Friday, September 16, 2011

Early September Links, volume 1

I started this post thinking it would be a short one with a few is now turning into a two-part post. Here is "volume one."

First some humor. While most librarians know about Unshelved (along with its computer programing cousin/half-brother Not Invented Here), one of my favorite library humor sources is Shelf Check. It has not been as frequent of late, but the latest is a great one.

LISnews alerted me some time ago to the wonderful book based paper sculptures which are popping up (literally) in libraries around Scotland. It started in March, and the most recent (that I have learned about) appeared at the end of August. Here is a blog post which has photos and descriptions of all the items which have been reported so far. In the comments there is speculation as to who the creator is.

There is a longer web version (and shorter print version) about pricing of database packages from academic publishers (mostly). Commonly it is referred to as "the Big Deal." Richard Poynderhas a good explanation and history. In a lot of ways the sub-title says it all: Not Price But Cost.

I don't remember where I picked this up, and I have always had a good relationship with IT folks, but I love the headline: Why IT pros should be more like librarians. One of the points that the article makes is about the ability to communicate clearly about what is happening. I'll say that in my present place of work (MPOW), the folks in IT respond quickly to requests, and do keep us informed about what is happening.

Stephen Abram has been blogging for just about as long as I have. [He started his blog, two days after I started this one! He is much more consistent and prolific, though.] Stephen picks up stuff all over, and shares it willingly. Two recent posts struck me:
  1. The first concerns the use of location based services. Stephen is a huge fan, I am not as sure about that. However, it does have implications for library services and as he notes: "libraries have branches and multiple locations because geography is important for face-to-face service, community and learning. That’s one reason why I track location based services so much." And later he says: "I believe that geo-based web services and products will be essential to library strategies in the future." Both of those are statements with which I agree.
  2. The second post covers an important topic and has an insightful title: Preparation for Living in a Public World. He wrote the post for the AASL Banned Sites project. As you might expect, he is against schools blocking specific technologies, and suggests that students would be better served if schools taught appropriate sharing behavior. I encourage you to read his post.
To follow up on the first of the two items immediately above, smartphones and e-books have been a continuing topic of interest. My friend Michelle Boule writing for ALA Techsource talked about what the growth in smartphone use means for libraries, including library web sites. A good article if you missed it.

This post reminds me of why we gather statistics. And the title says it all "Assessment isn’t about the data, it’s about the results." I think, for me, there is another important aspect of assessment which is buried in Jenica's post, and that is the value of anecdotal evidence.

David Lee King has a great recent post about the importance of relationship building for libraries (as institutions). It is a great concept, one which I always tried to implement (including in the days before social networking technology). It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: You can never have too many friends!

Abigail Goden who used to work for my friend Rochelle in LaCrosse has started a series in her blog Hedgehog Librarian, called "Data Tidbits." It has been appearing regularly on Fridays. The first one was August 12, and as the name suggests, it is a mish-mash of items. (In this one she suggests following data "queen" Dorothea Salvo on Twitter....I loved reading her blogs, I guess I am going to have to go back to Twitter.) Both the first and the second ones include data jobs as part of the post. Both the third and the fourth ones continue in the same vein. Well worth following.

"I quite like using the word 'assets' with reference to library collections." This is the introductory sentence of a post by Lorcan Dempsey. I guess it is my MBA education and activity in the business part of the library that I have always thought of them as assets in the accounting sense. However, Lorcan goes on to say "We tend to think of assets in positive terms, as things that are valuable." I think that may be the more important part of his message.

I am not sure where I first picked up on Jennifer Meyer's blog. She is a (the?) librarian at a for-profit college. Her blog is called careercollegelibrary. She posted in a series about some of the perspective from that kind of institution. I was put off a little bit because in the first one, she uses "perspective" when she means "prospective." She does focus on the library's potential role in recruiting students. In her second post, she focuses on retention. This is especially important as higher ed institutions are being judged on graduation rates, and retention is what is needed to keep that rate high. Her third post focuses on the final phase of higher ed, critically important to for-profit institutions and one where they have been most criticized, placement. It is a slightly different take on the world, and I think a blog worth following.

Also in the nitty-gritty of the library world, Michelle McLean (Connecting Librarian) talks recently about some of the mechanics of information flow. It is certainly worth a read as you try to manage organizational blogging, tweeting, and other social networking activities.

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