Category Archives: Uncategorized

March 4, 2009, 4:20 pm

New Job


I guess I can officially announce that I am moving. This summer I will take on the role of Assistant University Librarian for Outreach and Academic Services at the University of California, Santa Barbara .

The campus is on the beach, has five Nobel Prize winners, a top 50 ranking by US News, and according to Wikipedia has a reputation as a party school.

I am excited about the work ahead. This should be a good growth opportunity. Hopefully I can make some positive contributions to the library, the campus, and the UC System. The students I've spoken with seem to really care about the library. So that's a good place to start.

I'm going to miss ACC & SEC Football because honestly the Pac 10 is weak.

So that's that. I'll have a few more Georgia Tech blog posts coming over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

February 21, 2009, 12:03 pm

File Sharers Swap Scholarly Materials Too: a glimpse into the real world of “open access”

For legal purposes, this post is a work of fiction. I do not endorse illegal file sharing, nor do I know anyone who participates in such terrible and illicit behavior. Any apparent violation of copyright is for demonstrative purposes only.

A student sent me a direct twitter message Friday afternoon asking about a book he needed for a paper. I didn't have my phone on me so I wasn't able to respond right away. A few hours later he messaged again saying he was able to find the book online, so not to worry about helping him. (Note: the book was not in our collection, but a library in our consortium bought it as an ebook and so that showed up in our shared catalog. However, he could not access their copy.) We messaged back and forth a little later that evening and I discovered that he found the item in PDF via bit torrent.

This fascinated me because I knew that these “criminal” web…

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February 16, 2009, 8:59 am

10 things your web team should talk about and oh yeah, Library 2.1

I noticed that I get a lot of readers whenever I post about “web stuff’ so here you go. A peek at a few of the things I’ve been working on:


Web Design Matters: Ten essentials for any library site

Library Journal, 2.15.09


Looking for what’s next: Is it time to start talking about Library 2.1? (preprint)

Journal of Web Librarianship, v 3(2)


Note: LJ contacted me about writing the "10 things" article. If you think I missed something or want to suggest #11, go for it in the comments, just be nice.


Oh yeah, and Shaq still has it!

February 11, 2009, 7:38 am

Looking for the next big gaming trend?

It seems that librarians are always looking for the next big gaming trend. Here you go: Speed Sudoku


And just for kicks, take a look at the my queue. Netflix is killing me with the long waits.


February 3, 2009, 1:26 pm

iPhone Apps and the Library (if you can’t build one, join one)

I think it would be cool to design and develop an iPhone app.  However I know I am biased because I love my iPhone. Leaving my personal thoughts aside, it is not a priority for my library right now.  I think DCPL and WorldCat are doing interesting work and I am content to live vicariously through them.

However, that doesn’t exclude me for reaching users via their iPhones. At Georgia Tech a group of students built an app designed for the GT community. The core feature is that the app makes it easy to login to the campus wireless system. The normal way is a pain, but the GT app makes it very convenient. It also provides functional links to things like the real-time bus schedule, campus email, a campus map and the course management system. In short it is gives students the tools they need/want all in one spot.

I emailed the developers and asked them to considering adding the library’s…

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January 30, 2009, 8:46 am

Cover Art Controversy!

I guess that there is a dearth of library stock photos. Take a look at the cover of my book and then at Rachel Singer Gordon's new book :

 Marketing_Todays_Academic_Library  WhatsTheAlternative

Interesting huh? Different publishers, but similar designs, yes? Rachel has many more subscribers than I do, so perhaps a few people will mistakenly purchase my book instead. Hmmm, I wonder if maybe Lauren Pressley's new book will share our same cover art too?

Thanks to a loyal reader for discovering this. I promise that I have not given up on DBL .

In other cover art news. A forthcoming book by Emory librarians features the Georgia Tech Library on the cover. The West Commons is nice and all, but I would have gone with the East Commons because it looks more modern. I have seen C. Forrest present before and he is pretty good, so I am sure that his book will be interesting as well. See, put Tech on the cover and I'll sell for you.

January 8, 2009, 1:14 pm

from our design charrette today

Watch high quality version 

January 6, 2009, 8:49 am

Do you want to appear smarter? Show some empathy.

I hope everyone had a nice break. I always only seem to be able to accomplish half of the tasks I set out to do. This break was filled with many distractions. One of them was an afternoon with LibQUAL+,  but I found something interesting.

It started with a question:  is there a connection between how knowledgeable a person is perceived with the level of friendliness that they offer. Another way of looking at: during a customer service interaction, do we perceive people who are nice to be more competent?  My hypothesis was that there would be a strong correlation in the LibQUAL+ data between “knowledgeable” and “caring” or “courteousness.” I was partially correct.

I looked at the undergraduate data from 84 schools (mostly ARL) and ran the correlation formula on the perception ratings for all of the customer service questions. I compared them with “employees who have the…

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December 18, 2008, 12:29 pm

While Reference Stats Decline, Oregon surges +51%. A glimpse at some ARL outliers

I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers this week and it is a great book… but I like all his stuff. The section on Asian students and math/work ethic is really good and I really liked his analysis on sports and age limit deadlines. There is also some good parenting advice in there as well.

Anyway, my colleague Jon Bodnar and I are working on a handful of writing projects and this theme of outliers started to standout for me. We are currently processing a ton of ARL stats and I became very interested in the idea of who is outperforming the overall trends. This post is in no why authoritative, statistically valid, or what have you—just something I found interesting and that wanted to share. Jon’s office is right beside mine and so we’ve been discovering these types of epiphanies all week long.  It has been a good week.

Reference Questions
Overall the trend is downward. Nothing new here…

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December 8, 2008, 8:41 am

Tell me about your laptop – what libraries can do to provide support

Laptop1  Laptop2  Laptop3

At Georgia Tech we have policy that all incoming freshmen are supposed to have laptops. Gone are the days of the desktop—it is all mobile now! We started to notice heavy laptop use throughout the building awhile ago, but never really thought too much of it other than beefing up wireless. With our last renovation we also tried to provide more table space and power so that students could use their laptops…  but there is a feel that we could be doing more.

An interesting discovery, although not that surprising, is that during the day about 1 out of 4 students in the library (not at a computer) are using their laptops, while at night 5 out of 6 people are using laptops. This doesn’t take into account people working at desktops who are also using their laptops. This huge day/night surge is evidence that most students don’t carry them to class, but in the evening bring them…

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