Library Genius 2.0 Shirts are now Available!!!

In my post of August 8, I wrote about the very cool Library Genius 2.0 t-shirts that Kay Gregg and Sean Robinson of the Allen County Public Library created for the Learning 2.0 program for the library staff that the ACPL is going to kick off on Sept 19 when Stephen Abrams, VP of Innovation at SirsiDynix comes to speak on Library 2.0 at the ACPL. By the way, this talk will be open to the public. Here is a picture of Kay modeling the t-shirt.

lg2shirt.jpg

Well, everyone really liked the t-shirts and the icons and had been asking them where they could get one for themselves or for their own library’s learning programs. So Sean and Kay set up a store under Printfection/library2_0 where you can buy these shirts and some other styles like long-sleeve t-shirts and baseball shirts and others and also tote bags and aprons and mouse pads. They come in a ton of colors and there is a good discount for bulk purchases. They are cheapest in white, a little more in light colors and a little more than that in dark colors. You can see all the wholesale pricing options by picking style and color and then clicking on the pricing tab.

Helene Blowers, Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) and creator of the Learning 2.0 concept, wrote about these shirts on her blog, librarybytes.com. ACPL sent her a shirt in appreciation of her work on Learning 2.0. Here is a picture she took of the shirt and buttons.

Sean and Kay are working on creating buttons for this also and they will put them in their store on cafepress (along with some other things like messenger bags and coffee mugs) since Printfection does not have buttons as an option. They already have the bags and coffee mugs there, but need to upload the individual icons to create the buttons. If you are interested in the buttons, check back on the cafepress store because they are working on getting them created right now.

Cafepress has a lot of options of different types of items, but Printfection is less expensive and offers wholesale prices also. I’d go to Printfection unless there was a particular thing you wanted, like the messenger bag (which I really want!). Or the buttons, since that is the only place to get them. It does appear they have a way to offer the buttons in batches, like of 10, or 100.

Also, other libraries, such as the Harris County Public Library are using the icons that Kay created for their own Learning 2.0 programs which is what Sean had hoped people would do. He wanted to be able to contribute to the Learning 2.0 program. You can read about this and their other ideas, initiatives and Learning 2.0 projects in the ACPL Innovation Through Technology blog. Many people in many libraries have worked on Learning 2.0 and Library 2.0 and have shared with each other to create great things.

Cooperation, collaboration and sharing. That’s what its all about!

~Susan Mellott

Learning 2.0 – Library Genius 2.0 T-Shirts!

Check out these Library Genius 2.0 T-shirts for the Allen County Public Library Learning 2.0 program, found on this post from the ACPL’s Innovation Through Technology Blog. Kay Gregg designed these shirts and all the icons associated with each Learning 2.0 course completed! They will be used to kick-off the ACPL Digital Collaborative’s Learning 2.0 presentation. Here is Kay modeling one of the new t-shirts:

Look at this post from ACPL’s IT blog on Library 2.0 Bling for a closeup of each icon. and here is a picture of the Learning Video 2.0 button.

For more information on the ACPL’s Learning 2.0, check out these posts from the ACPL Innovation Through Technology blog. And for what ACPL’s Digital Collaborative is creating for Learning 2.0, check out the ACPL DC Wiki’s21 Things“. Click on the links to see what each person has created. This wiki is a working wiki for the Digital Collaborative and is constantly being updated.

I want to be a Library Genius 2.0!

~Susan Mellott

Library 2.0 – ACPL New Books Wall Mashup and More!

Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro Just for fun, I created an old-fashioned card catalog card for the book I had downloaded from baen.com/library using John Blyberg’s card catalog generator. You have to enter the data by hand (I copied the information from Amazon.com) but it makes a really fun graphic. With some programming, you can make a mashup that uses this. A mashup is a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.

Sean Robinson (my husband and head of IT Technology at the ACPL) created this book wall called Books we added to the catalog yesterday combining the new material checked in each day at the ACPL (Allen County Public Library) with data from Amazon. It shows pictures of the actual book covers for each book and if you click on a book cover, it will show you an old-fashioned card catalog for that book and information on it from Amazon (if the book is brand new, it doesn’t necessarily have review info yet).

Then you can click on “Look this up in our catalog” to see the ACPL card catalog information on that book like how many copies there are and if they are available and where they are located and do all sorts of neat things like add it to your list or put it on hold. You can also find more books by that author, more books with those topics or browse nearby call numbers (books that would be on the library shelf with this book).

Go check it out and play around with it. It is a great example of how you can combine Web 2.0 tools to create something new and exciting and useful.

For this and more innovative ways the Allen County Public Library uses Web 2.0, visit their Library 2.0 site: ACPLib2.0. ACPL Rules!

~Susan Mellott

Library 2.0 – World Public Library and Baen Books: free ebooks

Per the World Public Library website: “July 4th to August 4th Download Your Selections From 500,000+ eBooks for Free.”

According to their site: “Hosted in World Public Library’s multi-terabyte server network is the world’s largest digital archive of PDF ebooks and edocuments.  Our collection hosts more than 500,000+ PDF ebooks and edocuments.  As a member you will have complete access to the entire collection.  Our collection is constantly growing and our projection is to reach 600,000 by fall of 2008”

Here is a link to their Facts, Questions and Answers page. According to their price sheet, it is $8.95 per year to become a member, or $2/year per FTE institutional rate (for public librarie, priced per number of cardholders – which could possibly be adjusted).

I downloaded the Northwind Trilogy by David Drake and Bedlam Boyz by Ellen Guon to check it out.  It downloaded quickly and I was able to save it to my hard-drive to read.  I did go to the public access page to do a search and got an error message, but I could browse collections and download from home page without any problems.  And I just did a search using the member search on the home page and it worked for me (but I couldn’t download), although I couldn’t really find anything I was looking for .

Another thing of note is that on the Baen Books site, they have a free library also of a selection of their books you can download in several different formats for free.  Both Ellen Guon and David Drake have free downloads of several of their books as well as many other authors.  I downloaded Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro in a very nice html format.

And of course, a search for free ebooks through Google turns up several more sites that I didn’t check out.  You can though!

So go “check it out”!

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – What does an Organization Really Need to Get There?

This was originally written to update my “About Me” page. But it turned into this. These are the posts that prompted this post – MLS and Library Technology, a post on Why require an MLS for library technologist about a post on code4lib regarding an MLS degree for library technology postings (which unfortunately is currently unavailable since all code4lib.org sites are down). And here is an interesting post about an opposite perspective called I Didn’t Get an MLS to do That and another about the MLS degree in general called The Embattled MLS in the Library Journal. Which begs another question about whether or not an IT degree should be a requirement for librarians. But that is a post for another day. Anyway…

I said I am a coder. But it is better to say I was a coder. I did love to code. But honestly, I’ve gotten less interested in it since I’ve retired. What I really love to do is to listen to what people want to do and then translate that into something that solves their problem and/or enhances their technology environment.

For as long as I worked, I was what was known as a Programmer/Analyst. That means that the majority of my time was spent conducting client interviews, learning the ir processes, creating client/IT teams to discuss what the goal is and then doing a lot of analysis and design to get to where they want to go. The coding, although fun, is the easy part.

I had to take a concept that someone had and translate it into something functional that transcends their original thought and turns it into a working, creative, useful application. You might not realize what this involves. Most of the time, people don’t know exactly what they want, they just know they want it. This is actually the best scenario. It is really harder when people think they know how to design what they want. There is a reason why there are special IT analysts/architects. We spent a lot of time and have a lot of experience designing technology solutions.

Just as people are experts in their own field such as financial organizations or non-profits or libraries, so are IT analysts experts at translating what someone else does into a technology based solution. And just as I could not tell you the formulas for calculating statistical risks for life insurance, neither would a risk assessor know how to take what they do and make it user-friendly and technologically innovative.

I think one of the problems organizations are having with going Web 2.0, is that they don’t recognize that they need a person who can look at their processes and design a Web 2.0 solution. I’ve done that for many, many years and I really find it surprising that other organizations (such as libraries) that say they are wanting to have an online presence and to go Web 2.0, don’t even seem to realize the need for someone with those skills.

I worked with various functions in life insurance most of my IT life. And I have little to no background in life insurance. It is not my field. But it never needed to be, nor should it have been. There were ample experts in all facets of life insurance that could determine the formulas needed and the results expected, and could take me through the processes. My expertise was knowing how to listen to what people want, to learn how they currently do it and to design a technologically progressive solution that goes beyond what they envisioned and yet still satisfies everyone and is not intimidating. It’s really a very complex job.

I have to confess, I find it funny (sad) that the IT positions for libraries all seem to require an MLS (master of library science) degree. That makes no sense to me. There are plenty of people with library skills and knowledge already in a library. What is lacking is anyone who is able to look at the processes from an IT design perspective and to pull all the areas and processes together into one, creative, innovative and functional design.

I also hear the arguments that you can’t talk to a librarian or understand a librarian unless you have an MLS. How can that make sense? I’ve talked to actuaries and lawyers and accountants and life risk assessors and all sorts of people with their own expertise and language and ways of thinking. Why would a librarian or academic or anyone else be any different? I’m not stupid. I think I can grasp how most jobs and functions work and I think I can talk to most kinds of people and be understood and understand them. And I know how to create a team that includes expertise from all areas so that everyone contributes in ways only they, with their knowledge, can.

Next time your or your organization are thinking about hiring an IT person, think about what you are trying to accomplish and what needs you have that you don’t have internally already. Then look for someone who can determine where you are, where you are going and how to get there in a way that includes everyone and appreciates their expertise while contributing their own expertise. Be understanding of each other and teach each other. Then sit back, let go of the reins and see how far you can go.

~Susan Mellott

Library x.0 or Who will Preserve the Data?

A long, long, time ago, when Compuserve was one of the major players in internet connectivity like AOL (it dominated the field in the 1980’s), back before it had a GUI interface and was still all line-based, I belonged to a group called Church of the Bunny. This was in the early ’80’s and it was definitely bleeding edge for the times. I remember 300 baud modems that you put the handset of the phone into to use. I was lucky enough to be working with PCs so I had access to some things that were somewhat unaffordable or inaccessible to a lot of people outside the ‘geek’ fringe.

Anyway, Church of the Bunny was a community and we talked and laughed and had our inside jokes and it was an important part of my life for several years. We used files to store and pass around our Church of the Bunny manifestos and credos and whatnots and we had a newsletter that was was published and mailed to the members. We would meet up when we got out each other’s way. I still have the old newsletters and thank goodness because they are some of the only existing pieces of the Church of the Bunny I can find. Since this originally started pre-web and on Compuserve, the files pretty much went away and the few websites that were created are no longer in existence and it is all gone. In my searches I found this little blurb about The Holy War between the Church of the Gerbil and the Church of the Bunny. That’s about it. There are still several references but all the links are broken or changed.

We had a community built up and a whole “world” so to speak with a very detailed society and many, many writings and files and correspondence and articles and it is all gone. Vanished into thin air. People left Compuserve so all that archival information was gone and people created web sites on various servers and hosts that folded, or moved or just disappeared. And that was a minuscule portion of what has been lost that was on Compuserve. And there were many other hosts that folded or people moved away from, like Tripod or Geocities or any number of others.

So here’s a thought to ponder as we move into Web 2.0 and the online collaboration and social networking tools. How can we preserve all the collaboration and information and social networks as the various platforms evolve and change and come and go? I am sure we can all think of a tool we have used on-line that has been replaced by something newer and more popular. How can a migration of data be accomplished or at least, who is able to catalog and store this data?

If Web 2.0 is a new way of writing and spreading information, what role does Library 2.0 play in keeping that data intact and able to be accessed by other people? Just like libraries are the archives for books and have played a major part throughout history in preserving mankind’s writing and knowledge, what is the equivalent in the 2.0 world?

And what risk do we incur by going electronic and putting information on an electronic medium without a methodology in place to catalog and store it?

Just some thoughts on a rainy day.

~Susie

What is Web2.0? or I know it when I see it.

My husband and I went out to dinner last night and as we are wont to do, we got into a discussion about the meaning of x (x being in this case, Web 2.0, or more precisely, the definition of 2.0 as applied to different things such as Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Learning 2.0, etc). What started it was that we’d both read a post by John Blyberg about whether or not Library 2.0 required technology and being ‘plugged-in’, or if Library 2.0 was something more or different than just technology (to poorly paraphrase).

I’d been mulling over this ever since I first heard the term applied and I thought it was a very interesting question. Sean felt that technology (specifically, the web) was inherent in 2.0. That without the web and all the things it now allows people to easily do, 2.0 (as is defined) would not exist. (My apologies to Sean for trying to quote him. I’m sure he will be writing a blog on the same thing and I will put a link to it when he does).

I felt that 2.0 was a concept of a web that was facilitated and enhanced by technology, but that it was a mindset/concept rather than something concrete that requires the web and/or technology. I believed that many of the 2.0 tools could be replicated in other, non-technological ways (albeit on a smaller scale and/or not as easily or well). In fact, I felt they already have been, it just was not recognized as being a valuable way to interact and worth evaluating how it fits into the business, learning, library, etc. models.

I think from a social and a “geek” (for lack of a better word) standpoint, it has been around for quite a while. People who share strong common interests will always find a way to interact. Through conventions or clubs or contests or meeting places or correspondence or any number of other ways, they will find a way to interact and to share ideas, discoveries, passions, etc. I also believe though, that the value of that interaction and sharing was not recognized as something that is of value for more standardized, generic, broad-based things, like learning or libraries or businesses and that this is where 2.0 comes into play.

However, that all being said, I realized that I don’t really know the accepted definition of generic 2.0, much less the definition is of Web2.0, Library2.0, Learning2.0, etc. And I’m not sure there is a definition of 2.0 in general. It seems to have started with (been coined by) a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International. in 2003 or 2004, as near as I can tell. Here is a quote of his “compact definition of Web2.0“:

“Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an “architecture of participation,” and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.”

That does seem to be referring to it as specifically a platform, rather than a web of people, ideas, sharing, etc. Here is the long version of his creating and defining Web2.0 (it goes into a lot of detail and the thought process they went through). And here is another view of Web2.0, the Web2.0 Cheat Sheet. After just browsing for Web2.0 definitions and reading the many, many comments they get, I still have not figured out exactly what it is and encompasses (although I have a better idea of what it “means”).

And I wonder if it really matters if we can say definitively what is and isn’t “2.0”. Perhaps the value of the 2.0 label is to get people to broaden, examine, enhance and change how they view doing things. To see what other people have done by doing what I am doing, by trying to find out what is Web2.0, Learning2.0, Library2.0. And then, by that process, seeing what has been done and what can be done and using it to start thinking of ways to incorporate the various tools or ideas or creations that they find in the process.

I guess that for me, it is like the famous quote on obscenity: “I know it when I see it“.

~Susan Mellott

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