Day 3 Liveblog (Sunday, Oct 21)

Access 2013 in Newfoundland at Memorial University!

Why is it so hard to give away free books? (Marc Pillon)

Questions for Marc:

Could you use less devices and has it been sold?

How does library staff feel about it and how do you know what to bring?

Are you thinking of building your own handheld device to reduce costs?

We can do better! Integrating APIs to improve the user experience (Sonya Betz and Robert Zylstra)

Questions for Rob and Sonya:

App infrastructure as basis for CMS...please elaborate.

Will responsive web design and app coexist?

How much marketing did the library do?

How many hours of design time?

Is code available?

Hackfest reports

Spalatum: Digital preservation that can survive the fall of the Roman Empire (A personal digital repository)

The Team:

Alan W.

Art R.

Lawrence O.


Louis-Mathieu P.

Peter B.

Phllippe L.

J. MacGillivray


(really...ask anything)

Q: Advice for a programmer who wants to go to library school and doesn’t want to work in a public library. Can you recommend a program?

A1: Matters what you make out of the experience (...but Syracuse would love to have you!)

A2: The current trend is now towards iSchools, but may not be a good fit for you with your background. Perhaps a more traditional program would be better.

A3: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a great program.

        [Blogger note: is great place to start your research and get the inside scoop.]

Q: Who manages your digital repository and what does that team of people look like?

A: Collaborative group between IT, libraries, and web team

A2: We have a bunch of software developers, couple of systems admins, increasingly blurred lines between the two. We use puppet; We have a team of product owners and the idea is that their job is to maintain the relationships with the owners of collection and keep relationships with other teams …

Q: Are we doing enough to ensure that the next generation of library leaders understands the importance of IT?

A1: lead by example. Do it well.

A2: there is always this “IT sucks” thing. IT peeps are more extroverts than introverts. You’re in customer service and so are we. Don’t be a victim. Cookies help (as does beer). We’re drawing lines all the time that we don’t need to.

A3: Reward based on interest and not current skill

A4: Encourage IT inclined staff to be involved in library search jobs. Put IT people on the search committee and interviews to vet the tech skills that are thrown on the job description

Q: If you have a tattoo, I’d like to take a photo of it. If I haven’t...please seen me.

A: …  [Don't be shy, the internet knows you exist]

Q: How can we make libraries more resilient in the future. What should we be doing/reading?

        Different than efficiency. Able to withstand a very harsh puncture or long erosion

A1: Investing in community developed software; local skills for local staff is an important part of that. Get off of the grant funded development treadmill. It may make sexy for products and presentations, but doesn’t produce software or staff models that can stand the test of time.

A2: We need to get better about sharing and to so in a productive way (e.g. tech specs. where are they? make it easy to find) We need to think about communication and partnering. Work as a community and put our institutional egos aside.

A3:  Start thinking a lot about the ways we fail the most. Instead of getting a “sorry, your search returned nothing” have an API and search outside of the community

A: Physical resilience: disaster recovery plan and emergency planning documents. Take it seriously and plan for those eventualities

A: I’d like to see more resilient leadership. Something that enables risk taking w/o evil response. We need a different type of leadership.

A: Libraries have a great brand and we can’t lose that (or the trust of people). Access 1999: a lot of the ideas/topics did not age well, but the Community freenet idea is still relevant..we’re good at sharing so we need to push that

A: We need to find better ways to throw projects and see if they stick (and be okay if they don’t). Find a way to have the courage to say, “Okay. Let’s try it.”  It’s more than just leadership--grassroots issue, too. It’s about the community around us and our peers who may judge if your past two projects didn’t stick.

Q: Regarding the falling boundaries of libraries/archives/museums. Ultimately a good thing, but if I’m not trained in these areas how do I support their needs that I’m being asked to fulfill? They do have different traditions, so how do I navigate these without looking like a fool?

A1: Invite them next year

A2: UofA, University archives and museum are slowly merging into the library structure

Closing Keynote

Brain Injuries, Science Fiction, and Library Discovery

Bess Sadler

        “...the emotional side of design may be more critical to a product’s success than its practical elements.”


Q: Scalability is an issue. Hogwarts....what is the number to make this understandable?

A: Would love to see more artwork in catalogue and archeology stuff. Love to see curated exhibits within the catalogue. Virtual room with the library holdings, with paintings, with shelves

Q: We can not only return to browse, but do it better. Bring in extra dimensions. Have you ever seen a browse experience where it’s a whole body...what if it felt tactile? Has anyone tried to do this?

A: yes, it’s all about people visiting physical library. where some serendipity research is happening. Serendipity is not magical, it’s tied to our thinking process. Haven’t seen anything about replicating that in the virtual word, maybe it’s too early.

Q: [missed it. something about call numbers and how searching or browsing via call numbers within the catalogue seems like a librarian secret because users are often not aware of these tools]

A: Call numbers are a secret, untapped source that we could be doing more with. Some material doesn’t have it, but copy cataloguing does make it possible. In a virtual browsing system, there is no reason why you can’t shelve the same book in two or more places. You don’t have to stick to the traditional one book, one subject.

Comment: [...]How can you be in the flow when you have to enter authentication codes, etc.? It interrupts the flow. Happy to see you mentioning flow and gamification of the process. [...]

Comment: A faculty member who has been browsing the shelf for research has trained their system 1 very well to do that.  A teenager who uses reddit does not have that skill (& vice versa). We are trying to take the old literate skills and apply that to a digital realm. People find information the way they know how. Their brains are different than ours and worth considering as we plan for the future.

Comment: Focus groups need to go beyond grey-haired faculty members. Maybe look at 8 year olds and they way they look at information so we can learn from them.


That’s the end of Access 2012! See you next year in Newfoundland!