Nick Stopworth (@nickstopforth), Developing libraries online
New technologies have a ‘hype cycle’ – a typical life cycle from inflated expectations, through disillusionment to an eventual plateau (as seen with Twitter at the mo). You don’t want to jump onto the bandwagon of a tool just to find it loses popularity. The trick is to roll with the flow then jump to the next platform before people lose interest.
Some interesting developments in technology that can benefit libraries – Internet of Things, context-aware computing, location-based data, tablets, open source data, QR codes (nice tattoo!). They’re not all for everyone – beware of “social network overload”, privacy issues – but libraries “need to position themselves with the big players”, see what you can do.
I agree that libraries should consider carefully before they adopt a new technology – do they have the time and manpower to dedicate to it? Will it really benefit their users? You don’t have to be on Twitter just because it seems like everyone else is! At work we have a blog and a Twitter account but we aren’t involved in Facebook at all because that wouldn’t be particularly useful to us.
I’m a bit wary of the idea that you can platform-hop though, keeping up with the latest trends in technology or sites. Nick raised some really interesting new developments but there are risks involved in adopting something that doesn’t take off, or of giving yourself too much work to do – having to update information on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+… We found that when we first took to blogging as a department years ago, and it’s only now that we have a well-designed blog with a clear remit that it works for us.
Alan Brine, Beyond Pathfinder – currency of staff IT skills
At De Montford they undertook a staff audit of IT skills to spot gaps in knowledge, where they need to learn new skills.
IT skills matrix
- review feedback
- collate IT queries and enquiry desk queries -> matrix
- intranet staff survey (did it twice – it’s important to update and build on the first attempt)
- study results
- prioritise, target the important ones
- team manager looks at the list, addresses problems, feeds into appraisal, solve problems
- gaps – bespoke areas (Other…), quite specific
- Basic matrix – SKILL / I CAN / NEED REMINDING / I CAN’T
- review group
- training sessions
- staff who can show each other ad hoc
- wikis – how to…
- printed guides
Wiki – the67things – keeps growing to meet the changing needs of users. The wiki provides information as needed in nuggets, rather than as a deluge as with large training sessions.
I definitely want to adopt the wiki idea – we have all sorts of how to… documents at work on individual tasks, but no central store. There are definite gaps – everyone knows how to do different tasks, but we’re not always good at sharing that knowledge.