As usual, we’ve been scooped by our own colleagues and others, but it’s not too late to give our new colleague Roy Tennant a warm welcome to RLG Programs. This is not the first time I’ve worked with Roy — we worked together in the UC Berkeley Libraries, where we had many, um, passionate and spirited discussions about all sorts of things. Since then, we’ve worked in related areas and stayed in touch and I’m thrilled that Roy is joining our team. I look forward to more boisterous discussions in the near future!
Archive for April, 2007
Frequent readers of hangingtogether may remember the comment from my WebWise blog that I had wished to hear more from keynote speaker Elizabeth Broun on how the Smithsonian America Art Museum plans to reach their audience where they already gather, rather than wait for them to come to the museum website. Now I’ve gotten my fix – Shelley Bernstein and Nicole Caruth from the Brooklyn Museum delivered a compelling paper during M&W about how their institution has engaged with Flickr, MySpace and the like. Although Shelley probably wouldn’t be quite satisfied with my use of the word “engage.” She pointed out that you can’t fake being part of a social networking site – you have to “live it,” and live it they do in Brooklyn.
What I found so compelling about Brooklyn’s move into Web2.0: by posting sets of images on Flickr or creating a profile on MySpace, the museum has taken the risk of giving up a certain level of control over their material and the kind of discussion which would ensue around it, and I felt gratified to see that the rewards for taking that risk were bountiful. Check out some of the comments the Brooklyn Museum’s Flickr and MySpace presence have elicited, and it becomes obvious that they have managed to build up the kind of street credibility that cash spent on PR and advertisement rarely can buy. Also apparent from the comments (and from the website statistics, as Nicole and Shelley pointed out): this presence translates into virtual and real-life visitorship, one of the easier to use metrics for community engagement.
In a way, the kinds of aggregations of digital resources for teaching and learning that I spend a lot of my time thinking about have a very similar function to Flickr and MySpace – they need to be compelling enough to aggregate people (eyeballs) as much as they need to aggregate the materials themselves. During M&W, I participated in a mini-workshop called “Digital Images Online: Meeting the needs of Educators,” where we heard from Diane Harley and David Green about their studies on the use of digital content in university classrooms. One of the findings (in my own words): the aggregations we as a cultural heritage community have built in terms of visual resources are by and large not yet compelling enough for faculty to use – they’d rather turn to the biggest aggregation of them all (Google) to be satisficed. Just as the Brooklyn Museum has figured out how to use the eyeballs Flickr and MySpace aggregates, we need a more consistent mechanism to do the same for digitized collections content in the search engines. I’ll talk a little bit about that during the upcoming ARLIS conference on a panel called “The evolving data standards landscape: leading the way to integrated access,” where I speculate about what we can learn from the presence of aggregated library content in Google search results.
The final agenda for the RLG Programs 2007 Annual Partners Meeting was posted to our website just this week. It’s a great program, and includes a half day to hang out with RLG program officers and OCLC research scientists and talk about our plan of work (kind of like office hours). There will be two keynote talks — Dylan Tweney, News Editor for Wired Magazine, and Tim Burke, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Swarthmore College.
Professor Burke was recently a featured speaker at the Bibliographic Control Working Group meeting on “use and users” last month. Karen Coyle has an excellent summary of Burke’s talk, and I recommend it to you (as G√ľnter has previously). I was going to blog about this meeting, but it was so well covered elsewhere, I couldn’t bring myself to write about it myself.
We’ll also have a panel on one of our program areas, shared print. I wrote a little about shared print the other day, and was reminded that we have quite a bit about our shared print program on our website.
The meeting will be June 4th and 5th. Please plan to come and register. More information about the meeting (who should attend, background information) is here.
As I mentioned previously, a few of us visited UCLA. We had a great day talking to staff about our work agenda. We had a very good meeting with with the UCLA Digital Library Program team and got a tour of the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF).
The Digital Library team is lean and agile; they see their role as a catalyst rather than controlling the entire process. I was happy to learn that on the description side, they are integrated with the cataloging unit, rather working in two siloed units.
At SRLF, Colleen Carlton gave us a view into UC Open Content Alliance participation and also their JSTOR print archive project. One surprise (too me, anyhow) was that many journal volumes from the larger and older UC campuses were rejected as not being up to snuff for the project. Why? Volumes were too worn or too damaged to be of use in the dim archive. If this is generally true, it makes me wonder about the future of shared print. One would assume that a shared print collection would be comprised of the holdings of larger, older libraries, with some contributions from younger, newer libraries. However, my visit to UCLA made me think that the opposite might be true.
I also have begun to wonder about the nature of shared print. JSTOR offers a model for a “dim” archive, where volumes are held to be fallen back upon in case of emergency. Will shared print collections have this characteristic as well? Or will there be two layers, a circulating shared collection and a “dim” shared collection to fall back on?
Here’s a photo of SRLF that Jim took with his Blackberry. It was a cool (literally!) place to visit.
The Google-buys-OCLC blogs have been real crowd pleasers, and I assure you it’ll be one of the better 15 minutes of your Monday morning if you point your browser at the following links to check out the scenarios:
Jenn Levine started it all bright & early (Posted on 04/01/2007 at 06:24:07 AM).
Andrew Pace even has screenshots of new products, plus soundbites.
And, not to be outdone, Karen Schneider does the in-depth analysis.
Lorcan frequently blogs and speaks about libraries and librarians getting in the flow, inserting themselves and materials where users are (rather than hoping that users will find materials in the library or in the library catalog).
Google seems to have picked up on this idea and suggests some interesting new directions.