Here’s the video of me talking about Ask MetaFilter and online Q&A stuff that I gave at the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit. I included the slides a few days ago, but here’s the actual video of the talk, as presented. Big thanks to Caleb Tucker-Raymond for making this video up. You might also like Emily Ford’s lightning talk: What Libraries Can Learn From Kanye.
I don’t think I’ve taken two weeks off from this website since it started in 1999. A short explanation is in order. I received a box with five copies of my book in the mail on May 18th. The next day I received the news that my father had died. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere and I’m sorry if I should have told you personally and didn’t and you learned about it here.
So, what might have been a PR onslaught of epic proportions–I am very proud of this book and excited to see it done and almost perfect–turned into a completely different sort of set of weeks. I’ll write more about my father on my own blog and you’re welcome to read this thread on MetaFilter which has links to a lot of things to read about him including obits in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. We’ve also set up a memory page on 1000 Memories [free forever, I give these folks the thumbs up]. My father’s death was sudden but not totally unexpected. I had a good relationship with him which was hard-won because he was a difficult and somewhat complex man. I am doing okay, all things considered. I am well taken care of. I am his executor and there is a lot of work to do.
Yesterday I started thinking about the book again. I made a facebook page for it but it also has its own page which includes the full bibliography, web links and appendix. The local newspaper wrote a little article about it and I think I can get the local bookstore to stock it. I’ll be heading to the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit in a few days to talk about Ask MetaFilter and the digital divide. I have a small pile of stuff I’ve been meaning to put here, but wanted to let people know what was up first. Let me know if you liked the book. Thanks for being here.
“The Jackson County Library Information blog is a place to share information regarding the funding and closures of our 15 branch libraries. All fifteen branches of the Jackson County [OR] Library System will close beginning April 7, 2007 for an indefinite period of time due to lack of funding.” This is a sad sad blog, including posts like “Why Jackson County Must Close Libraries” “How you can help” and a Library Stories page. [thanks rick]
I’m in the back of the room at the ACRL Oregon & Washington conference called Resistance Is Futile: Academia Meets the NeXt Generation. My talk Sensible Approaches to New Technology in Libraries, subtitled How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons is online and it’s been updated since the last time I gave a sensible tech type of talk.
One of the problems that library consortiums have frequently solved is technology centralization. While I am not denying that consortiums have caused other problems, having one central go-to technology platform, software set, team of trainers and help desk has made many non-tech savvy librarians able to provide a higher level of service to their customers. For tech savvy librarians, this has sometimes come with a downside of lack of control of their own technology, or dumbed down interfaces to robust tools. We’ve been looking for a happy medium solution.
Two newish projects have been getting talked about lately in the states of Iowa and Oregon. Oregon is using Plinkit, a web authoring tool that is built on an open source CMS called Plone. This tool allows libraries to create nice looking professional websites with some standard modules (calendar, lists of links, links to electronic resources) and some standards compliance. Here is a list of libraries using it. Iowa got money from the Gates Foundation and is using it to provide web hosting for libraries along with an email hosting service (please don’t let it be an Exchange server) and a helpdesk person available by email and phone (and I bet chat by the end of the grant period) for all state libraries. One of the best things the Vermont Department of Libraries has done is to make sure every library in Vermont has a fixed and memorable email address that either forwards or links to an easy to use webmail interface. They have had this for years and it’s done a lot to help libraries stay connected and feel like part of the larger library system, even when they’re up a mountain serving 600 people. I’m not usually one to jump on the “technology builds community” bandwagon, because I think there are certain irreplacable virtues to face to face interactions. However when done properly and effectively, technology can help support communities that are already built, and help them put their best face forward.