November 17, 2011

Thank You, SIRLS

On November 3rd, as noted earlier, I participated in the SIRLS 2011 Dickinson Lectures. I'm pleased to say that lectures were recorded and are now available, along with the final slide decks, via the SIRLS website.

November 3, 2011

Beware the Sixth-Level Cataloger

I like the online comic Questionable Content anyway (not to mention the fact it's the source of a great library-themed Tshirt) but today's just rocks, on several levels. One, it's QC. Two, it's a guest comic by Bill Barnes, one half of the Unshelved creative duo. Third, well, hey! Laser eyes!

October 31, 2011

The Dickinson Lectures

I am very pleased to announce my invited talk, "Insights into the Life of an Embedded Librarian", part of the 2011 SIRLS Homecoming Event Dickinson Lectures. It will be this coming Thursday, November 3rd, from 4pm-5:30pm in the Ares Auditorium (Room 164) of The James E Rogers College of Law. Also presenting is Dr. Bryan Heidorn, who will be speaking about "Repository as App: Functionality to Attract Dark Data."  Following the Lectures will be a reception for all attendees.

I'll be posting an annotated copy of my talk after it's given. (I'm still fiddling a bit, and these always take on a life of their own at actual talk time.) I hope we'll see you there!

October 28, 2011

Internet Librarian: Day 3

And here we are at Wednesday. The day kicked off with yet more coffee (I was pretty much on a steady IV of caffeine by this point) and a great keynote panel called "Internet 2020: TrendWatch Smackdown". Roy Tennant, James Werle, Liz Lawley, and Stephen Abram - how could it not be engaging and entertaining?

My takeaways from amongst my mad scribbles during the panel:
  1. We must remember that all the innovations in the last 15 years are really just a blink of an eye in terms of librarianship (Werle); 
  2. You are not Google's user, but their product (and this is true for more than just the Big G) (Abrams); 
  3. Does your service make people say this is really great, or I'm really great? Does it make them feel successful? (Lawley);
  4. Look for the magic! (All, pretty much.)
Lawley showed a really amazing movie showing how researchers are now able to insert artificial objects into archival photographs. What first got her attention is that one of the rooms an object is inserted into is... her dining room! (Made me laugh.) The video is jaw-dropping.

The rest of the morning passed learning about Inno'play'ion (the mashing together of play and innovation, by Helene Blowers), where I saw the best use of bubbles in a professional conference yet, and roaming the exhibit hall before the gnomes rushed in and disassembled it.

Time for lunch and then a scramble to make sure I was at the ITI booth by 1pm, on the off chance I was one of the three winners of the iPad raffles. #1? Nope. #2? Sadly, not me. But... I have to admit I'm a bit sorry for winner #3, who was not present... so ITI drew a fourth card from the fishbowl and IT WAS MINE!!! Yes, I did jump up and down and squee mightily.

The conference capped off with another great closing keynote from Liz Lawley on "The Great Gamification Debate". What Liz and her crew are doing at the Rochester Institute of Technology is downright amazing: they created a game ("Just Press Play") for the incoming students that engaged them in learning about the campus, the teachers, art, all kinds of stuff. It all started with the idea that "students should get achievements for being awesome" and ran from there. It's an astonishing idea for engaging both the students and the teachers and I have to admit, I want to play!!!

I had to boogie out of the closing keynote a bit ahead of time in order to catch a cab for my flight home. Another year, another trip to Monterey - and I'm already thinking about what could be done next year!

Internet Librarian: Day 2

Tuesday at Internet Librarian was a kind of hiccup-y day for me. I had plans, people! I missed the opening keynote by Lee Rainie and, based on the tweetstream, really really really wish I hadn't. But I was gearing up for my session at 11:30 and just got caught up in it. But hey: it's online, so we can all see it now!

At 11:30am in Track C, Session C202, Cary Gordon and I presented "Drupal to the Next Level" (link goes to an annotated PDF of our talk), about the choice of and migration to Drupal of all the National Solar Observatory sites. I think it went pretty well - the crowd was smaller than I'd hoped for, but we got some very good questions and feedback. All in all, a good time.

Then I tried to get some more work done (the internet access in my hotel was less than stellar, I'm sad to say) and took a walk out Fisherman's Wharf. Where did all the sea lions go? I didn't see a single one this trip, and that's a first for me. I did enjoy watching the bay for a bit, though, and the seagulls and pelicans. (Damn, those birds are big.) I also recommend the farmer's market that runs down Alvarado Street on Tuesday afternoons.

Then it was time to gear up for what could be either the best or worst evening sessions: The Great Web Tools Face-off. I was on the Red Team with Captain Amy Buckland and fellow teammate Jeff Wisniewski, against the Blue Team of Blake Carver (Captain), Michael Porter, and Lisa Carlucci Thomas. It's very hard to sum up the antics of that 90 minutes - I strongly suggest reading the twitterstream if you can. (It's worth it, I promise!)

I, of course, firmly believe that the Red Team won.

Internet Librarian: Day 1

Last week was the annual Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, a marvelous conference and one of my favorites. (One of these days I have to go to a Computers in Libraries so I can compare them...) Now that a week has passed I want to get my thoughts down, and share a summary of the sessions I attended.

I arrived Sunday afternoon to sunshine and sparkling waters, and only got lost once on the way to my room at the Hotel Pacific (awesome place, I highly recommend it). I had a delicious dinner with a friend (hi Donna!) at the Old Fisherman's Grotto then settled in back at my room to get in gear for the conference.

Monday kicked off with a very thought-provoking keynote session by John Seely Brown (JSB), who talked about how learning has and is changing, and what impact it'll have for all of us. He said we're moving away from an "I think therefore I am" paradigm and into "We participate, therefore we are" - made me think a lot about not only how I do things differently now than ten years ago, but how my son is learning in a completely different way in school than I did. Play has become more and more important - not just play for fun and relaxation, but as a very real way of learning. I see the truth of that in how I learn new tools and then show them to my staff, and I see it every week in my son's schoolwork. Another thing JSB said is that life skill sets are also greatly changing - what once was a skill set that could take you through the next 30-40 years of your professional life now will take you through no more than 5. (That tidbit just about blew my mind, but it rang true when I thought back on my own career.) "Play is key!" Play with your framing of the world, in all aspects of your life. Think about the emerging "Networks of Imagination" - think about Harry Potter, or World of Warcraft, and what kind of collaborative world-building is happening there. Bonus! InfoToday taped his talk, and you can watch it online.

After that, I grabbed a cup of coffee with my mentor (hi Stephen!) and chatted for a bit, then headed into the "Super Searchers" session with Mary Ellen Bates. I always learn a new thing to try in her sessions; this one was focused on how different search engines - and sometimes the same search engines - return different results on the same query, because of location-targeted results (whether you asked for them or not). She also stressed the importance of fighting the monoculture - use different search engines and multiple tools. The new things I'll be trying out of this session are Google Public Data Explorer and - take a look! (I am definitely going to play around with Blekko some more.)

I took a break to get some work done before meeting my co-presenter for lunch to review our session on Tuesday. Peter B's Brewpub has some tasty salads!

Monday afternoon was about clouds and CMSs - I went to "Using the Cloud to Power Library Sites and Services" and enjoyed hearing how the Vancouver Public Library had implemented this. One thing I didn't know is that their hosting solutions were limited since not all countries (and Canada is one of them) allow private data (such as patron information) hosted on servers outside the country - i.e. the cloud. VPL was very limited in their options because of this.  Miami University folks talked about Libguide usability testing, as well. A good discussion option for these kinds of things is "We can't build this for ourselves for $X, but look what this hosted service can do for that…"

I then stuck around for the "CMS Smackdown - Drupal vs. Wordpress vs. Joomla" - I was probably not the target audience for this session, having gone through this myself a few years ago in choosing our CMS, but it was a lively and entertaining session. Poor Joomla, hardly anyone in the room was using it so it seemed a kind of wallflower CMS -

After that I was off to the Grand Opening Reception and ITI Book Signing Event - I sold some more books, woo hoo! I also had fun chatting with Lori Bell and David Lee King, and the Shanachies are always fun to hang out with. When that wound down I headed off to a planning session for the Tuesday night Face-off event…. and that's enough said about that for now!

October 14, 2011

Monterey, Here I Come!

It's that time of year again... time when thoughts turn to brisk ocean breezes, barking sea lions, and Internet Librarian! Should your thoughts turn to Drupal, come hear my colleague and I hold forth about it on Tuesday, in Track C, right before lunch. Hope to see you there!


Apparently, McDonald's is dangerous to your decorum ... thanks for the tip, Kathleen!

Untitled from christi cagle on Vimeo.

September 29, 2011

Men of the Stacks

Getcher 2012 Calendars Here! "We know what people think: Dewey, glasses, shushing, books, hairbuns, Party Girl and card catalogs.  Yes, we know what people think.  We know that the American, library profession is approximately 80% White and 72% female; and we know that tens of thousands of librarians are expected to reach age 65 in the next 5 years.  We also know that this is not us."

The 2012 "Men of the Stacks" calendar is now available for order for $20, with proceeds benefiting the It Gets Better Project, created "to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years." Wonderful! Not just a calendar that knocks the socks off (heh, sometimes literally) but one with a great benefit as well.  Go forth and order yours now!

September 21, 2011

Pearls Before Swine

Hair in a bun? Check. Glasses on a chain? Check. Machine gun? Check.
Pearls Before Swine, 16 September 2011

September 20, 2011

For the Love of Laura

Warning: more sharing with the choir here! Laura Warner has written a great post at Critics at Large about the wonders of the librarian, "Far More Than Shushing and Checking Out Books: For the Love of Librarians and Public Libraries". This is the kind of thing we need to be shouting at the congregation: we are fabulous and can find you anything!

To quote: "To put this plainly, librarians are surgeons with the Internet. They are specially trained to know how to find anything you need in cyberspace, how to locate the best answer and get it fast. They’re ready and waiting. They are the emergency-response personnel to all your information needs."

Yes! Now go share the news.

September 19, 2011

What Michael Said

Over at The Travelin' Librarian, Michael Sauers has been posting about his adventures working through "23 Things for Professional Development" as part of the Nebraska Learns project. His #16, Advocacy, really caught my eye:

"So, simply put, I need to advocate more to people who aren’t librarians themselves."

This got me to thinking... Michael says how sometimes he explains "What do you do?" without using the word "librarian" because sometimes it's just easier in some situations. When I think back on how I answer that question, I always say "I'm a systems librarian" and, inevitably, pull out my short explanation (I'm a trained information professional who works a lot with computer systems.") What I've been mulling over is how many times it would have been easier and more straightforward to say something like "I work with computers" or "I work at an observatory" and just leave it at that.

I do think I do a decent job of advocating the power of librarians... but am I preaching too much to the choir? I have to think about this a lot more.

July 29, 2011

A Librarian's Worth Around the World

from Ritu Pant via the Internet Librarian LinkedIn group, check out this great infographic on the worth of librarians.  There's a lot of really interesting information in there, even for us librarians! I particularly liked the "One week in the life of a librarian" and it got me thinking about trying to create a similar thing for my own library life. Hmm...

July 28, 2011

Year In Review, Or...

...why I haven't been posting as much as I could have (or should have). It's good to be busy, though! (Not so much with the knee thing.)
  • January: Attended SLA Leadership Summit. Interesting, as always. It was bracketed by two major reviews at MPOW. Began long run-up to pre-conference panic attack.
  • February: Every major software package at MPOW collaborated on a huge simultaneous meltdown. There was much swearing and running about.
  • March: Finished beating software into submission. Spring Break... when we went noplace. Trip to the wilds of New Mexico. Start work on major Drupal migration. Mark mid-point of pre-conference panic attack ramp-up.
  • April: The amazingness that is the Kentucky Libraries Joint Spring Conference. They were kind enough to invite me to speak as the opening keynote presenter. There was much nervousness, then much relief. Last good walk outside, in Jenny Wiley State Park.
  • May: Lots of household repairs. Drupal migration kicks into high gear. Nine thousand million jillion final changes for the upcoming SLA conference. Significant management change at MPOW. Knee begins complaining more than usual.
  • June: More cortisone shots just before heading to Philadelphia for the SLA Annual Conference. (As a division chair this year I was responsible for all the division programming.) Back-to-back major reviews immediately after SLA.  X-Rays and MRI scans.
  • July: Bad knee news... start setting up surgeon appointments and physical therapy. Major progress on the Drupal task front.
As of today, I'm teleworking full time and fairly restricted mobility-wise; I see a surgeon next week who hopefully can fix things up a bit. My plan for the rest of the year blog-wise is to get back on the horse with regular postings as soon as I can! Thanks for sticking around.

April 26, 2011

National Library Week...

...was April 10-16 of this year, with the motto "Create Your Own Story".  CNN acknowledged that librarians are "Masters of the Info Universe" but what really got my attention - made me laugh, but made me sad, too - was Craig Ferguson's opening monologue on the 11th (slightly NSFW):

Craig hit on all the things libraries are facing these days - budget cuts, facilities maintenance, homeless shelters, e-books - and even the sexy librarian stereotype. However, while he always makes me laugh, most of this was rather rueful laughing... followed by a big sigh.  

April 4, 2011

Also, we know about pants!

Again with the "librarians are frumpy and unfashionable" trend... Leanne Jernigan, who I can only assume is a librarian herself, has created and posted a fabulous, humorous, and pointedly insightful look at librarians in fashion... a major part of the stereotype that just won't die. Yes, it affects us - and yes, we should care whether major fashion houses are pimping "librarian chic" as a style when it blows back on our profession rather... unfashionably.

March was good to me!

March was good to me! by desertlibrarian
March was good to me!, a photo by desertlibrarian on Flickr.
March was very good to me - in addition to the appearance of the Info Pro Handbook, two other articles I wrote were published.

Jake Carlson and I co-authored "Embedded librarianship in the research context: navigating new waters" in C&RL News, and I wrote the introduction to Information Outlook's theme article on librarians and their image, titled "Yes, It Still Matters."

Now I have to figure out what to write next!

March 17, 2011

I'm in this book!

I'm in this book! by desertlibrarian
I'm in this book! a photo by desertlibrarian on Flickr.
"The Information & Knowledge Professional's Career Handbook", by the wonderful Jill Hurst-Wahl and Ulla de Stricker. Jill and Ulla interviewed me for a career snapshot of an active information professional; I'm delighted to have been a part of it.

February 22, 2011

Spread the Words

Edmonton Public Library has created an amazing PSA about their values and importance to the community. Plus, they have great shirts! Check it out:

February 10, 2011

Random but Good

Not dead, just crazy busy. Here's a few things to share:

* Seen the Pearls Before Swine comic of January 16th? Those are some serious librarians! 

* Hey, cool! Wil Wheaton thinks librarians are awesome. (Well, we are.) "I beg you: please support your local libraries in any way you can, and if you enjoy reading, take a moment to thank a librarian." Amen, Wil, and thank you!

* I am pleased that I can represent STEM librarians again at this year's WISE conference, "Expanding Your Horizons". It's an honor to speak to young women and encourage them into the sciences, show them that engineering is fun, and get my techy groove on.