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ACRL response, ALA solicits website input, varied cheezburgers

Kudos to Mary Jane Petrowski, Associate Director of ACRL, who in response to my May 29 post wrote today, “I’m painfully aware that we are contacting new members long after they join. … I’m going pursue a solution to this problem with my colleagues here at ALA.” She playfully added, “How hard can it be, right?” Good luck, Mary Jane, and keep that sense of humor working for you.

Meanwhile, take some time while you’re at the annual conference to see proposed new designs for the ALA website. The announcement for this was in AL Direct, but I missed it; as much as I like the concept of AL Direct and enjoyed its early days, as of late I find myself skimming it more often than I read it, and I am not sure why.

You might think I’d be critical of ALA debuting these draft designs at a walk-in conference. Why not just put it all out there on the Web… radical trust, transparency, don’t limit input to walk-ins, etc. … right? … Hmmm, well, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to do it this way.

At FPOW Minus One, we launched design drafts quietly and conservatively to small groups. For one thing, sometimes we were wrong — even at times very, very wrong. (Ever since the last design I participated in, I have added the “Grrrr” factor to assessing written input for user frustration with a design, as in, “Grrrr, I couldn’t do X.”) That’s why it’s called iterative design: because you keep doing it until you get it right. But once a design is online, it’s too easy to take a proposal and flog it to death.

I hope these viewing opportunities are just part of a larger usability effort [update: good grief, I should  RTFB!] but I don’t fault their methods.

ALA is now cheerfully spamming me with vendor garbage love letters, and today I received this from Elsevier: “The folks at Scopus, Scirus and ScienceDirect are glad to hear you’re attending ALA.” Clearly they missed my NASIG presentation!

I appreciate the writing/consultation queries that have come my way, as well as suggestions for distance MLS programs to teach in… keep those cards and letters coming. I’m dedicating two hours today to writing MLS programs about adjunct work (I keep forgetting: I could teach a killer 2.0 class and work in a section on writing for the Web), in between working on an article about what makes nonprofit technology management so diffi– uh, different, I mean to say. Thanks to all of you who responded to my requests for input, and it’s not too late, as I’m finishing that piece up today and tomorrow. (Yes, you are allowed to vent, and I won’t tell.)

Finally, to repeat a point I make when I give presentations, there are all kinds of social software and some of it may fit you and some of it may not. I happen to like Twitter because it fits my work flow and my socialization behavior: work for a while, walk down the hall to make a cup of tea, chat with a person or two, sit down again, work some more. I tried Meebo chat rooms but have concluded they are just not my style: too much time commitment, too much of a “secret clubhouse” feeling, too many people at once. (I even like workshopping one-on-one, just as when I was a child I had playdates with one child at a time. Suits me.)

Aging is all about finding your style. I keep wanting to write a blog post, “50 is the new 50,” discussing some of the joys of midlife: how you’re freed from some obligations, have a better sense of self, have more acute awareness of time. But, having that acute awareness of time, I keep setting it aside for my paid work, and my workshopping, and the stuff for Steve the Accountant, and oh, you know…

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