What did we do before the Web?

Google Hangout with people from SpainOn Wednesday, I was at Rutgers University for the day, visiting with LIS students and giving an evening presentation on makerspaces. The presentation went great – here’s a link to my slides.

That afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting Joyce Valenza‘s LIS class. Her class is focused on social media, and the students discussed QR codes and AR (augmented reality).

Most of the students had smartphones, so they were able to test out some AR apps, like Layar and ChromVille, during the class. I even helped a bit, by answering questions and showing how the app connected to the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore works.

But this is 2014, so Joyce also called the ChromVille developers (who live in Spain) using Google Hangouts, and the LIS students were able to have a really cool conversation with them (and with Shannon Miller, who also visited via the hangout).

The photo in this post shows the developers previewing their not-yet-released updated version of ChromVille to the students.

Just sorta mind-boggling to me. I graduated from Library School in 1995 (University of Tennessee). Technology things like LCD projectors existed, but were hard to deal with. Video conferencing was around, but didn’t work all that great. Most of my classes involving that type of technology were spent, quite honestly, watching the professors trying to make things work.

Today however, that stuff is so much easier. If you have adequate wifi, you can connect to practically anyone in the world. Wow.

Besides Google Hangouts, Joyce was using some online content curation tools, some Ed Tech stuff I’d never heard of, and Dropbox as part of her class. And probably a whole bunch of other handy online tools, too. All of which help make her class easy to deal with – collaboration and connecting with her and other students (and app developers in Spain) is a breeze.

The coolest thing? All of this technology helps make the face-to-face class time that much more enriching.

We’ve come a long way, huh?

 

Change, Adaptation, and Revolutions in Libraries – my MLA2014 talk

Last week, I gave the opening keynote presentation at the Missouri Library Association‘s annual conference. Fun stuff! My talk swirled around the topics of changes taking place in the library and the technology world; services and processes that we need to adapt in order to be a modern library; and how to start small and larger revolutions in your library and in your job.
Here are my slides – enjoy!

Equipment for my Library’s Makerspace

M-Audio USB 25-key keyboard controllerMy library is putting the final touches on our fledgling makerspace/digital media lab. It opens December 8, assuming all the details fall into place! I thought it might be interesting to do a few posts on our plans – to share equipment ideas, policies and guidelines, and planning – in hopes that someone else will find it useful.

We are calling it the MakeIT Lab. Our goal is to allow customers to use computers and digital technology to make stuff, including:

  • edit and manipulate photos
  • create digital art
  • create and edit videos
  • record music, podcasts, and oral histories
  • transfer videos from old formats to newer ones
  • scan photos and documents
  • and make cool stuff with our 3D printer.

We’ll let customers do this inside the building in the lab, and outside the building by checking out a Media Bag. We’re placing the 3D printer in a very public area with signage about the MakeIT Lab in hopes that it promotes the rest of the makerspace just by … being cool (fingers crossed on that).

This is very much a pilot project for us. We have a starting list of equipment, procedures, trained staff (still working on that one), and a small room. If it goes well, we might need to expand services – more on that next year!

Here’s our starting list of equipment:

For the room:

  • Two Apple iMac computers
  • Alesis Elevate 3 studio monitors for the computers
  • flatbed scanner
  • Wacom digital drawing tablet
  • MakerBot 3D printer and filament
  • Canon Vixia camcorder
  • Elgato A/D converter
  • tripods and video lighting
  • M-Audio Oxygen 25 USB Keyboard controller
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio interface
  • Microphones (Audio Technica AT 2020 and Shure SM57 mics)
  • Microphone stands and cables

For the Media Bags. These are bags of stuff that you can check out. We do lots of “bag” things, including Travel Bags, Health Bags, and Book Group in a Bag. Each of the Media Bags will have some basic equipment and a Dummies Guide book in the bag. Bags include:

  • Video bag: Canon Vixia camcorder
  • Photography bag: Canon PowerShot digital camera
  • Field Recording bag (for podcasting, oral histories, etc): Zoom H1 digital recorder
  • Songwriters Bag: Tascam DR-40 Portable digital recorder, Audio Technica AT 2020 microphones (2 of them), mic stand and cables.

Software:

  • iLife suite (GarageBand, iMovie)
  • Google Sketchup
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • And probably some other software that I’m forgetting at the moment.

Should be a fun project!

Analytics for Social media – Summary

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks.

Here’s what I covered:

What’s missing? What do you track that we don’t? I’d love to know – please share in the comments!

Pic by Scott Akerman

Analytics for Social Media – ROI

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics, Engagement Metrics, and Referral Metrics. Today we’ll cover ROI.

This is the best one (and the last, for now). People often ask for the ROI of social media. And true ROI for social media is often hard to show. Sometimes social media managers create a weird, complex “weekly engagement” metric that … well … doesn’t really do much. Why? Their metric tends to only show activity within that single social media tool.

Showing activity within a social media channel is ok. But is that getting more books checked out? Getting people to your programs? Getting people to your website? Nope.

I’ve been trying to get some useful ROI type stats out of all this social media I’ve been tracking. Here’s what I’ve discovered. If you have a better thing to count, please share!

I count two ROI trends:

1. Number of visits to the website per post created. For this number, I divide the total referrals for the month into the number of posts we create, to get the final number. For example, in May we had 865 total referrals and 204 total social media posts. So divide that (and round up), and you get 4. Which means for every social media post we created in May, we achieved four visits to the website.

Again, we’re talking trends here – it’s not an exact science. But still, this stat does show that when staff create social media posts, they drive traffic to our website. Bingo – ROI.

2. Number of interactions per post created. This is similar, but a bit more lightweight. Divide the monthly engagement metric total by the number of posts created for the month. For May, we ended up with 94 interactions per post created.

Lightweight, but tells a nice story. For every post we did in May, we got people to do something – click like, share, comment, favorite, retweet, or watch – 94 times.

Why’s this good? It means they’re interested enough in our content, and therefore the library, to remember it, to share it, to add their thoughts to it. To respond in some way to it. Not a bad thing at all – interest in the library is a good thing!

So – that’s what we’re doing at the moment. What are you tracking? Is it similar? Please share!

Pic from Simon Cunningham