Friday, 29 August 2008

A quite useful service for students

At UC Merced, you can text message a librarian. Just ask what you want to know.

- this service (or a rather similar one, e.g. virtual reference) should be realized in every academic library.

"When librarians rule the world"

On 29th of February was held a workshop in the Central and Regional Library Berlin (Zentral- und Landes- bibliothek Berlin). The workshop had the title "When librarians rule the world: the skills and tools we need to thrive in a Web 2.0 world". This workshop should provide the participants with the critical skills they need to succeed and thrive in the new world of Web 2.0 and Libraries 2.0. The speaker was Ellen Bates who is an experienced information professional and a skilled speaker. Fortunately Anke Bruns and Susann Scharper compiled the contents of this workshop (thanks to them).

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

How to cope with Problems of Giving Reference?

Librarians in practice know the problems with giving reference all to well:

  • a) How to find out what the intention of the customer is?

  • b) What is good reference?

  • c) How to find out whether the reference interview was successful?

  • d)How to meausure it?

To get the customer participating in bettering the library service, the library has to set up a "Service level agreement" as a basis for collaboration with the customer. (I think I don't have to underline that collaboration with the customer is nessecary.)

A good overview about what has to be kept in mind regarding the reference interview is given here. Willen Brown gives examples of reference interviews. These examples show the problems with giving reference very clearly. The "Reference and User Services Association" (RUSA) has set up guidelines for giving reference. The reference interview consists of five stages:
1. Approachability
2. Interest
3. Listening/ Inquiring
4. Searching
5. Follow up

Listening and inquiring (only ask open questions!) are essential skills of the reference librarian. Under "Approachability" I would put the saying "expect the unexpected". The real difficulty is to find out what the customer really wants. Often there is standing behand the question a far different intention. Not to mention that customers mostly are not willing to ask the librarian for they don't want to show that they can't find the information by themselves, thast there is an information gap.
I wonder if hypnosis would work to find out the customers intention ;-)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

the 1st German "Library Act "- vision and reality

Following the IFLA-chairwoman's slogan "Libraries on the Agenda" I want to write about Library Acts, especially in Germany:
A "Library Act" provides a sustainable basis for maintaining libraries . More than a half of the European countries possess a "Library Act" (e.g. Spain, Poland, France, Estonia etc.). Let alone countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. (Some of the legal texts can be found here. Unfortunately the legislation pages of UNESCO Libraries Portal seems to be not updated for a long time)
In Germany there is no national "Library Act": Until now only the federal states are able to enact "Library Acts". On the 4th of July Thuringia made use of this federal competence. So Thuringia ist the first federal state of Germany that has a "library Act". But efforts started several years ago, mainly pushed by the DBV. They created a prototype of a "Library Act". Obviously Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will follow. Even in Berlin librarians call for a "Library Act". Hopefully these efforts yield results.
The DBV demands that the "Library Acts" not only should describe the state-of-the-art but have to consist of details regarding tasks and funding. Especially the funding should be embellished on a grand scale. Concerning funding the Thuringia's "Library Act" (§5) declares that libraries are funded by their supporting organizations. So it remains as it was: the funding of public libraries remains voluntarily. In view of local authorities' financial difficulties this is very disappointing for the "Library Act" should strengthen the libraries' situation and position. Therefore it seems to be an irony when Thuringia's minister of education Bernhard Müller remarks (as the Federal President Horst Köhler before) that the libraries have to be on the political agenda.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

take "Libraresta" - be relaxed! (fun-ad)

Well, that's a drug that I would like to take! ;)

Unfortunately it's a fictive one.

But in my opinion it's a good (and funny) possibility to promote the library!

So be creative and create your own ad:
Develop an advertisment for your library with the help of CEDRA. (Thanks to them)

I would also like to say thanks to Library Mistress and her blog from where I discovered it :)

Monday, 18 August 2008

Web2.0 is going around the information (professionalists') world

Conferences for librarians about Web2.0 are common in the USA, in Great Britain and nowadays in Germany, too. Just a few minutes ago I found an announcement for a Web2.0-conference for librarians in Puerto Rico. In June there was the 11th EAHIL-conference that dealt with web2.0 and the possibilities for libraries. (Several papers and podcasts are here)
- I wonder which other parts of the world are infected with the virus "web2.0" and "library2.0"... (?) ! To get a picture of it I tried a search on google.maps:


By taking away "library2.0" out of the query I got only hits within the USA:


That I got another part of the world with nearly similar queries (in the same search engine) is surprising! Why is there such a difference?!?
Furthermore these hits are not very satisfycing because not all hits have to do with the LIS-world. -Is there another geographical search engine that is more intelligent? (I only know from the european project SPIRIT in which the Institute Geographique National (IGN) takes part in.)

Well, I know: To get a picture about the virus "web 2.0" this way of using Google maps is not the best way, of course. It's better to use the Google API. (I never did that before but I will try to program sth. by using Google API)
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