We know a lot. We know where to find a lot more. We are entering a playing
field where our users may know more than we do, about a lot of things.
You all remember the guys from the reference desk who
were experts on something or other and would still come and ask questions.
If you worked it right you'd often learn as much as you taught but the
library was a good place for guys like that. Now that guy is at the
reference desk dangling an ipod or a disk on key or needing to hop on email to print plane tickets or IM to tell his wife he'll be late..... plus he's frustrated and doesn't know why he can't get on a computer NOW.
Hybrid sounds sort of sexy and efficient at the same time, don't you think?
We can't, we just can't, be all things to all people. What is in our toolkit, then?
In the US, nutrition guidelines went from teaching people how to eat more to telling them to eat less. Similarly in our public libraries, we see ourselves in the "may you live in interesting times" type of situation where we need to learn how to limit access to our resources, not promote them. anecdote: Outreach quandary at my library....
- Clear outlines: "What we are trying to do for you"
- Clear guidelines: "What is and is not our problem. What is and is not our responsibility" rememebr when the health care people started telling you that you had rights? technologically, in as many formats and languages as necessary. Some things are your problem, some things, we fix and tell you when it will be fixed
- Clear understanding of the partnership "We learn as you learn."
Let's see where this can take us... and what's HOT.
To many people, the interface IS the software.
- What are we trying to do? Provide access to
a lot of quality information simply and compactly
- Problems and responsibilities. Interfaces are hard,
some of this requires user education, some needs vendor advocacy
- How we work together. Continually trying to improve
interfaces, user testing
Remember the search/find distinction and know whether you are creating a tool for users or a tool for librarians.
if you want my business/patronage, ask for it by making your tools genuinely easy to use. jamesian geniune options. if we know why these products are better to use but CAN'T MAKE THEM LOOK THAT WAY we need to be prepared to intermediate
What's HOT? customizeable and accessible interfaces, downloadable
sets, alerts [rss, email], federated searches that work
- What are we trying to do? Provide access and
understand the laws.
- Problems and responsibilities. Understanding
confusing laws, avoiding overpolicing and chilling effects.
- How we work together. Informing patrons and ourselves
changing face of information and how libraries get in the middle. Moving from ownership models to subscription models
We don't have to choose sides, but just reading the warnings on the side
of the box and failing to put those through your own filter is a side as
dealing with a lay population who only know about these rules and policies by watching tv, or reading MPAA/RIAA press releases in the media, copyright infringement IS theft? Don't be timid
What's HOT? open source and free alternatives to DRM and heavily
items, platform independence in ebooks and audio books, proactive
information about the confusing world of copyright and an understanding
that copyright is NOT the same as natural law, it's an evolving process
and librarians are part of it.
anecdote about new job, seeing pictures of myself on the intarweb but not being able to get to librarian.net
This is a professional problem, even if it is not [yet] your problem.
- What are we trying to do? Provide access and
obey the law.
- Problems and responsibilities. We maintain software,
or eschew it and stay abreast of legislation. We explain it, try to make
it unobtrusive, you try not to break what we have.
- How we work together. We have a policy that is public
record. Even in a filtering environment, choices can be made to err on
the side of caution or... not.
Collection development is serious work and choosing a filter should be
thought of as a type of pre-weeding and given close scrutiny accordingly.
If you must filter, tell your patrons, explain the process, err on the
side of access.
examples: tell adults they can get the filters turned off, have copies of the supreme court decision, explain what your filter does and does not block, have an explanation of why you chose it. consider an open source filter that you can more accurately monitor.
What's HOT: open
with user configurable whitelists.
We're learning a new "expert balance" with our colleagues and patrons.
Large consortiums and bundled take-it-or-leave-it software, confusing technology and increasingly complex user needs are going to make
Our jobs will get tougher before they get easier.
Easy interfaces on the Internet raise the bar for everyone.we all know about information searching behavior where people ask their friends
Software, gadgets and nifty web tools will come and go. Librarianship is
becoming a profession for people who at least like
technology [and love challenges] more than ever before.
What's HOT: Good technological challenge and elegant staff-
and patron-empowering solutions to them.
Questions or Comments?
Jessamyn West is a community tech mentor for AmeriCorps working with the Kimball Library in Randolph Vermont. She runs the weblog librarian.net
and is an American Library Association At Large Councilor. She thinks computers are fun. IM her at iamthebestartist
This presentation was created in HTML using CSS. There was no PowerPoint involved in this presentation except as a nagging bad example. The layout and stylesheet are available to borrow via a share and share alike creative commons license. See source code for details. Thanks to Scott Thigpen for the background image.
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