Conference Summary: MLA Applied Technologies & Trends Workshop

On Friday, May 10, I had the pleasure of presenting at MLA Applied Technologies & Trends Workshop, If you caught my show before, at Library Tech Conference, you may notice some similarities. The presentation I gave at MLA is updated with a lot more content  and recent revisions as well as I even have a checklist put together that I PDFed for people to use that I promised to have for people back in March.
Since I was one of the last persons to present, below are my notes on the other presentations I attended along with links as appropriate.

Keynote: Good For Whom? 

By Matthew Reidsma / Grand Valley State University
Why are decisions made for design not carried over to digital tools? Meaning, why do we apply strict questions to physical items but not to digital ones.

  • Functional: How does it function?
  • Behavioral: How do behaviors change?
  • How to do it?
    • This is where most people stop.
    • These are internal questions, that we ask ourselves on everything.
  • “The library world has been fa too gullible, far too willing to regard any technical advance as a service advance.”  – Jonathan D. Lauer & Steve McKinzie
  • Human: How does this affect human experience?
    • Need to think more about the person who comes into our library, less about what we’re doing about them.
    • How do people FEEL?
      • How you treat people is more apt than what you did or will do. For example, if you treat a customer nicely, they will tell maybe 1 or 2 people. If you treat them badly, they will tell, on the average, nine people about their experience.
  • “User experience isn’t about expert intuition, it’s about expert listening.” – Whitney Hess
  • External questions: How to find how these technologies  are going to affect not just people, but work flows, and technologies themselves.
    • Adding the human element
  • A way forward: Ditching the label maker
    • Prioritize users over process
    • We could be reactionary (train industry of people to undo the work of crappy vendors) or say to the vendors, “Makes this easy to use.”  Demand it to be easy to use.
  • Prioritize users over processes

Resources/sites mentioned

Session: Cloud & Mobile Computing 4 Your LIbrary Resources & Services

By Michael Samson / Wayne State University

  • All the Google products, all the time
  • Chromebox / Chromebook instead of using vendor specific hardware
  • Hardware: Android (Nexus 4, 7, 10)
  • Tools / apps / gadgets
    • Creating custom search engine for faculty for their interests
    • Ability to share content via Google drive (presentations, documents)
    • Cloud is the new mainframe
  • Creating an entire workflow of tools in the Google cloud

Session: Sharing Technology Skills with Patrons and Colleagues

By Scott Skowronek / Lansing Community College

  • Uneven distribution of technology skills across staff and faculty
  • Creation of Tech Guides
    • 4 student staff per semester
    • Empowered to seek out and assist
    • Customer service focused
    • Roving support
    • Employee traits & Responsibilities
      • Keep the interactions time short (15 minutes) and then escalate
      • Know the GRCC core systems
      • Record each interaction (to identify peak times and keeps statics)
    • Training
      • Identify the “Big 3” technical problems and train the guides on these first. Example:
        • Blackboard problems
        • Forgotten passwords
        • Attaching files to emails
      • Find the technology pain points
        • Ex: Printer jams
      • Work with staff strengths
      • Collaborative training
        • Using iPads with Google docs to  train and track problems, seamless synching and updating
      • Encourage guides to Google for problems
    • Logistics
      • One tech guide on shift at a time
      • 3 hour shifts
      • Tech guide iPad
      • Peak hours
    • Pitfalls
      • Morale issues
      • Patron problems and problem patrons
      • Shift switching and absences
      • Staff technology ability
  • TechSnippets
    • Presentations that contain 10-15 minutes of content, open to faculty/staff
    • Maybe schedule 15 minutes  for discussion after
    • Schedule midday – more people on campus, this is when departments break for lunch, etc
    • Discuss single technology or a cluster of similar
      • Dropbox (Google Drive, iCloud)
    • Discuss singular concepts
    • Feed them!
      • Get a $100 convention oven, make cookies!
      • Use cookies to lure them into your lair
    • Marketing
      • Multiple channels
      • Multiple reminders
      • LibCal for sign-up and contact
      • Target a specific audience
  • Resources for ideas for Tech Snippets

Session: What to put on that new TV in the lobby

By David Hytien & Britain Woodman / University of Michigan

  • Content
    • Creative Commons content
      • Youtube. Vimeo, etc
      • From NASA, NOOA, White House, Internet Archive, Flickr
    • Content from various places like the above, plus student content, staff content, and public content available on campus, found content
    • RSS feeds
  • Logo
    • Recommend size is 1080×1920
    • Transparent
    • Should be png or gif as they are lossless
  • Videos
    • Create in iMovie, drop movies and logo just created
  • Resources


Cherry Bomb

Me, 11/11/2010

[A couple of gentle reminders: I’m still collecting addresses for the Ho. Ho. Ho. holiday card exchange. End date probably first week of December or roughly thereabouts. Second gentle reminder: The pick the literacy charity contest over at Excessively Diverting is running until 12/6! Lastly! I redid to be more portal-ish, so while I’ll still be doing my “Collections” every week or so of where I’m writing, you have a one-stop shop for everything Lisa.]
Last week I was ensconced at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with my partner in crime, Kristin, for the yearly Michigan Library Association conference. Kristin and I presented our poster on Wednesday, “Critical Error: The Need for Michigan Public Libraries to Represent Themselves Online.” To be honest, Kristin and I were totally expecting people to come after us with pitchforks, ready to throw us onto burning pyres because while we weren’t specifically naming names at out poster session, we were in a very broad sense saying, “Hey! Michigan Public Libraries! Your library’s website sucks gonads, here are the reasons why and why this is killing you!” Instead, it seems that many (okay MOST) were like, “You guys, this is awesome. You’ve given us ammunition to take to our boards validate using these resources.” We were greatly relieved, to say the least, to not be run out of town.
What, then, is our research project? Dewey District Library the the nom de plum of our research endeavors. From our about page:

Librarianation is a blog highlighting research being conducted on the current state of Michigan Public Libraries and their relationship with online services. We are investigating not only which libraries have online services, but which resources they are using, how they are being implemented and how well they are incorporated with “Traditional Library Services” at each location. Our findings so far have concluded that there is a wide gap in the adoption of online services and well developed online presences between many Public Libraries in Michigan. The second step of our research will involve identifying the probable root causes of this gap and practical strategies to shrink it.

For our poster session, we randomly sampled 80 public libraries in Michigan, which accounts for 20% of the state total (383). These public libraries are classified by the main branch library for an area (example such as Grand Rapids Public or Traverse Area District), but does not include the branches of a particular library system. So GRPL and TADL are counted as ONE individual public library, instead of 8 (GRPL + branches) and 4 (TADL + branches) libraries respectively. These random samples were across the various classes (class 1 serves a population under 3999 persons to class 6, which serves a population of 50K or more) and we found a lot of interesting data. We put together a SlideShare of the graphics and info we used on our poster to make it accessible. We’ve also got an every growing bibliography. So what else are we going to do with the data? Glad you asked

  • Finish compiling data for the remaining 80%.
  • Blog, publish and present on the topic.
  • Create and distribute “How-To” via web/video/screenshots/whatevs.
  • Visit, photograph and check-in1 at each public library in Michigan. We’ve started this already.
  • Update/Add to LibraryThing Local, Yelp and Google Maps for each library location.
  • Blog and review each of the libraries as we visit them.

Not only are we interested in (essentially) cataloging all of the public libraries in Michigan but we’re also interested in their use of social media and how it is (or is not) affecting their community. Visiting the libraries in person definitely challenges what we find out about them online. Here’s a perfect example: Elk Rapids District Library. You look at their website and you’re thinking, “Esh. This library is nothing special, it has no personality and it is solidly stuck in the 20th century.” Wrong. Images of Elk Rapids District Library. JUST LOOK AT IT. As Kristin is fond of saying, “It is cozy as BALLS.” Granted it was staffed by OAP’s2 with one foot in the grave, but the library was obviously very well loved, cared for and taken care of. I could sit in this room and work all day long. They have a fantastic core collection, new titles, Free Wifi, public computers and loads of other services. This place is just fantastic, so much so that I called TheHusband from the library and told him to start looking for houses in the area RIGHT NOW.
If you’re interested in following us on the research project, which will always be in progress, you can find us at the following locations:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Twitter [For announcements only.]
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare


1. Check-in using geo-social services such as FourSquare / BrightKite / Gowalla. If the library is not listed in the service, create it.
2. Old Age Persons.