Three Types of Website Content? I Don’t Think So

Shane Diffily has a blog, wrote a book on website management, and posted this article (I think to help sell his book). The artcicle states that “website content can typically be classed into one of three types” – then he lists the types of website content – content that ” persuades, sells, and reassures.

I think he’s been hangin’ with corporate types a little too long. For starters, his OWN POST doesn’t really fit into any of the tree categories. I suppose it could be argued that it would be Selling, since he links to info on his book at the end of the article… but is it really? In reality, the actual content is all about providing info (in this case, info on web content). So it’s not Selling (nor is it Reassuring or Persuading).

And what about coding sites telling you how to create Jave widgets? Or, for that matter, the HUGE realm of information-based content (like, say libraries should be putting out)? Nothing on my library’s website is persuading, selling, or reassuring… it’s all about providing information and providing access to that information. That’s what we as libraries do!

Then there’s the whole chunk of the online ENTERTAINMENT industry… is free music on MySpace selling music? Hmm… for that matter – what about the rest of MySpace? Info about me? Definitely not selling, persuading, or reassuring.

Sorta makes you think…

How I made my Are You Blogging This video

usatodaySomeone asked me to blog about how I created my “Are You Blogging This” video. So, here goes… But first, a shameless plug – take a gander at the image on the right. My silly little video was picked up by the USAToday Tech_Space blog, of all things! How cool is that?

OK…. shameless self-promotion over now…. Here’s what I did to make my video, song first:

  1. Wrote a song (won’t go into that…)
  2. Recorded song using Apple’s GarageBand. Involved plugging things (ie., guitars, mixers, etc) into the little line-in jack of the Mac laptop I have access to, then mixing it down into a semblance of a pop-ish sounding song.
  3. Saved the song as an AIFF file in iTunes, transferred the file to my PC, then changed the file into an mp3 file (using the good ole dbPowerAmp Music Converter).

Then, I started on the screenshots of the websites I sang about:

  1. Made screenshots of all the Web 2.0 sites I mention in the video using Paint Shop Pro.
  2. I really had to think through the screenshots, so I could pull off some quirky little “tricks” for effect (ie., the first sequence of my pic in Windows, then in Flickr, then in Technorati required first searching for me in Technorati to see what Flickr photos of me appeared, then downloading the Flickr pic for the Windows shot)

Then I started in on creating the actual video:

  1. Gave some thought to what I wanted to see in the video, for each section and actually roughed out a storyboard timeline for the video.
  2. I dropped the mp3 file of my song into the Movie timeline, and created the movie title word thing at the beginning (there’s an easy-to-use template for that – I just typed and changed the color and font)
  3. Then I filmed myself as needed (maybe 20 minutes of filming tops), and dropped in the screenshots (stretching them to match the length of the song lyrics)
  4. The second chorus video chunk (the jerky screenshot with me superimposed over it) was actually a goof-up. I did the frame-within-a-frame thing on Camtasia, hoping to actually get me singing the chorus while typing. I did that, but messed something up when I dropped that video clip into Windows Movie maker – it turned out all slow and jerky. But I thought it looked kinda cool that way, so I kept it.
  5. In a couple of places, I used the built-in video effects – you can see it on the clips of me in a few places, where I look all blotchy – that’s the Watercolor effect.
  6. Saved it as a DV-AVI file.

Finally, I opened up the AVI file in Quicktime Pro, exported to Quicktime’s .mov format, and voila! That’s how I made my video.

Notes from Good to Great

I just skimmed the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, and want to remember a few things, sorta kinda about change management:

Pg. 89: “Spending time and energy trying to “motivate” people is a waste of effort. The real question is not, “How do we motivate our people?” If you have the right people, they will be self-motivated. The key is to not de-motivate them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.”

Pg. 163: “Good-to-great organizations avoid technology fads and bandwagons, yet they become pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies.”

“The key question about any technology is, Does the technology fit directly with your Hedgehog Concept [which is a cool concept – it’s a venn diagram, with three circles: 1. what are you deply passionate about, 2. what you can be the best in the world at, and 3. what drives your economic engine – the hedgehog concept is the stuff that intersects all three circles – that’s the stuff you should do]? If yes, then you need to become a pioneer in the application of that technology. If no, then you can settle for parity or ignore it entirely.”

“The good-to-great companies used technology as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. None of the good-to-great companies began their transformations with pioneering technology, yet they all became pioneers in the application of technology once they grasped how it fit in their three circles and after they hit breakthrough.”

“How a company reacts to technological change is a good indicator of its inner drive for greatness versus mediocrity. Great companies respond with thoughtfulness and creativity, driven by a compulsion to turn unrealized potential into results; mediocre companies react and lurch about, motivated by fear of being left behind.”

More Thoughts on Library 2.0

I’ve been thinking about Library 2.0 a lot lately, and was recently asked to discuss my thoughts on the concept. As I was thinking through my answer, something clicked. I’m slowly getting it (well, getting more than I got before, anyway).

I’ve always accepted the notion of Library 2.0 – it makes sense to me, seeing that many industries have done much the same thing: they’ve taken the 2.0 out of Web 2.0 and tacked it onto their field (hence, church 2.0, music 2.0, law 2.0, etc). That part has always made sense to me.

The part that is starting to click is what other fine librarians have been saying about Library 2.0 – that it goes much further than using Web 2.0 tools, and that you can do Library 2.0 without technology. That’s not made much sense to me, until a couple weeks ago.

Some of you know I’ve been teaching a class/doing a seminar on Web 2.0 in libraries. In it, I define Web 2.0. First, I give parts of the Wikipedia definition of Web 2.0. Then, because good chunks of that Wikipedia entry don’t make much sense to many librarians right off the bat (for example, the pretty major concept of “web as platform” – do you know how long you have to talk to explain that one???) … I simplify it. I say Web 2.0 is all about communication, conversation, connecting and community. That makes sense to everyone, and then I show how those concepts are played out through Web 2.0 tools, like blogs, IM, wikis, etc.

I was looking over those Powerpoint slides, and thinking about Library 2.0, when something clicked: in Web 2.0, one does those things – communication, conversation, connecting, and community – via the Web 2.0 tools. That’s what it’s all about. But in the Library 2.0 world… A library might start thinking more about those four concepts because of the new-fangled, emerging Web 2.0 tools. They might think – wow, I can hold cool conversations with patrons that would never happen if we chatted at the circ desk, while roving the floor, or if I have an open door policy. But – these four concepts don’t HAVE to happen ONLINE. These concepts can even happen without electricity, for pete’s sake!

Yes, at this point, some of you are possibly thinking “but gee David, we’ve been doing these things for years.” Or “Well, I can name five public libraries in western Ontario that have been doing those for years!” And that’s cool. But by and large, libraries are not good at doing these things, of if we think we ARE good at them, it’s doing them within the confines of an older library model.

Historically, here’s what Libraries have done with these concepts (and what I think Library 2.0 can do with those concepts):

We have communicated at the service desk, during bibliographic instruction sessions, and through a printed pathfinder that we hand out to patrons. That’s not the 2-way communication Library 2.0 is talking about.

Conversation? Libraries have historically been all about the “hush” – as in “hush! You’re in a library.” And when patrons want conversation, we stick them in the “loud room” that’s behind closed doors. The whole library experience is designed for “the hush.” Library 2.0 would come close to flipping that experience. Instead of creating “loud rooms,” why not create “hush rooms,” and open up the rest of the library (digitally and physically) for conversation.

Where do we really connect with patrons? Possibly at the service desk, possibly in a seminar we hold. Cool. But Do we really connect with those lists of web links arranged in alphabetical order? Probably not. Do we connect with our language – ILL, OPAC, Bibliographic Instruction, Holds, reserves, policies, no food, no cell phones, No, No, No? Probably not. Library 2.0 is all about opening up communication – some through new, cool channels like commenting, IM, Flickr, etc. And some through collaborating with patrons.

Libraries traditionally have done ok at this – we tend to have meeting rooms, and according to the OCLC Perceptions report, we are perceived as community meeting places. That’s good. But Library 2.0 would go further – don’t make the community come to us – go out into the community. That’s where the whole “go where your patrons are” mantra comes from.

I’ll add one more – Sharing:
We share. We share for 3 weeks, and then fine you if you don’t bring what we shared back, in pristine condition. In the library 2.0 world, the concept of sharing connects more with the concept of strategy guide. We’re there, we know how to do it (whatever “it” is), and we know who/where/how to ask for more info. We’re ready and willing to get you to the next level of life when needed. We’re there to provide great, positive experiences for you – digitally, physically, mentally – so you have a great time, so you learn lots, and so (most importantly) you come back for more.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


Library Shift in Action

During the NEKLS Tech day panel discussion (after Michael Stephens’ way cool presentation), we were talking about time limits on computers. Someone stood up from a very small library – they have four public computers.

Here’s what she said:
We had a bunch of kids wanting to play Runescape, and some grown-ups coming in during lunchtime to check email (who couldn’t get on the computers). So we designated one of the computers as a 10 minute, express PC. That way, the grown-ups could check email and the kids could still play games.

Did you notice something even slightly interesting in that comment? The OPAC wasn’t mentioned. Library databases weren’t mentioned. Even the library’s website (egad!) wasn’t mentioned. It was games and email. At a library.

Times are changing.