Digital Odyssey 2007

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Jeffrey Trzeciak – University Librarian – McMaster University Library

Posted by odyssey2007 on April 20, 2007

Slides | Photos

Opening session (9:15am – 10:45am)

– purpose of talk was to speak about creating a “Culture of innovation”, and preparing the Library of today for the learner of tomorrow

About Him
• More than 20 years experience, started career in public library, but most experience in academic libraries
• From Wayne State
• Experiences primarily in the IT realm
• Blog –
• He is a gamer, with a passion for World of Warcraft, spending 20-30 hours a week
• On Second Life
• On Facebook

McMaster University Library
• He has been at Mac since July
• Previous Admin at Mac was very conservative
• Challenges: small staff (especially in IT), low funding, silo-ized library from rest of campus therefore need to extend to get involved in instruction and research; not on the radar of rest of university community; at Wayne State, library involved with media services, open source, grant writing, digital initiatives, etc. and very integrated with campus, partnerships with public libraries, community groups.
• Need to start dialogue , become actively involved, establish relationships with other libraries (Mohawk College and Hamilton Public Library)
Focus on Opportunities and Future
• Diana Oblinger – Technology has impacted generation
o they are: digitally literate, constantly connected, experiential, demand immediacy, highly social)
o They are the 1st generation to never know life without the internet
• James Duderstadt (library as observation post for students);

• Is everywhere, is well established, and highly emotional
• What is gaming -broad definitions – wikipedia;
• increasing trend;
o AOL study vs. Nielsen (women, casual games; men, ‘active games’); ‘games are complex’ (take lots of time, communities of practice developed around it);
o second life (avg. age is 35, nearly half is women)
o Using Wii with elderly (benefits)
• Communities of practice
o Websites devoted to games
o People clearly spending hundreds of hours creating guides
• ‘Games are expected’ – what students will be bringing as they enter undergrad

‘Gamer generation’ – statistically different generation, different ways of working, different skills, different goals, think differently, compete differently
• Audience Question: what meant by “Desire systematically different goals”? Goals are more oriented towards taking risks, acceptance, etc. (are these different from others?)
• WoW -his experience, involvement
o He is interested in interactions that occur within the game, and the relationships that develop
o He acts as a mentor, and is part of a guild of over 300
o It is more social than most people think
o His goals are more about the social aspect, and learning.observinh how people interact within the world
o utilities allow to talk but he doesn’t do that because likes to suspend and immerse in the game; PhD in educational technology
• Neuroplasticity: Marc Prensky ‘gaming changes structure of brain’; ‘distributed cognition’ ie. Working as a team, and accomplish goal with others through cooperation.
o Challenge: digitally literate generation and stick them into traditional classrooms and libraries; in many ways libraries also look a lot like a century ago, given some changes likes info commons.
o Think about how much has changed in this brief period to time (card catalogs vs. now).

Games? Are the Educationally sound
• Robert Gagne and The Conditions of Learning (1995):
1 ) gain attention – gaming is more revenue than movies; need to gain attention before learning can happen
2 ) Inform learner objectives;
3 )……;
4 ) present the material;
5 ) guide learner: advancing through games, pick up skills, get a mentor;
6 ) elicit performance- practice:
7 ) Provide feedback: complex user interface with what your health is, etc.;
8 ) assess performance;
9 ) promote retention and transfer: visual clues to aid in memory, maps for geography.

We need a new paradigm – because this generation has already been radically transformed by technology
• Need to engage users in ways they want to be; know they are engaged with games, social spaces web 2.0, content, handhelds
• Facebook for study groups as well as social reasons (Mac)
• Mac: librarian in second life offering reference (New Media Consortium –
• Open source and second life
• He is in Facebook, and is “Friends” with president of student union
• Okay for us to be in these spaces? As authority figures vs. being invited by students to come and engaging with them (e.g. student – ‘Jeff, I want to talk to you about 24 access’)
• Mac: 4 pillars of transformation: ourselves, (information) resources, services, facilities (tools?)

• Hamilton Spectator newspaper heard Mac implementing Endecca, and library is changing, etc.; publicity
• Mac president – Peter George -asked for presentation to board of governors, introduced as gaming character, found receptive audience to pleasant surprise, members from industry, etc., so maybe not so surprising (they all put down their blackberries) vs. religious studies group (choose your audience!)

How Did they get here?
• Transformation team formed at Mac, blog,
• invited lots of guest speakers (Sept – Dec, 2006); leading faculty to speak of their needs and desires (business, classics, multimedia), other library leaders (to come: Michael Stephens – tametheweb; John Shank –
• 5 Rs: restructure, reassign, retirements, retrain, recognize (for presentation purposes)
o Restructuring – focusing more on learning
– Users see us as ‘service’ previously, vs. partners, instructors, etc.
o Retirements
– Reference – user experience librarian
o Eliminated ‘cataloging department’ (10 voluntary separation packages / retirements) – 300, 000 salary savings and created new positions (8) vs. vacancy freezes across university
o New positions: librarians (6), manager (1), CAW (1)
o Hope to start by September 1, all come in at the same time: digital strategies librarian (take traditional content and get into digital format, eg. Special collection, how fit into Aloutte initiatives, etc. — filled); digital technology development librarian; immersive learning (gaming) librarian, liaison role; marketing, outreach, communications librarian (hamilton public library, Mohawk college) – aim for ‘librarians’ with IT skills; teaching and learning librarian (strong background in education, pedagogy); e-resources librarian (license products).

Next steps?
• for new people coming in Mac, give them a year and come up with something really cool and run with it (esp. open source), and let them run with it, except ‘don’t spend a lot of money!)
• Emerging technologies interest group established (learning 2.0 @ Mac -12 week program, gets MP3 player and draw for a laptop; about 90 people taking it) Staff now using: facebook, flickr, blogs
• Library services marketing: flyer in facebook
• Challenges: ILS, Horizon, etc. all bad. LibQual – results say users are unhappy about it; what do about it- Migrate? Sirsi, Endeavor? Other options:
o Endecca (NCSU, Andrew Pace, happy with service); have office in Toronto, therefore launched a soft roll out of Mac Endecca interface (full force launch in fall anticipated).
• Digital Technologies Librarian (evergreen as possible solution at Mac? As OS solution)
• Achievements:
o second life reference (IM, etc.; looking into virtual access to library resources .e.g. Bertrand Russell material); Hamilton island
o Leslie McFarlane’s -Hardy Boys Archives
o Digital commons (repository), has e-thesis, move from print to electronic journals
o Newton’s Opticks: Re-useable learning object; flash based tutorial on Newton’s theories, etc.
• Transform Facilities: old buildings, lack storage space
o Information commons: lots of computers, access to services, ran pilot to open to 2am, and found to be packed until then – have staffing issues, but hope to go 24hour access.
o Students give 1 year achievement to improve students life – given to library this year.
o Learning commons @ Thode (coming), ‘nightclub-esque’ design for science and engineering (gaming room); eliminating all stacks in eng-sci building: compact shelving/remote storage off-site (students and faculty aren’t using the facility in the same way); add café, classroom facility, individual work stations to collaborative work stations, ‘pillows on the floor’ (building not touched since 1974); ‘high tech and high touch’ environment; library support in an IT environment.
o Desktops vs. laptops for students (maybe more important is being able to access software, vs. type of computer used to access it).
o Mac ‘Collaboratory’
-Some stacks, large classroom, break out room, offices
-For faculty and graduate students
-innovative learning initiative: work with Faculty, instructors to get their input – have space at library, money (faculty in residence) work with librarians for tools and develop ‘information fluency’ programs; resources for ‘teaching digitally’

Have they been successful?
• Budget
o Acquisitions exempted from cuts
o Allowed to submit deficit budget
o Allowed to create new positions
• Support: from students, faculty, publicity

Next Steps
• Next: strategic plan for 3 years ahead, and wait for new provost! (impact on direction)
• Assessment for measures of success (don’t have one in place yet, but are involved with SAILS and LIBQUAL); developing what ‘assessment looks like’
• Cataloguing: shelf-ready mostly, some for the ‘difficult’ cases
• Finding librarians with IT skills: no doubt not enough of them to recruit ‘digital projects librarians’ (worked with Wayne State, to form curriculum – graduate 20 in August); training for existing staff and on-going development necessary, internally.

posted by: Willow Fuchs


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