RALC Lightening Round Micro-Conference: Morning Sessions

Andy Morton:  “5-minute madness – The Madness Concept
He’s on the desk at the moment, so he made a video.

Teresa Doherty: “Cool sounds for Aleph Circ Transactions”
Originally presented at ELUNA as a poster session. They use custom sounds and colors to indicate specific circulation transaction alerts, i.e. checkin/checkout alerts. The sounds were selected because they’re short and fairly expressive without being offensive to users who may hear them.

Amanda Hartman: “Reaching Millennials: Understanding and Teaching the Next Generation” 
Those born 1980-1996-ish. These are generalizations, so they don’t describe everyone fully. They’re special and sheltered, team and goal oriented, more likely to be involved in community service, digital natives (mainly mobile tech) but don’t necessarily understand all of the implications or functions, impatient, and multi-taskers. They consider themselves to be relatively savvy searchers, so they may be less likely to ask for help. They have certain expectations about tech that libraries often can’t keep up with. They want learning to be participatory and active, with opportunities to express themselves online, and they have a sense of entitlement – get good grades for hard work, not necessarily for the product of the work. Libraries should have a mobile website. Hire staff that can support tech questions. Provide group workspaces. Explain why, not just how.

Deborah Vroman: “Errors, errors, everywhere! Common citation errors in Literature Resources from Gale”
Until recently, Gale was giving incorrect page ranges for citations for articles reprinted in their collections.  The problem is now fixed by removing the page numbers.

Anna Creech: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Uh, that’s me.

Suzanne Sherry: “Goodreads: I read, you read, everybody READS”
Social networking site for readers. You start off with read, to-read, and currently reading, but you can add other tags that then form collections. Once you’ve read a book, you can rate it and write a review. While you’re reading the book, you can leave comments with updates of your progress. The social element is handy for recommending books to friends and discussing the books you read. There are tools for virtual book clubs and online communities for local book clubs.

Nell Chenault: “Scanning to Save or Send”
They have 12 scanning stations, both Mac and PC, including two slide scanners. Also, they have microform scanners instead of the old light box machines. In the past five years, they’ve seen use increase 325%.

Abiodun Solanke: “Netbooks or Laptops” 
In the last hardware replacement cycle, they replaced circulating laptops with netbooks. Cost, capabilities, and portability were factors considered. Some specialized programs could not be loaded, but there are many desktop computer alternatives. Student reaction appears to be divided along gender – male students thought they were too small, but female students liked them. They did a survey of users borrowing the netbooks, and found that over time the negative comments reduced. They concluded that initial reactions to new things aren’t always indicative of their success. Currently would like to add netbooks with Mac OS.

Darnell Law: “Up In The Air: Text-A-Librarian and Mobile Technologies at Johnston Memorial Library”
Implemented service at the end of the spring semester, so they haven’t seen much use yet. They’re using a service called Text a Librarian. Users enter a specific number and a short code at the beginning of the message. The questions are answered through the service website. The phone numbers are anonymized. Some of the advantages of this service include working with any carrier, not requiring a cell phone to answer the texts, relatively inexpensive (~$1100/yr), answer templates for quick responses, and promotional materials.

CIL 2010: post-conference thoughts

I should present more.

I should present more.

That’s what I have concluded at the end of this conference. There were a few sessions I was jazzed to see, and some others that surprised me, but for the most part, I found myself too often realizing that if I had done a bit of research on my own, I would have known about as much about a session topic as the presenters. Those tended to be the sessions in which I stuck around for the intro and then left, or looked at the slides in advance and decided to go to something else.

While I may be learning about a lot of new tech and ideas outside of the ITI conferences, there is nothing to replace the “lobbycon” aspect of theses events. The connections I have made with other folks who are as equally excited about pushing libraries forward is well worth the price of admission, in my humble opinion. ITI conferences are my equivalent of going to ALA, and very few folks I know talk about going to ALA for the presentations.

I may joke about the “beer track” at conferences, but the reality is that as much as I may advocate for virtual attendance and online communities, they can’t replace the connections (serendipity, perhaps?) of real-time, face-to-face interactions.

ER&L 2010: Opening Keynote – Librarians in the Wild: Thinking About Security, Privacy, and Digital Information

Speaker: Lance Hayden, Assistant Instructor, School of Information – University of Texas

He spent six years with the CIA, after that he attended the UT iSchool, which was followed by working with Cisco Systems on computer security issues. The team he works with does “ethical hacking” – companies hire them to break into their systems to find the holes that need to be filled so that the real bad guys can’t get in.

Many of us are not scared enough. We do things online that we wouldn’t do in the real world. We should be more aware of our digital surroundings and security.

In computer security, “the wild” refers to things that happen in the real world (as opposed to the lab). In cyberspace, the wild and civilization are not separate – the are co-located. Civilization is confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We think that our online communities are entirely civilized, but we are too trusting.

The point is, if you’re not careful about keeping your virtual houses secure, then you’re leaving yourself open to anyone coming in through the windows or the basement door you never lock.

Large herds attract big predators. As more people are connected to a network or virtual house, the motivation to hit it goes up. Part of why Macs seem more secure than Windows machines is because there is a higher ROI for attacking Windows due to the higher number of users. Hacking has gone from kids leaving graffiti to organized crime exploiting users.

Structures decay quickly. The online houses we have built out of software that lives on real-world machines. There are people every day finding vulnerabilities they can exploit. Sometimes they tell the manufacturers/vendors, sometimes they don’t. We keep adding more things to the infrastructure that increases the possibility of exposing more. The software or systems that we use are not monolithic entities – they are constructed with millions of lines of code. Trying to find the mistake in the line of code is like trying to find a misplaced semicolon in War and Peace. It’s more complex than “XYZ program has a problem.”

Protective spells can backfire. Your protective programs and security systems need to be kept up to date or they can backfire. Make sure that your magic is tight. Online shopping isn’t any less safe, because the vulnerabilities are more about what the vendor has in their system (which can be hacked) than about the connection. Your physical vendor has the same information, often on computer systems that can be hacked.

Knowledge is the best survival trait (or, ignorance can get you eaten). Passwords have been the bane of security professionals since the invention of the computer. When every single person in an institution has a password that is a variation on a template, it’s easy to hack. [side note: The Help Desk manager at MPOW recommends using a personalized template and just increasing the number at the end every time they have the required password change. D’oh!] The nature of passwords is that you can’t pick one that is completely secure. What you’re trying to do is to have secure enough of a password to dissuade most people except the most persistent. Hayden suggests phrases and then replace characters with numbers, and make it longer because it increases the number of possible characters required to hack it.

Zuckerberg says that people don’t care about privacy anymore, so don’t blame Facebook, but to a certain extent, Facebook is responsible for changing those norms. Do companies like Google have any responsibility to protect your information? Hayden’s students think that because Google gives them things for free, they don’t care about the privacy of their information and in fact expect that Google will use it for whatever they want.