All posts by Lee LeBlanc

What are those corporate librarians up to?

I struck up a conversation with a corporate librarian.  I’m interested in the ways these professionals work.  Fortunately,  Eric Bryan, a corporate librarian for Boeing was game to answer some questions.  After we exchanged some emails about vegan related matters, I wondered if he would field some other questions. (And how did we get started on this? Through blogging.)
That sounds like fun!  I’m not sure if we have any staff photos because we are scattered all over the country (we do a LOT of online meetings).  We are dispersed throughout the country.  Pictures are hard to come by because cameras are highly restricted in our buildings.  We have about 50 librarians scattered around the country, but most are in southern California and Washington (Puget Sound area).  I’m going to ask my boss about a staff and library bio, which shouldn’t be a problem, I just want to verify what I can/should say (we have very tight security and have to jump through many hoops to get info to the outside world).  I’ll get back to you very soon with the bios though.  Web 2.0 technologies and concepts are a really big thing here, so I know the rest of the library will be excited about this. –Eric Bryan
Once we were both clear about what we could talk about and how, we exchanged some emails.  I learned some cool stuff about corporate librarians, librarians working in high security organizations and librarians working in a distributed knowledge organization.  All around, pretty darn cool what some librarians are doing in their careers.  Not because of the place they work at but because of the fact that they’re bringing in emerging technologies to do their job better.

Here’s the standard bio from Eric for the Boeing Corporate Librarians:

Library and Learning Center Services (L&LCS ) provides Boeing employees with information, research and educational services in support of Boeing’s vision, programs and projects. Some of the services available via the L&LCS web site include:
  • Access to internal and external information including reports, documents, journals, and a circulating collection of books
  • In-depth research on request, including Ask us! real-time, online chat reference
  • Online, full-text access to engineering, technical and business-related resources
  • Self-paced training and certification materials* Information organization and retrieval services including thesaurus, glossary and metadata development, add your collection to the library catalog, user groups and more

Whether employees need internal Boeing documents, industry, military or government specifications and standards, or parts catalogs; or if they’re looking for e-books, electronic journals, or are simply searching for information related to a specific piece of technical data, the L&LCS staff can help.

Our Conversation:
Anyone in particular use -blogs, rss, delicious, twitter?  Can you tell me what is used, who disseminates emerging technologies information (whether formally or informally)?
  • Many of the librarians here make use of the staff blog as well as the library services wiki.  Our blog is based on the movable type platform, and our wiki is on the atlassian confluence platform.
  • Many of us subscribe to feeds and check them on a daily basis, and  those are the people who tend to disseminate the tech news.  We have also created a “daily digest” feature on our blog in which one of our librarians is responsible for finding cool bits of news on the web and compiling it in a daily digest format.
  • My colleagues Josh , Robert and I are the main “web 2.0″ people here in southern California, and we both make use of blogs, rss, delicious, wikis, LibraryThing, and various social networks. We don’t use Twitter, although we are familiar. Josh and I are also the admins for the blogs and wikis that the library groups inhabit, and we also manage content development on the various library web pages. Josh recently conducted a workshop at UCLA on Web 2.0 applications.
Do the librarians specialize: web searching, teaching information management,  or aggregating information/ information analysis?
  • We don’t really have librarians who “officially” specialize in one thing over another, although of course we have our research librarians, catalogers, and the much smaller specialty, which I and a few others handle, is the technology side (including marketing of the library’s services, outreach, and web/blog/wiki maintenance).
  • Our most unique challenge in relation to other libraries is the very strict firewalls we have here, due to the sensitivity of many of the documents and information.  Because of that, we tend to be a few years behind the rest of the world in terms of software applications and technology
  • We do have a great group of librarians who have embraced the web/library 2.0 concept whole-heatedly, and are always coming up with new ways to implement these concepts.  Our current project is to develop internal podcasts and video tutorials.

How is internal information shared: internal wiki, dashboard, custom portal, or something else?

We share information in a number of ways.
  • We have a staff wiki, the development of which was my first project when I started here.  We have a great deal of participation in the wiki, and I think this is due to the fact that we got people involved by giving them specific areas they are responsible for (i.e. tech news, book club, calendars, announcements).
  • We have a staff blog which is updated at least 2-3 times per day but quite often more than that, by various librarians.
  • We all make a conscious effort to utilize these new tools, rather than sticking with the old and tired formats such as mass emails.
  • We are alpha testing a few different types of internal social networks that has been developed by our technology department.  One is rather similar to digg and stumble upon, and the other is fairly similar to LinkedIn and Facebook.  Both are seeing a good deal of success, and hopefully we’ll be able to merge the best of the two once the final product is released.

Are Boeing librarians doing more stuff like this?   Can we get a list or other places presentations have been done?

Boeing Librarians are definitely involved in doing presentations, especially through SLA.  I’ve attended several SLA meetings and conferences and Boeing always has a very strong presence at these events.  As I mentioned, my colleague Josh gave a Web 2.0 workshop a few months ago at UCLA.  Unfortunately, there is no list of other presentations that have been done, but you’ve given me the idea to create a spot on our wiki where we can share info and schedules of presentations.  I know that the Boeing librarians are fairly active in this type of thing, so I’m sure it’ll see plenty of use.
TTW: Eric Bryan and Lee LeBlanc

Got these back to school tools?

So, you have a new laptop?  Read up:

Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there’s no need to rely on a single third party. What’s more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner’s choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop.

Then, if you’re like me, you find ways to make the Blackboard CMS less time consuming.  This should include Professors too. (It could apply generally to most course management systems).

- Top 10 Reasons Faculty Fail When Using Blackboard CMS

- The Ultimate Guide to BlackBoard: 100 Tips & Tutorials

TTW: Lee

What’s some of the best?

The Task: To create a guide to excellent creative business libraries or business centers to provide examples of innovation and best practices.

Group Members

Vincci Kwong, Indiana University South Bend
Julie Strange, Maryland AskUsNow!
Adriana Trujillo, Texas A&M University Libraries
Julie Yen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

TTW: Lee

Why use a library?

The first involves your daily work environment. If you are a developer who hangs out at a coffee shop then you might be surprised to know that in an attempt to draw more students in, many academic libraries have built small coffee shops into their floor plans, and that many larger institutions will offer free Wi-Fi throughout the buildings. Further, you’ll find that their floor-plans often offer both low and high traffic/noise areas in which to work, and either might work for you, depending on your tastes. –William Hicks

TTW: Lee



1. What does it mean to be well educated?
2. Flow
3. Pornified: How pornography is damaging our lives, our relationships, and our families
4. Bodhisattva Warriors
5. The Genius of Flexibility
6. Ultramarathon Man
7. ISD from the Ground Up

I was also talking with a friend about how all I’ve been reading is blog posts, articles for school, and book chapters.  This left me wondering: do I still have the stamina to read anything of substantial length? I spent last weekend traveling.  I read two books up and back on the flight to Phillie.  And the Skymall catalog.  And the Emergency Instructions sheet -twice.  Then, when I got home I spent every night devouring another one.  Often falling asleep because I didn’t want to stop reading it.  I’m also in between classes now.  That helps.

People are conversing over the worry that all this web-based information is shortening their attention span for reading books. For myself, I’ve put to rest that idea.  These bits of information I consume via email, rss, blogs, tweets, and online articles aren’t affecting my ability for sustained, intellectual reading. (Whew! personally I did wonder). I have been reading since I was pretty young though and never have I lost my interest in kids books.  I wonder if it’s the ability to read that is being affected.  Or that most people have yet to develop the ability to focus their mind on what they choose.  It’s like competing in Judo -without training any of your physical abilities.  You cannot focus your mind on what you wish if you do not spend time training it in ways you want to develop. Meditation could be a key in developing these mental abilities.  Heck, just setting aside time to read and assimilate what you’re reading could.  Above all else: read, connect and share.

TTW: Lee

How different could a library be?

New Jalisco Library, Gudalajara, Mexico (competition)

Over 200 Boeing 727 and 737 fuselages are stacked in a north-south slant in relation to sun exposure for energy efficiency. Two shifts in the direction of the main axis of the fuselages generate two large open spaces within the stack.

The building utilizes the space inside the fuselages to contain and organize functions that require enclosed spaces – such as book collections, meeting rooms and administration offices, – while the 2 large open spaces house a large atrium with all the reading areas on one side and two auditoriums on the other.

The library program is centered around the large glazed atrium, which develops vertically through the entire cross section of the building. The lower part of the atrium, located on the second level and accessible directly from the new plaza thru escalators and elevators, functions as a lobby and information center. At each upper level, the reading areas bridge between the two opposite interior facades generated by the cross sections of the fuselages that look onto the atrium.

A transparent LCD system is integrated in the atrium glazing and projects the library activities onto the new plaza expanding its presence on the outside with moving images and text.

The fuselage is the only part of a decommissioned airplane that cannot be effectively recycled. The cost of its demolition exceeds the profit of aluminum resale. A huge amount of fuselages lays in the deserts of the western states. Boeing 727 and 737 are historically the most sold commercial planes and therefore the most common in these graveyards. They are sold at very low prices completely stripped and in great structural conditions.

The fuselage becomes the basic module of this building. It is insulated and furnished according to the program. The internal subdivision generated by the existing floor joists is used to respond to functional needs: the upper section is used for inhabitation while the lower one houses independent and interconnected mechanical systems: HVAC, electrical, cabling, and a conveyor belts network for the mechanical distribution of the books.

Personally, I’ve always thought the building should inspire you to think differently.  That should be a library’s first responsibility: to make you think different.

TTW: Lee

Are you ready to change?

It’s not a trick question.  You don’t have to drive the change, just be a part.  Sometimes, it’s hard to see what we need to change until someone points it out anyway.

All statements are prefaced by “Within the next five years…”

#3…the majority of reference questions will be answered through Google Answer or something
like it. There will no longer be reference desks or reference offices in the library. Instead,
public services staff offices will be located outside the physical library. Metasearching will
render reference librarians obsolete.

What provocative statement would you add?

Thanks Chuck T. for the link.

Contributor: Lee

Build your own magazine?

By Stephen J. Dubner

Folio reports that Time Inc. is starting a new magazine-subscription service called Maghound that sounds a bit like Netflix’s movie model: allows consumers to choose titles from a variety of publishers for mix-and-match “subscriptions” where they pay one monthly fee and have the ability to switch titles at any time. Unlike traditional subscriptions, members aren’t locked in their memberships and can cancel whenever they wish. Ventresca says that offers “flexibility, choice, control, and personalization.”

Will it work?


noticed by: lee.