Archive for November, 2007


Dear Seattle, I Have To Move. Yipes!

A quick update for friends and a plea to fellow Seatllites:

Don’t you just hate moving? I just found out tonight that I have to find a new place to live in the next week (or two max). That means I am in aggressive hunt mode for a nice, quiet, clean 12-24 month rental situation in Seattle (first choice is Ballard but Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont or Westlake work very nicely as well). I ‘m a reliable tenant and a good neighbor. If any Seattle peeps know of anything exceptional (or just plain good) and available please drop me a line. I hate large complexes, long commutes and don’t want to live near a campus. A view is a huge plus as well. Ha, ha! Fussy much? :)

It’s a bit of a sad situation because the the upstairs resident and property owner’s health has taken a turn for the worse and he needs my separate unit/ half of the house for his live in health care provider. Poor guy. Also sad though because this is a truly beautiful location with view that regularly brings me to my knees, full of gratitude and appreciation for the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Oh well, those of you that visited knew it was just too good to last, right?

This ends my personal, non library related post. Sorry ’bout that. I try to keep ‘em to a minimum, but you never know where that helping hand might come from. Thanks! Back to your regularly scheduled….


Sing A Song Of Innovation

My friend and fellow practical library tech booster, Steve Campion, sent me this message on facebook today:
Hey Michael,
Is singing in your new job description? Someone suggested that either you or I need to sing this song at ALA Midwinter. I’m not going, so it might be up to you.

His post says:

To the tune of “The Major-General’s Song”
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan… and you… :)

I advocate creation of a social network library,
Dispense with thoughts a-plenty in my blog much like a diary,
And show how common MySpace is, it dominates the territ’ry
‘Cuz people like to share their lives; it’s really quite extraordin’ry.

I upload pix of our events on a communal Flickr page,
And make it easy to YouTube; that latest clip is all the rage.
Encourage interaction for our young and old of any age,
Makes working here as fun as anything they do at Cam-ba-ridge.

I recommend Delicious, Facebook, wikis, Ning, and R-S-S,
Use tag clouds, gaming, apps and widgets, and I twitter to excess.
It matters that our patrons are involved with our transparency.
I advocate creation of a social network library.

Well firstly, I wish you were going to be at Midwinter. Secondly, while I’d be willing to give this my best effort, you must know the outcome would likely be more in line with Homer Simpson’s performance cited below:

Homer: Well, here I am, right on time. I don’t see Barney “Let’s
crash the rocket into the White House and kill the President”
Assistant: Actually, he’s been here since sunrise.
[Barney works with a punching bag]
Barney: Hi Homer. Since they made me stop drinking, I’ve regained my
balance and diction! Observe: [does backflips] “I am the
very model of a modern major general, I’ve information
vegetable, animal, and mineral.”
Homer: Oh, that’s nothing. Watch this: [does cartwheels] “There
once was a man from Nantucket, Whose –” [smashes into a
*link to full episode script*

homer and bender
In related news, the new Futurama DVD was released today. W00t!

In completely unrelated news: Pretty song, pretty books, pretty people


My New Job: Work It!

I’m very honored and happy to share with everyone news of…drum roll….. my new job! While still at WebJunction, I now have a spiffy new title and more focused duties. I’m not saying that as the new Community Product Manager I’ll be able to do ALL this stuff:

Specific Responsibilities
· Grow our Online Community for Library Staff
· Build library field readiness for collaborative content publishing, social networking, and blended learning for staff development
· Grow customer awareness, use, participation, ownership, and satisfaction with all our programs, features, and services
· Wow the library community with practical, user-centered, user-friendly, fun-to-try, socially-oriented, and interactive features and tools
· Develop & Deploy a Robust Social Networking Environment
· Identify and segment relevant library staff audiences; evaluate and document tools and features of interest to each audience
· Develop and implement an overall social networking strategy, including collaborative content management, that addresses customer needs
· Solicit individual and organization input and feedback on social networking features, tools, and best practices
· Scan and engage the broader library, social networking, and online community environments for relevant tools, features, best practices, and mash-up opportunities
· Make Customers Happy & Ensure their Success
· Advocate for customer-centered, interactive tools and features across WebJunction; represent customers to WebJunction staff and organization partners
· Lead and manage customer focus groups, advisory committees, user groups, and related feedback sessions
· Identify social networking outcomes; ensure high quality customer experiences and satisfaction; adjust, refresh and create new features as appropriate
· Engage customers in effectively using social networking tools, making site contributions, and sharing their technology resources
· Contribute to WebJunction’s Overall Success
· Build team capacity to identify and meet customer needs
· Share knowledge and expertise on social networking tools, features, formats, and management processes relevant to successful online communities
· Lead and manage the development of functional tools and services you and our customers will use to build community across WebJunction
· Deploy social networking expertise across WebJunction; lead the team in creating effective, sustainable online community based on web-based, collaborative, interactive, and participatory software

…but I am REALLY going to try. If you ask me, I’d say it’s a very good fit. I am energized and excited to get on with the work (friends know I’ve been working on a lot of this already, but the new job definition and scope help in a lot of ways). Reading the above description you can tell that there are exciting things in store for WebJunciton and I can’t think of another job I’d rather have right now. Watch WebJunction in the upcoming 12-18 months for some pretty exciting new developments!

PS-The new Netflix ad says the have circulated, ooops, I mean, DELIVERED, over 1 billion titles.
PPS- Chumby is almost for sale to the general public.
PPPS-Completely unrelated and off topic musical plug: Can I go back in time to see this show please?



ebooks kindle amazon


I usually spend a good 30-60 minutes making an intro slide for each presentation I do. I figure that the intro slide will be up there on the screen for 15 minutes or so before the session starts and people seeing it can start to get a sense of the session and the presenter and how they fit in as an attendee. And frankly, it’s just fun to try and take something that is not intrinsically beautiful (PowerPoint) and make something pretty or interesting to look that is appropriately evocative. Sometimes it works better than others, and themes tend to run in stretches, but the effort is always made. Most times, I’ll post a screen shot of the slide to flickr and often use it here on the blog as well. Well imagine my happy surprise a couple of weeks back when I saw the web site the folks from Inland Northwest Council of Libraries (INCOL) that had done the work for me. Check this out!:

The INCOL Workshop 2007 Banner

It’s a little silly and a little funny and says what we’ll cover and shows them who’s gonna be yapping at them for two hours. Fun! Thanks to who(m)ever whipped this little number up at INCOL. Nice work.

Oh, and btw, if you are in Coeur D’Alene this Friday, I still think you can get a ticket. If you’ll be there, pop in and say howdy!


One Laptop Per Child: Give One Get One

One Laptop Per Child
These are the fabled “$100 laptops” we’ve been hearing about for some time now. While they do cost more than $100 (twice that in fact) the concept is no less fascinating. Now, for two weeks only, you can buy one and give one in a sort of “donation bundle”. Not saying to plop down your $$$ here, but at the very least it’s an interesting initiative. Lots of potential for library reach here. At the very least a nifty gadget, right?
One Laptop Per Child: Give One Get One

October 2007 SLJ: We're In There!

Our Posse in the October Issue of School Library Journal. Well, teeny parts of our posse. Also, SLJ staff tells me: “we’re sending a special edition newsletter on 2.0, that includes this short piece”. The posse approves.
Original pic they so politely asked to use. Hi Rochelle!:
ALA 2007 218

Palo Alto Library General Public Presentation Web Page

A blog post, an event page and a press release. Thanks Palo Alto! Or more accurately: Excellent advocacy work, Palo Alto! Sure, it’s my ugly mug up there, but the fact of the matter is they are bringing someone from outside into their community to help. Carefully selected bits of specialized knowledge and experience can be used to help inform decisions, facilitate brainstorming and can lend a hand to libraries trying to be transparent to the community they serve. Working hard to decide how to best implement what users/patrons really want is more important now than ever before and bringing in appropriate amounts and types of outside thought can significantly assists libraries in making important decisions about the technological directions they take.

So this is exceptionally commendable of Palo Alto (and really has almost nothing to do with me individually). Having said that, perhaps I should have highlighted someone else’s public library tech presentation to make this point? While not entirely common, there are other examples, and each make me equally happy and hopeful for that community and their library.

As far as Palo Alto goes, I really do hope lots of folks show up. It’ll be a great chance to cover some important issues, issue a challenge or two and get some back-and-forth going on things that are driving libraries (and society at large).

As further example, here is the text from the press release for the event:

Subject :
Library Technology Expert Michael Porter to Speak at Palo Alto City Hall
Contact :
Mary Minto, Division Manager, Library (650) 329-2517

Palo Alto, CA – Library technologist, Michael Porter, trainer and author, will share his expertise November 8 from 7–9 p.m. on how public libraries use new digital tools to build communities. His presentation, “Your Library’s Future Has Changed: Technology, Content and Community,” will include a look at the web sites of innovative libraries that are using social networking tools and creative implementation to provide access to information and create connections in their communities.

Michael Porter is Community Associate for WebJunction, an organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assist libraries and cultural organizations in meeting their objectives through the effective use of web-based technologies. His professional focus is on technology, community, and training. He co-authors the “Internet Spotlight” column in Public Libraries magazine and is writing a book about effective electronic communities.

The talk will be hosted by the Palo Alto City Library, which is gearing up to develop a library technology plan by early 2008. This free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Palo Alto Library.

· Date and Time: Thursday, November 8, 2007, 7–9 p.m.
· Place: Council Chambers, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto

Visit the Library web site at for more information.”

Very nice! I look forward to seeing everyone in Palo Alto (and Sunnyvale and Santa Clara Co. too) later this week!