February 10, 2012

Just finished reading Advice on Establishing a Library by Gabriel Naudé, written in 1627, it has some still very relevant advice. The page references are to the 1950 University of California Press edition.

While it is not every year that a king or poet is born, the same can be said of a librarian. (2)

“It must be said also that there is nothing more to the credit of a library than that every man finds in it what he seeks, having failed to find it elsewhere; since it may be laid down as a maxim that there is no book whatsoever, be it never so bad or disparaged, but may in time be sought for by some[.]” (17)

Open our libraries to receive those who have written on little-known subjects. Include the “trivial or unusual, interesting or neglected, difficult or easy, since one may” apply to books what is said of the uncommon, “Scare things give pleasure, and therefore we value first-fruits from the orchard.” quoting Martial, Book  IV, No. 29, 3-4 (25)

The value of books and the ideas they contain should not measured by age. Older should not be preferred or revered over newer and vice versa. (33, 40)

“A library will never be much benefited if that which is collected with so much pains and industry should be lost for want of care.” (47)

“We neglect nothing which is of any account and which may be of use either to ourselves or others.” Despising that which we see has trivial  may mean loosing rare collections of the most curious things in the library. (48)

Reduce the expense of binding and ornamentation, use the money to buy more books. Books do not cease to be useful without “splendid and sumptuous” appearance. (52)

It is not a library if the public are not allowed to “reap any benefit.” (74)

The title Librarian is honorable & noble. (76)

All things should be valued “according to the balance of benefit and use that may be derived from them,” this is particularly true of books which must be available for public use. (78)

New Year, New Fish

January 6, 2011

I’m not sure I like the phrase “user experience (UX)” to describe what happens when people come into the library. I don’t really like the word patron either, it seems rather clinical. Anyway Steven Bell‘s point is that libraries should think about designing user experiences that results in our patrons feeling a personal bond with the place. Without the place, or the library in our case, the user would have a sense of loss.

Users want ease, familiarity, simplicity and quality, in that order, in their UX.

Be memorable [in a good way].

A couple of ideas:

  • expand the Summer “Just Because You’re Here” idea
  • some kind of prizes at Reference – best question, 27th question of the month

I want to use the phrase”Hit the Wall” for something. I tell patrons that when sending them to the restroom. “Go down the hall, when you hit the wall turn left”

Just for fun: Penrose Staircase. As a game on WIRED

Bell, Steven, and Josh Hadro. “Fish Market 101: Why Not a Reference User Experience?.” Library Journal (November 16, 2010): 6-7. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed January 6, 2011).

Going Mobile

August 4, 2010

Just watched a webinar “Going Mobile” from Higher Ed Experts. Here’s what I thought worth remembering:

  • Constraints Never Come First – create, not convert [this means you can't just shrink your website]
  • Focus on Context, Goals and Needs – tasks, locale information
  • Can’t Support Everything – cover as much as possible, avoid deliberately excluding users
    • Webkit Advanced works on iPads, iPhones
    • Webkit Old still need for other OS (Palm)
  • Educate and Embrace Others – but don’t wait; don’t expect perfection and everyone to accept
  • Keep It Simple – make it manageable
  • Types of content
    • Informative
    • Locale – maps to buildings, maps of building, parking
    • Utility/Productivity – events, directory
  • Widgets – Yahoo Blueprint, Flash Lite
  • Phonegap
  • Brian Fling, Mobile Design and Development
  • Possible content for our mobile site
    • Directory – offices, people
    • Admission status
    • Library
      • Hours
      • Airpac
      • Questions
    • Events
    • News
      • Law school
      • UGA
      • Athens
    • Class schedules
    • Point allocation
    • Registration

Using My Home

August 3, 2010

Read, rather browsed, Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed by the usability guru Jakob Nielsen (2002). Some things to remember:

  • Don’t use word “website” when talking about subsites/pages/depts. “Website” is the whole. people may think they’re moving away
  • Homepage should look different
  • About Us – one place
  • Press/News – one place
  • Feedback – who does it go to and what will they do
  • Intranet should be more for us, work space, information clutters public space
  • Privacy policy if we are gathering information
  • Users scan rather than read text on screens
  • Don’t require users to register particularly for basic information
  • Full of words – too much detail in verbose text blocks
  • Dense layout
  • [We're missing the power of the purple button]
  • Heavy graphic content should be balanced with simple core elements
  • Text must be information of value, expensive real estate
  • Have well organized categories

I’m Socializing

July 21, 2010

The Georgia Library Media Association present Wednesday webinars. Today’s webinar was “The Social Library with Cliff Landis” who is at Georgia State University. He started by talking about Dunbar’s number which is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150. (from Wikipedia). With social tools this number does ratchet up.

Other points to remember:

Going to the Market

July 14, 2010

Yesterday I watched an ACRL program Marketing Ideas That Work in Academic Libraries: Pecha Kucha Presentation. Six short presentations on successful marketing programs in a variety of libraries.

By the way Pecha Kucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. The format is now used for just about every kind of industry including libraries. The concept is simple, 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, for a presentation slightly over 6.5 minutes long. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

What I took away from the webinar:

  • One of the institutions had the marketing program in the business school develop a campaign as a class project. As part of the survey the library learned that the concept of “reference” really meant nothing to the students. So they renamed the reference desk the “Information Desk” and promoted their personal research help.
    • These were undergraduates but are ours more knowledgeable? Probably not as many students have little research experience as undergraduates.
  • Were able to get the faculty to at least refer the students to the library if they had any kind of research/drafting assignments.
    • What can we do to remind our faculty of our services and how we can help their students with their papers?
  • Developed a reading campaign on an environmental topic, “Read Green”. Over the course of the term the group read 3 books and viewed 2 documentaries.
    • Could we sponsor a series or program on a theme?
      • Environmental, Land Use, Criminal Justice
      • Partner with other campus departments
      • Who would be in our community
        • Just the law school, UGA, Athens
  • Take a “Bookmobile” to the cafeteria with on the spot check-out
    • Could we have a selection of books for check-out during our coffees?
    • Could we make the coffees more cafe like?
  • Wine and book pairing reception for the faculty
    • Like the wine and food pairings you’d see at a restaurant or wine store
    • Fund raising possibility?
  • One library developed a photo campaign with student spokes models for the library (holding Ask signs). They were then used on the web site, bookmarks, etc. The spokes models even have their own Facebook page.
  • LibraryPalooza – a great campaign that got a lot of students involved. This was done during orientation
    • Not really appropriate for us. We don’t actually have to work to get them into the library at least not initially. We do have a challenge getting them to use our resources including us.

Building Information

July 9, 2010

I bought the first edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web in 1998 when it was published. My copy is even signed by one of the authors Louis Rosenfeld, although I can not remember the circumstances. We’ve ordered the most recent edition published in 2007. Things have really changed in ten years because the new edition is 300 pages longer, 504 vs. 202.

The one thought I want to remember from my copy is: “If a hierarchy is too broad and shallow, users are faced with too many options on the main menu and are unpleasantly surprised by the lack of content once they select an option.” p.38.

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