March 12, 2012, 3:46 pm
I had a vivid dream last night. I typically forget all my dreams, but this one stood out. In this world no one spoke directly to each other. Everyone was a ventriloquist and used dummies or puppets to communicate. I walked through restaurants, grocery stores, malls and a few other common locations– and everyone had their avatar on their hand. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for iPhones and digital devices and social media and how they are disconnecting traditional social interactions – but that seems too obvious. I think the larger message is centered on the need to evolve with mainstream communication preferences and practices.
In the dream I didn’t have a dummy/puppet/avatar and hence everyone I tried to interact with just ignored me. This is likely a confluence of several things. I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of libraries, the future of information, the future of…
February 10, 2012, 6:59 pm
Software. I’ve been hearing a lot about visualization lately. Obviously it’s been around a awhile, but it’s gathering new interest from more popular audiences. As these tools/techniques become more readily available and easier to use, visualization will likely become a prominent communications outlet. I will not only read an article but also be able to manipulate the adjoining data. Aspiring librarians should invest in developing visualization and visual literacy skills. This is a logical extension of multimedia and new media and it applies to both scholarly and popular contexts. Here’s an app to get you started.
Research libraries have long been building infrastructure to support data management and the UC has even recently launched a data plan generation tool. It seems to next step is the development of an open-source, user-friendly, discipline scalable visualization tool. …
October 13, 2011, 5:20 pm
UCSB's Ole checking out some books
A core theme I see in LibQUAL+ data is that most libraries do pretty well in the service dimension, but when it comes to enabling users to help themselves their perceptions are typically much lower.
When you put all the numbers together the narrative goes something like this:
You’re pretty good at helping me, thanks, but I’d really prefer to do more things by myself—and by the way, you don’t make that very easy for me.
But is this changing? Over the past several months (years?) a common theme seems to popping up everywhere: self-service. A few examples:
February 1, 2011, 10:50 am
Drupal has been a huge hump to climb. I wish I was writing today to share news about our website launch, but regrettably we’re still working at it. Still pushing the rock up the hill and dutifully coming back down to try it again when setbacks arrive. This process has been marred with so many unexpected challenges—one day I hope to be able to share this epic tale of determination.
The short version is that we lost two programmers in January so that has stalled our production significantly. Thankfully we've been working all along with a great design firm, PING V, who are Drupal experts. If you are considering moving into Drup I highly recommend them.
In more positive news… one of the big efforts we’ve made is tackling hundreds of pages that have been written over the years by numerous people and editing them for consistently. This has been a laborious task—getting the…
January 18, 2011, 9:53 am
Like many campuses we do a “one book” program every year. We purchase a ton of print copies, host a variety events, activities, and exhibits, and bring in the author for a public lecture. We also work with our local public library system and schools (including high schools) to push a common reading experience and dialogue around a thought-provoking interdisciplinary topic. (campus press release)
Last week we kicked off our event by giving away 2,000+ plus print copies. In less than 3 hours we gave away 1,700 books. Before we started there were several hundred students (and some faculty) waiting in line. This is the fifth year of the program and it is great to see people get excited about receiving a book. I’ve enjoyed walking around campus and seeing those bright orange book covers everywhere I look.
This time around I wanted to dabble with something a little different and so…
July 28, 2010, 12:01 pm
In recent months I’ve
noticed numerous people finding my blog by searching for things like “library
iphone app.” They are finding my post: iPhone
Apps and the Library (if you can’t build one, join one) What I found admirable about that
project was that it was student driven. The students, rather than the campus,
saw a need and filled it.
UCSB we don’t have that option. Our library mobile presence has been on the
backburner for a while, but let me share our story so far—
Through a chance
conversation I heard a rumor that someone was exploring a campus-wide iPhone
app. I asked around and got a lot of “no idea what you’re talking about” but finally
pinned it down to a programmer in Student Affairs who was working on a
I met with him in April and we
had a very inspiring talk. He shared that 30% of the web traffic they get to
the course registration …
May 19, 2010, 12:39 pm
Lately… I’ve been thinking about Steven Bell’s piece
regarding the demise of the academic library website… or rather, its evolution. I
can’t prove it, but I’m pretty certain he told me once that he envisioned
library websites becoming “just libguides.”
At first I was dismissive. I imagined a homepage with a long
list of subjects or courses that would filter the user into the appropriate guide.
But now I’m thinking maybe this is the right path for us to take. My staff (and probably yours
too) spends an enormous amount of time and energy working
on our web presence. But what if we chucked it all and just used LibGuides?
0% chance of that actually happening and I’m not entirely serious
about it just yet. But ask me in two years and my perspective could be
What’s interesting is the
artistry of our websites. While we all pretty much offer the same…
April 28, 2010, 1:32 pm
I’ve been thinking a lot about computers in libraries
lately. I’m talking about
hardware, not web 2,0 stuff. I’m really hopeful that my library is able to
upgrade its public computers and move to thin clients this summer,
but enough systems talk.
The topic of computer access comes up regularly in my Next Steps
interviews. Directors in all types of libraries seem to be pondering the same
thing: reducing the number of desktops and move to something else. Interest in
mobile devices continues to rise and it is very possible that we’ll move to
purely wireless machines such as laptops and iPads. Studies
show that people don’t typically carry their laptops around with them, so
it seems logical that libraries will need to beef up the lending of these devices. This appears to be the natural progression ahead of us. It also allows
patrons more flexibility in terms of where they can work…
April 8, 2010, 12:02 pm
One of the projects I’m working on right now is a web redesign. Actually I’m calling it a renovation because we’ve pretty much demolished everything and are rebuilding from scratch. This has been a very long process but I think I can see some light around the bend. Pushing for an August launch.
We’re moving into Drupal. This will give us a new look—a more modular flavor. It will change the workflow of managing our site and content, hopefully for the better. But regardless of the site’s architecture we’ve had some good conversations about what a library website should be. The trend (which I’m guilty of myself) has been to talk about features, rather than functions. We’re trying to make our site extremely useable, not in the sense of ease-of-use (although I hope for that too!) but rather as a core utility in the learning experience. There are some 2.0 elements, but…