Carnival of the Infosciences #57
I had a couple of submissions this week, and ran across a slew of interesting posts, so awaaaaay we go...
Wally Grotophorst sent me his multi-topic post "Moving, Zotero Translators and Vista (VM)", covering his recent tech adventures, including what you need to do to build "translators" for Zotero. The public beta release of Zotero did come out this week. But as a few folks noted it only works with Firefox 2.0.
Laura sent me Steven Bell's "What’s Our Contribution To Retention" from ACRLog. Steven discusses the problems that academic libraries have in figuring out how to document their impact on retention rates.
It’s somewhat frustrating because I’m sure many academic librarians believe we offer all sorts of human and material resources that contribute to retention - but how to we prove that? What might we try doing to create a more solid link between the libary and retention?He goes on to give a few ideas on how to demonstrate our contriutions in this area of inceased focus. I know that retention is big, big, big at MPOW, so this is a topic that will be of interest to those of us in academia for a while, especially when funding is based on retention contributions.
I ran across really too many great posts this week to include in my picks. But here are a few that I fit together in a sort of narrative. Many are from the usual suspects, but cover great information.
There was a little uproar over an opinion piece in the Lawrence, KS newspaper this week about how libraries are limited obsolete. Michael Stephens, Sarah Houghton-Jan and John Blyberg (amongst others)posted great rebuttals/ thoughts about the editorial. Michael posted "Ten Things I Know About Libraries in 2006 (A Response to "Libraries are Obsolete")", Sarah responded in her piece ""Libraries are limited, obselete" -- No sir, I beg to differ" and John gives us "Going To The Boneyard".You've probably already read these, but if not go do so now. We'll wait. Make sure to check the comments and trackbacks for great discussion too.
One of Michael's (and others) points is that libraries aren't going way. Our physical space is important. This was a topic of discussion at Library Garden this week in Peter Bromberg's post "Library As Place". He offers several excellent tips on making your space more inviting and relevant to your community.
One thing we do very well inside our place is provide information. But we also need to collect information to do our jobs. A post titled "asymmetric information in libraries" on explodedlibrary this week examines information exchange in libraries, both between librarians and our users and between librarians and vendors. Very interesting food for though. One of the situations examined in the piece is user having more information that the librarian:
This aspect of asymmetric information is more acute with faculty, who might have extensive, amazing knowledge of a particular subject area, but only scant knowledge of current research processes.Interesting stuff!
One big part of the exchange of information in libraries between librarians, user and hopefully vendors revolves around the library catalog. It's very important for people to be able to find stuff in our place, but that catalog has to be better than what it is now and mirror our users experiences in other online arenas. Karen Schneider addressed this topic this week on ALA TechSource with her post "Toward The Next Gen Catalog".
Some vendors could use a little more transperency in their communications and decision making processes. Meredith Farkas addressed this topic last week in her post "Why transparency is important (or, how to lose your customers)". Of course the experiences we have when dealing with vendor and business customer service can teach valuable lessons on how we serve our users. Are our libraries as transparent as they could be?
Of course our "place" also extends to the online world in various guises. Maybe your library has or is considering setting up a place in MySpace or Facebook to remain relevent to your younger users. Brian Mathews has some tips on what to do if your library's Facebook page has fallen vicitim to the axe in his post "What to do when Facebook closes down your Library Storefront".
If you're interested in learning more about how to move your library into the world of Facebook, Flickr and blogging, the application for the way cool Five Weeks To A Social Library online course is now available. Applications are due by December 1 .
And that's the carnival for this week. Fall is always a great time for carnival fun with all kinds of festivals, and of course Halloween. If you can't get the library off your brain to figure out what to be, there's always the Sexy Librarian costume at Target. Wonder if it comes in my size?
The Carnival is taking a little break next week but will return. Please consider hosting a carnival! It's a great way to explore the biblioblogosphere. Take a look at the carnival wiki for more info on hosting. And remember to submit early and often for the next host.