June 7, 2012, 8:03 pm
Just got off the phone with Eric Ries and I’m sure I came off as a total fan boy. His work was a huge influence on my white paper. Anyway, we talked about lean startup in higher education. Here are a few notes: (typed super quickly)
Change the Content/Context
He made the common argument that universities were designed for a different era, and that even newly launched universities follow the same old model. He talked a bit about this with the Washington Post.
The problem he sees is that this worked with the older social contract: you attend, get degree, get into a profession, and then retire. The problem is that this social contract is being re-negotiated by the job market—and universities are still operating under the old contract.
Eric is an evangelist for entrepreneurialism—he argues that this skillset/mindset is invaluable to…
June 6, 2012, 4:04 pm
Let’s keep this rolling for all the ubiquitous librarians out there. I want to post more but the tradeoff is that I need to write less. You know, only so much time in the day/night…
I mentioned back in January that Char Booth and I were working on a project together. That’s finally wrapped up and we packaged it all together:
Understanding the Learner Experience: Threshold Concepts and Curriculum Mapping
There is a paper along with links to a video of our presentation and some slides. I’ll let the content speak for itself, but I wanted to highlight a few things:
- It was great working with Char. I tend to push things a bit far sometimes and she pushes ideas even further. Not only is she a good designer but is also skilled at the art of rhetoric too. Char and I are interested in working together again in late 2013 or 2014, so if someone has an interesting…
May 30, 2012, 9:10 pm
I spent time in California interviewing graduate students about their work processes. Something that stood out to me was how science and engineering students typically looked for people (rather than subject headings) during the information gathering stage. The objective was to find researchers working in particular areas and then mine their websites for additional papers. That’s exactly the approach that Scholrly hopes to improve upon.
I first came across Scholrly about a year ago when a friend of a friend liked them on Facebook. I explored and this is what I found:
“Scholrly aims to give its users, from the garage inventor to the tenured professor, a single stop for finding research connections and insights faster than ever before.”
I spoke with co-founder Corbin Pon last August and followed their development. Over the past year they’ve worked with faculty at…
May 18, 2012, 1:59 pm
Last weekend I went to Target to do a little Mother’s Day shopping and I walked into a branded environment. I’ve written about this before for television and social media, but this example was implemented in a physical space.
Let me backup and say that renovation is in the air at Virginia Tech and I’ve been studying/observing a variety of retail experiences—from service transactions to the display of merchandise to wayfinding to in-store traffic patterns. I’ll share more in a future post, but I think that there is a lot that libraries can learn from commercial enterprise in terms of moving people through space and grabbing their interest along the way.
So Target— they recently launched The Shops. In a nutshell, they selected a handful of regional retail stores and packaged their goods (or you could say they curated their collections) and brought them into …
April 17, 2012, 9:09 pm
I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone for their interest in my startup paper. It cracked 10,000 views in less than two weeks. I honestly thought I might hit 1,000 in a month, but it seems that this paper really resonated with many people. I received lots of email from librarians at different levels sharing their frustration with moving their organizations forward. This next decade is going to be a tough one, but we need leaders committed to progress.
My paper was intended to be a framework for conversation about organizational transformation. I’m not literarily saying you should operate like a startup. Most people got that, which is cool.
Anyway, thanks again for the interest and for sharing the document widely with your colleagues. A special thanks to the city of Seattle who downloaded this thing in droves. And France– what happened between us? You use…
April 4, 2012, 1:19 pm
This project has been in the works for a long time. I think that the initial seed was planted during my time at Georgia Tech. It simmered while I was out in California. And it crystalized as soon as I arrived in Blacksburg. I thought this document would be a one-pager that I could finish over a weekend, but it grew into something much more involved.
I’ve been fascinated with startup culture for a long time and as I considered all the changes happening in academic libraries (and higher ed) the parallels were quite stunning. No, we’re not developing new products to bring to market, and no, we’re not striving for an IPO payday, but we are being required to rethink/rebuild/repurpose what a library is and what it does. The next twenty years are going to be an interestingly chaotic time for the history of our institutions.
Here’s a snippet that frames the paper:
April 3, 2012, 2:38 pm
“Content, not containers!” This has been a library theme for a while now: unbundling the meat from the sandwich. It’s about the text and/or images, not necessary the printed vessel. As scholarly material migrates to digital platforms, the focus is on the content, not the boundaries of “journals” or “books.”
I could go along with that, for the most part, until yesterday. Here’s what happened.
There has been a lot of talk around the office lately about The Fourth Paradigm. Even our school newspaper is in on this thread, reporting about the emerging “third pillar of science.”
Yesterday I downloaded The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, which is a free PDF. Thanks Microsoft. I’m reading it on my iPad via my Kindle app and everything is fine, right? No! It’s not a Kindle book. It doesn’t allow me take notes, share…
March 29, 2012, 2:52 pm
This article has been lingering in my subconscious: How Companies Learn Your Secrets
There are good insights into companies monitoring buying habits with the goal of building better relationships. This is the main takeaway:
Once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them. There are, however, some brief periods in a person’s life when old routines fall apart and buying habits are suddenly in flux.
Having a baby is one of those critical moments when everything becomes chaotic and new habits are formed. Target is on the lookout for women who start purchasing prenatal vitamins with the assumption that they are pregnant and hence, they can start advising or conversing with them along those lines. Target tries to position itself as the one-stop-shop for the busy mom. Amazon is also in on this as they offer a free year of Amazon Prime to new…
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…
March 6, 2012, 6:58 pm
[I started this post during lunch with the intent of writing 600 concise words about my recent ebook experience, but that grew to double the length and became a stream-of-conscious vision statement about how I want to use digital content. In short: you’ve been warned!]
I’m a big fan of print. As much as I love the web I’m still very print oriented in my personal reading life. But that might be changing…
I’ve been enjoying Where Good Ideas Come From — it’s page after page of epiphanies. As I was reading it I kept taking notes or bending pages… and I then realized it would be so much easier to highlight and annotate content in a digital format. So I purchased a digital version of the book. (The book is that good! I mean come on– his chapter on Adjacent Possible is all about the kernel of library science and discovery.)
Anyway, in my case…