You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2007.

Terry Huwe

Many interpretations = opportunity
Some questions for all organizations:

  • can you foretell what classroom or library will look like in five years?
  • Offices?
  • Org charts?

Some challenges to face:

  • we need to do more of the same, only better
  • we need new roles as well

“Technologies of collaboration” are now mainstream

  • it’s now vital to view technology as an enabler of community and respond accordingly
  • good news: most professionals have embraced web 2.0
  • but it’s crucial to build a strategy
  • physical space has a new life

The 2.0 tools go well with legacy systems and are also driving space planning

Library commons is powerful

  • how students work today is different from even a few years ago
  • multitasking
  • leverage technology


  • grand old building
  • manage listservs, web presence, desktop publishing
  • parley service into new space

Know the organizational setting

  • disciplines collapsing
  • multi-disciplinary research

Our community in context

  • organized research unit at UCB
  • support faculty research and doctoral-level study

Volunteered to

  • run web, intranet and extranets
  • become publishers of print & digital publications
  • manage online conversations
  • take the lead in introducing many new technologies

But 2.0 stretched imaginations

  • blogging, webcasting, webconferencing, wikis
  • webzine of enews (evolved from email newsletter)
  • News blog – subscribes to topical news and posts it on blog for research
  • from webcasts to podcasts – conference presentations are online
    • podcasts more popular than webcasts (80/20)
    • odeo – cheap alternative before committing resources

Stuff on our radar

  • social bookmarking
  • instant messaging
  • facebook and second life
    • but only when these 2.0 tools become relevant to the organization are they implemented

The Library commons

  • in academic settings, it’s a major feature for design
  • fits well with 2.0 technologies
  • integrated projectors
  • wifi
  • easy furniture
  • cozy setting, good light, good place to hang out and read or work
  • surprised by getting more money for print materials because of new space
  • integrated environment
  • information gateway – 5 PCS and 1 imac, sheet feeding scanner – anyone can come in and use the equipment
  • commons helped calm a fractious environment

What we’ve learned about organizations and library 2.0

  • infopros have an edge in understanding how content “feeds” communities
  • IT depts. Don’t always see potential
  • direct oversight of networked information and programming skill is very important
  • recreational and business computing are merging, but not as fast as some think
  • the larger the (academic) library, the slower the implementation process, so be a self-starter
  • given that situation, individuals need to take big steps, even risks
  • emphasizes individual voices

Trends to watch:

  • How much authoring is going on where you work?
  • What are they saying in the disciplienes
  • create focus groups
  • implement an interactive feature
  • understand the organizational culture

…And it never will again

Joe Janes

(fabulous, thought-provoking, funny presentation; no slides!)

Samuel Green 1876 – 1st article that talks about reference

  • problem is that there is too much information and people can’t find it
  • we need to step in and help people

special libs led the way for reference, followed by public, then academic

Now, there really is too much stuff, and people CAN find it, or they can find something, and there are lots of ways to get help – where does reference fit it?

  • Traditional reference service has to change
  • Worth assuming that everything eventually will be in digital form
  • Our world is ever more digital, and there are new ways of searching (horizontal, federated, deep dive)

James Wire: They will choke and die in front of you before they tell you what they want

How do we insert reference into this world?
Don’t bitch about wikipedia – get out there and edit it.

We are made for depth, quality, accuracy – for people who care or who can be made to care – we can respond to their needs

There are people who would prefer to be helped but may not know we exist

Find the niches where our strengths fit
Stop chasing things you can’t catch (google) – instead provide high-quality service to the people we can help

“individually communal life” – connected by various electronic means to people far and wide
every act of creation is just a way of saying “i want to be heard; I was here; I matter”

Participatory tools: no end product – no finish; the point is the participation
we have to live where our communities are living
we have to be heard and seen

Everything that happens in Second Life is about creation; answering reference questions is really not the point

  • Help people make their creative works more usable
  • we need to be more easily found
  • You need to be somewhere and everywhere (somewhere: provide place for storytime, study rooms, etc. – the physical space); and need to be everywhere as well, with web presence, etc.
  • Concept of the library is so much bigger and more powerful than the building

Make sure you are counting online use (web hits, databases, etc.) and use it to justify more money
in this increasingly digital world, people are helping each other, except…

Segmentation of our population:

  • for the people who are diving deep, specialized , willing and able to wait – we do reference and research
    • for now, print is our secret weapon (but shouldn’t be a secret), will change as the years go by
    • Print won’t go totally away, but will decrease as the years pass
    • Method over material – the stuff doesn’t matter, use whatever is appropriate
  • For people who don’t want depth, don’t want to wait – move them forward – give them a search tip, citation, etc. Someone else can help them with the next step
  • For the tendril people (connectors); help them tend the network (e.g. Slam the Boards) – lead by example
    • working between generations, keep in mind that everything will stop eventually – it’s not us against them
  • for people who are not information users, let them know we are there, but leave them alone

Don’t present yourself in a pigeon hole
The old days are not coming back

We have to be better online
Once they walk in the door, they’ve committed, but online they can be gone in a heartbeat – we have to be better online than in person

Overall win – more people getting more information they want – how do we help that be more effective?
Be confident, but not complacent – there’s a lot more to be done
There are more and better opportunities

Josh Petrusa and Meredith Farkas


Web 1.0: democratized access to information
Web 2.0: democratized participation

User-generated content: comments, ratings, tags, audio/video, blog posts, photos, etc.


  • we don’t know everything
  • insufficient metadata
  • findability and refindability
  • stories people tell about items are of value
  • interaction w/ materials creates a more personal connection
  • people are already doing it – take advantage of behaviors that people are already using


  • user-created descriptive metadata
  • folksonomy – system of organizing through tagging
  • many ways to describe (how will people search?)
  • the more agreement in the tag, the more useful in searching

Why tags?

  • lets people make sense of content using their own vocabulary
  • helps people re-find their own content
  • helps people find new content
  • good solution for content that can’t be formally cataloged

Why not?

  • no control
  • people can use plural or singular words, dashes, underscores, etc.
  • multiple terms to describe a single concept
  • no disambiguation
  • people tag selfishly
  • people tag incorrectly

Improving tagging


Examples of user-generated content:


  • moderation
  • technology issues – how to make it happen
  • differentiating between user content and institutional content
  • make it easy and appealing to contribute
  • let people do what they want with their content (export, RSS, etc.)
  • if you build it, will they come? evaluate your user population

Presentation available at:

Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone

**update: links added**

Communicating ideas – drawing and audio – capture and share images on screen

  • use when showing works better than telling
  • just in time demos – canned screens for common how-to questions

picnik – online photo editor, plugin for IE or Firefox

  • allows capture of full page, not just what appears on screen

Just for fun!
Kerpoof – make online cartoons, movies, pictures

Other power point sharing sites;
capture screen or page image

Visual pagerank

IBM Unstructured Information Modeler

  • analyze unstructured data sets
  • automatically classify and create categories
  • works for 1000 – 10,000 records


  • compare differences in two different directories (e.g. Hard drive and thumb drive) using graphical interface
  • logview

SOAP Sonar

text editor – adapts to a large number of programming languages; color codes different languages and elements

Perl Express

Fun with Images

Search and Indexing

Open source federated searching

IBM Omnifind Yahoo edition

  • Supports up to 500,000 documents
  • go from installer to searching in minutes
  • easy to use graphical tools to configure look and feel
  • configurable synonyms and featured links increase relevancy
  • download and install on server

Google Coop CSE
good site integration

OpenURL referrer Toolbar
doesn’t go away when you delete cookies

Flog Blog

Pack your own browser
Portable Firefox – bundled with portable apps to take bookmarks, extensions, passwords

asterisk logger v.1.02 – reveal stored passwords
undelete – recovers deleted files, unerases lost data
unstoppable copier – recover all bytes from scratched cds
simple file shredder – securely delete files so they can’t be restored
KeePass – store all your passwords in one database, locked with one master key

Frank Cervone and Jeff Wisniewski

what is federated search?

  • Searches multiple databases at once and presents results
  • problems with relevancy in result sets

usage overall is going up

marketplace is in flux > consolidation
It’s a mess!

federated search as one module of a larger effort to integrate all content into a single discovery tool
now work with next-gen OPACs:

  • worldcat local
  • primo
  • aquabrowser
  • encore

open source strategies

  • Library Find (Oregon state)
  • dbWiz (Simon Fraser University)
  • Masterkey (index data)

encore from III – has phrase tag cloud, not just word tag cloud; connects to indexing for records
Primo – university of iowa

Looking outside of libraryland

  • like something out of Deuteronomy (lots of begats)
  • universal repository interfacing > automatic taxonomy generation

endeca: doesn’t count…it’s just the catalog
seamark navigator
information mining of MARC records, etc. to illuminate relationships

Enhanced tools
open url referrer


  • number of vendors shrinking, open source options increasing
  • Progress on the standards front
    • sru/srw, OpenSearch
    • Resources migrating to xml information feeds
    • SRU searching is becoming more common, better control of search parameters
    • z39.50 is still the most prevalent
  • Holistic approach to content
  • more affordable turnkey solutions
  • data pre-processing options
    • to avoid distributed query model problems
    • harvesting of index data
    • speeds up searches
    • normalizes searches
  • inscreased use of visualization and clustering
    • encore, primo, aquabrowser
  • greater possibilities for off-site hosting

WebFeat and Serials Solutions doing the most right now in terms of turnkey solutions

Games: you can stop and save your current location, or go back to where you got off track and go to a new path – need to think about this in terms of our systems > flexible and forgiving

Jeff Wisniewski

Jeff looked at some of the old “rules” of web-design and discussed whether or not they are still relevant.

Design is an inexact science, but there are decades of research in usability, credibility, interface design, and hci; a lot of questions have been answered

Simplicity rules?

  • rich and interactive
  • RIAs
  • the user experience

depends on functions – google can be simple because they have essentially one function; we need to give our users a richer experience

Content is king

  • But, design matters A LOT
  • novice users judge superficially and quickly!
  • Professional design = increased credibility

All content is created equal?

  • Design for what your users are doing
  • emphasize the highest priority tasks so that users have a clear starting point – Nielsen

By the numbers:
Rule of Seven (categories manageable by users):

  • guideline, not a rule
  • persuasive evidence both ways
  • answer depends on context
  • more than 9 – maybe your site lacks focus?

3 click rule:

  • is dead
  • design for SCENT
  • users will happily click so long as they feel they are on the right path

Design for 800×600

  • NO! optimize for 1024×768
  • what of other platforms? (phones, handhelds, etc.) Use CSS media types
  • flexible as opposed to fixed design


  • majority users browse with 24-bit color rendering
  • RIP websafe palette? Still consider:
    • file size
    • alternative platforms

For redesign inspiration:

  • DON’T check other library websites!!
  • Standards, conventions, and user expectations are established outside of library land…Jacob’s law (users spend most of time on sites other than your site)

How often to redesign?

  • Constantly
  • iterative, evolutionary change
  • revolutionary change is disruptive
  • a/b testing: post two versions of page with ONE difference (placement of item on page, e.g.);compare use
  • sometimes a tear down is required
  • think about major destinations on the web, amazon, ebay, yahoo, etc. – constant iterative change

Follow your own conventions

  • is reference “reference” on your website (n.b. It shouldn’t be!)
  • carry web conventions through physical space and other publications
  • style guidelines across print & electronic media

But follow established web conventions

  • home link upper left
  • clickable banner
  • contact us link
  • placement of navigation

greater bandwidth= design freedom?

  • Two trends: more high-speed access
  • more non-traditional devices on relatively slower networks (apple iPhone)

I must support all browsers

  • for basic content – yes!
  • Accessibility is critical and the right thing to do
  • for value-added content, style and interactivity?
  • Graded support aka progressive enhancement

providing a text-only version of your homepage or site?

  • Separate presentation and content with css and you won’t need a separate version

Avoid css for layout…it’s buggy

  • yes, but no longer enough to justify not using it
  • stop using tables for layout

top of page is prime real estate?

  • Actually, it’s useless space…banner blindness
  • Nielsen: people have a tendency to never look at a slim rectangular are that’s above the page’s main headline


  • will very likely be blocked – nothing mission critical
  • can be useful when linking to supporting information

Flash is evil?

Mouseover menus

  • raise usability considerations
  • They’re slower, not scanable (preventing users from getting an overview)

Opening links in new browser window

  • is sometimes okay: external links, non-web docs: PDFs, etc.
  • help files
  • TELL users
  • tabbed browsers make this less of an issue

Never create an “auto forward” it breaks the back button

  • server side redirects are best
  • Set auto forward time high enough to allow users to use back button

Scrolling is bad

  • users scroll if there is a clue that there is something below the fold
  • use the fashionable “cut off” look – content doesn’t break evenly, so users have an indicator that more content exists

Keep it above the fold

  • true for most important content
  • 76% of users scrolled and a good portion scroll to the bottom, despite height of window

Images of people

  • generally increase trust (unless they’re really good-looking people)
  • naturally draw attention – this may not be a good thing…distraction
  • people, labeled, increase credibility the most

RIA=rich internet application (ajax, flex technologies)

good sites & features;

Frank Cervone and Amanda Hollister

The problems of website design:
web development/hci is an intricate mix of technology and design

  • majority of librarians haven’t been trained in hci
  • gaps in understanding the significant differences between the online and in-person experiences

the more an org. depends on its public for achieving mission, the more it should employ dialogic features into website

Evidence-based practice (andrew booth definition)

  • data provides the primary evidence for making decisions, not anecdotal stories or “common sense”
  • evaluation occurs early in the process

what happens now:

  • decisions are made based on Beliefs of what is needed (often biased); assumptions, anecdotal evidence and preferences
  • evaluation, if it occurs, happens afterward (too late!)

derived from evidence-based model of medicine
fundamental precepts:

  • study phenomena
  • contrast results to other studies of same or related phenomena
  • combine results

define problem>find evidence>evaluate evidence>apply results of evaluation>evaluate change>redefine problem and go back through cycle

Setting: context-where is this being used?
Population: who are users?
Intervention: what is being done?
Comparison: what are alternatives?
Evaluation: what does success mean?

Levels of evidence

first usability test in 2001
focused on Electronic resources/home-grown resource finder
2nd test
how are people using catalog?
Data mining
tried not to make assumptions
dispelled some myths

Looked at areas of site with highest reported difficulty or frustration
Restructured web development process
Web advisory group – reps from all areas of library
Induction process:
required reading list (usability research, etc.)
required training:

  • in usability
  • conducting a usability test
  • other soft skills


  • site usability has improved – proven by stats
  • debates less rancorous about how to proceed; can always go back to data
  • easier to develop strategies for incremental improvements over time – not locked into tight academic schedule

metasearch, e-journals, virtual reference, electronic resources
why should I go here?

Anecdotal evidence is good for identifying problems to look at, but usually comes from skewed user group – studies will show how representative they are;

Breadcrumbs: putting users on the right path

users are often “lost”
tool-based website design
dynamic, page-based crumbs – code found on google
temporary session cookie
code needed “minor” tweaking – endless path of crumbs
consultant hired:
each xml crumb file traps:
pages visited, IP, page timestamp, does not collect off site pages
does not collect browser navigation

Data analysis
pick a page to analyze
put data into magic box; out comes user paths that end on selected page
can see # of clicks to the page
ideal paths and less than ideal paths
how can you nudge users back to where they meant to go?

Advantages of trapping xml path data:

  • huge amount of data
  • real-time usability testing
  • flexible
  • no observer effect


  • Doesn’t track sessions that leave the website
  • can’t see user response (frustration)

Future directions: implement predictive track analysis
implement timestamp analysis

code for breadcrumbs:

Setting up the new stuff: planning & implementing Library 2.0

David Lee King

Good session: David discussed some of the things to think about before implementing web 2.0 features for your library (that’s where the planning comes in). Since it is so easy to set up and get started with many of the 2.0 products and services, people often jump in without thinking about it, and end up with poorly planned, poorly maintained, or abandoned sites and pages. Don’t let this happen to you!

Think through goals for the service – what do you hope to accomplish? Keep these in line with your other library goals. Consider who will do the work? Will training be needed? How do you get buy-in from administration and staff? Do you need special equipment?

Use a conversational tone; create content often; reuse content (David had a great example, showing all the places he was able to distribute a video and only had to upload it twice).

David discussed specific services with applications for libraries, including blogs, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and talked about considerations, tips and tricks for each. With almost all of these, someone needs to babysit the content, and it shouldn’t be someone in Administration (they have other stuff to do).

Best takeaway: comments are a conversation; if you wait 2 or 3 weeks to respond (or don’t respond at all) you kill the conversation.

Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet and American Life Project is a very engaging (and very fast) speaker. I know I missed some points. Will post links to presentations when I can.

Blogging is about community building and conversation

8 hallmarks of the new digital ecosystem:

1. Media & gadgets are part of everyday life
2. internet, esp. broadband is at center of revolution

  • 73% of adults online, 94% teens
  • broadband users are content creators

3. New gagdets allow access anywhere – wirelessness is its own adventure
4. Ordinary citizes have a a chance to be publishers, movie makers, artists, song creators, etc.

  • 55% teens have profiles on social network sites
  • 20% of adults
  • dashboards for social lives
  • 33% college students keeps blogs and regularly post (but often integrated in social network sites)
  • 54% read blogs, 36% adults read blogs
  • 19% of yas online have created an avatar that interacts with others online. 9% of adults
  • 15% of yas have uploaded videos

5. All those content creators have an audience – more people reading/accessing than are creating

  • 44% of yas use wikipedia
  • 14% use podcasts

6. – ratings?

  • 37% of yas have rated items, 32% adults
  • 34% Yas have tagged online content, 28% adults
  • 25% of yas have commented on videos, 13% adults

7. Online americans customizing their online experience with 2.0 tools

  • 40% of yas customize news and other info pages – half are on specialty listservs
  • 25% yas use rss feeds

8. different people use these technologies in different ways

Assets (gadgets), Actions, Attitudes
-found 10 major user groups:


  • omnivores 8%
  • Connectors 7%
    • don’t create quite as much content as omnivores
  • Lackluster veterans 8%
    • don’t like being always-on
  • productivity enhancers 8%
    • stuff helps them do their jobs and be more efficient

middle end

  • Mobile centrics 10%
    • love their cell phones, not so much with the internet
  • Connected by hassled 10%
    • information overload

low-end groups

  • inexperienced experimenters 8%
    • casual users, not highly motivated
  • light but satisfied 15%
    • fine with what they have, don’t need much more, check email from time to time
  • indifferents 11%
    • lifestyle choice – proud dislike for technologies
  • off the network 15%
    • no cell phone or internet connection


  • large low-tech crowd 49%
  • small technophiles group 8%
  • lots of tech capability idles in people’s hand and homes (far from mature phase of ICT adoption)
  • “Demand pull” lags “supply push” considerably
  • quiz available at pew website

What does connectivity do to us?

  1. volume of info grows – long tail expands
  2. velocity of info increases – “smart mobs” emerge
  3. venues of intersection of info and people multiply – place shifting occurs, “absent presence” occurs (also “present absence”)
  4. venturing for information changes – search strategies and search expectations spread in the google era
  5. vigilance for info transforms – attention is truncated “continuous partial attention” and elongated “deep dives”
  6. valence (relevance) of info improves – “Daily me” and “daily us” gets made
  7. Vetting of info becomes more social – credibility tests change and people ping their social networks
  8. viewing of info is disaggregated and becomes more horizontal – new reading strategies emerge as coping strategies
  9. voting and ventilation about info proliferates
  10. inVention of info and the visibility of creators is enabled

Be confident in what you already know aobut how to meet people’s reference and entertainment needs

I’m blogging the conference, but have been getting spotty wifi access, so will post my notes in the evening if not before.