I love it…a library pushing people and conversation, not artifacts and buildings. You rock Edmonton:
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I’ve done a quick screencast of the companion website and iPad app I’m working on for the forthcoming Atlas of New Librarianship. Please be kind, it is very much a work in progress:
A sneak peek at the coming web and iPad companions to the Atlas of New Librarianship.
For new readers of my blog, my new book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, is being co-published by MIT Press and ACRL this spring. You can follow the links in this post to more about the content of the book. This post is to give folks an update on where we are in production.
First, we have a cover! If you are reading this post, you are seeing it.
Secondly, we have a date! The book is being launched at the ACRL 2011 (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/national/2011/). It then will be on sell starting in April.
Thirdly, work has started on a series of Atlas companion pieces like a website and iPad app. To keep up and ask questions feel free to follow along at http://newlibrarianship.org. Half of the book will be available full text, plus places to keep evolving and discussing the Atlas and New Librarianship, plus new indexes and video. You can also join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=169908193049267. Both of these spaces are still very much a work in progress, so don’t expect too much life until March.
Lastly, a special shout out to MIT Press and ACRL. This is going to be a beautiful book 10″x10″ full color with a pull out poster/map and only $55 at about 500 pages. Also a special thanks to the literally hundreds of librarians that have been part of the process and ideas in the Atlas.
We’ve also already gotten some nice reviews:
“Deep thinking, beyond brands, down to the core concepts and competencies that define librarianship. Lankes creates thoroughly described verbal and visual explanations of the relationships between the many disparate parts that make up our professional whole.”
—Jessamyn West, community technology librarian, blogger, and creator of librarian.net
“The Atlas is not a book; it is a manifesto, a set of principles and convictions aimed at shaking new life and belief into a field that too often fears for its own future. Read it and be prepared to act.”
—Andrew Dillon, Dean and Louis T. Yule Regents Professor of Information, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
So feel free to follow along and take a look at the MIT Press page for the book.
One of the great joys I have is visiting with very cool librarians. I got that chance in Delaware last week. The State Library is kicking off a stimulus broadband project with the Gates Foundation; public libraries around the state; state agencies in workforce development, adult education and volunteer services; and businesses.
During the kickoff Maureen Whelan, State Director of Adult Education showed the following graph (explanation after the picture) that is simply chilling:
Those red dots are folks 45-54 that have a high school degree. The green dots are folks 25-34 with a high school degree. All of these are arranged by country. Now the chilling part. If you look across the graph note the one big difference with the United States. It is the only country listed where the red dot is above the green dot…the only country where the older generation has more education than the younger generation. The parents are more educated than the children.
Now I realize there are many factors here…as a country we have a lot of folks with high school degrees already for example (hence while Germany is close to even), but there is still a long way to go to 100% of the population has at least a high school diploma.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about grand challenges recently – big complex goals that are hard to achieve, but can have major positive impacts on society. How we educate ourselves is clearly one and librarians have a huge role to play.
For more on this graph: http://www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/content/nchemspresentation.pdf
“Libraries and Broadband: Forging a New Social Compact” Delaware Library BTOP Launch, Newark, DE.
Abstract: The time for introspection is done. The time for trivia is done. The time for looking for the future of libraries in catalogs, and strategic plans is done. The needs of our communities is too great, and our promise for improvement to large. Our families worry about jobs and the ability to fight their way into a shrinking middle class. Our education system is broken – students unable to learn, or drowning under crushing debt. Our system of government increasingly polarized, our appetites for energy unsustainable, and the very memory of our society eroding behind walls of commerce and false scarcity and obsolescence. These then are among our grand challenges.
And I know what you are thinking. I know that tomorrow you’ll be dealing with broken printers, and shelving backlogs, and the rising costs of subscriptions. But you must look up. You must never make what you do replace why you do it. And if you can’t link broken printers and shelving to the grand challenges of our society, then you ought to ask why you are doing them. We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it!
For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action. This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/Delaware-Lankes.pdf
DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 6 January 2011—The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $350,000 to fund researchers and developers from OCLC, the information schools of Syracuse University and the University of Washington and Zepheira LLC to continue work creating a more credible Web search experience based on the unique expertise, services and input from librarians worldwide.
The goal of the Reference Extract project is to make it easy to find credible information in the digital age. Researchers and developers are expected to have initial practical analysis and models of this “credibility engine” to share with the community in early 2011. Details of this work can be found through the Reference Extract home page at http://www.referencextract.org/.
Reference Extract is designed to capture Web site URLs and references that librarians and other experts use in answering questions. This information, including data used to determine the most credible resources, is harvested, processed and then made available through a variety of Web environments. For example, Reference Extract will use a Web-based architecture that allows information to be embedded into existing and new Web sites and applications.
The Reference Extract system links the questions of users to Web sites referenced by librarians and other experts as well as to the resources used to answer the questions. This approach varies from traditional Web search engines that represent only a single type of relationship—a Web page that points to another Web page. Reference Extract adds another relationship—linking to resources that librarians and experts point to and use.
“The best search engines are great for basic search, but sometimes the Web site results lack credibility in terms of trust, accuracy and reliability. So, who can help? Librarians,” said Dr. Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington and a lead on the project. “If a librarian recommends a Web site, you can be pretty sure that it’s credible. Reference Extract will take hundreds of thousands of librarian recommendations and use them to help indicate to end users which site is credible. We’re extremely fortunate to have the MacArthur Foundation’s support bringing together the right team to start to actively develop and showcase this work.”
Zepheira, a professional services organization with extensive expertise in Semantic Web standards, Linked Data principles, Web architecture and collaborative solutions, is working with OCLC, Syracuse and Washington to create the piece of Internet architecture that will make it easy to embed credible information in Web-based experiences.
“The computational machinery behind the Web is today somewhat like a small child in a shopping mall; it has no mechanism for distinguishing what sources of information to trust,” said Eric Miller, President of Zepheira. “Building a general architecture that makes it easy to re-use credible information on the Web is one thing; populating this architecture with trustworthy information is another. Building upon librarians’ expertise and existing virtual reference service offerings is a powerful way of offering new means for accessing credible information in a range of different online experiences.”
Reference Extract leaders say the project will work best if the entire library community gets involved to create a Web-scale effort to support this cooperative innovation. QuestionPoint, the OCLC virtual reference service supported by a global network of cooperating libraries and an infrastructure of software tools and communications, offers a starting point for building the service. QuestionPoint has more than 6 million reference transactions collected in a central knowledge resource and more than 10,000 librarians worldwide participating collaboratively to test the principles and impact of such a dynamic utility.
“The only way this will work is by making a project of an entire community,” said Dr. R. David Lankes, Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. “Web searchers get to tap into the incredible skill and knowledge of the library community, while librarians will be able to serve users on a whole new scale.”
In November 2008, the planning and research phase of Reference Extract began through a $100,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation has continued to fund the project for the pilot development phase. Reference Extract work follows on previous credibility work supported by the MacArthur Foundation, most notably the Credibility Commons.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is available at www.macfound.org.
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University
The School of Information Studies is The Original Information School in the nation. It is a leading center for innovative programs in information policy, information behavior, information management, information systems, information technology and information services. The nationally ranked school (U.S. News and World Report) has professional degree programs at the undergraduate and master’s levels and a research degree at the doctoral level. The school offers its master’s programs in campus and distance learning formats. For more information, visit www.ischool.syr.edu/about/.
The University of Washington Information School
Each year, the world creates more than 161 exabytes of new information—enough to fill 2 billion 80GB iPods. So much information can be overwhelming. Rigorous study of the users and uses of information conducted at the UW Information School helps answer important questions. By tackling key social and technical problems in the information field, the UW iSchool has become an important link between users of information and designers of information systems, connecting society with the information it needs. For more information, visit www.ischool.washington.edu/.
Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world’s largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search WorldCat on the Web at www.worldcat.org. For more information, visit the OCLC Web site.
Zepheira is a US-based professional services firm comprising leaders in web architecture, semantic web standards, and linked data principles used to achieve integration of data stored in multiple systems and formats across organizations. Zepheira experts have a long history of leading Internet standards initiatives and delivering solutions founded in open standards and open source software. These solutions apply social computing principles and focus on allowing communities to collaborate around the analysis and curation of their data. Zepheira’s solutions benefit a broad range of industries including memory organizations, manufacturing, financial services, medical research and life sciences. The company is privately held and has offices in Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. For more information, visit: http://zepheira.com.
A year ago I wrote about resolving to make 2010 the year of the librarian. I think we did a pretty good job. I talk to more and more librarians who feel, as I do, that the tide of self-loathing and questioning our future is (slowly) subsiding. It is being replaced by a sense of cautious optimism that libraries and librarians will continue. The very real fear remains that there may not be as many of either, or that budgets will continue to be cuts to be sure. But the more existential crisis seems to be settling. The question of “will there be librarians” is being replaced by “what will we do in the years and decades to come?”
Some focus on the tools we will use (“what is the impact on libraries of ebooks?”), some focus on the skills we will need. Still others, like me, focus on why we do what we do (it’s all about learning).
In the coming year you will hear many ideas and “certainties” about our future, and our needs. You will hear the inevitable backlash and conservatism of those who fear change. You will read blogs and tweets and Facebook updates full or quotes and links and videos. Some things will scare us, some appall us, and some inspire. But if all you do is hear them, or watch them, or read them, then we all have failed – both the progressives, and the conservatives. For words, images, and all the media in the world that does not lead to action is useless.
The true test of the future of librarianship is not in my presentations, or the words I write, but in the actions I perform and enable. Inspiration without execution is a false drug – it deludes us into thinking ourselves involved.
If all I do is preach and then return to my ivory tower, then I am a fraud. And Ii you hear my words and yell “amen,” but do nothing then you too are a fraud. Agree, disagree, yell, fight, prove me wrong, prove me right, try something else just do something.
If there is anything that this past year has shown us it is that there is a bright future for librarians, but it will not be delivered to us. We break usage records and they cut our budgets. We show up in the newspapers and on TV and some still question our value. No, we cannot simply continuing our current path and expect salvation and restored budgets. We must act – change – improve.
So here is our resolution for this year – act. Make one positive change every day. Start small: fix the signs in your library. Start small: enforce a 30 minute time limit on all meetings. Start small: replace fines with food donations for the needy. Then get bigger: read 10 blogs each day. Then get brave: map every service you spend money on to the needs of your community – kill any service that doesn’t map. Get brave: leave your buildings on a regular basis for a space in the community.
Then get active: start your website from scratch, and center it on the members not your stuff; convene a town meeting with your members. Start a community mentoring program where you loan out professors, and hackers, and accountants, and lawyers. Then hunt down every post on my blog, or that of the Annoyed Librarian and tell us where we are wrong or right.
If 2010 was the year of the librarian, then let’s make this the year of the librarian in your face. The librarian proactively helping members. The librarian holding administration to account. The librarian demanding more from LIS education. The librarian on a first name basis with the business community. The librarian doing office hours in academic departments. The librarian in the face of their community always helpful, always pleasant, always a radical agent of positive change.