Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Digital Divide is Real

Yesterday I noted how Seth Godin's vision for libraries didn't factor in the digital divide. And today I find this post by Bobbi Newman on the same topic. Take a look at the stats in Bobbi's presentation, embedded below:

Indeed, one-third of US citizens in 2012 are without broadband access; and my point about including e-lending services as part of bridging that gap seems even more valid.  With information becoming digital, access to technology and the processes that facilitate access can't be glossed over.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seth Godin on Librarians

My word. Sometimes Seth Godin gets it so right.

Preaching the value of Librarians, not libraries. Or at least not libraries as archival repositories. And while I admit my personal frustration at this idea: that it overlooks some of the underlying core value of information collections, I've also long felt that great collections aren't a marketable mandate for any library.

Well arranged collections are rarely valued by their intended user community; and moreover, it's a non-starter until you get people through the door. Seth Godin gets this, as do most non-librarians. But Librarians? Oh, we have a lot more to say on the topic. And that's unfortunate, because it's a message that needs simplifying.

As a profession, I think we need to accept that simplified messages surrounding 'public services' librarianship are going to be more palatable. And if we're to resurrect public opinion on topics such as  "Libraries as a publicly funded place", or a greater understanding of "Librarianship as a profession" ... it's going to be a necessity.

One other tidbit... I really liked was Seth had to say about how Libraries help people in communities improve:
"We all love the vision of the underprivileged kid bootstrapping himself out of poverty with books, but now (most of the time), the insight and leverage is going to come from being fast and smart with online resources, not from hiding in the stacks.

The next library is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together.
This is a role that never dies - offline or digital. The delivery, however, is in dire need of an overhaul.

Finally, let me end with my one negative. Godin's statement that "clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point."; followed by his recommendation that we fight for our futures as "producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario."

Sound great? You bet. But it's a glib response to the digital divide. Librarians who can't facilitate e-lending will only serve the roles of "producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario" with a certain class of patron. And frankly... those guys already have Kindles and iPads.

Go read the post. It's thought provoking.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Here's a summary paragraph from an interesting study via Pew Internet on Gamification:
Tech stakeholders and analysts generally believe the use of game mechanics, feedback loops, and rewards will become more embedded in daily life by 2020, but they are split about how widely the trend will extend. Some say the move to implement more game elements in networked communications will be mostly positive, aiding education, health, business, and training. Some warn it can take the form of invisible, insidious behavioral manipulation.
The connection of games to task learning certainly has a lot to offer. I'm reminded of my son memorizing his simple math facts for addition and multiplication. This year in school, his teacher had the class competing in a math-style spelling B, head-to-head, trying to recall faster than their fellow classmates. He benefited, as did everyone in the class, in a huge way. Recall went through the roof, with his Teacher who'd been teaching for nearly 40 years stating that this game would now be a fixture in her classroom.

Digital? Hardly. It's simple human reaction, and a method of reinforced learning. But I have to think that in the proper hands, all styles of gaming -- real world or virtual -- have similar benefits to offer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Out and About

Getting back into the swing of blogging again, and figured I'd start here by itemizing some of the my personal publishing efforts of late. In no certain order, here's some of what I've been up to...

Over on, my column went up last week on How Law Firms #fail at Social Media. I found this piece very helpful to write from a personal perspective. It really let me gather my thoughts on what law firms had to offer on social media. The relationship between "firm accounts" and "lawyer accounts" was a set of ideas that had been brewing for some time.

I also wrote an interesting post on the application of marketing spin to academic research. That's a lesson I keep trying to remind myself of... to try and step outside of the legal silo once in a while. See how other groups handle issues, technology, etc. Always fruitful. 

Going in another direction... Probably my best blogging effort in recent memory came in April when I did an email interviewed with my friend Susannah Tredwell. Her group blog, On Firmer Ground, discusses the value of law librarians, something I'm still very proud to be; and includes some great content too!  The interview tells my story about working inside law firms and discusses the challenge of adding "library value" to non-library services.

Small firm innovation, a group blog published by our clients Clio, has a rotating monthly theme on varying law practice topics. April's challenge was to find a missing mobile App from your life and write about it. I ended up going completely off-grid topic wise, and chose household monitoring. And while I'm sure Clio's community and content guru Gwynne Monahan is happy that I returned to writing for the site -- I'm also sure she'll be happier if I stay a little more "legal" in my topic selection next time. :)

And finally, over on Attorney at Work this past Friday, I had some nice quotes from Joan Feldman in her piece, Get Past Your Rookie Moves in Social Media. My coverage aside, I really enjoyed Joan's roundup of tips and ideas.

So that's it for me. As I said, I'm going to try writing more, especially over the summer. Posts might be shorter, or just pointers, but life is better when I find the time to write. Cheers!