Tuesday, June 26, 2007

See It, Hear It, Touch It: Learning Styles in Virtual Reference


Marie Radford
Blog: Library Garden

Lynn Westbrook
UM Alumna, UT Prof

Eileen Abels




Joe Thopson, Moderator
What do we know about users' communication and learning styles that is important for guiding decisions about library services?

Marie: Talking about results from a research study on users of virtual ref services, non-users of same, and librarian viewpoints.

Virtual Library Users:
* Most likely audience - younger people. The millenials. Heaviest virtual reference user by far. 75 million people, and oldest are 27. By 2010, outnumbering the Baby Boomers. Affity for screens.

* Like choice and selectivity. Don't pay attention to spelling and grammar. Use shortcuts. Everything is personalized and customized. Think TiVo, YouTube, ringtones. Convenience.

* EXPERIENCIAL in terms of learning. Don't want to have time wasted. Want to see results. Prefer group work.


* What do we do? Offer as many services as we can. If they want to chat, if they want to come in, we have to offer all of these options. Wait for their teacher moment. Appeal to their desire to save time. Answer their question and then "Do you want me to show you how I did this?"

* Most effective IMers are those that use it all the time. Building personal relationships with them. If they like our service they will return and tell their friends.

Eileen: Match your services to the types of users you're serving.

Lynn: Social comfort, affective comfort is something to think about when communicating on the Internet. Where to librarians fit in? Has to do with understanding how communication is done on the Internet: what's safe? This may not be part of their mental model. MEDIA PORTRAYAL of Internet communiation.

Joe: How do the communication styles of librarians influence the provision of reference services.

Eileen: Who offers chat reference service? Does every librarian have to? THink about the comfort level of a librarian when deciding who does chat reference -- maybe some are gung-ho about it, and others are in-person people. Think flexibly about who offers reference. Through training efforts in digital reference (hands-on expereince), librarians DID change their preferences. Training can help change communication style preferences. BEFORE COURSE: preferred face-to-face. AFTER COURSE: e-mail gained a lot of preference, SMALL increase in chat live reference. THe IMMEDIACY made it unnerving.

IPL as a training tool. LIS Students answer real e-mails from around the world. Set them loose on training questions first, before sending them to real questions. OVERALL: using GOOGLE immediately. Thinking about the QUESTION not the source. Revealed a lack of analysis of a question, and a lack of thinking about appropriate sources.

Marie: Users have these characteristics too. In a survey of 200 virtual ref. librarians, they said 96% CHAT is the best way to develop relatonships is through chat when face-to-face is not perfect. REALLY? Yes -- stretch yourself, find out about it. People surprised and pleased when a librarian comes back with Internet acronyms. LOL!

Lynn: Think about what makes us uncomfortable with doing chat reference. When we're not library as place any more, -- when we communicate in chat, we're trying to find ways to communicate the fact they we are here to help, it's our job. There's a feeling that LOL causes us to lose that role even more -- but it's not. More than anything, MEETING THEIR NEED communicates that. Communicate: "What you're saying matters. I hear you."

Marie: Getting THEIR NEEDS MET is important. Instruction can get in the way -- that's our need. So, answer their question, then ask, "Do you want to know how?" Only 25% of users use more more than 1 search term. (Librarians use 6 - 8).

Joe: What threatens or supports the users' self-efficacy in the exchange?

Lynn: What's self-efficacy? We want them to leave feeling stronger about thier skills (in ADDITION to meeting their current needs). This requires 3 things: hwo they see themselves, how they see information tools, and how they see information processes. Understanding what's there is important, they view of what info is available.

Use open questions: it engages and involves them. It makes them active in the information exchange. What would make this useful to you? Lets them talk about it and gives them control over it. Maybe differentiated choices if they're not doing well with open-ended questions. You may find they haven't thought through the different FORMS of information.

Keep your purpose, role and relationship clear. Acknowledge their own knowledge, preference, requirements. Don't rush to close.

Eileen: commonly used terms. REFERENCE? What's that? THink like your user group? BIBLIOGRAPHY, ABSTRACTING, INDEX.

Marie: Hesitant to do a referral. Don't be. Suggest e-mail. Suggest another library. Doing a disservice by answering inappropriately. The average chat: 12.5 minutes. Same mean of face-to-face. This might take some time -- let them know that, and that you're not a robot.

Joe: What might be problematic or supportive in what librarians are doing?

Marie: What do screenagers do? How do librarians behave to screenagers? Less likely to confirm "that's an interesting question", less likely to refer, less likely to say they made a mistake. Invite them to return. Limit time. Send people to Google. REPRIMANDING.

Your positive approach will result in better behavior. Teach users how to use VR. Ultimately, 1 on 1 interactions we forge are the future.

Eileen: Make sure your website makes it clear what needs to be offered.

If we continue to use Google and free resources, what happens to our collection budget? We ought to be using them.

Lynn: We might be three steps ahead finding a tool that would be really useful -- make sure we bring them along.

Joe: What are your thoughts on librarian screen names?

Eileen: Using 1st names is very positive. Makes it personal. At NYPL, there's Nick and Nora. Use user's 1st name.

Lynn: When you close, provide a way to get in touch with you later. Who is that person?

Joe: be honset about who and where you are, especially if you're in a consortium.

What's the best way to ask clarifying questions on chat?

Lynn: give people viable options. I can help you with, we can go here, or there -- which would be the best for you? There's good information in books and journals -- which would you prefer? Come up with viable choices that allows them to give a quick answer.

Marie: Accuracy is boosted considerable by clarifying. "Have I completely answered your question" at the end? Send sample answers and see if it's what they want. Low instance of impatience. It may be us projecting that impatience.

Joe: Do you have ideas for training staff to recognized and adjust to VR users' communications?

Eileen: practice. Few LIS schools provide that hands on experience. Come together, discuss 'favorite questions', get feedback.

Marie: lots of mirroring behavior skills in face-to-face, so try to do the same online. Look at their behaviours, and do the same. PLEASE written out looks like a command.

Lynn: Get librarians to be the customer, have staff go online to commercial sites with chat services to understand what it's like to be the user. How does the relationship we're trying to develop differ from those commercial experiences? What was comfortable? What wasn't?

Eileen: You don't know what they're doing. 10 seconds staring at a screen is a LONG time. They are probably be doing a lot of other things as well.

Lynn: Short-term memory plummets while multitasking. If they're out there doing other things, they don't have that deep understanding and engagement.

Joe: How do users & librarian's expectations influence virtual reference transactions (esp. in light of speed of Google, etc)

Lynn: Expectation that everything out there is seemless and lfuid. Everything comes together. That expectation leads to an expectation that search engines will be consistent over and over again with the same terms. If it does, users think it's their own problem, when it's just that the search engines do things differently. It's not McDonalds -- you go in and it may be different.

They expect to have flexibility and options and control over which product and what the results look like. Natural tension: there should be consistency, but flexibility.

Communciation patterns: task and social communication. New ways to interact wiht us. They're setting the norms with those things. Very narritive approach to what we do: opening, clarification discourse, closing, etc. We have a narrative. THEY don't have that. They come, they go, they dip in and dip out in bits and pieces. They expect privacy and control.

Marie: User has a narritive too, but a different ending: give me what I want so I can go. People DO want independent information seeking -- they're frustrated when they come o us. Looking at it from their perspective, it's not just dictionary.com, it's mobile communications, immediacy, instant gratification. They may not know when it's a quick question or a long question -- we have to share that with them.

Eileen: SEE PEW INTERNET SURVEY for information about expectations. Self service is a big trend: develop guides / tutorials, discipline oriented to meet those expectations.

Joe: time expectations. If you think it's going to take time, tell users how long it's going to take. If you're still going, come back, and tell them.

What are some learning opportunities for picking up dig ref skills, and how do they reflect the importance of communication styles?

Eileen: On ALA website, professional association opportunities. Successful in talking about general VR topics. ALA not good at differentiating between software norms, public/academic/school norms. The IPL as training tool - there are opportunities there. Librarians can get training just as LIS students can.

In classes, we provide opportunities for telephone/web, cheat sheets, and online tutorials to teach these topics.

Marie: With VR, there's a lone ranger approach. Maybe try to double-team it. If there's a team, ask someone else to be in the same office. Learn best when watching someone else doing something. Others have tricks. Experienced and new librarian partnerships are valuable.

Lynn: This is a staged effort. Pulling pieces together gradually -- get more sophisticated and involved as you learn.

Joe: Useful if you can find someone from local organization to provide training instead of vendors; can talk about things that work or don't, how it works in the context of the specific environment. The VR Adventure -- see VR committee's homepage.

Recommendations for proposing chat VR to administrators? How can we best leverage traditional and virtual reference services to attract young patrons?

Marie: Reference is alive and well. Go to where they are, where they need you. Build relationships one-on-one.

Eileen: Have data to convince administration. Show what peer institutions are doing. Have a plan in mind. Recommend something simple with a free instant messenger.

Joe: What about reluctant staff?

Eileen: You ca't force librarians to do it -- if they don't feel comfortable with chat, they won't do it justice. They should be exposed to it -- training, watching -- they may change their mind.

Marie: Shadowing. Less experienced vs. More experienced is a really powerful combinations. Resources & Comfort with Chat.

Joe: What questions are OKAY for librariarians to ask?

Lynn: If we both start from the same place, we're okay. Try to protect each other's face. Positive face to make people feel welcomed, compitant, but negative so they don't take advantage of you. We can't expect too much form them: they may not understand how to verbalize their need. We need to tell them why we're asking. When you can't help, explain why. No "here's the policy". It's a partnership.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

ALA Friday

It's quite different coming to ALA and being involved in committees and in presenting a poster -- up until now, I've pretty much been a passive observer of all things ALA, but now, with Sunday's poster presentation looming and today's committee meeting bonanza, my opinion of ALA and its conferences is changing.

I'll know more at the end of the day, after sitting in on a few committee meetings. I'm getting excited to see what goes on -- what do committees do? What are some products of these committees? What kind of work is involved for committee members?

Committee membership seems like it's a part of advancing a career in librarianship. I had dinner with a few very cool, very awesome librarians last night after meeting them as the Instruction Section Soiree. Jobs were a topic of conversation, and it seems that management experience and committee participation were some things that could help move librarians into positions with more responsibility. One of them commented that there are many positions for 'head of reference' opening up, but there are so few librarians out there with management experience, it's hard to find people to fill those spots.

Even if it's managing student staff, or as the chair of an ALA committee, that ability to manage effectively is desired in librarians. Where do new librarians get that kind of experience? I'm lucky -- I fell into a job running the Knowledge Navigation Center and the Faculty Exploratory, which are technology consulting facilities at the grad. We have a staff of up to 17 students, and I am the manager. However, so many of my colleagues don't have a chance to manage -- so how do they get that experience?

Committees! Where it's ALA or local, campus-specific committees, they provide that opportunity to become the chair of a committee and lead.

Anyway -- I'm doing two committee meetings at ALA today: IS Professional Education and EBSS Instruction for Educators. Starting after this conference, I will be an intern and member for those committees, respectively. I've also accepted an offer to be a member of ALA's Research committee. I'm hoping that I'll be able to learn a lot from my fellow committee members not only about the topics our committee is charged with covering, but also about being a productive committee member.

Here's my schedule for today (Saturday), if you want to meet up:

10:30 - 12:30: EBSS Instruction for Educators Committee meeting
1:30 - 3:30: IS Professional Education Committee meeting
4:00 - 5:30: Finding Environmental Information / SRRT. I forget the room number -- sorry!

This last one interest me -- I've been told it's a good idea to take something out of your own expertise, and something that just looks interesting. This one, and Monday's "The Information Behind the 'Truth'" (a look at the information in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth") are interesting, because I'm getting more and more interested in things like peak oil -- but, I don't knwo anything about navigating environmental information! Thanks, SRRT, for providing these sessions!

See you at ALA.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Social Tagging: del.icio.us and flickr.com

Start at: http://www.lib.umich.edu/lib20/tagging_notes.html -- here are definitions of the terms used in this workshop, including "tag", "tag cloud", etc.

Purpose: introduction to tagging in a library context through http://Flickr.com/ and http://del.icio.us/.

28% of internet users have at some point tagged a document. Also called crowd-sourcing -- an outsourcing of the cataloging of items on the web to the users of the system. We can't catalog everything.

Activity: go to http://www.lib.umich.edu/tmp/tag1/ -- we're all going to "tag" this photo. Use words to describe it.

Question: can you tag with a phrase? Convention: this_is_a_tag. ThisIsATag (called camelcase - ha!).

Results of activity: the tag cloud showed that many people DID use some of the cataloger's descriptions: black_and_white, portrait... (link coming) What does this mean? Especially for things like images, catalog records may not be descriptive enough -- what will people remember about an image? How will they use that memory to find it? They'll remember it's a woman smoking in black and white -- with the traditional cataloging record, it would be impossible to find. With tags, you could find it.

Fun: http://www.espgame.com/ -- tagging with other people as a game. ALso apparently in google...

When tagging, think about how other people might try to find it. Tags like "favorite" don't really work for helping people find things.

Thinking about how you organize your links in an Internet browser -- maybe one long list, or you spend time dividing them up into folders. WIth del.icio.us, you TAG your bookmarks. Finding it becomes easier, can be tagged multiple times. Can find things you tag THIS and THAT - for example, if I wanted to find everything in Suzanne's del.icio.us tags, I could go to her del.icio.us page, I could click on her tag "mlibrary2" and then click on "del.icio.us" -- it's like doing mlibrary2 AND del.icio.us.

For librarians: you can have an "interesting websites" page that pulls your del.icio.us bookmarks tagged with a specific tag. For example, if you have a del.icio.us account, and your tag things "comm_studies" -- every time you tag something new with the "comm_studies" tag, it will automatically update your webpage. SWEET. Seriously. This is called using a FEED from del.icio.us. Making a feed: Settings --> Link Rolls --> Follow onscreen instructions.

Make it easy: install browser buttons! Then, when you're on a web page, click on the button, and it's added to your del.icio.us account.

Adding notes: very useful, especially if you're sharing your tags with others thorugh del.icio.us, or feeding your tags into your blog or another website.

Are the buttons security risk? No. Just as much a security risk if you log in, then walk away without logging out of e-mail.

You can do group accounts! Very good for collaborative link library building.

photograph collection. how does it compare with other photo sites? It's more interactive, more communal than others. Lots of sharing with others.

can use flickr.com as a hosting site.

The group: MLibrary 2.0 Flickr Group

Winnepeg Tour of the Library - sequential.

Really cool: the New Bookshelf.

In Flickr.com under explore, try "world map".

Friday, June 8, 2007

MLibrary 2.0 : Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West
Metafilter.com Moderator, Library Consultant, http://librarian.net/

handouts, notes, slides

Digital Natives – “Born with the Chip” – but most of us are digital immigrants. Trying to think about what we do for people who’ve grown up in a network world.
It’s not that don’t know how computers work – it’s other things.
But, we’re stuck with really big solutions for really big libraries – this is a problem for smaller libraries.
Today’s talk: generally directions. Philosophical stuff!
2.0 helps me stay professionally connected and professionally involved.
Library 2.what?? Again, people don’t know what they heck it is.
Important buzzwords: usability, AJAX, … 2.0 is a buzzword, and it’s important to know what it is so you don’t pay for stuff that isn’t really something original.
Web 2.0. Termed by O’Reilly to name a conference. Represents interactivity. Library 2.0 is like obscenity – “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.”
IT IS: service model with user-centered change.
DATA is rich on websites: hit counts, etc. Not so much with 2.0 tools. You have to explain its utility because you can’t back it up with numbers.
You need to make your services findable and usable – the ILL example – patron complains the we don’t have X book, but thy don’t know about ILL or purchase requests.
Problem: trying and failing publicly, and that feels weird. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING. The more experimenting, the more okay it is to experiment.
Katrina: go to where users are. ALA went in and repaired homes. Librarians working. Make links with people.
Data silo: we buy content from people, and now we can’t connect it to our other content. It’s important to have permanent links to our stuff. Get data to be OPEN so you can use it.
PACE University: links to public library.
Recognize usability.
Have a PERSON working there. Give library services a personality.
Interfaces should be something users are used to.
AADL is a compromise between PennTags and traditional OPACs.
Make it seem like something everything can do.
Awesome Resources group in Facebook.
SAVE THE TIME OF THE USER: we can’t do it all so they can do nothing! There are certain things we just can’t do – where are the lines? “Maybe we need to think about…” should be the approach.
Library 2.0 is not a religion: yo’re not either on or off. You move towards it. Not “more 2.0 than you”.


Q: What are 1 or 2 cool things online.
A: Cool and effective? KSU librarian has a blog, and is 2nd life – one of the roles of the librarian is to just jump in and say, “Who’s With me?” Using it as an intranet – working with colleagues. Internet Archive is thinking about this too – they’re now classified as a library, so they get library grants. Working on a BIG Union Catalog of Wiki’s.

Q: How do you see this relating to Information Literacy? It seems like it’s .. not opposed .. but
A: Being literacy is different now. “It’s all on Google” falls apart. There’s a different understanding of the web now. So, critical thinking becomes the biggest next step – how to evaluate, filter, sort. Intermediate tools can be picked up: searching, etc. But you need help with the other stuff: the evaluation. Digital natives know how to interact, but not how to evaluate that interaction.

MLibrary 2.0 : Kristin Antelman

Kristin Antelman
“Next Generation Catalogs.” NCSU Librarian. See NCSU Library Catalog. Associate Director of Digital Libraries.

Never quite got the OPAC right. We were very wrong for quite some time. Worse than card catalog, esp. with browsing by subject.
Now: experimenting and questioning traditional frameworks.
Experiments: SUNY index an XML extract; Seattle Public Library; Scriblio
Calhoun: UC Report: questions frameworks, including (but not limited to) LCSH
In NCSU: TWO search boxes?? We’re not ready to let go of authority. Bottom search box uses authority indexes; top one does keyword search. In past: results in keywords: last in first out (roughtly, new books first). HAD to use title as default.
Sample: search art history. 13,000 hits. BUT, LCSH classifications show up at top to help narrow books. Oooh, it answers the questions “where do I go in the stacks for …” With Art History, through, spread all over the place. BUT you can use the browse features to narrow your search, and thus narrowing the call number options at the top.
“Faceted Navigation” works well against MARC metadata – even with wildly broad searches. Allows for relevancy ranking.
EXAMPLE: search java programming. Many books not available – limit to what’s available. ALSO – sort my MOST POPULAR using circulation statistics. Social networking aspects.
“Did you mean” – about 2% - 5% of searches use “Did You Mean” feature.
Can drill down through LCSH, and then use it as RSS feed.
This is what they consider LIBRARY 1.1. Browser search box. Phone search.
Presented data of searching: significant use of these tools.
Limitations example: revolutionary war. 870 results. Missing subdividisions: 3000 items. If you could send that correct sting, you could do that, then drill down. So, there’s still no connection between their natural language and the lcsh.
Faceted navigation “disguises” this problem.
Other experiments:
Phoenix Public Library (http://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/ )
State University Libraries of Florida ( http://catalog.fcla.edu/ )
UVa, project blacklight (http://aleph.lib.virginia.edu/blacklight/ )
GA Tech: Communicat ( http://rsinger.library.gatech.edu/papers/thecommunicat.ppt )
Library Thing ( http://librarything.com/ )
Google Book Search ( http://books.google.com/ )
To a system / web person, title and author are not much in the way of an identifier. A number is!
Need 3 pieces of an item: title / isbn / author for a book.
Leads to FRBR.
How do we get our catalogs on the web? Shouldn’t just expose our contents to the web – as soon as many libraries do that, it’s overload.
Answer? Netwroking: be a part of the cload. Practicalities? Faceted navigation: FAST from LCSH.
A Catalog should: recognize clusters of knowledge, popularity, lineage of publications and authors, authoritativeness of sources…
Ben Birschbaeu (sp?) – “People’s Card Catalogs”
Legacies – a powerful cultural barrier (MARC. Current cataloging practices)
Community values – we don’t want to just jettison those (authority, etc)
HOW TO BREAK AWAY: could do much more if our vocabularies were open and extensible. Individual libraries can do a lot.


Q: Semantic web – what is it?
A: Can search on meaning rather than just terms. Our OPACS have tried this using this search and narrow, other features in the NCSU catalog.

Q: Licensed content. How do we apply these things to those?
A: Talked about it – no good solution so far from clustering results in metadata in a federated search because of the different fields you get form different vendors. As long as we don’t have control over that data, our hands are tied. It’s sad we got rid of that control a long time ago.

Q: Find something in their search results – is there a “find similar”?
A: Yes – recommender system. UCal explored this. We haven’t done it yet (staffing), but it’s a good diea. How much of a recommender system can you build from these datas? What about other user behavior? We’re not tracking that information. Privacy concerns. Also: aggregating. What’s the popularity in the whole world?

COMMENT: 1/3 of keyword searches match LC subject headings. How can we convince OCLC to let us work with the LCSH? … … … Where’ve we been? The user is the focus.

MLibrary 2.0 : Peter Morville

Peter Morville
Ann Arbor resident – SI faculty. “Information Architecture.” Latest book: “Ambient Findability.”

my thoughts in bold

“Information that’s hard to find will remain information that’s hardly found.”
Information Architecture: the structural design of shared information environments. They way a library website is set up. The way the library is set up.
Thinking about a software problem and as an structural system – these two work together to form information sites.
Tough questions: is this useful? Is it usable? Need to conduct usability – but also, need to “emotion and design” (who authored this?) – need to conduct desirability testing. “Can users find our website? Can they find their way around? Can they find our products and services despite our website?” – accessibility.
DESIGN ELEMENTS that influence trust: making it pretty matters to get people to see it as professional. It’s like dressing professionally. New generation where physical appearabnce is not so important, but virtual is.
Conducting a credibility audit
Does being in facebook increase credibility? Does it just mean being in more places? Is there a credibility boost by being ubiquitous?
Mission: not make a great website. Mission: make this awesome set of information findable and credible.
Learning from the past, designing for the future. Designing legacy systems of tomorrow.
Ambient Findability: object and system levels. “What are all the different ways people can find this object? How can we increase that?” Does being ubiquitous make us more finable? Being in Facebook, in MySpace, high in Google, in the DOCS app, -- these make us more findable.
“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” – Herbert Simon, economist
Alternative interfaces to digital information – think Ambient Orb, Ambient pinwheel, microsoft’s table, etc.
Are people becoming “okay” with sharing details about location? People are becoming more connected all the time.
How do others use this information? How do we use this information?
Davin Brin – “The Transparent Society”
Metadata is sexy! Folksonomies. Ways to make folksonomies and controlled vocabularies work together. Make the old and the new work together.
PACE Layering. How fast systems change: nature, culture slowly. Commerce, Fashion, quickly.
“Tagging works when people tag “their” stuff, not other people’s things.”
We learn through search (Bates’ berrypicking). Guided navigation. NCSU Library catalog provides example of search/browse model.
It’s tough to do this in the public sphere because the contolled vocabulary / taxonomies don’t exist. They do exist in library sites, in commercial sites, etc.
PODZINGER: searchable podcasts -- !!!
Delicious library.
Neighborhood library! Here’s all the books the library owns.
Julian Bleaker – A Manifesto for Networked Objects


Q: Future of location: Tremendous push for local information in the coming years.
A: Virtual tours of a park. Finding nearby restaurants or people. Walking is a new form of search!

Q: Are classification systems (LCSH) over? Or is there some use for them?
A: No – new stuff depends upon and coexists with current infrastructure.

Q: Private sources for data – also, a ton of government data (free). How do these two sources converge economically? Leaving out chunks of the world.
A: Concerned about commercial aspects of this – conversion is not only form physical to digital, but also from public to private (think: Google’s power and amounts of data, and they have lock in to those data. They can shape those results). Libraries are somewhere in the middle. We ares responsible for mediating this.

Q: DON’T MAKE ME THINK. This is scary, right? How do we get people to think before doing things like tagging? Is it our duty as librarians?
A: Example: In the 90’s, when designing search interfaces, no one wanted complex search – just wanted keywords. GUIDED SEARCHING is promising. They can do their three keyword search, but gives them a next step – it answers the “what do I do now” when searchers get to the results screen. Branch out from that starter query.