Friday, December 13, 2013

Location, Location, Location

Apple recently rolled out their iBeacon technology across their global retail presence, which will allow stores to push hyper-local alerts to shoppers including information on purchases, alerts concerning Genius Bar appointments etc.

While the retail implications for iBeacon are great the technology could have great implications for public libraries. They could deploy it throughout the library to provide directions, shelving information (though there would be privacy concerns depending on the service), and event information. Though the public library could also deploy the technology across the town and send users alerts about local history, events, and municipal alerts. This would value to town residents, and also boost library outreach. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 7 Communicate

The communication scope for corporate information professionals and embedded librarians revolves around collaboration and project deliverables. Communication with team members in different states, and sometimes different countries is becoming a reality for knowledge workers in the 21st century. Common workforce collaboration tools include massive document management systems, email, workplace communication chat tools, and increasingly video conference systems. These tools allow workers in separate locations to share ideas and collaborate on the projects resulting in better client deliverables and better staffing for projects.

While technology cannot replicate the same cultural experience as being in the office next door colleagues can still have a fruitful working relationships from states apart. There are several tools like YammerPulse, and Chatter that aim to help bridge communication gaps between teams. Google has also released Google Hangouts as a feature of its Google Apps platform for businesses allowing for video-based collaboration across the organization. For information professionals these tools allow them to offer just-in-time research consolations, training, and data analysis for teams or projects with greater staffing flexibility. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 6: Video

While video can be used for book trailers or virtual library tours video in a special library setting video is more often associated with training. Within a corporate environment training is a constant occurrence and building a collection of video tutorials can help onboard new employees or help experienced employees brush up their skills. Since the training is recorded it can be completed on the trainees schedule and accessible across the organization. Yet as the library becomes a less physical space in corporations and more a virtual concept video could also be used as a gateway to the information commons (i.e. the virtual library tour mentioned above). With offices across the country and around the world information professionals can be states or countries away from their users so a video explaining research services could provide the connection between researcher and librarian.

Video could also used to preserve knowledge through capturing interviews with subject or process experts at the organization. When employees retiree or leave the organization their knowledge is often lost and preserving it through interviews allows the organization to transfer that knowledge to other employees. Its would also allow the organization to benchmark process information to preserve historical methods and also help inform future improvements. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 5: Photos + Maps + Apps

Building a photo history resource leveraging library resources is a fantastic way to leverage technology to bring history to life. Libraries like the Toronto Public library have built collections around their digital holdings (even the Library of Congress is on Flickr), and the lowering cost of digitization and bandwidth has allowed organizations to leverage their traditional print holdings in new ways to expose them to a whole new audience.

Yet while libraries may be thinking global through digitalization they must also be active in the local community (particularly public libraries). In the last month Google began increasing their push for the local markets through building expert teams for creating business reviews and ratings. Libraries as community centers could own this process better than Google and then add a further spin through including historical context to the review (i.e. the small bistro on the corner that is loved by locals also used to be an ice cream shop 30 years ago etc).

The public library could also create a custom Google map showing different sites around the town with a link on the local tourism board website and/or local government. (I have personal experience with custom maps as my wife creates excellant custom maps for our travel adventures. It is truly an amazing tool. ) Google allows users to create their custom legends with different symbols denoting airports, eateries, sites of interest etc.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 4: Maps and Checking in

I will be the first to admit that I don't have the greatest sense of direction. There have been several embarrassing situations when I have gotten lost when I really should have known where I was going. Due to these experiences I use maps applications on my phone both when I travel and also when I am exploring unfamiliar parts of the city.

Since I am an iPhone user I have the standard Apple Maps application on my phone though I have also downloaded Google maps for iOS. I don't have any horror stories from the Apple maps application like others in the user community. The only reason I switched is that Apple maps does not support mass transit directions natively and I am a regular mass transit rider. (The Apple maps will point you toward another app though that is one more unnecessary step.) Though while the Google Maps app does have great functionality I do prefer the UI on the Apple maps application (and the also the ability to spin the map in the Apple version.)

Other than maps I don't use geo location services like Four Square or Latitude. Though I think there could be great value in these services for public or academic libraries as an engagement tool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 3: Email on the Go!

I have written previously about email, and the love/hate relationship I have with my inbox. Hardly cutting edge, email has become a utility as it is a simple communication medium with many free options and accessible on countless devices.

I have several email accounts linked to my phone and check my mail regularly. I use the standard Mail app that comes with my iPhone though have tried other apps like Gmail, Mailbox, and Yahoo mail. I find the unified inbox built into mail to be most versatile client available. It may not have as many features as other clients, but having all my mail in a unified inbox is too valuable, and far outweighs any shortfalls.

Email can also be a valuable information dissemination tool though it is important to focus on email as an information transfer tool rather than an information repository.  Relying on email to store information can a make it hard to differentiate the signal vs. noise as emails in your inbox intermingle. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taxonomy Networking Opportunities and Programs in San Diego, June 2013

The SLA Taxonomy Division is offering networking opportunities in San Diego, a full day continuing education session, and a full slate of sessions that cover a taxonomy project from the initial development to applying a taxonomy to content. Our no-host dinner is open to anybody interested. Discount registration for the rest has been extended to April 19.

Saturday, June 8th:
  • Continuing Education Workshop: Introduction to Taxonomies - Full day, including lunch
  • No- Host Dinner-  6:30 - 9:30 p.m.  Open to anybody in the area who’s interested,  Contact Ben Licciardi,,
    for details and RSVP.

Sunday, June 9th:

  • Starting a Taxonomy Project - 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Selecting a Taxonomy Management Tool - 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Enhance Your Records Management Program with Taxonomy  - 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Monday, June 10th:
  • Taxonomy Business Meeting and Taxonomy Disaster Stories - 8:00 - 9:30 a.m
  • Organizing Knowledge (Spotlight Session) - 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.  
  • How to Apply Your Taxonomy to Your Content - 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
  • Open House – Networking event – 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 11th:
  • SharePoint Speed Dating: Tips and Techniques from the Pros - 2:00 p. m. - 3:30 p.m.

If you need more information, please see the taxonomy division wiki or the SLA 2013 program information section for more information.   

Registration Information:

For more information on conference registration please see the SLA website. 
About Taxonomy Division:
The Taxonomy Division addresses ways to organize and structure information so that content is accessible and useful. It offers a practical context for exploring issues and sharing experiences related to planning, creating and maintaining taxonomies, thesauri, authority files, and other controlled vocabularies and information structures. If you are interested in learning more about the division or joining us, please check out our website, where we have information about upcoming events. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 2: Taking a Photo with Mobile Device

I will be the first to admit that I have never been a huge fan of photo sharing services. I downloaded Instagram when it was barely post-beta and promptly deleted my account after taking a fews photos. I am not a great photographer and it is not generally the lens through, which I see the world. However, since I haven’t been back to Instagram in years I thought I would try to the service again this time in its post-Facebook acquisition phase

I downloaded the app for my iPhone signed up for an account, looked through the application features, and finally took a quick shot of my “library”.  The service has remained the same (photos + funny filters + social stream = social network) since I first tried the service back in the early days. While I think the application user interface is superb I don’t like the search features, and I find this to be a service that doesn’t fit into my information lifestyle. 

The service that resonated more with me as a user is Flickr. I downloaded the application Yahoo released during the traumatic period shortly after Instagram was bought and updated its terms of service. I hadn’t used Flickr prior to the mobile application and thought it was a great service that provided the fun element from Instagram (i.e. filters) with a more serious photo repository. As a test I used Flickr consistently for family vacation with mixed results. Uploading photos directly from the application gobbled up bandwidth and drained the battery. (Furthermore if you turn-on “upload on wifi only” to conserve batter life while a photo is queued for upload it will through an error when uploading, and you’ll lose the photo (even if you have save to camera roll turned on.) Not a great end-result though I put this down to user error rather than the service. Flickr also has a nuanced privacy setting which allows to select the privacy level at the photo level rather than have a single photo stream, which makes it better for storing and maintaining a photo library.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

23 Mobile Things: Week 1: Twitter

Since I started this blog during the original 23 Things project hosted by SLA I was rather excited when I came across 23 Mobile Things project in early April. The first module is based around Twitter, which has mobile in its DNA, and is it a perfect place to start.

I have been using Twitter since mid-2007 so I am familiar with the service though my use case for the tool has changed over the past 6 years.  Originally, I used the tool mainly for conversation while now I use it for curation too. There are many great librarians/information professionals on Twitter doing excellant work in the library space.

I have tried using several mobile clients though my favorite is Tweetbot from Tapbots (who also offers companion application on the desktop). I don’t often go to the Twitter webpage unless handling some sort of utility function. 

I would argue that tweets are becoming a fabric of our cultural dialog and should be preserved for posterity so I agree with Library of Congress keeping an archive. Tweets capture information on both the mudane and the not so mundane, which is valuable to researchers both today and in the future. 

I don’t think Twitter can only be used for promoting large events or conferences. Instead, groups/organizations need to use Twitter everyday to interact with their community. Simply setting up a username and launching is not enough. Twitter is simply a tool help you reach your community the tool unto-itself is not important. Its all about the community and the conversation. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Value in an Embedded Librarian

Bringing librarians into an organization and embedding them into a work group has many benefits. As the knowledge economy grows workers spend a great deal of time working with information. Time searching, organizing, and validating information draws workers away from their primary responsibilities.  An embedded librarian, an information specialist, brings many valuable skills to the team including:

 A librarian is a research specialist professionally trained in spelunking through databases and the open web for information on market verticals, competitors, and many other topics. The can provide other team members with information for reports, white papers, and build research guides or a bibliography to help their team members secure the best information possible. 

Information Management: 
An embedded librarian can liaise with the information center or library to ensure that team members have access to the information they need to complete their projects. This includes printed or electronic resource though could also include information on trade shows, or conferences. Librarians are trained in evaluating information for content so they know how to compare sources to find the best data possible.

Knowledge Management: 
Any department or working group not only consumes information resources it also inevitably creates them. Team members create white papers, memorandums, training manuals, grant proposals and other internal documents yet too often these internal documents are siloed away or left forgotten once a project is complete. A librarian can build and manage a group repository so these documents can saved for lessons learned, and additional projects. 

Librarians specialize in instruction and user interaction. An embedded librarian can provide training to users (both internal and external) on group systems, and prepare training materials for distribution to the group. 

Having the librarian handle the group’s information needs allows other group members to focus on their core responsibilities (helping customers, writing reports etc.) rather than spending time swimming through the information.