future of libraries, part III: fingertips to fingertips panel session (or, god bless yugma)

I just finished my first experiment in virtual conference presentation using Skype/Yugma, and it went marvelously well – I did a 20 minute voice and video over IP/M reference talk for a panel session at the Future of Libraries, Part III conference in San Fransisco, which I unfortunately attended from a study room at Alden Library in Athens, Ohio with a small spotlight pointed into my face (not that there’s any major differences between rural Appalachia and San Fransisco, or anything).

Sarah Houghton-Jan of Librarian in Black both moderated the session and presented on translating traditional library services into virtual library services, then Debbie Faires and Jeremy Kemp of San Jose State University discussed using Second Life as a reference and outreach tool (see notes below on both presentations). My part of the panel covered Skype as a potentially disruptive library technology and described our two current pilot Skype reference services (video kiosk and Skype a Librarian) – stay tuned for a detailed series of posts on Skype reference soon to come.

I was able to simultaneously share my presentation slides with the FoL audience and communicate with them via video call using an awesome free Skype extension called Yugma – it allows cross-platform (Mac v. Windows) desktop sharing, web conferencing, and a host of other options via Skype using a split web- and desktop application-based interface. Here’s a shot of the Yugma platform:


For today’s purposes this application worked smashingly well. It’s a little cumbersome to actually establish the shared connection, but once you get things off the ground you are able to create an excellent and stable multimodal (and did I mention free?) virtual conference. I was able to watch all of the presenters via Skype during the actual panel, as well.

A few notes from the other panelists:

Sarah Houghton-Jan:

translating common services into an environment where most users spend their time online

explain how and why new services are relevant – example, ebooks as the online equivalent of a print reference collection

what is your library providing physically that you could translate virtually?

welcome multiple perspectives on extending library services

library cards: augmenting physical cards with e-cards, automatic privileges for remote users (contra costa library, marin libraries)

library catalogs: show of hands – who likes their OPAC? (5 out of 200 in the audience raise their hands). recent experiments in innovative catalogs (ann arbor social opac – SOPAC: features, virtual library comment card). experiments in open source opacs – instead of sinking money into software, sink money into a cataloger who can customize the service (koha, the evergreen project georgia pines collective) wpopac: based in wordpress, blog cum catalog – each item is a post rather than a record, work work best for a small collection. user-friendly, user-interactive, feature rich is what users expect – in today’s online environment people should be able to expect amazon-like features.

communication with users: feedback – email feedback, online forums. online reference – chat, live tutoring help, meebome widgets, skype, SMS

library success wiki: resource for information on all of these programs

users communicating with other users: online book discussion groups, game tournament interest groups (game nights for kids and grownups, the wii for seniors) – provide gamers with forum for discussing strategies and experiences, blogs and wikis as discussion platforms, providing forum for commenting on library recommended items, libraries offering to create and/or host interest groups for local users

social spaces: out of control social spaces can be fun – second life, successful library interactions in second life, mmpogs, world of warcraft, everquest. many people spending more time in these online environments, library avatar interactions are fun.

recommending items for users: blogs and wikis both are very useful

local history: digitize and present local, unique history collections – will generate positive feedback (sfpl local history project).

downloadables: many formats and items available for downoad through the library’s opac and site. “if you have the choice, say yes to downloadable.”

events in the library: how do we preserve and present one-time events? online learning software: create online classes, record storytime, record presenters

finally – there is a lot going on. take it one step, one project at a time.

Debbie Faires and Jeremy Kemp: Second Life

(and i could barely hear this part of the presentation – no one was wearing the headset with the mic)

who has an avatar in second life?

second life is a virtual environment, online digital world, not a game associated with it. area created my its residents, they can socalize, create a free account

new iteration of the web – second life as web 3. the environment is unceratin, but there’s a lot going on in this environment.

what is a library? it’s not just about a physical building – it’s about building community in multiple spaces. libraries without walls – there’s no need for them in second life.

expanding library services to the community

reference in second life = users going to the reference area, volunteer librarian avatars at the virtual reference desk.

out of 5000 visitors per month, there are about 200 reference questions – about 4 percent of users have inquiries

putting resources where people are – how much traffic is in second life? there’s a lot going on…

offering web-based resources through access points within the second life interface – web resources through wall-mounted boards, etc.

health concern support groups and informatoinal boards in second life

what works better in second life than in real life? use the immersive environment in second life. good example – reconstruction of the globe theater as a wonderful experience to learn within second life. tremendous educational opportunity. vassar has built a model of the sistine chapel

programs happen in second life – book discussion groups based on genre, author visits, banned book week events. volunteer library community within second life – opportunities for professional development and involvement, as well as information literacy instruction.

(brief video on second life. i couldn’t really hear the audio on this either, which is too bad – the film looked great and was cracking the audience up regularly).

a few screenshots from my perspective of the presentation:


some of sarah

Thanks again to Sarah and Paul Signorelli for their help in pulling this off.

5 thoughts on “future of libraries, part III: fingertips to fingertips panel session (or, god bless yugma)

Add yours

  1. Not only can I not believe you already wrote and posted this (must be because you’re three hours ahead of us, so you had more time than we did to respond), but I’m amazed at how detailed your notes were.

    Obviously loved having you as part of the event, and want to gratefully and openly acknowledge the key role you played in shaping the presentation. You made a large group of colleagues here on the West Coast aware of a magnificent resource, and you made the whole experience lots of fun.

    Thanks again.

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