Above the reading room at my favorite library (Wisconsin State Historical Society).
Since early 2008, my library has been providing reference help though instant messaging. We set up IM accounts with a number of services, and connect to them all through the IM client, Pidgin. We also installed a MeeboMe widget on our ask a librarian page, so people can ask us a question without having an IM account. This is actually where the majority of our IM questions are coming from.
Recently though, because of some network connectivity issues, the Meebo widget has been displaying our status as being offline, even though the librarians were logged into IM. Not good.
To remedy the situation, I installed an AIM WIMZI widget on our site instead. The library already had an account through AIM, so this was an easy fix. The AIM widget also comes with a number of additional benefits.
Crafting the User-Centered Library
presented by Cliff Landis
Why use emerging tech?
- It’s not enough to shove your bad services (such as our crappy OPACs) into new things.
- Don’t do it because everyone else is.
- For outreach.
- We don’t need things designed FOR the user, we need things designed BY the user.
Planning – it takes too long. Too man hoops to jump through, eventually good ideas can just fade away.
The committee approach – can take any good idea and destroy it. Exploits the negative aspects. To many times people ask “what if…” Cliff then showed us a funny YouTube video, Association Professionals Through the Ages, that illustrates how good ideas can be destroyed in such a manner.
2.0 Learning and 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap
presented by Rudy Leon (SUNY Potsdam) and Colleen Harris (Univ. of Tennessee, Chattanooga)
The speakers began this session by talking about myths of the millenial generation.
- They are skilled online searchers
- Are at ease with new gadgets
- Are always connected
- Are effective multitaskers
But as recent news reports and studies have shown, these are not true. Millennials do use the technology, but in a simplified way. In general they are unaware of how powerful the tools they are using can be.
Rather than blog about every session I attended at Internet Librarian, I’m just going to just focus on the ones I thought were the most interesting.
Designing the Digital Experience
presented by David Lee King.
David told us that basically this is a 30 minute, presentation version of his book by the same name (which I had heard about before and was why I wanted to attend this session).
There are three paths to the experience:
Structure – Create an experience by making the website easier to use. A well designed experience should stay out of the users’ way. You should focus on developing parts of your site that users visit often. Don’t spend too much time on things users only do once a year. Look at your website with a critical eye, think about what would make people stumble. Figure out goals from there, don’t forget the “don’t make them think” philosophy.
Internet Librarian always sounded like a real interesting conference, and I’m fortunate to be able to attend this year’s edition. The conference for me began with one of the preconference workshops, Web Manager’s Academy; Redesign 2.0. The session featured four librarians presenting several informative talks throughout the day. The two presentations I found the most useful were “User Experiences” which covered engaging website users and enhancing their experience, and “Usability Research” which included things like preference testing, affinity mapping, and task-based testing.
The “Why I’m a Librarian” meme has been going around the library blogosphere, so I thought I would put my two cents in.
Why I Became a Librarian
About a year and a half after I got my bachelor’s degree in business administration, I was struggling to find decent employment and my place in the working world. A very wise man suggested to me that I seek out the services of a career counselor, which I did. After a battery of personality assessment tests, my career counselor went over the results with me. Librarian was one of the top occupations on the list. As surprising as it was to see the word “Librarian” there, the more I thought about it, the more I believed I would enjoy the career. So off to graduate school I went.
Earlier this week I attended this year’s Computers in Libraries conference. While I wasn’t all that enamored with the hotel location, the conference itself was excellent. I got excited about, and learned a LOT of interesting things. Below are a few highlights.
The folks at the South Carolina State Library recently redesigned their site using Joomla, the open source content management system. This was a very inspirational session for me, as I’m looking at adding a CMS to my library’s website. More info is available at Joomla in Libraries.
Another intriguing session was Derick Willis’ talk entitled Creating Browsable Content with Django. Django is another open source CMS I want to learn more about.