My Library Mojo Has Been Flushed Down The Bog

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I’ve been reading a few blog posts about how to keep your library mojo and re-energise it when it’s left you… and at the moment I feel I really need to read those sort of articles, because I’ve been hit by thoughts which seems to spiral around:

  • “What the F is going on?”
  • “What am I doing?”
  • “I’m tired and I want to go back to bed.”

I’d like to contribute to the “Keeping your library mojo intact” debate…

My words of wisdom are…

Do it before you get to the age where you are:

  • Making those funny sighing noises when you bend over.
  • Struggling to get out of the bath.
  • Snoozing on the sofa a little bit more than you used to.

I’m not saying anyone at that age is not going to have any mojo, but at the moment I don’t and I’m guilty of all 3 points above. So, in the true spirit of making the evidence fit the conclusion, this is why I believe my library mojo has been drained awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Or maybe I’m just:

  • Disheartened by a lack of support for libraries
  • Sick of the shit going on around public libraries
  • Sick of the lack of leadership in all quarters
  • Sick of toss-pots who think they know about libraries when they haven’t used one for years
  • Sick of having to fight for libraries as one of the little people, when the people who have much more power do…

“F’ ALL!”

At the moment all this frustration is making me want to take an Incredible Hulk stance

HULK SMASH!”

Incredible Hulk

(c) Kiwanja / Flickr

And if anyone posts a comment here giving the usual crap about how:

  • You can buy books cheaply from Amazon
  • Everyone has the internet at home
  • You can just Google it
  • You can get it all on e-books
  • Why do you need librarians?
  • etc, etc, etc

They will be told to…

“PISS OFF!”

An unprofessional attitude, I know, but I can’t really see many other people higher up actually fighting for professional staff anyway! I can hear them talking about it, but that’s about it!

Yours grumpily….

NB: This is probably just a blip in my library mojo.

CILIP Elections 2012 #cilip2012

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I’m currently trying to decide who to vote for in the CILIP 2012 Council Elections, but to be honest I’m dithering. I’m not even sure I can vote for 4 out of the 6 standing for the trustee/councillor roles. Most of them aren’t saying what I want to hear them say most of the time. I’m not saying I can’t vote for any of them, but I’m not sure my ballot paper is going to have 4 crosses on it… which is worrying for me.
I’ve read their manifestos; read their responses to questions posted on the CILIP e-hustings; asked them a few questions via the e-hustings and the live hustings myself – although I couldn’t follow the live hustings video stream, I did follow the Twitter stream and picked up on various points via follow up blog posts.
But still I’m wavering about my decision! I get to the point where I think “They’ll do for me,” and then I re-read something else they’ve said and I realise I disagree with them on it. I should say I can agree with most candidates on at least one of their major points, but this isn’t enough to make me want to vote for them.
I understand that once they’re elected they will have to work within the restrictions of CILIP Council and won’t be able to stage a coup and over-run CILIP with ideas that have me a bit worried, so maybe I should have faith in others on CILIP Council to stop anything unwanted from happening.
I was going to say CILIP is at a cross-roads regarding its future, but following on from the “Defining Our Professional Future” report, it seems as if it has made its decision about the direction it is going in, has indicated, and has pulled away… Now it needs a bit of gas to race from 0 to 60mph to get where it’s going as quickly as possible. So, in my mind, that’s why it’s important for me to choose very carefully who’s on the CILIP bus helping to drive it, service it and willing to push it up a few steep hills if it needs a bit of extra Oomph!
But time is running out for me to choose… so, I need to go and dither a little bit more.
All aboard CILIP's funky bus

All aboard CILIP's funky bus (c) Mattes

Thoughts on CILIP’s RFID in Libraries conference 2011 #RFID11

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I attended the CILIP RFID in Libraries 2011 conference last week. It was the second time for me. It was interesting this year to see the increased emphasis on using RFID beyond the self-issue of library stock, including innovations around mobile devices and RFID.  Here are the points I tweeted during the conference and below that, thoughts I had about the day.

  • Mick Fortune talking about what happened in the past year around RFID
  • ISO 28560 standard finally published in 2011
  • UK data model published; BLCF published (UK); SIP3.0 due at end of 2011
  • More interest globally in library RFID
  • Suppliers – Bibliotecha/ITG/Intellident merged; New self-service suppliers; new suppliers using RFID/NFC in smart phones
  • Moving on from RFID solely for self-service circulation and into discovery tools.
  • Tags are being seen more than just labels – they hold data and new applications are being built on this idea
  • HF frequency is still dominant over UHF
  • What lies ahead? RFID transform from dumb label; Use of standards will become vital; US market will lead on RFID lib. market
  • RFID suppliers may become next LMS suppliers
  • Mark Hughes from Swansea up now.
  • Mark Hughes was one of authors of ORILS specification document
  • Mark Hughes talking about BIC NAG specification for RFID
  • Need to make sure your RFID system is future proof; be realistic; take note of the suppliers expertise
  • NAG BIC standards are supposed to evolve. The situation is constantly changing and the specification needs to move with this.
  • People need to ensure they don’t underestimate the time it takes to tag stock.
  • SIP2 is sometimes interpreted slightly differently by suppliers and you may need to iron out niggles!
  • Peter Kilborn talking about LMS/RFID communication.
  • What’s wrong with SIP2? … Not much; it’s free to use; but it’s getting quite old; there’s now more to RFID than self-service
  • RT @mickfortune: Slides from my presentation at #RFID11 now available at http://t.co/7Y87va4x
  • Communication. What does BLCF do that SIP2 doesn’t?… Built for extensibility; built to cope with web services; open; free
  • BLCF designed by RFID experts. Was commissioned by BIC. Info here http://t.co/jzlimPvC
  • BLCF is currently in draft stage.
  • Alternative standards – SIP3, but does little more than update SIP2; & NCIP
  • Viv Bradshaw (Intellident/Bibliotecha) – BLCF: Why did Intellident get involved?
  • BLCF: web services; better support for non-LMS sys; secure http; uses world wide standards eg XML; handle multi process at same time
  • BLCF: can go beyond library services – eg council wide services; one card systems
  • BLCF – backwards compatible with SIP2; use modern web based standards; RFID/LMS vendors can offer more; will be controlled by BIC
  • RT @mickfortune: Gap analysis between BLCF and SIP 3.0 reveals the circulation orientation of the latter – Viv at #RFID11
  • Should libraries be going for BLCF & ignore SIP3.0? Possibly available within 6 months, but need library service to pilot it
  • Library services need to ask their vendors to support BLCF.
  • RT @robmajor: BLCF is the new acronym on the block #RFID11
  • Paul Chartier talking about ISO conformance and interoperability.
  • There’s never been an authority for mandating certification of ISO This will change. Compliance testing will be available
  • Study undertaken by UCLA ininteroperability of RFID tags; readers; etc.
  • RT @Mark_H_Swansea: #rfid11 in effect standards compliance prevents you as purchaser from getting ‘locked in’ to proprietary technology …
  • ISO will open up the market; new vendors; will help with new technology developments
  • European Commission recently received response re. RFID privacy- all libs will be expected to undertake privacy impact assessment!
  • Don’t know if last tweet was just suggestion or fact!!!
  • John Cunningham. Extending RFID self-service
  • Talking about budget cuts creating pressures on services.
  • Talking about John Laing & Hounslow library services.
  • Shared services and integrated council services approach – RFID can assist in this.
  • Using skills of library staff to deliver extended services.
  • Intellident myCommunity self-service beyond libraries – eg council payments
  • Sandra Bruce-Gordon (John Laing) – using myCommunity at Hounslow. 
  • Hounslow say 1 aim of introducing RFID self-service was to expand/improve library staff customer service skills
  • Hounslow efficiency savings – 6 FTE staff through “natural wastage”.
  • Hounslow “will not be closing any of our libraries.” That doesn’t necessarily mean no cuts. See http://t.co/En7p2TrG
  • myCommunity service looks interesting.
  • Chris Millican: Taking stock – innovative approaches to stock management through use of RFID
  • Stock taking time can be reduced. “Revolutionising the stock management process.”
  • Wondering if anyone has successful RFID solution for assessing use of reference stock? #RFID11
  • Uni of Central Lancs. Lib. faced with budget reduction, but will still be expected to provide great service to fee paying students.
  • RFID gadgets look great. I sometimes wonder how many designers think “Hmm! I’ll design this like a photon stun-gun, just cos I can”?
  • Handy that students don’t always put books back on shelves – can be put through sorter to assess use of material that’s not issued
  • Issue laptop with RFID tags at Uni of Lancs.
  • Why can’t we use our own mobile phones to issue books?
  • Mickfortune talks ISO standard & how suppliers intend to get us to the stage where we are all RFID standardised
  • Paul Dalton – Intellident. Talking about migrating to new data model.
  • UK RFID vendors are already interoperable, but based on legacy/proprietary data models.
  • Mike Chambers – 2CQR & the RFID Alliance. Doesn’t feel proprietary data models aimed to lock-in services, but to provide a service.
  • Surprisingly few people in conference said they wanted to move to standard! :-/ Or did I dream that!!!!
  • @mickfortune points out suppliers highlight fact they are interoperable with other systems, but what if a new RFID supplier pops up?
  • @mickfortune was also surprised that very few library services are looking towards moving to standards!!!
  • University of Central Lancashire win the “RFID in Libraries Innovation Award. (also involved Capita and 3M)
  • Nicky Kaye talking about Bracknell Forest Council RFID Smartcards. One card for many services.
  • Smart Card Networking Forum is useful place to discuss issues.
  • Smart cards – enrol once and it enrols you on other services. Transaction data can be passed back from individual services
  • Provides a lot of detailed management information back to Council’s, so they can develop their services.
  • Stephen Mossop: Managing laptop loans. Laptop, lockers, key control was problem with Uni of Exeter laptop loans.
  • Laptop lockers were a long way away from were you could use them ie not in a study area or library.
  • Laptops were bought by University – thin client, so not likely to be stolen and sold in the pub! They needed to manage themselves.
  • RT @Mark_H_Swansea: #rfid11 involvement of mobido to solve the problem of how to integrate existing RFID with laptop loan lockers with n …
  • Jennifer from Mobido http://t.co/PoBwebiG sounds as if she started in the same way as @juliancheal with RFID. Tagging at home 🙂
RFID circuit board

RFID circuit board (adapted from cgommel)

  • Richard Stewart: Smartphones in the library.
  • I expected more people at the conference to be smart phone owners!!!
  • NFC – near field communication. Can buy smart tickets with phone.
  • Huddersfield University gets a mention re. e-payment kiosks
  • Could my phone be used for payment? As money? Saves carrying cards etc. Yes they can.
  • Handling cash costs money – libraries could save money through users using NFC and ‘wallet’ software. Maybe use phone as lib card.
  • NFC use in libraries – user authentication; secure fine payments; age restricted stock use; peer-to-peer comms; book issues
  • Access digital content from the item you’re looking at.
  • Pay for services via e-voucher. Idea: Get e-voucher downloaded automatically to phone as soon as you walk into library. Get 3 e-vouchers and get free DVD!
  • Eric Grosshans
  • By George! An American chappie just took to the stage and quoted Shakespeare at us. *Applause* Encore. 🙂
  • The Library phone: Focus on business, function, increased accessibility.
  • Mobile phone use inside library – checkout; notification of reserved items; events
  • Phone use outside library – capture market share (scan barcode in shop & see if it’s in library); lib info eg location/times; events
  • The Library Phone: virtual library card; online cat; paperless receipts; notifications; ; qr-code
  • Library phone: The users provide the technology – library services don’t have to provide it for them.
  • Smart connect card system only allows individual systems within the whole system to see personal info they are only entitled to see
  • Nicholas Lewis: Reducing total cost of ownership.
  • Do you continue to benchmark your services against other services? Look at workflow processes.
  • What technical functionality is missing? Listen to your users to find out what processes work.
  • Innovation comes from all the suppliers, so why would we want to be lumbered with a single suppliers system.
  • Users need to get involved in the discussion around RFID development. These are services we pay for & have a say in what happens.
  • Martin Palmer concluding the event. You can use systems in ways they weren’t intended for; Make use of mobile technology; Standards!
  • Is self-service about providing better customer service or now just a way to provide ANY service in a time of cuts? #savelibraries
Thoughts on the conference – Standards
It was good to see that various RFID standards are moving on, but it was disheartening to hear that so few customers were interested in/planning to move to ISO 28560. When asked, only a handful of delegates indicated that they were intending to go down the standards route. I suppose if you have an RFID system installed you may not want to spend money on doing whatever is necessary to meet the standard, but in the long-term how much money is this going to cost you if you want to move to a new system – if your existing supplier goes down the pan or decides they aren’t going to support that system any more, because it’s out of date? What happens if you see a fantastic new RFID feature/function provided by another supplier that will benefit users or staff and you want to integrate it into your current system. How much will it cost you to integrate it with your current system? How long will it take to integrate it? Will your suppliers be interested in integrating it if you’re the only customer who wants to use it? It also seems as if suppliers were happy to be able to work with other suppliers systems based upon proprietary/in-house standards, but how will they work with new players to the market who meet the ISO standards? Also, how does the lack of enthusiasm for standards look to those library services who are still considering installing RFID in the hope that the standards will be taken up and they won’t be forking out on a system that isn’t compliant? A system they can’t really build on easily or cost-effectively and one that won’t necessarily let them work with partner libraries or other services in the future! In a time of cuts/money-saving would it make sense to go with an RFID system that doesn’t yet emphasise the use of the standards if some way down the line more money may need to be spent on achieving those standards? However, the plans to introduce conformance testing to ensure that systems are compliant with the standards offers some hope in this area… if possible future customers can see that a suppliers RFID service isn’t compliant how likely are they to go with that supplier?
With regard to communication between systems, BLCF looks very promising, as a means to move on from SIP2.0 and ensure communication is compatible with web services and also services in customers organisations eg Council-wide services.
We also need to remember that the U.S.A.  is now showing more interest in RFID library services/systems and, though the U.K. was a leader in this area, the U.S.A. has such global influence that it may affect future RFID developments.
Visa sticks NFC into a microSD card

Visa sticks NFC into a microSD card (c) Tom Purves/Flickr

Thoughts on the conference – Beyond Self-Service
Up until recently the main topic of conversation around RFID library services has been the self-issue/return of stock. Other capabilities were available, but they had often taken second place to the circulation of library stock. The recognition that RFID tags are more than just labels – they are sources of data – may have encouraged these developments. This year the conference highlighted innovations beyond self-issue of library stock eg.
  • Loan of laptops
  • Stock management
  • Smart cards
  • Use of RFID/NFC enabled mobile phones/devices.

For me, the area that most appealed was the use of mobile devices as a means of paying for services; accessing/issuing stock; as discovery tools; as a way to handle peer-to-peer communications; offering benefits that are automatically triggered on entry to a library. The onus here is also on the users providing the technology (the phone) to access the service in the way they want to, rather than the way the library service tells them how it has to be accessed.

I’m not sure if I’ll be there next year, but it will be interesting once again to see how far things have moved on in 12 months; if any more RFID customers have gone down the standards route; if new suppliers have come into the market; and what innovations in RFID people will be talking about?

Thoughts From Internet Librarian International 2011 Conference #ILI2011

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I attended Internet Librarian International 2011 a couple of weeks ago. It was a great event. Below are the tweets I sent out during the conference, just to give you a feel for the event.

Below them, I’ve also included some thoughts on the event itself.

How the Future Internet will Shape Libraries (Klaus Tochtermann, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, University of Kiel and Professor of Computer Media)

  • Future internet. (3) Internet of things. Any item with an internet connection/IP address.
  • Future internet. (4) Internet of services.
  • Internet of services. Your services available wherever you have a presence – not just pull people back to your website to use them.
  • Put the book anywhere in Hamburg & geolocate them! Users find it via phone & share idea about book. What a crazy idea. I love it 🙂
  • Linked open data won’t replace marc. Catalogues are available immediately, but need to sync catalogues & L.O.D. service.

Visibility and Collaboration in Digital Domains (Linda Vidlund / Cecilia Petersson, Uppsala University Library)

  • Uppsala uni. – used qr codes around campus with temptation of free gifts from library. Also small digi screens on shelves with info
  • Qr-codes used to put references at end of physical books.

Visibility and Collaboration in Digital Domains (David McMenemy, University of Strathclyde)

  • Now listening to @D_McMenemy talking about collaboration in the digital domain. #ili2011
  • Digital libraries are moving on from content based – now greater interactivity.
  • Looking at processes in public libraries to see where collaboration could be put into place.
  • 98% UK public libraries don’t have a digital strategy.
  • If uk public libraries go down the fragmented volunteer route who will collaborate to provide coherent services?
  • Why are so many local authorities duplicating the same content?

New Ways of Analysing to Prove Value (Frank Cervone, Purdue University Calumet)

  • In session talking about how social networks work. How connections work.
  • How are nodes connected in social networks?
  • Measure of ties based on strength (frequency; duration; direction). Important because strong ties affect people & weak ties link…
  • http://t.co/kgIQDOQt is good for analysing social networks. Twendz is good. Twapperkeeper/summarizr is good for analysing…

New Ways of Analysing to Prove Value (Penny Bailey, Bailey Solutions)

  • RT @bethanar: PB: knowledge should not live in your email inbox #ili2011
  • Need to measure value of services where possible.

Innovations in Usage Analysis (Dave Pattern, University of Huddersfield / Bryony Ramsden, University of Huddersfield)

  • #lidp Huddersfield project – looked at library usage inc non-usage.
  • #lidp How does library borrowing affect user grades?
  • #lidp Needed to be aware of data protection and legal issues.
  • #lidp Found relationship between use of library resources and degree attainment, but not necessarily between visits and attainment.
  • #lidp More info about project at http://t.co/s2scvsOy

Innovations in Usage Analysis (Lisa Charnock, Intute / Andy Land, University of Manchester)

  • SALT project at Mimas. Library circ. data activity could help promote underused but relevant stock.
  • How do people select books they use? Serendipity; Anxiety; Trust concerns; Cynical about ratings & reviews
  • Mimas SALT. User evaluation of service to see whether recommender service would work. Amended thresholds to get accurate recomends
  • Will be testing SALT at John Rylands Uni. to see how it works across subjects.
  • John Rylands want to go live with SALT locally or nationally & also make it available in Primo.
  • MIMAS looking at how this can be developed – inc. aggregate more data; how could this help collection development?
  • Look at http://t.co/EPBBdx9n & http://t.co/wrm9HLFv for more info about SALT project.

Cutting-Edge Technology Projects (Terence Huwe, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California – Berkeley)

  • Meaning Based Computing: How do you modify your beliefs based on new facts available?
  • Bayesian analysis uses inc. breaking the Enigma code; handwriting and speech recognition; military uses…
  • Market success must take into account unstructured data as well as structured data. Social media interaction is unstructured data.
  • Many Fortune 500 organisations recognise they need new tools for managing structured & unstructured data. 15:23:04
  • Autonomy’s Meaning Based Computing tools http://t.co/tuo6zid8
  • New York Times article talking about how cheap software might replace lawyers. http://t.co/JxeFEmkq #savelawyers
  • Meaning Based Computing & Taxonomy based search might co-exist in future.
Cutting-Edge Technology Projects (Alexandre Lemaire, Ministry of Culture – Department of Public Libraries / Jean-François Füeg, Ministry of Culture – Department of public libraries / Christian Ducharme, W3line)
  • Samarcande – union catalogue of French speaking libraries in Belgium
  • Political issues slowed down development of Samarcande catalogue.
  • RT @ostephens: Depressing and almost unbelievable refusal by libraries and/or their political masters to share bibliographic metadata in Belgian #ili2011
  • RT @bethanar: Catalogue: http://t.co/RMacayzD. Comes frm union cats of provinces, harvested by OAI. Also supports SRU & z39.50 #ili2011
  • Tools for librarians for Samarcande – Getting bib. descriptions – z39.50; SRU;OAI / MoCCAM for ILL’s / Getting stats
  • Not a real-time catalogue – need to develop availability functions
  • Samarcande – FRBR; Web2.0; Users contribute with Web2.0 functions; Sharing/monitoring tools. Want to develop social media presence.
  • Bring in external data to Samarcande.
  • W3Line http://t.co/dxhbCh3Y were responsible for technical development of the Samarcande union catalogue.
Simply I love you

Simply I love you (c) Wasfi Akab (Painting) / Flickr

Library Users in Turbulent Times (Kayo Chang, Bahrain Polytechnic)

  • Talking about Bahrain demonstrations and effect on Bahrain polytechnic
  • Effected library service. Facebook and Twitter use was banned because this was seen as part of reason why disturbances started.
  • Commenting or liking picture taken at demonstration could lead to suspension of student.
  • Had to make more use of library blog than Twitter and Facebook after social media was banned.

Library Users in Turbulent Times (Feda Kulenovic, Peace Support Operations Training Centre BiH and Reading for Ubuntu (www.citanje.org) )

  • Potential roles of libraries in post-conflict societies: Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Libraries can transform. The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation and information.
  • Librarians need to be the person people go to for reliable information in times of conflict were misinformation is prevalent.
  • Created a library wherever he could – embedded librarian. Beyond the walls of the library.
  • “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Helen Keller)
  • RT @kulinba: #ili2011 My latest SlideShare upload : Potential Role of Libraries in post-conflict… http://t.co/bAulqRBn
Library Users in Turbulent Times (Maria Cotera, African Prisons Project)
  • Maria talking about African Prisons project (mainly in Uganda)
  • Literacy is a big problem in the prisons.
  • Moderator highlighting similarities and differences between the situations of 3 speakers situations.
  • Most important role in social change is providing information. Librarians have the power to progress social change. #savelibraries
Innovative Services to Engage Users (Joanna Ptolomey, Joanna Ptolomey Information Services)
  • Now on stage talking about health information content.
  • Old model is that health information is pushed out to users/patients, but can’t push information back in.
  • How do you manage the finding, collection, sharing of health content that is relevant to you?
  • Librarians will be very important as chaperones/stewards for helping others to curate their own health collections.

Innovative Services to Engage Users (András Kardos, library.me.uk)

  • Project http://t.co/o1UFoWBh developed in Hungary. Central portal for all libraries – contains all info. for all libraries.
  • Want to develop it for UK libraries too.
  • Contains info re. library services; catalogue; news for libraries in Hungary
  • Similar projects in UK. http://t.co/crLAhtb8; http://t.co/QU8DgtXJ
Innovative Services to Engage Users ( Dave Puplett, London School of Economics)
  • I’m a lefty librarian and proud of it.
  • “People first, Content second” is a new social model.
  • Areas of opportunity – marketing; widening communication; user feedback; 2 way communication
  • RT @calire: #ili2011 Social design – Services designed around people. #b202
  • LSE Library use social media to be part of the conversation and engage with users.
  • 4square is a great marketing opportunity – people saying publicly that they’ve used the library to their friends.
  • Flickr – people are tagging photos; parts of photos
  • People will interact with social media accounts if they think it’s a real person they’re talking to.

Developing ourselves (Julio dos Anjos, INCITE: Associação Portuguesa para a Gestão da Informação)

  • 23 Things is now being run in Portugal.

Developing ourselves (Jo Alcock, Birmingham City University)

  • Heeeeeeeeres @joeyanne talking about productivity #ili2011 & #cpd23
  • Get things done: Record ideas so it’s not clogging up your head space; prioritise & do it; create trusted storage space…
  • Inbox flowchart for organisation. I wonder if this can be translated into automated actions using http://t.co/TJGca8wN
  • Some really interesting productivity tools coming from @joeyanne
  • Huzzah. Ifttt gets a mention by @Joeyanne
 Searching without Google (Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services)
  • Looking at search tools beyond Google, inc. specialist search.
  • Google is launching its “standout” tag which will allow publishers to highlight a number of their articles to improve their ranking
  • Login to your Google dashboard and see what info they know about you.
  • Yeeeeeeeees. @Karenblakeman mentions mild beer. 🙂
  • Google sometimes thinks it knows what you really want when you search, rather than what you actually want.
  • What are Yahoo playing at? Seems as if they just can’t be arsed developing anything any more!
  • Search tools: Duckduckgo; Blekko (also shows who else has linked to site);Wolfram alpha (I still don’t get it!); Zanran (charts)
  • Silobreaker for news searches.
  • Specialist searches: chemspider; biznar; techextra; philpapers; mednar; scirus; pubmed; healthmash; offstats; guardian data store
  • Social media search: topsy; socialmention; blogpulse / Create search engine – blekko / zuula
The New Normal Needs a New You
  • Ulla de Stricker says expand definitions of what we do in a time-scarce economy.
  • @Chibbie Talking about how TEDx would be great for inspiration.
  • Michael Stephens: Libraries have the potential to be anywhere and everywhere.
  • @chibbie Says if you look for roles to take on don’t look for the word ‘librarian’ in description. Our skills go beyond the name.
  • Surprisingly even though conference is technology based, there has been a great focus on people interaction.
Thoughts on the conference

I really enjoyed the whole event, including meeting friends/people I know on Twitter and plenty of other library/information based people from so many different countries.

Even though they weren’t always of direct relevance to my current role, most of the presentations I sat-in on were of interest to me. They helped me put my job and library service into the wider context of library and information services in general. It’s useful to attend an event like this to remind yourself where your place might be in the grand scheme of things and how librarians and information specialist throughout the world are working towards common goals.

The key themes that came across during the conference were:

  • Library and information services and our information skills don’t have to be constrained by the walls of the library or the title “librarian”.
  • We need to share resources and knowledge with each other – by either collaborating with others to share the load or by pulling together isolated silos of information.
  • Libraries are key to developing social change and improving society – they open up access to reliable and relevant sources of information to everyone, and we are the chaperones of that information and those who want to access it.
  • We can help improve ourselves and our services by making sure we use the most appropriate tools available.
  • We are in an age where people are just as much content creators as information consumers and we need to understand how this impacts on the provision and management of information services

Even though it was a technology based conference, there was just as much emphasis on the human side of things, which appealed to me. Maybe within this area there’s a suggestion here that technology in information and library work will still need a reasonable amount of human input and not just steam along like a Google search engine, without anyone there to say “Hold up! Are you sure this information is correct?”

As I say, I really enjoyed the conference, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to attend again some time in the future.