Win a copy of Library Mashups

Last week I was on the Library 2.0 Gang talking about mashups and and my upcoming book. There were some awesome mashup ideas talked about during the call. One that has stuck with me was a way to grab reading lists from all libraries in your area so you can see what books are best for your kid.

Another really awesome idea mentioned letting patrons geocode your library to create a map that patrons could use their cell phones to follow. Basically patrons go around the library and geocode different Dewey areas and then share it with the public. In the end anyone with a cell phone can use the GPS in it to find where books are in your library.

If you have an awesome mashup idea you can win a copy of Library Mashups! Just share your idea with the gang and we’ll vote.

Competition  This month’s show launches the Library 2.0 Gang Mashup Idea competition.  To enter you need to send in your idea for a library mashup.  It can be as simple or complex as you like.  The only restriction being that it must include library data or functionality somewhere within it.  The best three, as judged by Nicole Engard and myself, will each receive a copy of the Library Mashups book she has edited.  Closing date is August 31st, send your entries to

Survey: Open Source Software in Libraries

If you have a moment, please participate in this survey by Outsell regarding the use of open source software in libraries:

Outsell, Inc. ( is conducting research on the use of open source software in libraries and information management functions. In particular, we are exploring the use or consideration of open source software in integrated library systems (ILS).

Open source software programs are created collaboratively. Users and developers are free to share and change open source programs. Open source software differs from proprietary software which does not allow its source code to be copied or customized by unauthorized users.

Examples of ILSs which are created with open source code are Koha or Evergreen. Examples of ILSs designed with proprietary software are those offered by SirsiDynix, Ex Libris, Inmagic, etc.

We appreciate your participation in this short survey. All participants will receive a summary of the research results. All responses are confidential.

Please note: the survey will close on August 26th at midnight Pacific Time.

You can find the survey here.

More about the Open Library

I recently spoke with Aaron Swartz and other Library 2.0 Gang members about the Open Library and other Code4Lib conference topics.

You can listen to it via Library Journal or the new Library 2.0 Gang page hosted by Talis.

You can check out my blog post summarizing what Aaron spoke about at the conference if you want more information.

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New Library 2.0 Gang

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to join in a podcast recording with the new Library 2.0 Gang:

I’m often asked when we are going to bring back the regular Library 2.0 Gang podcast show, especially after the special we did on Roy Tennant’s Library Software Manifesto, back in December.

The great news is that the Gang will be back – this month! The first show in a new improved regular Talis Library 2.0 Gang series is being recorded this week and, subject to technical wizardry, should be heading towards a podcast player near you, next week.

That’s right folks – the gang is back and I’m now a member :) Keep an eye out for our first podcast due to be released next week sometime – we talked with Aaron Schwartz about the Open Library. If you want a preview you can review my notes from Code4Lib on the subject.

Understanding our Students

Remember this video? Almost every Web 2.0 talk starts with this video now. Thanks to Stephen I now know that this professor has put together more videos.

Information Revolution

A Vision of Students Today (This is the latest and it’s awesome! A MUST SEE VIDEO. I lve the creation process too.)

Other videos are available at the Moving Forward pages.

I just watched A Vision of Students Today and while it could use some editing (it was hard to read at some spots) it’s great! I just finished reading The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student by Susan Gibbons and while most of it was review for me (intro to Web 2.0 tools) it had some great points about understanding our students. I’ve also had the chance to talk to students and professors from the area (I’m loving being in an academic environment now!) and it’s shocking how little the students are consulted, interviewed or even considered regarding library matters. I repeat my comment from this morning:

As for the user experience – the only way to understand this is to – here's a shocker – ask the user!!! This is a hot button with me – how often do we ask our users what they want? I'm sure it's not as often as we sit it closed meetings with our colleagues discussing what we think the user wants/needs.

Finding the right fit

I was having a chat with Chris Schwartz the other day about which technologies we should be looking at for our library. She asked me if I thought we needed to pay attention to Second Life – if this was really where our students were. I don’t know the answer to this without asking the students, but based on those I’ve met, I don’t think we need to worry about Second Life just yet, but it might be good to look into some sort of IM or Virtual reference service.

In a comment to her own post the Annoyed Librarian says:

I don’t think it’s essential that all libraries have IM reference, or that all library directors blog, or anything like that.

And it’s so true! Reading that line just made me start to think about my chat with Chris and made me want to share with you all.

I’m all for everyone learning everything they possibly can, but not all tools are the right fit in all organizations. The problem is that people hear us techie librarians going on and on about the nifty new thing we learned how to use today and think we’re saying “If you don’t use this tool you’re lame.” – and maybe that is the case with some techie librarians – but with me, I just want to bring every tool I can to your attention – because one might just be the one you were looking for to solve that pesky little problem you were having :)

How did we end up this way?

Tyler Rousseau has a great post over at Library Garden in which he asks:

But how did we get to this stage? Why do we have professional librarians who refuse to keep up with the professional and technological requirements? How did we reach a point where the patrons' needs were less important than the traditional way of doing things?

He is referring to the Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto written by Laura Cohen.

Tyler is confused as to why we need to put something like this in writing and I agree with him! How did a profession that was one of the first to use the Internet and WWW become one that is so fearful of change and technology? How is it that our librarians have fallen behind the times so quickly? And why do battles have to be fought for what’s best for the patron?

And so I grow frustrated when I read the goals and responsibilities of the 2.0 Librarian, it should’ve been part of our profession all along.

I’m with you Tyler. I wish I had an answer to your question – or a relief to your frustration – but the most I can give you now is hopefully a bit of comfort in the fact that you’re not alone out there.

Library 2.0 in Library School

A post at Tame the Web by Juliette Loebl (an MLIS student) makes me a bit jealous!

I am not tech-savvy. I would never hire myself to design a professional-looking website, or create a complex database. Yet, during the last year and a half, in library school, I have had the opportunity to experiment with new technology. Like my classmates, I have read enough Library Crunch , The Shifted Librarian, Tame the Web, Librarian in Black , to now nonchalantly toss out terms like, Open API, Casey Bisson's WPopac, and open source . In my time at Dominican, I learned HTML, Dreamweaver, Greenstone Software for the creation of online digital galleries), I wrote clunky metadata and contrasted that with tagging, I created wikis for class projects, joined MySpace, and I fell in love with a the slightly clunky beta version of Google Docs and calendars.

How cool is that? When people ask me what I’m learning in library school I frequently comment on the fact that I’m shocked at how few of the new technologies we’re using. As an online student I depend heavily on a clunky (not Firefox friendly) portal and Blackboard (which has a discussion board that reminds me of the 90s). Many of my classmates seem not to know about Web 2.0 tools and aren’t being introduced to them.

In my management class this past term we had to do a group project and it was me (not the curriculum) that introduced many of my fellow group mates (I think a few were already aware) to collaborative work spaces. We put together our notes and added comments to the document by using WriteWith.

Our cataloging professor asked us if we would like to use a wiki to keep track of useful tools and a few class members felt that this was a great idea! She set it up and no one (except for me – at last check) has added any content.

Why is that? Why aren’t we given the chance to (or encouraged to) experiment with new tools – and when given the opportunity why are so many students leaving it up to others to do the experimenting?

Maybe in my case it’s because many of my classmates (like myself) have full time (or part time) jobs and responsibilities at home in addition to their school work – who knows. All I know is that either I’m taking the wrong classes or Drexel is a bit behind the times when it comes to using new tools.

Without realizing it, my classmates and I have adjusted quickly to the expectations of this Library 2.0 world. Suddenly, writing a paper without the ability to hyperlink or comment feels incorrect, cumbersome, and a lot like busywork. A twenty-page research paper has lost its purpose without reflective discussion imbedded directly in the document. Web 2.0 has dramatically changed our expectations for the work we do. Perhaps we are now spoiled with the sense of self-importance that this interconnectedness has allowed; nevertheless, it is the reality that we have embraced. Information in a vacuum"”like a simple print document, or a password restricted Blackboard posting, does not provide the strong context for learning that open posting or a wiki can. In my just-under-two years at Dominican University, words that used to form concise and meaningful sentences have now taken on a blurry, complex significance. Words like scholarly, authoritative, information, online resources, research paper, document, library, and librarian, have weighty and multifaceted connotations. Web 2.0 has changed these concepts into dynamic, experiential abstractions. In this constantly shifting framework, both new and experienced librarians will struggle between the security of the older definitions, and the excitement of the future.

I’m very happy for Juliette and her classmates – and wish I was able to take some of the classes they’re taking!!

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