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Industry event to watch: Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit

Gartner is holding its next Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in September, and I wanted to bring it to your attention if you haven't heard about it. The theme is "Connect for Success." It will cover how business and IT leaders are using portals, content, and collaboration technologies to connect people and information across companies, geographies, and communities.

Gartner's leading analysts as well as keynote presenters and industry panelists will be looking at the present and future of the market for social software and collaboration, and how it is and will impact vendors and organizations. There promises to be some insightful predictions and helpful strategies revealed. You can learn more about the sessions and tracks at the summit Web site.

The event is taking place in London from Sept. 16-17. There's still time to register online at Gartner's Web site. However, if London is a bit of a journey for you ;), expect some interesting press coverage to come from the event. We'll be following it from our homestead in the good ol' U.S.A.!

Controlling content publishing in a social library

Picking up our Social Libraries 101 series to talk about a major buzzword when it comes to content publishing in a social library: control.

Organizations should to be aware that the social library will not self manage. This pitfall is especially true in behind-the-firewall applications.

For a social library initiative to be successful, socialization of content must be managed and requires modulation. To accomplish this, organizations use what we call the "social volume knob." It must be central to managing the knowledge network. The head knowledge worker or designated librarian provides control over who, when, what, and how contributions are made to the knowledge network.

As organizations roll out social technologies in their library, they might want to start with the volume knob set "low" for certain classes of users. A low setting means users have less capabilities. So for instance, some users might be allowed to tag one type of content, or other certain users can blog or comment on content. In this case, the librarian has the greatest control.

A "high" setting on the social volume knob, on the other hand, would give users more freedom and capabilities. This is usually provided to domain experts, who can be authorized to write blog posts and have access to full social capabilities.

And then you have everything in between. Each contributor's access capabilities can be adjusted, so perhaps one user 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.

Here's a diagram so you can see how this spectrum would play out in the enterprise:

Unmanaged social knowledge networking risks culture shock, or worse, information chaos that can undermine or overwhelm the knowledge management initiative. You don't want a free-for-all of information posting, sharing, and rating. You'll end up with a lot of information that lacks veracity.

But if you implement a social library in a controlled, content-centric manner, it is not disruptive to workflow or the knowledge repository. Knowledge workers create the environment necessary to publish and share high-quality content. This includes implementing a knowledge strategy with a social volume knob to ensure contributors are helping to build, maintain, and manage the social library in a logical, organized fashion.

Overcoming obstacles to enterprise 2.0 (Is ROI the biggest bump in the road?)

The jury might still be out on the total impact of enterprise 2.0, but we've reached a stage where we can at least identify some of the major obstacles in the way of achieving it. Dion Hinchcliffe took a crack at it, and put together his list of 10 issues in adopting social computing in the enterprise, which you can peruse on ZDNet.

Dion writes, "... the question still remains whether it [social media] can directly drive fundamental, bottom line performance in the average organization today." Depending on how far you go back, the same can be said of instant messaging, Web sites, e-mail, personal computers, fax machines, PR, and marketing.

And if we look at the average organization, you can bet that all of the above are critical to the fundamental performance. The debate over social media ROI will go on until one day we wake up and realize that while it might be hard to quantify, we know we can't do without it. Don't get me wrong, enterprises should quantify wherever possible. ROI often acts as a built-in motivator that holds people, technology, and processes accountable. But organizations that are strictly tied to ROI-driven performance can often lose sight of the forest through the trees.

By the way, this is something we explored more this week we when interviewed David Meerman Scott, a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and author. (He wrote the BusinessWeek best-selling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.) Our podcast with him is in production, and we'll be posting that on the blog early next week. I won't steal his thunder, but David went on a very interesting and passionate discourse about the importance and value of ROI in social media.

Anyway, a few specific issues on Dion's list also resonated with me, so click over to his article and then my comment to get the full scoop.

City of Edmonton takes photo archives online with Presto

The City of Edmonton has taken a leap forward in the way it stores and shares its archive of historical photographs and images. It recently launched a new photo archives Web site, where you can search 25,000 images and counting. The backbone of Edmonton's Web site is Presto.

The city had previously stored these images as hard copies in its archives building. Now with its new site, people can search and access Edmonton's images from their home computer. The site features the 200 most-requested photos from the archives, including the No. 1 photo -- a train placed on the Low Level Bridge during the flood of 1915 to keep it from floating away.

Edmonton's site also lets researchers order image prints online and subscribe to RSS feeds that alert them when new content is added. That's just the beginning of the tools that Edmonton is taking advantage of in Presto. In the coming months, the city plans to post many more photos, as well as maps and other digitized records for public consumption.

Wally McKenzie and Noor Sheikh from our end have been working with the Edmonton team to create and implement the site. The city did a soft launch and public launch earlier this month, and has gotten a great deal of press coverage and feedback. Paula Aurini-Onderwater, an Edmonton archivist, shared some of this feedback with us, and we wanted to share with you on the blog so you can see first-hand how the site is being received by its users.

Below is an e-mail Paula sent us, verbatim:
Hi Bob, Wally and Noor,

Just thought you might like to see the media hype we've been receiving since our photo site went public. There have been a few pieces in the newspaper, and some local community TV stations have come in and done a few pieces.

Edmonton Journal

Edmonton Examiner

Shaw TV

Also, here are the notes I've compiled from the comments we received, from both the soft launch and the public launch.
For the soft launch, I invited just over 20 people -- colleagues, regular researchers, family, friends -- to go to the site and try it out, and give us their feedback.
Most was very positive, although some complained about speed; and one had a few good suggestions which I hope we can talk about in the future, or I can add them to the next 'wish list'.
The comments from the public have been coming into the reference desk.
But overall, the site has been very well received and has generated lots of excitement.
Paula also sent along the feedback she mentions above, and you can read that too below. (Also verbatim):

Feedback from soft launch:
  • Thanks for the link. I had a quick look at it and it looks good! Very pretty. I also like the searchability. One comment, because I'm impatient, I dislike the length of time it takes for a page to load.

  • Web site is very easy to navigate. No hiccups that I can see. Very seamless.

  • I did a search by photo number, photographer, and subject and it all worked very nicely. It also printed fine, but I had some trouble with the email function. It didn't seem to want to work. But otherwise great..

  • I thought it was pretty cool. I like the 200 most requested photos and it seemed easy to navigate.

  • I love it!
Feedback from public launch:
  • The 'comments' on the article in the Edmonton Journal are very positive about the images being online. 3 of the last 5 photo orders specifically mentioned ordering the image because they saw it online
Check out Edmonton's photo archives site and see what you think!

Does KM need social media?

"For decades, it’s been a promise. But knowledge management is finally possible. That’s because social networking MAKES it possible. By allowing fast, easy and lightweight collaboration between individuals and workgroups, tools such as user forums, blogs, wikis and their ilk have finally made good on the promise of KM."

That's a quote from a recent paper by Andy Moore, publisher of KMWorld. It's sparked a fire for some in the industry, including Carl Frappaolo, who brought the quote under scrutiny last week in a post on InformationArchitectedInc.

Carl's counter argument is that KM is not just about technology. It is "a business practice and ecosystem, that evolves over time." You can read more about his position in his article. (Btw, thanks Carl for quoting my white paper in your post!)

First of all, I want to say hats off to an open and honest discussion on knowledge management. But I believe that Carl and Andy agree on more than they let on. As per my white paper that Carl cites, KM is clearly about more than one technology and is also clearly about more than just technology.

However, while Andy might have used an interesting title to attract readership, he is dead on in that social media has changed the KM game. The most common one-liner about past KM initiatives was that they failed. And where did they fail? Typically in the knowledge capture phase. And why did knowledge capture fail? Because previous generation KM tools required two things.

First, they often required some sort of business process re-engineering. (This is a fancy term for changing the way an organization works.) As I’m sure you agree making people change what they are doing for a soft benefit in the future, is usually a really good foundation for success ... NOT!

Second, previous KM systems are noted for asking a Dilbert like pointy-haired boss to dictate that “you will use the system.” Again, I’m sure you agree that telling people what to do, is usually a really good foundation for success. NOT!

The reason social media is changing KM is because of the culture of sharing that we now live in. People, especially younger workers, are now trained, willing, and able to use social media tools. So to the extent that we can utilize social media tools for knowledge capture and knowledge collaboration, then we avoid the two key pitfalls of previous KM implementations.

To be specific, users no longer need to be trained and they do not need the boss to tell them to share. And therefore, if we avoid these pitfalls, we improve the probability of a successful KM initiative by a large degree.

So I believe Andy makes a good point. KM is being revolutionized by social media tools. But Carl is also spot on, in that KM is more than just social tools.

SLA is neither "special" nor just for "librarians." Talk amongst yourselves.

If you watched Saturday Night Live in the 90’s, and/or you’re from Long Island (I am both), you know how Linda Richman gets verklempt. Just as Rhode Island is neither a road nor is it an island, there is currently much debate around the #slaname change, and members are most certainly talking amongst themselves.

This is a good thing, because it shows an enthusiastic group that is passionate about its profession (however that might be defined), and it seems there are two groups rising from the chatter: the traditional camp that wants to stick with the current name as one they can hang their hat on and rally behind. And others that view the name as antiquated and not representative of its members.

In actuality, members include more than just those in special libraries, and it includes more than just librarians. So it's true the name might not be an accurate reflection of the group. However, even though there are many different roles and titles within the group -- info pros, researchers, librarians, knowledge professionals, etc. -- what makes the group, well, a group, is that the commonalities outweigh the differences.

I don’t think anyone can deny that there is a major shift going on across libraries, collections, and museums that's being fueled by the social phenomenon. Just as roles and responsibilities shift, then maybe a name that reflects that shift and broadens the scope and acceptance of members isn’t such a bad thing.

So join in the discussion, we’ll talk, no big whoop.

What SOPACs bring to the library

We've taken a hiatus from our Social Libraries 101 series to focus on SLA, but today we're picking up where we left off. Click the Social Libraries 101 label for a refresher on what we've covered so far in Social Libraries 101, and then read on. Today I bring you more insight into SOPACs and their impact on the library.

If you're in a hurry and just want the nutshell, take a look at the diagrams. For more explanation, scroll down.


* One-way push model
* Focus is to organize and publish
* Supports researcher productivity
* Operationally-oriented, passive


* Two-way model
* Focus is to manage and create knowledge
* Supports community productivity
* Collaboration-oriented, active

A managed social library improves a knowledge worker’s ability to find relevant and high-quality information faster, fosters collaboration, and increases productivity across an organization. Social libraries deliver everything traditional libraries deliver while at the same time enhancing the value of the library by incorporating how the community of users relates to and enhances the information.

SOPACs extends the definition of a traditional OPAC and takes it to the next level of value by creating a user-rich environment with two-way communication. The SOPAC enhances the user experience, breaks down information silos, and improves productivity of the library’s knowledge assets.

However, the basic premise of a library remains: People seek accurate, relevant, subject-specific information. The social library extends information quality through user ratings, commenting, blogs, and social tagging. Domain-specific collaborative environments can create and enhance collective knowledge and resolve domain-specific problems.

Everybody is a researcher, networking and communing with information and people. They all become part of the effort to share knowledge and inform the community at large. Information users transform from passive to active participants.

I'll talk about successfully managing SOPACs next time.

Discussion over SLA's name change continues to brew

If you haven't heard yet, SLA is considering changing its name to more accurately reflect the benefits and value that info pros get out of the organization. SLA is now working with consultants and members to come up with a new and better name. You can learn more about their process at their wiki page.

If you're a member, join the brainstorm on what the new name should be! Just log into SLA's wiki to add your suggestions, or comment on an existing one. You can also Tweet about it. If you do, SLA asks you use #slaname in your tweet.

Gil Yehuda: Trends to watch in enterprise 2.0 and special libraries

What major trends should info pros and special librarians be watching right now? According to Gil Yehuda, one of them is the "context is king" idea. While content is valuable, context surrounding it is vital to unlocking that value.

Gil unravels this trend and more in our podcast. Gil is an enterprise 2.0 analyst and collaboration consultant. He's a former Forrester senior analyst, where he covered the enterprise 2.0 space. He focused on the vendor side -- who is providing technologies and services -- and customer side -- who's buying these products and why. Gil also blogs at Gil Yehuda's Enterprise 2.0 Blog, and tweets @gyehuda.

In our podcast, learn what trends he's watching, and what trends he thinks info pros should be watching too. Listen as he explains how the role of knowledge managers is changing with these trends.

Gil also clues us in on his major findings from his recent time at Forrester -- how enterprise 2.0 is interrelated with KM, CRM, DM, and more; and how this has created a complex and diverse marketplace, one with many different companies that have many different needs. But complexity isn't necessarily bad, and Gil explains how we can progress because of it.

Click play, sit back, and enjoy our latest podcast.

What's the biggest challenge to enterprise/library 2.0 adoption in your organization?

We're throwing this question out there in a Twitter poll, so click over to it to respond! The poll will be open until July 31. We'll announce the results on the blog then!

The chicken and egg problem of enterprise 2.0 adoption

I see a chicken and egg problem in the adoption of enterprise 2.0. Let me start by asking you, have you ever said this about a social media tool: (Check all that apply.)
  • It’s a waste time.
  • What’s the point?
  • Who cares?
  • It has no impact.
  • It’s just a fad.
  • What good is it for my business?
Well you’re not alone. Skepticism of social media still runs rampant, and yet it continues to infiltrate the lives of individuals, presidents, companies, celebrities, and social movements. What is it about social technologies that have created such a phenomenon?

It’s empowerment. These tools don’t discriminate and you don’t need an Ivy-league pedigree to make your voice heard. It’s power to the people. It’s a true democracy of ideas that can be discussed, chewed on, and either spit out or elevated to the next level -- a decision not made by one, but by many.

If you have something thoughtful, insightful, educational, or just plain funny to say, pass it along. If people value your input, you’ll develop a following of like-minded individuals. If you put a lot of junk out there, you’ll be left having a dialogue with your dog.

Just as there’s personal empowerment, the consumer-based social phenomena is carrying over to the enterprise and empowering our work lives. The outcome might be different, but the foundation is the same.

For example, Facebook was originally designed as a means to check out the babes on the Harvard campus. But individuals found a use for it that went beyond ogling, such as connecting with friends, keeping up with family, catching up with old acquaintances. And now, companies are using it for branding and to reach new audiences.

However, the true benefits of social collaboration in the enterprise have yet to be realized. We just don’t know because they’re still being adopted, tested, retested, and most importantly, accepted.

Acceptance is one of the biggest cultural hurdles when it comes to adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies. And acceptance only happens when tangible benefits are realized. Benefits can best be realized when there is acceptance. And here you have the "chicken and the egg" of enterprise 2.0 adoption.

So where does this leave us? We must get off the sidelines and become engaged in the social movement. Just like the lottery, you've got to be in to win it. And I think the same holds true for realizing the true benefits of going social, both personally and professionally.

Maxus Australia set to exhibit at ALLA

One of our partners, Maxus Australia, will be exhibiting at the Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALLA) conference in September. We wanted to share the news and get the conference on your radar if you're interested in attending. (This show is the Aussie equivalent of the AALL, which we are exhibiting at later this month.)

The theme of ALLA 2009 will be evolution. It'll cover topics including the changing roles and directions in the law library professions, trends in legal practice, technology, publishing, and cataloging.

And it will also celebrate a few significant milestones in the history of evolution and the association. 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of ALLA, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species.

You can learn more about the show and register at the ALLA 2009 page.

Inmagic to exhibit at AALL 2009

SLA 2009 was a big success, and now we’re getting ready for our return to the nation's capital, when we'll exhibit at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference (AALL). The show shakes down July 26 to 28.

Stop by and visit us in booth #823. We might even have another Kindle to give away! And if you’re interested in attending, but haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. Registration details are at AALL's Web site.

SLA 2009 photos: Around Inmagic's booth


Our magician for SLA 2009, Josh Norris, was accompanied by friend and photographer Alexander Morozov. Alex took shots around our booth and of Josh's magic tricks, and assembled them in a video slideshow. Enjoy!

SLA 2009 video: Inmagic magician turns five pieces of floss into one


Dental floss is such an unassuming item. You might never have thought it would be the star of a magic trick. Josh Norris, Inmagic's magician at SLA 2009, shows us what can happen when you combine floss and a little abracadabra. Play the video to watch him turn five separate pieces of floss into one, in a snap.

SLA 2009 podcast: Latest Genie conversions with Barbara Middleton


Customers and partners alike joined us for our customer reception at SLA 2009, and one partner we chatted with was Barbara Middleton. She's a senior librarian/programmer with DC Magic, which sells and supports Inmagic products in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas. We stopped to talk about how things are going in Barbara's neck of the woods, and she told us about the latest Genie conversions she's working on. Mozy on over to the play button for her update!

Truths and myths of social knowledge management

As buzz around enterprise 2.0 and other social technologies abound, info pros might be left wondering what social knowledge management (SKM) is, and what it is not. I've found that there are five key ideas circulating about social knowledge management, some of which I think are true, and some of which are myths.

What's what in SKM? I explain in this piece I wrote for KMWorld, who has graciously published it online today. Thanks to the editors!

Click over to find out which of these ideas are facts, which are fiction, and why:
  1. Is SKM is different from social networking? (Hint: It’s not a social free-for-all.)
  2. Does ECM + blogs, ratings, and comments = SKM?
  3. Does SKM fall into traditional content management buckets?
  4. Is SharePoint SKM?
  5. Does SKM provide considerable, quantifiable ROI?

SLA 2009 video: What organizations are asking about Presto


We pulled Phil aside for a moment at Inmagic's booth at SLA 2009 to check in on how the show was going. Phil told us about the new features coming out in Presto 3.1, and what customers have been asking about the new version. Hit play to learn more.

SLA 2009 podcast: Social media catches eye of Tania Andreeff


In between sessions at SLA 2009, we bumped into Tania Andreeff, assistant librarian for the U.S. Tax Court. Tania is a long-time SLA member, and enjoys coming to the conferences to stay updated on new technologies and trends in the industry. In our podcast, we talked about some of the tracks she attended (yup, it had to do with social media!), and where she was headed next.

SLA 2009 podcast: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with Jeff Clark


Sustainability is of course a hot-button issue, and the topic was top-of-mind during one of the sessions at SLA 2009. We stepped aside with one of the speakers from the sustainable initiatives session, Jeff Clark, just after he did his presentation. Jeff is an Associate at ICF International, which consults to government and commercial organizations on their energy, climate change, environmental, and other programs. In particular, Jeff consults to Energy Star.

In our podcast with Jeff, we learned he spoke on greenhouse gas reductions, and how we can reduce our carbon footprints by using certain energy-efficient products and eating more or less of certain foods, such as consuming less beef. He also told us why he thinks SLA is a good forum to share his presentation. Click play above, and if you'd like to learn more, have a look through his presentation, "Understanding and Reducing Personal Greenhouse Emissions."


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