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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

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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!

End 2008 with a bang for your buck

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Wanted to let everyone know about the special year-end promotions we're offering for Presto and Genie. We have some nice packages we're offering until Dec. 31.

We're also providing upgrade credits to existing clients based on the product they already have. These credits can also be combined with the promotions to make it easier to move to a new platform.

For more information about our promotions and products, check out our Web site, and Andornot's blog.

Making enterprise 2.0 work

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The New York Times' Saul Hansell recently wrote a post on the pub's Bits blog that caught my eye. For those of you who are unfamiliar, that's Business Innovation Technology Society.

Anyway, Saul covered the trend of how companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Google are restructuring their platforms to include more social apps for businesses.

But as I noted in my comment, for enterprise 2.0 to work, we can't forget that we must engage the individual and make the most of existing assets: enterprise content and individual know-how. I think in our space, knowledge managers and special librarians would agree!

I won't rehash all of my thoughts here -- take a look at my comment to read the rest!

Our inaugural Info Pro-file: Robin Hastings, part 1

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Ever wonder what the next information professional is up to, what trends they're following, technologies they're using, how they're keeping up with the latest "shiny new thing" to grace our industry?

We sure do. We're kicking off a new series we're dubbing "Info Pro-file." We'll be interviewing special librarians, knowledge workers, IT managers, and other information professionals in e-mail Q&As or podcasts. We're posting our conversations here on our blog, uncut and unedited, so you can get a true slice of each info pro's life -- both professionally and personally.

Our first "victim" is Robin Hastings, IT Manager of the Missouri River Regional Library, blogger for A Passion for 'Puters, Web 2.0 aficionado, and mother of one. Janelle did an e-mail Q&A with her last week, the first installment of which is posted below. They had a lot to talk about, so we broke it up into two parts. The second half will appear here later in the week.

By the way, if you're interested in being featured here, feel free to contact Kate Ritchie at KateR@GregoryFCA.com.

Now that our ducks are in a row, let's dive in!
JK: Introduce us to Robin Hastings. Tell us about who you are and what you do.

RH: My vital stats: I'm 35 and the mother of one just barely teenaged son.

What I do all day -- besides the mom-taxi and laundry/chef services -- is work at the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City, Missouri. I'm the Information Technology Manager there, and that means that I make sure that all the bits are flowing throughout the library and that folks know what to do with those bits.

I manage both the network and the computer training for the library. I am also the webmaster of the library's various websites. All that keeps me from getting into *too* much trouble at work.

Outside of work, I am busy on a couple of upcoming writing projects; I'm contributing a chapter to a book on Mashups in the Library, writing a Technology Report for ALA on the use of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration, and getting ready to start on a book about microblogging (Twitter) and lifestreaming (FriendFeed) applications in the library.

I also have been going all around the world this year, presenting some of these ideas to folks from England to Jamaica (that one was fun!) to California, Chicago, and right here in Missouri. All that keeps me out of trouble. For the most part.

JK: What interested you in library science? Tell us your story.

RH: Actually, since I'm not a professional librarian (no MLS degree), what got me interested in libraries and library science was the fact that I took a job -- 10 years ago in December -- at the library at which I still work as the webmaster, computer trainer, and assistant to the Information Technology Manager.

Since so much of what I do in computer-land is library related, that has made me naturally interested in what kinds of applications there are for all of this cool computer technology in libraries.

JK: How has your job changed over the years, and is the pace getting faster?

RH: Besides moving up to a position of more responsibility and supervisory duties -- on top of everything else -- my job duties haven't changed much. I am doing more networking "stuff" these days, but I love working on the web and conducting the libraries training, so I've taken that with me as I've moved up the ladder here.

I now have an assistant of my own who is in charge of keeping the nuts and bolts of the computers running in the library so that I don't have to, something that my predecessor had to do as part of his job duties.

As for the pace getting faster -- yes, certainly. New ideas and new technologies are being introduced, new projects are being started and new directions in computing are being opened up all the time -- and part of my job is staying on top of those new things and determining what we can support with our limited resources.

JK: You also have a blog, A Passion for 'Puters. What do you like to write about, and why?

RH: The blog started out as a web design blog. I spent the first couple of years just talking about web stuff, since that was the main part of my job and what I did for fun after work, too (yes, I'm a nerd).

It's now grown with my duties in my job to be much more inclusive of all the technologies that I use -- from web design techniques to social networking tips to training ideas. The "tagline" of the blog is "the intersection of libraries and technology" and that is pretty much an accurate statement of what I discuss. Not just libraries and not just technology, but where they meet and how they interact.

JK: How long have you had your blog?

RH: The blog has been in existence for about 6 years, but there was a horrible server incident in the summer of '06 and everything from before June of '06 is lost to the sands of time and the cache of Google. I rescued some of it, but most is just gone.

JK: One interesting point you made in your Internet Librarian recaps posts was "the bar/restaurant/hallway conversations were among the most useful parts of the conference." What are some things you learned or discovered from these conversations?

RH: A lot of what I learned came from discussions over a beer or cider (I'm not a big beer drinker, but I do like a glass of cider every now and then!) about all manner of library/techy topics.

I had discussions on the impact of running our entire library's email system through Google Apps for Domains, something I just completed in August of this year, and the privacy/security concerns around that.

I talked with other attendees about the use of social networks at other libraries and learned how they are improving their services and their reach with those networks -- and hopefully gave other folks some ideas when I discussed how we handle those issues, too.

Mostly, though, I made some friends who are smart, innovative, and willing to let me email/message them with questions and ideas. I met folks who will be a sounding board for my ideas and a source of new ideas as they go back to their libraries and start implementing their new projects!

JK: What other Web 2.0 technologies are you using, and what do you use them for?

RH: Personally, I have an account with just about every Web 2.0 technology/site/service out there. The ones I use regularly, however, are Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, and Delicious. My library is fairly well represented in the Web 2.0 world, too. We have accounts with all the services above, plus MySpace, YouTube, and others.

JK: What trends, news, and technologies are you following right now?

RH: Web 3.0 -- the "semantic web" -- as well as collaborative platforms, innovative uses of the Web 2.0 tech and tools that we already have, and information overload remedies. My Google Alerts are all on the Web 2.0/Web 3.0/social networking topics, but I read blogs voraciously to keep up with pretty much any new ideas and tools that are coming out.

JK: Why do you think it's important for information professionals to watch these things?

RH: Well, the information overload tips and tricks come in handy when you are faced with the deluge of information about Web 2.0 that is out there, so that is just self-preservation. The rest of the topics are vital because our patrons are using these tools, and they are going to need our help in both navigating these spaces safely and in understanding how to use them effectively.

If you ignore the new developments in these areas, you are ignoring what your patrons are doing, and you are in danger of becoming obsolete and irrelevant to the people who need your help to understand this new wave of information. Part of professionalism is, in my opinion, the willingness to continue learning and growing in your field.
On that note, we'll pause our Q&A with Robin, and pick it up later this week. Check back to find out what Robin thinks of the trend towards social libraries, whether she sees a day when libraries are completely digital, what literature you can find on her bedside table, and more.

Internet Librarian reactions, from Dave

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After talking with Dave Golan, Inmagic's VP of Sales, it seems there wasn't a dull moment at Inmagic's booth at the Internet Librarian conference. With show presentations focusing on how social technologies are entering information and content management, Inmagic's demo of Presto 3.0 attracted many attendees interested in seeing these social tools in practice.

Dave also gave me a gauge of where information professionals stand in the adoption/implementation process of social technologies, and what his conference takeaways are.

Check out our podcast to hear it all firsthand.

The junk drawer of the Internet age

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It's Monday. But I'm giving you an excuse to leave work (virtually) and come with me down the Road to Social Knowledge Networks. Although we won't be traveling down a yellowbrick road with a little dog in tow, and breaking out dance moves with Munchkins, we will be journeying to discover the "man behind the curtain:" what a SKN is, what it is not, and why it's important.

Got your red slippers? Then let's go!

Librarians are, naturally, attracted to the promised benefits of social knowledge networks. Many are rushing to develop and implement social libraries. Industry pundits and vendors are exploiting this interest, suggesting techniques and tools that librarians should use to socialize their libraries.

Their suggestions run the gamut from simply setting up a Facebook page or dropping in a wiki, to a complete overhaul of their knowledge management strategy and organization's IT infrastructure. Some go as far as re-engineering their entire content or knowledge management environment.

Perhaps a better approach would be to tell librarians not what to do, but rather, what to pitfalls to watch out for. And that's exactly what we're going to do here to kick off our Road to Social Knowledge Networks series.

There are several missteps to SKNs. We begin at a place called the "junk drawer."



Everyone has one, but no matter how hard we try, they just don't work to organize your stuff. Think of the drawer in your kitchen. It probably has scissors, last year’s lottery ticket, a spatula, a few old bills, and maybe a half-eaten candy cane.

In the enterprise, it's an informational junk drawer, and it constitutes the most common knowledge repository, the shared network drive.

With informational junk drawers, there is no information strategy and no shared vision for organizing content. Outdated content is not removed, and poor-quality content is not expunged. When trying to find information, it's basically every person for themselves, which usually results in wasted time and money, and knowledge that sits stagnant.

Key take away: Information is physically captured but logically lost.

This is the most disorganized information repository. It gets better from here, but slowly. Stay tuned next week when we explore Stage 2: Infinite Search.

Genie's out of the bottle -- and on Andornot's Web site

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It might not be able to give you a million dollars, transport you to Venice, or make you immortal, but our Genie sure can make library management a whole lot easier.

You can see how in a new demo Andornot has put together on its Web site. It gives a great interactive look at Genie’s library management functions for corporate and special libraries.

Andornot is an independent consulting firm based in Vancouver, Canada. For over 10 years, they have helped a wide range of corporations, law firms, public institutions, government organizations, non-profits, archives, and museums use the latest information management solutions.

For information and updates on Genie and rest of Inmagic's products, keep an eye on the Andornot blog -- and keep the other one here! ;)

Back from Internet Librarian, by Kipo

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Hello all! Now that we've hired another resource at Inmagic to help alleviate some of my work, I will try to write once a week. ;)

What better way to better kick it off than with a report back from Internet Librarian. In my 10 years at Inmagic, I have never attended the show. My colleagues who have attended the show informed me that it's a much smaller show than SLA, and that I should expect some downtime.

The kid in me loved the thought of free time to finally fire up the PSP, but the grown-up in me hated the idea of being away from work and family attending such a "small" trade show. Ugh, plus all of the catch-up work that I would have to do when I got back ...

As I was packing my things the night before, I contemplated bringing my laptop along with the demo machine. We had initially planned for one demo machine, which our scouting report told us would be enough. At the last minute, I decided to lug it along to work on an RFI.

Aside from someone fainting on the plane right after take-off, the flight was uneventful. When the doors finally opened, I quickly realized two things.

One, I don't know how to iron. Under 100 watts of booth lighting, it looked like I had fallen asleep with my shirt on.

And two, my colleagues don't like me much, because they had completely lied to me. Our booth was super busy. The first day, the show was only open for two hours, but there was plenty of traffic. By the second day, I had to consume about a gallon of water an hour because my throat was so dry from talking.

Looking back, I'm sure glad I packed the other laptop. When we were setting up the booth, we decided to set up two demo stations, but ONLY for the purpose of creating symmetry. (Dave, our VP of Sales, has a rather unusually keen eye for detail, but that's a whole post within itself.)

We thought we wouldn't need both laptops, but much to our surprise, the machines were being utilized heavily. This would be the second time we had our social demo portrayed in this type of venue, and it was a hit. The messaging resonated, and to me, this was very important, because it validates that Inmagic is headed in the right direction.

Since the beginning, Inmagic has always catered its products and services to corporate librarians. The company has been helping these individuals build knowledge repositories since the early 80s. The suite of products has been in development for over 25 years, so I felt we had that part down.

The part that concerned me was the move to socialize the content. As with any new technology, there are a number of concerns:
  • Is it just a fad?
  • Will this be well received by our customers?
  • Will librarians view this more as a threat than a tool that can help them?
  • Will anyone really care?
After leaving the show, I can honestly say that my concerns are put to rest. It turns out that librarians actually want to open up their library to the organization and create a more self-service environment.

Most of the people I spoke to have always wanted to create a platform to help facilitate collaboration around the content, but never knew how or didn't have the technical resources to do so.

So, as I stand there speaking to these individuals, I quietly listen, smile, and think, This sure is much more interesting than discussing MARC records.

A missing ingredient in the social enterprise

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"Social" anything is just about as hot as going green these days. It's no wonder companies are quickly looking for ways to capitalize on social technologies for their employees, partners, and customers. But while momentum around social technologies is great, understanding of how to most effectively take advantage of these tools is still evolving.

As a company in this space, we have noticed one key ingredient that most companies consistently fail to take into consideration when looking to go social. And that's the content.

I have heard many examples of companies trying to realize all the benefits of going social, but failing to achieve their goals. Why? In many cases, it is because social technologies have been simply added on to their existing intranets or portals without much thought given to what this means to the end user.

What benefit does an R&D scientist derive from having access to a social technology? How does Web 2.0 help a marketing professional get their job done faster and better? How does a special librarian gain insight into how to "weed and feed" the content management system?

In social knowledge networks, as in many other aspects of life, context is everything. When given context, people using social technologies have a reason for connecting, and begin to extract the true value of these technologies.

In SKNs, context is achieved through content. For the R&D scientist, it is the drug discovery report written by a colleague in another department. For the marketing professional, it is the market research analysis written by a coworker in a field office. For the special librarian, it is the comments written by a senior editor.

People will connect when there is context, because they have a shared reference point, a reason to connect. Collaboration happens and problem solving accelerates because the socially connected people have a basis for their discussion, not merely because they can now IM each other.

Content is the backbone of a successful social knowledge management strategy because it's not just about connecting people together. It's about how we use that interaction and bring people together to solve a business problem.

You might have heard us mention the social volume knob. This allows vetted content to retain its veracity and provides control over what content gets socialized, and how. Otherwise, you get a free-for-all of opinions without authority.

Once we realize that the expertise of the enterprise lies with vetted content, we can then successfully apply social technologies to enhance that knowledge and connect communities.

Inmagic goes to the land down under

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News of our social knowledge networks webinar and new release of Presto hit the site of Maxus Australia, one of Inmagic's partners. Thanks mate!

Maxus has been supplying information management software for over 20 years to government, corporate, and non-government agencies. They offer the whole kit and caboodle: customization, implementation, training, and maintanence and support.

Pondering SKNs on Metadata Librarian Experience

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Metadata Librarian Experience recently shared news of the upcoming Presto release. Thanks for following us!

A vote for president is a vote for social empowerment

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As most of you know, today is a big day in the United States. We get to vote for the next president. When I stood in the booth this morning, I was struck by how empowering casting my vote felt.

It's a feeling not unlike that experienced by many of our customers moving to social knowledge networks. They report similar feelings of empowerment as they migrate to the new technology.

The reason? They can finally talk back to the knowledge management system. They can point out errors or add tips and techniques not mentioned in a particular document. Experts within the organization can blog about key industry trends, sharing their knowledge to a wide audience. Just like in voting, users "cast" their knowledge throughout the organization.

The feeling of empowerment that is created from this drives a social knowledge network. Users want to share their wisdom, voice their opinions, and educate others. So get out and vote, and let the commenting, rating, and blogging begin.

The Road to Social Knowledge Networks

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We've talked extensively about social knowledge networks, what they are, and how they work in enterprise knowledge management. But you might be wondering, How do I get there?

Wonder no more. Welcome to the first installment of the series, “The Road to Social Knowledge Networks.” Each week, I'll shed light on the concept of social knowledge networks and how social media is helping drive their creation in the enterprise.

By the end, you should have a greater understanding of what a SKN is, and, just as important, what it is not. You'll learn why SKNs are important to the enterprise, social libraries, and more, and start to see the valuable role they play in content management for almost any company.

The beauty of the blog is that it allows me to keep it short, sweet, and to the point, and opens up the forum for you to tell me what you think throughout the discussion. So keep the feedback coming!

And with that, I leave you a sneak peek into the topics you'll read about:

Stage 1: The junk drawer

Stage 2: Infinite search

Stage 3: Silo mentality

Stage 4: Separate but equal

Stage 5: Kumbaya

Stage 6: The final phase, Nirvana

What is a social knowledge network

Why you should care

What is the social volume knob

Parting thoughts

Stay tuned next week as we dive in and take a look at the evolution of information management and how we got on this road to social knowledge networks in the first place. You can set a bookmark for this address to easily check in for each new chapter. Til next time!

Gearing up for the release of Presto 3.0

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Paula Hane, NewsBreaks Editor for Information Today, covered the upcoming release of Presto 3.0 in an article last week. It neatly captures Presto's features and benefits, so take a read to learn more about our platform.

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