Tag Archives: CIL2011

We deal in slides: Speaking next week at WNYLRC

13 Apr

As God as my witness, I thought weeks had more days in them.

The presentation as UNYSLA went really well, I think, and was bracketed by other excellent talks. I’m glad I got to see the whole thing, and would love to coalesce my thoughts about the event into words here. But I’m already prepping for my next presentation/workshop, so check out my fellow presenter Jill Hurst-Wahl’s take on things.

My next gig is on Monday, outside of Buffalo at the Western New York Library Resources Council:

Building Digital Communities With Digital Collections

Librarians can build online communities around their digital collections in the same way they build physical communities around their physical collections: by providing resources that interest their patrons, by making their patrons feel comfortable using those resources, and by providing their patrons with a sense of ownership of those resources. Hear how one library used the tools provided by new technologies to build a community of users around DigitalCommons@ILR, a premier institutional and disciplinary repository. Jim will discuss Catherwood’s strategies, practices, experiences and lessons learned, and illustrate how their success keeps patrons coming back.

There will be ample time for discussion. Please consider sharing information about your own library’s digital collections, or even doing a short demonstration.

I confess I’m not thrilled with the description, and that my dissatisfaction is entirely my fault. As described, it’s basically my talk from CiL2010, plus workshop elements. While that’s somewhat understandable — this event was originally scheduled for last November, and was prompted by good feedback the CiL presentation had received — the description itself feels somewhat obsolete to me. I wrote it nearly eighteen months ago, and those months have been full of work and thinking and assessment and discussion.

But, all is far from lost. It was good to revisit that presentation, see what still resonated and what needed to be removed. My plan now is to use a revised version of that preso’s thesis as a skeleton for the first part of the day, bring in some interactive bits rooted in the workshop Amy Buckland and I ran at CiL11 to get people talking and involved, and on the whole offer something that reflects my current thinking on these issues, allows attendees the opportunity to explore this stuff on their own terms, but doesn’t let me fall into the trap of simply rehashing an old presentation.

If you’re in the area and this sounds interesting to you, I hope to see you there! I’m thinking it’ll be a good one.

Day 3 of #cil11 (I don’t *feel* tardy)

28 Mar

I’m not even gonna pretend this isn’t almost a week late.

Wednesday started with a lot of logistical stuff: checking out of the hotel, packing the car, bidding Nina farewell as she drove down to Virginia to the home of the folks we stayed with post-conference. I followed much later, via Metro.

Then I went to one of the best presentations I’ve seen at a CiL. The semantic web is a concept that I’ve only had the vaguest grasp of previously, but Lisa Goddard and Gillian Byrne of the Memorial University of Newfoundland explained it thoroughly and engagingly. Did you know Drupal 7 incorporates RDF as a core functionality? I didn’t.* Don Hawkins over at LibConf.com breaks the whole thing down damned well; go give it a read.

In the afternoon, I was up again. First, Mitzi Cole and Jeremy Gottwig discussed the great repository work they’re doing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.** Then Amy Buckland rocked the mic, cutting through some of the rhetoric surrounding repositories, and exposing many of the inherent assumptions that underlie their perception and planning.

Finally, I got up and ranted for a bit. My thesis statement, presented almost immediately so that folks could tweet it and run were they so inclined: “Digital projects in libraries are chronically understaffed; as librarians and digital projects staff, we must become advocates for changing that situation if we want these projects to succeed.” I consider myself quite lucky when it comes to the staff hours my library is willing to commit to our work, but even we’re stretched pretty thin… and you rarely go to a presentation about digital projects without hearing about how the presenters wish they had more people.

The rest of the presentation included funny pictures, the insulting of Disney, and the tweaking of Google. Many folks tweeted the bit about how technologies go obsolete, shiny gets dull, but people will last.*** Some folks dug my reference to the 1893 World’s Fair. Thank the gods for Twitter; how else would I have known how it went?

I think there may be a blog post at some point to render what I said into text. But it was an enjoyable presentation to give, despite the difficult topic, and I’m glad folks seemed to dig it.

I may have one more post left in me, on the conference as a whole. We’ll see.


* Hell, I don’t even know if I said that right.

** No relation, I think.

*** I think the images helped; if you check the presentation, that line starts with the picture of the Apple IIe. How can you not love that machine?

Day 2 at #cil11 (we can make this work, Twitter)

22 Mar

Tuesday isn’t the traditional day of rest, but it’ll do. Any conference day I feel comfortable wearing jeans start to finish is a good one.

The first item on my agenda was Lisa Carlucci Thomas‘ excellent Cybertour session on design tips and grabbing attention in the online environment. In fifteen minutes, she brought together lessons from as disparate sources as Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Andy Woodward’s interaction with the Old Spice Guy* and made them relevant to libraries. (Also, double rainbows, which I’d meant to tell her afterward have even shown up in World of Warcraft.) It was a great presentation, and one I’d have loved to see get a full session on one of the main tracks.

The same can, and must, be said for Jennifer Koerber‘s Cybertour session on personas. Jen has a gift for bringing concepts in front of an audience in a way which makes them clear and concrete even to those completely unfamiliar to them. In fifteen minutes she laid out the concept of personas, explained why libraries should look to them as ways to keep the face and reality of their users clear during design processes, and laid out ways to start implementing them. Great stuff.

I also caught Scott Nicholson’s amazing session on gaming and game design as tools for instruction. Far too much information to include here — hell, I even feel odd trying to summarize it — but two of the major things I took away were the existence of the Global Game Jam, which is awesome, and the fact that he has a 22-session course on gaming in libraries up, for free, on YouTube. Check it.

Finally, I caught the tail end of Julian Aiken’s presentation on their implementation of Google’s 80/20 policy at Yale Law Library. His was one of the most highly regarded presentations of the day, with good cause: they’re doing some amazing things there, and I really want to hear more about how this goes for them. (Also, it’s totally his dog.)

Then, it was a fun dinner with friends in Chinatown, and even more Firecon and Lobbycon before bed. As days of rest go, it was damnably busy.


* Will I ever tire of mentioning him in this blog? No.

#cil11 Day 0

20 Mar

Sunrise found me walking the streets of Washington, DC in search of coffee and an oddly specific number of nickels and pennies.

I was walking alone, since a Sunday filled with eight or so hours of workshops is apparently sufficient cause for my wife and I to exchange our positions on early mornings. She’s sleeping soundly as I write this, and I’m only slightly envious.

The aforementioned coinage is necessary for part of my first workshop today. It’ll run from nine to noon, and my second from 1:30 to 4:30. I’m wired as all hell right now, over an hour before the party gets started. I have no idea what condition I’ll be in when it finally winds down.


Many hours later…

My feet are killing me.

Workshops went really well. Scott Nicholson is a damned genius at interactive games and teaching, and I’d have been glad just to watch.  Getting a chance to help him run a workshop was phenomenal. We ran folks through a number of learning games and discussed the principles behind them. I think his simulation section was stronger than my roleplay section, but I felt like I acquitted myself well.

One of the big things I took away from that was “Thiagi’s six-stage* debriefing process,” from Thiagarajan’s Design your Own Games and Activities, a book I need to pick up. I implemented the process in my own post-activity debriefs, both in this workshop and the next, and it worked great.

(While you’re taking my book recommendations: check out Scott’s awesome Everyone Plays at The Library, too. He really captures the wide applicability gaming has in this profession.)

After that, Amy Buckland and I talked shop about repositories with a fine crew of folks for our afternoon workshop. We had a good mix of folks: public librarians, academic librarians, school librarians, vendor reps, folks with repositories, folks planning ’em, and folks just thinking about ’em.

Great discussion resulted, focusing on the obstacles facing repository managers and librarians, and how best to overcome those obstacles. People were willing to bring their own experiences to bear on the discussion, and used that to build a list of stakeholders, what they could bring to a project and how to get them to buy in. Then we let folks do some roleplay of how they’d make the last bit happen; good times were had by all.

After that, it was just getting my butt kicked in that PS3 Move gladiator game, hanging out with some most excellent library folks, and walking with Nina to get burgers from Five Guys.

Oh, and I confess I find The Amazing Race oddly compelling. Not that I’m gonna get cable or anything, but I’m totally rooting for the Globetrotters.


* “How do you feel? What happened? What did you learn? How does it relate to the real world? What if? What next?”

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go

18 Mar

OK, neither of those are true. I’m hoping they will be within the next hour or two, though.

Time’s come ’round again to gear up and head out to Computers in Libraries, a conference that will continue to hold a special place in my heart. It was the first library conference I attended, the first place I presented beyond Cornell, and even the birthplace of this blog.

This time’s gonna be the busiest yet, and I confess I don’t feel fully prepared. But I’m coming to accept that as much work as I do on these presentations, I won’t ever feel fully prepared: I’ll just keep picking at them and making small changes and then suddenly I’ll find myself answering post-presentation questions and it’ll be all good.

So time to pack some bags and get on the road. Hope to see you in DC, and sorry to miss you if I don’t.

More CiL2011 stuff

22 Feb

This time, over at the SLA Academic Division blog.

Computers in Libraries 2011

17 Feb

In about a month, I will be down in DC for Computers in Libraries 2011. From the animated .gif, you may already have concluded that I will be providing some of the entertainment at these festivities. In fact, if you attend you’ll have the opportunity to see me get up in front of a room full of my peers and contribute something theoretically meaningful four times — and that’s not even counting Rock Band and karaoke.

Sunday, March 20

Games & Simulations to Energize Training & Teaching
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
With Dr. Scott Nicholson, Associate Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies and Author of Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages
If designed well, games can be a motivating tool to teach and to entertain. One of the challenges of being an instructor is avoiding the traps of presenting slide after slide from a PowerPoint presentation or demonstrating the same tired searches while attendees look on, bleary-eyed This workshop shows a wide variety of activities to get audiences energized and engaged. Come with an open mind and willingness to participate as this workshop is run in the style of the NASAGA (North American Simulation and Gaming Association) conference: low on PowerPoint and high on engagement. Participate in Jolts, Icebreakers, Roleplays, and Simulations; debrief what happened in each; and explore how these might be applied in different training and teaching situations.

Digital Repositories: Strategies & Techniques
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
With Amy Buckland, eScholarship, ePublishing & Digitization Coordinator, McGill University Library
This workshop addresses key issues surrounding the creation, maintenance, and cultivation of digital repositories. Drawing on the latest literature, case studies, and personal experiences, speakers lead a discussion covering planning the digital repository, selecting a methodology for its establishment, populating it with content, marketing it to the library’s constituencies, and meeting the various challenges and questions along the way. Share your own experiences, engage in group discussions regarding how to get the most of a digital repository, and leave with lots of ideas and strategies for dealing with digital repositories.

Monday, March 21

Building Community With Faculty & Suppliers
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Time slot shared with:
Regina Reynolds, ISSN Coordinator, Library of Congress
Laurie Kaplan, Director, Serials Editorial, Serials Solutions
One of the major obstacles facing digital repositories at academic institutions is getting faculty to contribute their content. Get insights and ideas from one success story, DigitalCommons@ILR, which now holds content from nearly 70% of the faculty at Cornell University’s ILR School, having worked with faculty to capture content that pushes the boundaries of traditional institutional repositories. Hear about their strategies, practices, experiences, and lessons learned. Reynolds and Kaplan share the secrets of a 10-year partnership between the U.S. ISSN Center at LC and the Serials Solutions editorial team, illustrate how the partnership has enabled both organizations to learn from each other, balancing the public and private aspects of librarianship and metadata collection, and talk about plans to move forward.

Wednesday, March 23

Repositories: Strategies & Practices
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Panel with:
Amy Buckland
, eScholarship, ePublishing & Digitization Coordinator, McGill University Library
Mitzi Cole, Electronic Library Systems Team Lead, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Zimmerman Associates, Inc.
Jeremy Gottwig, Web Developer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Our panel discusses institutional repository design, technologies, processes, and practices at each of their organizations. They share challenges, lessons learned, and future plans for those contemplating creating their own repository.

Attending CiL has been a great experience for me these past few years, and I’m honored to be a contributor again this year. Also existentially terrified, but I’m sure that’ll pass. Quite sure.

In any case, check out the rest of the program, and I guarantee you’ll find numerous items worth making the trip down to DC. Hope to see you there!

Is this what being a librarian feels like?

13 Aug

I enjoy reading the “day in the life” posts that many blogger librarians write. After spending the last couple of days trying to hash out my week-to-week schedule for the coming semester, I think I’m close to being able to do that myself. At the very least, I’m beginning to see why such posts tend to be so long.

This fall, each of my weeks will include:

  • Three reference desk shifts here at Catherwood.
  • One shift of Cornell’s online chat reference service.
  • One shift of chat reference service for the co-op to which Cornell belongs.
  • Two classes in eskrima. (Which will not, I hope, prove directly applicable to the aforementioned reference shifts. But they will probably facilitate the maintenance of sanity.)

Every month, I’ll also have:

  • At least one meeting of the CUL Reference and Outreach Committee.
  • At least one forum, run by said committee.
  • At least one meeting of the CUL Digital Reference Committee.
  • At least a few meetings regarding the ongoing library consolidation plan.

And then there’s the other stuff on this semester’s to-do list:

It’s a more than slightly overwhelming list, especially since I know it won’t prove exhaustive. It almost certainly necessitates the delegation to others of a bunch of mundane tasks  that I still do because my previous position has remained unfilled. But truth be told, the folks above me in the chain of command have been recommending that I do that for a while now; this semester may prove the necessary impetus.

I feel like this semester is giving me a better picture of what my career’s gonna look like for at least the next several years. And the funny thing is, I’m not only OK with that, I’m pretty damned psyched about it. Overwhelming as it is, it also sounds like fun.

And not just the stick-fighting.