Carnival of the Infosciences #50
Many of you must be celebrating by demonstrating the phrase "Silence is golden."
This is my first time hosting, but I was very surprised to receive no submissions.
None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. So, you're going to get what I found interesting this week!
Under the Big Top in Ring #1:
A few bloggers mentioned redesigns of their library websites.
Chad over at Hidden Peanuts highlights some of the changes
The site didn’t get a complete overhaul - our link structure is probably 99% the same as it was. Secondary pages on the site are untouched except for a nice new banner at the top which will let us highlight upcoming events, and will be redone more completely as time goes on. But our new front page design, in addition to looking more modern, is flexible in both design and content. Our old design was functional, but adding or removing anything from the page tended to make the design explode. Very hard and frustrating to work with. And with the addition of dropdown menus, we’ve been able to bring a lot of deeper pages’ links to the surface without destroying the menu items people are familiar with from the old design.A comment there led me to Rochelle's mention they had launched some new features too, along with a warning directed to us IMming libraries that she's added us to their buddy lists for practice! :)
Scott over at BiblioTech Web also says they've done a redesign of their site. I like these two features he mentions:
Under the Big Top in Ring #2
One new feature is an embedded RSS feed from our library blog, DawgBlog, which provides a link to the blog and the three most recent headlines. This way our “Library News” section stays dynamic without having to draft people to regularly write “news articles” to keep the news changing.
Another nice feature is the Ask A Librarian program. We had that before on the old site, but only as a link at the bottom of every page. Now we have a more prominent graphic that includes the faces of every librarian who works at the Reference Desk. When you click on Ask A Librarian, you are taken to a page that tells you how to get in contact with the Reference Desk, with the choices of telephone, email, or instant messenger. If you follow one of those, you know you’ll be speaking (or typing) with one of the people you’ve seen on the website.
Back-to-School is just around the corner, and Off the Shelves (the blog from La Grange Park Public Library in the Metropolitan Library System) linked to the annual Beloit College mindset list. For the class of 2009... here's an excerpt:
49. Libraries have always been the best centers for computer technology and access to good software.
Cool, but...how will we continue to serve these patrons? Keep in mind that the college students are already voters, and potential backers of library referenda.
Andrea Mercado's back-to-school project, with the aid of an Eagle Scout, is the revival of the Netguides program.
Netguides is a program where volunteers (mostly teens) are recruited and trained to be one-on-one technology help for patrons.
This segues nicely to ...
Swinging from the Trapeeze.... it's a bird, it's a plane, no it's Libraryman! Michael Porter teamed up with Brenda Hough to present an OPAL program: Top Notch Technology Training for Patrons. (neatly archived here.) Although I couldn't 'attend' the presentation as it took place Friday morning... I was in the process of: The Worst Upgrade Ever. (Long story short, OPAC broke. Server issues preventing repair of OPAC.)...anyways, I listened to the podcast on my way to work today. I think most of the major concepts carried over to the audio version.
It's definitely worth a listen to hear about some tech training classes you may not have considered offering to your patrons. We're getting further away from the old truth that all seniors don't even have basic mouse skills. How relevant will the class of 2009 think we are if the only computer classes we have are Intro to Mouse & Intro to E-Mail?
How about offering classes in blogging, RSS, podcasting, videocasting, using flickr, del.icio.us, MP3 audiobooks, or MySpace & online safety? Perhaps some of these classes will also appeal to the under-70 crowd, and (gasp--LOL) even the teens!!! Sometimes these tools are not as intuitive as they could be, and more people would love to use them, but are stuck with how to get started. Andrea Mercado's Geek Out Don't Freak Out hands-on classes are also mentioned, as she invites patrons to bring their digital cameras & manuals, and they'll figure it out together.
[Disclaimer: I swear I'm not just mentioning because MPOW was mentioned. (thanks Michael) I was hoping the presentation would be blog worthy, even before I listened.]
Under the Big Top in Ring #3
Web 2.0 tools--new features
del.icio.us rolled out a new front page, with thumbnail images of the top bookmarked sites like ask.com's results list.
Blogger is currently rolling out new features in what they're calling Blogger Beta including controlling who can read your blog, categories, more feeds: comment feeds, and RSS2.0. They're gradually switching current users over. To see a demo, visit Christina Pikas' blog here. This is super news for all the libraries with zero budgets trying to start a fast easy blog, soon the features of the fancier blogging platforms will be at their fingertips. Being able to control who can read your blog could open up the possibilities of an internal blog when you don't have the time or resources to set up a staff intranet.
Take a look at the tools you use (search engines too) and subscribe to their blogs. It's an easy way to stay up to date on all their new features that you might be missing.
Don't miss Meredith Farkas' great article on the TechEssence blog about Getting help from tech experts when you don't have any on staff.
I can't tell you enough how great I think Engaged Patrons is!!! Using Engaged Patrons has increased the visibility of our upcoming programs, and since we didn't have an RSS feed for programs before using EP, now our events are syndicated on a local site.
Since the comment came in this week, I have to mention a post on one of our library blogs. We've just started a new inititave in the Youth & Teen depts where a selected staff member is assigned to blog about something/anything during that week. It's cool to see the different voices emerge on the blog. Rebecca though has the honor of the most interesting comment to date. She posted a detailed review of the magazine New Moon. You can tell she's a mom as she emphasizes that the magazine has no advertising. We subscribe to approx 300 magazines, and none of us had ever thought to blog about a title! Who posted a comment though? The publishers of New Moon! Great job Rebecca! Kudos to New Moon for keeping the conversation going!
Next week, the Carnival moves on to David's Random Stuff for #51 Send your submissions to dwfree[at]gmail.com