Experience in the Mundane

Kansas City’s airport parking lot was recently redesigned, and it makes life alot easier for me. The new parking lot uses KC-based themes at each shuttle stop (there are at least 20 shuttle stops). The idea is that while you might not remember you parked at 25-H, you might remember that you parked at the Thomas Hart Benton stop, because you read about him, saw pictures of him, and saw a huge paintbrush icon (he was an artist).

The parking lot is attempting to engage more than one of my senses, so I can remember where I parked. Library websites can do this, too. Here are some ideas:

  • icons AND link words to important web-based resources
  • easy-to-use navigation
  • consistent look-and-feel throughout your website
  • text, images, sound, video all about the same thing

There are probably others, too!

Engaging Customers

Still dabbling in Experience Planning… this is from page 4 of The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. It’s an awesome read, by the way.

Here’s a cool quote: “companies stage an experience whenever they engage customers, connecting with them in a personal, memorable way.”

Examples: Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe – at these restaurants, the food functions more as a prop for the event, rather than being the event. The food is only one of the reasons you visit – but not the only reason.

The idea? Merging food and … entertainment, comedy, art, architecture, nature (Rainforest Cafe), etc. The food is a prop that helps set the stage for other sensations to connect with customers.

Libraries could do a similar thing, to varying degrees. We could have “themes” and focus displays, bookshelves, website, etc on that theme (do I hear summer reading progrograms here?). A theme could focus more on the physical building’s architecture, and the website could mimic that (that Home Depot thing again).

Just some thoughts…

Internet Librarian 2005 Advance Program is out

The Internet Librarian 2005: Advance Program is out – I just received mine in the mail today (along with a bunch of speaker forms I need to fill out), and it’s on the web. There are a lot of amazing programs this year – I can’t wait.

And don’t forget to check out the “Top Tech Trends for Public Libraries” track on Monday. Public Libraries have a whole day-long track this year, with lots of good stuff – web trends, primers on digital content, managing techie staff, social software, hardware best practices, and future tech trends… whew! I’m already dizzy (but then, I’m often that way…:-).

See you in October!

KCResearch is Live!

Update to the update: see, I told you – we’re already back live…

Update: wouldn’t you know it – right after I psted this, we took the server offline. We are in the process of switching servers… ssssooooo, bear with us – it WILL be up again soon!

KCResearch, a project my library is working on, is finally live! What is KCResearch? KCResearch is a “searchable web portal that identifies, collects, categorizes and provides access to research information related to the Kansas City regional area.”

We have partnered with community, research, and academic organizations in the area to provide this portal, and the project has been funded for three years by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The project includes two full-time grant-funded employees that are building the website and search portal, finding and adding research to the database, and reaching out to the KC-area community to find research about KC.

The search engine portion of the website is what makes our project (the digital portion, anyway). Right now, we have almost 300 records in the database – we plan to have over 1000 by the end of the year. We are using iVia for our search engine. iVia is an open source web harvester – we can point it to specific websites, and it will automatically add records to our database. Then we have the option to edit each record (and we do – to add local and LC subject headings and other descriptors). iVia is created by the people that run INFOMINE.

So go check it out! We are improving the website daily, so if you notice odd things… well, there’s a reason for that. And of course, if you happen to know of any Kansas City-based research…. send it our way! You can request it be added to our database by filling out our Suggest a Resource form.

Video on the Kansas City Public Library Website

We are starting to experiment with “new” media on our website. For starters, we’ve added two short promo videos (not done by us!) on our website – find them on these pages:

  1. Fringe Festival
  2. Summer Reading program

And they’re available via RSS, since both pages have related RSS feeds. No, they’re not RSS 2.0 with enclosures, so no video casting by us (yet). But it’s a start! We plan on adding other “locally-produced” video (meaning us with a camcorder) later on… so stay tuned!