Just to let you know …

… that I’ll be a little scare over the next few weeks. Here’s why.

For those of you in Melbourne on the 5th & 6th of Feb, you can find me leading a 2-day Master Class workshop on Library 2.0 and visiting the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. Otherwise, I hope to be enjoying the scenery along the great ocean road with family and catching up on a lot of long over due reading.

PS: And yes, before you ask or recommend it… one of the books I’m bringing is Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country :)


Hot or Not?

Dave Pattern does it again ... this time mashing up library blogs, with tag clouds and a discussion meter to visually show What's Hot... and what's not (at least among library bloggers)

In addition to tracking the hot words of the day, you can find out what's hot on an individual blog. Here's the result for LibraryBytes:

Dave Pattern does it again- what's hot for LB

You can find the updated "hot rating" here.
Or even get a widget for your own blog here.

Dave, you've done it once again... with another brilliant & fun way to visualize and share information.

Embed Anything

Thanks to Sarah Houghton-Jan for highlighting this great resource on how to embed almost anything into your website. I’m reposting it again on my own blog, so that I have it within easy reach. I know I’ll also be referencing or pointing people to this resource in the future, so why not make handy :)

Resources for embedding content include:

  • RSS Feeds in Web Pages
  • High Quality or HD YouTube Videos
  • MP3 music and other Audio
  • Flickr Photos and Slideshows
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Events from Google Calendar
  • Charts and Graphs in Web Pages
  • GIF Animations and Screencasts
  • Chat in your Blog
  • Word Documents & Slide Presentations
  • Adobe PDF Files
  • Flash (SWF) or Flash Video (FLV)
  • Google Maps in Web Pages
  • Another Webpage in your Blog
  • Windows Media or QuickTime movies
    … and but not least ..
  • your Lifestream in a Web Page.

Yes, almost anything is possible. :)

Midwinter ILS Thoughts

I participated in a panel discussion on re-inventing the ILS (see my post yesterday) yesterday which was both very interesting and also very disturbing. The interesting part was in hearing more about the strategies and goals that formulated John Blyberg’s (a genius in my book btw) ideas behind developing SOPAC and the new stuff Marshall Breeding is involved in. The disturbing part was the question and answer period that clearly lead me to think Carl Grant’s, from Ex-Libris. point about the Extinction Timeline might be right... Unless we start focusing on bigger issues around libraries and the value that we add -- for Carl is was the three As- Authority, Attribution and ??? (Sorry - can't think of the 3rd right now). I don’t agree with this point BTW --- and stop focusing on re-inventing the ILS (aka our back-end processes) we’re doomed to fulfill Now to Next’s predictions that libraries will become extinct.

What disappointed me most was the line of questioning that came afterwards. Instead of asking questions along the veins of “how can we (librarians and vendors) work better together to improve our ILS systems?”, the questions and comments seemed to point the finger at each other.

To be honest I’m personally sick of the blame game and the under current of “not my responsibility.” It’s time for librarians to play a more active role in developing solutions and do it in a way that is both more collaborative with the community and open to brand new approaches for organizing information.

Marshall Breeding offered up some great thoughts on a new project called OLE (for Open Library Environment) that is exploring new concepts in creating an extensivable catalog. I’m glad to hear that this project is underway, but I have to admit that part of me can’t help but wonder if the extinction time line got it wrong … it’s not libraries that will be instinct in 2018, it’s the need for library catalogs?

I mean just think about the context and reach of Google within the last ten years (remember it’s just celebrated a big birthday this past year- two digits). I see libraries much different in ten years and guess what?... they're not centered around an authoritative catalog either! Social & community orientated – Yes! Authoritative - No! So my question is should we really be focusing so much attention on re-inventing the ILS (the back-end for organizing and moving authoritative materials around per se) or should we really be focusing more attention on re-inventing ourselves as engagement and discovery agents to our communities?

After yesterday, I know it's definitely got me thinking ...


Discovery Place Talk @ ALA Midwinter

Getting up @ 3:45 am this morning is not my idea of a sunshine start. Finding out that your 6 am flight is delayed nearly two hours makes me appreciate Starbucks even more.

The airport delay, however, does give me time to post a link to my slidedeck for today's talk at ALA Midwinter on Columbus Metropolitan Library's ILS system, Discovery Place.

Discovery Place, is CML's own homegrown solution which has faithfully supportive the circulation of nearly 320 billion items over last twenty years. It's a true workhorse and well loved among circulation staff for its dependability and quick response.

I know it's very rare to find in-house developed ILS systems, especially for a library system our size (21 locations) and circulation (annual circulation 17.5 million). So that is why I'm heading to ALA today... to share a bit about CML's experience in developing and supporting our own ILS and the strategies we've set to continually meet customer expectations.

Discovery Place ILS – Columbus Metropolitan Library

If you're at ALA midwinter and have interest in this area, you'll find me at the conference center today @ 2 pm speaking about Discovery Place as part of RMG's Nineteenth Annual Presidents' Seminar: The View from the Top -- that is if my flight isn't delayed further.

[off to find more coffee]


Stephens on trends & technologies to watch in '09

Michael Stephens has a new post up on trends and technologies that really is worth reading devouring. In it he highlights not only what the trend means to libraries, but also what it means to library education. For the me the big surprises weren’t really in any of his predictions -- I can’t speak for MS, but for me, I think we share a lot of common perspectives – but rather the revelation was in viewing the cumulative whole of these trend implications and applications.

Michael Stephens' Ten Trends & Technologies for 2009

1. Ubiquity of the Cloud
2. Changing role of IT
3. Value of Commons
4. Promise of Micro-Interaction
5. Care & Nurturing of the Tribe
6. The Triumph of the Portable Device
7. Importance of Personalization
8. Impact of Localization
9. Evolution of Digital Lifestyle
10. Shift Towards Open Thinking

The thoughts I see weaving throughout all these trends are the themes of transparency, the open brand, micro-connections, and ubiquitous presence. But overall what sticks out to me the most is that all these trends are moving farther and father away from the enabling technologies themselves and closer and closer to the very tangible need of human touch.

Great thoughts Michael. Thanks for packaging these so brilliantly.


Generatives > Free

Kevin Kelly’s recent manifesto highlighted in Change This has my brain spinning. In the manifesto Kevin reasons that in an economy where duplication and “free” are abundant, the real value in any commodity comes from intangible (and copy-able) generative values; a value, much like trust, that must be cultivated, nurtured or grown.

Here’s his short list of intangibles that people are often willing to pay for in an economy of abundance:

Eight Generatives that are Better than Free:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Personalization
  3. Interpretation
  4. Authenticity
  5. Accessibility
  6. Embodiment
  7. Patronage
  8. Findability

In reviewing this list (download and read the 11 page manifesto. Trust me, it’s a quick and easy read) I can’t help but apply these intangible values to libraries and library services. In many ways these really are our bread-n-butter. And it’s the attention to these “generatives” is what sets exceptional institutions apart.

So here’s the thought my head keeps coming back to...

… If these are the intangibles that customers are willing to pay for even when services are free, then it’s imperative (especially in these scare budget times) that libraries focus on cultivating these generatives. For if our customers aren’t able to easily associate an intangible value for our services, whose to say that they’d even be willing to accept the tangible value of free?


New Zealand's getting "Smarter through Digital"

Thanks to Kathryn Greenhill for bringing New Zealand's Digital Strategy 2.0 site to my attention. With the words “digital strategy” in the title, you know that its bound to catch my attention. And when I see the strategy built around a model grounded in “enablers” and “collaboration”, I am even more interested.

Take a look at the government of New Zealand’s Digital Strategy 2.0 site. It’s interesting to see how wide spread they are applying these strategies. Everything from reducing carbon emissions to transforming education is covered in their actions and tactics. Some good food for thought here, indeed.


Libraries: Discover what you know

As I was searching back through my YouTube favorites this past week looking for a video to share with folks in an upcoming workshop in Melbourne next month, I rediscovered this

“discover what you know”

The message of this video just screams “library” to me. The only thing that doesn’t is the last 12 seconds…

… and tbh that scares me a bit. How about you?


"Bubble" Talk

I’m beginning to see bubbles every where. Case in point:

Yup, I definitely see a trend bubbling up here. (sorry I couldn't resist the pun) :)

Anyway, congratulations Alison on your new endeavor with Library Journal. It’s good to see your voice in print and your blog title fits your bubbly personality well.


IMHO sharing community stories doesn't get much better then this ...

Every once in awhile, I run across a truly amazing project that totally makes my heart smile. This one tonight really caught me off guard … for it’s so beautifully simple (both application and approach) in capturing the core essence of what libraries are really all about… community & sharing stories

Remember When - A collaborative, web based story writing project by Ipswich seniors in partnership with the Ipswich Library

My hat is off tonight to the Ispwich Library & Information Service! Through the use of the PBwiki (a free wiki hosting site) they’ve created a wonderful model for libraries of any size to duplicate with or without funding.

Take a look around this wonderful collection of stories and see if you don’t agree?

PS: Thanks Polly for the link. You're right, It's wonderful.


Desperately seeking great Aussie library examples

In less than a month I’ll be in Melbourne guiding participants through a two day Library 2.0 master class workshop. I’m still a bit blown away by the wonderful opportunity to travel to Oz again and actually thrilled to be able to visit in the summer this time, instead of chilly July.

Anyway, in preparation for workshop I’m looking a few good examples of Australian libraries (public, academic, school or private) that have integrated 2.0 technologies and social media into their digital presence. Picture Australia of course stands out as one that I’m well aware of. As does WikiNorthia, but I know these are large scale projects and that there has to be lots of other examples (from libraries of all sizes and types) that may be well worth highlighting.

If you’ve got a great example of libraries integrating 2.0 technologies and concepts into their digital presence, I’d love to gather some more examples. Please feel free to leave a comment - or - email me helene.blowers(at) - or better yet - twitter me @hblowers. I’d love to hear your suggestions.


The connection between passion & community transformation ...

There's a huge long blog post brewing in my head after reading this quote. But to be honest, I don't think there's much to be added that Wynton has already hit directly on the head.

" A palpable energy is released when inspiration and dedication come together in a creative art. The energy is transformative in an individual who is innovative, but it is transcendent when manifested by a group. There are no words for the dynamic thrill of participating in a mutual mosaic of creativity."

— Wynton Marsalis

Thanks Mylee for forwarding this great quote. It's definitely a keeper.

A mutual mosaic of creativity ? ... now that's a library vision that makes my heart sing.

Trend Spotting Predictions

Trend Spotting has recently posted several slide decks highlighting 2009 predictions for online marketing, social media and mobile computing. If you view all three, you’ll probably see some similar themes… market saturation, strained economic capacity, back to basics, more mobile/more impact, and the killer app? It’s definitely community - & the definition is more personal than ever.

Take a look for yourselves:

What trends do you see?


New Year’s Reflections

The first day of the new year always seems to be a reflective day for me which is fueled primarily by my “Best Book” ritual. This year marks my 21st entry in the book and along with this ritual, I thought I continue another started also three years ago on LibraryBytes and highlight a few of my posts which seemed to have generated the most conversation (at least from my perspective).

Happy 2009 everyone. Here’s to another great year.