Traditional reference service is dead--- or dying. This blog will focus on new approaches toward providing library assistance to patrons... or whatever else I feel like rambling on about.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lacrosse & Podcasting

Ok, so the hot topic this week is Microsoft’s Academic Search product. I’m sure everyone will be eager to compare it with Google Scholar and those library databases that we spend millions of dollars on… but honestly, I’m more interested in the Johns Hopkins Women’s Lacrosse Team. I wish lax received more cable coverage, I mean, it’s better than bass fishing or paintball or whatever else ESPN2 is playing during the off-season. I wish I had checked out JHU lax when I lived near Wash DC.

I spoke with
Jim Milles today on his podcast show about Next Generation Librarianship in reference to my coup. I feel like I have so much more to say on the topic and I am thinking about releasing a supplemental podcast next week.

Jim also gave me some great ideas and advice for podcasting. This has been hovering in my mind for a while. I thought it would be nice to do a podcast supplement to various writings and presentations—a way to sum up or expand on the concept. It’s going to be interesting to see how ISI handles all these new mediums with their citation reports in the future.

I also got to thinking about a podcast for my library. One of the challenges is that we follow the subject specialist model and it would be hard to present a united podcast beamed out to our patron community. Therefore, I’m thinking for the Fall of creating a weekly series called MEcast—directed toward the ME community of about 2,000 students and faculty. A 10-15 minute weekly segment, blending lib & resource info, interviews, news, pop culture, music, whatever. I’m going to read up on the tech specs this weekend.

Jim suggested using
LibSin as a host, which only costs $5 a month for the type of project I want to do. So here is a typical Next Gen attitude (oh and I hate the term ‘next gen’ --more on that later) rather than talking with our Systems Department about hosting it, or forming a committee to cover content and workflow, I’m going to spend the $5 myself and generate my own product. One of my core job duties is to ‘promote the Library to the School of Mechanical Engineering’ and we’re given the freedom to carry out this charge anyway we choose. So stay tuned: screen and podcasts are the emerging theme of my Summer.

Monday, April 10, 2006

OMG! We should IM!

So it seems that IM has recently become the hot topic. I can’t wait until three years from now when librarians ‘discover’ ipods and start talking about new ways to reach students through mobile devices.

Anyway, on the topic of IM, I want to build an
AIM Bot. Tag this as a pipedream, but I had a good talk with Ross a few weeks ago and there is faint possibility that we might work on this over the summer.

Now granted, bots are not new. I’ve seen a presentation on this at CIL (not AIM though) several years ago--- however after a little searching I could not easily find an AIM BOT for libraries. If you know of any, post the screen-name, please!

This is the main menu from the ShoppingBuddy bot:



I’d like to customize it to fit our needs with options like:

  • Find Books
  • Find Articles
  • Explore a Topic
  • Get Help (IM us!)
  • Library Hours
  • Library Classes & Workshops
  • Check Your Account
  • Renew Your Books
  • Reserve the Rehearsal Studio

It could really supplement to our website. I think if marketed correctly it could be kind of cool. Go strong with it during the freshmen orientation. Plaster the screen-name (illegally) all over the dorms and campus. Print napkins for the café with the name on it. Buy a full page add in the student paper with the entire page blank except in the middle: GTLibraryBot, buddy list us! Create a since of mystery/intrigue. Let people find it. Make them want to b-list you to see what the hype is all about. Word of mouth with take over after that.

Good Old Gorman!

When will Michael Gorman stop embarrassing us? Seriously, I think he's set us back 20 years!