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]

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.


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