Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Best Single Tech Idea of 2009"

You may not agree with the title of this post once you read on, but I applied this little Web ap and really liked it.

"The single best tech idea of 2009, though, the real life-changer, has got to be Readability. It’s a free button for your Web browser’s toolbar (get it at When you click it, Readability eliminates everything from the Web page you’re reading except the text and photos. No ads, blinking, links, banners, promos or anything else. Times Square just goes away."

"Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading."

You can pick/choose the style (novel, ebook, newspaper) to transform your Web reading and remove ads, banners, promos, etc. as the quote above explains.

Learn about Readability and other Best Tech ideas of 2009 from David Pogue's NY Times (Personal Tech) column.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Academic Libraries- Collaborative Learning Spaces

Several photos are here of collaborative learning spaces in several different academic libraries.

Do you see any that might work for our students/our space?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Socialnomics Video

Until recently I was unfamiliar with the term/concept of "socialnomics".

I was reading a post on the "America's Best Business Practices" blog today, however, and came across a recommended video about how crucial the current social media is to marketing. As I watched this video I was thinking of the article that Karl had asked RST members to read- "The Millennial Muddle" in the Oct 11, 2009 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education and his Next Chapter post, "Text a Librarian . .. ".

While this video's message is geared more for small businesses I'd say it has a message or 2 for us as well. You be the judge. There's a longer & shorter version of the video.

Sentences in the longer video include:
  • Generation Y & Z consider e-mail passe. In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing email addresses to incoming freshmen.
  • Gen Y & Z value "word of mouth" communication b/c they thrive in a "world of mouth" environment
  • Soon we will no longer search for products & services, they will find us via social media.

Short or long version of these videos ask- do we like what our customers are saying about us?

"Social Media Revolution" - shorter version

"Social Media Revolution" - longer version

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Showing Patrons the Door?

Ok, two posts in one day? Lookout!

But seriously, I came across another good one I wanted to share:

Showing Patrons the Door
by David Lee King
Showing patrons the door? Yikes – we’d never do that (under normal circumstances, anyway)! ... [L]ibrarians would never consciously walk up to a patron and tell them to leave if that patron was having trouble using something in the library … right?

I think we DO sometimes tell our patrons to leave when we make things difficult for them. We might as well be saying "here’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out."


Is your website confusing? Do customers have to puzzle out what they need to do next while on your site? If so … your website is showing patrons the door. Same with our catalogs – a confusing catalog might just steer customers away from checking stuff out – and that’s one of our major, must-have services!


Other ways to show patrons the door might include hard to find stuff on your website, hidden content, or even library services that aren’t mentioned anywhere on your website.

So – what do you think? What else shows patrons the door, and how can we fix that?

"Back-channel ILL"

One of the Librarians I follow on Twitter (sorry, I don't remember who), tweeted the following blog post from Jessamyn West's blog

When Good Librarians Go Bad: Genuine Options in Librarianship

Here's an excerpt from the final paragraph that sums it up pretty well:
...I often came across content that I didn’t have access to. I was also confronted with, in many cases, unreasonable fees requested [$9.95 for 100 words, really?]. Me being me, I could always find a librarian with access to, say the Times Online archive, or old articles in JSTOR. But I also felt it was cheating. But I was also annoyed that being resourceful is also somehow cheating. And I knew that many of my patrons with fewer resources would just pony up. Where do we draw the line between enforcing other people’s rules and solving problems with our patrons? Now that we’re getting more and more networked, this whole idea of local content works for some things [historical photos, town history] and not for others [journal articles that are held in thousands of libraries worldwide]. Do we have a plan for moving forward?
Well, do we? Just a little food for thought...