Archive for June, 2012

VIAFipedia

Friday, June 29th, 2012 by Max

“VIAF integration into Wikipedia” was the cry I kept on hear repetitively when I first joined OCLC as Wikipedian in Residence. It took a moment to realize though that I was hearing the sentiment so often because it was both Wikipedians and Librarians alike that were advocating for the integration.

Watch the video for an overview of the project:

Now the collaboration to edit 250,000 Wikipedia pages is growing closer. With data and permissions obtained from OCLC and VIAF, Wikipedia community approval is all that remains. After a warm reception at the Wikipedia Village Pump, the next step of the process commences – sitewide Request for Comment. It’s requested, so you may as well comment on this Authority control integration proposal.

Libraries Rebound: space as distinctive asset

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 by Merrilee

This is the penultimate posting summarizing Libraries Rebound. This posting covers the rich session which looked at the various way that leading libraries are using space as an asset for creating and leveraging partnerships on campus.

Sarah Pritchard from Northwestern University addressed political aspects of leveraging library space as asset, especially in an era where all too often there is a conception that in our increasingly digital world, there is no longer a need for library space (“hasn’t everything been digitized yet?”). However, there is a leadership role for the library to play here, making the case for library services that put campus goals, not library goals, at the center. This understanding of how to build political advantage is key to getting money for space needs. So if a new university president comes in with a new strategic direction for the campus, be sure that library space needs mirror that plan. Sarah also emphasized the importance of having a well thought out master plan before moving forward; “It’s far better to have a plan and no money, then money and no plan.” A plan that incorporates a number of smaller projects can maintain a sense of progress; Sarah cautions that it can be difficult to “motivate the love” for redoing a large building, and it may be more savvy to focus on which parts of the plan are achievable and high priority (for example, point-of-service centers, located strategically in key locations). Library space can be used as a carrot in creating partnerships on campus. If you are a good partner, funds may be freed up for building projects more readily. The good news is that space projects can leverage all sorts of funding: campus funding, estate funding, and philanthropy. Weird as it may seem “code violations can be your friend.” Violations may qualify you to tap into special funds for improvements, so keep up with changes in local codes. Final words of advice: change requires data, politics, and money. Without all three, your chances for success are diminished. And echoing the services theme, “Emphasize the librarian not the library.”

Shawna Sadler’s talk was based on her experiences with the recently built Taylor Family Digital Library at the University of Calgary. The TFDL is a LAMP: Library, Archive, Museum, Press (all under one roof). Before breaking ground on the building key words used discussion with architects included: agile (i.e. reconfigurable), contemporary, inspiring, and innovative. Some outcomes of developing an agile space include having a subfloor for power and data, and movable walls, both of which allow for flexibility going forward. Power and wireless are so essential that Calgary put a lot of thought into making both very easy to get to. For example, electrical sockets are built into furniture (so you don’t need to crawl around to plug in) and wireless was carefully configured so that it worked well throughout the building (who knew that books and bookcases absorb the signal?). Work surfaces are optimized for mobile devices — 1.5 inches lower than usual. Furniture is mobile (and moves around frequently as students reconfigure the space to work for them). When you provide a fantastic workspace, students and others are reluctant to get up, for fear of losing their spot. So reference librarians have been equipped for mobile reference with iPads. The TFLD enables collaborative work through a range of shared workspaces, editing rooms, practice rooms – all with enviable tech bells and whistles.

Wayne Gehrke and Andrea Will from Group 4 Architecture rounded out the session with the architect’s view of the planning process for new and improved buildings. They started by emphasizing, “if you don’t plan your library someone else will.” Much is made of the economic down turn, but recognizing that there is a cycle liberates you to take advantage of “down” cycles to do space planning; even thought it doesn’t seem like it, there will be an “up” and with funding in hand, you can execute on plan. The planning stage presents a great opportunity to think about new and existing programs, and to develop new partnerships. This is also time to get staff out of the building and to help facilitate new ideas, understanding emerging trends. This is also a time to engage students, faculty, and other stakeholders who can help build the story. Where do they do work and how?

Our responder panel included Chris Banks (University of Aberdeen); Simon Neame (University of British Columbia), and Lorelei Tanji (University of California, Irvine).

Chris spoke about her own new library. (You can see photos of the building in this Flickr group, although I don’t think photos do the building justice). Chris reinforced the importance of planning, saying building projects require a “passion for process.” The new Aberdeen library has generated increased use (both reflected in increased footfall and circulation) but she attributes this not only to the new building, but a new integrated discovery layer which was introduced at the same time. A positive outcome of the new building and related efforts? Chris has received reports from faculty in different departments that the quality of citation has increased since opening of new library and introduction of improved services.

Simon said that although space represents a huge opportunity, students on his campus still value traditional spaces. At UBC the building is officially the “learning center” but students still refer to it as the library, even though it has few books. Space planning is a good time to reconsider traditional library spaces and services. Finally, how to assess the success of buildings? Footfall is not the best metric.

Lorelei provided a contrast to other speakers, as UC Irvine is at the beginning of their building planning process. Irvine has many collaborative opportunities — with the writing center, campus IT and student outreach. Lorelie talked about Irvine’s efforts to both use and monitor social media to market libraries and measure reactions. Today’s students are part of the “verge generation” and are very at ease with sharing their experiences. Monitoring social media can be like a focus group on the library every day.

Other takeaways from the space discussion:

Collecting data to manage workflows is more important than design. – Sarah Pritchard

The future of research libraries is working with niche technology. –Simon Neame

Proposals should be clear to those external to the organization — “do not make the user figure out your internal organizational structure.” – Sarah Pritchard

Moves help to create change in research libraries because they allow staff to let go of stuff (not just paper) – Chris Banks

We’ll be back with a final post summarizing the main takeaways from the meeting and the discussion!

Linked Data – for the enlightened non-geek reader (or dummies) (or managers)

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by Jim

OCLC had some big announcements about linked data this past week. My colleagues, Roy Tennant and Richard Wallis, both have good blog posts (Roy’s) (Richard’s) explaining the what and the why of making WorldCat data available in a linked data format. The announcements got nice press and supportive criticism from people like Ed Chamberlain and Adrian Pohl.

It also caused folks to wonder if I could explain linked data to them.

Nope.

There are, however, some very brief, very elementary explanations out there that ought to do the job for this interested but non-nerd audience.

I recommend these brief videos which convey the rudiments about RDFa, JSON and Linked Data. The fellow who did them has a nice manner, charms with his hand-drawn flash cards and gives you enough while steering around the usual avalanche of angle brackets that characterize other explanations. Plus the videos share the same introductory stuff so you can slide forward on the subsequent videos. (to Bruce Washburn and Jeff Young)

For something slicker and a bit more substantial try A skim-read introduction to linked data by two of the technologists in the BBC Research and Development Group. Toggle between the slide view and the continuous scroll view if you’re impatient.

And if you need parables you could try this post Linked Data for Dummies or A dummy’s introduction to linked data (me being the dummy).

And if you insist on a use case here’s the oldest and best – Use of Semantic Web Technologies on the BBC Web Sites

The ‘enlightened non-geek reader’ phrase draws on a comment made to me by Chet Grycz when he was at the University of California Press. He used to talk about ENSORs saying that all university press people believed in these mythical creatures. Press people were confident that were lots of ENSORs out in the wild but in fact no press person had ever had a personal encounter with one. Okay, Chet, what’s an ENSOR? An Enlightened Non-Scholarly Reader. ;)

Update 8 August 2012 OCLC just released a video explaining linked data on our YouTube channel. It’s quite good, very informative and graphically rich. If you’re motivated to understand the basics, want to know why this is important to libraries, and how linked data will make a difference then this will reward the approximately fifteen minutes it takes to view.

Libraries Rebound: Special collections and institutional mission

Monday, June 25th, 2012 by Merrilee

Continuing with our series on Libraries Rebound, we’ll now look at the session on special collections and institutional mission. Here we asked speakers to talk about how custodians of rare and unique materials are emphasizing engagement with the mission of their parent institution.

Tim Pyatt from Penn State University spoke about assessing special collections, and aligning with institutional mission. He described a recent assessment exercise as an opportunity to correct alignment challenges — at Penn State (as elsewhere) special collections have been opportunistically built, are underpinned by dedicated or inflexible endowments. To cast a fresh look on the historic base collection, the library dean charged a task force. The task force includes a mix of librarians (none from special collections) and faculty. The project is ongoing, but there already have been positive outcomes. The group has identified collection gaps, and established a policy for deaccessioning materials. Another benefit of a process that included “outsiders” is that there is now more potential for integrating with the “main” library. Special collections also benefits from having gained buy-in from others on campus.

Lisa Carter from Ohio State University told us that distinctive collections are relative to impact; special collection are less about what you have and more about what you do (or better, someone else does) with them. Special collections are certainly embedded at OSU in various ways (providing consultation, presenting in classes, etc.) but it can be difficult to quantify the impact of outreach. Ohio State is undertaking a more formal assessment of their collections, using a slightly tweaked version of the PACSCL survey tool. Measuring the impact of special collections is difficult, because there are few community metrics (Lisa mentioned that RBMS has a new task force on metrics and assessment). She made the point that it is important to connect to the library and campus strategic plans. (I’m pleased that in their discussions about collections assessment, Tim and Lisa both referred to our report, Taking Stock and Making Hay: Archival Collections Assessment).)

Fran Blouin from the University of Michigan talked about how special collections can better serve the campus mission, starting with university archives. As the information structure of the university is changing, there is a frightening absence of retention policies; this lack of organization, the pressure to shred instead of save, and personal storage of official material have all lead to chaos, and created challenges around creation, retention, storage, retrieval, and use of born digital collections. Clearly, university archives need to be integrated in the information flow but the library, let alone university archives are seldom involved in decisions about records creation systems. The university archive should be the center for institutional memory and should be elevated out of libraries and special collections so that they can integrate into the institutional information flow. (Blouin has made this argument for a few years now and I previously blogged about it here). There is an opportunity to develop programs based on collections, rather than building collections to support programs; in this model, the library shifts from a service unit to a partner.

We closed this session with our reactor panel Matt Reynolds (East Carolina University), Rachel Hart (University of St Andrews),
and Steven Mandeville-Gamble (George Washington University). Matt started out by saying that there is a need to get across that Special Collections are not only for the “elite researcher” — it’s important to assert special collections into undergrad curricula early. East Carolina works hard to connect collections with experience – for example, digitizing campus newspapers has been a project that appeals to students. Rachel spoke about using university archives and the record of 500th anniversary to provide an outline for current 600th anniversary celebration (this generated murmurs from those in the audience at institutions that had not yet celebrated 100 years). Steven talked about deassessioning materials no longer relevant to academic programs. At GWU the practice of tying collections to programs has resulting in the creation of new (and endowed) programs on campus. Success with fundraising for special collections has in itself raised the Library’s profile on campus.

The discussion session raised some interesting topics: the challenge of documenting communities that don’t use traditional documentation methods. There was also a debate about collecting tied to larger institutional priorities versus collecting broadly for the long term, with viewpoints aired on both sides. One note on the usefulness of special collections: if they are not being used, it is our job to make them useful and find connections. Sarah Pritchard noted that we need to make the case for long-term commitment to cultural heritage and get buy-in, while Fran Blouin countered that this can be a difficult sale without the materials having a connection to mission. Steven Mandeville-Gamble said that one of our problems with metrics is that, we don’t (often) ask ourselves what success looks like.

The slides from Libraries Rebound have been posted in their appropriate spots on the meeting agenda; we will let you know when the video from the sessions is also up. We’ll continue soon with a posting on the space session.

Where can I buy clomid online? Let’s purchase xenical drug!

Wikipedia, Libraries and Archives: Washington, D.C. July 11th

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 by Merrilee

Just a quick note to alert you to a meeting between Wikipedians and librarians/archivists at Wikimania in Washington, D.C. We’ll be taking a look “behind the secret door” of Wikipedia (lead by our own Wikipedian in Residence, Max Klein) as well as hearing from both sides of library/archive Wikipedia partnerships: I’m pleased that here we will be joined by Wikipedian Q Miceli, former Technical Services student worker at Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University as well as information professional Karen Weiss, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Q and Karen will share their experiences and perspectives on partnership. We will also have a discussion about potential for more and deeper collaboration between Wikipedia and libraries/archives.

For more information, check out the agenda on line and sign up if you are interested in attending. All are welcome so please join us!

[I will be back to blogging about Libraries Rebound soon, so stay tuned!]

Two Huge Linked Data Announcements

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 by Roy

This week we have announced two major initiatives that are now providing significant library linked data resources to the world. First was the announcement yesterday that all of the 23rd Edition of the Dewey Decimal Classification has been released on the web as linked data. From the announcement:

All assignable classes from DDC 23, the current full edition of the Dewey Decimal Classification, have been released as Dewey linked data. As was the case for the Abridged Edition 14 data, we define “assignable” as including every schedule number that is not a span or a centered entry, bracketed or optional, with the hierarchical relationships adjusted accordingly. In short, these are numbers that you find attached to many WorldCat records as standard Dewey numbers (in 082 fields), as additional Dewey numbers (in 083 fields), or as number components (in 085 fields).

Second was today’s announcement that we have now added Schema.org descriptive markup. as well as draft set of library extensions, to all of WorldCat. From the press release:

OCLC is taking the first step toward adding linked data to WorldCat by appending Schema.org descriptive mark-up to WorldCat.org pages. WorldCat.org now offers the largest set of linked bibliographic data on the Web. With the addition of Schema.org mark-up to all book, journal and other bibliographic resources in WorldCat.org, the entire publicly available version of WorldCat is now available for use by intelligent Web crawlers, like Google and Bing, that can make use of this metadata in search indexes and other applications.

For more information, see “Linked Data at OCLC”. Please keep in mind that these efforts are beginning steps. We will be reviewing the feedback we receive and likely making changes as opportunities to improve present themselves. For example, we are working to pull together a group of institutions that can collaborate on establishing a set of extensions to the Schema.org elements. A very beginning draft is available, but it will likely go through many changes as others become more closely involved. We welcome your participation.

Follow-up addendum: We’ve had several folks ask about data dumps relative to the WorldCat.org linked data announcement. Adding Schema.org linked data to WorldCat.org is, for the time being, an experiment that we’re putting out there in order to garner feedback and get some early usage results. We expect our model to change; because of that, we’re not publishing any bulk downloads of the data at this time.

Libraries Rebound: Directly supporting researchers

Friday, June 15th, 2012 by Merrilee

In a previous blog post, Ricky explained a little about our format. I’ll now continue with more of the content of the meeting, focusing on our first panel, where we asked speakers to talk about how librarians are working directly with researchers on their information needs as they plan, carry out, and disseminate their research. I should emphasize that I’m summarizing what I think are high points. All of these talks were quite rich, and will be posted online along with the video for the sessions soon.

Kurt de Belder (Leiden University) told us that the title of his strategic plan is “partner in knowledge”–the library is striving to become library to become the “expert center” for research and teaching and has been gearing up to provide what they see as key services: virtual research environments, capacities in text and data mining, support for data curation, GIS services. Services that focus on the dissemination part of the cycle include copyright consultation and publication support. Librarians have also been given an additional role of providing ICT support. The library is conducting in-depth focus groups with faculty to see which of these services are of highest value, and where they need additional support. As librarians move to becoming service experts, they have been allocated time to developing their new skills. Early signs are that the shift has been well received, with uptake of new services, an emerging reputation of the library as a “go-to” place, and the library being included as partner in developing funding requests.

Tracy GabridgeTracy Gabridge (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) talked about shifting from a model where librarians acted as “loan wolves” in separate services points to a team based model, and a move from providing reactive service to being more proactive in outreach to faculty. At the core of this shift was an effort to equip liaisons with some universal structures, but at the same time allow them to draw on the unique skills required for work with a particular disciplines. For example, there is are now a shared practice for contacting new faculty, which saves each librarian the time of doing this work individually and ensures consistency. There is also dedicated time for liaisons to debrief and share with one another as a large group, and also time for work within “communities of practice” that may share more deeply. Tracy reveled that 60% of MIT liaisons have domain knowledge. She does not consider domain knowledge universally essential — what is most important is continuous learning skills. Curiosity, fearlessness, and enthusiasm were also listed as necessary qualities. A sign of success? Half of MIT reference questions now come to the research liaisons directly, rather than over the reference desk.

David ShumakerDavid Shumaker (Catholic University of America) gave a rationale for moving towards “embedded librarians” in reaction to shifts in information seeking behavior and also disruption of higher education (a topic I’ll be blogging about soon!). The mission of librarians is “to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities*” (emphasis added), then librarians need to become part of communities. Embedded librarians develop deep relationships with researchers, shared goals, and provide custom, high-value contributions as part of a research team. This is not going out for coffee or having a first date, this is marriage! However, librarians need be outgoing to build these strong relationships, which can be a problem because, according to David, librarianship is a “profession dominated by introverted. Librarians should recognize that they bring unique perspective and skills to research teams. Librarians should also seek to develop the right high value services, and expect that this is will be a moving target — you may be continually reinventing services and that’s okay.

Service Panel: Chris, Liz, DanaNext was our reactor panel: Liz Chapman (London School of Economics), Chris Bourg (Stanford University), and Dana Rooks (University of Houston). We asked our reactors to be provocative and they did not disappoint! Liz questioned the concept of embedded librarianship; is this really a new thing? (This notion was met with both approval and pushback – the difference is a focus on deeper engagement and connection to both teaching and research, we are being more responsive to needs.) Chris took on education, stating that subject librarians absolutely need to have domain expertise. (This too, received both agreement and disagreement. Chris, as a good social scientist, called for evidence!) Dana Rooks talked about the importance of the library connectors and matchmakers on campus; if we leave the desk and can become engaged and active. We can put ourselves in a position to the big picture, and can help make connections (and burnish our own reputation in the process). Others in the audience both applauded and took issue with the notion of a continually evolving new services, seeing this as path where it is difficult to get ahead, and quite possible to fall off a cliff.

Some other quotable quotes:
“We should not be in the business of saving libraries, we should be serving scholarship.” – Chris Bourg
On where librarians “live” within the institution: “Work wherever you want, but get together and drink beer every once in awhile.” – David Shumaker
“We need to be comfortable with the idea of working ourselves out of a job.” Douglas Jones, U. Arizona #LibRebound

We’ll continue this series of summaries, so stay tuned! You can also take a look at Chris Bourg’s summary of the meeting here.

*attributed to David Lankes

Ingredients of a successful event

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 by Ricky

Our recent meeting in Philadelphia, Libraries Rebound: Embracing Mission, Maximizing Impact, was, I think, quite successful. It made me think about what it takes to create a successful event.

Of course, content matters. It’s important to come up with a topic that addresses concerns of the potential attendees, enlist the right speakers, and gather an engaged roomful of participants. We had it all. null A capacity crowd joined together to discuss three topics: improved research support, aligning special collections with mission, and using space as a distinctive asset. The fact that these topics brought together a mixed crowd of top-level administrators and special collections and public services managers added to the synergy of the event. We often recruit expert speakers from outside our community to spark new ideas and approaches, but the vast majority of the speakers for this meeting were experts from our own community, the OCLC Research Library Partnership.

The first topic, directly supporting researchers, drew on the experience of David Shumaker, Catholic University of America; Tracy Gabridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Kurt de Belder, Leiden University. The reactor panel consisted of Chris Bourg, Stanford University; Liz Chapman, London School of Economics; and Dana Rooks, University of Houston.
null

For the second topic, aligning special collections with the institutional mission, we enlisted Fran Blouin, University of Michigan; Lisa Carter, Ohio State University; and Tim Pyatt, Penn State University Libraries. Reacting were Steven Mandeville-Gamble, George Washington University; Rachel Hart, University of St Andrews; and Matt Reynolds, East Carolina University.null

During the third session, exploiting space as a distinctive asset, we heard from speakers Andrea Will & Wayne Gehrke, Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, Inc.; Sarah Pritchard, Northwestern University; and Shawna Sadler, University of Calgary. Reacting to them were Chris Banks, University of Aberdeen; Simon Neame, University of British Columbia; and Lorelei Tanji, University of California, Irvine.null

And kicking off the whole event was Scott Walter, DePaul University, whose framing remarks provoked many interesting discussions over the the two days — just what you hope for from a keynote speaker!null
We’ve had a number of questions about how we put the panels together. We assigned one person to coordinate each of the panels. First we looked hard for speakers who were out in front of the topic. Second, we sought knowledgeable people as reactors, expecting both to hear about their take on the topic and for them to raise provocative questions. Third, we trust our audience to weigh in and broaden the discussion. We talked with each of the speakers and reactors individually before adding them to the roster. As the event drew near, we got them together on conference calls, for the speakers to set expectations, coordinate what they would cover, and determine sequence; for the reactors, to let them know what they’d be reacting to and giving them guidelines. Then we sat back and watched it happen!

Oh, and another key ingredient for a successful meeting: flawless logistics! A great venue (Bellevue hotel), tasty catering (the circus snacks were a favorite), a welcoming reception (thanks to Ron Brashear and colleagues at the Chemical Heritage Foundation), and blissful ignorance of the myriad behind-the-scenes details that Jeanette McNicol handled seemingly effortlessly.

So here’s the recipe, courtesy of Merrilee:
First, establish theme and objectives
Then, add program and speakers
Next, mix in location and venue
Sprinkle in some reception and activities
Serve results in blog postings and on website*
Follow up with evaluation**
Repeat as necessary

* We’ll have a few more blog posts about the meeting and soon the presentations and recordings will be online. Watch this page.
** We have issued a survey to the in-person attendees and to those who streamed it remotely. Feedback about this event will make the next one even better.

Libraries Rebound: rethinking services, collections, space

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 by Merrilee

On June 5th and 6th, 125 folks from the OCLC Research Library Partnership gathered in Philadelphia to attend Libraries Rebound: Embracing Mission, Maximizing Impact. We’ll be doing a series of blog posts to try to recap some meeting highlights, including presentations and discussion points. I’m pleased to say that the Twitterstream was particularly active during the meeting and not only captured the proceedings but also carried observations and pointed commentary. For a flavor of the meeting, you can check out #LibRebound. All of the presentations from the meeting will be posted to the event website soon, and in due course we’ll post the video from the meeting as well.

Libraries ReboundWe held Libraries Rebound to foster a conversation about how academic and research libraries have an opportunity to frame the library as a set of distinctive services that better align the library with the mission of its parent institution. There were three broad themes for the meeting: creating services to more directly support researchers; aligning special collections with institutional mission; and exploiting space as a distinctive asset.

We were fortunate to have Scott Walter give our opening keynote. (Scott is University Librarian at DePaul University, where he is freshly arrived from his previous position as Associate University Librarian for Services and Associate Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.) I’m sure I was late to the party but I first noticed Scott’s work when he wrote a guest editorial for College & Research Libraries, “Distinctive Signifiers of Excellence: Library Services and the Future of the Academic Library Subsequently, OCLC Research invited him to give an OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series lecture on the “Service Turn.” Scott’s talk was quite rich, and I’ll point to the presentation once it’s up because it has pointers to lots of resources for further reading and exploration.

“Stories,” Scott began, “are important.” And the research library story has been, traditionally “by the numbers,” largely defined by how many books and journals we have. We are largely defined by our “stuff.” Similarly, library services have traditionally been arranged around giving access to collections. This was all a very good thing when libraries were the center of resource discovery. But now, with the academic library becoming increasingly becoming disintermediated from discovery, the library’s well-defined brand should shift from being so very closely tied to collections. We should be wary of having our story so closely defined by collections, because great libraries are not only composed of wonderful things — excellence is also defined by skilled librarians. Scott encapsulated this as “The most important collection in any library is its people.”

Stories Are Important

"Stories Are Important"

In shifting the story, libraries have an opportunity to take a close look at their service array to see if it is meeting evolving needs on campus. Scott gave some examples of services that do not represent the traditional “collection as service” offering, such as the Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Kansas.

Scott also addressed the question of “distinctive services” which he defined as a campus taking a new approach that ties to campus mission or research strength, and / or which is such a hit that others follow.

Scott Walter at the podium

Scott Walter at the podium

For example, the Levy Library at USC may have been the first “info commons,” which are now, well, common! He also touched on the notion of developing shared services, which seemed to muddy the waters somewhat, because how can you have a services that is distinctive, but shared? I think that a service that starts off as “distinctive,” say chat reference, can evolve into a shared service if the need is broad and if can be scaled. My take on this is that not all services will scale, or need to. And rather than striving for “distinctiveness,” we should be aiming for appropriateness.

As a side note, we met in the historic Hyatt Bellevue Hotel, which was a lovely venue for the meeting. Unlike many historic hotels, this one has not been badly remodeled, and seems to have maintained some of its charm.