Tech Day 2010 – Compassionate Experience

John Blyberg

All of us are connected – interconnectedness – and Library Experience, a holistic view

Librarians traditionally provided information in context – we’re all about context.  Leads to a power differential between those with the information and those who want the information.  Now, people are getting their own information and coming to their own conclusions and creating their own context.

The Web is full of good and garbage.  “Not everyone knows how to differentiate the good from the garbage.”  Do we play a passive role – wait for people to come to us or go out and say “this information is not right.”  Information activism?

Fox News is actively engaged in providing answers in Yahoo! Answers – are they impartial? Um, no.

“Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from the fire hydrant.” – Mitchell Kapor

Filters that exist are not sufficient to give us the info we need in the right way – filter failure – room for improvement. (Look up Clay Shirky…)

People apply their own personal filters, looking for like-minded people, as a way to filter the torrent of information.  Information is infinite – you can put it together in many different ways and come up with many different conclusions (again, context).

Libraries to Netflix in DVD Rentals – npr article.  So, what comes next?

Digital Content – the Future

Commit to a culture of continuous change – “set expectation that we are a profession of change” – over next 5 years, expect multiple re-organizations to meet needs of the community.  Embrace that and be excited about it – cool way to make a living.

Did we expect the phone to die?  If phones had a status light telling their availability, the phone would be more useful.

Twitter (2006) – gone from a fluff site to being a major force for disseminating information.  Iran elections, example – real news came out of this fluff service.  Up next, commercialism and spammers.  Library blasted on twitter that they were a warming site during winter ice storm, because folks could get the information via their phones (even without power at their house).

Note, Darian is pronounced “dairy-ann”

Human brain deals with complexity – pareidolia – we find patterns in chaotic systems. Conversely, we recognize patterns that emerge as symbols – 2 dots with a dash = 🙂 a smile memetic. (Don’t know the word he’s using – about symbology and shared experience and influenced by the Internet – phenomena – Brenda explained, along with wikipedia) Another new word, Apophenia.

Users have become their own operators – we have our own set of tools to deal with information thrown at us – Do-it-yourself information frameworks.

Usability – Prioritize it over a la carte information service.  Library as a dumb terminal – teach someone how to fish, rather than fishing for them.

Do you learn more from a server admin class or that time when you had to troubleshoot the mail server at 4 am??  Most people use dead reckoning to find information – gothic cathedrals were trial and error buildings – learning as they go – architects were learning .  This is how our users approach what they’re doing in the Library.  Personal information frameworks reflect individual belief systems, are highly individual, voluntary, and are all very different.

How librarians traditional work with information seekers has changed, because people will come to us with all of their personal frameworks – so how do we engage with that, in their framework…using a context that makes sense to them?

Enter User Experience Design – USABILITY – sweet spot between Usability, back end and Service model

Build on our culture of trust to facilitate learning and information sharing.  Libraries need to trust users. – Show your decision making process, admit to mistakes, and share – ex. Google Wave failure v. mistrust of Microsoft (perception of them as untrustworthy)

Security – ‘non-issue’ – Focusing on prevention works, but takes a usability toll.  Focus on systems that can be corrected quickly. Just deal with the exceptions, instead of building a system that locks down all the exceptions. Just plan for those exceptions – take less time and effort.

Users should be continually introduced to the sublime.  Experience design – include beauty (and art and creativity)

Simplicity is the key to discovery – google is simple, but complex.  iPhones are simple, but very complex underneath.  Start by skimming, then dive deep.  (I do this with Wikipedia…)

(Patti says John’s a dreamer, and he is…but that’s not a bad thing.)

Libraries can connect like-minded people. We can promote, facilitate, nurture connections (with programming?)  Community building in the catalog – how do you do that?

We can have good, fast and cheap, but you can usually only pick 2 of those or it doesn’t work out.  Libraries NEED to have ALL THREE – Good, Fast AND Cheap. Good service, inexpensive and needs to be really fast (bandwidth).

Need a sustainable business model.  We are a professional business entity that happens to be a library.  Build partnerships, put users first, focus on efficiency, focus on emerging opportunities – think about how often you say “No.”

Be the 3rd place.


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