User Centered Design: The New Card Catalog for the Digital Information Age

The Kansas City Public Library just posted a new position: User Centered Design Specialist

I love that we’re doing this! I know that it’s become something of a cliché to talk about UX, but the simple fact of the matter is that user experience and interaction design are only going to become more important as we proceed in our Digital Information Age.

The landscape of information access is undergoing radical evolution. We have a wider variety of information accessing technology than ever before: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, gaming systems – with different operating systems and coding platforms for each. More importantly, these technologies have created a near-infinite variety in points of access – wherever we can carry our devices (and still have signal) we can access information at will.
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Misquoted Darwin

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”—Charles Darwin

A friend of mine recently posted this quotation on Facebook. I commented that this is one thing that too many people get wrong about Darwin’s theory—too many people assume that survival of the fittest means survival of the strongest. But that’s not necessarily the case.

I was all set to write a blog about all the other commonly held misunderstandings that people have about the Theory of Evolution. First, though, I wanted to verify the quotation my friend had posted.

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Copyright & Fair Use

This article from Kevin L. Smith, published online by Library Journal on October 18, 2012, presents a truly excellent argument in favor of Fair Use:

Why Are Some Publishers So Wrong About Fair Use?

It also serves to crystallize many of my thoughts regarding the changing nature of copyright law in this country.
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The True Scope of History

Human anatomical modernity began approximately 200,000 years ago.

Human behavioral modernity began approximately 50,000 years ago.

The entirety of humanity’s known written record dates back approximately 5,000 years.

Consider what this means: Our brains have been as complex as they are now – we’ve possessed the same curiosity, drive, wanderlust, intelligence, and creativity – for at least 50,000 years. We’ve been exploring, experimenting, testing, learning, and figuring things out this whole time. It may be that we’ve been this curious and intelligent for the full 200,000 years of our existence.

If we take the 50,000 year mark – this means we only know, at most, 10% of everything we’ve done in that time. 90% of our own history is unknown to ourselves, except through some cave paintings and fossils.

If we take the 200,000 year mark – that percentage drops to 2.5%, leaving 97%-98% of our own history completely in the dark.

Humbling, ain’t it?

The Potential of Ebooks: A Modest Proposal

A colleague of mine recently recommended the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It looks like a perfect creepy read for Halloween! I’m looking forward to it.

You can preview the first three chapters (plus the Prologue) through the publisher’s website. So, I clicked the link to the PDF and started scrolling through.

I was actually a bit disappointed. Not with the book, it’s really good (the Prologue and first chapter are, anyway!)

No, I was disappointed because the images don’t move. Reading it online, I found that I really wanted the images to be animated gifs.
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On the Perception of Librarians

ReadWriteWeb offers these 5 Commandments For Smartphone Owners. In particular, #2 (I will help people with my smartphone) and #3 (I will support my community with my smartphone) speak to me very powerfully. These are the reasons why I got into public service in the first place!

I recall an incident that occurred while I was still living in Chicago…

There was a homeless man standing on a street corner downtown, which wasn’t the least bit unusual or remarkable. He had a suitcase with all his possessions in it, and he had that lost and scared look endemic to the indigent. What made this homeless man different from the rest is that, unlike every other homeless person you pass on the streets of a big city, he wasn’t asking for money. He was asking everyone who walked by if they knew where the nearest homeless shelter was. He just wanted to get off the street and get help.
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How NOT to Handle Bad Press

This post appeared on the Facebook page for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library today. Take a minute to read through it.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151169164137976&set=a.380087232975.161981.5530982975&type=1

It’s in response to this article:

Stolen Wallet Leads to Major Library Fines from Kansas First News

All I can say is – Shame on you, TSCPL!
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