October 17, 2005

On the Upside: VoIP

When a new technology gets picked up by NPR, I'd count it as on the upward slope toward tipping into the mainstream.


Thanks to Meg in Evansville for the heads up!

Posted by Michael at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2005

Still More Work to Do

Michael Casey, who JUST STARTED BLOGGING in September -- wooohoo -- commented yesterday on a post from 2004, 10 Things A Library Can Do to Boost their Techie Stuff* (*without breaking the bank), and I wanted to put that comment here because it's way back in the TTW archives. I couldn't agree more with what Michael says:

"Looking at this more than a year after posting causes me much frustration and angst when I realize that so many libraries -- libraries that can and should have embraced all of these long ago -- have yet to adopt more than one or two. Blogs and RSS feeds, especially, seem to be a no-brainer, yet they continue to be difficult projects to push upstream."

It does make me realize the "blogvangelists" I know still have much to do, as well as those that try to point librarians to the wonders of the next wave of collaboration online. What can we do to help? I once suggested to someone from the Indiana State Library that they should buy a big server and give every Indiana library a blog! I wish they would!

Maybe we need to keep plugging away..keep writing and speaking and pointing to the libraries that get these new tools...

Thanks Michael!

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September 23, 2005

Michael Porter on Hot Technologies

Attention West Coasters: Libraryman (Good ole Michael Porter) is teaching a HOT class for OCLC! Take a look:


Attendees newly acquainted with the subject matter will find the materials and concepts clearly explained and easy to follow. More experienced library technologists will find the technologies, concepts and their overlaps intriguing, with provided materials offering a technically precise background. Each subject area will be presented, analyzed, discussed, and demonstrated. Attendees will also be given valuable resources highlighting further research and implementation assistance.

Rock On MP! Please blog your experiences!!!

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September 12, 2005

Is the World Flat?

LISDOM ponders it...This makes for an intriguing discussion: in some instances, like tomorrow when I give a presentation to librarians in Australia, the world seems amazingly flat. In others, there is a great disparity.


Friedman, toward the end of the book, concedes that the world is not truly "flat" but advances and shifts in the global economy are certainly making it seem that way.

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September 09, 2005

GoogleNet: Is it Next?

In the new issue of Business 2.0, there's a brief article on what Google may have up its sleeve.


What if Google (GOOG) wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a user’s precise location? The gatekeeper of the world’s information could become one of the globe’s biggest Internet providers and one of its most powerful ad sellers, basically supplanting telecoms in one fell swoop. Sounds crazy, but how might Google go about it? First it would build a national broadband network -- let's call it the GoogleNet -- massive enough to rival even the country's biggest Internet service providers. Business 2.0 has learned from telecom insiders that Google is already building such a network, though ostensibly for many reasons. For the past year, it has quietly been shopping for miles and miles of "dark," or unused, fiber-optic cable across the country from wholesalers such as New York’s AboveNet.

Intriguing stuff. Could Google be positioning itself to cover the US with free wifi? This is speculation but it's good to consider the impact on libraries. Presence would be a million times more important as our users move to laptops and portable, converged devices. With net access anywhere anytime, the library had better be a key player in folk's information seeking behaviors.

Take a look at this article... and file it away to look at in a few months (years?) when Google is making opther huge strides for information access to users...

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August 25, 2005

David Warlick Gets the Millennials


OK, our kids are connected. Technology is part of their lives. But lets try to picture this in a different way. As you are, by now, accustomed to my saying, "It's not technology, it's information". These gadgets are their links to information. They talk, text message, and google with their mobile phones, IM on their laptops, access the world wide web, Net-based video games like Halo, MMORPG (did I get that right?) games like EverQuest and Second Life. These gadgets represent intellectual appendages to our children. They are the hands and feet that carry children to new experiences, and cutting these links is like cutting an appendage — and that makes no constructive sense to these children and their world view.

More reason to look at our services to teens and make sure we are reaching out to them in the best ways possible!

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August 23, 2005

How will handhelds reshape our culture?

Here's a review of a book about handhelds and Japan called Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life at WIRED:


The Japanese word for cell phone -- keitai, meaning "something you carry with you" -- provides a hint about its role within Japanese culture. Over time, mobile devices in Japan have come to be perceived not so much as bundles of technical features, or tools for replicating PC functions from the road, but personal accessories that help users sustain constant social links with others.

So it's not about technology but about the social connection. What else might fall into that thinking? Blogs, wikis, IM? For sure. Let's watch closely as our culture changes as more and more folks discover tools that allow them to communicate who they are and what they believe...and work together as well.

I kid you not: librarians need to pay attention to what is happening with tech such as this -- how will keitai change our jobs, our services, our buildings?

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August 20, 2005

TTW on the Flat World

Lots of synchronicity while on a short blogging break:

1. A hot post at Infomancy on Libraries in the Flat World. Read it!

With Anne: Online Collaboration Tools

With Anne: Online Collaboration Tools

With Anne: Online Collaboration Tools

2. I had a Skype/Jybe meeting with Anne Beaumont from the State Library of Victoria in Australia in preparation for a presentation I'll be giving in September via the same tools. We went through a Powerpoint presentation, some Web sites and chatted as though we were in the same room. It was 6:30pm in Indiana on Wednesday and 9:30am on Thursday in Australia... I said: "The world is truly flat."

3. UNT Cohort Joyce Valenza and I worked for over an hour on a survey I'm designing for my first big research project via Skyp and IM last week. She was all comfy in Pennsylvani and I was working with my boys sleeping at my feet. "Michael," she said, "it's a flat, flat world."

4. Next up: actually reading the book! It's in the queue for the next drive up to the lake.

Posted by Michael at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On the Cusp of Change: A Global, Collaborative IT World

This is HOT:


Coming Soon...A Single, Global, Collaborative Virtual IT World (Phew!)

"Something fundamentally big is happening that will profoundly affect the life of every person and every business over the next five to 15 years -- the collapsing of everything into one single, global, ubiquitous, collaborative virtual IT world."

So said Hossein Eslambolchi, president of AT&T's Global Networking Technology Services, at the recent Supernova conference co-sponsored by Wharton in San Francisco. The conference, now in its fourth year, explores the forces in technology that are driving computing from a centralized model to a decentralized one, from the center to the 'edge.' These forces, which demand new systems and business models, represent both threat and opportunity, said conference organizer Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics.

Threat and opportunity. Let's apply this to libraries. What are the threats of this new model to libraries? Well, for one, if everyone is connected and authenticated and working together manipulating information and generating new knowledge, where does the physical library fall? Meeting spaces for sure. Comfortable collaborative enviroments where it's ok to talk, plug in laptops and other devices and create stuff.

What if the businesses like Starbucks and McDonald's that are offering wifi, other technology and more, ramped it up: cafe as information/entertainment space built for people to visit and work/play. What if it becomers the mission of a huge company to take over the "third place" market? That's scary for libraries. Very.

It also makes me think our web spaces have to be all the more savvy and useful, or folks will pass us by. Read Dave's Blog for so much more about how to make the Web experience effective...his stuff is rocking my world these days.

Take away: Meeting spaces & useful web spaces..that's the opportunity for libraries.

Posted by Michael at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

June 20, 2005

Karen Looks for Comments on Tech trends

I just weighed in myself...


I owe TTW readers a boatload of posts, but I am gosh darn tuckered out! (I've been in Texas for 5 days!) More tomorrow...

Posted by Michael at 08:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2005

Future of Music

Music Like Water (Raining Down)

I want to write a post about this soon because I finished the book yesterday, but for now:

The Future of Musis Site: http://www.futureofmusicbook.com/

First Chapter Online: http://www.themusic.com.au/im_m/archive/2005/050503-453_guests.php

Quickly: if you want a very possible glimpse into our future as providers of entertainment and information, give this one a read!

Posted by Michael at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

DDR at Purdue!

Dance Dance Revolution @ the Purdue Blogging Workshop

In the morning workshop yesterday, I mentioned what was happening in the public library realm with gaming tournaments and what university libraries may expect from gamers as students. At lunch, Scott Brandt lead a field trip down to the Student Union to check it out. Scott and Brook, another Purdue librarian, grabbed the chance to stretch their legs!

Then, the students offered to show us how it's done! One fellow jumped up and wowed us -- dancing to "It's Raining Men!"


Lesson: there's a lot of talk about gaming...a first step might be to check it out for yourself at the local arcade or wherever young people in your life may gather to game or DDR.

Posted by Michael at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2005

Gaming...Spaces..Library Zones... read the OCLC Newsletter

I'll be using this link in my talk tomorrow during "Reinventing Libraries Part 3"


And this one too:


(Thanks Jenny!)

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

June 06, 2005

Butler University Library Wiki

Good stuff:


Via a post from http://pfitzblog.royaltylinks.com/archives/2005/05/21/going-wiki/ :-)

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Reference Desk at Panera

Via Frances, our SJCPL Staff Devlopment Librarian:


This, my friends, is OUTREACH. This makes the librarian visible..the library visible...and provides a valuable service. I'd ponder this for sure if I was planning outreach services.

From http://fulton.blogspot.com/

"On Saturday, June 4, Daveman will be at Panera Bread in Clay on Route 31 from 8:00 - 10:00 AM. Using their wireless network and my tablet PC, I'll be answering any and all questions faster than you can spell focaccia. I can show you how to find articles from Consumer Reports and hundreds of other magazines for free. Enter the raffle for a tote bag full of Liverpool Library stuff. You can sign up for a library card, too.

Grab a mug of the Costa Rican and see if you can stump the chump!"

Posted by Michael at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Get your LIS VideoCasts Ready!

Via the Social Software Blog:


This makes me think Apple may tweak the iPod and allow Videocasts to be played anywhere as well as the PSP... Is a library videocast of news, speakers, materials, tours coming our way soon? And maybe VidLits too!

I LOVE this stuff!

Posted by Michael at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

At IOLUG, I had a moment of Technolust when...

Glen Horton showed me his Sharp Zaurus. Here it is connected to the SJCPL Web site:

The SJCPL Web Site on Glen Horton's Sharp Zaurus

Posted by Michael at 05:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2005

LITA Tech Trends


Good stuff... how did I miss this? When did it go up?

ISSUE 1: Storage
ISSUE 2: Blogs, Libraries and Citizen Journalists
ISSUE 3: E-Books
ISSUE 4: OPACs, FRBR, and interface design
ISSUE 6: Broadband and VoIP
ISSUE 7: Google Print, Scholar, and MetaSearching
ISSUE 8: Folksonomies
ISSUE 9: Digital Rights Management

Posted by Michael at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2005

That Old Technology Tune


It makes me feel I'm on the right track when I see the cool presentations Jessamyn gives about technology and libraries:


I said in an IM Tuesday to her "We sing a lot of the same tune..." Check out the "Robots" presentation.

Posted by Michael at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Jybe Set


Playing with Jybe: Reference Interview Training Session

We meet with Brian again today: our Staff development Librarian, our Web developer and yours truly for another demo. The implications for training intrigue me. Here I've set up a session to run through a PPT on the Reference Interview.

Posted by Michael at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

Jybe 2.0 is Here (RIP VR)

Jybe 2.0

I've had an ongoing dialog with Brian at Jybe and today (Sunday) he asked me to take a look at Jybe 2.0 with him. Amidst my parsing of XML and pondering a paper on iPodder, Brian and I spent about 30 minutes looking at the new plug in and discussing how librarians might use Jybe to co-browse with users or each other (I see a big future for training and staff development this way- I could conduct a brief tutorial on a databse from my desk with a librarian at a branch! Our most cool staff dev librarian at SJCPL gets it too!).

So what's HOT about Jybe 2.0:

An intuitive Create Session that features a Notify button so you can invite folks to your jybe session via email.

An asterisk appears next to each user's name in the chat interface to signify their browser is still loading the page - it disappears when the page is loaded.

Scrolling capability for cobrowsers

Uploadable presentations -- PPT, XLS, DOC, etc -- with super fact refresh rates ( I was able to upload "21st Century Libraries" from my Mac, click through some slides and then surf right over to KCPL to illustrate a point!)

Jybe does not support uploading images yet, but we were able to get into a gallery so I could show him a picture of the boys.

We surfed over to SJCPL and got into the catalog, where Brian searched for a book with me. We were also able to get into a database, search, click on a PDF and download it to both machines!

Finally, we trotted over to wikipedia and edited an entry TOGETHER. We couldn't type at the same time -- like Aaron and I do with Sub Etha Edit on our Macs -- but how cool is that? Collaborative real time blogging and wiki anyone?

Brian says 2.0 will be ready sometime this week so keep an eye out for it and test it yourself. I am intrigued as usual by something that seems so simple to use that could make the VR folks sit up and take notice. Some questions for libraries pondering a Jybe-based VR service: will your users download a plug-in? Can we make it easy for them to do so? Can we use Jybe in-house for development and training?

I'm pondering Sherri's words: "the 'embedded' service concept: provide help for people where and when they use it most." Is Jybe imbedded enough or can it made to be so users will automatically have it or not think twice about adding on to their systems.

Update: Jybe 2.0 is out!

Posted by Michael at 07:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SJCPL Adds Search Box to Front Page


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More on "Meet the Gamers"

I just did a second read through and this article may turn out to be a touchstone for futurists and library planners as well as signifying service directions a public library needs to look at very seriously to remain viable with a goodly part of the population. Consider this:

"It is impossible to resist imagining a library built on gamer principles, where patrons decide which materials and services are offered and which are not. All discussions of the library's future direction would be open, with full transcripts digitized, searchable, and part of the permanent record. Mechanisms would be put in place so that patrons are welcomed as new users but encouraged to participate in decision-making and, eventually, contribute their own materials. Library users would be linked to their relevant social networks through a variety of tools."

We've been hearing this song for years: user-centered planning and transparency!


Posted by Michael at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2005

CNN's Top 25 (because I so love numbered Lists!)

Top 25 Technological Breakthroughs

Posted by Michael at 02:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2005

Bedside Table Reading

What's on my bedside table you ask? (well...maybe you didn't but I'll tell you anyway!)

A few weeks of Entertainment Weekly: Gotta stay in tune with pop culture, yes?

2003 OCLC Enviromental Scan: Pattern Recognition: I can't say enough about this one. This report to the OCLC membership includes a look at the social, technology, economic and library landscape as well as future trends for libraries, a focus on content, and much much more. Just the Glossary and Readings List are worth the $16 it cost for it to be shipped to my door.

The volume includes a section on major trends in the library landscape. I kid you not: these are the things adminstarors, reference librarians and IT folks need to know about as they set to planning the future of their organizations.

Key terms? Collaboration...New Roles...Accountability...

Posted by Michael at 01:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

OSS & Schools

Take a look a report of Joyce Valenza's piece about OSS and schools. Joyce and I are in school together. Her work for school libraries and internet skills blows me away!


The terms open source and free software are associated with the same revolution. Folks who use the term free software use it philosophically to emphasize the importance of freedom from reliance on one vendor, freedom to see the source, freedom from complicated licensing, freedom from forced upgrades, freedom associated with greater software reliability, and the free support of the online community. A great dialogue is under way, with software developers working in communities to promote the greater good through their exchange of knowledge.

Via Digital Divide.

Posted by Michael at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

If you build it, will they come?

David King concludes a post (in response to Greg who responded to me) with:

It's up to us librarians to figure out what our content is, and how to provide our customers the ability to aggregate that content.

This speaks volumes. Sure - let's spend $10,000 on a new database, invest loads of hours of Web designer time in a new Teen page, start staffing a VR desk 40 hours a week, add bells & whistles to our Web-based catalogs, etc.

Do all of the these things - BUT have a plan to get your content out to your users! Too many times I have talked to librarians about one of their new but not "taking off" services and they tell me "we didn't promote it much..."

Have a marketing plan
Brand your services
Blog on your library Web site
Aggregate content via RSS
Teach your staff and your patrons how it all works

You may be happy with the results!

Posted by Michael at 05:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

Staff Oriented Toolbar - Good Stuff!

Grace commented about her library's Toolbar:

Thanks for posting about us. To answer your questions - right now we've got a press release out to the Houston Chronicle and I'm developing a bookmark for the branches. I've thought about doing a poster, but we'll see. Having it on the website alone seems to be doing pretty well - we had 478 downloads in February. We haven't done any training for the staff or public. Ironically, the staff computers don't yet have a toolbar. Rather than pushing the toolbar designed for the public to the staff computers, we're in the final stages of design of a staff oriented toolbar with access to our Intranet and database searching.

That's what I am talking about! A Toolbar just for staff - that's a great way to keep those resources you pay for in the forefront of what's available for searching. This is good stuff. Planning librarians...techies..adminstrators...take note of what this progressive system is doing to better enable the public and the staff!

Posted by Michael at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2005

PL Toolbar

Via LISNews:


Get a load of that! Talk about PRESENCE! Well done Harris County Public Library.

If we are selling our message of provideing access and materials, what better way than actually putting that "message" into someone's browser. The public library needs to be in people's minds -- not just as an afterthought when other resources fail. I'd be interested in what prmotional activities the library is doing as well as what training staff and the public received!

Posted by Michael at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

That Local Flavor Please

This is a cross post from the Online Social Network Conference going on now:

One thing that has really impressed me is the use of subject-guide categories at Kansas City Public Library. Their site is full of pages that are often updated with local information and general interest stuff as well -- and many of the pages have specfiic RSS feeds.  

Take a look at:  



It's ingenious and I believe they hit on one of the strengths of creating an OSN for a community via the library: highlighting local information. Back in the day -- :-) -- librarians were all about creating "Web Guides" or subject lists. Now not only are folks going to Google first but bigger and better subject guides like the Librarian's Index to the Internet do it with ease. Library staff should not be putting in hours on something that's already in place -- unless it's building LOCAL portals and subject guides. That serves the users best, in my mind.  

Posted by Michael at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2005

Four Minute Movie on Podcasting

Lisa Williams explains it all!

Posted by Michael at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

For your listening pleasure

Karen's Podcast : http://freerangelibrarian.com/archives/020105/podcasting_test.php

I love this post! It includes a wonderful list of TTT's that sound much like poetry...check it out!

Greg's 2nd Podcast: http://openstacks.net/os/os_podcast_2.mp3

Well done... open source theme music, user audio comments and a look at what podcasting is!

Greg says: "We are creating audio content..and syndicating it.."

I totally get how syndicating audio content for a library could provide dynamic content... check it out and ponder!

Posted by Michael at 12:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 21, 2005

Is Virtual Reference User Centered?

Aaron, who also made this Winter's NetConnect with a most cool TOP TEN, posts a most thoughtful bit about his thoughts on the state of VR in libraries.


Virtual Reference is not user-centric, he writes. Expecting people to enter into and operate in a little world that vendors have created is a bit naive. VR systems clearly were built with librarian in mind. The benefits awarded librarians vs. patrons illustrates this.

Yes. I agree. Who were we planning for when so many libraries jumped on to the RMS Virtual Reference as it sailed toward greatness only to encounter a few icebergs -- software glitches, low statistics and not a lot of interest from staff or patrons.

Read Aaron. And hey -- Aaron and I will be leading a half day Technology Planning Workshop at the 20th Annual Computers in Libraries 2005 Conference in good ole Washington DC in March. Come join us!

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

January 20, 2005

Seeking Input: Circulating Digital Content

Could some public library folk who are circulating MP3 players or working with companies like Recorded Books send me an e-mail... I have a couple of questions...

mstephens7 (at) mac.com

Posted by Michael at 02:38 PM

January 19, 2005

Innovative... the Gauntlet has been THROWN DOWN...


Posted by Michael at 11:09 AM

Circulating Digital Content

This weekend the South Bend Tribune reported that my hometown library has jumped into the digital content arena by aligning with Recorded Books in a $10,000 contract.

The service, the paper reports, gives patrons access to 500 titles. "Patrons will be able to download the books to their home computers and then load them into any of the small media players that are Windows-based. Patrons also will be able to go to the library and download books onto their MP3's or similar players."

Here's their site:


There are choices now for this type of content: Audible, Recorded, OverDrive.

My questions, then, for any library tech planning folk considering this type of service are these:

How does this new service impact other collections?

What type of training will staff need? Will the public need?

Will every reference/help point in the library have to be knowledgable in the ways of the service -- whatever it may be -- to field questions and complaints?

If it's a download service, do enough folks in the community have broadband? (Don't forget we are user-centered technology planners people!)

What hardware/software/troubleshooting expertise will library staff have to have? (Patron: "Excuse me, I can't seem to get The DaVinci Code to play on my WizzyWig MP3 player..can you help? Staff person: Huh? What? What's MP3?)

What unintended consequences might appear? (Maybe a staff brainstorming session would make these clear if there are any...)

AND what hardware is needed to assist patrons?

(On a personal note: I'm sad to see my hometown's library's service will not support my iPods. What's the marketshare right now of the iPod? Is it a DRM issue..I think so...Someone is going to have to give in this battle: Apple? The vendor? I have purchased books from Audible and it was a joy to use them on my iPod!)

Finally, as with any new service, have a plan, a well-trained, comfortable staff, some promotion and a policy to stand on.

Posted by Michael at 07:08 AM

January 17, 2005

Top Tech Trends from Karen Schneider (via the PLA Blog)

I was waiting for the reports of this session! LITA's Top Technology Trends always fires me up and gives me food for thought.

Read her post here:


"...convergence, ubiquitous computing, nomadicity, and what one poster to my blog called "the intermingling of the various pieces of your online life.")..."

Posted by Michael at 12:16 PM

January 14, 2005

Open Source Bibliography

One of our assignments this semester is a weekly post about some type of OSS news or thread. Here's my first one:

Please visit:


The page description includes: This bibliography has been compiled by Brenda Chawner, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, as part of her Ph.D. studies. It includes announcements, journal articles, and web documents that are about open source software development in libraries.

What a wonderful clearinghouse off all things OSS and libraries. I have just started to go through some of them. There are definetly some articles I would like to track down.

Posted by Michael at 08:52 AM

Comment from Information Wants to Be Free - Tech Planning


There are libraries that are completely adverse to change and to technology, and there are libraries that are so tech-forward that they pass their patrons by. Neither of these approaches is a good idea. Ask your patrons what they want; what they’d like to see at the library. Base your decisions about what technologies to implement on where your patrons are (and where your staff is) – not on what looks cool. Not every library should be implementing the same sort of technologies. It all should be based on your population’s needs.

What a concise, eloquent statement. That's what inspired my article about technolust for LJ -- Success stories from libraries who planned tech around patron use, and some "it didn't work the way we planned" stories from librarians who dove into technology without the appropriate planning.

Posted by Michael at 07:53 AM

January 13, 2005

David King Comments

David King weighs in and rocks my tech world. Thanks! Read these:



I could not agree more!

Posted by Michael at 02:43 PM

January 12, 2005

Twelve Techie Things for Librarians 2005 (Updated)

In lieu of looking back at 2004, I thought I'd look ahead at some things librarians need to be aware of as we move into the middle of the decade. These are the things I would want a knowledgeable, tech savvy staff to be aware of and consider for their libraries. In strategic planning, long range plan meetings and the like I would hope an "in the know" librarian at the table could speak about these things.

These are culled from various blogs, presentations, discussions and pondering. For your consideration:

User-Centered Technology Planning

"Technology is a tool..it is only a tool." (Thanks Sandra Nelson!) Do not let your technolust guide planning for technology in your library. Don't let the staff do it either. Focus on user needs.

I talked to some great folks and wrote about it here.

Proceed carefully. Make good decisions. Ponder these and the bigger implications AND unintended consequences: RFID, WiFi for the Public, MP3 players, Web redesign, public use document stations. Optimise tech in your library for users and staff.

Toolbars for Library Users

So what if every library or library consortium could supply a customizable toolbar for their users to download and install? Like this: http://wesley.stanford.edu/library/toolbar/ (Via Rob)

It should include all the cool things Jackson does: links to library information, "talk with a librarian" access and a search box. Wow! Maybe a library could distribute it via the web and on a welcome CD/DVD when someone gets a card (PL) or enrolls (academic). I would also hope it would come from the Open Source movement (see below) and libraries could share it and improve it as it grows.

RSS Feeds from the Catalog and Library Web Sites

I nearly fell of my chair when I read that Seattle Public Library has integrated RSS through their catalog -- after falling out of my chair back in November when David King told me Kansas City Public was using RSS on their pages.

Attention ILS Vendors: follow Dynix's lead and integrate now (especially you there, Innovative, who vends SJCPL's Catalog). I would love to subscribe to feeds based on some favorite authors or genres or newly added DVDs.

Attention Web Development Librarians: Be aware -- RSS is the new big thing. It's going to change the way folks get their content. Yeah yeah, you say, not everyone is using it. Guess what? The fact that CNN went live with feeds this week (Thanks Steven) speaks volumes. When folks realize how easy it is to monitor content and have that content shoot into their reader, libraries had better be ready! I would love to see a library offer feeds for all of their news and marketing!

Converging Devices and Storage

(Inspired by Jenny Levine and Roy Tennant, two people who inspire me everytime I encounter them.)

Jenny always makes me think when we chat or I read her stuff. She's been saying "convergence" for some time now - and boy do i get it -- especially after upgrading to a Treo 600. Devices are serving multiple purposes -- look at the Treo (IM, E-mail, phone, SMS, etc) or even the iPod Photo (music, calendar, contact lists, photos and heck yeah - presentations!).

Roy Tennant speaks and writes about digital storage. An iPod has 60GB of space. Are we ready for those devices to be attached to our public PCs for transferring data? I heard this many times in 2004. Are we guilty of dumbing down our public machines so much that they are useless? Can users do everything they may need to do or want to try? Can they burn a CD? DVD? Plug in a USB storage device? Download free tunes somewhere?

Case in point: A young person heads out to a library and wants to search the catalog en route via his converged device...and then maybe download 30-40 BIG PDFs for a research report onto their iPod... can they do it at your library?

Presence (Social Software and Tools) & Collaboration Part I:

CJ inspired me and David King wrote about this and it struck a chord. I would like to see more librarians present in the social realm of the web: via IM, via social networks, via online communities, via their own blogs or collaborative blogspaces: weighing in on issues and showing off what cool folks are doing in this game. Share your photos -- I want to see pictures of your wedding or travels or whatever as well as your libraries. That's community and I love that aspect of the plugged in life.

IM is not just for saying “How R U” anymore. Folks are using it – holding meetings, asking questions and collaborating. Libraries are using it as a virtual reference tool. Look at what Aaron has done and Sarah....

IM me. SMS me. E-mail me Comment at flickr on my silly images. Stop me in the hallway at the Washington Hilton at CIL and let's talk! I love it!

Presence (Libraries as Space...& a word from our sponsor) part II:

The other type of presence, in my mind, is that of a library's presence in its locale -- virtually and physically. we need to build great web sites but also great buildings that draw people in. We need to ask them what they want in the library and put those things there.

We need to brand and logo our services and advertise!! Make the library the place to be -- whether it's coming in the front door or typing in a URL. I also think that a consistent message across all channels of communication within a library makes the message so much more clear.

Electronic Resources & Federated Access (and a rant about Promotion)

Public libraries are in a unique position. How do we spend our budgets to best serve such diverse user populations? At the University of North Texas the online resources are HUGE and deep because it is a research institution. In fact, I'm irked when I can't get full text access to a journal. What do public library users expect? General databases like MasterFile? Full text of some of the big names? For sure if use supports it.

What do your patrons want? Have we even asked them? The reference librarians get a general idea of what people are using..they should be involved in the process but also understand the constraints of budgets and the "big picture" of offerings.

Evaluation is very important. User interface is key. If a database is hard to use -- who will use it? With federated searching, however, that interface takes second place to the metasearch interface. That one had better be mighty fine as well!

Budgets are tight. A product had better be GOOD, needed and easily incorporate into data structures already in place at any given library. Web-based is good -- a product that works in all browsers with ease is better. The best justification and use of leased databases is seeking every opportunity to incorporate access into the library's presence: via federated searching for the web, via promotional materials and via a well-trained staff that can instruct the public as well. These things build on each other. Databases that costs thousands of dollars are useless unless the public know about them.

No technology-based initiative can succeed without 5 key steps that Richard Dougherty put in his article in LJ a few years ago about virtual ref that I always quote: staff, technology, training, promotion and policy. If one of these fails, the project is likely to derail or not reach full potential. If we build the best Web site and hide our resources , who will find them?

Transitioned Technologies

Jessamyn and I had a wonderful conversation a few weeks ago after she blogged about my techplan/lust article. We got to bantering about Dead Tech and tech that is just transitioning. We pondered how some technologies have changed...

E-Mail: It's not dead. It isn't going to die for a long long time. Jessamyn said "People in my town don’t even have e-mail yet." So, I’m all about the new stuff, but don’t forget the power of turning folks on to a Yahoo! Account in your library so they can e-mail friends and relatives.

HTML (Coded by Hand, Baby!) : "Ewww…why HTML?" my students ask in L401 at IUSB. Well, guess what, some of those commands come in very handy when editing raw blog pages with Bold or italics or inserting IMG SRC for posts. I use em all the time, even though MT will upload files as well.

Virtual Communities for Librarians

There are wonderful Web-based Communities of practice out there... waiting for librarians! Visit webJunction and look at all the cool stuff they offer. I have also spent a little bit of time (and need to spend more) at http://blendedlibrarian.org -- a project from Steven Bell (who turned me on to it) and John Shank. According to bell and Shank, a Blended Librarian is:

An academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist’s hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer’s ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process.

Well... I think many public and special librarians are assuming that role as well. For two years I had an incredible fellow on staff at SJCPL with me who had a Masters in Instructional design. Ka-Ching! He brought such a high level of training and development to the staff that would rival the offerings of larger institutions! Big libraries might consider a position such as this to insure the development and delivery of training! Pair that with an MLS and watch out!

The site offers a lot of discussion and insight into this new role with an academic slant

In a nutshell: do not miss the chance to join and participate in a virtual community. There are resources there. Helpful people. Stuff you can download and use. We are not in this alone folks!

Open Source Software

My Institute class this semester is all about OSS. It fascinates me that the Evergreen project out of Georgia is working toward an OS ILS. Yes. Please. What would the big companies do if their was an open source option for library catalogs and libraries didn't have to wait for the features they want?

Watch this one. Closely.

Digital Content & DRM

Companies are sniffing around libraries -- offering e-content -- audio, etc. Look at all the details. Look at the money involved. Look at how the future may play out for the formats. And for Goodness sake look at the implications of digital rights.

New Devices...New Uses...

I am aching to see a library do something with the iPod. I think that would be incredibly cool and innovative. A library with a digital art collection could circulate the entire collection on an iPod photo with the cables to display the art on a television!

BONUS: Put the most value in your number one asset: A well-trained, tech-savvy, friendy staff who do not bristle at change and who embrace each new curve on the tech rollercoaster.

I'm just saying: the best librarians balance the traditional skills with an eye toward the wired world. I'm tickled with librarians here at SJCPL who have seen the Internet roll in (pre 1995) and have adapted, learned and embraced each change.

How can we insure an effective techie staff:

Make tech/info literacy a priority
Offer opportunities to learn and attend learning programs
Give folks a chance to play with new stuff
Include them in decision-making


make sure library adminstartors are on board as weel. A staff working under someone afraid of their PC will not thrive in the tech-savvy 2005 and beyond.

Let me know what you think....

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

January 08, 2005

Flickr Friends (updated)

Just recently a couple of friends have shared their flickr pages with me...adding me as a "contact." I like this type of exchange... the sharing of images...and the fact that I get a glimpse into the lives of friends and colleagues!

Here's mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsphotos/

Friends (Updated)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetneutral/ Mr. Greg Schwartz, fellow Hoosier

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamorico/ (Mike from work)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidking/ (David King from KCPL)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45728937@N00/ (Rob Coers in the Netherlands!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamthebestartist/ (Jessamyn!)

Posted by Michael at 04:29 PM

January 06, 2005


My Skype name is mstephens7.

I have yet to experiment but I signed up.

Posted by Michael at 09:13 AM

January 05, 2005

Technology Needs Pyramid at walkingpaper

Aaron posted this yesterday:


What a wonderful concept. I've been thinking about it for a bit now:

I believe three other facets are present here:

1. The pyramid will be different for every library. Some tech stuff is base (catalog, public access) but some stuff may be different. A library might not have classes in the building but offer online instruction.

2. Project management comes into play as well. How many "technology-based irons" can one library have in the fire at a time and have an effective pyramid. Aaron writes: "In your tech planning, make sure your base needs are met, whatever they may specifically be... " Indeed! I'm reminded of Richard Dougherty's 5 components of implementing virtual ref -- that I often look at for ANY tech initiative. (Here's a post about it...)

Creating policy
Acquiring the Technology
Training staff

Building the "pyramid takes bricks and mortar" and these five things are fit the bill nicely.

3. I also think the pyramid can't be buillt with input from a library's user population. Think user-centered. Think focus group. Think survey. Don't build your tech pyramid without checking in with the reason we do what we do in the first place.

Aaron -- well done!

Posted by Michael at 07:51 AM

January 03, 2005

Year of the Blog (Via Jenny)

Oh yeah!


Posted by Michael at 02:18 PM

The Year of the iPod!

Neat read at MacWorld.


Posted by Michael at 02:16 PM

January 02, 2005

December 02, 2004

Red Herring's Top Ten Technology trends for 2005

Hmmmm... the Digital living Room!


Posted by Michael at 10:23 AM

November 29, 2004

Oh ALA... Look at what ALIA Does!

Via Librarian.net...


Posted by Michael at 01:15 PM

November 26, 2004

Ten Cool Things about iPod Photo ( A Review)

Jenny urged me to write a review of the new iPod Photo at IL 2004. So here's a brief one as I take a break from blogs and virtual communities.

I'm an iPod freak... and the thought of not only carrying my 32 GB of music files around but my 12 GB of digital pictures makes my knees weak. I ordered and received the new iPod right before IL2004. So, here goes Ten Cool Things about the iPod Photo:


'nuff said.

CD COVER ART incorporated into the Now Playing screen!

Or the FULL SCREEN mode!

SPACE! 60GB of room for MP3, AAC, and all the digital pictures, contacts, calendars, and more one may want to store on it! Room for 5596 images..including some shots from IL 2003!

SUPER VIDEO OUT as well as the regular video out on the companion dock included in the box!

SLIDESHOW MODE that shows you the current piucture as well as what is coming next!

SLIDESHOW MODE 2 plays on my TV in 16X9 mode!

TRANSITIONS! Right to left wipes...

SLIDESHOWS can include music as well while the pictures show. I chose a playlist and a gallery of pictures from London and let it play for friends over the holiday!

GREAT CLARITY of those pics as well on big TVs


CABLES included: RCA video to iPod, Firewire charge, USB 2.0 charge..nice!

Includes Dock, CD, Apple ear buds and cool packaging!

Does this sweet device have an application in libraries? YES! What if libraries circulated music collections on iPods..now they could also add images, such as a slide show of the library as promotion, artwork in the public domain, a series of images of a digital collection, etc... Ponder this..it just could work!

Back to my paper!

Posted by Michael at 05:10 PM

November 25, 2004

Top Ten Tech for Libs

Via walking paper...


Aaron gets it! Take a look at these and note the attention to costs involved and the fact that staff time is a consideration. File under tech planning friends!

Posted by Michael at 03:40 PM

November 22, 2004

Greg Schwartz on Library Blogs

Much discussion today at SJCPL about blogs... I took a look back at this:


because Greg had such cool things to say in his talk.. If you haven't read this one in awhile -- or you never have -- take a look! (And it's at WebJunction!)

Posted by Michael at 08:41 PM

November 20, 2004

iTunes in the Library Part 2

Read this:


Ryan Eby starts/restarts his blog with a cool, techie posts about iTunes in Libraries... read it!

Thanks Ryan!

Posted by Michael at 03:20 PM

November 17, 2004

Tales from the Blogosphere

My friend Jeff from INCOLSA sent me this link:


Posted by Michael at 01:01 PM

November 14, 2004

The Library Blogger's Personal Protocols

Steven posted about Blogging policies and mentioned he didn't have any policies for blogging. Over drinks at the Portobello Bar, I told him I thought we all have some inherent blogging protocols that drive many of the blogs I read and link to as well as my own.

So this morning, I pondered these, which line up so closely with the ones Steven pointed to:

The Library Blogger's Personal Protocols

Respect your organization. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. If you don't agree with a policy at your library, don't badmouth the folks there. Research other views/approaches and post about those! Learn all you can -- they may ask for your opinion someday and an educated opinion on something is much better than hurumphing!

But don't be afraid to put your two sense in on something you REALLY believe in.

Play nice. Cite your sources. Link back.

Don't reveal secrets. Write about what your library is doing (I love that part) but don't reveal sensitive data. It's fine to say: "I had a meeting with a vendor of Product X today and here's where I think this is going..."

Blog anonymously...I'm all for it. BUT be careful and don't let it interfer with your workplace. Keep it underground. This stuff can be insiteful reading...I was fascinated by a couple of front line bloggers who blogged anonymously until found out and told to stop by their management! ... just saying...


Blog proudly and let your administration know what you are doing. I turn in conference reports that are a compendium of blog posts from a meeting like Internet Librarian, where I am writing from, -- including notes from sessions, stuff from the exhibits and all the other cool stuff I encounter. Take it as a teaching moment as well: inform your admin what blogging is all about and how the library might get involved... come on folks!

While I'm at it: I'm waiting for the definitive professional librarian's blogs devoted to Audio Visual issues, front line staff development and handful of other topics I haven't found yet in the LIS Blogosphere... maybe YOU have something to say!

Read these too...

Posted by Michael at 11:54 AM

November 12, 2004

Blogging Policies

OH Steven! Coolness...


Posted by Michael at 09:41 PM

November 09, 2004

Those Blogs are so hot right now....*


Blogs are hot stuff for K-12... Let me add: libraries too! Have you started a blog yet?

(Hansel is too!)

Posted by Michael at 08:32 AM

November 06, 2004

Any libraries using iTunes & iPods?

I got this neat e-mail yesterday:

Do you know of any public library, or other kind of library, that is running iTunes on a server and allows patrons to listen via a public access computer?  Our Library is looking at possibly providing this service but I have not found any site that is talking about it.

Thanks for your help!

I love this idea! iTunes has the capability nthrough Rendezvous to access a library on another Mac on the network and stream the songs for listening. At my desk at SJCPL on any given day I see other folks libraries: Adam, Kris, Nancy, Mike, Marianne, Joe, etc as well as my own library. There is no copying or "stealing" of the digital files -- just listening!

Patron applications abound.... could a public library make their public use computers into listening stations as well by streaming a huge iTunes library out to them and some headphones? What's the DRM implications here? I don't think there would be if the music on the master iTunes machine was ripped and then shelved as an archive.

If anyone is doing this or has comments... e-mail me! (any libraries circulating iPods yet???)

Posted by Michael at 09:51 AM

October 29, 2004

Moblogging and LOVIN IT

I got bit by the moblog bug!


Watch that space or subscribe to the RSS feed to see where I am and what the heck I'm getting into! Why didn't I do this for England?

Thanks to Mr. Aaron Schmidt for his help!

Posted by Michael at 08:49 PM

October 01, 2004

Mobile Life Survey Results!

Via eContent: http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/ArticleReader.aspx?ArticleID=7131

AvantGo has released the results of its 2004 Mobile Lifestyle survey. The September survey of 3,260 AvantGo users, conducted entirely via PDAs and smartphones, was a self-administered survey completed over a two-week period and delivered on mobile devices via the free AvantGo service. Respondents were self-selecting. AvantGo, is a service of iAnywhere, which is a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc.

The results revealed that 85% of Pocket PC owners and 82% of Palm owners plan to stick with the same operating system with their next purchase. According to the AvantGo survey, the "top 12" features of an all-in-one dream device would be: Calendar/contact list; Easily syncs with PC; Great battery life; Email/messaging; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth; Compact size; MP3 player; Phone; Large screen; GPS locator; 20+ gigabyte memory; and Camera.

Additional findings include: Nearly two out of three respondents said they planned to purchase a regular PDA rather than one with phone capabilities; 31% said they would be purchasing a phone/PDA hybrid, while only 3% would switch to a Symbian smartphone device and 4.5% to a RIM Blackberry device; 50% of respondents reported owning Palm OS devices, 40% Pocket PC devices, and 10% reported owning other brands; Over three quarters (77%) of respondents reported purchasing their own current handheld device, while 13% received it as a gift, and 9% received it from an employer; 70% of respondents have downloaded four or more applications and 34% have downloaded 10-plus applications to their handheld device; Among respondents who download PDA and smartphone applications, 15% spend $100 or more a year, 38% spend more than $50, and 58% spend more than $25 a year; and 31% of respondents use paid location-based or travel applications such as event, restaurant and movie listings."

Posted by Michael at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

Planning for a New Tech-based Service -- Try these

Library consultant Richard Dougherty detailed the five requirements of offering digital reference in the May 2002 issue of American Libraries. They include:

• Creating policy
• Acquiring the Technology
• Staffing
• Training staff
• Promotion

These five gems could be used as a guide for any technology planning in a library setting. You can't do one part and not do the other or you are setting up your new initiative or service to fail. No policies for that new service? An untrained, unfamiliar staff? No promotion? Forget about it!

(I know I posted before but it needs to be repeated!)

Posted by Michael at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Why iTunes Music Store RSS Feeds Rock my World


I like Tuesdays. It's the day the new music hits the stores and ITMS. Today, I had 100 new posts inside my Itunes RSS folder in net News Wire. It takes just a couple of minutes to scan through them. I found some gems!

Enjoy the Silence - SingleA Depeche Mode "reinterpretation" of "Enjoy the Silence"

Live By RequestA new Blondie release from their Live by Request concert

Coolness! I like the New releases or Just Added choices. I can customize a feed and sit back and know I won't miss Part II of the
Selections from Live in Boston, Vol. 1 - EPFleetwood Mac Live in Boston EP
I'm waiting for!

The ITMS RSS Generator is here.

The Link maker is here!

Posted by Michael at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

Technology Planning Article

I'm working on a second dratft of an article on technology planning... I need YOUR HELP! Have you been successful with the art of the tech plan? Have you crashed and burned and don't mind telling me about it?

E-mail me and let's talk!

mstephens7 (at) mac.com

Posted by Michael at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

I'm all about the ROI

Nice! (Still going through 100+ RSS entries in my aggregator)

RFID in Libraries has this excellent post on the ROI (return of investment) of RFID in libraries that includes details on calculating a pretty exact ROI.

Simply, it's not just an investment of X-thousand dollars and you are up and running. It's all the pieces: staff time, etc. Read this one and apply it to any and all new technology initiatives your library is considering!

(and check this out as well: Another ROI Tool)

Thanks Laura!

UPDATE: Aaron gets it to. read his overview of adding technology based services here.

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

June 06, 2004

Jenny points to the Future of library use - are we ready?

Read this:


This is the future! Jenny... my world is rocking. Is your library ready for converged devices? Are your librarians savvy -- and SHIFTED if you will -- enough to embrace and understand thses new directions?

(and this is my 100th MT post!)

Posted by Michael at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2004

I'm a KCPL Fan!

Thanks Steven and Jenny!


I was totally impressed with David King's talk at CIL. The KCPL RSS stuff is incredible!

And I agree with Jenny... I'm working this way at SJCPL and the KCPL model is priceless!

Posted by Michael at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2004

Wow! Local news station adds RSS

Channel 16 RSS feeds!

I was tickled this am to see our local NBC affiliate has added RSS to their Web site! The format for sharing content certainly is gaining ground! I checked the Web site of the CBS affiliate -- WSBT -- and they have not added RSS as of yet.

Posted by Michael at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2004

Art of Blogging VIA Blogs in Higher ED

Run don't walk to:

http://www.mchron.net/site/edublog.php?id=P2710 and check out Ken's commentary and link to George Siemens' presentation "The Art of Blogging" at http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/blogging/artofblogging14.htm

I'm presenting Friday in Indianapolis at the Indiana Online Users Group Meeting and this is great stuff to think about and discuss!

Some of Siemens' key points:

RSS will be bigger than blogging
Not everyone is a blogger
Everyone is a potential RSS subscriber
Personal blogging and work may not always be wise

OH yes!

Posted by Michael at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

Power of Blogs & Content

How cool is this? I just posted that bit about our two staffers doing the program in Indianapolis. I posted it here... because I'm tickled for them and I think their topic is very important. I posted it to the SJCPL LIfeline as well. And THEN I posted it to our internal news blog! Three places... same content...(I did change the article title each time -- Internal Title: "Congrats Larry and Ralph!") shared with you all...our library users...and the staff!

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

May 08, 2004

SFPL Plunges into RFID Sea

Via Librarian.net and RFID in Libraries:


Library officials will seek about $300,000 in the city's 2004-05 budget to begin the program, which could take at least six years to fully implement and ultimately cost millions of dollars.

I'll be watching this. Please please...will a librarian at SFPL start a blog and chronicle the project???

Posted by Michael at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2004


Check out this Wired piece about shuffling:


As I sit here this chilly Saturday am at Panera Bread, writing the tech planning article and blogging, I'm shuffling and it's wonderful... I'd forgotten about "Love is a Stranger" by the Eurythmics and Blondie's "Shayla."

Posted by Michael at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2004

That Instant Messaging is so HOT right now

Jenny points to this...while Aaron and Chris are blogging about it as well.

Here's what I've gathered in the year or so I've been connected:

IM with colleagues works! I have planned conference presentations with some good library folks, cried on a dear colleague's virtual shoulder when things seemed opretty dark, discussed my upcoming dive back into academia with numerous IM library pals, scheduled training and meetings with my SJCPL colleagues -- all VIA IM!

IM is great for a quick shout out -- better than e-mail really... "Hey did you see Jenny's post about THIS?" will always get me clicking to see what cool thing is coming up next.

Libraries can use IM as a means of virtual reference. Small investment..big results. There are libraries that do this! Aaron is! I'm changing the article I'm working on to highlight this stuff instead of Virtual reference -- which, according too many good folks, is DEAD or should be!

And in general, it's darn cool too be connected this way and hear from friends and family from all over the US in this "in the moment" way.

I do agree libraries and businesses will have to develop an IM policy to insure consistency of communication and some protocols. Note, I said libraries will have too... because I believe libraries should take this new HOT thing VERY seriously!


Posted by Michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2004

SEXY! Technology Planning & Techno Lust

Do you have any experiences with planning for technology in your libraries? Writing the big technology plan? How about issues of "technolust?" I'm writng an article and need some input. You can be anonymous if you choose! Email me at mstephens7 (at) mac.com...

Posted by Michael at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2004

Big on Blogging at Indiana Library Federation Meeting

Yesterday I was scheduled to speak at the Indiana Library Federation statewide conference. My talk was called "Big on Blogging" and what FUN it was! We had a packed room, with folks standing in the back. What that said to me is Indiana librarians are very curious about the blogging phenomenon!!!

We talked about blogs as external communication, internal communication and "keeping current" tools. We discussed setting up blog software, who writes for library blogs, where to place them on the library's Web site and all kinds of other issues. One person asked how to wrench control of his library's web site from the techie people!

I showed them LISNews and they were very interested in such a clearinghouse of all things library-related.

By the end I was evangelizing a little bit (as is my way) -- Make sure your library has a strong message, that you communicate it with every tool at your disposal, and that you focus on the future and USERS. It's all about our users, right? Blogs fir in perfectly there.

Here's my presentation.


PeterScott's Index of Library Blogs!

Or this one! (from LISNews)

Thanks to Dawn Matthews, Head of Reference at SJCPL, for coordinatiing the session and introducing me!

Posted by Michael at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2004

That Federated Searching is hot right now...

And yes, Hansel is too..

But really, I just chatted with one of our IT staff who was at the big Innovative Users Group meeting this week and she raved about Metasearch, iii's version of federated searching, which pullss all of a libraries resources into one place when searched. I like that idea.

One of the big concepts I took away from CIL this year was that it is all about PEOPLE (Thanks Steve Abram!) and if we are to serve our users we should give em one stop shopping for all the stuff we buy. How much does your library spend on leased databases? How much use is there? Instead of doing backflips to get people into our sites and onto a "leased DBs" page...maybe it should be right up front...

Posted by Michael at 11:39 AM | 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

That RFID is soooo HOT right now...

And so is Hansel.

But really, take a look at http://libraryrfid.blogspot.com/. I lost track of my source for this one... probably LISBlogsource. Please forgive me!

Posted by Michael at 01:32 PM | 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)

March 23, 2004

MSG:Your hold items are in at the Library

Aaron discovers and moblogs a very cool thing:

http://www.thebizz.org/archives/001233.html 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 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)

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)