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.


Info Pro Skills for the Future #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Those DAM Info Pros, Deb Hunt

Project at Exploratorium, science museum in San Francisco
At the time, there were 2.75 FTE working on the project.

Librarians know these things.

Developed metadata
– by different types of users
– by content
(based on Dublin Core)

External web (75 dpi photos)
Internal (300 / 600 dpi)

Copyright: Need to know who owns it before you put it out on the web.

Software may be up and running in 30 days, but there are many other factors. Choosing software, designing metadata, working out taxonomy (that alone could take 6 months to a year).

More challenges: physical layout of collection, territoriality, documenting intellectual property, documenting workflow.

Pleasant surprises: popularity of digital assets with staff and external users, some best assets created by non-media dept. staff.

Exploratorium Digital Library.

Shameless plug for Deb’s book: My review here

David Diamond, Picturepark, and author of “DAM Survival Guide.”

Digital Asset Management killers (and how librarians can fix them):

– Too big and too abstract, don’t know where to begin and where to end
– Don’t see big picture; everybody sees it from their own perspective. (Librarians can have neutral perspective.)
– Goals are unclear and uncertain
– Too much democracy in all the wrong places: need buy-in from everybody, which leads to compromises that water down the initiative
– Can’t-say-no attitude. Everybody wants to put in their own stuff, which may not be of permanent value (party invitations, draft specifications)
– No ownership
– No follow-up. Once it’s done stakeholders want to go away. There’s no one who can answer questions that come up. Nobody is asking users: how’s it working for you? Is it doing what you want it to do?
– No evolution. If it ain’t broke, nobody wants to try to improve it. No vision. Fear of breaking it.

How to do these things:
Go where they are. Groups on LinkedIn.

Speak their langugage, feel their pain.


Contact DAM software makers.

Learn the lingo: picturepark.com/webinars


Next week:

Create content: write what you know

Ruth Kneale, National Solar Observatory

53 physical books. Everything else is a digital asset.

Also a systems engineer, so she’s involved in building of new observatory on a mountain in Hawaii.

Does archives, databases, document management, reference, research, training.

Translates between scientists and engineers.

Runs servers, web site, new desktop systems, troubleshooting.

Uses her info pro skills to do all this.


Sharepoint can be used for digital assets, but a dedicated digital asset management program will give you more features.

If you’re asking what software to get, that’s the wrong question to ask first. Need to do needs assessment to find out what your organization’s needs are. That could take 6 months to a year.

If offered a chance to do something, volunteer! You have the library/information skills. You can learn Drupal or library databases as you need them.

Ruth: We have mad skills. We can do more than just the room with the books (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Toot your own horn!

Web trends to watch in 2014 #il2013 #internetlibrarian

David Lee King


Design for mobile first. If you can’t do it on mobile, maybe you don’t need to do it on your big web site. Lee Rainie: 56% of Americans have smart phones.

Responsive deisgn

Minimalist design

White space

No Flash: Doesn’t work on i-devices. Use HTML 5 instead. CSS 3.

Visual design

Parallax design: Can create 3-D effects, etc. with CSS. For example: Spotify’s web site.

Flat design: Simple images, contrasting colors, white space.

Blocking: e.g., Pinterest. Endless stream of content, nothing more important than anything else.

Big images: Often a big background image.

Colors: various theories from calm to neon. Try Adobe Kuler.

Web fonts: Google Fonts or Typekit

webtypography.net and practicaltypeography.com

Video (78% of Americans have watched online videos) – put it on youtube, link to it on Facebook and on your web site

Social media: It’s still big. Great way to push out your new content. Many of these site have analytics, or there are third-party sites that create analytics. Point from web sitre to social media and vice versa.

Large buttons: complementary colors. Call to action or next step: use a button.

Vertical scrolling: mobile especially. Sticky naviation bar that stays at the top even as you scroll down. Also, left side naviagtion bar that starys put (for example, social media sharing buttons).

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.

Discovery: Beyond the Single Search Box #il2013 #internetlibrarian

We are not our patrons.

“I am not the patron.
I am an information professional.
My patrons don’t think or search the way I do.
And they never will.”
— Jeff Wisniewski

Ex Libris’ discovery tool: Primo. “Scholar Rank” relevancy ranking.

Serials Solutions’ discovery tool: Summon. Includes featured librarian. Redirects if user doesn’t enter “correct” terms. Live reference chat. Bring in news and images.

Libraries think of their collections differently when they’re searching 10 million items in the local catalog vs. 400 million in a discovery service.

Question about special (corporate) libraries: They often have proprietary, in-house reports that are not public. Vendors say they can restrict availability to certain users by IP address.

Sites (e.g. Google) want to know who you are and filter your results accordingly. There are privacy issues; also the possibility that you will miss something valuable that’s filtered out.

Question about local metadata: Primo says they can make anything a facet, a scope, etc. and/or load other authority data.

Known item searches: Harder than you might think if the query has common words. Both vendors claim their products nail it. Can do searches like “contains,” “starts with,” etc.

Can include lots of material outside the library: open source journals, digital libraries on the web, etc.

Question about searching chemical structures or patents: Depends on whether they have it indexed.

Keeping Web Content Fresh #il2013

Sacramento Public Library

Tried to have everything that everybody ever wanted. Much of the content was out of date. Grid of 15 pictures; hard to tell what some of them were, much less what was new. When they went to revise it, there were pages they didn’t even know they had. 10 navigation links with layers and layers below that. Completely separate version of the site for mobile users. In-house CMS. All of the branches could and did make their own pages with their own styles.

Now: Responsive design for mobile and desktop. Prominent catalog search, because that’s what many people come to do. You can spend more time on your content if you don’t have to maintain your web site in two different places. Many people will check both, so it’s good to have a consistent look. New content is always popular: e-books, summer reading club (all online), events. Be focused on what people come to your web site to do (studies in Library Journal and Pew).

Workflow: Use Kentico CMS. Someone needs to make sure web pages are consistent, when they should be posted, when they should be taken down. CMS lets them enter a news item once and have it show up wherever it’s supposed to (such as the kids’ page).

Texas A&M-Commerce:

Digital collections, including video. Video is an important part of the World War II collection.

Chose Flash as the standard format. Adobe said it would stop supporting mobile devices. People using i-devices wouldn’t get it at all. HTML 5 is on the radar.

Popcorn.js : a javascript framework that uses HTML 5 to play audio and video without having to rely on client-side plugins.

Made a template. Some consistent elements. (On other sites they looked at, the same feature would appear in different places on different pages.)

Different browsers would have different video errors. Problems with certain plugins (e.g., Google Maps).

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. You could 30-40 events going off on a web page, but user would probsbly be overwhelmed,

Use local script files. If you link somewhere else, they could be moved and your app will break.

Question about competition for space on the home page: Have a committee with representation from different depts. Sac Public uses Open Hallway to manage user testing.