Monday, September 24, 2007
Whoops, I'm Training Again
Meet Me in Monterey
You can find me at the ITI booth, where I'll be signing Information Tomorrow with a bunch of the chapter authors from 2:30-3:15 Tuesday during the no-conflict exhibit time.
You can e-mail me at email@example.com should you have a book idea, want to chat about the publishing process at ITI, or otherwise talk book publishing, meet up, have coffee.
(You don't have any of this going on in your library's signage, right?)
To wiki or not to wiki
Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions for the semi-wikilliterate?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Search WHERE, Now?
(And, to the person that e-mailed with concerns about whether I'd ever be able to get a job in an Illinois library now, I think I'll be all right, thanks!)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Tuesday Brain Twister
At Slush Pile Reader authors' manuscripts will be showcased to an audience of on-line readers. The readers then get their say by answering a simple question: Should this manuscript be published?This may be an interesting alternative to self-publication, if nothing else...
If enough readers agree that, yes, it should be published, Slush Pile Reader will do just that. We will publish the most popular manuscripts.
"Um, an x-ray, moron."
Yeah, a librarian could probably do better than that -- or at least skip the "moron" part. Although, there is my second favorite:
"if it is black and blue i broke my toe and my father said it was broken but not all the time mean the if it's black and blue all the time but if u put ur finger right were it hurts o n ur toe and feel a space and get bend it and the other one can't."
I'll shut up about QuestionPoint now. (Hmm, maybe the toe thing is bad karma?)
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sweating the Small Stuff
When a technical difficulty occurs or if the chatting librarian believes that the patron's home library can be of better assistance the question is sent to shared follow-up. Your question, for example, can be found in shared follow-up for Downer's Grove Public to complete the answer. This prevents a question and patron from being "lost", so that the home library can answer the question.My question is still showing "pending" in my QuestionPoint account; today is day 8.
While I do appreciate the personal response from the state library -- and the original question isn't even particularly relevant at this point -- my point still remains: what impressions do patrons get about librarians and library services from their online interactions? I have yet to hear from Bruce or my home library, even with a note saying that my question is taking long than expected, sorry, or that they need more clarification, or even an autoresponse that says it's been kicked back to my home library. Nothing in my online account indicates it's been kicked back to my own library. In Internet time, 8 days is an eternity.
I wonder about what good it really does us to "slam the boards" if, as K.G. Schneider comments, we're engaging in "half-right reference." If expertise and personal service is what we're marketing, then we should do a bit better than that.
I don't mean to single out QuestionPoint or my state's virtual reference in particular -- I've had both abysmal and fantastic experiences in person at library reference desks, too, and know you can't judge a service from a single interaction. I think it goes back, though, to the need to "sweat the small stuff." I have years of positive library interactions and work experience behind me, so one negative interaction is negligible. To someone who doesn't visit libraries, who doesn't love libraries, who never worked in a library, one negative experience might be all they are judging us by.
Ads for Doctors
I'm not sure how I feel about this, and need to let it settle for a bit. On the one hand, this is an interesting way to get around astronomical journal prices. On the other, should oncologists be bombarded with ads from pharmaceutical companies (OK, yes, like this doesn't already happen), and is it possible that sponsorship could affect content?
The article mentions the potential for additional future portals in other specialties -- definitely a model worth watching to see how it develops.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
ING Direct Cafes
(By the way, the ING site has a printable free beverage coupon, on the off-chance there's one of these in your neighborhood and you want to check it out.)
What if I were a regular patron?
After getting past the slow Java load, "Librarian Bruce" popped in. Librarian Bruce not only disappeared abruptly from chat (hey QuestionPoint, how about a little netiquette training?), he has yet to get back to us via e-mail as promised, even with a "hey, sorry, this is taking a little longer than anticipated."
This isn't necessarily indicative of the quality of Illinois virtual reference in general (and Bruce may yet come through), but, as I've talked about before, little things can make a huge difference in how we are perceived. If my experience with Librarian Bruce were my first experience with reference, with the resources on my local library's web site, or with a librarian, I'd probably be over at Yahoo! Answers right now and never look back. Every patron encounter, on- or offline, offers the chance to make an impression, and we need to pay attention to each of these interactions.
A few people also asked us to stop sending the been-searched emails on Rapleaf.com. We debated the merits of that request internally and came to the conclusion that this is a good feature (the vast majority of the feedback on this have been very positive). People should know if their information is available for others to see. But we’ll limit these emails to maximum of once a quarter.Now, I'm also getting bombarded with e-mails about Shelfari. This nonsense is getting old -- I don't need to wake up to see 15 messages about Shelfari, Quechup, yoName, or any of these services spread across my e-mail accounts. There's a big difference between this automatic notification business and the way a more professional service like LinkedIn handles things -- I think I'm sticking with them. (And, for those of y'all I know, feel free to add me as a contact over there.)
It's Not Just Us
Yerkes is working to transform its mission into becoming a center for science education in the region; currently doing tours, outreach to Chicago-area students, star parties, telescope observation, etc. A UC study group is working on the plan to best use the site as a regional science education center.
It's useful sometimes to step outside of our little library world and look at the larger issues of what we as a society value and how we can ensure that our institutions remain both faithful to their roots and viable in the 21st century.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Walking the Line
Someone researched your reputation on Rapleaf by searching "firstname.lastname@example.org".
To view (or update) your profile, check out:
Even though your profile is incomplete, the person who searched you found some basic reputational information on you. At Rapleaf, you can find such information as age, location, history, social network links, and more on over 60 million people.
-Your friends at Rapleaf.com
I got a strikingly similar message last week from yoName.com as well. To me, this completely crosses the line -- the fact that someone else has searched for my e-mail address doesn't give these sites permission to spam me in a thinly veiled attempt to drive traffic. Even though the idea behind these services is interesting, I won't be using them -- especially now that I know they will e-mail whoever I search for.