March 31, 2004

Walking Paper: IMing the Library Director

Most cool to see Aaron's take on the IM thing in libraries. A little gem of info in his post? The fact that his director has been on IM... nice.

I have had two branch heads IM me today as part of their homework!

Tomorrow: the Main Library Dept. Heads...

Posted by Michael at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2004

Instant Messaging & Video Chat between the Branches

Joe and I IM after class. Dale, our Web Developer, made his custom icon!

This is cool. I just spent an hour with our branch heads teaching them how to use AIM on their Mac PowerBooks to communicate with each other from wherever they find themselves. With all the talk about IM: at CIL, in blogs and in SLIS classes (a recent email from a student/SJCPL colleague reported that an IU SLIS professor stated that IM will be the way to communicate by 2007!) -- it is good for the branch librarians to be aware of what IM is, how it works and how they can participate. This is info/tech literacy for sure! Our next step, conceived by the Coordinator of branches, is to try video chats with iSights!

I gave them an assignment: to login in the next 2 days and IM me a greeting. Simple? Yes. Pointing toward the future? Yes.

IM me at mstephens7mac if you are so inclined...

Posted by Michael at 03:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 29, 2004

Computers in Libraries 2004 Quick Takes

CIL Highlights included all I've written in this category before and the following:

Meeting Rachel Singer Gordon before Friday’s keynote. Her book came out the same time as mine and we were reviewed together a few times. Her writing has inspired me ever since, especially her well-thought views on where our profession is heading.

Our Bloggers Dine Around (WE missed you Steven!) where 12 people fell in for great Thai food, some yummy cocktails and some darn fine chat: blogs in the library workplace, PDAs, the wireless world, evil PowerPoint presentations and of course a recap of the Dead and Emerging Technologies program the night before.

David King of Kansas City Public Library speaking about meeting users needs with the PL Web site and a local slant. GOOD STUFF! He and I have chatted since then and I look forward to chatting again about all this cool IT stuiff we get bto mess with at the public library. (and about MUSIC too!)

More laptops in the audience this year… a few PCs, tablets, and yes, some Macs!!! I was please to see Roy Tennant’s 17” PB and I told him so in the elevator.

Hanging with Jenny and Aaron between sessions in the WiFi Lounge in the lobby of the Hilton, watching CIL dignitaries pass by…

Posted by Michael at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Jenny Levine on Dead Technologies

One of the highlighhts of this Conference was seeing Jenny Levine at the Wednesday night Dead and Emerging Technologies session. She made some great points. This stuff is spot on. She gratefully shared her notes with me, so here's a bit that really hit home for me: (Jenny's words are in bold!)


- Library web sites with email reference forms that say “We will respond to your email within 48 hours” Uh Oh - SJCPL is guilty!

- Libraries that don’t provide wireless access for patrons, librarians that don’t understand why they will need to OH YES!!!

- Librarians who think patrons won’t bring their own mobile devices into the library and expect to use them there (laptops, PDAs, cell phones, smartphones, Tablet PCs, MP3 players, etc.)

- Librarians who sit behind a desk waiting for kids to walk into the building and up to the reference desk to ask them a question Case in point: Aaron the roving untethered librarian who was sitting next to me during this session!

DEAD TECHNOLOGY: any electronic device you can hold in your hand that does not have wireless capabilities

Posted by Michael at 02:00 PM | Comments (3)

That RFID is soooo HOT right now...

And so is Hansel.

But really, take a look at I lost track of my source for this one... probably LISBlogsource. Please forgive me!

Posted by Michael at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

Walking Paper

Aaron starts a blog... Thanks Jenny for the heads up!

I wrote about Aaron here... pay attention: he's in the trenches and he gets this tech thing! (and that it's about PEOPLE!)

Posted by Michael at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Life Changes...Pursuing the PhD

I have not mentioned the biggest thing happening in my life yet because I wanted to give a little time to thinking about new directions and life changes.

My big news though, which came to me the day I got back from CIL: I have applied to and been accepted into the first distance independent PhD program for Information Science out of the University of North Texas. The program will begin in June with a few days on campus and then will be Web-based with cohort meetings a couple of times a semester for 2 years. I thought long and hard about this, sought the advice of colleagues and friends and am very happy with the outcome! I will be studying technology and its impact on public libraries -- probably a lot of the things I've written about here for the past year.

For the last year or so, as well, I have been pondering further education with the ultimate goal of a faculty position in a LIS School. With my current situation, it would be impossible to pull up stakes and move to one of the towns that have PhD programs in LIS. While working with the Staff Development Team at my public library to evaluate how we develop future library leaders, I did some research into the various ways library employees could get their MLS here in Indiana or beyond. Online classes offered at the University of Illinois were intriguing, but only for Masters students. I pondered the virtually impossible commute to Bloomington or Ann Arbor from South Bend. I was also fact-finding and soul-searching to make sure I was ready for such a big step if an opportunity appeared. IM and e-mail conversations with library colleagues helped me decide I was ready for the challenge of doctoral pursuits.

Special thanks to Rachel Singer Gordon, who originally sent me the info about th program on 2/6 (the application was due right before PLA!). Other folks were so helpful as well with advice, gentle nudges and "big picture" views while I made the decision to go for something I have wanted to do for a long time. I will not be a name dropper here -- You dear souls know who you are and you ROCK.

I always want to stay connected to the library technology profession so I will continue to work at SJCPL, although I some of my duties and responsibilities may change.

Here's the Web page about the program, as an FYI:

I plan on blogging extensively my experiences with the cohort: the group meetings in Texas, the online classes, the process itself... so stay tuned!

Posted by Michael at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2004

Open Book Festival at SJCPL

Yesterday was our annual Open Book Festival at SJCPL. There were activities, authors and fun! The coolest thing was the appearance of spooky author Jonathan Rand, who resides Up North. He even wrote a book set in Traverse City!

This is an excellent example of what libraries can do to promote reading of course but also to promote the library as meeting place and social center. Well done Open Book Committee!!

Here's Dana and Lori with the Man himself!

Posted by Michael at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2004

YAHOO! News plugs RSS Trend (and this is a good thing)

Via YAHOO News Feed:

"Noticed those little orange boxes on the Web lately with the letters "XML?"

Nice little article that says a lot about RSS gaining ground in the mainstream. Does your library web site have a feed for news and info?

Posted by Michael at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

Steven Cohen: Mover & Shaker

I love this:

"Though Cohen has every intention of staying in a corporate environment, he remains an advocate of public libraries. 'There is nothing in this country, including the right to vote, that transcends the right to walk into any public library, sit down, and read any piece of material in the building."

I met Steven a year ago at CIL 2003 and we've been colleagues and, more impoortantly, friends ever since. I was so happy to see his name amongst this year's list of Movers & Shakers at LJ.

Rock On Steven!

Posted by Michael at 06:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

WiFi HotSpot at the Hilton

From Michael Sauers:

Posted by Michael at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)


I was very happy this year to have my colleague and NRDT Team Member Bob Lewandowski with me as a co-presenter and conference attendee. I have wanted him to see the goings on at a techie-library conference for some time. We had a chance to attend sessions together as well as apart so then we could debrief over dinner. Bob's wife Jude attended as well, speaking in the Internet at Schools conference track. She has inspired me in many ways! (I'll write about them soon)

Bob came to SJCPL with a Masters in Instructional Technology and Design - a perfect fit for public library tech training if there ever was one! Bob has spear-headed a computer/Internet class taught entirely in Spanish as well as many training intiatives for the staff. I was so glad he came to CIL to experience the sessions, exhibits, the Dead Tech evening session (riot?) and all that CIL offers.

Here's some shots of the little cohort we founded that week: Jude, Bob, Michael, Aaron.

Posted by Michael at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)


I got to spend time with Aaron of fame. I've been a fan of Mao for a long time. We discovered a mutual enjoyment of good tea and healthy breakfasts so three days of CIL we met early and went to Teaism...which is just down the hill from the Hilton.

Aaron works at Thomas Ford Memorial Library as all around Tech Librarian guy (he did their web site as a series of blogs) and as I type this he is roving the stacks with a wireless enabled laptop. Purely, in my mind, the definition of the Untethered Tech Info Literate Library type if there ever was one...

Back to CIL though, I was always a minute or two behind so he was always waiting at the bottom of the escalator on the lower level, Treo 600 in hand.... I kid you not: same place, same stance...every morning:

Aaron really helped me through the big blog crash of March 10, 2004. He got me going here on Movable Type and helped make this version of TTW what you see Thanks Aaron!

Posted by Michael at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Preconferences at CIL 2004

One of the posts that got lost when my previous blog software crashed mid-conference was about Tuesday March 9, the day before the conference started when many of my colleagues and I were teaching preconference workshops.

I started the day by swinging by the Cabinet Room and giving my best to Jenny and Steven who were doing their Blogging 101 program.

Then, Scott Brandt and I spent the morning fine-tuning our 5-Star workshop I wrote about here.

Lunch was provided by InfoToday, offering a chance to have some good food and see old friends from previous conferences. A group of students for our afternoon session sat with Scott and I and we chatted before heading into our workshop space.

Posted by Michael at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

Fewer, Better Libraries run by Fewer, Better Librarians.

Barbara Quint's wit and writing send me everytime! I was so happy to be on the panel with her at IL (even though she was just on a speaker phone, she captured the room with her words!)

Read this:

Looking forward, Quint theorizes that digital libraries (huge digital libraries..) will allow 24/7 access to huge amounts opf easily published materials. How do librarians fit in? "The trick for the future of the profession," she writes, " lies in finding new tasks that need doing, new ways to do them, and ways to convince clients everywhere that they need us."

Posted by Michael at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

IM the Librarian

I love this! (And I was quoted at CIL giving my opinion on Virtual Reference software so this just supports my idea that IM ref could work!) Why not get on a standard system that is deeply ingrained in our techno-culture instead of making our users wade through java-enabled Web pages and chat environements that sometimes do not work the way they should? Give em something they already know. How do we best serve our users? (the PEOPLE part)

Posted by Michael at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2004

MSG:Your hold items are in at the Library

Aaron discovers and moblogs a very cool thing: and ponders "I wonder how many years it'll be until libraries are offering text notifications to patrons. PC to phone messages are cheap or free...staff training would be the only issue, and probably not that big of one."

Sounds good to me. Steven Abrams words at CIL keep coming back to me in various ways: are the young adults who are texting now going to want to get a e-mail from their librarians?

Posted by Michael at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

Organizations & Tech Training

Sharing the slot with Bob and I was Angela Ballard, Information Technology Training Librarian at NCSU.

Her talk was titled "Ahead of the Curve: Insuring Success of a Technology Training Program for Library Staff" and it really hit home some very important points.

To insure a successful Technology/IT Training program:

The library must take responsibility and devote time and resources
The library must provide a training reesponse to every library-wide technology implementation
The library must provide tools for on the job tech training
The library must distribute training responsibilities.

They do about 50 classes a year at NCSU.

AND adminstrators must do this:

Believe in organizational impact of a programmatic approach to training
Budget for technology training
Support continuing education for trainer(s)
Understand the nature of training work
Project-oriented approach to technology implementation
(From her PowerPoint at

Right ON! I may be preaching to the choir here but there can never be enough PLANNING for tech implementation in the library - especially where some training should occur. From rolling out new Zip drives at all locations on public stations (OMG, what is that thing??) to launching a new OS upgrade system-wide, it behooves those of us in project managemnt to make sure staff are informed. It's simple communication!

Thanks Angela! It was great to present with you.

Posted by Michael at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2004

User Centered Instruction

Scott Brandt and I did our pre-conference workshop Tuesday afternoon. "Make Learning Stick: Creating 5 Star User Centered Training & Instruction"featured a DVD presentation about Bob, a harried trainer faced with training his entire staff on Web mail. We outlined 5 factors to insure training is user-focused and successful everytime!

We had 23 participants and a lot of fun. It was an afternoon session and I must confess by 3pm were were all a little bleary eyed but Scott provided chocolate and we sailed through the rest of the session. Thanks to all who participated!

Here are the workshop leaders hamming it up:

Posted by Michael at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

Top Tech Trends @ CIL Friday Keynote Session

One of my favorite parts of this conference: lisdtening to some forward-thinking speakers outline what the future may hold for library services...

What follows is an annotated congrunt...

Roy Tennant
Theme: Digital Libraries

XML -- Standards must improve
Harvesting data
University faculty are realizing the crisis with scholarly communication

Also: Storage!"As somone who has recently landscaped his house, I can officially say that storage is cheaper than dirt." - Roy Tennant (Quote from (I roared!)

Mary Kennedy
Theme: Getting Personal “It’s all about me!”

The personal experience is the most important!
Space is a community space (That’s what I’m sayin’ - MS)

Instant Messenger – incredible growth in organizations
IM in Libraries:
• Immediate access to knowledge
• Builds a trusted network of expertise
• In a meeting…immediate access to ask a question

IM for Online reference
• Training at point of need
• Information delivery at point of need
• Increase credibility & trust

Organization must accept this method of communication
What level of service do you provide
Does the audience understand what it can be used for?

(Can SJCPL use the power of IMs for quick "need to know" data etc?)

Personal portals:
SmartStreet (nice)
My Site

Customize their access
Power of a personal portal

Content Integration:
Just in time content
Ability to delivery just in time info in the context of workflow
Smart Tags in Word

Stephen Abram
Theme: It’s PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE - not technology!

(Abrams always rocks my world with his insight and humor. He gets it!)

Workflow integration
IM is the future not “letters” via email
5% of people over 30 have an IM account
DB info linked via Smart Tags in MS Office docs
Federated search..not having to know where to search anymore

Massive Archives
We will store everything, our IMs etc

Nomadic Use with multiple devices (wifi equipped PDA anyone?) (How are we serving our users who come in via WAP?)

Delivering content at lesson level
Visual Displays – we are graphical now, visual not text
Personality and searching

It’s an information ocean not a highway!

Posted by Michael at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

Federated Searching Session: Federated Searching & OpenURL

Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian, Northwestern University

Our users don’t know what DB the results came from, journal title is important…they just want the info.

What can you link to:

What is federated searching?
“Squishy at this point”

Metasearch: searches that use metadata to make decisions
Megasearch: Dogpile, AlltheWeb, etc.

Can be combined into a superset of federated searching

Why is this so complicated? Not all protocols are supported by vendors: Z39.50

Tips for implementation:

Select software
Select hardware
Gather provider info
Gather holdings info
Input the two (lightweight cataloging of the resources)
Configure the connection information

Posted by Michael at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2004

LITA Top Tech Trends

It's always good to check in with these....

Top Tech Trends January 2004

I like the listing by conference because you can see what's hot ("...that RFID is so HOT rioght now...") and what's not ("...virtual reference is dead...") (which I'm still trying to figure out.)

Posted by Michael at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Nudist Colony

Courtesy of the new WIRED, which was in my mailbox this afternoon:

A cluster of nonsecure ("naked") wireless networks.

Posted by Michael at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2004

Welcome to TTW 2.0

After a huge crash of my iBlog software that left me stranded blogless at Computers in Libraries, Tame the Web is back -- running on Movable Type thanks to the hard work of Aaron and Blake! It is now housed at the TTW domain as well!

The old Tame the Web content is here!

UPDATE: Still some DNS stuff to work out... please keep checking in and be sure to update links or feeds. I home with a cold/ear thing today... more to come.

Posted by Michael at 07:01 AM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2004

Some Digital Music with that Tall Latte with Room?

Wow... this intrigues me... music and coffee (tea)... I'm in as soon as I can get to a Starbucks that has this service to try it out. Libraries... are you listening? Coffee... yes! Digital tunes burned on CD...yes!

Posted by Michael at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

CIL Photo Gallery

I am home with a cold-like thing but I wanted to get these up and out for everyone...

What a GREAT conference...

Computers in Libraries 2004 Gallery

(and to Steven, be well...enjoy some rest. Peace.)

Posted by Michael at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2004

Visit Open Stacks for some well written congrunts...

I was tickled to meet Mr. Greg Schwartz. I had followed his blog since I discovered it and always found it fascinating.

Here, he congrunts with the best of em!

Posted by Michael at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

Quicker than a Ray of Light

Bob and I went out to CIL to present in the Learning Track on motivating and celebrating staff with technology. We wanted to show off the work we did on RAY OF LIGHT the SJCPL staff day video. I blogged about it here. ROL is a fast motion day in the life of our library system which illustrates how EVERYONE plays a role in the library's mission!

The presentation was a success and the audience seemed to really like the video! There were some whoops and hollars! Then we did questions and of course the discussion turned to copyright. Yes, we used ROL by Madonna with no clearance but it was as much fair use as it could be: not sold, distributed, or copied.

I told them we tried last year to reach out to Madonna's people and never got anywhere. I think this is a great idea for libraries to internally and externally market themselves -- hey Madonna... can you give me a minute of your time to chat about it?

Posted by Michael at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Greetings from the Washington Hilton

I really enjoy this hotel! This week at CIL was most enjoyable: a nice view, clean room every afternoon, good products, fast access ($), and a quick trip downstairs to the conference.

Aaron, however, scored a 10th floor Tower Room, including free access to a lounge with complimentary soft drinks, flat TVS, FREE WiFI, and snacks... Sweet...

Posted by Michael at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2004

TTW is Returning

I'm on my way... but I have to finish up a presentation I'm doing for Prof. Bill Crowley's class at Dominican on Wednesday!

Posted by Michael at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)