Monthly Archives: July 2008

Objections to social media in the workplace

Engaged Learning has a series – just wrapping up this week – on 15 common objections to social sites and media in the workplace. There are LOTS of things that I’ve heard from folks and some great ways to combat those ideas. He’s encouraged comments on each of the objections, too, so you can scan through and get an idea of how other people would approach the same problem. Read through these and be armed next time someone tells you that blogs have nothing to do with training or that allowing access to Facebook will cause all employees to spend all their time socializing instead of working!
These are geared toward corporate environments – but some of the ideas may work well for schools, which do a lot of banning of social sites. Either way, it’s worth a read and being better prepared to handle objections is never a bad thing!

A new project for me!

Now that everything is officially official, I can let my loyal readers know what my next big project will be (besides 4 presentations in 3 months and a changeover from Exchange to Google hosted email)! While I was in Anaheim for ALA, I was approached at my table at the Social Software Showcase by an editor for the ALA Tech Source Tech Reports and asked if I’d like to write one for them. After some discussion of topic and timing, I can now say that the May/June 2009 issue of the Tech Report will be on Collaboration 2.0 (working title – it’ll probably change…) and will deal with using Web 2.0 tools (Facebook, Ning, Twitter, Flickr, etc.) to provide a platform for collaboration in libraries. I’m pretty excited about the project and am champing at the bit to get started! I’ll be doing some serious tapping into my social network to get examples of collaboration from my librarian buddies on Twitter, Facebook, Ning (starting to sound familiar?) and the like. Don’t feel like you have to wait to be asked, though, if you are doing some collaborative project and using these tools – feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you are doing any time!

TGIF

Ok, play by play for my Friday:

8:00am – get to work, count money in the PCC, get computers started, meet Mike and head to our Linn branch library to do some work out there.
9:15am – get into the Linn branch and find the DVD color settings. Doesn’t make much difference, the sky is still green and the houses and people are alarmingly red. We can get it to sort of work, though, so it will do until I can get to Best Buy and pick up a $30 DVD player to replace the one that won’t display colors correctly any more. I also install the VPN client into her new computer so that she can check email and such – 3 weeks before I change the email. I’m timely…
11:15am – get back to the library and grab a quick lunch
12:00pm – start my regular Friday shift on the PCC desk. I spent the first hour clearing my email inbox and perusing the online “weekly sales” flyers that we don’t get at home, since we read the paper all online these days. 2 of the big grocery stores in town offer the flyers at home, so we don’t really need to get the newspaper to get the specials and the coupons. Yeah! I enter the stuff I want to get into RTM, separated out by location of the store, then print off my shopping lists by store as well. I now have a somewhat organized shopping list and some idea of what I’ll be cooking next week. I feel organized.
Shortly after my first hour on the desk, we have a problem patron issue and I have to ask the young woman to leave. After that there is some discussion about the issue on FriendFeed and I’ll have to admit to egging on Stephen Cohen’s rants about video games in the course of the discussion. That takes up most of my second hour on the desk.
I spent the last hour of the shift reading through my blogs and FriendFeed stream while also answering computer questions, selling printouts and creating temporary cards for visitors to our area.
3:00pm – Break time!
3:15 – I get to sit down in my office chair for the first time today and spend some time checking email, reading through the rest of my blog posts and getting the first batch of GApps accounts set up in Google’s systems. I also got a call from our Linn branch manager about PCC policies for porn viewing and for hacking our systems to get extra time from our PC Reservation software.
4:30 – Find and download sysprep for Mike as he finishes getting the OPACs ready for ghosting – again – and demonstrate how to use it.
4:45 – go home.
That’s it – that is my week at work. Hope somebody found it helpful, or at least as amusing as Nikki did. She thought my Wednesday post was “LOLworthy” (as she informed me via txt on Thursday). I’m glad someone enjoyed my pain…

Thursday – the week is almost over!

A quick note about last night – I did manage to get one whole load of laundry done while balancing vegging and calling in to UV – so I feel somewhat productive… I also had to spend some time last night re-assigning all the things on my RTM list that were supposed to get done yesterday to later in the week or early next week. That’s one of the reasons for the update to the post yesterday – since I did almost nothing on my to-do list, I couldn’t go back last night and review it for reminders of what I’d done all day.
I’m doing better today – so far I’ve come in, checked my email, opened Twhirl and reviewed last nights FF conversations and ticked one item off my to-do list for today: adding our Employee of the Month’s name to the Intranet. Yeah! It’s only 8:20 and I’m already feeling like stuff’s going to get done today!!
During the next hour, I cleaned up the database pages and confirmed that we don’t seem to subscribe to Facts On File legal forms database, so I can’t add a link to it as requested on one of my “to-dos” for the day, but I can clean the pages up because they were looking a bit ragged. I spend some time in email scheduling my guest post for TTW and getting more information from folks about other items on my to-do list, including trying to find a way to pay for Google Apps for Domains without a credit card that will cover the entire amount… Still waiting to hear from them on that one! The hour after that, I spent some time telling my staff what to do (that’s always fun!!) and getting Nikki out to recrimp some wires in the library Annex building. I spent some small amount of time on Facebook (for the first time this week, I’m so slipping), ignoring application invites, sending birthday cards and confirming blog ownership for several others on the Blog Network application. I also spent some time socially networking with staff members in face-to-face ways – over a cigarette or two – in an “outside meeting”. Nothing like keeping up with what’s going on then by sharing a smoke break!
After all my social networking was done, I got called over to the Annex building to try to troubleshoot the wire crimping Nikki was doing. I think we got it about half-fixed when we lost patience with it and decided to break for lunch. Lunch involved errands, today. Lots of running around…

After lunch, I tackled more ghosting issues – Mike (my coworker and SO) took over the ghosting after I got so frustrated he was afraid I’d start lobbing computers at him. He fixed the network card issue and got them all ghosted up – but forgot to run sysprep first so they would not all have the same id. We spent the afternoon setting them up, realizing that we couldn’t change the name on all but the first one, figuring out why (no sysprep – of course) and then starting the process of fixing it.
At 4pm I finally weaseled my way out of that and came downstairs to do a final check of my email, answer some questions for Nikki about what printers got installed on the new computer she’s building for a staff member and create a flyer for my Mom’s neighborhood watch party in August. Now that that is all done (mostly, I’m at inbox 9, not inbox 0 – but I’m beyond caring at this point), I’m heading home to corral Mike and Alex and get them to Columbia for a BBQ at my high school BFF’s dad’s house. She has a new little girl I haven’t met yet and she hasn’t seen my little boy since before he got taller than me! My RTM task list is empty (because I know where the “postpone” button is) and my day is pretty much complete. I’m outta here!
Tomorrow I have a trip to Linn (our branch library) scheduled and 3 hours on the PCC desk, so I’m hoping that the entry for Friday is fairly short. Really, really, really hoping…

Busy Wednesday!

Today wiped me out. I almost don’t have the energy to write about it, but I’ll make one last push for productivity before sitting down and vegging all evening (between loads of laundry, of course…).
This morning I was going to get to work early to get the PCC ready before our All Staff meeting, but I ran into a former high school teacher (and chaperon on my high school trip to Italy) at the local coffee shop I frequent and had to sit and chat with him for a bit. Once I got to work (about 7:50am), I counted money, got change for our register and started up about half of the PCC computers before it was time to go to the meeting. At 8:15 on the Wednesday morning after the 3rd Tuesday of the month (stop laughing, I couldn’t make that kind of schedule up if I tried!), our director gets all the staff who happen to be in the building together to tell us about the board meeting the night before, pick a name from the pile for the Employee of the Month program (everyone who was given a “You’ve Been Caught” going above and beyond the duties of your job during the course of the month is in that pile – the winner gets a gift certificate and a prime parking space – and a spot on our Intranet announcing their win – I forgot to add our winner to the that spot today, but I’ve already added it to RTM to remember for tomorrow!) and generally keep the staff up on the news of the library. During the meeting, my participation in Uncontrolled Vocabulary (UV) was mentioned, so I’m curious to see if any of my co-workers decide to join us tonight on the call! After the meeting I talked to Bobbi (about scheduling a time to talk about our upcoming Summer Institute 4-day workshop on Web 2.0 stuff) and our Linn Library Branch Manager about the issues she’s been having with her projector’s color (I think it’s the DVD that’s causing problems – we’ll see for sure tomorrow) and with our Collection Development librarian about getting information on the web about our “Capital Read” program and the author of our chosen book. Finally, after all that, I made it back downstairs to turn on my computer and start the day. I got about halfway through my email when the Children’s department called – they had a non-responsive keyboard on one of their desk computers. I grabbed a replacement and went upstairs to change it out, but didn’t have to. It was a bad USB port – move the keyboard to a new port, fix the problem! Back down to the basement to finish my email (which I ALMOST did) and there is another call – the people using the Art Gallery for a program had video, but no audio, from the VCR. I went upstairs, cleaned the air filter (there was a popup on the screen saying it needed to be done, so I did it while I was there) and turned the stereo receiver to the correct setting to get audio from the VCR. Back downstairs to finally sit down and check my blogs…
Except that the director, who was going to give me a tutorial in the use of Norton’s Ghost application to speed up deployment of computers, showed up. 3 hours later, after installing, setting everything up, and burning through about 15 floppy disks to find 2 good ones to use for the boot disks, we discovered that the network card on one of the machines refused to play along with us. By this time it was 3pm, I hadn’t had lunch yet and I was so irritated at the floppy disk situation that I dropped the whole project (with a note to the director telling him where I was in the process) for the day. After all that, I finally checked my “daily” blog folder to see what was going on in the world and went through the email that had accumulated while I was valiantly fighting floppies.
[sidebar] I’ll note that not once in this very long narrative has there been a single mention of Twitter, Facebook or Twhirl. I was completely disconnected from my social network today and it was no fun. [/sidebar]
After I closed down and packed up my office and talked to the afternoon PCC clerk and asked him to relay information to the evening PCC clerk, I headed over to our Administrative building and tried out 4 different desk chairs before deciding on the one that I want at my desk. When that was done (at about 4:30 – deciding on a chair is a lengthy process with lots of discussion required), I got into my car and headed home.
Now that I’m done with my day at work, I’m going to start on laundry and really work on getting some quality vegging time in before I call into UV tonight. Hope to see you all there!

update And I completely forgot to mention the work I did today on the Gmail migration – adding all the library user names, starting the DNS change process with MORENet and working out billing issues to get us upgraded to the Enterprise Edition. That was all sort of sprinkled in among everything else…

Intermission

As a break from the tedium that is my description of my workweek, I’d like to answer a question/comment left on Monday’s post by the lovely Lori Reed (who I met at ALA, but didn’t get any time to chat with, really). She asked me to elaborate on my use of Remember The Milk and, specifically, if I was using the Gmail/Firefox extension. To answer her last question first, I’m using the extension and LOVE IT. Not only do I have my task list right there in my most-used inbox, Gmail, but I can tag an email with Action (per my GTD setup) and it automagically adds the tagged email to my RTM tasks. How freakin’ cool is that? If I want to add a task, but not tag it as Action, I can also create a task from an email via the “More Actions” menu in Gmail. That makes RTM the obvious choice of social task lists for me! Speaking of – I just blogged, for our Library Learning 2.1 program, about just this topic this week. Monday’s post was on social task lists and discusses my use of RTM in the post. I also link to a really excellent blog post from RTM on setting up your system to work with GTD (along with an explanation of GTD for those unfamiliar with it). Links to the Firefox extension and a couple of alternative list programs are included in that post as well.

My Tuesday

Tuesday is my “desk day”. This means that on most Tuesdays, I don’t even turn on my computer in my office… I get in around 8ish, open the PCC (count money, turn on computers, wipe down monitors/keyboards/mice, pick up trash left by yesterday’s patrons and get the desk machine ready for the day), check on backups and network traffic and spend some quality time with my co-workers in the smoking lounge (a corner of our driveway as far away from the building as they can put us…) before the patrons start to come in at 9am. This morning, I also went to our ILL librarian to check out why she couldn’t print from OCLC’s web page. I found a JavaScript error on the page and Nikki (my intrepid Computer Support Guru) forwarded it on to our Tech Services Manager to then forward on to OCLC. After that, I dealt with the influx of patrons at 9am, then joined Nikki at her desk to discuss the trouble ticket issues that have come in since yesterday. After giving her some advice on fixing email issues that have cropped up overnight (I hate Exchange mail, I can’t wait until I can offload that duty to Google…), I head back to the PCC desk to check on the patrons and check my email and FriendFeed “friends” tab.
After reading through all that (and seeing the flood of fixed trouble tickets from Nikki – Yeah! Our board report and stats this month are gonna look good!!), I head to Google Reader to catch up on the blogosphere. Hmmm, lots of “day in the life” posts. Interesting… ;)
One of the things I read about in my blog reading was the fact that Facebook now has “blog networks“. I installed the application and started adding blogs to my network. That was fun and killed some time until Nikki came out to take over the desk duties at 10:00.
After she relieved me on the desk, I answered a few emails, ordered a part for a projector, met with my boss (who totally made fun of the audio quality of my laptop on Uncontrolled Vocabulary last Wednesday, while I totally missed an opportunity to ask him for a raise so I could get a new laptop with better audio inputs…), and ate lunch. By noon, I was back on the PCC Desk.
I checked my email again, collated and counted numerous print jobs from the 30 computers that share our PCC printer, and looked for (and sorta found) a few classes for kids that I could steal borrow from kind folks on the Internet. I’ll try to have a full roster of classes for our Children’s programming coordinator by Thursday, but I’m having issues finding good quality “homework help” type of classes on the ‘net. Anyone out there got some they’d like to share?
At 2:00pm, my desk duties for the day were over!
Today, I did stick around long enough to turn on my desk computer. After it booted up, I checked email again, opened Twhirl to check on my FF friends and got to work. I responded to a vendor email about a possible new PC Reservation system, which promptly turned into a phone call when the sales rep called me because she had questions, and made arrangements to visit our library’s branch either tomorrow or Thursday to look into video projection issues they are having. I started to work on Ghosting the newest version of our OPACs, but realized I was missing a rather crucial hardware component, so I’ll be running to Best Buy this evening on my way to the library softball team’s game. Since that didn’t work out for me, I decided to upgrade our WordPress installation that runs our library’s blog. That worked just fine, and it might have fixed some of the issues Bobbi’s been having with tags and categories. I’ll find out for sure tomorrow, when she gets in to work.
I took off today at 4pm so I could pick my son up from the hospital at which he volunteers and headed home for the day. Now I’m finishing up this post and then I’ll be heading to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble (for a Venti White Chocolate Mocha Frappacino – perfect baseball watching refreshment) and then to cheer on our library’s softball team (Dewey Decimators are sooooo gonna win tonight!) before heading back home to get some sleep!
More tomorrow…

Monday

In response to my brilliant co-worker, Bobbi, I’ll be posting a running tally of just what it is I do all day during this week. I’m not sure this is a representative week, what with budgets due tomorrow and all, but this is the week that everyone else is doing it, so I suppose I will too! While the original concept was to illustrate what librarians do all day (or week, as the case may be), and I’m not really a librarian (I just play one on TV?), but a techie who happens to work in a library, this may not answer the original question. On the other hand, it may give a bit of insight into what exactly has to happen on the back-end for the front-line librarians to do their jobs!
So here it is, with no further ado, my Monday…

  • Come into work at 7:45am and start up the computer – go through mail while I wait
  • Check email, blogs and fire up Twhirl
  • Sent out email pointing to this week’s Library Learning 2.1 lesson
  • Check that backups ran and that none of the servers died overnight, make sure everything is working on the network
  • Count money in the PCC cash register
  • Talk to one of my staff who is going with me to Internet Librarian about what pre-conferences we can afford (not enough…) and get the one she wants from her
  • Spend an hour alternately chatting with Bobbi via GTalk, wondering why airline prices are changing by the minute, and buying airfare for the 3 folks going to IL while discussing hotel arrangements that Bobbi is making
  • Check email again before 11am meeeting
  • Budget and various other topics discussed for an hour or so
  • Fixed legal paper tray in Tech Services office
  • Lunch!
  • Added IP addresses from III (Millennium Automation System) so they could get into our server
  • Met with Children’s Programming Coordinator about reducing her network profile size
  • Went home a bit early so I could work on next year’s budget this evening
  • Added the winner of the You’ve Been Caught program to the staff website (way belatedly)
  • Registered myself and my staff member for IL 2008
  • Budget time!

The use of the Remember The Milk social task list helped a lot in remembering what I did all day! Check the LL2.1 blog post linked above for more information about that!!
More tomorrow!!

ALA Left Overs

I just realized I didn’t write up the end of my ALA adventure. I did write up the last couple of sessions I attended at the LITA blog, you can head over there to read my takes on the Top Tech Trends session and the Keeping Your Computers Running session. Beyond that, most of what I did was either attend business meetings (including the Heads of Library Technology meeting) or social events. It’s too far back for me to really get into posting now – but let’s just say that I had a LOT of fun at the Facebook Librarians meetup, the OCLC Blogger’s salon (with apologies to David Lee King and Tony Tallent for monopolizing them at various points in the evening) and at my dinner out with the MaintainIT ladies, Sarah and Brenda. Vietnamese food is something I don’t get very often and I was pleased with both the food and (most importantly) the company! There was a lot of socializing going on at ALA!!
There were also the free food events – OCLC’s breakfast was informative – lots of information about the company and it’s direction, and the EbscoHost Public Libraries Luncheon was fabulous! Seriously great food and good conversation over the table with other public librarians (that was a class of folks that seemed pretty thin on the ground everywhere else – lots of academics, not many public library folks!). Getting a peek at what Ebsco will be releasing over the next months was nice, too! Anyone who follows my Twitter stream got the information about new databases and such at the same time I did – I just had to Twitter it!
Ok, that’s enough for ALA. I’m done (til next year, at least…) with that and I’m ready to tackle a BUNCH of new projects – one of which I’m hoping to firm up in the next 20 minutes or so!! More on that later…

Public Data Mashups

Hey – I just learned about a new “contest” being sponsored by the UK Government in which they are looking for creative and useful mashups using public data (crime, health, education data that is released by the government, but not in particularly useful ways). This is a fabulous idea!! What a great way to get people thinking about using the REAMS of data produced by the government! For a list of ideas that have been submitted so far, check out their Ideas page.
The winner of the contest will get their idea funded by the government and the chance for Internet fame and fortune – such as that might be… Wonder if this (in a stripped down fashion) would work for a library – we put out massive amounts of data about our collections, ILL information and more – or we could add pointers to public data ourselves and get civic-minded folks to do something with it!