Librarians off the path: CiL2014 Day 2

My thanks to JD Thomas @techfun for these great quotes graphics!

Correction added – Giving credit where credit is due by Chad Boeninger @cfbeoninger

Computers in Libraries 2014 Day 2

I have been very impressed with the work of Chad Boeninger at Ohio University. I have heard him speak twice at CiL2014, about using WordPress and about using blog entries for reference. It is the best idea I have heard at CiL this year. He uses his Business Blog at OU to answer reference questions. He goes further and so should I – see Chad Boeninger’s YouTube channel.

Chad Boeninger book recommendation:

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan

Someone asked Mr. Boeninger if this means pathfinders are dead – and he was kind in answering – basically, yes. It isn’t enough to teach the database, or put the links on a LibGuide anymore.  We need to model and teach a research process using the ever changing tools and database platforms.

So, if pathfinders – those library tools of old – are no longer viable; why have I heard more than once now about librarians not following the path (another way of hacking the library?) David Weinberger kindly suggested at the end of his keynote that we get off of the yellow brick road and into the poppies; and today, during Using the Cloud & Google Apps for Better Staff UX, librarians from Gwinnett County Public Library reminded us to not rely on following the path, but to make connections in the space between – between the apps, between the databases, between the tools.

Other very good content #cildc today:

Human and Computer Interfaces: How to Maximize Usability & Findability by Shari Thurow

Her book recommendation:

Mobile Speech and Advanced Natural Language Solutions


Online Collaboration tools by Sharon Yang

David Lee King  Face2Face: using Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools to create great customer connections



I have been “hiding out” in many geek sessions this year – it is COMPUTERS in Libraries and I need my fix. But if hacking the library is the theme this year, the word in every session and in every conversation is CHANGE. Today, I did hear the most positive take on change that I can cope with: constant purposeful iterative change is not falling off the cliff. Paraphrased from Julian Aiken, Access Services Librarian, Yale Law School and his On Demand presentation. He also had the best slide ever – which I will put here when I can find it!

I bought this book:

Teach beyond your reach : an instructor’s guide to developing and running successful distance learning classes, workshops, training sessions, and more by Robin Neidorf



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Librarians un-desked: CiL2014 Day 1

It is so good to get away from the job for just a short time to see the bigger library-in-the-world picture at Computers In Libraries 2014. I wasn’t a fan of the theme of this conference – Hack the Library – but  thanks to Dr. David Weinberger for letting me envision hacking as a tool for change.  [For me – as the keynote goes, so goes the conference – well done Dr. Weinberger!] His “Hack the Library” keynote – reminding us to white-hat hack, NOT black-hat hack NOR Bozo-hack –  hit just the go-forth-and-do-good tone.

We need to 1) think of libraries as portals and platforms and 2) further linked open data and 3) incorporate visual tools like Graph Search. According to Weinberger, if we hack the libraries we hack the future. If we do it with transparency, collaboration, relationships, and community – then we provide an infrastructure and empower the building of knowledge. Curation becomes an integral part of the knowledge process and not a separate activity.

Check the tools from Harvard Library Innovation Lab like StackLife and AwesomeBox. Well done tools and platforms should facilitate community engagement and continued enhancements.

There are a number of sessions about Discovery tools and redesigning library web sites this year. I caught Jacob Berg‘s (Trinity University Library website) CyberTour of his hack of the EDS Discovery system. Great use of OA tab and DPLA search widget (which I have added to this blog!)

I spent most of my time in Track B – Transforming Web Presence and now am practicing some of those good WordPress practices.

Search tips I need:

(Thanks to Marie Kaddell  @libraryfocus for her professional tweets of Mary Ellen Bates Super Searching tips and more of the conference!)



 Librarian reading to add to Pocket:


Need to check this out tomorrow #cildc Day 2:





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Experiment like a mad scientist

I am…annoying…unattractive…anxious…sad…lonely…
( _____ fill in your adjective here!)

See Dr. Todd Kasdan’s exercise in this TEDx video to disassociate the thinker from the not-too-productive thought!

Dr. Todd Kashdan’s very excellent TEDx talk Becoming a Mad Scientist With Your Life reminds me to distance the thinker from the thought (easy exercise above!)

Dr.  Kashdan – happiness researcher and author of  Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life posits that we should not be an expert in anything, because as soon as we become an expert we stop paying attention!

Focus on the beauty of complexity.

Pay attention to the moments – they are like Lego’s – the building blocks of life.

 [This post was edited after original post 3.23.2014]

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Medley: Professional Development

…ruminate random thoughts, readings and things that don’t blog long… medley.

My notes from Handheld Librarian 9 (online conference)

My notes from Lorcan Dempsey presentation, delivered to WRLC at Georgetown – March 5, 2014

Going to read immediately: Nancy Duarte: SlideDocs, the New Form of Business Communication

Trying to finish up my WordPress class, so I can keep a portfolio page on this blog.

See my current Professional Development and Library Trends.


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Library report reading season

As I read the  state of our Libraries reports this month, I am keeping Michael Edson’s question in mind [ CUA Bridging the Spectrum 2014: Keynote ] – what would my library look like at 1000% improvement?One thousand percent

National Science Board’s: Science and Engineering Indicators 2014

Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition

NCES: Academic Libraries: First Look




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Assembling Your Childhood or Lego’s Don’t Explode

Wolverine Lego character

Wolverine on my desk!

I am blessed, with joy and fun, to have two sons. This allowed me to buy Lego’s for every Christmas and birthday for years (and still does!) I looked forward to the Lego Movie, but found angst amidst my glee.

Oh, sons o’ mine, what kind of world am I leaving you? Everybody is so mad.

Twitter snarks about pink eye and scraggly beards; are we really so mean?

Can we recognize goodness anymore? What is real? Lego’s don’t explode!

I am channeling Liam Neeson’s Good – Cop Bad Cop from the Lego Movie. I am the good parent – bad parent. No wonder we are all confused. Growing up we told you do the right thing, take the hard classes, be a team player, finish those projects, follow the instructions.

Now, we we want you to be creative, follow your dream, be your own man, be your own Master Builder.

As reviewer Abbie Bernstein says, Holy Confusion, or Holy, Mixed Metaphors, Batman!

“THE LEGO MOVIE philosophically breaks apart due to unbalanced construction.”

Many reviewers wrote of the movie as a metaphor for life. The Lego Movie is:

“weirdly philosophical” John Serba

an educational metaphor Sam LeDeaux

Binding “The Lego Movie” together is a “Matrix”-like conceit that turns the whole thing into an allegory about the nature of creativity and the meaning of amusement. A.O. Scott

“the deeper message of thinking outside the instructions handed to you by life” Robert Ham

Which leads me to try to understand just what it is about the metaphors  we use to make sense of our lives.  Baseball metaphors speak to me.  I use library and librarian metaphors as often as I can.   Metaphor dictionaries are very fun to peruse.

Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations

If Lego building is a metaphor for life, I will have to pick up the new book by Jennifer Senior, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of  Modern Parenthood and see in the index where she talks about Lego’s. I reject her premise.

Maybe Full of sly humor, The LEGO Movie is a must-watch for all LEGO fans – especially adults [Review] by The Brothers Brick -we should just be fans.

Fundamentally, The LEGO Movie is a movie for LEGO fans and about LEGO fans.

‘The LEGO Movie’ Is An Amazing Critique Of American Mass Culture Alyssa Rosenberg

In The LEGO Movie, when creativity is available to everyone, the things they create turn pleasure and joy into a kind of infinitely renewable resource.

Children – humans – are an infinitely renewable resource. I am a fan of Lego’s and of  my sons,  who continually add joy and fun to my life. We are all Liam Neeson, beware the abyss of no return and remember that sometimes the piece of resistance is really all about putting a cap on it!

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Until it is written!

February 7  from Poem-A-Day at

and everyone knows that nothing is really real
until it is written.


by Thomas Lux

the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances.
I accept that language
can be manipulated towards deceit
(ex.: The Mahatmapropaganda, i.e., Goebbels);
I accept, and mourn, though not a lot,
the loss of the dash/semi-colon pair.
It’s the sound of a pause unlike no other pause.
And when the words are tedious
and tedious also their order—sew me up
in a rug and toss me in the sea!
Language is dying, the novel is dying, poetry
is a corpse colder than the Ice Man,
they’ve all been dying for thousands of years,
yet people still write, people still read,
and everyone knows that nothing is really real
until it is written.
Until it is written!
Even those who cannot read
know that.

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Medley: Inspiration

From time to time I may just ruminate random thoughts, readings and things that don’t blog long. We’ll call this – medley.

This made me laugh out loud at work! ‘Numpty’ voted nation’s best word

This “Frozen” month two colleagues left our workplace. These were people that were always a positive part of any day I was lucky enough to interact with them. I miss them already, but wish them well in their transitions – their “fertile chaos of the neutral zone” from Making Sense of Those Pesky Life Transitions

I’m preparing a lecture on Big Data and looking at it from a Digital Humanities perspective. New (to me) is this nonfiction read Raw Data is an Oxymoron, edited by Lisa Getilman

Book Cover


My latest – couldn’t put it down – historical fiction read recommendation:
An Officer and the Spy by Robert Harris

I know way too little about this period in history.




While thinking more about the e-reading experience; I am sad not to get an author’s signature on Bruce Rosenstein‘s new book Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way, and very sad not to be able to pass along my now read e-copy of An Officer and the Spy.

E.L. Doctorow says “reading is the most interactive experience imaginable” from E.L.Doctorow: The American author on his novel Andrew’s Brain, mysteries of the mind and why ebooks are no match for the real deal from an Interview by David Wolf  in The Observer, Saturday 18 January 2014

As we “lurch into digital reading” do your brain a favor:
The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens. E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages
Apr 11, 2013 |By Ferris Jabr

Always, always poetry inspires and saves as “poems find us.”
Thoughts on Poetry in Winter by Carolyn Foster Segal

That is the secret of poetry’s fresh (psychic) news: quite simply and quite complexly, poems find us, and then they encourage us, as Jorie Graham says in “Afterwards,” to “begin with the world.”



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Writer’s block?

It’s been too long since I have written a blog post. I can blame the cold, cold winter (yeast won’t rise and Polar Vortex, you know?) I can blame getting a new computer (and what is up with Windows 8? Do they not realize that families share a computer workstation? It is oh, too personal!) I can blame disenchantment with my daily job – enough said! I have been thinking and reading about writing , all the while wishing I was a better writer.

Ice picture

An article that has stayed with me poses that we should move from  “writer based-prose”  to “reader based prose.” Who Are You Writing For? by Ann Bauer (January 17, 2004). Obviously, I’m not there yet. But this advice I am practicing:

My goal was to help my students build a framework for what their readers needed to understand. I taught them to think like strangers to their own lives and relate back story or evidence in a compelling, relevant way. I asked each of them to consider why the reader should care about their writing—what the average person could take, and use, from their work. Why, I challenged them, was their story worth telling?

Then I turned that question around and asked myself.

“Think like strangers to their own lives”;  it gives perspective, if not yet wisdom.

How do we teach engagement and inspiration and ah-ha moments? In our writing, our teaching, our daily living?  John Warner’s post (January 28, 2014)  It’s Impossible to Teach What I Want My students to Learn reminds us that  if we are lucky, we can remember moments when we were struck, by beauty, words, ideas …even theorems, proofs and beautiful physics diagrams.

You have to trust that you are in a place where you can make that possible for the students, colleagues, and loved ones in your life.

Note: to John Warner, I use Twitter as a memory aid to keep all the articles I want to think about and re-read (and maybe someday write about!)

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“Research depends on it”

data information literacy

Data Information Literacy

Thanks, Dr. Karen Plaut for the most memorable line from Day 1 of the Data Information Literacy Symposium. Her quote (see title!) is in reply to the question “Why do I care about data information literacy?” Dr. Plaut also mentioned that the vast majority of data – from sensors, from satellites,  from bioinformatics – is going unused. And, how many data files are lost on hard drives from  mis-naming and file iterations? Dr. Plaut wondered if this data will become the record of the human race in the future? We can’t even imagine the uses and re-uses that future historians and researchers may investigate using the data generated today.

I’m reading this tonight: New Roles for New Times: Transforming Liaison Roles in Research Libraries

I will spend time with this web site: Planning a Data Management Curriculum and Requirements for a Collaborative Repository

OK – I will need lots of time…see all DIL Links

Notes from Day 1

And I’ll sleep on the bigger questions in hopes that – collectively – we will find answers tomorrow at Day 2!

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