cloudsourcing – NELA-ITS program about the cloud

I was in Worcester yesterday at their lovely public library at a NELA-ITS event with the amusing title “Cloudy with a Chance of Connecting to the Future!” I gave a pretty straightforward talk about what libraries need to think about when they think about cloud technologies. And, for a meta aspect, I asked folks on Twitter for suggestions and advice about how to limit the large amount of stuff cloud-related that I wanted to talk about. I skipped my usual “Web page with list of relevant links” format, but you can see my slides and notes via this pdf if you’re interested. More to the point I wanted to link to the sources that I used that I found really helpful.

our relationships with our vendors – selling contact information from conferences

I spoke at a conference recently. I speak at a lot of conferences. Most conferences give me complimentary registration which I enjoy because then I can see other programs and hobnob with people. Only recently has this become a problem. A recent conference that shall remain nameless apparently gave my registration information [well, email address for certain, not sure about anything else] to their vendors. I know this because I have received ten emails from vendors saying “Good to see you at the conference!” Since I barely work in a public library, I am certain that I did not give these vendors my personal information. Getting extra email only ranks as a minor annoyance to me. I politely email companies back and asked to be taken off of their lists and they mostly comply. However, having to do this nearly a dozen times per conference should this sort of thing become the norm, does not scale.

I would like to make a somewhat open appeal to conference organizers to make the distribution of registrants’ personal information something that is only done if people specifically and affirmatively decide that this is okay. Every business best practice says that you can’t sell or give away people’s personal information without their consent. We are a profession that is big on privacy. I’d like to see us do this right as well. Here is the email that I sent to the conference organizers.

Hi — I spoke at the recent XXLA conference. XXLA is one of my favorite events and I’m always happy to support it and this year’s event was particularly enjoyable. I registered [and received free registration] as part of my agreement to speak. I stopped by the exhibits hall while I was there but did not give anyone my contact information. This is now the tenth email I have received from a XXLA vendor saying some variant of “Good to see you at XXLA” While I reply politely to these emails asking to be taken off of their mailing list I’m concerned that I never opted in to receive them in the first place and assume my registration information was given to vendors without my explicit permission.

I would like to politely request that registration for the conference is not seen as a blanket approval to receive marketing contacts from vendors. I understand that XXLA has to make ends meet, but not allowing people to opt in or opt out from these communications is a bad business practice. Additionally, and this is more my problem than yours, as someone who speaks at multiple conferences yearly, this small problem quickly becomes an out of control problem. I’d like XXLA to reconsider their practice of giving out registrants’ email addresses without giving people an option to opt out. Thanks for your time.

Some upcoming travel – please say hi

Speaking at library and library-type conferences seems to mostly keep me busy for March – May and October – November. This week I’ll be headed down to Danvers MA for MLA and then on to Stamford CT for CLA. In both cases I’m speaking but also trying to attend as much of the conferences as I can given my night owl tendencies. Here’s where I’ll be, please say hi if you see me, or come to one of my talks.

    MLA – Thursday the 28th at 1 pm – I’ll be on the Future of Libraries, or, What the Heck are You Thinking? panel along with Scot Colford, Kieth Michael Fiels and Maureen Sullivan which is sure to be interesting and probably fun.
  • MLA – Friday the 29th at 10:30 I’ll be talking about Curriculum Development for Public Libraries along with Anna Fahey-Flynn from BPL. Sort of a new direction and I’m looking forward to it.
  • CLA – Tuesday May 3rd at 2:40 I’ll be talking about the myths we believe about the digital divide and offer some researched based statistics as to what’s really going on.

In june I’ll be doing a talk for NELA-ITS and heading over to Oregon for the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit in The Dalles. This is all a good way to channel fidgets since I’m all “EEeeeeee” waiting for my book to come out. Thanks in advance for saying hello.

what a super conference!

I’m getting a little R&R in after a busy day bustling around the OLA Superconference. This is my first time at this conference and I’ve really been enjoying myself. I did a variation on a talk I’ve given: Smart, Tiny Tech. As always, the slides and notes are online along with links to the things I was talking about.

I made a sort of personal resolution for 2009 to write new talks for every event I’ll be speaking at. I talk about similar things often, but I want to be a little more cognizant of my audience — showing off a 2.0 “border wait times” mobile app was fun today, for example — and a little less “Oh here’s Jessamyn with her digital divide talking points again…” Today’s talk was fun and the audience was interesting and interactive.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned lately how much I love being in Canada and talking to Canadian librarians. Today I got to have lunch with the lovely and talented Amanda Etches-Johnson and the talented and lovely John Fink. I had to miss a talk by John Miedema because it was at the same time as my talk — along with maybe 15 other presentations — but I did manage to see some of John Fink’s talk about Evergreen. Hoping to run into Walt around someplace, but I’ve been a little behind on planning since out I was out sick a lot of last week.

I’ve also enjoyed just being in the big city now that I’m healthy again. I’ve already stopped in at Toronto Public Library and asked them for help finding this museum which, alas, appears to have been closed for some time, cursed internet! Tomorrow evening there’s a librarian get together (C’est What, 6:30 pm) and then there’s a MetaFilter meetup on Saturday night (Bedford at 7 pm). If you happen to see me wandering around looking slackjawed at all the big buildings, please do say hello.

Workshopping

I am always at a loss when I do things called “workshops” and people don’t have computers. Replicating the 2.0 world [or heck even the 1.0 world] using pens and flip charts seems a little silly, but I’m generally a tough one to please when dealing with participatory talks/events. I don’t mind interacting, but I like to think it will be worth my while and not embarass me. I like Andrea’s Blog Her “speed dating” idea. Gets everyone moving, a little, doesn’t embarass them, makes them think.

If it were my workshop I think I’d have everyone be in two lines and person #1 would say “I work at [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” person #2 would say “I know [$THING_I_KNOW] about [$NAME_OF_LIBRARY]” and then they’d move on, 60 seconds, bang. Point being, I think we sometimes have a hard time understanding what our institutions look like to people from outside them and from the outside it can be tough to know what things look like on the inside. I was showing off some Kansas libraries using Twitter this week and naming one library sent a few people in the audience into giggles. I had no idea why. They explained later that it was because of some recent drama concerning the library and the local consortia that I would have had no way of knowing about. Knowing about it was actually a neat thing, more stories, more data.

If anyone’s been in a workshop with an activity — offline if possible though online is fine — that you’ve really liked, please feel free to share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.

usability and a weekend report

I got back Monday night from a weekend which included ROFLcon and a talk at the Central MA Regional Library System. It was fun getting to do both. ROFLcon is sort of a laugh a minute and the CMRLS talk was particularly gratifying because the people in the audience (who had driven through a DELUGE to get there) were engaged and interesting and brought a lot to the table. CMRLS is also the system for my hometown library in Boxborough, so I enjoyed getting to see their tag for the boxes of materials that went to the library from the regional sorting facility. My talk notes are here

Tiny Tech/High Tech – How Small Libraries Can Use Technology Sensibly

This post is a day or two late because I already wrote this post yesterday, but due to some confusion about how to differentiate between a draft and an actual published post in WordPress 2.5 I managed to delete it before it went live. This is entirely my own fault and yet the interface to the new WordPress [if you haven't upgraded, do so quicklike] is different enough that it makes certain parts of WordPress operate differently. This, in turn, changes my user behavior because my muscle memory wants to click certain places and look for certain visual cues for things. And again, when I’m wrassling with confusing interfaces — and this one is mostly that way because it’s new and I’m not used to it — my thoughts turn to the OPAC and the small wonder that people even come to our libraries at all sometimes when we make our materials so difficult to retrieve, sometimes.

In any case ROFLcon was a good time not just because it was fun and I got to see my boss Matt Haughey speak on a panel but also because there were a lot of librarians there. It was a pretty small conference but in addition to Casey Bisson who took some great photos, I also got to meet Wikipedian librarian Phoebe Ayers and Nathan from Shushing Action as well as some Simmons library students and just a few people who were like “You’re a librarian, that’s SO COOL!” It’s always gratifying to be somewhere where the nerd and librarian forces are strong.

bring your favorite mug or water bottle to ALA

I’m not going to ALA. As I mentioned before, I’m not a member and Philadelphia in January is not my idea of a good time. However, I do stay in touch with many ALA-ers and Monika Antonelli brought this Task Force of the Environment Campaign “Cup by Cup for a Greener ALA” It’s very very simple

  1. Bring a reusable cup to Midwinter
  2. Fill it with a favorite beverage
  3. Raise your cup and tell colleagues how you are helping the planet
  4. Drink, repeat & support TFOE-SRRT efforts toward a sustainable ALA.

One of the things that is distressing about having these big destination events is the huge amounts of waste that are generated. Council alone prints up tons of paper documents that were already distributed electronically, many of which are recycled (hopefully) or thrown out (likely) right after the meeting.

Even conscientious librarians who might bring their meals if they were just going to work wind up buying bottled water and packaged snacks because they’re trapped in the wasteland that is vast convention centers. Spend a little bit of time beforehand this year and try to pack a travel mug, a few powerbars or some fruit, your own pen and notebook, and maybe some teabags or Emergen-C that can keep you from spending time, money and resources just keeping yourself fed, hydrated and in prime note taking shape. Enjoy yourselves.

off to Access

I’m heading out of Boston this morning to go to Victoria and speak tomorrow at Access2007. From there I’ll be going to NELA in Sturbridge MA where I’ll be giving a few talks. Please say hi if you see me in the subway, airport, bus, ferry, hotel, helijet, library, or just wandering around somewhere.

Going to Access 2007?

Hi. I have an odd request. I’m going to be speaking at the Access 2007 conference in Victoria BC on October 11th. I’m really looking forward to it. However, travelling there involves going from Tinytown USA to Tinytown Canada which means two small airports which means two long (or expensive, or both) trips. If anyone is driving to Access and heading either through Vancouver BC or Seattle WA on their way there and wouldn’t mind giving me a ride to the conference — I speak on the morning of the 11th, pretty flexible otherwise — I’d be happy to chip in for gas, share my hotel room if it’s logistically possible, or otherwise make it a non-sucky experience for you in the interests of saving the conference promoters money and me some time. Drop a note in the comments or find me in the usual places. I’ll be buying tickets sometime this week. Thanks.

Library-related conferences, a mega-list

This came down the wire at web4lib and was too useful not to share. Library Related Conferences, from now until 2015 or so. Also this year’s past conferences. Great resource.