Monthly Archives: October 2007


As promised, some California photos….

Lighthouse on the Pacific Coast…

Brian (aka DH) on the cliffs…

Monterey Bay.

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Advocacy 2.o

Aurora and I presented yesterday, and we were blogged by Kathy Dempsey of Information Today. Thanks, Kathy!

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Blending in

Librarians in the Networked Community

Chrystie Hill and Michael Porter
Chrystie – background
How librarians are blending into spaces beyond the reference desk
Turn of the century – 2000 “Bowling Alone” – decline of civic engagement in the US
Social capitol is declining in America. Robert Putnam. “Life is easier in a community blessed with a substantial stock of social capitol. Networks of civic engagement foster study norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage the emergence of social trust.” Community. Networks. Trust. Communication.

About the time that Putnam was publishing his research, librarians were putting public access computers into libraries.

People were discovering that they could self-publish their own work, find like-minded people. The participatory web. “Readers’ advisory on steroids.”

Time Magazine – “It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before.”

The social web is not controlled and not organized – and so some may find it a bit scary.

“Libraries must be part of society’s thinking about how we develop and nurture social as well as information networks.” Jean Preer, American Libraries, Sept 2001.

“Librarians have made retrieval and accuracy a god – disregarding what our users’ preferences are.”

Perceptions report: library=books.


examples of libraries being social nodes
atchison pl – kansas. blogging, connecting to community
arlington heights memorial library, ILL. iinstant chat, video blog
christ church city library, new zealand.
allen county public library, IN. link to community resources, including area artists.
clark county. “wi-fi zone” toolbars, playaways, e-books, etc.
orange co library, FLA. innovation at orange co library.
topeka/shaunee county. “Please take our survey.”
south carolina state library. social node.
webjunction connecticut, illinois. lots of social content
flickr groups. libraries and librarians. 365 library days project.

Uh-oh: 10% decrease in people using their library’s website between 2005 and 2007. (30 to 20%)

Something is broken: no place for people to represent them selves on library website, like social sites (ie, facebook)


Filed under ALA2007, Blogging

Opening Keynote: Lee Rainie

Representatives from 48 states, DC, and 11 countries are at Internet Librarian this year, with 1385 people attending. Record year.

Retronyms: term coined for an old object whose new name needs new clarification.
Internet Librarian – coined in 1993. Invites everyone to submit a retronym for a non-internet librarian.

Lee Rainie, Director at Pew Internet and American Life project

2.0 and the Internet World

Asks who’s blogging this – had an experience here with very positive blogging by attendees. Occasional snarky comments. Blogging is about community building and conversation.

8 hallmarks of the new digital ecosystem
– home media hallmarks are part of everyday life
– the internet especially broadband connectivity is at the center of the revolution
– new gadget allow people to enjoy media, gather information and carry on conversation anywhere. Wireless a big influence.
– ordinary citizens have a chance to be publishers, movie makers, artists, song creators and story tellers.
– all of those content creators have an audience.
– many are sharing what they know and what they feel online and that is building communities
– online Americans are customizing their online experience due to 2.0 tools.
– different people use these technologies in different ways

Surveyed assets (gadgets), what their actions were, and what their attitudes towards those gadgets was.
Found 10 user groups:
High end: Group 1 – Omnivores – 8% of the population. Have the most gadgets and services, whoch theu use voraciously.
High end Group 2 – Connectors – 7%. Connect to people with high levels of satisfaction.
High end – Group 3 – Lackluster Veterans. Frequent users of the internet and less avid about cell phones. They are not thrilled with ICT (internet connection technology) enabled connectivity.
High end Group 4 – Productivity Enhancers. Workers who like how the technology lets them do their work. Less likely to use broadband at home.
Middle end Group 1 – Mobile Centrics. Fully embrace the functionality of their cell phones. They use the internet but not often and like how ICTs connect them to others.
Middle end Group 2- Connected but Hassled. Invested in a lot of technology but they find connectivity intrusive and information something of a burden.
Low end Group 1 – Inexperienced Experimenters. Occasionally take advantage of interactivity but if they had more experience they might do more with ICTs.
Low end Group 2 – Light but Satisfied. They have some technology but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. These are the folks you have to call and tell them to check their email.
Low end group 3 – Indifferents. Despite having either a cell phone or online access these users use ICTs only intermittently. Make a choice to not use some of these tools.
Low end group 4 – Off the Network. Neither cell phones nor internet connectivity. Tend to be older adults who are content with the old media.

– large low-tech crowd 49%
– small technophile group 8%

Far from the “mature phase” of ICT adoption and use in the US
– lots of tech capability idle in people’s hands and homes

Demand pull dimension of technology adoption lags supply push considerably

Take the quiz.

All of this connectivity changes our lives in important ways
volume of info grows – long tail expands
velocity of info increases – “smart mobs” emerge
venues of intersecting with people and info multiply – place shifting and time shifting occurs – “absent presence” occurs
venturing for info changes – search strategies and search expectations spread in the Google era
vigilance for info transforms – attention is truncated (continuous partial attention) and elongated (deep dives)
valence or relevance of info improves – “daily me”
vetting of info becomes more social – credibility tests change as people ping their social networks
viewing of info is disaggregated and becomes more horizontal – new reading strategies emerge as coping mechanisms
voting and ventilating about info proliferates – tagging, rating
invention of info and the visibility of new creators is enabled

Be confident in what you already know about how to meet people’s reference and entertainment (enlightenment) needs.

Lee is engaging and entertaining, and speaks even faster than I do (and that’s saying something.) His talks are always informative and thought-provoking. Whenever I get the chance to hear him speak, I jump at it!

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Filed under ALA2007, Blogging


Ah, California.

Aurora, DH and I arrived in California yesterday, on our way to Internet Librarian in sunny….or, rather, overcast and damp Monterey. We flew into San Francisco and drove Highway 1 down the Pacific coast. Lovely, lovely, lovely. And full of pumpkins. Every hundred feet or so, there was a sign for a pumpkin farm. I had no idea Californians were so into pumpkins. And hay rides. And corn mazes.

Photos will be posted as soon as I can wrestle the camera away from DH….

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Wonders and Woes

The Internet can be a wonderful thing…..and a problem.

Years ago, I decided to trace my ancestry. My maiden name, Sancomb, is quite unusual. When I started to trace my ancestry, I came to a dead end at my great-great-great grandfather, Charles. The name just….stopped.

Wandering through the web was a relatively new thing at the time, as were the genealogical sites that were springing up. Through one of these sites, I connected with a delightful man named Georges Bellavance. Turns out, there’s a whole organization based on one family, and they trace the family’s descendants. Georges had traced the name TO my Charles, and I had the rest of the story. (I spoke with Georges on the phone one day. He sounded just like Maurice Chevalier.)

When we connected the dots, we had a genealogy that traced back to my ancestor, Pierre Gagne, who immigrated to Ste. Anne de Beaupre, Quebec….in 1653. (!!!) As it happens, the French Canadians were fond of giving themselves “dit” names – variations on the surname to differentiate themselves. In the case of our family, the name was Gagne dit St. Come. If you say “St. Come” with a French accent, you can see how the initial census takers in New York changed the spelling to Sancomb. Bellavance, Georges’ surname, is another of the Gagne dit names.

So when my g-g-g-grandfather immigrated from Quebec to Chateaugay, New York in the 1830’s, he was Charles Gagne dit St. Come. His son was Louis St. Come. The next generation was Sancomb, and the new spelling stuck from there.

Armed with my new-found knowledge of the family tree, I wandered back onto those boards to share. I connected with a distant cousin (4th or 5th, I think) who was searching and shared what I knew. Unfortunately, a few other folks had gathered what they thought was correct information, and so this cousin was torn between what I was saying and what others were insisting was correct.

I just heard from that cousin. She tracked me down from my former email (good thing I’m pretty Google-able) and shared her journey with me. Turns out, the information that the other folks have is just plain wrong – at least, in the case of our family tree. She has done a lot of research, and what Georges and I had found was the actual genealogical path. Jeanette and I are truly related.

So here’s the rub. There’s a LOT of information out there. And there are a lot of people who purport to be experts and have the answers. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

And the point of this whole shaggy dog story? As we continue exploring this marvelous Internet, more and more we are finding….well….crap. The tools are making it easier and easier to people to create web pages, or to add content to sites. Some of the time, it’s great. Sometimes, not so much. Part of our jobs as information professionals is to help people discern the good from the bad.

The wonder? Finding your family history and discovering a cousin. The woe? In my cousin’s case, being taken down the wrong path. Help your patrons find the right path.


Filed under Me and mine

Information R/evolution

Here’s a wonderful and thought-provoking piece on information and how it’s changing from Professor Michael Wesch of Kansas State University..

Hat tip: Librarian Woes

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Techie stuff

Phished, update

Well, “Briana” contacted me again this morning.  Surprise of surprises, the deposit company where the theoretical $800,000 resides wants some information about me.  What was a bit chilling is that the information they want is my passport number.  I had been expecting a request for my social security number, but passport?  Is this some group looking for legit passport numbers in order to forge US passports?  <shudder>

I contacted the Department of Public Safety, and while talking to them, attached the transcripts of the chats.  They now have all they need in the way of evidence to pass it upstairs for investigation.  Hopefully, they’ll catch this jerk before he can snag some unsuspecting person into giving him what he wants.

Again, this speaks strongly to librarians educating our patrons – especially our elderly patrons, who are more susceptible to this sort of crime.

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Filed under Me and mine, Miscellaneous

Trainer, Part Two

Trainer, part two.

In order to provide technology training, you do not need to know everything there is about technology! Everyone has pockets of what they know.

If you don’t have a computer lab, how to do technology training? Can offer classes before the library opens for the day. Technology training doesn’t always need to be hands-on. Sometimes people need the awareness of what’s there. Can do a ten-minute presentation and then turn them loose on the computers to try it themselves. Letting people loose to learn and explore by themselves is much messier, but tends to be the most effective. People don’t learn by doing exactly what you do – let them try on their own.

Innovative library technology training programs:
For patrons: Reading Public Library, Reading, Massachusetts. “Geek out, don’t freak out! – Digital Cameras” Patrons bring their own digital cameras to the class and they figure it out together. There tended to be a lot of interaction within the class, with students helping each other.

Also have a program called Netguides, where patrons can sign up for a one-on-one training session. The netguides are students trained at the library to provide patrons with one-on-one techology answers and personalized instruction.

For staff: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Learning 2.0 and the 23 Things. 23 things that you can do on the web to expand your knowledge of the Internet. Every staff member who completed the program will recieve an MP3 player, and were entered into a drawing for a laptop.

Discussions of different problematic training scenarios and possible solutions.

The session wrapped up with a tour of five online sites for library technology trainers: Webjunction, Library Instruction Wiki,
Infopeople, CLENE, and Librarians with Class.

Originally posted on SELCO Librarian.

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship, Techie stuff

Each of us is a Trainer

Training the public, staff, and volunteer on technology.

Brenda Hough of the Northeast Kansas Library System was here at MPOW talking about training. Brenda also facilitates an online series with WebJunction called “InFocus,” which features monthly one-hour presentations on topics of interest to people working in rural libraries. Her previous professional experience includes working as a trainer and staff development coordinator in the US Library Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and as a reference librarian for Lake Agassiz Regional Library in Detroit Lakes, MN. Brenda is currently in the doctoral program at Emporia State University´s School of Library Information Management, and her dissertation topic is Wikipedia usage. In her spare time she enjoys biking, reading, kayaking, and travel.

Brenda introduced the session by talking about the wiki she designed for the workshop.  She explained that a wiki is a website that is set up to allow multiple people to contribute the the site.  The Rochester Public Library has a wiki as an intranet for staff.

Brenda advocates for PBWiki as an easy interface to create a wiki.   The hard thing is determining the content and then encouraging people to use it.  Libraries have tended to use the wiki for staff.  Many are using them as their file sharing site
instead of a separate server.

The St. Paul Public Library has a collection on the history of St. Paul.  An attendee from St. Paul is promoting the idea of a wiki for St. Paul, so anyone can contribute to the history of St. Paul.

Discussion of the possibility of vandalism on the wiki, with anonymous people wreaking havoc.  Comment from one attendee that he had written on desks as a kid – and that we will always deal with these kinds of messes to clean up.  At this point, it tends to be technological cleanup.

Set up technology training wiki for public training?  Tutorials on how to use a mouse, etc.

Why do you want to provide technology training?  Seniors who don’t have basic computer skills. Patron wants to use the computer but isn’t computer savvy – the time it takes to train a patron individually can be a problem so classes would be more efficient.  Staff have a hard time moving out of basic skills – would like to train staff to do better searching and expand their skills and use other tools.

Need for proper searching techniques.  Question about whether Wikipedia is considered a “reliable source.”  Need to teach patrons to be good information consumers, and teach how to evaluate a website.  Need to teach computer safety, so that patrons can protect themselves from internet predators.  Teach the use of computer language to use – toolbar, etc.  Searches are all about langualge, too – need to teach the proper language to do an effective search.  Clubs and groups have online sites.  Job applications are online, as well as government information and applications.

Need to resist the temptation to take over the mouse and “drive.”  Need to let the patron do the work, so they will learn. Provide opportunities for them to have some success.  Use consistent language throughout.  Use techie terms if appropriate.  Start  small.

Online databases are underutilized, and so this is a training area.  Target the classes to specific patron interests, like genealogy.

Libraries tend to try to be everything to all people.  We’re more effective if we target audiences.  Example – Wyoming State Library’s mudflap girl, which was sent out to all auto repair shops to advertise the availability to auto repair databases through the libraries.

A good trainer isn’t the sage on the stage, but the guide on the side.  Provide the opportunity for people to interact with the technology, and be there to assist.  Many libraries will have an open lab, instead of a formal class, which allows people to address specific issues or questions that they might have.

Just In Time training very important, and tends to be the way most patrons learn about technology and databases and the ways to use the internet.  Discussion of “teachable moments” where we miss the opportunity to teach patrons because we’re standoffish, or impatient, or incredulous.  This training tends to be the most popular kind of training in libraries.  Give instructions slowly, allowing the user time to orient themselves to the screen.  Ask questions and watch for clues to help assess the user’s level of computer knowledge and lever of interest in learning and alter your approach accordingly.  Take advantage of teachable moments!

People see libraries as a place to go to, not a place online.  Barrier – need the library card number to access the databases.  Some systems are using GPS for authentication of databases, rather than needing a library card number.

Essential qualities of a trainer – the most technological person on the staff is not necessarily the best trainer.   Should be patient and a good listener, with empathy for the students.

More after the break!

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship, Techie stuff