Friday, December 22, 2006
So, please forgive me if things continue to look the same for now. It's just temporary until I have time to rearrange the furniture and sweep up.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I wasn't sure what I could contribute that would be new to the "generations" discussion, but I do have some pretty strong feelings about it. The result has now been posted on LLRX.com: The Tao of Law Librarianship - Reaching Across the Generations in the Profession. Thanks to editor extraordinaire Sabrina Pacifici for finding a great title for the article! I was definitely struggling with that part.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys the article and finds some food for thought.
Friday, December 15, 2006
This article outlines new technologies being used by Canadian public library systems,including Vaughan Public Libraries and Toronto Public Library.
University librarians were also interviewed, as was Stephen Abram, vice-president of innovation at SirsiDynix and a well-known figure in the library world.
I was going to quote selectively from this article, but you really should read the whole piece. I am frequently blown away by how advanced our public libraries are becoming, and this article really reinforces that opinion.
I sometimes get asked how I keep ahead of the crowd with my work, but when I look at what these and the academic libraries are doing, I really feel like I am much more of a follower than a leader.
Kudos to all interviewed for the article, and to those who make everything tick at those libraries!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
More details--and related links with more information about the book--are available on my December 4th post.
I have given the option to register via email, but I would really LOVE to see people signing up via our post on Upcoming.org and making it a popular Toronto event. Also, if you have any librarian friends (not necessarily law librarians), please do pass the word along.
This should help add a few items to Steve Matthews' now-famous blog post Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms, I should think!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Issues currently of concern with intranets:
- archiving information (what is being archived, how it is being archived, and what is deleted)
- providing better access to precedents
- information is too static (not being updated frequently enough)
- intranet is not being used
- making the site bilingual for some firms
- governance issues - who "owns" the intranet
- usage measurement, and what to do with the usage stats that people are collecting
- connectivity between content management system and the document management system
- connectivity between the intranet and the document management system
- addition of news feeds
- adding content (especially dynamic content)
- incorporating RSS feeds
- use of wikis
- has the intranet had its time and will federated search replace the need?
- evolving into a self-service model, for example folksonomies (tagging) rather than taxonomies
- Microsoft has a lot of tools for "on the fly" collaborative work spaces that would promote the self-service model
- who are content publishers?
- what is the workflow and process in each organization?
- what do you archive, and what do you delete?
- training issues
- which firms have web developers or coders on staff? Are there issues around this?
- how people use the intranet?
- how are people using blogs and wikis?
- how to push information to people without email
- delivering content via RSS feeds
- issues around providing service to multiple offices
- how people use intranets for current awareness service
Monday, December 04, 2006
Who: All Librarians welcome!
What: Discussing Alberto Manguel's recent book The Library at Night
Where: Toronto. Venue to be announced.
Location will be selected once we have an idea of how many would like to join us.
Why: We're reading this book and would like to discuss it. Simple as that!
How: Register at Upcoming.org or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
**This is an informal, unsponsored event.**
Related links from CBC:
The Constant Reader (Nov. 20/06)
Conversation with Alberto Manguel, The Sunday Edition (Nov. 5/06) (audio)
Interview with Alberto Manguel, Words at Large, CBC Podcast (Nov. 1/06) (audio)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Slaw.ca - Holiday Law Firm Challenge: Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank (2009)
Monday, November 27, 2006
What surprised me with this survey is that, in most cases academic, law society and courthouse librarians are paid more than law firm librarians according to Figure 5: Salary by Job Position and Library Type. I was under the delusion that, except for perhaps the head directors of some of the larger academic and law society libraries, law firm librarians would receive the highest pay. Apparently I thought wrong.
Back in October the Toronto Association of Law Libraries released its annual survey. That one is only available to TALL members. A quick look through it shows me they haven't made the distinction of type of library. Possibly there aren't enough libraries in all the types to make this feasible. For example, there is only one law society and only two academic law libraries.
About the position, he tells me: "it might be worth noting that we're not looking for anyone with an exclusively U.S. law library background. Nothing against our Amercian friends, but we use almost exclusively UK resources down here (with a smattering of other Commonwealth resources)."
There are only a few law librarians in Bermuda and often they have been hired from Toronto, including former TALL President Danielle Brousseau. I wrote about her move in this article. The full position at CDP is posted below:
CONYERS DILL AND PEARMAN
INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR
MANAGER OF INFORMATION RESOURCES
We require a Manager for our busy Information Resources Department. Core functions of this department include:
• Supervision of Information Resources Department staff
• Information gathering and the provision of research/reference services using print and electronic sources.
• Creating and maintaining information resources through the firm Intranet, and the production of several electronic current awareness e-mail publications.
• Records management through the maintenance, indexing and controlled circulation of original legal documents kept in a secure vault.
• Company, property and litigation ("audit letter") search services, which involve obtaining information and documents from government and court registries, and other sources.
• Maintenance and administration of two separate library physical plants: receiving, recording, processing, maintaining and organising print materials; ordering materials; invoice processing; and, other clerical and administrative tasks.
• Providing library and information support services for the firm’s non-Bermuda offices.
• Training lawyers, law students and staff in the use of information resources.
Applicants must have:
• A Masters degree in Library or Information Science (or an equivalent degree) from an accredited university.
• A minimum of five years of employment experience in a professional capacity in a law library or equivalent information resource centre setting, preferably with a law firm.
• A minimum of two years of employment experience in a managerial capacity in a law library or equivalent information resource centre setting, preferably with a law firm.
• Strong computer skills, including a working knowledge of basic webpage design and creation; experience using a library and records management software system would be a definite asset.
• Expertise in the provision of business and legal research services using print and electronic sources of information such as LEXIS-NEXIS, The Electronic Law Reports (JUSTIS) and Internet sources.
• Familiarity with, and experience in using UK legal materials and resources.
• Exemplary oral and written communication skills.
• Exemplary organisational skills, including the ability to effectively and efficiently juggle several projects simultaneously.
• Excellent customer service and interpersonal skills, and confidence in dealing with legal and business professionals, clients, projects, job complexities and fellow employees.
Written applications, with curriculum vitae, should be addressed in confidence to:
Manager of Human Resources
Conyers Dill & Pearman
P.O. Box HM 666
Hamilton, Bermuda HM CX
Email: Sandra.Butterfield-Smith@conyersdillandpearman.com Web site http://www.conyersdillandpearman.com
"We are an equal opportunity employer
Welcoming applications from all sectors of our community"
Posted with permission.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
We've put together a fantastic resource for tonight's SLA Toronto Web 2.0 panel attendess: Web 2.0 for Special Libraries. This is a wiki with resources from our panelists, and I have added in a nice summary of upcoming conferences and seminars you should check out at the bottom of the first page. Many of these are taking place in Toronto or via the web so are nicely accessible to those of you in this city.
Last night I decided to give another chance to Second Life. I do find the learning curve on SL very steep for--thus far--not a lot of return. I finally managed to get to InfoIsland to see what was there, and visited the equivalent health island that also has library resources. I want to explore those more before I do any sort of write-up of those.
The strangest thing I find about SL is that it is either eerily quiet (i.e. little or no people around) or so crowded I feel too intimidated to seek out people for any interaction--akin to being at a large party where you don't recognize anyone, and everyone appears to know each other.
I did briefly see a few librarians, however, talking to people at a sort of conference centre. To me this seems the most interesting use of Second Life--personal interaction with other people of same interests.
For those who don't know Second Life, it is a virtual world where people take on alternative identities and walk around as avatars (i.e. electronic human beings). If you become skilled enough, you can make your avatar take on almost any form. Most are human (or human-like, akin to Star Trek) but some look like robots, animals, or something in between. This definitely comes from the gaming world, but there really isn't any game involved per se. One must clothe oneself, create a home, and somehow acquire money (i.e. work). The name "Second Life" is definitely appropriate, since it in many ways is like real life. I don't personally find the fantasy aspect off-sets the real world responsibilities enough for my taste. I wish one did not have to work or acquire money--I think it would be a lot more enjoyable! I do enough of that in the real world (RW) and thus Second Life doesn't seem quite appealing enough to me personally. But I do find it interesting and delve into it every month or two.
If you haven't filled this out, you might want to do so.
Three tracks of sessions have been announced:
Corporate Track (June 22, 2007) will have scheduled sessions that deal with corporate podcasting, sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and revenue strategies for Podcasters.
Podcasters Across Borders Track (June 23-24, 2007) will have scheduled sessions on technical and soft skills, academic and not-for-profit podcasting, hobby and niche podcasting, and personal podcasting. Essentially, this is the same format as PAB2006.
PodCamp Canada Track (June 23-24, 2007) is for community driven sessions following the PodCamp model, with a focus on the grassroots movement. A block of time will be allocated for sessions that deal with revenue models.
Check out the website for more details!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
One was the FIS Alumni Tea yesterday afternoon at the University of Toronto, which I mentioned here on the blog a few days ago. Once again I enjoyed reconnecting with a number of people and meeting some new faces. It is always a pleasure to chat with students and see who my future colleagues will be!
Afterward I headed back downtown to the Mesh meetup for an hour or so. I had already been on my feet for a fair bit so unfortunately didn't stay as long as I might have. Still, I met a number of people including fellow bloggers and others interested in Web 2.0 as well as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Some were even surprised that I blog "for free" and don't have any advertising on the site at all. Dear readers, consider yourself blessed that I have thus far refrained from putting ads on my blog posts!
But I digress...it was great to see Leesa and Stuart again and to meet some new people including Sacha, Juan, Ian and Mark. I missed Rob Hyndman this time around unfortunately! It was so crowded (about a 100 people in a space earmarked for the 60 who signed up) that I didn't even see him in the room.
My question for everyone: now that I have my new little collection of business cards, just what should I do with them? Obviously it was a great way to keep track of who I had met, and later add their blogs into this post. Some people have already emailed me to keep in touch and follow up on things we had discussed, which is just fantastic. Super networker Sacha even added me in to her LinkedIn contacts. Cool.
What other ideas do you have for the growing stack of business cards that I am collecting? How is it best to sort them and organize them? How should I store them? Suggestions welcome!
On a related note, I find it is time for me to have some personal business cards made up. I have been scribbling notes and blog addresses on the back of my work business card, but that is somehow inadequate. Any ideas for how to get inexpensive business cards drawn up, and possible design....feel free to let me know! Unfortunately I missed the free Moo photo cards offer on Flickr, but that is definitely one possibility.
Ah, well, time to run to the next professional networking social event, an author's reception with one of the publishers....
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Library 2.0 in Action: How Special Librarians are actually using the latest tech tools
Blogs, RSS Feeds, RSS Readers, Podcasts, Wikis and more...Hear how your colleagues are using the latest information tools in their special library settings. Learn some tips and tricks for dealing with firewall issues and budget constraints, etc.
Connie Crosby, Dave Hook, Amanda Etches-Johnson and Carolyne Sidey
Register online - Registration closes November 17, 2006
Date: November 23, 2006
Time: 5:30 PM (registration), 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM (event)
MaRS, 101 College St. Room CR-2A
SLA Members: $15.00
Registration due November 17/06
I hope you will join us! It is going to be a great evening. We will have an overview about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, then will talk about our own uses of these applications, and break out into round tables to talk with groups about potential uses of these tools.
I'm honoured to be part of this special show, chatting with him about Flickr and use of photographs in our work. The sounds quality at the beginning is "challenging" but stick with it as it gets better. Also, the special birthday messages from fellow podcasters are a lot of fun.
Monday, October 30, 2006
I have just thought I should mention the fantastic Legal Research on the Web course being taught next spring by Clare Mauro out of the Professional Learning Centre at FIS to her.
Any other suggestions out there??
This article has now been updated and published in the CCH Law Student eMonthly (October 2006). See:
Law Librarians Debate Student Research Skills. I had more space to include additional quotes from my colleagues Laurel Murdoch, Joan Rataic-Lang, Shaunna Mireau and Neil Campbell. John Eaton is also mentioned specifically. Do have a read!
CCH Canadian is looking for material for future issues of this publication. If you have something to contribute, do contact them.
Friday, October 27, 2006
I am delighted to see this message, and glad to get some background story. This is exactly what we need to see on an ongoing basis from Blogger to keep people like me calm.
Here is why:
- Earlier this week I expressed my frustration to other bloggers who I saw in person, especially regarding no explanation coming from Blogger about the problems. The consensus was that Blogger isn't a good tool and that I should switch. This also confirmed the suspicions of those who weren't already using Blogger.
- I am in the process of looking for a blogging tool for a group of professional colleagues, their first foray into blogging. They have a fair bit of clout and the first experience is important. They will influence potential blogging by untold hundreds of our colleagues to follow. Since I didn't know what was going on with Blogger, would I want to choose it and risk giving them a bad user experience right from the start? I think not!
- I have been sort of itching to try other blog software. Just because I like to learn new things. Gee, with all that is going on, maybe now would be a good time to explore my options?
Multiply these types of issues with those of hundreds of thousands - nay, millions! - of bloggers out there using Blogger, and you might have a problem.
But I digress. I have only been half-watching the Beta Blogger information coming out. My feeling is that I didn't want to risk changing everything over to Beta if it is not ready for prime time, so to speak. But the new blog post points out:
We foresaw the need for the long-term solution, well, a long time ago. Long enough ago that it’s almost done, and you can use it as the new version of Blogger in beta. If you can switch to it (see requirements) you really should. The new version of Blogger is better in almost* every way, including reliability. (It’s worth pointing out that none of this past week’s trouble affected the new version of Blogger or its blogs.)
Okay, well, I had no idea that life would be sucky if I didn't switch over, and that the new system would be unaffected. Why didn't you SAY so? Heh. Thus the importance of saying things in everyday language in blog posts instead of officialgooglespeak in emails (if there was one--can't remember now).
So, finally, a few more suggestions for Blogger if they have managed to stay awake and read this far:
- open up the comments on your blogs so we don't have to post these gripes on our own blogs and leave these bad impressions of Blogger with our individual blog readers.
- have a link from the front page of Blogger to the status page so we can easily find it. Blogger news on that page has status info that is stale - a year old! That looks really bad.
- keep on posting about what is really happening. Are you more frustrated than we are? Gee, I had no idea because you weren't telling us.
Thank you for this post. Hang in there, and keep it up!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Don't know what Access is? I didn't either until I heard about it recently from an attendee. Here is the description:
The conference is an eclectic group of technically savvy people who get together every year to share fresh challenges, projects and solutions related to advances in information and library communities.
It is a single stream conference with limited attendance, which provides ample opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.
Common touchstones at the conference include:
- customized web applications and search interfaces
- open source software
- national and provincial consortiae initiatives
- information policy
- digital media
- library catalogue innovations
- end user searching behaviours
It is Canadian based and seems to have had conferences since 1997. Sounds right up my alley! I hope to spend some more time exploring the site and listening to the sessions.
There aren't a lot details, but they are here: Faculty of Information Studies.
I've been to a few alumni teas. It is an informal way to meet with students, faculty, and fellow alumni working in other types of libraries. I always learn something, and meet new people! I only wish they were longer....usually I'm one of the last to leave. Heh.
I've put it into my calendar; hopefully nothing urgent comes up before then!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Sarah Houghton-Jan, otherwise known as LibrarianInBlack, has some great coverage of the "Flickr + Libraries" presentation at Internet Librarian. See IL 2006: Flickr & Libaries. She has some other great write-ups as well.
Nichole has some of the key links from the presentation over at Nichole's Auxiliary Storage
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I expect this book will be kind of Naked Conversations meets The World is Flat. Stay tuned...
- knowledge management
- change management
I welcome suggestions for future columns! You are welcome to either post a comment here, or email me at email@example.com .
I now have proof that my co-worker Kay is, in fact, attending the Internet Librarian conference and not *ahem* just golfing. I found a photo of her obtaining an autograph from keynote speaker J.A. Jance on the Info Today blog. Gave us a little thrill back here in the office!
What with all the "new media" coverage of conferences these days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sneak away from sessions. Heh.
Dagnabbit! Blogger has been bothersome today. It wouldn't let me post a particularly long post (and now it is vanished) plus I couldn't look at some other blogs hosted on Blog*spot. I was reading through some of the Blogger forums; it seems there have been periodic server problems and a number of people are frustrated. I usually don't find it too bad other than an occasional glitch that is soon corrected. The Blogger Status page, which can be difficult to pull up in the heat of the moment since there isn't any quick link to it from the main website, doesn't help much. Last post was Oct. 21st saying they were having server problems which would be fixed soon. Gah.
I dunno...blogs are supposed to facilitate communication, and corporations can use them to keep their customers in the loop when something isn't quite working. The shoemaker's children have no shoes in this case....Blogger doesn't seem to *quite* get that they should be communicating this stuff to us a little more effectively. Meanwhile, they burble on about other stuff in Blogger Buzz which *is* easy to find. Okay, well, when Blogger isn't working, even that blog is difficult to access.
Monday, October 23, 2006
- Flickr photos tagged IL2006
- Technorati blog posts tagged IL2006
- Information Today, Inc. blog (included in the Technorati search above)
- del.icio.us tag IL2006
- Internet Librarian 2006 - main website
- Internet Librarian 2006 wiki
Advanced players: sign up for the RSS feeds on the respective sites with your RSS reader.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
We talked a fair bit about the features of Flickr, but not quite so much about the uses of it. I've come across a few related items that help fill the gap:
- Why Flickr Is So Great for Libraries Oct. 16/06 post by The Shifted Librarian Jenny Levine (thanks to Jim Milles for the tip!)
- the Rob Coers and Michael Stephens presentation
Two Trainers Trade Technology Trading Tips (PowerPoint, approx. 76 slides)from the Internet Librarian International conference addresses some uses of Flickr mid-way through the presentation
- Tame the Web's Flickr Rocks My World Archives from Michael Stephens
Two Trainers Trade Technology Trading Tips (PowerPoint, approx. 76 slides). Say that 5 times fast! Heh. I had a quick read through, and highly recommend it, especially for those of you looking to teach Web 2.0 applications.
Some things I got from it:
- teach to the top 70%, not the bottom 20% if you want to drive things forward
- get people to try setting up their own blogs, RSS feeds in Bloglines, create their own IM identity in the training sessions
- create a Web 2.0 interest group in your organization to allow people to get together to compare notes and "play"
Some great things here. This is just my interpetation from the slides...I have not looked around to see if anyone has blogged the session.
That being said, this blog is interesting. Perhaps I will be inspired to go back at some point. I never did make it over to the mythical library island while I was there.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Most people like to hang out with people they know. Podcasters doing business-money-technology podcasts have a lot to talk with each other about, and a lot to gain from cross-promotion. Other podcasters doing storytelling shows, or couple-casts, or online diaries, rants, and the like–the more “general interest” shows, often on pop culture topics–also have a lot in common. It’s harder for niche podcasters to join those conversations.
He goes on to draw a parallel to other large conferences he has been to:
The problem with conferences–every conference I’ve ever attended–is this: the organizers, the insiders, the old boy/girl network, need to constantly remember to make newer participants feel welcome and help them become contributors to the conference and its activities.
Some good words of caution! I know my own natural tendency is to be shy, especially in situations where I don't know others. It is difficult for the new person to make that leap.
Especially at a time where law library managers are crying that they cannot find good people to come up through the ranks to fill the positions of retirees, we should be greeting newcomers with open arms! Well, it shouldn't just be at this time, but encouraging people newly interested in our field is definitely in our own interest. And I personally love meeting new people and hearing new ideas.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I had a quick look at the GG website, and indeed found a new site called Citizen Voices: Breaking Down Solitudes on the gg.ca domain. There is blogging, forums, news, and even chat with the GG herself! I hope to spend a little more time later checking the site, and perhaps even submitting an encouraging word or two.
Oct. 13/06 update: I have now posted a longer write-up over on Slaw.ca here.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
So that sets the mood. I am working away and then suddenly get this call from an online information product sales person. I agree to a quick web demo another day, when the budget will hopefully be done. But at the close of our conversation, his last question throws me: "What are your verticals?"
Um, I'm close to responding "Hunter Douglas" but quickly realize this is industry speak for, well, what industries I am interested in. Not which types of blinds I have. D'oh!
Anyway, this reminds me that when I write this budget thing, if I want to see any sort of approval of new products or initiatives, I had better strip out all of that publisher and library jargon and write in plain English.
Imagine writing something like: "We request additional funds to pursue a new electronic initiative with better coverage of previously neglected verticals." Oh my! Sounds almost obscene.
Okay, back I go to my numbers!
Friday, October 06, 2006
Podcamp Toronto, the podcasting "un-conference" I spoke about in my last post, is now set for Saturday and Sunday, February 24 and 25, 2007 at Ryerson University. It is free to participate, but you have to make a contribution (that is the concept of these "camp" things). The list of topics is growing, as is the list of participants. I've added my name in, and am thinking about how I might contribute. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
I am looking forward to Sunday's Run for the Cure. For about the 12th or 13th year (I've now lost track) I will be taking part in the 5 km walk in Toronto. This year I will have the privilege of walking with one of my heroes, a good friend who spent last year battling breast cancer and who is now healthy and strong. When I first started walking back then, I was touched by the stories I heard but never imagined how close to home it would hit years later.
I encourage you also to get out and walk in your city! If you can't walk, then please consider making a donation to support me or someone you know. My donation page.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms
1) Current Awareness
2) RSS for Firm Marketing
3) Vanity Feeds
4) Internal Research Collections
5) Client Press
6) Feeding on Marketing Content for KM
7) Case Law & Legislative Changes
8) Aggregated Tagging
9) RSS Republishing
10) Feed Mixing & Filtering for Subject Collections
Very smart. I feel like I have only scratched the surface myself and look forward to trying more of these out. Steve has garnered a fair bit of attention with this post, including an endorsement by the Shifted Librarian, Jenny Levine.
Way to go, Steve!
Monday, September 18, 2006
Kia Ora. My name is Kay Samuels and I work with Connie. I am originally from New Zealand and came to Canada, via London, England, in 1996.
I have been thinking about using creativity and innovation to enhance my personal life and this has led me to reflect about how creativity augments my work life as well. My latest creation is this photo taken with a macro lens.
The inspiration to effect change comes from what we experience on a meaningful and personal level. We can then transfer this for use in the work setting. For example, I spent weekends this summer tasting Niagara wines and incorporated this by offering my training sessions as a wine tasting seminar. Here is one of the tastings offered:
Federal Legislation – Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2001
A smooth textured workshop with excellent potential. Intense and full-bodied with print
and online in complete harmony, you'll find legislative history characters on
the palate along with some delightful nuttiness.
There was enough of a positive response to consider this a moderate success. There are times when my innovative ideas fall on deaf ears, or palates, but I get enough triumphs to encourage me to try yet another new idea.
Then we dried ourselves out for a couple of days in the very lively Galway city (well, we dried our clothes out at any rate), where students arriving back at the local college mingled on the cobblestone roads with tourists from all over North America and Europe. High school students just back at school congretated in the local square just in front of our hotel, so overall it was a pretty wild place those two days. We ate and shopped, shopped and ate.
The next week we did a cycle tour of Connemara. Four "mad" Canadian women and a very tolerant couple from Maryland, along with our tourguide from Northern Ireland, Patsy. Patsy did his best to keep the six of us on the route when we cycled, and guide us off the route in the evenings. We had some amazing meals in local eateries and even enjoyed some local Irish music under his guidance. Not to mention the pints of Guinness and cider.
Then back to Dublin for a quick bus tour of the city, and a literary pub crawl in the evening. Then back home the next day! Whew! And I managed to avoid voicemail, email, and Internet the whole time. It was truly a fantastic, long overdue break.
Now I'm back and delighted to see Anh has managed to get a couple of terrific posts in. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences back at school, Anh! I hope you will stick around to post a bit more as time allows. It feels like you are just getting started.
My other surprise guest blogger ended up due to various circumstances being unable to post, but since she has some great ideas for posts, I invite her along when she has time.
As for myself, I am just gearing up for another conference this week so will be off to Chicago for the Ark seminar on library management best practices. I'll be talking on a couple of panels and also presenting a session on change management Thursday. Since I am still putting the finishing touches on everything, I probably won't get a chance to post again until later in the week or the weekend.
Talk to you soon!
Friday, September 15, 2006
Meanwhile, on the home front:
One of the courses I'm taking this semester is Collection Development. Basically, how to build and manage your library's collections. First day in class, the professor introduced a popular concept among the public libraries: "Give 'Em What They Want", also known as the Consumers-Driven Library.
At first glance, it makes great sense. If you give the public what it wants, then your library's circulation will increase, in turns will improve your library's performance, and ultimately will help to secure your next budget. In addition, studies have shown that variances of clients' interest among the library's branches are minimal. What the public wants often coincides with the recommended lists provided by the vendors. Why waste time, money, and effort to survey clients' interests, evaluate and select the individual books when your library can optimize its efficiency and effectiveness by simply checking off the 20 items on the list that your vendors have already prepared for you. Ready for automated shipping with all sorts of discounts. You save money, the public gets what it wants, and you get your budget approved at the end of the year. Win-win situation. Or is it?
The thorny issue of this concept, our professor argued, is that it assumes the public knows what it wants. Unlike special [legal] libraries, where our clients are professionals/experts in their fields: they [should] know what they want. The general public, on the other hand, gets its information from the various sources such as the bestseller lists [published by the vendors, surpise, surpise] or media hypes [undoubtedly created by the vendors], when it should have relied on independent and professional sources such as libraries/librarians. In the end, consumers-driven library really means vendors-driven library.
Do we future librarians want to make a difference? Do we want to "Give 'Em What They Need" instead of "Give 'Em What the Vendors Sell"? Do we want to go against the current practice, don't give them what they want, watch our circulation dwindle, and hope for the best?
Who says librarianship is boring?
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I’m not supposed to talk about my job, so I can’t tell you about the wonderful projects that she got me to work on the last four months. But I can tell you this: it was a lot more than shelving books, filing loose-leafs, and the occasional reference services that most of my classmates were experiencing at other law firms. Lucky me. And kudos to Connie for having such wide interests in every aspects of legal librarianships and the confidence to delegate and let me roam free, learning and flexing my brain muscles, absorbing new information like a skinny synapse on steroid.
Some of you may agree with me that legal librarianship wasn’t your first choice –as I found out from talking with many legal librarians that I met at various TALL gatherings that Connie brought me with her. It wasn’t mine either, until I took a Legal Literature and Librarianship course last semester at the U of T with John Papadopoulos. Let the truth be known that I took it because it was the only course that fitted my schedule!
John was a wonderful instructor. His lectures were full of funny, interesting, yet informative anecdotes. The course was well organised with challenging and practical assignments. Everything that I learned in class was well used in the four months that I worked under Connie. Our classmates varied widely, from students with “tight” schedule like myself to working professionals such as lawyers and reference librarians who came back for professional development. In our last class, John invited five legal librarians with wide range of experience from various law firms to form a panel for a two-hour of “honest discussions”. Not to mention the Pizzas that John ordered, students’ main (or only) sustenance. Can’t get a better class than that.
I guess the moral of my story is: don’t know till you try. Life is full of surprises, legal librarianship isn’t as bad as one might think until you stumble on someone like John or Connie.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I'm goin' on vacation!!! Woo hoo!
Yes, I am just about to run off to the airport and won't be touching the computer again until at least Sept. 17th.
That being said, I have invited in a couple of guest bloggers. I didn't get a chance to give them any tutorials, so it might take a good week before you see anything from them. I hope this works. All the best, guys! If you could please introduce yourselves, that would be marvelous.
See you in the fall!
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Have a look and don't forget to send along your suggestions for next week's inclusions to David's Random Stuff for #51. Send your submissions to dwfree[at]gmail.com . You can either nominate your own recent postings, or suggest others.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction website is up and running with new forums forThese are the 19 titles that comprise the long list:
discussion about what you think of this year\'s longlist. You are encouraged
to add your thoughts (no swearing please!) to the General Discussion forum, or
to the individual forums dedicated to each of the longlisted titles.
Go to http://www.themanbookerprize.com and click on the link called \'Discuss your favourites in the discussion forum\' to go through to the forums.
Carey, Peter Theft: A Love Story (Faber & Faber)
Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)
Edric, Robert Gathering the Water (Doubleday)
Gordimer, Nadine Get a Life (Bloomsbury)
Grenville, Kate The Secret River (Canongate)
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down (Canongate)
Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights (Jonathan Cape)
Lasdun, James Seven Lies (Jonathan Cape)
Lawson, Mary The Other Side of the Bridge (Chatto &amp; Windus)
McGregor, Jon So Many Ways to Begin (Bloomsbury)
Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men (Viking)
Messud, Claire The Emperor’s Children (Picador)
Mitchell, David Black Swan Green (Sceptre)
Murr, Naeem The Perfect Man (William Heinemann)
O’Hagan, Andrew Be Near Me (Faber & Faber)
Robertson, James The Testament of Gideon Mack (Hamish Hamilton)
St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk (Picador)
Unsworth, Barry The Ruby in her Navel (Hamish Hamilton)
Waters, Sarah The Night Watch (Virago)
Do have a look at the website. You can sign up for alerts, and there is a fabulous new chat forum. The short list will be announced September 14, 2006 and the prize winner will be announced October 10, 2006.
Blogger Steve Matthews had a hand in it--read his blog post about how it was created.
Once again I am participating in the Run for the Cure for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This is the 11th year I am participating. The importance of this event really hit home in the past year when one of my good friends spent a gruelling year in treatment. I'm pleased to report she has a great bill of health, especially thanks to all the research that has taken place over the last few years. I encourage you to either make a donation or join me in walking or running on Sunday, October 1st. Visit my donation page. Thank you! Your support is appreciated.
Monday, August 14, 2006
This includes our future band leaders and parade organizers in action!
The generation of librarians coming up is definitely engaged in our profession. This week's fine example is Joy Weese Moll who took time away from studying her Cluetrain to write a very clever rant in Discover Your Strengths at Wanderings of a Student Librarian. She is perturbed by a book/web site called Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton in which part of the self-help is meant to be accomplished by using a website that can only be accessed once using a passcode. Since she is working with a library copy of the book, you can imagine the result when Joy tries to access the website. Nonetheless, she perseveres by assessing what the results of the website might give her:
My Connectedness strength leads me to believe that a secondary motivator for such a book should be to change the world. You don't do that by hiding your light under a bushel or behind a firewall. The message in this book really could change our organizations. It delivers a convincing argument that the path to excellence is in developing our strengths while the path to mediocrity lies in attempting to remediate our weaknesses. But I can't recommend it to my organization--we would have to buy 150 copies to get started.
Both of these concerns, helping people and changing the world, should at least appear to take precedence over milking every last dollar out of the consuming public. The appearance of greediness takes something away from the overall message of the book--it makes me doubt its sincerity
The Industrial Librarian Dave Hook tells us that the growing neophyte organization Librarians Without Borders is now looking for applications for its Board of Directors. If you agree with their ideals, and perhaps have some knowledge or skills from which this young group can learn, you might want to consider applying:
We are looking for individuals who share LWB’s values and can offer their passion or expertise to the benefit of the organization, in areas such as financial management, non-profit governance, strategic planning, policy development, fundraising, international development, world libraries, communications, and human resources / volunteer management. We seek to nominate candidates so that the Board balances these interests (regardless of experience). But, of course, enthusiasm and dedication are the main qualifications required for these positions!
Arts & Cultural Festival
How do we work with the skills and tools we have? What culture has resulted from our work?
In Google's Phish Net (Aug. 10th) Kelli Staley updates us on the newest features of the Google Toolbar, both IE and Firefox versions. This from the 'Brary Web Diva is particularly interesting:
The new "safe browsing" feature is cool too! A warning pops up if you visit a suspected phishing site! yes, this was an extension, but now it's built in for everybody! I think they should have called it PhishNet.
Scott Vine, the Information Overlord from the U.K., provides us with a topical and useful list of RSS feeds from the U.K. government.
In the group blog Out of the Jungle, one of my favourite bloggers, Betsy McKenzie, continued her on-going discussion about the nature of the colour pink and working in a female dominated profession (librarianship) working alongside male dominated professions (academic and law) in Pink Conversation: Can Men be Pink? Betsy writes:
Librarianship is where I really found that supportive network of women who really want others to succeed. Who understand that the success of others only enhances their own success, never diminishes it.
And I have to say that I have male colleagues in the library and academic communities who have that same excellent attitude to collaboration. I am so pleased to have good friends, no matter what genderly persuasion, who have that terrific supportive nature.
So, if I define PINK as the aspect of helpful supportiveness, a collaborative attitude, yeah, I guess guys can be pink too. After all, if even cowgirls can get the blues, it's only fair that cowboys can be pink sometimes, too.
Great things happen when people work together on ideas and projects! Like the steel bands, these bloggers are making beautiful music together:Over at Science Library Pad, in response to Lorcan Dempsey's post Discovery and disclosure about making your content visible in as many venues as possible, Richard Akerman discusses the user experience in an online world in online library role in discovering and delivering. This is actually part of a larger exchange of posts between Lorcan and Richard, so it is worth the time to follow back and forth between their posts. From Richard's latest essay:
It doesn't suffice simply to know that a book is in the library, what I want to know is when the book (or its contents) can come to me. That means online availability includes delivery options as a crucial element.
Can I get it immediately on my desktop as an e-book and/or audiobook? Can I have it on all my mobile devices? Can I get the book from the library in the mail? Can I get it couriered to me today? Can it be delivered with my newspaper tomorrow morning? Can I get it from Amazon? Can I get it used from Abebooks or Alibris? Does someone who lives near me have a copy? Is it on Project Gutenberg? Available as a book-on-demand printed copy? Can someone come read it to me? Can someone read it to me over the telephone? Is there a book club that is covering it? Can someone explain it to me? ...
You can see that in the online world, you're no longer in the warehousing business. You're in the logistics and collaborative partnership business. You have to decide
where your library should fit, are you a single one of the above options, or are you
an enabler for all of them?
There is no logic, to me, in the library trying to run this supply chain. I think libraries need to outsource and insource - connect out to partners as well as let them connect in to you.
What's your delivery strategy?
Have you considered
- your postal service
- local and national couriers, e.g. FedEx and UPS
- other local delivery services, like your local newspapers
- volunteer organizations
- ebook and audiobook providers
- mobile device providers
- Amazon, AbeBooks, Alibris, WorldCat, LibraryThing, Project Gutenberg,
Coincidentally, Michael Casey presents one such idea in Helene's Netflix/Amazon Mashup posted at LibraryCrunch. Library Crunch focuses on "service for the next generation library" and this post certainly typifies that goal. It discusses an idea by Helene Blowers, Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) in Charlotte, North Carolina which would allow for inexpensive delivery of materials:
Helene's idea was to utilize Amazon's library processing service in order to have pre-processed books sent directly to the library customer's home, where that person would, after reading the book, bring it to the library and, by returning it, enter it into the library's circulating collection. The book will already have its requisite spine label, bar code and mylar cover, so no additional processing will be required. Even the MARC record will already have been sent from Amazon, so the material will already by in your catalog.
Helene encouraged Michael to write about this, but as Michael pointed out, Helene's blog Library TechBytes will also be one to watch. Helene Blower really rocks this week! You should also have a look at the blog Learning 2.0 which contains the contents of PLCMC's Learning 2.0 program including text, graphics, and podcast. A brilliant use of the technology to explain the technology and some of the results that can be achieved with it. Thanks to Joy Weese Moll for telling me about this one.
King & Queen of the Bands
My favourite submission this week is from ricklibrarian Rick Roche. In Hangouts Feed Souls of Lonely by Kayce T. Ataiyero (A Chicago Tribune Article with Implications for Public Libraries), Rick describes an article he read about a restaurant frequented by seniors that dishes out much-needed hugs with its meals. He extrapolates that with so many seniors frequenting libraries, many may also be in need of similar attention. So much today we worry about how libraries are going to serve the younger generations, Y, Nexgen, N, etc., but often we forget about that other growing population, seniors. And turning the tables, Rick points out:
I am not really the kind of person to hang out at restaurants or taverns, so when I am older and perhaps lonely, I hope there is a public library for me. I might need more than books.
Rachel presents a technically enlightening discussion in What's Up with Mesh Tags posted at Women's Health News. She explains the use of "MeSH" or Medical Subject Headings in her blog. Click on the MeSH tags (a.k.a. controlled vocabulary for the librarians in the crowd) and it takes you into search results in PubMed. Very clever! Her procedure of selecting and adding the tags and then tieing them into PubMed requires a bit of work, but she explains that using MeSH on her blog helps her learn and keep up with the subject headings for her work. She also explains "it goes fairly quickly once you are used it and start to have many of the terms memorized." Great job, Rachel! Something for all of us to consider in our respective industries, especially when blogging for our clients.
Last week in his podcast Check This Out! Jim Milles continues his series on Law Librarians at Work. He spoke with these librarians during the recent American Association of Law Libraries conference held in St. Louis: Diane Murley, Eileen Searls, Jim Kelly, June Liebert, Marian Parker, Nancy Babb, Tom Boone, and Steve Anderson. Jim is one of the most collegial librarians I know; he has encouraged many librarians in their professional efforts, myself included. If you haven't listened to his podcast before, I definitely encourage you to give it a try.
Michael Lines, Law Librarian and Information Coordinator /Bibliothécaire et coordonnateur de l'information for the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice/Forum canadien sur la justice civile in Edmonton headed us up over at Canadian co-operative legal research blog Slaw in a week-long look at Grey Literature (GL) in Canadian law. GL is better known in other areas such as medical librarianship, but it was a new concept to us in law; it is not surprising, then, that for a number of the discussions surround defining GL. Others not familiar with this concept will definitely find it of interest. In addition to posts by regular contributors who are law librarians, law professors, research lawyers, and knowledge managers, Michael facilitated posts by these fabulous guest bloggers to explain a thing or two:
Professor Kathryn Arbuckle, Law Librarian at the John A. Weir Memorial Law Library, University of Alberta;
Jim Suderman, member of the Canadian research team in the UBC-based InterPARES 2 research project directed by Dr. Luciana Duranti;
Hannelore Dekeyser, a legal researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT (K.U.Leuven, Belgium);
Floating a controversial idea, Tom Boone presents Library Laws... Are Meant to Be Broken. Tom argues that law libraries should no longer need specialized Electronic Services Librarians on staff; skills traditionally held by those in this position out now to be core competencies for all law libraries. Tom says:
In this day and age, all reference librarians should be well-versed in CALR [Computer Assisted Legal Research]. Most legal research is now performed using electronic resources, thus every reference librarian at a law school must know the ins and outs of these systems just to do the bare minimum required by their job descriptions. Those who aren't are courting obsolescence. So the idea that only one librarian in an institution should master these tools is outdated. This is now every reference librarian's job.Being in a smaller law firm library, we have certainly functioned in this manner. As manager, most of the collection development is part of my responsibility so "collecting" new services certainly is included so I do the licensing as a result. Larger organizations might have someone else doing this, but it does not necessarily have to be a whole separate role.
Walt Crawford has again surveyed and analyzed the metrics of library-related blogs in his newsletter Cites & Insights. Looking at Liblogs: The Great Middle [pdf, 30 pages], also available as a link from his blog Walt at Random, looks at over 200 blogs culled from over 500 blogs he identified. He looked at blog posts between March and May 2006 and compiled data including blog start date, frequency of posts, number of comments, comments per post, total length of post, average length of post, and size of blogroll, software used, typeface, text alignment and colours for readability, and use of a Creative Commons license. He gives a general write-up of the results, then gives a brief summary for each blog included in the survey. One encouraging note:
I’ve heard enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that blog readership has grown quite a bit. That may reflect ease of use via aggregators (with people subscribing who’ve never heard of “RSS”); it may also reflect the quality of library-related blogsThanks again to Joy Weese Moll who brought Walt's work to my attention! I see a lot of familiar names in the list, so everyone will want to check it out. Incidentally, because this survey was a lot of work (Walt gave up a good part of his summer for it) please do drop him a line and let him know how useful you find it. He'd appreciate the love.
The Party's Just Starting
Thank you for joining me this week! Next up we have The 'Brary Web Diva Kelli Staley who has the honour of hosting our golden episode, Carnival of the Infosciences #50! And if I missed your earth shattering post this week, don't forget you do have to submit it to increase your chances of a mention. You have the choice of sending your submission directly to the host or filling out the form over at the infosciences wiki. Kudos go to Greg Schwartz who keeps the Carnival running. Thanks, Greg!!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The Carnival of the Infosciences is a roving review of library/infosciences blog postings from the previous week. Its purpose is to highlight not only some key posts from the past week in our industry, but also to show off some blogs you may not have come across before.
If you would like to get in on the action and have me consider your blog post for review, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline is Sunday, August 13 at 6 pm EST. My review will be posted sometime on Monday, August 14th.
Please, don't leave me to my own devices or I might miss your most brilliant blog post yet! I encourage you to email. I have even cleaned out my email box to make room; however, if for some reason you get a bounce-back please post a comment to this post to bring it to my attention.
And of course, I encourage you to visit this week's Carnival of the Infosciences #48 hosted by the lovely Connecting Librarian , Michelle McLean from Melbourne.
Connie Crosby from Canada
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Google Groups: NEXGENLIB
There was some unfortunate personal conflict on the original list and, since the earlier list owners were not available to close down the debate, the new group was created with new moderators to help keep things running smoothly. The original owners did later state they had invited someone to take over ownership/moderation previously, but did not have any takers. The Topica list is set for closure on August 15, 2006.
Monday, July 31, 2006
I'm pleased to announce the debut of a new podcast:
Each edition, approximately five minutes long, will feature a review of library news headlines in an upbeat, professionally-produced format.
As a reference librarian, podcaster and former broadcast radio personality, I've been watching this niche since the advent of podcasting and saw a need. I love libraries and this great new medium and am happy to jump in an do it. This is something that could never happen for us in traditional electronic media.
Please feel free to email me at the address below if you have any questions!
I had a listen and it is very cool. It is like listening to the radio news, but it is all library-related topics.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I spoke today with Louise Hamel who is heading up the project; she tells me she has had little input to date. What a shame, since so many people like to grumble privately. Make a difference and speak up!
These publisher site visits are intended to foster good working relationships between law libraries and publishers, and to better represent the interests of TALL members. The internal operations of the publishers are viewed with the intention of better understanding by the library group. Questions and concerns are raised by the PLC; most are given to the publisher in advance so that any research necessary can be done and a comprehensive response can be given. Finally, a report is written for the membership and the wider law library community to explain any findings and any points of issue that need resolution.
I had the privilege of taking part in the PLC's first site visit, of CCH Canadian Ltd., a number of years ago. The team who made the visit learned a lot about the organization (a lot of it some very positive things) and managed to find resolution to a number of issues. A nice outcome has been the very close working relationship CCH has built with the Canadian law library community, seeking feedback and advice as they evolve products and launch new business schemes. Since that time one other site visit has taken place: Carswell (now Thomson Carswell).
I am delighted that LexisNexis will be having their turn, as I know they have been waiting quite a while to be the focus of TALL's attention. I encourage you to submit your comments to Louise or other TALL PLC rep. If you don't know how to get in touch with one of them, feel free to contact me email@example.com .
I've given them my comments. Have you??