Internet Librarian 2011, Day 2: Designing for Optimal UX

Nate Hill, Web Librarian, San Jose Public Library

Chris Noll, Noll & Tam Architects

Slide on the screen:

Because of the Internet, access to:
Books and other documents have gone from Read to Read/Write
Photo and video output has gone from View to View/Edit
Music and other audio has gone from Listen to Listen/Remix

Nate is introducing the topic of libraries starting to support content creation, and the models behind that.


Contra Costa has used vending machines in shopping malls, etc. Washington County is using reserve boxes.

Boston Chinatown Storefront Library – community driven library

Houston – small small branch…

DC – Kiosk branches…

Greenbridge Library – took a community center, and developed part of it into a library

Idea Stores in London. Mix up libraries, cafes, etc.

Morgan Hill Library – self checkout, check in, self help holds, etc – very self-driven


talking about the Digital Public Library or America project and their beta sprint. Realized we will still need physical spaces to create digital content.

LibraryLab idea:

broken into modules like audio and video creation, scanning, collaboration, etc

Chris: talking about creating furniture for these creative types of spaces …

Give people access to tools. Some libraries check out tools or musical instruments. Why not video cameras, microphones, etc?

Why not have design tools – desktop publishing, CAD/CAM tools, 3D printers, etc? The library could support these things.

They want this project to happen … but need funding, etc.

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 2: Ebook Panel

Panelists: Bobbi Newman, Sarah Houghton, Amy Affelt, Faith Ward


12% of US population own ebook readers. So it’s a very important issue, but one for a (right now) small population.

Barnes & Noble told people to get a Nook, then go to the library. In reality, they also needed a PC that connected to the web and could run Adobe Digital Editions. Not everyone who bought a Nook had access to that.

Kindle/Overdrive thing works easy. That puts us in a weird place – because the Kindle works better with Overdrive.

But it’s a bad deal, because Amazon has a lot of great data … Amazon now knows how many of our users read library books, what books, etc – guess how much of that we got? None of it. That’s a problem.


We are so greedy, we’ll take whatever the publisher gives us.

It’s important to provide this content for our users … but we need to look at the fine print.

Call out to Kansas librarians for standing up to Overdrive. Woo too!

Overdrive’s terms of service – they give us a license to access content, instead of owning it.

We need to read the license and not just sign them blindly.

More on Amazon getting stats and info on our patrons – this might violate intellectual freedom, and our official library policies.


With her job, she usually never needs to buy a whole book – she needs a table, a chapter, etc. This is really hard in ebook formats.

She needs to buy the Kindle book, but put it on a colleague’s Kindle – she can’t do that. She wants to pay a license to read, the right to read across all platforms

Faith Ward:

looked at how children read differently on ebooks. Found that more students made mistakes when reading ebooks

But they were more willing to read on a tablet than a print book

Discovered that she needs to work with parents to get kids to read more in this environment

She won’t teach a book that’s not in an ebook format.

She did a “bring in your own device” thing … found it was hard with so many different formats, but wouldn’t go back – they have embraced the new technology.

Q & A:

HP person – they can relate. She has to pass something along, but can’t. So she makes a copy or a screenshot or prints them out, then scans them, and turn them into PDF files so she can pass them along (my friend Edward does the same thing).

We pay more for digital editions than the customer does, even though in print we can buy in bulk and get 40% off.

Interesting – the teacher – purposefully choosing content that is available in ebook format. That means she is not choosing good content that isn’t yet available electronically. It’s a conscious decision for her.

Here is no unified voice that speaks for libraries on this topic? Bobbi says no… (I’ll interject that that’s what Library Renewal is working towards).

Lending ereader devices: Buffy Hamilton’s school library did this, but ran into trouble with Kindles so switched readers.

Sarah – difference between content and container – we have to subscribe to both. Bobbi – if you are loaning out a certain device, you are in essence saying that’s the best format. Is that what you want to say? (not sure I agree with that – need to think more about it)

One woman stood up and said “Jeff Bezos has never lied.” Just wanted to say … really? You can prove this? I seriously doubt it … just saying.

Bobbi gave a great plug for Library Renewal. Yay!

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 2: Keynote by Lee Rainie

Libraries and Learning Communities – Lee Rainie

three revolutions Pew has noticed

1. Broadband – 78% of adults use internet, 62% have broadband at home

  • Blog as a category is being obliterated. Most people don’t know they’re reading a blog – ie., a blog on a news site – people think they’re reading the news.
  • 13% of users are on twitter. But – those people are highly influential

2. Mobile phones – 84% (I think) of adults use mobile phones

  • There are actually more phones than people in the US.
  • 59% of adults connect to the internet through mobile. phones, laptops, tablets.
  • 35% of adults are smart phone owners.
  • laptops are more prevalent than desktops
  • 12% of adults have ebook readers
  • 9% have tablets
  • Still an elite audience
  • Hypercoordination – we don’t plan specific meet ups – we keep it vague, then use our new tools to figure out the meet up on the go.

3. social networking

  • half of all adults in this country, 73% of teens – use social networking sites
  • people ever age 65 – fast growing group. They’re online, friending their children, expecting photos yesterday…

important in 3 ways

1. sentries of information. people log on to their social networks first thing in the morning, rather than read the news.

2. evaluators of information – when people find confusing info, they turn to their social networks first. I’ve certainly seen and done that. asking if it’s true, and how much weight should I give it

– librarians – think about being nodes in people’s networks… dang. we need to be there!

3. serve as audiences – we are all performers. we are showing off for our audiences in a way.

Final thoughts about the futre:

1. What’s the future of knowledge

  • learning is now a process
  • old way – learning was objective and fixed, meant to be found
  • subjective and provisional now – sense of flow, a process, you learn together, change together. a need for vigilance to watch and stay with how knowledge is evolving
  • learners now create knowledge. if you are participating in the learning experience, and creating things, you learn more.
  • knowledge is organized ecologically – disciplines are mixing
  • we learn best actively doing and managing our own learning. We have to be active agents in the learning process.
  • our intelligence is now based on our learning communities, rather than on our individual abilities
  • you are as smart as your network – as long as you are willing to ask them.

2. what’s the future of reference expertise

  • embedded librarian model. librarians embed themselves in the community, rather than making community come find them.
  • we are on call for just in time information.
  • we can “bond” with the community. we can be nodes in people’s networks
  • we help people know about the broader picture.
  • We are often he first in our communities to learn social media … so we are the teachers of this to the community.
  • aggregator and curators of information.

3. what’s the future of public technology

  • hard to say – most of us would not have seen the iPhone right before it came out, for example. What we do know is that this technology will be changing rapidly and we really don’t know what’s around the corner.
  • The era of big data – sensors, cars, tweets, etc – making lots of data. How do we make sense of this “big data?” Librarians will possibly be asked to help figure this out. Mastering big data and analytics is important.
  • Different types of screens, post-pc world, more broadband, etc. No one int he expert world really knows either.

4. what’s the future of learning spaces

  • attuned to new kinds of learners
  • patrons are more likely to be self starters. They know where to go first – checking with their social networks, don’t need formal learning structures
  • collaborations are important.
  • value of amateur experts is rising.
  • amateur/expert scientists – Smithsonian has embraced the amateur community.
  • peer to peer health communities too – we are going beyond our doctors to our networks.

5. what’s the future of library as community anchor institution

  • ALA put out a guidebook on these issues – check it out (will be mentioned in Lee’s slides, but his slide deck froze up)
  • how much of your work is aimed at helping individuals vs helping communities
  • are libraries places for individual study or group based study
  • collection library or creation library?
  • portal or archive?

Pew will be doing a 3-year study on libraries and communities. This will be HUGE.

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 1: Developing a mobile presence: mobile web, usability, and devices

Developing a mobile presence: mobile web, usability, and devices

Ebsen Fjord, Nate Hill, Joel Shields

Dissemination with iPads – Ebsen

Boss wanted to spend some money on iPads … They first needed to figure out what they were going to do with them.

Goals for using iPads

  • Strengthen staff knowledge
  • Use as facilitator for interaction in the physical space
  • Educate our patrons
  • Be a tech-savvy library

What did we do?

  • 30 iPad2’s
  • Staff members knowledge and competences
  • Apps from apples AppStore – didn’t want to develop their own things, but just use what was already out there
  • The physical library


  • Playing with music
  • Jane Austen reading club
  • Read the daily news on the iPad
  • Angry birds tournament
  • Book reviews on YouTube
  • Workshops

Playing with music

  • Playing instruments, working with sounds, chords, sheet music and mixing
  • 2-3 iPads with relevant apps
  • 1 iPad with musicquiz

Jane Austin

  • English language reading club for expats
  • iPads with Jane Austin manuscripts, books, analysis, and more
  • They found reading aids, etc – besides just the book

Workshops – patrons exchanging knowledge with each other

Handling and security
Patrons check them out like a book
Some are mounted in a kiosk


Nate Hill

San Jose – lessons learned

Scan Jose – historic photos used in a new way

Using google location API for gis stuff

Connected to layar –

Do as I say, not as I’ve done


  • It’s a moving target – platforms change fast
  • Staff changes – completely changed
  • Learned the tech on the fly
  • Content and communication – its not just technology, it’s storytelling. It’s hard!

Used storyboards for interaction prototyping


Joel Shields

Developing a Mobile website for your library

How did I start?

Started by using mobile sites and realizing how not friendly for mobile they were

Created a wish list for the site

App or not – a consideration

  • 4 major platforms, each written in a different language, different developers fees, etc
  • So went with a web app – absolute control, your own standards,and it works on all devices

Used LAMP, written in php

iwebkit – simple framework of help build a mobile interface

Some catalogs have mobile versions too – he used an XML feed, did a bit of development work, and made a mobile version

Audience – targeting students. – demo version

You can log in and make it personal – basically using the catalog account stuff

Now what?

  • Beta testing – find interested people who want to help
  • Advertise
  • Prove it – track use though google analytics

A few things to keep in mind

  • Brevityisthe squalor mobile design
  • Make the URL familiar and easy to typed a mobile device
  • Don’t overdo it
  • Merit personal
  • Ok to leave things out
  • Make it look good
    Plan for the future- leave room for growth
  • Advertise
  • Track usage

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 1: Google Analytics

SuHui Ho – digital services librarian, UC, San Diego

She gave a solid general overview of Google Analytics

Why web metrics?
– Hit count is misleading

Help decisions on:

Content life cycle management priority
– Which pages should I update first?

Information architecture

Top tasks
– Which pages on homepage

She is saying you can find your most popular content, then make sure that stuff is on your main page. I would change that slightly to say make sure those pages are easily findable – the main page isn’t as important as it used to be


Jeff Wisniewski

Google analytics: goals and funnels

Goal – the page a visitor reaches once they have completed a desired action
Funnel – the (optimized) steps along the way to the goal

You can track where, along the way, people fall out of your funnel – then figure out how to fix that

Jeff gave an example from his library’s website then walked us through the process of setting up a goal and funnel in google analytics

Give your goal a good, intuitive name – this shows up in reports later