Monday, May 22, 2006

More from the other ALA...text IS interface

Every once in a while, I come across something so good, it becomes required reading for all members of the Web Content Team at my beloved place of work. I try not to over do this (I'm an English teacher at heart, and I so heart assigning reading...), so I keep it to the basics...Don't Make Me Think, for example.

But this article goes on the list (hi all!):

Calling All Designers: Learn to Write! (once again, from the other ALA). Now, of course all members of the team know how to write or they wouldn't be on the said Web Content Team, but it takes stamina, constant creativity, and a little courage to continually push yourself to write what is good rather than what is easy.

A few of my favorite quotes...

"It’s time we designers stop thinking of ourselves as merely pixel people, and start thinking of ourselves as the creators of experiences. And when it comes to experience on the web, there’s no better way to create it than to write, and write well."

"Design is about communication, and it takes more than pixels to communicate. Design is about communication, and it takes more than pixels to communicate."

And this is particularly important to libraries and those who develop library Web content. It's oh-so easy to fall into the quick sand of library/institutional speak. This is why it's important to read blogs, 'zines, and other fine specimens of whip-smart, don't-call-me-witty, and don't-take-yourself-too-seriously prose. Check out Daily Candy for a daily dose, and dust off those English degrees.

Savvy Travelers in a Techie World

I finally had the chance to read Brenda Hough's article in this month's CiL, and I can't stop recommending it to folks. She addresses so many of the issues that frustrate both tech trainers and tech trainees.

If you have access to Ebsco, here’s the link to the full article:

Link to the preview (free):

A few snippets…

“Too many technology classes are about reaching goals that trainers have set rather than teaching skills that students actually need. I've chosen the road less traveled teaching concepts that people can build on for years rather than steps that they can use for months.
The differences between being technology-challenged and being technology-literate are similar to the differences between being an inexperienced traveler and being a savvy traveler. So it follows that a good technology trainer is like a good tour guide, handling logistical details and creating experiences that are customized to meet individual interests and that will empower travelers to take future trips on their own.”

"These are some of the characteristics of a savvy traveler:
• Confidence
• An acceptance that things will probably not all go according to plan, which leads to flexibility and adaptability
• A willingness to ask questions
Flights get delayed and overbooked, maps become outdated, luggage gets lost, etc. The savvy traveler is aware of these possibilities and plans and prepares as well as he or she can, and then adapts as needed when things change. These are the characteristics we need to be helping technology students develop too.

So, what types of training can facilitate savvy users? I have eight tips for tour guides who want to train people for long-term technological literacy:
Stop trying to provide step-by-step directions.
Encourage independence.
Expect success,
Encourage exploration.
Provide context.
Treat training as a collaborative project.
Use storytelling.
Be real-world."

Check out the article to learn more!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

4-day work week challenge from the other ALA...

Hmmm...I think it would be a challenge to simply work just 5 days a week (do people really stop working at 5 p.m. on Friday and not work or think about work until Monday morning?). I'll admit I have issues with being a balanced person. I've been extremely lucky to only take jobs that I love (or, you know, I leave). And since I've always jumped at the chance for new challenges, I've never been in a job for more than a few years, and I've always been in prove-myself mode.

Now, does that mean I'm super-efficient, and get tons done? Nope...I go through an ebb and flow of work-like-crazy, crash, work-like-crazy, crash...etc...and really every time I go on vacation, within a day or two I remember again what it's like to have my brain back, and I swear to myself that I'll make more thinking/ideas/creative/non-worky time.

Check out The Four-Day Week Challenge at A List Apart.

I don't agree with all of it (or, maybe it's just that I had a squeamish-shivering physical reaction to some of the suggestions...what?!? no IM?!? ) but I get the principle, and certainly I think I would be happier and do everything better if I found more time for people I love, art, ideas, plants, pets, and my house.

Maybe on the fifth day, I'll still work, but it will be a mind-spa day where I don't read e-mail, I don't go to meetings, and it's all about reading, experiencing, and thinking. Ok, maybe I can make that happen once a month. Baby steps, right?

For example, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's workshops and lectures are a great idea-rich experience. My friend and I went to a Kentridge lecture last night, and then we retired to Harry's patio in Westport to people-watch and enjoy weather and white wine. Plus, I thought a lot about Web work, and it's ephemeral nature... It was perfectly civilized.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Join us in OPAL on Friday morning: Project Planning with Love and Logic (Models)

Join us this Friday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m. CST for the second in a series of national continuing education programs via OPAL.

Project Planning with Love and Logic (Models)
Speaker: Whitney Davison-Turley, Digital Projects Specialist, University of Kansas Medical Center Libraries*

From the largest grant proposals to the smallest project plan, using logic models can help you develop stronger and more successful projects with assessment and evaluation built in at every step. You will love the way that logic models allow you "plan backwards and implement forwards," keeping the focus on the real impact of your program and causing all activities to feed directly into that impact. This program will discuss what a logic model is, show examples of using a logic model for writing a project plan or grant proposal, and provide resources for additional information.

This OPAL event will be held in the Auditorium (Click on the title or the room name to enter the OPAL room.)

The Librarian's Continuing Education Seminar Series programs are held the 3rd Friday of the month at 10 a.m. A full listing of programs and speakers is available at:

Questions about OPAL? About the upcoming program? Just let me know. I’ll be in the auditorium 30 minutes ahead of time if you want to test your equipment. I look forward to seeing you all online.

*And I'm oh-so-thrilled to report that while Whitney is with KUMed right now, she will soon be joining my beloved place of work as the new Information Services Manager. I'm simply giddy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The lazy post revenge

Why are these lazy posts so addictive? I love the comparative nature...I can't help but think this is hopelessly self indulgent, but since Veggie, EDH, Capt. Redbeard, & Blue indulged, I can't help but play...sometimes I'm a joiner.

1. FIRST NAME? Erica

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No...but if I had been born a little later, I might have been named Sunshine...after the character in Little Big Man.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I plead the 5th. I will be overwhelmed one second, and then in a blink, I'm on top of the world. I'm totally manic.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? when I take the time to Blue, my fingers think faster on keyboards

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Ick "lunch meat" sounds awful...ok...turkey can be good...if it's prepared right

6. KIDS? nope

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? of course--I'm freakin' charming. ;)

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? I kept one religiously until I got married. I have a husband--why do I need a journal?

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Uh..never. Promise.

10.WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I'd like to think so...



13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? nope--kick off wherever I sit down...I suck to live with...


15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? strawberry or anything with real fruit (it's one of the few things I can really'd be surprised how much the "taste" of ice cream is tied to your ability to smell it)

16. SHOE SIZE? 9

17. RED OR PINK? yes

18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I'm obsessive and unbalanced.

9. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Gram...but she died when I was 14... you'd think I'd get used to it.


21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? Blue soccer shorts and no shoes

22. LAST THING YOU ATE? biscotti

23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Music from Love Actually

24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Greenish-blue (if i remember correctly)

25. FAVORITE SMELL? fresh herbs in my garden...I love the sage...when you can't smell much, but you can smell something, it's amazing...



28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Like Erin, I love my co-workers

29. FAVORITE DRINK? It depends on my mood...

30. FAVORITE SPORT? Basketball--it is the closest thing I have to religion

31. HAIR COLOR? Blondish (it depends how much i've paid for highlights)

32. EYE COLOR? Greenish-blue (if I remember correctly)

33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? yep...since I was in 8th grade

34. FAVORITE FOOD? pizza...anytime, anywhere

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? happy endings with a twist...can't stand scary movies

36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Love Actually (on right now)



39. HUGS OR KISSES? yes...but only from a handful of people

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? can you really have just one? I like most anything with fruit and flakey crusts



43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? To Kill A Mockingbird

44. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? At home: Navajo sun; At work: jayhawk

45. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? I don't think I watched anything on tv

46. FAVORITE SOUNDS? the tide, rain, sea lions at Monterey, Emma & Claire laughing, coffee pouring, pretty much anything that comes out of my iPod...

47. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? are you kidding? Beatles--no contest


49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I have lots of bar tricks that I cultivated after many years of art teacher once said there's no such thing as talent; only practice...I don't agree with the idea of no talent, but I agree that you won't be great at anything unless you practice...oh, and I can touch my tongue to my nose...that's all talent (or you know...weird mutant genes)

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Oct 20, Lawrence, KS

Monday, May 01, 2006

'nother readin' blog: To Kill a Mockingbird

My colleagues who read M-D with me and more (more colleagues...not more M-D...that's not possible) have decided to read To Kill a Mockingbird as a blog/reading group. And I'm most of my posts will be over on the Fly, Famous Bird site.

I'm an English major n' all (B.A. & M.A.), but I never read this book. Everyone just assumes you read it in high school. Although I read pretty much all that was assigned, I'm sorry to say it never came up. Here's the deal: 'Til my senior yr, I went to a really, really small school (33 in my class in high school, 800-something in the whole town). It was all about social relationships. Therefore, I left my beloved Remington High School with very little knowledge of calc & trig (although I took the classes, and received good grades), and a really advanced knowledge of gym/locker-room decoration. If you needed someone to whip up a prom theme, I was your girl.

But then I went to college, blah, blah, blah, and I'm afraid I thought that, as an English major, I read so much during my B.A., and then I finished my M.A., and you know, in between I had finished an M.L.S. with lots o' fiction mixed in, that I started thinking that, for god's sake, I must have read most everything good--at least everything really, really good written in Enligsh in the last 100 yrs. (Because not everything we read was very I think my logic was that we must have been scrapin' the barrel at some point.) But that's obviously stupid, and I can't tell you how happy I am to read this book right now. I love fiction. But rarely do I read really good fiction. I wish I would have read this when I was younger, but I'm thrilled to be reading it now. Thanks all.