Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
  Going to SLA2005
As many who read this already know.

I'll be posting here and at the dPAM blog. My tentative calendar is there in the box on the right hand side of this page. I also plan to hit the Sci/Tech suite as much as possible.

Monday, May 23, 2005
  So, I'm playing with this new Feedster tag thingie..
...only I don't actually know how it works or what it's for. In general, it's kind of a way to post-annotate a blog posting. It was linked to by M2M.

Here's the script developed by Scott Rafer (found here):

 [open]form name="tags" method="get" action="http://bookmarks.feedster.com/submit.php"[close]
[open]input type="text" name="tags" size="15"[close]
[open]script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" [close]
document.write('[open]input type="hidden" name="uri" value="');
[open]input type="submit" value="Tag this"[close]
Substitute a greater than or less than sign as appropriate for [open] and [close].

If you're using blogger, put the macro in for your uri value (IOW, put something that looks like <$ > in). If you don't do that, all of the tags apply to your whole blog. It doesn't look like it takes phrases, even in quotes. Maybe use wiki words?

This is closer to the bleeding edge than I normally ride but why not. It's Monday and the world is new.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
  NY Times Circuits: New Windows Sneak Peak
Column from David Pogue. Received in e-mail 5/19/05. (free reg. req.)

The idea of 'stacks' has been kicking around system-software seminars for years, but it looks like Longhorn will bring them to the masses. It's another icon view, in which your documents look like they're piled up in literal piles of paper; the taller the stack, the more stuff is in there.
Thanks to a radically different set of sorting criteria, you can define how your stuff is sorted into stacks: chronologically, by author, by keyword, and so on. (Note to the technical: In other words, Windows is about to go metadata-crazy. You can apply keywords to your documents right in a folder window, using a collapsible list of keywords at the left side. And you can edit other kinds of metadata — date, author, keyword, music genre, and so on — in a panel at the bottom of the window.)
(emphasis mine)

Way cool. One of the things I learned from KFTF researcher William Jones at the PIM class at ASIST last year is that some people do better at keeping found things found by using piles instead of filing. Sometimes we think that we need to binge organize and put everything away (a place for everything and everything in its place). For some people this really doesn't work -- they do better with more visual arrays of documents or physical piles. So stacks, huh? Cool!

Another thing from the quote above... metadata? We'll be able to tag our documents for retrieval? And from elsewhere in the review, better desktop search!

Usually many of the ideas in the prototypes don't make it through to the final versions so don't get too excited. Oh, too late, I'm excited!

updated with typos removed
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
  Weblogs as "conversational technologies" to support CoP
I happened on the following article while looking for something else in ABI/Inform (I love ABI/Inform and can't wait until they have search alert feeds -- I'm already sub'd to some of the general feeds)

Wagner, Christian and Narasimha Bolloju. "Supporting Knowledge Management in Organizations With Conversational Technologies: Discussion Forums, Weblogs, and Wikis." Journal of Database Management 16, no. 2 (2005): i-viii. (permalink for ABI via PQ subscribers)

This article discusses the various flavors of communities of practice (CoP) and how different "conversational technologies" are required to support each type of CoP. Conversational technologies are fora or other media that support knowledge exchange and extraction for knowledge transfer (p. ii). This goes along with Efimova's distributed apprenticeship model. The authors quickly mention cognitive constructivism and social constructivism as benefits of the conversational technologies. (I recently saw something about meta-cognition used in the same sense in one of the currently-not-loading pages about SSAW). The authors go on to say that a successful conversational system will "capture and represent conversations and has to accommodate contextualization, search, and community" (p. ii).

The authors also emphasize the storytelling aspect of blogs and explain why they work better for innovation CoP while fora work for help and wikis work for best practice. So, if you need to make a business case for internal blogs for (P)KM (when you already have a SharePoint site or internal listservs) -- here you go!
Monday, May 16, 2005
  SLA 2005 Conference Blog
SLA has started a conference blog for the upcoming conference in Toronto. I should also mention that the dPAM blog is now registering contributors (PAM members only)
Updated to add tag and dpam link.

Thursday, May 12, 2005
  JHMI Emerging Technologies Lecture Series: Using Blogs for Information Management
I will be giving this lecture at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in East Baltimore. If you're in the Baltimore, Maryland area, feel free to drop in.

Using Blogs for Information Management
June 29
Christina Pikas, MLS
Noon - 1 pm
Mountcastle Auditorium, PCTB

Blogs are simply web pages with reverse chronologically arranged collections of individual posts. What makes them new and unique is their ability to organize and share your information without requiring burdensome programming, specialized technical knowledge, or expensive “solutions”. It is easy to add information -- as simple as sending an e-mail or filling out a form on the web. Blogs may belong to an individual or to a group. They may be on the internet, on an intranet, or protected by password.

This lecture will define blogs and provide a basic introduction to blog software, structure, and blogging practice. The benefits of collaborative blogs and individual blogs for researchers in science, technology, and medical settings will all be discussed.

The other lectures announced are on RSS and open software.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
  Common Craft: Wiki This- A Model for Customer Support Using Blogs and Wikis
Pointed out by Library Clips and CorporateBloggingBlog.(it took two notices for me to get this)

In a nutshell -- the author's point is that because of the forced chronological arrangement and interaction via comments of the blog, it's not good for longterm reference or best practices because the valuable nuggets get buried. Blogs are good for near realtime tracking of customer issues or other "emerging information." The author suggests human filtering (or cherry picking?) to pull these nuggets off of blogs and place them in a wiki structure for future reference.

So here's my original part. For libraries. Just about all libraries make pathfinders or resource guides. We know that they are actually seldom used and when they are used they are primarily used by other librarians. There's the idea of guided resource modules -- task related resource guides -- but I'm not sure how popular they are, either. Add this to the logs, databases, or lists that a lot of special libraries keep of information requests.

Why not have a cherry picker or filter who takes good/tough/rare questions from these logs or databases, and adds them to a FAQ wiki, under hierarchical subject headings, in place of resource guides? This would have to be searchable -- from everywhere. If you put a search in on the library's home page, or lists of databases, or journals -- there it is. Even better, if your org has communities of practice wikis or portals or project wikis, answer the question on the customer's wiki.

Update (later that same day): What about all of the absolutely wonderful information found on the library listservs like CHEM-INF? Yes, you can search the archives, but wouldn't it be nice to have a wiki for all the listserv members so when an issue is sorted out and a final summary post is made, a wiki page can be updated to list the best resources for the question and even the answer. Hmmmm.
Monday, May 02, 2005
  Knowledge-at-work: KM in the library
(rant forthcoming...) ARGH! This post got me so mad I just had to post my response here on my rant as well as leaving it in the comments section.

DG thinks that libraries:
1) are only worried about "things" and physical collections
2) are big into inventory
3) only add value by organization

That is so... what? 70s? 80s? Never?

His ideas at improving libraries:
1) provide alerts
2) keep usage statistics
3) involve the users in the selection of materials
4) library as place

DUH! When was the last time he was in a library? Of course we do all of this.

So here's my response:
Your mythical library folk do not reflect the views or activities of most professional librarians.

We actively involve our customers (no, we don't call them patrons anymore).

We believe in the library as place (meeting rooms and group areas to support collaboration, programs and events to build networks...)

We have vibrant, customizable portals and personalized services for our customers. These include blogs, feeds, e-mail alerts, sharepoint spaces.

We are out in our communities, offering services where and when needed.

We do environmental scanning for our customers and suggest items of interest to them.

The collections are our foundation. The place we jump off *from*. Our services are what we offer.

Too strong? I do still believe in being an intermediary and I see nothing wrong with that. I guess I feel better now.

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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