Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bridging Worlds 2008 Conference, Part 4: John Blyberg - Public Library 2.0: making it happen

[From Part 3]

John Blyberg (tall, lanky and soft-spoken) spoke about User Experience (UX).

"UX allows us to pursue X-treme User Experience".

His library carried through this conviction by setting up a team to look into user experiences on and offline.

"We must present it in a way to have consistency in communication".

What John suggests is, in my view, for librarians to be brand savvy. Starting by being brand conscious.

John explained the key values of UX:
  • Simplicity
  • Imagination - exploring the limits of technology, also possibilities for content
  • Openness
  • Coordination, within the org (says "this can be tricky", which I think is always an understatement!)
  • Feedback
  • Personal transformation

He also touched briefly about SOPAC (I'd hoped he'd share more about how they got buy-in and their thinking processes, but I guess I'll have to read his blog).

John Blyberg, at Bridging Worlds 2008 Conference

In his talk, John gave an example of a positive unintended consequence of introducing SOPAC.

A teacher asked for books on genealogy. Wanted it by that day. Librarian sent out an alert to other colleagues. "Use this tag to identify related books". Was able to get the list generated quickly with the help of colleagues.

Made a lot of sense. It's one possibility of social tagging that didn't occur to me until then.

Made me realise that even if customers didn't tag or comment (in the OPAC) as much as we would like them to, it was a tool that librarians could use it.

Let's say I want 10 books on Science Fiction. It would take far less time if 10 librarians each suggested and tagged one book, than for one librarian to come up with 10 books.

And instead of emailing me and compiling into a document, the "list" is now on the OPAC.

The tag is the "retrieval" tool for that subject. And I could update the list on the fly. And others can help.

Of course there's always possibilities that the one librarian may produce a better list than 10 librarians. But I feel Collective Knowledge tends to win out than one individual. Besides, the librarian can choose to use the tool or not. It's one more added tool to serve the customer better.

However, someone needs to point out its use. Like how John pointed it out to the audience.

'Cos some of us (myself included) can be stuck with the ways things have always been done.

Going back to John's talk about "User Experience", I think to really create X-treme (and delightful) customer service experience on and offline, we librarians have to unlearn and let loose.

[Next: Part 5]

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