Tag Archives: social media

Social Media brings connections, lessons in ‘User Studies for Digital Library Development’

User Studies for Digital Library Development Book Cover User Studies for Digital Library Development
Milena Dobreva (Author, Editor), Andy O'Dwyer (Editor), Pierluigi Feliciati (Editor)
Library Information Management and Use Studies
Facet Publishing
June 12, 2012
Paperback
302 pages

 

Interestingly, my involvement in this book came about because of social media. Voices of the Past had been going a couple of years, when I got a message out of the blue via Linkedin. Milena Dobreva said she was co-editing a book on user studies in digital libraries and asked if I would write a chapter on social media engagement.

Though I have been fortunate to write material for a few edited volumes, this would be my first international publication (the publisher, Facet, is out of the U.K.). I was intimidated by the stature of the other chapter authors on this project, and that I was the only American. So much so, that at one point I tried to persuade Milena to go with another author I knew to be very experienced in digital libraries and archives. Here’s how she replied:

“Many thanks for this suggestion. I am inclined to ask you once again to contribute because from what I have seen from your work you would bring quite a fresh point of view and I see this as a good potential input which I would really really appreciate.”

With those words, any doubts about my suitability to the task vanished. It was still a grueling process to get the chapter written, but incredibly rewarding.  In addition to surveying the applications of social media to the digital library landscape, I got to talk to fascinating people innovating their field at institutions like the following:

Many of the connections for the case studies were crowdsourced through social media. For all the agonizing, and more so because of it, this ranks among my favorite career experiences. It brought home every message I had been preaching about social media: you can leverage it to find your voice, engagement in it will lead to unexpected opportunities, and the connections you make will strengthen your faith in yourself and others.

The book was well received, (see its reviews herehere, and at Amazon) and though social media platforms have evolved, the bedrock concepts about how digital libraries should work from a user perspective are evergreen. I know that it has been used as a text in classrooms, a well deserved result of the hard work of the editors. I am grateful they gave me a chance to help shape it.

Preservation social media leadership: The early days

In 2009, I presented to the Preservation Technology Advisory Board for the first time about preservation social media efforts. Though it was the first time the board members really heard about social media, they were incredibly supportive of the initiative.

The presentation features images by Hunter Wilson, who had a Flickr 365 project going on at the time. He would post a self-portrait every day for one year. Many of them featured compelling Photoshop effects. As I was presenting this, Hunter was at his high-school graduation. We had been interacting on Flickr for a time, and he was gracious enough to Skype in for a PR Campaigns course I was teaching at the local university.

That prior year was magic with connections that embodied the potential of preservation social media, before it became dominated by marketers and the walled fortress that is Facebook. The heritage fields were still skeptical of social media. Out in nowhere-you’ve-heard-of Louisiana, we were pioneering the frontier.

09 Board Meeting: Strengthening NCPTT’s Leadership on the the Social Web

Presentation to the NCPTT Board, May 2009

  • NCPTT Preservation Social Media Initiative and World Wide Web Clearinghouse
  • Conversation, facilitated by online tools that are: Platform-independent Free Interactive Easy to use
  •  Ultimately, it’s still about relationships [human-centered]
  • NCPTT was one of the first preservation organizations to use social media
  • Podcasting [Preservation Technology Podcast]
  •  Social Networking
  • Microblogging
  • Online Photo Sharing
  • Online Video Sharing
  • Preservation needs online leadership. The Future is Mobile
  • Training initiative provides expert guidance, connections for NCPTT [Training staff]
  • People everywhere are connecting in cyberspace to talk about heritage.
  • In 2009, many more heritage organizations have jumped on the new media bandwagon
  • … but progress is using new media effectively has been slow and lacking direction
  • Heritage is still trying to find its voice online.
  • Preservation still needs online leadership.
  • NCPTT’s role is to help the organizations make sense of social media and use it effectively
  • Communicating ourselves on the World stage can be an overwhelming task
  • We’ve been there before
  •  The right tools, mindset and people bring the job down to size
  •  Hard work and service to others unleashes the benefits of online engagement
  •  “We need to connect citizens with each other to engage them more fully and directly in solving the problems that face us. We must use all available technologies and methods to open up the federal government, creating a new level of transparency to change the way business is conducted in Washington and giving Americans the chance to participate in government deliberations and decision-making in ways that were not possible only a few years ago.” From Barack Obama’s campaign platform on technology Monday, March 9, 2009
  •  “We need to connect citizens with each other to engage them more fully and directly in solving the problems that face us. We must use all available technologies and methods to open up the federal government, creating a new level of transparency to change the way business is conducted in Washington and giving Americans the chance to participate in government deliberations and decision-making in ways that were not possible only a few years ago.” From Barack Obama’s campaign platform on technology Monday, March 9, 2009
  • You’re our heroes [advocacy role of board]
  •  What can we do to help? [Ideas, comments and discussion]

Book Review: On Art, Leadership Impact and Leadership

Note: The titles in this book review were provided to be as review copies by their publishers. I wrote these reviews because I they mean something to me, and I think you might like them as well.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

I’ve been working in (and with) social media for several years now. Despite all the emerging services, there’s been very little that’s actually new in approaching it. Guy Kawasaki is someone I respect, and it’s the reason for looking at this book more deeply. Its stated purpose “is to enable you to rock social media.” Much of what’s here, you’ve likely heard before, scattered across thousands of social media posts over the last few years. The charm of this book is that is distills this conventional wisdom into a concise handbook on social media process and strategy. From planning to writing to SEO and graphics—it covers exactly what you need to keep in mind. A good primer for the newbie, and a good reminder for the veteran.

The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

What is the impact equation? No worries, you won’t have to be good in math to understand it. Instead, this book is a reflection of the concepts that shape today’s social media-focused values. I have to admit that one statement in the first chapter really hooked me: “If you’re in a small town in central Louisiana, your needs will be different from those of someone in New York City.” I was “that guy” in a small town in central Louisiana when I discovered my digital heritage legs. I’ve now lived in Philadelphia and Miami, and can say the principles described in this book review will be applicable to any time and place or stage of learning. It provides insight on establishing your platform, and then demonstrating the bravery to be different, even as you attract an audience. The book is full of simple, yet profound, truths. A philosophical complement to Kawasali’s “Art of Social Media.”

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Admittedly, some of my interest in writing a book review about “The Art of Work” came from the author’s name being so similar to mine. Having read it now, I can say that it’s a good, concise distillation of methods for keeping perspective on work situations.  Like many books, it’s often allegorical or filled with stories from the lives of famous people (e.g. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs). The quote that introduces part two pretty much sums up the purpose of this work “Every single that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.” The book has a balance of practical and philosophical  advice. It calls on the reader to consider their situation and, with intention, employ “deliberate practice” so that they are able to live their best lives, which is often the result of repeated failures. The author’s story about becoming a writer is particularly inspirational. Goins sums it up by saying “…finding your calling, as mysterious as it seems, is not only a mystical process; it is intensely practical. You either act of what you know, or you miss your moment.”  All-in-all, this book is a quick read that encompasses profound life lessons.

The Leadership Handbook by John C. Maxwell

book reviewOne of the first business books I ever bought was authored by John C. Maxwell. Billed as “the leadership expert,” John’s relationship-centered approach is good for introverts like me to remember now and again. This book review explains why this title is a keeper. It distills many of his leadership concepts into brief and actionable instructions. It goes beyond handbook to function as a devotional, and a course in positive habit development. Application Exercises and a Mentoring Moment end each chapter to ensure each lesson is taken to heart. One of the most valuable pieces of advice Maxwell offers is in the chapter “Keep Your Mind on the Main Thing.” There are times in life that you have to step back and ask three critical questions: 1. What gives me the greatest return? 2.What is most rewarding? 3. What is required of me? He adds to that a closing chapter on the importance of establishing a legacy by picking NOW how people should summarize your life. What’s your legacy? The stylistic elegance Maxwell has honed over his decades of writing has produced a volume of simple truths that you’ll want to continually come back to throughout your career to refocus your life, and savor.

Read more book reviews here.

Book Review: The Impact Equation

The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? Book Cover The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
http://www.amazon.com/The-Impact-Equation-Making-Things/dp/1591844908/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Chris Brogan is a superstar in the social media world, and engagement with audiences is where he holds most sway. Written with Julien Smith( who I adore for "The Flinch"), “The Impact Equation” is a book focused almost solely on this topic. Centered around the equation “Impact = C × (R + E + A + T + E)”, Brogan and Smith detail foundational principles of influence online. Here’s the quote that hooked me:

“This book is an opportunity that comes from a moment in time. As you read it, you will discover that some of it is relevant to you and some of it isn’t. That’s okay. If you’re in a small town in central Louisiana, your needs will be different from those of someone in New York City. If you’re widely connected, you will have a vastly different experience from that of someone who is just starting out. This is expected. So judge from your surroundings . Figure out what parts of this opportunity work for you. Picture it like a game, and figure out the easiest, most effective moves to make. Do those first, and see what the results are. If you fail, no big deal. Keep trying.”

Having started my career in central Louisiana, and continued it in Philadelphia and now Miami Beach, I can say there is no better advice for the social media practitioner. This book is a philosophical complement to Kawasaki’s “Art of Social Media,” and Michael Hyatt’s “Platform” for building online influence.

Here are my Kindle notes from reading this book. My keyword takeaways, if you will:

  • Add value
  • Be human
  • Distill your message
  • Create wonder
  • Be weird
  • Pass it on

A primer for expanding your heritage circles on Google Plus

When it first opened as an invite-only social space, Google Plus made a splash, to the tune of an estimated 10 million users. As an early invitee, I was a fan, seeing great potential in its particular abilities to serve the needs of the heritage crowd online. In the time since it’s launched, Google Plus has certainly suffered some missteps. However, if you’re looking to connect with the right folks in real time while enhancing your SEO profile (useful for place-based heritage orgs) with Google, this is still a platform to consider.

G+circles teaserOne of the things that’s been missing in social networking is an elegant and simple way to hit the right audiences with your content. That’s left lots of people creating multiple accounts, reining in their opinions, or feeling like they’re spamming others who don’t share their interests. Twitter lists get you halfway in that they can readily be monitored and shared publicly. Facebook groups allow collaboration, but are fairly closed. Google hits a middle mark with Circles, which allows you to categorize other Plus users into one or more areas, and then post content to the appropriate group(s) of folks. Like Twitter you can follow and categorize people without them being obligated to follow you back, unlike the Facebook button and friending scheme.

If you’re uncertain about who you might talk to when you get to Google Plus, I have a list below of the public profiles of a few folks in my “Heritage Friends” circle. These folks are cultural heritage enthusiasts or professionals. This is a “charter” list of profile links for the earliest adopters, but I’ll break it down further as more people in the discrete areas of interest sign up.

  1. Jim Wald, historic preservationist at Hamphire College
  2. Lynne Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State and an archaeologist
  3. Kate Theimer, of ArchivesNext
  4. Eric Kansa, of OpenContext
  5. Sabra Smith, of My Own Time Machine blog
  6. Nancie Ravenel, conservator at Shelburne Museum
  7. Daniel Cull, conservator at Musical Instrument Museum
  8. Vincent Brown, blogger & media producer at Talking Pyramids
  9. Jennifer Souers Chevraux, museum consultant at Illumine Creative Solutions
  10. Susan Hazan, The Israel Museum
  11. Richard Salmon, conservation engineer
  12. Graeme Daley, historic preservation advocate
  13. Simone Gianolio, archaeologist
  14. Mike Gushard, architectural historian
  15. Nelson Knight, Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program Coordinator
  16. Paul Allen, Ancestry.com founder
  17. Paige Roberts, public historian, archivist and urban planner
  18. Fran Ellsworth of the FamilySearch Community team
  19. Amanda French, Center for History and New Media
  20. Bernie Frischer, University of California
  21. Nicolas Laracuente, archaeologist
  22. Iain Davidson, archaeologist
  23. Ethan Watrall, Michigan State University
  24. MT Bale, archaeologist
  25. Thomas Palmer, historic preservationist
  26. Ian Hadden, genealogist
  27. Jennifer Palmer, field archaeologist
  28. Lisa Louise Cooke, podcaster and producer of Genealogy Gems

I have about 100 people in my heritage friends circle. While you’re checking these folks out you should check out their circles as well, which are sure to be expanding. You’re likely to run into someone who shares your interests. If you’re a heritage advocate, please feel free to share your profile link in the comments. And feel free to connect with me there as well. My profile url (with my shared heritage circle) is https://plus.google.com/+JeffGuin/posts.

I think there is great potential to use the Google Plus Hangouts feature for an informal feedback version of the podcast to talk about applying the principles explained by the folks we interview here. Google is now allowing folks to stream hangouts-on-air to their YouTube pages as well, which establishes the feature’s relevance beyond simple social networking capability. Let me know if you’re interested in taking part.

Other features for heritage content discovery is the hashtag exploration feature. For example, you can search for “archaeology” and end up with an aggregation of all the latest results in a link (and page) that looks like this: https://plus.google.com/explore/Archaeology. Just substitute with any word representing your area of interest! Between “Explore” and “Circles” you can build a pretty effective blogger dashboard for social media outreach. How do you think Google Plus stacks up against other social networking tools?

Related tool:

Teaser image from Flickr

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The Earth Pyramid: Giving the world a chance to become a part of history

By Steve Ward

The Earth Pyramid project was started nearly three years ago with the aim of creating a monument that will get the world looking at the future of our planet and create a platform for discussing the many global issues this generation will be facing. This new pyramid will hold contributions from every government, indigenous peoples and all the world’s children in designated chambers within the structure. Once gathered, these contributions will be sealed within the pyramid for 1,000 years to be opened by people in the next millennium.

Although ambitious, the venture has gained the support of Nobel peace laureates Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu and President José Manuel Ramos-Horta as well as having 25 governments interested in participating.

Creating a new pyramid (at 50m high) is obviously a lofty goal but French architect and pyramid expert Jean Pierre Houdin has lent his support and advice to the project and the whole venture is starting to gather support from leading experts within the construction industry. Building the pyramid using a mixture of ancient and new technology will make for a fascinating build and go some way to answering the many questions that still exist regarding how the great pyramids were built.

The location of the pyramid will be decided by a global vote with one school from every country participating. This will not only give children from around the world a chance to connect, it will offer a chance to learn about the world’s nations and the issues they are facing.  This approach to deciding its location will also mean that the finished pyramid will be constructed in a country where it can do some good with regards to raising awareness of its pressing issues and generating funds to tackle them.

With so many different aspects to the Earth Pyramid it was decided that social media would be the way to get projects goals across and Bradford University’s SCHIM department has been working on a series of videos about the pyramid project with some leading experts participating in them. These videos are now on the project’s YouTube channel and more will be added to as the venture progresses. Twitter and Facebook are currently being used to keep followers of the project informed of new developments and with plans to develop a “Virtual Pyramid “ where anyone can have their thoughts recorded in a digital format (for eventual storage within the pyramid) social media will pay a big part in the projects progression.

The Earth Pyramid now needs to gather support from a wider audience and to do this we need people to start discussing the venture and it’s potential. The website has all the social media details.

Alltop.com adds Voices of the Past to its Social Media Page. Sweet!

For a while now I’ve used Alltop to keep up with the thought leadership in the online world. I never imagined that Voices of the Past would be added to it.

But there we are! On the Social Media page with folks like Mashable, Chris Brogan, Liz Strauss and a host of other greats. That alone is incredibly awesome, but check out the neat badges they give you when you get picked 😉

Since this is a resource I routinely use, and believe you can benefit from as well, I’ve added a widget in the Voices of the Past sidebar where you can view the latest headlines from other social media blogs they feature.

If you aren’t familiar with Alltop, it’s an online directory that aggregates the latest headlines from top blogs and organizes them topically. You get all the news on each topic, at-a-glance, without having to browse individually to each website. It’s best described as a digital magazine rack of the Internet. You can then hover over the title of a post to read the first sentences and click to visit the blog. You can even create your own personal page with blogs that you pick.

It was founded by Guy Kawasaki who is best known as the original chief evangelist at Apple. Guy is a venture capitalist, and well-known author. In fact, I recently read (and am currently re-reading) his latest book “Enchantment” and highly recommend it for folks who want to create a presence people will remember, online and off.

THANK YOU to the folks at Alltop for giving major props to the heritage field by choosing Voices of the Past for their social media page. The heritage crowd is accomplishing incredibly creative things online these days. So proud to be an annalist for that legacy.

 

Results of our survey on how heritage professionals use the web

At the end of 2009, we opened up a survey about social media usage among professionals in the heritage fields. The purpose of this is to see where folks are in social media, learn how to reach them and see where they want to go.

Basic Demographics

326 people responded from all over the globe. Most participants came from the United States (50.1 percent) and Europe (40 percent). The ages averaged evenly between 20-65 years of age.

Location:

Location Demographics

Age:

38.6%            22-35

34.6%            36-50

20.8%           51-65

3%                  18-21

2.4%              over 60

<1%               No response

Heritage-related occupation:

39.2%          Archeologist

7%                 Conservator

5.2%             Heritage Communicator

5.2%             Enthusiast

4.6%             Educator

2.4%             Landscape Architect

2.4%             Architect

1.5%             Caretaker

<1%              Scientist

<1%              Engineer

30.3%          Other

<1%              No response

Breakdown by Profession

Archeologist

The majority of the archeologists who participated lived in Europe and were in the 22-35 year-old age bracket. They mainly used the Internet for email and research, with about half of them using the Internet for networking and casual browsing. Most of the participants considered themselves “joiners” in social media, with about 20 percent of them creating content. They saw social media helping increase awareness of important issues and topics and to help with networking. They were least interested in the project journaling aspect of social media. Among what they would like to learn in regard to social media, they were most interested in optimizing heritage content for the web and tracking multiple sources of online content.

Location:

79.6%         Europe

3.9%           US Southwest

3.9%           US Northwest

3.1%           North America (Not in the US)

2.3%           US Southeast

2.3%           US Northeast

2.3%           US Midwest

1.5%           Australia

<1%            Africa

Age:

53.9%         22-35

27.3%         36-50

12.5%         51-65

5.4%           18-21

<1%             over 65

Primary Internet Use:

89%             Email

72.6%          Research

54.6%          Networking

45.3%          Casual Browsing

38.2%          News

7%                Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40.6%          Joiner

26.5%          Spectator

19.5%          Creator

7%                Collector

2.3%            Critic

2.3%            Inactive

1.5%            No Response

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

32.8%         Joiners

28.1%         Spectators

7%               Critics

5.4%           Creators

5.4%           Collectors

3.1%           Inactive

16.4%         Unsure

1.5%           No Response

Access heritage-related news:

51.5%       Online News Feed

11.7%       Google

8.5%        Newspaper

4.6%        Television

4.6%        RSS Feed

16.4%      Other

2.3%        No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

3.3            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Networking

3.8            Advance Research

4.4            Career Opportunities

4.6            Promote Organization

4.9            Easy Web Publishing

5.6            Inexpensive or Free Tools

6.0            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training

The most prominent training was learning how to optimize heritage content for the web, followed by managing and tracking multiple sources for online content. Archeologists were least interested in learning how to use social media or manage their online reputation.
The most prominent training was learning how to optimize heritage content for the web, followed by managing and tracking multiple sources for online content. Archeologists were least interested in learning how to use social media or manage their online reputation.

Architect

The majority of architects who participated were from the northwest United States and were in the 51-65 age bracket. They mainly used the Internet for email and to read the news. Many of the architects participate with social media as spectators, but 25 percent create content and join the conversation. They see social media as a way to advance research and increase awareness of important issues/topics. They see the most beneficial social media training to be optimizing heritage content for the web.

Location:

37.5%       US Northwest

25%           US Midwest

12.5%        US Southeast

12.5%        US Northeast

12.5%        North America (Not in the US)

Age:

50%             51-65

25%             36-50

12.5%          18-21

12.5%          22-35

Primary Internet Use:

87.5%       Email

75%           News

62.5%       Casual Browsing

62.5%       Networking

62.5%       Research

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

37.5%      Spectator

25%          Creator

25%          Joiner

12.5%       Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

37.5%       Joiners

25%           Critics

12.5%        Spectators

25%           Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

37.5%           Online News

12.5%           Television

375%            Other

12.5%           No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.6            Advance Research

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Networking

3.7            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

5.6            Easy Publishing to the Web

6.0            Project Journaling

6.7            Inexpensive or Free Tools

Beneficial Social Media Training

75%                How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

37.5%            Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

37.5%            Introduction to Social Media

37.5%            How to Create a Community Around Your Content

37.5%            Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

12.5%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

Conservator

The majority of the conservators came from the northeast United States and were in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, but more than half of the participants research on the Internet. More than half of the conservators consider themselves to be a creator of social media content. The conservators think social media is best used to help them increase the awareness of important issues/topics and to aid with networking. They are most interested in training that helps them optimize heritage content for the web, and use open access and Creative Commons to advance research.

Location:

21.7%            US Northeast

17.3%            US Southwest

13%                Australia

8.6%              US Northwest

8.6%              US Midwest

8.6%              North America (Not in the US)

8.6%              Europe

8.6%              Asia

4.3%              US Southeast

Age:

39.1%            36-50

34.7%           22.35

26%               51-65

Primary Internet Use:

78.2%           Email

56.5%           Research

39.1%           News

39.1%           Networking

30.4%          Casual Browsing

8.6%            Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

52.1%           Creator

13%               Joiner

8.6%             Spectator

4.3%             Collector

13%               Inactive

8.6%             No Response

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

39.1%          Spectators

17.3%          Creators

13%              Joiners

4.3%            Collectors

8.6%            Inactive

8.6%            Unsure

8.6%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

30.4%          RSS Feed

26%              Online News Site

13%              Google

4.3%            Television

17.3%          Other

8.6%            No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.8            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.2            Networking

3.5            Advance Research

4.1            Promote Organization

4.3            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.7            Career Opportunities

5.9            Inexpensive or Free Tools

6.5            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training:

39.1%          How to Use Open Access and Creative Commons to Advance Research

39.1%          How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

34.7%          Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

30.4%         Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

30.4%         How to Create a Community Around Your Content

26%             Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

13%             Introduction to Social Media

13%             Blogging Research Projects

Enthusiast

The majority of enthusiasts who participated live in the northwest United States and are in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, and more than half of them use it to access the news. They consider themselves to  be joiners in social media, but about 30 percent of the enthusiasts are content creators. They find social media to be best adventitious for networking, increasing awareness and advancing research. The enthusiasts are most interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web.

Location:

23.5%         US Northwest

17.6%         US Southeast

11.7%          US Southwest

11.7%          US Northeast

11.7%          North America (Not in the US)

11.7%          Europe

5.8%           South America

5.8%           Australia

Age:

29.4%          36-50

23.5%          over 65

23.5%          22-35

17.6%          51-65

5.8%            18-21

Primary Internet Use:

82.3%          Email

58.8%          News

47%              Research

47%              Networking

47%              Casual Browsing

11.7%           Web Development

Approximate Social Media Level Participation:

35.2%          Joiner

29.4%          Creator

17.6%          Spectator

11.7%          Collector

5.8%           Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Level Participation:

35.2%          Joiners

23.5%          Spectators

5.8%            Creators

5.8%            Critics

5.8%            Inactive

17.6%          Unsure

5.8%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

35.2%           Online News Site

11.7%            Newspaper

23.5%           RSS Feed

29.4%           Other

How Social Media Can Achieve Professional Goals:

3.2            Networking

3.5            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.6            Advance Research

4.0            Promote Organization

4.7            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.1            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.7            Project Journaling

6.2            Career Opportunities

Beneficial Social Media Training:

The majority of enthusiasts were interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web. They were the least interested in learning about reputation management and producing heritage videos for online sharing.
The majority of enthusiasts were interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web. They were the least interested in learning about reputation management and producing heritage videos for online sharing.

Caretaker

The majority of caretakers are from Europe r the northeast United States and are in th 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, research and networking. They consider themselves to be joiners or spectators of social media. They consider the most beneficial training to be in learning to manage and track multiple sources of online content.

Location:

40%            Europe

40%            US Northeast

20%            US Southwest

Age:

80%            36-50

20%            22-35

Primary Internet Use:

100%            Email

80%              Research

80%              Networking

60%              News

60%              Casual Browsing

40%              Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%            Joiner

40%            Spectator

20%            Creator

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%            Joiner

40%            Spectator

20%            Creator

Access Heritage-Related News:

40%            Online News Site

40%            RSS Feed

20%            Google

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.0            Increase Awareness of Important Issues

3.5            Networking

4.0            Advance Research

4.2            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

5.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.2            Inexpensive or Free Tools

7.0            Project Journaling

Beneficial Training

40%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

20%            How to Create a Community Around Your Content

20%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

20%            Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

20%            Blogging Research Projects

20%            Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

Heritage Communicators

The majority of heritage communicators that participated are from the northwest United States and Europe, and about half of them are in the 22-35 year-old age bracket. They primarily use the Internet to access their email, but they also use it for research and networking. More than 30 percent of the heritage communicators consider themselves to be social media creators, and many see themselves as joiners and spectators. They see social media as a way to increase awareness of important issues/topics and a means to promote their organizations. They are most interested in learning how to create a community around their content and learning to optimize heritage content for the web.

Location:

35.2%          US Northwestern State University

35.2%          Europe

11.7%           North America (not in the US)

5.8%            US Southwest

5.8%            US Southeast

5.8%            US Midwest

Age:

41.1%            22-35

35.2%            51-65

23.5%            35-50

Primary Internet Use:

94.1%       Email

64.7%       Research

47%           Networking

35%           News

29.4%        Casual Browsing

17.6%        Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

35.2%            Creator

29.4%            Joiner

23.5%            Spectator

5.8%              Critic

5.8%              Collector

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

41.1%            Spectators

35.2%           Joiners

11.7%            Inactive

5.8%             Creators

5.8%             Critics

Access Heritage-Related News:

29.4%            Online News Site

23.5%            RSS Feed

17.6%            Google

5.8%              Newspaper

23.5%            Other

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.8            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.1            Promote Organization

3.9            Networking

4.2            Advance Research

4.8            Easy Publishing to the Web

4.9            Inexpensive or free tools

6.1            Career Opportunities

6.3            Project Journaling

Most Beneficial Social Media Training:

Heritage Communicators are most interested in learning to create a community around their content, and they are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.
Heritage Communicators are most interested in learning to create a community around their content, and they are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.

Landscape Architect

Most of the participating landscape architects came from parts of North America not in the United States and were in the 51-65 year-old age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for research and email, and they consider themselves to be social media joiners. They see social media as a way to network and increase awareness of important issues or topics. They are most interested in learning how to manage and track multiple sources of online content, how to use open access and Creative Commons, and how to create a community around their content.

Location:

50%            North America (Not in the US)

25%            US Northeast

12.5%         US Southwest

12.5%         US Northwest

Age:

75%            51-65

12.5%         22-35

12.5%         36-50

Primary Internet Use:

100%         Research

100%         Email

50%           Networking

37%           Casual Browsing

25%           News

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

25%            Collector

12.5%         Spectator

12.5%         Critic

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiners

25%            Spectators

25%            Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

50%               Google

25%               Television

12.5%            Online News Site

12.5%            RSS Feed

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.0            Networking

2.9            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Promote Organization

4.2            Advance Research

5.5            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.6            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.8            Career Opportunities

6.6            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training

The majority of architects are interested in training to help them optimize their heritage content for the web.
The majority of landscape architects are interested in learning to manage and track multiple sources of online content, how to use open access and Creative Commons, and how to create a community around their content. They are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.

Engineer

The engineers who participated were from the northeast and midwest United States and were in the 22-50 age brackets. They use the Internet for email, gather news and research. They primarily consider themselves joiners to social media. They think social media can help advance research and aide with networking. They are interested in learning about optimizing heritage content for the web, reputation management and blogging research projects.

Location:

50%            US Northeast

50%            US Midwest

Age:

50%            22-35

50%            36-50

Primary Internet Use:

50%            Email

50%            News

50%            Research

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

50%            No Response

Colleagues’ Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Spectators

50%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

50%            Other

50%            No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

1.0            Advance Research

2.0            Networking

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

4.0            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

6.0            Inexpensive or Free Tools

7.0            Project Journaling

8.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

Beneficial Social Media Training:

50%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

50%            Reputation Management

50%            Blogging Research Projects

Scientist

The scientists that participated are from the southeast and northwest United states and are in the 18-21 and the 51-65 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email and research. They consider themselves to be joiners to social media. They think social media can help them network and advance research. They are most interested in learning a basic introduction to social media.

Location:

50%            US Southeast

50%            US Northwest

Age:

50%            18-21

50%            51-65

Primary Internet Use:

100%            Email

100%            Research

50%              Casual Browsing

50%              News

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

50%            Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiners

50%            Spectators

Access Heritage-Related News:

100%            Online News Site

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

1.0            Networking

2.0            Advance Research

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues

4.0            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.0            Project Journaling

6.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

7.0            Promote Organization

8.0            Career Opportunities

Beneficial Social Media Training:

100%            Introduction to Social Media

50%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

50%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

Educator

The educators primarily are from the southeast United States and Europe, and are in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email and research. The majority of educators are social media spectators, but about 20 percent join the conversations and 20 percent create the content. They think social media can hep increase awareness of important issues and aide in networking. They are most interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and learn to blog research projects.

Location:

20%            US Southeast

20%            Europe

13.3%         US Southwest

13.3%         US Northwest

13.3%         US Northeast

6.6%           US Midwest

6.6%           North America (Not in the US)

6.6%           Australia

Age Range:

53.3%            36-50

26.6%            51-65

13.3%            22-35

6.6%              over 65

Primary Internet Use:

93.3%            Email

86.6%            Research

40%               Networking

40%               News

26.6%            Casual Browsing

6.6%              Web development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%           Spectator

20%           Joiner

20%           Creator

13.3%        Collector

6.6%          Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%             Spectators

33.3%          Joiners

13.3%          Inactive

6.6%            Creators

6.6%            Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

40%            Online News Site

20%            Google

6.6%           Newspaper

6.6%           RSS Feed

26.6%         Other

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.3            Increase awareness of important issues/topics

2.6            Networking

3.5            Promote Organization

4.5            Advance Research

5.1            Easy publishing to the web

5.2            Career Opportunities

5.5            Inexpensive or free tools

7.3            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training:

Educators are mostly interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and how to blog research projects. They are least interested in learning reputation management and a basic introduction to social media.
Educators are mostly interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and how to blog research projects. They are least interested in learning reputation management and a basic introduction to social media.

Use online photosharing to visually tell the story of heritage resources

It has been said by many that photos say a thousand words. But now, thanks to photo sharing sites, photography has the power to unite people across cultures and throughout time.

There are many different photo sharing sites out there, such as Photobucket, SmugMug, dotPhoto and Webshots. All of which have individual aspects to them that aid in your organization’s ability to share and express ideas. But for the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on the popular site, Flickr.

Flickr

Flickr is an image-hosting and video-hosting website, web services suite, and online community created by Ludicorp and later acquired by Yahoo!. Hosting more than four billion images, Flickr is ideal for you to begin your photo-based heritage-related conversation.

Flickr enables you to share your photo’s story in many ways such as:

  • Title: Your photo’s title is important. It tells readers immediately what your photo is about. Did you host an event or do you want to address an important heritage topic?
  • Captions: Titles are wonderful, but this is where you get to begin the conversation. Captions can be as simple as identify who or what is in your photo to asking those difficult questions.
  • Add people to your photos: Just like you would “tag” your friends in your Facebook pictures, here you can “add” them. (In Flickr, tag means a little something different that we will address in a minute). Adding your friends to photos lets them know they are in them and helps you organize your photos.
  • Tags: This is how people FIND your photos. You can add a title and caption, but the conversation can’t happen if folks can’t find you. Tags can be as specific or as general as you would like, but don’t over tag! You want to make sure everything you tag is relevant.
  • Favorites: This helps you remember photos you like throughout Flickr. While you are searching and participating in photo-based conversations, you can “favorite” a photo to save for later. You can access your favorite photos from your photo stream (and other’s can access YOUR photos that they “favorited” from theirs too!!)
  • Sets or Collections: This works much like categories in a blog. This is your table of contents and helps you organize your photos in a way you and others can find them. The way it works is sets fit into collections. So let’s say you take photos at three events. Each event would have its own set holding the select photos from that specific event. Then you can put all three sets into a collection. Perhaps the collection is titled “events” and so all of your event sets would go there. This just helps viewers find photos they want to see instead of digging through all of your pictures.

Picture 1

Now adding and sharing your photos can be as simple or complex as you would like. You can upload photos using your phone, through email, from your web browser or from Flickr’s desktop app. You just need to decide what is best for you and your organization.

Picture 2

Now once you have done all this, you can participate with everyone on Flickr through groups and galleries and MORE! It is about finding where you want your heritage organization’s voice to be heard. Perhaps you want to participate in The Commons and explore snapshots through time with organizations like the Smithsonian and Cornell University.

Picture 3

Or perhaps you want to be more place-based. You want to work with individuals around you and share your photos. With Flickr Places, you can look at your photos on Flickr maps and view your area.

Or you want to take it a step farther and take your place-based photos and compare the old with the new like the Flickr group Looking into the Past. Here, folks take old pictures and “merge” them with photos of what the places look like now to show the contrast and growth and history.

Picture 4

Or maybe you want to take it one step farther and add animation to your pictures. Like Flickr user The Surveyor, you want to take the comparison one step farther.

When you are on Flickr, there is a WORLD for you to explore. But before you do it, you need to get your camera out, dig through old photos and get them up there. Because the conversation begins with you!

Have fun and stay tuned to hear how other organizations are using Flickr!

Meet the Blogger: Lynne Thomas of “Confessions of a Curator”

Lynne Thomas is the Head of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University, a teaching and research collection with a special emphasis on American popular culture materials from the 19th and 20th centuries. At Confessions of a Curator, she blogs about collections and the social web. She is the co-author with Beth M. Whittaker of Special Collections 2.0, which examines Web 2.0 tech for cultural heritage collections, from Libraries Unlimited.

How was Confessions of a Curator “born”?

I launched the blog in August 2007 as an attempt to do departmental outreach and promotion. I wanted an easily updatable place to post announcements that didn’t require re-coding our website by hand. I had seen some other examples of library blogging, and thought I’d give it a go.

In one post, you ask your readers about your blog’s role in the online world. What do you feel that is and how do you feel you communicate with your audience?

kidlitconfsmallMy blog’s role in the online world has shifted over time as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the format. It originally began as a way to promote the department and occasionally share links of interest with our patrons. After a year or so, I realized that I was more interested in sharing my thoughts about the profession than focusing solely on our collections (I’m a bit of a process geek).  My readership reflected that interest: the bulk of my readers turned out to be other special collections professionals, rather than patrons who might use our department. I renamed the blog “Confessions of A Curator” and made it more about me as a library professional than about the department that I’m in charge of.

That post asking about my role in the online world comes up about annually, as I tend to wonder periodically if it’s worth continuing the blog, given that the bulk of my readers tend to be passive consumers of the blog through aggregators and feeds rather than active commenters on the blog itself. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; the blog still fulfills an important function by sifting through the information wave and picking and choosing things worth reading for folks in my field. My most popular posts tend to be my linkdumps and my write-ups of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference.

I’ve come to think of the blog as a clearinghouse of links related to my job and the profession, along with some commentary and the occasional departmental announcement, all of which add up to a snapshot of being a special collections curator in a non-ARL library.

It’s easy to think of rare books and special collections work as some kind of mystical calling if you don’t know much about it. I’m trying to de-mystify our profession both as a recruiting tool for new professionals and as a way to explain to the public what we do, while using the blog as a way to encourage myself to stay active and connected to other professionals in the field.

Collections professionals sometimes have the reputation of being more focused on protecting objects than communicating their significance. Yet they seem to be among social media’s most passionate adherents among the  heritage professions. Do you think that’s true, and what makes social media  so appealing for this group?

That reputation of special collections professionals being the “dragons guarding their hordes” is something that I truly wish would die a horrible death. The bulk of professionals in our field are service-oriented librarians and archivists who firmly believe in connecting people to our materials as a way to keep them relevant and useful (and funded!). Social media tends to be appealing for us as a group because it’s an easily maintained, inexpensive tool to promote our collections, our libraries and our work, and to reach our patrons where they are, rather than expecting them to know where we are and come to us. Plus all of our friends are doing it.

Your blog includes stories about how you and your family experience books. They’re very powerful, but also very personal (Your blog even has the  word “confessions” in the title!). Was it natural for you to communicate  these concepts so personally, or was it an intentional choice to connect to  your readers?

It’s a little of both, I think. I’m an extrovert, which means that I’m often a little more forthcoming about family experiences and such than other folks may be. My job and my life are very much intertwined, and I can’t really separate them very well even if I wanted to. It’s just not who I am.

My basic message is that just because something is “special” doesn’t mean that it needs to be permanently locked away. This is partially a political stance, because I’m the parent of a special needs child with severe disabilities. Children like my daughter (much like the books that I care for) would have been locked away in institutions and rendered invisible up until very recently. Given the right tools and adaptations, however, children with disabilities can and ought to be part of everyday life out in the world. Visibility promotes understanding, and reduces fear.

Special collections materials work the same way; providing handling adaptations and tools for their preservation helps them to survive for longer, but it doesn’t mean that we have to keep people away from them!

Helping people to understand what I do for a living, using a easily-relatable context like a family, encourages people to support cultural heritage institutions in general (and hopefully mine in particular as well).

As far as the title, it sounded appropriate; we have a lot of pulp magazines with similar titles in our collections.

You posted an interesting video regarding the end of publishing. As a curator and someone who works directly with books and preserving their importance, what do you see in the future of publishing and the traditional  printed word?

Hand-written manuscripts didn’t go away just because Gutenberg invented the printing press.  Books have not gone away in the nearly 20 years that we’ve had some version of the Internet, or in the more than 20 years that we’ve had relatively ubiquitous personal computing. I don’t expect the printed word to go away anytime soon; it is too useful, portable and accessible. I fully expect that the technologies will continue to coexist for quite some time, unless there is good reason for them not to do so. I do think that some major changes in the economic structure of how the printed word is sold and distributed will happen, because the current model is looking rather unsustainable right now. What that new model will be remains to be seen.

You have a post detailing requirements for archiving. Why is it important authors begin archiving things such as blogs and scratch notes?  And why have you decided to do this all digitally?

The way that authors work has fundamentally changed in the age of personal computing. While there are still authors that work exclusively in longhand on paper, most writers either compose exclusively on their computers or bounce back and forth between paper and electronic documents. Blogs, in particular, have replaced paper-based diaries, journals and writing notebooks for many working writers. To document only paper-based materials means that we’d be literally missing half of the collection—specifically, the half with all of the “juicy bits” about the writing process that interest scholars!

Writers are creating born-digital artifacts. Since so much of special collections work focuses on preserving the artifact as close to its original form as possible, so as to not lose the context of the content it contains, we need to work in the digital realm as well as that of paper. Otherwise, we will end up in a situation where we will have destroyed the papers of authors by not saving the formats that we’re less comfortable with, just as if we were the family of a 19th century writer, throwing manuscripts into the fire to prevent embarrassment after that writer’s death.

Tell us about your book, Special Collections 2.0.

The book came out of the blog, actually. One of my colleagues, Beth Whittaker (now head of the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas), saw me muse about the preservation of electronic manuscripts and social networking, and called me. She noted that the can of worms that I had opened was a rather large one, about an issue that had not really been addressed in a pragmatic way within the profession, but ought to be.  We used a private wiki to collaboratively write a proposal, submitted it to Libraries Unlimited, were approved and co-wrote the book.

Special Collections 2.0 is basically two things: an acknowledgment of the fact that the special collections community now has to deal with a hybrid of paper and electronic archives, and an examination of how the advent of social networking might affect our work. We look at social media both from the perspective of “how can I use these tools to my library’s/collection’s advantage?” and “how on earth am I going to preserve these things?”

We surveyed our profession to see what everyone else has been doing: what works, what doesn’t, and where librarians and archivists can best direct their invariably limited time and resources. What we discovered is that there are some really powerful tools for promoting, building and documenting our collections out there, but that preserving those digital objects we are ultimately responsible for is still a challenge for many libraries and archives.

In addition to your blog, what other social networks do you use and how do you use them? (eg: delicious, twitter, facebook, etc)

I’m consistently on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Delicious under my real name. I use them for outreach to our donors (it’s how I keep in touch with living SF writers who archive with me), as well as for link-sharing with other cultural heritage professionals and people in shared fandoms. Most of these accounts are linked in some way: my Delicious account posts automatically to my blog; the blog posts automatically to our departmental Facebook page. My Goodreads account, which picks up my blog automatically, is visible on the blog and on Facebook. I use Twitter to post links to Facebook, and that is often how I publicize new blog posts. I also have FriendFeed and LinkedIn profiles that are basically dormant, created as part of the research for Special Collections 2.0.

I’m on LiveJournal, where I maintain a personal blog under a different username focused on my family and the media fandoms that I follow, rather than on my library work. That blog is also linked from my Facebook account. It’s mostly an easy way for far-flung friends and family to keep in touch, and for me to be part of a community of fans.  I’m also on Ravelry (a knitting/crochet community) under the same username.

What advice do you offer other collections specialists who are exploring social media as a way to communicate?

The biggest lesson that I have learned from social media is that you really need to please, inform, interest and entertain yourself first. The grease for the social media engine is interesting, consistent content. Empty profiles are boring: if you aren’t going to use your account consistently, don’t bother building the profile in the first place. The best way to ensure consistency is to contribute what interests you. If you’re bored, so are your readers.

You can set expectations for your account that fit with your comfort level. For example, I subscribe to quite a few professional blogs that only post a few times a month, but the posts are worth waiting for: really engaging, well-thought out and interesting. I know when I subscribe that they are not high-traffic, based upon the information given in the blog’s profile; their quality rather than their quantity keep me subscribed.

The other part of working with social media is figuring out how much of yourself as a person or a professional that you would like to post. Many folks maintain dual profiles, one professional (say, on LinkedIn) and one personal (Facebook), and that works well for them. The key is to manage expectations; state your policies about “friending” or “following” outright on your profile, so that folks know where best to connect with you for their situation.

That’s not to say that everything has to be personal: there are plenty of special collections blogs out there that are about the collections, not the people that work with them. If the collections are interesting enough, that can work really well. There are some great correspondence blogs, for instance, that post a letter every few days from their collections, and archival blogs that post pictures and transcripts of recently processed materials.

Because I work extensively in the science fiction writing and fandom community as part of my job, and am a fan myself, I don’t bother to separate my at-work and not-at-work identities: my fandom is, in my case, a professional asset, and a large group of the SF authors that I work with follow my LiveJournal rather than Confessions of a Curator. Your mileage may vary.

That being said, despite the fact that I’m fairly public about much of my personal and professional life, there are certain things that I choose not to blog about or share on social media. I firmly believe that nothing on the web is truly anonymous or hidden, even if you can make it rather difficult to tie the person to the pseudonym. My rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want to see it published on the front page of your local newspaper, don’t post it on social media sites. What constitutes “willing to share publicly” is an individual choice: it’s all about figuring out what you’re comfortable with.