Monday, October 31, 2005

Back and catching up

Got back to St. Louis around 2330 (that's 11:30PM) Thursday night. Came in for a little bit friday, still can't get my outlook to send email from home. It worked two weeks ago, but now it doesn't. Maybe it will fix itself.

I have a little catching up to do, but after that I will be working on an AIM Presence web service hook. I plan on making this available to any Illinois Library System as well as any libraries that want to show an online/offline icon for their AIM accounts.

If you're library isn't using IM (Instant Messaging), it is definately something you should think about. LCLS is going to host Aaron Schmidt from Thomas Ford Memorial Public Library who will be doing a program on IM for reference in the library. The date should be announced soon, I think it's sometime in February.

Once I have my webservice up (won't take long :)), I will provide some sample Java code, as well, as ASP & ASP.NET. If anyone uses PHP or Cold Fusion and knows how to make a webservice call (a.k.a. sending post data to a webservice and receiving the result), let me know. I'd like to have samples to cover most everyones needs.

If you're interested in this, contact me and let me know. I won't be posting my webservice URL in the open, but I will give it to any interested parties.

Confused? I'll explain more when I have things ready to go!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Where this is going

This October has been a busy conference season for me. In the past 2 years I've mostly stuck to the Illinois Library Association annual confernece. Those have been great for networking and learning more about the world of libraries (especially in IL), but the tech side is usually lacking. Jenny Levine and others always deliver a what's new and hot in tech, but other than that, there is not enough room for real in-depth tech sessions.

Enter, Internet Librarian 2005. A few months ago, this conference was another piece of mail on my desk. In what was either a strange twist of fate, or just the randomness of the universe the conference was in Monterey, CA, most notably the home to my wife's uncle, whom she's only seen a few times in the last 10 years.

My wife is now about 19 weeks along with our first child, which as of now might be a baby girl. So I was looking for something we could go away to do, kind of a "baby-moon" of sorts. At first, I was going to bring her to Peoria with me for this years ILA. But then Monterey came into the picture. This chance was perfect for both of us. I would get to go to California for the first time and for the first time visit a real library + tech conference that features some of the savviest tech that libraries across the country have to offer. For my wife, it was a small get away, probably our last and a chance to see an aunt & uncle she rarely gets to see.

Where am I going with this?

This blog is the revolution that happened in my mind while sitting through these sessions, surrounded by other people like me who were blogging the conference and sharing their experiences and photos with their peers and professional friends.

I also have to give Jenny credit (although I'm not sure she realizes what an influence she has been). I have read her blog off and on since I found out who she was and what she did. Most recently I've had a chance to introduce myself to Jenny and to learn more about what she and others in the northern part of the state are doing in their regional systems and libraries.

South of Springfield, libraries are behind the curve. Yes, we have some brilliant and creative librarians and some fantastic libraries. However, when I attend conferences I see all these libraries that are already blogging and using flickr to share photos, and other social tools to interact with their patrons. I see libraries that offer gaming to attract their young patrons. I see all this and I know southern Illinois has the potential to get there.

So consider this a virtual kick in the butt. This blog will be my way of sharing with our libraries what's out there, what I've learned, and what I'm doing that can help you reach out to your patrons over the Internet and reach them where they are.

Because that is what libraries need to start doing. Your patrons are becoming more and more mobile and the time is right to put the things in place so that your library can respond to the needs of not only today's patrons, but the ones of tomorrow as well.