A link roundup, a redesign, and hey I’m still here


I needed to fix a thing with my reading list so I needed a widget-ready theme so I changed to this one and had a “to do” item to update and then a number of things happened, none of which are interesting. So it’s been a while and I have a few things to mention.

1. If you see something weird or broken with this theme, please drop me a note? I got very into working on it and then less into it and I’m concerned that I was not totally done.

2. You may have seen this amusing article that I was interviewed for a while back. 3 Ridiculous Misconceptions About Dating a Librarian. It’s amusing. I was asked to link back to it. I said I would. And then I haven’t updated my website since. Sorry about that. Here’s the link.

3. This is very important. I’ve spoken a lot about the Fair Use Best Practices documents that have been put out by the Center for Media and Social Impact. They have a new one out that you should read: Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Orphan Works for Libraries & Archives and other memory institutions I’m just digging into it. All of these documents have good advice and, most importantly, lots and lots of examples and processes explained by working librarians, archivists, and cultural heritage workers of all stripes. And then looked at by lawyers. Very useful with things you can put into practice. Lots of nice citations.

I’ve started a new gig writing for Medium this month, so I’m working on a few pieces about DRM and Buy Nothing Day and I’ll be sure to link to them here. My gig at the Open Standard came to an abrupt end when my editor was suddenly no longer working there after (maybe?) some GamerGate related stuff. I don’t know details but I was asked to put my articles “on hold” for the time being. It’s not quite like being fired. Meanwhile I’m working on a longer single-topic post about Ferguson and the library and what people are doing. When you’ve got the Annoyed Librarian’s non-crabby attention, you know you’re doing something right.

L!brary design book

The L!brary Book takes readers behind the scenes of fifty groundbreaking library projects to show how widely varied fields and communities – corporate underwriters, children’s book publishers, architects, graphic designers, product manufacturers, library associations, teachers, and students – can join forces to make a difference in the lives of children.” [thanks matt!]

on defaults, and design

Aaron Schmidt has a column in Library Journal about user experience. Here is his first column. The ideas of design and user experience seem sometimes orthogonal to what we do in libraries. We are concerned with content not containers, you know “judging a book by its cover” and all that. Aaron explains why design matters and how it pervades many aspects of what we do. Sarah got the best pullquote out of it already

Every time librarians create a bookmark, decide to house a collection in a new spot, or figure out how a new service might work, they’re making design decisions. This is what I like to call design by neglect or unintentional design. Whether library employees wear name tags is a design decision. The length of loan periods and whether or not you charge fines is a design decision. Anytime you choose how people will interact with your library, you’re making a design decision. All of these decisions add up to create an experience, good or bad, for your patrons.

This comes up in my technology-instruction world quite often. Many things about how a user interacts with a computer are pre-determined or at least have a default setting. So the talking paperclip? Someone made a choice that you would see that, instead of having it be a turn-onable option. The “your computer may be at risk!” messages? You can turn them off but the default is ON. These are all choices, actively or passively made. My feeling is that the more we explain to people that they can re-make some of these choices [get the talking dog away from the search box!] it empowers them to envision their computing experience the way they might want it to be, to know they have choices.