You too can make a fun, funny, free greeting card at Jib Jab. My sister made several the other day and then I just had to try it! All you need is your Internet connection and some digital photos – it’s actually very easy and the site guides you through just a few quick steps. Try it!
We all here at Library Garden wish a happy and healthy holiday season to everyone, no matter what you celebrate, or if you don’t even celebrate, and all the best wishes for the upcoming new year!
Okay, one more, I just couldn’t help it! Be sure to turn up your volume!
Today is Slam the Boards day – many librarians will spend some time today on “answer boards,” like Yahoo! Answers, Can’tFindOnGoogle, AnswerBag, and others, answering questions and making it known that the answer has been provided by a librarian!
This has even been picked up by Library Journal, where you can read more about the origination and background of Slam the Boards!
There is a wiki here where you can officially list yourself as a participant and get more information. You can, of course, participate without signing up anywhere. Just go to a public answer board and sign up there (some require that you create an account and log in, etc.) and start answering questions!
There has also been discussion and some debate over on the Yahoo! Answers blog. There are some detractors from this idea but I think that if we think of it as just adding our voices and being where the information needs are we can contribute while doing a little self-promotion and marketing. We’re not out to beat or better the answer boards, but (in my opinion) to add ourselves as an option where people may not have thought of libraries before.
Be sure to let everyone know that the question was answered by a librarian at the end of your answer and remind them to think of their library as a resource. There are some suggested signatures and tag lines on the wiki such as The Library is a resource, not a building. Librarians are where you are – online! (I really like that one). You could put your library link, a link to find a local public library, or a link to a library’s virtual or IM reference service.
The point is not to put those answer sites out of business, or annoy them, or take them over, or to do anything negative, but to be where the people and questions are and to let people know that librarians are “answer boards” all day, everyday. I think putting the idea of libraries into peoples’ heads at times when they might not automatically think of them on their own is a very interesting idea.
Even if you only have time to answer just one question and mention that you are a library person that will be one more for today!
If you can’t do it today, do it another day. Many librarians already do spend time on these sites answering questions, like on AskMetaFilter. And, there are many library services/sites already doing it – here in the Garden State, we have the wonderful Q&A NJ (which, by the way, rocked the MTV Video Awards last night with their awesome commercial)!
There is also a space on the wiki to discuss this event after today. If this event is successful, it may be repeated. Hey, maybe you’ll form your own plan to do this as an “event,” for a day, a week, a month, or maybe you’ll just enjoy it and find you want to be a regular answer board person.
From an e-mail from Peggy Cadigan, Consultant for Innovation and Communication, at the New Jersey State Library. (I’m so happy to see this come out of the futures conference that was held – my app is already in!)
Subject: Participation in NJSL Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future – applications needed by August 15, 2007
Norma Blake, State Librarian, has instituted a “Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future” to continue the groundbreaking work begun by the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference. The State Library recognizes that it is imperative to have input from the people who are shaping the future of New Jersey’s libraries.
This is an open invitation to anyone currently working in a New Jersey library who has an interest in the future of libraries to apply for a possible appointment to the Task Force. The Task Force will comprise members from different types of libraries and from different job titles. Applications will be reviewed by a panel selected by the State Librarian and appointments made following the review process. The goal of the Task Force will be to make recommendations about how libraries can respond in the future to the information received at the conference and the challenges presented. How can local libraries and the State Library respond to projected demographic changes, growing diversity, an aging population, and technological advances?
We expect that this task force will require a short-term commitment. It is expected that the task force will meet once a month for six months, beginning September 2007, culminating in a report to the State Librarian by March 2008. The report will be presented at the April 2008 NJLA Conference.
If you are interested in serving on this panel, please complete page two of the application which can be found at https://mail01.palsplus.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.njstatelib.org/News/Blue%2520Ribbon%2520Panel.pdf and return it by August 15, 2007 to:
Consultant for Innovation and Communication
New Jersey State Library
185 West State Street
P.O. Box 520
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0520
You may send the application as a word document e-mail attachment or fax it to: 609-633-3963.
Contact Peggy Cadigan with any questions. 609-278-2640, Ext. 113 or 609-292-4161, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t be offended or turned-off by the title.
I know there have been a few occasions where “pimp” this or that has been a problem, but just try to get past that for a moment and consider this ….
The other day I attended a wonderful workshop and one of the suggestions in that workshop was that as librarians we need to stop being so quiet and shy about ourselves and start boasting about ourselves, our libraries, our profession, etc.!
Well, I have heard this before and embrace it wholeheartedly!
However, the group attending this particular workshop seemed especially uncomfortable with this suggestion.
The specific suggestion made that really got them squirming was to “use your credentials on everything.”
I personally LOVE this and started doing it as soon as I had heard it.
I put my MLIS on everything I can – in my e-mail signatures, when I sign things, on my business cards, etc…. Some may think it is even excessive, but I don’t care! I paid for the MILS, I earned the MILS, I have an MLIS and it does mean something!
(I was in the first class of students who graduated from SCILS at Rutgers with the additional vowel “I” – it stands for Master of Library and INFORMATION Science – boy, do I LOVE having that extra “I”!)
Several attendees really seemed aghast about this and I was sort of surprised. I can understand that it may go “outside your comfort zone” to boast about yourself or your library, but adding a few letters to the end of your name!?
Other professions do it all the time and no one thinks anything of it! Or, they have a prefix to designate their qualifications and/or professionalism, i.e,. “Dr.”, “Esq.”, etc.
We as librarians need to do this as well!
Sometimes this suggestion is met with, “Well, no one knows what that stands for anyway!”
GREAT! That gives you the chance to TELL THEM what it stands for, what it means, why you have it and what it means YOU CAN DO!
C’mon, as far as “pimping things” goes, this really is one of the easier ones (and free too!)
I challenge everyone who doesn’t use their credentials to make a commitment to doing so as a “first step” toward becoming more comfortable BOASTING about how awesome we are! (Cuz we are!)
A friend of mine has said many times that she believes we in libraryland need to stop calling databases databases, and I have always agreed, but I have not done anything about it. I haven’t written about it, talked about it, blogged it, mentioned it, or thought about it any more than that.
When I hear the word “database,” and if I didn’t know what it was, it conjures up for me some really complicated spreadsheet system or, well, database, that is way too complicated for me to figure out and use, and that is TOTALLY BORING – not exciting or attractive to me in anyway, doesn’t sound useful to me and doesn’t make me want to use it or care to find out how to use it at all!
Well, yesterday this flew out of my mouth (or my fingers rather) in a twit over on twitter when someone mentioned they were changing their database descriptions to try to at least better reflect what they were to try to get their students to use them…. I put out my thought that if we really want to become more “2.0″ and more valued and user-friendly, we need to stop calling databases, databases and do it now! More like do it yesterday!
This created a nice little chat discussion on twitter about what we SHOULD call them and that led to another nice little discussion about what they really are and what the users think they are and want to call them.
I want to thank Rochelle, KGS, Pete Bromberg, Library_Chic, cindi, wanderingeyre, awd, and everyone else for that twit yesterday. I am using the verb to twit as in a chat, to chat here …
This was also a great example of a nice use of twitter…. a quick IM-like conversation between a few people that was captured in the twitter program for me to go back and look at today.
It wasn’t an IM session – that in most cases would be between two people and wouldn’t necessarily automatically have been captured for me to refer to today. It wasn’t a chat room, it wasn’t e-mails, it was a quick conversation among some professionals that was saved as it happened. We commented back and forth while doing other things on this topic – in the 140 character limits of twitter – so we had to be brief and concise – no waste! I thought it was great!
Today I could go back and refer to all the suggestions and thoughts and questions and compose this post over here on Blogger.
So, to get back to the issues of the databases…. Really now, what can we call them so that people
1. Want to use them
2. Get the idea of what they are
3. Don’t be made to feel stupid (see the excellent post on this over at Tinfoil Racoon’s blog)
4. Don’t feel intimidated or turned-off by them
5. Find out the value of them
The twitter conversation went something like this:
Databases are mentioned.
I say we need to stop calling them that.
Someone says, then what do we call them? “…those article thingies?” *
We decide to “brainstorm” this
Someone says “Find good stuff with these search tools”
I say “yeah, search tools, electronic resources – still “eh” on those”
Someone adds, “search tools for [discipline(s)"]?
This causes me to start wondering if the databases are search tools or the resources within them? “but is the database the search tool or the gold in the mine!?”
Another adds, ” “library resources”? “resources to use in your research”? “
Then, of course, we got a little silly with:
“crap that your professor wants you to use so just do it already”?
And then in response to “tool” vs. “gold mine” we got to
“The trick is the meta-search of multiple indexes and then cross-linking to the full text in their respective happy places “
Which resulted in
“tool to find happy place of needed articles”
“that’s the problem. Catalog = search engine, inventory control, or lipstuck pig? Database = search or result or full-text?”
At one point, the brilliant KGS characteristically asked, “why don’t we ask the user?” and
someone replied, “*has* anyone asked the user what to call it?”
Then a few “gasp! ask the user!? oh no!” comments and jokes twitted by and then we continued questioning “well what is the database TO THE USER, not TO US!?”
Someone comments that their kids say the databases are websites, “database, electronic resource, etc=”website” “
Which gets a reaction of “knee-jerk reaction “no it’s not!!”…but really, isn’t a database just an iteration of a website? at least to the user? “
We get a little silly again:
“goldmines of knowledge” is suggested
“Goldmines of knowledge = databases, I love it. Is hilarious and descriptive”
“what to call databases: Stuff you need to convince your teacher you used more than wikipedia “
“Infopools, factipiles, report’o'calls” (some of my personal faves!)
“Put on your hipboots, kids and wade into our authoritative, full-text Sludgepits o’ Knowledge”
Okay, okay we were getting a little out-of-hand toward the end, but you get the idea….
So, c’mon everyone: What are we going to call these things that are expensive, incredibly powerful, valuable, under appreciated, under marketed and UNDERUSED!?
I KNOW we can do better than databases.
STEP 2: Get everyone on board calling them by their new name……..
* I have decided to not cite who said what in case anyone wouldn’t want their terrific twits shared with the world – I am not trying to withhold credit, but protecting against exposing anyone – if you want to claim any of those – go ahead – and/or tell me and I’ll give you credit where credit is due!
A couple of articles to share today, both similar, on the “new” librarians… one is in The New York Times, A Hipper Crowd of Shushers, and the other is in The Sun, For New-Look Librarians Head to Brooklyn.
What do YOU think of these takes on “us”?
Man, this is cool!
I really love this magazine, Mental Floss, that we get here are the library… in fact, it says right on it… “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix!”
Actually, my director loves it too and so do some others around here so it is quite a trick to actually get your hands on it. I think if I ever have to I will end up subscribing to it…
Anyway, they also have a mailing list and they sent out this Quiz of the Week: Discontinued Ben & Jerry’s Flavor or Band I Found on MySpace!?
It’s pretty funny and I love the way they have the answers for you after you take it, complete with links to actual bands found on MySpace!
I only got 5/10 though. My director got 8/10! WOW! How well can YOU do!?
The always smart and thought-provoking Claire over on the PALS Plus 2.0 blog wrote about “living in interesting times,” referring to living in these times of great change that are taking place right now and how much fun and frustrating it can be!
Specifically, she talks about how to choose the “right tools” to accomplish things. She wants to announce the PIMP MY BOOKCART contest to PALS Plus libraries and figures that right now, the best place/way to announce it is still using “1.0″ methods, i.e., group e-mail. However, PALS Plus will be launching a “Fall Into 2.0″ program and perhaps by October, and most likely (hopefully!) by next June’s contest, there will be other, multiple ways that she can get the word out and be assured that everyone will see it.
I started thinking about this…. My first reaction is “put it out there in as many ways as possible” because I feel that this philosophy is what sort of underlies a lot of 2.0 stuff – make things accessible in many different ways in case some people access you in those ways. Make it easy and convenient for them to get it, in ways they like and use. In other words, be where they are, put it where they are.
So, that would mean, have it posted on a blog, with an RSS feed, AND send a mass e-mail, AND post it up in flyers for the pre-2.0 and barely-1.0 folk, put it up on facebook, etc., and make a flickr account with pictures, and, and, and …!?
BUT THAT got me thinking, oh my gosh – is putting stuff out in MULTIPLE forms creating MULTIPLE work for US!? Now, in some cases no. Once you have these things in place they sort of take care of themselves, meaning, if she posts it to the blog, it will have (most likely) an RSS feed and anyone subscribed will see it. Also, if she uses feedblitz and anyone is signed-up for that, they will get the e-mail notification. That still only requires ONE post. One post and many ways to be made aware of it. In fact, RSS takes care of a lot of things – anything you can do that has the feed makes it a one-stop-job. If she did put something on flickr, there’s a feed for that too, so now we have TWO places and still only TWO things to do, but resulting in several means of people being “told” about it.
No wonder people make the point that RSS IS 2.0 – it is the backbone of the whole thing!!!!!
The 2.0 forms actually really do and should cut down not only on the time and effort required by those who take advantage of them, but also for the creators…. Hanging up flyers and putting memos in individuals’ mailboxes at work – decidedly two pre-2.0 (even pre-1.0?) ways to do things – requries A LOT more time and effort to do than ANY of the 2.0 tools do, even if you choose more than one.
So, sorry, Claire, no answers here, except for my idea (and concern) that things should be put out there in as many ways possible – without overburdening the putter-outer.
And, I agree, eventually the “better” tools will last and the not-so-good or not-so-useful will naturally fall by the wayside. But, I think it will always be “interesting times,” and there will always be the next thing coming down the pike . . .