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CODE4LIB  July 2013

CODE4LIB July 2013

Subject:

Re: Libraries and IT Innovation

From:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:15:27 -0700

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text/plain (95 lines)

Salvete!

    Glad you started this thread. I <3 innovation. I also will note that you avoided the innovation pitfall of thinking that things disperse because they are higher quality.


> He provided an example of making content active through the area of big
> data.  For those not familiar with big data Wikipedia describes it as “a
> collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to
> process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data
> processing applications”.  An example he mentioned of how this was useful


    Crowdsourcing in and of itself is interesting since it is built on natural inquisitiveness, the desire of folks to help, a little going a long way when multiplied out, and trust. Quite harmonious to library values.

    In terms of active data, I pitched a digital tree of sorts at one point. I could see user information being anonymised and sent to a central location that showed what was being checked out. I also saw panels for each end of range with recent check outs, NYT reviews, book covers of what was in that aisle, et cetera.


> Over the course of this conversation I was thinking on how some of this
> could be applied to the library realm.  Mobile computing is an area we as a
> profession are getting better at, but by no means are we there yet.  I have
> seen some really good mobile sites for libraries, but other tools we have
> like CONTENTdm or DSpace are not mobile friendly.  I am not trying to pick
> on them, they are very good toolsets, but if you have ever tried using
> either on a smartphone they are clunky and hard to work with.  Still on the
> whole libraries are making progress with mobile computing.
> 

    Yeah. I hang out with telecom nerds and it's really weird to not see some of the same enthusiasm with Librarians. Pretty much the only Library folks I know that delve into this sort of stuff are the UVA folks and Koha folks. Certainly other folks are doing it, too, but it's not ubiquitous. I've long scratched my head about how we aren't using them for scanning duty at the barest of minimums. The stacks should just have gobs of qr coding and wee thumbnails and ra advisories and whatnot that people could leverage while they search but it's just not there. 


> I also see the social aspect of this shining through quite well too.  Many
> libraries have taken well to social media and have come up with some
> ingenious ways to utilize it to their advantage.  As well the push for
> collaborative space in the physical building plays well into this, though I
> wonder if there is anything else that can be done to open up this
> collaborative space in the digital realm. 

    
    We need to live outside of meatspace more. I use gaming this way. One of my favourite things to hear is "Gee, I wouldn't think Librarians would know or do that..."
        

> I know many of the toolsets are
> providing some good social options.  I was aware of some of the
> collaborative abilities of institutional repository software, and I just
> recently was introduced to Primo and really liked their shelf options and
> the potential for collaboration it gives.  Obviously it depends on the
> institution, but I do wonder if there anymore things that can be done in
> the digital social realm to provide for the patrons.
> 

    *nod* I think in general we just have to be better about getting opt in features in our ILSs for Patrons. While some people might want their privacy, others won't give a fig if their reading lists are public, or if they can make suggestions to other patrons. Perhaps Library Yelp! :) There's stuff like Goodreads and what not out there for reviews, but I feel like we're always just putting more lipstick on our ILS pigs instead of drawing up summat seamless to integrate errrrrything.


> As for business intelligence and analytics I figured those do not
> necessarily apply in quite the same way as business IT, but there is still
> some cross over.  Libraries and archives both take a bucket loads of


    Man did I leverage reference to build a bridge with the business community. Internally, you're absolutely right. Externally, I think we should be helping small business do analytics and other things. While business intelligence tends to be distasteful to me, I'd rather have a busy reference desk than a dead as a doorknob post. There's a lot of stuff that businesses pay beau coups bucks for when they can just be using a good reference librarian.


> statistics so there might be some interesting ways to look at those
> statistics that have yet to be considered?  This is not an area I have much


    One of the reasons I like this list is that it seems like folks are always coming up with new ways to harvest and visualise data. It's cool. 


> experience with but I am sure others have some interesting ideas about it.
> I do see ways that the big data analytics I mentioned before potentially
> can be useful in making the library catalog and discovery more responsive.
> I can see using it to examine the search terms that the patrons use to
> search, what they are trying to find, what worked, and what did not work to
> improve our thesauri so that relevant items can appear on even sub-par
> searches.  It could also potentially be used if the system has a login to
> suggest materials to the user that could be relevant given their past
> searches.  These might be a terrible ideas but I would be curious to see if
> big data analytics might be able to improve discovery.
> 

    Yep. This is exactly the sort of thing we should enact and toggle for an opt in. Patrons really want this, but Libraries tend not to want to overreach their bounds in terms of privacy. That surely is one reason people like us, and an opt in is the way to have our cake and eat it. (The cake is not a lie!)


> For those who made it this far then thank you for reading through my
> rambling.  I know it was a long posting, but I thought it was an
> interesting conversation that I wanted to share it because a lot of ideas
> on innovation from the business IT world libraries can pick up and run with
> in their own unique way.  I am sure some of this has been considered and
> discussed but I would love to hear thoughts people have or what people have
> done in regards to these areas of innovation.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

Cheers,
Brooke

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