Speaking Engagements Galore!

Over the next few months, I will be doing a little bit of presenting at various conferences and events.   Here is the list:

 

Wednesday April 1st, at Computers in Libraries Conference, Washington D.C.:   CM Tools: Drupal, Joomla, & Rumba

Alongside one of my library heroes, John Blyberg, I will be presenting on ideas and features around CMSs in the world.    I will be talking about why we originally chose Joomla as our content management system and then switched to ModX, while John will be showing off Drupal.     I only have a small amount of time, so I’ll highlight my favorite feature of ModX (template variables) and just provide broad stroke overviews of the advantages.   The bigger context is what should you be thinking about when choosing a content management system for your web presence or intranet.

Monday April 6 at the Halifax Infirmary Boardroom ( it’s sold out!):  Why Online Community-Building Matters to Health Care and Capital Health

This is a discussion about the current and potential uses of social media in Healthcare, especially in Halifax.   Dave Emmett, the guy who did the “What is Social Media?” presentation at Podcamp Halifax, is teaming up with me to show how people in Halifax are using neat tools like Twitter to engage community and what is being done pertaining to Community Healthcare as well.    Watch this space, because we might see if we can invite people in on the presentation virtually.

Monday May 25 at the CALL/ACBD Conference Westin Hotel, Halifax NS:  Making Some Room: Strategies that Turn New Staff into New Leadership

Using some skills I developed by engaging with folks from Envision Halifax, The Hub Halifax, Podcamp Halifax and others, I am going to facilitate a discussion about leadership in a world where a new generation is about to take over.   How can I speak to leadership and strategy without being Anthony Robbins?   Easy – I’m going to get the audience to do it for me by using an innovative methodology called “The Fishbowl Conversation.”   I will start off by laying down a few principles though – things like “Theory U” and the change process, but in the end, the solutions will come from the audience.

That’s my story these days.   Anyone going to be at any of the conferences?    Be sure to say “hello” if you are!

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Podcamps in Libraries

podcamp_large2I have always guessed that unconferences and public libraries are a natural fit.   Now, after Podcamp Halifax, I am absolutely convinced.   If you are a director of a public library, I suggest you drop everything, do a twitter search for “podcamp”, catch the feed in your aggregator and pay attention to who, when and where a podcamp might be happening in your area.   You want to be a part of the experience.   Actually, depending on your community’s needs, you may have a moral and ethical obligation to be part of the experience.

Thanks Dan Robichaud!

When all was said and done, we had over 250 people who said they wanted to come, over 160 who actually did come and we had a top Twitter tag for part of the day and the tally is still running.  Feedback so far has been extremely positive, and people are telling us they want to do it again.   I was in the community news prior to the event, we had some great sponsors who helped us out financially or with their promotion machine, and Andrew Baron of Rocketboom gave one of the most inspiring, interesting and audience-aware talks I’ve seen in a while.   (Take-away:   Be 1) First 2) Best or 3) Most Unique .   If you are two of those, success is likely in the bag.)

The library worked out very well as a podcamp space.   Adding in the Alderney Landing Theatre as a venue was also an excellent idea.   Podcamp started at 9, we held the keynote at 1:30 so we could avoid the Sunday crowd rush at 2pm.   Then back to the library for some cake and coffee and on to the theatre again for a talk by Eden Spodek and Connie Crosby to cap off the day.

But why podcamps  in libraries?   Here are my top-ten reasons:

10.  Unconferences are community-driven events.

9.   People are curious about technology and don’t know where they can learn more.  Our community needed this podcamp!   Libraries should be responding to community need.

8.   Bloggers want to talk about what they love and often don’t have the crowd around them to do so.   cf. the picture of “I am Not Alone!”

7.  Podcamps are events where people share ideas.

6.  They are much, much, much easier than organizing even a particularly small conference.

5.  160 people in attendance for a full day event – a good lot of them said they could not remember the last time they were in a library.

4.  It shows libraries can be innovative in how they use their space.

3.  Libraries and librarians get to learn too.  In fact, staff might learn more about community development from a podcamp than they would from a library conference.

2.  Partnerships – we partnered with organizations that know stuff we do not.   That made for a successful podcamp, but it also made what I do more effective as well.

1.  Fun fun fun fun fun.   Our community walked away smiling from this event.

Of course, an unconference can be done on any subject — it doesn’t have to be social media.   Also, there are many many many more reasons why a library could participate in a unconference in general.   What kind of unconference do you think your community needs?

Also, here are a list of content as I continue to find cool things.

Dawn of the Dewey: What About A New Standard?

Tim Spalding of Library Thing has initiated an idea for an open source, crowd created replacement for the Dewey Decimal System called OSC.   On the whole, I am for starting anything.   I think entrepreneurialism like this is a good thing.   Competition of any kind cannot hurt the process of information organization — it makes everyone stronger, smarter and more productive.  There’s more discussion about it by Tim from this Wednesday’s Uncontrolled Vocabulary.

I do get a little up in arms when I hear pretentious snark about someone’s idea.    More of it was thought to appear on librarian.net, although it seems it may not have been snark after all?

Having skimmed over the forum, one of the concerns I have at the outset is that the ideas appear to be mimicing, rather than replacing the DDC.     I would like to see people using their minds more about this issue.   Mimicing is a definite no-no from an aesthetic point of view, and it makes me question what the point of such a replacement in the first place?   I say if you are going to do something new, make it new.   Make it noticeably 2008, rather than an updated 18-hundred-whatever.

The other issue I have is that thinking about book order in the abstract is quite different from action thinking.   Considering that this replacement will be largely about placing books on a relative shelf order, I think we should be developing that standard while actually shelving books.   So, here is my idea:

  • Go to your local public library’s catalogue and using any random selection process of your choice, place a hold on 20 or more books.
  • Put those books in a shelf order, that makes sense to you.
  • Try an alternative shelf-order.
  • One more alternative shelf-order.
  • Post those titles and shelf orders to the Library Thing forum on this issue
  • Explain how you came to these shelf orders, which one you liked the best and why.

Or you can do something else similar.   The broad point i want to make is that, if this thing is going to replace DDS, then it ought to be based on some sort of new foundations, hopefully considering not only what the user thinks, but how the user will eventually use the system.  The only way to get at how people use something is through action.

All in all, I love this idea and kudos to Tim Spalding for proposing it.    And by the way, he is looking for a leader for this project — someone who will facilitate the process without dominating it.   You got the guts?  Go for it!