Interview on Libraries, Social Media, Mediation

Thank you to Kate, the marketing intern at Santa Barbara City College, for doing such a great job across campus interviewing people and demonstrating the value of our campus community. I was honored to sit down with her to talk about the Luria Library, social media, and mediation. If you have ten minutes, I hope you take the time to watch the interview.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSbFJ-Ok8Zo

Game Changers for Community Colleges

I just returned from 2-days at OCLC where thirty community college librarians gathered to discuss the community college library environment. If I walk away from an event, conference, workshop, etc. with a list of action items then I know the activity was worth while – the OCLC sponsored event this week was definitely worth my time because I have a short list to work with now that I’m back.

This invite-only event came together around a series of OCLC-identified game changers for community colleges. They did a pretty good job of identifying themes in order to frame our discussion. As we sat around discussing these themes, a great deal of experience was brought into the room and we stepped in directions beyond the five game changers that were initially presented. The five brought to the table were (1) exploding registrations and student populations, (2) budgets, (3) eBooks, (4) working with faculty, particularly adjunct, and (5) leadership and succession.

The list brought to the table does encompass many of the common themes we are experiencing at the community college level. I found the discussion to be rich, informed, and enlightening. No answers were provided but awareness of these themes is important as we proceed in our libraries. My hope is that others can engage in this type of discussion in the future – perhaps regionally – to help frame our status in the academy.  Continue reading “Game Changers for Community Colleges”

Web Redesign Efforts: Luria Library

Web site redesign efforts are important for any organization if you want your www presence to remain fresh, creative, and functional. This past August, we launched a new web site for the Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College. We don’t have a large staff to create, implement, and manage the library web infrastructure. In fact, all the work has typically been my initiative and been my responsibility. Probably because of our size, on our campus we have relative autonomy in what we do with the web as long as we follow some basic guidelines established by the College.

In 2006, when I put the last redesign in place, we took the big bold step of implementing a blog-based web site. Out went the traditional web and in came something unique and different. At the time, both Moveable Type and WordPress were viable options for backend software. We decided on Moveable Type. In the following four years we innovated with using Twitter, GetSatisfaction, Flickr, Meebo, and ultimately settling on LibraryH3lp (a chat service). In hindsight, these were good years for our web presence. It brought us attention both locally and nationally. We had fun and we felt creative. But times change.

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Wired on the iPad, My Experience

As you may know, the June 2010 issue of Wired magazine is available as an iPad version. It will cost you $4.99 to try it out. I’ve been a subscriber and reader of Wired since its founding in the mid-90s, and continue to be a subscriber. I had already read the print version of the June issue before the release of the iPad version, so in reviewing the new product I primarily looked for added features. Here are my thoughts.

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To Check-In or Not to Check-In at ALA

I’ve been pondering the use of location-based social networking tools. For ALA Midwinter, there were a handful of people using these types of services. But, with the huge media coverage after SXSW Interactive this year, I’m expecting more adopters in Washington D.C. for ALA Annual. In fact, we may see some contests organized by ALA staff using one of these services. ALA Staff will be doing some things with Gowalla because that company has been responsive and interested in doing things with the Association. If you haven’t grabbed Gowalla yet, give it a try. Here’s something small to consider before you go…Washington DC Trips.

I’m giving my heavy use of Foursquare and Gowalla until the end of June. Part of my decision to continue using the service will depend on the ALA experience. Though I’m somewhat impartial to Gowalla, I’d like to use the service most widely used by ALA attendees. Please help me out and share, retweet, post of Facebook, etc.

Which service will you use, if any, in Washington DC for ALA Annual?

For the record, my user name on all the above services is kenleyneufeld.

Lifestream Experiment Ends, Back to Blogging

During the months of March and April, I used the Lifestream plugin for WordPress to push my social media activities to my blog as a Daily Digest. The experiment is now complete and I am intending to return to my regular blog practices. Ironically, in the two months the number of regular blog posts did not change from prior practice (I usually post about 3 times per month). I hope to up the number a bit.

Why the end? First, it didn’t really generate any interaction with my readers. Without an interaction, it seems kind of pointless. Secondly, I couldn’t ever figure out to automatically do a “read more” option when the Digests got too long. Finally, it’s kind of weird to see all the media activity so tightly gathered into one place. Obviously, I can control what appears in the digest but my thought was to include everything. Maybe it’s FourSquare making it kind of weird?

I’m going to keep the plugin running in the background and possibly add a widget feed instead of the Daily Digest. This way it can stream by like Friendfeed or Facebook but the interactions can occur on the actual media site.

Revisiting Books

On my 1-hour flight home yesterday, I used Instapaper Pro to go back and read a web essay from last month by Craig Mod (and type this post in the WordPress app). The essay is called Books in the Age of the iPad.

It seemed important to revisit the article now that I have an iPad and to see if I read the ideas any differently. Two quotes stand out:

When people lament the loss of the printed book [what are] they talking about. My eyes tire more easily, they say. The batteries run out, the screen is tough to read in sunlight. It doesn’t like bath tubs.

and

In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to think similarly about the iPad. Let’s not.

This raises two concepts. The reading of print material in the digital format and how the digital for at could look in the future. I read a lot of digital material, but have not ever read an entire novel or book digitally. Portions yes, but not the whole thing. I have loaded on my iPad, You Are Not as Gadget, that I hope to read soon. I’m intrigued and not fearful of digital novels and non-fiction.

I’ve had the iPad almost a week. I’ve done some reading of long pieces. Most of it is fairly traditional in nature. Read, “turn” the page, read some more. Much like the book reading experience. That’s all good.

I like the second concept that Mod presents in his essay. The idea to repurpose and reconceptualize the medium, and even to allow and build value for the print medium too. The ipad does not change anything yet, at least not with its ibook app. It is a nice interface, but it does take what we know and simply make it digital (with some minor tweaks). I look forward to what other producers and artists can create.

I encourage you to read Mod’s piece and reflect. What kind of reading experience do you value? I always thought we’d keep the paperback because it’s cheap and disposable but maybe that content is better suited for the digital environment? For librarians, we’ve already seen this transition for magazine content. Does the iPad pushes further into the digital?

SXSW Interactive: Sessions & Panels

This is Part 2 of my SXSW reports.

It’s true, many people value the hallway and party conversations more than the sessions and panels. For me, as someone outside the industry and not knowing anyone, heading into the sessions and panels was very valuable. Here’s a short rundown.

Chris Messina took us down his vision for dealing with the stream. ActivityStrea.ms: Is It Getting Streamy In Here? ActivityStreams. Take basic construct of RSS (1999) and ATOM  (2005) and we weave in some additional data. Verb. Object. Target. Make it richer. ActivityStreams can be a universal format for social objects. What you end up with is code for title+link+summary+author+id+date+verb+object+target. This will better allow us to syndicate this information and mix and mash. It’s simple.

From this talk, I want to read The Second Coming: A Manifesto by David Gelernter, Designing Social Interfaces by Crumlish & Malone, and definitely have to check out the Fetron Annual Reports.

A late added session called iPad: New Opportunities for Content Creators was packed. Of course! The panel included voices from books, gaming, web, and newspaper industries. For the Village Voice, the focus is on design. Focus on reading. Leaned back reading in particular. Will we be able to read in the tub using an iPad? The gaming representative, Shervin Pishevar, got everyone excited when he said “the laptop will be the rotary phone of our generation.” He was very impressed with the iPad at the announcement event. The book industry expects $1 billion in revenue from this publishing model even though the reading experience still needs to be improved. Ultimately, this panel was very hopeful and excited about the upcoming shift in media delivery. Continue reading “SXSW Interactive: Sessions & Panels”

SXSW Interactive: Authors & Keynotes

This is Part 1 of my SXSW reports. After an introduction, the focus is on authors and keynotes.

I’d heard of South By Southwest (SXSW) for many years; the music festival, that is. However, in 2009 I heard about Interactive Conference that precedes the Music Festival when a few librarians reported attending. I’ve always wanted to attend the music festival, but didn’t feel it was justified in mid-semester given the time and the cost. The Interactive Conference, with its focus on technology, was clearly work related and worthy of investigation. Despite no travel funds, I registered early (paying $395), bought a plane ticket with miles, and arranged to stay at a friends house. Low cost and worthy endeavor.

The trip and conference were well worth the time and I came away energized by the technology community. The conference was certainly different from a typical librarian conference, particularly given the primary demographic – young, hip, technologists in a party atmosphere. I wanted something different to shake my brain up a bit; to give me a new perspective. Also, I wanted an event where I didn’t know many people and didn’t have any committee meetings. SXSW paid me back well.

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Make Library Conferences Better

Kenley at SXSW InteractiveI’ve been attending library related conferences for the last 16 years – mostly ALA. I attend to connect with colleagues, contribute to the associations, or attend programatic activities. Recently I attended SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas and I came away with many ideas on how to improve the conference going experience. SXSW Interactive was five days long at The Austin Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Radisson – so relatively small if compared with the American Library Association events, but not if compared with ACRL National Conference, LITA National Forum, or Internet Librarian.

Let’s start with registration. I registered online about six months before the actual event. It was intuitive, easy, and clear. What was different? They integrated a social network tool. Every registrant became part of a community where you could add friends and share short Twitteresque messages. I could search for other conference goers based on geography, business, interests, etc. Totally awesome networking tool. Secondly, as part of registration we were encouraged to upload a photo that would then be included on our attendee badge (if we forgot or didn’t take this step, a photo was taken upon arrival). For the record, early registration was $395.

Continue reading “Make Library Conferences Better”