Measuring the rights things!

Jack Vinson on his blog Knowledge Jolt references a very interesting article called "The problem with metrics" in this blog post the author who is a numbers guy (I'm not sure I should admit to being a numbers guy but I probably am) looks at well...the problems with metrics..

Now we all know that there are problems with collecting metrics or statistics so is was refreshing to read a concise article on the problems with metrics and to some degree how to resolve them. Here they are:

  • Don’t mistake metrics for what we’re actually trying to measure: metrics are proxies – especially if we are trying to measure something abstract like innovation, or the quality of universities. So don’t get too hung up on your metrics – concentrate on your overall goal.
  • Align metrics with strategy: no one really wants twitter followers. You want something else – influence, or interaction, or something that one way or another actually does you some good. The interim steps are important, but don’t only measure these. You also need to figure out a way to measure the outcomes of your strategy.
  • Use multiple measures of success: this follows from the first two points. Most of the things that we really care about are hard to actually measure. If we are going to try, we need to use multiple measures so that we can triangulate on our desired objectives.

Working collaboratively means a new way of working...

James Robertson of Step two Designs has written an excellent article on how the new breed of Collaboration tools will require staff to work differently.

James explains the problem in more detail in his post Collaboration tools require new ways of working:

  • "these are deeply unfamiliar tools for most “normal” staff (ie not us). They are not drop-in replacements for our old ways of working, and require different behaviours and ways of thinking.It is therefore strange to see so many organisations rolling out these tools with little or no training or support. In many cases, there isn’t even an announcement heralding the release of these new tools, with adoption left to organic growth through word-of-mouth"

So much of what James says in his blog post rings true with me and the organisations I've worked in. So what can we do to avoid some of the issues highlighted in the blog post? Most important according to the article is Communication and Support it really is about being there to answer their questions and to make individuals use of these tools more effective.

A great post - which I'm sure I'll be referring to in the future!

What every LIS pro must know about SEO

If you haven't read it already I thoroughly recommend you read the Q&A with Shari Thurow on the Library & Information Update blog. In the blog post Shari provides excellent definitions of Search Engine Optmization (SEO) and Information Architecture (IA) her definition of SEO is as follows:

  • SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimisation (or optimization). On the Web, search engine optimisation is commonly viewed as the process of optimising a website for people who use search engines.

Shari also provides a more detailed definition of IA, which I'm not going to reproduce here as you can read it on full on the blog post or on the Semantic Studios website

This is a concise blog post but I'm looking forward to Part 2!

Managing personal change

We're in a time of massive change both within our professional and perhaps more significantly across the country. The question is how can Library professionals deal with/manange change effectively and what are the most important skills you need to foster in order to deal with change?

Roy Tennant's article in the Library Journal Digital Libraries column posts his thoughts about how Library professionals should approach change. He makes some interesting points, of which my favourites are:

  • Don’t be afraid of forgetting. These days you don’t need to remember very much. You can look everything else up on the Internet. And in the age of the smartphone and tablet devices, you can often do this at times where you never could before.

  • Don’t blindly embrace the new. Not every technology that comes down the pike is worth your time and attention. It may be worth enough time to assess it, but don’t think just because it is new and shiny that it should be immediately embraced.

  • Look forward. Ever, ever, look forward. Because that is the present you will soon inhabit. Because that is the force that will shape your life — with or without your permission or acquiescence. Because that is what you hope to make better
Via the iLibrarian

Integrating applications into the Intranet

This is something I'm thinking about right now so it was interesting to read Catherine Grenfell's blog post called "Integreating applications into the intranet" on the Step Two Designs blog.

Right from the outset Catherine highlights the most important thing to remember when integrating an application into the Internet, that is that the experience for staff should be "seamless" Staff don't want to have to worry about where the application sits or exists, they just need to know that it sits somewhere within the Intranet and that they can access it easily and of course seamlessly.

Catherine goes on to look at the different types of "applications" from Embedded applications which might appears as part of the Intranet in both design and appearance, Unique applications, which will appear different from the Intranet in design and appearance and External applications, which are usually systems which are sourced externally but might be broadly branding to match the organisations branding. How well you can integrate these types of applications ultimately depends on the CMS or WCMS you're using.

Catherine then goes on to outline some of the basics around integrating applications within the Intranet, touching on the Intranet homepage, which is a contentious issue the world over!! Catherine also mentions collaboration and social tools which as Catherine writes "...has made it less clear to staff where the intranet starts and ends"

This is a really interesting which provides a good introduction to how intranet links should be organised by Intranet teams.

Should intranet links open in a new window?

I'm a fan of James Robertson and his website Column Two so it was with interest I read his latest blog post on whether Intranet links should open in new windows James' post follows an interesting discussion on the Intranet Professionals groups on LinkedIn which if you're involved in managing an Intranet and haven't joined yet I thoroughly recommend you do.

In his blog post James outlines the many possibilities for opening windows on an Intranet and the benefits/usability challenges or adopting one approach in preference to another.

James sums up the approach which I believe most Intranet Managers will want to take which is "If in doubt, keep it simple, and err on the side of fewer new windows and tabs rather than more"

Keeping track of your passwords!

What I'd really like is seamless access (authenticated access) to every single website I need to log on to. In lieu of that I guess I'll have to use a password management tool like one of the ones listed in this very useful article from My Life Scoop.

In the article the author discusses the benefits of using 5 tools, they are;

There is another nice list of ways to keep your password secure at 10 Free ways to track all your passwords.