Our Evolving Relationship with Data #InternetLibrarian @DanielWRasmus

Dan Rasmus, consultant

In France, they have “wisdom management”: “How do we know if what we know is what we should know?”

How you think about the future is dangerous.

There is no data from the future.  Even “real-time data” is at least milliseconds old.

Scenario planning: outside factors.

Possible futures: there is no the future yet.

Considerations for future of the university:

  • The nature of learning
  • Global economic model
  • Relationship with data

Has “Book of all knowledge” from 1850.  Most of it is wrong now.

Things we thought we knew:

  • How DNA works (epigenetics)
  • Moons of Jupiter
  • The Big Bang, dark matter, laws of physics
  • Number of galaxies (recently found 10x more than we thought)
  • Periodic table (new elements)

A database is “rewriting history to predict the future.”

USB-C: download a movie in seconds.

Norse real-time cyberattacks

Pirate Bay.

Sensors: Internet of Things, lights, doors. Pervasive computing.

Expectations for augmented/virtual reality. We have to make sense of our own data.

Data for human bodies, traffic, city planning.

Data from all these sources can be correlated.

In public sector: water, power, transportation, libraries, schools, etc.

Kurzweil’s “Singularity.”

What question did Watson not answer on “Jeopardy”?  Watson did not have a conversation with Alex Trebek about its hobbies.

Another blog post here: http://www.libconf.com/2016/10/21/evolving-relationship-data-closing-keynote/



Online Chat #InternetLibrarian

Terry Beck, Sno-Isle Libraries (Wash.)

Charles Wu, UT San Antonio

Joel Thornton and Elaine Thornton, University of Arkansas

Slides available here: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/E304_Wu(1).pptx

And here: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/E304_Thornton(1).pptx

Beck found that there weren’t a lot of local-specific questions in the middle of the night, so her service starts at 8 a.m.  Also, switched services from the one most libraries in the state were using because it wasn’t working for them.

Wu did a lot of analysis on the dates and times questions came in.

The Thorntons did user testing to see what really worked for students on their chat web page.

Better Project Management in Libraries #InternetLibrarian

Francine Alt-Greene, Hennepin County Library (Minn.)

Slides available at http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/C303_Alt-Greene.pdf

Need to have:

  • A plan
  • A scope (what you will and won’t do, signed off by a sponsor)
  • Owner
  • Project Manager
  • Business analyst (could also be P.M.)
  • Experts to advise

We all play a role.  If you don’t understand your role, then ask.

What are the constraints?  Time, money, people.  What might change?  What is the priority?  Deadline?

Work to be completed: break into chunks, work breakdown structure.

Communication is 90% of project management.

Don’t sit by yourself.  Talk to others.

Ask people when they will be done with their part.

Document everything!

  • Project identification
  • Charter (have everybody sign it)
  • Project plan
  • Issues
  • Change/decision log

All of the above should happen before work begins.

Think about projects that will have to be done in parallel tracks.

Set a reasonable deadline before advertising it.

Methodology: pick one and stick with it.

Efficient meetings.


Software: she uses MS Project, spreadsheets


Culture in Transit: Digitizing and Democratizing NYC’s Cultural Heritage #InternetLibrarian @AnneKZ

Anne Karle-Zenith

Slides here: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/E302_Karle-Zenith.pdf

Scanning program for METRO (New York City + Westchester)

Digital Culture of New York

(Everything gets harvested by the NY State digital library, then Digital Public Library of America)

Switched from ContentDM (an OCLC product) to Islandora for database.

Blog: Culture in Transit

Toolkit coming soon.

Institutional scanning:

Had a goal to get to 10-15 institutions — small, but interesting libraries that didn’t have time/money/staff to do it themselves — in a year.  They got to 10 and scanned 1,600 items.  One person would go to the institution with portable scanning gear, spend about two weeks scanning, then another two weeks back at the office doing processing, metadata, etc.

Community Scanning:

Went to Brooklyn and Queens public libraries, scanned people’s materials and talked to them about what they were.  Returned digital copies to donors on a thumb drive.  Not just libraries: also schools, churches, cemeteries, bars.  Three to four staff who knew all phases of the project would go to a site.  Encouraged community groups (for example, Filipinos of Queens).

Technology that may Impact our Future, keynote, Larry Magid #InternetLibrarian @LarryMagid

Larry Magid, long-time tech writer, also runs ConnectSafely.org

IBM Selectric
Apple II
Commercial Internet
Search engines (“fundamentally changed acquisition of knowledge,” now you don’t have to go somewhere to find things out)
Blackberry, Iphone/Android
Voice Recognition

Google Pixel has a modicum of A.I.

“How far to x?”
“Can you recommend a restaurant there?” (It knows where “there” is.)

“How do you say x in Spanish?” (Breaking down language barriers)

Drones, autonomous cars (changing mobility, parking, traffic)

Facial recognition: on phones, surveillance cameras

Privacy: close to zero

A.I.: A long way to go, but moving quickly.

Machines getting smarter, will start teaching each other.

Robotic journalists: better memories, work longer for free.

Lawyers: preparing a will. May not be empathetic, but could be smarter.

Accounting: easier to do on Turbo Tax than it is to gather documents for a human accountant.

Reference librarians: augmented by computers. It may be easier — for some people, for some questions — to ask a computer.

However, human touch is essential. People traveled to Monterey for this conference for the human interaction.

Robotics: manufacturing will come back to the U.S., but the jobs won’t. Just need cheap energy.

People will build and maintain robots until they repair each other.

Drones: delivering meds in Rwanda; Amazon.com deliveries.

Telemedicine: may have no reason to go to a doctor. Robots could give meds.

Internet safety:

Cyberbullying: not just kids, adults too. It’s gotten worse in the last 15 months (i.e., during election campaign).

How can we model the proper behavior? Counter cynicism.

Advice for libraries: Engage people: invite them to make a video for your blog. You have to go to them.

“Anonymous is not synonymous with ominous.”

Anonymity is essential for dissidents, sexual minorities, people with some diseases. Sometimes there is bad behavior, but sometimes, people are more likely to say nice things when they are anonymous. Law enforcement can usually find you, even if you are anonymous.

Media bubble:

Facebook steers you to what you already like.

Magid lives in Palo Alto, is a journalist with a graduate degree. “So you can imagine what kind of bubble I’m in.” But he makes an effort to consume different media.

A lot misstated facts, urban legends go around.

Another blog post here: http://www.libconf.com/2016/10/21/technology-may-impact-future-wednesday-keynote/

Environmental Scanning and Anticipatory Delivery of Information #InternetLibrarian

Deanna West and Stephanie Godley Murphy, MITRE

Slides available at: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/C205_Murphy.pdf

MITRE operates a number of think tanks that advise the federal government.

The library staff provide:

  • Environmental scans: one-off snapshots of a subject
  • Newsletters: on-going current awareness (could be daily, 3x a week, weekly)
  • Alerts: something happening right now that somebody needs to know

For the last category, you need to understand your customers’ information needs. For example, they found out that what they were sending to one customer, 90% of it he already knew. They talked with him and found out that he had a need to be informed about upcoming Congressional hearings, so they switched to doing that.

Never send just a link. Always provide some context, analysis, etc.

Computational Text Analysis #InternetLibrarian

Cody Hennessy, UC Berkeley

Slides are available here: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/A204_Hennesy(1).pptx

Not exactly my line of work, but interesting.

Group of people at UC Berkeley who do or are interested in text analysis/text mining/distant reading (as opposed to close reading). Hennessy attends so he can learn and advise (for example, not to download the whole Proquest database, because it’s copyrighted and that would be a violation of the university’s license agreement).

The Congressional Record is a favorite source, because it’s in the public domain and includes both spoken and written text.

Another blog post on this session: http://www.libconf.com/2016/10/19/computational-text-analysis-k-text-mining/

Digitizing #InternetLibrarian @CybrarianViews

Charlotte Spinner and Christine Rasmussen, AARP

Presentation here: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/259/A203_Spinner.pptx

Staff needed to be able to find articles in back issues of AARP: The Magazine, which goes back to 2003.  Library decided to take it on.  Wanted to use XML.   Approval from management, money from pubs dept.

Different versions of the magazine for different age groups.  Sometimes tiny variations in article.  Regional variations.  A third of the database turned out to be content variations.

A quarter of the issues not available electronically at all.  The rest had missing pages, etc.

Spawned new digitization projects, including Modern Maturity, which was published 1958-2003.  Also digitizing the founder’s papers.

Increased the visibility of the library.  Contracts with Ebsco and Gale, which will bring in money for the association.

1. It’s always harder than you think.

2. It always takes longer than you think.

3. It always costs more than you think. (actually under budget)

3. Pave the way.

4. Have solutions ready for the naysayers.

5. Roll up your sleeves.

6. (Gently) push, and push some more.

Richard Hulser, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Scanning books for Biodiversity Heritage Library.  Old books with odd fonts and smudges, ink bleed-through, foxing don’t do well with OCR.

Used a crowdsourced game to get the general public to fix OCR errors.  You can work on a word or phrase at a time.  Beanstalk and Smorball.

Lessons learned: didn’t select game designer in advance, who then spent too long designing, and didn’t leave enough time to collect data within the grant period.  But did determine that games are a viable way to improve OCR.  Games are open source and could be used by others.

Question about AARP’s XML conversion: Hired a company to do that part.

AARP database: Cuadra Star.

Another blog post about this session: http://www.libconf.com/2016/10/18/digitizing/

Transforming Our View of Roles & Services, part 2 #InternetLibrarian @RebeccaJonesgal @desertlibrarian @stembrarian

Rebecca Jones, manager of branches for a large public library

Has worked in corporate libraries. Skills: project management, training (i.e., adult learning), knowledge management, I.T., consulting.

Important right now: project management, knowledge management, data management.

“Seize whatever you want to do.”

Ruth Kneale, system librarian at Daniel K. Inouye Solar Observatory

embedded, solo, runs all the databases, web sites, document manager, tech support.

Turned them on to things like Skype and Dropbox

Testing equipment at new observatory under construction.

Engineers still do “red lines” on paper drawings.  She takes pictures of them every three months to create as-built drawings.

Her job ends when construction is done in 3 1/2 years.

As the only librarian, she gets reference requests and does publication tracking (i.e., articles written based on work at the observatory).

Camille Mathieu, JPL

Six librarians, but also “knowledge managers” and “information managers” elsewhere and a large I.T. dept. that builds things in-house.

Does reference and publication tracking.

Shifting focus to internal information management.

Teresa Powell, Raytheon (previously Boeing and Rochester Electronics)

At Boeing, had to integrate collections and databases from companies that they acquired.  Eventually closed satellite libraries, centralized and digitized collections.

At Raytheon, again there are satellite libraries, which report to different manufacturing groups.  Have to justify space.  Wants to do something other than the traditional library.

Rebecca Jones:

Any organization has research and development.  Librarians could be part of that.

Librarians need to think more about ongoing operations and maintenance of service.

Librarians need to use our metadata skills to curate local data/documents.  What is happening with local newspaper, university publications, etc.?


Asking people, “What can we do for you?”

Or, “We can do X.”

Rebecca Jones:

Don’t do the first one.  Know what people’s needs and info seeking behaviors are and tell them how you can help.  Don’t ever ask people what they want.  They don’t have a clue.  Watch what people are doing, listen to what they say, do interviews, what are your biggest barriers, how can you expedite that?  Then figure out how you can help.