streamlined digital divide talk – 12 minutes

A few weekends ago I gave a talk at the KU Diversity Summit, an online conference that took place virtually, but also physically at the Kansas University School of Journalism in Lawrence Kansas. As you know, I have a soft spot for Kansas. As you may or may not know, I usually don’t do online conferences because I have a hard time dealing with the technical and social snafus that usually accompany them. I like to give talks, not be told I have to install Windows-only software or register for a site with sketchy privacy policies just to interact with listeners. I know other people can deal with this stuff gracefully and I happily recommend them when I’m saying “Thanks but no thanks” to people. I may be getting a little cranky in my old age, but I’m also just interested in giving higher quality talks less frequently. This is a goal for 2012.

Anyhow, the team from KU charmed me and assured me the tech issues would be minimal; I could do everything over Skype, have slides or not have slides and they’d field questions from the live audience and from Twitter. It went well. They had a tight schedule so asked me if ten minutes was okay. I said “Fifteen?” As it was I managed to do it in about twelve. The full video, all five hours of the conference, is available online here, but I’ve trimmed out the part that I did, short talk, short Q&A session afterwards and links to more information are at librarian.net/talks/ku. It think it’s a pretty concise summary of the major digital divide issues that I think are facing people and libraries.

Kansas demands better, moves from OverDrive

“With the need for a new state-wide ebook contract looming, [Kansas State Librarian] Budler began negotiations with current vendor, OverDrive. The contract she received shocked her. “It was the price increase—700% over the last contract that floored me,” says Budler. “I explained that this wasn’t acceptable.”

Information Today outlines what is happening in the state of Kansas as they contemplate moving away from OverDrive with content that their 2005 contract says that they actually purchased. A really fascinating story. Budler admits that OverDrive isn’t the villain here, but that she needs to advocate for her libraries which means getting a better deal for them than OverDrive was able to offer.

$5000 for one of the best library ad campaigns I’ve seen

I put this on Twitter last week while I was trying to figure out how to get permission to post one of these photos. The link got buzzed around really speedily and the photos were everywhere. I figured I’d drop it here for posterity too. Aren’t these trucks great looking? Another neat thing from Johnson County Library System (KS).

talk: technology + libraries what are we doing?

I gave a talk and did a little chitchat breakout session at the South Central Kansas Library System on Thursday. I’m in Colorado today so this is just a quickie update to say that slides and notes from my talk are available here: Technology and Libraries: What are we DOING? As always it was a pleasure to get to come to Kansas again.

Why Kansas is my favorite state I will never live in

Kansas is too far from my family, and from the ocean. That said, I love my travels to Kansas and while I try not to pick favorites I think they are doing some great things with libraries and technology statewide. I just got back from a flyby visit to Lawrence where I gave the keynote presentation at a NEKLS’ Reaching for Excellence Training Program. Much love to the NEKLS people, they let me give a keynote in the afternoon. I also got to eat a ton of BBQ with Josh Neff and family which was another trip high point.

The notes for my talk are here. They are available in Keynote slides, PowerPoint slides, and printable pdf format. I made a custom theme for Keynote so the slides might look weird, the pdf might be easier to read. As with the last talk, I have also included hyperlinks to most of the websites that I discussed, and credit links to all the photos that I used. My talk was beamed to two other sites using an HDTV setup and while it was a little tough getting all the bugs worked out, we persevered and I think it went really well. Big thanks to Shannon from the state library for inviting/hosting me and Heather for doing all the awesome tech work.

You may have noticed that I’ve been travelling at a breakneck pace this year. Since my drop-in time and teaching were curtailed thanks to budget cuts, I’ve been spending more of my free time on the road. I enjoy travelling a great deal and think that getting the word out about sensible new technologies is really a good use of my time and efforts. It’s always a balance between staying put and working within your community and travelling to tell other communities about what works in your own community. I’ll be back in Kansas in a few weeks.

MyKLOW gets websites to libraries that need them

“The My Kansas Library on the Web project is an attempt to allow small public libraries across the state have access to high end web-based tools to facilitate easy web development.

Translation: It’s a way to make your library’s website all that it can be and more by giving you easy to use tools that are accessible from ANYWHERE there is an Internet connection.” Smart project and attractive and easy-to-use site from the Kansas Regional Library Systems and the State Library of Kansas.

Library Link Odds and Ends

I’ve been travelling and working more than I’ve been surfing and sharing lately. That will change this Summer, but for now it’s the reality of what seems to be The Conference Season. Here are some nifty links that people have sent me, and ones that I have noticed over the past few weeks. Sort of a random grab bag.

Why is Josh Neff smiling?

… because he just got back from Library Camp Kansas and had a great time. Or, as Michael Sauers’ shirt says “im in ur STATE UNing ur CONFERENCE” More photos from the libcampks08 tag and a few more blog posts under the libcampks08 tag at Technorati. There’s another Library Camp happening in Ann Arbor Michigan tomorrow which I was sad to just miss by a few days.

high tech to low(er) tech and the blogs in between

So, I gave my talk at Access and it went pretty well. I was a little out of my element since I’m usually the techie person talking to less techie people. Here I was representing the non-techies with a message of “hey don’t forget usability!” among other things. I had a lot of downtime in various lobbies and airports on the way back and so I poked around looking to see what, if anything, people had said about it. There was a short blurb on the K-State Conference blog about it.

Anyone who has been following my travels knows I have a particular soft spot for Kansas both because I’ve had a great time meeting and talking to people there, but also because they are doing some neat stuff with technology that helps make up for their geographical disatance from other KS librarians as well as other libraries generally. Just look at this list of blogs and feeds to see just some of the stuff Kansas State University is doing. Anyhow, I saw the post on my WordPress dashboard and left a comment. One of the things that I think separates people who I consider “bloggers” from people with blogs is this sort of inter-blog commenting. If someone says something nice (or not nice actually) about me, I try to leave a note. It just seems like decent etiquette and a way to say “hey welcome to the blogoworld” for newer bloggers, particularly library students.

I think an easy mistake for first-time bloggers to make is to assume that their blog is going to become some conversational destination wthout realizing that they need to go out and converse as well as bring people in to do it. The conversation that we all talk about cluing in to doesn’t happen in any one place, it happens in a lot of places all at once. Dale Askey, who was at Access 2007 and wrote the little blurb about my talk follows up with a little more explanation about some of these blog effects. He tells us about how after Amanda did her nuts and bolts talk about the Endeca rollout they did at McMaster, someone from Endeca’s Canada office emailed her a few hours later interested in talking with her about some of her ideas. Neat. This is the sort of back and forth we’d like to be having, it’s nice to see it really happening in ways that help libraries.

There’s a point to this story: people read and process our blogs in ways we cannot control and do not intend. Far from being a cautionary tale, I want to do a little dance because of this. We’re seeing what we said was the point behind blogging. Put information out there, and let people do with it what they will. Thanks to this little bizarre set of events I’ve related, I met new people [and] caught the interest of Endeca with my comments…

And, on the heels of that, NELA has a conference blog, complete with a Flickr photo pool and a team of local bloggers so anyone who can’t go can follow along at home. It’s worth noting that the entire cost to set this all up — except human time which is important but separate — was probably close to zero. Free WordPress.com account [note to NELA blog admin: consider disabling Snap previews, they're an obnoxious side effect of WP.com blogs], free Flickr account [note to Flickr admin(s): choose a Flickr web address by clicking here when you're logged in so the URL for your pictures is even more customized] and all the rest of it the feeds, the comments, the basic designs, just come along with it. I’m sure one or more of my talks will show up there and I’m excited to get to read about the large number of presentations that I can’t go to which I now know I can still read about.

My 2.0 Talk at the LARC meeting

I have a talk today at the Library Association of Rockland County meeting today in Suffern New York. I gave a variant of the 2.0 talk I have been giving lately. This one is called Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0. Good news about what you are already doing. The funny thing is, while it looks similar to my other talks, every talk on this same topic winds up being totally different. Same loose outline, almost all new words.

When I gave a version of this talk in Kansas, it was much lower tech, a lot more focused on rural and local issues. When I talked to the people in New York I talked more about cell phones and the ideas that libraries have already been doing a lot of 2.0-ish stuff and not even knowing it. Also since I knew Steven Cohen was speaking in the afternoon about specific technologies, I did a lot less show and tell and a lot more big picture talking. I showed off more stuff, and especially more local stuff, when I was speaking in Kansas.