Category Archives: TTW Contributor: 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

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.

Creating Learning Structure: open or closed?

Course Structure
Originally uploaded by Alex Halavais

How do you create a structure to engage people in their learning process? Any institution that deals with learning should consider this.

Free the process from the jail we know as Course Management Systems. Not.the.Solution. CMSs are closed private schools where we wonder collectively if anything interesting is going on inside. Where’s the real learning take place? Interaction. On content creation. Through conversation and comments. Creatively posting parts of your assignments to flickr. That rocks.

Imagine if you made your CMS open. What a marketing piece! Would the caliber of fascinating work that students put out, in say the library field, increase? It may. When you know your peers are watching, you may perform better. You may work a bit harder.

Another reason: show students that what they produce is a part of the real world. Interact with them where they are, on the web. Conne.ct t.he d.ots. Help your students/users/patrons make connections. Use new technological tools to engage in different conversations. Design things to either remove the seams or make the seams, reasonable hurdles. Sure, you need to know how to type and mouse. You don’t necessarily need to know how to program at the machine level. I’d rather students spend time interacting than navigating a closed system. Going to school in a CMS: it’s like taking my Mazda3, 2.3 litre engine apart to change the oil. I don’t do that. I take my car to the mechanic these days. Because I want to drive fast on my way to very interesting places.

The days of locking my productive, creative work behind closed systems, it’s over. What I produce, I want to share. I want to take it with me. To other places on the web. Even if it’s not good and full of typos. And I’m doing it before someone says I can’t. I stamp all my work with a cc license. (And it’s doubtful I have anything to worry about there. In terms of someone stealing my work. I mean, it’s ok stuff but I’m not cracking the cosmo open in any of my papers.)

One reason why I read so many blogs and work to forge connections with people who leave comments. It’s like I get the best of both worlds. I get my masters while at the same time DIY-ing my education.

I save every paper I write. Every article I read -saved. Every message board post and bulky old school online chat -saved. Links -all go into delicious/iblee. Why? Because I revisit those ideas, change my mind on what I did, further develop them, or just laugh at how ridiculous my position was.

I’m learning all the old school, deep-critical thinking. I want to be building new school skills too and share and join and connect with other passionate learners. I’m not the only student who geeks out over talking about what they’re learning. Maybe. But I doubt it.

Watch the rise of edupunk/libpunk/studentpunk and watch it all get mashed up. and re-mixed.

Contributor: Lee

Are you thinking about your EQ?

Leadership encompasses self-management and managing relationships with others. Such a characterization is best known as emotional intelligence. This article identifies the traits that comprise emotional intelligence and suggests which ones might be most important for library directors to possess. The article also compares the emerging set of traits to transformational and transactional leadership in an effort to suggest which traits apply to two other leadership styles.

–recent article by P. Hernon and N. Rossiter (2006).

Contributor: Lee

What do you do everyday?

Be Nice to someone you usually ignore

There are people in your life that for your own reasons you take for granted and generally ignore. This could be a friend, a loved one or a total stranger…but you know who they are.

This happens to everyone.

Pick someone today, and make a point to be nice to that person. Don’t be phony. Be nice. Be kind. See what happens from there.

This reminded me of the way jennimi and Michael take notice of people. They do so in a supportive way that makes you want to have conversations with them.  Effective leaders have a way of engaging you in dialogue that makes you want to share your thoughts.  Overall, this strengthens what you end up talking about.  I like to think the higher lesson here, about being nice and conversing, stands as: we can/should expect higher levels of civility from each other.  Doing so, we move in newer, bolder directions as we explore issues close to our hearts.  I wouldn’t say fixating on that outcome is healthy though. :)

Contributor: Lee