31 January 2006

HOW TO USE THE OCLC PERCEPTIONS REPORT

Have you seen the latest report from OCLC, Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources? It deals with public libraries, but some of it is applicable to every type of library. Here is George Needham's take on it in his blog, It's All Good.

"The best use of the Perceptions report is to use a triage approach. Look at what respondents have said they want, and then figure out: a.) what you already offer but that you need to be more "in your face" about advertising; b.) what you could do by realigning resources, eliminating redundancies, or changing legacy policies; and c.) pipedreams. Just make sure not to confuse what you can't do (pipedreams) with what you don't want to do (because it's always been done this way)!"

I agree wholeheartedly. For more about this report, see Walt Crawford's review in Cites & Insights 6(2):9-12, February 2006.

URLs:
OCLC report site: http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm
Needham's comments: http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/public-use-of-library-and-other.html
Walt Crawford's review of the report: http://cites.boisestate.edu/v6i3c.htm

BRANDING TIPS

Does your library have a brand? If not, it should. I wrote about this in my book, The Visible Librarian: Asserting Your Value With Marketing and Advocacy (ALA Editions, 2003, ISBN 0-8389-0848-9, US$34.00), but here are some more good tips.

"Step 1: Understand how you are perceived? Is that how you want to be perceived?
Step 2: Decide upo0n your Unique Selling Proposition: What makes you or your [library] unique, different, special? What niche is available that only you can fill?
Step 3: What are customer expectations? What do your clients typically expect of you? What unique attributes do you offer that best fit client expectations?
Step 4: Make it personal, if possible. "

Then, create a brand and "get the word out consistently and repeatedly using your website, business cards, signage, stationery, newsletter, e-mail, and public relations."

The above is from Steve Strauss, a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship and SBA Small Business Journalist of the Year.

URLs:
This article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/strauss/
2006-01-30-brand_x.htm
His free newsletter, Small Business Success Stories: http://www.mrallbiz.com/
newsletter/
Link to my book: http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog2&
_pn=product_detail&_op=1198

PS. Sorry about the shameless plug for my book, but it was relevant to the post.


GOOD REFERENCES ON INTERNATIONAL LIBRARIES

Cheri Crist posted "Some Cool Resources about International Libraries" on her blog, From Here to There: A Look at International Libraries (inactive now). She is (was?) an MLS student in the Department of Informatics, University of Buffalo, New York, USA.

The resources look very interesting, but are all print. Hmmm.

URL: http://globallibraries.blogspot.com/2005/10/some-cool-resources-about.html

A MUST-READ FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIANS

Here are two articles that every academic librarian must read, ASAP!

First, Changing a Cultural Icon: The Academic Library as a Virtual Destination, by Jerry D. Campbell, CIO and Dean of Libraries at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Then read Cindy Trainor's commentary on STLQ: Occasional postings bout issues and concerns of interst (but not limited to) engineering and scitech librarians. Cindy is IT Librarian at Claremont Colleges, California.

URLs:
Campbell: http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm06/erm0610.asp?bhcp=1
Trainor: http://stlq.info/2006/01/wake_up_librarians_the_sky_is.html

30 January 2006

LIBRARIANS ON THE RADIO

This was Lin’s Bin in response to a question from XRT listener Rachel Kitzmann on 11-16-05. [WXRT is a rock radio station in Chicago, Illinois. Lin Brehmer is the morning disc jockey there.]

This Lin’s Bin went on to become somewhat of an Internet legend … being traded back and forth between libraries across the country.

Dear Lin,

I have a confession: I’m 22 and in library school. As I was working on my reference homework, and contemplating my life as a young adult librarian post-graduate school, I became worried that my ability to be cool and connect with teenagers is going to go kaput. How do I convince them that librarians aren’t the shushing she-demons we’re always portrayed as?
Rachel Kitzmann, Library Temp
Donors Forum of Chicago
208 South LaSalle, Suite 735
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 578-0175 | fax (312) 578-0158
http://www.donorsforum.org


LIBRARIANS. WHO ARE THEIR HEROES? WHERE DO THEY LOOK FOR ROLE MODELS?

We are forced to think of librarians as older women, prim and bespectacled.

If we cast them as younger women in our memory, they are forever compared to Marian, Madam Librarian, a woman without suitors. A woman whose devotion to books and education blinds her to the evil that lurks behind the pressed pages of classic fiction. (pickalittle-where they mention Balzac and Chaucer) [from the stage and movie musical, The Music Man]

Or is the librarian the great deceiver, the highly educated spinster on the outside and on the inside, one who recites the steamy words of literature to other librarians in some secret underground librarian-swapping boudoir. What does conman Harold Hill know that we don’t?

Think of the film, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is shown a gallery of nightmarish visions that correspond to a world in which he had never been born. What is the most horrifying? That his wife, Mary, never married and has become, it’s almost too
tragic to repeat, a librarian. (Clarence-she’s closing up the library, she’s an old maid.)

One of the severest librarians in cinema history was the cranky archivist in Citizen Kane. Katherine Hepburn was a sort of librarian in Desk Set. You can tell because of the bun in her hair.

Yet, there are men besides the music man who look beyond the buns in your hair and harbor fantasies about librarians. But in the interest of full disclosure, I suppose, we should confess that men harbor fantasies about almost anyone.

One librarian website strove so strenuously to debunk the proper stereotype of the librarian that they thought it educational to list titles of explicit fringe literature devoted to librarian erotica. From such page-turners as Librarians Enslaved to the Eager Librarian, stereotypes have been unshackled.

On the other hand, librarians secure in self-image might prefer perusing the pages of Progressive Librarian where we can curl up with an article entitled “The Basis of a Humanist Librarianship in the Ideal of Human Autonomy.” [Progressive Librarian 23, Spring 2004]

The Modified Librarian offers you a chance to become acquainted with library professionals, men and women, who share details of their lives with pictures of piercings and tattoos. And if you think women librarians have issues with stereotypes, what about male librarians. “What! Couldn’t you get into a more masculine line of work, like nursing?”

When I was 21, I worked in a library. Not just any library. The New York State Library housed in the landmark state education building in Albany. A more imposing structure would be hard to find. The front steps are flanked by 520 feet of giant Greek columns, the longest row of load bearing columns in the world.

The main room boasted 94 foot ceilings. I joined a group of temporary employees, aimless recent college grads, high school drop-outs and substance abuse novices working among the 20 million volumes in the stacks. The stacks, eight underground floors accessible only through four coal mining style elevators.

Each floor was like a separate library. And since each aisle had its own light switch, the vastness of this subterranean book vault was largely pitch black.

For air circulation, there were open slots between the floor and the bookshelves. So you could
look all the way down the stacks if you peered down these gaps. And they inspired mischief.

Imagine if you can, one of my colleagues, some drug addled 19-year old, coming off a methedrine binge filing books in one of the darkest, spookiest places on earth when suddenly a hand grabs his ankle from the darkness below. The howls echoed louder than the tortured sinners of the Inferno.

Yes, it was fun. But while I labored in this precursor to damnation, I became friends with librarians. We ate together and drank together and went to concerts together. And I can state categorically, that librarians are just as “psycho” as the rest of us, only much smarter. And the women librarians who put their hair up in a bun only do it because they know how much it stimulates the imagination when they let their hair down.


URLs:
Lin's Bin: http://www.wxrt.com/program/detail/linsbin.html
Article: http://www.libr.org/PL/23_Rosenzweig.html
New York State Library: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/
Citizen Kane: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033467/
Desk Set: http://www.imdb.com/title/ttoo50307/
It's a Wonderful Life: http://www.imdb.com/title/ttoo38650/
The Modified Librarian: http://www.bmeworld.com/gailcat/
The Music Man: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056262/

See also:
Librarians in the Movies: An Annotated Filmography, from Martin Raish: http://emp.byui.edu/RAISHM/films/introduction.html

29 January 2006

GOOD PRESS FOR MEDICAL LIBRARIANS

The San Jose [California] Mercury News published a great article on the PlaneTree Health Library in Los Gatos, California. It even mentions the librarians. The title is "Health library helps patrons understand care and options." Wouldn't it have been nice if it had read "Health librarians....?"

URL: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/living/education/13725140.htm

HOW TO GET AROUND MANDATORY SITE REGISTRATION

Do you hate having to give all that personal information just to read an article on a web site? Here's a way to avoid that. Go to Bugmenot.com, enter the URL of the website you want to access, and try one of their proven logons that have already been established. I tried it today--and it works. This is great if you are going to a site that you will probably never re-visit.

URL: http://www.bugmenot.com

27 January 2006

JUST GIVE THE CUSTOMER WHAT HE/SHE WANTS!

That's the key to success. And futurist/writer Esther Dyson agrees. In the description of the theme of her upcoming PC Forum (12-14 March, Carlsbad, California, USA), she said:

"In the end, I don't want just information; I want actions based on the right information. I want flights booked, appointments made, supplies ordered, inventories managed on the basis of information that is structured and actionable (and that reflects my own personal preferences)."

(For more on this, see Alane Wilson's post, The Rise of the "User Class" on the It's all good blog from OCLC.)

That's just what I've been saying. Our customers don't want books or articles; they don't even want information. Our customers want answers to their questions, solutions for their problems. If you provide answers and solutions, you'll thrive. If you don't....polish up that resume.

URLs:
PC Forum: http://www.release1-0.com/pcforum/index.php
The Rise of the "User Class: http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/rise-of-user-class.html
It's all good: http://scanblog.blogspot.com/

FOR CHILDREN'S LIBRARIANS

If you're not a children's librarian, point these out to your favorite public library.

I just found these two blogs about books for kids. Your Fairy Bookmother is from Rachel Vilmar. Right now she's not posting much since her baby is due any minute, but she has some very nice posts on books and authors. The other blog is Read Roger, from Roger Sutton, editor of The Horn Book, a publication of news and reviews of kiddie books. Some of the posts are thinly disguised plugs for THB, but there is some good information there too.

URLs:
Your Fairy Godmother: http://yourfairybookmother.typepad.com
Read Roger: http://www.hbook.com/blog/
The Horn Book: http://www.hbook.com/


25 January 2006

SOLOLIB-L list has moved!

The SOLOLIB-L list, from the Solo Librarians Division of the Special Libraries Association, has moved. For some unstated reason, Gerry Hurley of SilverPlatter must give up hosting the list. (Thank you, Silver Platter and Gerry, for your years of assistance!)

The new home of the list is SLA and its new name is SLA-DSOL (that will take some work to get used to). If you were on SOLOLIB-L, you should have been automatically migrated to the new list. To post to the list, send a message to SLA-DSOL@lists.sla.org

If you are not a member of the list--and you should be--send an email to Lyris@lists.sla.org with the following message: subscribe SLA-DSOL your email address firstname lastname

If you have a question about the list, contact Amanda Dingus Kindall at amanda_kindall@yahoo.com

You don't have to be a member of the Solo Division or SLA to subscribe to the list--a policy o which we are very proud--but you are encouraged to consider joining. I am proud to have been the Division's first chair, way back in 1991.

See you on the list!


BEST-DESIGNED INTRANETS FOR 2006


Blogger Jakob Nielsen has just released his list of the ten best-designed intranets for 2006. They are:

  • Allianz Australia Insurance, Australia
  • ALTANA Pharma AG, Germany
  • Bank of Ireland Group, Ireland
  • Capital One, USA
  • IBM, USA
  • Merrill Lynch, USA
  • METRO Group, Germany
  • O2, UK
  • Staples, USA
  • Vodafone, UK

In previous years, the winners were smaller companies, but there were much larger companies in this year’s list. Also, more of the winners were from outside the USA. Other trends: under-representation of manufacturing companies, more from financial companies; consistent look and feel within the intranet; use of task-based information architectures; very complete navigation systems; use of many different software platforms; significant use of video on the intranet; increased access via mobile devices; and increased availability of e-learning features.

You can download his full report, Intranet Design Annual, with screenshots, for US$148.00.


URLs:

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox blog: http://www.useit.com/alertbox

article: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/intranet_design.html

Full report: http://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet/design/

LOOKING FOR A GRANT?

If you are planning to apply for a grant for your library--for any reason, you should subscribe to the Library Grants blog. It comes from Stephanie Gerding and Pam MacKellar, authors of Grants for Libraries, a new book froom Neal-Schuman.



URLs:
their blog: http://www.librarygrants.blogspot.com/
their book: http://www.neal-schuman.com/db/5/505.html

24 January 2006

BLOGGING: FOR COMPANIES AND LIBRARIES, TOO

Factiva has released the first two parts of a white paper on Blogging and your Corporate Reputation. Part One is Listen to the Conversation, about monitoring what others are blogging about your organization. Part Two is Contribute to the Debate, on what response your organization should make to the bloggers and encouraging employees to blog.

Although the paper is directed at corporations, libraries and librarians should also follow what is being said about them on blogs and respond and participate in the blogosphere. Therefore, I suggeest you take a look at the white paper. It is free after registration. While you're there, look at some of Factiva's other white papers.

URL: http://www.factiva.com/collateral/download_brchr.asp?node=menuElem1506

GOING TO SLA 2006 IN BALTIMORE?

If you are planning to attend the Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association in Baltimore, Maryland in June, you need to bookmark this new blog. Quoth The Raven has been created by the SLA Maryland Chapter to help you get around. "This is a good place to come to find more information about Maryland events and tips and tricks from locals to help you plan a successful visit to our state."

Already up are links to a website on Edgar Allan Poe (a local boy), some books to help you plan your visit, and a wonderful interactive map.

URL: http://sla-maryland.blogspot.com

SEARCH THE US COPYRIGHT LAW--FREE

askSam, the database publisher, has just announced the availability of the US Copyright Law as a searchable databases available for free. You can browse and search online or download it and search it on your own computer (which gives you more options).

The following resources are also available in the same format. This is quite an impressive list--all for free. BTW. askSam is the database I use. It is extremely powerful, fast, and easy to use. Its main benefit is that you don't need to predefine field lengths. Look at it while you're there.

Legislative: Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Base II Standards, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, HIPA Act, Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act of 2004, Patriot Act.

Other: Area Codes, Medical Billing Codes (online only).

Government Reports: 9/11 Commission, US Budget for 2006.

Legal and Judicial: Confirmation Hearings and Opinions or Judges Alito and Roberts.

Literature: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebooks, MacBeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, and The Bible (King James Version)
Political: 2005 Presidential State of the Union Address, President Bush’s Agenda for America (with or without pictures), Selected Speeches from the Republican and Democratic national conventions, The Kerry-Edwards platform (with and without pictures), All the Bush-Kerry Presidential Debates, and the Cheney-Edwards Vice-Presidential Debate.


URL: http://www.asksam.com/ebooks/Copyright/

CENTER ON THE USERS!

Michael Stephens has a wonderful post on "5 Factors for User Centered Services" on his blog, Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology. Here they are:

"Does it place a barrier between the user and the service?
Is it librarian-centered or user-centered in conception, i.e., is it born from complaints from librarians about users?
Does it add more rules to your bulging book of library rules, procedures and guidelines? The more rules yu make the more quickly library users will turn you off.
Does it make more work for the user or the librarian?
Does it involve having to damage control before you even begin the service? If so, you might want to rethink."

In other words, put yourself in the place of your customers. Ask yourself, "if I were the user, would I like--or maybe love--this or hate it? As the librarian, does this make my life easier or more difficult?" If it's good for the user, then if it makes more work for you, that's okay. But if it makes your life easier at the customer's expense, don't do it! Good customer service is just that easy.

URL: http://tametheweb.com/2006/01/5_factors_for_user_centered_se.html

FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

There's a new search engine on the block: Hippocrates Deep Web Medical Search. "The search results are not previously cached or stored. They are obtained in real-time, directly from the sources." Included are a definition, images, description of the ailment, a FAQ on the subject, causes, symptoms, treatment,, and suggestions for further reading.

What impressed me was that sources are clearly shown, the language is easily understood, and there is a "Get a Second Opinion From..." section for each type of information. These point to specific articles on other medical websites. The site is rom CloserLook Search Services of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Columbus, Ohio, USA and Chennai Interactive Business Services, Chennai, India.

I suffer from peripheral neuropathy and a search found a great deal of very good information. Try this one out!

URL: http://chennaionline.com/hippocrates/

ATTENTION ENGINEERING LIBRARIANS

Roddy MacLeod [Senior Subject Librarian, Heriot Watt University, Edingurgh, Scotland] has written a great article for FreePint. "Engineering: the changing information landscape" talks about the past, present, and future for engineering resources and has links to some wonderful Repositories of engineering information. Thanks, Roddy.

URL: http://www.freepint.com/issues/190106.htm#tips

21 January 2006

GREAT FREE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY


Library leadership training opportunity

November 7-10, 2006, the Mortenson Center and the Illinois State Library will host the second "Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community" institute. This leadership retreat targets middle-level to senior-level library managers in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Latin America, and is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). All expenses will be covered.
Applications for the 2006 leadership retreat are due by May 15, 2006.

Additional information and application instructions are available at the following websites:
http://findit.sos.state.il.us/borders and
http://www.library.uiuc.edu/mortenson/2006IMLS.htm .

I can vouch for the quality of the Mortensen Center's programs. If you think you might be interested and/or qualified, I urge you to check this out!!


19 January 2006

Good News--and Bad--for Medical Librarians

First, the good news.
Miriam Geller, librarian in the radiology department, Children's Hospital Boston (Massachusetts, USA) was profiled in the Boston Globe online. "Anatomy of a Medical Librarian" is a very positive article. And fortunately, it mentions that she is a professional librarian and that she has a MLS from Simmons College.

URL: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2006/
01/16/anatomy_of_a_medical_librarian

Now, the bad.
"After 13 years of service, on January 1, 2006, Virtual Hospital / Virtual Children's Hospital, [one of] the Internet's first medical Web sites, ceased operations after serving over 80 million users, due to a lack of funding." It was a service of the University of Iowa, USA. However, much of the information remains on the site and its founder, Michael D'Alessandro, is now producing the Virtual Pediatric Hospital.

URLs: http://www.vh.org and http://www.virtualpediatrichospital.org

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, GO TO THIS SITE


Master of Disaster: The Beginner’s Disaster Planning Site for Libraries, Businesses and Institutions, by Jon S. Schultz [Professor of Law and Professor of Libraries, University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas, USA]

This is a very concise plan, but it is better than nothing. So if you don’t read anything else on disaster planning, you will be better off after reading this.
Contents: Your One-Hour Emergency Plan, When Disaster Strikes, Best Information Sources (just a few)

URL: http://www.themasterofdisaster.com/index.html

17 January 2006

Your Signature Can Sell


For cheap advertising, don’t forget your signature file. Mine reads:

Judith A. Siess, B.A., M.A., M.S.L.I.S.
INFORMATION BRIDGES INTERNATIONAL, INC. /I\B/I477 Harris Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44143 USA
voice: +1-216-486-7443, fax: +1-216-486-8810, email: jsiess@ibi-opl.com,
on the web at http://www.ibi-opl.com AND NOW BLOGGING at http://opls.blogspot.com/

Publisher and Editor of The One-Person Library: A Newsletter for Librarians and Management
Author of The OPL Sourcebook: A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries
, Information Today, Inc., 2001, ISBN 1-57387-111-7
The New OPL Sourcebook: A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries, Information Today, Inc., 2006, ISBN 1-57387-241-5
Time Management, Planning and Prioritization for Librarians, Scarecrow Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8108-4438-9
The Visible Librarian: Asserting Your Value With Marketing and Advocacy, ALA Editions, 2003, ISBN 0-8389-0848-9
The Essential OPL, 1998-2004: The Best of Seven Years of The One-Person Library: A Newsletter for Librarians and Management, Scarecrow Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8108-5429-5

Okay, you probably don’t want to make yours that long, but you can use it to tell people about upcoming programs, new services, and generally remind them that you and the library can help them do their jobs better.

Your signature is also a good place to put your library’s slogan (you DO have one, don’t you?) Jeannine Cyr Gluck [Eastern Connecticut Health Network, Manchester, Connecticut, USA] has this wonderful tag line in her signature:
“solving your problems. saving your time.

I urge you to look at your signature file and see how you can make it work for you and your library.

Web Users Judge Sites in the Blink of an Eye

That's accordng to Michael Hopkin in an article in news@nature.com. He also says that most of the traffic on websites (at least commercial ones) comes from search engines so the user's first impression is very important. Design is also important; limited graphics, "getting information across in the quickest, simplest way possible." That's what we librarians have been saying for years--it's the content! Finally, make sure your pages load quickly, otherwise the user may give up before he or she even looks at your site.

URL: http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060109/full/060109-13.html

NEW: Free Pint Index

The complete index to all articles appearing in the Free Pint newsletter from 1997 to 2005 is now available. It is divided into subject specific articles, searching, articles or webmasters, general interest, and articles from Jinfo (all about careers and job hunting).

There are ads interspersed in the index, but it’s a small price to pay for the index and they can be ignored quite easily. The index is available in text, HTML, and PDF formats and, according to the editors, you may “redistribute/copy/print any or all of the index, as you wish.” Thanks, Free Pint.

URL: http://www.freepint.com/issues/05indexb.htm



16 January 2006

LEGALLY SPEAKING

On 11 January I posted a link to a glossary of legal terms from the US Courts. On a post on 15 January 2006 on Library Boy (http://micheladrien.blogspot.com/), Michel-Adrien Sheppard, librarian at the Supreme Court of Canada, listed eight sites that have similar information for six provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Alberta, and Ontario) and two legal dictionaries.

URL: http://micheladrien.blogspot.com/2006/01/online-court-and-law-glossaries.html

13 January 2006

TOP 5 SEARCH TRENDS IN MEDICINE, 2005

According to Dean Giustini [Biomedical Branch Library, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada] in his blog, UBC Google Scholar Blog, the top five search trends in medicine for 2005 were:

1. Blogging in medicine: online journaling, blogsearch, user-generated content
2. Open access: repository search, Google Scholar (books), Scirus, wiki-med
3. Daily alerting: pushed content, RSS feeds, podcasts, del.icio.us
4. Digital multimedia: audio, podcasting, videocasting
5. Online medical education: on the go, handhelds, telehealth

How many of these are you doing?

URLs:
UBC Google Scholar Blog: http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar/
Top 5: http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar/archives/021517.html

FIND HELP FOR U.S. HURRICANE VICTIMS HERE

The Gulf Coast Recovery Resource Guide is a national guide to over 70 relief agencies and over 130 distinct services available to people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. You can print it out by agency, service, or state (Louisiana or Alabama).

The major services included are (in decreasing order of number of services): housing, immediate needs, small business assistance, child care, health and safety, employment, financial assistance, replacing vital documents, and health and safety.

The Guide is a service of Seedco, a national nonprofit organization, with help from students at the Graduate Schools of Public Service and Business at New York University.

URL: http://www.seedco.org/resourceguide/



GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE


For a while now I’ve been telling students in my workshops to “get out of your office” or “get out of the library,” that is, go to where your clients are. Now there’s a public library that has figured this out.

The reference librarians in the Mukiteo and Lynnwood libraries, in Everett, Washington (USA) are now walking around the library rather than sitting at the reference desk waiting for customers to come to them. They’ve found that reference questions are up as much as 25 percent.

I have also read of librarians being equipped with headsets and wireless phone so that they can go out and show customers to a source, while still being able to answer incoming calls. They can also answer a telephone inquiry from the source, without having to take the book back to the reference desk, providing faster service.

Some people are reluctant to come to the reference desk (or librarian’s desk) to ask a question—and admit that they don’t know or can’t find something. In fact, there are people in every organization that will probably never come into the library, but will ask the librarian a question if they see her or him in the hall. Build it and they will come does not necessarily apply to libraries. So, get up, walk around, see if your customers need help, and give it to them where they are. Better service, more satisfied clients, and a more appreciated librarian—that’s what it’s all about, right?

Reference:
Sheets, Bill, Librarians on the Move, The Herald, 13 January 2006, http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/06/01/13/100loc_b1librarians001.cfm

INFORMATION LITERACY: FOOD FOR THOUGHT


If you ever teach information literacy (i.e., what the Web is and isn’t), you should read Marylaine Block’s article in ExLibris #271 on the subject (http://marylaine.com/exlibris/xlib271.html).

She lists questions you can ask your students, including:
Why are they giving it away for free? (with examples)
Which of these pieces of information would you expect to find for free on the net?
Which wouldn’t you? Why or Why not?
  • The complete contents of the current issue of Consumer Reports
  • The complete US Code
  • and many others

It’s a great article!

While you’re there, why not sign up to receive ExLibris and Neat New Stuff every week in your e-mailbox? They are invaluable resources for every librarian.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO AIR

The three major television networks in the USA now have blogs about their news programs, what they did and didn’t air and why.

ABC: http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/

NBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8045532/

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/publiceye/main500486.shtml

11 January 2006

FOUND ON THE WEB


Two Neat Web Sites: One for Law Librarians, One for Medical Librarians

1. Commonly Used Terms, from the US Courts Library, Washington, DC http://www.uscourts.gov/library/glossary.html, a really useful glossary/dictionary.

2. Hospital library advocacy blog, http://hosplib.blogspot.com
“This weblog brings together many resources related to hospital library advocacy: standards and their promotion, making the business case for library services, promotion of library within hospital and to outside organizations, etc.” It is the product of highly-respected and widely-quoted medical librarian Jeannine Cyr Gluck, Director of the Medical Library, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, Manchester, Connecticut, USA.

I especially like her very recent post, Knowledge Support, where she writes about the difference between this and “good old fashioned current awareness.” It’s well worth a read—by all of us.

09 January 2006

TWO TOP TENS FOR 2006

Top 10 Office Resolutions for 2006

from IBT-USA Inc., a San Diego-based training firm, http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID=11184&NRWid=6338

1. Don't let email run my life.
2.
Eat lunch at lunch time—and not in my office.
3.
Fall in love with my “Delete Key” and learn the power of “Right Clicking.”
4.
Take time each day to think and plan my work.
5.
No scroll bar in my email “In-Box” at the end of the day.
6.
Respect my time and the time of others.
7.
Set & keep appointments on my calendar to read and do my own work.
8.
Spend more time with my family.
9.
Get organized so I stop wasting time looking for things I can’t find.
10. Get fit—both physically and mentally—it relieves stress.

Top 10 Forecasts for 2006 (with my comments)

from the World Future Society and the editors of The Futurist, http://www.wfs.orgforecasts.htm


1. Nanotechnology will be used for everything from monitoring the health of soldiers in the battlefield
to transforming waste into edible material. (duh--it's obvious)

2. U.S. public education will face an uphill battle for survival. (another surprise!)

3. Wind and tidal power will grow considerably in the next five years. (I doubt it.)

4. More doctors and hospitals will use wireless technologies such as wearable computers and mattresses embedded with sensors to help care for patients. (Maybe, but wouldn't the signals interfere with medical equipment?)

5. Digital electronic assistant programs will surf the Net on our behalf and enable us to amass entire digital libraries on a given subject by doing nothing more than setting a few key search guidelines. Again, it would be nice, but I doubt it.)

6. More people will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. (Another no-brainer; more old people, more Alzheimer's.)

7. Death by global warming; the ozone death toll could climb by 60%. (Very likely, but by so much?)

8. Science in Latin America will rise considerably. (It has no place to go but up.)

9. Look out for a job boom in solar industries, with some 42,000 new U.S. jobs by 2015. (Probably.)

10. The open-source phenomenon will transform employment as radically as blogging has changed the fields of media and journalism. (Undoubtedly.)

Two Librarian Blogs from Down Under

I’m sure there are many more Australian librarians blogging, but here a few I’ve run across.


The first, Real Public Librarian (http://paradigmlibrary.blogspot.com), is from the manager of a small group of public libraries in coastal Queensland. It is somewhat stream-of-consciousness, but has some nice insights on the trials of multi-library management.

The second, Library Havoc (http://havoc.typepad.com/international_havoc/), has the tag line “Havoc becomes change and localises in a library: and is also rather personal, but interesting.

The third, Exploded Library (http://www.explodedlibrary.info/), is more meaty. It is by Morgan Wilson, a (male) special librarian working as Electronic and Research Services Librarian at the Australian Graduate School of Management Library, University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has interesting posts as well as many links to other blogging Australian librarians, libraries, and library-related blogs.


If you know of any other non-USA librarian blogs, please let me know at jsiess@ibi-opl.com.

08 January 2006

WHICH BUSINESSES HAVE BLOGS?

Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki
http://www.socialtext.net/bizblogs/index.cgi

Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine) and Ross Mayfield (Socialtext) have created a directory of Fortune 500 companies that have business blogs, defined as: active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products. They plan to add share price data to create a Business Blogging Index, comparing the stock performance of companies that blog with those that don’t.

They list the following companies and their blogs: Amazon.com, Avaya, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Dell, EDS, Ford, GM, HP, Honeywell, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Oracle, Sprint, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Time Warner, and Viacom.

MANAGEMENT MATTERS

The Seven Deadly Sins for Library Managers and their antidote, The Seven Desirable Strategies

Just out from Rachel Singer Gordon, here are some do's and don'ts for managers. They are based on a 2004 online survey of 343 library staff members on their managers’ qualities and effectiveness. There is more detail in her article in Free Pint #197, 5 January 2006, http://www.freepint.com/issues/050106.htm#tips.
Way to go, Rachel!

The Seven Deadly Sins
1. Micromanagement: “employees’ most common complaint” (25 percent)
2. Lack of communication: “assume people already know what they need to know, believe knowledge is power, or want to avoid giving unpleasant news.”
3. Fostering divisiveness: “differing treatment” of degreed and non-degreed staff.
4. Abusiveness: overreaction, due to feeling insecurity
5. Failure to listen: inflexible, “unwilling to listen to different options and opinions”
6. Avoiding conflict: ignoring problems, ignoring personnel conflicts
7. Taking credit for others’ work

The Seven Desirable Strategies
1. Encouraging growth: fosters professional development
2. Providing autonomy: “trust people to do their work, effectively delegate responsibility, provide support” “people generally rise to expectations”
3. Looking out for staff: if they stand up for staff, staff will stand up for them
4. Respecting everyone’s contribution: to “keep up morale”
5. Leading by example: “keeping a hand in frontline duties” and “pitch in when needed
6. Communicating and listening: “Organizations where information flows freely simply work better.”
7. Providing leadership and vision: “articulate a vision of change” and “lead people through”

03 January 2006

COMMUNICATION MATTERS

The Brochure of Doom

“Brochures are a necessary evil. But they can be good, too. Here are some guidelines on how to produce (or avoid producing) the Brochure of Doom.”

Don’ts:
“Gather an exhaustive list of the product’s most exciting features.”
“Use some seriously flowery language.”
“Include as much information as possible.”

Do’s:
“Explain what your product/service means to your customers.”
“Be brief and to the point.”
“Include relevant, attractive graphics.”

For more detail, see The Plain Text Gazette, Issue 4, September 2002,
http://www.plain-text.co.uk/gaz4.htm#brochure

"NEW" MEDICAL LIBRARY RESOURCE

I just came across this great resource for medical libraries (and others who frequently need to search for health information). It sounds wonderful. And for the rest us us, there is a free website with nearly 11,000 (!!!) links.

Anderson, Patricia F. and Nancy J. Allee, eds., The Medical Library Association Encyclopedic Guide to Searching and Finding Health Information on the Web, New York: Neal-Schuman, 2004. ISBN 1-55570496-4, 3 vol., 945 pages, US$495.00 (paper, book and CD-rom), .US$395.00 without CD-rom)

VOLUME 1: Search Strategies, Quick Reference Guide

VOLUME 2: Diseases and Disorders, Mental Health and Mental Disorders

VOLUME 3: Health and Wellness, Life Stages and Reproduction / Cumulative Index

“Instead of starting a health care search with a blank computer screen or simply accessing ordinary information available most anywhere on the Web, you can begin with help from the prestigious Medical Library Association. Each entry will show you how an experienced health sciences librarian would approach a question. You can begin a truly valuable search knowing: special searching issues, what to ask, where to start, supplementary search strategies, topic profile, recommended search terms and important sites, hotline phone numbers, FAQs, publications on the internet, professional organizations, patient support organizations and discussion groups, and best “one-stop-shops.” Finally there’s one ready-reference source written by librarians to help their colleagues that contains every important aspect of the question you or your patron want to answer. It’s time-saving, it’s authoritative, it sets a new standard for comprehensive medical information reference.” (description on Amazon.com)


Accompanying website:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pfa/mlaguide/info/siteinfo.html (available to all), includes selections from the text, almost 11,000 web site links (by chapter and alphabetical by site description, not to be updated)


02 January 2006

FOUND ON THE WEB

Lists, Anyone?

Filmoculous, the blog from Rex Sorgatz, a web developer at IBS (Internet Broadcasting Systems), Minneapolis, Minnesota, has once again published its famous list of lists. 2005’s year-end roundup of most of the “Best Of” or “Top 10” lists can be found at http://www.fimoculous.com/year-review-2005.cfm

Categories: (with a few examples)

Words & Search (Notable Quotables from Media Research Center, Top 10 News Searches from Ask.com)

DVD (Best Vault Raiders from New York Times, Best Of 2005 from Ultimate DVD Geek)

Online (Top Ten Design Blogs from IF, Top 20 Public Domain Files from Public Domain Torrents)

Ideas (Best Ideas Of 2005 from Business Week, The Year In Ideas from New York Times Magazine)

Sex (no more examples, you get the idea…), Advertising/Marketing, Architecture, Media, Toys, Books, Film, Science, Visual Arts, Music Videos, Comedy, Business, People, Gadgets, TV, Games, Sports, Paranormal, Food, Health, Education, Photos, Automobiles, Theater, Comics, Music, Miscellaneous.