Teaching Managers about Emerging Trends

Here’s something I’m doing at my library right now, and thought I’d share. The managers at my library meet every week (I’m a manager, too). Part of that weekly meeting is “my time.” We’ve been calling it simply “Cool Stuff” – I usually do a short presentation on a Web 2.0 product or concept, or talk about an emerging techie trend, then we hold a discussion about it. It usually lasts for 10-20 minutes of our 2-hour meeting.

So far, here’s what I’ve talked about:

  • mindmapping software (showed MindJet’s MindManager Pro)
  • discussed our library’s Digital Branch plans and progress
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  • AADL catalog and AquaBrowser
  • How I keep up with blogs
  • Twitter
  • Toured our Second Life storefront and discussed plans

Outcomes so far? We’re purchasing a 10 user license of MindManager; all managers know the direction we’re going with our digital branch; they’re getting familiar with web 2.0 tools; they’ve seen what OPACs can do (especially timely, since we’re a Horizon site); and they have been introduced to Second Life and know what we plan to do with our storefront.

So, IT/Technology manager – what are YOU doing to keep your managers up-to-date with technology?

Becoming a Technology Agnostic

I recently read an article about technology change on Lucas McDonnell’s unCommon Knowledge blog. This is definitely worth a read – especially for IT managers and IT departments.

Why? Lucas says this: “the increasing pace of technology change requires us to be more innovative in how we both adopt and maintain technologies,” and then provides some tips on how to do this. The tips are:

  1. Research technologies not only before you adopt them, but also while you’re using them.
  2. Don’t get emotionally attached to a particular technology.
  3. Continuously research competing technologies to the ones you are using now.
  4. Don’t build yourself into a corner.

I have heard more than one library IT department say things like “we are a Microsoft shop” or “we’ll never go Mac.” Instead of saying these things, why not do this instead: look at the technology landscape, assess your library’s needs, and then base your decisions on goals and potential outcomes? if you did that, it’s quite possible that some of those “Microsoft Shop” types of statements would go away.

For example, in the web world many libraries are traditionally IIS/.asp/MS SQL users. But if you really assess emerging web trends, you might notice that most of the emerging web uses Linux/Apache/MySQL/.php (better known as LAMP) these days. And many of the newer APIs and add-on web 2.0 services gravitate towards LAMP. So – is your web and/or IT department starting to look seriously at migrating from Microsoft to Linux? From IIS to Apache? And if not, why not?

Another thing to think about – how many of your IT departments understand web 2.0 – blogs, RSS, Wikis, and instant messaging, for starters? Not just grasping the general concept, but actually participating in it? Using and testing out these new web-based tools? My guess is not too many. It’s important for IT departments to not only understand how to maintain the back-end of a blog on a web server, but to also really know how they work. And that requires a certain amount of immersion into the technology. It requires them to read and subscribe to blogs; see how trackbacks work; find out how to hack into some APIs to make these fledgling services better. Etc.

Becoming a technology agnostic will steer us out of that corner and back onto the innovation track.

SirsiDynix is Building Rome

Update: Here’s a link to the official press release.

You might have seen some posts about Sirsi/Dynix here, here and here… well, they sent an email out to SirsiDynix customers – here’s the email (I’m assuming this will resemble the press release that’s supposed to be released later on today):

Dear valued SirsiDynix
customer,

 

Later today, SirsiDynix will make an
exciting announcement for both our company and the library market. Before the
announcement becomes public knowledge and a press release is issued, I wanted to
personally share now what the rest of the world will hear shortly – as well as
explain to you what it means for customers of SirsiDynix Horizon, Corinthian,
and Dynix Classic integrated library systems.

 

SirsiDynix will unveil that we are
blending the strengths and best features of Horizon/Corinthian, Unicorn, and
other solutions to create a new, versatile technology platform to serve
21st-century libraries and consortia. Code-named “Rome,” this
platform goes beyond the traditional integrated library system to encompass the
full range of technology building blocks for managing library operations and
resources, while providing meaningful user experiences to your information
consumers.

 

Rome is built on the architecture of the
industry-standard Unicorn Library Management System – with its record of
stability, quality, and performance – and will include an impressive set of new
solutions created as part of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian development. The first
release of Rome will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The target
time for the second release is late 2008.

 

What does this mean to
Horizon/Corinthian and Dynix Classic customers?

 

There are several key points you
should know:

 

  • SirsiDynix will continue to maintain
    and support Horizon 7.3/7.4.
  • Horizon 8.0/Corinthian, which is
    already in use at a limited number of sites, will not be generally released.
    Horizon 8.1/Corinthian and Unicorn GL3.2 will not be released. Instead, the new
    functionality of both will be incorporated into Rome over time.
  • We will focus our
    research-and-development efforts on Rome. In doing so, we will be able to better
    deliver the capabilities expected in Horizon 8/Corinthian, but faster and on a
    more stable platform. As a result, Rome will be the platform for all SirsiDynix
    users in the future.

Here are the upgrade or migration
paths for customers planning to move to Horizon 7.3/7.4 or Horizon
8.0/Corinthian, or for those on the Dynix Classic legacy system:

 

  • Customers in the queue to implement
    Horizon 7.3/7.4 can choose to continue on this path. They do so with the
    understanding that their next upgrade will be to Rome and that additional
    training and other activities might be required for Rome.
  • As there will be no further
    implementations of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian, customers in the queue to implement
    Horizon 8.0/Corinthian can move to Horizon 7.3/7.4, if they are not already on
    that version.
  • The immediate Dynix Classic
    migration option is to move to Unicorn GL3.1, just as those sites would have
    migrated to Horizon 8.0/Corinthian. Otherwise, they can follow the migration
    path to Rome in the coming months. Migrating to Unicorn GL3.1 will later
    minimize additional training and upgrade activities required for moving to
    Rome.

The upcoming press release will
offer more information about the major features and benefits of Rome. I cannot
stress enough that this new technology platform will provide the “best of both
worlds” – the stability you require and the features you need.

 

As always, if you have questions
about your particular case, please contact your SirsiDynix account
representative.

 

Regards,

 

Talin Bingham

Chief Technology Officer

SirsiDynix

SirsiDynix is Building Rome

You might have seen some posts about Sirsi/Dynix here, here and here… well, they sent an email out to SirsiDynix customers – here’s the email (I’m assuming this will resemble the press release that’s supposed to be released later on today):

Dear valued SirsiDynix
customer,

 

Later today, SirsiDynix will make an
exciting announcement for both our company and the library market. Before the
announcement becomes public knowledge and a press release is issued, I wanted to
personally share now what the rest of the world will hear shortly – as well as
explain to you what it means for customers of SirsiDynix Horizon, Corinthian,
and Dynix Classic integrated library systems.

 

SirsiDynix will unveil that we are
blending the strengths and best features of Horizon/Corinthian, Unicorn, and
other solutions to create a new, versatile technology platform to serve
21st-century libraries and consortia. Code-named “Rome,” this
platform goes beyond the traditional integrated library system to encompass the
full range of technology building blocks for managing library operations and
resources, while providing meaningful user experiences to your information
consumers.

 

Rome is built on the architecture of the
industry-standard Unicorn Library Management System – with its record of
stability, quality, and performance – and will include an impressive set of new
solutions created as part of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian development. The first
release of Rome will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The target
time for the second release is late 2008.

 

What does this mean to
Horizon/Corinthian and Dynix Classic customers?

 

There are several key points you
should know:

 

  • SirsiDynix will continue to maintain
    and support Horizon 7.3/7.4.
  • Horizon 8.0/Corinthian, which is
    already in use at a limited number of sites, will not be generally released.
    Horizon 8.1/Corinthian and Unicorn GL3.2 will not be released. Instead, the new
    functionality of both will be incorporated into Rome over time.
  • We will focus our
    research-and-development efforts on Rome. In doing so, we will be able to better
    deliver the capabilities expected in Horizon 8/Corinthian, but faster and on a
    more stable platform. As a result, Rome will be the platform for all SirsiDynix
    users in the future.

Here are the upgrade or migration
paths for customers planning to move to Horizon 7.3/7.4 or Horizon
8.0/Corinthian, or for those on the Dynix Classic legacy system:

 

  • Customers in the queue to implement
    Horizon 7.3/7.4 can choose to continue on this path. They do so with the
    understanding that their next upgrade will be to Rome and that additional
    training and other activities might be required for Rome.
  • As there will be no further
    implementations of Horizon 8.0/Corinthian, customers in the queue to implement
    Horizon 8.0/Corinthian can move to Horizon 7.3/7.4, if they are not already on
    that version.
  • The immediate Dynix Classic
    migration option is to move to Unicorn GL3.1, just as those sites would have
    migrated to Horizon 8.0/Corinthian. Otherwise, they can follow the migration
    path to Rome in the coming months. Migrating to Unicorn GL3.1 will later
    minimize additional training and upgrade activities required for moving to
    Rome.

The upcoming press release will
offer more information about the major features and benefits of Rome. I cannot
stress enough that this new technology platform will provide the “best of both
worlds” – the stability you require and the features you need.

 

As always, if you have questions
about your particular case, please contact your SirsiDynix account
representative.

 

Regards,

 

Talin Bingham

Chief Technology Officer

SirsiDynix