Wordle View of Internet Librarian 2009

I like me some Wordle. For quick visualizations of trends in text, it can provide a quick snapshot. I’m heading home tomorrow as the Internet Librarian conference winds down, but I wanted to see what trends might appear if the Internet Librarian 2009 conference program was given the Wordle treatment. The result is below with stop words and some noise removed (e.g., library, libraries, time notations, conference track numbers, etc.).

Wordle: #il2009

Some of my quick observations: Google and books appear at about the same size. Mobile looks like it’s gaining some ground. Twitter makes an appearance. What else does this word cloud communicate about the tech side of the profession? Click on the thumbnail to get the full view.

A Wordle View of Computers in Libraries 2009

So, I’m back at home while the Computers in Libraries 2009 conference is wrapping up. On the flight home, I got to thinking about major themes and it struck me that there might be a way to represent the themes visually. Enter wordle. If you aren’t familiar with wordle, you can paste source text or even pass URLs of feeds to a simple web form and get a “wordcloud” of major terms. I thought I might try pasting the Computers in Libraries 2009 program text into wordle. Here’s the wordle representation of cil2009. (I removed some basic noise words like keynote, track A, 11:30, etc.)

 (click on thumbnail for full image)

Not surprising to see “Library”, “Libraries”, “Search” and “Social” as some top terms. But, I am glad to see the terms around the edges making some headway. Terms like “mobile”, “development”, and “innovative” suggest that the profession is moving forward.  One missing term that I’m hearing more and more is “embed” or embedding”. I think it’s an important concept and starts to get at a new mode of library services: embedded library instruction, embedded reference services, embedded library web services in the form of widgets and gadgets, etc. Just my thoughts from a cursory scanning… If you have other thoughts about the cil2009 wordcloud, feel free to leave a comment.

Computers in Libraries 2009

Computers in Libraries starts tomorrow and it’s always a great time. I arrived in DC earlier today from an uneventful flight which is always a good thing.  Met up with Karen Coombs and Michael Sauers for some SuperHappyTerrific sushi and now I’m collecting my thoughts regarding my upcoming workshops and presentation.

Web Services for Libraries (with Karen)
Sunday, March 30 from 1:00PM – 4:00 PM
Delicious for subject guides, Flickr for library displays, YouTube for library orientation …Mashups and APIs (application programming interfaces) are becoming staples of modern web design. Libraries, as repositories of data, have a wealth of information that could be placed within the mashup context. With new tools and scripts available daily, it’s becoming easier and easier to bring pieces of the web together and enable users to find and build new web services with library data. This workshop focuses on what an API is and what it can do, the standard components of web services, how to build a simple mashup with JavaScript, how to work with PHP to consume a web service and create a mashup, what web services and mashups mean for libraries, and how to start consuming and creating web services for your library with available tools and scripts. Come learn how open data standards and a little “know-how” can change your library services. Hear what others are doing and what you can do too. (Participants should be comfortable with HTML markup and have an interest in learning about web scripting and programming.)

Widgets, Gadgets, and Mobie Apps for Libraries (with Karen and Michael)
Sunday, March 30 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
As web content continues to grow and the noise-to-signal ratio increases, it has become important for libraries to find ways to get into users’ common web paths: the social networking sites such as Facebook, the web portals such as iGoogle, learning management systems such as Blackboard, even mobile devices such as the iPhone. Our panel of experts looks at creating widgets or gadgets that allow users to have basic library search and browse functions in these new user environments free from the catalog or library website. They demo and teach how to build live applications that provide gateway searching for library journals, books, articles, and much more. Come learn how to play in these new environments and to give users options for searching and consuming library materials in their own learning spaces.

The Portable Library: Going “Atomic” with Library Web Services
Monday, March 30 from 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
There is an opportunity for libraries to braodcast into our users’ common web paths (like Facebook and iGoogle) and to create mobile library apps that allow users to have basic library search functions in these new user environments.  Live applications from MSU Libraries illustrate: a Google Gadget that allows gateway searching for library journals, books, and articles and a series of OpenSearch plugins that let patrons search library content from within the web browser. Come learn about the simple steps you can take to make these widgets and research tools happen at your library.

Presentation files and handouts for all sessions are available at http://www.lib.montana.edu/~jason/talks.php.

Demos and “Downloadables” for all sessions are available at http://www.lib.montana.edu/~jason/files.php.

I’m also trying to track the official tags and hashtags for the conference.  It’s looking like “#cil2009″ for twitter and “cil2009″ for all other tagging.  See everyone around Crystal City or teh Internets…

Computers in Libraries 2008 – Trends and Highlights

It’s been just over a week since I returned from Computers in Libraries. The InfoToday crew usually puts together a nice set of speakers and ideas and this year was more of the same. I’m not even going to try and summarize everything – check LibrarianInBlack for some of the best summaries or the Technorati CIL2008 tag to follow along from home. As I mentioned in a previous post, I arrived as the conference was winding down, but I was still able to pick up some tips, teach a couple of workshops, and spot some library trends. I’m going to focus on the trends part as the week has given me some time to collect my thoughts. So, here they are, the library trends I’m seeing (based on CIL’s programming and my interests).

Twitter and Libraries – Microblogging and its associated platforms are starting to be noticed and utilized in some library settings. Right now, the emphasis is on connecting to friends, but as more info gets shared in 140 character bits – the Twitter channel is becoming a resource. It’s all about following keywords and topics and choosing your Twitter network of followers (aka “friends”) Pownce and Tumblr are two similar services to watch.

Web Services for Everybody – When Yahoo Pipes came on the scene about a year ago, I wondered when it might start showing up as a tool for library mashups. It’s actually a pretty simple way to use web services in a graphical user interface. Pipes seems limited to pretty simple formats (RSS and ATOM) generally, but it introduces the power and concepts behind web services intuitively. In the long term, it’s still best to learn web services, XML, and some scripting for truly robust mashups, but Pipes lowers the bar for entry in a really nice way.

The Portable Library – At MSU libraries, we’ve been looking at ways to bring library resources into a user’s networked environment. See our widgets and tools for some examples. It was great to meet other developers and libraries pursuing similar efforts. I got to have an extended discussion with Binky Lush, lead web developer at Penn State University Libraries, about her efforts to place library web services into users’ working environments. It’s refreshing to see some of these attempts to move away from the gatekeeping model of web sites as single points of service. Leveraging the network and learning to broadcast bits and pieces of the library into multiple web spaces – iGoogle, iTunes, Course Management Systems – will be an important move for libraries going forward.

Open Source and Learning Outside the Profession – Open source solutions for libraries are becoming easier to implement, but it was nice to see the balanced conversation and practical examples of Open source possibilities for libraries that were part of the “Open Source” track moderated by Nicole Engard. I wasn’t able to see the “Beyond Libraries: Industries Using Hot Tech”, but the idea of looking outside our comfort zone and learning from other industries really resonates with me as an essential trend to follow. Steven Cohen (the track organizer) is onto something here. Innovation frequently happens elsewhere; let’s hear more about it.

Ajax and Web Services Workshops

I came a bit late to the Computers in Libraries 2008 party by arriving on Tuesday night, but I was stilI able to catch up with a few people and make some new friends. It was interesting presenting to a group as they were eating lunch (never done that one before), but the presentations went well. I also had a great time teaching the workshops yesterday. For those that are interested, all the files and code samples from my talks are available below.

Workshop: “Web Services for Libraries.”
Computers in Libraries, Crystal City, VA, 10 April 2008.

Workshop: “Ajax (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) for Libraries.”
Computers in Libraries, Crystal City, VA, 10 April 2008.

Cybertour: “Next-Generation Digital Libraries.”
Computers in Libraries, Crystal City, VA, 09 April 2008.

Cybertour: “What To Do When Interface Design Goes Bad.”
Computers in Libraries, Crystal City, VA, 09 April 2008.

Web Design and Development Track – Internet Librarian 2007: Day 1

I spent most of my time in the development track today, but I did get a chance to move around more than I usually do. First impressions from my walk around the conference sessions:

  • Search is still huge. Thirty search tips from Mary Ellen Bates had the largest attendance. I’m not sure what to make of that. Librarians like to search, everyone else likes to …
  • Internet Librarian is just about the right size for me. Familiar faces from last year and participants in my workshops were easy to make contact with.

Some highlights from the “Web Design and Development Track”:

Session C101 — Planning & Implementing Library 2.0
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
David King, Digital Branch & Services Manager, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

David Lee King presented on strategies for implementing web 2.0 in the library. It was great to see David address the “if you build it, they will come” myth. He stressed the need to ask questions about: why a new service is needed, how a service will be supported, and how to promote and encourage use of the service. A nice, balanced presentation.

Session C102 — Putting Evidence-Based Practice to Work
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Northwestern University
Amanda Hollister, Web Services Librarian, Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland

Frank Cervone and Amanda Hollister presented on moving towards a base of evidence for design and development decisions. Frank stressed that the research process was iterative. Ongoing and continual…. Amanda demoed a tracking user paths software application (built with ASP, XML, and Visual Basic). She was able to show anticipated paths and actual paths to content which was a nice measuring stick. It was a great session helping to frame exactly how to carry out research for development decisions and move away from the anecdotal.

Session C103 — New Rules of Web Design
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Jeff Wisniewski spoke about the new rules of web design. He took out the magnifying glass to really consider some of the pillars of web design. Among his findings: simplicity rules – we need to move away from religion of simplicity; content is king, but design matters; all content is created equally, but some content is more equal than other – eResources content is primary; design for 800×600? – 1024×768 is the new 800×600; RIP websafe palette – most devices are able to display a high range of colors; how often to redesign – constantly, iteratively; top of the page is prime real estate – nope, there is banner blindness. (Note to self: Jeff had a slide of at the end of all of his citations. I’ll have to get the link.)

Actual program descriptions are included below.

Session C101 — Planning & Implementing Library 2.0
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
David King, Digital Branch & Services Manager, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

Has your library discussed creating a Flickr account? A MySpace teen site? Creating a blog? All these ideas are great, yet all have the potential to fail if not well-implemented. This session provides practical planning and implementation tips for dealing with emerging digital trends, focusing on setting up new Web 2.0 services such as MySpace, blogs, and Flickr to meet client needs.

Session C102 — Putting Evidence-Based Practice to Work
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Frank Cervone, Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Northwestern University
Amanda Hollister, Web Services Librarian, Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland

Delivering services based on evidence, rather than anecdotes, is a growing trend within librarianship. Learn how two libraries have introduced evidence-based practice into the Web design process. The Northwestern case study explores the implementation of research into practice through an examination of the environment and the method of facilitation that led to evidence-based decision making for the library’s Web site. The Memorial Library Web site team collects and analyzes paths that users take through the site to discover what users are doing. Do students use the subject pages? How many links do they click before entering a database? Learn how the library has started to use the information about paths and user groups to create a personalized Web site.

Session C103 — New Rules of Web Design
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Jeff Wisniewski, Web Services Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Web design has evolved over the last decade: Do you know what the new rules are? Is less still more? Is scrolling bad? Is Flash still verboten? Learn about which design guidelines are still relevant, which no longer apply, and what you need to know to design a site that’s useful, usable, and attractive in the Web 2.0 world.

Ajax Workshop – Internet Librarian 2007

My preconference,”AJAX for Libraries”, with Karen Coombs went really well. It’s always great working with Karen. She’s cool, composed, and “wicked” knowledgeable. For the second year in a row, we had a great group of participants. It’s nice to see a growing interest in emerging web programming frameworks and how they might be applied to libraries.

Here are the updated slides and links:

“AJAX for Libraries” Presentation
“AJAX for Libraries” Handout (Code Samples and Explanations)
“AJAX for Libraries” Code Downloads

And some additional examples of libraries using AJAX:

“TERRA: The Nature of our World” gets Webby Nomination

For the second time in as many months, “TERRA: The Nature of our World” (http://lifeonterra.com) has been noticed by the web critics. This time it’s for the Webbys which have been called “the Oscars of the Internet” and with judges like Beck and David Bowie it’s definitely got some celeb street cred. (The full MSU news story is available at http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=4822.)

Once again, anyone has the opportunity to vote. TERRA’s nomination can be found in the student category of the Online Film and Video section at http://pv.webbyawards.com. Votes will be accepted through Friday, April 27 and winners announced May 1.

But the voting is not really the point of the post… I love that digital library initiatives was a cornerstone in this effort. There’s an opportunity here for all diginit folk. Find your niche as a content manager and provider. My “in” was metadata, creating XML for syndication, relational database design, a little PHP magic, and creating a search backend. The key was answering the need for a content manager and developing relationships towards that end. Think about what could be your “in”.

South By Southwest (SXSW) – Final Thoughts

Some visuals for the crowd…


View of Austin

A sea of schwag bags

Check out the Flickr stream provided by Chad Hutchens for more pics from the conference and Austin.

South by Southwest Interactive was well worth the time and money. TERRA: the nature of our world didn’t win the finals, but I was pretty happy just to be competing in this race. In terms of new ideas for digital library apps, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so full of ideas after a conference. Some possibilities: microformats integrated into results pages, digital document delivery based on XML, blip.tv api to leverage distribution of digital library videos… It was great to get outside of the library community and Austin was lots o’ fun as well. As conferences go, the price wasn’t steep – under $250 with food and drink options every night. If you get the chance, step outside your library comfort zone. It’ll work wonders.

UPDATE: The podcasts of the SXSWi panels continue to grow. Check out the SXSWi podcast page or subscribe to the SXSWi podcast feed to see the latest additions.

South By Southwest (SXSW) – Day 4

My final day at the conference. Still found lots to do and write about. More of a brain dump…

Get Unstuck: Moving From 1.0 to 2.0
Moderator: Liz Danzico Director, experience strategy, Daylife
Liz Danzico Director, experience strategy, Daylife
Kristian Bengtsson Creative Dir, FutureLab
Chris Messina Co-founder, Citizen Agency
Luke Wroblewski Principal Designer, Yahoo!
Jeffrey Zeldman Founder, Happy Cog

This was a great panel. A conversation about organizational cultures and how to change them. Relevant to just about anyone who works in the service industry.

Stuck is about perspective
act or process of:
doing good work
being productive
feeling fulfilled on a team

How are you stuck? too many meetings; micromanage

document design process with wiki, blog, flickr, open up to world
management through conversation – talk before design, listen, create trust and comfort
keep researching – getting data and trends, write things down to think things through
accept constant change – be fearless and have fun
set the terms for the conversation – name it
don’t pitch your process – just add value
articulate simple goals

“hire your clients” – find the opportunity, bring the solution
understanding context – become friendly

The Future of the Online Magazine

Moderator: Rufus Griscom CEO, Nerve Media
Rufus Griscom CEO, Nerve Media
Sean Mills The Onion
Ricky Van Veen Editor, CollegeHumor.com
Laurel Touby CEO & Founder, mediabistro.com
Joan Walsh Editor in Chief, Salon.com

Another hilarious panel with leaders of some of the world’s most compelling online magazines discuss their visions of where this medium is headed. Pretty interesting to see old school editing model versus user-generated editing model. American Idol was used as an example of a user-generated media. Blogs continually came up as a way to increase readership and even recruit talent. The physical side of the business was also considered. Some of the “online” business are still dipping their toes in the physical world. Examples: the Onion – books and t-shirts; CollegeHumor – t-shirts.

How has business changed?
web2.0 has helped – blogosphere disseminates, lightly moderated content from readers
RSS helps, but only geeks are active users – newsletters are more effective (email)
increasing importance of natural web traffic and blog links

Is edited content obsolete?
full-time staff remains
collective editing can work, but we still need editors.

Can premium paid content work?
Advertising revenue can stem the tide
Subscription might be able to work – membership programs these are valuable, loyal users
“Our publications are a community” LT
Merchandise can be another source of revenue

How to maintain consistent voice?
Not really a concern, the web has multiple voices

The Growth and Evolution of Microformats

Moderator: Tantek Çelik Chief Technologist, Technorati
Frances Berriman Volume
Michael Kaply IBM
Glenn Jones Creative Dir, Madgex
Tantek Çelik Chief Technologist, Technorati

Microformats is an extension of structured xhtml and metadata… From the microformats site:

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging).

This was a packed house which is cool for at least two reasons.

1. It was competing with Dan Rather’s keynote.
2. It’s really encouraging to see geeks take the idea of metadata and bring it to the masses.

We’ll see if it takes off. At its core, it gives us a way to markup up blogs or web pages with some semantic data. It gives a richer meaning (for machines and people) to sections of a page. Imagine search results with extra standardized markup behind the scenes that let you push pieces of a page to mobile devices, feedreaders or even other web pages.

Favorite Question:

Could microformats be a data transfer layer? Yes, could be a low level API – expose a simple set of data. Could read simple structured data from a web page

Open Content, Remix Culture and the Sharing Economy: Rights, Ownership and Getting Paid
Moderator: Eric Steuer Creative Dir, Creative Commons
Eric Steuer Creative Dir, Creative Commons
Glenn Otis Brown Products Counsel, YouTube
John Buckman Founder and CEO, Magnatune
Laurie Racine Eyespot and DotSub
Max Schorr Publisher & Founding Ed, GOOD

Kind of hit or miss… Some feuding on the panel between Magnatune guy and YouTube guy. Some highlights about copyright and DMCA:

DMCA – it is up to content owners, tacitly they want people to use their content
Let copyright holders make the choice about content use. Direction is toward “openness”

Is it the responsibility of companies to be open?
good for business, good for customers
agreements/licenses could have simple and complicated versions

It was interesting to hear an audience member ask, “why should university license open content?” This could play into how we sell institutional repositories. Make the contributors know that they still own the rights to the content. Note to self: emphasize library role as one of access intermediary.


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