Sunday, October 26, 2008

Participation and Power

Combining Community Features with Existing Metadata in NextGen Public Interfaces
Kelly M. Vickery, University of Kentucky; Dinah Sanders, Innovative Interfaces

Encore is an Innovative development. Uses community tags to flesh out marc records.
Example one item that deals with DRM does not have any subject headings indicating DRM; community tags did describe the item with DRM. so they went back to the item record and added a subject heading for DRM. Encore 2.0. patron is authenticated, which also adds a level of policing... gets very few trash tags.

Though administration module, can view recent tags and approve them. Can build a thesaurus of tags which are also whitelisted. Also whitelist at record level... A page for patrons so you can track who is actually tagging. Can block patrons or patron type.

Rapid, iterative developmnet and the partnership approach. Large group of development partners. 100 libraries are currently involved, and about 3 dozen development partners.

U of Ky. is the latest partner. Integrating Encore with Voyager.
Had looked at Aquabrowser, Endeca, Primo.

Another case of datadump to III. Marc/serial holdings; item information; item circulation status; location/collection; patron records. Kentucky made the decision not to include circ status as it was 24 hours behind. In order for tagging to work, need to have LDAP communicating with Encore. (LDAP for patron authentication)

academic tags: groupings for courses
syllabus readings
impromptu course project reading lists
course reserve lists
collaborate tagging for group projects

animal names: bovine - cow; equine - horse
tagging can help institute new terminology or changing terminology (plutoid for dwarf planet)

public library examples of tagging: shared tags
bookclubs can tag their reading lists and meeting times
informal vocabulary, disambiguation. acts like a see-also reference
emerging vocabulary: gitmo, podcasting - fills gap between common usage and inclusion in LCSH.
encore 3 will include reviews and ratings
Pre-coordination vs. iterative "berry-picking"
Patrons are significantly less familiar with index searching compared to keyword searching. Only 4% of searches at U of Glasgow used the subject search.

2/3 encore users reported using the tag cloud, prior to the addition of community tags.

Collection development => conversation development => collaboration development

I was disappointed that this session was about a proprietary system, but I did learn quite a bit. Vickery's presentation provided much food for thought.

Website Redesign: perspectives from the field

Ohio: creating the team. (Ohio State, Black and Shelby.)
150 people with ftp access to server. In developing the team, they recruited for specific skills and competencies. Used a leadership tool to help develop the list of competencies. They used Bruce Tuckman's model of team building. All web developers in the same office. Weekly meeting. Wrote a mission statement as a team. Technical standards: developed a set of standards, including security (#1); user centered design; maintainability; data preservation. Also worked on staging environment version control. Made a commitment to a standardized platform. Used LAMP, hosted on university hosted machines. Use OSS packages whenever possible. Perform regular software updates. Applications need to be longstanding (10 years); therefore needs solid documentation. Secure password repository. Committed to a toolbox mentality for users.

A Merged Website: triumphs and compromises. (Amelia Brunskill, Dickenson College.)
Usability testing: used Camtasia to capture users use.Students participated in these tests. Documentation is an issue.
Communications: LIS blog created in Drupal. Minutes and timelines posted. Liaison to units. Usability reports were posted. Users were a neutral party. Most content was at the unit's discretion. Pages were consistent across all units/sites. Internal technical blog created for suggestions, updates, etc. Editorial team built from all units that meet quarterly. Soft rollout. Sites ran in tandem. Hard rollout in July. Impressive amount of lack of negative feedback. All units had ownership.

Website Redesign: perspectives from the field
. (Robin Leech, Oklahoma State University Libraries.)
Usability testing. Teams were created, each of 5 people. Needed to stay within the university's style sheets. The entire team read Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think. Had a one day workshop led by Beth Thomsett-Scott. Aligned mission with the library strategic goals. Reviewed log files. Wanted to look at the bottom 1/3 and bottom 1/2. Staff surveys. Developed an Excel timeline. All staff at library could get to the timeline. They used Morae (Techsmith) to do recorded task testing. Continued to use Survey Monkey as the site developed. Card sorts. Students were used in beta testing, and later another group of students were recruited for additional testing.

Edward M. Corrado,Binghamton University, (but he was at the college of new jersey when they redesigned their site.)
Collected lots of data; looked a two years worth of logs. They were also tasked with redesigning the opac at the same time. Lots of usability studies. Looked at a lot of peer academic websites, but focused on sites that were known to do good usability studies. Developed 32 revisions. Started with the home page and then a few top level pages. One problem was that everyone thought a revision was the final version... Confusion with pig latin text, etc. Ultimately, the website was a success, due to the team, the university webmaster, the usability studies, etc. The one thing that was a problem was no mission statement for the library-- it was a big hurdle. This actually helps when you get conflicting user feedback... are you focused on the library mission? Communication is a big key. About 7 people on the committee. Need to make sure that at the last revision, people understand that this is going up... Also did usability studies a few months after the launch and tweaked the website based on results.

Question: Are there best practices emerging from the usability studies that can benefit other sites? The panelists mentioned 2 tools: and John Kupersmith's Webspace.

Putting the Library Website in Their Hands

The Advantages and Challenges of a Homegrown Content Management System
Rachel Vacek, University of Houston Libraries

Virtual searches; new books from the catalog. Uses libraryfind for federated search.

Advantages: rapid prototyping; know the system intimateely; can add upgrades quickly; modular; miccroformats. Always looks fresh with rss feeds.

Disadvantages: for infrequent users, rapid prototyping can be a problem. Documentation is hard to keep current. Web developers are constantly working on it. Backend works with Firefox, not IE. Built with coldfusion, which costs $$$. Lots of flexibility means sometimes librarians go off in unexpected directions.

Future plans:
-api with worldcat and book jackets
-search engine with metadata
-new layout engine
-add other media
-create platform for user contributed content and personalization
-integrate with digital library and other library systems
-try to make it open source by summer 2009.

Third-party applications: Uses flickr to find creative commons images. libraryfind. wordpress. librarything. serialssolutions. digitool (ex libris), archon, worldcat.

For more info: Karen Coombs; Rachel Vacek

Five Minute Madness

This session consisted of a series of 5-minute presentations of projects. The time limit forced the participants to distill each project to its essence. Great session; I was able to glean a few kernals I might have missed had these been full-length sessions.

Incorporating ICT into a New Vision for Caribbean Libraries. Delivers library and information support for education for the libraries in West Indies. Grace traveled around the West Indies to study how technology is being used... She found that libraries were eager for dialogue. UWI Initiative. MEDCARIB and CARDIN. Already have good videoconferencing in place. Vision: increased use for OSS. Can LITA help? Visit the West Indies during the winter...

Using Delicious to Select Medical Resources.
Sakai. Wanted to include more multimedia in LMS. Host Defense/most significant aspect. Recipient choses own point of entry bundles. Decided to use Delicious... easy to share. Faceting with tags. 2 other modules have been added. emerging workflow: split searching and organization. Recipient involvement varies. Known issues... sharing passwords is bad. for:username is too limited-- Tags are stripped when sending Urls. Faceting is flawed.

Help system based on Solr.

Discovery tool for digital collection. Service oriented architecture. OSS. XML/HTTP. Users need to search help. Nontechie staff members needed to update, add and delete pages easily. Using tools to support tools. They developed schema and webforms for editing pages. User can search using keywords. Solr doc returns as xml, which is converted to html.

RFID self checkout user interface redesign.
Started in June 2008. 6 steps in all. Problems: busy interface; text cues small and lots of it; distracting animations; patrons walked away without printing reciepts, which hung their record. After... larger clear text. Only 3 steps. No animations. Voice prompts. Clear and concise. 10% increase in adult self check... 30% in children's self check.

Endeca project at triangle research libraries network. Catalog allows search across combined collections (11 million). Circ updated every 30 minutes. Cataloging updated daily. Facets. Syndetics. RSS. Indexing on nightly basis. Indexes tables of contents. Integrated Google book search. Interfaces with Illiad. Future: search and relevance rank tuning, adding new indexes, shopping cart, nonMarc data. [syndetics can provide xml for indexing TOC]

Handheld Project Scope. PennState. iPhone lust. Wrote a grant for using iphones in academic settings. Libraries using them for roving reference. Testing done by IT and librarians. 6 use cases developed. 3 roving reference; faculty liaison activity. how different products display on handhelds. Mapped use
cases to requirements. Mapped requirements to mobile devices. Tested with 4 devices. Found holes in their wireless, but no clear winner among devices.

Unmanned technology projects. Big plans, big user expectations. Consortial pressure, but limited staff. There was a lack of coordination, resulting in frustration for the small staff. The solution was a library technology work group, made up of key players in key projects. Mixed group of techies and nontechies. Meets monthly. Uses a wiki to set up timeline. There is a page for every project. Meeting minutes are posted, and what's new. All stafff can read that wiki. These seemingly minor changes work great and had unforseen positives. They've created another wiki specificly for documentation; training will happen at a mini-conference.

Texting at the reference desk. Implementing an sms reference for mobile patrons. Single service desk. SMS is a growing communications medium. Phone number can be added to contacts more easily. Upside wireless. Pros: local phone number; integrated with reference email; familiar technology. The service is somewhat expensive. Started with a soft rollout in late spring to be followed with a harder rollout in the fall. They've seen a huge spike in usage in the fall. [On the road? Have a question? SMS the library] New model: AIM hack. Ten years and growing. Cooperative project for local history digitization. Uses oclc contentDM platform. (Time.)

Questions from the floor.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sleepless in Cincinnati

I should not be allowed to touch a computer after 10 pm (but just try to stop me...)! So, instead of sleeping so that I can be up bright, early and packed (ok, packed), I decide to figure out how to use LibX. Such a geek. The plugin is installed, it works, there's more to do, BUT: to sleep, perchance to dream....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Libraryman's agenda

Libraryman's agenda
Originally uploaded by WoW Librarian
Michael Porter used a Star Trek-based template for his presentation.

Libraryman Michael Porter - LITA Keynote

Hi-Fi-Sci-Fi-Library: Technology, Convergence, Content, Community, Ubiquity and Library
Michael "Libraryman" Porter, WebJunction

320 attendees. Librarians from all over the US, Canada, Switzerland, other European counties, Ghana, several African countries. And they've arranged for late checkout for tomorrow! What great forum organizers.

Technology, community & training. Presentation is powerpoint and video clips. Michael does NOT stand still, and he talks fast. As a matter of fact, frenetic would be a good word to describe him. LOL.

A basic Star Trek vocabulary is useful.

Fidelity implies a truthful connection to the source.

Some of the technologies Michael will be speaking about don't exist yet...

Content + Community = Libraries

Access Granted: LCARS - Library Computer Access and Retrieval System
PADD He showed a hack of an iphone with a PADD display.

Environmnetal Scan... decreased costs, increased computing power. Software. Increased energy efficiency and battery life.

New methods of content creation. Playing well with others.

Content Provision: Competition Abounds.

Technology enhanced performance - pedometers that upload info to your computer.
[I have GOT to get an iRobot for my floors...]
Chumby.... based on OSS.
Google Phone Android is a software package. The phone will be developed by the Open Handset Alliance, which is made up of 30 plus companies.
Pandora = opensource portable gaming device. BUG = It's a base that takes plugins that emulates other hardware.
iPhone projector.
Livescribe Pulse Smartpen.

What is our interface right now for our library communities?

Now for the videos...
The Time Machine at the NYPL
Star Trek IV and human computer interaction. Scotty tries to interact with a 20th century computer... But what about Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software? Michael's mother uses it, and he plans to use it to write a large part of his book.

Scientists, intellectuals and writers envision androids such as Data(STNG) and the Doctor (STV) aspiring to be human. That the beauty of librarianship... we are human and we hold the keys to knowledge. We are still the pinnacle of what other humans need. The community and the library will still be there if we learn how to work with the technology.

Futurama...brain spawn attack defeated thanks to the books at the local library...
I, Robot..."ban the internet to keep the libraries open"
Futurama... getting physical things from the internet (download Lucy Lui)
How William Shatner Changed the World - documentary nominated for an Emmy...
Minority Report - human computer interaction.
Zardoz - (how did I miss this one?)

Making sure libraries stick around is going to take some strong action on our part. Futurama metaphor-- the actual person in power isn't who we think it is...

Concluded with the "hi-fi sci-fi library"

3 quick plugs: create a webjunction professional profile
world cat api... hackathon at NYPL to work on this

Portals to Learning

Nicholas Schiller and ?? discussed what we can learn about teaching from studying the structure of video games. Nicholas presented "theory", and ?? discussed her adventures in WOW and how the principles she picked up there can be applied to BI.

From their powerpoint:
Games are complex information systems. They must teach players to evaluate information and make informmed choices. Games that don't do this successfully fail to sell.

Lessons from WOW:
Collaboration and Apprenticeship:
Principle: You're never alone
Application: team exercises, self-selection, identifying critical skills as a group.

Deemphasizing Authority Distinction/Emphasizing Peer Knowledge:
Reputation in wow is based on a player's skills and knowledge.
Principle: No single authority; peer to peer; 32 seconds later...
32 seconds is the average length of time it takes to get a response from someone in WoW
Application: Not LMS-like; wiki; knowledgebases

Parsing Out Learning/Using the Level Concept
Principle: Scaffolding; not tempted to skip; you only see the part of the world you've mastered. [I disagree with what she says here. You see where you have EXPLORED, not what you've mastered. I think this is an important distinction.]
Application: Focus on process; no right answer. She developed a teaching strategy where she focuses on 3 key things, not moving forward until students have mastered those.

Principle: "The real takeaway from a good swordfight session in World of Warcraft is its masterful community building" (econtent). Players build the resources, they are the resources; they belong to the community.
Application: Collaboration as a communtiy building tool. Core kids hang together.

Intrinsic Motivation and Rewards:
Players choose to play the game. Activities are rewarded.
Students have choices too. Students are used to choosing. Choice can be workked into a classroom curriculum. Choice of partners; choice of "quests".

Persistence in Failure
When you fail in WOW, you know what to do. When you fail in the classroom, do they know what to do? Building expertise and community allows them to understand that keeping at it will result in success.

Nic: Other gaming examples: Portal
Gating: the problem: button mashing ==> problem solving by random input.
Game designer solution: Gating. Mandatory pause in the acgtion that requires demonstration of select application.
Classroom application: Design research assignments to require identifycation and reflection on research process. Annotated bibliographies (show your work!)

Valve's corporate culture is Playtest, playtest, playtest. (Eric Wolpaw on playtest/assessment.)

Gee's book: Why doesn't Lara Croft obey Prof. Van Crey?
Telling and doing. Which approach is the surer path to student learning? Learning from how game design teach players. Application: discovery based learning. Player who eventually ignores the professor's tutorial and begins exploring for themselves finds easter eggs...

New ideas as she has leveled up:
Need for a community of scholars; ie those with greater experiences. Experienced librarians vs. reference assistants. The jargon gets confusing again at each level.

Gaming literacy = information literacy
(?) Bloom's Taxonomy-- finishing on a fairly high level when they're playing game... need to translate/apply the game playing strategies to learning...


Great session! I don't think xxx followed through on her development. She focused on the guild experience to the exclusion of the solo experience. The important distinction here is that whether the student is working with classmates or is studying alone, they have access to the same set of resources, and needs to be just as familiar with the available resources at any time.

Gating was a new term for me... but i believe I recognize the process. Playing Zelda Twilight Princess is no fun for me... I get so frustrated when I can't get past certain areas. There's no way to stop following that thread, and change pace for a while; you have to complete that step the way the game designers determine... and I don't really learn that way. In WoW, if I can't do soemthing, I can focus on a different quest for a while, complete it, and then return to the problem.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Civil Rights Digital Library

Civil Rights Digital Library, Toby Graham Digital Library of Georgia

Video archive: 30 hours historical newsfilm
Learning objects component: provide instructional support
CRDL portal: draws together related content for a seamless virtual library

They developed Voci, written in Java and a Postgres database. The software is now available through CRDL was in development for two years.

Has relevance weighting for metadata elements. Browse is a canned search. Voci is not good at proofreading, global updates for metadata. They use another home grown product, "Ultimate" to handle that workflow. Voci doesn't hold digital objects. It's a tool for collecting and managing metadata from other aggregators.

Sustainability: after the grant ended, the programmer was hired full-time, as was the video editor. The metadata librarian was hired half-time. Partners are still adding material. News stations gifted the newsreel archives to the university, and signed over copyright as well.


This is an impressive project. Two years from start to finish... starting from scratch, even. I definitely want to look more closely at Voci. South Carolina is poorly represented in the CRDL... I wonder who's working on that? I did mention to Graham SCETV's Civil Rights Road Show... it would be a solid addition to the pedagogic section of the DL.

Spaulding on Social Cataloging (Keynote)

Sitting in the Hall of Mirrors. Wondderful art deco design!

Tim Spaulding: What is "social cataloging" and where is it going?

Prototype theory... emergent...
LibraryThing is now larger than LOC.
good reads, shelfari, visual booksshelf. citeulike... YouTube bookreviews.. bibliocommons

Social cataloging explores social-ization; explores digitization; has no physical space; not commercial.

Have you read World War Z?

Philosophy of reviews in LibraryThing... finding out what people think about the books in your library.

Implicit social catalog: social cataloging can rehumanize the library catalog.

Another book: Everything is Miscellaneous.


Spaulding suggests that we shouldn't be focusing on games in libraries-- the most important thing in the library is the catalog, and we're not doing it well.

Check out LibraryThing's facebook app.

Social Cataloging is:
about the catalog
about what you can do right now
about passion -- raw bookloving passion (use for political funding)
about giving, not taking


Although I'm adding books to my LibraryThing, I haven't really had time to play with it lately. It was very exciting to see its evolution. Spaulding made some excellent points about libraries and their catalogs. I think it's fascinating to see how the "common people" tag their books. Is it good to have a shared taxonomy? Yes, I think so. We don't need to be so quick to throw away LCSH. There is a world of enrichment that folksonomies can bring to the catalog, and we would be wise to include it.

Peer book reviews also add value to the user experience. How much trust can we put in the typical professional review? Do professionals really say bad things about books? I know I look at peer reviews in LibraryThing and in Amazon.

Spaulding encouraged us to look at the LibraryThing widgets and api's. In SC, Richland County Public Library has integrated LibraryThing for Libraries into their Horizon OPAC. It truly adds value to that OPAC.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I've made it to LITA, finally! I attended the lita forum when it was in Raleigh, NC, quite a few years ago, and haven't been able to make it back until now.

I've brought my new toy with me, an EEE PC, but the keyboard is giving me problems. However, practice makes perfect... Actually, I bought this one, and THEN, the 1000 came out. My son has fallen in love with this one, so he's getting an early birthday present, and I'm going with a slightly larger 1000. Also going with the linux version.

I'll be blogging the sessions, of course, and posting them here.

Had tea today at Churchill's Tea Room and Shop-- very nice. Brings back wonderful childhood memories.

Then I attended the reception at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The library was great-- they've just finished renovating their space, increasing greatly the amount of space. The highlight for me was a tour of their digitization project. They are creating a Virtual Library of their out of copyright items, city directories, and other manuscripts. Most recently, they've been digitizing handwritten ships logs. Fantastic operation. It's given me much food for thought-- I never made it to the food and wine, though.

In WoW news, Cresenc has been transferred to the Aerie Peak server, but no one has been on who can bring her into the guild. The latest patch is something else.... I have to redo Atzilut's talent tree... clicked one too many times and now need one more talent point to get Starfall. Sheesh. I think my new toon will take up the Inscription profession. Looks like fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Guild, New Server

If all goes well, Cresenc will be moving to the Aerie Peak server to become a member of the Libraries and Librarians Guild. Discovered this guild last week, started by Michael Porter, Libraryman and immediately logged in and rolled a new toon, Cresaluna. After looking at the stats of the other guildies, I decided to move Cresenc from Zul'jin to Aerie Peak. She's on a level with most of the other guildies.

And of course, what did I roll for Cresaluna? I think I'm in a rut. I try to break out, but I just can't seem to manage it. Wonder what this says about me? I need to try at least another class. Stretch my wings. Whatever. I should probably roll a rogue. Hmmm. Any ideas?

So how did I find the new guild? Facebook, of course! Check out the WoW Librarians group on Facebook.