Friday, January 14, 2011

First of the Year links

I have been back at work for more than a week, and finally feel like I am getting caught up. Here are some of the things I found of interest since I returned:

First, from one of my new favorite, thoughtful bloggers (along with Walt Crawford, Meredith Farkas, Stephen Abram, and a number of others...) Eric Hellman. To close out the year, he talked about "catastrophic future of libraries" and concluded with the forceful statement:
In 2011, let's build things that change the system dynamics.
He also posted about Bridging the eBook-Library System Divide. His post talks about some of the issues facing libraries with providing ebooks, and still keeping their "brand" alive.

I guess that Meredith and I must have been thinking along the same lines, since the day after I posted about the LITA flap, she added thoughtful comments including reflections on her experience with the ACRL Virtual Conference committee.

Iris Jastram has been posting somewhat less frequently than she once did, however, when she "talks," I always sit up and pay attention. One of her more recent posts was about searching, databases, and how we (or for her, undergraduates) look for information. One of the key quotes: "Search is all about term matching, and terms are often the hardest thing for undergraduates to harness." Two other key quotes/thoughts:

  1. Google Scholar is very forgiving of bad searching. It will nearly always give you something, even if you enter “impact of cell phones on globalization” into the search box.
  2. Disciplinary databases are not nearly as forgiving of bad searching, so they may be pretty intimidating places to start. Where they excel, however, is in foregrounding those elusive, mysterious, and powerful terms that students need so badly if they’re going to revise their searches and gather more disciplinarily relevant material.
This was driven home to me today when a patron came to the desk to ask for "books for women over 50." How do you find that? They are most often classified with the other books on a more specific topic. What did I do? Well, it is not perfect, but I started by doing a "Power" search with the keyword "women" and the phrase in keyword as "over 50." Now, Library of Congress Subject Headings have some issues, and Sandy Berman was often a vocal critic, but I was able to identify that there is an LC subject heading "Middle aged women -- United States -- Life skills guides." Now, I am not a fan of the heading, but it certainly helped me to identify some items to meet that patron's needs. And, it is all about searching, and finding the right terms.

And then there was the whole Bloglines/Delicious debacle towards the end of last year. Stephen Abram, like me, now reads his RSS feeds in Google Reader. Almost three years ago (in 2007), I tried it, and didn't like it. I even went back, after some conversation, and tried it again. Well, I admit that I did not try to move to the new Bloglines platform, and based on Stephen's experience, I am glad that I didn't. Delicious was dead, then it wasn't. I appreciate Stephen's comments on it and the alternatives.

And a final post from Stephen on change within an organization which refers to a FastCompany post and new book: Ten Questions Every Game Changer Must Answer.

David Lee King is doing a series of posts about how to use current technology to do presentations. It is called: "10 Tips to Do Presentations Like Me." He does not use PowerPoint, but certainly everything he says can be done in PowerPoint. Tip #2 is one that I use for my web presentations, presenter notes. I recommend the whole series (which is not finished yet!).

ALA has a library. It serves as the resource for ALA staff and volunteer leaders, but it often gets questions from outside that sphere. American Libraries has a feed which often includes questions that the Library receives, a recent one was about recommended web sites for libraries.

One of the non-library blogs I follow is called Principled Innovation. Jeff De Cagna posts on ideas to help organizations/associations to deal with change. This is a recent post which is the first of a series and a response to a white paper for the Wisconsin Society for Association Executives.

Now, in my various travels recently I have neither had the full body scan nor pat down. But I have to admit liking these items:
ALA Executive Board member Courtney Young wrote a great post on running for ALA Council. You most likely have until the end of the month to get your petition with 25 signatures in to appear on the ballot this spring.

And in a final moment of randomness, the State of Connecticut has cut all funding for tourism promotion. As a result, they dropped the state's membership in Discover New England. So the new map simply omits Connecticut from the it here.

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