In which I return to my profession.
Midwinter, networking nirvana, seems an opportune time to let y'all know that I'm back in the library game. I left last May, fed up with the state of library technology and the low rates of pay for library workers. This meant departing Arapahoe Library District for a small web development firm specializing in Drupal development for non-profits.
Cleaning out my desk today, I came across a small bundle of paper that I've been carrying around for four jobs now. It's time to recycle it, but I figured I could use this fancy new interwebs thing to record what the pieces of paper say. I've added notes as to when and why I kept these bits of paper as well as put them into chronological order.
"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." -Eleanor Roosevelt
So, maybe I'm feeling a touch guilty about pulling 3,000 people to this site to blame ILSs for my departure from the profession, but I've got to hand it to Innovative Interfaces, Inc., for a recent marketing push. If you're not a III customer, lemme catch you up: they have been working hard for over a year now moving their customer libraries to Sierra, a new backend services platform.
I'm excited to announce that beginning June 10th, I'll be working as a web developer at Aten Design Group. Aten (rhymes with Manhattan) is a small Drupal shop in downtown Denver that works largely with non-profits.
Okay, so our redesign/rebuild (in Drupal, natch) of our kids' web site is underway. I've done plenty of grown-up library web sites, but we had a brainstorming meeting the other day that left me feeling sans direction. So, I came up with these three COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL personas. Yes, entirely fictional. Heh.
So today I let go of a project that has been a huge part of my professional life since 2006. At that time, I had just started my job at the University of Colorado Denver's Auraria Library. As a new hire, I was a librarian and a member of the tenure-track faculty and thus looking for venues in which to cultivate research and service commitments, which accounted for 40% of my performance plan. An opportunity arose to guest edit an issue of Colorado Libraries, our state association's quarterly journal.
Get copies for the holidays! Gift wrap available! So happy to see that Designing and Developing Library Intranets was released on August 20th! This great resource is the result of the collaboration of over a dozen wonderful colleagues, originally published as a special double issue of The Journal of Web Librarianship (issue 4, volumes 2/3). I'm reminded seeing it today of the great experience editing the contributions from these wonderful people!
As more and more libraries strive to achieve a data-driven culture, it's important to ensure that the data we're relying on is reporting what we think it's reporting about our users. While library staff are users, too, they're superusers, and their behavior in our online environments is not typical of the majority of our customers. So, how can we be sure that we're getting accurate data from web analytics software reports to improve the end user experience? The answer is filtering staff use out of our web site analytics data.
Library web developers typically dread decision-making meetings, because when it comes to the library's web site, everyone has strong, and almost always differing, opinions. Determining a process that is rigorous, yet fair, and allows everyone's voice be heard is a challenge. The result is all-too-often a "design-by-committee" disaster: a web site design and information architecture based on internal politics rather than end user wants and needs. No one is happy with the final product, and everyone who was involved in the meetings just wishes for those precious hours of life back.