Library Support for Digital Scholarship at Harvard Business School #internetlibrarian #IL2014

[Belated notes from a session at Internet Librarian.]

Michael J. Hemment of the Baker Library, Harvard Business School

The university is studying the faculty research cycle.  The law library is working on a digital archive on the history of the law school.  The university is thinking about students’ needs 20 years in the future.  Does the library help them get a job?

Question for a (any?) database project: try to get everything or concentrate on quality materials?

The library produces 118 information products: research guides, e-mail newsletters, etc.

Journalists write about Harvard research in a section of the web site called Working Knowledge.

Information management services: helps other university web sites improve their visibility with taxonomy, etc.

The library is trying to understand customers’ needs and work backwards from there.  “We librarians make assumptions about what our customers need and don’t talk to them on an ongoing basis.  Needs may change.”

Talking to users, observers.

Ongoing analysis on requests: matching them to existing resources.  If nothing exists, they identify a gap.

Web site on the research lifecycle: advice for each point.  Another one on the teaching lifecycle.

Surveys led to a redesign of case studies on their web site.  Also, use speaking with faculty and students, web analytics.

Leader 360: case studies on business leaders.

13 e-mail newsletters to MBA students on major industries.

Column on library special collections items in the Harvard Business Review (“Vision Statement”)

Helping faculty create e-books.

Updates on case studies (e.g., on Internet companies that may have changed considerably in the last few years).

Making it Happen

Ken Haycock, USC Marshall School of Business (formerly San Jose State Library School)

“Satisfice”: satisfying + sufficing.

Decisionmakers often pick the first satisfying solution.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Decisionmakers may not have faced that problem. What problem that they face are you trying to solve?

Important to know whether they prefer quantitative (number) or qualitative (stories) evidence.

Money seems to flow to some people. We’re more likely to get support if we’re seen as credible and trustworthy. We do what we say we’ll do, we’ll report on it.

When librarians advocate, we’re seen as whiny and looking out for ourselves.

People do things for their reasons,not yours. We need to speak the language of the funders. What did the mayor say were the priorities for the city? Not how many people came to your employment sessions and how many enjoyed it, but how many actually got jobs.

if you don’t know what your boss’s objectives are, ask. Connecting agendas.

Show respect to your funders.

Can’t make withdrawals if you don’t make deposits. Build relationships. Let decisionamkers know what you do.

Timing, who’s involved, who’s a barrier, how can I make this a 3-year project rather than a 3-month project?

Most likely to be successful if you ask for what you want right up front. If you want $50K, ask for $50K, but say you could get by with $25K. Don’t ask for $100K thinking you’ll get whittled down.

Don’t get confused by attitude rather than behavior. They may be supportive but not give you money.

Universal principles:

1. Liking. We tend to listen more closely to people we like. Whether they think you like them.

2. Reciprocity. Gifts, but could be non-financial, like a gift.

3. Social proof or consensus. What are other people like us doing? Library directors looked at funding per capita ($29 to over $80). City managers looked at budget percentage (3.9% everywhere).

4. Authority. People listen to those who seem to know what they’re talking about.

5. Core values, public commitment. If people say something in public, they’re likely to stand by it. Also values. Does a politician talk about keeping taxes low or best return on the dollar?

6. Scarcity. People value what is scarce. We see ourselves as dealing in a scarce resource, but people see us as being in the information marketplace, which is rich and free. What is our value proposition? What is our unique resource? Our value, our scarcity is the expertise of our staff, not the building.

We tend to like those who are similar to us. You have to demonstrate that you like those who are different. You can ask the same questions. We tend to like those who praise us. Even more valuable if it’s second-hand. (The reverse is true: if you denigrate somebody behind their back, that gets back to them, too.) Working together on a team builds liking, too.

Reciprocity. A university president wrote 5 thank you notes every day. Good answer to thank you: “I’m sure you would do the same for me.”

Social proof: Testimonials from someone doing the same thing.

Authority: Doctors, etc. have their diplomas on the wall. Librarians often feel they’re arrogant if they point out their professional status, then get upset when the public thinks circulation clerks are librarians. We should dress professionally, too. Authority is enhanced if you acknowledge your weakness at the outset, rather than letting them discover it for themselves. Shows confidence.

SOPPADA = Subject, objective, present situation/problem, proposal, advantages of what you’re proposing, disadvantages of what you’re proposing, what actions you want taken. Often successful in proposals. Pointing out the disadvantages takes the wind out of the sails of those who want to find fault.

We rarely talk about core values. Things can get de-railed if somebody believes this isn’t what we should be doing. If people make a public commitment, they’re more likely to stick to it.

Scarcity: We are presented as scarce, but free. Ask yourself what you really add.

Networking. It’s hard to make people feel you like them if you’ve never met them. Show up, be seen.

4 Es: eye contact, extend hand, exchange business card, engage in conversation.

Connect agendas with people who think you like them, do something unique for the organization, and you will win.

Further reading:
“Work the Pond!”
“Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”
“Influence: Science and Practice”
Articles by and about Cialdini in Harvard Business Review and Scientific American

Edited to correct some misspellings.

Keynote: Brendan Howley on libraries, networks, and culture #internetlibrarian

[Jane Dysart recommends Intertwingled by Peter Morville]

Internet Librarian keynote: Brendan Howley

investigative journalist, “data-driven brand storytelling solutions.”

I design stories that actually incite people to do things.

Hired to work for little Carnegie library in Stratford, Ont. Used to focus groups to have people talk about libraries.

* Hubs of participatory culture
* etc.

* Why stories work (KPIs that really matter)
* Why networks form (power that works)
* Why culture eats strategy for lunch (Peter Drucker)

The Internet means libraries are busting out of their walls.

Exchanging stories

* Stories relax people
* Stories start conversations
* Stories spark emotions
* Stories are about teachable moments

“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”

Jaac Panksepp studies how stories affect the brain.

Libraries are about their communities.

Meaning: storytelling hinges on meaning.

Librarian’s stock-in-trade: librarians give meaning away, everyday, all the time,

Values: People want to know what you stand for and why.

People under 35 want librarians to do what they’ve always done: provide “the straight goods,” unbiased.

Share the why of the how of what you do.

Shared stories lead to people trusting you.

Got people to invest in a sheep’s milk cheese company by making it about changing the conversation about the politics of food in Ontario.

Networks: emotional connection, co-create value.

Finding “your people,” your “tribe,” online.

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, et al.

Patterns rule: understand the patterns in your community.

Libraries are cultural triggers that activate networks: media, literature, art, film local history, archives, databases.

In networks, weakness is strength. The weak ties are the strength of the network. Find the “bridge people,” the influencers.

M. Yunus looked for the entrepreneurial female in villages in Bangladesh and Kenya and handed her a mobile phone.

Making a scene: art scene, rebels, coffehouses, later moms with strollers. Culture makes it happen.

Libraries give context away. Libraries are in the cultural context business.

Improving the culture means improving the economy, etc. It’s a virtuous circle.

Hamilton Library (Ont.) promoting “open media.” People can go there and create their own media.

Eye beacons (Internet on the wall): they’re using it to give people messages on their phones as they head into a concert.

“Community mapping”: staff share their ideas in graphical form.

Scale up “open media” to a national level.

Library becomes a repository of local media.

Libraries as small business development engine. Women entrepreneurs share their stories.

Data into maps to improve tourism, public health, etc. Transform cities.

Mapping Detroit proved that there are some neighborhoods with a net increase in population.

“Thought leadership.”

A “big hairy audacious feedback loop” of data, etc.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.” If you want to reach people, tell them stories that resonate with their cultures.

Why aren’t libraries local financial hubs (like post offices in some countries)?

Why can’t libraries become publishers of local culture?

Why aren’t libraries’ archives rented as unique media resources? (e.g., banks could get the history of houses for their customers)

Why aren’t libraries embracing community newsrooms?

Get your library to the place where story meets data meets culture.

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, (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. 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.