Entries in the Category "Conference"
IA Summit 08: Content Page Design Best Practices
This was an amazing session. Luke clearly laid out some of the best practices for laying out content to fit the diverse ways in which people arrive to your site. The examples were clear, and the difference between bad and good were stark. (notes limited, see slides)
We optimize websites for the traditional tree structure, where as the web lives in a more random way. Using his website, he showed how only 5% of people experienced his site in the traditional tree structure, versus coming in via direct links, tags, etc.
- Display Surfaces
- Content Creators
- Content Aggregators
Communication: IM, email, twitter, mailing list archives, etc.
- Direct communication, personal suggestions, etc.
Display Surfaces: Profiles such as Facebook, Yahoo Mash
- Spaces that you define your interests
Content Creators: Blogs
- Posting original content
Content Aggregators: del.icio.us, digg
Search: Google, Yahoo!
- Most crucial
This ecosystem shows how people may come to your site from many different environments. What happens when they arrive at your page?
A basic page is broken up in 3 different areas, Content, Context, and Related (see slides for layout relation)
Set good expectations
- HTML & Page title should be the same (consistency)
- Make good on promise of content, % of page dedicated to content should be significant (versus examples showing only 25%)
- Utilize visual hierarchy to manage attention (scanability, bullet points, white space)
- Showed BBC as a great example, that when searching for a story on the Iraq war, the left side becomes populated with related content. They even embed related video content in the actual story. But can be overdone, similar to the WebMD example for children's health.
- When given too many choices, the easiest choice is to not choose (the back button). Limit options.
- if you an make good on content promises, people are more likely to welcome related calls to action
- post related content on the site, based on the search that brought them there (his site is an example)
- This is the menu bars, etc. Make minimal
Slides coming soon
IA Summit 08: Taxonomy is User Experience
Dave talked about how the establishment of a taxonomy is directly tied to how users experience a site... His examples revolved around a redesign of the Dicks Sporting Goods & Ace Hardware websites.
Taxonomy is a framework
- Taxonomy is classification & labeling
- Metadata is data about terms in the taxonomy both structured & unstructured (attributes for facets)
- Logic, systems that represent understanding i.e. mapping - did you mean this?
5 Good ideas for Taxonomy objects
1. Leave your cubicle
- engage everyone from client to designers & developers
- limit engagement with timelines & hard stops
- work collaboratively
- create conversations
- keep interactions in mind
- help plan implementation
2. Focus on Interactions
- taxonomy enables finding & decision
- facets & filters need good data
- crucial in highly interactive experiences
- make the connection, clearly demonstrate how data drives experience
3. Speak their language
- use shared references (the long tail)
- talk about results (analytics, quantitative UX indicators)
- celebrate success
4. Test using *real* users
- taxonomies must be user-centric
- involve users (implicitly / explicitly)
- keep it simple
5. Plan the future
- taxonomy guidelines
- plan maintenance
Taxonomy is strategy
Slides coming soon
IA Summit 08: Inspiration from the Edge
Inspiration from the Edge: New Patterns for Interface Design
This was an inspiring session, encouraging participants to look at interface design of non-web applications for new web user experiences (notes cut short here). We were presented with a host of innovative interfaces, from applications, mobile devices and gaming as inspiration.
Where do you get your ideas for interface design?
Default Thinking (don't do)
- Look at competitors
Look at interfaces outside of basic web interfaces... (do)
- from architecture, film, gaming, etc.
1. W/ new technologies almost anything is possible
2. Natural behaviors are superior to learned behaviors (A scrollbar, really?)
3. ...except when the learned behavior makes me feel better and more efficient (Quicksilver)
Think outside the UI Box
- pop up windows, similar to windows opening in OSX (Text, Fonts, etc)
(where windows communicate with each other, a window pops up to enter in your profile info, but when closed, it pushes the changes back to the main window
Slides coming soon.
See his other slides posted here:
IA Summit 08: The Business of Experience
In this session Jess discussed how to work within an organization to get the best results, using his experience impact framework. We have tools to understand our users, but there's need to understand the business to have a successful project.
1. Identify audience. Look at business persona / influence network
8 types of people:
- Advocate (on your side)
- Frontline people (front desk)
- Validator (could be person, research or competitor)
- Gatekeeper (finance / legal)
2. Understand motivation
- Reward (what is it?)
- Inertia (how things are going to be in the future)
3. Understand activities
- Lead (insight, direction, resources, constraints, outcomes)
- Manage (people, process, money, materials, infrastructure)
- Execute (discover, develop, produce, market, sell, deliver, support)
4. Target your methods
Methods trump methodology
U.S.E. / Understand, Solve, Use (in cyclical motion)
- Understand (qualitative, quantitative, analysis, synthesis, modeling)
- Solve (model, architecture, flow, prototype, interface, specification)
- Evaluate (analytics, heuristics, usability testing, metrics)
Must have empathy for business needs
5. Commit to action
- Build Trust
- Open Questions (open ended)
- Closed Questions (looking for specificity)
- Will You? Questions
IA Summit 08: How to be a User Experience Team of One
Leah gave a lively performance detailing her experience of being a UX design team of one, and had many great ideas on how to make this situation work for you. Some may sound simple, but I think that's what makes them so powerful.
Generative Design - generate ideas... lots of them.
- the refine, pair them down to the best ideas
Not about using Dogma or a Methodology...
1. Brainstorm a lot
2. Assemble an Ad Hoc team (non UX co-workers who have a stake in the project)
3. Pick the best ideas
Using eVite.com as an example, she walked through the process of how to build a better user interface.
1. Brainstorm within constraints
Using conceptual frameworks:
- 2 x 2
Experiment with Word Associations, them mix and match words
Keep an inspiration library, grabbing screen shots of sites you like.
- good for competitive analysis
- good for warshack analysis
2. Assemble an Ad Hoc team
Host open design sessions, giving people a pen, paper and pizza
Run template-based workshops
Decorate your space with good ideas
Don't be an artist, be a facilitator
3. Pick the Best Ideas
- Business needs are good, but user needs are better
- Business needs + User needs = Design Principles (use susinct statements that summarize needs)
How to get started?
- Start sketching - force yourself to draw 5
- Schedule workshops - get other people involved
- Draft design principles
Why it Matters?
- Personal satisfaction - feel good about your ideas
IA Summit 08: A Management Fable
In this session, Dan used an impressively illustrated slide show to tell the story of the little UX that went a long way. It's was essentially using the fairy tale genre to describe the process that a UX designer has to go through when working on a project. It was an interesting story and here were some of the points of interest:
UX designers seek success without ownership
- frequently someone else owns the content
- frequently someone else owns the requirements
- frequently someone else owns the implementation
Acceptance is not buy-in. Everyone loves the user until it gets in the way of their personal desires.
- Put the user experience in the definitions
- Adjust the requirements to help make the user unavoidable
(include user tasks, address user goals, define the ideal user experience)
- Offer solution for every problem you raise
- Be ready to work harder than all the other people
(take ownership of the minutia nobody else wants)
Powerpoint & podcasts coming soon
IA Summit 08: Exploratory Search and Folksonomy
This was the more academic of the presentations yesterday. Not that entertaining, but an interesting analysis of the different types of classification, information seeking behavior, and 3 elements involved.
Hierarchical Classification / LCC, DC, Google Directory
- comprehensive, fixed, non-overlapping
- heirarchical, numerative
- universal, local
- high investment
- professional, formal
Faceted Categorization / Flamenco
- set of small heirarchies
- conceptual dimension
- less investment
- still professional
- navigational searching
- fixed collection
Tagging Dyamic Clusters / Grokker, Clusty
- dynamic, post-retrieval, unique
- clustering algorhims
- automation, less complex & less costly
- ambiguity, instability
- vivisimo customization
Folksonomy / del.icio.us, Flickr
- flat, inclusive
- anyone, any language
- liberal, distributed, dynamic
- inexpensive, responsive
- vocabulary problem (different terms to describe the same things)
Information Seeking in tagging systems consist of 4 activities.
- Being aware (tagging only)
- Monitoring (tagging only)
3 elements exist:
- Resources - information space
- Users - social structure
- Tags - information structure
Being Aware uses Resources & Tags)
- recent / popular searches
- recent / popular tags
Monitoring uses Users & Tags
- users of interest
- tags of interest
Searching uses Tags, Resources & Users
- resource keyword
Browsing (dominates information seeking in social tagging)
- resource description
- user central place (where people store tags, etc.)
- tag navigation
Check out the presentation (coming soon) to see the graphical representation of how these concepts interact.
IA Summit 08: Integrating Web Analytics
This session showed how web analytics play a role in understanding user centered design. What's important are that the numbers generated from analytics only show what people do, but not why they do it. This requires analyzing trends, which are more important than the numbers. She demonstrated examples of how changes were made to pages based on analytics. One example was looking at how one page was receiving an inordinate amount of hits, and how they were able to discover it was because that page was recently linked from a Wikipedia article. This illuminated how the website owners could then go and use these other sources to affect usage of their site in the future. Analytics also showed drop off rates on web processes, showing where users stopped, giving the UX designers the ability to pinpoint trouble spots and allowing them to re-envision the process.
Web Analytics Association
Slides & Podcast coming soon
IA Summit 08: Journey to the Center of Design
Jared is quite the entertainer, though not apparent at first glance (stereotyping here). He had a refreshing look at the birth and history of User Centered Design.
I really liked the continuum of how people create great designs, which was separated and defined as: Tricks / Techniques / Process / Methodology / Dogma. Check it out in the slides below:
What gets measured gets done / What gets rewarded, gets done well
IA Summit 2008
This year I'm lucky enough to be attending the IA Summit 2008 in Miami, FL. I'll be using this blog to document the sessions I attend, as well as link to their presentations & podcasts. Right now I'm not finding the podcasts (and not all the presentations), so I'll fill in them in as they become available.
So far I'm very impressed... After the first day, I've really enjoyed most of the presentations. And on a side note, I have to say that I've been really impressed with the slides. This is the first conference that I haven't seen any standard PowerPoint templates... in fact, each presentation seems to have some crazy, customized slide set. I guess you should expect that from a conference like this.
One of the other impressive aspects is the use of Crowdvine as a conference social network app. It's nice to get the benefits of a social network using all your existing content sources (via RSS feeds), instead of requiring you to create all new content (while that is also possible).
Miami isn't bad either. I arrived a little early on Friday and was able to spend some time in South Beach. Got a little sunburnt, which I think is good timing... It's keeping me from wanting to spend more time in the sun.
On the downside, I'm having some problems with my laptop battery, so I'm mostly taking notes by hand (which sucks), so I won't be getting as descriptive as I'd like with the following posts.
Five Weeks to a Social Library
It's finally here... I'm excited to see what this online (free) conference has to offer. Anything I find "exceptional" I'll be posting here.
Five Weeks to a Social Library Location: Online
Dates: February 12 - March 17, 2006
Five Weeks to a Social Library, the first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries. The course was developed to provide a free, comprehensive, and social online learning opportunity for librarians who do not otherwise have access to conferences or continuing education and who would benefit greatly from learning about social software. The course will take place in Drupal and on a MediaWiki installation, and will also involve a variety of other popular social software tools. The course will make use of synchronous components, with one or two weekly Webcasts and many IM chat sessions being made available to students each week. The course will culminate in each student developing a proposal for implementing a specific social software tool in their library.
The course will take place between February 12 and March 17 and will be limited to forty participants. However, course content will be freely viewable to interested parties and all live Webcasts will be archived for later viewing. The course will cover the following topics:
- Social Networking Software and SecondLife
- Social Bookmarking Software
- Selling Social Software @ Your Library
World Usability Day
The evening started off with some light snacks in a conference room off the library, which I believe is part of the new construction gong on at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Very nice location.
Also interesting was the amount of people from Kent State that I went to school with, including my advisor! It was just like old times... Hard to believe those 4 years went by so fast. I digress.
The evening was was non-traditional with different areas designated for certain talks. 10 minute reminders were given for you to change locations and join different discussions.
The most appealing was a discussion by Chris Braunsdorf(sp?) from Progressive Insurance, discussing usability with Web 2.0. Since it was more free-form, here are just some bullet-point take-away's from the talk.
- A Step Backward: One point was made that I hadn't considered before, how the web was a step backwards in terms human-computer interaction and usability. We had gone from the likes of DOS to Windows based operating systems. Things were becoming more usable and dynamic, then when the web appeared and we were thrown back to single flat pages with long menus of pages. Just now are we getting back to the more dynamic and interactive behaviors that we've been used to on computers, on the web.
- Follow the leader: It's obvious that companies like Google, Yahoo ! and Flickr have all taken the lead using Web 2.0 technologies, and for us smaller guys, we often have to just follow the lead when it comes to figuring out how to create sites using these interactive web technologies. How people have come to learn how to use these sites is the same understanding and expectation they'll bring to your site.
The example provided was that of the Delete key on the keyboard, and how Apple proved through usability studies that it was most efficient on the left side. However Microsoft placed it on the right (presumably without any studies as to why), and that's the way it stayed. So what's always the BEST may not be what works in the long run.
- Better Use of Space: It's easily understood just how valuable screen space is when dealing with the web. (scrolling=bad). But using new dynamic technologies such as Flash or AJAX can prove to be a valuable space saver. Now with the ability to right-click with web-application specific options, dragging & dropping, roll-overs, and pop-ups that aren't really pop-ups, the options for space-saving is greatly increased (but then so does the challenge grow for developing a more usable site)
- Platforms: Of course the discussion had to lead to Flash versus AJAX. While I have never programmed in either environment, from this discussion I've gleaned that each has their highs and lows. AJAX (a favorite of Google) is open source and Java-based. However it carries a heavier "weight" as compared to the proprietary Flash. You can get more info here, including a list of alternatives (though it's an AJAX site).
- Standards: Chris kept mentioning "standards" throughout our discussion, so I decided to ask him if he'd seen any of these standards published anywhere. He hadn't, but he was able to point us to a great resource over at Yahoo! Developer Network, the Design Pattern Library. In case you're curious at what a "pattern" is (from IAWiki):
Patterns are optimal solutions to common problems. As common problems are tossed around a community and are resolved, common solutions often spontaneously emerge. Eventually, the best of these rise above the din and self-identify and become refined until they reach the status of a Design Pattern.
He equated the lack of documentation of these standards as an example of the shoemaker's son going shoe-less.
The rest of the night was spent seeing what my former colleagues were up to with the Usability lab down at Kent State. This was just getting completed when I was attending classes there. It was pretty amazing to see what they could do with eye-tracking using their Tobii device. That along with what they can do within their controlled lab environment is pretty impressive. You can read more about it at the Kent Stater Online.
For more information on World Usability Day or Usability in General, check out the Usability Professionals' Association (http://www.upassoc.org/).
Last Friday was the ALAO (Academic Library Association of Ohio) Conference in Akron. Though I was a little bummed with how few technology sessions were being offered, this still provided my first chance to mingle with other Academic Librarians, and I was excited to do so.
There was one session that I particularly wanted to attend, Lorain Community College's presentation "Lean, Mean Library Website Machine."
Abstract: This presentation will describe our experiences with a usability study of the LCCC Library web site, including initial testing, redesign and re-testing. Because a library’s website is the primary tool for accessing the rich resources and diverse services it offers to the user community, a usability study can assess and improve the effectiveness and utility of the current website.
The study was modest and fairly crude in terms of professional usability studies, but the planning, execution and results were impressive for what they had to work with. They admitted that it was the "simple & cheap" version.
In total they observed 15 students, 5 at a time with changes being made in between groups. Students were asked to perform various tasks and to be vocal about their experience. They were watched via a SmartBoard so the observers could see what was happening without hovering over the students (nice low-tech trick).
I'll spare you a lot of the details because you can find their powerpoint and handout here. What I would like to do is just highlight some of the "oh yeah" moments from the session. Usability is not rocket science, but more just a matter of listening... something it seems you can't do enough of when it comes to usability.
- The resources are great, but need to be understandable, findable, and usable without being shown
- You need to understand how students view (scan) webpages (typically in a "starburst" pattern outward, not left to right) and lay them out appropriately
- Most students don't know library jargon and this should be reduced as much as possible
- Most students don't automatically know what OhioLINK is
- Students are used to Google and expect a "search everything in one search box" type of layout (if technically possible)
- A "How Do I..." Section was very beneficial
- One idea I really appreciated was the use of "marketing banners" to help educate users as to the library's services.
It's very important to note that having a library website is less about putting out whatever you can and more about understanding what is needed and providing it in a meaningful way. The best way to accomplish this is through usability studies. And usability studies are not one-time accomplishments but should be integrated into the process of developing and maintaining a library website.
NMC Conference Day 4
(No Day 3 of the conference for me)
I can't say that I've ever been motivated enough to attend a conference session at 8:30 am on a Saturday morning (unless I was giving it). But this session sounded extremely interesting and relevant.
The New Content Marketplace
This session will highlight and demonstrate the state of the art of content integration utilizing Service Oriented Architecture. The functionality of various end-user applications and their ability to discover and make use of content from a diverse collection of sources will be covered. Technologies and content repository integration to be demonstrated will include Tufts’ Visual Understanding Environment, SearchParty (from MacLearningEnvironments), Sakai Twin Peaks, Harvest Road Hive, MIT’s Visualizing Cultures Database, Fedora, Dspace and Pachyderm.
Jeff Merriman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
Joshua Archer, California State University, CDL;
Peter Wilkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This session was exciting because it addresses an emerging problem, many tools are being created to build, house, and disseminate digitized information while very little is being done to allow these tools to talk with one another. This is limiting access in a realm where there should be very few limits.
This session and these concepts rely heavily on understanding programming technology, and since software programming is not my forte, I will do my best to synthesize and "copy and paste" the necessary pieces to paint the correct picture this session tried to present.
The Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I) develops and promotes specifications that describe how the components of a software environment communicate with each other and with other enterprise systems. O.K.I. specifications enable sustainable interoperability and integration by defining standards for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Through this work O.K.I. seeks to open new market opportunities across a wide range of software application domains.
To this end, O.K.I. has developed and published the Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs), whose design has been informed by a broad architectural view. The OSIDs define important components of a SOA as they provide general software contracts between service consumers and service providers. This enables applications to be constructed independently of any particular service environment, and eases integration. The OSIDs enable choice of end-user tools by providing plugin interoperability.
OSIDs are software contracts only and therefore are compatible with most other technologies and specifications, such a SOAP, WSDL. They can be used with existing technology, open source or vended solutions.
OSIDs are a local language service definition and bindings of them are provided in Java, PHP, and soon Objective C and C#.
Joshua Archer began by addressing the problem of having a proliferation of media resources but very few tools to connect them. OKI is presenting a single solution to this problem through OSID's (Open Service Interface Definitions).
While the technology aspects of this session sounded like they would be cool, the most exciting portion was the demonstration of what they were talking about.
Jeff Merriman from MIT demonstrated the MIT Visualizing Cultures Image Database that is using this technology, and the one I believe that initiated the whole OKI project. The point to be made here is that this web interface is pulling content from several different repositories, but by only working through with the OKI interface. He mentioned how the War Postcards collection is located in Boston, but he didn't have a clue where the "Ground Zero" collection was located. This project served the purpose of the faculty, because it allowed access to these images in one location, as well as allowing the contribution of keywords and metadata back to the images. What the faculty wanted next was the ability for students to create stories or narratives about the images in the database. This was where Pachyderm comes in.
Joshua Archer talked about the technical simplicity of the implementation of the OKI, that it is just a series of function calls. He demonstrated a Pachyderm project that was using the OKI to pull images from the same repositories. He did the same searches that Jeff performed and was able to get the same responses. The difference here is that by using Pachyderm, you get access to the benefits it provides, such as the built-in image zooming properties and the templates provided for presenting the information.
Peter Wilkins demonstrated his VUE project, a visual mapping interface, that also used OKI and same image repositories. Again, we got to see a third interface using the same images and doing the same searches with the same results.
Someone asked about Metadata, and if OKI was in any way trying to manage how this was being implemented. Jeff stated that there are other organizations out there to do that ( i.e. IMS).
The next question was about Digital Rights Management (DRM), and how OKI handles it. Jeff responded that OKI only passes assets, and that no DRM is built in. But this structure allows for DRM context to be passed with the content, such as a URL, encryption code, or even a player. For example, ArtStor is using OKI, though you still need to pay for ArtStor services to access their content.
The next question was asking how this interfaces with LMS systems, such as Blackboard. It was reported that at the Sakai conference, that Blackboard is signing up to work with OKI. This sounded like a really recent development, however this article was found from 2002.
This session ended with the discussion of how quickly OKI is being adopted right now. Existing implementations include:
with new implementations on their way from:
NMC Conference Day 2
So my time in education technology has taken me to many conferences over the years, but never have I been to a conference where so many people were using laptops, cameras, pda's, etc. Not to sound too much like a dork, but I loved it. It feels really good to finally be in the majority when busting out my MacBook.
I originally considered going to see the "The Online Tutorial: Supporting Students’ Transition from Traditional to Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD)" session. I was intrigued because I wanted to see how Ohio State University and Adobe was working with the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations to maximize the use of Adobe and the PDF format. However, I'm also curious about what ITAC was doing with Pachyderm, and about the Pachyderm project overall.
Pachyderm 2.0 - A Learning Object Authoring Application
Pachyderm is an authoring application that allows content experts to create visually attractive, pedagogically sound learning objects without any expertise in software or design. The original tool was created by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to aid curators in building online Flash-based exhibits. Through a thirteen-institution partnership, Pachyderm was rewritten to have a more user-friendly interface, multi-platform installation packages and an extensible code base. It is now being offered free and Open Source for all educational institutions. This presentation will demonstrate the application and discuss its potential use cases.
First up was our own Jared Bendis. Despite some network troubles (probably from the dozens of laptops eating up bandwidth), and with the help of about 4 tech support staff, we were able to see a project that Jared had created using Pachyderm. He took a paper he had written and moved it to this learning object format, which he stated gave it more detail, more color, made it more dynamic by taking it out of the linear format. You can check it out here.
Megan Linos from Instructional Technology and Academic Computing (ITAC) department was up next. She demonstrated a couple projects that she developed with staff on campus. You can see each of these items here. What struck me about this presentation was the use of multi-media in the Windows Media format. Being a Mac user, I have a strong interest in multimedia to be multi-platform. I was anxious to get back to my office and check it out (as I didn't want to contribute to slowing down the session connection). It turns out that the media does work fine on the discontinued Windows Media Player (Flip4Mac isn't available on Intel Mac's yet). However, there was another stream portion using the Anystream Apreso platform. One difference I noticed here was that I was only able to hear the presentation and see the slides, missing out on the actually video of the professor. Being a "Microsoft Gold Partner" and having no mention of any other platforms in their system requirements section, I doubt they would ever add this functionality for non-Windows users.
Holly Witchey, who's in charge of the New Media Department at the Cleveland Museum of Art demonstrated her project. One area that she discussed was how to integrate Pachyderm with the CMA's website. It was discussed giving these learning objects the look and feel of the environment in which they reside, but also giving credit to Pachyderm, and driving traffic back to their site through a clickable link. Someone mentioned about bringing in Quicktime's 360 degree views. It appears that it's possible, but Holly wanted to distinguish using Pachyderm as a venue for showing deep, rich content about an object or concept and to get away from the idea of it being a repository for different types of media. To look at it more from a pedagogical standpoint than from a technology standpoint.
Peter Samis and Tim Svenonius from SFMOMA presented probably the most visually stunning example of a Pachyderm learning object. Skin of the Nation. This piece had some superficial alterations to the look to the piece, which really made it flow well within their website and less like use of a template.
Joshua Archer, who is the lead (and pretty much only) developer on the project spoke next, giving some ideas of what's to come with the next version of Pachyderm. Unfortunately, I got caught up passing down "pachy pins" and missed out on what he mentioned (so it must have been brief). He also pleaded for help with this project. It's open source and it's located on Sourceforge.net. One of the most interesting things I gleaned from his talk was how different plug-ins could be written to connect to your own repositories. I think this makes Pachyderm much more appealing.
Overall I have to say that I was very impressed with the project and the people involved. They were affable and open to ideas and assistance.
My next session was hearing about the Commons that were developed at the University of Tennessee Library.
Circle of Service: The Commons at the University of Tennessee
Barbara Dewey / Dean of Libraries
Julie K. Little / Executive Director Educational Technology and Interim Assistant CIO
The Commons is a collaborative partnership between the University of Tennessee Office of Information Technology and the University Libraries to connect students and faculty with tools and information to be successful learners and teachers in the 21st century. A true partnership and next generation facility, the Commons
This session was decent, but nothing earth shattering. What I was most curious about, was to see how the Library and the IT staff of the University came together to repurpose a space into a "Commons" area that offered 24 hour access to computers and book pickup, as well IT services such as laptop repair and software installation (a free service paid for by a technology fee that students pay). They discussed tensions between the two groups, but seemed to get them all worked out. They noted how their patrons are "one stop shoppers" (i. e. Amazon / WalMart / etc...) so the library wanted to work with IT to allow access to everything in one place, both Library & Tech Services.
They also focused on the physical space. They showed how students wanted the ability to work individually or in groups, and how the layout of the room and the furniture needed to accommodate that. They showed plans of a proposed mixed-use environment where everything was mobile as well as use of non-traditional furniture designs (soft, curved benches that could be for sitting or laying).
Between these two areas, it really seemed like the University of Tennessee was on it's way to something cool... (though I wouldn't want to be the staff member working the late shift).