Posts filed under ‘Librarians’
I was assigned as “Website Product Manager” almost exactly two years ago, and since then I’ve sort of figured out what I’m doing, but have still felt quite alone in that I don’t know of any other librarian that considers herself in this same particular profession.
Then today I was cruising for some readings for my recently-announced DIY Usability Testing online course (thought I’d throw that pitch in there), and ran across today’s post in the fabulous A List Apart blog, titled Product Management for the Web. Hey – that’s what I do! Everything that article mentions is very much in line with what I’ve been trying to do at the University of Arizona Libraries – forming and maintaining networks of relationships, earning trust, communicating like crazy, researching user needs & gathering analytics, setting priorities, and writing & implementing a website road map.
It’s true that when I went to Usability Week back at the end of 2010, I would introduce myself as “website product manager” and would get some “oos” and “ahhs,” so I think it’s safe to say it has been around in the larger world for a long time. But when I tell a librarian colleague that title, I am more commonly given a “huh?” response.
Perhaps this will continue to be a growing trend in how website work is managed… I think it’s pretty new for libraries, but perhaps it will become a trend in libraries soon enough, too. I don’t think it would be a bad idea, although in fairness I’m a bit biased.
I just got back from ALA where I presented a poster titled, “Is Your Web Content Useful, Usable, and Findable? Developing a Content Strategy for Your Library Website.” You can see the abstract and attached documents on the ALA Connect posting.
For an hour and a half, I was able to share what we’ve been able to achieve at the University of Arizona with other librarians, directors, developers, and web professionals. We all struggle with the same thing: we have gigantic websites with complex content. Many of us have no clear oversight or accountability related to this content. Rather than having content lifecycles, we have content that is created once, edited rarely, and that never goes away.
I hope that my presentation helps start a discussion among libraries about how to go about getting a handle on our website content and figuring out ways to manage it in a effective and sustainable way.
The content strategy I developed, which includes defined roles & responsibilities, workflows for creation & deletion of pages, editorial standards, accountability measures & success metrics, and lots of training, should be transferable to similar organizations. I hope others will share their own experiences and we can all learn from each other. User experience is as important as ever, and our website content needs to be useful, usable, and findable, if we are to continue being relevant.
My colleague, Yvonne Mery, and I created this video for the ACRL contest to win free registration. We are presenting this year but need the funds to secure our trip. Wish us luck… and enjoy!
Special thanks to Emily Hardy, who is in graduate school right now studying for her MLS. She was great at coming up with the pre- and post- conference Libby characters!
I have created a new tutorial as part of an online class on Evaluating Web Resources. I used Captivate to create it, and was inspired to include some scenario-based interactions where students get some real practice, and learn by doing.
The students are given a situation and are presented with a website – they must decide whether or not they would use the website. I also included some examples where they need to compare websites on similar topics and select the better resource. This is my first try at using branching in Captivate (very simple branching, but branching nonetheless).
I’d appreciate any feedback!
I recently presented at a Progressive Librarians Guild – UA Chapter sponsored Skillshare event. Titled, “Instruction in Academic Libraries,” I discussed how to capture your audience in 30 seconds as well as the ADDIE instructional design model. The audio from the presentation was recorded, so I used Articulate to create an electronic version:
I’d love to hear anyone’s feedback!
As most librarians know, last week was Banned Books Week, and I was involved in a number of events in the library and in collaboration with the Progressive Librarians Guild – UA Chapter. See our library news story on how we celebrated.
First, we installed an exhibit in Research West. Almost all of the books were lent by library staff and students, leaving our own collection available for circulation during this important week. We covered the four glass exhibit cubes in black cardboard, caution tape, and warning signs, with small peep-holes for those daring to view the challenged literature. Already, we have had a great response from students. In fact, several people have said that they have never seen the exhibit so busy with people stopping to take a look! We certainly got their attention.
UA News decided to publish a story on our events, and then we even got the university’s UATV and Daily Wildcat interested, who interviewed me and did a story on the week’s events:
As mentioned in the video, we had an event (held last Wednesday night) which included a film screening, a “Read Out!” and a panel discussion. It was well attended with participants ranging from students to professors to community members. About a dozen participants went to the podium to read from challenged books as part of the Read Out, and following I performed a Pecha Kucha titled, “Challenging Censorship: Libraries as advocates for freedom and democracy.” Concluding the program was the panel which included two librarians and one English professor, who discussed issues ranging from dangerous publications about bomb-making to historically challenged classics to LGBT literature being banned in college classrooms. Audience members engaged in Q&A with the speakers, and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening which wrapped up soon after 8pm.
New Student Orientation is in full swing at the University of Arizona, and I’m coordinating the library conference sessions that take place during lunch, across from a number of other sessions. We don’t always have the biggest crowds turn out, but it’s still worth it to reach those few students & parents.
To help draw them in, and give them something to watch while they’re waiting for the session to start, I play this video, “Did You Know?”:
It’s a great illustration of information overload. Once the video ends, I explain that it seems appropriate since libraries are all about information, and helping you navigate through the incredibly vast world of information…
Last Friday, I presented at the LOEX Annual Conference with colleagues Leslie Sult and Yvonne Mery. The title of our talk was, “Developing an Online Credit-bearing Information Fluency Course: Lessons Learned.” We reviewed how we developed, implemented, and evaluated the undergraduate Skillful Researcher (UNVR195a) course. To get some backgound, you can take a look at my post from last April when the class was first approved.
We had a good turnout, and the audience actively participated by asking questions and sharing their own experiences. It seemed like a very timely topic, as many other instruction librarians are going towards both online teaching and credit-bearing courses.
Here is our powerpoint to give you an idea of what we talked about, I hope others find this helpful and share any comments:
We also had a handout with a list of things to Try and to Avoid in online instruction, which I’ll share here:
|Try It||Avoid It|
|Establishing and following course objectives||Designing as you go|
|Keeping tutorials short||Trying to put everything in one tutorial|
|Keeping text to a minimum||Overusing text|
|Using smart graphics||Using images that are purely decorative|
|Including audio||Overusing PowerPoint|
|Using provocative discussion questions||Making assignments the discussion questions|
|Including self-assessments||Depending only on quizzes for students’ assessment|
|Participating in discussions||Assuming students will participate in discussions on their own|
|Grading discussions||Having optional discussions|
|Writing clear directions||Assuming students will know what to do|
|Paying close attention to course navigation||Over-depending on the navigation in the CMS|
|Responding to students promptly||Assuming that students do not need immediate feedback|
|Listening to feedback||Ever thinking you’re “done”|
|Preparing for a significant time commitment||Assuming teaching will be less work because it’s online|
A year ago, I wrote a post listing some New Year’s Resolutions for libraries and librarians. Reflecting on the past year, 2008, let me give some updates…
1. Continuous learning and sharing of knowledge. Somewhat successful. I like to think that this year I’ve strived to learn more and share with others, although learning one new thing a day turned out to be a little too ambitious. As the learning environments scanner I have learned a lot about ways libraries (particularly our library) can improve our spaces to encourage learning and discovery, and I’ve shared this. What’s now actually done with this knowledge is still up in the air, though…
Webcasts are a good way to connect librarians & their ideas with each other, and I’ve participated in a great number of these this year, inviting the rest of the library to join me. These have been pretty successful and started up some good conversations. With some encouragement from my team leader, I’m also now creating summaries of them and sending them out through e-mail for those who miss them.
Conferences are a great way to share knowledge. Interestingly, this is my first year as a “real” librarian but my first year since entering the field that I haven’t gone to ALA Annual. I was in New Orleans and in D.C., but didn’t make it to Anaheim. That said, I am for the first time submitting ideas for presentations and poster sessions – so hopefully this will progress and I can play a more active role in conferences in the future.
2. Marketing, library-style. The library’s still working on this, but making good progress. This year we hired our very first Director of Marketing. She was in library school (and the library student organization) with me and will be fantastic at this job. Starting in the new year I get to participate in the library-wide Strategic Marketing Group, which will bring a marketing plan forefront and hopefully increase our popularity among our users as well as our visibility on campus.
3. Emerging technologies. This is still a big one, and boy have I learned a lot over the past year in this area. I’ve learned content authoring and screen capturing software such as Camtasia, Captivate, Articulate, and SoftChalk. Having to create an online class really helped with this, and over the next year online courses are a big priority for the library so more of us will be learning and utilizing these technologies to reach more students.
4. Usability. Well, not surprisingly, our users still don’t think we’re doing very well in this area. The good news is we have a website redesign team currently working diligently to improve its usability. We’re also getting WorldCat Local, which could make big improvements to our catalog interface. So stay tuned.
I don’t think any of these resolutions should go away in 2009, but be reconsidered and perhaps reinvigorated. What are the challenges in accomplishing these? Is this where we should focus our attention, especially given the dreaded budget cuts? Time may tell…