NAGW – Day 2

Day 2 was my day to be a conference attendee – no sessions for me today! The day started with an excellent breakfast and a great talk by Jennifer Pahlka of Code for America. Go ahead, click the link and check it out. It’s sort of a Peace Corps for the IT world – a small number of fellows get to spend a year researching, developing and implementing a solution to a particular problem in a particular city. The results have been good – she told of several stories, including one in Boston, where the development of a web app that helped parents map out which public school their child would attend, based on location, was a big success and done cheaper and faster than would be possible through a standard requisition process.

In Honolulu, the web site was out of date and not at all useful to citizens. They did a content refresh and created a “Honolulu Answers” mini-site that took the top 15 searched phrases/questions and answered them. They also did a one day write-a-thon (think hack-a-thon) where 60 people showed up and helped to write the content to answer the next 30 most asked questions in the site’s search logs. While Code for America wasn’t big enough to do all of it, they found capacity in the community itself.

She told more stories of successes – and admitted to failures – and then began talking about how citizens see the government. She has an iPhone for which she pays a nice chuck of change. She doesn’t begrudge that money, though, because the interface of the iPhone makes it a pleasure to use. If gov’t interfaces were a pleasure to use, would people see paying taxes as less of a burden?

That was the keynote talk – and it was a good one. The next session I attended was on Hootsuite for Government. We use Hootsuite at MRRL, but not to it’s best effect, as far as I could tell. From the information I got from this session, I was right. I found out a bunch of new tips and ways we can use even the free version of Hootsuite to get way more value out of it. The slides for the session, including the list of resources and other information, are linked above – go check them out if you have any interest in managing more than one social networking account.

After this was lunch (I won’t give you a blow-by-blow, but the hummus was to die for) and then a session on Responsive Design and Responsive Content by James Hopper, a professor of Web and Digital stuff (probably not his actual title) at the Johnson County Community College. He talked a lot about CSS3 and some about HTML5 and a bit about Javascript and how they were all going to work together to make it easy for us to create designs that fit whatever screen – be it a tiny phone or a huge HD monstrosity of a monitor – our sites might be called up on. The concept is pretty cool and I might have gotten a little over-geeked out at the thought of flexible, responsive grid layout in CSS3 (which is coming, hopefully soon…). The responsive content part was a bit shorter – it was less technical and covered understanding what our users want and providing it to them. Easy, right?…


After all that knowledge got stuffed into my head, I went for a walk. I ended up at the Williams Sonoma in the plaza and spent some time wandering around, trying really hard not to actually get drool on anything. I succeeded. Mostly. There was the whole section of Le Creuset cookware, you see…

After that, I went to the networking event sponsored by NationBuilder. There was some sort of seafood pizza and free hard cider and cool people all over the place. I hooked up with an especially cool person and ended up talking everything from Moodle to kids while enjoying the bounty provided by the sponsors. After that, we decamped over to the Melting Pot (fondue!!) for a party sponsored by CivicPlus.

The remains of my chocolate and the end of my whiskey and diet coke. They served me well.

At this festive event, my new friend and I hooked up with one of the sales people and started off talking about civic engagement and web CMSs. After a couple of whiskey and diet cokes and a metric tonne of fruit, brownies and rice crispy treats covered in chocolate, we were all having a grand time.

That party didn’t break up until nearly 11. You will have to wait until Day 3’s post to find out if I actually woke up in time for breakfast tomorrow, though… ūüôā Stay tuned!!

conference presentations Project Management

NAGW – Day One

Lots of driving started off the first day of the NAGW conference. The hotel is about 3 to 3 1/2 hours from my house, so I got up and headed out. I arrived at the hotel shortly after 11 and immediately registered, changed into my NAGW speaker’s shirt and hit the lunch table.

The view from my table was lovely. In the foreground are the boxed lunches, in the midground is the hotel’s pool and in the background is the KC Plaza. The weather was beautiful and the food was excellent and the company was even better. I had a lovely talk with the web person for the college at which my friend Doug works, so we had something in common, right away.

After lunch, I did my song-and-dance routine on Project Management.

The slides may not be so instructive. I used 28 for a 4 hour talk, so I did a lot of talking and less slide moving. The session went well with people at the end talking about how they are going to start using what they’ve learned immediately – which is nice to hear, as the speaker!

Afterward, I checked into my ¬†room and rested for a bit. I then went out walking into the Plaza and ended up having dinner at a “Gastro Pub” called Gram and Dun, which was quite good. I wandered back to the hotel, late, and popped in VERY BRIEFLY to the opening night reception. I was pretty tired by this time – it was all of 8pm – and just wanted to go back to my room and relax. So I did.


Fun Times in Idaho!


I spent last weekend in Idaho. It was my first time visiting and I loved it. The trip started off with an excellent conference put on by the librarians of Southeastern Idaho. Many thanks to Jezmynne Dean of the Portneuf District library and her amazingly talented conference committee for both inviting me out there and for making my trip so wonderful! I spent all day Friday hanging out with some of the nicest librarians ever and had a grand time in delivering the keynote for the conference with Maurice Coleman and in attending the conference sessions and chatting with librarians during  the day. I actually spent more time chatting and sharing information with Idaho librarians than I did attending the sessions Рjust more proof that the value in a face-to-face conference can be from your fellow attendees and the networking and socializing opportunities that come with them.

After the conference, Jezmynne took me to Lava Hot Springs to soak away the day in the fabulous hot springs found there, then on Saturday, she dragged me all over the country to see the Soda Springs Geyser and to go camping Saturday night. It was great fun! We came back to McCammon, ID on Sunday and had a lovely dinner with Maurice and his wife, then I came home on Monday.

Without a doubt – Idaho has some of the best scenery around – the mountains all around and the little valleys with cool sights and activities make it one of my favorite places to visit (so far – though London’s a stiff competitor, too…). I really enjoyed the trip and the ability to meet and learn from Idaho’s librarians!! Thank you so much to Jezmynne, her conference committee and the librarians of Southeastern Idaho for a trip that I’ll remember forever!!


Your Library Website Sucks and It’s Your Fault

Library catalogs were originally built by experts for experts and that doesn’t work for non-experts (patrons). Teach carpentry, not how to use the hammer – we are teaching how to use the hammer (the catalog being the hammer). Start with Why Do We Have A Website? Libraries add friction, we need to reduce the amount of friction involved in the process of getting our information out.

Who is your website for, anyway? Not librarians – 100% of your patrons (more than come through the door, more than the public services staff support).
User experience design is expert listening, not expert intuition
* User Research
* Feedback Loop (complete every one – make it really easy to get to you and respond – keep a spreadsheet of every feature request w/email address so that when something gets done you can let folks know)
* Usability Test – all the time (monthly at Grand Valley)
* Web Analytics – Google Analytics or Reinvigorate for heat map
Suggestion to follow @UXYoda on Twitter
You know what they need – now do that, and only that.
Work on the website is 90% political
* Bad library websites are a symptom (of a non-user focused library cultural)
Road House – Dalton’s (as played by Patrick Swayze) 3 tips for improving your organization
* Never underestimate your opponents – expect the unexpected
* Take it outside — never start anything inside unless it’s absolutely necessary
* Be nice
Be patient, understand the culture, get everyone to participate, test and iterate – don’t redesign, strategic compromise, ask forgiveness, eternal vigilance, be consistent, write concisely and clearly,
Matthew showed the iterative changes made over 5 months that became a redesign
Rocket Surgery made easy – Steve Krug

Keynote Thursday – Larry Johnson, Horizon Report

Horizon Report – sets priorities for tech planning in learning organizations

Began as an internal environmental scan, grew to a publication for public for Higher Ed, K12 Ed and Museums – they plan to add libraries to that list within 18 months. Tech Outlooks for regional areas (Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, UK, Central Europe, Africa, etc.) come out periodically.
Horizon Navigator – every bit of data, articles, projects and every thing they learned is available in this database, open to the public. Now they have HZ News – iPad app – 10 most interesting articles of the week – not free, not available on Android yet.
The Future of Education Retreat
10 Megatrends – collaborative, work where people want to, Internet is global mobile network, tech we use is increasingly cloud-based and delivered over utility networks, opennes is moving from a trend to a value.
Reflections – the Horizon Project at 10
Our strategic thinking is based on a world that no longer exists
* The network connects us (from radio onward)
* The network changes us
* The network helps us
* The network is us
* The network is everywhere
* The network is invisible

iPad Optimization for the Library

Sorry – I’m too busy¬†lazy to get the links for all this, but you are smart folks – Google it! **Notations of 2 asterisks are just ones that I plan to get (or have gotten since the presentation).
Lots of iPads in the room…
Observations – The iPad becomes personal, what works for us won’t work for you, half a million apps and growing
Tips and Tricks
 Double tapping the home key brings up recent programs
Foreign language equiv on keyboard (press and hold)
Screen cap – home key + on/off button (quickly)
Browser Control – adding frequently visited sites, xmarks or other bookmarking tools, google search app
iAnnotate for reading PDFs
Ebooks as apps – how do we make enhanced books available to our patrons
News – keeping up
Instapaper (Read Later)
Feeddler RSS feed
**Zite – free application as of 2/15/2012 – personalize your news by thumbs up/thumbs down on articles and it learns your preferences. Sources include newspapers, blogs, ejournals
Penultimate – reads handwriting
Evernote – can read Penultimate handwriting
**Notability – records audio while taking notes, can go to section of notes and listen to audio being recorded during that time
TagPad – interview software –
Educreations Р free
**Explain Everything – not free, easy and favorite
Managing your files and your time
**PhotoTransfer App
Reminders (use to remind where files are – Evernote, Notability, iAnnotate, etc.)
Fun stuff
TED Talks
Scrabble, Netflix, xfinity, hulu, zumocast (stream from computer to iPad)
Diigo browser (used to be iChromy – free and flash friendly)
Discovr new apps
Wonderlist – list making app for all sorts of devices
Skitch for iPad
touch mouse

Opening Keynote: Fight for the Future

Opening Keynote by Andrew McLaughlin

Vice-Pres at Tumblr and former Vice-CTO in Obama’s administration
Tech Policy, why it matters to the work we do, why it’s so important for us.
1992- $5,000,000 for a Terabyte, 2011 – $89
Loudcloud in 2000 Р150,000 a month, AWS in 2011 Р1500 a month
End to End principle – any point on the network can reach any other point
Kickstarter – more support for arts than National Arts Foundation this year (disruptive tech)
Most disruptive text he mentions require/rely on crowdsourcing of some sort
Charts showing Egypt’s ability to shut down communications/internet/mobile phone networks – governments can artifically concentrate the distributed networks of the Internet for surveillance and control
Compared problems in Gov (couldn’t install Skype on WH computer during Haiti earthquake, had to bring in laptop against regulation) with similar issues in public sector libraries – locking up tech inhibits action.
Hot spots in policy for librarians:
Connectivity – broadband, spectrum, municipal wifi
Open Internet – net neutrality, wireless, competition (or the lack thereof), SOPA/PIPA
Copyright & the Regulation of Creativity – copyright office modernization, open access to research papers, orphan works

LibTech Conference

Just a warning – I’m going through my notes and posting selected conference sessions here, so after months of inactivity, it’s gonna get busy. For about a day, then I’ll go back to being inactive, I promise…


PLA’s Virtual Spring Symposium

I’m attending the technical track this morning – Mobile Feast: Reaching Library Customers via Mobile Technology and Can Your Library Provide the Electronic Content That People Want and Need. I’ll just summarize both of them in this post, rather than trying to do two at once.

The twitter hashtag for the sessions is #plavss11.

Michael Casey and Christopher Baker started off with a discussion of mobile technology and how to reach patrons. 47% of mobile consumers use connected media – they expect immediate access via the device they choose, they expect it to be easy to use from their device and they expect the resources and functionality of the site. Libraries need to consider cost of delivery for all of this as well as staffing new points of service in the mobile arena.
Michael Casey discussed the use of Library Anywhere which lets your patrons search your catalog – may be a cheaper alternative to III’s airpac (their mobile product). Christopher mentioned the need to make it optional – don’t force tablet users to the mobile site. They also discussed the LibGuide feature that makes a mobile site from each of the guides natively.
Where do you start? With vendors that have mobile sites – Overdrive, Database Apps (Ebsco, etc). The fact that you can’t opt out of Overdrive’s mobile site in the iPad (for example) was mentioned. Bad design.
They discussed the challenges of SMS reference. They use LibAnswers.
They’d like to see increased ILS interoperability, fewer difficulties in creating seamless design transitions. There are limitations of downloadable content, a cost for delivery of this, staffing mobile services appropriately, and understanding shifting points of service.
They also discussed what we control vs. what we don’t. The most important thing we don’t control is the tool that the user chooses to access our services.
Michael started with a Libraries = Community + Content. He showed a slide that shows that 90% of the US population averages $31,244 a year. Reuse space – more digital content means more space for libraries.
He talked about the future of DVDs (see Netflix and Redbox) – libraries should be considering what we will do when movies are only streaming?
Next he showed an info graphic about how Netflix killed Blockbuster. He thinks we need to do what Netflix does – what if we could provide the content to the patrons as well as Netflix.
It’s a question of content access – libraries have to provide access as easily as Netflix and Amazon.
Save Libraries – – Library Renewal
ALA EQUACC – ALA presidential task force on equitable access to electronic content –

conference security

Using group policy to control malware

Before the session, I talked to a guy who uses his iPad to manage a lab – insight teacher’s Assistant. Worth a look for our PCC lab.
The presentation started with handouts with the step-by-step directions to restrict software in Group Policy. Beth gave an overview of group policy (which we don’t use enough) and the Group Policy Management Console. She continued with policy precedence. Local to site to domain to org unit. Whitelist or blacklist? Whitelist by directory is coming up. Not a bad idea for the PCC. Computer or user? Hash or software path?
Best practices – if a user can write to a dir, apps shouldn’t run from that dir. If an app can run from a dir, users shouldn’t be able to write to it. Users are local users, not admins. Tips on installing and updating adobe and flash (win update elevates and doesn’t need help). Look for custom install kits. Tips for using virtual machines for gp testing – put the vm in the correct org unit and apply just to that machine until you are happy, then elevate the policy to the whole ou (organizational unit).
Apps usually run from program files, startup folder, windows. Allow windows folder, disallow cmd and regedit – etc – to give more flexibility.
Demos of group policies being applied.
Turn off auto run and push a local hosts policy – if you do nothing else…
Reg entry to turn off IPv6 – might be available through GP. Or cmd line it as a login script through GP. Set the GP to disallow using proxy settings – helpful!! provides a regularly updated host file that helps to keep staff from malware sites.
Create a folder and share on the server, download host file from Mbps, create GPO – disable DNS client service (in XP) then deploy – TEST.

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