Category Archives: LIS Education in the 21st Century

Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Thoughts from the Blogosphere (Updated)

I received my copy of Linchpin, the new book by Seth Godin a few weeks ago and have only got to read a bit. What I’ve read, however, is speaking to me the way all of his books do. Until I have finished the book and pondered some more, take a look at these posts, etc. I’ll be suggesteing this as yet another choice for context books in LIS768.

Church of the Customer Blog:

Q: What is a linchpin, and why is it important to become one?

A linchpin is the part you can’t live without, the thing that makes a difference. In every organization there are one (or several) people like this. It might be the brilliant inventor who creates the impossible, but it’s far more likely to be the great sales rep or customer service person who makes a connection, or the marketer who knows how to tell a story that resonates.

In a post-factory world, manning the assembly line isn’t so critical. Stuffing the candies into the boxes, running the punch press, following the manual… these are easily replaced roles, ones where neither the worker nor the organization gains much on the margin. If you want real job satisfaction and security, then, you need to figure out how to do the unexpected, to do work that matters and to create human interactions.

Daniel Pink:

GODIN: Does this explain why people with an irresistible need to create tend to gravitate to fields where they’re almost certain to not get paid? (Stuff like poets, painters and playwrights come to mind).

PINK: I doubt it. What I think is going on is that until recently, the business world didn’t much prize people with these kinds of skills. So if you wanted to do those things, you weren’t going to get paid much. Today, these right-brain types are much more in demand. That said, there are maybe fourteen people on the planet who are going to make a living as poets. But, again, there are maybe a million who can use their talents as poets in work as teachers, copywriters, bloggers, journalists, and other professions and business centered on creation.

GODIN: Do you agree with me that every successful organization needs people like this today? Problem solvers, self-drivers, artists?

PINK: Of course. Not even a close call.

GODIN: How then do we merge the two motivations? How do we get people to bring their artist to work?

PINK: Stop treating people like horses and start treating them like human beings. Instead of trying to bribe folks with sweeter carrots or threaten them with sharpen sticks, how about giving them greater freedom at work, allowing them to get better at something they love, and infusing the workplace with a sense of purpose? If we tap that third drive more fully, we can rejuvenate or businesses and remake our world.

Rethinking Learning:

Q. Universities take the longest to change. Does everyone need to take classes with information they mastered already? How can university students set their agenda, challenge material they know already, and demonstrate what they understand?

Seth: Here’s what’s going to make universities change: we’re going to stop going. We’re going to stop paying. Once people realize that Full Sail and the U of Phoenix can deliver the same thing (or better) for much less money, the panic will set in, for the first time in five hundred years Universities are going to have to do something new. I think this will happen in the next thirty years.

Q. Education tends to be a top-down driven model where administrators, standards, policies, and test scores drive what teachers teach. How do you see education changing with this model where the individual sets their agenda?

Seth: As a student in a digital world, tell me again why I need the building? The administration? The system? I don’t. And as accreditation becomes less meaningful because it’s easier to test the student than to test the system, the top heavy organizations will falter. And fast.

Can you tell I chose those passages because they speak to me and my vision of the library workplace of the future? I’d like to think we’ll be hiring poets, artists and dreamers in our libraries – bringing their vision, uniqueness and viewpoints. And what does that mean for they way we prepare new librarians? I definitely have some thoughts about that!

Check out Linchpin soon.


Podcast with Merlin Mann:


Gearing up for New LIS Class Sites

Michael’s EDUCAUSE Learning Initiatives 2010 conference presentation where he discussed “The Hyperlinked Campus” leads nicely into a recent post I made detailing exactly how Michael and I put together his course sites from a technical standpoint.

If you’re looking to break free from the constraints of your learning management systems (LMS), I highly suggest you look into using WordPress MU and BuddyPress for a custom LMS.  See all the details here:


Kyle Jones, TTW Contributor

Interview with Finding Education

I was honored to do an interview with Finding Education‘s Shannon Firth last week. We talked a lot about the Australian research project as well as other topics. The post is now up:

Here’s a bit of the piece:

fE: How important is branding to libraries? And what do things like blogs and wikis have to do with stewardship?

MS: I think branding is important. I like seeing librarians who are actively engaging with users, via Facebook, via Twitter, and identifying themselves as a librarian or staff member at the library. I think that really helps carry the brand and mission of the library.

The library brand is also created by library users. That’s why things like tapping into review sites, finding what users are saying, allowing comments to post, and having that back and forth are very important.

I see stewardship alive and well in the new social spaces like Flickr, where a library can share a digital image collection and ask for user input on tags, comments, notes, etcetera–all enhancing the collection. That’s a beautiful combination of one of our foundational values (stewardship) meeting an emerging, collaborative sharing tool. The best use of social tools in libraries will be the ones that tap into our core duties and responsibilities as librarians.

Checkout the other interviews here – – including Sarah Houghton-Jan, Helene Blowers, danah boyd and David Lee King.

Thanks Shannon!

In Praise of Grade Inflation

Joshua Kim writes:

But many of our classes are moving towards an active learning approach where students are required to create something new. A better understanding of how we learn, catalyzed by technologies that bring multimedia authoring and sharing to a range of technical skill levels, have combined to transition our students from knowledge consumers to knowledge creators. This transition is occurring earlier than in the past, where previous cohorts needed to wait until graduate school to become part of the scholarly conversation. Today, with blogs, wikis, rapid authoring, Slideshare, and YouTube – all of our students (even in large classes) can learn the material by teaching.

I’ve observed this as well. By allowing my LIS students the chance to examine a topic, think about it and create a representation of that thinking via their choice of multiple channels, I believe they are getting much more value and opportunity for learning than listening to me lecture for three hours. The videos created for the Context Book Assignment in LIS768 this past semester are evidence of this.

Check out the whole post for more on student creativity and mention of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink. I’ve used A Whole New Mind in LIS701 for some time now and I’m interested to read this new one.

Don’t Miss the Tech Set from LITA & Neal Schuman

The Librarian in Black writes:

I’m pleased to announce that my first book, Technology Training in Libraries, is set to be released in March of this year!

This book has been a labor of love for the last year.  In it, I walk you through setting up a technology training program in your library, including basic technology training (both online and face-to-face) and general tech training principles and tips.  I also address creating and training to a set of “technology skills” expectations for staff members.  The bulk of the book walks you through the steps for setting up specific types of technology training: lunchtime brown-bags, 23-things style programs, technology petting zoos, peer training, and train-the-trainer programs.  On the practical side, I cover how to come up with a dollar value for estimating the return on investment for training programs, how to market training, creating a culture of learning, dealing with difficult learning, and measuring success with individuals and the library as a whole.  Finally, I offer a huge list of recommended resources at the end of the book.  At 125 pages, it is a concise how-to manual for successfully setting up specific technology training initiatives in a library.

The book is the 6th in a 10-book series called The Tech Set, a joint LITA & Neal-Schuman project edited by Ellyssa Kroski.  The entire series is  meant to be a series of practical how-to guides on specific technology services in libraries.  Other topics include next-gen catalogs, microblogging, mobile technology, gaming, unconferences, and more.  The set boasts some great names: Cliff Landis, Connie Crosby, Jason Griffey, Robin Hastings, Steve Lawson, Sean Robinson, Lauren Pressley, Kelly Czarnecki, and Marshall Breeding.

For more information, you can see my book’s pre-pub website (which offers a peek inside the book) and for a complete list of the Tech Set titles, see the site for the entire Tech Set series.

Elyssa asked me to take a look at the set and consider an endorsement. I read multiple chapters from each work – and Sean Robinson’s excellent tome on video making for libraries in its entirety and was very pleased. Pleased enough to endorse the set. I was especially taken with Jason Griffey’s work on mobile library services and mobile technology and Sarah’s take on a subject near and dear to my heart tech training. Here’s what I submitted to Neal Schuman:

For those curious about next gen library catalogs or wondering if the library should be on Twitter, the Tech Set offers ten volumes of current thinking and best practice for a wide range of  library-related tech trends. Editor Elyssa Kroski has assembled a who’s who of notable experts on these timely topics – including outstanding entries such as Jason Griffey on mobile technologies, Cliff Landis on utilizing social networking and Sarah Houghton-Jan on effective technology training. The titles are well-researched, clearly explained by a cadre of library technologists, offering tips and tricks for diving into blogging, gaming, video production, and  more. This set will be a useful addition to any librarian’s toolkit for  planning for emerging technologies.

These up-to-date  volumes will surely find a welcome spot in my teaching and will probably serve as textbooks for many technology-related LIS courses. Congrats to all involved!

View it any way you’d like…

Via all sorts of wonderful bloggers comes this video prototyping the future of Sports Illustrated. Karl Fisch had this to say:

More evidence that the way we interact with “text” is changing. To combine and paraphrase something I’ve heard David Warlick say more than once with something Jason Ohler says:

We need to stop paper training our students. We should spend less time training our students how to use paper, and more time helping them use digital tools to interact in meaningful and productive ways with the media forms of the day.

Also reminds me of this post:

Note that this is additive – no one is suggesting that words don’t matter, that what we traditionally think of as “writing” is no longer important, but that the very nature of composition is more complex now, and that our instruction, our pedagogy, our learning spaces need to reflect that.

. . . Writing (composing) is no longer exclusively a solitary activity. And we need to expand our definition of composition beyond only text and beyond only a specific medium (book, research paper, academic journal).

“Text” is changing. Is your classroom?

I would add: Text is changing. Is your library?

This speaks to me on so many levels. Core curriculum in LIS will shift to more of an emphasis on media creation and consumption as well as classification in a time when the new issue of Time may be delivered wirelessly to the device of the moment. I’m reminded of something my colleague Warren Cheetham said in Australia about new formats and new media: “Staff are wondering: where does the barcode go??”

I have no idea what will happen. Watch the Apple tablet hype machine in the next few months and monitor the endless supply of new stories about the death of old meadia – if the rumours are true, the video above could be closer to fact than to fiction.

However will we catalog and barcode that?

LIS768 Context Book Report Videos

This semester I added the option for my students in LIS768 to make a video or other media presentation instead of writing a blog post for the context book assignment. A few folks tried it out. Here are the results:

Setting the Table: Danny Meyer

Born Digital: John Palfrey & Urs Gasser

Blink: Malcolm Gladwell

A Whole New Mind: Daniel Pink

Back to School – Online!

I have a new post up at ALA TechSource:

Since I started teaching at Dominican, I’ve been requiring students to blog, aggregate RSS, explore Facebook, try out Twitter, and engage in many other Web 2.0 interactions. Recently, I heard from a former student, who proclaimed that “Most of the LIS students I keep in touch with I’ve met in your classes, and it’s all because of social networking websites.”

At other LIS schools, I’ve seen similar courses or use of the tools spread out across the curriculum either in the hybrid or online model. This can be beneficial–technology should not be just for a technology class but present in the core courses and beyond, woven throughout the students’ learning objectives and deliverables. I would be greatly disheartened if someone graduated from a library school in 2009 without knowledge of and the ability to use emerging technologies.

Another benefit outlined in the New York Times article is that it seems like online courses are inherently student-centered:

“The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are tailored more to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more ‘learning by doing,’ which many students find more engaging and useful.”

If anything, library education should be based on an understanding of the foundations of our profession with a huge serving of “learning by doing.” That’s why I turn my students loose to explore–to PLAY–as much as possible.