Michael Stephens gave a rocking good workshop in Perth this morning.
He’s posted details of his Hyperlinked Library talk on Tame the Web, including the slides use in the Australian version of his presentation and LINKS from the presentation. Michelle McLean gave a great summary of the Melbourne session, The Hyperlinked Library – a presentation by Michael Stephens.
With such rich information already on the web, this post instead talks about a couple of questions raised by the audience, and a few of the take-homes I got from the presentation.
Two audience questions
Web presence and employment
Michael showed a job advertisement for a senior library position that asked for links to the candidate’s “online presence”. Lutie Sheridan from ECU raised the concern that cases like this may unfairly bring a candidate’s private life into their professional arena. We temporarily went off on an interesting tangent about the effect of an online presence on employment – including images/comments about someone published by third parties.
Being too seamlessly in the user’s space ?
After the presentation, Lucia Ravi from the State Library of Western Australia asked what would happen to our funding if we used Web 2.0 so well that we became invisible to our funding bodies. What if we go so far into the users’ space, and are so successful at making the experience user-centred, that the user doesn’t even notice that it is the library brokering the connections to the information they need? (I hope I paraphrased the question right ???)
I think the question is a really interesting one – and that the answer probably lies in promoting our reputation as a reliable, unbiased, easy to use resource …. so that when users are linked mysteriously to the information they need, they look to see whether Brand Library was involved.
“Take-homes” for me
Michael wasn’t frightened to simplify or go back to first principles. He had obviously worked very hard to strip his talk of jargon and any buzz words that would make people glaze over. He was able to build from simple ideas and then keep the audience with him as he elaborated. They trusted him and were prepared to listen because his choice of words and attitude made it clear that he wasn’t going to do anything to make them feel dumb.
Makes me realise that when I am presenting, I often miss out essential basic information because it feels like I am insulting the audience by presuming that they don’t know things. Unless I am very, very well rehearsed, I have a tendancy not to give enough background or explanation of an idea before I try to elaborate on it.
He also slipped in story telling and audience participation (“who here does x?”) in a very subtle and effective way.
When Michael go to the bit in his presentation where he asked “does anyone here twitter?”, I was actually twittering someone to tell her she had just been quoted in his talk….. continuous partial attention and all that …. Anyhow, I mentioned Amy Kearn’s great “in-the-shower” idea from a couple of days ago.
She’s exploring how to capitalise on the fact that there are librarians on twitter 24/7 , and maybe creating some kind of “the librarian is always on” volunteer reference service. If you want to find more information, it is here at Amy Kearns’ wiki . Various folk have been working on the idea via twitter, including playing with channels and XML feeds. Cindi, Joshua and Robin have all added to the discussion.
My final note
The last sentence on my notes of the session is:
Re-evaluate KPIs!!! Need to do this – re-evaluate KPIs!!!!
I guess I’ll be thinking about Key Performance Indicators and what constitutes meaningful and relevant evaluation of our services in 2008.