backlists and frontlists

Hello faithful RSS readers and anyone else who is sort of curious what’s been going on. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been getting my brain back this Summer and I appreciate your patience with what has been a trying set of months. I did go one place, and that was to North Texas during a heat wave where I decided to (mostly) quit smoking and got to hang out with some neat local librarians and some fun folks who I already knew at the Library Tech Network TechNet 2011 Conference. I gave two talks which you may already have read, but in case you’re interested you can click through and check out Tiny Tech/High Tech and On the Fly Tech Support.

This month I’m heading to Cambridge for a DPLA meeting and then to Augusta Maine for a one-day meeting about Ebooks and Libraries which is sure to be interesting and informative. I’m giving a lunchtime talk but also leading a breakout session called “Ebooks are Great! Books are great!” talking about the differences between books and ebooks. Based on some of the feedback I’ve been getting on Twitter and elsewhere, that will be a lively topic.

Next month I’ll really be scooting around a bit and my drop-in time and evening Mac classes are starting up locally which will keep me busy and pretty happy. Anyone attending the NELA conference, the Michigan Library Association conference or the CLIR symposium in Milwaukee, please do say hello. In the meantime I’ll be updating somewhat more here and getting back to my own RSS reading so I hope to be less of a stranger.

virtual conferencing and a few more talks

I was at an NHLA business meeting talking to people about why they might care about what I had for breakfast. It’s a flip way of talking about the whole “Who cares about Twitter/Facebook/Social?” stuff that I feel I hear softly filtering down from offline populations who mostly know about this sort of technology through print media and TV. So, given an opportunity to talk about what I do all day, I explained how social media permeates and penetrates the things I do.

My employer, MetaFilter, has a strong social component as well as claiming over 200 librarians among its members. While the site itself is fairly restricted to bloggish interaction, we have some super-organized members who like to compile Best Of sorts of lists over on our wiki. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the Read Me page on the wiki now has links to over 1000 threads worth of book recommendations.

Last week I was down at Simmons where I gave a really short talk about … talking. Basically talking about what public speaking entails and offers in the larger world of librarianship. It’s called “You Do What For A Job?” and you might like it.

So, since I was sticking around town working this month I didn’t go to Internet Librarian or most of NELA, and a few smaller conferences. It was fun to read other people’s summaries, and occasionally real-time reactions, for all the presentations. I’ll be making a sort of “what I learned from not going to conferences” post sometime in the next few days. For now, I’m done with public speaking until March and I’m pretty okay with that. It’s been a fun Fall season.

Website 2.0 – why a cms is in your future

I spent Friday at the NELA-ITS CMS Day. I gave the keynote in the morning, just talking about what CMSes are and why they’re useful with a little overview of a few, and then hung out to see other librarians talk about how they’re using their CMSes. It was a great day. We had a wonderful, if chilly, room at the lovely Portsmouth Public Library and I learned a lot about how some New England area libraries are running their library websites with Drupal, Joomla, Plone and WordPress.

Having the actual people behind these websites talking about what worked and what didn’t work — and people were very candid about what was good and bad about these CMSes — made for a fascinating day of show and tell. Add to this the fact that all the software demonstrated was free and open source and I really think we sent people away with some great ideas on how to save money and still deliver good web content. Not having the chilling effect of a vendor’s stink-eye [or lawsuit threat] was also delightful. I’m now done with public speaking stuff until October I believe. Glad to end this season on such an up note. Thanks to NELA-ITS and Brian Herzog for coming up with the idea in the first place. Notes for my talks — links to slides and a page of links to what i was talking about, are here: Website 2.0! why there is a CMS in your future. Thanks to everyone for showing up. Here are the links to other people’s presentations and websites.

NELIB list of presentations

I really like how the NELA conference did some social stuff this time around. To a conference goer I think it was pretty unobtrusive, there was a blog, a Flickr pool and a few presenters had online handouts or bookmark lists. They’ve also made a one-stop page on the NE Lib website which takes the program and adds links to the presentations where available. So if you remember that you went to a talk Monday morning but weren’t sure of the track or presenter, you can find it here. This took David a bit more time — to collect and collate and upload the presentations — but to the end user it’s transparent and elegant. Nice job NELA Conference team!

four talks in six days in two countries

If the title sounds familiar, it’s because it is. I’ve been trying to combine more of my public speaking trips which means more weird weeks like this one and that one, but it works out a lot better on my end. After I got back to Massachusetts from Access, I drove over to NELA and gave three talks there. I really enjoy NELA but there were some complications this time around mostly involving iffy wireless (and hotel staff who were just repeating what their outsourced IT told them which the IT-librarians knew was a little fishy-sounding, but I digress) which means I wasn’t doing much blogging and had a period of radio silence here and on Flickr and on Scrabulous, etc.

I got home today and I’ve uploaded the latest talks. One was all new, one was a modified version of an earlier talk and one was a talk I gave earlier, but with twice as much time. All of them went really well but I have a sore throat and will be heading to bed as soon as they’re linked here so that I can be bright and bushytailed for work which starts tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who made my trip easier, more pleasant, and fun.

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 account [note to NELA blog admin: consider disabling Snap previews, they're an obnoxious side effect of 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.

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.

NELA talk: Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0

I gave a talk today at the New England Library Association Conference. Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0 [subtitle: wait.... what? who?] that I think went well. Unlike previous talks, this one doesn’t have as much in the way of secret background notes (when you click the “printable” link you’ll get the slides version of my talk that usually has more talking points and notes to myself in them) but I did make a set of handouts. I think people like handouts. I think I’ll try to make more of them. Thanks to everyone who came and was such a friendly and cheery audience.

in Burlington for NELA

I’m in Burlington this evening. I’m going to speak at the New England Library Association conference tomorrow about Web 2.0 stuff. I’ll link to the talk tomorrow. I’m not totally sure why regional library associations like this exist when there are already library associations for all the states they represent, but it’s fun to see a new group of librarians and some old friends, especially Michael Golrick who is moving to a new job shortly and will no longer be a NELA member, Lichen Rancourt, my carpool buddy from Library Camp, Lichen’s Mom (Jay) superstar New Hampshire librarian and Brian Herzog who works at a library near where I grew up. When I met Brian I said “Oh hey, I just started reading your blog” which I guess was a bit surpising to him because he just recently started it. The hotel has a pool so I’m heading down there. If you see me at the conference please come by and say hello.