Internet Librarian International 2012 – day 2

The second day of ILI2012 started with a keynote given by the new CEO of British Library, Roly Keating. Keating started his keynote by talking about his CV and work at the BBC (mostly). He went on talking about how a collaboration between the BBC and the British Library is valuable, and how researchers and the general audience can benefit from the collaboration with the digitalisation of old BBC material, made public via BL.

Keating was also talking about new forms of collaboration, mentioning crowd-sourced geo-referencing of maps as an example. There are new types of collections, said Keating, like personal digital archives (eg. an actor`s personal e-mail archives). How do we curate these for the future?

.. and that was all I was able to get from this keynote. I hope that I am not too mean if I say that this keynote held nothing new for me. It was not even inspirational. I felt that Keating said nothing that I could not have found by searching the British Library`s website. I am sorry to say it, but there it is. I expect more from a keynote at ILI.



My first session of the day was C201: New roles. Ulla de Stricker asked the question “What will LIS students be doing in 25 years?”. “What about our future?”, de Stricker asked and continued “It all depends on how we are perceived by the society”. What does society think of us? A doctor never has to explain to people what it is that s/he does. Why doesn`t people know what librarians do?

We have a problem because we go in the “nice to have” and not in the “must have” category.

There is a mismatch between the LIS education and the reality that most students meet when they land a job in the “real world”, said de Stricker. This must be rectified.

There is no lack of professional engagement and dedication, but we have had an “inward” focus, said de Stricker. We have not been good enough at building intra-professional relationships and networks. We must be better at setting the agenda, concluded de Stricker.

I found myself nodding in agreement with de Stricker here. The problem though, is that we don`t know HOW to do this. I missed some good practice advice and some good examples here.

The next speaker in this session was Jeanine Decker from the Airport library at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. She was talking about making the library available for a larger audiece. The library started having a library service at the beach and later on they started the Airport library at Schiphol. The Airport library had 300 000 visitors last year. People can come and read, and the library lends out iPads with movies on them, newspapers etc. People are very happy with it. Watch this video about the library. Looks cool! I want one in Oslo, too!


My next session was C202: new skills, new learning. Ann Östman and Hanna Kranz from Gävleborg County library was taking about their DigiLab project (see their slides). Librarians need better technical skills, and they need hands-on training in new technology, how to follow trends and social media. That was the reason why these librarians wanted to start a lab for technical support.

50 percent of Swedish 3 yr olds are online every day. When they grow up they need guides that can help them with evaluating sources etc. We need to focus on our roles as educators here.

Östman and Kranz also talked about collaborations with the local cinema. Sweden is focussing on digitalisation of cinemas and librarians are working with them to gain competence on image usage etc. Interesting!

Alison McNab continued with her talk on informal learning (always a pleasure to listen to McNab!). She was asking “How do we deal with informal learning?” Many institutions can now only afford to send one delegate to a conference. How do we teach our collegues what we have learned on conferences? How do we make the most of what we have learned?

McNab talked about Unconferences and how many have started using these methods now, like Teachmeets. The staff members are given five minutes to share ideas on good practice. In-conferences (where we use our own competence) are also more common now.

McNab also mentioned “Analog Twitter” where you can give out strips of paper that people can write on, and they can fasten it to a timeline and digitalize the timeline later. It`s fun and you get people who do not normally use Twitter to participate.

Holly Hibner`s title was “Thingamabobs and doodads”. She was talking about how librarians are technology users, and can often use it well, but that we are not computer engineers. Sometimes it is hard to see the difference between a reference question and a tech support question, said Hibner, but tech support questions are also reference questions and they should be treated thus.

Many librarians use the excuse that they do not have the time to learn something new (tech), but there are plenty of ways to pick up new things; webinars, online self-pace cources etc. It is a question of prioritising, too, and we need to invest time in learning.

There is a big difference between giving our users enough information to make an informed choice and to give them advise, said Hibner. We do not give people advice about turning off their firewall or diagnose their illnesses.

The IT department (and others) do not know what our users ask us. They should spend a day at our reference desk to form a better understanding of what we do/ can do.



This session`s title was: C203: Everyone is learning. I`m sorry that I didn`t take better notes during the first speakers (I was a little preoccupied on preparing my own talk..), but Anthea Sutton and Anna Jane Cantrell from University of Sheffield was talking about using blogs, twitter and wikis to deliver e-learning. I`ll have a further look at their slides later (when I find them..).

Rochelle Mazar`s title was “How we stopped giving instructors what we know they need and how that changed everything” (=interesting!) She said that they had stopped giving traditional lectures. They invested in a room with movable furniture (I got a flashback to a talk I listened to in LILAC this spring. This is in now, I guess..). The librarians hand out a “survival guide” and let people get started right away. The librarians walk around as guides.

Mazar also gave us a tip. She said that while she didn`t particularly like something as low-tech as e-mail as a marketing tool, it works with staff members! The library sends out short e-mails with one tip every time (usually there is a link to a website in the e-mail) at certain times of the year (when the librarians know there will be lots of questions about the particular subject). They have never been accused of spamming, said Mazar, and staff members seem to like getting them.



This session was called C204: Backchanneling (I never understood the title, but..), and I was giving my talk on “Using Google Forms to engage your students in the lecture“. I spoke about using Google forms as an audience-response system, and I gave the delegates the chance to participate in a live test. They were given a form with a few questions and asked to answer them, and the rest of us watched as the results came in. I also talked about using web-based polling as opposed to clickers, how audience response systems can help you keep the students` attention, and how you can store and use your data later. I didn`t have time to start recording, so I have no audio/video file to post here unfortunately.

After me, Kay Grieves and Michelle Halpin from the University of Sunderland talked about nurturing conversations between users and librarians using conversational tools (social media).

Unfortunately, we had too little time to get any real questions at the end, which was a shame because that was really interesting last year.

And that was it for this years ILI..

General notes:

I learned a few things and spoke to a lot of interesting people, so I had a good conference experience, but I think this was my last ILI. There are just too many other conferences to go to. What I missed the most this year was a more practical approach to problems. We all agree (most of us, anyway) that there are challenges ahead, and most of us even agree on what these challenges are, but there are few answers to any of the problems. I missed the “freshness” of the LILAC conference I attended this spring. Then again, maybe it`s just that it was my fifth ILI.. I don`t know.


  • Great people with lots of different skills
  • Good wifi (thank you Kensington Olympia!)
  • Good keynote by David Lankes
  • Phil`s latest discoveries (and several other sessions, too)


  • More “hands-on” tips and good practice stories (practical approaches are always appealing)
  • Sitting down for lunch (trying to balance your plate, glass while eating and talking= not easy)
  • Better food:)

Internet Librarian International 2012 – day 1

I am always excited to attend the Internet Librarian International, and this year was no exception. I usually write up some of my notes/tweets etc. in this blog. I find that it gives me an opportunity to go through my notes again, get some ideas repeated and I think it enhances my own learning. (I am writing while thinking so just ignore spelling etc.)
I gave the Keynote special attention in this blogpost, so I`ll move directly on to the rest of the sessions I attended on day 1 here.


My first session of the day was A101: Future technology: Stay ahead, stay agile with Brian Kelly, UKOLN and Marydee Ojala, ONLINE Magazine.
Brian Kelly was talking about the fact that it`s not enough to spot trends, you have to understand them. Sense-making (understand limitations of evidence-gathering techniques + provide suggestions of implications of developments in the sector). We cannot always predict what will happen. Kelly asked us to raise our hands if we had at least one device with us: almost everyone did. Then he asked who had two, three or four or more devices with them to ILI. At least 15 people in that session had four or more devices with them (I had three, btw.). Nobody predicted that a few years back.

Kelly also talked about the big trends, like social media (big trend still – really?). Twitter was one example mentioned. During the Olympics in London this summer, over 150 million tweets were posted. The University of Oxford has more than 650 000 “Likes” on their Facebook page. But what does it mean? asked Kelly. It is all about the nodes. It`s no use having one telephone, you need a network [probably why I have never really got going much with Pinterest and Google+].

Open data is a trend. Sports teams have started sharing their data, for example a soccer team (can`t remember which – sorry!) has opened up their statistics bank on player statistics and so on. It was the same with the Olympics.

Another trend mentioned by Kelly was outsourcing. Several big companies have started buing private library services instead of keeping an in-house library.

Marydee Ojala (who gave us a good tip on making your own cartoons, btw. I had a go myself. Really fun!) was saying that it is very hard to keep up to date, and harder still to stay ahead of emerging technology.

Google are not only adding features, they are also taking stuff away. Social searching is still in. Their relevancy ranking is not just about “page rank”, but they also use about 200 other “signals” in their relevancy ranking. These signals change all the time.

Personalisation is very in. This is a very good thing if you are only searching for things that you are interested in personally, but how many librarians do that? The Knowledge graph (new feature) is completely random.

Other news: has turned into a Q&A site, not really a search engine anymore, Exalead is now a business site, not a search engine anymore. Blekko is not really news, but it was still mentioned. It claims to be without spam and uses “slashtags” (forward slash) to facet searching. DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn`t store private data.

Premium content: Subscription databases are fighting for rights to publications. New now is that lots of publishers want to sell directly to libraries without going by way of vendors. Open Access is in, and this poses a threat to the big publishing houses. Students (and some staff members, in my opinion) don`t see the difference between bought items and free items. They think everything is free.

Facebook is entering the world of search. Categorisation becomes “fuzzy”.

Ojala`s tip: Read newsletters from vendors so that you know what they actually offer.


The next session I attended was C102: New tools, apps and web resources with Phil Bradley and Arthur Weiss. Phil Bradley`s “What Phil has found” is famous among ILI veterans. Bradley`s session is always full, and everyone is ready for his race through his lates discoveries on the web. It was just as fun and enlightening as always. His slides are available, and there he lists all the resources so I am not going to write them all down here. Just a few that I noted in particular:

On a general note, Bradley noted on Google now competing with FB for search, that Google is personalising image search = it finds images from your contacts on FB etc. Google is also pushing its Google+ content to all Google+ users. Bradley also mentioned Google Knowledge Graph, and said that this was one of Googles ways to push as much information as possible by linking many references to few resources on one page.

As always – a really fun session!

Arthur Weiss then followed to talk about Twitter tools. He mentioned that Hootsuite now lets you time your tweet, so that the tweet will go out at the right time to capture the attention of your followers.

These tools were also mentioned by him:

It was fun listening to Weiss, and to realise just how important a tool Twitter has become.


My next session was C103 Access to, and legal use of, e-resources. We don`t own our documents any more, we only pay for access. This became very clear when the Norwegian girl who bought a Kindle from had all her books withdrawn from Amazon because she had bought it from instead of .com like she was supposed to. She got her books back, but it really brought this issue into the light. We only pay for access. This is a problem.

What are the rights connected to linking, streaming and user-generated content when it comes to copyright? Are we allowed to use screenshots to make our tutorials? What about blogging? tooks for attribution can be of help with questions regarding Creative Commons licences.

It can be a good idea to include a “terms of contents” on the library website where we say that we are trying to live by copyright laws etc.


The session was called “The new scholar”, and I was very impressed by the speaker Henk can den Hoogen. He was talking about the University of Maastricht`s effort to tailor library services to PhD students. They have a program called UML+YOU for PhD students, and I will have a further look at it. Before the students even arrive at campus they get the opportunity to create a library profile and they receive information about a liaison librarian that is in charge of them (personalised service). This librarian can set up interesting RSS streams etc of interest to the PhD student. When the student arrives at his/her office the first day there is an envelope waiting from the library, with important information, invitation to special events etc.

The video about UML+YOU can be found here: 

It was a really good presentation!

After this session, I wanted to catch the first part of B105 – going mobile. I really wanted to listen to Angela Hamilton speak about delivering services to remote users. Unfortunately, the moderator of that session had changed the order of the speakers, and I had to leave before I got the chance to listen to Hamilton. Too bad! (And hint, hint to moderators: please follow the programme..)

Internet Librarian International (ILI) 2012 – day 1 Keynote

It`s that time of the year again – ILI in London! This was my 5th consecutive ILI, and here are some of my notes and thoughts from the conference.

This year the conference took place at a proper conference centre (Kensington Olympia – no luxuries, but perfectly adequate for ILI) instead of the usual hotels. Moving the conference to a conference centre was a very good idea! I could hardly believe my luck as I could get online the entire time at the conference. As one delegate said: What`s ILI without bad wifi? So – good job with the venue.

This year, there was a 25 % increase in number of delegates from last year, and 32 countries were represented.

I was very excited about the first keynote as it was to be given by David Lankes, the author of “The atlas to new librarianship”. Unfortunately, Mr. Lankes was in bad health and couldn`t travel to London. He had instead made a recording. I was very disappointed at first, but he did a very good job presenting, and after five minutes or so, I could really emerge into it.

David Lankes talked about how tools have always been our forte (books, material..). Now, other tools are in demand, Google being one example. Instead of embracing this as a useful new tool, a lot of librarians are worried.

The core of our business is helping people to knowledge, Lankes said. We should be the gateway to knowledge and sharing collections with the community. That is why we shouldn`t see the glut of information beyond our library services as a threat to our library roles, but to get back to a sharing model.
Lankes then spent some time explaining why we need to drop the lending model and get on with the sharing model, and he illustrated this with an example: The dinner party. If you invite people to a set plate dinner party, and your guest suddenly decides to bring friends to your party, you will run around in your kitchen trying to find more food for everyone (= the lending model). If you invite people to a potluck party, the more friends your invited guests bring, the more variety of dishes you will have (provided everyone follows the rules) (=the sharing model). He further illustrated this with the well-known fax machine example. The first one was useless. It needed a network to be of any use. But, said Lankes, there is a problem: When everyone is trying to use a network of limited availability, it can get slower and more difficult to use, like bandwith. This problem also exists in libraries.

Librarians, Lankes continued, should not only link users to resources, but also work as a hub between people. We should be initiators of conversations. It is the librarians who create the library, not the other way around.

Who decides what “new librarianship” is all about? It is created every day. We are not guardians of knowledge, but we can be people that our users (I`m sorry, Mr Lankes, I cannot call them “members”. This is not a club..) want to talk to, initiators of learning. We do not have to lead sessions all the time, some times our users/patrons/people can do it themselves if we give them the chance.

Many of the indicators that we use say little about what we really do, and they are therefore of little value to us. How do we measure having contributed to someones learning experiences? How do we measure having helped someone to better self-esteem?

Lankes continued with: We should always ask ourselves two questions: What is a library? and What role can I as a librarian play?

The library is not a supermarket, Lankes said. We must reject the consumer model. We have to stop tricking people into using the library, with commersials and special offers. Libraries don`t work by that model. Libraries should be less like supermarkets, and more like really good kitchens. We want libraries to be a place where our users/patrons/people can create and learn, a place where people can come together.

All in all, I thought it was an uplifting keynote, and a good start to the conference. Of course, as in most keynotes, there is much philospohy and little pragmatism, but then.. that`s what keynotes are for. Would have been great to have him around for Q & A, but.. I thank David Lankes for his inspiration, and for sharing his ideas, and I hope he gets well soon.