Blog Posts by gina.persichini

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How do I….

With each Phase of the LiLI Unlimited Resource Sharing roll-out, library staff are learning how to use OCLC’s CatExpress and Interlibrary Loan tools. Part of the State Library’s evaluation of the training includes a follow-up a few months after the initial training to see how things are going.

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Pat Wagner and The Generation Gap

Attendees at this year’s Summer Institute track “Improving Library Service: Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication” are in for a real treat. While we were both in Chicago, I met with Pat Wagner (Pattern Research) who will be presenting a major portion of the content at the Summer Institute (August 1st - 5th).

Pat is sharp, experienced, and has the ability to relate the material right to the attendee. She shared some theories with me, and I just can’t wait for Summer Institute when the whole group will get to experience the entire program. Later in the conference, I had the opportunity to see one of the programs that Pat was presenting: “Generation Gap: Challengs and Benefits of a Mixed Generation Workforce.”

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Some themes heard over the past few days at ALA

One of the great things about ALA is the opportunity to step back and see the larger picture of what is happening in libraries. It’s great to learn about other libraries, and even better to find out that they all share common challenges. I attended a couple different programs on Saturday that addressed the future of resource sharing. Add to that the content of the “Mining the Long Tail” presentation, the OCLC Environmental Scan, and pretty much anything written about the behavior of next generation library users and now I’m all riled up! Some major themes keep coming up:

It’s about Content, not Containers.
Library users, and potential library users, are becoming more interested in the information they need, and not so much concerned about the format or the source.

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Mining the Long Tail

One the challenges of a huge conference like ALA is that there is so much going on, so much information being presented, that one (me) needs some time to process what was heard/seen/experienced. It’s now 14 ½ hours after my day started here and I’m trying to process what happened. How do I sum up a 3-hour presentation in this short space? The answer? It’s not going to be short.

OCLC sponsored a symposium today: “Mining the Long Tail: Libraries, Amazoogle and Infinite Availability.” It began with Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine. In October 2004 he wrote an article titled “The Long Tail.” I’m having a hard time explaining the long tail without a picture. But think of it this way: When considering movies, there is a core selection that makes up the bulk of what is viewed. And if the movies were ranked and put in order of popularity (purchase/rental) in a graph, the graph would start high with the big box-office superstars, continue to slope downward through the popular mainstays, and then end with a long tail of those movies that are ranked low in popularity. Not just low, some may rarely see the light of day.

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Virtual Travel to ALA

Many a librarian will be traveling to Chicago this weekend to participate in the ALA Annual Conference. While attendance will likely hit around 20,000 people, a lot more are unable to make it. But that’s no reason to be out of the loop. There are a number of opportunities to keep up with what’s happening at the conference.

Right here Idaho State Library staff will do their best to keep Idaho libraries informed about the news, ideas, and information they pick up during the conference.

Readers may also be interested in the perspective on these other blogs, which will have live blogging from the conference:

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Library holdings in WorldCat

The LiLI Unlimited Catalog allows the user to search for materials held by all the libraries in Idaho with just one search. Well, that is the potential. A user can’t see a library’s holdings in the database unless they’ve been added by the library. That might have happened in the past when batchloading and retrospective conversion projects were done with WLN. These days, it is more likely the result of a library that catalogs new materials using OCLC’s tools. That’s because the LiLI Unlimited Catalog operates in the FirstSearch interface — an OCLC product. And the LiLI Unlimited Catalog is really a subset of the entire OCLC WorldCat database.

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Passwords: Secure and Sane

This week I have had the opportunity to sit in on the training for new LiLI Unlimited participants. Staff from these libraries are learning how to use OCLC’s CatExpress, FirstSearch, and Interlibrary Loan tools. As I hand out the passwords to access FirstSearch, I am struck by how much they look like something the cat types as she walks across my keyboard.

FirstSearch passwords are machine-generated. Is it secure? You bet. Easy to remember? Not at all.

Since this password can be shared with your library’s customers, you might want something more user friendly. So how can a library change their password to something that is both secure and sane? You have 2 options:

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A new communication channel

This entry begins the Idaho State Library’s adventure into blogging. Why blog? Blogging is another opportunity to reach the Idaho library community. Through it, we can share news, provide education, and highlight some great practices around the state.

Each of our blog entries can be assigned categories. Since each entry is archived, anyone can find past entries within a specific category. Even more, they can use the “search” box up top to search all the entries with keywords.

The information you find in this blog will be more informal than our newsletters or any white papers ISL staff might write. Blogs, by nature, are less formal, and I hope that our readers welcome the casual conversation that will take place. Enjoy learning about services, discovering new trends, and discussing ideas for providing service to the Idaho library community.

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Questions (no answers) about serving the NextGen users

“I’ll add it to my queue.” This was the statement from a friend of mine when a group was discussing a particular movie that needed to be watched or, as it happened, re-watched. He was referring to his queue of movies with Netflix. As I read his words (because many of our conversations take place online by email, IM, or within a weblog) I found myself thinking ‘Netflix generation.’

A Netflix user gets movies shipped directly to their home. They watch them and return them to Netflix when they are done. No due dates. No late fees. No postage. After returning the movies, Netflix will send the next videos in the user’s queue.

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New perspectives

Stewart Brand makes some excellent points in his article about environmentalists and the points of view that predetermine people’s thoughts. By standing in one place and not moving from that spot when viewing the world, the scenery is always the same. If we can collectively move from that comfortable area to a different spot, a couple of things automatically happen. First, we aren’t comfortable so we are more aware of what things look like. We take the time to really notice relationships. Then, just by virtue of this changed perspective, we are seeing different things.

Suspending assumptions. Getting a new view. Being prepared to really look once you find your new location.