Churning through tech blogs…

While spending my Saturday morning working the PCC desk, I also managed to churn through the vast majority of the tech blogs that I’d been neglecting for the past couple of months. I found 2 articles on the Vitamin site that I wanted to comment on, so I’m including them both (despite them being about vastly different topics) in one post for my own convenience.
The first one I came across was an article that explains OpenID pretty clearly. It gives a nice introduction to it, but also gives some responses to criticisms of it – such as the ‘single-point-of-failure’ issue. If you log into all of your web services with your OpenID, you can lose all of your data when/if your OpenID gets hacked. Peter (the author) pointed out that most of us already have that sort of vulnerability – in our email. If you forget your password, where do most services send it? All someone has to do is hack your email account and they’ve got the ability to get most, if not all, of your other accounts’ information. OpenID is something I’ve certainly blogged about before (though those posts may be lost forever… I’m not doing a good job of grabbing them!) but I wanted to point to this article simply because it does the best job of taking potential vulnerabilities of the OpenID system and addressing them.
The comments also bring up other issues with the system (requirement to still enter information such as email into each service you use, regardless of your use of the OpenID login and lack of mainstream sites accepting OpenID yet were two biggies) and the author does respond to those as well. I’d love to use the OpenID system at the library – but right now I don’t have control of about the only thing that users sign into – the catalog. Once we get more personalization/user profiles/whatnot into our main site, the OpenID system will definitely be one I implement to help our more tech-savvy users log in easily and quickly.
The other article in the recent issues of Vitamin that I wanted to comment on was a description of a Design Description Document (DDD) that uses PowerPoint (or Keynote or some other presentation software) as it’s base format. The idea is to put a wireframe or storyboard for each interaction/task that the user might undertake on your site into a single slide in the DDD deck. Notes and use cases would be sprinkled throughout the document as well – giving everyone (boss, designers/coders and anyone else who is associated with the site) pretty much everything they need to evaluate the design of the site. Robert, the author, explains the process pretty clearly, so I won’t, but I did want to point out that he also provides templates of his system in both PowerPoint and Keynote formats – and encourages anyone using a different presentation system to submit templates in that format.
It’s always interesting to see how other people work and create their deliverables for clients and/or bosses, even if I don’t end up adopting techniques wholesale, there are always good ideas that can be drawn from them to use in my own processes. This technique seems to have a few good ideas I might steal!

Hmph. Apparently I’m not the only Annoyed Librarian

Michelle Boule has collected all 17 (so far) bloggers who have confessed to being the Annoyed Librarian. If I weren’t the Annoyed Librarian myself, I’d be rather impressed with John Blyberg’s attempt to steal my glory…

I am the Annoyed Librarian

There. I’ve come out of the closet. I’ve been posting as the Annoyed Librarian at since 1876. I’ve been posting anonymously for so long because I really wanted to be able to take positions on issues in the library world that might not make me a real popular person to my co-workers and colleagues. The anonymity has been important – it’s allowed me to be true to my own feelings and, perhaps, even exaggerate them for rhetorical purposes at times without fear of reprisals in the “real world”. I’m sure this news will come as a shock to many of you who read this generally upbeat and Web 2.0-centric blog regularly, but I had to come clean right here and right now. I hope you all understand.

Mosio – people powered mobile search

Today, as I was going through the 449 emails in my gmail account, I found a note from Twitter telling me that MosioQuestions was following me. As I’m sure was the intent, I got curious and decided to take a look and see what it was. Apparently, it’s mobile reference – ask any question and get an answer from other Mosio users. So far, the questions that have really caught my interest is the recipe for french onion soup (though I’d rather have the ingredients to make the dried french onion soup mix that my mom puts in everything and that has WAY too much salt…) and where Priest Holmes (KC Chiefs) went to school. The answers seem to come from the community, not from “experts”, but there is no reason reference librarians couldn’t become part of the community! This is a great service for “slam the boards” days. I see that the service is already on the list of answer boards linked to from the Librarian In Black’s post above, but this one is new to me and I thought the fact that it uses text/twitter to get and give answers was pretty cool!

Not fame, but 15 minutes of exploration…

Not fame, but 15 minutes of exploration… gives a quick rundown of how various people Sarah Washburn has met deal with the issues of keeping up with technology. I didn’t get to see Helene Blower’s session at Internet Librarian, but the comment she made about spending the last 15 minutes of her day playing with some new tech or site was pretty widely discussed beyond the confines of her session – I certainly heard about it, even though I wasn’t there at the time she said it. She’s got a great idea in that she sets aside time to play every day.
Personally, I try to spend at least 30 minutes a day on my library and tech blog reading. This isn’t enough to keep up in the sense that I read every post, but it does keep me informed about what is going on and who is doing all these cool things that people blog about. I’ve been slacking (as the recent quiet period in this blog makes clear) during my transition to my new job, but I’m back on track now and keeping an eye on the blogs for new ideas and new toys (both on and offline) with which to play.

PVLD Director’s Blog: The Intimidating Library

A post in the PVLD Director’s Blog – The Intimidating Library (hey look – a library director’s blog! That’s pretty cool!!) the director of PVLD (I couldn’t find the name of the library or the director on her about page – lots of biographical information, but no basic info… UPDATE: The mystery is solved! I’ve had two comments that have given me the name of the mysterious library director. From the director herself: “For the record my name is Kathy Gould, and I am Director of the Palos Verdes Library District on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles.”) tells of a conversation she had with a citizen of her community. This person confessed that she hadn’t been to the library in a long time because she was intimidated by the systems (OPACs, generally) and didn’t want to appear stupid by going to a desk and asking for help with something she felt she should know how to do. From the article:

She wasn’t talking about a generally unwelcoming environment, or unfriendly staff. She was talking about a set of systems and service models that discourage her from even trying to use our services.

One of the solutions this director proposed was to unchain staff from the desks – roaming reference, if you will. That takes the intimidation factor out of going to a desk and asking someone “official” for help. Another solution I thought of while reading this was weekly, informal, no-reservations-required OPAC classes (at least until we get an OPAC that isn’t completely unintuitive to use) that last maybe 15 minutes at a set time (or times) throughout the week. A reference librarian can be on hand to go through the process of searching, finding and checking out a book to anyone who cares to show up. This wouldn’t have to be completely in-depth – just the basics. The woman this director was talking about was using a Blackberry during the time she sat with the director – a gentle introduction to the system is all someone like her would need. More formal, longer, classes have their place as well for those who have *still* never used a computer, but for those who just need a little push, short “introductions” may be just the thing.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Here are all the participants in the “Last Supper” of the Internet Librarian Conference at the Pink Tuna (yummy sushi!!) in CA. From front to back it is:
Michael S., Renee
Eric, Me, Chrystie, Merideth, Tom, Michelle, Amanda
David S., Beth, Steven C., and Jason

(I didn’t ever catch Beth’s last name, and some people I couldn’t find blogs for, so I linked to their twitter pages. Sorry Beth!!)

We had a great time at the dinner! Chrystie informed us that Web Junction dinners generally have a question of the evening and allowed David Lee King (not pictured) to choose the question. He asked who was the most famous person any of us had met. The answers were *very* interesting.

Better late than never

While in California for the Internet Librarian conference, I met a fabulous librarian from Vancouver, BC (that’s up in Canada for the geographically challenged). She informed me that searching YouTube for the phrase “library craptacular” would be a very worthwhile endeavor. I *finally* did it and I have to agree – it’s well worth the time. I’m embedding one of the “security” videos in this post, but you have to check out the pay equity video too. They just went through a 3 month strike up there and the pay equity issue was one of the major sticking points.

Very creative folks up there in Canada!

the.effing.librarian: Library 2.0 owes it all to a stripper.

Library 2.0 owes it all to a stripper. Need I say more? Yes? Ok – this is an interesting comparison of Library 2.0 tenets to the movie Gypsy – starring Natalie Wood – in which she plays a stripper. In this post, the effing librarian (interesting name – read the “about page” for the discussion on that one…) creates “Library Rose Lee” and compares the characteristics and ideas behind Library 2.0 (for the customers, constantly changing, having a gimmick, etc.) to Gypsy Rose Lee and her stripper friends from the movie. An interesting comparison!!

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