Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming Soon: Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch!

See the website! Join the Facebook page! Check out the trailer! --

From About the Game:

Welcome to the home of Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch, the show that pits two teams of reference librarians against one another for bragging rights and prizes! Listen in to the live podcast and play along through our TalkShoe Interface, or listen to past shows in the Episode Guide! Watch this blog to see the game in progress as Command Central gives out questions and follow up information and librarians fight the clock to give the best reference in the quickest time! Don’t forget to watch the introduction video before each podcast to learn all about our contestants and to hear genuine librarian smack talk!
Champaign Public Library has challenged Urbana Free Library to start off the season!

Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch comes to us courtesy of Eric Sizemore and Jenny Veile. If you are on Twitter, follow them @libdeathmatch. Great work, folks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Looking forward to Ontario Library Association - Super Conference 2010

I have a newly-minted personal membership to Ontario Library Association. We used to carry an organizational membership when I worked in the law firm so we could access some of the great programming. But, this coming February will be my first opportunity to attend the annual OLA Super Conference. I've been watching the conference website for a few weeks, and today the preliminary conference program arrived in the mail.

I am a veteran conference-goer, but I suspect this will be a whole other experience. So, as a first-time Super Conference attendee, I'm wondering where to start. What should I be sure to see? What social events are must-attend? Should I volunteer myself to help with something?

I would love to hear from you, the veteran OLA Super Conference attendee, with any advice!

The OLA Super Conference runs February 24-27, 2010.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Beta Twitter Feature: Retweeting

Simon Fodden asked me about the new Twitter "retweet" feature which was recently opened up to a number of us on Twitter. It is currently in beta test. I thought sharing my response might be helpful.

What is retweeting?

But first, let me explain what "retweeting" is for those not familiar with Twitter:

Retweeting is forwarding/spreading a Twitter message (or "tweet") posted by someone to your other Twitter followers.

Quite often Twitter developers will take note of a convention that spreads throughout Twitter users and turn it into an official feature. The original way to spread a message sent out via Twitter (a ''retweet") is to put the abbreviation "RT" plus the person's ID with the "@" symbol in front so the person originating the tweet gets credit for the tweet and sees it automatically in their stream of replies. For example, Simon Fodden retweeting from the Slaw.ca Twitter account:

The new retweet feature

We can still manually retweet as we have been doing, but now Twitter has added an automated feature they are calling "Retweet". It does a few different things than we are used to. It can be confusing at first. Hopefully this helps explain it:

  • The retweet feature replicates the entire original tweet, including the person's name, icon and source they sent the tweet from (e.g. Tweetdeck, web). So, if you retweet something a friend tweeted, everyone following your twitter stream will see your friend's icon instead of yours. This is the most confusing part of the new feature. For example, in the example below, my friend @pfanderson retweeted something from @sneakymonkey, and it is @sneakymonkey's icon that shows up. They also add "retweeted by" in the status line under the tweet:

  • currently we can't edit or add any information to the retweet. Previously we could edit the tweet down or add a comment as there was space with the 140 character limit.

  • there are some new lists of the retweets, from your right side menu ("retweets") - http://twitter.com/#retweets. Under "Your tweets, retweeted" they show who has retweeted (see the icons under each retweet):

  • I don't see an RSS feed listed for the retweets yet.
Other new things from Twitter

Incidentally, Twitter is opening up a lot of new features and functionality these days. Lists are one I have also been playing with. They have also integrated Twitter with LinkedIn so we can push tweets to LinkedIn status messages, and I see there is now Twitter in Spanish and some new functionality (from what I can understand) with Twitter in French. It is worth following the Twitter blog to learn about all the new features coming down the pipe.

Do you have pointers or questions about the new retweeting feature?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals: Why I will be voting "Yes" to the SLA name change

I have remained fairly quiet about the proposed name change for the Special Libraries Association until now because I have been giving it some good thought, and watching the various conversations unfold. Change is not always easy, and it has amazed me how seriously people take the names and labels we apply to ourselves.

This is why I will be voting "Yes" to the name change. Take from it what you will:

  • I have always found "Special Libraries Association" to be problematic. The term "special library" is not clear, and people outside librarianship do not understand what it means. I always say "specialized library" to clarify, and still that is not completely accurate. Aren't all libraries specialized in some way? I also object to it being "libraries" instead of "librarians" because it is not our libraries that are members. And even so, SLA includes more than librarians, so that would not be accurate as well. And ever since the Symbionese Liberation Army, the abbreviation SLA has had negative connotations in my book. At any rate, I have been waiting a long time for the opportunity to move on to another name.
  • We all can come up with a name that we prefer for the Association, but the truth is everyone else will think his/her own idea is better. We are never going to come up with a perfect name that everyone adores. SLA is just too big an association for that, and our many members are just too diverse to all completely agree. This is not a bad thing in my books--the diversity is what helps us to see things from other perspectives and makes us strong as an organization, and helps feed me as a member.
  • In today's world, one cannot just make up a name and go with it. There has to be availability as far as business name, trademark and domain name. And it has to work on a global level, not just in the U.S. As we know, easier said than done! I always find naming things (blogs, my company) the most difficult part of any new project, and adding this layer of obstacles makes it near impossible to come up with an original name. I am impressed that the SLA Alignment initiative took it even a step further and ran focus groups, and tested the names they came up with against the market, and found a clear winner.
  • The research SLA did with marketing/branding experts Fleishman-Hillard was pretty intense. For the record, I was part of one of the focus groups here in Toronto. I learned a lot about attitudes towards librarians from the others (non-librarians) who also took part. It became even clearer to me on that day that a change is needed.
  • It is time to open up the possibilities for ourselves. While I love being a librarian, and will always consider myself one, the name of my occupation can cut two ways. There is a lot of respect for libraries, but we are often seen as the people in the back quietly making things run. And yet, my skills are so varied I can be involved in many aspects of an organization to help it run more smoothly: library, information management, knowledge management, and records management to name a few. Why restrict ourselves to library? Where are the librarians who are CIOs?
  • A lot of money, time and effort has gone into this name change proposal. If we do not seize the moment and change it now, it is unlikely a chance will come around for a very long time, if at all. I highly doubt SLA Executive Boards in the near future are going to want to risk yet more rejection if we do not accept this name.
  • The proposed new name, Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals (ASKP), is one I can live with. Actually, I really like it. But the key is that we have to be able to live with it, even if we don't love it. The term "strategic" places me right where I want to be, leading projects and organizations in their goals and objectives, and helping them in their accomplishments. I tend to talk about "information professionals" rather than "librarians" (because my profession includes more than librarians) or "knowledge professionals" but the truth is those in IT have sewn up the term "information" so it is difficult for us to differentiate ourselves if we use that term. If we get into semantics, I see "knowledge" as building on and going a step further than "information" so this is a positive difference. While all members certainly don't work in knowledge management, we are all smart knowledge workers (as originally defined by Peter Drucker) in our own right. So, this is appropriate. And we are all professionals. This is an association of ambitious, smart people who approach their work in a professional manner. And many of us consider our work to be not just a nine-to-five job, but a vocation.
The more I think about it, the more I see this name change as a positive change. I have heard so much negative feedback, I thought it was time to put in a positive voice.

For additional information, visit the SLA Name Change Info Center. If you are on Facebook and are also thinking about voting for the new name, join me on the page YES to Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals. The vote begins Monday, November 16 and ends on December 9th.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Women's Law Association of Ontario: 90th Anniversary Gala

I am doing work with the Women's Law Association of Ontario, and helping to spread the word about their upcoming 90th Anniversary Gala at the Royal York Hotel on Thursday, November 26. They have an exciting evening planned, with The Right Honourable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin giving the keynote talk. Everyone is welcome: members and non-members; men and women. A link to the registration form is below.

The Women's Law Association of Ontario is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing issues and causes relevant to women in the legal profession through education and awareness programs.

Women's Law Association of Ontario Logo