Dr R David Lankes from the Information Institute of Syracuse delivered the afternoon keynote on the Changing face of service. We are integrated library services – youth, cataloguing, reference, preservation, IT, instruction etc. We don’t necessarily fit together well, but we know we are a profession.
Service is more than reference and far from the only public service. Cataloguing is public, the website is the new branch and every part of the library must be customer focussed. The library is not the building and we are only half the library, the other half is our users – its a partnership. Most users see our systems, not necessarily us. Our websites are our newest branches and need to be staffed and resourced appropriately, providing the same services as the physical library.
Need to be a nimble and agile organisation, have to be innovative and do it quickly because information is changing so quickly. We need to be leading the information industry.
Amazon presents more useful data than our catalogues and they contain a lot more information on each item than our catalogues do. Their largest fields are pathfinders, open reviews, recommendations, disucssion tools, marketing and reviews. They have a finding aid, our catalogues are inventory systems. We need inventory systems, but thats not what we should be putting in front of our users. The new model for libraries needs to be as information collector and enhancer of the website (more relevant to academic than public libraries here).
Libraries need to be part of the conversations going on in our communities. Getting in the grassroots level of creating creating knowledge. Catalogues also need to be 2 ways, allowing comments, tagging, reviews etc. Need to build systems to access any data point. Don’t have a book? Let the user suggest pruchase, ask a question or link to another title. CHANGE INNOVATE PARTICIPATE. Our purpose should be as stewards, facilitators and guides. We need to experiment and if we fail, learn and move on, until we get it right.
Amanda Spinks spoke on Web search trends. She has been gathering search engine data since 99 many search engines, excepting the 3 giants – Google, Yahoo and MSN. However, when one of these released some of their data for research, it only confirmed her findings.
Challenges – search will soon outstrip email as primary use of the internet
– web search is a social issue, how many people know how to search effectively?
– this becomes a productivity issue – wasting work time.
Reminded that no search engine covers the entire web and with differing crawling policies etc, there is only a 3% overlap in results.
How people search – use slightly more terms now than in 99, average of 2.8 now against 1.9 then. Boolean use is still very low – 2.1% in 2006. 56.6% of users spend less than a minute on a search results page, 69% only view the first page. Once they do reach a site from a search, 14% stay for less than 30 seconds. Searching on sex related topics was only 4%, top uses were commerce/travel/employment/economy – 30.4%, people/places/things – 16%, computers/internet – 13%. Biggest increase is in searches for online games.
Advanced features on web sites are poorly used and bad spelling is still a major problem.
Search is still a long way from being perfect, even with easy to use search engines.
Christine MacKenzie gave an overview of Yarra Plenty’s use of the Learning 2.0 program from Charlotte Mecklenburg. It was incorporated as part of their strategic plan to find information, enable learning, create content and celebrate culture. This is what their 2007 training program is based on. The outcomes expected from this is informed, connected, inclusive communities.
Managers need to provide tools for staff to learn. They needed another way to facilitate that – inspired by Stephen Abrams 43 things, it became about learning, not training. YPRL went ahead with this program because libraries are changing – participating, interaction, content creation and social networking are becoming the norm. Technology is not the story, what people are doing with it is. YPRL are moving to RFID in July, staff will be moving out from the desk to be with the users, carrying Tablet PCs.
23 Things was encouraged by Helen Blowers from Charlotte. Motivation was a USB drive and into the draw for a laptop for all those who successfully completed the program. Fun and engaging, for the 90 staff who completed it. Opened them up to opportunities, shows they can be life long learners – they also learned much about themselves.
It is now the start and basis of a module based training system, which will take YPRL on from here. Very inspiring stuff.