Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Cataloging Department Rocks!

We use Mindtouch's DekiWiki as our Intranet here. I was so excited when we implemented it over a year ago. We have a lot of work to do to increase its usability, but it's a definite improvement over our old static web page Intranet that only one person could update!

When I present on using Web2.0 technologies, I always stress the need for collaboration and agreed upon standards before rolling out something new. This, of course, doesn't always happen, but it's a nice ideal to strive for.

Well, the Cataloging Department here where I work put together an Intranet Team a few months ago and the 4 members of that team have been working very hard to create a streamlined experience for anyone stopping by their area of the Intranet. It's really too bad that I can't share this with the world, but we do have a password protected Intranet for obvious reasons.

So, to ALL of you who read this blog and work within this library system, I STRONGLY URGE you to check out the new and improved CDTS area on LILLY (the name of our Intranet). To the rest of you, let me try to explain the improvements in word:
  1. First page of entry includes a table that links to all of the other areas making it very easy to find what you're looking for
  2. Clean look not cluttered with a lot of text. Concise and to the point (Okay, when do I get a lesson from the team to help me on that one!)
  3. Do not have to rely on the left nav bar to find things as that can be very confusing.
  4. No reference to attachments at the bottom of a page; instead, links within the text of the page that take you to the appropriate doc/spreadsheet/pdf whatever instead of having to figure out what each attachment relates too (those of you who work with wikis KNOW what I'm talking about)
  5. A link to a Suggestion Box asking for feedback (yes, I am singing out loud on this one)
  6. A "Fun Stuff" link that takes you to a page that utilizes the Social Media aspect of a wiki with YouTube videos, RSS feeds of fun blogs, etc. (Remember, these are catalogers, so this is HUGE - just kidding...)
  7. All of the staff's contact information is listed and easy to find and it looks like they may even be adding their pictures to it - kudos for TRANSPARENCY! (I immediately decided to copy that idea and will be adding my pic and bio to the Training area, I am more than an email address and phone number - duh!)
  8. Incorporated the use of Google Forms for people to submit processing requests, etc
  9. Could go on, but I'll stop now...

I truly enjoyed helping the team to get started and reviewing with them in the end. HOWEVER, they did all of the work and came up with so many innovative ideas I had never thought of. I've learned a lot by their example and as all things Web2.0 will be 'borrowing' those for my own area :-)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heather Mansfield Has Spent 7,280 Hours on Social Media Websites

Why should you care? Because she just wrote an awesome blog post detailing the 10 insights she has gained through her experience. There's so much good stuff in this post that I'm reeling. Go read it, but here's her list just in case...

1. Early adopters get the most glory and tend to be the best at social media. (THAT'S RIGHT!)
2. Approaching social media with fear and trepidation can harm your brand. (I AGREE!!!)
3. People who are mean and grumpy online are likely mean and grumpy in real life too. (AIN'T IT THE TRUTH!)
4. Some schmoozing is required. (OF COURSE!)
5. Good community builders are optimistic, friendly, and obviously enjoy using social media. (SO GET THE RIGHT PERSON TO DO IT!)
6. Race and class divisions are played out on social networking sites and must be considered in your social media strategy. (DON'T FORGET!)
7. You have to be persistent and give your social media strategy time to produce results. (BE PATIENT!)
8. Training is essential to a successful social media strategy. (YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS ON THIS ONE!)
9. The Web is evolving faster than you can imagine. To stay competitive, you have to keep up. (MAKES MY HEAD SPIN!)
10. Social media is going mobile. (SO GET MOVING!)

And the winning sentence from her whole post was under number 5...
"It's not the profiles or sites themselves that are powerful, it's the human being behind your organization's social networking profiles that will make or break your social media success."

I can't agree more Heather. So, be sure the right person is doing this and that they have a strategy and KNOW what they're doing.

Clap, clap, clap Heather. Keep up the great work at DIOSA Communications!

(Yes, I know, too many exclamation points in this post, but I told you at the beginning, I'm reeling...)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top Tech Trends at ALA 2009

I got a chance to experience some of ALA 2009 virtually today during my lunch hour. The Top Tech Trends presentation by LITA was actually broadcast live on Ustream and it was blogged live using Cover It Live. Very impressive - weeks later I feel like I was there. Loved seeing all the comments in one spot as I watched the video. Now it's your turn, check it out. If you don't have time to watch the video, just scan through all of the Live Blogging and you'll see the trends discussed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Get Famous at the Ephrata Public Library

I love how the Ephrata Public Library is bringing their community together while advertising their library. On Wed 7/29/09 from 10am to 10:30am they are producing a commercial shoot for The Big Read. They are inviting anyone from the public to come to the library during that time to be a part of the commercial.

How did I find out about this? Though I'm sure they have posters in the library about it and have advertised in other ways, I received an invite through Facebook! They created an Event Page titled "Big Read Commercial Shoot" and invited all of their fans. Here's the text on the page: "Come to the library and be part of our commercial shoot for The Big Read! It shouldn't take more than about a half an hour -- but you'll get to be on TV about 1,000 times during September and October. The commercial is running on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, MTV, CNN, MSNBC and more!"

I think this is an excellent use of Facebook and wish I could go!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Where to find all of the ALA Annual "Stuff" Online

On my list of things to do is to look over all of the "stuff" ALA's Annual Conference generated this year. Presentations, videos, tweets, blog posts, handouts, etc. Luckily, the AL Direct Special Post-Annual Conference Issue pointed me to a great Q&A on the ALA Professional Tips wiki to get me started. I am reposting the info here...

"Q. I've just come back from the ALA conference in Chicago and am trying to pull together my trip report. With efforts at "going green" there seemed to be fewer handouts--or at least fewer copies available. Can you tell me where I can find the speaker' presentations and handouts? The presenters said they would be "on the web." But where?

A. Good question! How handouts and other output from the Annual Conference are disseminated varies considerably from division to division, or from one program planner or speaker to another. A couple of years ago, ALA instituted the Conference Materials Archive in order provide a central place to collect the handouts or other conference content--or at least links to that content.

But there is great inconsistency as to whether materials are there. The ALA Library will seek out handouts when possible, but here are some of our tricks for when they are not on the wiki:
  • We use the online PDF of the 2009 Annual Conference Program Book (big file--almost 9MB) to identify the sponsor of the program and exact title
  • Then, we do a search of the ALA website, to see if the unit has posted the content
  • The next step is a general web search or a check the division's blogs and podcasts
  • Finally, we try a search for the specific speaker to see if the material has been posted on the speaker’s personal or institutional webpage or blog

To complicate matters even more, with the exception of the very few contemporaneous blog posts, there is a time lag between the program presentation and the posting or publication of the content. There is also always the possibility that a presentation is not recorded or written and may only be captured when the presenter uses the content in a substantially revised form in a publication a year or more later.

We are looking into ways for using ALA Connect for these materials and would welcome comments. "

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Librarian Tribute to Michael Jackson

What can I say? I'm a child of the 80s, of course I was a Michael Jackson fan. Here is a shaky video of a librarian in a French Media Library dancing his heart out in true Jackson style as a tribute. "Billie Jean" is one of my favorites. I like how it starts from nowhere and then people start to get more and more into it and by the end they are whistling and cheering. He truly was and is the King of Pop - all over the world - and for ALL professions!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

VoiceThread - Free Online Tool Brings Voices of Donors/Beneficiaries Together

Here is a free online tool that brings the voices of your donors and beneficiaries into your nonprofit's storytelling -VoiceThread

Impactix describes this tool very well in their post:
"A VoiceThread is a multimedia slideshow of photos, video, or documents that allows people to easily leave comments and join the conversation. Visually, it’s a slideshow screen surrounded by a mosaic of little avatars of all the people who comment on the image. When you click on the avatar you hear them or see what they’ve written or drawn. People can comment in five simple ways: by telephone, by computer microphone, by web cam, by writing text, or by drawing.

Wondering how you might use this free tool?
-How about getting your donors to add their voices to a story about a common cause they all support, telling why they support it?
-How about showcasing your grantees’ work by asking them to add their comments to a VoiceThread story you create about an issue they’re working on?
-How about showing how real living human beings are affected by the work you do? Ask them to add comments to a VoiceThread about how one of your programs has helped them.
-Honoring someone special? Create a VoiceThread testimonial to them including all the voice of people whose lives they’ve touched
-Trying to build a social movement? Here’s a very visual way to start—tell your VoiceThread story and ask supporters to add their supportive comments. Watch the little avatars multiply!"

Here's a great intro explaining how this all works. And a great Educator Guide that helped me. Wouldn't this be a great tool to rally support for libraries in PA right now?! I decided to throw an example out there to do just that. To see this right in VoiceThread rather than embedded, click here:

How to Stop Guest/Visitor Card Abuse

How many times have you had to get rid of one of your Guest/Visitor Patron Cards at your library because someone jotted down the barcode number to give to friends or use again, etc? If you don't want to keep creating new cards in these situations, here is an idea you might want to implement.

I share this in the Advanced Circ trainings, but thought some of you might not know about it. I first heard of Ephrata Public Library doing this, so thanks to them for a great procedure. Yes, it will take more time, but it will stop a lot of frustration:
  1. First, scan all of your Guest/Visitor Cards and click on EDIT and change the INTERNET field to N for ALL of your cards.
  2. When giving out a Guest/Visitor Card, scan the card, click EDIT and change the INTERNET field to Y - they can then use the public PC and CybraryN is happy :-)
  3. When the Guest/Visitor Card is returned, scan the card, click EDIT and change the INTERNET field back to N - now even if the barcode was written down, if they give the barcode number to a friend or try to sneak in and use it, it won't work. Only the person who has the card in hand will be able to use that number.

For more information about the Guest/Visitor Card, check out the Circulation Manual . Click the plus sign to the left of Chapter 3 Patron Records then click on the section titled "Guest Card Creation for Use with CybraryN".

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ephrata Public Library Twitters

Thanks to Penny Talbert from Ephrata Public Library who let me know they are also twittering - yippee!! What a nice looking twitter page they have - hope you'll go follow them too @ephratapublic...

Director of Manheim Township Public Library Twitters

I found out this morning that Katrina Anderson, director of the Manheim Township Public Library, twitters when I received notification that she is now following me. So, in good form, I followed her back. Plus, see the image below to find out the cool thing they are doing for train riders in Lancaster!

So another Web2.0 breakthrough in my Library System - love it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rally for Public Libraries in Lancaster PA

This video was filmed during a rally for public libraries held on the steps of the Lancaster Public Library, Lancaster, PA on June 27, 2009. During July 20-25, 2009, Call Governor Rendell, your State Senators and Representatives. Urge them to Level Fund Libraries as a Priority in the State Budget.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Milanof-Schock Library Launches New Online Book Club

Way to go Milanof-Schock Library! They just recently launched a New Online Book Club using a wiki.
They also launched MSL: Your Reads... ANOTHER Wiki. Go check them out. I'm registered. Makes my heart sing :-)

Think Blogging is Just for Fun?

Look how important blogging is to the youth of Iran. Still think it's just a passing phase?...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Like Social Media, Like Musicals?

Then you'll love this video: A Web Site Story.