November 24, 2014, 2:58 pm
A few weeks ago I met Brian Croxall and learned about Emoryâ€™s Center for Digital Scholarship. I thought it was interesting that it began as a research commons for faculty and graduate studentsâ€¦ but that it went underutilized. They re-worked the concept and built a co-working environment filled with experts in data, gis, digital humanities, pedagogy, educational technology, and other specialties. The team works together in shared space, but also offers open work areas for faculty to come in and collaborate with them.
Increasingly Iâ€™m hearing more about librarians-as-consultants: how we can help guide your teaching and research activities in new directions. Here is a snippet from the Centerâ€™s website:
Â â€śâ€¦provides consultation and support for digital teaching, research, publishing, and preservation. We offer faculty and students the space, expertise, and project…
November 11, 2014, 3:25 pm
I have a new paper to share with you: Engines For Change: Libraries as drivers of engagement.Â This essay is based on a keynote I gave at Entre Lib:Â Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians back in May 2013. The theme of the conference was Social Entrepreneurship in Action. It has taken me a long time to write this because it is the most personal of my papers.
My talk was 90 minutes so the first half explored the concept of social entrepreneurship, while the second half applied that to libraries. I tried to use the same structure in the paper but it was over 10,000 words. I chopped it down to 4,000, but I probably should have broken it into two separate papers. I regret editing out Bill Drayton, but Iâ€™ll do a whole blog posted based on his work.
I wrote 80% of the paper last summer and then sat on it for a year. Over the last month I have been reflecting on my time at UC Santa …
October 28, 2014, 8:50 pm
I met with a group of students earlier this month and the topic of eBooks came up. They unanimously expressed a preference for print. I was curious. What I found was that none of them had read a book on an eBook Reader. Their exposure was limited to viewing content via a web browser on a laptop. I donâ€™t consider that reading an eBook.
Hereâ€™s the thing: itâ€™s been a few weeks now and Iâ€™m still thinking about those students. Somehow I feel responsible for their development. I donâ€™t necessarily want to convert them all into Kindle customers but Iâ€™m thinking about their careers. The question that is nagging me:
In ten years will students be at a disadvantage if they are not proficient with various forms of digital content?
Itâ€™s one thing to prefer print, but if you are completely uncomfortable and absent in the digital ecosystem, does that hurt your prospects?
September 19, 2014, 2:15 pm
Why do people who love libraries love libraries? This has been on my mind a lot lately. Whenever I find a patron who is passionate about their library I try to decode those tangible and intangible qualities that made the experience so powerful for them.
Our libraryâ€™s feedback form a great source of insight. Each semester we have a handful of students point out customer service problems, confusing policies, or facilities issues. They are telling us these things because they care and want us to improve. We address matters when we can. For example, one student suggested a new software configuration in our scale-up classroom that we enacted and it greatly improved usability.
This week I had a student share an opinion about our bathrooms. She was frustrated because while we are renovating some parts of our library we are not upgrading the restrooms. Our original building is from the 1…
August 7, 2014, 2:14 pm
This summer my library went through a strategic realignment. We had the convergence of numerous retirements and other departures that presented us with an opportunity to look across the entire organization and consider some adjustments.
The driving factor behind this effort was to better align the library with theÂ Universityâ€™s strategic directions. New priorities are emerging across campus and we needed to position ourselves to participate and partner more fully. And yes, Iâ€™m aware thatâ€™s admin-speak.
One theme we focused on wasÂ research. Previously we had two areas that shared this same word:
Research and Instruction Services
Research and Informatics
We decided to define our concept of research around activities such as data curation, scholarly communication, publishing services, repositories, and technology development. This is very different from the traditional…
July 24, 2014, 10:42 am
I recently published an essay in portal. It explores the mindset (and toolkit) of futurists and attempts to connect that to libraries. I blogged about it earlier with the idea of â€śchange literacyâ€ťâ€”which I still think is a fascinating concept.
The portal version is fine, but I canâ€™t legally post their PDF â€“ so I made my own. Besides that, academic publisher prints always look a little stodgy and grayish to me, no offense. I prefer a more uplifting wrapper for my words. Design is a vital part of the communications process and I Â like to have some control over how my ideas are presented.
Here is a snippet:
Librarians could discuss ad infinitum the predictions, proclamations, worries, fears, hopes, and dreams about what libraries are becoming. In fact, as a profession librarians are obsessed with talking about our future. Books, articles, blog posts, conference sessions, an…
July 18, 2014, 8:51 pm
Amazon just announced an All-You-Can-Read service: Unlimited Kindle. It offers a collection of over 600,000 eBook titles for a low price of $9.99 per month. If this truly includes all Kindle booksâ€”it is a game changer.
Take this Elsevier title for example. It sells for $102. Under the new model I could access this and hundreds of similar high quality titles for just $10 per month.
Or textbooks. Why pay nearly $200 each when you can probably get all your books for the entire semester for just $30. (3 months of access)
I did some quick math and it would cost us about $300,000 per month to offer this service to our campus community. Or about $3.8 million annuallyâ€”perhaps less depending on how summer enrollment is configured. Obviously Amazon will want to sell to individuals and not offer an institutional rate, but hypotheticallyÂ that’s the ballpark.
It will be…
July 7, 2014, 5:59 pm
I highly recommend reading: Â â€śARL STRATEGIC THINKING & DESIGN – membership meeting Columbus May 5â€“8, 2014.â€ť It is one of the most thought-provoking items Iâ€™ve seen from library-land in quite a while.
As someone on the younger side of library leadership, I sometimes worry about my role over the next few decades. Will it involve dismantling the print collections that librarians have invested the last century building? Will budget cuts greatly reduce staffing levels? Will we be constantly justifying our existence since everything is online?
There is a general bleakness about the future of higher education itself so it is easy to worry about the long-termÂ stewardshipÂ of our organizations. That’s what I appreciate about this document from the ARL sessions — Â it presents an optimistic andÂ opportunistic, bold vision for the future. Thanks ARL.
Here are some highlights:
June 5, 2014, 5:44 pm
Iâ€™ve been thinking about the phrase organizational imprinting a lot. The idea goes that organizations are formed around the economic, political, social, and technological realities of their time and that it is challenging to move on from the starting premise. Itâ€™s another way of saying â€śbut weâ€™ve always done it this way.â€ť
This imprinting concept appears frequently in the retail literature: â€śthe lens through which an organization views the world can be so badly obscured by its founding context that the organization becomes unable to change.â€ť
Doug Stephens (consumer futurist) offers these examples:
- Best Buy, founded in a world without the Internet, struggles today to find relevance now that online retail is ubiquitous and product selection has been redefined.
- Blockbuster video was born during a time without streaming digital content, and became victim of web-based…