Archive for the 'Keep Up!' Category

    Video is up and linked below!

Song available for download very soon through a link on
David Lee King’s web page
!

There is a slew of Libraryland folks singing along in the video (mostly in the second half). Thank you guys!

Here is “hi-fi sci-fi library”…behind the music!

Several months ago LITA asked me to be one of their keynote speakers at their upcoming National Forum (October 16-19). This made me happy, proud, excited and, well, a little nervous. It also left me wondering…what should the theme of my presentation be? Hmmm… LITA, eh? The Library and Information Technology Association of the American Library Association? Well, lets see…I travel all over the place talking about libraries, library futures and emerging technology, right? And I believe we are in the midst of a sea change in library, culture, community and info services. And I am convinced there are things libraries need to do *right now* to ensure our relevance going forward. And while we are generally smart enough, we surely don’t get rich from our jobs…yet we keep at it. So we need some inspiration AND amusement! We all work so hard and we keep on believing that libraries will and MUST endure as society evolves. So why not talk about libraries present and future in light of current tech, future tech, academic futurism and, yes, science fiction! But what might get people’s toes tapping before the presentation? Yep! A groovy library song! A song that shares the same name as that upcoming presentation :”hi-fi sci-fi library”!

As far as I am concerned, what the world needs is a collection of “hi-fi sci-fi libraries”. And I was so excited about this idea that I just had to sing it out loud! But alas, I know how to play only the most basic of notes on the most basic of instruments. Soooo, I approached my most helpful and generous Libraryland buddy (and joint author of the “Internet Spotlight” column in each issue of Public Libraries Magazine), David Lee King. You see, before he worked in Libraryland, David worked in Nashville, in the music industry. And as you might imagine, David is also a fairly accomplished musician and producer (though he is far too humble to admit that to most folks despite his great talent and ability).

So I said to David: “David, I want to make a song and a video for this LITA presentation I am doing in the Fall. Something that both you and I could do together and can both believe in and get behind. I’m slightly nervous about this presentation for some reason, but I also see it as a GREAT opportunity to help get the word out about what we both believe in when it comes to society, library futures and technology. I have some basic song ideas and all the lyrics ready. Would you like to help me make a song and a video?”

And David, being the generous and thoughtful friend that he is said “Of course!”. Actually, he said something like “Well I like the idea for sure. Why don’t you write down your ideas and lyrics, send them to me and we might be able to work on it once things settle down a bit.” And, of course, things never did settle down, for either of us. So, slowly but surely we worked on it like a hobby for a few months.

Over the course of those months David and I sent musical ideas and lyrics and rhythmical concepts back and forth. Then, I arranged to spend a day with David in Kansas recording our song. No, it wasn’t easy. But yes, we actually DID IT! And lo and behold, one day of recording later….we had our song. AND a few goofy video files! So..we were really on our way!

With the song complete, it was time to make the video. And since David had done 85% of the musical work, it seemed only fair that *I* (non-Mac owner that I am btw) handle the video making responsibilities.

So I dove in. And, well, it took a couple of weeks. Actaully, it took almost a month. And it took contributions from librarians all across the planet. Literally! BUT…we now have a video. And it is, in my opinion, a pretty decent video. Sure, it is goofy! But it is also just as hopeful and honest as it is goofy.

And let me tell you…it was quite a project. A project involving weeks of editing and nearly 100 different video and audio files. Is it perfect? Nah! Is it a labor of love for Libraryland? Completely. And heck, some of you folks reading this might even be in the thing,lip syncing along to the jaunty little “hi-fi sci-fi LIBRARY!!” chorus.

So, on behalf of David and I, THANK YOU! Thank you so much to the folks that contributed to this video! We both hope it provides some inspiration and energy to the quest we are all on as library professionals as we strive to help libraries realize their unparalleled potential in this crazy, cool and even sometimes scary, hi-fi sci-fi world we all now live in.

Rock on, Libraryland! We hope you enjoy it!

-Michael

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Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hi-fi sci-fi library

Libraryman

Tomorrow’s NEBASE Intro Slide

Designing PowerPoint presentations is FUN! And this is one I’ve wanted to work on for years. For almost ten years now, actually. It is the first time I’m presented the session and it a new direction, so *fingers crossed*. If nothing else, it will be unexpected, fun, entertaining and I *really* think, thought provoking. If you happen to be near Lincoln, NE tomorrow, why not swing by? A more *ahem* “refined” and adjusted version will be used at my LITA keynote session in October too.
hi-fi sci-fi library, baby! :)
NEBASE Annual Meting Keynote Intro Slide-2008

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Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hifi scifi library

This still is taken from a promotional video about facebook*:
built by the people...for FACEBOOK

REALLY?
Well…maybe not so much.
You see, as things continue to evolve in relation to social networking and information access online, this premise starts to become something startlingly close to propaganda. And it is a premise I am beginning to disagree with more strongly. Why? Simply because facebook is a for-profit company. Their motivation as a business both officially and in practice is to make money. While I am positive there are many lovely people working there that are generous, kind and philanthropically minded, the bottom line is that facebook is a company that is very simply most interested in getting people to use their product; not so they can be useful to society, but so they can make money. And they will use they information they get from you to do just that. With no obligation beyond laws (largely constructed to facilitate money making in business) to guard your privacy. And they are under absolutely no obligation to return anything back to the community. Even if the *say* they are nice and want to do good, they are, in fact not formally bound to taking any actions in this regard.

Now, it is very true that facebook is an amazing service that many of us use, appreciate and are grateful to have access to (myself included). But society needs the opportunity to use these sorts of tools and features in a venue that both understands and guards privacy while at the same time protects information access rather then sells information paths of choice (through ads). An institution that is designed to build up the community it nurtures…you know, like libraries and schools.

And it goes beyond facebook-like tools (for community futures). I would suggest that Google-like tools (for search/basic information discovery) should have the same non-profit, ad-free (for the most part), purely motivated capacity as well for the greatest public benefit.

Problem is, when it comes to the future of libraries, and modern/connected civilization’s access to electronic (and physical) community and information access this is blatantly missing from the too dominant tools in electronic search (arguably, Google) and electronic community building (arguably, facebook). And what is missing is starting to feel more dramatic and chasm-like with each passing month.

Libraries need to continue (and significantly grow) their work as professional guardians of community access to information. This means we (libraries and library professionals) need to be the most highly trained facilitators the world has when it comes to information access, community connections, community interactions, privacy protection and electronic tools. You know, the things at the root of the popularity of tools like facebook and Google. The things libraries have been best at for decades (sans the electronic tools part, which is our only real achilles heel in this scenario).

I wish both information professionals and society at large would really seriously think about this. And then act on it in an organized fashion. College professors, primary school teachers, parents, politicians, students and anyone else concerned about the positive growth of humanity should think about this. The “market” does not always dictate what works best for society and this is an instance that requires larger forces than “the market” to intercede. If that doesn’t happen, because of Google-ish and facebook-like tools, our free, unbiased access to information and community stands at risk. There is a potential crisis brewing here and there are not enough people talking about solutions to this crisis in the context mentioned in this post.

It becomes more clear to me with every passing month: some amalgam of social networking tools (like facebook) and for profit search tools (like Google) should be a non-profit that helps people along in their community and information access journeys. All the while guarding their privacy in ways facebook and Google would never dare. Perhaps opt-in’s for users to accept ads could be built into that system to generate revenue to support the system, but in a less integrated way that didn’t affect workforce in the manner it currently does, particularly on facebook at the moment.

So far, facebook has been thumped on here, but Google is in the same boat. Like almost all of you, I use Google almost every day as well. And I am grateful for Google. But words like “Don’t be evil” as a corporate “Code of Conduct” legally means NOTHING (as opposed to a library’s mission statement and governance structure) If you do believe Google cares about ideals more than money, ask who controls their purse strings. Or look at the official Google URL the describes their code: http://investor.google.com/conduct.html. investor.google.com tells us quite clearly where their corportae priorities exist. And what their official mission and business plan entails. Compare Google’s “Code of Conduct” to ANY mission statement** at a Public Library and ask yourself: “Who do YOU want to control and steer you along as you seek information?” Which point of view would most people choose to support given this information?

Misleading content like that in the facebook video above and things like the Google Librarian Librarian projects hold more potential threat than it would first seem. At recent ALA conferences the Google booth was a very popular stop. Many librarians eagerly made videos about how great Google was for libraries…and then *poof* Google disappears from Libraryland for almost a year on their project blog and are nowhere to be found at this years ALA conference. It is that we aren’t importnat enough customers to get Google to stick with us? Did they get what they wanted from us (support) until they didn’t need it anymore? Each side has it’s perspective, but I assure you, Google attends the conferences it feels it needs to. They certainly aren’t staying away because they are short on funds. It most certainly is, at the very least a curious case of unexplained absence. Not the thing to do in the electronic information and community access environment we find ourselves today. It seems that if Google clearly understood this and did have their mission at the front of their minds, they would have thought this through more carefully and acted accordingly.

To this information professional and electronic community activist, it comes down to this: Google and facebook are both businesses, out to make money. Libraries exist to serve their community with information access and community connection opportunities. If individuals or corporations like Google, facebook, etc, really want to get good things done with community, and if you truly care about community and information access, I would implore you to work with library and information professionals, library schools and organizations like OCLC and ALA. Give them resources, support their work with what you are good at, bind yourselves intimately to their success. THAT would do no evil! Most importantly I would ask you to support your local library. And do so in a way that guarantees that participation as long as your company thrives. THEN I will think about giving you wider support and endorsement and not just think of you as a case study in what Libraryland needs to do to succeed without being taken advantage of and potentially usurped by you. Technology is a tool, and we simply mustn’t allow libraries to become a tool that gets less and less useful as it is usurped by a tool that is guided simply by money, with no permanent obligation to give back. That is one of the deepest societal tragedies I can imagine and its consequences would truly be severe and horrible.

*facebook image taken from this video. It appears you are required to be a registered user to view this video.

**Yep, that is a Google search result link.

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Now playing: Beck – Youthless

Libraryman

Gadget Saturday: Animoto Test

Sure it was sunny and 70 in Seattle today, but I had a high old time indoors, configuring my new Chumby:
Configuring Chumby
After spending a couple hours with this (literally) squeezable little computer, I am convinced that libraries could get some serious value from Chumby. A few of them, configured with promo jazzy promo material and carefully placed in public areas would have some real impact. Sure, you’d have to chain them down, but it would really get serious attention. I mean, these little things are COOL!

I’ll likely post more Chumby related things soon, but for now, check out this Animoto.com video and imagine what you could do with your own spiffy library promo video. Their videos play on Chumby or a web page, was free, required no coding on my end, used pictures from my flickr account and was up and running with about 30 mins of work and waiting. Pretty sweet, eh?:

Libraryman

Kindle

ebooks kindle amazon

*link*

Libraryman

Google MyLibrary

Mmmm hmmmm….

Google MyLibrary

Do a SWOT, y’all!

Tim?

Testing the new Jib Jab “Starring You” tonight was partly fun and partly a chore. There are a few steps you have to go through to make the heads work and look “right” which took a bit of the joy out of setting things up. It is interesting to see this sort of technology interface being sold as something the public will latch on to. It is a stretch at the moment, but think of the promos libraries could do with a carefully planned marketing program using something like this (perhaps embedding letting patrons stick themselves in a famous book setting, etc?). The video I made is really just for fun and isn’t meant to be too awfully serious. You know, I must confess that upon seeing the results I couldn’t help but wonder “should I have just read a chapter or two in a book instead of making this?”.

Naaaah, who am I kidding, this time was time well spent! Enjoy:

Libraryman

facebook Fixes IT?

Ah ha!!
The facebook “story types adjustment “equalizer”” solves a problem and demonstrates that the cluttering problems that many have complained about (with just about every successful social networking tool out there) are actually quite fixable. And fixable in a way that can be intuitive. Wow! Don’t you love big brains in action? This isn’t the ultimate solution to be sure, but it shows that there are rock solid legitimate solutions to this problem that are readily accessible and understandable to general users of social software. This stuff is going to drive how we use the internet for a long, long while, and that is GOOD.

facebook Fixes IT?
facebook is on top right now for quite a few reasons and this is yet another example of why. Good on ya’ facebook!

*update*
Some wondered if this “equalizer” really worked, so I took a screenshot showing that after it was launched (yesterday or today) my feed was sparse and text. Shortly after I adjust my settings, you can see the more dynamic content returning to my home page (these are the posts towards the top with pictures, etc). Please note the typo that says “storytimes” instead of story types. It was ten years ago that I was a Children’s Librarian, but those days happily never really leave you.
facebook fixes it and here is a demo of it working

Libraryman

facebook Dev Platorm BIGWIG07 Presentation

Whew! Just finished, and you can check it out by following this link.

Here’s what it is about:
“I have a presentation to share with you about the new facebook developer’s application. In actuality the presentation is really about how this tool has huge potential importance for libraries. Naturally, the tool and it’s functionality are covered here, but the larger principles that apply to library futures, ILS systems and patron engagement with and within the online library environment are the real reasons to understand what is discussed in the presentation. It’s stuff that is worth know for sure! Here’s a screen shot of the introduction. The real file plays as a “movie” and can be found by clicking here. I hope you find it useful!
BIGWIG ALA07 facebook Developers Platform Presentation Intro Slide
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get ahold of me. My contact info can be found on my web site/blog: www.libraryman.com

**Thanks to WebJunction for hosting this presentation and for sharing the software needed to create it. WebJunction has tools like this that you can use too!**

PART I:
365 Library Days Project
Woo Hoo!!! This weekend, the 365 Library Days Project (tag: 365libs) turned two months old! Amazingly (library folks are truly amazing), there are 297 participating libraries and already a library was written up in it’s local paper! All the person running their 365 Library Days Project did was call the paper and tell them they were working on it and they wrote it up! Wow! It works!

PART II
This an uplifting story for sure, but in ten months (or any time we like, really), the goal is to be able to start using the 365 Library Days Project as a more formal advocacy tool. Along those lines, an initiative has just begun to develop a Press Kit that we can give to media outlets and also a set of instructions/hints we can use to get the most value out of the historical document you are making as you participate in the 365 Library Days Project. Here is a link to the page where you can contribute to this phase of the project. Text of the original post is included too, so you can see what’s up:

Time To Write Our Press Kit and Instructions *this is a link*
“This weekend I started to write the press kit that libraries could just print out and give to their local newspapers, tv and radio stations to get attention to their 365 Library Days Projects. THen I thought, hey, there are almost 300 member libraries participating here, why don’t we make this a community project.

So, let’s do it! It seems that we will need to write:
1. A document we can give to media outlets.

2. A document we could give to library boards/governing bodies explaining the project and it’s value.

3. An brief, concise instruction sheet for librarians/staffer that explains how to use the two docs above most effectively.

So how should we write these? Perhaps we should start a wiki and do it there? Anyone have ideas or want to set that up for the group?

Also, if you need more proof of concept for the 365 Library Days Projects, as of this weekend we are just two months into the launch and there has already been one participating library that has received a write up in a local paper!

Please chime in here. You are the experts! :)

PART III
Finally, for the past two months, every time the 365 Library Days Projects got a legitimate plug from a participating library or a blogger, I’ve saved it in my del.icio.us feed. It’s grown to be an impressive collection of 38 links from folks on at least four continents with posts in five languages (if my count is correct). AMAZING! Here is a screenshot and a link to those posts:
365 Library Days Project Press So Far - Two Months In

Thanks everybody! Please contact me if you have any questions or if I can help you move your project along! Keep snapping these valuable photos in your libraries, keep having fun with this, good luck and see you around the 365 Library Days Project page!

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