Archive for the 'OCLC' Category

One of my favorite things about OCLC is the reports they create for the larger benefit of libraries and library professionals. And the “Perceptions” reports are my absolute favorites. Happily, the brand new “Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community” is just now hot off the press. So if you are a library staff member, library fan, lover, booster or just interested in society or technology it is absolutely worth your time and mental energy. I rarely highly recommend things as much as I recommend this. Go here now and get a free online copy!

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

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: 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.

Now playing: Beck – Youthless


You Got Your WorldCat In My facebook?

I try hard to keep work separate from this blog. Very rarely though, there is some spill over beyond me saying “I did this at work”. And now is one of those happy times. Actually, it’s more of a “I know these great folks from OCLC who shared a sneak peak and now I am allowed to share a bit of the juicy stuff as well”. At this point it is mostly informative and less participatory. And it is very beta. A test. What is it?

It is the WorldCat application for facebook! It is NOT listed in the application directory on Facebook so you have to receive an invite to get it. It may change, it may stick, it may not. Regradless, as a dutiful beta tester, I’ve included a couple of screen shots here for the curious. Click any image to got to it’s flickr page and be able to see it much larger:

Logged in view of the facebook WorldCat app:
facebook WorldCat app

If you get an invitation to beta test it will show up looking like this once you are logged in to facebook (I circled it in red so it would stand out):
facebook worldcat invitation

When you click the invite, you get something like this explaining the app:
facebook worldcat invitation details

This bug has gone bye bye (I was an early beta tester, lol). You really likely won’t ever see this, but it was funny:
facebook worldcat error

And again, a view logged in to the app. I know, I know, it gets cut off, but this time its bigger (Go away giant MONK ad!:):
facebook WorldCat app

I am very grateful to be looped into the testing and am also happy to share that I generously told:

If you want to, you could blog it. But your readers will need an invite to get the app so that could create some overhead for you.

Ok. I can handle that. I think. :) How about this, if you have a facebook account and want to give this a beta run, drop me a line. Email or on facebook is fine. Feel free to friend me on facebook while your at it. :) If possible, you will get an invite to test based on speed of response. I’ll pass the info along as quickly as possible given the holiday weekend. Assume though at this point that you’ll be put on a list of potential beta folks and that if you get an invite then you get to test. This is a very informal get the word out a little bit of community sharing, not an official work initiative by any means. I am doing this ’cause I like it and it is pretty darn neat in theory. Not really for work (though from work I know) Ahhh.. overhead reduced (and level of my tertiary involvement revealed).

Does the title of this post make anyone wonder about our information creation and consumption environment? Wouldn’t it be good to be able to have a WorldCat that would allow us to flip it and say “You got your facebook in my WorldCat?”

PS-If you look at the pics and ask yourself “Who is Bob Robertson Boyd?”, I would guess you might expect to ask yourself that question a bit more in the future. Bob works with a team of folks on “social stuff” at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio and does some fine work. And just to clarify, I work on the team at WebJunction in Seattle that works on “social stuff” and, as most of you know, WebJunction has some nifty connections to OCLC.


Open WorldCat Search

Oh boy, oh boy! A very cool step towards getting it “more right” is now public in beta format. You can add the WorldCat search box to your site too if you like! It’ll look like this:

More info here.


Sad Day In Libraryland

?Frederick G. Kilgour, a librarian and educator who created an international computer library network and database that changed the way people use libraries, died on July 31, 2006. He was 92 years old and had lived since 1990 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.?
It is indeed very sad today to note the passing of Fred Kilgour, librarian, educator and founder of OCLC. Dr. Kilgour?s place as one of the most important figures in the history of libraries and librarianship has been well established for decades and his passing gives us an opportunity to celebrate his life?s accomplishments.
Around the globe, Dr. Kilgour?s legacy with undoubtedly live on and grow. The ideas and innovations in information services that he helped bring to fruition in the early days of shared computing have become something libraries simply could not do without today.
Dr. Kilgour?s intellect, curiosity and creative problem solving are things of legend both at OCLC and in the library profession at large. In my time working at OCLC I can honestly say I have never heard a cross word spoken about the man. Everyone here seems to have a ?Fred? story and each one I have heard involves a hard working, intelligent, thoughtful and curious person who was always interested in helping libraries accomplish their missions more successfully.
The world is a better place because of Dr. Kilgore?s contributions and he will be missed even as the importance of his vision and work live on.
My favorite ?Fred? quote is one I use regularly in class. It seems very observant and timely as you read it, until you get to the end and see that it was written in 1981. 1981?! Wow.
?New applications of technology will enable libraries to shift from their traditional emphasis on the packages of data to furnishing information for decisions and action. Hence, the new technology will provide librarians with the opportunity of developing new concepts of librarianship, having as their main emphasis the provision of information to individuals when and where they need it. Finally, it must be recognized that this new librarianship will evolve step-by-step and in cadence with the cultural evolution of our society.? (link and link)
?Fred Kilgour, 1981
In respectful remembrance and in celebration of a life full of visionary accomplishment, libraries and library professionals around the world salute you Fred Kilgour!

A fine related link from the “It’s All Good” blog with more details about the mans’ life and accomplishments.

The OCLC Community Forum site for “Remembering Frederick G. Kilgour”

Keep Up!

Originally uploaded by libraryman.

This is the banner ad for the full day, emerging library technology workshop that I’ll be teaching in the western US several times over the next few months. Woo Hoo!

With a library-centric focus, we will demonstrate and discuss a surprisingly wide variety of thought provoking and potentially sea changing current and future library technology issues. Substantial resources and instructions are provided along with the classroom demonstrations and discussion. All of this is focused on the goal of getting you back to your library ready to implement those things that you learned in class that will best serve your library and your community. With clear explanations and resources to use back in the library you will likely grow to understand much more that you expected to.

I’ve never been this excited about a class before, even the digital imaging or community outreach classes! If attendance is good (and we really hope that happens) we will be able to offer more classes in more places around the Western US. For now however, if you are in the greater Los Angeles, Ontario (California), San Diego, Portland or Seattle areas you can sign up now for classes in November and December. Details, dates and times can be found via this link to the workshop web page.

I’d love to hear what you all think. If you have any content you think I absolutely should not miss please do let me know. I have quite a collection or resources ready, but there is so much good material out there right now about exciting, practical lib tech that I’m sure I don’t have every good thing I could use. Thanks much for your help all my wonderful blog friends and tell all your library buddies to come to this class! Hope to see you there!

PS-See why I haven’t posted to the blog more lately? In addition to several other big projects, this class has been getting energy I would have previously put into updating the blog more often. The blog will march forward though! :)


The New Guy

What to say about the Service Meeting at OCLC HQ in Dublin, OH last week? Naturally, being a new employee, there is a learning curve. It will all be clear soon enough. Much of it is already. Like a good librarian, I am learning where to go to find the answers I need. HQ in Dublin was an excellent place to get some answers?and lots of questions.

It?s starting to dawn on me just what this organization strives to accomplish. We all likely know about the cataloguing and the ILL work accomplished here. This is absolutely amazing, vital foundation stuff and it is very ?digable?. While appreciating, admiring and participating happily in this work, it?s pretty clear that it is the ?other? stuff that really sparks my imagination. If you read my posts about emerging tech or hear me talk about the ?Environmental Scan? you know where this is coming from.

When I was younger I loved to play tennis. This didn?t always serve (pun intended) me in good stead while growing up in Indiana, where basketball and football are supreme sports kings. There weren?t lots of kids in my ?hood playing tennis, so I spent a great deal of time knocking balls against brick walls by myself. When I did get a chance to play with other kids, I usually beat the socks off of them. Eventually I found some grown ups to play with who were better than I was. Those difficult and exciting tennis matches were some of the happiest moments of my childhood. It was challenging and rewarding as I saw my skills improve. I also got to hang out with kind adults who were happily spending time with me.

The last three week with OCLC have left me with a feeling similar to what I got from those tennis matches of old. Some of the people I?ve met with and spoken to, you likely know and have heard of. And if you haven?t yet, you will. Some of the ideas floating around the halls of Dublin are challenging, outstandingly important, bold and full on exciting. I?m not completely on top of all of the ideas I heard, but I understand them and have thought about most of them in depth. I?ve also got some ideas that I think should be included in some of the discussions I heard and was included in.

I want to be a top notch trainer and provide the sort of support that helps libraries grow, thrive and evolve. I also really want to be the sort of ?next generation? librarian that ?gets it? and has an important role in ?making it happen? all the while improving the role of the library in the communities they serve, despite how large the changes and challenges we face might be. After working with the Gates Foundation Library Program I was concerned that I might not be able to do that on such a large scale again. After my week in OH, I think I may have been plunked down in the right place. I am more excited about learning and the future of libraries than I have been, well, ever!


OCLC HQ Pics Finale

The final two sets of photos from the OCLC Service Meeting are here!

OCLC HQ – 03/02/05
OCLC HQ – 03/03/05

Help me write an essay how to write a personal essay.


More OCLC HQ Pics

Class pictures, Smith building pictures and most importantly,
concrete corn pictures
! Yep, Dublin Ohio’s famous concrete corn field is displayed here in all it’s snowy glory. Joy likes concrete corn almost as much as I do!