LibUX for Dummies: Podcast Edition

“Complain on your blog, and ye shall receive” – The Bible.

After I complained about there being few resources for LibUX newbies, Michael Schofield, from LibUX got in touch. He invited me to do a LibUX podcast episode where I ask him my newbie questions, and he attempts to answer them. Have a listen!


LibUX for Dummies (Like Me)

Learning new stuff on your own is hard.

I’ve always been ambiently interested in areas of user experience, user-centred services, and improving library design (both physical spaces and virtual spaces). But I’ve always struggled to find comprehensive learning opportunities on this topic. I need something that is sufficiently practical, but taught by an expert, and which holds me to some level of accountability.

There’s lots of practical material out there written by practitioners in the field, but those resources – blogs, websites, conference presentations – are often written for fellow experts. Ain’t nothing like experts talking to other experts, to make a novice instantly feel lost and/or dumb.

The other pitfall of practitioner materials is that they aren’t necessarily focused on comprehensive teaching… they’re grappling with the niche-y particularities of their job tasks, so it’s hard for a novice to put that work into a meaningful, big picture context.

The thing about learning about UX is that:

  1. It’s an important topic for librarians no matter what you’re job is, because we kinda live and die by our users, and
  2. there are points of entry for just about everyone: technologists, and non-technologists, public service folks and technical services folks, people who are up in the clouds of research, and people who are down on the front lines of the reference desk. UX touches on so many aspects of what libraries do.

To this end, I’ve been trying to find resources to help novices learn the basics of UX practice, and thought I’d share the few I’ve found particularly helpful, as someone who is not technical, and doesn’t have much of a background in these topics. Continue reading

Student as Scholar, Creator, Instagram Star

NCSU exhibits an exclusive collection of beautifully captured photographic images that is shown in the James B. Hunt Jr. library.


James B. Hunt Jr. Library, NC State University, via Instagram user @riflemanphotography

But this particular exhibit isn’t an acquired photography collection from some hoity toity famous photographer. It isn’t featured behind a glass exhibition cabinet under lock and key, with a security guard watching your every move.   Continue reading

From library stacks to server racks, and what is lost.

Library collections have taken a sharp turn to the digital in recent years, so maybe this Internet thing isn’t a fad.

Once upon a time I did some UX work with students about eBook stuff and many of them reported that, even when our eBooks suck and are hard to use (which often they totally do and are), they still love ’em. eBooks don’t have be shlepped around campus all day in your backpack. They’re available at 3am unlike the library’s print collection. And hey – no overdue fines! You can’t forget an eBook on the bus and then suddenly be at risk of having your degree withheld from you until you scrape together enough cash to pay for a replacement copy.

But the thing about print books is that in the last 500 years, libraries have devised some pretty nice systems for connecting users to print books and discovering other books they may be interested in. If you’re actually in the library (unlike the growing proportion of users who only access the library remotely), connecting to books of interest is easy and can help foster a rich library experience.

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The Future of Libraries

The digital era has ushered in a time of major technological disruption for libraries. How will the climate crisis further re-imagine the library world? And how can library folks respond to the climate-based changes already underway on our planet?

Check out my Storify to learn more!

And YES I am available for keynote and guest speaker opportunities! Help me spread the word about where libraries are headed and how we can be prepared for the #disruptivefuture that awaits us!


Austin or bust

Austin, Texas by prind1m, via Flickr

I’m headed to Austin, TX next month to co-present a session with my friend and colleague, Jacqueline Whyte Appleby and the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference. Our session is entitled, “More Licenses, More Problems: How to Talk to Your Users About Why eBooks are Terrible“. Not a controversial title at all, is it?! (That was all Jacqueline’s idea, I swear). The problem, as we see it, is the utter lack of consistency in eBook experience for users – across licensing and access models, platforms, formats… it’s a fractured environment.Which is okay because it’s an emerging and ever-changing landscape. But users don’t know this! Or care. They just know that eBooks are sometimes terrible. And with the introduction of new licensing models, the environment is getting more fractured, and the user experience… well, sometimes more terrible. 

In the world of academic libraries, the traditional eBook access model was fairly simple – libraries purchased single-user or multiple-user access to an eBook (allowing for either one person to access the book at a time, or multiple people to access the book at a time), and a direct link sent users to the contents of the book. There were some exceptions and variables on this, but on the whole, users expect to find a direct link in the library catalogue, and be ushered to a landing page where they can read the contents of the book.

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Wrap-up from #OLASC14 Presentation

Speakers Badge

On Friday (January 30th) I presented at the OLA Superconference 2014 here in Toronto. My co-presenter Kim Stymest and I presented a session called “Beyond LinkedIn: New technologies for career development”. It was well attended! And people had great questions. I’m glad it’s done (I was so nervous!) but it was super fun and professional invigorating.

We mentioned a ton of different technologies in the session and thought a digital handout would be useful. You can find the .pdf of the handout here.

Here’s an overview of what we discussed:

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