Daniel's blog

New Discussions at FGI: May 21, 2007

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Free Government Information now podcasts it's own programs! Subscribe at
http://feeds.feedburner.com/FGIPodcast
or check out the show archive at
http://freegovinfo.info/podcasts.

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The Free Government Information
(http://freegovinfo.info)
volunteers were busy this week posting the following stories:

Volunteer Posts:

We're always looking for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government
information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to
your video/radio clip and we'll add it to
http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines
(http://www.bloglines.com
) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at
http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed
to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 170 people already have.

FGI Launches Podcast - Listen Now!

Cross posted from Free Government Information

Based in part on user feedback and in part on our own drive to experiment, Free Government Information has started it's very own podcast.

While we acknowledge we have more to learn about audio engineering, we think you will find it worth your time.

Our first podcast is just under 20 minutes and has the following features:

  • Segment 1: What is Free Government Information?
  • Segment 2: Government Information in the News
  • Segment 3: Government Podcast Sample - This Week at NASA
  • Segment 4: Outro music - Rise by The Rev. Din from the Internet Archive Open Source Audio Collection

Theme music and segment bumpers from Set Me Free by DJ TopShelf and downloaded from PodSafe Audio.

If this sounds interesting to you, check out our new library page with links to show notes, archives, subscription options and the ability to listen to our podcast without leaving our site.

Or visit the podcast blog and subscribe to the podcast

Feedback is welcome, hope to hear from you soon.

New FGI Discussions: May 14, 2007

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Know other people who work with federal government information? Get the FGI
browser toolbar
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This week we started a directory of government agencies with a presence in
Second Life and other virtual worlds. Check it out at
http://freegovinfo.info/node/1168.
So far we have three states and three federal agencies. Expand our list by
letting us know about new entrants!

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Angie and the Free Government Information
(http://freegovinfo.info)
volunteers were VERY busy this week posting the following stories:

Angie's posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're always looking for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government
information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to
your video/radio clip and we'll add it to
http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines
(http://www.bloglines.com
) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at
http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed
to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 170 people already have.

Casa Grande PL credits social media for 30% increase in circ

The latest episode of New Comm Road, Bryan Person's podcast about new media and online communications features an interview with Jeff Scott - manager of Casa Grande Public Library in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Jeff credits social media with a 30% (50,000 book) increase in circulation this year. He provides examples of the tools he is using in the interview. He also provides some statistics on how people reacted to his use of podcasts, blogs etc on his personal blog.

Best Practices Exchange Conference Postings @ FGI

I'm blogging my experiences at the just closed Best Practices Exchange 2007: Libraries and Archives in the Digital Era conference over at Free Government Information. You can find all of my BPE 2007 related posts at http://freegovinfo.info/taxonomy/term/339. Please comment there or here.

New FGI Discussions: April 30, 2007

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Subscribe to the new FGI podcast feed, now featuring selected recordings from
the just closed Spring 2007 Depository Library Council. Plug in
http://feeds.feedburner.com/FgiPodcast
into iTunes or your favorite podcatcher software. Or see
http://freegovinfo.info/node/1095
for details. A HUGE thank you to James Staub for doing the recording and
upload work.

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Newkirk and the Free Government Information
(http://freegovinfo.info)
volunteers were busy this week posting the following stories:

Newkirk's posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're always looking for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government
information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to
your video/radio clip and we'll add it to
http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines
(http://www.bloglines.com
) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at
http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed
to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 170 people already have.

Twitter me this Batman!

At some point, I'm going to have to learn to say no to some new social media technology.

But until then, consider friending me at http://www.twitter.com/dcornwall.

Blame For Immediate Release, Rochelle and Casa Grande library if you'd like.

If I find really interesting uses for Twitter, I'll report back.

Casa Grande Public Library goes all a-Twitter

According to librarian Jeff Scott, the Casa Grande Public Library now has its own Twitter account.

Given that Twitter is easily accessed from cell phones and other mobile devices, this might be a good way for libraries to get noticed by folks on the go.

Or maybe not. In any case I like to see librarians experiment with new tools. I'll be very interested to see if CGPL sees any uptick in usage or visibility as a result of their experiment.

When on Ning, give me a ring!

I just noticed that Newkirk Barnes, FGI's April BOTM has a profile on the Ning-powered Library 2.0 Network. Taking a stroll to that site revealed several other documents librarians as well as other social-media oriented folks.

So what could I do but establish an account of my own?

A few features that I found really nice:

  • It plays well with other social network sites - I could import photos from Flickr and video from YouTube.
  • You can place an RSS feed right on your profile page and they make it dead easy to do so.
  • Overall, it seems much faster than MySpace and has less advertising.

If you're on Ning, give me a ring!

I'm not thinking of closing my MySpace account because my MySpace network gives me access to a broader range of people. But just from noodling around a few blog entries on Library 2.0 Ning, I'm looking forward to being inspired by others efforts and ideas in better collaborating with our customers/patrons/users.

Book Review: You don't need a title to be a leader

Full Disclosure - This review is based on an autographed copy of You don't need a title to be a leader sent to me by author Mark Sanborn.

Although I am a supervisor, I am not very fond of management books and especially cringe at books on leadership.

So I was pleasantly surprised by You don't need a title to be a leader by Mark Sanborn, author of the Fred Factor. At 104 pages, it is a pleasant and quick read. Although it will take more than a day to absorb its practices, it could be read at one sitting over a weekend.

Drawing upon his own work and the works of others, Mark posits that there are six principles of leadership:

  1. Self Mastery
  2. Focus
  3. Power with People
  4. Persuasive Communication
  5. Execution (What is your Implementation Quotient?)
  6. Giving

For more information about these principles, and an opportunity to sign up for Mark Sanborn's Leadership Lessons, check out the book's web site at http://www.youdontneedatitle.com.

For the most part, Mark makes these six principles plausible and practical for anyone in a given organization. They are things you could start doing now without waiting for management/administration buy in. For example, as one way to increase self-mastery, Mark invites us to reflect on whether we view life as an obligation or an opportunity. We tend to run from or resent obligations, but who wants to miss an opportunity? Yet the power to decide which it is resides in us and not the external situation. We can choose to view things as opportunities. It is going to take some time to keep what I'd call, "opportunity goggles" on, but it seems to be doable.

Likewise, the chapter, "The Power of Persuasive Communication" has a number of doable tips that seem like they can improve things. And the chapter on "power with people" is not only helpful, but explains why the actual power structures in organizations don't necessarily follow the organizational chart.

The one thing I would have liked to see more on would be more ways to increase your "Implementation Quotient." Mark does offer some advice on this in his chapter on execution, but for some reason that part seemed more theoretical to me. Perhaps more brief case studies of how people became better at underpromising and overdelivering.

Overall, I think this short enjoyable book is worth your time. Check it out and let me know what you think. Maybe get a copy from a library and then buy your own copy if you find it as useful as I did.

New Discussions at FGI: April 2, 2007

Work with federal government information? Get
the FGI
browser toolbar
for IE and Firefox. Over 220
people already have!

Should FGI start a podcast? Vote in our new poll
at http://freegovinfo.info/node/1037!
We looking for 50 people to give us a thumbs up or it's back to the current
awareness/promotion drawing board.

This past week was another quiet one for the Free Government Information
(http://freegovinfo.info
) volunteers and guest blogger Gary Price as they posted the following stories:

Gary's Posts:

Volunteer Posts:

This was Gary Price's last week as March 2007 Blogger of the Month (BOTM). We
were really glad to have him and are very thankful for everything he has done
this month. If you haven't already, please check out the
Resource
Shelf
and Ask.com. If you'd
like to be be a BOTM or know someone who should be, drop us a line at admin
"AT" freegovinfo.info.

We're continually on the lookout for audio/video spots promoting depositories,
government information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send
a link to your video/radio clip and we'll add it to
http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines
(http://www.bloglines.com
) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at
http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over
160 people already have.

New FGI Discussions: March 26, 2007

Work with federal government information? Get
the FGI
browser toolbar
for IE and Firefox. Over 215
people already have!

This past week was a quiet one for the Free Government Information
(http://freegovinfo.info
) volunteers and guest blogger Gary Price as they posted the following stories:

Gary's Posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're continually on the lookout for audio/video spots promoting depositories,
government information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send
a link to your video/radio clip and we'll add it to
http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines
(http://www.bloglines.com
) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at
http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over
160 people already have.

New FGI Discussions: March 19, 2007

Work with federal government information? Get the FGI browser toolbar for IE and Firefox. Over 200 people already have! This past week was a busy one for the Free Government Information (http://freegovinfo.info ) volunteers and guest blogger Gary Price as they posted the following stories: Gary's Posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're continually on the lookout for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to your video/radio clip and we'll add it to http://freegovinfo.info/video. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com ) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 160 people already have.

March 22 - RIAA will be dazed - Help this happen

Thanks to the great business communicators/music lovers over at For Immediate Release, I've become aware of a great campaign calculated to show the collective power of podcasters and lovers of independent music. Here's the idea from the Bum Rush the Charts blog:

Podcasting gets little respect from traditional media. To them we're little more than a joke, than amateurs. What they don't understand is that podcasting is more than just a delivery mechanism - it's a social movement. People are sick of the watered-down, cookie-cutter content that networks and record companies expect us to enjoy. People are tired of watching friends and loved ones get sued by record labels who only care about profits and nothing else, not even the artists they supposedly represent. We want and deserve more. On March 22, 2007, we're going to change that with your help. We can do better. We can match and exceed the reach of big media, corporate media, labels, and the entrenched interests. On March 22nd, we are going to take an indie podsafe music artist to number one on the iTunes singles charts as a demonstration of our reach to Main Street and our purchasing power to Wall Street. The track we've chosen is "Mine Again" by the band Black Lab. A band that was dropped from not just one, but two major record labels (Geffen and Sony/Epic) and in the process forced them to fight to get their own music back. We picked them because making them number one, even for just one day, will remind the RIAA record labels of what they turned their backs on - and who they ignore at their peril. What's more, we're going to take it a step beyond that. We've signed up as an affiliate of the iTunes Music Store, and every commission made on the sale of "Mine Again" will be donated to college scholarships, partly because it's a worthy cause, but also partly because college students are among the most misunderstood and underestimated groups of people by big media. Black Lab has taken it up another notch - 50% of their earnings are going to be donated to the scholarship fund as well. If you believe in the power of new media, on March 22nd, 2007, take 99 cents and 2 minutes of your time to join the revolution and make iTunes "Mine Again". If you're a content producer (blogger, podcaster, etc.), we're asking you to join up with us and help spread the word to your audience. Nothing would prove the power of new media more than showing corporate media that not only can we exceed their reach and match their purchasing power, but that we can also do it AND make a positive difference in the world. If we can succeed with this small example, then there's no telling what can do next.

I'm in. Are you? I'm even going to download iTunes again just so I can buy "Mine Again" on March 22, 2007. Will you join me? If you will, repost this message anywhere you can think of! Go to Bum Rush the Charts's blog and add them as a MySpace friend. Join the Independents! Down with Alliance Media! Learn what the heck those terms might mean!

Two VERY different takes on Second Life

They say there are two sides to every story. This time I'd like to share two very different takes on Second Life and the need to immediately drop what you're doing and grab an SL account.

First, the "Ignore this at your peril" from business communicator Neville Hobson in his recent post, Second Life: All you need is an open mind:

I make no secret that I firmly believe virtual communities like Second Life present significant opportunities for companies and other organizations in myriad ways.

Once you understand more about what’s possible and balance it with
what’s not yet possible, you will be able to make sounder judgments on whether a
place like Second Life is for you and your organization.

Either way, it’s a place you need to pay attention to...

For a take closer to my view, there's Walt Crawford, the man who needs no introduction to the library community, with his asbestos lined blog entry, Where your patrons are–or are they?:

Best estimates are that slightly less than half of SL avatars are from within the U.S. So that’s half a million, using the most optimistic numbers, or more likely around 250,000.Out of a population of over 300 million.

In other words, one-sixth of one percent of your users, using optimistic numbers.

By any reasonable standard, your users are not in Second Life. Doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t be. Just means that "that’s where our patrons are" is a poor
excuse to prioritize SL activity over much of anything else. "That’s where our patrons might be eventually, and we’d like to understand it"–that’s a decent
reason if you have spare time and no competing priorities.

I experimented with Second Life for awhile and may do so again. I think it makes sense for business people and communicators like Neville to explore this channel, especially given its upscale demographic. I respect the work of librarians and others who are exploring this medium and its implications. But I'm convinced by the math of Walt and others that most of us don't have to join Second Life Right Now. Especially when MySpace, Flickr, wikis and so many other social networking sites with tens of millions of users await.

Plus, if you're not sure which train to jump on, ask your users. Do a survey and find where your community's users are. If you do, drop me a line or leave a comment.

New Discussions at FGI: March 12, 2007

Work with federal government information? Get the FGI browser toolbar for IE and Firefox. Over 185 people already have!

This past week, March BOTM Gary Price of Resource Shelf fame blazed away with posts as the FGI volunteers worked on the Open House Project and posted these stories:

Gary's Posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're continually on the lookout for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to your video/radio clip and we'll add it to http://freegovinfo.info/video.

If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com ) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 160 people already have.

Social Bookmarking in half an hour

Don't have a clue about social bookmarking, de.lico.us, etc? Have a clue but think it's a waste of time? Try listening to Rachel Bridgewater's explanation at a half-hour Sirsi/Dynix Institute event A Little Help from your Friends: Social Bookmarking.

I listened to this presentation on my MP3 player, which I do with all SIRSI/DYNIX Institute podcasts. Even without her slides and other materials, I found it to be a both a solid introduction for beginners and a refresher for people like myself who have de.licio.us accounts but haven't done much with them.

Something Ms. Bridgewater said gave me a flash of inspiration involving de.licio.us, rss feeds and feed2js. If anything real becomes of it, I'll let you know.

The social bookmarking session is available in the Institute's archive. If you have a broadband connection, you owe to yourself to subscribe to these events and maybe even participate live. There's just no excuse for missing out on great continuing education these days.

Fred Factor author saddened by interfiling of business books

Mark Sanborn, author of the Fred Factor, has a blog. Quite a good one in my view.

He recently wrote about an experience at his local public library he called
The Business Book Section is Gone

After significant wandering in the non-fiction area, I finally asked: where is the business book section?

I was told the business books were "integrated" into the rest of the books. In layman's terms, the business books are now mixed in with everything else in lots of different places. I did not inquire as to the motive behind this move.

I'm disappointed. It was easy to find the new business books, and browse for previously overlooked finds in the business book section. But now, with no specific section, browsing is a bit more complicated and lot less fruitful."

While I think there are both pros and cons to having special sections, I thought it was important to share a customer point of view.

I hope it prompts us to ask some questions? How are we taking these kind of decisions? Is it in response to people complaining they couldn't find business books in the regular collection? Was the library finding a lot of misshelved items? Did they talk to people before changing the collection? Did they survey use of the special collection? Has use of business books risen or fallen?

What do you think? Do you have an opinion about special subject collections in public libraries? How do your customers feel?

New Discussions at FGI: March 5, 2007

Work with federal government information? Get the FGI browser toolbar for IE and Firefox. Over 175 people already have! In the past two weeks, Daniel went to the 2007 Alaska Library Association Conference while the FGI volunteers welcomed Gary Price of Resource Shelf fame as March Blogger of the Month. We also bid a fond farewell to February BOTM Chris Zammarelli. During this time Chris and the FGI (http://freegovinfo.info) volunteers found time to past this bundle of stories: Chris' Posts:

Volunteer Posts:

We're continually on the lookout for audio/video spots promoting depositories, government information or the Federal Depository Library Program. Please send a link to your video/radio clip and we'll add it to http://freegovinfo.info/video. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com ) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted. Over 160 people already have.

AkLA 2007: Embrace Customers, Abandon Victimhood

This is the last of my postings about the 2007 Alaska Library Association annual conference held February 22-25 in Juneau, Alaska. Appropriately, it is a posting about our endnote.

The talk was titled Reinventing the Customer-Centered Library: 12 new steps for 2007. The presenter was Karen Hyman (hyman AT sjrlc.org) of the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative. Believe me, you want Ms. Hyman for a conference speaker. She is the most unflappable person I have seen speak. Unfortunately her microphone kept cutting in and out, but Ms. Hyman kept in good humor the entire time and did not disparage the tech people. A model of grace in difficult circumstances.

Her content was great too. She did something I didn't think possible. Get me to accept the idea of library users as customers and not as patrons. I actually thought about titling this post "How I learned to quit worrying and use the word customer", but restrained myself.

Now maybe you've seen these two definitions side by side before, but I had not before seeing Ms Hyman's presentation:

Patron - One that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause; a sponsor or benefactor: a patron of the arts.

Customer - One that buys goods or services.

Ms. Hyman suggested that a library user was someone who has prepaid our services with their tax dollars.

This makes a lot of sense to me, especially since a minority of the users of most libraries can truly be described as protectors, champions, and sponsors. Friends' groups, sure. But not the rank and file of library users. I believe the majority are sympathetic, but champions? Maybe Subarctic Mama.

So, I'm going to try and make an effort to refer to library users as customers and see if that changes my attitude about how I promote/market library services.

The other big insight I liked, more for others than for me. Her step 5 of 12 is Abandon Victimhood. Why should we avoid victimhood? Ms. Hyman gives five reasons that make sense to me:

Victimhood...

  • Obscures facts.
  • Is powerless.
  • Is personal.
  • Saps your energy.
  • Takes you nowhere.

While I will refuse to offer specifics, I have seen victimhood in libraries and it's not pretty. But abandoning victimhood is good advice for many people and groups, including the peace and freedom movement. How much energy that could be used in education and constructive alternatives is wasted on hating the President or our current system? Too much in my view. And it's because too many in the opposition movement have made it personal.

But back to libraries. After offering 12 steps for the year, Ms. Hyman concluded with five things all of us librarians can do today:

  1. Look at the rules; get rid of most of them and restate the rest in a positive way.
  2. Look at what people want (and will want) and find ways to deliver it. Ask them and listen when they answer.
  3. "Walk through" your building and every service and fix what doesn't work for the customer.
  4. Incorporate customer service into every decision and problem-solving process.
  5. Treat every customer like a person.

So, that's the end of AkLA 2007. We're small, but we're mighty! Thanks to all of our speakers, outside and homegrown for giving us all a fantastic educational and networking opportunity. I'll hopefully see my fellow Alaskans in Fairbanks next year!

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