That library smell – it’s the smell of death

Stephen Abram recently posted Are Books Smelly? Fun read – learn all about why old books smell!

And I have to admit – I’ve been thinking about “that old book smell” that some libraries have for awhile now. Here’s why – it seems to me that the smell some of us relish in a library is:

  • the smell of books that haven’t moved off the shelves in a very long time
  • which equals =
  • the smell of a library NOT BEING USED
  • which equals =
  • the smell of death

Have that lovely smell of rotting glue and mold in your library? It means that your stuff isn’t relevant, and it’s been sitting for too long. You have two choices:

  1. pay people to move your stuff around
  2. get better stuff

OK – probably more than two choices – you could also learn to market and promote better, actually weed your collections more often (ie, we still have Windows 98 for Dummies – both copies are available!), etc.

Yep – another way to look at change, with a sorta-kinda-measurable tool (ie, the smell-o-meter). Get people using your stuff, get rid of the stuff that’s no longer moving. Left with nothing? Maybe you’re buying the wrong stuff.

Quoting Seth Godin – “change is a bear, but it’s better than death.”

pic by antmoose

CIL2010: Transforming Publishing & Purchasing

Speaker – Stephen Abram

Do you need containers for information? It’s a real question…

What does Open mean?

– there’s line-ups in front of a movie theater? Because they’re engaged
– why do you read? entertainment, relaxation, be successful, learn info, etc
– open source, open infrastructure, open bar, open standards, etc…

Does Open require a container? It shouldn’t

What does Social change?

Think about it.

We all work in social institutions, we work in a transaction-based organization. Counting transactions, clicks, etc – we don’t actually know what they did.

Suddenly, the software and the activity aligns.

How does your library deal with visual material? For visual learners?

Ex – do you want your surgeon to have reviewed videos of successful operations, or do you want them saying “don’t worry – I read an article” ??

What’s driving the need for Open?
– user expectation
– architecture
– the cloud
– APIs
– social media
– experience trends
– personalization

The API cloud … lots of API possibilities…

“You shouldn’t have to dust something that people want…”

What about Apps?
plugins, itunes, etc. first app is usually facebook – for connecting with actual people.

What’s your experience look like?

University experience – what’s it look like? We used to shove people in carrels now we create more meeting and interaction spaces.

Old Containers –
– these are not going away!
– but they are always physical
– physical formats are losing market and mind share
– especially in the discovery and learning space

Traditional experiences:
– school, continuing education – how is it changing?
– open library hours – in the academic world, there’s a second peak between 10pm and 2am – anyone staff for that? Similar to a public library and people getting home from work and school …

New Containers:
– mostly virtual
– ecourses, lessons, websites, portals, sessions, events, digital photo albums, etc
– how do these objects fit into a positive transformational experience?
– we shouldn’t be measuring only transactional clicks.

Measure did the user find what they wanted, and did they enjoy the experience?

types of containers, revised: paragraphs, chapters, clips, graphics, pictures, etc.

Container success – focus not he end user in context. Where are they? In the shower? Driving? Sitting at a desk? Etc.

Content is not enough

focus on the results of the experience

support readers, not authors. learners, not teachers. collectors, not collections. etc.

design for use, not clicks.

Try writing a game that has only three clicks. They engage because there is something happening that engages them every step of the way. The get a coin, get a clue, find a monster, etc.

design for transformations, not transactions.

design for learning styles. e-book universe graphic…