Category Archives: Uncategorized

July 25, 2008, 7:04 am

The Rough Draft



Weighing in at 68,151 words and 223 pages [Verdana, 10 pt, dbl sp] is my super rough draft.* This is a very conceptual version of the book. Weeks of editing lie ahead, but all the ideas are now down in place. I’m trying to make a September 1st deadline. Overall I think that it turned out to be a good narrative and hopefully a few librarians will find some value in it.

Read More

July 16, 2008, 7:10 am

When does a leader become a leader?

There is lot of anticipation throughout the building about our new Library Dean. It is only natural that people would be concerned when change is ahead. This prompts me to wonder: when does a leader become a leader. Obviously once she starts drawing a paycheck she owns the title, but in a philosophical way, when does she become the leader of the Georgia Tech Library. Does she have to reorganize? Does she have to launch a renovation or a big project? At what point does the crossover occur? When and how does she go from being “the dean from that other school” to “our dean?”


Her second day on the job will be our Read More

July 3, 2008, 1:45 pm

Upcoming Library User Studies Forum


I’m involved with a project that is coming together nicely. ASERL, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries in collaboration with Auburn U and unofficially Georgia Tech, is hosting a one day event about user studies. More info here.

It will set you back $175, but it’s a new fiscal year, so spend the money! The date is approaching: Thursday, July 31, 2008. Right now it is limited to ASERL schools, but it goes nationwide on Tuesday (July 8th). We’ve capped it at 100 participants so hopefully we can keep it intimate, unlike those huge ballrooms at ALA.

I am really happy about the speakers we’ve got:

Bonnie MacEwan (Auburn)
Crit Stuart (ARL, formally of Georgia Tech)
John Law (ProQuest)

Read More

June 19, 2008, 7:48 am

Partnering (an example from UCSB)

I’m deep in the cave right now—ten weeks left to finish up the book. (Sorry if you don’t hear much from me—grinding it out.) I have someone targeted for the Foreword and I really hope he agrees to do it… someone from outside of the library world.

We’ve got a new dean starting later this summer—you never know what to expect when a new CEO comes in, but you have to hope for the best. Hopefully the ubiquity can continue.

This week I am working on a chapter about measuring the impact of promotional activities. This is a question that always comes up on the conference circuit, so hopefully this will provide me with more acceptable answers during Q&A. Whenever you’re talking to those BIG ARL’s it’s always about assessment rather than creativity.

It’s been a while, so here is something fun.

I’m really digging the free massage idea at UCSB. And no, it’s not something out…

Read More

May 29, 2008, 7:41 am

Back In My Day: Emory Professor Complains

We have a speaker scheduled this afternoon who exuberates elitism– an English professor from Emory hyping his new book that complains about the kids today. You know the story, they don’t read books, texting has killed grammar, facebook has replaced real conversations, video games and TV are bad, and so forth.

I’m all for the open exchange of ideas and I think it fits with our desire to be a public forum, but I worry about the message. I think he is off-brand. Our goal is to empower students, not insult them. I mean, The Dumbest Generation, seriously? Looking at his work, he seems like a character out of conservative talk radio, or one of those traveling campus preachers crying out about how sex is sin. I actually feel sorry for the guy.

I thought about organizing a public response, something flash mob style where you fill the room with students and then ten minutes into his talk the…

Read More

May 27, 2008, 10:10 am

Georgia State University Library – a few observations

Two weeks ago I visited the GSU Library a few blocks down the road from us. They recently completed a $23 million renovation and I was curious what they did with the space. Charging students a $35 fee per semester gets you a lot of change to work with—I wish we had a $5 library fee so that we could develop new spaces every few years.

Overall, the building felt very open and featured a lot of natural light. They are located in the heart of downtown ATL, so there are lots of interesting skyline views from all directions. The furniture and décor felt a little 50’s retro to me—I guess if you like that style that's one thing… most of our furniture on the upper floors is genuinely from that era, so I was hoping to see something fantastically contemporary. (Something fly!) Oh and the marble coffee tables seemed a bit gaudy, sorry, but with the trend toward flexibility I’m not really …

Read More

May 21, 2008, 12:32 pm

Playing with Thunder

 Today I got a peek at Thunder from Polyvision (Steel Case) – they spin it as a “real time global collaboration system” – it’s an interesting way to share and create information. It pushes the boundaries of the desktop and/or wall space.

Their brochure will probably explain it better than I can, but a few highlights:

  • It’s like having multiple whiteboard/flipcharts — except digital.
  • It displays anything you have on a computer: web, video, software, etc — as well external devices, such as DVDs, cell phone or on a document camera.
  • It removes the barrier of space—people can connect, share, and control remotely.
  • It support voice—via phone, Skype, microphone
  • It looks cool!

I saw a demo at their headquarters, but Miami University (in Ohio, not the Hurricanes) offers Thunder in their library: read about it here.

While it might be a bit much for a group study room setting, …

Read More

May 20, 2008, 9:00 am

Phantom Spills at the UGA Library

The University of Georgia has placed me in an indefensible position. They claim that I damaged a book.

“The book was returned to us with extensive liquid damage, stained and still wet leading to mold damage.”

I disagree! The book never left my office and never came into contact with any liquid. However it doesn’t matter– the fault is always on the user. This situation always favors the House. Anything that I have to say is irreverent. They are right, I am wrong. Your $97.30 is in the mail.

Interestingly enough, the item shows up as available in their catalog. Don’t you think they should have marked it in some way to let patrons know that it is not on the shelf?

Here is a blast from the past. How about them dawgs?


May 2, 2008, 7:36 am

End of the Spring Semester – riding the M Train

Today is our last day of finals. Campus is clearing out quickly. Time to prep for a new batch of incoming freshmen.

My manuscript is due to ALA in Sept and the book will be out in Feb– so that’s where I’m at right now. It’s been an interestingly fun and frustrating experience and the last few chapters are shaping up nicely.

Something a little light for today. Here is a great promotional video that some students produced for the College of Management. Don’t waste your time on science and engineering, ride the M-train.

April 30, 2008, 8:29 am

Librarian as Recruiter

I’ve written about my efforts to reach students before they arrive on campus, but what about pushing it even further? What about convincing them to attend your school?

I was invited to an open-house weekend for prospective engineering graduate students, but could not attend due to a scheduling conflict. I was later included on an email to faculty urging us to contact candidates who had been accepted but were still considering their options.

This was an interesting insight because you often read about the drama of athletic recruiting, and it appears that the same thing happens (on a much smaller and less sexier scale) for academics as well.

I could see that we had top prospects in mechatronics, manufacturing, and thermal sciences. Just like a running back’s sprint time, I could see their undergraduate GPA and GRE scores. As well as the University they attended and whether or not we …

Read More