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Innovation TLA 2010


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This is my presentation from the panel "Innovators, Early Adopters, and the Rest of Us--Getting the Most from Your Library's Technology" at the Texas Library Association Annual Meeting, 2010. I shared …

This is my presentation from the panel "Innovators, Early Adopters, and the Rest of Us--Getting the Most from Your Library's Technology" at the Texas Library Association Annual Meeting, 2010. I shared the stage with Stephen Abram and John Blyberg and we had a great time!

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  • 1. Leah Krevit
    Rice University
    The Rest of Us
    Innovators, Early Adopters, and
    The Rest of Us
    Leah Krevit
    Rice University
  • 2. We often think of our users as a group. They are really
    individuals, devoted to different tasks and goals.We need to think about them as individuals and we need to
    think more about themright now than the technology.
  • 3. People. ThenTechnology.
    User Experience (UX)
    User Interface
    User-Centered/User-Centric Design
    Information Architecture
    Interaction Design
  • 4. Resources like this teach us how to listen to users and design library “things” for them.
  • 5. Our users are trying to get our attention. We need to make our resources work for them and not make them work to use our resources.
  • 6. Information. Not Format.
    We must learn to be format-neutral
    Council on Library and Information Resources
    A three-report volume will examine key issues in the research library's transition from an analog to a digital environment for knowledge access, preservation, and reconstitution.
    Can a New Research Library be All-Digital? Lisa Spiro and Geneva Henry
    On the Cost of Keeping a Book, Paul Courant and Matthew "Buzzy" Nielsen
    Ghostlier Demarcations: Large-Scale Text Digitization Projects and their Utility for Contemporary Humanities Scholarship, report of a CLIR investigation
  • 7.
  • 8. Your People. Not My People.
    Who are your users?
    What are they doing?
    How are they doing whatever it is?
    Why are they doing whatever it is?
    When and where are important, too
    Some characteristics are always true (we are all human beings) but others will always differ (I like PC, you like Mac)
  • 9. Sometimes we completely forget what our users look like!
  • 10. Personas
    “Personas and the Role of Design Documentation,” Andrew Hinton at Boxes and Arrows, Feb. 26, 2008
    Personas are not documents, and they are not the result of a step-by-step method that automagically pops out convenient facsimiles of your users. Personas are actually the designer’s focused act of empathetic imagination, grounded in first-hand user knowledge.
    So, perhaps Jason Fried is completely on target. We can only design for ourselves. Being aware of it, making it explicit can make us find creative ways of designing for people who are different from us… perhaps we need to create experience labs, so that for a while we can live the life of the people we are designing for."
  • 11. Whose perspective matters most? Yours or theirs? The Library’s or the User’s?
  • 12. The Vision Thing
    In order to move forward and to innovate for your users, you must have:
    A vision
    Of your users
    Their information needs and desires
    How they work
    Current and emerging technology
    How that technology might evolve
    Where in the stream of that evolution you want to insert your users and your library
  • 13. The Vision Thing hurts sometimes,
  • 14. Fix the Current Stuff
    The website
    Social spaces (real and virtual)
    The catalog
    The institutional repository
    The e-journals/databases list
    There is a lot that can be done to improve existing services and products
  • 15. Fix existing things with personas you have
    created of your user community, narrowing
    your group to a few representatives…
    …this experience will help you to develop your vision and determine the innovations you need to implement.
  • 16. Innovate, Or…
    New management principles which can help transform a library into a more innovative culture:
    Variety, diversity, experimenting, depoliticizing / depolarizing decision making
    Flexible resource allocation
    Enabling activism through democracy (devolution of accountability, distributed leadership)
    Engagement and mobilization for a common cause
    Increasing the odds and finding serendipity
    Gary Hamel: The Future of Management
  • 17. Our users are innovating all the time.
  • 18. Failure to Innovate
    Tame The Web, Michael Stephens’ blog, Apr 13, 2010 3:44 PM
    Jeff Trzeciak writes about the recent Ithaka Report
    My biggest take away from the report is this quote:
    “If the library shapes its roles and activities based on what is currently most highly appreciated by faculty, it may lose a valuable opportunity to innovate and position itself as relevant in the future”
    In order for this to actually take place we have to have librarians with skills and characteristics that lend themselves to marketing/promotion, creativity/innovation, vision and risk. How are these characteristics playing out in our libraries given that we tend to be a profession that values tradition over risk and innovation?  Yes, there are many innovators out there but there are many, many more who are not.  Too many of us would rather hide behind “evidence based librarianship” as an excuse for not doing something different than actually attempt something new (and risky).
    Take a look at the report and Jeff’s post. To me, this is another call to arms for library schools to ramp up curriculum around marketing, creativity and innovation. These ideas should also be a part of the process of realigning positions and focus of our current employees.
  • 19. Our users are collaborating all the time.
  • 20. Good Enough
    Principle of good enough (from Wikipedia): the principle of good enough (sometimes abbreviated to POGE) is a rule for software and systems design. It favours quick-and-simple (but potentially extensible) designs over elaborate systems designed by committees. Once the quick-and-simple design is deployed, it can then evolve as needed, driven by user requirements. Ethernet, the Internet protocol and the World Wide Web are good examples of this kind of design.
    Examples of this in library activities:
    Less than perfect cataloging
    Lower resolution scanning
    Making new tools (widgets, gadgets, toolbars) available that change so fast you might as well throw them out there for people to use now
    Stopping The Tweaking
  • 21. Our users may be waiting, but they are not waiting for us.
  • 22. Obstacles
    Walt Crawford (and Eric Schnell), Library Leadership Network blog, July 28, 2009: The Trouble with Consensus
    One of the problems I have with consensus building is that an individual or a small minority can effectively block agreement to a proposal or idea. It unfairly tips the decision-making scales towards a staff member who may simply like existing conditions, which may continue to exist long after the majority would like the conditions changed. Consensus building has the potential to reward the least accommodating group of staff members while punishing those trying to innovate.
    By giving all group or staff members the right to block any idea or proposal, an organization can essentially be held hostage to an inflexible minority or an individual. The impact this has on a library's ability to create innovative library services can be significant since creative or alternative ideas can be blocked or slowed by a small minority.
  • 23. Blocking innovation is the same as saying “No” to users. It makes everyone cranky.
  • 24. Obstacles cont.
    More from Walt: Discussing Innovation to Death
    Consensus building also focuses on the need to discuss the topic ad nauseam and the need to seek the input of anyone who could possibly be affected. This turns decision making into a very time-consuming process. This poses a liability to organizations trying to become more innovative since decisions often need to be made quickly.
    Since innovative processes often result in half-baked solutions, it is simply not feasible to incorporate the opinions of everyone who could be affected in a reasonable period of time.
  • 25. Yeah, it does. That’s okay. Let’s just do it.
    I don’t know. It feels kinda half-baked.
  • 26. Innovation Example
    Federated Search Tool at HAM-TMC Library
    Searches the top 10 resources used by the research and education community in the Texas Medical Center
    Non-trivial research tool
    Collaborate with NASA
    Development relationship with Vivisimo
  • 27. Texas Medical Center Library + NASA Life Sciences Division =
    innovative collaboration to create innovative solution
  • 28. Collaboration
    HAM-TMC Library
    NASA Life Sciences Division
    Research Tools Matrix
    Technical requirements
    Open meetings
    Not bound to one another—just collaborating in the same problem space
    2006 – 2008
    Read all about it in Library Hi Tech 27 (2), 2009: Discovering discovery tools: evaluating vendors and implementing Web 2.0 environments
  • 29. Done…for now.
  • 30. Done. Not Perfect.
    The Cult of Done Manifesto : Bre Pettis (I Make Things) March, 2009
    There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
    Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
    There is no editing stage.
    Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
    Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
    The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
    Once you're done you can throw it away.
    Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
    People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
    Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
    Destruction is a variant of done.
    If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
    Done is the engine of more.
  • 31. $$$$$$
    Ways to get things done:
    Top management buy-in/understanding
    Re-align existing budget structures
    Business case: “twitch” = Twitter Pitch
    Open source
    Investigate grants: there are tons of them
  • 32. That was a cool project, but what’s next?
  • 33. On the Horizon
    2010 Horizon Report
    One Year or Less: Mobile Computing
    One Year or Less: Open Content
    Two to Three Years: Electronic Books
    Two to Three Years: Simple Augmented Reality
    Four to Five Years: Gesture-Based Computing
    Four to Five Years: Visual Data Analysis
  • 34. Our next user?
  • 35. Website design is moving in new and creative directions and we need to move our library sites along too, with user-centered design and making content more easily accessible and usable.
  • 36. Creatives
    We are making things for them
    They are making things for us
    We need them
    Go find them
    Hire them
    Support them
    Some of them are already librarians
    Some of them are not
    Get as many as you can
  • 37. Creatives often
    look like this…
  • 38. …and this.
  • 39. All images provided by Flickr,
    morguefile, and deviantart
    Wordle by Wordle
    Screencaps by me
  • 40. Thanks for this opportunity to share with you!
    Leah Krevit