Showing posts from July, 2010

SkyRiver & III Suing OCLC: Traditional (Read: Broken) ILS Vendors are Pissed

Innovative Interfaces (known in LibraryLand as III) and SkyRiver are suing OCLC under anti-trust laws. You can read the full complaint here, and I recommend you do so. It's not an awfully long read, but it certainly is enlightening.
K.G. Schneider addressed it so well, you should read her blog post about the situation, which gets right to the heart of what makes this complaint stink.
At the risk of being a Ranty McRantypants, I would like to note that if you read the suit, III & SkyRiver are complaining that OCLC's innovation hurts them. Which is fascinating, since librarians have been *begging* III and other traditional ILS vendors to innovate - and making recommendations on how they could do so to fit our changing workflows and services - for decades. Now that they've found themselves behind the curve they want free access to what librarians & OCLC have built over decades.
Full disclosure: if you've read my blog, you know that my library's a development par…

The New Math: UT System Funding Model to Hold Schools Accountable for Student Success

In an interesting (and long-awaited) move by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (unaffectionately known as T-HEC), Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that "state universities and colleges will no longer be rewarded for just getting students in the door and will be forced to improve student outcomes if they want state support".
In effect, what this means to me is that front-loading the university with unsuspecting and ill-prepared students to meet enrollment goals (and, by extension, funding goals), will hopefully no longer be common practice. The law will likely produce some serious challenges, but it also offers a number of benefits compared to the current system. First, another quote from the Chattanooga Times Free Press article on how the funding model impacts UTC:
"Twenty-five percent of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s future funding will be linked to the number of bachelor degrees produced. Another 10 percent will be tied to both the six-year gr…

UTC Library Mentioned as OCLC WMS Early Adopter

Library Journal has picked up UTC's early adoption of the OCLC WMS. (As a fun aside, they also linked to both my & griffey's initial posts on the topic, which made me smile.)
We are going like gangbusters, with our ILS administrator running on popcorn and donuts as she does dark-hoodoo data munging, Griffey managing various aspects of this enormous project, various smaller area-driven implementation teams handling their business/planning and reporting out both to the larger implementation team and the library at large, cleaning data, and more.
I've been able to get my hands - or, more accurately, brain - into some areas I've never fiddled with before. Circ and lending policy matrices for the wireframe; not only which patron records we actually want to move over, but which *parts* of the records, and trying to standardize freeform notes; dealing with home locations, shelving locations, temp locations, and more; trying to reduce the number of patron-types we have; the …

30 Days to Cloudware? Moving to OCLC’s Webscale Management System

Oh, yes. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's library is implementing the OCLC Webscale Management System, and if all goes according to plan, we will have it up and running in 30 days.

You read that right. My library team is implementing a full-scale, whole-hog library system migration to a heretofore unknown system. We’re making The Big Jump. We’re going to live in the cloud (it’s okay, we promise to write). We are divorcing the traditional ILS, taking the kids, and striking out on our own.

We are stepping into the future. And we’re doing it in a grand total of... thirty days.

Our Library has been batting around an ILS migration for years. We looked at the various vendors and decided that while our current workflows would likely conform just fine to another traditional ILS, it wouldn’t really be changing anything. We’d just get something similar that actually, most of the time, hopefully, would work, and with (again, hopefully) better response to service calls. There were a…

Old Spice to Libraries: "Stop Throwing Pigeons. Jump on that Giraffe"

Taking hysterical advantage of Old Spice's invitation for twitter queries (capitalizing on their recent hit commercial), Andy Woodworth jumped on the internet meme, rallied the Library Twitterati, and asked the Old Spice guy to say something about libraries.
And don'tcha know...he did. And it is The Big Awesome.

It is impossible for me to see that video without laughing. Andy himself posts about the reaction to the video, about how it got tossed around the internet like a giant beach ball by librarians, library fans, amused writers, and any number of other folks.
It was fun to watch. It was fun to be included - it reminded me a lot of how we used to be able to send our names into the Romper Room show, and at the end, the lady would look into her magic mirror and names some kids she could see. It was always exciting to sit and hope she might say my name. This worked the same way - Old Spice certainly couldn't catch the tons of requests they received, but the fact that they wor…

In the Win Column: Why I Do What I Do

Today I came home later than usual from work with my brain whirring with ideas, making notes about things to remember to send out to my department and to ask the Keepers of the Data. I absentmindedly microwaved and ate a quick dinner that tasted like a tired gym sock because I was busy churning at a Google doc of things to jump on tomorrow, or Friday, or next week, depending on the project.
I did NOT: stressbarf, bake and eat a stresscake, search for new jobs, or generally feel ill about my place in the world. I DID: get excited about my work, get focused on my users, think about the impact of upcoming work on my staff, think about connecting services in new ways, and become excited that I have smart, dedicated colleagues to share this experience with.
And tonight while discussing work with a close friend and fellow librarian, I had a striking moment of this is why I do what I do. Because I love it. Because I am *good* at it. Because given the right mix of colleagues, resources, and cir…

Shout Out to the IT Fixers-of-Things

It is a hell of a thing to get to work with people who love their jobs, truly believe in the mission of their organization, and strive to exemplify service. If you're very, very lucky, know your Ranganathan and read your Arlene Taylor diligently, and do your weeding with one eye on your collection development policy like a good librarian, some of these those people live in your IT department.
Sometimes we don't know how lucky we are until things break. I am very, very lucky.
It is even more of a hell of a thing to work with people (*cough* Griffey *cough*) who face technological failure (oh, server migration and client update, ye bitches!) with grace, communicating issues and plans for fixes for an essential library service. Add to this that whatever failures are occurring are not within his power to control or fix. And he *still* hasn't kicked or smacked me for occasionally giving him the Query Eyebrow in an attempt to ask what's going on without nagging.
So yes, today I…

ESRB Privacy Gaffe Responding to Real ID Complaints

The Entertainment Software Rating Board likely received hundreds, if not thousands of emails regarding the recent talk of Blizzard implementing Real ID, and the discovery that friends of friends could see your real identity whether you had approved them or not (among other concerns).

As a former WoW geek (with aspirations of returning), I saw both sides of this argument - how a good implementation could reduce trolling, but also how it could compromise folks who strongly prefer (and in some cases, need) to keep their online and IRL identities separate. I added my voice to the chorus with an email to the ESRB cautioning them to take a good look at the proposed implementation to ensure fairness and that important parts of privacy were maintained while increasing transparency to improve gameplay and forums.

The ESRB sent me a nice canned response, which I (correctly) assumed was due to the volume of contact they had about this one issue. Unfortunately, the privacy watchdog...forgot to us…

Inanimate Love Stories: Thoughts on Product Loyalty

My parents were married for 26 years. That entire time, if you opened our medicine cabinet, you'd find two tubes of toothpaste. My dad was an Aquafresh or die man, and Mom was a Colgate consumer. Never the twain shall meet, and over 3 decades of knowing each other, and two and a half of living together, neither would compromise on their preferred brand of toothpaste.
It seems bizarre, but as I get older I notice this about myself, as well. I use one brand of toothpaste (to be fair, I tried one or two others, particularly as a broke college student, but wasn't happy.) Until last week, I've used one brand of soap for the past thirteen years. When I think about it, other than with family, I haven't had a significant relationship with a HUMAN that lasted so long. The only reason I swapped soap was because my last visit with my mother, I noticed she was traveling with a new brand, and I had forgotten to pack my own. And so, in a random hotel shower, I used her soap. And fell…