Carnival of the Infosciences #84

 So the big news for this Carnival post is that most of y’all were too busy eating turkey to send in submissions.   So this one’ll be fairly short and sweet.

Larry Ferlazzo thought the set of tutorials from the Calgary Public Library would be pretty useful.   I agree — it’s always good to show people where to find the good learning tools.

Anna Creech, the Eclectic Librarian sent in Mark Lindner’s article on DDC with this comment:  “I know it’s a little old, but I found it to be an interesting read. It’s rare that something about cataloging doesn’t make my eyes glaze over, and this addresses and important issue with traditional library cataloging structures. ”

 Kathryn Greenhill put in an interesting article of her own entitled “Website or Web Presence?” basically outlining how web design is very much like web marketing these days — in all its modes:  promotion, understanding the user and so on.

ANd finally, Katie of the Young Librarian sends in “LibWorld: Library and Librarian Blogs of the World” by the Filipino Librarian.  The biblioblogosphere definitely has a good lot of North Americans out there, it is nice to see that library blogging is catching on in other places as well.

An Other Carnival of the Infosciences (#84)

I just couldn’t resist joining in on the fun, so The Other Librarian is the host for the next Carnival of the Infosciences.

“So what?” you say.    “So what do you want to see in the next issue?” is my reply.

It works like this:  you tag something with “carninfo” in with a  little comment or something over the next week, and I’ll post all about it come next Monday.  That’s it.

And if you don’t want to, then you can use the submission form instead.

Of course, if you wanted to host the Carnival yourself, you can just find an open slot in the wiki, read through the hosting guidelines, and send Chadwick a message telling him your intentions.

Jerk: the Current Library Brand?

I found this to be an interesting quote from Tim Sanders, who wrote The Likeability Factor, in a news article I read today.

“In this bloggable, cell phone camera world, your brand on the inside is going to be your brand on the outside. If you have a bunch of jerks, your brand is going to be a jerk.”

I think libraries as a whole have to consider the “plays well with others” factor in who they hire — for sure.   It’s pretty simple, if libraries send jerks out to the community — the library is going to be considered a jerk too.   And, however stereotypical, it’s hard to say that “grumpy & scowling” has not been part of the library brand for quite a while now.   (Jerk?   Well, I’d agree with that too, but I won’t add a link for that because I might end up calling some nice guy or girl a jerk).    Thank goodness for efforts to change that image [snark].

This only goes to show that a user-centric library may have to also be fairly librarian-centric in the end.   If we want to change our brand to something positive, we will have to invest our time and energy in attracting positive non-jerk librarians in the end.   For alot of countries (and the U.S. is an exception to this) that are going to be looking at labor shortages in the next couple of years, this is going to be more and more difficult.   In other words, it goes to show that going on a manifesto of user-centricity is not going to be enough to satisfy the needs of our users in the end.   We have to consider the whole package.   We can’t be user-centric, if our employees are jerks.

Flocking to Flock?

A new browser, just out of beta!    I gave Flock a try and it’s pretty fun, actually.    The main feature I would say are the social-software integration.   This browser is intended to handle all of those accounts that you’ve booked into, whether it be Facebook, or Twitter or Flickr.

The big feature I would say are the sidebars.   There is a “People” sidebar that will store all of your social software friends’ info for easy access all the time (“no sir, I’m not on facebook — it’s just constantly hooked into my browser!”).  And then there’s a media sidebar that can remind you of all your favorite pictures, videos and whatnot.  There’s a “My World” tab which appears to be a built-in portal of all your favorite things.


There’s alot of fun to be had here.    Who says that the Web is platform?  It’s like we almost forgot that it’s the browser that helps us turn that web into a platform.   Flock seems to be a strong reminder of that fact.

The Ethics of Conference Attendance in a Networked World

So, I can generally get funding for approximately one conference per year.   I would have liked that to be Internet Librarian, but I did Computers in Libraries earlier on this year.

Now that IL is wrapping over and I’m reading all the great blogging about the conference, there’s an element in me that wonders if going to such conferences in the future would be useful to my employer.   If they pay to send me to the conference, they probably want me bringing something back — that’s totally fair and the way things should work.

The problem is that in a networked world, I can easily converse with any number of qualified professionals on the subjects most relevant to my world.   I can usually get it “on demand” and with a few added questions to go with it.   I do not have to put my hand up and hope the moderator sees me; I do not have to worry if someone will think my question is stupid; I do not have to crowd the presenter afterward like a groupie to say hello.    I also do not have to go to a presentation that is meaningless to me because there is nothing in a particular time-slot important to me.

And looking at the blogs of people who were at Internet Librarian, I get the gist of most of the key messages.     I can even follow Twitter and find out some of the not-so-conferency conference stuff going on.    It’s almost as if I was there without ever being there.

So, my main motivation for attending conferences is to see the faces of the people who I have IM’d before.   It’s a social networking game, or rather, a continuation of the social networking game, because I already social network with these folks.   I am not sure if this is a fair motivation for my employer to send me to the conference.

Now don’t get me wrong — there are some further spin-offs to going to conferences.   For instance, I can see the exhibits of the latest vendors.    This year I got a sneak-peak at LibraryThing for libraries, which was nice.   And sometimes I get something special out of a presentation that I thought I’d hate.    And other times, I just simply meet new people that I can add to my network.

And then there is the broader question — why should I lose out on great conference fun just because I know how to use the technology to keep up with my learning?

So, I guess I have more questions than answers here.   What are your purposes for going to a conference, and is it really an organization-improving activity in the end, with all the advantages to be gained from social networking?   What can I gain from an in-person conference that I cannot gain by through technology-mediated tools?