Faces in Libraries

The Amex commercial that highlights faces found in everyday object and places, has got me inspired to see if I can look at my every day surroundings at work and in the library and see faces as well. Here’s an example that I discovered in the Faces In Places pool on Flickr:

Photo by Knoton

Got any from your surroundings to add?


The attention economy, streams and information flow

Looking for a good 18 minute talk to challenge your thinking about marketing strategies in the network era? Then check out dana boyd’s recent talk from the Web 2.0 Expo. For me it starts getting really interesting around 06:17 “Shifting from a model of distribution to a model of attention is inherently disruptive, but it is not inherently democratized ..."

If you’re not into listening (she does talk fast ) then read the paper:
Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media



Mag+ concept video

This concept video by Bonnier Research & Development offers up a preview of how the magazines reading experience could be transformed through mobile networked devices.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Check out their beta lab blog and also the discussion in the comments.

The UI interface that Bonnier is exploring really blows the lid off the functionality of the current crop of ereader/ebook devices. And personally, I can't wait to see what Apple unveils when they finally officially jump into this race. Things are definitely going get interesting.

All about E's

I’ve often thought (and even publicly said) that it’s a shame that the word “library” isn’t spelled with “e’s” (libraree) for when you really look to find words that exemplify the impact and describe libraries, the ‘e’ words clearly reign.

Just this week, I was again reminded of this thought, while reading through Seth Godin’s latest free digital download (82 pg ebook), What Matters Most, when I turned the page to 20 and discovered Tom Peters’ contribution to the anthology of great thoughts:

Click to enlarge

Here’s my related thoughts on “E’s”:

Putting the “e” in library
Social Media E..E..Edge (aka all about e’s) presentation


A ‘nook’ of initial thoughts

Playing with the NookSo the nook arrived last Friday afternoon and although my weekend was far too busy with holiday shopping, parties and preparation, I finally did get around to playing around with the device yesterday. My initial reactions are a lot like the criticisms hailed by the NY Times last week, but even so I’ve got to say that I think the device, once refined a bit more, has a lot of potential. Here’s my take on the good and the bad:4

Navigation Screen:
(the small full color strip along the bottom)
The Good -- I really like the layout, navigation and user friendliness of the small color touch screen. Unlike the 1st generation of the Kindle, whose clunky roller navigation functionality took me some time to get use to, the nook’s first attempt at navigation is very initiative and easy to use.

The Bad -- The screen’s responsiveness to touch is a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it works great, other times, there seems to be no response at all. Exiting backwards seems to help if things get stuck. But overall the touch screen responsiveness is slow.

Reader Screen:
The Good -- The size of the screen is fine and the e-ink text is easy to read.

The Bad -- between every page refresh, the screen seems to have to flash to reverse (black) before refreshing to new text – I find this very distracting to my eyes.

The Good --I found downloading a title very easy to do and it also seemed very quick to me. I was able to download a full 220 pg book in just over minute. The screen prompts are simple and easy to follow. Also page forward and backward on found on both sides of the screen, making it easy for one-handed reading & page turning.

The Bad -- Text font sizes. According to survey’s the average Kindle purchaser is over 50. In conversations I’ve had with Kindle owners, I’ve come to learn that a big part of the appeal is the ability to be able to read books in large print type without having to carry around a bulky large-print book. The text size on the nook seems to come in three standard sizes and to me the “large” still seems a little small. (I keep thinking of my grandfather, an avid reader, being able to read from the nook without the additional use of a magnifying glass –I can’t).

Lend Me:

Although I wasn’t able to try out this functionality completely - haven’t run into another nook owner yet) I did find access to it very easy. This new functionality for an ereader really intrigues me and as this type of functionality matures, I’m beginning to imagine library customers becoming transformed as some type of library circulation agents lending titles that they have downloaded from our collections to family and friends.

Anyway, there’s still a lot that I haven’t played with fully on the nook (digital audio books and the ability to upload music files for example) and since the OS in Android, Google’s mobile operating system, I’m also curious to see what apps may be developed and exploited to work on the nook, making it potentially more than the just an ereader.

So anyway, that’s my early and initial reactions. I’ll post more later when I can. In the meantime, I believe I’m now off the ‘nook’ on getting this post done. :)


The Bookends Scenerios

A few months back, I noted that the State Library of New South Wales was working with the folks at NowAndNext to develop a set of future scenarios to help guide conversation and strategic planning among public libraries.

Well today, the full 64 page report has been released and while I haven't been able to digest the information contained in all four scenarios completely, my quick scanning tells me that's there lots of good food for thought here.

Bookends Scenarios: Alternative Futures for the Public Library Network of NSW in 2030 (pdf)

image: pg 63


Things that make you go Hmmm

In libraries we tend to take the security of library card account information pretty seriously often going to extreme means to protect the privacy of customers account numbers and data. This is good thing, I think, but when I was recently checking out the sign-up terms of AOL free email service, I was kind of struck by their choice in security questions.

Seems your library card number is thought of differently by AOL. Rather than being something to protect, it’s seen as a great gatekeeper question to protecting your email account access. Hmmm… I wonder how common it is to use library card # as a security question?


Friday's Thought - On Leadership

Today’s Friday thought comes from a source very close to home. :)


OU Athens Talk

I'm heading out tomorrow for my second Athens talk in 30 days. The first one required a cramped 10 hour plane ride, so I'm really looking forward to the second one because it's only a 2 hour car drive - which also means I'll be home for movie night. :)

For those of you attending my talk tomorrow at Alden Library on the OU Athens campus, here's a link to my slides.

Rethinking Bubbles & other thoughts on the future of libraries

PS: Just realized that this is actually my third "Athens" talk this year. I also did a talk in Athens, GA in July. Think I might need to chalk 2009 up as the year of the Athens hat trick. :)


Do you Poken?

I was first introduced to these tech gadgets last April at the UGame, ULearn conference in Delft. At the time, pokens weren't really accessible in the US. However, it seems times are changing. Here's a recent report from WSJ's MarketWatch.

Check out the website:

BTW. Every participant at the conference got a poken. What a great way to encourage people to network and the best part was that when I got home I and logged my poken on, I easily had contact with everyone I met. FTR my poken is the bee.


Educators the Rock interview

FindingEducation has profiled some awesome educators in the last few weeks including many that I admire like dana boyd, Joyce Valenza and David lee King.

And now I find that I’m honored to now be among them. Here's my interview that came out just before Thanksgiving...

Educators That Rock!: Helene Blowers


Friday’s Thought – Creativity & Art

I had the fortune to meet Scott Adams several years ago during the height of Dilbert mania. He autographed a oversized comic strip for me that I gave to my husband many years ago framed.

Anyway, I just love this thought from Scott on the relationship of creativity to art. It reminds me that it’s often not just what you put into the process that’s important, it’s what you take out that sets it apart.


Friday’s Thought – Best Practices

I create this slide almost exactly a year ago after being inspired by the thoughts from a comment left on my blog by Dave Ferguson. Here’s the original post from 11/08 and the slide that it inspired.

Have a similar thought to share, please add comment to this post. Thx.


21st Century Libraries keynote ( Greece)

Event was part of the Megaron Plus Lecture Series - Athens, Greece (Nov 11, 2009).

Most of the time when I have the pleasure to speak to audiences about the future of libraries, I'm usually talking a room of librarians or educators. Last week was a little bit different. Last week I had the pleasure to talking to a large group of community citizens at the Megraron, Athens premiere music and cultural center.

Granted, I know that there were many librarians and library officials in the audience -- the nature of the program topic, The 21st Century Library, would naturally attract such a crowd) but the audience was also full of just regular community members (students, business men and even one famous politician - whom I don't know his name) who were just there to learn more about 21st century libraries and to appreciate the free cultural lecture series that is supported by Megaron Plus.

Anyway, the great audience questions and participation at the end did make the event a highlight. For those that asked, here are the slides from my keynote (a condensed and updated version of much longer I have done before). Thanks to all for a great evening of thoughts and conversation.

Future Library - Greece


Friday's Thought - Innovation

This Friday thought comes my own thinking about the necessary ingredients for innovation. I feel fortunate to have worked in organizations that have valued pushing the envelope on new ideas and services and from my experience, these four elements have been the key to success.

Got a innovation quote or thought that you love, please let me know in the comments. I’m always up for a bit of new wisdom.


Friday's Thought - Learning

I really love this quote and thought it paired beautifully with this photo of a 101 year-old learner exploring an iPhone app for the very first time.

I really need acknowledge and thank my good friend Tony Tallent for granting me permission to use this wonderful photo he took of his grandmother Carrie. Although I never had the opportunity to meet her, I know that she was amazing woman who despite having been raised in rural uneducated community embodied the notion of lifelong learning.

Thanks again Tony for allowing me to share this photo. I can only imagine how much change Carrie saw in her 101 years of life and from the photo, you can tell that she embraced it with curiosity.


The Secret to Learning is Unlearning

[ Note: I was thrilled to be asked by Michael & David to contribute some thoughts to their great Library 101 project. Here's a copy of what I wrote.]

“The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.” – Alvin Toffler

Unlearning is a concept that really seems to be underrated. But within the context of knowledge building and learning capacity, I’ve come to recognize that it’s a foundational skill that shouldn’t be ignored. In order to learn new things, you have to be open to new ideas. And in order to be open to new ideas, you have to be willing to challenge your own fixed thinking and natural biases.

Everyone has a natural learning aptitude. Some people refer to this as human nature. Place a block or a 3d object in front of an infant, and they will naturally pick it up, explore its surface, and then more often than not engage in further sensory discovery by sticking it in their mouth. But as we grow older our educational encounters tend to move away from open and unstructured discovery exploration towards more knowledge building activities that are centered around the creation of human habits (examples: formal and rote learning).

Rote learning techniques are good for mastering multiplication tables or for memorizing state capitals. Formal learning best supports knowledge transfer between teachers and students. But when it comes to keeping up with technology and new emerging information channels, human habits will only you take so far. In order to keep up with today’s constant and rapid changes, you need to be able to quickly learn new skills, techniques and approaches by being able to adapt, challenge and even unlearn some of the natural learning biases have become your own human nature.

Here are a few unlearning tips and techniques to help open your mind and get you started:

Seek out the unfamiliar - Our natural tendency when confronted with a new technology or learning opportunity is to seek the familiar and build upon concepts that we already know. This is a good step for transitioning to new technologies, but it can also be limiting if this is only as far as you go. With every new breakthrough technology there is often a new concept or functionality to wrap your head around. To grasp learning in these areas, you need to consciously seek out the unfamiliar in order to explore and discover new things.

For me this tip is actually very timely, as I have just this week received an invite to preview Google Wave. After playing with it for a day or two, I noticed that all I had done was use the new online communication application as a traditional text-based email client and that I was missing out on learning about its other features. It was only when I chose to consciously explore links and other features that I discovered I could insert videos, chat and embed shared applications (called extensions) that can enable real-time collaboration.

Change your learning location – There’s nothing like changing your physical environment to help heighten your senses when you’re learning something new. Like traveling to a foreign country, new surroundings can help you take notice of small things that might otherwise go unnoticed because they blend into the familiar of your conscious.

There is, of course, a flip side to this tip — unfamiliar environments can also sometimes create attention distractions. Therefore, in seeking out new locations to help you open up to new learning possibilities (and unlearn old habits), it’s important to make sure the environment that you select is physically comfortable, but psychologically unfamiliar.

Engage in learning with professional opposites
- Your educational and professional training can also predispose and limit your ability to see things from fresh perspective. Whenever possible, it’s helpful to engage in learning experiences with professionals from different backgrounds (marketing, architecture, hospitality, etc.) and especially those that you might consider your polar opposites (for librarians that specialize in selecting and finding quality information, one polar opposite might be marketing, whose specialization is creating emotional attachments to brands). When you expose yourself to other avenues of professional thinking, you open up an unlearning channel to discover something new.

Pair your learning with a child
– There’s often no better way to open up yourself to learning techniques then to pair yourself with a child. Not only is their perspective much different when it comes to technology, the way they are being taught to learn through today’s education system is much, much different from the educational philosophy of twenty or thirty years ago.

When I was a child the three R’s stood for reading, writing, and arithmetic. But today in many educational systems, the tenets of the new 3 R’s are rigor (provide challenging learning experiences in their classrooms) relevance (how learning applies to real life), and relationships (building learning connections with and for students). There’s a lot to be learned from these new techniques and areas of emphasis and children can be natural teachers and modelers. Pairing up with a child (or any member of a younger generation) is great way to not only discover new approaches to learning and rethink practices from your educational past, but a wonderful way to discover those obvious/not-so-obvious questions that adults can overlook

Act like a toddler: get deeply curious
– My last tip for creating a your own personal arsenal of unlearning techniques is to try and go back to your first learning experiences and explore new things as a young child would do. Try and engage as many of your five senses that you can in your learning and constantly investigate things through trial and error. In essence, simply get back to the pure roots of curiosity and “play.” Curiosity is a natural aptitude that we all are born with. But it can also be a trait that that diminishes with education and age. To keep yourself open new ideas and unlearn the knowledge road blocks that might be keeping you from being immensely inquisitive, try imagining learning like a toddler and get deeply curious.

Overall the concept of unlearning is to simply and continuously to challenge yourself to think and learn about things from different perspectives and different angles. And in a world where new technological advances have us moving at lightening speed, it’s our unlearning skills, more often then our learning ones, that can give us the greatest competitive advantage.


Friday’s Thought

It must come from my many years of creating and building presentations that whenever I stumble upon a great quote that moves or inspires me, I immediately grab it and dump it in my misc_slides file.

Although the contributions to this file have grown significantly over the past few years, many of my favorite quotes/slides actually have never been incorporated into a talk. So rather then just leave those slides hidden in my flash drive, I’ve decided to post the collection over the next few weeks, one slide every Friday.

Here’s the first:

If you have a favorite quote related to this thought, please add to the comments. I’m always up for a little inspiration.



eReader Race Continues

There's so much happening in the ultimate eReader race these days, that rarely a week goes without some significant new development is announced. In just this past week alone, Barnes & Noble unveiled the Nook, Plastic Logic revealed it's new Que reader and Entourage announced it will begin selling it's new dual screen eReader, named the eDGe, in February.

In fact, there's so much going on these days, that Fast Company has finally added a permanent e-reader topic page/tag to its site to help you stay on top of all the developments.

The race is really heating up. It looks like 2010 will indeed be the year of the eReader.

Related post: Trendwatching: The eBook Device Race


Social Media Strategy Framework

I don’t do nearly as many presentations and talks about social networking as I use to, but I am always interested in new ideas and strategies that fit into this area. Ross Dawson founder of Advancing Human Technologies has developed the best overall strategy map that I seen for understanding how to utilize the social media space. The key (& critical first step) to both developing a strategy and in engaging your customers, is quite simply, Learning!

Social Media Strategy Framework

As I spoken on the subject of web 2.0 technologies and social networking repeatedly over the last four years, I always been amazed by the number of CEOs and Directors that express an active interest in helping their organizations shape strategies, policies and practices in this space, yet see no benefit for them to learn or engage in it themselves.

Whenever I come across this, I’m reminded of a point that I’ve often heard Stephen Abram share with folks, paraphrased in my words here --- You can’t have informed opinion about the use and application of social networking tools, if you haven’t gained some knowledge yourself based upon personal exploration and experience.

Stephen actually posted some more great thoughts related to this in his recent post, Facebook is no fad. Here’s a quote related to libraries, that really resonated with me.
“information professionals have a professional obligation to learn and evaluate all major new technologies and determine when and where these might be useful in the service of learning, community and the social good.”

In order to learn and be knowledgeable about social media, quite honestly, you have to try it out and live for awhile in the space. The typical rules of engagement long formed by corporate growth and policy don’t apply to social media. Social media is all about the engaging individual (& their scope of personal influence) it’s not about extending your organization’s traditional marketing approach and techniques out into new channels.

Take a look Ross’s framework, I think it does an excellent job in supporting the notion that you need to learn and gain experience in order to understand the full capabilities that social media can offer your organization.


Quick Access Kiosk

It's been awhile in the making, but I couldn't be more thrilled to see the results. This week, all of our branch locations will be coming up on the new Quick Access kiosk, which is designed to overlay on top of all our dedicated branch catalog PCs and centralize several key functions (library card sign-up, easy access to electronic resources, my account, etc) for our customers.

What I love about the kiosk is not only it's design and strong alignment with our other marketing materials, but it's also customized to deliver branch specific information (control by script that detects the IP range assigned to the location) to highlight upcoming programs and hours of operation. It also utilizes this script to display a friendly face from member that works in that branch. :)

Here's a preview of the Shepard branch kiosk. To see what the versions look like, check out this Flickr set.

A huge thank you to Mike, Limin, Macrina and the all the members of the DS & CRD teams who pulled together on this one. The results look amazing!


ACLA Talk - 24th Thing

In Pittsburgh this am to do a talk for the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA). My talk is titled the 24th Thing in part because many of the member libraries just completed 23 Things. But it's also titled this because I'm often asked the question "what's the next thing?" For me the "thing" isn't a specific technology. It's a shift in mindset that we need to begin applying 24/7 to our thinking about library services.

Here is a link to my slidedeck that helps outline my thinking, The 24th Thing


The secret formula. . .

... to building online experiences.

If you think about it, it really is that easy. It's navigating the transitions between the two that tend to trip things up. :)

Thank you Hugh MacLeod | Gapingvoid


21st Century Literacies

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Howard Rheingold speak before. He’s a interesting speaker, author, and self-proclaimed “online instigator” who wears hand-painted shoes. But all this aside, Howard is also good at honing in on cultural trends and exploring the implications to society and humanity.

In this recent talk for Reboot Britain (July 09) Howard talks about five critical 21st century literacies. Need a good boost for your brain (or a self-directive cont. education experiences) take 40 minutes to watch, or listen to Howard.

Taken from Howard Reingold’s talk (July 2009)

Howard Rheingold's 21st century literacies:

  • Attention- knowing how to focus and how to divide your attention without losing the ability to concentrate. It’s more than multitasking; it’s learning how to exercise attention.
  • Participation- particularly the more constructive modes of participation that are useful to others
  • Collaboration- being ready to organize together, and enable a collective response to emerge
  • Critical consumption-aka “crap detection” the ability to spot bad info from good.
  • Network awareness- the combination of reputation, social capital, “presentation of self” and other sensitivity to individual positioning within the network collective.

Here's two other tidbits I gathered from his talk:
Literacies = skills + community
Fluency means being able to master these five literacies together.

Important stuff and a good jumping off point for a discussion in libraries and/or education. How do we support the development of these new, and different kind of literacies? How can our services evolve to enable greater participation, collaboration and encourage critical consumption?


Trendwatching: The ebook device race

Like many people, I’m a trendwatcher. I enjoy scanning the landscape and seeing how trends emerge. One that I’ve been watching keenly this past year is the technology device race for the ultimate e-book. Amazon’s Kindle (which launched Nov 16, 2007) started a new race that has really taken off within the last year. And now it seems almost every major viable tech company is working on some top secret (term used loosely, because we all know that leaks and rumors are critical to creating hype around new product launches) project that is tied to this race.

The latest development in this race came yesterday with the news that Microsoft is working on new dual foldable tablet project called “The Courier” (video showing the concept for the courier).

Anyway, as I said above I’m a trendwatcher. And since this latest development I think is worthy of noting, I've also updated the slide deck from one of my recent talks on the trends and the future of libraries and decided to isolate my slides from just this one trend so that I can share them here.

Trend: The Kindle rekindles the flame (and race) for the ultimate digital book

I’m curious to know what other developments you have seen in the ultimate eBook device race? Where are you seeing this trend heading? And, of course, what does it mean to libraries?


Sidewalk chalk engagement

Over the past three years I’ve talked about and highlighted a lot examples that exemplify customer engagement. When it’s the most difficult to do, is when your customers are not only upset, they are anonymous.

Take a look at this story from Jenica Rogers-Urbank .

Indeed engagement comes in many forms … even sidewalk chalk. :)

Filed under: Brilliant!

Lose control ... stream small ... create socially!

Although those of you who have read my site for a while know that I'm not a huge fan of the term "social media", I couldn't help but fall in love with this slide deck from Seth Goldstein that so eloquently hones in on three important story telling engagement strategies:
1) Lose Control
2) Stream small
3) Create socially

Think about Seth's three concepts. Can they be applied to libraries - not only virtually, but physically?

It's got me thinking. How about you?


Augmented Reality Redux

A funny spoof on GPS:

...and a few more AR apps:

Google's Skymap for Android
Worksnug - find great wi-fi enabled places to work
Augmented ID - a AR concept that visualizes the digital identities of people you meet in real life using face recognition technology.
Sun Seeker - locate the path of the sun and determine which homes have the best light.

Related post: Augmented Reality: "There's an app for that"


Guest Post from the World's Strongest Librarian | Josh Hanagarne

I had the pleasure of the meeting the world’s strongest librarian in person a few weeks ago when I visited Salt Lake for the Thinking Ahead Symposium. Josh was so very personable, likable and well... just plain interesting & inspirational (just take a look at his bio to see what I mean) that I couldn’t resist taking him up on his offer to guest blog.

I have to admit, when I first read the contribution Josh had crafted for LibraryBytes, I found myself wondering how did the topic of “libraries & learning” ( a topic I had suggested) morph itself into a small story about public urination? But as I read Josh’s tale, I started to see the connection. “Learning in libraries” isn’t always as glamorous, or noble as one would think. Read it for yourself. Perhaps you can relate. :)

When The Recruiters Came For Me, or: Another Tale Of Public Urination

By Josh Hanagarne

I thought of my enormous student loan and wondered how long it would take to pay it off. I thought of my parents and wondered what they’d think if they could see me at this moment. I thought of my hopes and dreams and silently mouthed the words, Where did you go?

Then I gritted my teeth. I opened my mouth and hesitated for a moment before saying…

…well, hold on a second. Let’s back up.

Rewind Two Years

When the Library School recruiters came for me, they smiled gaping smiles that resembled the mouths of The Muppets. They revved at a very high RPM. Their eyes bulged with enthusiasm. They said things like:

“You will be the ssssssteward of democracy. Think of it, child…”

“…the front linessss of censorship…”

“…the guardian of ideassss…”

“…sssspecialized ssssskillssss…”

“…all the other librarianssss….they are weak and will ssssoon retire…all their power will be yoursss…for a fee…”

I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough.

Present Day

I thought of my enormous student loan and wondered how long it would take to pay it off. I thought of my parents and wondered what they’d think if they could see me at this moment. I thought of my hopes and dreams and silently mouthed the words, Where did you go?

I had planned on spending the rest of my days swinging a battle-axe into censorship’s ugly mug.

Instead, and not for the first time, this Newly Anointed Steward Of Democracy gritted his teeth. I opened my mouth and hesitated for a moment before saying:

“Dude, please quit peeing on that.”

The young patron jumped as if he’s been tasered. Urine ran down the rocks in decidedly non-glorious rivulets.

I hope we’re not out of rubber gloves, I thought.

“Seriously. Zip it up.”

The boy tucked himself away and ran to tell his mother I’d been mean to him. When she confronted me, I handed her the rubber gloves and tried to look stern.

She tried to argue a bit, but finally relented and cleaned up the story room. I like to think it was because everyone knows that it’s crazy to argue with the Stewards Of Democracy.

But she may have had her own reasons.

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne writes World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog with advice about living with extreme Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, public urination, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates and Stronger, Smarter, Better Newsletter to stay in touch.

Thanks Josh!


Augmented Reality: “There’s an app for that”

Augmented reality applications have made a big splash this summer with video and GPS enable mobile devices which allow live stream images to merge with digitally overlaid data to create an augmented view of the world in real time.

Here are a few applications that have caught my attention:

Nearest Tube – AR app that shows you the direction and distance to nearest subway entrances. (YouTube video)

Layar – augmented reality browser letting you view information about the world around you.
(YouTube video)

Yelp - this augmented reality app provides you with information and reviews about local restaurants. (YouTube video)

When I think of where this technology might take us, my minds wanders to all sorts of apps. Just think what it might mean to real estate and home buying (I see an AR app that let’s me view home values and property tax rates while I drive down the street) or comparison shopping (just point your phone’s camera at a product and the AR app tells you not only the competition’s price, but also calculates the distance to other store and gives you the total cost of the alternative including your added cost of gas and travel).

When I shift my thinking about AR apps to the physical library space I see our whole collection opening up before our eyeballs. Imagine the ability to walk down an aisle and see the reviews and popularity of an entire shelf titles just by pointing the camera lens on your phone at the spines (or outfacing covers).

Indeed, augmented reality apps are just in their very earliest infancy. But it’s interesting to think and ponder the possibilities… because if you can think it up, you can be sure to bet that “there’s (going to be) an app for that.

What library AR apps can you imagine?


Nine words = grow & learn

I got an email the other day from a distant colleague that I respect asking me to sum up my “instructional philosophy” in 75 words. Hmm… well since I’m usually up for challenges, I thought about it for a moment and then easily penned this one that I’ve shared many times within the last three years as I’ve given talks about 23 Things.

“The very first step in learning is simply exposure.”

Yup, that’s really all it is for me …just nine (count ‘em) words. Exposure to new ideas and concepts not only is the very first step in any learning process, unfortunately, it’s also often the most over looked step instructional design.

Trust me on this. I’ve worked in the learning field for over twenty years. Over the last two decades I’ve developed and designed online tutorials (back when they were actually called CBT – computer based training), written courseware and published several technology training workbooks, designed numerous technology classes and logged well over 1000 hours in the classroom. What I’ve noticed from both my training experience and from watching others, is that most instruction design jumps directly to focusing on skill building or performance growth training outcomes. It skips completely over the first step, exposure (which leads to discovery) often leaving learners in the dark without a personal context or framework for them to spring board off of.

It’s been interesting to me to watch and study how instructional approaches differ between children and adults. Early childhood learning is almost completely exposure driven through self-discovery and play. But somehow as we mature in our learning, we have tendency in most of our formal education processes to devalue the self-discovery and exposure phase as performance measures (i.e. teach to the test and grading scales) and skill building (i.e. job competencies) are tied even tighter to personal success.

I’m not saying that performance measures and skill building isn’t important. Both of these are pretty vital when it comes to a person’s ability to achieve a successful life. But without a good learning foundation acquired through exposure and self-discovery, learners often lack the roots (ie personal context) to grow their learning from.

So the bottom line for me is that exposure is foundational. As the instructional designer for Learning 2.0: 23 Things I’ve learned this over and over as I’ve watched other organization’s flourish and flounder with replicating the program. If you don’t focus the program’s design on exposure and discovery, there’s little soil for learners to till on their own and little motivation for them to self-direct and grow their knowledge.

PS: Thanks Char for the prompt. :)


Applying the ownership strategy to libraries?

Just finished reading Robert Fabricant’s FastCompany article, Is the Kindle Destined for Skymall? and found his ownership analogies related to business strategies interesting. Here’s the five he outlined:

Own a killer app… the Tivo strategy
Own a library… the iTunes strategy
Own a device … the Wii strategy
Own a marketplace… the Apple Store strategy
Own a community… the MySpace strategy

You’ll need to full article (a fast read) to get the gist of his analogies, but after reading these, it had me thinking about how this “ownership” analogy applies to the future of the physical library. If you had to fill in the blank to this question what you answer.

Own ______________ … the library of the future strategy.

Or does “ownership” thinking/strategy not work at all for libraries? My thinking is, is that if that we don’t strive to be the “owners” of something, and then our value to our communities diminishes.

Your thoughts?


The future of libraries, with or without books


"The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.

Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. "Loud rooms" that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.

And that's just the surface. By some accounts, the library system is undergoing a complete transformation that goes far beyond these image changes."

I'm not sure if I agree with "pushed aside", but it is nice to see so many forward thinking libraries include in this article. Indeed, we are more then just books!


What's your online DNA?

Want to know what your online DNA looks like? Well check out this online project from MIT Media Lab, Personas.

"Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you."

In reality Personas doesn't really show you how the Internet sees you. More accurately put, it actually shows you how the Internet views your name (or any two word combination you want to run through it). If you have a unique name, it's an interesting experiment.

Here's a look at my results:

And a composite of the data that it scrubbed to create it.

Find out what the online DNA for your name looks like here.

Related post: What's your digital footprint?


Welome to the "world of mouth"

Another in a stream of thought-producing videos on the shift. This one asking the question, is social media a fad?


It's about the "thinking", not "designing"

Ever since I attended IDEA08 in Chicago last year (btw: best conference I attended last year), I’ve been wishing someone would put together a library conference center around “design thinking.”

Anyway, enter this recent post from Garr Reynold’s over at Presentation Zen outlining 10 tips to help you think like a designer. In reading these tips, I think it’s important to recognize that these tips aren’t really related to the craft of “designing” stuff. Instead they’re related to the craft of “thinking about design” and as Garr also notes most can be applied to any profession.

1) Embrace constrains
. Constraints and limitations are wonderful allies and lead to enhanced creativity and ingenious solutions that without constrains never would have been discovered or created.

2) Practice restraint. Any fool can be complicated and add more, it takes discipline of mind and strength of will to make the hard choices about what to include and what to exclude.

3) Adopt the beginner's mind.
As the old saying goes, in the expert's mind there are few possibilities, but for one with the beginner's mind, the world is wide open.

4) Check your ego at the door. This is not about you, it's about them (your audience, customer, patient, student, etc.). Look at the problem from their point of view -- put yourself in their shoes.

5) Focus on the experience of the design.
It's not the thing, it's the experience of the thing.

6) Become a master storyteller.
Often it's not only the design — i.e., the solution to a problem — that is important, but the story of it.

7) Think communication not decoration.
Design — even graphic design — is not about beautification. Design is not just about aesthetics, though aesthetics are important. More than anything, design is about solving problems or making the current situation a little better than before.

8) Obsess about ideas not tools. Tools are important and necessary, but they come and go as better tools come along. Obsess instead about ideas. Good advice is to go analog in the beginning with the simplest tools possible.

9) Clarify your intention.
Design is about choices and intentions, it is not accidental.

10) Sharpen your vision & curiosity and learn from the lessons around you.
Good designers are skilled at noticing and observing. They are able to see both the big picture and the details of the world around them.

(11) Learn all the "rules" and know when and why to break them.

Read the full post to get more of Garr’s insights to each of the tips above. There’s some great thoughts that I think can be applied to many areas of library services. You don’t have to be a designer to think like one. You just have to be willing to embrace some new approaches.


Insights from The Economy of Ideas

My weekend reading over the last two weeks included an essay written by John Perry Barlow that was published in Wired over 15 years ago, titled The Economy of Ideas.

What struck me about this great essay that explored issues around copyright in the digital age, is that
a) it was written at time when internet was practically a newborn - 1994. Figure Mosiac, the first web browser, wasn't even a year old,

how the issues that John raised we haven’t even really begun to scratch the surface yet. We’re still reeling with issues that attach “ the rights of invention and authorship…to activities in the physical world.”

Anyway, I found the essay, and especially the pages on the Taxonomy of Information, very thought provoking where John examines “information” as an activity, a life form and a relationship. Here are few insights that I found interesting.
(Note: Emphasis is all mine)

Information as an activity:

“Information is an action which occupies time rather than a state of being which occupies a physical space, as in the case with hard goods. It is the pitch, not the ball, the dance, not the dancer.”

“Sharks are said to die of suffocation if they stop swimming, and the same is nearly true of information. Information that isn’t moving ceases to exist as anything but potential … at least until it is allowed to move again.”

“The central economic distinction between information and physical property is that information can be transferred without leaving the possession of the original owner. If I sell you my horse, I can’t ride him after that. If I sell you what I know, we both know it.”

Information is a life form:

“…the idea of “memes,” self-replicating patterns of information that propagate themselves across the ecologies of mind, a pattern of reproduction much like life forms.”

The more universally resonant an idea or image or song, the more minds it will enter and remain within. Trying to stop the spread of a really robust piece of information is about as easy as keeping killers bees south of the border.”

“Digital information, unconstrained by packaging, is a continuing process more like the metamorphosing tales of prehistory than anything that will fit in shrink-wrap. From the Neolithic to Gutenberg (monks aside), information was passed on, mouth to ear, changing with every retelling (or resinging). The stories which once shaped our sense of the world didn't have authoritative versions. They adapted to each culture in which they found themselves being told.

Information as a relationship:

“In most cases, we assign value to information based on its meaningfulness. The place where information dwells, the holy moment where transmission becomes reception, is a region which has many shifting characteristics and flavors depending on the relationship of sender and receiver, the depth of their interactivity.”

“In regard to my own soft product, rock 'n' roll songs, there is no question that the band I write them for, the Grateful Dead, has increased its popularity enormously by giving them away... True, I don't get any royalties on the millions of copies of my songs which have been extracted from concerts, but I see no reason to complain. The fact is, no one but the Grateful Dead can perform a Grateful Dead song, so if you want the experience and not its thin projection, you have to buy a ticket from us. In other words, our intellectual property protection derives from our being the only real-time source of it.

“In the physical world, value depends heavily on possession or proximity in space….In the virtual world, proximity in time is a value determinant. An informational product is generally more valuable the closer purchaser can place themselves to the moment of its expression, a limitation in time.”

Ok, that’s the end of my quoting. I put many of them here in this post just so I can reference them more easily in the future. If you found this post too lengthy or disjointed, I totally understand. But if you found some of the insights interesting, then I would totally recommend a full digestion of the eight page essay. It’s definitely a good read and can be found here.

The Economy of Ideas (originally published in Wired Mar 94)

BONUS: Reflecting on Internet Decade with John Perry Barlow (YouTube interview, 16 min)


Think outside the box

Confession: In my quick search on this blog, I found that I've actually used this term a total of 9 times.

Truth be told, I often hate using this phrase myself because it's well ... just so overused -- and YES, I'm kicking myself even as I type this. :)     But since this seems to be the popular expression for merely thinking differently, I actually feel "stuck inside the box" every time I use it. Anyone else?

Anyway ... enjoy this short video.

outside the box from joseph Pelling on Vimeo.

Bonus: Here's a related photo I capturea a few years ago on building a box to think outside of.

PS: Thanks Matt for sending this. You were right, it made me laugh.


GOLD/GALILEO conference

Friday I keynoted the GOLD/GALILEO conference in Athens, GA. Although the humidity seemed uncomfortably high (I swear I thought nimbus clouds were going to form in the lecture hall before my talk was over) it was great to be back in the south surrounded by so many soothing southern drawls. :)

Here's my slide deck for the talk:


Future of the book is not a "container question"

Last week I was asked via email to comment on the future of the book for an article and since it’s a topic that I’ve taken a lot of interest in lately, I thought I’d try and respond. Here’s my 2 cents on the subject…

The future of reading has been a hot topic these days. With the launch this year of the Kindle DX, Google’s partnership with Sony reader, Barnes & Nobles e-book development and the mounting rumors of the Apple tablet, there is a lot of conversation about how the book is changing.

When I hear folks talk about the future of the book and wonder how libraries will thrive in this new digital age, I can’t help but think that we’re being short sighted when we only talk about the digital book’s impact to reading and the miss the greater opportunity that this format can provide, which is the networked creation and sharing of new knowledge.

Reading at its core is actually a consumption activity that at it’s best is a solitary pursuit. When we read, we consume and amass someone else’s knowledge, ideas, and stories. For many of us it’s an escape from our own day-to-day by providing the ability to jump inside someone else’s head.

The jump from print to digital actually doesn’t change any of this. However, when I think about the book as digital format from a larger perspective, I see a much bigger picture unfolding. Not only is knowledge no longer bound to its physical format, it’s no longer bound as medium designed primarily for consumption. With digital formats offering the ability to connect with other readers (consumers you might even say) over networked platforms, the consumption of knowledge can actually become a participatory activity resulting in the creation and sharing of new knowledge. is one the first attempts I’ve seen at creating this new type of participatory ‘reading’ by providing users with the ability to insert comments and annotations anywhere (even at sentence and word level) within the book. And in addition to leaving your observations and comments behind for others to read, you can also connect with other readers real-time or create a private group to limit your conversations to a close circle of friends. When I think about the possibilities that this new networked format creates, I envision the ability to not overlay and compare fan fiction with the original, but to also participate in the creation of new genre’s like crowdsourced novels (see James Patterson’s newest venture AirBourne, for an example).

Indeed, the conversational quality of books takes on new meaning when the content is unbound and as the battles continue on in the race for the perfect ebook container, I can’t help but think we’ll be loosing the war if all we focus on is the impact of the digital book as it relates to consumption activities and don't take a look at where libraries can really add value in the bigger picture.

Libraries need to think about impact of the ebook not from the aspect of providing access to materials in digital format or as containers to merely support reading, but from the aspect of what it means to support the sharing and creation of new knowledge from published knowledge that in the digital format can be easily unbound. I know that supporting this type of shift is not only huge, it's also contains many unknowns and challenges. But if we're not thinking about how to support "the book" in its unbound state, you can bet with today's exploding information economy that someone else is.

What are your thoughts on the "unbound, networked book"?

Related posts:


The Future of Public Libraries

Seems the folks from NowandNext (those that developed such future casting timelines as the Extinction Timeline and the popular trend maps) are working on a new trending project which involves mapping scenarios around the Future of Public Libraries. The work and scenarios their outlining in their working blog are fascinating and it’s interesting to follow their process.

Here’s some links to follow their process:

I’m not sure what the overall end result of this planning will look like, but from the process so far, my interest is definitely peaked.

Which scenario do you think is most probable?


DOK's Surface app goes deeply local

When I was in Delft in April for the UGame ULearn conference, I heard about this fascinating local history project that DOK was developing. Seeing this recent video, I’m even more impressed.

I totally love seeing the concept of connecting community members to “deeply local” (a phrase I first heard from used by Kathryn Greenhill) information and resources come together in such a dynamic and playful way. This is a direction that libraries really need to be paying more attention to imho. Going “deeply local” allows libraries to not only shine a light on community value; it, more importantly, provides a very tangible context for libraries to actively engage the community the creation and sharing of new knowledge.

Thanks DOK for providing and sharing another great project of inspiration.


ALA Recap - Short, sweet & of course, my slides :)

I spent the weekend in Chicago along with 13,000 other librarians meeting with vendors, traveling back-n-forth across town from the hotel to convention center (& every time, I find myself wondering why the McCormick Center was built in area lacking so many conference amenities, like enough nearby hotels and restaurants) and participating in two sessions. The slidedecks from both my talks can be found on Slideshare and linked below.

Thanks to those who attended!


Learning 2.0: 23 Things Survey

In going through some old posts still in draft, I realized that I had never shared the findings of the Learning 2.0: 23 Things survey that I had conducted last summer specifically with coordinators of other programs. In conducting the survey I had hoped to find out what was the program's success related to several factors, specifically use of incentives and presence of active management participation. Once the results were compiled, I found the findings interesting. I hope you will agree.

Here is a short slidedeck providing a high level view of the findings. In total 68 program coordinators responded to the call I made last August. The results of 62 of them are included in this report. I did not include the results of six respondents since they had not yet finished their organization's version of the program at the time of survey, hence their results were incomplete.

And equally interesting are the comments to the open ended questions 6, 7 & 8 on biggest program impact, customer benefits and tips for others. Here's a pdf of the survey data report.

I plan to share some of these results as part of the panel discussion at ALA on Life After 2.0. If you’re attending, please be sure to stop by and say hello.

PS: Many thanks to the 68 program coordinators that participated in this survey. The impacts that you shared as a result of this program are inspiring!


Shirky on the "largest increase in expressive capability in human history"

"What matters here is technical capital, it's social capital. These tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring. It isn't when the shiny new tools show up that their uses start permeating; it's when everyone is able to take them for granted.“"

Must see viewing ----> Ted Talks : Clay Shirky -- How Twitter can make history

After watching this video, the question the rises to the top of my head is how can libraries adjust their organizations to support the "many to many" when our core services have always been (basically still are) designed to support the "one to one" ?

Personally, I think the answer lies in Shirky's last example to "convene and support groups, not to control" them. :)

How about you?


Share your library love

This feature for our website was actually planned and developed weeks ago before the current budget crisis to coincide with summer reading. And although the funding for public libraries from the state is still unknown, you can't help but be uplifted by the stories and images shared by our customers. :)

Share Your Library Love


New Neilson report debunks many teen myths

Neilson has just released a new report sharing findings from a recent study on teen media usage behavior which debunks many myths. Here are just a few that they cover:

Myth: Teens are driving the growth of online video
Reality: Teens watch less online video than most adults, but the ads are highly engaging to them: Teens spend 35% less time watching online video than adults 25–34, but recall ads better when watching TV shows online than they do on television.

Myth: Teens are the most avid users of the Internet
Reality: Teens love the Internet…but spend far less time browsing than adults:Teens spend 11 hours and 32 minutes per month online—far below the average of 29 hours and 15 minutes.

Myth: Teens are the biggest gamers of all
Reality: Teens 12–17 made up just 23% of the U.S. console gaming audience and they accounted for fewer than 10% of all of the PC game minutes played in a typical month.

Read the full 17 page report, How Teens Use Media, June 2009 to learn more.


Geek the Library

I'm really enjoying the message behind this new site/campaign...

"Brought to you by OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative, with funding by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. does not support or oppose any candidate for public office and does not take positions on legislation."

PS ... & ICYW I personally I geek learning, antique furniture and creative thinking.


QR Tags & Concept Leadership

Concept leadership is one of areas that my department, Digital Services, tries to focus on. It’s important for us to continuously keep on top of new and emerging technologies and explore ways that the library and our customers can benefit from them.

QR tags is a technology that has actually been around for a few years. But until the mass adoption of smartphones with cameras, there wasn’t a dominant market yet for their use. When we launched our mobile text-based catalog early this spring we began to think of ways that we could use technology to market it smartly. QR tags seemed like a natural choice, since they are specifically designed for mobile devices. While we’re still playing with this idea some and refining the concept, the idea of placing QR tags in strategically defined places within the library on informational signs does seem to have a lot of merit. Not only does it have the potential to introduce the public to a new technology, it also tells those who are already tech savvy and familiar with mobile QR tags that the library has a mobile catalog.

For those that are not familiar with how QR tags work, here’s a short overview and a video demonstration.

A QR (Quick response) code/tag is two dimensional matrix barcode that can be read by any QR tag reader (ie. Software). The software to read tags is loaded on mobile phone devices that also have camera phone capability , so that when you snap a photo image that contains the tag it automatically launches the reader, reads the tag and redirects you to a website that has been attached or associated with the matrix code.
QR tags come in several forms, the square matrix kind being the most popular. For our tag for the mobile catalog, we choose to create a bee tagg, because it gave us space within the matrix code area to include our logo.

If you want to try out the tag with your mobile device, you’ll need to install a QR code reader. We recommend the BeeTagg Mutlicode reader, because it works with all types of QR codes and also on both iPhones and other popular smartphone devices.

If you want to create your own QR bee tagg, it’s simple and free. Take a look at QR tags and think about the notion of concept leadership. You don’t have to fully implement an idea to develop and test it. You just have to be willing to do the leg work and try. :)

PS: Thanks Jodi and Business Apps for taking the leadership on this one.


Future libraries in the networked world

An open information bar? Or a theatre of knowledge? of something else? The question is "what is the library of the future in a networked world?"

Here's some thoughts from Guy Adam Ailion

Thanks to Åke Nygren for highlighting this video.

Rally @ State Captial - Save Our Libraries

There's a community rally at the State Capital tomorrow. It's so wonderful to see these grassroots support efforts.


Save Ohio Libraries

It feels both scary and horrifically ironic that exactly one week ago today I was giving a conference keynote and sharing with attendees how lucky I felt to work in state that clearly supported and recognized the value of libraries, when today I spent my entire day trying help community citizens know that funding for their local libraries is in immediate danger.

Clearly the proposal to cut the Public Library Fund (PLF) by 200 million over the next two years will devastate libraries and the communities that all over the state by decreasing many library’s (including CML’s) state funding by nearly 50%. With so many libraries already struggling and underfunded, this reduction would leave no other alternatives but to close branches, reduce hours, halt purchasing of new books and materials and shutting down services and programs that are so vital the health of communities and the countries economic recovery.

Our opportunity to act and let the Governor Strickland and legislators know about the impact these reductions would have is dangerously slim as the final budget must be approved by July 1st (only days away). In the last 24 hours libraries all over the state have rallied the call to let their community members know the seriousness that this budget reduction could have on their community and it’s livelihood. Find out more and how you can help by checking out these Ohio library websites:

Follow twitter updates: #saveohiolibraries