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David Lee King

IL05 – Closing Keynote: Competing with Google: Library Strategies, Stephen Abram



Stephen’s presentations, articles, conversations, etc are always both highly entertaining and educationsl at the same time, and this one was no exception.

Here are his Top 10 strategies for libraries to remain relevant in the Google age:

1. know your market

  • we suck at knowing our markets
  • we have an imperative to aggregate our data
  • Walmart does this… we do it with branch collections.
  • Mentioned his normative data project

2. know your customers better than Google

  • Personas project – attempt to understand patrons
  • Kids – extremely different – think of them when planning 5 years out
  • In 10 years out, those kids are your young parents
  • Their brains are different – a side effect of gaming, possibly
  • [aside – His cousin helped write EverQuest]
  • Seniors – they’ve been on the web for 10 years
  • Understand usability vs satisfaction
  • transactions vs transformations

3. be where your customers are

  • how much of your use is in person???
  • simple collaboration – IM
  • jybe, sms, skype – add in virtual reference
  • IM is a place to start

4. target. searching for the target

  • fed search should not look like googleBulleted List
  • differentiate, target
  • target your community
  • build compelling content
    – in context
    – repositories – only with compelling experiences
    – understand what compelling is.

5. support your culture

  • going from texthead to nexthead – mp3’s , streaming media, etc.
  • google video – search inside a movie
  • podcasting

6. postition libraries where we excel

  • Google does who what where when really well.
  • Google sucks at why and how (libraries do this well)
  • libraries core skill is not delivering information. libraries improve the quality of the question.
  • it’s an information ocean, not a highway
  • libraries are an exploration space – not a collection space

7. be wireless

  • next massive wave of innovation will start in 2006/7 with wireless
  • mentioned wireless through the electrical outlet
  • said sirsidynix is working on wireless thing so that when you walk past a library, you’ll get a text message saying you have a hold and do you want to go pick it up now?

8. get visual

9. integrate

  • build community context first
  • Not about the library – it’s about 5 very specific user groups: learning, culture/entertainment, research, workplace, and neihborhood

10. take a risk

the last word – focus



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