This past Monday, I tweeted, “We could not purposefully design a more elegant and hideous tool for crushing post-conference enthusiasm than the flooded email inbox.” Turns out, the tool in question also works on blogging.
A week ago, we was getting ready to check out of the Washington Hilton, not yet realizing that our car’s battery had died during the week and we would be spending a decent chunk of the morning wondering if it was just a dead battery, or if your venerable Honda CR-V had decided to permanently give up the ghost in a valet garage 350 miles from home. Luckily, it was the former, and the issue was resolved two solid hours before I had to present.
Plenty of time, that.
My first presentation, on prezi: http://prezi.com/vljiwo6wy3gd/plural-of-anecdote-cil2012/
First off, thanks to all who enjoyed the presentation, including all the folks who tweeted about it. Y’all warmed my cold, cold librarian heart.
Secondly, I want to make clear one quote that shouldn’t be attributed to me directly: the bit about needing to learn how patrons work, rather than asking them what they need. I saw that on twitter, missed who said it, and it came to mind as I was talking. I explained that, but saw someone tweet it like it was mine. It’s not, and I don’t want to claim credit. (Also, I think we need to do both. But that’s a side note.)
Some things I did say, and I’m glad they seemed to get some traction:
There is no antagonism between data and anecdotes. An story without data to back it up has no foundation. And as soon as you start collecting data, you’re beginning to build a narrative — simply by deciding which questions to ask. By the time you start putting that data into charts and graphs, there’s absolutely a narrative involved, so you need to know what it is rather than shying away from its existence. If you don’t put the story in someone else will.
Stories will tell you what data to get, and the data you get will always lead to more questions, which will be answered by a combination of more data and more stories.
The surest path to obsolescence for our profession is to design systems and resources that put us between our users and their work. If we instead aspire to create systems and resources that make positive changes in our users, and those changes both manifest and propagate without us, we will never be obsolete.
That was a really fun one.
Right after that, I went and talked first-year experiences. I co-presented with the most excellent Jenn Colt-Demaree from CUL’s web team, and we talked about the Get Started! 2011 efforts I described in part last August. Our prezi is here: http://prezi.com/terkzxm3l1un/cil2012-get-started-2011/
We only had ten minutes or so, as we were sharing the time slot with folks from Washburn and Drake. But it was great to present with Jenn; she got to tell them about the excellent changes we made to the first year website, and what our goals were the future were. And people loved the video and the Z-cards. (I’m thrilled Jenn remembered to bring several of the latter; we gave them all away.)
After that, there was bourbon and farewells in the lobby, and then I hopped on a train. Another great CiL. Looking forward to next year.