Internet Librarian 2010, part 5

Keynote: CIOs

Michael Ridley, CIO and chief librarian, U. of Guelph; Donna Sheeder, CIO of Congressional Research Services, LC; IT guy from a small public library in Kentucky (gamely substituting at the last minute)

Ridley: enterprise IT vs. tech populism (everybody doing their own IT). The Information Age is over. Everybody is in the information business. It’s the Age of Imagination. Open organization: freedom to try things, even if we fail.

Sheeder: Understand the ecology and environment in your organization: tech, culture, budget, risk. (LC, with Congress watching over it, is risk averse.) Movement for telework. Proliferation of devices: align your content to what users are using. SaaS, GIS. (I never heard anyone pronounce these as “sass” and “jis” before.) Very concerned with security.

Kentucky IT guy: “Here to help you get there from here.” Made changes to network and servers to save energy.


  • Internet everywhere, library everywhere
  • Show a solid business case for what you want to do
  • Align with the greater goals of the organization
  • Think like a user and like a decision maker
  • Make yourself visible
  • Tolerance of other “tribes”

(Good advice for anyone in any kind of support role in your org.)

Sheeder: IT and staff should develop requirements before jumping to a solution. Ridley (disagreeing somewhat): Have to have creative “skunkworks” out there doing their own things.

Personal Information Management

Gary Price (presentations) talked about all kinds of web sites/open-source software to do:

  • Computer backup
  • Site capture (a webmaster will know you are doing this, unless you use a VPN to disguise your IP address)
  • Bibliographic management (review of various services)
  • Social media archiving (one-click download of your Facebook data, e.g.)
  • Storage
  • Bookmarks plus
  • Web archives and caches (Archive-It)
  • Searching your hard drive

Adding Value to Research

Marcy Phelps, Phelps Research (presentation)

Make information easy to use, distill, make connections. What’s the bottom line? Ask your user.

  1. Have an executive summary: 1-page, bulleted, top-level summary, address questions, link to additional information further down
  2. Cover memo: Address user’s research questions, your general approach, any issues that came up, findings in 25 words or less, one-page, branded
  3. Add meaning to boring numbers. Excel charts, data visualization (see Gapminder and the Guardian‘s data store for inspiration)
  4. Add a dashboard: graphical display all in one place, multiple graphs
  5. Let others do the work. Dialog has a report option you can use. Smart art in Excel. American FactFinder

Invest in learning and creating templates, showing your value.


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