Monday, December 21, 2009

With a ho ho ho

Work on the website last week consisted of compiling and contemplating the results received from our leadership team's homework assignment. They were given three tasks to complete and provide input and insight on their experience. Early results indicate that we need to work on the "my account" part of the site to make it work better so plans are now underway.

In the meantime, this blogger has been working on making our library information more visible on Google Maps and ensuring that our information is accurate on Yahoo Local. Should I even be surprised that our information can appear in so many places online? If you heard a vague thunk as you read this, it was my brain exploding as I created yet another username and password in which to manage all of this! Sidenote: read more about openid to see how this might help!

So with a hearty ho ho ho in the hopes that your cookies have been baked for Santa and your stockings have been hung with care, wishing you the merriest of holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do you need to go on a techno-diet?

A study, How much information do we consume, comes out of the Global Information Industry of the University of California at San Diego. They say that Americans consume 34 gigabytes of information - daily! Excuse me, but that sounds like techno-overload! Granted this is for the year 2008, and it does include tv and radio as part of our information consumption. All in all it says that we consume information about 12 hours daily and 100,000 words per day (either through reading or listening). Think this sounds outrageous?

Offering a quick update on the website, we presented it to our management team here at ALD. They each have a task to perform on the new site and report in. These insights will be gathered and prioritized for to-do's prior to beta launch next month. Look for an update next Monday - I will try to summarize any major findings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It its December, it must be time for presents!

The website has received an early present - the gift of more movie and music covers! Thanks to sleuths Jill and John for cracking the case. Their investigative work resulted in our being able to harvest many more covers from our vendor due to understanding the import process and where those elusive identifying numbers are located! This is one instance where the new website and its presentation of materials will be more full-bodied than the original catalog will be!

The website will be presented to management this week and plans are being made to roll out to staff next month for their input.

We will continue to hone and polish away!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Out with November, In with December

It's hard to believe that I am turning my calendar over for the last time in 2009. It's probably too early to be thinking about 2010 resolutions when Santa's visit is coming upon us soon.......

As for holiday wishes, we will soon be beta-launching the website. We've worked on a number of issues with formatting the website for all browsers. You would not think this is such a big deal unless you're working at it from the back-end! We have placed the format icon on the materials for ease of use and have uploaded most of the item covers for a nice display of the collection. From the website you can almost feel like you're right in the library stacks! We continue to load and tweak content - like dusting before company comes over.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back to Monday Updating!

Where was I last week? We were all hands on keyboards as work continues on the new website. Things that have been crossed off the list of to do's are the shopping cart. We continue to import images for our items and records that have been added to the catalog. Troubleshooting continues with every aspect of the site - from search to formatting to technical issues.

Please check back next Monday to see when we might be beta-launching the site! In the meantime, may you enjoy your Thanksgiving and all of the festivities involved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday update

here's to egg on my face - it seems to be the norm with me any more.......

the work continues on polishing the site to a sheen or to at least a nice glow. we continue to fix bugs and test and fix bugs and test and work on content and revise and input more data and test and generally do all of the "moving in" things that one does with a new website. i'm happy to report that we're feeling closer and closer. this week's breakthrough occurred with the cart working in a more than asked-for fashion - yea john with the magic fingers!

stay tuned to next monday's post (really, i can remember to post on mondays!) for word on our soft launch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What ... another Tuesday post?

It seems to be the habit of posting on Tuesday instead of my regular Monday and the apology sounds like a broken record.....with the same reason as last week's post.

Since the move inhouse, we've been putting up pictures and arranging the furniture ~ so to speak. We continue to input content, test and work on bugs and fixes. Stay tuned as we release the site to you ~ very soon! You will see a story on the website's homepage linking you to the new site. Thanks for your patience!

In the meantime, getting your Thanksgiving plans together? Have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or website? Share here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We've Moved In!

After the weeks of being almost there, almost there ~ the database has arrived inhouse. It's sitting on our server getting quite the workout and lots of attention!

We now earnestly roll up our sleeves and begin testing the searches. We input content to see how to do this and how it presents on the site. Among the myriad of things we will need to do is to continue to enter content and check forms and ensure the functions are there before we offer a public peek to you all. Kudos to those of you who continue to read, follow and have immeasurable patience as we go thru this process.

Apologies for the delay in posting this. Monday started off with a bang in terms of things to do for the new website and this blogger never caught up to post til now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

of cider and panda costumes......

tis the season for lots of fall-related recipes ~ hot apple cider, pumpkin in pies or in soups or even in breads and making costumes. yes i still love making costumes even if i have to stuff my kids into them!

besides the leaves swirling and rattling in the streets, we are into the next phase of website work. we've been working our way towards import and marrying the information together into one happy union. as with any and every union, there are pitfalls and ours is no exception. we began testing friday and will use these initial tests as a springboard to moving further down the evolutionary scale of launch.

stay tuned - in the meantime enjoy the weather. you've got to love colorado where you can have hot and cold all in the same week!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Have you found a "sweet spot"?

From the article in Harvard Business Review called Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time* by Tony Schwartz, it discussed the need to maintain one's energy in order to perform optimally. We tend to get sucked up into long hours and long projects. Did you know that our bodies require a break every 90-120 minutes in order to recharge? Look up "ultradian rhythms" or read the article....... It is a good reminder of "things I need to do better" such as checking email less often (no, the world will not fall apart if I don't respond more quickly!) and making conscious decisions on where we want to spend our time and making changes accordingly.

One of the things that hit me in this article was the term "sweet spot" - and not in tennis, either..... it is "feeling effective, effortlessly absorbed, inspired, and fulfilled." The program cited in the article is measuring employee's sweet spots and if they had actually experienced this. I thought back on my work and could actually think of one experience where I hit a "sweet spot" - yea! and even more in my home life (double yea!). But ~ stretching this to the online world ~ wouldn't you think there are websites so good you do not have to put forth extra effort to find what you were looking for? (And it only took me the second paragraph to get to the point!) So here's the challenge - name your "sweet spot" websites ~

P.S. on website work - the birds continue to migrate and so does our data.....

*Following this link will require you to enter your Arapahoe Library District card number in order to access it from our database.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Birds Do It....So Do We

Migrate, that is, migrate regardless of the countless other verbs that may have popped into your head when you read the headline.

We are in the process of migrating the information, the code, the stuff from our developer's server to ours. While I haven't moved in twenty years this feels like a major household move. Packing and unpacking ~ making sure you've gotten to all of the details ~ For this we rely on our inhouse expert, John, to do the unpacking for us.

Meanwhile, we continue to work on some of the backend content and some of the graphics needed for the new site.

With that, welcome October!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Moving Closer

As the month winds down and we can see the start of a new month as we gaze over the week view in Outlook, so also do we move towards finalizing the website. Code is being written to migrate the database inhouse! Stay tuned for next Monday's blog for more updates on website work.

I will change direction and point you towards Arapahoe Library District's presence via Gizapage. There have been a number of online social aggregation or business card sites that have crossed my screen. Intrigued, I created an account which holds most of our online presence. Right now it does not interact with myspace or youtube but I hope these are just temporary! Other sites that I've heard about are, dandyiD and You might want to scope out, as well. No real rhyme or reason for choosing Giza over the others. Take a look and let me know what you think. Would you use something like this? Does it help to have a jumping off point at one place?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainy Day Monday

or I'm glad I picked the cucumbers and beans from my garden yesterday! The cooler weather is a prediction that winter is probably not that far off. As I was enjoying the sun and the warmth yesterday, I could not help but gaze at the large tree in our backyard and wonder if this coming weekend was the start of leaf-raking, apple cider, and pumpkin lattes......

This week's post brings you cheery news to break through the gloomy day. The shopping cart or transaction function is working - a big hip hip hooray to Todd and to John for making this happen. We will continue this week to test the transaction. We will also look at our database to see if all of the records have been loaded. Once we can get these pieces in place it will be marrying it all together on one server and then the real testing begins. We will be running lots of searches to ensure the experience is what you are accustomed to.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this question which has nothing to do with either technology or the website work - what is your favorite fall experience?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Am I littering?

The thought occurs to me that i might be a virtual litterer....... The upstanding citizen that i try to be makes me shiver at the thought of leaving behind litter on the internet. To further explain, i have accounts in twitter, facebook, linkedin and goodreads. I have a presence in worldcat and on amazon and librarything, too. I post photos to flickr and confess to lurking on lots of blogs, posting occasionally. I monitor sites like and to see if and when Arapahoe Library District is discussed (if there are other sites like this that you know of, let me know!)

with all of this activity i feel like i'm leaving pieces of myself all over cyberspace. if anyone followed a trail of online dna, what would they find out about me? does it matter to me? how much does it matter?

studies have shown that we (the royal "we") are caring less about privacy in favor of socializing online. "we" are happy to engage as much online as in person. now there are even websites where you can aggregate the bits and pieces of you into one place (e.g. or dandyid). how comfortable are you? since google can show you what my house looks like, i'm thinking there's not as much left privacy-wise in our lives.

to post an update on website work - we continue progress on loading records and on moving the data to our own server - whereby i will be busily engaged in input and testing - and will have no time for further littering the cyberworld. looking forward to your thoughts.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More, more, more!

More website work, more records loaded, more progress made. It's fitting that this is blogged after Labor Day - normally a day of rest but not for all of us. We continue to make progress on the search function which is almost a "wrap." The checkout process comes next and then we begin the tidying up process to ensure all is working and all content is loaded on the new site. We've even started to talk about a timeline and in the near future, we hope to offer you a live link for your initial peek at the new site!

In the meantime, here's a new twist on reading - the digi-novel. You read the book and engage with the website for value-added information. According to the article you don't have to go online, the book can stand alone as is. And the book? It's called Level 26 - a a crime novel by Anthony Zuiker. Read the book, read the website, write your experience here!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Technology in the hands of babes

Well, almost babes ~ how about grade schoolers? My email is sometimes like Christmas - it delivers a gift that sends me off and running after new knowledge and new content! The gift/email that was delivered sent me to the topic of technology in education. A recent study called Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children's Learning is a fascinating study of the use ~ or largely nonuse ~ of mobile tools to promote education. Those age 12 and under represent one of the fastest growing segments of users of mobile devices (because they have smaller fingers - in my humble opinion!) Part of it comes from the lack of standards but some of it comes from educators, too. Does providing your third grader with a cell phone so the teacher can send him problems improve his ability to learn? Time will help sort this out, I hope, so that we can maximize our use of tools to further enhance learning.

I enjoyed the appendix which lists some of the forward-thinking endeavors being made in marrying education and technology. It also brings to mind how libraries follow along with this effort. Do we make our content available for mobile devices? Will we check out mobile devices like books? It's an exciting future for us all!

This week I have nothing new to report on website development progress. Even our developer deserves a vacation so work on the new site has gone on vacation, too. We continue to pull records out of our catalog into the new website for testing search sometime in the near future.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How can we not communicate in an electronic world?

Good Monday morning to us all! As of this writing, most every parent I know has gone through the routine of sharpening pencils, buying new clothes and waiting with bated breath for the start of school. Did we also buy any new electronic gizmos? A new laptop? An iTouch? Upgrade the phone plan for texting? For internet? We've come a long way when getting ready for school had nothing to do with batteries or anything electronic!

It occurred to me, though, that we can still not be good communicators when we are so wired and plugged and online most all of the time. I observed a friend who was trying to catch up with another friend at a large community gathering. With so many people, it wasn't just "hey I'll see you in the parking lot!" but more of "where are you going to be and when so I can meet you." Now both parties did have cell phones so they could communicate but they did miss their meeting (although they happened to find each other later). In thinking about this, my conclusion is that regardless of the tools ~ you still communicate the way you communicate ~ whether it's good or bad. Even with the best devices, we may still not be better off getting our messages to the people we need to!

Is this a decent segueway into website work or did I read you through a rough patch here? Our communications intent with the new website is one of providing you easy and eye pleasing ways to access the collection. We think this is your number one reason for visiting us and using us. We hope our communications/website matches the intent.

I have no updates to provide at this time for the website; work continues with the developer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Update for August.......

Records are loading

Carousels are filling

Stories are populating

We continue to move closer to finishing parts and pieces for the website to become one whole cohesive working unit of ease and functionality in finding great reading and listening and watching recommendations.

In the meantime, this blogger discovered (by reading other blogs!) the power of Google. No, don't stop reading! You probably use Google anyway, right? Well, when you perform a search you now see a link called "show options" - clicking on this provides many new ways to slice and dice your results. How about the wonder wheel view? I think the timeline view might be a good reference tool - showing the popularity of your search term. Even the videos and reviews is a nice way to limit the search if this is what yr seeking anyway. What do you think?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of all things internet....

Well this blog falls into two parts. Part 1 is the "here's what's happening in the building of the website" work and part 2 isn't. Choose your paragraph.

A laundry list of website work in progress:

*carousels are about finished. I am ready this week to start playing with them!
*the research & business area is getting attention this week as we wind down the last pages, functions, content, etc. this is taking some time because of the additional effort of databases and electronic resources with library card authentication.
*uploading of records continues and is chugging along faster than before - yea John!

Now for Part 2 - this blogger is actually starting a facebook page! remember the photo in one of the earlier blogs of a toe in the water? that's what my facebook is feeling like - a bit tentative and hesitant. it did not help that i started when there was some kind of attack going on.......... it's been interesting to see the friends and fans pages. some are pretty active in posting news and pictures and such while others are pretty slim in information - maybe it's the "i don't exactly know what i want so i'll just create a ghost of me online." stay tuned to hear if i can get more than a toe in the water virtually!

Besides having my presence in the cyberworld, there's soooo much information in regards to everyone else posting information about me, about companies ~ ratings and comments and input and opinions abound everywhere! i was cleaning my desk (yes, a cleaning that took place more frequently than annually!) and came across some notes of websites to look up. and are the two i was playing around with to search for company information. how can one ever begin to keep up with all of the chatter? it used to be that monitoring the newspapers was the universe of knowledge but finding and searching the internet is a full-time job. more and more of these sites keep coming up - how do you keep up?

Monday, August 3, 2009

More Website Work!

For many of us with school-age children, the countdown to the start of school began with the turning of the calendar from July to August. As a parent, it is a countdown of glee and joy but I'm sure my kids don't think the same way.......

With the turn of the calendar comes more work on the website and changes being made (think glee, not glum):

*we're continuing to download catalog records with anticipation that we can test the search function
*some of the functionality of the basic Books, Movies and Music pages are in place now
*most all of the basic pages have been created
*working on the transaction from cart to finish

To that end, we're slowly working our way towards some of the nitty gritty (just like going school supply shopping .... right before the start of school):

*making sure the formatting of text and font color is consistent throughout the site
*getting to theme the site in IE - very important!

Questions, input, comments? Let me know! In the meantime, I will leave this blog with a link to The Green Apple Core website. They're a bookstore in San Francisco and are doing a series of videos on the Kindle v the book. Whether yr a Kindle fan or a book fan, you will enjoy the series!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do you believe?

How much faith you do you put in what you read online? Not something like The Wall Street Journal online, but more like reviews of products. Do you tend to believe these reviews? Disregard most all of it?

I found myself looking online for new dinnerware. After twenty years, I thought it was time to purchase a new pattern in which to entertain myself during dinner! Went to some of the usual websites where dinnerware was sold to find patterns and prices and ended up at one site where customer reviews were provided. Found myself avidly reading their comments and making decisions in my head - "oh I should avoid this brand" but "this one looks pretty reliable based on all of the comments made." Now I did not know any of these commenters personally but it was a website I trusted.

Have been reading Neuro Web Design by Susan M. Weinschenk....her book talks about the psychology of clicking. Who would have thought........but her insights into why we do what we do on websites is quite interesting. She posits that if you know the commenter you have the most buy-in, if the website tells you a little about the commenter (e.g. soccer mom who loves to bake) then there is credibility but if there is no information other than a name, you are the the least influenced based on a rating only.

This post speaks to one of the features of our new website - reviews! It will allow you to post your opinion on any of our materials, much like the teensite does now. Will this influence what you place on hold? Are there websites with reviews which you use? Don't use? Why or why not?

Monday, July 20, 2009

I've got a hunch

To say that I've gotta hunch you're going to love our new website sounds........brazen! But when you look at other websites which are trying to sell products, ours looks pretty tame in comparison. We will be more forward in showing you our materials through presentation of covers and presenting more staff picks. How brazen or forward is this? Too much? Not enough? For a library website, I think we're going out on a limb - but you will have to let us know what you think.

Based on thinking about what we want when we, ourselves, don't really know try the new website called hunch. It takes you through some standard questions (of which you don't have to answer all or any of them) and uses your answers to build its database. You can query hunch when you are looking for an answer. Try "which character from Twilight am I?" if you're a Twilight fan or "which author should I read?" if you want something more general. Do you like these results?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The wheels are a'turning!

With lots of updates to report to you this Monday morning:

*search is ....well searching!
*we have a copy of the site on our server and are busily loading catalog records
*trying to pull over reading level with items
*getting the commenting function/feature in place
*the cart to place items you've found is now functioning

With these things in place, we'll soon be conducting inhouse testing to see how the site is functioning. Stay tuned; it is going to be sooner than later!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


are you a gadget person? besides the interactive activities offered on websites, there are a host of gadgets in which to extend your online presence and virtual world of friends. i quizzed my kids to see what kinds of toys their high school friends had. a very few had iphones and a few more had the ipod touch in addition to their cell phone. why? to access the internet! they were comfortable using the two devices (and keeping track of them, i hope!).

i was reading an article about the use of gadgets as it relates to age. groan - does the age of your brain really make a difference in your interaction with your device? it seems so. while the study does not directly relate to website work, it does give pause for thought about how different aged people interact with a website, too!

use this blog to provide input about the device you just can't live without....the device you really want from Santa this winter or ~ on the flip side ~ the gadget you think should never have been invented!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Website Wows

I received notice of the Webby Awards and cruised through some of the nominated websites (there are lots!). Not heard of the Webby Awards? Nominated by anyone for excellence on the Internet. There are a number of different categories and honor is given to The Webby Award and the People's Voice Award in all of the subject categories.

You might want to take a look if you have some time - just to see some of the cutting edge work being done in the website world. Some of my favorites were:

  • Just Add New Zealanders for the drop-dead photography in their Locations area
  • Adidas for such an innovative home page even if I don't wear their shoes
  • WHITEvoid - just for being such a daring site in how it presents itself. While I still have no clear idea of what it does, the presentation is stunning
  • Wordle - just for playing and creativitiy!
If you browse through the site and find some nifty website and website features, tell here!

Meanwhile, we are still diligently working on the search function and learning a lot in the process. I could make this blog twice as long with the details of it all but will leave that to another blog, another day. If you have any specific questions about progress, about the new site feel free to ask in the Comments area. I will get back to you!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Search and Discovery

We're working on the search function right now, can you tell from the title? It seemed to me this was a good time to dust off the 40 pages i've been carrying around in my bag and actually read Online Catalogs: What users and librarians want because it relates to search. Aside from reading at the patio table and surviving a wind gust {that's another blog post!} here are some interesting findings of what users want:

1. direct links to online content
2. evaluative content like summaries or tables of contents
3. relevant search results
4. availability information
5. simple keyword search with advanced option

Knowing these things is good to keep in mind as we continue to develop the search process. Have you found or do you use sites which have really good search?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reading this summer?

As we continue to work on the search function, it occurs to me that we do this in the name of read and to listen for pleasure or to watch movies and documentaries to learn and be engrossed in something. The website is just the means to get you there. Where do you get your reading and movie list from? The newspaper, friends and family, Oprah? Hopefully you are engaged with the great staff who can provide reading recommendations up one arm and down the other. Me, I need my goodreads account to help me remember ...but thank heavens for that!

If you have places where you find good reading and watching, this blogger wants to know! Post here to start a list. In the meantime, let me make a plug for ALD's Summer Showdown. The best books have been picked in picture books, childrens, teen and adult fiction. Take a look at the lists, comment and vote! Have you read any/all of these? We'll vote one off every week; by the end of summer the most favorite takes all!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What kind of online participant are you?

As we continue to work on website development, the question comes up about participation from patrons - you! There is a theory called Participation Inequality or 90-9-1. It posits that 90% of us are lurkers on websites, blogs, etc. - we prefer to read and watch rather than participate or contribute. 9% of us will put our toe in the water and contribute to a thread or edit a comment and a whopping 1% of us are active contributors/creators.

With these numbers, I wonder where you stand? How much do you lurk? Where? Where do you contribute and why? Are there online communities that seem to draw you in more than others? Do you find yourself returning to certain sites but not others?

It seems to be like the retail experience. Am I drawn in by the colorful window display? Find the staff friendly and knowledgeable? Even if I did not purchase anything, I may return another time because it was a positive experience. Can I make the same analogy to a website? Some do have nice window displays but their interior pages are not very useful. Others are terrific sites which provide lots of information so I choose to bookmark them.

In my world, I return again and again to goodreads. I find I like keeping track of my reading and it helps me to remember when I want to recommend something. On the other hand, I haven't much used my personal account. While I have experimented with creating lists and tagging items, it has not drawn me in.

With that, I leave this blog returning you to the second paragraph - let me know where you like to hang out in the cyberworld. We'll create our own mini-study!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Of website work and website debuts

In the web world we are hard at work on the search function and making sure the search function is working as you know it and love it - working well! Not more to report because the details would be painful and searches, marc records, etc etc. We are also beginning to tie up some lose ends in other areas in anticipation of being able to input content sometime this month!

Hats off to our neighbor Rangeview Library District for the launch of their new website ~ some terrific stuff!

And because i enjoy posting a visual with the blog, this pic is in celebration of spring and the peonies blooming in my back yard!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's Getting Closer!

We're in the middle of testing the search function! Yea! Clap, clap, cheer, cheer (can i embed a audio file here?) Once search is complete we're about 3/4 done with the developer work and ........only 1/4 done with content work. Maybe i should rescind the clapping part until further notice.........

Our website is only as good as the technology that it runs on........ Our apologies for the downtime you may have experienced this 3 day weekend with our websites. Due to difficulties beyond our control, our sites were down. As of this writing we're back up (more cheering, please, for John and Austin) while continuing to ensure we stay up and running. On a more personal level, i have found my cell phone becoming a ...... timepiece ...... It quit ringing so while i can access voice messages it does not quite work in the manner intended. We do have every intention of the new website working as intended - access to materials, suggestions for you as well as the ability to easily find locations or policies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you a book bagger?

Heigh ho, heigh ho - it's off to work we go. Our website work for the last week looked at the cart function, maybe more popularly known as the book bag. Do you use this feature? It allows you to place titles in a holding area and check them out at once instead of title by title. I'd be interested to know for you voracious readers out there. Me? I don't take advantage of the book bag because I can't read as quickly as the titles come in!

Other website work includes the breadcrumb function and starting some basic content inputting work.

On another front, more physical, is the building on the new Southglenn facility. My daughter and I toured last Friday and had the opportunity to envision the great space it will be for library users. If you are interested in a sneak peak, follow this tours link or browse our flickr pics.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Following Ants

We share the space we live in with much as we try to decimate them they are always around come spring ....scrounging for the seemingly invisible pieces of popcorn left on the rug after movie night. When you look more closely they gather their crumb of food and off they scurry with it back to their nest (den? hill?) only to return again for another particle.

This is what website work is feeling like....gathering an iota of content and gathering it in a safe place and then scurrying back out to find another bit of information to add to our pile. If I was a pessimist I would say our stash looks pretty dismal but you probably know by now that I tend to think on the sunny side of my view is that we're being thorough and complete in our gathering of information so that the content can be loaded quickly when the backend is ready. Right now, we're gathering the information in the footer - the About Us kind of particles which need to carry over from the current site to the new one. We are also working on the Research & Business area - considering the slivers which make for solid content.

In the meantime, I offer you a link to - a new health website brought to us by the government. Packed full of quality health information, it's a great starting point!

Monday, May 4, 2009

When was the last time YOU felt like a superhero?

I just finished reading Amazing Powers - a junior nonfiction book which describes the Super Heroes and their unique super powers. I did not grow up with these characters so this book was a good introduction....... but then my mind started to race - why couldn't your experience on websites make you feel like a superhero? What if you could burn a virus with powers like The Human Torch? Be able to use flexibility skills like Mr. Fantastic to grab new apps to apply to a website that is frustrating? Or use the sticky powers of Spiderman to keep bookmarks, links, photos, etc easily in one place?

I would hope our new website is going to make you feel like a Super Hero - that there will be features which are appealing and functions which will be intuitive. We are working on the search function and finishing up functions on certain pages such as the individual item page. We are starting the process of downloading catalog records for testing against the search function and will begin work on collecting the content for input later this month!

In the meantime, have you found websites that make You feel like a Super Hero? Why? Share here!

Monday, April 27, 2009

You've gotta love spring!

Here it is the end of April and we're seeing snow on the ground! Some groundhog really had it in for us back in February..........

On the website front, we continue to work on some training with staff as well as work with some of the content to see how to input and how it presents. It is starting to come together nicely.

Just wanted to point out that we're making changes to database descriptions. On the teensite, Melissa has rewritten them to be more teen-friendly. Take a look and let us know what you think. On the mainsite, most of the editing has been done ~ trying to be more succinct yet convey the information needed. Your input is much appreciated!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Making Progress!

While the earth soaked up the moisture from last week's storm and the drivers slogged home slowly, if you looked far enough over the horizon you could tell spring was sitting there waiting to make its debut....and sure enough the snow turned to rain and the rain melted lots of the snow. There was actually green grass in the back yard yesterday!

This is what website work is feeling like these days. Not the storm part but the looking over the horizon part to see a glimmer of a website at the end of the keyboarding blood, sweat and tears.

Here's a laundry list of things we continue to work on and develop:

*creating content around the Research and Business pages
*finalizing the functions in the Programs & Classes pages
*describing how the transaction works when you click on "reserve now" - who would have thought such a simple click would involve hours of conversation?

At this point we will actually start training staff on some of the preliminary back end work - this is concrete and a sure sign of growth and progress!

In the meantime, let me make a shameless plug for the ALD Twitter - come visit - come follow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

the new keeping up with the joneses

my new theory is that keeping up with the joneses now involves technology and whom is besting whom with the latest gizmos out there to keep up with our lives! added to that are all of these social tools and interactive websites which draw us into their world of adding content, posting videos and messing with the latest apps which might be applicable to our world.

does this sound like a rant? that has a negative connotation and i don't mean for this blog post to come off that way. i, too, have been embracing the technology world. for instance, i spent a better part of yesterday curled up with my ....laptop. ten years ago i would have been spending the day on the couch with a book! not to say that reading is going by the wayside but with so much technology and smaller and more mobile tools out there, who's to say i can't curl up on the couch with my laptop reading the latest Grisham?

i recently put a book in my "to read" pile - virtually on this has become a so much more convenient way to remember titles than using paper or sticky notes. one title came to me via a friend who found the title via a twitter feed. how's that for being really plugged in! it brings to mind a couple of things a) i need to become more twitter educated and 2) the realization that most of my day is spent in 140 character soundbites or attention span. i recently cleaned my desk and placed a bunch of professional reading in a pile. once you put all of this material together do you realize how far behind you are! on the other hand, it brings to mind that some reading takes time to absorb.

moving on from this train of thought let's see how easily it segues into website development...bumpy, eh? we continue our work with different aspects of the coding/backend work. i'm happy to report that the carousels are almost complete and we continue to educate ourselves about building canned searches from the books, movies and music pages. once we have some more pages built we will be able to load some of the text-heavy content so that we can really begin to see how the website comes together.

so, are there tools or websites that you just can't live without today, regardless of keeping up with.....everybody?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Can we celebrate spring yet?

The flowers in my yard are just so confused!  It's so sunny and warm they decide to bloom so I am welcomed home with yellow daffodils and tulips beckoning me to pay attention to them.  They've since succumbed to the re-awakening of winter and now are not so happy in the yard.....   But, with spring comes more progress on website work. 

We continue to make progress on the job function - always important!  I spent yesterday working on creating searches to go with some of the links on the new website.  Found this very fascinating and rewarding work ~ so much so that I forgot it was Monday and "blog day."

In the meantime, have you seen this New York Times gizmo?  Quite an interesting new take on the tag cloud concept - it would be fun to put up something like this for a hot new title.  Are you finding things like this?  New stuff?  Interactive?  Pray!  (thx to Douglas for pointing this out!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's a Facebook Kind of World

A recent study shows that Facebook is growing enormously and more so than myspace. Some of the reasons include the fact that Facebook has a nice design, is easy to use, has some nifty applications and the information is controlled by the user. One piece of information which surprised me was the growth of new Facebookers in the 35-49 age range! I had always assumed it was a college-aged social medium but now it seems that many more working adults are finding Facebook to be a useful tool. If you are a regular Facebook user, why? Are there special features that keep you?

I am hopeful that some of the reasons that keep Facebook growing from a website point of view are things we will be incorporating as we continue to build our new website. We will have a design which is centered around the collection (isn't that the main reason you visit us virtually?), we will introduce some interactive applications and we hope that it will be easy to use.

Work continues on back end work with our jobs area getting some attention as well as finishing up the functionality in our Locations & Hours pages.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Map of Knowledge

Greetings on this Monday after the start of spring!  I could tell it was spring before the calendar even notified me because my tulips and my hyacinth began blooming.  They reside in a south facing flower bed so benefit from more sun than less, thus blooming earlier than everything else.  Woe is me when they inevitably get covered in snow!

Website update:  we continue to work on the backend.  We look at the carousels and decide how to manage the items, adding and deleting.  We are almost finished with the Locations & Hours pages getting them in shape with all of the features needed.  Getting started with the Jobs function and getting that in shape.  Continue to move forward on the My Account feature - what all does this comprise when you click on it?

Today's post besides spring and website work provides a look into something nifty called the Map of Knowledge.  The Los Alamos National Lab scientists mapped how researchers moved from one journal to another in their electronic data searches, creating associations between them.  Adding color coding by topic, it shows the probability that the reader will click to another journal.  

I got to thinking about whether this kind of map would apply on our website.  Would there be some probability that I would go from historical fiction to fiction to mystery fiction?  Is there any benefit to anyone else knowing this thought pattern?  I'm not sure there is.....  When I look at my goodreads account it is starting to contain a wide range of titles, including picture books that I like.  Who ~ necessarily ~ wants to follow my reading patterns from fiction to picture books?   Maybe it would be really cool to follow some really good readers advisors as they move from author to author or topic to topic.  Any thoughts ?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are You a Digital Mom?

I love catching up with my Google reader account. Granted, it usually takes a huge effort to carve out time to get there and spend time catching up but the guilt of having hundreds of posts there unread is enough motivation! It's kinda like take a professional development day except you're still in the office and haven't traveled anywhere and..... but I get the same feeling of being energized by new information and ideas. One thing that stuck was the Digital Mom study - how are they using the internet? I found it fascinating, maybe because I am one and could see where I fit.

The study identified 5 types of moms: the self expressor, the utility mom, the groupster, the infoseeker and the hyperconnector. We're all using the internet to some degree depending on the age of our children. Younger moms have a higher interest in parenting and shopping while older moms look to the internet to monitor our teens' activities.

I see our Parenting Blog appeaing to the self expressor moms (early 30 aged moms with young children) but our new website appealing more to the groupster moms (those in their early 30's who are active online). Take a look at the study and provide your comments here!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Steppin' in time with daylight savings

Website updates:

It's mostly back-end work that is going on so this front-end blog has been filling up with ancillary information that has been catching my eye. We've been working on creating forms, yes we do have lots of forms on the website! Also busily working on search results and how these present. Lastly, with some of the canned searches - experimenting with how to make them actually work! Questions regarding website updates? Ask here!

On on the non-website front, but related to the internet in general (am I taking liberties here?) I wanted to do a "brain dump" about my experience with goodreads. Finally pushed myself (actually I bribed myself into setting up an account, "do the setup, get chocolate") and set up a personal account. Later started adding books and friends. It actually was gratifying to be befriended (I know that sounds so middle school!) and it was nifty to add books to my account. Liked that I could create "shelves" to categorize titles the way I want to remember them.

Does this mean more to me than the previous online book holder storage site I used? If so, why? Here's my thought: I know all of the people on my friends' list - so their recommendations and comments mean a lot to me. So, does it mean less when I personally don't know the person? Hmmmm, I just blogged about how sticky Hennepin's site was and that I checked out a bunch of titles based on their recommendations. In this case, their annotations were the hook, regardless of the who. More to come in the following weeks as I become more adept at goodreads' features. It was interesting to note a news article talking about Facebook and how the online only doesn't work but only helps to facilitate the face-to-face interactions...... Meanwhile, check out ALD's goodreads account. Are you a goodreads fan?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sticky Factor

Today's post comes at the end of the start of the work week - one in which the weather here is mild and teases us that spring is not too far away while our friends and family who may live on the East Coast are probably muttering some not so nice words to Mother Nature!

I was perusing Hennepin's website today for a couple of reasons - website related reasons that I won't bore you with....but lo and behold .....I got sidetracked from my research into looking at the lists, reading the recommendations and before you could say "boo" I had placed at least six books on hold! What happened? I wasn't looking for books to read (see sentence 1 of this paragraph) but the covers and the descriptions were so engaging I could not help myself. Thinking about this provides the title of today's blog - Hennepin's site was sticky - I was an engaged browser who placed titles on hold based on recommendations.

Are there other websites which have a high sticky factor? Sites where you stay on pages to read them, engage with them, print or send onto others? What makes these sites sticky? One of my favorite recipe sites fits this description because it not only provide recipes but also star ratings and comments from intrepid bakers and cooks who have modified or substituted. I use this site regularly and trust the recipes' ratings. On the other hand, another recipe website I was cruising through last night provided the opposite experience. Trying to print the recipe was frustrating, saving the recipe and pulling it up later did not work. It asked me to set up an account without really explaining the benefit of doing so. Let me know what websites you consider sticky and why!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

A recent article came my way and got me thinking - called The Library Web Site of the Future, the author (Steven J. Bell) talks about how academic library websites can be more relevant to its audience. Bell observes "a significant disconnect when it comes to faculty use of the library's website as a gateway, or portal, to access that wealth of electronic content."

Can I dismiss this as "oh, poor academic libraries having a hard time"? Or it doesn't pertain to me because I'm a public library? Well, I took it to heart and thought about the same thing. What does one visit a library website for? If you look at the search terms entered on the ALD site, many of you are seeking the latest authors and titles in books and in movies ~ and for all ages, too! Based on this evidence, we are carefully reviewing the content on the current website that doesn't relate much to our materials.

On the other hand, we ~ too ~ provide electronic content! Databases, downloadable titles, online electronic titles that even read the book (yes, you are missing something if you haven't yet experienced a Tumblebook!). Are you finding this content elsewhere? Is it more convenient to access besides visiting our website? This blogger feels like adults are finding electronic content in other ways, means and places but that we should continue to provide this information to the students we serve. They are being taught what databases are and how to use them in their schools and are advised on finding materials which come from credentialed sources.

So, my takeaway? Don't worry, be happy - a new website is coming soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'm late, I'm late! A holiday on Monday can just throw off your whole schedule ~ including blogging weekly. Sorry for the delay. An update to website work:

  • finalizing search results pages

  • inputting forms ~ this is great stuff for us on the back end, believe me!

  • more training on inputting content on the back end

  • continued "construction" of the back end database to meet our needs

Besides website work, I thought I'd follow up with and its search engine. I used it the other day when staffing the AskColorado virtual reference "desk." Not finding what I wanted out of my Google results, I thought of sweetsearch and switched. I was impressed with their results and liked the hits returned. Some were the same as what Google found; others were more on target and directed. Now I wish I could remember a specific example to share but one does not come to mind. Suffice it to say that I will be returning to sweetsearch when I need more directed answers to questions. Google will continue to be good for a more general search. They say it takes doing something seven times before it becomes a habit ~ let's see if I can remember to use another search engine the next time I need extra help! What are your favorite search engines? Why?

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Sense of Accomplishment

Today was spent at our soon to be opened May Library! I shelved some fiction titles, some children's movies and music and ended up alphabetizing the Jazz and Latin music collections. Whew! Do my muscles feel it - the bending and lifting, the fingers moving to and fro, the brain constantly trying to remember the alphabet! I left with some muscle relief medication and also a huge sense of accomplishment - the term about some village to create something big certainly applies here.

Conversely, the website does not provide this same sense of physicial-ness but the hope is the same in that you will want to browse the collection and check items out that are of interest to you.

The countdown to the opening of the May Library is 13 days ~ the website more like 2nd quarter. Stay tuned and thx for your continued patience!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Celebrating groundhogs and new search engines!

Who said this blog had to be constructive all the time? Today's post comes flying from the fingers with what's at the tip of my fingertips. It is Groundhog Day and we'll just have to see if this burrowing creature wishes us spring or more winter.

In the meantime, to completely mash two different topics together, i thought i'd blog about a new search engine called Sweet Search. Created by professionals to give you what's relevant, they're calling themselves a more selective search engine. I'm going to try running various searches on it to see how this tests out against my habit of Googling - let me know what you think!

Lastly, to try to stay relevant to blogging about website updates, here are some of the things being worked on:

  • creating forms
  • deciding content on the Business & Research page
  • functioning of the Staff Picks when you click on "From: name"

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Wheels Keep Spinning

Is this blog starting to sound like it's in a rut or is it just the writer? There's plenty going on - my wheels are definitely in a fast rpm but to report out the minutia would make your eyes glaze over. Suffice it to say that there are more pages being finalized with what goes where - the topic last week was on the Search Results page and what presents both in words {like how you might want to further limit your search} and in graphics {how you want to see your results presented}.

In the meantime, I was checking out other library websites (yes, this is what i do for fun!).... and found two which are doing nifty things. One, in our own backyard, is the Denver Public Library. They have "preview new catalog" on their homepage - check it out and blog your comments here! Do you like bookmarking pages? Tagging? Cool things you can do here now.

The other library is London Public - click on their "catalogue" and try a search on knitting to see the results - do you like it?

I'm off to conquer my website envy now - looking forward to your observations!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Weekly Update

This week's update feels the larger picture of the Presidential Inauguration that just happened this morning. With technology being so convenient I was able to Tivo (yes, it is a recognized verb!) the event so that I can watch it tonight.

In the meantime, work on the website must go on - inauguration or not. We have been very happy to get our hands into the back end of the database which will run the website. To start to have "navigational controls" means we're steps closer than we were before! Not how items look on the page but how long they live there, the convenience of taking them down on some calendar basis and of easily inputting content regularly which is relevant and eye catching - these are the concerns that occupy our time now.

My question of the week begs the question ~ did you watch the inauguration? For any reasons in particular ~ the President's inaugural address, the crowds, the general sense of watching history take place? Log your input here!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Snow and Website Work

I'm trying very hard not to make this post a gloomy one, just because i spent half the day in the car due to the unexpected amt of snow we received. To try to remain upbeat, i will offer that my yard is much happier with the precipitation than i am .......

Being in the car for a long period of time can either drive you bonkers or drive you to come up with creative blog entries..... You can tell me if i've lost it, either way. My analogy of the day is that our website work is like driving to work when the snowplows haven't been out. It's slow going and it can be painful at times! The good news is that you eventually reach your destination. In our case, we are slowly progressing through website pages, going thru the minutia of what presents on the page and how this click works. Our latest foray has been on the search results page - a rather important page in the whole scheme of things. We are redefining the presentation of the search result page so that you see the most relevant on top of the page. The rest of the search result will present list style with an option to show cover style (did i hear you say "wow!"?). One of the new features we are working on is the presentation of limiters - such as books only or 2008 only. Like the snowplows, this work is invisible but know that we are working hard!

Now that I'm not behind the wheel and have had my mandatory coffee, I'm feeling much better ~ let it snow!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Website Update

Work continues on the website - even though you haven't seen newly designed pages in awhile. There are more in progress but are still in the rough stages! At this point, we are finalizing most of the design work while coding continues to build the back end and make it come to fruition.

Now that 2009 is upon us, we are busily conceiving how pages will function such as the Business & Research area. This is the primary area in which you will access the research databases. We also hope to provide more in-depth research tools here to assist you. We are also strapping on the thinking caps to figure out how to bring subject headings to the fore and make the more friendly than to just librarians!

Besides building the website, you will also have the opportunity to see two new facilities open this year. What a busy year for ALD! Thx for your continued support in the form of usage and comments regarding our progress. It is much appreciated.