Category Archives: Uncategorized

Staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

It’s been 20 days since #ala12 and I am woefully behind on updating the who what & where and the how (nevermind the why, tl;dr)… What do I remember, bare-brained, of #ala12? A good time was had by me (and pretty much everyone I met or saw seemed to be having a great time, too)

Now where did I put my (handwritten) notes from meetings and end of day scribbles?! As soon as I find my blue folder with the (faux-)gold scroll-work containing my notes (and have a few minutes to myself like I do right now) I’ll interpret and transliterate the notes into something at least semi-insightful.

I should have evernoted those notes *sigh*

On the Ribbon Thing

Speaking of Ribbons, let me clue you in…

Many moons ago I met Michael Golrick, when I was being oriented to ALA as an ALA Committee Intern. He had a long string of ribbons (and I’d seen others in the hallways with a few ribbons) and was able to talk extensively about the participation they represented. I then set out to “out do” Michael by going and collecting the ribbons for which I qualified.

The rules I follow, which I think are adapted from what Michael said while explaining his ribbons, are: an ALA badge ribbon “counts” when it is at least one of the following

  • an ALA unit of which you are a member
  • an ALA- or library-related ribbon which describes something you support or agree with
  • from a vendor which is used by your library
  • from a vendor which you’d like to use at your library
  • from friends which has some meaning for you
  • and, *no duplicates*

I think those are the main criteria…

Anyway, join the fun, get engaged, grab some ribbons and join Kate in her quest to build a longer ribbon chain than mine 😉

(and if you acquire an extra Aaron Dobbs ribbon from #ala12… I’m interested in having one)

The Place Where the Wild Things Are

The Wild Things arrived en masse, today – Friday is officially the day for ALA Annual Preconferences, but more and more meetings are seeping in to the schedule.

Currently I’m maintaining my 4sq Mayorality (of #ala12 as well as my hotel) — now you know what’s *really* important, right?

This morning was LITA Board I (which we streamed) where we handled some administrivia and held a strategy session which resulted in a new, improved Vision statement and an early draft of a new Mission statement.

Halfway through LITA Board, I noticed Jason Griffey was wearing a red ribbon with my name in gold on it. When I asked, he claimed that it was in his registration packet when he picked up his badge. While I disbelieved, I was also more than half-convinced…

Lunch was split with the OCLC Americas Regional Council and Member Meeting update and an invited strategy session with Maureen Sullivan’s incoming ALA Committee Chairs. The strategy session was energizing and motivating (for all of the attendees, imho) and I got good notes for that one! (which I’ll post at some point)

While wandering the halls, seeking conversation, I ran into several more folks with me on their ribbon trail — I got several different stories about how they got theirs… ranging from “I found it on the ground (or “on a table”), figured I know you, and stuck it on my ribbon trail” (which is totally believable… no really… #snark), to “in my registration packet,” to “the person I got it from swore me to secrecy and made me promise to tell you that you can’t have one.” I appreciate this last one (as it *is* totally believable).

Then I hit the Emerging Leaders Poster Session and was again struck by the total awesomesauce on display. If these folks are the future leaders of ALA, we are in a really good place as an association. While here, I met even more people wearing “Aaron Dobbs” ribbons (all of whom would NOT tell me the real story) and began to get freaked out about this ribbon thing…

Next up, I hit the Exhibits Opening Reception and made it about halfway through my “list of vendors to harass” before they shut the lights off and sent us packing.

Then #ALAPlay where a bunchof fun people play a crapton of games – board games (such as Hamster Roll), card games (FLUXX!), and a “just built last night” game (tentatively called “Joust”) with hacked Wii controllers where the players try to keep their light lit while causing others to shake their controller and kill their lights… it was pretty neat.

Then more talking, solving the problems of libraryland over beverages, now this post, and soon to bed… “for a functional #ala12 Saturday”

Cry Havoc! Who Cares, anyway?

I’ve got a head of steam building as I participate in my various ALA-related governance activities. Enough that the vague intention of “Reboot the Blog” has crystallized into actually updating (well, finally creating) a tagline to sort of define what I should talk about.

As always, one of my friends said it better than I could:

“We’re sort of mumbling to ourselves, which amounts to rearranging the deck chairs.
I waffle between ‘Cry havoc!’ and ‘Who cares, really?'”

The answer to that semi-rhetorical question is: *I* Care.

Cry Havoc!

ALA Membership Meetings (agenda items?)

What would you want to talk about at an ALA Membership Meeting at Midwinter 09?  The question was asked on the Council list, and I immediately thought of you.  Some suggestions were included – but what would *you* want to discuss?

Membership meetings are where the Membership gets together to “formally” tell the Council and the Association where to go (yes, occasionally “like that” but not usually)

The Committee on Membership Meetings, chaired by Stefanie Warlick, is trying to come up with a topic for the Membership Meetings at Annual Conference that will both draw members and be informative.  They’d like to get suggestions from members of Council.

Please suggest a topic of interest to you or a new slant on one of the topics they’re already considering:

1. “Value of ALA membership” – I think a major campaign is needed by ALA on this, but I’m not sure it will draw people who are at the conference; they’re more likely to know the value.

2. “ALA/library profession response to economic downturn” – this might be combined with advocacy; something like: “Grassroots Advocacy: How to Promote Libraries in Hard Times”

3. “E-Participation Update”: E-participation was what we did last year, but by annual the Task Force Report will be being debated.  Having it again may be helpful, but this wouldn’t be my first choice.

4. “Socially Responsible Investing: Can We Afford It in Hard Times?”

5. “Is ALA Too Liberal?” Although SRRT and other groups might prefer it to be “Is ALA Too Liberal or Too Conservative?” This would bring bigger crowds, I suspect.  We did something like it a couple of years ago relative to the War on Iraq.

6. “Core Competencies of Librarianship: What do library school graduates really need to know?” Just passed by the Executive Board, developed by the Presidential Task Force on Library Education. Must be approved by Council, but may be a done deal by Annual.

The meetings will also feature a “Talk to the Leaders” segment, and resolutions take precedence for the last half of the meeting.

Counting with Counter

So I’m doing stats today (pulling reports instead of uploading data) and I find that while the huge table of usage I can pull is quite the nice data set, it could really use some functionality (maybe it’s there and I missed it) to improve the reporting

Suggestions for functionality:

Reports by month are very handy, I love ’em; but it would be great to be able to get semesterly reports, fiscal and/or academic year reports, top 10 (20, 25,50,100) or most used databases, bottom 10 (20, 25,50,100) or least used databases, trend analysis by database, percentage of total usage within reporting period, etc. with one click.

Also there has to be a way to “normalize” some of these database names on the fly.  I have “Academic Search Complete”, “Academic Search Complete Publications”, and “Academic Search Complete — Publications” used in different months.  Couldn’t these all be merged into one database (maybe with an option to break them out in a “database details” popout chart?

These are just what I’m running up against today, I’m sure I’ll have more suggestions later.  Just wait until I have the time to dig into the ERMS at the Journal title level – then we’ll have some fun 🙂

Anyone have other ways to mash their data?
What reports work well for you to help understand your use patterns and usage data?