CIL 2010: Black Ops Ninja-style Tech Projects

Speakers: Amanda Etches-Johnson, John Blyberg, & Sarah Houghton-Jan

One of the frustrations people have is that there are all sorts of exciting projects you could do, but often they are blocked by things that may be confusing to you. If you’re persistent, you can find ways to get around them.

We need to change the hearts & minds of the stakeholders in order to effectively implement something new. "Because we’ve always done it that way" might be a frustration and source of some amusement, but the reality is that we all have some attachment to established routines and processes. Make sure whatever you implement fits within your institutional strategic plan.

Often you can make changes without anyone noticing, and when they do, it’s already established. Start planning in advance – if you know you want to implement something, get people familiar with the idea or tech before introducing it as something to implement locally. When it’s no longer a foreign or new thing, then they will be more likely to go along with it.

You need to provide a counter-vision for people to latch onto. You need to have a vision that you know will be successful and that people will get behind you on it.

Evidenced-based librarianship requires due diligence. Do a literature search. Ask your colleagues about their experiences. If there is no evidence to support it, do it anyway. Make sure to collect the evidence as you go to share with others.

Try not to step on any toes as you are moving forward on your project (avoid collateral damages). Talk to everyone – you need to know where your project will impact other people, and you don’t know what you don’t know. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A MEETING. You can do this virtually.

What if the thing you want to do isn’t right? Give it a try and fully commit to success, and if it fails, that’s okay. You learn more from failure than from success. Figure out what went wrong and why. Don’t be discouraged.

Timing is everything. It may be too soon, so hang on for a bit and deploy when it’s most effective. No right now doesn’t necessarily no six months from now. Don’t get discouraged with nos.

Project teams can be a force for good. The team needs to buy into the process, and having specific goals/tasks can help.

When do you get buy-in from stakeholders versus just going forward with it? Use your best judgment. You often know when you will get unreasonable resistance, so sometimes it’s okay to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, but be ready if it backfires.

Trust yourself. You know what you’re doing.

Know when to quit. Evaluate your situation, and if the returns are diminishing, then it’s time to move on to something else, even if you’ve invested a lot into it already.

Make sure you take care of the infrastructure first. You will have trouble getting stakeholder support for your project if the day-to-day stuff is falling apart. Unless your project is designed to fix infrastructure problems.

Keep some cards hidden. Let people feel like they’ve made suggestions for something (that you’ve already planned to implement) or put off implementing some features unless you or your team have time to do them.

[Sarah recommends drinking heavily, also.]

Update: Sarah has posted a list of the tips, if you would like to consume them unfiltered.

IL2009: Technology: The Engine Driving Pop Culture-Savvy Libraries or Source of Overload?

Speaker: Elizabeth Burns

Technology and pop culture drive each other. Librarians sometimes assume that people using technology like smart phones in libraries are wasting time, both theirs and ours, but we really don’t know how they are using tech. Librarians need to learn how to use the tech that their user community employs, so don’t hinder your staff by limiting what tech they can use while in the workplace.

Libraries also have the responsibility to inform users of the services and technology available to them. Get the tools, learn how to use them, and then get to work building things with them.

Your library’s tech trendspotting group needs more than just the techie people. Get the folks who aren’t as excited about the shiny to participate and ask questions. Don’t let the fear of Betamax stop you – explore new devices and delivery methods now rather than waiting to find out if they have longevity. You never know what’s going to stick.

Speaker: Sarah Houghton-Jan

"Information overload is the Devil"

Some people think that it didn’t exist before mobile phones and home computers, but the potential has always existed. Think about the piles of books you’ve acquired but haven’t read yet. Information overload is all of the piles of things you want to learn but haven’t yet.

"We have become far more proficient in generating information than we are in managing it…"

Librarians are more equipped to handle information overload than most others. Manage your personal information consumption with the same kind of tools and skills you use in your professional life.

Some of the barriers to dealing with information overload are: lack of time or (a perceived lack of time), lack of interest or motivation, not being encouraged/threatened by management, not knowing where to start, and frustration with past attempts. Become like the automatic towel dispensers that have the towels already dispensed and ready to be torn off as needed.

Inventory your inputs and devices. Think before you send/subscribe. Schedule yourself, including unscheduled work and tasks. Use downtime (bring tech that helps you do it). Stay neat. Keep a master waiting list of things that other people "owe" you, and then periodically follow-up on them. Weed, weed, and weed again. Teach others communication etiquette (and stick to it). Schedule unplugged times, and unplug at will.

RSS/Twitter overload: Limit your feeds and following, and regularly evaluate them. Use lists to organize feeds and Twitter friends. Use RSS when applicable, and use it to send you reminders.

Interruptive technology (phone, IM, texts, Twitter, etc): Use them only when they are appropriate for you. Check it when you want to, and don’t interrupt yourself. Use your status message. Lobby for IM or Twitter at your workplace (as an alternative to phone or email, for the status message function & immediacy). Keep your phone number private. Let it ring if you are busy. Remember that work is at work and home is at home, and don’t mix the two.

Email: Stop "doing email" — start scheduling email scanning time, use it when appropriate, and deal with it by subject. Keep your inbox nearly empty and filter your messages. Limit listservs. Follow good email etiquette. Delete and archive, and keep work and personal email separate.

Physical items: Just because you can touch it, doesn’t mean you should keep it. Cancel, cancel, cancel (catalogchoice.org). Weed what you have.

Multimedia: Choose entertainment thoughtfully. Limit television viewing and schedule your entertainment time. Use your commute to your benefit.

Social networking: Schedule time on your networks. Pick a primary network and point other sites towards it. Limit your in-network IM.

Time & stress management: Use your calendar. Take breaks. Eliminate stressful interruptions. Look for software help. Balance your life and work to your own liking, not your boss’s or your spouse’s.

[Read Lifehacker!]

CIL 2009: Social Network Profile Management

Speaker: Greg Schwartz

Who are you online? Identity is what you say about you and what others say about you. However, it’s more than just that. It includes the things you buy, the tools you use, the places you spend your time, etc.

You do not own your online identity. You can’t control what people find out about you, but you can influence it.

  1. Own your user name. Pick one and stick to it. Even better if you can use your real name. (checkusernames.com)
  2. Join the conversation. Develop your identity by participating in social networks.
  3. Listen. Pay attention to what other people are saying about you.
  4. Be authentic. Ultimately, social networking is about connecting your online identity to your in-person identity.

Speaker: Michael Porter

MP was the project manager for the social tools on WebJunction. It’s designed to be for librarians and library staff.

If you are representing your organization online, be yourself, but also be sensitive to how that could be perceived. Share your library success stories!

Speaker: Sarah Houghton-Jan

Library online identities should be created with a generic email address, should be up-to-date, and should allow comment and interaction with users. Keep the tone personable.

Don’t use multiple identities. Make sure that someone is checking the contact points. You’ll get better results if you disperse the responsibility for library online identities across your institution rather than relying on one person to manage it all.

Speaker: Amanda Clay Powers

People have been telling their stories for a long time, and online social networks are just another tool for doing that. Some people are more comfortable with this than others. It’s our role to educate people about how to manage their online identities, however, our users don’t always know that librarians can help them.

On Facebook, you can manage social data by creating friends lists. This functionality is becoming more important as online social networks grow and expand.

carnival of the infosciences #87

Welcome to the Carnival of the Infosciences #87! Not too many submissions this time, but they’re all good, so take a few minutes, kick back, and let the Carnival start your Monday morning.

Martha Hardy made two recommendations for this edition of the Carnival. The first is an essay from Roy Litwin entitled, “Annotated list of things not to forget (in the 2.0 craze)….” Litwin writes, “These days, when reading the library literature or a conference program it’s hard to find much that is not about the Library 2.0 idea. It seems to me that many librarians have forgotten that there is something worthwhile in what we do already, and that ‘Library 2.0’ is an update rather than something completely new.” This essay is a must-read for librarians, both twopointopians and those annoyed by them.

The other submission from Hardy is a news item from the Library Boy, Michel-Adrien Sheppard, about a criminal investigation in Toronto and the way authorities are using Facebook to get around the publication ban (“Is Facebook Interfering With Criminal Investigations?“). The Uncontrolled Vocabulary crew also discussed this in the January 9th episode.

Sol Lederman recommends that everyone take a look at Federated Search: The year in review, a review of the major events in the federated search industry in 2007, from the Federated Search Blog. 2007 saw commercial entities making odd business decisions, mergers and acquisitions, and new open source options.

Iris Jastram writes about her experience with creating “subversive handouts” for library instruction sessions, and what she learned from the process. This might give you a few ideas for your own “subversive” handout.

Kate Sheehan asks the question, “Are librarians culturally self-aware?” She also gets a few responses from John Blyberg (“Library 2.0 Debased“) and Rochelle Hartman (“Blyberg Speaks: Safe to come out of hiding“), among others.

The 2008 conference season kicked off with an early January ALA Midwinter meeting, which prompted Sarah Houghton-Jan to link to the useful Tips for conference bloggers, which was originally posted by Ethan Zuckerman and Bruno Giussani last October. Midwinter may be over, but there are still plenty of upcoming conferences that need to be blogged. Be sure to read their advice before you pack your laptop.

Blake Carver at LISNews has put together a list of ten blogs to read in 2008. I’m already reading a few, but I’ve added more to my pile based on Carver’s recommendations.

That’s all, folks! Please submit posts to the Library Garden for #88. You can use the online form or tag posts carninfo in del.icio.us.