WA Secretary of State Blogs

Internet Librarian, Day 3 – Tuesday, Oct 27 2009 – #IL2009

image Day three started off with a funny and interesting keynote with Paul Holdengraber (who had interviewed Vint Cerf the previous day), and continued in good form with some great sessions. Paul talked a lot about the Live from the NYPL series they do and as opposed to doing straight author readings. They record these sessions and they are available on the website, so you should check some of them out.

Sessions on Day 3 include:

  • Keynote: Libraries of the Future: Places of Desire
    Paul Holdengraber, Director of Public Programs, New York Public Library
  • Making Virtual Reference Multidimensional
    William Breitbach & Mike Demars, California State University @ Fullerton
    Linda Bedwell, Dalhousie University Libraries
  • Web 2.0 for Tough Times
    Jaye Lapachet, Camille Reynolds, Kendra K. Levine
  • Library Website Improvement Face-Off
    David Lee King, Frank Cervone, Amanda Etches-Johnson, Aaron Schmidt, Jeff Wisniewski

Other IL posts: Index | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Full session notes available after the cut.

Keynote: Libraries of the Future: Places of Desire
Paul Holdengraber, Director of Public Programs, New York Public Library

inspired by conversation, debate, and argument
– the library is the place where ideas are exchanged

“I believe in the friction of dialog.”

“Schools are overrated. Most of what I learned, I learned outside of school.”

“Create some cognitive theater.”

“Digression is the sunshine of narrative.”

got tired of hearing “at the library we don’t…”
– well, they did it, and are doing it
– calls this “activating the library”

great series called Live from the NYPL
– uses artist-in-residence, Flash Rosenberg (very cool!)

“Experiences need to be left in the realm of freedom and also curated.”
– on getting user guidance, letting users build libraries


Making Virtual Reference Multidimensional
William Breitbach & Mike Demars, California State University @ Fullerton
Linda Bedwell, Dalhousie University Libraries

the in-person reference transaction remains very engaging
– we’ve replaced that with something that is not very engaging or visual

– people trying to communicate in paragraphs when they should be using shorter IM conventions

doomsday devices
– communication problems
– instruction problems
– technical problems

people are tolerant of spelling errors?
– what about us being professionals
— if you don’t trust a site with spelling errors, would you trust a librarian who makes spelling errors?

– jing demo
– sharedcopy demo
— creates a webpage with selected text

have preloaded / premade videos for common questions
– send link (e.g. youtube) when those questions come up
– or use other library’s preloaded videos

also using jing for screenSHOTs
– allows highlighting and annotation, also uploads with URL

copyurl – firefox plugin

linkbunch – like tinyurl but you can save numerous sites to one link
– [could also use delicious]

screenjelly or screenr


here a widget, there a widget
linda bedwell, dalhousie university

used QP until 2008
– wanted to offer chat widgets and IM in tandem with QP
– used multiple widgets, librarians used Pidgin in background

– used open source stats database (UNLV), IM Statistics Generator

44% increase in total questions (from prev year)
55% received in IM/widget service

surveyed students on what they preferred
– many preferred IM, then f2f, then IM account
— QP came in just above using the phone

– strategic and ubiquitous placement of widgets
— library contacts pages
— database “ask a librarian” links
— subject guides

— resulted in pandemonium, VERY BUSY!!!

– technical issues, OPAC widget status going offline
– solutions: drop the IM accounts, dynamic icon for OPAC
— ZERO questions coming through IM accounts, everyone using Meebo IM instead

– 340 sessions in fall 2007
– 1,885 sessions in fall 2008

more important than stats and graphs
– appreciative students
– more people got help
– improved academic achievement (?)

– switched to libraryh3lp for about $450 a year
– has worldcat local integration (have problems)
– increasing presence elsewhere
— online courses
— library home pages
— link resolver results menu

looking back
– chat has onerous forms
– lacklustre response
– gave up QP just before the qwidget came out

– place chat widgets at student’s point of need
– be aware of online environment of widget placement
– experiment, share results, share failures
– refresh meebo accounts by logging into native interface
– separate accounts for tracking purposes


Web 2.0 for Tough Times
Jaye Lapachet, Camille Reynolds, Kendra K. Levine

jaye lapachet and camille reynolds

our three rules for web 2.0
– protect who you are
– protect your time
– be realistic

be where your users are
– twitter is one way to see what your users are saying

why oh why
– marketing
– test bed for concept before spending $ on more robust tool
– share and share-alike, or have password, will travel
– extend staff and have fun

use a wiki in a lot of ways
– good tool for many purposes, many they never thought of

– if the tool doesn’t work, ditch it
— it’s not a waste of time to try things, even if they don’t work for you

bubbl.us for mindmapping / workflow mapping

add your slideshares on LinkedIN

presentation available on presenter’s linkedIN profile

MashTrans and 7 Things
Kendra K

transportation libraries
– some academics, mostly state departments
– some places block more things than others

– built with wordpress and jing
– how to use web 2.0 tools effectively

social media
– flickr, facebook, youtube, twitter
— putting archival photos on flickr lets the public participate, leave comments, etc.
– twitter, can be effective for educating users
— linking to story about why guardrails help during crashes, construction updates, etc

– where are your users?
– use social tools to build community

if you don’t update your social tools, then there’s no point in having them
– if you don’t participate then your audience won’t participate either

social tools are less formal in general, so you should be less formal too

SLA Tran 7 Things
– more manageable than 23 things
– a safe environment to learn
— have a prize for people who complete things
— it’s okay to fail or make mistakes, the point is to explore and try


Library Website Improvement Face-Off
David Lee King, Frank Cervone, Amanda Etches-Johnson, Aaron Schmidt, Jeff Wisniewski

liberate those search boxes
– make them big, easy, and put them where your users need them

be fun and whimsical on your website
– cut your language down as much as possible
– make sure your language is not alienating and cold

– make sure your site works for your users

– travelling website
– multicolored logo represents the last five cities you’ve visited
– makes the experience tailored to the user experience

aaron schmidt

– test your website!
— user-testing based on the tasks your users perform on the site
– watch 4 people complete a task, see where they have problems, etc
— recommended reading: don’t make me thing by steve krug

a/b testing
– offer 2 versions and see which one helps them perform the tasks the best
– and which ones they like the most

user testing
– don’t care what people think, care what people do
– people don’t know what they want

make your content shine
– all of you can probably remove 1/4 of the pages on your website
– cut out the unessential and you can focus more on the content that is most important
– write for the web
— avoid long paragraphs and sentences, break things up better
— make it scannable, in grab-and-go chunks
— recommended reading: letting go of the words

everything should be available in 3 clicks is a myth
– if you give people confidence in browsing your site, they’ll go deeper
– offer breadcrumbs and context to let people know where they are
— makes it easy to go deep and come back

don’t use “click here”
– instead link through the actual text
— e.g. apply here to get a library card

david lee king

google analytics
– top 10 things people want to do on website
— clicking on main page
— 66% bounce rate (means they’re not looking at it)
— programs, services, find a job link
– improve these top 10 things – make them rock!

what words are you using
– account, databases, catalog, materials, literacy/ESL
— ask patrons what words they use, and then use those words
— patrons won’t use “reserve room”, more likely “carry-out room”

– your database is showing
— fix that!
– use some css to make it so the database isn’t so apparent

jeff wisniewski

usability/UX issues

“there’s nothing wrong with our websites, the problem is our users” (ironically)

our websites function as portals
– we are jalapeno poppers
– we are our databases and journal lists and catalog
— none of these things are separate from the website
— so we should look at the usability of these things too

the man on the street doesn’t know a browser from a operating system
– received answers like:
— microsoft, yahoo, apple, etc …

for many users YOU are the CATALOG

where the hell is the ONE search box
– a recent survey of 7 library websites found:
— 1 with 7 search boxes
— 2 with 3 search boxes
— 2 with 1 that defaulted to site search
— 1 that searched catalog only

– more towards less search boxes / a single search box
— also, one search box that searches everything

promotional badges for products look like banner ads
– seems like asking people to ignore you
– don’t make something look like an ad, and then put it where ads usually go

magic wands

– the long wow
— customer satisfaction is good, but what you really want is customer loyalty

make half the words on library websites disappear
– get rid of the words that don’t need to be there

have libraries provide a unified experience across all our different products
– our website vanishes, OPACs suck, databases is hard to use
– we’re making our users use 3-4-5-6-7 different systems

your boss geeks out and wants all the tools
– that you keep trying to push

wands from the crowd
– get the IT dept and the librarians on the same page
– make it accessibly
– eliminate the fear of change
– make all legislator realize the value of libraries
– make it easy to make these unified sites (and do creative and new things)
– do such a good job pushing content out that people wouldn’t even have to come to the website

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