People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Our Top 10 Free Tools 2010

Here are our top 10 free tools (listed in no particular order) that we used this year:

  1. LinkedIn – A great tool to maintain and expand your professional network. Also, another place for job postings.
  2. Blogs: Blogger, WordPress – Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas. You can also use a blog to create your e-portfolio.
  3. PDFonline – Convert your Word documents to PDF. Size limitations.
  4. Google tools: Analytics – Track and analyze site visits, Calendar – Use it everyday or for specific events like conferences (unfortunately, many conference planners aren’t very user-friendly), Docs – work collaboratively on reports and presentations without the confusion of multiple versions, Sites – Quick and easy way to build a website. We used it to create our e-portfolios.
  5. Delicious – While the future of Delicious is unknown given the recent news, it is a great tool for bookmarking and accessing your favorite and/or useful sites.
  6. – Shorten a URL, share the link and track the clicks.
  7. Slideshare – Share your presentation slides online.
  8. Wikis: PBworks, Wetpaint – Useful for collaborative work, sharing of ideas and resources and project management. We used Wetpaint for HealthCampNYC. Lesson learned: some organizations block access to these sites. Also, Wetpaint had been acting funny. We’ve used PBworks for committee work.  
  9. Wordle – Create word clouds for presentations, reports, etc. Just dump in the text. 
  10. Meebo – Integrates all social networks and communications channels into a one-stop location that allows real time communication.

Last month at NYPL, we talked to the NY Librarians Meetup Group about how these tools can help your library career. We do presentations on a range of professional and career development topics. If you would like us to do a presentation for your group, please contact us.

Now There’s An App For That

Just found out that there is now an app for IDEO Method Cards: 51 Ways to Inspire Design. The deck of 51 cards is a great tool for brainstorming and exploring ways that focus on people-centered design. We first heard about IDEO and its method cards in our People-Centered Methods and Design course at Pratt. Since then, we have been using this tool in our usability projects and workshops. More information about the cards can be found here.


Career Tips for LIS Students, Graduates and Professionals

For those who are job hunting, just finished library school, or have another semester to go, check out our recent article for tips to build up your professional career.

User Experience: The Reference Interaction

All sorts of interactions take place in the library. The most well-known is probably the one that takes place at a reference desk (or via virtual reference, individual research consultations, or roving reference).

Based on this year’s Reference Renaissance conference, LJ provides four different perspectives on the user experience of reference services. From “Fish Market 101” to “Why I Don’t Use Libraries for Reference Anymore”, here are a few points, tidbits, and thoughts:

  • “Taking a holistic view, the library UX extends to every touch point we create where the community member connects with our human or material resources, physically or virtually.” Whenever the topics of usability and user experience come up in conversation, technology always seem to follow and I find myself saying “It’s more than that.” As a library, it’s great if you have a user-friendly site, but don’t forget about your physical presence as well and the interactions that take place. Think ecosystem.
  • “This profession is all about connection.” Yes! It’s all about connecting. Librarians/library staff/libraries connect people with information, resources, services, other people, etc. Keep in mind that the connecting happens everywhere – reference, outreach, instruction, etc. One time after work, on the way to the subway, a colleague and I got stopped by a parent and kid with a question about where they can get a certain pet animal.
  • I can almost feel the author’s frustration when reading “Why I Don’t Use Libraries for Reference Anymore” because unfortunately, I have seen and experienced this. I find myself telling this one story over and over again. For a library school assignment, I had to ask a question at a library and evaluate the overall reference interview and experience. I walked up to the reference desk where the librarian seem to be extremely focused on the computer. Feeling like I was interrupting, I asked “Why are there three library systems in New York City?” and the response was “Because New York City is very big”. I then found myself asking follow-up questions and variations of the same question like “Is there a reason why it was decided that there would be three library systems?” and “Are there any resources that I can look at?” The response: “Go to the 020’s, the section for library science.” Feeling dismissed, I just left the library. 

Do you have any stories to share? Have you seen or experienced any memorable (good or bad) reference interactions?