April 29th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

Babylon 5 - The Lost TalesNow here’s an amazing yet wonderful coincidence. Over the past month I’ve been re-watching the whole Babylon 5 series once again. (Last night I watched the episode in which we discover who Valen really was.) Not five minutes after finishing that episode I check my feeds and the Amazon.com blog informs me that Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, the first of a new series of direct-to-DVD movies is being released at the end of July. I’m so excited! Now I’ve got to get through the rest of the series, the movies, and Crusade in the next three months. (And yes, I just pre-ordered my copy.)

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April 16th, 2007 by Michael Sauers
Barbara Fullerton, 10-K Wizard, Sabrina Pacifici, LLRX.com, and Aaron Schmidt, North Plains Public Library

  • Simplify! But is it going to happen?
  • What’s coming

    • march of the treos
    • improved blackberrys
    • smartphones w/ 2 keyboards
    • google cell phone
    • text messaging
    • gaming on all levels
    • monitoring energy uses
    • storing information in a totally new format
  • 680, 700p, 700wx, 750, 755p
    • palm & Windows versions
    • colors
  • shredder scissors
    • five pairs in scissors in one
    • retro gadget
  • TI’s projector phone
    • DVD quality on the wall
    • not available yet
  • 5th Gen iPod
  • iCharge for iPod
    • charge w/ a 9-volt battery
  • nano batteries
    • flexible & see thru
    • one minute to charge
    • lasts 1000 cycles
    • 200 nanometers thick
  • iPhone
  • Cube World digital stick people
  • ID Pilot
  • Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset
  • collapsible chopsticks
  • jott.com
    • voice to text
    • phone or email sms
    • free
  • golan i.tech virtual keyboard
  • illuminated waterproof flexible keyboard
  • rear view computer mirror
  • Sony’s DVP-X810 DVD Walkman
  • plamsize micro copter
  • CRT’s are on the way out
  • Plantronics CS55 wireless convertible headset
  • Targus Wireless Multimedia Presenter
  • IBM Optical Transceiver
  • USB Missle Launcher
  • USB vision & posture reminder
  • QR Code
  • Google’s Dodgeball
  • Next generation robotic vacuum
  • Cordinator
  • Trillian
  • Belkin compact surge protector
  • Smallest MP3 player ever
    • 2gb storage
    • weighs less than headphones
  • Meebo
  • Pelican 760 LED flashlight
  • Sony HDR-UX7
    • HD Camera for consumers
  • USB Toaster (joke)

  • International AC Travel Adapter
  • Fireplace iPod dock
  • Clocky the alarm clock
  • Retro phone handset
  • Picknik Photo Editor
  • Chocolate gadgets

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April 11th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

In today’s unshelved. (I still haven’t seen 300 yet. Guess I’ll need to wait for the DVD at this point.)

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April 5th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

Originally uploaded by danakin.

It seems that the Department of Homeland Security has classified the film TRON as “Sensitive”. I think I’ll watch my 20th Anniversary DVD this weekend. I wonder what a 13- and 17-year-old raised on CGI will think of it.

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April 4th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

 The Customer-Centered LibraryKaren Hyman, South Jersey Library Cooperative
Columbus Public Library, Columbus, NE

  • After today’s session you will…
    • see from the customer’s point of view
    • focus on user needs and expectations
    • development & implement things that support a customer centered library
    • operate the library for the convenience of your customer
    • make customer service a way of life
  • What makes a library really great?
    • money?
    • size?
    • luck?
    • use?
    • Really great for whom?
  • Customer’s have choices
    • Movies on demand
    • WiFi @ Starbucks
    • Cell phones & PDAs
  • The big fear
    • libraries (and what they can offer) will be irelevant and invisible to the majority of people
  • New opportunities to…
    • provide value-added service
    • embrace new roles
    • be a “third place”
    • take the library to new people
    • fail to take advantage of new opportunities
    • provide poor service in new and irritating wasy
  • Value added equals
    • current
    • relevant
    • in tune with customer needs
    • beneficial from the customer’s point of view
    • defined by the quality of the result
  • Service can be your competitive edge
    • intelligent
    • responsive
    • personal
  • Quote from OCLC Perspectives report
  • Customer service basics
    • first, do no harm
    • everyone here is an expert on customer service because everyone here is a customer
    • get a grip
  • Of course there are other strategies
    • you can change riders
    • you can get a committee to study the dead horse
    • you can benchmark how other companies rise dead horses
    • you can declare that it’s cheaper to feed a dead horse
    • you car harness several dead horses together
  • But after you’ve tried all of these things, you’re still going to have to dismount
  • change
    • some people love change
      • excitement
      • anticipation
      • curiosity
    • some people hate change
      • dread
      • disorientation

      • loss
    • nobody gets to choose how they feel
    • dealing with change is a learned skill
    • all predicitions haev equal value
    • we can all join each other on the edge of the unknown
  • Step one: Care
    • Caring
      • some people just care
      • some people just don’t
      • most of us fall in the middle
      • caring and not caring is contageous
      • blaming is the enemy of caring
      • everything flows from caring
    • the key to quality customer service is creative problem solving
    • the key to quality problem solving is having a problem
    • most care more when we…
      • know and like the other person
      • don’t feel tired
      • don’t feel threatened
      • aren’t having a bad day
      • get support and rewards for caring
      • take pride in caring, or appearing to care
    • try caring
      • can improve your day
      • uses your skills
      • can increase energy
      • can be fun
      • you’re paid to care
      • make it a habit, and caring gets easier.
    • caring begets attention, attention begets curiosity and curiosity is the fount from which all knowledge flows
  • Step two: Think like a customer
    • why don’t we think like customers?
      • we work at the library
      • we don’t understand the customer
      • we’re not trying hard enough
      • we don’t focus on results
      • we hear but don’t listen
      • we think we know better
      • we don’t see options as options
    • when you think like a customer you…
      • put yourself in their place
      • make it your business to see results for the customer
      • make customer service a way of life and a part of every decision
  • step three: see the problem(s)
    • to define problems from the customer’s perspective…
      • somebody wants something and they’re not getting it
      • somebody’s getting something they don’t want
  • step four: change your approach, not the customer
    • why not change the customer?
      • what do you do with someone who…?
      • why can’t people…?
      • shouldn’t people…?
      • people used to…?
      • children used to…?
      • Because you can’t!

    • ditch the rules
      • have a bonfire for the signs
      • root out negatives
      • solve problems when they happen
      • work as a team
      • what are the rules?
      • do we really need this rule at all?
      • can we say the same thing in a more positive way
      • share expectations and look again
    • to change your approach
      • provide customers the opportunities to do what you want
        • skateboard rack
        • baskets for books
      • try doing what they want
        • express checkout
        • eating in the library
    • when it comes to customer service…
      • every choice has a down side
      • err on the side of customer services that is positive, welcoming, and empowering for the consumer
  • step five: abandon victimhood
    • is your library a culture of victimhood?
      • we never get any more money
      • we never get any respect
      • why are we always the last to know?
      • nobody understands all the great things we do
      • we always have to clean up after these slobs
    • Victimhood…
      • obscures facts
      • is powerless
      • is personal
      • saps your energy
      • takes you nowhere
    • Try telling the same story in a different way

  • Step six: Organize your library to support quality service
    • to support quality service
      • easy to use continuous communication system
        • morning briefings
        • library blogs
        • whiteboard in staff area
        • email to customers
        • newsletters, recommendations

        • flexible, helpful, friendly signage
      • create systems that support consistent great service
      • make it fun
      • create a supporting culture for risk, flexibility, curiosity, etc.

      • set specific targets & measure results
    • Deliver the goods

  • step seven: walk through everything
    • walk through every process
      • in the building, on the web, phone
      • to share the customer’s experience
      • to see what works and what doesn’t
      • to get your vendors on the customers’ side
    • to five vendor responses
      • the default is…
      • go to another source for support
      • help notes explain that in section. 1.A.3(b)7

      • it works here
      • nobody else has complained
    • in your library
      • what makes it easy to find things
      • what makes it difficult to find things
      • what alerts or obscures possibilities

      • what makes navigation a breeze or a chore
    • easy/alerts to possibilities

      • very open, spacious, neat, etc
      • shelves well organized and documented
      • overhead signs in adult stacks
      • natural light, large windows
      • large signs on soffits
    • difficult, obscures possibilities
      • lobby is dark & dull
      • “NO” signs in the library
      • nothing hits you when you walk in
      • no encouragement to ask for help
      • etc…
    • self service library
      • easy and intuitive

      • helpful & friendly signage
      • alerts to possibilities

      • direct online interaction
      • self-checkout
      • drive-up window
      • 24/7/365 access
  • step eight: Get the book into the customers’ hands
    • if books are the brand, what could you be doing with books that you’re not doing now?
      • reduce processing time
      • grab-and-go collection
      • buy when it’s fast and affordable
      • float the collection
      • Netflix model
      • Weed!
      • merchandise the collection

    • Through merchandising you can
      • transform the library experience
      • find out what sells
      • sell what you want to buy
      • find out what nobody will read as part of the everyday process
      • make it easier for your public to discover materials, “impulse buy”
      • make it a little harder for your staff to find specific titles
    • [photos of merchandising examples]
  • Step nine: Transform the library experience
    • find five things that would surprise and delight your customers and put them in the center
    • a warm, inviting 21st century environment
      • has a greeter
      • comfortable
      • allows food
      • provides public computers & WiFi
      • allows cell phones
      • avoids too many rules
    • the destination library
      • enjoyable, friendly, fun environment
      • comfortable seating
      • extended hours
      • hi tech, hi touch
      • browsing, book clubs, author events
      • drop in story hours
      • supports personal use of technology
      • community center
      • fosters collegiality
    • serve kids
      • does your children’s area have a percentage of floor space that equals their percentage of circulation?
      • play fair
  • Step ten: Overcome overdues
    • reexamining the rules
      • pay when $10 threshold is reached
      • Fine Free Fridays

      • no overdues — but we love donations

      • courtesy reminders — consider Library Elf
      • multiple renewals
      • new motto: “Late is great!”
  • step eleven: take the library to the people
    • have an online application process and mail the card with the library info
      • provide live online services
      • put satellite libraries in the community
      • experiment with mobile communication to cellphone & PDA
      • [screenshots of examples]
  • Step twelve: Make something happen
    • did anything happen?
      • depends on results for the customer, not the library
      • depends on fit with everyday life of the customer
      • how many things have to “go right” for this to work?

    • focus on results for the customer will help you to…
      • chose among the flawed options
      • avoid “compromises” that produce no results
      • handle the down side of a great choice
      • do the extra work that makes a real difference
    • 5 things you can start today
      • look at the rules and remove or restate

      • look at what people want & find ways to deliver it. ask them and listen when they answer

      • walk through your building and fix what doesn’t work for the customer
      • incorporate customer service into every decision and problem solving process
      • treat every customer like a person

Breakout groups: Five things your library can do to surprise your customers

  • Suggestion box
  • free paperback for every $1 in fines paid
  • address customer by name
  • more color in the library (too much tan)

  • MySpace page
  • check out off items: GPS, Projectors, Laptops
  • WiFi
  • “Check Us Out” sign
  • Gaming Night
  • AccuCut machine for public use
  • No fines
  • Allow cell phones
  • Automatic reminders
  • Recommendations in the OPAC
  • Put holds in an ordered queue
  • More classes for the public
  • Audio book during a knitting circle
  • Open 5-midnight one night
  • 5-cent fine on unfriendly staff
  • Live mystery at the library
  • DVD checkout length as book
  • group computer space
  • public fax machine
  • food allowed area
  • fine free day
  • cake pans
  • door greeter / roving staff member

  • allow food
  • emphasize the e-resources
  • teen hangout
  • “We settle bar bets”
  • new baby program
  • book delivery program
  • movie nights
  • Director “open door”
  • treat drawer
  • no rural membership fee

  • background music


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March 26th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

Can’t afford to replace all those DVDs that your patrons seem to chew on? Why not outsource your DVD collection to Netflix? Brooklyn PL is considering doing just that.

“In what would be a first in the United States, the Brooklyn Public Library hopes to team up with Netflix to deliver DVDs and videos to anyone in the borough with a library card, The Post has learned. The price would be unbeatable – free.”

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February 22nd, 2007 by Michael Sauers

I’ve backed up and cleaned off. Defrag is running now and I’ll give it one last reboot to run scandisk. Then the Vista upgrade DVD goes in and the laptop gets an upgrade. I’ll report back when it’s done.

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November 10th, 2006 by Michael Sauers

Jo Haight Sarline, Denver Public Library

Carson Block, Fort Collins Public Library

John Sulshaw, University of Colorado-Boulder

Jimmy Thomas & Susan Staples, Weld Library District

Jeff Donlan, Salida Regional Library

Sharon Morris, Colorado State Library

  • Susan
    • 1st year w/ library system
    • previously in manufacturing and healthcare
    • invest in the virtual
      • how much can be put online?
      • online collaboration
      • online training
      • online surveys
    • translation services
      • 170+ lanugages
      • dial a number and get an interperter online
      • <$100/mo
    • Concact center concept
      • easy, catchy phone number
      • metrics
    • Hot
      • Copier/Espresso maker
      • USB cooler shirt
      • ID rings
      • DVD vending
      • bestseller vending ouside the library
  • John
    • mobile computing
    • new content & content management models
    • supporting users in an advanced age of technology
      • authentication
      • portals
      • blogs & wikis
      • increased collaboration
    • social networking
      • blogs
      • wikis
      • podcasts
    • MySpace
      • 84 million users
      • 2 million new users a month
      • 48mil unique visits
      • 51% of 13-17 year olds online
      • 79% are 18+
      • 25mil are over 30
    • YouTube
      • Google paid $1.65 Billion
      • 100 mil videos watched a day
      • 65k uploaded a day
    • What’s going to become of the ILS?
      • Disintergaration (Marshal Breeding)
    • Institutional repositories
    • Libraries need to support all this stuff
      • security issues
      • open source model moving to libraries
      • programming skills
  • Jimmy
    • (Aquabrowser)
    • OCLC Perceptions Report
    • Searches done at his member libraries (top queries in OPACs)
      • Google, Yahoo
      • My Account, Library Hours
    • Library Journal Hotline
      • The next library building
      • “place”
  • Jeff
    • Maximize use of the OPAC
    • Clean up our database
    • Having functional PCs for the patrons
      • Firefox
      • GIMP
      • Open Office
      • Picassa
      • Let patrons plug in their hardware
    • E-media market needs to be “better sorted out”
    • Skype
  • Carson
    • Building a staff that represent different parts of my brain but can also built on that
    • Deliver information to people without barriers
    • Be more involved in the culture
    • Second Life Library 2.0
    • Balancing abilities and constraints of what staff can do to meet the needs of users
    • Technology is not always the solution
  • Sharon
    • Dutch Aquabrowser guys are “hot”
    • Library Elf
    • Plinket
    • The Engaged Patron
    • LibraryThing
    • Free online e-books and e-audiobooks
    • Second Life Library 2.0
    • Searching for information is changing
    • Retrevr
      • Search fickr by shape & color
    • Aquabrowser
    • del.icio.us
    • wikis
    • blogs
    • podcasting
    • YouTube
    • set aside time every week to look at something new
    • libraries have a “role to inspire”
  • Jo
    • Be the enabler for your cusomers
    • be there, be in those spaces
    • you feel comfortable, they’ll feel comfortable
    • downloadable media
    • convergence of everything
    • everyone is a creator
    • create a space where your patrons can be a creator
    • tagging content
    • no geographical boundaries
    • look outside the library world for ideas and solutions
    • be where your customers are complainaing about you
      • thisisbroken.com
    • viral marketing
      • YouTube
    • gaming

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November 6th, 2006 by Michael Sauers

This morning David Lee King pointed me to Zamzar.com by saying “Zamzar is cool”. With a recommendation like that how could I not take a look?

Step one is to go to Zamzar.com. You may want to look at their list of convertible file types before you get to far.

Zamzar 01

Once you’ve decided what file you’re going to convert, just click the Browse button and select your file. (There is an upload limit of 100MB per file.)

Zamzar 02

The file you’ve chosen to convert will appear at the bottom of the page. You can remove that file if you choose the wrong one, or add other files to be converted as a batch. (Be sure to only choose files of the same general type, such as video files, as you’ll only be able to have one output file type.)

Step two is to choose which format you want the file converted to from the dropdown list. (This list will populate with only valid conversion formats.)

Zamzar 03

Step three: enter your e-mail address, (a link to the converted files will be sent to this e-mail address,) then click the Convert button.

Zamzar 04

You’ll then be asked to confirm your choices by clicking OK…

Zamzar 05

…and your file(s) will be uploaded to the server for conversion. A status bar will keep you up-to-date with the progress and estimated time remaining of the upload process.

Zamzar 06

Once the upload is complete you will be told as such and reminded that the link to the converted file will be e-mailed to you.

Zamzar 07

A few minutes later (in my experiences) you will receive and e-mail with a link to the converted file.

Zamzar 08

However, this is not a link to the file itself, but to a Web page with the file link. So, do not right-click and select Save as on this link. Just click the link and open the Zamzar.com page for your converted file.

Zamzar 09

On this page, click the Download Now button to initiate your download and then confirm to your browser that you wish to save this file.

Zamzar 10

Zamzar 11

In this example I converted a Flash Video file (.flv) from YouTube (yes, there are ways to download YouTube videos) into a Windows .avi file. Here are the properties of both the original and converted files.

Zamzar 12

Yes, in this case I converted a smaller file into a larger file. However, with an .avi file I can burn it to DVD video and/or play it in Windows Media Player which allows me to view it in full-screen mode. (Neither of which I can do with a .flv file.)

As you can see below, the quality of the converted file is not noticeably different from the original.

Zamzar 13Original

Zamzar 14Converted

With this one experiment I can say that Zamzar does live up it its promises and should be bookmarked by anyone who might ever need to convert files from one format to another. The only two downsides I can fine is the 100MB limit, which should only be an issue for those looking to convert video files, and its current inability to deal with files from Microsoft Works (something that would be very useful to public libraries.)

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October 25th, 2006 by Michael Sauers

Syndication and Website Content: Suggestions for Blogs, RSS and Internal Syndication
Walter Nelson, RAND Library Webmaster

  • RSS: The I don’t get it factor
    • very few peopel understand RSS
    • you have to meet your users where they are
    • not where you want them to be
  • Symplifying RSS
    • embed into web pages
    • people get web pages
    • use RSS w/o downloading anything
    • ….
  • The Tools
    • Blog: Moveable Type
    • RSS Parser: Feed2JS
    • There are others in the market but I won’t be talking about them
  • Mooveable Type setup
    • installation is the hard part
    • insatlled on your server
    • use “canned formats” or can be customized
    • can be formatted to look like your site
    • can be formatted to be your site
  • Moveable Type Features
    • easy to use
    • adminsitrator has controll over authors
    • web interface to add content
    • generates static HTML pages
    • automatically generates RSS feed
  • Think outside the blog
    • blog is a tech with many features
    • database publishing tool which sorts by chronology and category
    • you don’t have to use a blog for blogging
    • corp announcements, event calendar, image database, online newspaper, etc.
  • Feed2JS
    • second piece of the puzzle
    • free from feed2js.org
    • use theris site or install on their server
    • generates JavScript to republish RSS feed content
    • as bulleted list of links on your site
  • hosted vs. installed
    • no charge without special prep
    • really easy to do
    • pitfall: slows down load time
    • moral: install on your server if at all possible
  • “anncouncements” on RAND intranet is an RSS feed
  • click headline to get the blog entry
  • creates searchable archive
  • [data entry screenshot]
  • Feed2JS creates RSS driven content
  • [Feed2JS interface screenshot]
  • Additional uses
    • external newsfeeds
    • statis links list
    • resource list for menus
    • customers can subscribe to our links
  • [example library news page screenshot]
  • Category feeds
    • parse feeds by category
    • one blog creates multiple feeds
    • Uses
      • branch specific headings
      • all announcements homepage
  • Empower your users but not all the users use the power

Using Blogs for Internal Communications
Karen Coombs, University of Houston

  • why blogs
    • existing tech infrastructure was not well not used
    • easy for staff to create and maintain content
    • space for staff to provide feedback
    • good for positioning news-type information
  • how it began
    • development of library’s strategic directions
    • web management committee
  • many different blogs
    • committees
    • service points
      • Circ
      • Reference
    • working groups
      • instruction team
      • science librarians
  • blogs for committees
    • make announcements
    • post minnutes and other docs
    • gather on what the committee is doing
    • [web management committee blog screenshot]
  • service point blogs
    • maintained by desk staff
    • announcements
      • new resources
      • problems
      • questions
    • display on all computers at desk
    • [Ref blog screenshot]
  • workgroup blogs
    • allow people to share info
    • post items of note or interest
    • reading materials for discussion
    • [library instruction blog screenshot]
  • unresolved issues
    • feed subscription issues
    • how does it fit with the current intranet
    • integration with existing authentication systems
    • keeping up with changes to blog permission
    • old version of PHP needed for what we’re doing but other software needes current version of PHP

Blogs & Public Libraries
Aaron Schmidt, Thomas Ford Memorial Library

  • No one cares that you have a blog
  • it isn’t about the technology for the patrons
  • it is about connecting
  • Lamson Library WPOPAC
  • Thomas Ford Memorial Library – Films on the Ford DVD list
    • opac link
    • imdb link
    • commenting
  • WesternSpringsHistory.org
  • flickr tools
    • flickr uploadr
    • Blog this
    • flickr badge
  • new materials on flickr
    • westmont library
  • Firefox 2.0
    • built in spellcheck
  • meebo me
  • blog elsewhere
  • follow through

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