Category Archives: Participatory Culture

Web 2.0 & Libraries Parts 1 & 2 Available Free on Hyperlinked Library Site

I am happy to announce the full text of both of my ALA Library Technology Reports are available now at the new TTW companion site The Hyperlinked Library.

The rest of the site is currently under construction, but for now you’ll find:

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software (2006) – http://thehyperlinkedlibrary.org/libtechreport1/

Web 2.0 & Libraries: Trends & Technologies (2007) – http://thehyperlinkedlibrary.org/libtechreport2/

Special thanks to my SJSU SLIS grad assistant Patrick Siebold who worked very hard the past few weeks inputting the content. I know the examples from ’06 and ’07 may seem out of date and quaint in some ways, but I’m very proud of the framework we used for the works back then. Conversations, Community, Connections, Collaborations – all those great C words Jenny Levine and I used throughout our early social software roadshows in 2005 & 2006 provide a useful context for looking at Web 2.0. I hope these works are still useful to some of you. Comments are open for adding more to the chapters and I plan on doing some types of updating as time permits.

The site will also serve my course Web sites and other items related to my teaching. 

Participatory Culture and Teens

Teen Librarianship has a unique place within libraries.  It’s not quite a new idea for libraries to provide dedicated services to teens, yet it doesn’t still have the same kind of rich history we have with other populations.  This gives teen librarianship a unique place within libraries today; it allows the librarians that serve these groups the chance to experiment in regards to how we approach library services.  Teen librarians are not exactly bound by the same rules and programs which have held public libraries together for many years.  Librarians working with teens have the chance to fully embrace participatory culture and help build a community of patrons who participate just as much as they consume.
THE LIBRARY STAFF IS THE COLLECTION
Librarians can act as the teachers for guiding their community towards being more active in sharing.  This is one of the ways libraries in the 21st century can show their public value to their communities.  The role of the librarian is transformed when librarians help their communities create content instead of merely just consuming it.  We become teachers for our community, guides who help patrons learn and experience in new ways.  This also adds value to the library staff.  No longer are library staff just “there to help”, but they are there to help you experience.  This added value re purposes libraries; the staff has become as important as the collection.  Much like the reference book that helps you repair your car, the staff and their unique skills can help patrons navigate the 21st century.

LET’S BUILD SOMETHING
The use of technology has changed the way our community members can communicate with other.  Patrons are no longer restricted by geography, forms of communication, or channels to publish their communication.  Libraries now have a vast array of tools in our utility belt that we can call upon to engage patrons, build unique collections, and more.  For example, take Historypin, which allows users to upload photos and pin them to a Google Map.  With photos added, the true power of Historypin becomes clearer, as it creates a visual map of your community.  The best part about it?  It’s free to anyone that wants to contribute and share.  Our communities now assist in building collections, and librarians become the curators of those collections.  Better yet?  Teen are learning new ways of communication which will no doubt aid them in their own search for identity but also give back to the complex fabric of the community in which they live.

(check out this and this for examples on teens creating unique content for their local public libraries)
This post is a reflection/response to questions posed at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture, exploring the challenges, solutions and potential for participatory services within libraries and museums.

Special Thanks to the Salzburg Global Seminar  and IMLS for the invitation to participate in this event.

 

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

Next Week: Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture – Salzburg Global Institute

Next week I’ll be taking part in the Salzburg Global Institute program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture:

http://www.salzburgglobal.org/current/sessions.cfm?IDSpecial_Event=2961

As key stewards of our culture and heritage, libraries and museums have traditionally enjoyed, and to a great extent still do enjoy, a unique role and special responsibility within societies around the world. But as economic disruptions and rapid technological innovation have brought about dramatic societal changes, libraries and museums, too, are being forced to revisit and rethink their own roles and responsibilities within these changing societies. The 21st century indeed poses perplexing challenges, but at the same time offers intriguing new opportunities for libraries and museums. It is a critical moment for leaders within libraries and museums to reflect creatively and strategically about the role and place of their institutions in an era of participatory culture and to recognize and seize the opportunity for reorientation and reinvention.

One of my roles will be that of blogger for the sessions and discussions. I will be posting here at TTW often throughout the four day institute. I’ll also be taking part in a panel discussion on emerging technologies and participatory culture.

I’ve been teaching Participatory Service in Libraries for a few years now – utilizing Michael Casey & Laura Savastinuk’s Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service  as well as other excellent resources and it amazes me to see how many of the ideas and philosophies of participatory service are integrated into libraries. To prepare for next week,  I thought I’d ask TTW readers to share their thoughts about participatory culture and libraries in 2011. Please comment below – or consider submitting a guest post to TTW – I’ll review any submission folks might send for possible publication at TTW  (excluding those weird spammy emails I get from time to time from 100 great online whatevers). Email me at mstephens7 (at) mac.com

Thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C. and the Salzburg Global Seminar for inviting me to participate in this event.

This post is a reflection/response to questions posed at the Salzburg Global Seminar program Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture, exploring the challenges, solutions and potential for participatory services within libraries and museums.

Special Thanks to the Salzburg Global Seminar for the invitation to participate in this event.

Embrace Your Tribe – A Discussion & Interview with Seth Godin

Note from Michael: This article & interview was originally published last year in Digitale Biblioteek.

Seth Godin has been writing and speaking about marketing, the new landscape of the Web paired with emerging social media and the increasing power of consumer “word of mouth.” His books include The Big Red Fez: How to make Any Web Site Better, Permission Marketing, The Purple Cow, Small is the New Big, The Dip and most recently Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

I’ve been drawn to his ideas and insights for a long time, while working in public libraries to teaching library school. Librarians, library school students, information architects and anyone working to create online community around digital collections and digital library service will find useful strategies and paradigm shifting insights into what works and what doesn’t in a connected society.

Ideas have to Remarkable

In The Purple Cow, Godin argues that ideas have to be memorable and engaging to grow. Businesses have to stand out from the rest. This thinking is easily applied to libraries and the services they offer: what makes a library unique? What does the library have that no one else does?

One answer might be the strength of digital collections and the brains behind them. Localized or otherwise unique digital collections where the curious might explore and leave comments/interact certainly could make a library stand apart. Library staff professionals are also a unique feature of libraries – knowledge, insight and curiosity are traits of some of the best library workers. Sharing oneself online – via Facebook profiles, answering questions on Twitter, or the like is one way to promote and give presence to our jobs and profession.

What else is unique and remarkable about your library?

Be Authentic

In Godin’s work, I also find sage advice for how we present ourselves as information professionals in the networked world. In a time when snark is so easy, Godin urges readers throughout his works and blogging to be authentic – stressing quality over quantity. “There’s no limit now. No limit to how many clicks, readers, followers and friends you can acquire,” he wrote recently at his blog. “Instead of getting better, you focus obsessively on getting bigger.”

We’re representing our profession – and ourselves in everything we do: participating in social networks, building library presence online and in the physical world at events and meetings. Godin notes what happens to some in the quest to have more: “You’re at a conference, talking to someone who matters to you. Over their shoulder, you see a new, bigger, better networking possibility. So you scamper away. It’s about getting bigger.”

Instead, build a trusted network of colleagues and contacts in the digital library world. Share. Cite them when they inspire you. Pay it forward. The wonderful thing is now, these people can reside all over the world. It’s not unusual to have support from The Netherlands, Australia, the United Sates or England with the click clack of a few keys. Be real in these dealings. Be honest. Be yourself.

Leverage the Online World for Promotion

The online tools offer much opportunity and promise. In Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Godin notes that “Internet companies have taken the original idea behind blogs and amplified it into a set of tools that anyone can use to tighten a tribe.” Facebook, Twitter and others allow interaction and information sharing – with replies built in.

“The biggest shift is going to be that organizations that could never have afforded a national campaign will suddenly have one,” Godin writes in a recent blog post. “The same way that there’s very little correlation between popular websites and big companies, we’ll see that the most popular commercials get done by little shops that have nothing to lose.”

The same could be said about libraries – all shapes, sizes and types. We can take promotion online – make it viral. Recent online initiatives such as the New Jersey State Library’s campaign to share users’ video stories about the transformational qualities of libraries are ways to create low-cost, human, authentic marketing campaigns.

Gather Your Tribe

The most recent book takes a big picture view of the possibilities of social media and gathering people together. Godin argues that businesses fail because “they forgot to embrace their tribe”  and offers a roadmap for creating a tribe, which he defines as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

All it takes for a tribe to form, Godin writes, “is a shared interest and a way to communicate.” Social Web sites break down geographic  barriers. A tribe can be global or simply based in your community. Godin warns, however, that some organizations are stuck: bound by archaic rules or not only avoiding change but fighting against it.

Fear is also a driving factor: what will boss say? Will everyone get in trouble?

In this Facebooked, Twiiter-ized, RSS-fed world, Godin notes, individuals have more leverage than ever before to create change and build inter-connected groups of supporters around a common idea or cause. Godin offers principles and steps to create a movement – publish a manifesto, make it easy for followers to connect, track progress based on transparency, nurture the group along the way and be mindful not to tear others down in the process.

The promise of gathering your tribe – for your library, your community, your online collection presence? Godin notes that everyone in an organization can lead. The market rewards those organizations that change things.

Godin says: “People are waiting for you to connect them.”  How will you lead?


The Interview


Michael Stephens: I read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us with great interest and with a focus on libraries, the people they serve, and what librarians might learn about shaping future services to involve users online and in physical spaces. What would you want library people to take away from Tribes?

Seth Godin: Libraries are no longer places for obscure books. The web is that. Libraries are places to organize the community.

MS: Your recent works have addressed marketing, message, and media.  You also write about true fans and the “depth of commitment and interconnection that true fans deliver.” As libraries go forward with broadening the library brand – “Books” to most folks – how should we be crafting the message about libraries? How can we reach our true fans?

SG: Your true fans, I think, are the curious. The library is the house for the curious. And I want to meet other curious people.

MS: You write about curiosity. I’ve used your quote in my talks for some time: “To be curious means to explore first.” What’s to be gained from exploring? Have you known librarians to be explorers?

SG: A few, but not many. Not that librarians aren’t good at seeking things out… they are. They’re great at it. I am talking about finding things you weren’t look for in the first place. What a skill that is. Teaching it to kids is essential.

MS: You write that “the timid leave a vacuum” in Tribes. I worry that our profession has been too timid for too long. How can we overcome timidity and be more visible?

SG: Once you become a leader, you will cease to be invisible, I promise.

MS: I asked my followers on Twitter if they had any questions for you as well. One person asked: What’s the best way to market change to those who are resistant to it or too comfortable in what they do?

SG: By leading. By doing. Start making waves and watch what happens!

Article Sidebar: Michael’s Ten Ways to Encourage the Tribe

  • Connect around a cause, a community or a concept.
  • Use Stories
  • Be Transparent
  • Leverage the Social Tools
  • Remember the Mission
  • The Little Things count…a lot
  • Listen & Talk (like a human)
  • Create a Culture of Caring
  • Trust them
  • Value EVERY Member

See the full post at http://tametheweb.com/2009/05/17/ten-ways-to-encourage-the-tribe/

Citations:

Infinity, They Keep Making More of It: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/04/infinitythey-keep-making-more-of-it.html

Making Commercials for the Web: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/04/making-commercials-for-the-web.html

New Jersey Transforming Lives Site: www.tellusyourstory.org.

Links:

Set’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com

Seth Godin’s Books: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/books.asp

Seth Godin at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Godin

Photo of Seth Godin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joi/4035933108/ (Creative Commons)

Is the Customer the Enemy?

Christopher Carfi writes about Oracle and Oracle’s Social CRM (I had to look it up: stands for Customer Relationship Management.)

http://www.socialcustomer.com/2008/09/1000-miles-to-g.html

First, the pragmatic bits.  Oracle still has a long way to go to truly embrace the notion that the customer can be in control, or at least be a mutually beneficial party, in the business relationship.  Exhibit A, the cringeworthy tag line and subhead on the page shown above.  What does it say?

“Oracle Social CRM Applications leverage Web 2.0 technologies to help sales people identify qualified leads, develop effective sales campaigns and presentations, and collaborate with colleagues to close more deals quickly.”

I don’t even know where to start with that messaging and the general wrong-way-rubbing that it induces.  Perhaps the easiest thing to point out is that it’s still 100% focused on the sales team, and implicitly views the customer as the enemy, or at least simply the next transaction.

I worry that sometimes in some libraries – and just a few- we regard our users as enemies to be corralled by policies and rules that prevent a true relationship. We can learn from what Carfi describes about Oracle. There are some high points:

The other bright spot was a proof-of-concept demo that was shown for customer The Body Shop.  This was an iPhone application that started to inch down the path to giving more power to the customer, or at least include her in the relationship at some level.  

Nice! How are we giving more power to the user? I see excellent examples by some of our library innovators, but this post, and many others like it calling for a more human relationship with customers, clients, etc, signals to me the tide is truly turning. What can you do to shift the balance?

Please help Abby with her Homework

http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2008/09/please-help-abby-with-her-homework.html

Karl Fisch, whose blog I really enjoy, posts about an assignment his daughter has: to create a travel journal and write to friends to ask for postcards. Karl thinks like I do. What about the online component?

I think this assignment is fine as far as it goes, and we mailed it off to a friend in Kentucky on Friday. But, and you’ve got to know what’s coming, I thought this assignment was ripe to have a “virtual companion” to it. So, I haven’t asked for much on this blog (well, other than changing the world), but I’d like to ask those of you who are still reading this blog to consider contributing to Abby’s travelogue wiki. There’s an explanation on the wiki itself, but here’s the basic idea:

  1. Add your information to the wiki (first name, last initial, city, state/province, country).

  2. Upload or link to a picture (a “digital postcard” if you will) that’s representative of your city.

  3. Write a short description of your city.

  4. Then, if you want, send the link to the wiki on to friends or family that you think might be willing to participate. (Note – please not “send this to everyone in your address book!” – I don’t want this to be Fischbowl-generated spam.)

  5. Then, if you really want to go the extra mile, actually send a postcard to Abby at her school (pdf).

Now, I really have no idea if we’ll get five or five hundred responses, but I figured it was worth a shot (and it takes a lot less postage). Not only would you be helping Abby and her classmates learn more about the world, but also helping other students (and adults) that visit the wiki learn about the world. I think it would be especially nice if other students added to the wiki, in addition to adults, but we’ll see what happens.

I hope other educators are thinking this way. What online extension of current assignments could be useful and instructional. Libraries could play a role as well: offering guidance, access and educational opportunities for teachers and students to make the most of the virtual companion.
If you have time, swing by Abby’s wiki. :-)

Ten Common Objections to Social Media

Via Stephen’s Lighthouse:

 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ten_common_objections_to_socia.php

Emphasis mine:

 A List of Objections, Replies and Concessions Regarding Social Media and Tools


1. I suffer from information overload already.

Possible replies:

Try just skimming messages in some fora – you may need to look closely at every email you get but you don’t have to look at every Facebook friend’s update.

The right tools for you will feel helpful in time, not like a burden. Experiment for awhile with new tools and stick with the ones that deliver you the most high-quality information, whether those tools are high-quantity or not. (Thanks to Aaron Hockley and Ruby Sinreich for these thoughts.)

Check out tools like AideRSS and FeedHub – just two examples of services aiming to improve the signal to noise ratio.

Times change and so do information paradigms. Get used to it. The amount of information you had access to 3 years ago was infinitely more than people at any other point in history and we’re in the middle of another huge leap right now.

Concession: If you think consuming all this new information is a challenge, wait until you try to find the time to make sense of it! (Thanks to Nancy White for that thought.)

2. So much of what’s discussed online is meaningless. These forms of communication are shallow and make us dumber. We have real work to do!

Possible replies:

Much of it is not meaningless, but if you feel overwhelmed with meaninglessness – try subscribing to a search for keywords in a particular service and using that as your starting point for engagement.

Having a presence and starting a conversation is rarely a bad thing
– bring quality conversation to a space and you’ll find others ready to engage. (Thanks to Banana Lee Fishbones, obviously a fan of open, non-anonymous public communication :) for this articulation.)

Personal information can be very useful in understanding the context of more explicitly useful information.

If learning how the market feels about your organization, engaging with your customers and driving traffic to your web work – all very realistic goals for social media engagement – aren’t work, then I don’t know what is. Even in the short term, strategic engagement with online social media will have a clear work pay-off.

Concession: The signal to noise ratio will be easier to maximize if you can find an experienced guide to learn from. Just jumping into social media and new tools on your own will not neccesarily lead to a meaningful experience. It could, but it will take longer.

Dont miss the whole post. Many of us, as Stephen notes, can add it to our arsenal of evidence and discourse as we go forward with planning.

SirsiDynix UpStream: Libraries Building Communities

Bio
“There are countless examples/case studies of libraries being the center of the communities in which they serve. What is the best example of “libraries building communities” that you have come across or experienced? What do you see happening in the future in empowering libraries to play even a greater role in their communities?”

Cover For fifteen years, I’ve worked in a public library, mostly in positions relating to the Web or technology training. It’s with that background and paradigm I address this question. I love the examples of libraries building community via physical space and through interactions between users and librarians, but for my example, I’d like to point to the communities being built online.

For the last few months, I’ve been touring various parts of the US with Jenny Levine, presenting what we call our “Social Software Roadshow.” The Roadshow highlights how libraries can create online conversations, collaborative spaces, and, yes, community with inexpensive tools. We no longer need static, one-way Web sites for libraries, when the Read/Write Web enables us to interact with each other and our users. We point to concrete examples of libraries that have found new ways to improve existing services or built new services. Large systems to small libraries are included as are public, academic, special libraries and school libraries.

Question

This is not cool for the sake of cool, or a push for techno-worship or a plea for librarians to give in to technoloust. Simply, these online spaces are where our users are living and interacting, and according to the recent Newsweek cover story, sites like MySpace will only grow. Libraries need a presence in these social spaces.

I believe the best example is the innovative online presence created by the librarians and IT staff of the Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan. Through the use of an open source content management system, several Weblog mechanisms that allow easily updated content to display on the front page, and a dedication to interaction with library patrons, AADL has created a thriving community within the cyber walls of their online branch.

On July 5, 2005, AADL launched a new Web site and a new catalog system. Posting to the Director’s Blog, Director Josie Parker said: “The Website launch is providing an additional forum for public communication with the library. This blog is one of several. The intention is to make regular postings here from administration that will encourage discussion about library policies and services.” The blogs include the mechanism for registered users of the library to comment – to enter into a dialogue with the director and other librarians. Key word here: Transparency.

Scanning the AADL site, one finds both posts with a few comments and those with many. In the Teen area and gaming blogs, it is not unusual to see a thriving discussion with 200+ or 300+ comments. In sessions on Weblogs in libraries, Jenny and I have asked the audience: “How many of you can say you have a thriving teen presence inside your library Web site?”

How many libraries have actively engaged their users in this way? Many libraries have blogs, but the movement to turn on comments creates a whole different environment, that can scare some librarians or overwhelm others. Enabling comments, however, is one of the ways to utilize Web 2.0 technologies to create community. IM, wikis, and RSS feeds offer other opportunities to create community as well. This to me is the promise of Web 2.0 for libraries: creating new means to communicate, interact, collaborate and create inside library Web space as well as out in the community online spaces.

Libraries can play a greater role in their communities by building sites such as AADL’s, reaching out to users via instant messaging, feeding out content such as library holdings and library news to other community-based Web sites, and offering mechanisms for users to create or mash up library content. Before there will be success, however, there must be a commitment by the librarians to sustain successful services and participate in the ongoing conversation. A library’s Web presence can never be an afterthought or something that just one or two Web librarians contribute to. There should be a collective voice made up of the individual voices of the library staff. This involves a shift in thinking: can we let go of our most useful online services and information to actively be driven by our users through their comments, questions and input?

A trip through the technology blogs of the Biblioblogosphere and sites such as the LibSuccess wiki yield numerous case studies, advice and grassroots best practices for all of these technologies. We can explore how, for example, Butler University Library built a wiki of annotated reference resources for their librarians, faculty, and students, or the innovations by school media specialist Margaret Lincoln and the collaborative Weblog she set up to allow students at two different high schools the opportunity to discuss Elie Wiesel’s Night.

Links

Browsing libraries’ and librarians’presence at the image hosting social site flickr yields a surprisingly thriving community of practitioners. We will find images of library programs, materials, buildings and the faces of this new breed of librarianship in 2006. Visit the grass roots READ posters initiative at flickr to see a mash up of librarians, library users and an effective use of 2.0 technologies.

We can examine Casey Bisson’s application of library catalog as Weblog, complete with user keyword tagging, comments enabled, and static URLs for every record. We can subscribe to RSS feeds of subject guides at Kansas City Public Library, or create our own RSS-enabled catalog search at Hennepin County Public Library that notifies us when our favorite authors or subjects are added to the library.

All of these examples point to the future of online community building in libraries: librarians will be able to enhance current systems or create new ones with Web 2.0 technologies to customize and build experiential environments. Library users will be able to meet within these systems and interact. They will have conversations. They will be human, as will the librarians – as they put a human face and give a human voice to the library via social software.

Links:

Ann Arbor District Library: http://www.aadl.org

Butler Reference Wiki: http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/butler_wikiref/

Flickr READ Posters: http://www.flickr.com/groups/readposters/pool/

Hennepin County Public Library: http://www.hclib.org/

Kansas City Public Library: http://www.kclibrary.org/guides/

LibSuccess Wiki: http://www.libsuccess.org

Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek/

Night Blog: http://nightwiesel.blogspot.com/

Word Press OPAC: http://www.plymouth.edu/library/opac/


This is a reprint from my article in the Spring 2006 SirsiDynix UpStream. I think it’s still holds up pretty well. Thanks to the folks there for letting me add it to my online portfolio. Please follow the link to read more from librarians discussing libraries and community, including Steven Cohen, Sarah Long and Jessamyn West:

http://sirsidynixinstitute.com/Upstream/

Look for a new issue soon!