So, you may or may not have noticed that MADLibrarian has a new logo! I uploaded it last month. I think it’s marvellous, and I think it conveys what I’m trying to do with this blog.

According to William Haig, PhD, logo expert and consultant:
“The company logo is probably the most important marketing tool on your business card or on your website. It gives your company a competitive advantage and will help you achieve company goals. This is not the role of just any logo. You must have a POWERLOGO.” And that is exactly what I have here.

So, I would like to thank the logo designer, Rob Kimmel for his hard work and diligence. He submitted several versions and we both agreed that this was the best. I hope you agree as well.

Rob is a great designer and a great American. He can be found HERE.


Thou Shalt Be Social. And Here’s How.

Fast Company’s telling us how to incorporate social media into our business lives, with this article called The 10 Commandments of Social Media. It’s by Lon Safko, who wrote a book called “The Social Media Bible,” and has a blog by the same name.


Here are his recommendations for social media usage for business success:

  • Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy).
  • Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere).
  • Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them).
  • Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find).
  • Thou Shalt Podcast (often).
  • Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately).
  • Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs).
  • Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone).
  • Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week).
  • Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)!
  • A May 2009 ANA survey found that social media marketing was one of the marketing activities that was likely to get a budget increase during the recession:

    marketing-activities-increaseAnd, the survey goes on to explain that once the recession ends, budget increases are expected for general media (68% of marketers), social networking (41%) and testing and innovation (40%). 

    This is cool – marketers are really willing to try something new in order to reach consumers during the tough times and beyond. But they’re not quite there yet; a lot of marketers seem to still be uncomfortable with new technology, and they are not quite willing to go all the way.

    For example, a recent Deloitte survey found that 55% of executives admitted that their companies do not have an official policy for social networks—and 22% would like to use social nets, but don’t know how. Furthermore, the survey found that nearly three-quarters of employees agreed that it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media, including 24% who strongly agreed.

    That’s enough to cause most companies to be very careful, if not scare them away completely.

    I recently went to LibCampNYC 2009, which was an “unconference” gathering consisting of a choice of four sessions that covered various important current librarian issues. It was attended by about 140 information professionals across several disciplines: academic, public and special/corporate librarians (like yours truly). 

    I probably don’t have to mention that social media figured prominently in the schedule and continued to surface during conversations and discussions throughout the day.

    One particular session was called “Social Media Marketing,” and was facilitated by iLibrarian blogger extraordinaire, Ellyssa Kroski. During the discussion, New York Public librarians explained how they use Twitter to push content and make their users aware of new collections and events going on in the library. An interesting change that was noted in the discussion is that before social media, all marketing was top-down, and marketing-department-controlled. Now, many people are contributing, and it’s a way for everybody to get in on marketing.

    This is a perfect opportunity to leverage brand ambassadors – from within the enterprise and the library or information center.

    Moving Beyond the Printed Word

    Another in-house news library closed today – this time, for ABC News. They canceled all of their print subscriptions, and are looking to donate all of their books. To this end, they are implementing a “state of the art research system” with an outside “research consultant” so that employees can do their own research from their desktops.


    One can only wonder what this is, and can only speculate what this will mean for the future quality of reportage at ABC. Who could this outside research consultant be, and how could this affect ABC in the long run, or save money?

    I blogged about this in April, around the time when the Wall Street Journal closed its library. It also reminds me of what happened at Forbes library, to a friend of mine who works there.

    I contacted her because she posted on the SLA listserv that she was trying to get rid of most of her print collection. When the alarmed people on the listserv thought that Forbes was closing their library for good, she replied that the library was staying open, but, in the spirit of ABC, would have more of a digital presence than a print presence.

    At the time, at my organization, we were considering moving towards a more “paperless” situation, and implementing print subscription cutbacks. We still are doing some of this, but we are not getting rid of our books entirely, as we first envisioned. For this reason, I reached out to the librarian at Forbes to see how they managed it – and learned a few things:

    • Transition to digital came about due to cutbacks and staff attrition. The librarian I spoke to is the only librarian left, and she has one support staff member.
    • Clippings files were abandoned before this librarian began working at Forbes, in the early ‘00s – they were called “morgue files” because they became out-of-date quickly (i.e. “dead information.”)
    •  They are moving to a new space that will be about the size of an office, and they were only able to bring a very select few print items due to space concerns. The rest were given to a Baruch College program that donates books to China.
    • Their “digital library” consists of online databases such as Moody’s, Lancer Analytics, Hoover’s, Thomson Gale databases, Investext, Nexis and Forbes archives. Each writer/reporter at Forbes has Factiva on his desktop, and most do their own research.
    • They are currently looking into digitizing Forbes archives from 1917-1975 (these currently exist in microfilm).

    I don’t really know what to say about this except to mourn the state of news librarianship. By sidelining news librarians, I believe these organizations are making a big mistake that will probably affect them negatively in the long run.

    In the meantime, more and more librarians are either losing their jobs or are, as in the case of my friend at Forbes, being overwhelmed with work and left with little or no support.

    There’s no doubt that a lot of this has to do with the state of the economy, but it also has to do with short-sighted CEOs whose cuts may be too deep to easily recover from.

    Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part…

    Library Journal has an article about being optimistic when the job market is so tight. The article explains that libraries can use crises as learning opportunities, that libraries are more indispensable than ever during rough times, and that the best way to survive is to actually add services even though it may add stress to an already stressed-out staff.


    The last half of the article provides advice on how to be more marketable for graduating library students. But this advice is useful for everyone, even currently employed librarians. I’ll add my comments in italics:

    • Make Issues Opportunities. Look at any of the issues impacting libraries right now, for example, the economy, new converged devices, and digital streaming and downloads. Then look at what innovative thinkers have done regarding such issues. Learn to be such change agents. Think about what you can do at your job to cut costs and make permanent changes that will benefit the organization in the long term. Think digitization, collection development budget shifts, streamlining and efficiency.
    • Never Stop Learning. By graduation, our students should have learned, through successes and stumbles, how to address a problem and find solutions via evidence and their own thinking. When one student expressed her excitement at mastering Facebook, I commented, “Now you can take on anything.” The master’s degree is just that, not an end point for librarians’ learning. Think about auditing classes at your alma mater, joining an organization like ALA or SLA and taking advantage of webinars, annual conferences, workshops and networking. Subscribe to magazines to learn about the latest technologies and trends. Join METRO and take classes. 
    • Be Curious. Marketing guru Seth Godin suggests, “To be curious means to explore first.” New grads should emphasize this trait and even add it to their résumés, saying something like, “I’m curious about how libraries and librarians can help change the world, one library user at a time.” I can’t really add anything to this. Great advice.
    • Focus on the Heart. No matter where they find work, new grads should remember they’re human-focused. Consultant and blogger Karen Schneider reminds us that “the User is the Sun.” If we help people achieve the best they can—satisfying information needs, providing entertainment, enabling social connections—we’re reaching the heart. And, as any service-oriented organization knows, good customer service NEVER goes out of style. This is something that people always appreciate, no matter what the economic climate may be. This is a great way to ensure longevity!


    I feel that I must post about this. Wolfram/Alpha, which is a new “Computational Knowledge Engine.” Now, I’m not PROUD, I haven’t been following this innovation for years or anything. The fact is, I read about it on the subway this morning in one of those free newspapers.

    So there it was, a short blurb on the Google Killer, Wolfram/Alpha, which claims to give search engine results based on verified facts! I mean, come on, that’s all that anyone’s asking here–for verified, authoritative information to appear when we enter a search string into a search engine.


    I hastened to work to test it, but found that it wasn’t how the free newspaper characterized it. It’s by no means a Google killer. There IS room in this town for the two of them–the two can coexist just fine. If you enter a distance or mathematical question into Wolfram/Alpha, you’ll get an answer. And it will be the right answer–based on scientific or mathematical fact.

    If you enter something a little more theoretical, such as “probability of getting a job in Washington DC,” you will get this: Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input. Which, based on the Googlization of search, seems WOEFULLY inadequate. I was hoping at least for a listing of pertinent articles or web sites. But that’s not what Wolfram/Alpha is for or about. No, Wolfram/Alpha’s goals are more lofty than that:

    “Wolfram/Alpha’s goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.”

    Now, that would be something ELSE. What a great idea! All existing knowledge, all objective data, every known model available to every searcher! What could be more fabulous!

    Now look, I don’t want to sound too sarcastic. This search engine just launched on Friday, and here it is Tuesday. There is plenty of time to improve; Google took time as well. Let’s give them a chance and see what they can do. When it comes to theoretical knowledge, they may prove to be wanting. Otherwise, when you know you need a definitive, scientifically proven exact answer, Wolfram/Alpha may be your destination.

    The Challenge of Corporate Library 2.0

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about the difference between public/academic social libraries and corporate libraries. It’s highly unusual to even consider something like a social corporate library. Why? Because of security. Think of it this way: with public and academic libraries, librarians are trying to get the information out to whomever requests it. Sometimes, even to those who don’t request it. They try to make sure that information is accessible to anyone and everyone.

    In a corporate library, librarians are trying to make sure that information gets into THE RIGHT HANDS. What makes up a corporate library? Generally, proprietary information: corporate archives, employee generated content, awards submissions, presentations, meetings minutes, etc. If there are requests for third-party information, the reason for the request might often be sensitive and confidential. Corporate libraries don’t lend themselves automatically to the “open” culture of social media. These are things you don’t want to share with outsiders, let alone colleagues.


    But there must be a place for corporate library 2.0. It’s the wave of the future; it’s where everything is going. Social media is hot, and consumer generated media is even hotter. Libraries are disappearing because people are doing their own research, and they don’t think professionals are needed. So where do we go from here?

    I’m not doing a commercial here, but a few months ago, I saw an article about special library 2.0 in Information Outlook Magazine. It was an interesting article to begin with but what cemented it in my mind were two things.

    1) The author described social libraries in a way that really resonated with me: 


    “Social libraries combine traditional library automation and workflow with collections of diverse content and vetted knowledge. These are then fused with the ‘wisdom of the community,’ or the network. The result is ‘social knowledge.'”

    2) The author works for the database company that my workplace uses as a repository for our information requests. The irony is that the organization that I work for, before I began working there, decided not to update the version of the database that we use. Although it’s very useful to us, and fits our needs, the version that we have is clunky. The version that is described in this article is beyond our ken.

    But it’s not out of the question. It’s brilliant, and it could be very useful. After all, the article goes on to explain:


    “Social knowledge networks let organizations quickly harness collective wisdom and use this wisdom to enhance vetted content. The relevant knowledge that results (and is in the repository) helps organizations enhance content, improve productivity and collaboration, and ultimately, become more competitive, innovative and effective.” 

    And who wouldn’t want THAT?

    So therefore, we take a step back and explore how our organization can leverage this promising new way of reaching our members/users:

    • Use chat reference–not to answer research questions (which can have a week to two week turnaround time), but to refer the user to other departments or to manage their expectations. However it is used, it is another touchpoint; another way for users to reach us.
    • Develop a wiki where users can interact with one another, and contact each other for offline conversations/networking/contacts.
    • Develop an anonymous forum for users to pose questions to their colleagues who may have recommendations, benchmarks, and information borne of experience. The insights found there may not be available in published form.
    • Develop a safe and anonymous area for people to comment on content in the database. This may include content ratings, but may also include insights and/or detailed ways to improve content.
    • An area for users to post new content – insights, articles, charts, graphs – whatever may be deemed useful to fellow users or colleagues, based on experience, training or education.  

    The true challenge here is to enable corporate users to be anonymous and to create a space where corporate users feel comfortable to interact with each other and share with one another. This can be done. Let’s do it.



    Manage Your Social Media Profiles

    Bad reputation online? Don’t let it happen!


    We see it more and more today – potential employers Googling a person’s name; we might hear a story of a person with unsavory pictures on their Facebook page being given the stink eye at the company party.

    Well, here is some good advice from Mashable on managing all of your social network pages. The key for everybody here is CONSISTENCY. You don’t want to look like somebody with multiple personality disorder (even if you ARE), so you want to make sure that all of your profiles are up-to-date, relatively decent (or at least sanitary), and that they all point to you, and not someone else who happens to have your name or happens to use your favorite username.

    Another recent article about managing your reputation online is this one, from the New York Times, about Google beginning to display profile results for name queries. You should manage your profile and be very sure that anything damaging will be removed, or at least amended.

    Some real-world incidents pointed out in an Ad Age article about community building…

    • An employer updated his LinkedIn profile to say he was looking to hire new programmers. Current employees thought they were at risk and started leaving.
    • An HR person turned down a candidate because he noticed that a candidate’s professional profiles varied from network to network.
    • A co-op board rejected an applicant because an “old” profile seemed to suggest the person had not held a steady job in six years.

    Since you are the product these days, it can mean the difference between getting or losing out on a job, an apartment or a romantic relationship. Bad Reputation is a great song by Joan Jett, don’t get me wrong – you just might not want it to be the soundtrack to your life.