Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On trolling....

As the digital exchange of ideas becomes more common, information professionals need to be cognizant of trolling.

Here is an awesome article on the phenomenon: Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt. It is written by a Julie Zhuo, a product design manager for Facebook, and offers some really good ideas for redesigning comment moderation for blogs and websites.

The article is worth the read, but for those who don't have time at least consider the following snippet:

Trolling, define as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory of provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century, B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges.

That mythical ring gave its owner the power of invisibility, and Plato observed that even a habitually just man who possessed such a ring would become a thief, knowing that he couldn't be caught. Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tattooed Librarians of the Pacific Northwest

One of the great things about attending a distance learning program is that our cohort has the autonomy of planning our own graduation ceremony. However, with great privilege comes great responsibility: we have to pay for it ourselves.

To try and circumvent this (if we're already in debt for the degree, we don't want to have to pay for anything else), the graduation committee has come up with a nifty little fund-raising campaign:

The Tattooed Librarians of the Pacific Northwest 2010-2011 Calender!!

This has been quite the endeavor putting it together, but we are really proud of the end product. We are selling them through a print-on-demand website, you can check out our online shop here: zazzle.com.nyssaj

We know at $25 dollars it's a little spendy: we had to add on a royalty so we could actually raise funds through the calender. But, if you band together with friends, the more calenders you buy, the cheaper it is - and we still get our royalties!!

So please check it out, and if you like what you see: help us out and buy one!! They make great gifts and are the perfect calender to spice up any drab office wall!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Librarians finally learn web design

I know that it has been forever and a day since I last posted. This semester I made a decision to really focus on school, and it's paid off in spades. I feel like I've done the best academic work that I've ever done. I know, you must be thinking, shouldn't every semester be like that? Yes, it should, and it usually is. But I think this term I realized that my MLIS program is about to come to an end, and I really want to make the most of the time I have left.

But of course, focusing more on school has had it's downsides, too. Mostly, I neglected my blog, and probably lost most of the amazing readership I had built up over the summer.

But now that the semester is winding down, and my big projects are behind me, I'm ready to start back up again. So, for you dear readers, a short post, as I dust off my blogging skills:

San Jose Public Library just launched their new sight, and it is glorious:

It's simple. It's clean. It's colorful. It gives me hope.

It's sad to say, but there are more bad websites out there than good ones. Especially for libraries. More often than not, it's because a library is part of a larger organization or institution (such as a university or city/county government) and has to abide by their bureaucratic rules for web design.

But San Jose has really hit the mark here. A good website should be simple, and easy to navigate. It should have clearly marked paths and landmarks. it should not overwhelm the user, but inspire them to explore and return.

You can read a bit about the web site's redesign, and some of the new features, on The Librarian in Black's blog. Some of the new highlights that I really like are the fact that the words database or OPAC or other library jargon aren't on the site, and that users can comment on almost any aspect of the site (which aren't moderated) and that all staff members can blog (and again, their posts aren't moderated either).

Why does all of this give me hope? Because smart, well designed websites are our future. More and more information searches are going to be conducted not in the library, but on the library's website. In this new model of librarianship, we need to provide excellent user experience, and web design is the way to start.

Bravo and Congratulations to the staff at San Jose public Library!!