
  • Search technology will become increasingly more complicated
    • Smell
    • Taste
    • Texture
    • Reflectivity
    • Harmonic vibration
    • Specific gravity

We are in a transition to a verbal society, according to Dr. Wm Crossman.In the coming verbal society people will talk back and forth with their computer, and the computers will have emotions.   Frey postulated that there might be personality services for the computer (ala David Letterman, Jim Carrey, Oprah, etc.)

    Starbucks has differentiated itself from other coffee providers on the Commodity level (can buy coffee anywhere), on the Product level (you can get coffee in any restaurant), and on the Experience level – Starbucks is unlike anywhere else.

      If you transition that thinking to the library world, how do we create the ultimate information experience?

            Interesting talk. Thought-provoking questions. Food for thought….

            “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

            ~Thomas Edison

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            In Memoriam: Howard Lee Kane

            Howard Lee Kane, age 40.Quilt

            Husband and father.

            Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of Hazlet, N.J. (USA).

            Having struggled with Crohn’s disease, an intestinal illness, for most of his life, Howard Lee Kane had little patience for anyone in a bad mood. His tonic was laughter, and whether it was a new joke he would e-mail to friends or a funny story about that day at the office, he had the gift to make people smile.

            Mr. Kane, 40, was the comptroller at Windows on the World, a job he loved, said his wife, Lori, because it combined his passion for cooking with a view he called “halfway to heaven.” Mr. Kane, who lived in Hazlet, N.J., put in long days that began at 4:30 a.m. He commuted more than an hour each way. But his only complaint about work, his wife said, was that he lacked the words to describe the sunsets and view.

            He had little time during the week to cook or chat with the couple’s 11-year-old son, Jason, so Sunday mornings became a father-son-only time for waffles and fishing down at the dock. “They were best friends,” said Mrs. Kane. (NYT, 2001.)

            As I was doing research on Howard, I did a Google search on his name. There were 16 pages of references. It occurred to me that this was not the way I’d want to have my name remembered, as one of a list of victims of a horrible attack.

            Howard wasn’t given a choice in the matter.

            A Legacy guest book for Howard has six pages of comments for the family. Some were folks who knew him in high school. Some were folks who knew him through business. Some were folks who didn’t know him at all, but wanted to express their condolences to his family. They speak to a man who touched others and truly left a legacy.

            It’s only now, almost 2 years later, that I learned of Howie’s death. What a sad event for his family and those who knew him. I don’t know if everyone who is described by grieving friends and relatives as “full of life”, “friendly” and “giving” really is but I can attest to this being true of Howie as far back as I can remember. And that’s quite a way back. From my first memory of him struggling to make a good cover for his book report on the Mets in 5th grade to him helping throw Coach Williams in the pool at the seniors only wrestling team party at DMHS. He was one of my good friends through that entire period. A great kid that I’m sure matured into a great man. Michael Sexter (San Jose, CA )

            To the Kanes and friends of Howie:

            This is one of the hardest things I have done had to do in a long time. Howie and I shared an office, side by side, for 3 years during the early 80’s at Marine Transport Lines. It was early in our Accounting careers and have many memories. We learned alot about life in that time period. We were shocked together when news came over our radio about the shuttle disaster. We fished off the Jersey coast. We went to lunch practically everyday and despite Howie’s illness, he still ate whatever he wanted!! He was truly a friend and he also attended my wedding a few years later. I was not even aware that he was in the towers when they came down. I found out when they published the list on the one year anniversary. I just knew it was him when I read the name. My heart just sank. It is a great loss I feel, not just for me but for all who knew Howie and all who would have got to know him. He truly takes life by the horns and does not accept defeat. With Howie, each day is a new life and he lived it to the fullest, even if it meant to physically hurt. I am sure that Howie did all he could before the collapse, none of it geared towards himself. That was just Howie. I wish his family all the best and will always remember my office and lunch partner for what he was to me, a truly great guy who will watch over us. Just remember, Howie will live through us all. I am extremely proud of him. Jason, you have a great father!! Thomas Healy (Harrisburg, PA )

            I would see Howie, or more commonly referred to as “Nugget’s Daddy” by my youngest daughter, almost every night in the warmer weather. He was so kind and patient with the children, always stopping with his dog, Nugget, and allowing the children to sit and let Nugget jump in their lap. Although I only knew Howie to say” hello”,I will miss seeing him on Kildare Drive.
            Lori, always know I am here if you or Jason ever need anything. Lisa lisa madden (hazlet, NJ )

            Blessings on the family and friends of Howard Lee Kane.

            To see the whole list of 3,173 3,311 bloggers commemorating the 2,996 9/11 victims, visit D.Challener Roe’s site. Thank you, Dale, for coordinating this effort.

            Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 20, 2001.
            United in Memory has created quilt blocks to commemorate each victim.


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            A new country…

            Yet another blogging software has joined the fray. It’s called Vox. I’m not sure whether I’m sold or not (though it’s free, so whether I’m “sold” is probably moot) but it’s in preview mode, so you need an invitation to sign up. If you go to their page, they’ll send you an invitation.

            I created a quick blog, to test the usability. Whether you like the software or not, it’s always nice to have choices.

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            Of Course They’re Bored

            Wonderful vent from grad-school buddy Susan this afternoon. I asked if I could share, and she consented.

            Ahhh…. Internet, video games, cell phones that do everything but wipe your nose for you and a gazillion cable channels apparently aren’t enough.

            Of course they’re bored. When you really get down to it, this whole artificial electronic world gets boring. The demands of video-world tends to reduce knowledge to the lowest common denominator. Don’t believe me? Look up any topic on the Internet using typical Googling (no fair cheating and acting like a librarian who actually digs out scholarly sources) and then compare it to a decent book on the topic. See a little difference in the depth? I’ve heard the Internet called the “worldwide puddle of knowledge,” and I tend to concur.

            Electronic communities miss the fullest sense of “community” as well. In a real community, you will have to live with these people. You have to learn tact and honesty. On the Internet, I can pretend to be anyone I want. I will never meet you in real life, so I can spout off any sort of offensive nonsense while facing no more consequences than getting kicked off one of a million message boards. There is no touch, no work, no interdependence. Human emotion is reduced to a series of emoticons.

            Am I a Luddite? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I think these new technologies are great when they enhance people’s lives. I use them constantly, promote them, you name it. The problem is when they don’t feed you. The video culture tends to be passive and banal. Ultimately, it’s unsatisfying on some internal level.

            I’ve often thought teenagers need more challenge, not less — and more challenge in the physical, real world. Real challenge in terms of determining what work will bring them meaning in life and the responsibilities of earning your own way in the world. We no longer give them that, preferring to hover over them and protect their every step and let them experience life only through a screen. No wonder they’re bored.

            Amen, Sister. I would add that I’m often concerned with the lack of imagination on the part of our children. We’re installing DVD players in our minivans so the kids won’t be bored. We’re plopping them in front of televisions that offer a zillion channels so they won’t be bored. We’re providing them with game players so they won’t be bored.

            In assuaging all this boredom, however, we’re denying them access to imagination.  Do kids go outside and pretend anymore?

            First of all, the worst thing you could say to my mother on a summer day was, “I’m bored.” She would very definitely find something for you to do. Cleaning the garage was a favorite. You didn’t ask twice.

            We would go outside and play and create games. There was a wooded lot next door that wasn’t built upon, and in The Woods was a fallen tree. That tree became a pirate ship, a space ship, all manner of fantastic things provided by our fertile imaginations. Pathways through The Woods became enchanted paths. Creatures became fierce, or magical, or bretheren. We would spend hours in The Woods.

            Imaginations become fertile when exercised. I wonder what a kid today sees when they look at a fallen tree.


            Filed under Me and mine, Techie stuff, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."


            This weekend DH and I traveled home to celebrate my parents’ 49th wedding anniversary.  They met 54 years ago at a Marquette University football game.  (That in and of itself tells those familiar with Marquette how long ago their meeting happened!)

            Darling Sister and I decided that their bedding was in dire need of refreshing, so we purchased a new comforter, shams, sheets, blankets, dust ruffle – the whole nine yards.  Looks wonderful, if I do say so myself.  Mom and Dad were delighted.

            Then Darling Baby Brother offers his gift.  DBB is a seminarian, and so has some pull us mere mortals don’t…or at least, connections to those who have pull.

            His gift?  An Apostolic Blessing.  From THE POPE.

            Trumped by our little brother.  Wonder how he’s going to top that next year.

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