Friday, September 28, 2007

Impress Your Professor: Librarians in Your Face(book)

Raise you're hand if you spend too much time on Facebook.

I freely admit that I probably spend far too much time on Facebook. Then again, that's because my friends spend a lot of time on Facebook. Also, many of my colleagues have profiles there as well.

All of this means that most of the patrons who come to the library probably have scrolled through the social networking site at some point. While many fear the privacy issues associated with the website, many others see only opportunities for library outreach. In the article, "Reaching Students with Facebook: Data and Best Practices," the authors discuss why and how librarians should reach their patrons through this online utility.

First, there is the obvious allure of being "Friended" by all the undergrads on campus. Once a library creates a profile, any updates to that profile will be added to the news feed that users see on their Facebook homepage. If librarians are proactive about announcing events, changes, and opportunities at the library students will see these occurrences as soon as they log on.

Secondly, Facebook offers it's own e-mail application and discussion board space. Students can easily submit their reference questions online. Since Facebook may be accessed from any computer, these questions can be answered at any time of the day from anywhere on or off campus.

Thirdly, Facebook is beginning to add applications that are not only for library related groups but also those that actually aid reference. JSTOR has created an application where users can search the database from their Facebook profile. iLibrarian recently listed an article about the Top 10 Facebook applications for librarians and another article posts the top groups for librarians on Facebook to join.

CUA has a rather active library group. The administrators update the profile with information about library activities and the availability of new materials. They also referee questions posted by their patrons in the discussion board.

While I am an avid fan of using Facebook to be proactive toward patrons, I do still hesitate at the supposed reference benefits of using the website. I ask this because in today's Google culture, I wonder if this encourages patrons to find information that is "good enough" as opposed to going after the right information. Can social networking sights actually help patrons with their reference questions, or does it merely encourage people to go for the easy answer?

For those of you able to attend this year's annual ASIS&T Meeting, there are a few discussions that may touch upon this social computing trend:

The Social Web, Social Computing and the Social Analysis of Computing (SIG SI)

Social Information Architecture Workshop

Opening Science to All: Implications of Blogs and Wikis for Social and Scholarly Scientific Communication (SIG STI, SIG BWP)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

YouTube Tuesday

Bookmarking the Web
Social bookmarking is gaining in popularity. It's easy to use, can be accessed anywhere, and encourage collaboration.

Library Stereotypes Can Be Funny
What happens when Mr. Bean visits his local library?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Impress Your Professor: Computing in Sub-Saharan Africa

So, I was clicking through the ever so interesting ASIS&T conference presentations and came upon this little number on the emergence of internet cafe usage in Johannesburg, South Africa. The hypothesis: internet cafe's are actually used most regularly by locals (as opposed to backpackers) and are typically their primary means of access to the internet.

It got me wondering about what sort of internet access the library systems throughout Sub- Saharan Africa have and why so many folks are flocking to pay for internet usage at cafe's instead, so I did a little investigating...

Well, in the city of Johannesburg, turns out the library requires an annual membership fee of R30 a year ($4US). With internet cafe rates ranging from R5 ($0.67) to R30 an hour, it should still be far more advantageous to join the library, no? What's the draw for the cafe's? How is the library not able to tap into this network of eager users? Perhaps it's a capacity issue? Money? Both? I don't know.

Then you've got the oh-so-glam city of Cape Town which was awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation Learning Award for their Smart Cape Access program. This program has essentially provided free public internet access at all public libraries throughout the city.

And somewhere in between you've got the city of Bulawayo Public Library out in Zimbabwe which opened up its OWN cyber cafe. They charge for usage like any other internet cafe but at a much cheaper and more competitive rate and use the fees to sustain their internet access.

At the National ASIS&T Annual Meeting coming up October 19-24 in Milwaukee there will be a session on Sub-Saharan social computing and its effects on culture and society. One question they will seek to answer is: In what ways are the new trends in social computing affecting information science education in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

YouTube Tuesday

Search the World
What if you could search everything from everything at anytime?

Mullen Looks Easy in Comparison
And you though the "A" floors were bad...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Register NOW before it's too late!

Registration closes Thursday for ASIST/PVC Event at Library of Congress.

Limited space remains for free, private tour of Library of Congress and ASIST/PVC first event of the year!

What: "Working Together, Working Differently: How millennials are changing the way other generations learn, interact, and do commerce."

Where: Whittal Pavilion, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

When: September 24th: Tour 1-2, Event 2-4, reception 4-5

Click HERE to register and more information. Space for the tour of the Library of Congress is limited and is going fast.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Impress Your Professor: "Tomorrow's Accommodating Computers" or "How Computers Will Conquer the World"

This week’s “Impress your Professor” takes inspiration from two articles appearing in recent editions of the Economist: “There’s life in the old dog yet” and more importantly “The trouble with computers.” They discuss changes occurring within the computer industry that will likely influence how libraries use technology to provide future services.

Both articles acknowledge that computer manufacturers owe their unprecedented earnings over the past 25 years to three factors:

1) Computers are increasingly powerful – they are capable of handling a greater number of complicated tasks simultaneously.
2) Computers are increasingly cheaper – the growing efficiency of manufacturers has made their products affordable to both rich and poor countries.
3) Computers are increasingly easier to use – as programs become more accessible, the productivity of individuals and organizations increases.

However, as the authors point out, the first two factors are beginning to matter less to consumers. It seems that people expect only so much functionality out of computers and that demand for computers (whether they’re laptops or cell phones) becomes less elastic once prices fall beyond a certain point. The best way for computer manufacturers to compete is to make their products more stylish and more user-friendly than those of their competition.

This change in emphasis is bringing a dramatic roundabout in computer design. Historically, programmers have attempted to include as much functionality in computers as possible and expected interface designers to invent the best means for using them. The trend is now the reverse; interface designers will increasingly expect programmers to accommodate them. Using computers should become easier than ever.

The second article describes some of the changes we should expect in coming years. First, be prepared to say good-bye to your mouse and keyboard. The most promising interface designs rely on “gesture-based” and “multi-touch” systems. “Gesture-based” systems allow people to operate computers using hand gestures detected by sensors (think of Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”). “Multi-touch” systems” also rely on physical gestures, but can sense more than one movement at a time. Such concepts are not so far-fetched. In fact, variations of them have already entered the market (e.g. Apple’s iPhone).

Second, expect computers to become better at anticipating and meeting our needs. The growing field of HCI (human-computer interaction), which focuses on improving interface designs is dedicating much energy to the development of “context aware” systems. The idea is for computers to interpret available information and use it to present users with the options most relevant to what they are doing at any particular moment. Imagine a computer automatically searching a library’s catalog to request a book that its user, a high school student, is expected to write a report on within a couple of weeks.

All of this presupposes a future in which computing devices that collect, interpret, and share information surround humans everywhere. Whether this world of “ubiquitous computing” is something we should fear or welcome depends on how one looks at it. It is clear however that librarians need to be aware of these changes and learn to adapt to them. The alternative to evolution is extinction.

To learn more about HCI join ASIS&T’s related special interest group. Also, consider attending ASIS&T’s annual conference in Milwaukee. On Tuesday, October 23rd researchers there will present their findings on a number of recent HCI studies.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


"Working Together, Working Differently: How millennials are changing the way other generations learn, interact, and do commerce."

Whittal Pavilion, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress
When: 2-4pm, September 24, 2007 with a reception to follow 4-5.

Just added!

Docent led tour of the Library of Congress, available from 1-2 for 40 registered guests. (Please state if you wish to join the tour when you register)

Register HERE!


The Program:

Roberta Shaffer will highlight The Pew Research Center’s Report “How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics A PORTRAIT OF “GENERATION NEXT”

Roberta Shaffer is the Executive Director of FLICC/FEDLINK at the Library of Congress. Her research interest include generational use of information and information technologies, management, leadership, strategic planning, competencies, and Users and information use.
Following the talk, there will be a panel discussion of how different generations learn, interact, and do commerce differently.

ASIST or SLA Members $10
Nonmembers $15
Students free (Registration Necessary)

Note: Please identify if you are SLA or ASIST Member when you register. Students identify where you attend. We will notify you about the tour details. We will notify you about the tour details.

Metro: Blue or Orange Line, Capitol South. Enter the Jefferson Building at the carriage entrance 1st Street Se, between Independence and East Capitol Streets. For additional information,

1) Online
2) Fax Registration Form
3) Mail Registration Form.

Registration ends September 20th.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

YouTube Tuesday

I Am a 2.0 Librarian!
Technology changes things. Some people adapt faster than others. While we all recognize the changes that Web 2.0 has brought to the library, we have to remember that everyone takes change differently. This librarian has put together a 2.0 Manifesto.

It's That Video You've Been Hearing About

In case you missed it, here's the "March of the Librarians" video that took the reading world by storm. Just remember, without coffee, there is no library.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Random comment

So I couldn't post without leaving you something fun. This article from the Guardian newspaper is about the 15 most popular websites or "Websites that changed the World." What do you think o f this list? I find the findings really interesting.

Impress Your Professor: Information Architecture

So in the spring semester I did a report for 551 about Information Architecture. It sounds easy right? So I spent about 15 minutes fumbling in front of a class talking about the metaphor of Architecture and how it applies to Information. How we "build" and "structure" information to make it easily acceptable. Needless to say, this was not the most articulate or accurate report ever given in 551.

But Information Architecture is very important to the development of our profession. According to KM Column, "Information architecture is the term used to describe the structure of a system, i.e the way information is grouped, the navigation methods and terminology used within the system." Obviously, because this describes ways to structure information, there is on going research into improvements in IA. In the current issue of the ASIS&T Bulletin there is an article about the future of research into Information architecture.

In this article the author identifies several questions for the future of IA Research.

  • What should information architecture research be doing?
  • What should the research track be encouraging?
  • What should we be asking for in our call for papers?
This might be one of the more interesting ideas, for me, as a student. It is our profession that will be directing the future of research. So start thinking!

Also in this issue there is another article about serving communities and how Information Architecture effects the creation of an information commons in the library environment.

These articles are a nice way to begin thinking about Information Architecture and its applications. So I encourage you to take a look!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Will work for FREE registration

If you're interested in attending this year's main ASIS&T Conference but can't quite figure out the economics of the trip to Milwaukee, there is a way! Student members have the opportunity to receive FREE registration in exchange for helping run the program. (Please note, transportation is not covered.)

How the Program Works

In exchange for complimentary registration, we'll ask you to help us run the conference. You'll serve as a room monitor for about three sessions each day for three days. In addition, you'll help out either at our registration desk or conference headquarters for a 4-hour period on one day of the conference. We've listed below the activities that you are expected to perform as part of the program.

1. Monitoring Sessions
We'll solicit your choices of sessions, by time period, and try to schedule you into the sessions you prefer wherever possible. Monitoring involves assisting the speakers and moderators, checking for name tags at the door, ensuring that the necessary AV equipment is on hand, encouraging participants to complete evaluation forms, and generally helping makes the session go smoothly. (Additionally, you will be expected to SMILE AND BE FRIENDLY!)

2. Registration
Registration assistance involves facilitating the registration process, keeping a record of registrants, handing out materials, etc.

3. Headquarters
The Headquarters office is kept open throughout the meeting for the convenience of ASIS&T Committee members, members of the Board of Directors and members of the Conference Committees. Your function will be to ensure that everything runs smoothly and to assist where needed.
How to Participate

If you would like to be considered for this program for the 2007 Annual, to be held October 21 - 24 in Milwaukee, WI. Please forward your name, address, phone, fax and e-mail numbers to:

American Society for Information Science & Technology
ATTN.: ASIS&T 2006 Annual Scholarships
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510
Silver Spring, MD 20910
FAX: (301) 495-0810

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

SLA Technology Day 2007

Technology Day 2007 - Working in a Virtual World
Sponsored by the Maryland Chapter of SLA

Date: Thursday, 4 October 2007
Time: 8:30 AM - 4:15 PM PM
Location: Kossiakoff Center, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory [Laurel, MD]

REMINDER - EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ENDS SEPT 10 - This is a reciprocal event, ASIS&T members receive SLA member rates.

JOIN US! You've heard the terms before, maybe even attended talks on these topics in the past. Here's your chance to get the latest updates on these fast-moving technologies. Listen to vendor updates and have the opportunity to ask pointed questions. Get practical advice on how to apply new technologies in your organization in our TechTalk sessions. Exchange success stories and lessons-learned with colleagues. PROGRAM UPDATE - Ran Hock on Search Engines, Session 4.

A full day of state-of-the-art technologies & discoveries awaits you!

For more information, contact Susan Fingerman.

YouTube Tuesday

The Library of The Future
This video is a nice news clip about Stanford and "The Library of the Future." The video focuses on digital collections and discusses how the library is no longer just a physical entity, the library has moved online.

Library Tech Service of the Past
We've all been there.