December 28, 2004

Ten Things.... Web Stuff (Via Dave) and ATTN Library Directors

OH! How cool are these Ten Things that Dave King pointed to before the Holidays.

Libraries really need to get a grip on some of these collaborative tools: IM, RSS, Wikis, etc!

But, Michael, you say, how can I get started? What can I do at my small to medium-sized library about all this techie stuff?

Good question. Here's what I would do:


If you haven't already designated staff to be in charge of Web development, communication and technology-based services, do so NOW. You, dear director, don't have to know about all of this stuff but someone you trust in the organization should. Someone who understands the role technology should play, the ROI on projects and someone with an eye toward the future.

That person, in turn, should:

Read some of the cool library blogs out there and monitor sites like LISNews to keep up on what's happening. Read journals and books too!

Be in close contact with the library's systems folk and keep them on your side. Communicate.

Attend tech conferences and learn: don't hide behind a Hilton pad taking notes that never see the light of day but talk to people, ask questions and take the important bits back to your library.

Be responsible for statistics of use: web, databases, hits to the library blog, etc and make reports that illustrate what is working and what is nit. Numbers = ROI = good decision making.

Understand technology is a tool to meet the needs of our users..not an end to itself (Thank you Sandra Nelson!)

Posted by Michael at 12:35 PM

Indiana Library Federation State Meeting March 2005

Indiana Library Federation

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

8:30 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.
IM Online for You
Are you using Instant Messaging in your library? Come join this dynamic session covering the benefits of this low-cost, high return on investment service presented by library staff who have implemented this service at the St. Joseph County Public Library. Statistics show that 80% of young adults and teens are IMing. Come learn how to reach this population on their own cyber-turf.
Speakers: Marianne Kruppa, St. Joseph County Public Library; Michael Stephens, St. Joseph County Public Library
Sponsor: Reference Division

2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
Technolust & Technobust: Technology Planning for Libraries
Deploying new technologies requires effective technology planning. How do we serve our users with innovative technology and still remain within our budgets? Michael Stephens, Special Projects Librarian with St. Joseph County Public Library, discusses current hot technologies such as RFID, WiFi, MP3s, DRM, federated searching and how they might fit into library technology plans. He will cover what to consider when planning new technology initiatives, including: cost, training, return on investment, staffing, etc. Technolust (defined as wanting technology for the sake of technology) is a frequent pitfall for technology enthusiasts. Learn how to create a well-written technology plan that serves as a guide to help you avoid technobust!
Speaker: Michael Stephens, St. Joseph County Public Library
Sponsor: Reference Division

Posted by Michael at 09:05 AM

Joyce Valenza Blogs

Take a look at Joyce Valenza's new blog:

She is a member of the UNT Cohort with me and has done some incredible work in the realm of digital libraries, schools and learning.

Posted by Michael at 08:33 AM

December 25, 2004

Holiday Hiatus

I am relaxing...watching movies..playing with the boys... we'll see you in 2005!

Best to all for a safe and happy holiday!

Posted by Michael at 02:09 PM

My Cinema Display!

Christmas Eve, my 2 year old Apple Cinema Display gave up the ghost! :-(

I'm off for repairs with it and the G5 on Monday! :-(

Posted by Michael at 12:29 PM

December 23, 2004

Defining Information Literacy

Via the Information Literacy Weblog: "CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Council has officially approved the definition of Information Literacy produced by a CILIP working group:"

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.

This definition implies several skills. We believe that the skills (or competencies) that are required to be information literate require an understanding of:

a need for information
the resources available
how to find information
the need to evaluate results
how to work with or exploit results
ethics and responsibility of use
how to communicate or share your findings
how to manage your findings.

Good Stuff! I'd make this the foundation of a library staff Info Lit training program.

Posted by Michael at 03:37 PM

Training Your Library Blogging Team

Last Thursday I did two training sessions for the official team of SJCPL Blogging Librarians. It was a 90 minute session. I developed some objectives for the training first:

After successfully completing this session, participants will be able to:

• Post SJCPL Weblog entries formatted with bold, italics and inserted hyperlinks.

• Insert special characters as needed with HTML coding.

• Locate and insert images that are “fair use” compliant for Weblog entries.

• Utilize stylesheet and guidelines to insure consistent posts across system.

And then I created a handout to go with it. A general guidelines sheet was developed by our Head of Collection Development who is overseeing the blog and a style guide was created by our Publicity Manager. Armed with three handouts, we discussed blogging, what the mission of the SJCPL blog is and how the team could make their posts effective and consistent and still have their own voice.

A note: blogging for the library via a team approach insures multiple POVs and coverage. One single person blogging for a medium to large library system will probably burn out quickliy.* I think the team inspires each member to blog and blog well.

Take a look at these excerpted guidelines, posted here with the permission of the author, Joe Sipocz, who heads up the Lifeline Team:

Have fun! If it’s a chore for you, your posts will bore people. We want our weblog to be snappy, informative, and interesting. Write about things you love or feel strongly about.

Be real. Avoid jargon or libraryspeak. While some of our audience might be staff members, we hope to make the weblog an information source for our community.

Bloggers tend to be somewhat informal and so should we. We’re not writing a dissertation, it’s an online diary. Remember, it’s the SJCPL Lifeline!

Even if we’re informal, don’t forget to spellcheck your posts.

Write as often as possible but do not dwell over every word, sentence, paragraph.

Posts can be as short as a sentence or two or as long as a few paragraphs. Shorter posts should have photographs or links, longer posts had better be really interesting.

Write in complete sentences and use proper grammar.

Establish your credibility and your own voice. It’s OK for us to not all sound the same.

While you’re establishing your own voice, don’t forget that you are speaking as a library employee.

Cite your sources and provide links to them when possible.

After discussion, I took them through building a post. I asked all via email a few days before to come armed with text for a blog post and we would use it to do some live training! We discussed choosing a GOOD title for the entry, that might catch readers eyes (as well as Google's), choosing a correct category and entering text.

Then we used this brief little handout to format text and possibly add graphics. Look at this GREAT post grabbing our computer class banner from another SJCPL page:

We also utilized the cover art found in our Web Catalog to insert images of library materials.

Finally, I gave them an assignment to post to the blog before Christams. Take a look:

* A note: But Michael, what if I'm the only one in my little library that blogs? Well, dear library person, just use some of these guidelines and blog as much as you can. Short sweet posts, in my mind, are much more effectrive that large blocks of text anyway!

Posted by Michael at 11:07 AM

December 22, 2004

Happy Holidays from Tame the Web


I have a list of posts to get out but I'm taking some time! I have finished another semester at UNT and am ready to unplug!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! to all of my friends and colleagues in library land -- from folks nearby to good friends across tha Atlantic I was glad to meet this year!

Posted by Michael at 01:41 PM

December 16, 2004

How many Directors dress up like Santa and visit every department, huh?

Mine did today!

Posted by Michael at 05:22 PM

Karen Sums It Up: Meetings

In an IM, Karen just summed so much up in so few words:

"People fall over and die in meetings and no one notices because they're looking at commas."

Rock On!

Posted by Michael at 05:13 PM

Proofreading and Correcting: Librarian Style

Oh Lipstick librarian - your insight slays me this am concerning librarians and their need

Okay; it's one thing to be corrected when giving a paper or a speech, or even in a blog entry, but in a casual e-mail?? That little incident crystallized what exactly irks me about socializing with librarians: our incessant--nay, obsessive need to correct others. No matter what the situation or who's involved, we can never let pass the opportunity to be right, no matter how picayune the mistake or perceived mistake (in this instance it was a grammatical controversy of the actor/actress ilk). No wonder we have an image problem.

I hope in the world of our work a typo or grammatical error would be overlooked. For the over-worked, stressed librarian there may be a typo or sentence that's not perfect. The world will not end because of this. My dear mentor of years gone by used to say "It's the library, we are not doing brain surgery here."

I would classify a lot of this "correcting" behaviour as missing the forest for the trees. One of the most frustrating things I hear from librarians I've worked with is too much time is spent perfecting a few sentences that may be read once and then filed. UGH!

With writing for school - every detail counts..every cite ..every reference. But dashing off an e-mail or a brief paragraph about some work-related something to be consumed internally does not have to be picked over. Materials for the public - yes! Intranet posts - oh yeah. Blog posts on the SJCPL Weblog - Yes indeed. A two paragraph summary of a meeting? Spell check and send it on is too short!

edited :12/16/04

Posted by Michael at 08:26 AM

Blogging for the Profession

Steven writes about librarians who blog oh so nicely:

Anonymous blogging intrigues me. I've never done it but I read some "front line" blogs every once in awhile and appreciate the candor and honest look at what happens at reference desks all over. And I agree with Mr. Cohen - if you are blogging, let your boss know. My blog is on my yours? I have also mentioned here I turn in conference reports made up ofd all of my blog entries from that event. It's easy and it keeps me focused on blogging while at the conference. It works for me. Some may want to dgest and write later...that's cool too.

I know one of our adminstrators reads my writing here and it pleases me to know that line of communication is there. The dean of the SLIS department at UNT blew me away when she said : "I read your blog." Wow!

This ties in with ethics as well. Blogging as a practiotioner and as a student I am reporting/commenting on stuff that happens in my library, at school and in the LIS world. I owe it to myself to do the best I can, be honest and watch out for typos.

Posted by Michael at 08:13 AM

December 15, 2004

What the %&^$? No blogging at SES via their connection...

Just read Steven's post...

This makes me a little crazy. I don't get it.... But maybe, like Mr. Cohen, I need more information.

Posted by Michael at 10:38 AM

December 13, 2004

The power of design software and a iPod

Take a look at this post over at my iPod page:

George Masters has made a homegrown commercial that could be right up there with Apple's stuff. I hope Apple approves! Goodness, how many products get this kind of promotion?

Posted by Michael at 08:10 AM

December 12, 2004

Presence - CJ @ Technobiblio

Thanks CJ!

I'm fascinated by the direction IM, e-mail and blogging is going... social networks, interaction, collaboration... sweetness.

Posted by Michael at 06:58 PM

December 10, 2004

Blog Ethics!

Karen posted this yesterday -- probably about the same time I was looking at it and pondering a blog post! Well done Karen!

Follow the links in her post to the other links. I'm tickled to see a PhD candidate looking at Blog ethics. I am just forming my thoughts about LIS Weblogs, librarians and information for research and possibly my dissertation at UNT. Just scratching the surface with a literature review, Dr. Laurel Clyde's book Libraries and Weblogs, and a first stab at a research proposal whets my appetite for more!

David Weinberger, in the C-SPAN video, I linked to yesterday tells the crowd at the LOC that blogs are so wonderful because they are in the moment and will have typos ( because of the speed posts are written and published) etc. He also says he would trust the blogosphere as a whole more than the traditional broadcast media! Wow. Give that speech a listen/view, read Karen's thoughts about blogging:

I also feel that as librarians our "code" has to go even farther than in the examples I cite at the beginning of this entry. We are the standard-bearers for accurate, unbiased information. Blogs filled with typos, half-baked "facts," misrepresentations, copyright violations, and other egregious and unprofessional problems do not represent us well to the world. (Karen, you rock!)

and ponder how this immediate form of communication will impact librarians in the next few years:

New Products
Publishing in general
Smaller libraries that suddenly have access to the "big news" that might not have trickled down before.

And I agree with Karen - I post hurriedly but I often go back to correct typos. Especially for conference posts, which I turn in at SJCPL as a report.

Are we representing our organizations in the right way? Ourselves? Our common goal? I love the part about having a mission/goal for a blog. Bloggers - what are your priorities for blogging? Your goals for writing? The minute a blog becomes ME ME ME I usually check out, unsubscribe that feed and look for another one.

My thoughts ob LIS bloggers personal protocols are here: and Ten Things a Blogging Librarian Must do are here.

Posted by Michael at 08:08 AM

December 09, 2004

David Weinberger on Blogs at C-SPAN

Part of the digital future project, give this some time if you can. Nice thoughts about the nature of information and Weblogs.

Posted by Michael at 01:28 PM

NYT Notes SJCPL Blogs! WooHooo!

Dateline December 9, 2004: New York Times story Libraries Reach Out, Online By TIM GNATEK mentions my very own SJCPL! This, my friends, is one more example that LIS Weblogs have arrived and are being noticed.

"Posting electronic versions of libraries' holdings is only part of the library's expanding online presence. Library Web sites are becoming information portals. Many, like the Saint Joseph's County Library in South Bend, Ind., have created Web logs as community outreach tools.

Here's the link (login required):

I wish they would have linked to us but they didn't. I womder how many folks may seek the blog out after reading about it today? Hopefully, some will be inspired to add blogs to their sites.

Attention: now is the time for all good librarians to begin their blogging experience: blog your programs, your collections, your outreach, your mission -- in fact, make a blog part of your mission to keep your library in the public eye!

This fires me up!

And please visit the SJCPL Lifeline!

Posted by Michael at 09:15 AM

December 08, 2004

TTW Unplugged? Almost!

I feel validated today:

I am finishing a huge project for school this week and next. It's independent study with Dr. Maurice Wheeler at UNT. I'm designing a class for doc students examining how technology has impacted Public libraries. One of the themes is the "unintended consequences" of technology.

I am hurtling toward unplugging through Christmas though. The idea of a break from the keyboard is attractive right now...

Do not fret - I will be back...we have so much cool stuff to look at and talk about here at TTW as libraries continue to meet technologies in new and interesting ways.

I also need to write a bit about my amazing weekend in Denton for class!

Posted by Michael at 03:09 PM

Congrats Steven! Well Done PLA!

Wow! I wish I could be there!!!

I am tickled that a major library organization is starting a Blog!

Posted by Michael at 10:18 AM

December 04, 2004

Types of Studies (A mini-lecture by Dr. Schamber)

Types of Studies

Less than a full blown study:

Pilot Study: Navigation, procedural type of study. Could be running through a new instrument with a few people to see if it works and what kind of data you get. "Quick and Dirty" data analysis. Should not be published.

Preliminary Study: Related to pilot, a first step to a large study. "To see what's out there." People do publish these.

Exploratory Study: Related to pilot, a first step to a large study. "To see what's out there." People do publish these.

Research methods

Descriptive: Oriented toward the research methods than the data. What and how much are questions you ask.

Quasi-Experimental: Not quite truly experimental (controlled) Stuff with people.

Pre-test/Post test: a method of research: give them the test before the material and then after the material to see if they learned anything.

Baseline: when we don't know what the situation is and we need to start a line of research in the area to find out what the situation is: baseline data.

Basic: aka theoretical, scholarly, academic. Designed so that the results will be generalizable to a larger population.

Applied: aka practical, professional. In a narrower context: a problem is perceived and data is collected via a study. Results stay within the institution.

Posted by Michael at 12:40 PM

Blogs as Virtual Communities

I presented my research proposal. This is the PPT I used. It has flaws but take a look... I learned a lot from this and realize I have a lot to do to get a study going.

Posted by Michael at 12:27 PM

December 02, 2004

Red Herring's Top Ten Technology trends for 2005

Hmmmm... the Digital living Room!

Posted by Michael at 10:23 AM

IL 2004 Presentations Page

Couldn't make it to Monterey? Guess what -- many of the presentations and handouts are here:

Posted by Michael at 05:25 AM

December 01, 2004

Goin' to Texas!

I'm off to Denton tomorrow for our last weekend of class for the year! I'll write from there. I'm presenting my paper about Blogs and virtual communities to the class Friday morning.

Posted by Michael at 09:13 AM