Virtualization of the Patron Experience

Virtualization of the Patron Experience

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This very interesting article in USAToday about the future of retail and virtualization of the customer experience demonstrates how big data can affect and effect virtualized experiences for their patrons:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08-05/future-retail-tech/56880626/1

Libraries compete with online information resources in much the same way the traditional retailers compete with online sellers.

Question ~ How will libraries adapt over the next ten years?

Robert Balliot for https://bestofpublib.wordpress.com

Discussion ~ My work in managing/developing online catalogs – with 20,000+ medical equipment / supply products and 7,000+ multi-website display products exceeded what library catalogs do and from an SEO standpoint would beat out Amazon for Google placement.  Traditional retail could not compete because of delivery and cost.  BestBuy is a great place to put your hands on tech, but the prices are much higher.  As e-commerce websites become more and more user-friendly – where you have good photos of products and good descriptions, the whole process ends up making all products into commodities with the lowest cost determining purchase.

With libraries, the focus has generally been on maintaining the status quo and keeping current bureaucracies in place until they can retire. This is not any different for any other bureaucracy – it is a natural inclination - not library specific to simply maintain.  With the focus on cost of maintaining services though, without innovation the perception of value diminishes.  One of the best things I have seen recently in libraries is the introduction of Makerbots as a library resource.  It is those sorts of high-priced shared resources that extend the value and bring people inside the library systems.

But, the issue does become lowest cost.  As we see transportation cost rise, the casual trip to the library could cost $10 in gas. What would $10 purchase virtually?  The associated costs of operating libraries – broken down between the people who continue to use them and the disproportionate number of people who don’t would add additional cost to each real visit.  As information becomes a commodity the lowest cost will determine where we purchase.  That does not mean that the value of libraries as a sense of place and source of inspiration does not add a real value to information consumption.

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective – August 2011

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

 
 This graphic image  or word cloud was created using Wordle. It is derived from the subjects and authors of postings in PubLib for August 2011. The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented. Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds. These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
 
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been Publib. Publib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing. In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
 
Publib Topics August 2011

Publib Topics August 2011

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Disguising technology with something a bit more familiar .. .

Horchow is selling this faux book case for the MacBook Pro:

leather case for MacBook

It seems that this attraction to the familiar, to older technology represents value and comfort. 

Will we see natural language database interfaces repackaged with familiar, comforting reference librarian wrappings?

Reference Librarians

 
 Will we see Google Data Centers holding Google Books sporting the glorious edifices of Library architecture?

New York Public Library

Best of PubLib 03.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Provocative video suitable for all audiences coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers  March 15th through March 28th 2010. This PubLib review and analysis includes questions about naming library rooms, thought-provoking discussions about new media archives , library materials security,  and our new poll on R-rated movie access. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 03.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers the weeks of March 1st  through March 14th 2010. This edition includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about  known inaccuracies in ‘non-fiction’ works , circulation manager duties ,  humorous anecdotes regarding blondes ,  and the impact of closing public school libraries: 

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Best of PubLib 02.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib TV – Coming Soon!

This week  in  Best of Publib covers the week of February 8th through February 14th 2010. This week includes questions about public access computer security, thought-provoking discussions about sharing library buildings with community centers and government, distribution of e-book readers,  and our new poll on rewarding staff innovation and initiative. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 02.08.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

weekly updateThis week  in  Best of Publib covers the week of February 1st through February 7th 2010. This week includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about social reference questions , library website development,  and changes to library employment qualifications. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:

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Best of PubLib 01.31.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video returning soon

weekly updateThis week  in  Best of Publib covers January 24th through January 31st 2010. This week includes discussions about the Broadband Stimulus Programs,  collection development, technology planning, library programming, access to archives,  and the effect of library reference poaching. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:

  • Topic   »    Library Fines – Lynda Dydo in Los Gatos, CA wants to know who raised fines – What was the impact on revenue?
  • Topic   »    Author Meet & Greets -  Rhonda Jessup  in Whitby, ON Canada  wants to know how you introduce authors – What is most effective?
  • Topic   »    Employment applications – Kathleen McCorkle in Sedan, KS would like examples of library specific employment applications
  • Topic   »    Documented LJ Index Problems – Thomas J. Hennen Jr. in Racine, WI provides analysis of issues with LJ Index – Will the problems be answered or resolved?
  • Topic   »    program attendance question – Elizabeth Fraser in Charleston WV is looking for program statistics – Which programs are successful?
  • Topic   »    GED revisions? – Kevin O’Kelly in Somerville, MA wanted to know about GED updates – the NETLS Coordinator provided the answers
  • Topic   »    Astoria Library Birthday Party Invitation – Jane Tucker in Astoria, OR lets us know about the 118th Birthday of Astoria Public Library
  • Topic   »    Question for Frequent Travelers – Jennifer Ray in Cassopolis, MI wants to know how to predict the best deals on flights – Sharon Foster offered Bing
  • Topic   »    Church Partnerships? – Tony Ross in Washington, DC wants to know how to build relationships with local churches – Are there constitutional considerations?
  • Topic   »    CD shelving – Lynne S. Ingersoll  in Blue Island, IL is looking at functional storage and display for 3000 CDs - What works?
  • Topic   »    RFID Implementation - Andrea Taylor in Fullerton, CA wants your story on setting up RFID – What were the processes and pitfalls?
  • Topic   »    Challenges to newspaper index entries – Bruce Brigell in Skokie, Illinois relates the effect of newspaper archives that  disparage – What is the balance between public access and public disparagement? 
  • Topic   »    CD and DVD protectors – Margaret (Meg) Van Patten in Baldwinsville, New York wants to know what works best – How do you protect the data side surface of your DVDs?
  • Topic   »    which Speaker System to use – Amy Blossom in Ashland, Oregon wants a low-cost speaker system with portable mikes  for library programs – Which products work for you?
  • Topic   »    iPad and what it means to the library – Andrea Taylor in Fullerton, CA discusses the potential impact of the Apple iPad  on similar products and libraries – What do you think?
  • Topic   »    Tax season – Elisa Babel in Washington, DC provides a great link to Closed Stacks discussing  tax season effect on libraries and the types of tax filers librarians are most likely to encounter – How did libraries become in loco IRS ?
  • Topic   »    Social Networking and the Library – Jane Genzel in Muskego, WI wants to know how your library benefits from blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking tools – How do you measure success?
  • Topic   »    New Blog: Quid est veritas? – Bob Watson in Lake Villa, IL has started a new blog offering his expertise on reference issues Quid est veritas?
  • Topic   »    Appointments for in-depth Reference Assistance - Theresa Grieshaber in Modesto CA is reviewing methods for exclusive reference services
  • Topic   »   PR/Marketing Masterpieces – Dinah Harris in Lexington, TN is presenting on library public relations and marketing at Tennessee Library Association Conference 2010  – What are some of your success stories?
  • Topic   »    Reference Question Poaching – What happens when a collegue interupts the reference interview with their own answers? How do you handle it?
  • Topic   »    Library Humor for the month of January was compiled in  Best of PubLib Library Humor
  • Topic   »    Get Connected now available - Diedre Conkling in Newport, OR  links to Broadband Stimulus Program information  
  • Topic   »    NTIA sending out 1,400 rejection letters! – James Casey in Oak Lawn, IL points to some of the faults in the bureacratic process - Are Broadband Stimulus Applications too complicated? Is resistance useless?

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Best of PubLib 01.25.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This week  in  Best of Publib covers January 10th  through January 24th 2010. This week includes questions about collection development,  library hardware and software solutions, politics, policies,  and the ethics of advertising and branding. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:weekly update

  • Topic   »    Shelving graphic novels - Phalbe Henriksen in Taylorsville, NC wants to know how many fit on a standard shelf – Graphic novel collections are growing! 
  • Topic   »    Classics List for Small Public Library - Bridget Krejci in Bloomer, WI wants recommendations for Classics – Kevin O’Kelly recommends the Everyman 100 and Carl Long provides an excellent, concise list.
  • Topic   »    Public Library System Organizational Structure: Request for information - Corinne Dickman in Sparks, NV is investigating alternative organizational structures – How is your library configured?
  • Topic   »    The future of reference? – This new product from Intel may show the future of reference – Are hololibrarians the next step in automation?
  • Topic   »    Recalled books - Justine Shaffner  in Aurora, CO forwarded this warning from CPSC of books that may cause a fire – Sometimes the books are on fire, sometimes the books cause them . . .
  • Topic   »    Not Gadgets -  M. McGrorty  in Los Angeles brings us this article by John Tierney – The Madness of Crowds and an Internet Delusion
  • Topic   »    library ethics vs local politics  - American Libraries reported on this troubling story out of Vermont  
  • Topic   »    Iphone app - Georgia Bouda  in  Bloomington, IL discusses the phone applications that digitize patron bar codes and offer them as alternatives to physical library cards - What are the security and service issues? How else can they be used?
  • Topic   »    Story time attendance dropping off? -  Janet Griffing  in Wadsworth, OH reports on diminished participation – Is it demographic changes or flu fears?
  • Topic   »    posting for causes on a library blog? – Kevin O’Kelly  in  Somerville, MA wants to know if it is proper – Should causes be promoted?
  • Topic   »    Flying candidates in for face-to-face interviews  - Matthew Pierce is looking at the cost - Is it still common to fly in recruits?
  • Topic   »    Review - M. McGrorty challenges librarians to post negative reviews of books – Is the trend to only see the good?
  • Topic   »    Branding in Libraries - Jane Genzel  at the  Muskego Public Library is investigating the appropriateness of branded donations – Does branding diminish services?
  • Topic   »    Drop In computer labs - Tracey Reed  in Clearwater, FL is implementing unstructured classes – Where is this effective?
  • Topic   »    Periodicals back issues - Laurenne Teachout   in Stephentown, NY has limited space for periodicals – What is ideal retention?
  • Topic   »    Overdrive Download Stations? - Nilya Carrato   in  Washington, DC  is configuring dedicated PCs for audio/ebook download – What software works the best?
  • Topic   »    Patron Counters - Cath Soffe   at  Ajax Library Services wants to know which products are the best
  • Topic   »    CIPA and e-rate - Andrea Taylor  in  Fullerton, CA is looking for a definitive answers on bona fide research and adult access - Is there conflict between local and federal guidelines?
  • Topic   »    libraries and local bookstores/resend - Robin K. Blum is writing on the subject – What collaborative relationships exist between libraries and bookstores?
  • Topic   »    Laptop Checkout - Mindy Kittay - in Colorado at the Anythink Libraries is looking for exemplary policies and procedures – How do your laptops circulate?
  • Topic   »    experience with outsourcing management of the library - Laurel Goodgion   in Wethersfield CT is investigating corporate profiteering on non-profits – When does outsourced management impinge on professional ethics?
  • Topic   »    Clipping files - Faith Jones – in New Westminster  BC, Canada is looking for best current practices for clipping files – are they still relevant with digitization? Does digitization of clipping files infringe on copyright?
  • Topic   »    Giveaways for silent auctions, etc. - John Richmond   in  Bartonville, IL wants to know what to offer other non-profits – Is there a great combination of that serves the library and external non-profits too?
  • Topic   »    Self Check Out - Andrew R. Stehr   in  Rochester, MN is looking for examples where circulation is 80% or greater automated – What are the benefits?
  • Topic   »    Expired Library Cards - Sue Reed   in  Jefferson City, MO wants to know how long you keep expired patron records before purging – Does your patron policy include privacy considerations?
  • Topic   »    Museum type holdings - John C. Sandstrom   in  El Paso, TX is looking for examples of libraries that still keep art work and realia – What are the collection guidelines?
  • Topic   »    Kevin Trudeau books - Becky Tatar   in  Aurora, IL investigates collection development policies – Do we offer what the public wants or what they should want?
  • Topic   »    Friday reference question - Dusty Gres   in  Vidalia, GA started a new discussion on humorous and troubling reference questions – It looks like we are generating a new list!
  • Topic   »    Book (etc.?) Awards - Diedre Conkling   in  Newport, OR  provided a link to ALA’s Book Award list in Cognotes.  The discussion truncated into contemplation of the effect of marketing and advertising on professional library literature. What do you think?

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Best of PubLib ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall Review

Best of PubLib at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Exhibit Hall Review

This week,  Best of Publib covered the ALA Exhibit Hall at the Boston Convention Center.   The HD video below includes hundreds of vendor displays.  We hope it will help you imagine the experience if you were not able to attend, or help refresh and reinforce what you learned.  

 
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Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

The Boston Convention Center was an excellent venue for ALA. The train brought us to South Station - just a few minutes away from the hotels and convention amenities.   There are many local publishers and library suppliers within a short distance, so start-ups and unique product suppliers could present affordably.  And, Boston rocks!  The Freedom Trail, Duck Tours , along with world-class museums and libraries are within short distances of the convention center.  

The organizational effort by ALA and attention to detail by the library vendors was outstanding. It was easy to lose track of time on the exhibit hall floor amidst the panorama and noise.  It took on a casino / carnival atmosphere with prizes to win and vendors pitching their games. High above, you could use the Food Court sign as a directional beacon.  

Of all the hundreds of vendors represented, we chose to review five.  

The first is : I-Concepts which defines itself as Innovative Concepts for Nonprofit Organizations.  We could imagine many libraries outside of Boston benefiting from this service, along with fostering a general appreciation of local history archives.  If you are looking for a way to both encourage collection use and raise funds - i-concepts may be the answer. The Amelia Earhart print was fascinating.  

LibraryThing.com/forLibraries

The second  is : LibraryThing. Tim Spalding along with his gregarious black-shirted  horde truly represented the best of Open Source, Library 2.0 and viral marketing. They were eager to engage and highly entertaining.  

The third vendor is : LE@D-Lifelong Education @ Desktop from the University of North Texas   This group was absolutely charming and demonstrated infectious enthusiasm for their services. They dressed in some of the most colorful attire at the exhibit.  Le@D  provides highly affording library training. According to Director - Kevin Haney (in the middle with the green shirt) – costs are as low as $15 for a course! Enthusiastic library training -  Deep in the heart of Texas!  

New York Times

The fourth vendor is: The New York Times offering 50% off Home Delivery Service
 Marketing was conducted by On the Avenue Marketing Group with this excellent salesperson hawking half-price subscriptions. She may have been the hardest working individual in the exhibit hall. Yet, it was somehow troubling that this was the limit of representation of the New York Times publishing empire.  

III

The fifth vendor is: III – Innovative Interfaces Incorporated. III is one of the heavy hitters in the Library industry. Many libraries are dependent on their products and they have  a loyal base. I worked on two transitions to III – the first at Brown University from CLSI and the second at CLAN libraries from Horizon. I have used III for over twenty years and find it offers outstanding service. However, what I observed in the exhibit hall was troubling.  

The III booth was very well-appointed and designed with several interactive product displays. It supported a large group of associates to answer questions. Yet, few were actually engaged in discussions with anyone but their co-workers. A librarian approached two of the representatives to thank III for providing a pass to the exhibit hall. One of the representatives took a look at the librarian’s badge and said something to the effect of :

 “Well ______ must have been giving away those passes all along the east coast, we had another librarian from ____ stop by earlier “.

Then the rep rattled off a few names of people they considered important from that same institution and basically dismissed the librarian. There was no sales pitch. No offer to demo. Merely, a dismissal. 

Library Service, especially in the public library sector, ideally levels the playing field. Service is equal. In contrast, some vendor representatives have obviously been instructed to find out the station of the exhibit hall attendee, determine if they were of the buyer / influencer class and dismiss the others. Yet, the nature of libraries and librarians as technology consumers requires generating interest throughout an organization and getting everyone to buy in. If you have six vendor representatives at an exhibit and you don’t have a crowd around your people, then you should generate interest by engaging everyone.  All of the library vendors were start-ups at one point.   

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The exhibit hall may be the most effective way to get hands on experience with some of the newest and most exciting products in the library world.  The meager twenty-five dollar entrance fee – or having an inside vendor representative hook you up for free makes the experience well worth the visit.  

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