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Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, June 04, 2007
  SL2007: General Session
General Session
Monday, June 4, 2007
Moderator:
Eugenie Prime, Stephen Abram, Clifford Lynch
This is all paraphrased.

Q: How do we convince business leadership of the value of libraries?
A: (EP) not ppt, statistics are necessary but not sufficient
(SA) flow, talk ourselves up (why was the article hard to find, why do we think it will be the best, why is it important to read). Like the River with the Rock (like the Grand Canyon)

Q: databases emerge across the enterprise, how do we provide access… federated search? (I think I got the gist of this one)
A: (CL)

Q: How can I make my OPAC not suck… I love my OPAC but
A: (SA) like any 12 step program… our future shouldn’t revolve around the OPAC, it was built for our own needs and inventory management, not for the needs of the user. Instead of fixing the OPAC, look at what the users need and creating the user experience. Look at the engagement strategy (not Google as a model – they’re all about selling ads – look at Yahoo or MSN)
(EP) question said it sucks but I love it… doesn’t matter what you think, what do the customers need?
(SA) it’s not just about better search, it’s about improving the question (like what we do best, question negotiation in the reference interview)
(CL) I’m not sure that’s entirely true. What is the essence of the Google experience? Disagrees that it’s the simple search box. Thinks it’s the guarantee that anything you find in a search you can get to the source in one click [but not really because of the subscription journals searched]. This difference in view of the google experience has a lot to say about how we change our services.
(SA) We have to acknowledge that Google does some things very well. Who What Where – special libraries do the how and when. GS isn’t about better access to research, it’s about selling ads.

Q: Different learning, searching styles of the generations
A: (SA) not change in learning styles, change in rewards for various learning styles (such as sound, visual)… we’re now respecting a larger range of styles. We need to consciously support the various ways of delivering information.

Q: What innovation has had the greatest impact what will have… what competency
A: (CL) competencies: adaptable and curious more important than any narrow technical knowledge which will become obsolete. Need deeper knowledge about how things work.
(EP) leadership competency is more important… Lee Iacocca (sp?) 5 C’s.

Q: How do we go about feeling the love
A: No magic bullet…

Q: (missed) problem about no wanting to collaborate because I want to shine
A: (CL) elaborate webs of collaboration…competing teams, not competing individuals
(EP) Genome project
(SA) difficulty in information sharing and transparency
(CL) pre-competitive data (Genome is a good example). What makes sense to share in a corporation?

Q: Lack of business acumen and respect for the bottom of line is resulting in offshoring of research, etc.
A: (EP) comes back to leadership, leadership from the bottom. Right attitude and confidence in what we have to offer and courage to act on our convictions.

Q: What are the best ways to find out what the users need, why do the things we try fail? How do we become user centered
A: (SA) We evaluate the first time we iterate… you’re not a freakin’ genius…whatever happened to Chanel no.1? Look at a toddler, what a lousy attempt? (need to iterate and fix and not just evaluate the first try and stop).
Use persona, ethnographic other techniques to understand our users and their contexts, they’re not like us.

Q: What should sla do?
A: (EP) the org should do what the individual can’t do for themselves… we have to speak to the business leaders where they are.
(SA) learning laboratory (sandbox) to allow members to play and learn by doing in a risk free environment. Can we promote librarians as being competent in this area.
Room 202 … populate the web virally with reports of the value we provide to the organization…testimonials… the faces of sla. We need to learn these and learn how to adapt them for our own environments.
(CL) maybe we should be thinking more broadly of information competencies in larger organizations (not in libraries) like CIO positions – information is a critical part of the organization. Where do these skills fit into organizations?
(EP) value of the profession to the organization.
---
Comments:
A lot of this doesn’t really seem new, but like SA said, we need to keep up the push to wear away the stone. We will be marketing forever, and will never be there. I also think it’s great to keep the no magic bullet mantra in our heads.

Some other things from him: we need to design and then iterate, don’t expect it to be perfect on the first try.

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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 Kirk Pikas

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