Engagement Strategies in Turbulent Times #inet2013 #internetlibrarian

Kara Evans, Pfizer

Library is under IT

Allocated content budget to R&D

Training sessions on online products

Weekly updates go to 15,000 subscribers in the company

Formed a team to optimize information assets.

Did survey on information needs, then focus groups.  Asked what their pain points were.

- Improve transparency
– Increase our presence (Staff didn’t realize there were still people they could call once the physical library went away.)
– Target communications (Come to staff meetings to talk about specific needs and solutions.)
– Simplify e-library (Web site has gotten a little cluttered.)
– Evaluate delivery options

Outreach part of the job.

Working with executive sponsor, so decisions are understood at highest levels.

Robin Henshaw and Valerie Enriquez, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals

Ironwood is a start-up, but they hired a librarian early on. The library is under R&D.

Library does:
– Literature searches (PubMed, Scifinder, Pipeline)
– Article requests
– Copyright compliance
– Database subscriptions
– Training
– Vendors
– Communications (outreach)

Added collaboration to all services.

Embedded: attending department meetings, working with R&D.

Added: Embase, Dialog, etc.

More tasks done by end users. (e.g., article delivery from Science Direct)

New users: meet them in person and do training on databases, etc.

Group training: tailored to particular groups (e.g., chemistry, competitive intelligence)

Meetings with research working groups

Vendor training

Outreach about new databases as they are added.

IM: Just introduced at the company.

Digitization and Social Media: Strategies & Tools #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Digitization and Social Media: Strategies and Tools

Kenn Bicknell, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library

Los Angeles Railway Library, started in 1937

Reports, photos, gray literature

Open to the public, but on the 18th floor behind security

Serves 9,000 employees, consultants, reporters, bloggers, transportation nerds

2 full-time employees

Library had a budget cut at the same time transportation projects are increasing.

Multi-disciplinary: law, geology, geography, even paleontology

Pitched digitization as: 24/7 access and everything, everywhere

Guiding principles:
– Immediacy
– Personalization
– Interpretation
– Authenticity
– Accessibility
– Findability
– Embodiment (keeping things together)
– Patronage

3 phases of digitization:
– Digitize as needed, on demand. Set up a server to keep things. File structure, permissions. Also launched Flickr account (MetroLibraryArchive). Also started a news aggregation service for staff in 2005. (Boast: I did it at MPOW before 2002.) Collected 5 years’ worth of reference question to build knowledge base (WordPress has an encyclopedia plugin.)

- Scanning whole collections: for example, multiple reports, photos, etc. on a given project. Harvesting “born digital” and gray literature. More social media: Twitter (@MetroLibrary), Facebook (LACMTA Library), YouTube (Metrolibrarian).

- Digitize everything that’s not copyright-protected. Protocols for metadata and OCR.

Primary Resources: their blog.

Flickr account has gotten 3.9 million hits! Do crowdsourcing to ask users to add metadata for pictures. Putting out one image a day on Tumblr (LACMTAlibrary); now have 50,000 followers in six months!

Digitizing California Highways

Resource sharing: catalog, Online Archive of California, Flickr, YouTube, Scribd. (Flickr is not for high-quality TIFFs that people can steal.)

Recommended book: “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”

News and information: blog, Twitter, Paper.li. (Just did it before their organization had a social media policy.)

Digitized employee newsletters. Interesting for employees, but also some historic events are of larger interest.

Paper.li can automate colections of tweets.

WordPress plugins: encyclopedia, dictionary (for acronyms)

Anniversaries and facts spreadsheet has become “this date in Los Angeles transportation history,” which goes out with news.

Separate archive for pictures. Flickr is not a permanent repository.


Historypin: “awesomest thing ever.” Historic photos linked to maps and timeline.

RSS Graffiti puts tweets on Facebook page.

California Highways: OCRed, use Google Custom Search to do keyword search. Link to file directory to get to specific issues.

Tiki-Toki: make interactive timelines.


Updated to add: links to resources.

The New Library Patron #il2013 #internetlibrarian

The New Library Patron

Lee Rainie, Pew Internet and American Life Project, keynote


1. Libraries are deeply appreciated.  

91% say libraries are important to community, 76% say important to themselves and their families.

75-80% says borrowing books, reference librarians, computer access, and quiet study spaces are important.

You should do a touchdown dance about this!

People doing research and getting entertainment, but also getting online info, looking for and applying for jobs.

David Weinberger has written about libraries.

2. Libraries have a PR problem.

People say they don’t know enough about the library’s services.

People probably don’t know about the hospital or the mayor’s office either.  And they may think they don’t know enough, because libraries are doing lots of new things.

OTOH, these are our fans.  We have lots of ways we can touch their lives. About 53% used the library in the last year.  (The numbers who think we’re important is much higher.)

3. Library patrons are diverse, but there are some groups removed from libraries

More likely to be women than men, under 65, educated, parents.

Moms!  Find mommy bloggers in your town.

Some who are removed:

Those whose families don’t use the library.

Those who didn’t go to the library as kids.

9% don’t know where the nearest library is.

Coming from Pew: What kind of library user are you?  There will be a widget libraries can put on their web pages.

4. Patrons’ “wish list” for libraries is diverse and undifferentiated

Question about moving some books out of the library to make room for tech center:

20% yes: less-active users, African-Americans, Latinos, less education, no computer.

39% maybe: younger (18-29), know less about libraries, whites

36% no: heavy library users, over 50, higher income, parents, computer owners, book readers (including e-books)

“Innovator’s Dilemma”: hard to desert best customers.  May need to set up parallel institution.

Asked people if they were likely to use new services (about 1/3 yes, 1/3 maybe, 1/3 no)

- Online ask-a-librarian
– Cell app to access library services
– Tech “petting zoo” of gadgets
– Cell GPS to navigate library
– Kiosks (a la Redbox) around town to do library checkouts
– Personalized recommendations (a la Amazon)
– Classes on using e-books
– Preloaded e-books

5. Libraries have a mandate to intervene in community life

Parents would like libraries to work more closely with schools.

Early literacy programs for preschool, including computer literacy.

Areas libraries could address:

- Technology skills training
– Pre-school programs
– After school activities
– ESL courses
– Lifelong learning/credentialing competency
– Gap in media ecosystem: Community, civic information/curation
– Help for small business, entrepreneurs, non-profits
– Serendipity agents of discovery

Be not afraid.

The Librarian’s Skillbook: a short review @debhunt6

When I wrote about picking up a copy of the Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals by Deborah Hunt and David Grossman, I promised I’d give it a fuller treatment after I finished reading it. I finished it a while ago, but I am just getting around to writing this review.

The Librarian’s Skillbook is a very practical work for beginning librarians, unemployed/underemployed librarians, or mid-career librarians who feel the need to brush up their skills, either to look for other jobs or to improve their status at their current workplaces.

The skills are a mix of technical skills (such as digital archiving and enterprise content management), traditional library skills made more relevant for the 21st century (such as strategic knowledge and providing “value add” solutions), business skills (such as project management and not giving away the store), and interpersonal skills (such as networking and being proactive). (They acknowledge that librarians tend to be quiet, unassuming types, but encourage readers to learn new skills and let people know that they have those skills.)

For each of the 51 skills in the book, Hunt and Grossman describe the skill, give some tips to acquire the skill, and list a few web and print references to read. The tips often encourage the reader to practice the skill at their current workplace or, if that’s not possible, to do some kind of internship or volunteer work to learn the skill. They won’t take no for an answer; they believe you can do this!

Most of the skills include a section called “this skill in action,” in which Hunt and Grossman give an anecdote from their own careers or those of other librarians they know. Hunt and Grossman have both had varied careers. She has worked at the Exploratorium (a science museum in San Francisco), as a consultant, and now at the Mechanics’ Institute. He has worked as a journalist, a builder of online databases, and now in the local history room of Mill Valley Public Library (Calif.). So, the stories from their careers add some real-world details to their advice.

At the end of the book, Hunt and Grossman encourage readers to sit down and plan how and when they will acquire some of the 51 skills. Again, they urge you to just do it!

Note: Nothing in this review, pro or con, has been influenced by the fact that my picture shows up on the web site for the book.

Hunt, Deborah and David Grossman. The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals. 2013. LibrarianSkillbook.com

The Librarian’s Skillbook #sla2013 @debhunt6

I’m currently reading The Librarian’s Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals by Deborah Hunt and David Grossman. I picked it up at the Special Libraries Association conference in San Diego last week. It’s got a nice mix of hard, tech skills and soft, people skills. They point out that “no one expects you to be an expert in all of the skills in this book,” but of course, the more you can acquire, the better off you will be — either in your current job or your next one.

I plan to write more when I have finished it.

Some links:

How to re-energize your library #sla2013

How to re-energize your library

Richard Hulser, Natural History Museum of LA

Turn perception of library from passive into an active source of information and education. Still are rows of catalog cases. No online catalog until about three years ago.

49% of collection is in OCLC.

Library was closed from 2008-2011 for earthquake retrofit.

Now, open with display cases, seating areas, etc.

Align library with parent organization’s vision & purpose and strategies & technologies.

Consider: physical resources (including digital resources), people resources, policies and procedures.

What is a successful library to upper management? NHM wanted:

1. Library is used physicallly [and virtually]
2. Everything in the library has a purpose or should not be there
3. Technology is used wisely and effectively.

Demonstrate results.

Internal collaboration. In NHM’s case, that means IT, office furniture, supplies, infrastructure needs, strategic initiatives.

Get out of the library. Talk to people. What are your users’ priorities?

Collaborate externally: SLA, County Library.

Volunteers, interns. If you’re in a corporate situation, you should pay your interns. Make sure they’re learning something.

Many technologies to consider. Don’t believe people who promise their product will solve all your problems.

Tech strategy: Supplies the rationale and priorities for funding, ensures priorities are addressed in a timely and appropriate way.

Needed online catalog access, e-content access, access to sectional libraries, intranet, external web site.

Needed something in the cloud.

Updated to add: I should point out that this session was sponsored by EOS International and that Hulser praised them highly for helping him accomplish his goals. (Additional disclosure: they gave attendees a boxed lunch.) However, many of the principles that Hulser talks about would apply no matter what library database system you use.

Social Media Storytelling #IL2011

Melissa Rosales, TBWA/Chiat Day, and Andrew Carlos, The Harker School:

  • Ambience: curating to stand out
  • Purpose
  • Participation in conversation

Story is a familiar format, creates engagement, loyalty, interest.

New media technologies are useless without a compelling brand story.

Gatorade campaign with 30-somethings training for and replaying high school football games.

Companies with a compelling story: Chipotle (“food with integrity”), Tom’s of Maine, Apple

Traditional hard sell doesn’t work.

Answer the question: why do I care about your organization?

Jeremy Snell and Matthew Montgomery, Mechanics Institute, San Francisco:

Services for writers and literary orgs in SF

Decided to start a web portal.

Two guys, no money, 3 months.

Decided to use Drupal.

Did hand-sketched wireframes to show people.

Drupal 6, no custom modules

Tested site with two people he knew with differing degrees of Internet experience.

Digital natives don’t necessarily read instructions (such as confirmation e-mails).

http://kuler.adobe.com – color pallettes

It’s All about the Customer #IL2011

It’s all about the customer

Tod Colegrove, University of Nevada Reno

In a university library, 6% of the collection gets 80% of the use. Do users know the other 94% exists?

They put up displays on the walls for online services (such as Safari) with bit.ly links. No extra work for staff, but they got so much more use, they had to increase their license!

Tried QR codes: those worked, too.

Did a targeted ad on Facebook. That didn’t work. They couldn’t target it geographically.

Did a Google ad, where they could target geographically. that worked better.

Thinking of doing it with EBL book lending.

Library and Information Updates: Data.gov, Statistical Abstract, Special Libraries Association, INFOdocket

Data.gov and Other Sources of U.S. Government Data

Data.gov, USASpending.gov, and other web sources for federal government data saw the budget that funds them cut by more than three-fourths (from $35 million down to $8 million) in the FY 2011 budget deal. But Rep. Darell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says he can save some of the sites.

Statistical Abstract

Meanwhile, librarians are fighting to save the Statistical Abstract, City and County Databook, and other compilations published by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch. The Branch was zeroed out in President Obama’s FY 2012 budget. The American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries are asking Congress to restore funding. You can, and should, do the same. There’s also a group on Facebook and a petition on Change.org, but nothing is more important than writing your representative and senators.

Special Libraries Association

SLA has a blog going all this year, Future Ready 365, in which each day a different librarian writes about how she or he is ready for the future. You can read something inspiring everyday. And if you’re a librarian who feels ready for the future, you can tell the world about it. There’s also a Future Ready Toolkit with more resources.

Deb Hunt recently spoke about the web site: Revisit SLA.org, OR “I didn’t know that was there!”


If you’re like me, you follow the work of librarian/web maven Gary Price. And if you’re like me, you wondered why the formerly prolific posts on his site ResourceShelf suddenly slacked off earlier this year. It turns out that Gary, and his writing partner Shirl Kennedy, have started a new site called INFOdocket, where they write about news of the library and Internet worlds. They also have a site called FullTextReports, which is just what it says: full-text reports in the news.

Internet Librarian 2010, part 7

Learning from Failure

There were a number of sessions on failure and how to learn from it. Matt Hamilton of Anythink Libraries in Colorado (that’s really what they call themselves) spoke. “We open doors for curious minds” is their slogan.

They built a number of new buildings but didn’t do any project management. The books got there before the furniture.

“We shoot for 80% [success] then work on the other 20%.”

Had an unconventional summer reading program with no sign-ups or prizes, but people missed those things.

“We can’t let [the uncomfortable people] kill the library for the sake of their personal comfort.”

They don’t have a formal process for documenting failures and lessons learned.

Links from Bobbi Newman’s presentation are available at her blog, Librarian by Day

Surfacing value: speaking to be heard

Mary Ellen Bates spoke on the topic of “Surfacing Value: Speaking to Be Heard.” The slides are available.

She emphasized that you want to be able to talk to your boss’s boss. When you get that chance, you don’t want give him or her an “elevator speech,” but rather an elevator conversation.

Don’t talk about what you have and what you do – at least not in library lingo. Talk about what’s in it for them. Talk about the why, not the what or the how. Good words and phrases:

  • Value-added intelligence
  • Provide insights, identify trends
  • Facilitate good decision-making
  • Competitive advantage
  • Customer service (not “reference”)
  • In-depth research for content Google can’t find (not “online searching”)
  • Information analysis (not “search results”)
  • “We don’t make the strategic decisions; we make them better”
  • “We bring insights from the outside”
  • “We help people make better decisions”
  • “We make critical information findable”

Answers to “What do you do?”

  • “I’m part of the information mafia”
  • “I make sure my CEO looks good”
  • “I’m my organization’s secret weapon”

Government 2.0

Gary Price talked about what’s new in the world of government web sites.

Metalib is a new metasearch engine from the U.S. Government Printing Office. The basic option searches about 10 databases. The advanced/expert option searches 53. See the A-Z list to get an idea of what it’s searching or just to find out about some great databases from the federal government.

Mobile apps:

C-Span has an amazing new video archive (well, amazing if you’re a government nerd like me).

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications has lists of new electronic titles (click on “New Titles”).

User Experience Design

Implementing a one-click “Get It!” button:

  • Whether the library owns it or not
  • Whether it’s a book or journal article

The system will figure out whether to make an in-house request or an interlibrary loan request. They need to change their ILS to work with LDAP.

Patron-Driven E-book Acquisitions

[Update: Slides available at http://slidesha.re/if5E2f]

Librarians at UC Irvine wanted to take the approval model to the e-book world. What’s more, they wanted to make sure every book would get used (the average for print books is about 50%).

Most vendors require a deposit upfront. UCI preferred to spend as they go.

Desired current content.

They selected three publishers: Cambridge, Chicago, and Oxford. All publish a large number of e-books, which are released soon after the print edition.

Then they looked at vendors. Each has a different pricing model. Settled on Coutts/MyiLibrary.

The deal they got with Coutts is that if an e-book is available within eight weeks of print, they would send a MARC record, which is loaded in the OPAC. If the item is used three times, the library is charged for it. If it’s used two times or fewer, no charge.

The URL in the catalog record goes to a product page, which has info such as table of contents. The user has to go deeper for it to count as a use.

E-book prices tend to be 1.2 to 1.75 times as much as the hardback price.

Not able to resolve the interlibrary loan issue. All publishers had DRM limits.

Libraries, E-books and E-content

Librarians from the University of Houston tested various e-book readers and vendors. They compared Sony E-reader, Kindle, and the Kindle app for iPod Touch, purchased various books and had librarians test them. They also had a trial with NetLibrary and Springer E-books (downloadable and device-readable).

People like iPod Touch the best: small size, other uses (music, the web). Nook app for iPad became available later: backlight. (IPad also became available after the test. It has many of the same advantages with the addition of a bigger screen.)

Kindle and Sony: single use, hard to read in sunlight, bulky, difficult to download to them.

None of the devices did well with scientific works, which need to display tables and color images.

NetLibrary for E-readers collection allows downloaded “checkouts” for a limited time. Have to download additional software: Adobe, etc. Content wasn’t geared to an academic library. Another NetLibrary service has PDFs, but they’re not made for small devices.

SpringerLink: No DRM, but only downloadable by chapter or sections. PDFs not formatted for small devices.

Kindle and Nook apps available for iTouch. However, iTouch battery runs out sooner.

Blio (new reader from Ray Kuzweil): Graphics look good, reads aloud. Connection with Baker & Taylor.