Archive for the ‘librarian’ Category

Knowing who you are

05/08/2008 1 comment

While searching for information about new ways to log virtual reference chat sessions, I stumbled upon a new concept in user to service interactions. APML or Attention Profiling Markup Language, is a Web 2.0 driven standard meant to allow you as the user to “inform” the system you wish to use, of the types of things you would be interested in. (In theory.)

What if a library catalog supported this type of language? Imagine uploading your “profile” into the catalog search and being presented with related topics and collections of resources that you may find interesting. Yes this may rely more on the machine and preordained associations, but doesn’t the APML feel a bit like LCSH.  Maybe that is a jump, but as libraries search for ways to make their services adapt to the user while still maintaining some structure; is there a way for us to explore this new concept?


Social Responsibility Education

A short article by Paula Wasley in the Chronicle of Higher Education reminded me of something I had discussed with colleagues awhile ago. Paula was reporting on a survey done by the Association of American College and Universities, titled the Personal and Social Responsibility Institutional Inventory. The main points that were taken away focused on student and faculty views on how well their campuses were providing personal and social responsibility. This topic spans ethical practices, personal representation, and social activities.

Though the figures weren’t completely shocking, at least to me, the question lies as to who would be best suited for teaching such lessons? Granted, this question wouldn’t be appropriate for campuses who were willing to hire a specialist for such curricula, but smaller campuses may begin looking for an advocate.

To me there seems to be a connected path between some of the lessons we are teaching through Information Literacy. When we talk about authoritative sources and avoiding plagiarism, aren’t we instilling some small part of ethical behavior in the student?

Click here to read the entire post

Lessons for libraries from Blizzard


Reading this fun article about the 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft, I was impelled to draw parallels between libraries and game designers.

Designing ambitious and popular games isn’t too far removed from outlining and implementing efficient library services. Many of the concepts that have made the World of Warcraft so successful, may well be useful to librarians looking for ways to shake up their possibly “dusty” services. Though detailed by Blizzard executives in the original article, here are the 11 points:

  1. Rely on Critics
  2. Use Your Own Product (Meaning try what you give to users for yourself)
  3. Make Continual Improvements
  4. Go Back to the Drawing Board
  5. Design for Different Kinds of Customers
  6. The Importance of Frequent Failures
  7. Move Quickly, In Pieces
  8. Statistics Bolster Experience
  9. Demand Excellence or You’ll Get Mediocrity
  10. Create a New Type of Product (Or to me, don’t be afraid to do so.)
  11. Offer Employees Something Extra

I know I may be a bit biased due to my fascination with Warcraft, but watching the game evolve around the players seems on par with the more modern “user centered” library mantras.

“Inside Innovation with Colin Stewart » Blog Archive » 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft – OCRegister.Com.” (accessed 4/7/2008, 2008).

Reaching Out

04/04/2008 1 comment

Thanks to the Shifted Librarian I had the pleasure of viewing DePauw University’s videos promoting their Visual Resource Center. Yes the concept is a look-alike and relies on the popularity of the Mac vs. PC ads, but it’s simplicity is its strength.

To the point, funny, and well-thought; I can give nothing but praise for these wonderful PR pieces.

Dude, that’s a Llama; is still making me laugh.

Assessing From Now On


The down time I experienced over the past few weeks was due to a career shift.  As of April 1st, I am now the new Assessment Librarian for the University of Pittsburgh.  What that means is that I have been charged with finding solutions needed to better assess the services provided by the library.

Hopefully the direction of this blog won’t shift too much from the original focus, but I would wager that more posts involving assessment may begin to pop-up.

If you or your library have any information you feel a new assessment librarian would be crazy to be without, feel free to send me a link or comment on this post.


The Librarian 1947

03/19/2008 1 comment

If you have a few minutes check out this entertaining look back at the history of choosing librarian as a career.  What would the video look like today?  I think ALA should sponsor a video contest for just such a thing and use it for recruitment.

Mine would feature either Christopher Walken, Illeana Douglas, or  Patrick Stewart as the narrator.  Maybe I should start writing a grant proposal…

Thanks go to Rachel for dropping the link she found at The Information Literacy Land of Confusion blog.

True Knowledge Demo, Do I Smell 3.0?

02/21/2008 1 comment

I stumbled upon this new search system. Called True Knowledge, this blend of search engine and knowledge base aims to provide answers to queries instead of a list of links. The video above explains their design and process.

In short, the system utilized external databases and user input in order to create what some may call a proto-semantic web search. True the system isn’t “intelligent” but the ability to allow the system to use natural language processing and digitally mined data, the future looks bright for something as simple as this tool.

With any user driven knowledge base there is the fear of data corruption. It will be interesting to see what the developers will do to keep the system secure when attacked by digital vandals.

I have signed up for a Beta testing account but it seems like everyone else in the world has too, so I am in the queue. Now I play the waiting game for my log in information.

[Added] I wanted to add my thoughts on where we as librarians could fit into this interesting development.  As more sites and services such as TrueKnowledge, Wikipedia, and Google Knol; perhaps there will be a subset of librarians who are information agents.  By this I mean to suggest that they would be experts in verifying information found on such sites.  They would be able to link citations and resources between many tools in an attempt to better inform the world.

True they may seem more like super-heroes in this vision, but the concept of socially created resources may bring about such a need.

For some other thoughts on librarians and users administrating such systems check out my other posts:

Faceted Folksonomies or Web 2.2

Cloudy days for searching?

Google is like White Bread, choices choices (Part 2)