Entries in "My Experiences" ( for this category only)

2010 CWRU Relay for Life

In 2009, Case Western Reserve University in only its second year raised more than $88,000 in Relay for Life. The Kelvin Smith Library entered our first team and raised over $700. I personally walked the entire 16 hour event and walked over 30 miles.

This year we want to go bigger!

Donate to the library team or myself.

I need the motivation to walk all night again, because this year I am going for 40+ miles.

Ohio Wind-related Manufacturing Mentioned at ALA Conference

I am attending the Midwinter Conference of the American Library Association in Boston. I did not attend this specific session but Al Gore was one of the invited speakers. He specifically mentioned Cardinal Fastener in Ohio and how advanced energy has revitalized the company.

Eleventh Annual Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture
Saturday, January 16, 2010, 1:30- 2:30 pm
Featuring Al Gore

Kindle DX

You may have recalled well over a year ago I wrote a blog post about the Kindle being used for textbooks. Well the idea has now taken form at Case Western Reserve University as we are a partner in experimenting with the new Kindle DX.

Career in Science Librarianship

I was very honored recently to be interviewed by Lucas Laursen for an article he was preparing for Science Careers (from the journal Science).

The article, called Looking Up Your Career at the Library, was collection of thoughts by several science librarians that made the transition from the traditional science career path to libraries.

Wikis and Collaboration Models for Active Learning

Case held this session on May 8, 2008. I was asked to participate and helped to organize this session, but was already scheduled to deliver a Plenary at another conference. I was glad to see the session was a success and left the participants with many things to consider.

Collaborative Technology and Engaging the Campus 2008
Track 4: Blogs and Wikis
Session: Wikis and Collaboration Models for Active Learning
Panelists: Ben Schechter, Bill Barrow, Bill Claspy, Brian Gray, Roger Zender

It was a discussion on how to use Wiki software in order to create an interface which provides an opportunity for collaboration among users.

Check out the others session from Collaborative Technology and Engaging the Campus 2008, which include sessions on blogging, virtual worlds like Second Life, mobile devices, VOIP, and many other topics:

Increasing the Value of Our History with the Web

I am a little behind on my blogging. Now that I have taken a breather, I am looking to jump start things.

On May 8, 2008, I was invited to deliver the Plenary session for the Society of Ohio Archivists at their Spring Program. I was asked to bring my knowledge of web 2.0 to a group that sees the possible advantages but often is very early in implementation. It is exciting to speak at a meeting that I would not normally attend. Even though I was asked to share and set the tone for the meeting in terms of what web 2.0 offers for libraries, archives, historians, etc., I found I left the meeting with a list of sites and tools to explore myself.

From the File of Where Else Did They Look

I found this video about Gmail discussed in a Walking Paper blog entry. In general the video is Gmail engineers reading emails they receive from happy users. The last one in the video was a freshman chemical engineering student who was working on a group project and the answer the group needed appeared in the targeted Gmail ads. The Google engineer said "this person was able to use gmail ads to find something she couldn’t find anywhere else".

Really? I did a similar project on photoremediation during my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and I found all the necessary information from the library.

I have two concerns with this video and the suggestions made. First, I question where else did these students look. Second, Google is doing some wonderful things but they are not the only source. It leads me to challenge are libraries doing enough to be in front of the users eyes.

Amazon Kindle - Academic Uses

Since I work in an academic library, I want to discuss how I think Amazon's Kindle has opportunities to explore in academia.

I get students all the time that want the opportunity to download electronic versions of their textbooks to their laptop or other device. The size and sometimes the number of textbooks in a given semester makes them practical in a dorm room, but not in the classroom. Students often already carry laptops or other materials and
do not want to lug books as well. If they could include all their text books on a Kindle for in the classroom usage or studying when away from their dorms, it can be a great market to pursue.

Textbooks in the Library
Many libraries do not buy textbooks for their collections. There is an expectation that students purchase their needed books. Textbooks become dated too quick and would gather dust on library shelves that could be used for other materials. To be fair a library would be forced to keep textbooks on reserve so they are always available for usage. Keeping hundreds of textbooks on reserve causes many space concerns. What if libraries had a few Kindles available that contain the current e-versions of the school's textbooks?

Best Sellers, Leisure Books, or Other Rarely Used Materials
Many academic libraries provided limited access to best sellers or other leisure reading materials. Students are often forced to locate the local public library or purchase online from companies like Amazon. What if libraries had Kindles available and the library staff purchased patron-requested items? Many libraries already spend money on interlibrary loan, so would this be any different?

Departmental Training Tool
Many departments circulate books or journals for their staff to read as a professional development or awareness tool. Could a Kindle serve a similar role?

Laboratory or Clinical Usage
Would researchers use a Kindle with all their reference manuals, books, and data loaded on it?

Roving Reference
We have seen many libraries that now offer "roving reference" where the librarians come to the user rather than sitting behind a desk. Would a Kindle with the standard reference books be used to support this type of service?

Amazon Kindle - User Experience

I was able to get my hands on a Amazon Kindle for a few days. I will write at least a couple of posts on what I think. First, I will write on the user's experience and than my thoughts on the Kindle in academia.

I was very impressed with the overall usability. The text reads just like traditional print text. It has none of the glare or backlighting of other electronic devices. The size is that of an average book, and the weight is only slightly more.


  • Readability - Reads likes traditional printed media.
  • Portability - Has built-in memory, plus can uses SD memory cards.
  • Extras: Plays MP3s from built-in speaker or headphone jack.
  • Does not require wifi access points as it uses Sprint's network at no additional cost to the user.
  • Includes QWERTY keyboard that can be used for searching within text, annotations, and other uses.
  • Adjustable text size should be a strong selling point for those with eye problems that may have trouble getting access to other print materials.
  • Purchase books, magazines, and newspapers.


  • Price: $400 - Do I need to say more?
  • Carrying case - Designed to imitate a book cover, but I do not think it will last long. It does press on the keys and I think over time the Kindle will start to slide out.
  • Only back and white text, no color.
  • Scroll wheel and the menu system assumes everyone is familiar with an iPod-like system. I showed it to a small group of people in a meeting and only 2 of the 6 instinctively understood how to use it.
  • Requires two hands to hold, unless you have fairly large hands.
  • Only uses a single cellular network for online access - Sprint. How good is Sprint's coverage in all areas? I do not know personally.
  • Limited to Amazon's selections for purchases with rights restrictions in place.
  • Charged to read blogs and there are only specific ones available.
  • 10 cents to send files to your Kindle and I have heard that not all file formats cooperate.


  • Construction - Will it hold up over long-term use?
  • Availability - Amazon constantly lists it as sold out.

I do think it has a future. As the prices falls over time, it will gain popularity. I think it can be a strong sell in certain user markets, such as travelers, people that do not purchase books for their own collection, and techies. At $400, I will not be buying one anytime soon.

ALA Midwinter 2008


I will be heading to Philadelphia for ALA Midwinter in January. I will post my plans and updates here.

Anyone else going?

Blog Named Top 100 Education Site for Entrepreneurs

In a blog post called Hidden Gems: The 100 .edu sites every Entrepreneur Should Read by Jessica Hupp, my blog was listed with others in the Knowledge & Information category.

At the root of every institution of learning is information. These libraries, defenders of free knowledge, and business training sites have a lot of information to offer entrepreneurs.
The Bootstrapper blog is a resource for any small business owner operating on a shoestring budget, and provides tips on financing, cash flow, low-cost marketing and small business loans.

Presentation at ALAO Annual

I survived the ALAO Annual Conference. I was on the planning committee, and specifically arranged the vendor area. Here is my presentation on Second Life that I gave at the Conference.

What is Web 2.0? - A Potpourri of Examples

The Case Libraries is kicking of its 2007 Brown Bag Lunch Series on Wednesday, September 19, 2007, at 11:30am-1:00pm in the Kelvin Smith Library's Dampeer Room. Brian C. Gray (Engineering, Statistics and Mathematics Library at KSL) will present "What is Web 2.0? - A Potpourri of Examples". Bring your lunch as beverages and dessert will be available. RSVP to Gail Reese (egr@case.edu) or KSL Administration at 368-2992.

The Brown Bag Lunch Series are lunchtime presentations with featured speakers and informal discussion about a particular topic. These presentations are one hour long. All library staff, as well as the Case and UCI community are invited.

What is Second Life Best At?

I have done many talk on how libraries are using web 2.0 technologies to supplement and/or provide new services and resources. I often mention Second Life as a possibility that many libraries and librarians are exploring. The common question is "what can it offer that we do not already do". In my personal experience, SL is best for collaboration and programming. It offers another mechanism to offer presentations, discussions, and education opportunities. It works best if you can go beyond the real world physical environments we already react in.

I challenge people to create things in SL that we do not or cannot do in real life. At that point, it becomes valuable.

SL is great for 3-D modeling, recreation of historical events, or other themed environments. These types of educational activities would be very expensive to recreate on a life-size scale and to bring together all the experts needed.

Here is a nice example of a unique activity that can be accomplished in virtual environments, not just SL. Have you ever imagined walking through the environment created in artworks, movie, or TV?

If you want to see how this would made, visit the blog entry describing Robbie Dingo's SL machinima.

TechConnections 8

I presented at TechConnections 8 in June of 2007. I posted my presentation in the past and shared some insight from Michael Stephens and his presentation. TechConnections 8 has posted other presentations as well, including:

  • Windows Vista: Is Your Library Ready?
  • What Does Windows Vista Mean for Directors?
  • Microsoft Office 2007: A Quick Look
  • How to Hack Your Director
  • The Synaptic Library
  • Google Tools for a Great Web Site
  • PC Sign-up Systems

Resources, Data, or Tools

Are libraries offering resources, data, or tools to support instruction? Is the difference in the actual terms used just word play? Do libraries not market tools for instruction and only focus on research? Are library tools not good enough?

The Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2007) highlights a project asking educators their top ten lists of learning TOOLS. It has caused a ripple in the library profession communication channels as NOT one library tool once mentioned by the first 88 learning professional to respond.

Some have proposed that there is a difference between information resources and learning tools. Libraries do advertise and promote many of the learning tools mentioned but none of the subscription-based or library-design resources made the list.

I think all might be true.

First, surveys should define the meanings of words. But another view is that libraries have a reputation of developing our own terminology. Does that terminology make sense to users? Maybe library patrons do not fully grasp the words "database" or "resource". Maybe the simpler word "tool" is easier to grasp.

Second, libraries have always been good at marketing to people in the physical buildings, but marketing to more and more online patrons can be tough. Online competition is severe.

Finally, maybe we are not focused enough on instruction as a reason to use the library resources. I openly promote a database called Knovel as an instruction tool. I would not take credit for that stance though. One of my professors shared with me how he uses it for in the classroom activities. He feels it is a strong method to demonstrate chemical engineering calculations and develop real understanding. It is closer to how graduates would conduct such calculations in the real world.

Going Gothic with other SL Librarians

Librarians within Second Life get together for various social events to talk, share stories, and interact. The Second Life Library 2.0 dance party was on July 6, 2007. The theme was gothic and I won the award for best male costume.

Ohioans in Second Life

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from Robert Wang, a writer for the Canton Repository. He had found a blog entry I had done about Second Life and Case Western Reserve University. He was looking for local perspectives from those that use Second Life for different purposes. Of course, we talked about education and libraries.

Read the published story called Ohioans explore virtual world of Second Life, a new world on computers.

From D.C.

Originally uploaded by bcg8
I hope to learn plenty at ALA Annual and I will share as much as possible.

Laura Solomon on Second Life

As I mentioned before I attended TechConnectons 8, the other day. I attended a session by Laura Solomon (Lebachai Vesta in SL) on Second Life. It was perfect timing for me as I was preparing my own presentation on Second Life.

There was a couple stats or ideas she shared that I wish the same thing could be said about our libraries:

  • Doubling Rate is every 7 months
  • Approxmately 10% of the participants spend 80+ hours per week in SL
  • Second Life was named one of the most influential sites for the 2008 election

Could you imagine if libraries could say the same thing?

TechConnections 8 and Michael Stephens

I was also lucky enough to attend two sessions by Michael Stephens at TechConnections 8. Even more valuable was the time we spent away from the conference discussing libraries, education, future goals, and everything else under the sun over lunch at a local Dublin, Ohio restaurant.

1. Hyperlinked Library: Trends, Tools and Technologies (Michael Stephens)
2. Technology Trends (Michael Stephens)

See his bibliography for these talks.

Some new things I picked up and need to explore:

Michael Stephens on Library 2.0
Originally uploaded by bcg8

Presentation on Second Life

I gave my first presentation focused solely on Second Life yesterday. I was talking to the Distance Learning Interest Group of the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO). It was a 2-hour long session that I ran very openly and accepted questions throughout. The discussion was great about how Second Life can be used by librarians and educators. what works or does not work, and where virtual environments may take education in the future.

Presented Web 2.0 at TechConnections 8

I presented on web 2.0 at TechConnections 8 on June 11, 2007. It was a wonderful experience. I have presented on web 2.0 previously, but never to a group of public librarians and administrators. They had great questions. And as always, I walked away with some new contacts and some new web/library 2.0 tools to explore.

I will do a separate post on my learnings and experience as soon as I go through all my notes.

Few Posts Lately - Been Busy

I have been quite busy with various personal projects, and my library has been doing special summer projects lately.

Let me share some happenings...

I recently gave a presentation for NOTSL (Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians) on May 24, 2007.

Russ Crabtree of Holy Cow Consulting gave a presentation on perceptions. It was quite interesting. He had the group participate in several exercises that showed how our personal perceptions and bias can skew our interactions. It was funny how our minds can make us believe something that does not really exist.

Rick Rubin, the Director of the Kent State University School of Library & Information Science, gave his thoughts on how he saw the profession, especially technical services, changing in the future. He also addressed library school education. He expressed how challenging it was to cover everything necessary in library school, when librarians are finding all kinds of unique jobs and organizations to work for.

Sharing My Presentations

I love SlideShare. In the true spirit of web 2.0, I post and share my presentations with the world.

Presentations include:

I am also teaching a 2-day workshop for the Kent State University School of Library & Information Science, called Using Web 2.0 Principles to Become Librarian 2.0.
Students will discover how libraries are using Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, social communities, podcasts, and various mash-ups, to give library users increased ownership in their library interactions. Students will investigate the major principles and applications, while developing an understanding of the library-specific issues. Topics of discussion may include privacy, trust or abuse of these technologies, policy considerations, factors to implementation, and optimization in the library environment.
I have included on SlideShare the introductory PowerPoints I use to introduce each hands on component. My Squidoo page has even more information about the workshop. I already taught one on the main Kent campus and at their SLIS distance location on Ohio State's campus. My next workshops will be July 20 & 21 and November 9 & 10 on Kent State's main campus.

I have several more talks scheduled in the future. If you can attend, make sure to say hello. If not, watch this blog and SlideShare for more information.

  • Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians (May 24, 2007 in Parma, Ohio) - Using Web 2.0 Principles to Become Librarian 2.0
  • TechConnections 8 (June 11 & 12, 2007 in Dublin, Ohio) - Exploring Libraries (…and Our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm
  • Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) Distance Learning Interest Group (June 15, 2007 in Huron, Ohio) - Education and Collaboration Takes on a Second Life
  • Ohio Library Council's Outreach & Special Services Division Outreach Retreat (August 1, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio) - Web 2.0 Tools – Outreach & Community Building with Chad F. Boeninger

More on New Workshop

As I mentioned before, I am teaching a new workshop for the Kent State University School of Library & Information Science.

I have used a couple of the existing web 2.0 tools to share my workshop content. Check out the Squidoo page to see what readings and tools we used. On SlideShare, I posted the introductory slides I used before we moved on to our hands-on assignments.

New Workshop - Using Web 2.0 Principles to Become Librarian 2.0

I am getting ready to teach a new workshop at Kent State University School of Library & Information Science. The response for the first offering was amazing - 24 at the Main campus and another 9 at Ohio State (distance location of the Kent program). I am really looking for the chance for a large group to "play" with all these tools.

Students will discover how libraries are using Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, social communities, podcasts, and various mash-ups, to give library users increased ownership in their library interactions. Students will investigate the major principles and applications, while developing an understanding of the library-specific issues. Topics of discussion may include privacy, trust or abuse of these technologies, policy considerations, factors to implementation, and optimization in the library environment. In addition, students will look at how users are creating tools to supplement and/or replace their experience with libraries.
Check out the Squidoo page I set up for the workshop. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please share.

The students for their final project will practice by using blogs, wikis, or other tools to create a web 2.0 environment for one of three scenarios - an existing or fictional library, employee training, or a virtual environment for a specific class or employer project. They will have a chance to keep it private on a library school run server or use one of the many free web-based applications. I am giving them the choice. If any of them decide to go public, I will share the results here.

Meebo Shows Love for Librarians

Meebo recently shared that librarians were an expected user group that has been driving its growth. It appears some of the usage was from librarians that had tight restrictions for computer applications from within their organizations.

On November 15th, I announced the roll out MeeboMe on this blog and my other blog. I have been very pleased with the results. I already used instant messaging to stay in touch with friends, relatives, and close colleagues. Now with MeeboMe, I get direct and immediate interactions with people as they read my blog entries. Some people are not willing to post comments, but anonymous conversations provide a new option.

The Meebo staff is great as well. Within hours of me posting the MeeboMe widgets on both blogs, they contacted me to see if I had any problems. I talked with one of their employees about how I plan on using Meebo and what improvements I might imagine.

LEADS from LAMA - Official Launch

I have hinted several times in the past that LAMA was trying to become Web 2.0 friendly. Here is the announcement for one of the first attempts. I have helped to develop LEADS from LAMA blog, which will replace the email-delivered LEADS from LAMA newsletter.

LEADS will feature the same content that appeared in the e-newsletter:
LAMA news and information about ALA and other organizations of interest to LAMA members; including awards, conferences, important dates and deadlines and other resources. The blog format will permit news to be published more rapidly and to be available through RSS feeds. Readers may comment on entries, and submit items for posting.

Look for more Web 2.0 goodies from ALA LAMA in the near future. (HINT: We are looking to collect stories, pictures, and comments about the first 50 years of LAMA. Just imagine the Web 2.0 tools we might utilize in this undertaking.)

World Usability Day 2006

What did you do for World Usability Day on November 14, 2006?

I attended a session consisting of roundtable discussions on Web Accessibility, Web 2.0, User Research, Remote Usability Testing, Eye Tracking, Internal Usability Testing, Art and Usability, and Landing Page Usability with representatives from KeyBank, Intuit, Progressive Insurance, Ernst & Young, eMergent Marketing, Brulant, Kent State University (IAKM) and other northeast Ohio companies and universities.

It was hosted at the Cleveland Museum of Art, sponsored by KeyBank, and facilitated by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Usability Professionals Association (NEOUPA).

It was nice to explore what others were doing and have a combination of corporations, academics, and non-profits share in these discussions. KeyBank demonstrated their portable usability system that they use to record employee responses when using various web applications. Ernst & Young demonstrated how they use web conferencing software to allow employees from all over the world to participate in their usability studies. Someone demonstrated how using eye tracking software you can record where people look and how long they look at specific locations on your website. A speaker from Progressive discussed how Web 2.0 is changing expectations in usability and making attempts for standardization tougher. Another speaker explored designing websites with accessibility for those with disabilities. Kent State demonstrated their usability lab and related research.

My 2.0 Developments

At the last ALA Annual, I accepted the responsibility of serving as the Web Coordinator for ALA LAMA. I coordinate efforts with various other content organizers by making sure templates are used correctly, that training is provided as needed, and acting as a sounding board as needed. I also have been challenged with helping LAMA's leadership utilize Web 2.0 technologies and principles to meet the needs of users.

While not officially announced yet, the new services are being developed. Take a peak at the ALA blogs to see the future of LAMA on the web. Both blogs are still being developed, so watch for a formal announcement in the near future.

Following ALA Library 2.0, I developed the teaching bug. This fall semester I have been teaching LIBS100 (Introduction to Information Literacy and Research) at Bryant & Stratton College in downtown Cleveland. The curriculum committee at Kent State University School of Library & Information Science has accepted my proposal to teach a Web 2.0 in Libraries 2-day workshop. I will post more details here as the details are finalized. I am very excited that my alma mater recognizes the need to prepare the newest librarians in this area.

Exploring Libraries (...and our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm - Follow Up

I hope you had a chance to check out my recent presentation. Since I did not record it, as I thought about it too late, let me share some comments.

I shared all the Web 2.0 tools for several reasons:

  • Librarians can benefit from their use.
  • Librarians need to recognize the names and terminology, in case a user approaches them.
  • Libraries can benefit from or utilize these tools.
  • Users may be using these tools in order to improve their library experience.
  • Users may be using these tools instead of the library.
  • Users are searching for answers using these tools, and is your library "advertised" in the data they discover.
  • Users are creating data and tools that might be better than library resources.
  • Users are creating data and tools that might benefit libraries.
I did not want to scare the audience, since I did not know everyone's technology knowledge. In order to relate to everyone, I focused on our USERS. We all have library users, no matter the level of technology. If a technology is intimidating, think about how it might help your user to replace or supplement a library service or resource. It gives you a strong base to start your exploration.

How Do You Prepare For The Future

A commenter asked me if I had "any suggestions regarding how to prepare our future librarians to work in the traditional, digital, and the new Lib 2.0 environment".

Some people suggest that Web 2.0 will make the future "easier". I believe just the opposite is and will occur. Web 2.0 technology can make our lives more efficient, but it can also overwhelm us with more information than we have time to absorb. More data just means more discussion and questions. I look at it like this. Our online resources are increasing in numbers, and the number of reference questions are not decreasing. They are also getting more difficult in nature though.

I think for new (and current librarians) the key is to learn the traditional resources and methods, and all the new technologies at the same time. Even with all the tools in the world, search methods and (for now) print resources are still critical.

Some suggestions:

  • Let others sort through all the information for you. With blogs, wikis, forums, books reviews, and discussion lists, people are constantly summarizing or suggesting key sources. We cannot read everything, so what are others suggesting.
  • Use RSS feeds to stay current. I can go through hundreds or even thousands of items in my RSS reader in one-hour. RSS feeds are much easier to sort and find the best information, unlike full emails or random Internet browsing.
  • Work as a team. Another librarian and I formed a reading group in our library that has 10-12 members from our staff. One month we read a novel for fun and the next we read articles around a given topic. For example, one month we read various articles about IM, but no one was required to read all the articles (unless they wanted to). The discussion was one-hour over lunch and everyone learned a lot.
  • PLAY! That is my motto. I always try new things. Even if you do not plan on continually using a new technology in the future, one of your users might be. Will you recognize their question when they approach you?
  • Use the same tools we suggest for our patrons: citation managers and database alerts.

Exploring Libraries (...and our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm

Last night, I was the guest speaker for the the Northern Ohio Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NORASIST). The networking before dinner and the discussion related to my presentation was wonderful. The comments and questions have given me some new areas for exploration.

In the next few days, I will answer a couple questions that were proposed to me that I did not have a full response for. Watch my blog for follow-up.

NORASIST Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 24th, 2006
Exploring Libraries (...and our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm
The information world is becoming more user-driven and "social" in scope. As information professionals, we must understand this new wave of Internet customization and collaboration. Our users are developing new expectations in information delivery and interaction, but are we meeting or exceeding their needs? Some libraries and information providers are exploring and utilizing the same principles and technologies that have driven the Web 2.0 movement.Libraries are using tools, such as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, social communities, podcasts, and various "mash-ups", to give library users increased ownership in their library experiences.

Presentation Bibliography (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)

Presentation - Exploring Libraries (...and our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm

NORASIST Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 24th, 2006
Exploring Libraries (...and our Users) in the Web 2.0 Realm
Brian C. Gray, MLIS
Librarian - Engineering, Math, & Statistics
Case Western Reserve University
Kelvin Smith Library
Blog: http://blog.case.edu/bcg8/

The information world is becoming more user-driven and "social" in scope. As information professionals, we must understand this new wave of Internet customization and collaboration. Our users are developing new expectations in information delivery and interaction, but are we meeting or exceeding their needs? Some libraries and information providers are exploring and utilizing the same principles and technologies that have driven the Web 2.0 movement. Libraries are using tools, such as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, social communities, podcasts, and various "mash-ups", to give library users increased ownership in their library experiences. More information from NORASIST News.

Blog Rebirth - On a Personal Level

I have not posted in a couple months following the end of the ALA Library 2.0 collaboration, but my Web 2.0 experiences have not ended though. I have volunteered to be the Library Administration & Management Association (ALA LAMA) web coordinator and am working closely with Lorraine Olley, Executive Director of LAMA and another ALA Library 2.0 participant, to bring Web 2.0 concepts and tools to LAMA's membership. Expect some announcements in the very near future, especially as we celebrate LAMA's 50th anniversary.

The Northern Ohio Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology has asked me to present at their October meeting about Web 2.0/Library 2.0. Details to follow.

I am also working on a workshop for the Kent State University of School of Library and Information Science on Web 2.0 in libraries. The 2-day workshop will focus on what libraries are already doing and what our users are doing that we should be aware of. More details will be offered soon, as I am trying to get the information submitted to be on the Spring workshop schedule.

I plan to use this blog to continue my exploration into Web 2.0 and libraries.

Closing Session or Just the Beginning

This is my first time to attempt to blog an activity while a session is in progress. Well here it goes...

I was glad to hear others have similar thoughts as me at today's Closing Session - OK lets get started! I am not suggesting that we did not work hard already, but the group has really learned a lot and are eager to look to the future now.

I was amazed how much beyond a "workshop" that this ALA Library 2.0 Bootcamp developed. Beyond just looking at the technology from a hands-on playground, the group flushed out much more about user expectations, organizational implementation, online/social implementation, etc.

The work products of the ten teams were amazing for "virtually" working on the topics, while potentially many of the participants were exploring these 2.0 technologies for the first times themselves.

I think we only can see the tip of the iceberg right now after our 6-weeks of collaboration, but ALA cannot avoid the collision with Web 2.0 that we have created. There comes a time when people must realize that we do not always need to avoid every collision, because the past principles and the future technologies can blend to meet the needs of today. ALA and all libraries can be great leaders in pushing not just the technology of Web 2.0 but the principles of collaboration, social interaction, and the user's control of their experience.

One thing I hope this exploration demonstrated to ALA and the membership is how much work can be accomplished outside the traditional face-to-face meetings of conferences. It appears from the discussions and team projects that we can be seeing an amazing transformation in ALA and libraries in general in how business is conducted, how users are reached, and how ALL people can contribute to an organization's success and resources.

I look forward to continue growing the relationships I developed, and helping in anyway I can to continue this wonderful process.

Team 1 Project Summary - Public Commenting

This document provide a summary and some additional information to our videocast. We have offered it in either Word or PDF format for your convenience.

PDF Download

Word Download

ALA L2: Team One - Final Project

Join us in the exploration of the best practices for utilizing public comments on an organization's blog or website.

We will be issuing a summary document shortly with more details.

Comments on Brian Mathews Podcast

I finally got to listen to Brian Mathew's podcast that was created for the participants of ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). He did make comments that hit the spot since I work in an academic library.

He described Academic Library 2.0 in various terms:

- Adaptive & responsive without abandoning identity
- Not all about technology...services, resources, policies, etc.
- Creating a culture of "community"
- Information literacy, or instructing in a skill-based approach, rather than "do it our way"
- Being where the user is
- Social aspects
- Information Commons approach, where the aim is productivity
- Assessment for adoption & knowing your patrons

He highlighted a couple of 2.0 services that he was aware of, such as PennTags. Mathews also described who he monitored students blogs by setting up keyword searches for words like "library" or "research". He could than offer advice or additional information to their discussions.

My university does offer a blog system to faculty, staff, and students. All entries are fed into a single RSS feed (Planet Case) that I do monitor. I have corresponded with several of the posters by highlighting a library or Internet resource that could help them in their research or other explorations. By interacting in this manner, I have received back several suggestions for other resource that I could highlight on my blog or other library web pages. If our blog system ever grows larger, I might have to rely on Mathews keyword search suggestion.

UPDATE: I had to delete some links to sources that no longer exist.

Comments on Michael Casey Podcast

I finally got to listen to Michael Casey's podcast that was created for the participants of ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). He did make a couple comments that really tied together some of our discussions here in ALAL2.

First, Casey pointed out, as many others have, that Library 2.0 is about change. But, he went one step further and defined how he saw "change":

- Change to reach new people
- Change to reach undefined audiences
- Requires continuous evaluation and change for success
- Certain changes do not fit all libraries

His thoughts on an internal staff blog were very interesting as well. The internal employee blog went beyond the expectations of increasing involvement and communication by developing new communication pathways, building trust, and giving people ownership in their concerns and/or comments.

Thanks, Michael Casey for your thoughts on Library 2.0.

UPDATE: I had to delete some links to sources that no longer exist.

Freedman Center & Podcasting

I originally posted this entry on May 10, 2006, but I wanted to repost it to make sure it is included in the ALAL2 podcast RSS feed.

Explore the Freedman Center web site for more information.

ALA Library 2.0 - My Perspective

All of the discussions about ALA Library 2.0 and its implementation are great (Library 2.0, Open Stacks, Free Range Librarian, and A Wandering Eyre & followup). The ability to provide one's opinion and learn from resulting discussion is Web 2.0.

As a disclaimer, I am a member of ALA and a participant in ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). I was asked to participate in ALAL2. I decided to participate for my own and my organization's benefit, just as much as for the benefit of ALA.

I decided to participate in this initiative with the hope that ALA will see the advantages (or disadvantages) of these various technologies and processes. I hoped we would finish with a package of data, experiences, policies, and examples, that could be used by ALA or any of its members to implement or instruct in Web 2.0 technologies and understand the mindset of newer/younger library users.

While I have had many of the concerns others have had about implementation of ALAL2, I am glad it was done this way for many reasons. Mainly because if you look at the "big picture", a "real world" activity has been created. Let me explain.

I have heard some comments that the group of participants has created some hiccups. First, everyone is participating at different levels of time and commitment. This could not be any more "real world" than what we all experience within our own organizations or within ALA. Everyone we work with has different motivations, personality traits, communication skills, etc. I think ALAL2 is one of those times when the final outcomes are more important than the individual contributions.

Second, the participants are at various levels of technology awareness and places in the career ladder. Some are spending more time learning the technology, while others may have been able to jump right into the provided information. There is nothing wrong with this. It reminds all of us, and as a result will be evident in the final outcomes, that our library users span the spectrum. It reminds all of us that not everyone learns the same way. It reminds us that not every process will work the first time for everyone, nor will every user do things the same way.

I think the problems we have had with implementation of various technologies only added to the learning environment. Since ALAL2 is a chance to "play" and share key learnings with ALA (or any information professional), I am glad the learning environment was not totally optimized and error-proof. As participants, we needed to make errors and run into road blocks so that we could totally be saturated in the project and make "real world" suggestions to other information professionals. Someone even suggested the the technologies and instruction methods be tried on others first. BUT, as participants in ALAL2, we are the "others" - the first. It is our responsibility to define what does and does not work, not just "play" with the optimized or ALA-selected way of doing things.

In addition, I have been trying to look at some of the technologies, processes, and discussions from a user's perspective. No matter what library's decide to implement, there will always be patrons that disagree with the choices. We have experienced that in ALAL2 and again it is another reminder of the "real world".

Instructors (and librarians) constantly push their favorite tool or technology that works best for them. It is not until a user points out a problem or an alternative, that all the options might be totally obvious. Otter Group, Jenny, and Michael have molded the ALAL2 experience with the technologies that were best at the moment of its creation. They all have pushed us to try alternatives and bring recommendations to the overall group. Groups have discovered and utilized wikis, OPAL, and Skype just to name a few. A big part of ALA2 was exploration and the initial tools have not prevented that, but in some have pushed for exploration into alternatives.


I am glad ALA decided to proceed this way. First, as with any large organization, an expected procedure or final product, get greater results than others. If this is ALA desired method of exploring Web 2.0 and its advantages for its membership, fine we did it their way. It allows the leadership of ALA to focus more on our outcomes rather than the implementation.

Second, the Otter Group has provided several advantages. Again, I will go back to "real world" scenarios. By having the Otter Group manage the technology, we have simulated a large number of the library organizations that utilize external IT support or are at the mercy of a larger organization's IT department. It cannot be any more "real world" than that. Second, I bet Jenny and Michael are learning more from the experience and able to add more to the final product by being active participants, rather the techies. Their knowledge is more valuable in the discussions than in teaching people to use a new form of technology.

My Conclusion
I guess this is one time where I was glad ALA was hands off and introduced as many variables as possible. It allows ALA's leadership to be a spectator, and learn from the discussion between ALAL2 participants and others following along. I think if ALA would have done it any other way, too many preconceived notions of the future of Web 2.0 within ALA would have crept into the picture and defined the experience. I think the implementation, the participants, and the freedom to adjust as needed has created a "real world" environment that has allowed us to be the test tubes for others.

I hope others are as eager as I to see the final suggestions and outcomes of ALAL2, and are optimistic that our hard work will lead into implementation within ALA and/or the organizations of its members.

Jeff Trzeciak's Podcast - My Comments

One of the assignments for Week 2 of ALA Library 2.0 was a podcast of Jeff Trzeciak speaking on the training and roles of "librarian 2.0".

Trzeciak was one of the people responsible for the Next Generation Librarian job posting. What I find unique about such a job posting was not the responsibilities listed, but that a single position was developed to incorporate everything. I have seen people that have SOME of the listed tasks as electronic resource librarians, IT staff, instruction librarians, etc. Wayne State is looking for a single person to provide the innovation to use Web 2.0 technologies to develop Library 2.0 for its patrons.

He described the Web 2.0 technologies as "live and organic". He highlighted how these concepts may be in direct disagreement with librarianship in general, where we have total control (subject categories, keywords, etc.). He also looked at how today's generations desire "what they want when they want it".

Trzeciak says Librarian 2.0 needs to:

-Be transformative
-Look long-term
-Create strategies & partnerships
-Align libraries with parent organization's goals
-Look at successes and failures
But are these just the traits needed by any organization or business to continue to succeed and improve? I expect many librarians or other professionals were "2.0" a long time ago, but now the technology has finally caught up.

Important traits of a "Library 2.0":
-User centered
-Provides staff development
-Librarians in new roles
-Encourage risk taking
Again, I hope some libraries were already set-up like this. If not, the new technologies and user needs give them chance to reconstruct themselves. We can no longer assume libraries will always exist, if we do not change. The value of libraries is not as obvious in today's economy, culture, politics, and user's everyday lives.

As a side note, I have really been starting to use podcasts more often to increase my chance to absorb information. This specific podcast did have some audio problems, but if you a new consumer of podcasts, do not let it scare you away. Podcasts allow for some great benefits such as multitasking and portability.

Have you read the MySpace Terms & Conditions?

Someone just pointed out to me some of the terms and conditions that users of MySpace agree to.

6. Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.
1. By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services.

As a librarian that has spent time in a corporate library so I was previously immersed constantly in patent and copyright law, and someone that strongly believes in negotiating your rights to your intellectual property before publishing or selling, I was shocked by these terms. First, it does protect users from others users copying, selling, or otherwise distributing their artwork, writing, pictures, music, etc. BUT, MySpace can profit from your creations in any way it see fit.

Ask yourself - how comfortable are you with MySpace having the ability to use an entry from your blog, taking one of your pictures, or sharing your music in an advertisement on its front page or in other marketing methods?

Would an artist or writer have less power to negotiate with a publisher or producer if their materials were already up on MySpace? Even though MySpace's rights are non-exclusive, can this hurt you in developing other alternatives? It may if the producer does not care for MySpace.

Podcast - Freedman Center & Podcasting Studio

Today, I recorded my very first podcast. I had a discussion about the new podcasting studio at my library and got the thoughts about Library 2.0 from the managers of the Freedman Center within my library. If you have any additional questions, please let me know. My coworkers were very excited to hear about ALA Library 2.0 and look forward to the materials that are shared and created.

Team One Project Draft: Best Practices/Policies For Public Comment on Library And/Or Association Websites

Best Practices/Policies For Public Comment on Library And/Or Association Websites

Client: All types of libraries and/or ALA.

Opportunity: To identify best practices for open comments and conversations on both ALA websites and individual library organizational websites. To explore the promotion of open partnerships and collaborations between library users and association members as partners and collaborators, engaged in a dialog with each other, that promotes individual ownership.

Product/Service: The integration of open commenting using a blog and/or wiki tool, plus other web social communication tools.

1. Determine best practices for the utilization of Web 2.0 communication tools.
2. Determine best practices for open commenting with blogs.
3. Determine best practices for open commenting or content creation by wiki tools.

Chicken or the Egg?

Jenny Levine has asked the ALA Library 2.0 participants to look at can "library 2.0 exist without librarian 2.0".

My gut reaction would be NO. Of course as a librarian myself, I have strong opinions and thoughts on the profession as a whole and its relevance in the information world. Librarians are able to filter free and purchased information, and make sure users get the BEST sources. Librarians can make the search process EASIER. Librarians discover and meet the USER's needs.

Now, after a slight pause, I looked a librarian's role within the 2.0 lifestyle. The technology tools of Web 2.0 are providing the same things as librarians: ease of getting the best (or recommend) sources to the user in the way and time they desire. These tools are being built and implemented by users, programmers, or resources that may be in competition with libraries.

I guess my conclusion to can "library 2.0 exist without librarians 2.0" would be YES. It should serve as a wake up call to the profession. What role will librarians serve in the development of Web 2.0? There are many opportunities for librarians, such as creating & organizing content, increasing ability for users to access information from anywhere & anytime, making processes easier, etc.

Freedman Center - More Information

I have received several comments and questions about my original post that introduced my library's Freedman Center. Let may share some more information.

Let me introduce the facility by sharing the mission:

The Mission of the Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning and Multimedia Services Center is to bring together
in one place a variety of technological resources in order that these
resources support and sustain learners and create new ways of teaching
and learning. The Freedman Center will be an innovative partner with
faculty, students, and staff in providing full-service digital library, language learning and multimedia services so that members of the Case community can achieve their research, scholarly, and artistic goals.
I hope you noticed the full name as used in the mission statement. Something I did not mention before was the language learning component. Students have access to an online language learning website or can use Pimsleur Bookchips in the Freedman Center with materials for 14 languages. In addition, 16 computers have been equipped with Logitech Quickcam Webcams, instant messaging applications, and Skype to promote international videoconferencing to supplement classroom language instruction.

The Center offers plenty of equipment to be used in-house or for lending. Faculty, staff, or students can borrow digital voice recorders, miniDV video cameras, 5MP digital cameras, Apple iBooks, Garmin eTrex GPS Units, and jump drives.

Earlier I had mentioned the new podcasting studio, and Michael had asked for some more information. The Freedman Center was completed last summer and a studio was not in the original plans. As voice recordings were being made for podcasts and other presentations, it became apparent very quickly that some privacy was needed to produce high quality materials. A storage room was sacrificed and the podcasting studio was born.

The recording equipment includes a Alesis Multimix 8USB Mixer, 3 MXL-990 microphones, and a Heil PR-40 microphone. The mixer is great in that by allowing USB interface with a laptop and not being much bigger than a laptop, it allows for some portability. I shared a booth with the Freedman Center staff and a recent Research ShowCASE across campus. They conducted interviews from the booth and demonstrated the equipment and resources to faculty and students.

I will get some better pictures of the Freedman Center and the new podcasting studio, and share them here on my blog. I will also have a discussion about the new studio, how it is being used, and related policies. I will try to even record the discussion as a podcast and share it.

Opening Session & Web 2.0

When people talk about Web 2.0, I think usually too much emphasis is put on the technology. I think the technology is only the tools to meet user needs and expectations. To me, Web 2.0 is more of a mindset that the newer generation have openly embraced.

We just had our opening session for ALA Library 2.0, so lets look at the framework used. In my lists below, I will look at a need or trait as addressed by a technology and/or a meeting's structure.

Why the Opening Session Was NOT Library (Web) 2.0
Real-time Discussion
The chat function was not turned on within Microsoft LiveMeeting. Today, many people prefer to discuss items immediately as IM, chat functions built into web sites, cellular phones, and other technology push the desire to react to other's opinions. I think that the chat function in LiveMeeting is one-to-one, but I have seen other online meeting applications that allow the entire group to comment and
discuss without interrupting the speakers. I personally feel more
ownership and larger gains from a meeting, if I share in other's
perspectives and thoughts.

Lack of Mobility
By relying on audio provided by a telephone conference call, mobility was limited for most. If mobility was desired, the costs were pushed to the participants to utilize cellular phones or other fee-based technology. If the audio capabilities of LiveMeeting were utilized, those with high speed Internet and a microphone, could have participated directly from their computer, or in my situation laptop. My university's campus is wireless, so I would not have been forced to return to my office to gather and could have used the pre-meeting time more effectively.

Open Source/Free vs. Purchased Applications
By utilizing, Microsoft LiveMeeting artificial restrictions are placed on participants and organizations. Again, users are mobile and may not
have permission to install onto the computer being used. In addition,
should we pick applications that restrict users to a single web browser? If open source was used, could participants have conducted more customization to their view? Another consideration that an organization must rationalize is covering the costs for applications such as LiveMeeting, if "free" alternatives exist. Of course, we know nothing is totally free.

Lack of Immediate Results
People expect immediate results, such as a copy of their work. I was disappointed that we did not receive an immediate copy of the presentation, so that we could continue digesting the content. Do we hamper follow-up and discussion if content is delayed to the participants? How many people like to respond immediately versus those that respond days down the road?

User options/settings
The way LiveMeeting was configured and the nature of the presentation, very few options for customization were available. Maybe none were needed, but with 40+ participants, I am sure some people thought of some that would have been nice.

Why the Opening Session WAS Library (Web) 2.0
Participants were able to continue regular work tasks or other activities.

I am talking beyond the fact that a large group gathered for the opening session. Smaller groups were able to utilize CampFire to work on details. The telephone allowed for full group discussion (which was a poor answer to some of my concerns above, but maybe the best available at this time for this group).

Participants did have some options. Some people may have chatted in the external CampFire application rather than watching a portion of the presentation (of course, ideally chat would have occurred within the LiveMeeting format). People may have left after hearing that the presentation would be made available at a later date as a podcast. I doubt anyone did leave though with all the interesting content and discussion.

Interaction & Sensory

Surveys, break away chats, phone comments, slide content, etc. People learn very different, and the combinations of technology developed to support Web 2.0 allows a larger pool of people to participate and benefit at the greatest level possible for each person.

Opportunities for Follow Up
With the blog system, CampFire chat, copy of the presentation, and recorded podcast, the learning and discussion is not limited to a short meeting. People can absorb the information at their own pace, and still play with everyone equally.

Ability to Overcome Technical Difficulties with Alternatives
I think this goes back to options. The newer generations are not locked into a single format of communication. As a result, the technologies that have developed have made it easier to overcome technical difficulties. Many more alternatives exist for the same or similar tasks.

My Summary of Web 2.0
Lets make this short and sweet: alternatives, user options, & participation/ownership.

Me & Web 2.0

I guess this is an extension of my earlier introduction.

Since I am sure we are all at different levels of technology usage and knowledge, I thought I would post about my technology usage.

I am high on anything that will increase my productivity while supporting mobility. I have two offices on my campus, one in the main library and one in the School of Engineering, and I also drive about 80 miles per day. At work, I rely solely on a laptop. As our campus is totally wireless and I have docking stations in both offices, I can basically work from anywhere that is needed. I will often travel to faculty offices or student study areas to assist or instruction in research, and I can conveniently take my "whole" office with me. I also use a Dell Axim X50v handheld that supports wireless access, email, video, various applications, etc. I can throw it in my pocket and access the library catalog from within the stacks, listen to music while wlaking across campus, or access an urgent email to share with others during a meeting. I love my Axim.

My university supports both a blog system and wiki. I do maintain a work-related weblog (e3 Information Overload, E-resources for Engineering Education) that highlights resources or issues relevant to science and engineering faculty and students. I also add content to other library blogs within my organization, a Reference Weblog and general library news Weblog. The library offers various RSS feeds. I do not participate as much in the wiki, as I have not learned the editing structure yet and it is not straight forward from a user perspective.

I use Pluck to read RSS feeds as it offers the ability to go back and forth from an application on my computer to web-based access as needed. I look forward to seeing how BlogBridge compares. I am also experimenting with Attensa as it work with Microsoft Office.

Future of Libraries & Web 2.0

My library started a Reading Club for the employees as a way to supplement professional development and leisure activities. We will meet once a month for boxed lunches and sweets. We plan on alternating between novels and professional articles.

For our first meeting, we discussed The Future of Libraries, Beginning the Great Transformation by Thomas Frey (The DaVinci Institute) and What is Web 2.0 by Tim O'Reilly. We only minimally touched on the Web 2.0 article as we ran out of time.

If you are not familiar with the Future of Libraries article, it proposes 10 trends that will drastically change libraries in the next 50 years. It does make some futurist predictions, such that books and literacy will be dead in 50 years. As a group, we thought the timelines were very debatable, and wondering why the author made some of his statements. Frey provided little justification in his predictions, so our discussions went all over the place. Frey's recommendations may be considered reminders for future thinking libraries, as some libraries do many of these things already.