Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#NDPthree : Wrap-up

Yesterday's National Digital Platform at Three (#NDPthree) was an event that I wish all of you could have attended. Yes, there is the report, the seven-hour archived video (below), and the tweets, and there will be a report from the event. However, there is something about being "in the room" that cannot occur when you are at a distance.

In that room were some amazing thinkers. IMLS brought together people with different points of view and different library/museum situations, including a museum startup, a 501(c)3 academic library,  a tribal library, a broad range of academic and public cultural heritage institutions, library-related associations, and a few faculty.  Regretfully, a one-day event did not allow us to deeply tap into the wisdom of the room.

My big take-aways, at the moment, are:
  • The need to talk about libraries, archives, and museums using the word "platform."  In this meeting, we talk about libraries as a digital platform.  However, libraries are platforms for other things in our communities.  The word "platform" is a way for us to get away from talking about specific services and thinking about a bigger picture and different impacts.
  • The need for our cultural institutions to work together to build a platform, i.e.g, a shared way of thinking about an approaching our digital capability and capacity.  Working together means working across institutions types and sizes.  In means engaging the smaller institutions, so they are not left behind.
  • Some libraries and museums are developing creating approaches and "pushing the envelope."  What they are doing is not a secret, but most have not likely heard about it.  We need to get what they are doing known by more.  That might mean getting people to present webinars, speak at regional conferences, or write for our trade journals.
  • Funding continues to be important.  It is also important that funders be willing to take risks with their funds.  That may mean streamlining applications so that institutions can apply for funds more easily.  It could also mean providing funds to for-profit  cultural heritage institutions, who need assistance to preserve what they have and make that content more widely available.
  • We need to push for more open resources (e.g., software, platforms), which will help this effort.
  • We need to instill our MSLIS students with the knowledge and attitude which will allow them to be a part of developing, maintaining, and pushing forward the idea of libraries as a platform.  This means that students need to be able to:
    • Understand  and explain the bigger picture.
    • Have the technical language and knowledge to be able to participate in discussions and the development of solutions.  Technical knowledge does not mean that they need to be able to "do", but they do need to understand what is happening (or not) and why.
    • Relate what is occurring in for-profit organizations to the needs of our cultural institutions.
    • Create project plans and grant applications.
    • Track impact.
    • Collaborate across space and time with other organizations.  These collaborations could be with non-profit and for-profit entities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
    • Act entrepreneurial by taking risks and be willing to work towards a l-o-n-g term goal.  
    • Be a part of the conversation, whether the conversation occurs in-person, through virtual platforms, or using asynchronous methods. Listening is a virtue as is providing your own opinion and knowledge.
Finally, I want to promote a comment made by Luke Swarthout (NYPL), who said (paraphrased):
If our work results that people can get to the Internet to view fake news and pop up ads, then our work is not done.
Here are links to all of my #NDPthree blog posts:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NDPthree : Going Forward

Ashley Sands, IMLS - Moderator

This panel was asked to look foward.

Kate Zwaard, Library of Congress - she works in the National Digital Initiatives Division
She has four broad points (her ideas):
  1. Modern manuscript collections - ephermal manuscripts in ephermal media.  The platforms are evolving faster than we can understand how to archive them.  Personal digital archives is part of this.  Education is not the answer.  There needs to be a tech solution.
  2. Libraries as Platform - We need to involve users more centrally in conversations about this. Are we presenting data in ways that are useful.  New or complex metadata standards are barriers to use.
  3. The problem of scale - As we scale up, how do reconfigure the structure of our institutions and our field to support this.  How can collaborations occur in a peer to peer basis?  How do we blend the wisdom of cataloguers, the wisdom of the crowd, and technology?
  4. Skills building and our patron base - She notes a benefit of demonstration projects and the need to promote the work that is similar to what are users are doing.
Loretta Parham, Atlanta University Crnter Woodruff Library - She talked about the progression of projects.  A small digital project to a larger one to preserving institutional digital records to scholarly record to audio/video digitization to a project for GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums).  Working to create object-based learning pedagogy.
In terms of need, need IMLS to exist and to thrive.  Need grants to smaller and minority institutions.   Small institutions need help acquiring skills that they do not have in house.  Institutions need help understanding how to reorganize to take advantage of opportunists.  Need conferences/events where like institutions are the majority of the attendees.  Continuing education is important.  The effectiveness of collaboration needs to be taught.  They need help in policy development, especially with born digital and records management. They need the support of public programs so that content is used.  

Chris Bourg, MIT - The biggest ROI is on shared solutions to shared problems, e.g.,  community source software development.  The challenge is that you need expertise in staff during the development.   Be willing to let go of an obsession with quick wins.  Be willing to make long term, patient investments. We need to invest in ways to make our content usable in ways we cannot anticipate. MIT is making hackable libraries, which means people can use them how they want to use them.  Finally, what are the challenges that libraries have and how can others help?  For example, MIT imaging technology that can read through closed books.  Right now the tech can only read through nine pages.  How cool would it be to digitize books without opening them?  Having that in portable technology would be a game changer.  

Cliff Lynch, CNI - He noted the report that IMLS produced on the “National Digital Platform at Three.”  He sees similarities between what IMLS is doing/funding and other efforts (e.g., DPLA).   What is on the cusp of big wins?  He mentioned several things including open educational resources (OER).  Concerns? Sustainability.  Small institutions with limited resources.  Privacy.  The life cycle of scholarly work.  Big data and especially in museums and scientific collections.  Preservation, e.g., ebooks.   News archiving.  Social media and personalization.  Do we need to rethink how we do archiving in these areas?  In the move to digital, libraries are systematically getting squeezed out of content.

Jim Neal - The impact of policy issues that are or will be made at the federal level, e.g., copyright, privacy, network neutrality, etc.  Not to speak of federal funding for libraries. 
Cliff - What Jim said! The NDP can have an impact on these issues.

Question - The need for communities of action.  We need investment of time and resources. However, funding for those cannot currently occur though grants.  How can we encourage the funding landscape to change to meet our needs?
Chris - It is a sociological conundrum.  We need to be clear about vision and mission, and use those to build trust so people will work together for a common purpose.  However, we don’t have a common agreement on what our missions are.  We are in the middle of disruptive change.  If your mission is to serve your primary community, you will need do the things your community needs for the long term.

Kate - We need to come together with a shared goal and purpose that is achievable.

Cliff - Reuse of data is overly simplified.  Some data cannot be made open.  Libraries are often uncomfortable with content whose sharing must be limited.  
Katherine Skinner - We do not have funding for the glue.  For that which will hold us and our collaborative efforts together.  

Mark Parson - The successful networks are tied to big infrastructure.  What can we do to insure that all data networks are tied to infrastructure?
Erin - People love core facilities.  Most research core facilities are domain specific.  Libraries cross disciplines.  What would a core facility for libraries look like?  How could we do?

Kate - She noted the importance of ebook usability. It is what she believes our users would want us to work on.  

Ashley - How do measure if something is sustainable or not?  
Cliff - Sustainable to some extent is related to up-take. If enough people are using something, we can figure out how to sustain it.  How do you predict sustainability in advance?  Many funders struggle with this.

Loretta - We sustain a lot of stuff that we should not be sustaining.  We need to change what we’re doing.  

Chris - We have no idea what the sustainable business model is for open access publishing.

Kate - We need to turn things off when they need to be turned off.  We all have a pilot that last too long.

Ashley - What is. A grand challenge that is pressing?

Chris - Digital preservation

Kate - Getting the word out about our collections

Loretta - Isn’t someone working on a list of all these things?  

Chris - MIT is going to have a summit on what the grand challenges are and develop white papers. Open scholarship, digital preservation, and discovery.  Imagine a discovery device that mimics how we think.

Comment - Metadata and discovery.  Linked data.  Interoperability.

Question - We spend a lot of time looking at discovery.  It isn’t about discovery, but about getting to that “thing.”  It is about getting to stuff, which is in different systems, networks, etc. what do we call this?  It is the same problem as the number of clicks to download an ebook.
Chris - Known item searching. The sense of anxiousness that faculty are missing things related to their research.  Can you help me find what I don’t know I’m looking for?

Loretta - Can the information find you?

Chris - How do we do personalization and still respect privacy?

Ashley - one more remark...

Kate - It has been an insightful day.

Loretta - How do we make mileage on solving some of these thing?  Let’s not forget those with limited resources.

Chris - How can we use our resources for the public good, but in a way that allows for the library to center itself and its perspective?

Cliff -  We spend a lot of time worrying about improving technical skills.  We also need to deal with imparting the judgment and knowledge about how to make decisions about the responsible use of technology.

Concluding Remarks: Robin Dale, IMLS
  • She noted the importance of our input, questions and answers
  • Glad to see familiar face and thrilled to see new voices and hear new voices
  • What’s next?
  • Grand challenge?

A report due in early 2018.

#NDPthree : Museums and the National Digtal Platform

Paula Gangopadhyay, IMLS - Moderator
Museums and libraries have their similarities and uniquensses. There are some different IMLS grants for museums. In 2017, that received nearly 900 grant applications.  Two priorities: professional development and digital projects. 70% of the grant recipients have been art museums. A high percentage of those (40%) are around digital asset management.  However, the vast majority of small and mid sized museums are behind the curve.  She noted three challenges including the absence of a skilled workforce. There is a need to collaborate across sectors. 

This panel was more free flowing.  The panelists were:
  • Greg Albers, J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Samantha Blickhan, Zooniverse and Adler Planetarium
  • Michael Edson, Museum for the United Nations 
Where have you seen the biggest ROI for museums services in the last three years?
Samantha - They are offering support to museums in building crowd sources projects.  The biggest ROI is the application of digital tools in unique ways, such as in accessibility.  Visualizing data in new and specific ways, e.g., dome-casts in planetariums. They want to get to a place of being software neutral.  In terms of Zooniverse, she talked about a project builder that allows more projects to be built.
Greg - What came to his mind was the word “open.” Open access.  Open data.  

Michael - A move from focusing in technology to focusing on social impact. How do you put tech to use for something that matters.

Samantha - How do you create tools that support the use of data/digital assets?

Michael - Need to use the word “platform” more broadly. He pointed to Zooniverse an their work to help people do work faster and at scale.  Good technology is rooted in good human interactions.

Greg - It is hard for museums, etc., to compete for staff with for profit companies.

Michael - People - perspective employees - need to see cultural heritage institutions  as places that is making a difference.

Michael - What are the super practical things that have changed? 

Greg -There is an understand of what makes up a digital museum, although smaller institutions cannot do it.

Samantha - One institution has a VP of user experience.

Michael - It used to be “illegal” to talk about Wikipedia in museums, but not talking about Wikipedia is normal.

Where do you see the biggest gaps, needs and challenges over the next 3-5 years?

Greg - The capacity is people.  He is interested in top to bottom digital literacy at the Getty.  People who are focused on the digital are throughout the institution. Because they are spread out,they are not good at talking to each other.  They share baseline skills and a language for talking about things. Literacy can include being aware of “X.” The digital share is a full day staff retreat.  All people focused on the digital come in the spring and must share.  (You can come, but you must share.)  All people need to have a shared understanding.
Samantha - Zooniverse worked to produce data and analysis after Hurricane Irma.  Great work that needed more publicity.

Greg - People are willing to share, but the institution needs time to do the sharing.

Greg - How does the Getty decide what to do? Now have a VP level digital content person, who has a team of digital architects, including metadata creation.  They are updating their governance model in recognition of the digital work they are doing,

Paula - Some of the work Getty is doing could be scaled down and be used by smaller institutions. Digital is not the responsibility of one person or one department.
Michael - Step 1 is that someone somewhere in the organization is focused on digital.  Step 2 is that a department somewhere  in the organization is focused on digital.   Step 3 is that the department in charge of the organization's digital presence/content has been more purposefully selected.  Step 4 is that there is someone in upper level management who is focused on the organization's digital content/life.

Samantha - The Department of Citizen Science is also where teen programs are housed.  This means that design and use are in the same department.

Greg - When a smaller institution can’t grow to build a department, it needs to look for cross fertilization.

Michael - Do what you do best and network the rest.  Are there members of your audience who are doing what you need to do?

What are the intellectual property issues?  
  • Greg - Look for low hanging fruit.  It is becoming more acceptable to put things online.  Take advantage of Fair Use.  
  • Samantha - Doors open when you start with the access that you have.  Show what happens - positives - when you provide access.
What are some of the opportunities and resources that museums should be leveraging?
  • Michael - Super serve your niche.  Focus on basic access and basic service.  How do our museums help us make good decisions about our future?
  • Samantha - Talk to your user base because they are the ones using your collections/projects. You have to give them the opportunity to share their ideas.
  • Greg - We need to connect with each.  Both in connecting with people and interoperability. 
How do you assess where your social impact is? 
  • Michael - Sometimes the last e where the social impact will be is baked into the project.  Where will meaningful change occur?  Most change happens in small local groups, not online.

#NDPthree : Opening Scholarly Communications

Ashley Sands, IMLS - Moderator

This conversation was mostly on gaps.

Ixchel Faniel, OCLC - Comes to this as a person who studies research data management issues.  (1) Continued education for librarians an archivists - There have been studies on this in Europe, Australia and the U.S.   Librarians are interested in this.  Existing staff are being repurposed and they need the correct training. There needs to be an investment and a clear return in investment. There needs to be a more concerted effort conceptually. (2) Meeting researchers needs - Expect to see a big return here.   Expanded data and new methods of collaboration.  Sharing data and reusing data.  How do activities in the data life-cycle influence each other?  We need to consider the full life-cycle. What and who are touching the data?  What is the result of those touches?  How are downstream activities impacted?

Mark Parsons, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - He comes from a data perspective, although new to RPI and IMLS.  He is skeptical of the term “scholarly communications” although he likes the broad definition in the NDP report.  Infrastructure is a body of relationships.  Libraries and museums are mediators and thus part of the infrastructure.  In terms of mediation, we are not done until people can use the data to improve their lives. We need to focus on users and providers.   Mediators need to work from different perspectives. We need radical collaboration and radical trust.  We need to develop standards.  He believe the big gap is around economics.  Scholarly communications needs reciprocity.  We need to share.

Merce Crosas, IQSS, Harvard University - IQSS develops tools which help in research. They help with data management, FAIR data plans, data citation principles.  (1) building communities - Bringing together the users and e developers.   (2) supporting larger data sets -These needs to be done in the cloud. Your work will be in the cloud. It could be an open cloud.  (3) supporting sensitive data - Sensitive data sets exist now.  How can they be made usable?  What privacy tools are needed? (4) intregration of the data life cycle - It needs to be easy and interoperable. 

John Wang, University of Notre Dame - Example of a book that included multimedia.  Researchers are incorporating various data/artifacts in their work.  How do you preserve these materials?  How do you assure continued access?  The problem of interconnected objects.  Preservation is often an afterthought.  Many faculty do not understand that librarians can help solve these problems.  And they do not engage librarians early enough in the process.

Sayeed Choudhury, John Hopkins University - From innovation to impact.  Think of return on impact, not just return on investment.  The infrastructure is invisible until something goes wrong.  If someone uses data in your institution without your help, that is impact.  If someone uses data in unanticipated ways, that is impact. One way of having impact is to use as librarians what others have created.  He noted that using content is continual and creation is continual, which causes problems and concerns.

Ashley -  What is the most pressing problem or concern?  
  • Sayeed said that IMLS has a probing of view that no one else does. What is IMLS seeing? 
  • Mark’s answer was trust.  Can IMLS help to steer the conversation in the academy, especially in terms of what publications are (format) and how they are rewarded? 
  • Ixchel wondered how we work collaboratively.  What changes are needed?  
  • Merce said that IMLS needs to recognize the changing output of funding efforts.
Comment - In the arts - digital arts - some of these topics have already been discussed.  Can we learn from them? 

John - There are different ways of thinking about value that occurs much further upstream.  We cannot plan for the unanticipated, but we can facilitate it.

Emily - Have you had success in working outside the library environment?  What was needed? 

Mark - You need lots of time to build relationships and trust. You need to make a commitment. 

Merce - Spoke about collaborating across cultures and borders.  Everyone needs to have some sense of ownership.

Roger Schonfeld - He noted the breadth in the definition of scholarly communications.  For profit investments in end to end scholarly communication workflow. Is it less about communications than research workflow? John’s answer spoke to partnership.

#NDPthree : Expanding Digital Cuttural Heritage Capacities

Emily Reynolds, IMLS - Moderator

The overarching questions in the session were "What has made a difference?" and "Where are the gaps?"

Bergis Jules, University of California, Riverside - Talked about the forum that is getting a diversity of voices at the table to discuss community archives and preserving local cultural heritage. These forums are creating new space for new voices.  The forums help to broaden knowledge.  They also help to envision radically inclusive processes for the field.  What they have learned has not yielded any surprises.  Mostly about funding and labor.

Karen Cariani, WGBH Educational Foundation - Return on investment: Two page submission form which helps in a number of areas including collaboration.  There is more support for collaborations. She noted that some of the tools needed already existed, e.g., open source speech to text tools. Benefiting from the work in NLP (natural language processing) and efforts of linguists. National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) programs are benefiting young professionals and host organizations. Trying to give more knowledge and experience to the next generation of professionals. Local collections have the biggest gaps - they need funding for digitizing and digital preservation. Another gap is that computational researchers are used to biggest funding and they see the IMLS grants as being too small.

Thomas Padilla, UNLV - His project is trying to think through how to make collections computational amenable.  It is a broad area that could have far ranging impact.  Gaps:
  1.  Need programs to help existing professionals to build the knowledge and skills needed in this area. What can be done to encourage local organization success? 
  2. Need to encourage projects that are cross disciplinary and with different orientations?  How can we go for the difficult wins, not just the easy ones?  
  3. More collaborative funding opportunities and opportunities that are international.  Can we have private-public sectors exchange of staff, so we can learn from other private sector colleagues (e.g., Twitter)?
Jefferson Bailey, Internet Archive - (1) Noted the importance of systems interoperability and the need to have funding that seeks pieces that are able to work together.  We need glue rather than spokes. The need to promote data exchange through APIs.  There are industry technologies that could be adopted for the needs of digital cultural heritage.  (2) There has been success in collection development and we need to continue to think locally, as well as collection building in new domains (e.g., Twitter) and fast moving events.Risks:
  1.  Grant funding around big projects with established institutions.  Funders need to take more risks with their funding.  
  2. Need to lower the barrier of entry.  
  3. Shared infrastructure beyond the application layer, e.g, storage.  Could we have a non-profit cloud?
Emily Reynolds - Question about funding models.  Bergis said he has no specific solutions.  What if funding targeted specific opportunities, rather than a general call for applications?  What if funding was available to those who are non-profits? He mentioned a Native American boarding school with tremendous archives, which needs help in preserving their collections. Karen said that when you include smaller institutions in your grant, it takes time to manage the efforts of those smaller institutions.
Comment - Comment about the trust factor needed.  Smaller institutions may not immediately trust.

Question - Large cultural institutions don’t always have the ability or motivation to step up.  Yes, larger institutions should help smaller ones, but they also need to help themselves.  Do they have enough institutional support?  Thomas said he doesn’t know what the solution is that provide larger institutional support.  Need to create and support new positions in emerging areas.
  •  Karen said that they are an organization between a bigger one (Library of Congress) and smaller institutions.  How do larger institutions be more than users of the smaller institutional collections?  
  • Jefferson - Can there be cost sharing?  Can larger institutions provide the capacity and smaller institutions provide the expertise?  
  • Thomas -What does big and small mean?  Some smaller institutions have having an incredible impact.
 Rhiannon Bettivia - Comment - Metadata and data model. There is a cost and need to structuring the data.

Emily - The need to create our own Amazon web services for libraries.  

Bergis - Who legitimizes our history?  Who ensures that history is preserved?  We need to broaden who is part of the conversation and what is preserved.  We need to be radically inclusive.

#NDPthree : Building Equitable Digital Communities

On Oct. 17, 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) held a one-day event to discuss the National Digital Platform, review efforts to increase the digital capacity of libraries and museums which have occurred over the last three years, and look towards to the future.  Approximately 85 people attended the event in-person, and many others attended through a livestream or followed the event through Twitter (#NDPthree).  In the room were an amazing group of people from libraries and museums.  It was an impressive group, in terms of knowledge, that was quite willing to engage and share.  Everyone had received the NDP at Three Report, which provided a backdrop for the live discussions.

There will be a report from this one-day event and I believe it will be issued in early 2018. If you are interested in contributing your thoughts to the discussion, consider doing so through Twitter.   I wrote five blog posts about the event and I will admit that I did not - could not! - capture everything.  So these posts are a snapshot.  Perhaps they will spark you to want to know more or engage these people in a deeper conversation.

Event Welcome:  Kathryn Matthews, IMLS
Where have we succeeded and progressed?  Where does additional work need to be done?  Where do we need to be collaborating?  What should IMLS be doing in this area?
Time to look back and look forward.

Overview of NDP: Emily Reynolds, IMLS
The NDP represents the combination of software applications, social and technical integrations, and staff expertise that provide digital content, collections,and services to all library and archive users.
Approximate $11 millions in funding for each of the last three years.  However, over those years the number of grants has increased, meaning that the funding is being spread further.  Trends:
  • Building equitable communities
  • Expanding digital cultural heritage capacities
  • Opening scholarly communications 
She highlighted the following projects out of 111:
  • Design for Diversity, Northeastern University Librsries
  • ePADD Phase 2, Stanford University 
  • Creative Commons Certificate for Librarians, Creative Commons
Overarching questions:
  • Where have you seen the biggest return on investment in NDP funding in the past three years?
  • What do you see as the biggest gaps, needs, or challenges for advancing NDP over the next 3-5 years?
The day will be comprised of five panel discussion.

N.B. - At this meeting were James Neal and Jim Neal, both librarians who finally met each other in person at this event.  You will see both names in my notes.

Building Equitable Digital Communities 
James Neal, IMLS - Moderator

Bonnie Tijerina, Data and Society - The growth in privacy and intellectual freedom concerns. Worked on a collaborative project in NYC. Trained hundreds of staff in the NYC area.  Attracted the attention of the NYC mayor, which brought attention to the role of libraries in this area. Guides, etc., are being used by other libraries across the U.S. Privacy needs to be part of grants and efforts growing forward because of its importance.  Are our products and services adhering to our patrons’ privacy needs?

Sharon Strover, University of Texas at Austin - Has done research on hotspot loan programs.  What does access mean for library populations? What is the return of investment?  Where do people go for access: library, McDonalds, WalMart?  Borrowing a hotspot gives people access like others have. In rural areas, libraries are a key part of the infrastructure.  In rural communities, libraries need to work with others such as schools or statewide tech service centers in order to be successful.  She talked about the importance of erate, but noted that not all libraries are able to take advantage of it.  She also mentioned the role that private businesses play in this area.

Don Means, Gigabit Libraries Network - Libraries as early adopters.  Fiber to the library has allowed for the growth of libraries to provide WiFi.  Look at for additional info and data.

Luke Swarthout, NYPL - Talked about work to address the ebook market and making it better for patrons.  There is a user experience problem. For example, too many clicks to download a book. Libraries as owners of the patron relationship.  Libraries do not currently decide on the patron’s relationship with ebooks.  Libraries need to own the infrastructure.  Referenced IMLS 2012 report on digital inclusion.  He noted that the report is his “favorite thing.”  If our work results that people can get to the Internet to view fake news and pop up ads, then our work is not done. So... the user experience needs to be better.  We need to build the tools to control how libraries interact With their patrons.  We need to get ebooks and digital content in more hands, not just for those who are well off.  
Kelvin Watson, Broward County Library - We need to focus on partners who can help create standards.  He noted a gift of tablet computers given after Hurricane Sandy, but that the gift came with no internet access.  They coupled those with the lending of WiFi hotspots and saw an increase in the number of loans.  His examples demonstrate his belief in collaboration. He talked about lending devices which have apps on them that help people interact with the library.  He noted the need for standards that transcend vendors.

Jim Neal - Comment around economics and preservation.  Luke noted the need to talk with publishers about economics.  Also talked about the need to think more about preservation of digital books. 

Question - Using the current state of Puerto Rico as an example, asked about WiFi and digital white space.  Don noted the need to design for portability and rapid redeployment.  In Sharon’s work, they were looking at hotspots that use cell service.  Don’s project is not using cell service, but radio frequency.
Question (from a tribal library in southwest New Mexico) - Not easy to get college textbooks in ebook format.    

Question - How are librarians prepared to teach digital literacy and privacy?  Bonnie talked about the curriculum they created.  Foundational learning. Need to understand how the internet works to then understand how to protect your privacy and data.  Curriculum and more at

Monday, October 16, 2017

Talk the Talk: Genericide

Are you interested in trademarks? The linguistic podcast, Talk the Talk, has an episode on trademarks  which become general terms for the products they represent.  The discussion on “genericide” begins at the 10:30 minute mark.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Smithsonian: This Replica of a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat Is Spurring Dialogue About Digitization

This is a  worth reading story about a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat and it is replica.  I don't want to give away any of the details, but it is interesting to read about the use of the replica.  This video provide use visuals about the digitization process.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Updated Version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

On Sept. 29, the Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett released an updated version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.  The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. Quoting the Compendium:
It provides instruction to agency staff regarding their statutory duties and provides expert guidance to copyright applicants, practitioners, scholars, the courts, and members of the general public regarding institutional practices and related principles of law.
21 sections of the Compendium were revised.  Information on those revisions is in the Federal Register.  A complete list of all sections that have been added, amended, revised, or removed is posted on the Office’s website. In addition to the revisions, the Compendium has been reformatted for readability and access to linked information.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Fall 2017: Jill's Presentation and Travel Schedule

Cafe au lait and Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Coffee and Beignets
As we head into autumn, this is where my speaking and traveling schedule is taking me through the remainder of 2017.  As always, if you're in the same location as me, I hope you will say hello. If time permits, let's have a cup of coffee together!
  • Oct. 17 - Attending "NDP at 3: Envisioning the next 3 years of the National Digital Platform" hosted by IMLS, Arlington, VA. (Part of the IMLS Focus Series.)
    Description: As IMLS concludes its third year of NDP funding through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, we will revisit what has been accomplished so far and explore future directions for this work. Meeting attendees will include a broad range of representatives of the country’s libraries, museums, and affiliated organizations. We hope to capture input that will help us move forward together, and to highlight areas where federal investment can most effectively support broad access to digital materials for the American people. We aim to identify concrete insights, including priority areas for funding, topics for future research, opportunities for collaboration, and other tangible outcomes. 
  • Nov. 9-11, New York Library Association Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY
    • Nov. 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Presenting "Recruit, Retain, Repeat...Again" with Barbara Stripling.
      Description: The number of school librarians available is not keeping pace with the need. Enrollment in graduate programs leading to school media certification has substantially declined over the last decade, but school library vacancies are abundant throughout NYS. During NYLA 2016, participants noted many barriers to recruiting prospective school librarians and suggested courses of action. This session will provide an update on efforts since then. Participants will brainstorm additional ideas that can be used to recruit school librarians. Participants will also discuss possible advocacy efforts which might have a positive impact on the pathways to certification.
    • Nov. 11, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - On a Women's Leadership Panel to discuss "Nevertheless, She Persisted" with Lauren Comito, Carol Anne Germain, Mary Fellows, and Sandra Michele Echols.
      Description: A forum for women in all areas of librarianship to discuss their experiences and challenges in the profession, and how to empower the next generation of female library leaders.
  • Nov. 15, 12:00 p.m. ET - Presenting "Getting the most out of your MSLIS program" (webinar) for the Syracuse University iSchool.
    Description: Congratulations, you are now in a Master’s of Library and Information Science program and working quickly towards becoming a professional librarian. The time you are spending in your MSLIS/MLIS/MLS program will go by quickly. What do you need to be doing to ensure that you get the most from it? This one-hour webinar will give you actions to take to position yourself for success in your program and afterward as an LIS professional. By the end of the webinar, you will have a series of tried and true steps on which to embark.
  • Dec. 6, 2:00 p.m. ET - Co-presenter of “Oops: Embracing Training Failures and Learning From Them” (webinar) for Southwest Florida Library Network. I'm pleased to be presenting with T is for Training colleagues Maurice Coleman and Paul Signorelli.
    Description: While every one of us who serves as a trainer-teacher-learner in our library settings dreads that moment when something goes wrong, we also know that what goes wrong often leads to something tremendously right: effective learning. In fact, we realize that failure is an integral part of the learning process. In this highly-interactive webinar focusing on the importance of “failure” in learning, the panelists will discuss real-world common and uncommon training mishaps and pitfalls; encourage participants to focus on what has come out of their own failures and those of their learners; and help participants walk away with concrete strategies to implement as they prepare their next learning sessions.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

You and the Internet of Things

 This fall, the SU iSchool has begun to offer Graduate Immersion Milestone Seminars. The first one is on the topic of "You and the Internet of Things."  Graduate students across the iSchool's graduate programs are in attendance, including MSLIS students.  

From my perspective, the the pros, cons and pitfalls of Internet of Things (IoT) is not a topic that is widely discussed in library circles.  Yes, we recognize that devices are capturing information, but:
  • Do we think deeply about what data is being captured by or in the library? 
  • Have we thought about how the Internet of Things can make libraries better?  
  • Have we thought about how the collected data is being stored and secured in the cloud?  
  • Have we thought about what could happen if our data is hacked?
The speakers this morning were not focused on libraries, but that doesn't mean we can't apply their topics to our library environment.  Below you'll see I've inserted some "library thinking" into my notes.  Please add comments if you have information to add or questions to ask.
Megan Snyder - Internet of Things and Cyber Security

"Things" can live long, software does not.
  • New vulnerabilities are addressed with new software
  • While you might replace your phone, for example, every two years, it will receive several software updates during that period.  Of course, people might not apply all of the updates, which could leave a security gap.
  • Imagine people being able to hack into a car or other things, which could be used to do harm
Things with sensitive data are connected
  • While you immediately think of banks, there are low tech devices which can capture sensitive data
  • Securing sensitive data
    • proactive ethical data stewardship
    • end to end security processes
    • innovate with new technologies 
Things are making decisions
  • Think about smart locks, smart homes, and smart grids
    • need built-in monitoring and then identifying of risks
  • There have been attacks on infrastructure worldwide, which was done by attacking the software
The future of securing IoT
  • Both customers and businesses need to focus on this
  • Need to look at the entire supply chain
While Snyder did not talk about libraries, consider that libraries are using software which is stored in the cloud or software as a service (SaaS).  That software could be storing information on library users/patrons, including private information such as books borrowed.  A security breach could make that information public.  Or a security breach could be used o alter the user data or alter the information on the library's collection.

Is the personal data stored in libraries a vulnerability that needs more attention?
  • Imagine a child changing his/her personal information so the person can check out adult books.
  • Imagine someone hacking an library system and wiping out fines.
  • Imagine a library's collection information being altered or deleted.
  • Imagine the software being delivered as SaaS being altered at the source, rendering all of its implementations useless.
Snyder noted that the U.S. Is behind in passing laws which would cause non-for-profits to pay attention to their cyber security concerns.

Radhika Garg (@gargradhika) - Does privacy disappear with IoT?

Are the implications that we as consumers are not aware of, in terms of cyber security?

IoT is not a single technology,  it is a combination of sensors, devices, networks, and software that work together to unlock valuable, actionable data.  If you are interacting with any part of that ecosystem, you should be concerned with cyber security. 

Garg asked if people use Dropbox and then asked if people know where the data is actually stored.  We use Dropbox to store a variety of different data, but we have no idea where that data really is and how it is being secured.

Data in the cloud can be used by the cloud service to learn about you, and then use that data, for example, to send you advertisements.

IoT dilemma - the information collected by sensors can be used for services that benefit and simplify people's lives, or it can be used for data mining and other use cases that raise security and privacy concerns.

Imagine the habits that your sensors know about you.

Garg noted that a sensor may only collect data, but then transmit the data to the cloud where it can be analyzed, shared, used, and abused.  Once the data is in the cloud, you have no idea what third parties that data might be shared with.

Although we do anonymize data, data gathered on a person from different sources may contain enough information to de-anonymize all of the data.

Can we collect less data?  Is there a minimal amount of data that is needed for a specific function?

While Garg talked about sensors, it occurred to me that video cameras in our cities and buildings are collecting our images.  Software can be used to identify people in those videos and it can be done automatically.  Software can also then track where people are traveling and when.  Imagine combining that information with sensor data, which could disclose more about your state/health when you were traveling through and between locations.

Garg noted that companies assume that people do not read privacy policies.  She also asked how are we expected to read the privacy policy on sensors, if sensors do not have screens?

Both Garg and Snyder noted that the privacy rules in the EU are better than in the U.S. The EU rules do affect U.S. residents because of U.S. companies doing business in Europe and needing to comply with EU policies.

In the U.S., state and federal laws are not harmonized on what is personal data.  We need to harmonize our laws in the U.S. and then harmonize our laws with the EU.

Next steps for organization in IoT ecosystem include:
  • privacy by design
  • privacy notice and transparency 
Garg ended by talking about the right to be forgotten, which has been written into EU law.

Kim Rose - How hospitals are embracing IoT

Rose talked about privacy legislation related to healthcare, such as the HITECH Act.

Medical devices inside the hospital
  • vital sign monitor
  • surgical procedures
  • intelligent bed
  • medical imaging
Outside the hospital
  • home sleep study
  • CPAP machine
  • cardiac monitor
  • diabetes blood sugar monitor
IoT has changed how medicine is being practiced.

Rose didn't connect her talk to libraries, but I can imagine a patient opting in to having their medical data shared with the hospital's medical library.  That would allow the library to deliver information to a patient which relates to the person's reason for being in the hospitals. Yes, that would raise huge privacy concerns.  Would the benefits outweigh the risks?

The talks this morning have made we wonder about cyber security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and libraries. Is this an area that we're really talking about?  Who are the library leaders in this space?  What conferences are talking about this?

On Twitter (#IoTSUiSchool), Jason Griffey said he is writing a library tech report right now on sensors.  It should be available late 2017 or early 2018.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

So you don't want to be a manager...

Conductor, Manager, Leader
At the start of a new academic year, new MSLIS students begin to explore more about the profession, while also stating what attracts and repels them about librarianship.  One job which repels some students is being a manager.  This is not new. Every year there are students who state firmly that they do not want to manage other people or oversee budgets. I think this view of working in a library is shortsighted and self-limiting. Why?
  • Every librarian manages projects, processes, or events.  That includes digitization programs, summer reading programs, advocacy events, renovation projects, and more.  Some of those projects, processes and events may be small, and they still require someone to be in charge.  That person could be a seasoned librarian or someone who is a new professional.
  • Many library positions have management related responsibilities in their job descriptions, even lower level positions.
  • In smaller public libraries, a new librarian may be hired as the library director.  This tosses that person immediately into the position of being in charge and having to draw upon management-related training gained in graduate school or management-related experience gained in non-LIS positions.
  • If a librarian wants to have a positive impact on the community the person serves, that librarian will need to be involved in decision-making, planning, and implementation.  That person will need to take on responsibilities...and...yes...manage a project, a process or an event.
  • To earn more as a library and information professional, a person needs to take on more responsibility.  More responsibility means taking on managerial tasks.
Let's explore that last bullet point a bit more using the following scenario:
Three LIS graduates all begin similar library jobs at the same time. Two of the LIS graduates shun any work that seems related to "management."  The third person looks for opportunities to manage projects.

One year after their graduation, the graduate who has gained some management experience is promoted, receiving additional responsibilities and a pay increase to go with it.  The other two remain in their same original positions and only receive modest  cost of living pay increases.

Another year goes by.  One of the two LIS graduates, who had not wanted to do anything that seemed like "management," had decided to take on managing small projects.  That person receives more responsibilities and a pay increase to go with it.  This leaves one LIS graduate who is still shunning anything related to management.

A few more years go by. The one LIS graduate who received additional responsibilities after being in the profession for one year is now managing a branch library and being compensated appropriately.  That person has taken on very interesting projects at the branch, which has required being able to create project plans and project budgets. These projects have allowed the person to interact with a number of other librarians and has bolstered the person's reputation.

The LIS graduate who began taking on management responsibilities after a year in the profession has continued to take on more responsibilities.  This person has become known as an effective team leader, who leads without others feeling led.  This person is now looking to move to a different library, which would open up additional opportunities.

The third LIS graduate stayed true to the intent of not taking on any work that involving managing anything. This person did not manage any projects, programs, or events.  This person never handled a budget and was never in charge of any people.  This person never opened or closed the library, because that required managerial skills (and making decisions).  The person never served on any committees, because that could require being in charge at some point.  This person has received modest cost of living raises, but had not received any significant pay raises because the person had not taken on any responsibilities.  This person has watched the other two LIS graduates move into new positions, while this person stayed in the same position.

Do you want to be that last librarian? Why?  Why not?

{Thanks to Susan Mitchell, executive director for the Onondaga County Public Library. for prompting this scenario.}

If you are interested in being a manager or a leader, great! We need you!  If you are not interested in managing or leading, please take a moment and think about what that will mean for your career.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The 1.5 Factor

FractionsWhen we place content online, either through digitization or the creation of new digital works, we have no idea how people will use it.  Yes, we know how we want them to use it, but we don't always know how people really use it. 

Do they consume the content in the order we expect?

Do they listen, watch or read the entire piece?

Do they follow the links or resources which we provide?

This summer, I recorded all of the video lectures which will be used in my class this fall.  After the lectures were created, I had to then watch them all in order to check their quality.  And I did what I frequently do when I listen to podcasts, I changed the speed to 1.5 or 2x normal.  Yes, even I am understandable if you listen to me at twice my normal speaking speed!

Everyone who creates content makes an assumption about its use.  While my assumption in recording the lectures was that students would watch them at their normal speed, I proved to myself that my assumption didn't need to be true. 

I actually don't like hour long podcasts, but what it I realized that I'm going to listen to it in half the time?  I have yet to ingrain my 1.5 reality into how I select what to listen to.  If I did, I'd recognize that those long podcasts really aren't that long and I would begin to consume a broader range of content.

What are your assumptions as you create digital content?  As a consumer of content, what are you doing which might alter your assumptions? Could altering your assumptions expand your horizons?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Article: The ‘time machine’ reconstructing ancient Venice’s social networks

Through this article in Nature, about an extensive program in Venice (Italy), we can see a wonderful use of digitization and machine learning.
[Frédéric Kaplan] has an ambition to capture well over 1,000 years of records in dynamic digital form, encompassing the glorious era of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. The project, which he calls the Venice Time Machine, will scan documents including maps, monographs, manuscripts and sheet music. It promises not only to open up reams of hidden history to scholars, but also to enable the researchers to search and cross-reference the information, thanks to advances in machine-learning technologies.
If you're not interested in reading the article, then watch this short video (2.5 minutes).

Thanks to both Chad Harper and David Vampola for sharing this article with me.  

Friday, September 01, 2017

Are you digtizing what is true?

1940 Census publicity photo
1940 Census publicity photo
We - the global we - are digitizing our history, including birth, death, marriage, census and other records for a vast number of people. looks at these records and uses OCR and algorithms to make sense of them.  However, there are problems.  Records from the late 1800s and early 1900s are handwritten, which can make them difficult to interpret.  Using the information about the age of the person at the census leads to a guess about the year that person was born, and the guess has a 50% chance of being correct.  Then there is the problem of names and if the name is correct. 100 years ago, people knew who each other were and didn't care if the name was misspelled, or if the name was just wrong.  However, now all of these potential errors are causing problems.

We cannot go through every line of data that is being digitized, compare it to other data, and then correct it.  While the data would be more accurate, the process would be too time-consuming and costly. (and I'm sure other sites) allow people to compile information and make corrections on their "copy."  This is a wonderful solution, if the person knows the data is wrong, but what if the person has no idea?

This topic came to mind because I'm researching my family tree and the data isn't always close to being accurate. Thankfully, I know enough about the family tree to be able to make intelligence decisions about the data I'm using (or so I hope).  But I cannot go in and correct what I know is blatantly wrong and that is frustrating.

If you are digitizing material today and making it available, or even archiving born digital materials:
  • How do you know that the information is accurate?  
  • What do you need to tell people about the data, which might help them understand its potential lack of accuracy?  
  • Can you build-in a feedback mechanism that would allow people to provide corrections?
Site of Steinway Hall, W. 57th (LOC)
Site of Steinway Hall, W. 57th
Yes, I know people are thinking about this.  I also know that people are creating systems that do allow for user-generated comments, descriptions, and tagging.  People are also doing this on the Internet in places like Flickr.  You see this, for example, with the historic photos that have been uploaded by the Library of Congress.  If you check the photo on the right, you'll see interesting and useful comments. Can we do more of this?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Personal: "Long Days Held Close to the Heart" & What's next for Jill

Three MSLIS students and Jill Hurst-Wahl
After five years, I have stepped down from being director of the MSLIS program at Syracuse University.  If you work in academia, then you'll recognize this as being quite normal.  If you're not in academia, let me tell you this is quite normal!  No one stays the director of a program forever. At some point, that person returns to being "just faculty."  I am making that transition joyfully!  In celebration of the change, I wrote an article for the iSchool blog and print publication entitled "Long Days Held Close to the Heart."  If you want to know more about what I've been doing, that will give you a peek. You might also read this post, which I wrote after my first semester as director.

So what's next for me, besides fewer emails and fewer meetings? 
  • My teaching load is lighter this year, in order to give me time and space to dig into my areas of interest.  However, teaching-wise I've been developing a graduate class title "Collection Development and Access", which I will teach in October and then April.  (This class had been irregularly taught in the past and will now be taught twice per year online in 11-week quarters.)  I've developed this class from scratch and have put more work into it then you can imagine!  
  • I have scheduled webinars and workshops beginning in December on a variety of topics including copyright, advocacy, providing services outside of the physical library, and training failures.  I am especially looking forward to the events on copyright, because I'll be speaking to library staff, who really need that knowledge.
  • I'll spend time doing things in the community, which I've not been able to do.  Last week, it was working a Multicultural Fair for children. This Sunday, it will be working the NYS Library Booth at the New York State Fair.  After that, who knows!
If you have been wanting to talk with me about a project idea or a workshop idea, and haven't done it, now is the time! Visit my web site and use any of those methods to contact me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Vacuum and Use

Thinking statues
In this final post in this series, I think it is important to talk about two things: vacuum and use.

This series has given you ways of increasing your library intelligence.  Wherever you are in the library and information science field, you need to continue to increase your knowledge of the field. You also need to increase your knowledge of what is happening in other areas.

If your library is expected to react to the world around it, then knowing what is happening around you is important.  You cannot live in a vacuum.  You cannot make the library your fortress against outside forces. You cannot ignore what is happening out in the community.  You must be aware of what is happening and take time to learn about non-LIS things.

Take time to understand what is happening in your larger community - whatever that community might be.  What are its issues, concerns, or joys?  What is changing or needs to be changed?  What's happening with the budget, land use, etc.?  What are people protesting and why?  Learn this so that when you need the information or a point of reference, you have it.  Learn this so if something occurs that requires the library to act, you can do so quickly.

You can learn what's happening outside of the library through interacting with your community and your larger organization. You should also be paying attention to the news sources, which are relevant for your community.  While you may be unable to read, listen, or watch everything that is relevant, you can read headlines and table of contents, and then read any articles that seems particularly useful.  You might want to attend relevant meetings or information sessions in your community, as a way of learning more about what your community is discussing.  Of course, don't forget that social media can help you stay on top of what your community is discussing. Just be sure that you're hearing from multiple sides on an issue.

As for use, this new knowledge which you have garnered is only effective if you utilize it.  Be willing to be part of library conversations, whether that is with LIS students, LIS professionals, or members of your larger community.  Share what you know about libraries but remember:
  • Do not use library jargon.  Please don't use library jargon with members of your larger community, because if you use words that they do not understand, they will just stop listening to you.  Limit your use of library jargon with other members of the LIS profession, because the breadth of the profession means that we all don't actually understand each other's jargon.
  • Listen.  The saying is that you have two ears and only one mouth, so you'll listen twice as long as you speak.  When you listen, you will actually have a better idea of what you should be talking about.  If you're unclear about what you should be saying, ask open ended questions.  By the way, some members of our community are rarely listened to.  Being willing to listen actively and openly is a wonderful gift.
  • Acknowledge that you don't know everything.  There will always be topics that you don't understand.  If it is a topic that you really do need to know more about, use your library skills to learn about it.
When I started this series, my main focus was on LIS students, but it quickly broadened to other members of the LIS profession.  In addition, the topics in this series grew more than I anticipated.  I'm sure there is more to say, but I will stop here.  If you have comments, questions, concerns, or ideas, I hope that you will post them as a comment.  If you have found this series useful, please comment and tell me why.  (I enjoy good news!)  And if you know someone who should read this series, please pass it along to them.

Previous posts in this series:

Interested in having Digitization 101 delivered to your inbox? Use the sign-up box on the right side of the blog or use the box in this post.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

KinderGuides, Georgia State e-Reserves, and Copyright

Copyright symbol
Andrew Albanese and Christopher Kenneally discussed two copyright cases in the August 4 installment of the Beyond the Book podcast.  The KinderGuides case has to do with the creation of plot summaries for young students of famous works.  Was this Fair Use?  The other is the continuing saga of the Georgia State e-reserves case.  The episode is 16 minutes in length.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: An Ongoing Need

Thinking statues
This - I think - is the second to last post in this series.  In this post, it is time to confront a reality.  That reality is that some graduates of academic programs believe that they need to learn nothing more than what their degree program taught them, and then get frustrated when they learn that isn't true.  Many of us have heard a graduate lament that his/her academic program did not teach them everything.  That fact, though, should not be a surprise.  No industry - including the information industry - is stagnant. There is always something new to learn.

If you are currently in an academic program and looking forward to a professional position OR you are in your first professional position, there are two points to keep in mind:
  1. Many employers will immediate teach a new employee specific skills for that work environment.  Rather than being frustrated at this, recognize this as an opportunity to learn more.  If what you are being taught is different than what you learned in your academic program, judge neither as being wrong but rather as being options to carry with you into the future.
  2. Employers will want you to continue to learn, whether that employer is able to fund that activity for you or not.  You will need to identify - perhaps with input from your boss and your colleagues - what you need to learn and the best way to learn it.  It is then up to you to pursue that learning whether it is through reading, podcasts, webinars, seminars, workshops, conferences, or academic classes.
Yes, the need to increase your library intelligence will be continual, because libraries are constantly changing.  That means that your job will constantly change.  I encourage you to be proactive in your learning.  Don't wait until your boss must force you to learn something new.

In terms of professional development, I have written several blog posts on attending conferences.  Those tips can be applied to many different professional development situations. I also have a post on reading and listening recommendations for MSLIS students.

By the way, if you are still in school, your academic program should teach you - implicitly or explicitly - how to be a lifelong learner.  If it isn't obvious to you how your academic program is doing (or did do) that, ask.   

Previous posts in this series:

Interested in having Digitization 101 delivered to your inbox? Use the sign-up box on the right side of the blog or use the box in this post.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Put in the Time

Thinking statues
There is no shortcut to upping your library intelligence.  There are things you must do, and those things will take time.  Let me say that we all have the same amount of minutes is a day.  That means that we all have the same opportunities to increase our knowledge of libraries and the information field.  The question for you to consider is... How are you going to fit the necessary activities into your day?

People like Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, David Allen, and others have thoughts on how to learn something new, how to fit learning into your day, or how to make time for the things you need to be focusing on.  It all, though, boils down to putting in the time.

We each have 1440 minutes in each day. Generally, we spend 480 minutes sleeping and 420 (or more) minutes working (that could be working a job or going to school).  That leaves 540 minutes for the other things we need to do, including meals, commuting, taking care of your family and home, etc.  In those 540 minutes, can you dedicate 20 minutes to increasing your library intelligence?

20 minutes a day may not seem like much, but if you spend 20 minutes per day on a learning activity, and do that five days per week, every week, that is 5200 minutes per year (86.66 hours). 

One key is dedicating time on your calendar.  Yes, put that 20 minute block of time on your calendar and keep that meeting with yourself!  This meeting with yourself could be done anywhere (home, car, work, parking lot, park).  Some days, you might use that time to actually meet with someone or to attend a training session.  This suggests, by the way, that the 20 minutes might not occur always at the same time each day and that is okay.  What is important is that you do it!  Will you do this for the a year or for the rest of your life? That is up to you and what your goals are.

I have had long periods in my life where I needed to dedicate a specific length of time each day in order to accomplish "X".  In one nine-month period it was indeed a learning activity and I did it every day, seven days a week.  Keeping that time was difficult when I was traveling (like at a conference), but I still tried my best to do it, because I of its importance.

If this idea resonates with you, go to your calendar and begin to schedule that time with yourself.  You might use the first few 20 minute periods to organize your learning and networking activities, then use future periods to do those activities.

Resources and Inspiration:
Previous posts in this series:

Interested in having Digitization 101 delivered to your inbox? Use the sign-up box on the right side of the blog or use the box in this post.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Get Digital

Thinking statues
When I worked in my college library - eons ago - paper was the format that ruled.  Things have changed and obviously we live in a digital age.  Behind - or underneath - everything we do as librarians is something digital (e.g., a database).  Technology facilities everything.  Without it, most of our work would not get done.

Desktop computers entered the consumer world around the time I was heading to graduate school.  My first professional position wasn't in a library, but was as a corporate technology trainer.  Yes, my job was teaching others how to use this technology that was now on their desktops.  Back then, using technology meant learning a variety of different commands in whatever software was on the computer.  There was a sense of accomplishment in understand how to format a document in word processing software or programming a complex set of commands in the spreadsheet software.  All of those commands were worth knowing and using because you could see how the end result was better.

With that as a prologue, let me encourage you to learn the in's and out's of the technology that is at your fingertips.  Yes, you can open up your word processing software and just type, but there are a ton of commands in the menu - learn what they do! Ditto for the spreadsheet software you're using and any other software you are using on a regular basis.

If you are a student, I can tell you that getting to know the software you are using for your assignments will make those assignments look much better. Yes, better formatting (subheadings, margins, line spacing, pagination)!  You'll also find that there are menu options (e.g., thesaurus) that can help you create a better sounding assignment.  Then there is the magic of tables, merging, etc. that can streamline your work.

If you are an information professional, taking time to get a better handle on the software you're using can help you work smarter. We often don't have enough time in the day, so fighting with your software to get something done is not a good use of time.

By the way, often there is a more "command driven" way of using software.  Don't be afraid of that. Yes, that includes understanding those codes that are actually in the typed documents you're creating. Just trust me that a little knowledge of those commands will be helpful.

If you don't think you can learn these tools on your own, training is available.  Look for low-cost or free training options through your library, library consortium,, and other web-based training services.  You might find free tutorials on the Internet or YouTube. If there is someone in your midst, who is really good with technology, you might ask that person to give you a lesson.  No, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on training! 

Besides the software on your computer, get to know the software you are using to search a library's databases or the Internet.  If you're working with special software to help you with digitization, metadata creation, or something else, learn the in's and out's of that software, too.  Consider how awesome it would be to know become more proficient at that software than the people around you! You would become one of the go-to people for help, and that would make you stand out in a positive way.

If you don't feel that you can learn this software on your own, check to see what training is available from your database providers and the other suppliers of the software in your library. It is likely that there is free training available.  You might also seek out someone who is more proficient and ask if that person can given you an one-on-one lesson in those commands the person finds most useful.

I haven't talked about your mobile device. Yes, those are indeed powerful devices and likely you don't know enough about them.  Take time to learn what they can really do.  Waiting for a meeting or standing at the bus stop?  Explore the apps that you have or search to find better apps for what you want to do.  (I always look for free apps and I can tell you that there are lots of awesome free apps available.)

Finally, I've made this post about you, but let me say that if you learn the technology that is around you, you'll be able to answer technology questions your community members have.  In addition, you'll be able to do one-on-one or group technology training, which many librarians do as part of their positions.

Previous posts in this series:

Interested in having Digitization 101 delivered to your inbox? Use the sign-up box on the right side of the blog or use the box in this post.