Kudos to CiL for bringing the Smithsonian‘s Michael Edson, to the line up. He takes the prize, as an entertaining, intelligent and engaging presenter, and as a steward of knowledge, committed to the conversation’s afterlife, for sure. He has posted both the slides and script (he humbly calls it the “text” version, but it includes full citations and footnotes!) on slideshare and he blogs at smithsonian20/typepad.com and usingdata.typepad.com.
I recommend reading his full “text” version, but here are the gems I wrote down before realizing I would be returning to the presentation like I would a comfort food. Even though he was talking about the Smithsonian, I heard most of what he said with my “library” and “WebJunction Community” filter, so as the title of my post suggests, imagine a library or a WebJunction commons where:
commons = set of resources maintained in the public sphere for the use and benefit of everyone.
And do the following:
I am pleased and proud to say that WebJunction is ahead of the curve in imagining a commons…our new learning platform has been designed to do all of the above. WebJunction is the commons for librarians and library staff to actualize “distributed collaboration” and “crowdsourcing” as (using Michael Edson’s role definitions here) visitors, collaborators, contributors, customers, critics, competitors and champions.
However, as he pointed out, inserting the vocabulary of the “commons” into the language of the institution [or profession] is the biggest challenge. As I said yesterday, how do we sustain the afterlife of conversations and insert our learning into the everyday? How do we message the urgency for folks to use the WebJunction commons to exchange their knowledge and experience?
Help increase the value of your actualized WebJunction (no longer just imagined!) commons for library learning by contributing. Take just 5 minutes to post a tip as a part of April’s campaign where we’re aiming to collect 101 Tech Success Tips in 30 Days…post one tip and get 100 in return and be a part of the WJ commons!
I had this post started before this morning’s keynote with Paul Holdengraber (Live from the NYPL), but his comment about the “afterlife of the conversation” wrapped my thoughts up so perfectly. He started the day with a bang and loads of laughs, talking about his job at the NYPL. There are other posts out there that capture all the gems, but here are some of my favorites:
In talking about his work interviewing folks, Paul said that part of his intention is to stimulate the “afterlife” of the interview or conversation, both in the buzz that’s created online, during and following the events, but also in the choices folks make to go to the stacks, read the book, and continue to engage with the library.
So, my original title for this post was “all pumped up, and no place to go”. I’ve had a number of CiL conversations with folks excited by presentations and eager to return home to apply fresh tech tactics in their own libraries. There’s a palpable conference euphoria in the air, but it’s coupled with anxiety about the conference afterlife. One librarian at my table at OCLC’s update breakfast said she was so excited to return to try some of these new tactics at her library, but specifically expressed anxiety about getting them past management. The barriers to sustaining the afterlife of our CiL conversations could rear their ugly heads in the form of passive managers or colleagues, or perhaps as a comment in these times like “there’s no budget for that”.
So what can we do to sustain the conversation? How can we come together to overcome these barriers and fully actualize our conference learning in the conversation’s afterlife?
Ahem…What about WebJunction?
I’ve often heard of WJ members who have tooled themselves with the stories, case studies and best practices they find on WebJunction before approaching their managers, their library boards, or their staff. With “proof”, they are better able to demonstrate the value of implementing newly learned tactics. Or folks have bolstered their proposals with the learning gathered via a set of related WJ courses.
So when you have success stories to share about overcoming these barriers, or when you need to tap into the experiences and learning of others and ask for advice, don’t forget about your WJ community of 40,000 librarians. As stewards of technology and resources (see presentation from yesterday) you may not realize how your experiences might be leveraged by another in libraryland to advocate for fresh strategies to sustain library services.
So this is a call to action for all of you out there. Please use your WebJunction to leverage the conversation’s afterlife. As Helene Blowers said during her session this morning, you are what you share.
I’m heading to Crystal City this weekend for Computers in Libraries and based on the learning I’ve done leading up to the conference, I’m really excited about attending! I’ll be presenting on Monday afternoon with 2009 Mover and Shaker, Susan Conlon, on the Continuum of Engagement, but that’s not where the story begins.
Way back in September, Janie Hermann (she’s moderating Track E at CiL btw) suggested I connect with Susan Conlon, based on my idea for a proposal. Susan has demonstrated her engaging leadership in the Princeton community through projects like the Princeton Environmental Film Festival where she leverages creative technologies to welcome all in the library community to engage and learn together.
Throughout the past 6 months, Susan and I have utilized technologies of all sorts to connect and share in the creation of this presentation. We exchanged slides, concepts and lists on email (via both work and gmail), IM and on the phone. We had to overcome technology barriers, like file size limits or Internet connectivity challenges when traveling. But every time we connected we were struck by the learning we were doing in the process of exploring together, the topic of engagement. We celebrated when the light bulbs were going off at the same time, when we discovered synergy in our experiences and when we uncovered solutions to some of the engagement barriers we had encountered in our respective work environments.
But that’s not where the story ends. Leveraging an additional technology, I uploaded our final presentation deck yesterday to WJ’s Conference Presentations page. This morning I received an email from Sheila Kearns, one of my favorite “WJ engagers,” mentioning the presentation deck. Sheila told me recently that she has one of her browsers’ homepages set to her “My WebJunction,” which is probably how she noticed I had created a new document on the site (I’m one of her WJ “friends” and so my activity on the site shows up in her “updates”). She kindly pointed out a typo and also gave me props for the deck and the concept of “community resource stewards”. But most importantly, she directed me to a new resource related to the topic of our presentation. She said she had first seen the concept of “community technology stewards” in the book project called Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith. This work is new to me, so I was very excited she mentioned it before CiL so I could add it to the presentation!
I’m sure there are many other stories “behind the presentation” for all the sessions on the CiL program. I think it’s truly exciting to be collaborating with such an enormous knowledge base within our profession, and hope we can be good “conference stewards” both as presenters and as attendees, and share back all our learning with colleagues who aren’t able to attend.
If you are heading to CiL, please be sure to add Michael Porter‘s and my sessions to your calendar and track us down. For those who will not be attending, stay tuned to BlogJunction for updates on our learning!