Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Kudos to Colleagues

It's been a busy day for announcements of awards and honors. The candidates for SLA Board of Directors have just been announced. I'm so pleased to report that not one, but two current IT Division Board members are running for SLA Board of Directors:

Holly Chong-Williams
, a past chair and 2008 IT Program Planner, is running for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect.

Michael Kim
, IT Secretary, is running for one of the Director positions.

The complete list of candidates:

For President-elect:

  • Janice C. Anderson, Access Sciences Corporation, Houston, Texas
  • Anne Caputo, Dow Jones & Company, Washington, D.C.

For Chapter Cabinet Chair-elect:

  • Cynthia Barrancotto, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Houston, Texas
  • Ruth Wolfish, IEEE, Piscataway, New Jersey

For Division Cabinet Chair-elect:

  • Holly Chong-Williams, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Ann Sweeney, European Union - European Commission Delegation, Washington, D.C.

For Director (Two to be elected):

  • Jessica Baumgart, Renesys, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Michael Kim, University of Miami Library, Coral Gables, Florida
  • Daniel Lee, Navigator Ltd, Toronto, Ontario
  • Nettie Seaberry, National Minority Supplier Development Council, New York City
Congratulations to all the candidates!

They're Going to Disneyland!

I'm so pleased to report that not one, but three colleagues here at the University of Kentucky Libraries have been recognized by ALA:

Dean Carol Pitts Diedrichs has won the Ross Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award. A number of us have commented that she seems too young for a lifetime achievement award. (And no, I'm not just saying that to get in good with the boss.) We are very proud of her efforts and are delighted she has been recognized with this prestigious honor. A few words from the press release:
The ultimate practitioner/scholar, Diedrichs has written and spoken extensively on issues in acquisitions, serials, electronic resources, preservation, collection development, technical services organization and scholarly communication. She served for more than a decade as the editor-in-chief of Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, one of the premier peer-reviewed journals in the field. With colleague Trisha Davis, she developed the first Web-based course, Fundamentals of Acquisitions, offered by ALCTS, for which she was honored with an ALCTS Presidential Citation. Through her publications, presentations, committee assignments and consultancies, she has significantly influenced best practice in the rapidly changing fields of collections and acquisitions.
Becky Ryder, Head of Preservation, has won the first ever LBI George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Preservation Award. In addition to her outstanding, internationally recognized work in preservation, Becky is also a great traveling companion (Ecuador '06--woo!). An excerpt from the press release:
With her expertise in preservation microfilming efforts, she has readily moved that expertise into the digital environment. For 12 years she was project director of the SOLINET/ASERL cooperative microfilming projects. Ms. Ryder also has served as project co-manager of “Beyond the Shelf: Serving Historic Kentuckiana Through Virtual Access,” through which 2,700 titles serving as the premier representation of Kentucky history are available through the Kentucky Virtual Library. She has been an integral part of the University of Kentucky National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) team, since the inception of the program in 2005. Taking lessons learned from NDNP, she and her institutional colleagues developed the “Meta - Morphosis” conference to share approaches in converting early newspapers on microfilm and preserving the resulting digital content. Ryder's work with the Keenland Racetrack Library on a hybrid microfilm/digital project makes available a keyword searchable digital archive of the Triple Crown race coverage, while preserving the physical volumes and addressing long-term storage of the digital files.
Finally, I am especially delighted that my colleague here at the Hub, Alice Wasielewski, has won an ALA/EBSCO Conference Sponsorship to attend the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA. The award provides up to $1000 to reimburse expenses to attend the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA. Only ten applicants are selected annually for this competitive national award. Alice has been an essential part of the Hub team since opening day in early 2007. This award is well-deserved, and I am so happy for her.

Congratulations you all!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blue 2.0: Play Week

What fun would Blue 2.0 be without a little playing? This week's module is Play Week. Even if you aren't a UK Blue 2.0 participant, I encourage you to check out our long list of fun and useful technologies that are worth knowing about and giving a try.

Just a few thoughts on the list:

The label generators are terrific for creating images for presentations. Slideshare is useful for distributing them.

I've used Rollyo for personal purposes--great for shopping multiple websites at once! It does have other non-shopping-related uses as well...

Second Life--I've said a lot about it already.

Everyone should clone themselves at least once--whether a Simpson or a Mee.

Technorati is a good site for looking for blog content. Plus you can favorite the blogs you enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm an Omnivore

I don't usually do the meme thing on my blog, but after reading my colleague Sarah's post, I decided to jump in. Upon completing the Pew Internet & American Life Internet Typology test, I learned that I'm an omnivore:

Omnivores make up 8% of the American public.

Basic Description
Members of this group use their extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with their cell phones. Omnivores are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining their Web pages, remixing digital content, or posting their creations to their websites, they are creative participants in cyberspace.

Defining Characteristics
You might see them watching video on an iPod. They might talk about their video games or their participation in virtual worlds the way their parents talked about their favorite TV episode a generation ago. Much of this chatter will take place via instant messages, texting on a cell phone, or on personal blogs. Omnivores are particularly active in dealing with video content. Most have video or digital cameras, and most have tried watching TV on a non-television device, such as a laptop or a cell phone.

Omnivores embrace all this connectivity, feeling confident in how they manage information and their many devices. This puts information technology at the center of how they express themselves, do their jobs, and connect to their friends.

Who They Are
They are young, ethnically diverse, and mostly male (70%). The median age is 28; just more than half of them are under age 30, versus one in five in the general population. Over half are white (64%) and 11% are black (compared to 12% in the general population). English-speaking Hispanics make up 18% of this group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many (42% versus the 13% average) of Omnivores are students.

Initially I was surprised that this group is mostly male (70%). Then again, when I think about all the years I've worked in IT, it's really not so surprising. I can't begin to count the number of IT meetings I've attended on campus where there were only two or three women in an auditorium full of guys. I've been out of school for almost ten years (a scary thought--which also makes it obvious that I am slightly over the median age). During that time I haven't noticed a significant increase in women in IT, but maybe that will change as the millennials continue to join us in the workplace.

Anyway, take the test and see where you fit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blue 2.0: and Google Docs

Okay, I've also been a Big Blue Slacker lately. I'll chalk it up to an especially busy couple of weeks at work, the weather, or maybe even the Blue 2.0 Happy Hour last night. Foolishly one of our participants captured some of the evening's festivities on his camera--I guess he's thinking he'll get credit for that during Weeks 9&10: Photos, Video, and Podcasting. Fat chance.

Anyway, my thoughts on this module's activities:

I set up a account some time ago and had forgotten about it. I'm glad we did a module on it, as it reminded me how useful social bookmarking sites can be. It also reminded me that I really needed to import my current bookmarks into my account.

Google Docs
I've seen this sentiment expressed on other Blue 2.0 blogs but it bears repeating. For on-campus collaborations, I prefer SharePoint (hey Beth--bet you didn't expect me to say that ;-) I've used Google Docs a few times in the past, and it is terrific for off-campus collaborations. I've used it for several SLA activities and will likely use it again for that purpose in the future.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Popular Posts on the Information Commons

Since I have picked up some new readers over the last couple of months, I thought it might be good to recap a few frequently read posts about my experiences at the Hub, the information commons at the University of Kentucky. I wrote all of these posts in the hope that they would be helpful to others--I attempted to cover what has worked for us, what didn't work so well, what I might do differently next time, and so forth. I also tried to include as many pictures as possible. Enjoy!

The Hubbub
This was our first big party to welcome students to campus and introduce students to the library and to the Hub. I've already started planning the second one and will be posting more about it in the coming months. In the meantime, here's a recap of the 2007 Hubbub:
Part One: Planning Activities
Part Two: Publicity
Part Three: Staffing
Video Windows
One of the most visually striking things about our space (besides the grandeur of the Young Library) is our video windows art display. My post on the video windows includes a number of elements: our design process, early exhibits, staffing, publicity, future plans. (Incidentally, the blog companion to one of our first video windows exhibits was featured on BoingBoing.)

Unusual Service Desks
Our service desks have gotten a fair amount of attention. I've answered a number of emails from colleagues around the world about the desks, so I thought it might be a good idea to create a post focused on the desks: why we chose them, how they've worked for us, future plans.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Facebooked Your Mom

I love this campaign the University of Kentucky Law Library has started to advertise their Facebook Page to students. Thanks to my colleague, Sarah, for sharing!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Integrating Pieces of the Cloud

Between recently finishing reading The Big Switch and the 2008 Horizon Report, I've been thinking a great deal about the future of computing, particularly how social tools will evolve. How do we connect disparate pieces of data--email and calendar data, bookmarks and RSS subscriptions, photos and video, presentations and papers, social networking data--and integrate them into a useful, organized body? I've just started collecting tools in this area (and have a great deal more to say on the subject) but I wanted to go ahead and start sharing a few:

My Facebook friend Sarah was featured in this New York Times article about Twine, a new online application that organizes content you select by tagging it with a consistent vocabulary. So those websites and feeds and notes you collect over time and think "oh, I'll look at that later"--those could be much easier to find. Unfortunately Twine isn't open to everyone yet, but stay tuned.

I am excited about Xobni (and would like to be part of the beta). Basically, Xobni (it's Inbox backwards) takes Outlook data and organizes it for maximum productivity--threading conversations, pulling phone numbers from emails, offering an enhanced search interface, and most importantly, creating a social network among your contacts by mapping relationships. Maybe a Linked In -type app for Outlook? I'm intrigued. Read more.

OutSync synchronizes Facebook photos with your Exchange contacts. At this point that's all it does, but it is cool to see a Facebook photo pop up on an incoming phone call or email. More importantly, it is representative of the increasing trend to bring together content from disparate sources.

My New Centro

I have to thank my husband for convincing me to finally upgrade my old Treo 650 to a new Centro. Some of you know I'd kept waiting for the 650 to finally break--I'd even started doing dangerous things with it, like going jogging with it or taking it with me on a roller coaster (if the Cyclone won't break it, I guess nothing will).

That Treo 650 served me well though, and it was a good piece of hardware. But I'd had it since the release date--that was over three years ago. The internet connection was so slow and the web browser so old and clunky, I stopped even trying to surf the web. The camera was a cruddy VGA camera--might as well draw a picture. I had a long list of complaints about syncing with the campus Exchange server but I'd just grown used to the quirks.

So I finally broke down and upgraded.

Wow. What a sexy little device. It's small and sleek and shiny. I can surf the web with Sprint's EVDO speed. I can get my mail via Exchange Direct Push. All the quirks I'd grown accustomed to with the 650--bad camera, slow response time, low speaker volume, less than two months of calendar data, no support for viewing PDFs, no access to the campus global address list, and more--are gone.

You may be wondering--why Palm? Windows Mobile devices can do all of that and much more. Why make things more difficult and stick with a dying operating system? Heck, at UK, we are even breaking new ground with an alerts system for Windows Mobile. Why not take full advantage of that? And so on and so on. I can hear my IT colleagues now.

It's not that I'm misinformed. I did head up library desktop support for several years. My reasons why I went Palm one more (likely last) time:
  • Easy to use. The Palm OS and the Treo/Centro smartphone design work well together. I can easily one-hand it and do most things. The menus are easy to access. It's rare for me to grab the stylus, though I could pick it up now and still Graffiti like nobody's business if that were feasible (I've seen software for installing Graffiti on a Treo-like device, but that just seems silly when you have the keyboard).
  • Cheap or free software. Need a diet calculator? Or a travel guide? Or yet another version of Sudoku? During the short period I used a Windows Mobile device, anything I wanted to download always cost something. With Palm, I've always found it easier to get a free or cheap download for whatever I need.
  • It's comfortable--it's what I like. I've been using a Palm OS device since my first Handspring Visor in 1999. None of my Palms have ever failed me. They are easy to use and do the job. That's what I need, so that's why the Centro is for me.
  • And finally, it's cheap. Who can complain at $99 for a full-featured smartphone. Plus if you squint enough, from the back it almost looks like I'm using an iPhone (next gen, I'm waiting for you).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

SLA Leadership Summit 2008

I mentioned that the 2008 SLA Leadership Summit was hosted by the Kentucky Chapter in Louisville in January. I've had every intention of writing up a few things, but it takes so long just to get caught up post-conference, much less have time to go through notes and photos and things that need a follow up.

Let me just say that I work with so many outstanding people in SLA--from the Kentucky Chapter, to the IT Division, to the Centennial Commission, to so many SLA members and staff. I am so proud of the Kentucky Chapter for serving as host of this meeting. While Kentucky is one of the smallest SLA chapters, we are easily one of the most engaged and vocal. And I think we did a good job of rolling out that Kentucky hospitality.

Pictured above are a few of those wonderful Kentucky Chapter members (including SLA's President-Elect Gloria Zamora) at the chapter's welcome reception at the Louisville Slugger Museum.

Check out the Kentucky Chapter blog for more photos of the 2008 Leadership Summit.

(Photo from Valerie's camera)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

University of KY Second Life Island

On Friday, a number of regional educators involved in Second Life (affectionately known as the Rowdy KYians), gathered for a lecture in the virtual William T Young Library. I've participated in a number of these events, but this reminded me once again of the value of using a virtual world as a meeting place. No way would I have had the time to take a trip somewhere to listen to this speaker and participate in this discussion, but it was a piece of cake to log on and jump right in.

Since the campus newspaper article and the UK news story, we've had a number of visitors to the island. Just this morning I logged in to test something, and I ran into someone just checking things out. We've had students asking about the client installation at the Hub, and a student even launched a UK Second Life Facebook group. It's exciting to be part of this from the earliest stages. Stay tuned for more.

Saving Student Brian

Back in November, I wrote a bit about the orientation video several of us here at UK created, "Saving Student Brian." I'm delighted to report that the video has been recognized twice in the last few days: not only were we selected to present about it at the 2008 LOEX Conference, the video was selected as an ALA/ACRL Peer Reviewed Instructional Material Online (we're not in the database just yet--still working on the form). We've already started talking about an update to the video for the fall (my editing skills have improved, we have access to a better camera, plus we have we have the reaction of ~1500 students to consider what worked and what didn't). Yet another busy year ahead!

Friday, February 01, 2008

So much going on...

It has been an especially busy couple of weeks. The threat of drastic budget cuts for higher education weighs heavily on us here in Kentucky, but many good things are still happening. Here are a few things I started to write about but finally decided to compile into a single post:

New Video Windows Exhibit at the Hub
We just took down the Student Video Art exhibit this morning. The Libraries Diversity Committee created our newest exhibit, Views of Diversity. If you are in town, be sure to check it out. Otherwise we should have photos up shortly. (Thanks, Alice!)

New Blog for Reference Desk
Our reference desk has just launched an internal blog for sharing information among employees. I am delighted to see staff take the initiative and run with this project. This came about partly from staff exposure to blogs in our Blue 2.0 learning program. Woo-hoo, Young Reference!

Blogging in Instruction
A colleague from the campus Teaching and Academic Support Center contacted me recently about a blogging project for two sections of a geology class. Students will use the blog for reading discussions and projects this semester. From the first post:
We will be using this blog to compliment our face-to-face lecture sessions. Your participation is important as your posts will reflect your understanding of the course material. It is important that you are able to connect and relate what we have learned in class with current events in our world today.
My colleague asked if the Hub could help students with Blogger if they had questions. Would we ever! Blogs are a wonderful tool for this type of work. I remember using a BBS for class discussion in one of the first college courses I took--if only we'd had blogs then!

UK Second Life Island Live
I've written a little about the UK presence in Second Life. In the last couple of days, things have gotten really exciting as we've been featured in the campus newspaper. We've gotten a number of questions at the Hub about the Second Life client (for the record, yes we do have it installed on our computers in the Hub). I'm serving on several campus Second Life working groups, including one which is planning our big in world grand opening event. Stay tuned for details!

Blue 2.0: RSS and Wikis

I have served as the "guide" for this week's Blue 2.0 learning topic, RSS & Wikis. So far it has been fun to look through all of the participant blogs and comment, but wow is it time consuming! I suppose that's a good problem to have--over 100 of our library staff are actively participating in this technology training program. And we are certainly having a lot of fun!

Here's my report on this module's assignment:

RSS (Bloglines)
I've been a huge Bloglines fan since 2004 or 2005. I can't even remember now, but I do know I did a presentation about Bloglines in 2005. I've looked at switching to Google Reader and to the built-in reader in Outlook 2007 (even imported my feeds into both), but I just haven't made the switch yet.

I did have fun adding all the library staff blogs to my Bloglines account. I exported them to an OPML file so that saved other staff a lot of effort.

Wikis (pbwiki)
I've got a bunch of wikis floating around out there. I've worked on several for SLA. I've also created a few for personal use. Here's one which we use for disc golf scores.