Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ALA Redesigning Home Page (yes, really!)

Take a look here for a sneak peek at the new ALA website layout, and then head over to this survey to share your opinions. We've been grumping about the un-navigable website for far too long now--let's help them make it better!

and yes, I've posted twice in as many days. feel free to alert the media. :-)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A brag and an Article in Wired...

First off:


Okay, for you non-Okies reading this blog, OLA Gold is a leadership institute put on every 3 years by the Oklahoma Library Association. About 25 young librarians are paired with mentors, attend a leadership conference with a renowned speaker in Librarianship (our institute will be led by the awesome Pat Wagner--check out her website at, and do follow-up meetings and activities designed to turn us into leaders in the profession. It's a big thing to be selected for this, and I am VERY excited (if you can't tell). You can find out more about OLA Gold at Also, I'd like to say thanks to Alan and Laura (my director and assistant director at MPOW) for writing what I'm sure were very nice recommendations for me--I couldn't have done this without them!

Now, to the second, and somewhat less self-absorbed bit of today's post: I ran across this article on Second Life in Wired magazine the other day, and I thought I'd share. In a nutshell: There are a lot fewer users than statistics would indicate, the underlying servers can only handle about 70 users a time in a given "island", and corporate outposts in SL are pretty much expensive virtual ghost towns.

Implications for libraries? First, I want to be clear that I hopped on second life briefly about a year ago, wasn't all that impressed (didn't seem like there was much to do compared to the old school text-based MU*s that I grew up with), and left. I did take a look around Info Island (the main reason I checked it out in the first place), and while I may have been there on a slow day, it mainly looked like a collection of librarians milling around, looking for patrons. I've kept an eye on stories on SL in the blogosphere and in the media though, because I thought that if someone could create a compelling reason for someone to go to second life, it might become an interesting community. However, it's been a year, and I've yet to hear a story of a reference interview or outreach program in second life that helped people (in either their SL or RL guises) find the information they needed.

Second Life is an important experiment, but I think it's looking more and more like a fad, and a rapidly fading one at that. That said, I'm a skeptic, and the comments thread is open for anyone who has had a good reference experience on SL, or who thinks that SL libraries are having or could have more success than their for-profit counterparts in Second Life. I've hoped for the last 9 months or so that my mind might get changed on this--it just hasn't happened yet.