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Brokering knowledge with Nerida Hart

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"It's not about the collections. It's about the people."

That's according to one of the leading minds in knowledge management today, Nerida Hart. Janelle and Nerida connected over the phone last week to delve into her concepts and analysis of some of the industry's biggest trends, namely the evolution to social libraries. Their podcast is below.

Nerida's 30 years in the biz have brought her to Land & Water Australia in Canberra, Australia, where she's Program Manager for Knowledge for the Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Program.

There, she's helped develop the Regional Knowledge Resource Kit, a wiki providing an interactive online resource for learning and developing skills in information and knowledge management for regional NRM. More about the RKRK can be read on Land & Water Australia's site.

During Janelle's interview, Nerida talks about how special libraries are transforming from "black-box services" to collaborative initiatives with clients. Here, librarians and info pros are becoming "knowledge brokers," sharing and communicating with clients to find the information they need.

"The information on its own doesn't get the job done," Nerida says. "It's people taking that information, working together collaboratively, that actually makes a difference."

She believes social technologies are crucial to achieving this. She's a social media junkie herself, and you can find her on Twitter (NeridaHart), Skype (NeridaHartau), Facebook, and LinkedIn. She says social technologies enable her to stay up to date on things happening around the country, and can easily and rapidly alert her colleagues and stakeholders of news affecting them.

Social technologies are so vital to KM, in fact, Nerida believes they're not optional tools to adopt. Librarians must have access to social technologies to be knowledge brokers to the rest of the department or organization, and manage library 2.0 initiatives.

This is placing librarians in an increasingly powerful position. They become an enabler by facilitating access and permissions to organizational knowledgebases. They are uniquely capable of filling this role, because librarians are already trusted, consulted members of the organization.

Nerida says this means librarians must be cultivating their social networking skills today, to remain on the cutting edge of their career.

She attributes this new KM era largely to the Internet. It's given us immediate information. But because virtually anyone can publish almost anything, quality has been compromised, and many people find the amount of information is overwhelming.

Librarians are needed to educate clients on the voracity of content, ensuing they find and use the best information available. This is why, she says, librarians have gone from information custodians to knowledge brokers.

Nerida is the Chair of SLA's KM division for 2009, and she talks about her goals for the upcoming year. She aims to reposition librarians out of the information space and into the knowledge space. She wants to encourage librarians to use technologies, such as social tools, to share and communicate with others, and become knowledge brokers.

Nerida will reveal more about this when she and Karen Huffman, Chair Elect of the KM Division in 2009, present a continuing education course before the SLA conference 2009. The course is slated for Saturday, June 13 in Washington, D.C., and focuses on evaluating library and research services using narrative techniques. Inmagic will be at the conference too, and is sponsoring the KM reception.

Here more of Nerida's insights by clicking play below.







Thank you and happy holidays from Inmagic

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As we approach the end of the year and look ahead to the future, I want to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of our entire company and our network of partners around the globe for your business and support this past year.

2008 will be remembered as a year of change and economic uncertainty in North America and around the globe. Despite the jittery economy, Inmagic is optimistic about the coming year, and we remain committed to your success.

In 2009 we will continue to invest in our products and services while at the same time providing you cost-effective solutions that meet the challenges of today's volatile economic climate.

As we all acknowledge those among us who are struggling this holiday season, we are deeply grateful for the longstanding support and positive working relationships we have with all of you.

From all of us at Inmagic, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your continued support, and best wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

SLA spirit fingers!

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We're in the spirit of giving, and with that comes some unique spirit for the Special Libraries Association (SLA). We donated $500 to SLA's Campaign for Tomorrow, a program to raise funding to support the now 100-year-old association.

As part of the campaign, SLA is posting pictures of its donors on its Campaign for Tomorrow gallery. You can see us there too. It's a shot of our crew from the SLA conference 2008.

SLA has helped its members and the special library industry make tremendous strides through its education, networking, and advocacy services. We're proud to support SLA and the opportunities it continues to provide to its members and partners. Once agian, many thanks for the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and leaders who make it all happen!

Pump up the jam

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Just when you thought we couldn't possibly use the word "social" any more frequently on the blog, we're kicking it up a notch. And to do so, we're using *drum roll!* the "social volume knob."



But before I completely drown myself out, let me explain what a social volume knob is, and why it's important. It's the next step in our Road to Social Knowledge Networks, and the little caveat I mentioned in my last installment.

Social knowledge networks allow vetted information -- such as documents, images, videos, presentations, RSS feeds, and so on -- to be enhanced and informed by comments, ratings, and other feedback from the community. This combination of top down and bottom up information is how we create social intelligence.

But social intelligence must be cultivated, planned, and nurtured. This is where a social volume knob becomes crucial. A social volume knob is the strategy organizations use to control who provides what knowledge to the SKN, and how they do so.

Organizations can set these parameters using rich security, access, and permission functionality. So, depending on the company, the community that is allowed to provide feedback can run the gamut from a small, hand-picked group of domain experts, to a broader set of individuals.

Each contributor's access capabilities can be adjusted, so perhaps one person can blog, rate, and comment, while another can just comment -- and only on certain content. This lets vetted information retain its veracity, and provides control over what content gets socialized, and how.

Otherwise, you have a free-for-all of opinions without authority. Consider Wikipedia. Any regular reader to our blog is all too familiar with my opinions on Wikipedia. While hugely successful and helpful for certain situations, its information sorely lacks veracity.

The same can be true in an enterprise environment, where you end up with what I call "social spam." It's similar to e-mail spam, but in a social media setting. This is the bad information provided by non-experts. Using social tools requires some level of control and mediation. You need rules.

That's also why info professionals must be at the center of the SKN and social library equation. They are knowledge management professionals trained to organize information. They understand the user community, and who is best equipped to create and act on content.

Info professionals create the environment necessary to publish content, and develop knowledge communities around that content. This includes implementing a knowledge strategy to ensure contributors are helping to build, maintain, and manage the social library in a logical, organized fashion.

Key take-away: All social knowledge networks need a social volume knob for quality control.

And with that kernel of knowledge, we've reached the end of the Road to Social Knowledge Networks! But no journey is complete without a look back on the lessons learned, and a look ahead to where we go from here. That will be the subject of next week's post.

More reason to be a librarian in 2009

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There's reason to welcome 2009 with open arms. In case you haven't heard, U.S. News and World Report named librarian as one of the top 30 careers in the new year.

It's encouraging to see librarians on this list, and it confirms something we’ve been seeing at Inmagic for several years.

Librarians have emerged into dynamic info pros, people with a finger on the pulse of new information and the latest technologies. They are often the ones driving fresh ways of collaborating and networking.

They are also required to manage increasingly vast types and amounts of information, and their role is becoming more important to organizations’ knowledge management initiatives.

It’s no wonder the special library space is the fastest growing in the field. It’s a fast-track to developing core knowledge management experience, and now more cutting-edge social knowledge networking skills.

Congrats to Robin Hastings!

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One of our favorite info pros, Robin Hastings, just got a book deal. Congrats, Robin!

Get smart

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No, I'm not talking about Steve Carell's latest movie with Anne Hathaway or the more vintage TV version with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. I'm talking about what happens when book smarts and street smarts align, and social knowledge networks collide. Welcome to the next step in our Road to Social Knowledge Networks.

Last week I told you what SKNs are. Today, I'm exploring why you should care, and what happens when organizations use them.

With social knowledge networks, the goal is to reach a state where core knowledge is collected, organized, accessible; and then where it can be enhanced, embraced, and informed by the wisdom of the community. So what can you gain from it?

Productivity. SKNs are not about the technology. They're about you and your organization becoming more efficient by accessing reliable information you can use to make better business decisions and achieve organizational objectives.

Wisdom. SKNs connect people by the problem they are solving, and break down department boundaries. Information takes many forms, with an SKN heterogeneous data is easily accessed and shared. And the wisdom of the community is tightly connected to the content and is crucial to the creation of value.

Truth. In SKNs, socialization is content-centric. There is no "separate but equal." Rather, there is a tight integration between content and social commentary to make the information more relevant, easier to find, and of higher value.

SKNs create an environment where internal documents, subscription research, and other vetted information makes users book smart,



and where the advice of colleagues makes users street smart.



Problems that could not previously be solved and insights that could not previously be gained, are discovered. We call this new level of intelligence "social intelligence."

Key take-away: Social knowledge networks are about finding the truth and enabling social intelligence.

If you're wondering what the fine print to all this might be, your curiosity will soon be satisfied. I'll explain the caveat next week.

Context is king

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After reading this article by Jim Brown on the Manufacturing Business and Technology blog, I was reminded of a post I wrote a little while back about using social knowledge networks in engineering. I added my two cents on the value prop engineers can gain from using social technologies. But as you can read in my comment, context surrounding the social information, as well as security, are vital to unlocking these benefits.

Social media after its growth spurt

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Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes from UMass Dartmouth recently presented findings from her study on the adoption of social media in the Inc. 500 companies at the Gilbane Boston conference. I had the pleasure of listening to her fascinating presentation, and would like to share some of her observations here.

This is the second of her studies of the Inc. 500’s adoption of social media. Over the past year, she has found, amazingly, the rate of adoption and understanding of social media is extremely rapid.

Her research "proves conclusively that social media has penetrated parts of the business world at a tremendous speed." Incredibly, "familiarity" with and the usage of social technologies has nearly doubled in that time frame.

Those respondents who stated that social media was "very important to their business/marketing strategy" jumped from just over 25 percent to 44 percent within the past 12 months.

These incredible statistics are a great validating point for solution providers like Inmagic. They confirm the trends we have been seeing within our own customer community, with companies becoming more aware of and using social technologies to facilitate collaboration, knowledge retention, and improvements in personal productivity.

What’s important to remember, however, is that while awareness and adoption of social tools within companies is rapidly increasing, it is their continued usage over the coming years that will be the most crucial metric to examine.

Social technologies only realize their full potential when people are given a context, that is, a reason for using them and connecting with their community. Project teams, shared problems, and shared processes cause communities to grow.

Often this growth is fueled by content around which they are collaborating or connecting -- such as documents, images, videos, spreadsheets, reports, etc. The content is the key element of this context. Without it, social tools will not fulfill their impressive potential within organizations.

We have seen many cases where social media technologies were implemented within organizations so that social networks could be created. The goal was to allow the workforce to collaborate more easily, and, ultimately, allow it to be more productive and innovative.

However, many of these initiatives have failed because communities failed to flourish. Why? Because, in the absence of a direct, tangible reason to use them (i.e., what's in it for me, how will this help me do my job better/faster?), they didn't gain a foothold.

These initiatives are most successful when workers are given a reason, a context for creating a social network. This is the essence of a social knowledge network.

It is thanks to industry minds such as Dr. Ganim Barnes that we all can gain a deeper understanding of the impact of new technologies. With it, we can be even more innovative in how we bring these technologies to our customer communities.

Dogfooding and other 2.0isms

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As a non-Gen Xer or Millennial, the idea of turning nouns into verbs is a little weird. But it seems to go along with the general 2.0 territory. So today I'm inventing a new word: dogfooding.

To lay the groundwork, I'd like to touch on the concept of "verbing" nouns. (There we go again!) Apparently, the practice is quite old. Shakespeare did it. "He childed as I fathered," says Edgar in King Lear, Act III, Scene 6.

More recently, "A Calvin and Hobbes strip dealt with this phenomenon, concluding with the statement that 'verbing weirds language,'" according to Wikipedia's entry on Verbification.

We all know that one of the beauties of language is that it is dynamic and ever-changing. But in most cases, I find verbing to be annoying rather than nuanced. Fortunately or unfortunately, verbing is all the rage, and its usage is on the rise with the 2.0-ifcation of the world. Be that as it may, today I will be verbing.

Dogfooding comes from the Microsoft-coined phrase, "Eat your own dog food." It means use your own products, or in more general speak, practice what you preach.

We started dogfooding recently at Inmagic. We have a Presto 3.0 knowledgebase (KB) that we use to store internal technical specifications, downloads, FAQs, etc. We use it to help keep the implementation teams, Professional Services Group, and partners up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the Presto world.

We also socialized the KB. Partners can now provide us feedback on the quality of our FAQs, comment on the tech docs, rate wishlist items, etc. The socialization is great. The KB is no longer a one-way communication vehicle to our partners. Rather, it's a place where we're all able to collaborate together.

We now have Presto clients in North America, Europe, and the South Pacific. This is a terrific vehicle for 24x7 access to key, vetted documentation from Inmagic, but now, also the tips and techniques from implementation teams around the world. So, we are dogfooding with Social Presto, and boy, is it tasty!

Hey Inmagic, your holiday is showing!

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Paul pretty much sums up our holiday party in this shot. Unfortunately, it's a little blurry, but you get the "picture."



A great time was had by all. Thanks again to Paul and his wife for hosting! Check out more pictures from the party at our Flickr page.

Even Yankee Swapping can be socialized

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I love a holiday party. And I love a Yankee Swap. I get to emcee the annual Inmagic Yankee Swap. It’s just one of my jobs. For those of you that don't know what Yankee Swap is, here's one variant of the basic rules.

We held our Yankee Swap the other week, and I want you to know that this is not your average game. Inmagic holds a Yankee Swap 2.0. What makes it a 2.0 Swap? I’ll tell you, but first, here is a 2.0 representation of the swap:



This isn’t all the gifts, but it’s a good representation of what the Swap was all about. As you can see, the Scotch was the most popular gift because it moved around a lot. The two Snickers bars were not all that popular. And a bunch of people went out and grabbed Dunkin' Donuts gift cards at the last minute.

Our Yankee Swap violates one 2.0’ism, however. We make the rules complex. But this just makes the Swap more FUN!

The key innovation we employ is the following: We choose who gets to start the final round by using a measure of the gift’s popularity. We call this "gift velocity." Gift velocity is measured by how often the gift is taken from its current owner by someone during the Swap. Thus, gift velocity measures a gift's popularity.

We reward the person that brings the most popular gift with the right to start the final round. This means they get to choose and keep any gift in the room.

What I really like about this rule is that it provides an incentive for people to bring good gifts. The rule worked really well this year, with tons of great stuff contributed. We establish a $15 limit, but some people are clearly challenged in the area.

We wrapped up the festivities with a holiday party graciously hosted by our CEO, Paul Puzzanghera, and his wife at their home. The food was delicious, the conversation lively, and a good time was had by all (and all had a good night). Photos from the night are on their way.

So remember, the Web and library aren't the only things being socialized. At Inmagic, we really like our Social Yankee Swap and the benefits that come with socialization.

Our gift to our neighbors in need

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Our customers are the lifeblood of our company, as they are for most companies. It goes without saying they deserve a special expression of appreciation, especially during these tough economic times.

We made a donation to the Woburn Council for Social Concern in the name of our customers. It's our way of showing gratitude for their support of our company, while giving back to our neighbors in need. The Council of Social Concern helps over 2,400 people every year, providing quality child care, parenting and wellness education, food assistance, and more.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Social library is back -- but for good?

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As Phil so eloquently opined the other day, "the social library is back." But now that it's here, is it destined to never leave? Will there be a day when special libraries are completely social?

I got to thinking about this when I read this article on U Penn's Knowledge @ Wharton blog. It explores the possibility of the Web becoming entirely social, as information discovery increasingly involves social networking activities.

I wanted to leave my two cents, but the site has closed it's commenting window. (It's open for 30 days after the article is published.) Alas, I will leave my comment here! These are my thoughts:

Great article, really makes you think about the power of social technologies. Pondering the future of an entirely social Web is not unlike some of the thoughts circulating the special library space right now.

The role of the librarian (corporate, academic, or otherwise) is one of content provider and content user. Because their unique role is at the crux of content and social technologies, special libraries have a good chance of emerging as the poster-child for effective social strategies.

Right now, I think the big question is around timing. How long until special libraries make the jump to being completely social?

What do you think? Will libraries become entirely social? When? And will it last?

See you at CIL!

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We're pretty big on tradeshows here at Inmagic, so it should come as no surprise that we're ramping up for another one. We're Virginia-bound in March for the Computers in Libraries 2009 conference.

It'll be the 24th meeting in the conference's history. This year's theme is "Creating Tomorrow: Spreading Ideas & Learning." There'll be workshops, exhibitions, keynotes, evening sessions, and more, all focused on the latest digital tools and techniques in the library and information spaces.

Plenty of exciting things about information discovery, visualization methods, building communities, and online engagement are on tap. We'll be bringing our technologies to the mix at booth 1018.

If you're interesting in attending CIL, mark your calendar for March 30 to April 1. It'll be at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington.

We'll keep you updated as we plan for the show!

What is a social knowledge network, anyway??

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We've been talking about social knowledge networks a lot, and have described them in various ways on the blog. But today, you're in for a full serving of social knowledge networks with all the fixins'. It's the next and final stage along the Road to Social Knowledge Networks, and I'll detail exactly what the heck they are.

Now that we're at the final step of our journey, I like to say we've reached nirvana. The ideal destination for today's info pro. (But this is not to say there's no room for improvement and innovation. We believe SKNs are the nirvana of today, and there inevitably will be new nirvanas in the future as technology and needs evolve.)

In a nutshell, we define SKNs as a tight integration of a knowledge repository and social media. It is a place where socialization is "content centric." Core knowledge, also known as top-down or vetted information, is collected, organized and made accessible. This might include internal documents, news and research.

This knowledge can then be embraced and enhanced by the community, aptly dubbed "wisdom of the community," or bottom-up information. This consists of people's knowledge, opinions, and feedback about vetted information. In the SKN, the top down and bottom up information remain tightly integrated in the core repository using context-based social tools, including comments, ratings, tagging and tag clouds, and blogging.



What we have, then, is a centralized knowledgebase that keeps getting smarter, as info pros and users alike improve the content using social tools. This lets organizations achieve what we call "social intelligence." It is the state where problems are solved and insights are gained through a knowledge repository, collaboration, and context-based social tools.

This is, of course, the goal. A social knowledge network is a one-stop shop for information. It's a secure place where content and social media can be controlled, and the community can enhance and inform the content.

Key take-away: Knowledge is more than vetted research, books, or image repositories. And it's more than social communications and networking. It's the combination of the two: social knowledge networks.

So what, you say? Well, just as the central knowledgebase keeps getting smarter, so does the organization, and in more ways than one. More on the business benefits of SKNs next week.

Social library says, "I'm baaaack"

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If you're reading this blog, you probably know about the social library phenomena and popular courses such as “Five Weeks to a Social Library.” But are social libraries really all that new, or are they being reinvented for a dramatic comeback?

A look back in history reveals the answer. Social libraries were, in fact, the precursor to special libraries, becoming popular in the 19th century. At this time, the social moniker had two key meanings. One, patrons usually paid some sort of fee or subscription to become a member or owner. And two, the library provided a “social good.”

According to the Social Law Library of Boston, becoming a social library was “the legislative method that avoided taxing citizens by incorporating and empowering a private group to collect user fees and to conduct essentially ‘public services.’”

Some social libraries grew into public libraries serving the community as a whole. But many social libraries remained focused on certain areas of interest serving specific communities. This might have included law, medicine, insurance, etc. In fact, at least one SLA charter member, the Insurance Library Association of Boston, was originally established as a social library.

So, why the history lesson? As we contemplate the future of the special library and ponder what role social media will play, we have to remember we have deep roots in providing a “social good” to members.

Social media might open the door to a future where patrons are no longer owners, as they were with early social libraries. Instead, patrons could be on track become crucial contributors of content.

This relationship is Inmagic’s vision of the new social library. Content is sourced, organized, and made accessible by the library, and the community can enhance and add value to that content. This way, the social library becomes an interactive publishing environment. Data moves into the knowledge repository or catalog in a top down, or traditional, manner, while also in a bottom up, or social media, manner.

But for this library of the future to become a reality, librarians and info pros are tasked with taking the helm, and embracing these new technologies and processes. We're already seeing this happen within our customer base. The synergy between vetted content and social media is dramatic and of high value to these organizations.

Remember, vetted content alone can make you book smart. But a 21st century organization is looking for ways to foster global collaboration among its staff, and allow the advice and counsel of more experienced personnel to make everyone in the organization “street smart.” This combination of book and street smarts is powerful. And now, it is possible.

If you do not help your special library become a social one, you risk losing its relevancy, as other collaboration and content management initiatives siphon off increasing amounts of content. That's why important to join the comeback. What’s old is new. The social library is back!

Social Presto hits CMSWire

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Chelsi Nakano covered Social Presto today on CMSWire. It's always a bit nerve-wracking when you release a new product, anticipating the feedback from the industry and market. But we were very excited to see a positive article from Chelsi today. Thank you for featuring us!

KM and SM: Couldn't find a happier couple

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Having discussed this issue with many customers, I've got to say that Venkatesh Rao's post claiming that we have a "war" going on between KM and SM is nonsense.

The truth is much closer to Jeff Kelly’s post. KM and SM are at peace. In fact, Jeff really gets it right when he says, "Social media actualizes the idealism of KM." Let me explain.

We know the purpose of a knowledge management system is to capture knowledge and create an environment where it's easily accessed and reused. So if the goal is clear and the benefit is high, why have KM systems suffered from the failed-implementation syndrome?

The answer is at the heart of the disagreement represented between Venkatesh and Jeff. In the 90s, some KM systems failed because they required business process re-engineering. This is a fancy way to say they required people to change the way they did things to accommodate the KM system. These changes usually took place in the knowledge capture phase.

In fact, how many times did we hear these words? "The KM initiative must have senior management support," or, "We need to put knowledge capture incentives in place," or, "Adding content must now be part of the performance measurement system."

These and similar statements are just other ways of saying this: It took a huge carrot (like a bonus) or a huge stick (like the threat of being fired) to get people to contribute knowledge to the KM system. No wonder it's been labeled with and tainted by the failed-implementation tag.

The beauty of social media is that it changes all of this. People use social media without threats or incentives. Social media tools are not arcane the way many knowledge capture modules were in traditional KM systems. They are simple and intuitive. What could be easier that a blog, a tag, or a comment?

This trend parallels with the search revolution. Prior to Yahoo and Google, search was a job for a professional. (Go on, admit it. You know dialog search syntax!) But Yahoo and Google simplified search, and we quickly learned how to master the art of searching.

The same holds true for social media. We have learned to add comments in Amazon, tag articles in Delicious, edit pages in Wikipedia, and blog on our favorite blogging platform. Now that we're trained, we're willing to use these tools at work in the context and cause of a knowledge management initiative. You see, KM and SM are simply two sides of the same coin.

There is no war between KM and SM. Rather, there is a convergence of technologies and perspectives. Social media tools and constructs allow easy, intuitive conversation and knowledge capture from the community in a manner that invites and entices participation.

Without the need for the carrot and stick, we are off to the races. KM initiatives can and will increasingly succeed as long as KM vendors and practitioners adapt and learn their social media lessons.

Kumbaya, my friends, Kumbaya

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You've probably sung, chanted, hummed, or otherwise butchered this song at least once in your life. But, my fellow crooners, did you know the meaning of your words? Gather round the campfire, folks. It's time to find out, because Kumbaya is the topic of today's Road to Social Knowledge Networks chapter.

The meaning of Kumbaya is disputed. But it's often loosely translated from African dialect as "come by here." The folk song is largely associated with unity and closeness, but is has more recently come to connote a naively optimistic view on life.



Let's apply this to knowledge management. In the state of Kumbaya, organizations have embraced social media technologies. They might be blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, Flickring, YouTubing, Deliciousing, and ing-ing with every other social media tool out there. They think they're taking the right approach to foster knowledge sharing, but are unaware they've, in fact, thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

These organizations have abandoned traditional methods of organizing information, and moved to a purely social media environment. Their thinking is that this model will solve their information management and collaboration problems, which I've touched upon in previous chapters.

To them I say, Whoa, Nelly. Don't get carried away. The results of taking a purely social approach to knowledge management can be disastrous, for a few reasons.

First, due to what I like to call the Wikipedia phenomenon. Wikipedia is 100 percent user-generated information. Some users are experts in their subject matter, and provide accurate and reliable information. Others are amateurs, polluting the repository with inaccurate data and bad links.

That's why Wikipedia's validity can, and often is, questioned. The information has low veracity. But just a moment, you say. Third party research (such as this study by the journal Nature) shows Wikipedia to be about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica.

My response is simple. At a recent conference presentation, I asked the audience, "How many of you used Wikipedia?" Everybody raised their hand.

When I asked, "How many of you have brought a Wikipedia article into a business meeting and used it as critical data on which to make a business decision?" No one raised their hand. Sorry Wikipedia fans. Veracity matters.

This leads to another consequence of purely social KM models. I refer to it as "social spam." Just like e-mail spam, social spam is information you don't want. This is the bad information provided by non-experts. These non-experts can end up contradicting the experts and telling them they are wrong.

What's an uninformed knowledge seeker to do? Who do they listen to? Who do they trust? Consider this. A blog gives its authors a megaphone to voice their knowledge and opinions. But opening the blog to the entire organizational community gives every worker a megaphone. You're left with a situation that looks like this:



When building a high-quality knowledge repository, organizations must control who contributes information, and how. Using social tools in an organization requires mediation and management, which is the role of the librarian. Everyone can't have a megaphone.

This is the opposite of what you need, want, or get from using a consumer SM site, or by moving to a purely social KM environment. In this case, Kumbaya isn't so comforting.

Key take-away: Purely social KM models weaken veracity and create chaos. In an enterprise knowledge repository, access to high-quality assets is key, and avoiding chaos is crucial.

Next week, I'll tell you how to achieve this.

Social media vs. KM debate rages on

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Much hay has been made of Venkatesh Rao's recent piece appearing on the Enterprise 2.0 Blog, "Social Media vs. Knowledge Management: A Generational War." One of the latest reactions I came across is this blog post on Social Computing Magazine by Jeff Kelly.

Jeff believes Venkatesh is entertaining notions of a non-existent war between social media advocates and knowledge management advocates. I agree, for reasons you can read in my comment on the post.

Gerry McKiernan on social networking and the "Swiss Army" theory

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We're moving right along with our Info Pro-files series, and the man of the hour is Gerry McKiernan, whom Janelle recently interviewed.

Gerry is a Science and Technology Librarian at Iowa State University Library. He's devoted the past 21 years of his career to the library, and has focused on a wide range of disciplines, including engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, agriculture, zoology, and more.

As Janelle learns in the interview, Gerry has an interesting perspective on the industry, one gained from immersing himself in library science for so many years, while closely following and adopting emerging technologies.

He reflects on the days of programming using key punching cards on mainframes. He takes us through some of the industry's biggest inflection points, the latest of which is the invention of the Internet. It's given us the power to create community, and out of that, Gerry believes, was born the future of library science: social networks.

He calls social networking a "Swiss Army information tool." It contains many tools that can collectively create synergy within an organization, such as blogs, wikis, chat functions, photo and video sharing, and so on.

He talks about how niche social networks are multiplying across the industry. He sees this as an indicator of a larger trend, in which businesses from a wide range of industries are recognizing and trying to realize the benefits of social networks.

Gerry has been following and documenting these trends on his blogs. He's created 18 of them, although he's active on some more than others. His main blog is Friends: Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services. A list of Gerry's other blogs can be found on his Blogger profile, and you can learn more about his blogging story in this Information World Review article.

It seems natural that Gerry would be so embedded in social technologies. He says he's always been interested in using computers to facilitate communications and enhance productivity.

That's also why he was excited to discover Presto 3.0, and how it can help businesses solve organizational problems by using the wisdom of the community. He likes how it gives organizations a "best of both worlds," that is, vetted expertise integrated with tacit knowledge.

Gerry also explores studies that have found the benefits of social networking, and shares his techniques for staying abreast of technological developments and industry trends. He let us know that he's been invited to become a regular contributor to Searcher Magazine, and will cover various niche online networks. We'll be looking forward to his first column in early spring!

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy our interview with Gerry.

And Gerry, thanks for sharing your story!







The information silo break-down

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If you've ever been around a farm, this is probably a familiar sight.



It's also the subject of today's Road to Social Knowledge Networks chapter. I like to call it the "silo mentality."

At this content management stage, companies have well-organized information repositories. But each repository is created by individual departments, and thus organized in very different ways.

They use various methods to name, save, sort and categorize documents. These methods vary so much that a worker from one department cannot navigate another department's system to find anything.

And more importantly, because they are organized by department, the silos do not address the common and pressing cross-organizational problems that workers need to solve on a daily basis.

While IT might believe the organization's content management is in good shape, users know they cannot get the information they need due to the organizational barriers. Some companies recognize this, and try to take measures to bridge the divides.

But often, the approach they take only exacerbates the problem. Here's how. Some organizations turn to social technologies to integrate departments and foster collaboration. They might bolt on a mix of tools such as social networks, blogs, and wikis onto their CMS. I refer to this as the "blog on the side" approach.

While the fundamental thinking is on target, the execution is not. When used in isolation, blogs and wikis worsen data management problems by creating additional silos of information that are not aligned with the core information repository.

Data on one topic is strewn about these sites. To find it, workers must search each site individually, a time-consuming process. If they can't find the related data or forget to search for it all together, they end up working with poorer quality information. And the silo mentality continues to rear its ugly head.

Key take-away: When traditional social media tools are added to a CMS environment, they create more silos, not less. The correct approach is a content-centric socialization of the knowledge repository.

Social knowledge networks are not about merely adding blogs and wikis to a CMS. They're about breaking down these silos and sharing what's inside. We'll explore it more next week!

Dave's voice heard 'round Information Today

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Information Today included our recent podcast with Dave, our VP of Sales, as part of its Internet Librarian 2008 recap. You can now listen to Dave talk about his reactions and insights from the show on their Web site, or here on the blog.

Thanks to Information Today for sharing!

P.S. -- Interesting fact of the day: This marks our 100th post for the blog. ;-)

To infinite search, and beyond

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We're progressing down the Road to Social Knowledge Networks today, and cooling our heels at the next stop, infinite search.

This is often the next stage in an organization's content management strategy. Organizations turn to search as a way to address the No. 1 complaint they hear from workers regarding the shared network drive (or junk drawer): "I can't find anything."

The problem with search is that it fails to address the fundamental problems of poor quality content and basic disorganization. In fact, it's a lot like covering a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce. It might look better, but the information is still a mess.



You are simply changing the place where you look for information, and move from sifting through the content on the shared drive, to sifting through the search results.

Why does search often fail to live up to its over-hyped promise? Due to one simple but often overlooked fact. Relevance is not the same as quality.

The search engine can rank and sort search results by relevance, but it cannot know anything about the quality of the document. If you want workers to find high-quality documents quickly, the search engine isn't your best option.

Here's an example. Say the shared drive contains a document drafted by marketing. Three months later, R&D revises the document and saves it under a new filename. Sales updates this version four months later, but makes several major errors and saves it under yet another filename.

The search engine will likely return all three documents when and if you do an appropriate search. They will all be relevant, because they contain the same content for the most part. But how does the worker understand that the R&D document is high quality, and the sales version has serious errors?

Just by the numbers, if 80 percent of the hard drive is outdated, irrelevant data, the search engine will yield 80 percent outdated, irrelevant data. You need a process and workflow that will do several things search engines don't do:
  • Delete outdated content and eliminate erroneous information.
  • Inject a quality metric into the system.
  • Encourage the sourcing of high-quality content.
Without this, you do not *really* help people find the high-quality content quickly. Rather, you help them find content of dubious quality quickly. We'll be discussing how to solve these issues in a later post as we move down the Road to Social Knowledge Networks.

Key take away: Relevance is not the same as quality. Plain search just lets you find documents of dubious quality more easily.

Where social resonated at Internet Librarian, from Kipo

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We're rounding out our Internet Librarian interviews here on the blog with Kipo Saysongkham, Solutions Engineer for Inmagic. He manned the demos of Presto 3.0 at the booth.

In our podcast below, Kipo reports that the attendees most interested in Presto 3.0 were CIOs and CTOs from engineering firms, architecture companies, and corporate libraries.

I also talked to him about common challenges organizations face when going social, particularly law firms, and how to overcome them.

Click play for the full scoop!







Double duty from EContent

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EContent covered the release of Social Presto and DB/Text Library Suite today. Thanks for featuring us!

Some pick-me-up from KMWorld

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News of our Presto 3.0 release is spreading 'round the blogosphere. KMWorld featured our new platform on its site yesterday. Thanks for sharing!

We just pulled a new Web site out of our hat

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We already mentioned our newly redesigned Web site today, but I wanted to give the project -- and everyone involved -- their due credit.

Our new site, launched today, marks the culmination of a lot of hard work from the team over the past several weeks, namely Liz, Kathy, Shannon, and myself. Here's the homepage:



Some of the goals for the Web site changes are:
  • Make the main landing pages approachable and easier to navigate, which will -- we hope! -- positively impact our ability to get our message across.

  • Align our Web site with our current product packaging and positioning. You’ll see new Presto and Library Suite landing pages, for example.

  • Present Inmagic as a modern, growing, exciting organization that works closely with leading companies and organizations to help them solve their critical problems.
What you see today is the first phase of our work. This phase includes significant changes to our homepage, main product page, product landing pages, and company info page. It also includes some clean up of older product material.

Phase two will include a thorough addition-by-subtraction exercise of removing old, out of date or irrelevant content. Come on now, we are Inmagic after all. ;-)

Phases three and four are currently being planned, but will likely include further enhancements to how we present our solutions using video, podcasts, blogs, and much more.

Everyone on the Web site team is very excited about this project. We hope the ongoing changes will reflect the energy we all have for moving Inmagic to the next level, and will further present ourselves as an exciting, growing company!

(P.S. Our next Road to SKNs post will be appearing on the blog later this week. Frankly, we're a little wrapped up in celebrating right now!)

Genie, DB/Text, and Web Pub Pro get "suiter"

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Shhh, there's too much noise in the library!

As if introducing the new release of Presto today wasn't news enough, we also announced the launch of DB/Text Library Suite. It's a new Web-based integrated library system (ILS) built on our family of library and information management tools -- Genie, DB/TextWorks, and Web Publisher Pro.

Library Suite is designed to gives librarians and information professionals a complete solution for collecting, managing, and providing access to library materials and collections, either over the Web or on a corporate network.

Our press release gives you the nuts and bolts of the platform, appearing below. If you have more questions, point your browser to our newly redesigned Web site.
______________________________________________________________________

Inmagic Simplifies Integrated Library Systems with Launch of DB/Text Library Suite

Inmagic® Genie, DB/Text® Works, and Web Publisher Pro now bundled as a single solution

WOBURN, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today Inmagic unveiled Inmagic® DB/Text® Library Suite, a comprehensive Web-based integrated library system (ILS) built on the company’s popular family of library and information management tools. Designed for a wide range of organizations with special libraries, DB/Text Library Suite gives librarians and information professionals a complete solution to collect, manage, and provide secure access to traditional and non-traditional library materials and collections, whether over the Web or a corporate network.

“Inmagic’s DB/Text Library Suite makes it easier than ever to purchase and deploy Inmagic’s workgroup, Web publishing and Web-based integrated library system (ILS) solutions,” said Kathy Bryce, Principal of Andornot Consulting Inc., a Vancouver-based Inmagic Business Partner. “By bundling Inmagic Genie ILS technology with Web Publisher Pro and DB/Text Works into a single integrated suite, Inmagic has made it easier than ever to cost-effectively leverage investments already made in Inmagic products and technology.”

DB/Text Library Suite is comprised of three of Inmagic’s industry-leading library and special collections management technologies:

* Genie is a Web-based ILS and is the cornerstone of the DB/Text Library Suite. Designed to meet the evolving needs of corporate and public information centers, Genie manages and provides timely, relevant access to traditional and non-traditional library materials. Genie is perfectly suited for single or multi-site libraries that provide Web-based access to a single catalog covering multiple collections.

* DB/TextWorks is the foundation and textbase engine of DB/Text Library Suite. A specialized database and text retrieval system, DB/Text Works can efficiently organize nearly any type of digital information—including documents, images, and multimedia—resulting in a central knowledge repository that’s accessible to all constituents.

* Web Publisher Pro is DB/Text Library Suite’s Web publishing system. It provides easy access to rich databases that don’t necessarily fit into the structure of a traditional ILS. It allows users a single platform for information publishing needs without requiring knowledge of HTML, XML, or other programming technology.

DB/Text Library Suite brings tangible benefits to librarians well as their patrons. With DB/Text Library Suite, users can:

* Check fully configurable dashboards that give an up-to-date view of library items, such as check in/check out status. Librarians and end users can then act directly on those items to access available materials.

* Catalog materials, including the ability to use BookWhere to easily find, download, and import bibliographic records.

* Edit existing materials.

* Add and edit borrower records.

* Maintain loan, circulation, and waitlist information.

* Perform serials management.

* Maintain order and supplier information.

* Make inter-library loans and acquisitions.

* Offer localization with a French bilingual option.

For patrons, DB/Text Library Suite provides self-service options through an intuitive interface, allowing them to:

* Retrieve information about new research, articles, images, borrowing and inter-library loans 24/7 via the Web.

* Conduct powerful OPAC searches by keyword, author, title, and subject, as well as by field, configured to meet each organization’s specific needs.

* Browse the library’s catalog using Inmagic’s “browse index” technology, which allows users to look inside the index and thereby create more meaningful searches.

* Use an “InfoCart” to store items for later retrieval and action.

* Login to “My OPAC” to view their open loans, overdues, reserves, routed serials, and borrower information.

* Perform self-checkout.

“Even as funding and staffing levels continue to decline in both non-profit organizations and corporate library departments around the world, expectations and requirements from end users continue to rise,” says Phil Green, Chief Technology Officer of Inmagic. “In this economic environment, we want to help information professionals get all the capabilities they need in an ILS, without having to buy and integrate several products from several vendors. With DB/Text Library Suite, users can digitally manage traditional library materials, such as books and serials, along with unstructured data, such as documents, images, URLs, audio, video files, and so on. Getting a world-class ILS up and running has never been easier or more cost-effective.”

DB/Text Library Suite is an open system, with an XML API. It is available on both DB/Text and SQL platforms. Data can be exported at any time, in any format, including industry-standard XML, and shared with other libraries in MARC format. DB/Text Library Suite also provides access to all backoffice functions via a Web browser, minimizing the need for library staff members to have access to a local network or Windows application on individual desktops. Because it’s Web-based, information professionals can use DB/Text Library Suite to work remotely. Lastly, the platform is designed from the ground up for librarians, so it requires minimal support from IT departments.

Inmagic also offers the Presto family of knowledge management products for organizations interested in integrating the power of Social Knowledge Networks with their information management needs.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

DB/Text Library Suite is available through Inmagic and its global network of partners. It is available on either a license or subscription basis, and it may be deployed in an on-premise or hosted environment. Inmagic’s managed hosting options provide a stable, yet flexible environment needed for cost-effective deployment of an information management system, ILS, or broader Social Knowledge Network. Special promotional pricing is also available to qualified buyers. For more information about Inmagic’s DB/Text Library Suite, please visit www.Inmagic.com. Certified Inmagic resellers and implementation partners can be found at http://www.inmagic.com/partners/directory.html.

ABOUT INMAGIC, INC.

Since 1983, Inmagic has helped companies rapidly capture, organize, share, manage, and exploit their collective wisdom. Over 5,000 companies in 100 countries use Inmagic’s Presto and the DB/Text product family to forge Social Knowledge Networks that connect their people and information to gain unprecedented insight into customers, markets, competitors, research, intellectual properties, and more. Find out how much your company really knows. Visit Inmagic at www.Inmagic.com.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

PRESS RESOURCES

Press contact(s): Theresa Murray, Theresa@gregoryfca.com, Mike Cassettari, mcassettari@inmagic.com

Press room: http://www.inmagic.com/news/press_room.html

RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/inmagic

Web site: http://www.inmagic.com

Blog: http://blog.inmagic.com

Company fact sheet: http://www.inmagic.com/company/Inmagic-At-A-Glance.pdf

Executive bios: http://www.inmagic.com/company/mgmt.html

Contacts

For more information, press only:
Gregory FCA
Theresa Murray
610-642-8253
Theresa@gregoryfca.com
or
Inmagic, Inc.
Mike Cassettari
781-287-6225
mcassettari@inmagic.com

Social Presto has left the building

2 comments
Presto 3.0, otherwise known as Social Presto, is out of the lab and into the library! The object of our blood, sweat, and tears for the past several months is now available to the public.

We issued a press release today announcing the launch of the new Presto. Needless to say, we're very excited about it. We believe this is the future of knowledge management and the special library, the social knowledge network.

Turn your eyes to our release for more information about the social features and other updated capabilities of Presto 3.0. As always, if you have more questions, see our newly redesigned Web site.
______________________________________________________________________

Inmagic Presto 3.0 Ushers in a New Era of Social Knowledge Management

Tight Integration of Content and Social Media Creates Social Knowledge Networks for Special Librarians and Information Professionals

WOBURN, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today Inmagic ushers in a new era of knowledge management (KM) with the release of Inmagic® Presto 3.0 a new, socialized version of Inmagic's popular knowledge repository. Dubbed "Social Presto" by Inmagic customer organizations such as NASA, Newsweek, The National Endowment for Democracy, RV Anderson Associates, and The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Presto 3.0 integrates social media with enterprise knowledge, search, access, and discovery capabilities -- giving users a 360-degree view of their information assets.

Presto is the third major release of the company’s popular Presto knowledge management system. Presto enables the management of internal and external data and unifies structured and unstructured content -- including documents, images, audio, video, Web sites, blogs, RSS feeds, and more. With these capabilities organizations can integrate top-down vetted information (or content) with bottom-up social input that captures the collective "wisdom of the community".

In addition to the new social capabilities, Presto 3.0 provides dozens of new usability enhancements, features, and benefits, as detailed on the Presto 3.0 fact sheet.

“As a long-time Inmagic customer, we instantly saw the impact Social Knowledge Networks could have at NASA,” Jeff Wolfe, Photo Planner, Analex (IMCS) Photo & Media Services, NASA. “We require a secure place where content and social media can be controlled, as well as a place where the community can both enhance and develop content. The inherent capabilities of Presto 3.0 provide a Social Knowledge Network platform that enables us to collect, organize and make accessible the nearly 12 terabytes of digital content at NASA.”

Presto 3.0 is designed to deliver five key benefits to information-rich organizations:

* A “Single Source of Truth” that eliminates information silos by centralizing relevant information and social content into a single knowledge repository accessible throughout the knowledge network.

* Improved Organizational Productivity by ensuring users can rapidly access vetted, relevant information and enhance that information through the wisdom of the community.

* “Social Intelligence” that fosters collaboration and quality control through context-based social tools, including comments, ratings, tagging and tag clouds, and blogging.

* “Social Security” through an innovative “Social Volume Knob” that provides fine-tuned monitoring and management control over social capabilities.

* Lower Total Cost of Ownership with Fast ROI compared to other approaches. Social Knowledge Networks operate on a single platform that speeds implementations, simplifies management, requires fewer IT resources, reduces training requirements, and accelerates time-to-impact.

“At the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), we needed to overcome the barriers that existed with siloed information, disconnected communities and disparate content,” said Allen Overland, Library Director at NED. “Social Knowledge Networks can help ensure that those who depend on the information—activists who receive support from NED, scholars in our network of research institutes and our own staff—can access knowledge efficiently, share, comment, and make use of it effectively. With Presto 3.0, we’re looking forward to having a one-stop shop for obtaining and sharing valuable information.”

Presto 3.0 builds on Inmagic’s 25 years of leadership in special libraries and knowledge management, allowing information professionals to build “Social Knowledge Networks” that connect top-down, vetted data with bottom-up opinion provided by expert employees.

“Presto 3.0 is a quantum leap forward for our customers and the market,” says Paul Puzzanghera, President and CEO of Inmagic. “We are helping our customers leverage their most critical knowledge assets -- content and people -- through a cost-effective, centralized enterprise knowledgebase that keeps getting smarter as stakeholders use self-service social tools, such as comments, ratings, tags, blogs, collaborative editing, and discussions to improve content.”

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Presto 3.0 is now available on both a subscription and perpetual license basis. Pricing begins at $15,000. Inmagic also offers attractive migration pricing for existing customers and discounts for non-profit and academic organizations.

ABOUT INMAGIC, INC.

Since 1983, Inmagic has helped companies rapidly capture, organize, share, manage, and exploit their collective wisdom. Over 5,000 companies in 100 countries use Inmagic’s Presto and the DB/Text product family to forge Social Knowledge Networks that connect their people and information to gain unprecedented insight into customers, markets, competitors, research, intellectual properties, and more. Find out how much your company really knows. Visit Inmagic at www.Inmagic.com.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

PRESS RESOURCES

Press contact(s): Theresa Murray, Theresa@gregoryfca.com, Mike Cassettari, mcassettari@inmagic.com

Press room: http://www.inmagic.com/news/press_room.html

RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/inmagic

Web site: http://www.inmagic.com

Blog: http://blog.inmagic.com

Company fact sheet: http://www.inmagic.com/company/Inmagic-At-A-Glance.pdf

Executive bios: http://www.inmagic.com/company/mgmt.html

FAQ: http://www.inmagic.com/products/Presto/Presto_30_FAQ.pdf

Contacts

For more information, press only:
Gregory FCA
Theresa Murray
610-642-8253
Theresa@gregoryfca.com
or
Inmagic, Inc.
Mike Cassettari
781-287-6225
mcassettari@inmagic.com

Robin Hastings talks social

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We're picking up where we left off on Wednesday in our Info Pro-file with Robin Hastings, blogger for A Passion for 'Puters. We learn her perspective on social libraries, why the industry should sit up and take notice, and how they compare to user-centered libraries. Robin also reveals her favorite blogs, what she likes to read, and whether she's a Mac or PC.
JK: How important do you think the trend towards social libraries is?

RH: Very. I think it is at least as important as the trend towards adding telephone lines to libraries was in the past. This -- the social networks and social tools of Web 2.0 -- is how our users communicate with each other. We need to allow them to use those same tools to communicate with us.

We need to be comfortable with the tools even so that we can communicate with each other within the library world. Most of the contacts I made at Internet Librarian this year are still carrying on the conversations from the conference -- via FriendFeed or Twitter. Without the ability to use these forms of communication, libraries will be left out of the conversation altogether.

JK: What are some challenges you see information professionals facing when they try to implement social libraries?

RH: I hate to say it, but the biggest challenge I see is IT. Many information technology departments have a real fear of opening up their systems to allow Facebook traffic or comments on a blog or IM ports. Many of the questions I see involve folks asking how to convince their IT departments to let them use these methods of communication.

Another challenge I see is the "buy-in" problem -- how to get administration to agree to allow something as difficult to control as a Facebook page for a library. That is starting to get better -- so many libraries are on Facebook now, with no adverse effects, that it's becoming a bit easier to talk administration into doing it, but there are still holdouts!

JK: Are the traditional library software vendors keeping pace with information professionals' needs, or are professionals forced to go to the Web 2.0 world to go social?

RH: Absolutely not. Traditional library software vendors are WAY behind the curve. The advent of open source solutions for things like library automation software with built-in RSS capabilities and with interfaces that are so much more easily modifiable than the ones that "traditional" vendors offer is an excellent start.

JK: Do you see a day when libraries are completely digital?

RH: That's a hard one. As a die-hard paperback book reader (despite all my techy toys, an e-book reader is not something that I own), I have a hard time envisioning a world that has no paper books in it. I'd love to see all *information* become digital -- searchability, indexing and all the good things that come from digital data are a definite benefit to digital information, but when I like to curl up with a book, I prefer it to be soft and in paper.

JK: What's the difference between user-centered and social libraries?

RH: Ohhh! Excellent question -- and one that is near and dear to my heart. There are a lot of libraries who start up accounts on Twitter or Facebook and then just let them slowly die. Those might be social libraries -- they have social accounts and all -- but they aren't user-centered libraries.

As I've said before, this is where our users are -- for many of us. For those of us who don't have users in the social spaces, though, it is a waste of time and effort to be in those spaces. In that case, the library will be completely user-centered by *not* doing any social networking.

For those who do have patrons in the social networks, user-centered libraries find out how they use those networks, what they are looking for from those networks and provide it. The big point being that user-centered libraries discover what their users want -- usually by directly asking them -- and then provide it.

A social library that is not user-centered (and I don't think these terms are in any way exclusive) doesn't know how its patrons are using the tools, they just go out there and do what they think the user might want.

JK: What do you like to read, for entertainment and professionally?

RH: For entertainment, I like trashy romance novels. Or historical/scientific non-fiction. One of the two. For professional purposes, I read books full of code that have names like Visual Design Fundamentals and Agile Web Development With Rails and Practical Networking.

I've been reading the Head First series - right now I'm in the middle of Head First PMP (Project Management Professional) and loving it!

JK: If you could recommend one career-oriented book and one technology-oriented book for librarians, what would they be?

RH: This question is harder to answer than I thought it would be. I think I'm going to answer it in the next question. While I love books, for "keeping up" kind of materials, you really can't beat blogs.

JK: What are your favorite blogs and Web sites?

RH: Personally, I couldn't work without the Read/Write/Web blog. Lots of great information on the Web 2.0 scene and new tool reviews and thought-provoking posts about the concepts of the read/write/web.

That would be my choice for the technology-oriented "book" in the question about book recommendations above, too. Technology moves so fast, it's difficult to keep up using print materials!

As for career-oriented blogs -- I love both Tame The Web by Michael Stephens and the Travelin' Librarian blog -- that last one is by Michael Sauers, the Technology Innovation Librarian of the state of Nebraska Library Commission.

They keep up with both the tech part of libraries and the innovative stuff that folks do in libraries. For library news, I go to LISNews which gives me all the library news I might ever need.

JK: How do you get your new everyday (online, TV, newspaper, blogs, RSS, Twitter, etc.)

RH: My local newspaper doesn't have an RSS feed (bad, bad newspaper ...), but they do e-mail out their headlines each day, so I get my local news through e-mail and TV. The rest of my news pretty much comes to me via FriendFeed, Twitter or a "CNN Breaking News Alert" text message on my phone.

JK: Are you a Mac or a PC?

RH: PC -- with a bit of a Linux bent.

JK: I understand you're a World of Warcraft junkie, and I've noticed a few other bloggers in the library space share your passion. Does World of Warcraft have any connection or use to special libraries in the public sector?

RH: I belong to a guild in World of Warcraft (and a guild is just a kind of group of folks who help each other out and hang out together) that is for librarians and library workers only.

Michael Porter (wow -- there are a lot of Michaels in librarianship!) started the guild and we use it to hang out with people "in world" who understand when we gripe about some library-related thing that happened during the day.

At my library, we've been trying to get Blizzard (the company that created the game) to give us some kind of special dispensation to play WoW in a sort of LAN party -- after hours we'd open up our Public Computer Center and let anyone with an account play together.

I don't think we've gotten a response back yet, but this would be a great program -- something that we could use to get people in the door and aware of the services that the library offers!

JK: Do you have any productivity tips to get more out of each day?

RH: I'm a fan (if not a perfect follower) of the GTD method. David Allen wrote a book a few years ago called Getting Things Done that took the geek world by storm. It's basically a productivity book that seems to work well with the way that techie folks think.

There are a million blogs out there (my favorite is 43folders.com) that can explain the system and give you tips on how to customize it for you, but it has helped me focus on what needs to be done next and has improved my ability to, amazingly enough, get things done.

JK: If you had more time in the day, what would you like to do more of?

RH: Read. As it is now, I spend so much time writing, working and getting presentations put together that all my free time is devoted to spending quality time with my son and my significant other. I don't get nearly enough time to just sit down and read.

I'm hoping as my son goes from early teen to mid-teen, that he'll be willing to spend as much time sitting reading with me as he does playing WoW with me, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.
Thanks again for sharing, Robin!

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