Monday, July 31, 2006

LibVibe: New Library Headline News Podcast

This notice was posted to the Bibliocasting email list:

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!

Marv K.

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

LawLibTech: Status Report on RSS Use Among Legal Publishers

Cindy Chick at LawLibTech has created a status report RSS Feeds for Current Awareness over at LawLibTech. Link courtesy of Bonnie Shucha on WisBlawg - From the UW Law Library. I have stolen Bonnie's posting title. Ahem. 8-)

Library Boy: Peacekeeping Resources

Library Boy a.k.a. Michel-Adrien Sheppard has compiled an excellent list of resources on peacekeeping in this blog post: Peacekeeping Resources. Some are available electronically, while for others he gives paper research direction. An excellent starting point if you are doing research in this area.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

TALL Site Visit of LexisNexis Canada - Input Needed

The Publishers Liaison Committee (PLC) of the Toronto Association of Law Libraries (TALL) is planning a site visit of LexisNexis Canada in early fall. If you work in a Canadian law library, they are looking for your input! Messages were sent out to both TALL and CALL/ACBD (Canadian Association of Law Libraries) members inviting questions, comments and concerns. The PLC will be looking at all aspects of LexisNexis Canada operations, including both electronic and paper publications/resources.

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 .

I've given them my comments. Have you??

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Emily of the State - Internet Spying Short

YouTube - Emily of the State - Internet Spying Short

Must see! A great Canadian parody. Link courtesy of Michael Geist.

ALIA - blogs the conf

Members of ALIA, the Australian Library and Information Association, are organizing an unofficial blog for their September conference, named appropriately enough, blog the conf. I've been reading along and have added some comments telling them what we've done here in Canada for CALL and AALL.

I note on the conference programme that the Director of the Toronto Public Library, Josephine Bryant, is keynote speaker for day 1.

[Correction: this post has been reworded. I had a nice note from one of the bloggers involved indicating to me that this is not an official conference blog, that a number of them have decided to blog it unofficially as a group. Very cool! My apologies for misleading anyone. I have corrected the wording of this post. - Connie Crosby July 21 2006]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Weblogs - LISWiki

Wow. First off, I didn't realize there is a library and info sciences wiki, but there is-- LISwiki. Then I also didn't know anyone had tried to list all blogs by librarians, and finally I didn't know I was listed in this list. See: Weblogs - LISWiki.

Okay, so I'm really behind the times. 8-)

I encourage you to have a look around and perhaps even contribute some content, even if you don't personally have a blog. Great chance to try out a wiki!


Monday, July 17, 2006

Starbucks Introduces Text Messaging Trivia Game

Check out Starbucks Summer Pursuit. They bill this as

a fun text messaging trivia game and the first mobile phone game that can recognize a picture of the answer as well as text - the techies call it intelligent image recognition.

This is how it works:

Each week we will text you three summer themed clues and you can text or send a picture of your answer back to us. Rack up the answers and you'll be eligible for a chance to play the Ultimate Scavenger Hunt in NYC and compete for an amazing trip to Costa Rica!

Sounds pretty cool. I wonder if this technology might have any library application?? I might have to sign up just to see how it works....

Friday, July 14, 2006

Library Laws - AALL 2006 Coverage

Tom Boone has some terrific coverage of the AALL conference over at Library Laws, including some photos of the blogger meet-up. You get a good shot of my currently funky two-tone hair.

I haven't had a chance to decompress and post anything yet, so I appreciate his great coverage in the meantime! Tom is an up-and-coming law librarian blogger who I met at the conference. Definitely check out Library Laws.

Monday, July 10, 2006

AALL 2006 - Today's highlights

Still working from le pda, so this will be brief. Best of Monday:

- A public speaking session set up like a Toastmasters (TM) meeting, convincing us on the importance of improving our public speaking skills

- John Mayer and Jim Milles speaking on podcasting

- Blogger meetup which I've just left. I've finally met Matthew Homann, Dennis Kennedy, and Bonnie Shucha. I completely forgot to take photos, but hopefully Tom and Jim will make them available. (Sorry for the name dropping, but these people are celebs in my little world so it is exciting! Steve Matthews is probably cursing my name. Steve, I told everyone at the meeting to read your blog the Vancouver Law Librarian!!)

Throughout the last couple of days it has also been a thrill to have a few people tell me they are fans of Slaw, my column on LLRX, and/or my clips on Check This Out!

Some random thoughts:
- what about Toastmasters (TM) for podcasters / video bloggers?
- I should do an LLRX column on the ethics of blogging publicly for librarians in law firms.
- I'd like to explore ways for those who feel isolated to get support from the larger comminity. I think Canadians are good at these being generally spread out geographically.
- someone needs to write about research lawyers since it seems to be a Canadian phenomenon.

Well, that's it for now. I'm late for the West party!


[July 13, 2006: spelling corrected on names. - CC]

My First AALL Conference

I'm delighted to be in St.Louis for theAALL conference. Unfortunately there's no wireless web access in the conference centre or the hotel. Rather than hook up my laptop tonight I'm just posting this with my pda.

Thus far it has been much much larger than CALL, but I have seen a surprising number of familiar faces (not just Canadian) and I have met quite a few friendly people from all over.

It has been so busy that I'm going to pack it in now without any substantive comment. Jim Milles is recording a group of us in a wrap up chat each evening which will be posted over at Check This Out!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rocky Times at Rocketboom

My very favourite video blog, Rocketboom, is going through some very rocky times. It looks like the two creators, Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon, are parting ways and painfully at that. Amanda was the host, but Andrew has majority ownership, so it appears that Amanda will no longer be hosting unless they can get with a mediator and work things out. I am very conflicted as I quite like both of these people.

Something seemed a bit "off" the past couple of weeks. Notably, last week Andrew said they were on vacation and used material from their correspondents, but meanwhile in the comments Amanda stated she was not on vacation.

This week there is a notice posted on the site explaining the situation, presumably a professional spin from Andrew's point of view:

Amanda Congdon has decided to move to L.A. to pursue opportunities that have arisen for her in Hollywood.

We wanted to meet her demands to move production out to L.A., however, we are a small company and have not been able to figure out a way to make it work, financially and in many other ways at this time. While we continue to remain with open arms, Amanda has in fact quit and left Rocketboom. So sadly, we bid Amanda adieu and wish her all the best.

I wanted to get some more background on this, so visited both Andrew's and Amanda's blogs. Nothing new on Andrew's, but on Amanda's is a video episode in which she explains her side of the story. She tries to not look upset and explains (in more professional terms) that she was kicked off the show. I guess the notice on the Rocketboom site was posted after this, and now Amanda has a long response on her site including a letter from Andrew with her responses. She currently has it open to allow comments from fans.

I'm sad to see them airing this in public and feel it can only end badly for both. I do hope they can find a mediator who can help them work things out, although it may be too late to have the old Rocketboom back. This feels to me the end of a video podcasting era.

bonus tag: amanda unboomed

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Metropolitan Who's Who - a Reprise

From the reader statistics on this blog, it appears a lot of people are hitting on the post Did You Receive an Invitation to Join?. This post regards invitations to be listed in the Metropolitan Executive and Professional Registry. It seems a new round of letters must have gone out. If you are looking for information about this company, I suggest you read my September 20, 2005 entry.

Sept. 30. 2006 - at this time comments for this post are closed. I thank everyone for your comments. I encourage you to start your own blog or chat forum on this subject if additional discussion is desired. - Connie

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Knowledge Management as a Business Cliche or, Avoiding Best Practices

I'm currently reading a great little book--one of those that I can tell I will read again and again during my career, and see more truths as I learn more about the way things work in organizations. It is called McLuhan for Managers by Mark Federman and Derrick de Kerckhove. Federman and de Kerckhove have taken lessons learned from Marshall McLuhan and applied them to modern organizations as McLuhan might have.

A few highlights:

"In the mid-1990s, the concept of Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) was promoted by Michael Hammer and James Champy in their popular work, Re-engineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. In it, they describe a method for redesigning the processes within a company by which it is run and managed. The authors advocate beginning with a 'blank sheet' in order to redesign the operations of the company from scratch, thereby increasing efficency and effectiveness, resulting in potential significant cost savings.

"Although not necessarily intended by Hammer and Champy, BPR was the justification by which senior management initiated massive rounds of layoffs under the banner of 'downsizing'."
(p. 43)

" It is interesting to note the reaction that the BPR management cliche caused when it was extended beyond anything that could be considered reasonable. The resulting loss of the collective experience and know-how directly led to the mirror-image management cliche known as Knowledge Management."
(p. 51)

--> a lightbulb goes off in my head at this point. Is this why KM has felt so familiar, it is just a repackaging of concepts already in existence, and not just in the library world? It is a challenge to separate the wheat from the chaff i.e. the useful concepts from the buzzwords. It is just a reaction to trying to capture all the lost knowledge from employees who were let go in the "downsizing" and the "rightsizing" of the 90s. Organizations must take care not to take this to the other extreme, obsessively following KM while ignoring real problems that exist in the organization. There is no point in pursuing KM unless there are components that will actually help achieve or resolve something specific within the organization. What one organization impliments successfully will not necessarily work for another organization.

"This predilection for rushing to deploy 'best practices' is perhaps one of the more potentially dangerous management cliches of recent years.

"A corporation faces with complex problems and market challenges seeks to remedy those problems quickly, so as not to fall further behind its peers. It looks at other companies in the same industry or field of endeavour and attempts to determine which of their management processes significantly contribute to their apparent success. Once identified, these processes, or rather, an abstraction of these processes, is adopted in the hope that their magical effect will attract analogous success to the challenged company.

"Of course, there is no magic -- no practice can be best for every company in any arbitrary situation. So how does the trick work? Successful companies, which those in trouble seek to emulate, generally possess the attribute of shared, insightful, original thinking among their managers and executives, and often through the ranks of their key employees. They identify challenges and carefully contemplate the particular circumstances and environment before the determining a course of action. Often, the first solution is not successful and the process repeats. Eventually, a way out of the mire is discovered and the company progresses.

"The resulting success attains almost mythic proportions, especially if the company is sufficiently prominent. In the retelling, the story is abridged and perhaps embellished for dramatic effect in a case study presented at a conference or in an article in the business press. It then enters the management concordance as an industry best practice."
(pages 51 and 52)

--> Of course, no two organizations are the same. One needs to look carefully at the circumstances surrounding the success and not just apply the solution to another organization without thought. As I said earlier, don't just do something 'cause the cool organizations are doing it.

All of this reading has made me wonder....who originated the concept of knowledge management, and who coined the phrase?

(McLuhan for Managers seems to be unavailable at Indigo. I was able to find it recently at local Toronto chain Book City)