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Five Weeks to a Social Library October 26, 2006

Posted by nanette in Uncategorized.
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Yet another thing that happened in that April-to-October period where I posted absolutely nothing: I submitted a proposal for Five Weeks to a Social Library (for the blogging track) and it was accepted. Woo hoo! I feel like one of the cool kids now!

The planning committee is looking for course participants. I’ve promoted this in all kinds of different places–the Synergy e-mail list, my library system’s weekly newspaper–and now here. There’s a great lineup of speakers and the content should be phenomenal–and it’s free! What more could you ask for? Applications are due on December 1st.


Slides from Internet Librarian October 26, 2006

Posted by nanette in IL2006.
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Here are the PowerPoint slides from my presentation at Internet Librarian 2006. I added a few weblinks for people who weren’t at the presentation.

I’ve read some very complimentary blog posts commending me on how well I did, which is extremely flattering, especially since this was my first “big” conference presentation. I’ve moderated panels and done introductions and stuff like that before, but I had never made a presentation. It was a lot of fun and I am certainly looking forward to doing it again!

As I said in my last post, I’ll elaborate on the slides further over the next few days. I need to spend the rest of my afternoon catching up at work.

Internet Librarian October 24, 2006

Posted by nanette in IL2006.
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So my presentation was yesterday, and I feel like it went really well. Exceedingly well. Since the wireless isn’t the greatest, I haven’t had the chance to look around and see what people are saying about it, but I did catch Michael Stephens taking photos of some of my slides, and that totally ruled. I’ll put the slides up shortly, once I’ve managed to add some links to some of the places I discuss. (Tim told me I should do that if I’m going to put the slides out there for people who weren’t at the presentation, so I’ll follow his sage and expert advice. As always.)

I think I’m going to write a couple of posts here expanding on some of the ideas that I discussed in my presentation—namely, what libraries, vendors, and catalogers can—and should—do to make online catalogs better. I feel that we often spend a lot of time attempting to assign blame for “why OPACS suck” and not enough time trying to think up collaborative solutions for improvement. We are all accountable for the state of our online catalogs. It’s easy enough to scapegoat vendors and blame them for selling us a crappy product, but guess what? We’re the ones who BOUGHT the crappy product and didn’t insist on something better.

Internet Librarian, etc. October 20, 2006

Posted by nanette in Uncategorized.
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So the last post on this poor, neglected weblog was written on April 26–almost six months ago. And it was about Internet Librarian, which I will be attending, um, starting this weekend. Craploads of stuff has happened since then, but apparently, none of it was interesting enough to write about.

And now I’m updating this blog so I can avoid tinkering with my PowerPoint presentation any further. Heck, I did call number checks to avoid tinkering with my PowerPoint presentation any further. I hate doing call number checks, so that’s saying a lot, I suppose.

The presentation is called “Perfuming a Skunk, or, There’s More than One Way to Skin an Online Catalog.” It is about how we tried to add a “skin” to our online catalog and why it just didn’t happen. I have not practiced it yet. I need to do that. Tim thinks it is going to rock. So if you are one of the attendees who is still working on their schedule, please consider attending. Yeah, I know it’s at the same time as the Second Life presentation, but your online catalog certainly deserves as much attention as your busty online avatar/altar ego/whatever. (I’m a Second Life skeptic. I feel like it’s one of those things we’ll be laughing at five years from now. I’m sure someone will be waiting for me at IL to seize my “trendy techie librarian cred card” at the door.)

I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to actually blog the conference, but I may put the blog up on the IL2006 wiki just in case. I’m going to try and remember the digital camera, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll remember to take pictures with it.

As a means of keeping myself from descending into “hide in my hotel room and watch One Tree Hill DVDs” mode (seriously, I did that at the CODI conference last year, although I think that’s acceptable since NOBODY at that conference wants to talk about ANYTHING other than Horizon, and after a long day of listening to Horizon-related sessions, that gets a bit, uh, dull), I signed up for a couple of dinearounds. My dislike of seafood is keeping me away from the blogging dinearound, so I’m going to “learning and training” and “digital strategies for the future.” Whee.

I’ll also be at the Five Weeks to a Social Library meetup on Monday (is it on Monday? I hope so) night. It’s like being invited out to party with the cool kids. (I will try not to pass out on the front lawn or barf on the couch or otherwise embarrass myself.) I’m presenting a webcast on blogging as part of the course, and I am very excited about that.

In other tech-related news, our new library website has launched, and it looks great. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do, but we’re going to continue adding enhancements, including a wiki featuring information for local businesses. I think that people around the library are becoming more willing to embrace new technologies, which is positive.

Also, I am trying to put together a preconference about social software for libraries for next year’s Illinois Library Association conference, which is in October 2007 in Springfield. So if you’re in Illinois (or near enough to Illinois that you’d be willing to come out here and present for nothing or close to nothing), leave me a comment or e-mail me. We’ll talk.

Internet Librarian! April 26, 2006

Posted by nanette in Thoughts.
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I received an e-mail today from Jane Dysart, one of the organizers for Internet Librarian 2006. My session has been accepted, and I'll be part of what Aaron calls "the cool public library track"! This means that I will definitely be going to Internet Librarian this year, and that Tim will probably be going with me.

The title was changed from "Pimp My OPAC" to something generic about OPACs and user experiences, but I'm sure I can still call my piece of the presentation "Pimp My OPAC." Yes, I did say "my piece of the presentation," because my session has been combined with a session co-presented by…Glenn Peterson.

Dude, I feel like such a poser. Lil' old me…and GLENN PETERSON, who is behind one of the nicest-looking, most usable OPACs out there. Glenn Peterson, whose presentation at the CODI conference last year opened my eyes to the cool things you can do with ugly ol' SirsiDynix HIP. Glenn Peterson, whose latest project has set the library weblog world aflutter, and for good reason.  

I'd better get a whole lot smarter before October. I've got to learn how to hang with the superstars!

In other-news-related-to-our-library-website, I got to see some mockups of possible site designs. They are great. Just…phenomenal. The web design firm the library has hired for the site redesign has really run with this project. We are on our way to an attractive, functional web site.

Also, I answered an IM reference question today. My shifts tend to be really slow (I'm on from 9-11 on Friday mornings and from 2-3:30 on Wednesday afternoons) so questions are rare. I felt like I gave a most excellent reference interview and I helped the patron find the information he needed for his school report on Lisbon, Portugal. Now I'd just like to get more questions…

Well, it’s about time… April 10, 2006

Posted by nanette in Uncategorized.
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…that something was posted here other than Tim's daily del.icio.us links, which, interesting though they are for Tim, are not very exciting content for a weblog.

My name is Nanette, and I am a public librarian in the same community where Tim is an academic librarian. I managed to wheedle my way into an invite to write for the YALT Blog during one of our (all-too-frequent) conversations about libraries and technology. My main interests are public libraries and technology, especially making tech more accessible for our users (including staff). I'm actively involved in several professional organizations, including the oft-maligned ALA (as well as three of its divisions–ALCTS, LAMA, and PLA–and one roundtable, NMRT) and the Illinois Library Association. I'm also an alum of the Illinois State Library's Synergy leadership program (class of '05) and a board member for my library school's alumni association.

Though I am not nearly the technology expert that Tim is, I'm learning. I've been doing a lot of minor tech-type stuff at work over the last several months as part of my library's major web site redesign, including a bunch of research into how to improve online catalogs to make them more usable and intuitive. This led to a proposal for a session at the 2006 Internet Librarian conference, which I'm hoping will be a practical, "how to fix your library's online catalog" session for public librarians. Nobody needs to be told that the majority of online catalogs stink. A-duh! Most of us agree on that at this point, and continually repeating that fact only serves to frustrate us further! And it seems like vendors–for reasons that are beyond my grasp–don't have much of an impetus to make them better or more innovative, which is why I advocate taking matters into your own hands, listening to your users and your staff, and doing what you can to make your nasty, fugly, difficult-for-mortals-to-use online catalog into something better.

This summer, I'm taking a Javascript class at the local community college, and Tim and I are going to learn Ruby. (Tim will probably learn it much faster than I will, seeing as how he knows forty computer languages already. Okay, so I exaggerate…he only knows ten or twelve.) I want to go from being a library tech person who only talks the talk to being a library tech person who can both talk the talk AND walk the walk. So much of what you'll see here from my end will be my baby steps towards that goal. I don't know what you'll get from Tim, aside from his daily del.icio.us links.

Greasemonkey: Bloglines + Del.icio.us April 1, 2006

Posted by Tim in Code.
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I've been playing around with the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox more and more these days. It's not that I haven't known about it, it's just that I didn't really stumble across really useful Greasemonkey scripts on Userscripts.org until recently. I guess it's all coincided with my switch to Bloglines from Google Reader. (Sidenote: It's not that I really disliked Google Reader, it's just that Bloglines has so much more to offer right now. Plus, I can decide to forget about my RSS feeds for a day or two with Bloglines, and still have a chance to catch up. With Google Reader, they just "roll" past and are never heard from again.)

In any case, this is all to promote my very first Greasemonkey script! Since I'm an avid del.icio.us user, I felt an immediate need to be able to post items directly to del.icio.us while browsing my Bloglines feeds. Since the only script on Userscripts.org which "claimed" to do this didn't actually work, I made my own.

If this is something that interests you too, go visit Userscripts.org, download my Bloglines – Post to del.icio.us script, and rate it! It adds a "Post to del.icio.us" link below each item in Bloglines, which allows you to post the item directly into your del.icio.us account (via a popup window). My only disappointment in it right now is that I couldn't get it to just open up a new tab (and actually put the focus on that tab). Greasemonkey provides a nice little "openInTab" function, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to change the focus to (i.e. "jump to") that new tab. However, for version 1.0, I still think it's worth a download!

Am I now a blogger? March 27, 2006

Posted by Tim in Thoughts.
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Well, here goes nothing. I really cannot say whether or not this site will stick around, or whether it will fall into the realm of obscure "blogs" that are never read, never updated, never even "there".

I cannot promise this blog will work out, or even be interesting (other than to myself, and maybe my wife). But, at least this is a place to start writing, start flushing out ideas, start sharing code, hacks, thoughts on libraries, rebuttles to others or their blogs, etc.

Yes, this is a YALT (Yet Another Library Tech) blog. We'll see if it stays that way.