CIL 2011: In Pursuit of Library Elegance

Speaker: Erica Reynolds

Elegant solutions/designs are often invisible to the user. Observe what is happening, and look at what could be removed (distractions/barriers), rather than what needs to be added.

Simple rules create effective order. The more complexity in an equation, the more doubtful that it is true.

Another aspect of elegance is seduction. Limiting information creates intrigue. Libraries could play more on curiosity to draw users to information. Play hard to get, in a way. Don’t be so eager to dump information in response to user questions.

Restraint and removal can increase impact and value. Encourage people to use their brains. Why do we act like they are so stupid that they need signs everywhere in the library?

Limited resources spark creativity and innovation. The creative tension at the center of elegance: achieving the maximum effect with the minimum of effort.

The path to elegance begins with: resisting the urge to act; observe; ensure a diversity of opinions and expertise are heard; carve out time to think and not think; get away from your devices; get some sleep; and get outside.

Speaker: John Blyberg

The primary intent of our website may not be about getting you from point A to point B. It could be about building community and connection.

They found that when they removed the fortress that was the old reference desk, it was much more popular and approachable. Like Apple not including a manual with the iPhone, your library should be intuitive enough to use with minimal signage or instruction. Digital signage can evolve and be interactive, which will spark curiosity and inquiry.

RSS application

Art Rhyno has created an RSS feed for his library’s new books list.

I had been attempting to puzzle out some coding to get an RSS feed automatically generated from our new books list, but time and a learning curve have prevented me from getting very far on it. I know what needs to be done, and I’m fairly certain that all I need is a little bit of Perl code. Since I have not really worked with Perl beyond tweaking the little bit I needed to tweak when setting up this blog, it would take me quite a bit of time to learn the language. In any case, it appears that Art Rhyno at the University of Windsor has already created an RSS feed for his library’s new books, and they use Endeavor Voyager, as well. I’m hoping he can help me out with a feed for my library. It would have been cool to do the programming myself, and I expect that even with Art’s help, I’ll still need to tweak it, but on the other hand, I don’t know if I’d ever get something programmed on my own.

Art responded to my comment with a link to the basic instructions on how to set this up. Cocoon? Modula-2? LISP? Maybe I need to re-think my desires to learn some programming. I suppose it will be good for me in the long run.