Written with businesses in mind, but I think these suggestions might also be helpful for libraries and related organizations.
So let’s assume, for a moment, that as the technology marketing writer, you don’t have buy-in from senior leaders to write about controversial issues, negative messaging, or anything that might portray your company in a negative light. Let’s say you’re working in a traditional environment where managers don’t really understand how trust and transparency work on the web. What do you do?
In these situations, you can take another approach to your blog articles. Whereas on my personal blog I like to ask questions and explore problems, on a corporate blog, what works well are more information-driven posts. I break these information-driven posts up into five categories: What’s New Posts, Industry Trends Commentary, Tech How-to Tips, Beta Testing Opportunities, and Instructional Collateral.
As libraries struggle to meet the challenges of providing digital content in an environment characterized by significant uncertainty and changing on a daily basis, there is a need for an Association-wide group of experts, broadly representative of the many constituencies within the library community, that can proactively address these digital content opportunities and issues at the highest level and from both a policy and practical perspective.
To help meet this need, the ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group was formed in Fall 2011 to implement the recommendations and to continue the work of ALA’s Task Force on Equitable Access to Digital Content. Working Group members were selected by the ALA President based on their high level of expertise and range of experience regarding libraries and digital content, and are broadly representative of the various constituencies within the Association and library community.
This website is meant to be a resource to support libraries in their transformation from print to digital content.
Some define web accessibility to mean making the web accessible to those with disabilities (including visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive) 1. However, I prefer the more general meaning of making the web accessible equally to everyone, including those with disabilities 2. To take this further, regardless of whether someone has a disability, they should be able to access information in their preferred manner including using any browser, operating system, or device.
A quick (but common) example of a problem is how a user is expected to control a video if they cannot use a mouse to click on buttons (they may depend on a keyboard or be visually impaired), especially when most videos still use some form of Flash. Try it sometime, and see what happens. Web accessibility guidelines, such as WCAG, attempt to address these issues.
Accessibility is a large and thorny topic, which I’m discovering first-hand as we try to ensure that one of our systems is section 508 compliant so it can be used for public access to certain information. And I definitely have a new appreciation for anyone who has to use a screen reader to use a computer!
And this just in: W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard (INFOdocket)
The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.
I like the sound of this, especially that the library owns the ebooks outright (my library does that with the electronic reference works we get from Gale, for instance).
But from this he draws the wrong conclusion, that we should continue making special mobile websites. I believe that special mobile websites is like sticking plaster over the problem; we generally shouldn’t have separate mobile websites, anymore than we should have separate screen reader websites. The reason many “full websites” are unusable on mobile phones is because many full websites are unusable on any device. It’s often said that your expenditure rises as your income does, and that the amount of clutter you own expands to fill your house however many times you move to a bigger one. In the same way, website owners have long proved incontinent in keeping desktop websites focussed, simply because they have so much room….
Unfortunately, this focus is distracting us from the realization that we don’t need to treat access to commercial content as our primary mission. Yes, we’ve put a lot of effort into it in the past, and we’ve done it well. But it’s time to take a step back. Previously, we had the force of law on our side; now, though, the problem of access to digital content is being solved without us. More important, our insistence on competing with (or even just complementing) Amazon and Apple—not to mention all of the free content available online—is an insistence that we define ourselves by something we are not good at anymore.
Does this mean it’s time to shut our doors and go home? No way. Here’s where user experience (UX) comes into play. Remember, UX is concerned with designing products and services that are easy to use, desirable to use, and genuinely useful.
UX design can help us optimize the services currently in our libraries, but we can do even more. We can use it to design completely new services and innovate. I’m not talking about a shallow buzzword sort of innovation as when a library employs the technology or social media flavor of the month. What I’m talking about is a systematic approach to learning about our communities so that we can find other ways to offer essential support.
Simple enough, right? I’ll be skipping past why and how to break your content up into components, and instead focus on how metadata and taxonomies get applied to content components.
from Brain Traffic: An Intro to Metadata and Taxonomies
First, a growing number of people are using mobile as the only way they access the web. A pair of studies late last year from Pew and from On Device Research showed that over 25 per cent of people in the US who browse the web on smartphones almost never use any other platform. That’s north of 11 per cent of adults in the US, or about 25million people, who only see the web on small screens. There’s a digital-divide issue here. People who can afford only one screen or internet connection are choosing the phone. If you want to reach them at all, you have to reach them on mobile. We can’t settle for serving such a huge audience a stripped-down experience or force them to swim through a desktop layout in a small screen.
Okay, so… I don’t know if this will be of use anyone but me, but I was trying to go over the Computers in Libraries sessions (both those I attended and those I didn’t) to find what I could of the presentation slides/handouts/blog posts and I was getting bogged down in links and files, so I made these lists of links. If anyone knows of stuff that could be on here that I missed, do let me know (use the ‘ask me anything’ link).
There is often talk about the loss of serendipity due to libraries moving more to closed stacks but I’m starting to disagree. It’s not about losing what’s in the stacks– it’s about greater access to content that is linked together more effectively. We’re in the growing pains stage right now, but imagine what it could become. It could be another new information revolution. This isn’t about just migrating print to a digital platform, but building an integrated and immersive experience. Building personal collections that talk with each other and then add more to that collection.
If discovery and serendipity are really the desired outcomes then you should prefer access to such an interlinked digital knowledge universe. This would ensure that you stumble upon books and other content from other disciplines– not just the ones at eye level the next shelf over.
Just as a few massive chain stores eventually came to dominate the traditional printed book market in North America, the e-book marketplace is a kind of oligopoly involving a few major players — primarily Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. And while bookstore owners of all kinds are free to decide which books they wish to put on their shelves, these new giants have far more control over whose e-books see the light of day because they also own the major e-reading platforms, and they are making decisions based not on what they think consumers want to read but on their own competitive interests. That is turning the e-book landscape into even more of a walled garden.
Why would you want to make eBooks? They are a lot easier to read on tablet computers than a PDF, so if you’re taking the time to type up a research guide or something similar in MS Word and then PDFing it for web posting, you might as well take another 15 minutes and make an eBook out of it. But there’s also lots of government information out there that you can scrape and make into a new, more usuable product – either for benevolent or not so benevolent reasons. For example, if you’re an academic law librarian, imagine taking your state’s Rules of Court, making them into a nice ePub, putting a cover on it saying “complements of Jane Smith Law Library, University of X College of Law” and then sending it out to all of your alumni. Or substitute “firm librarian” for academic and “practice group” for alumni. A more benevolent example would be to partner with your faculty members that assign statutory supplements for their classes, offer to make them and distribute through library website and save the students about 100 bucks per class.
Really, once you start looking around, you’d be surprised about how much you can transform into an eBook format. And it’s sort of fun. When my co-worker Elmer showed me how to do it, I sort of went into a crazed “I WANT TO EBOOK THE WORLD!” mode. Hopefully you’ll keep it together a little more.
This whole post is definitely worth a read.
…Tim points out that he and a lot of other content creators have been happily coexisting with piracy all this time, and I’m certainly one of them. Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan. The big content companies are TERRIBLE at doing both of these things, so it’s no wonder they’re not doing so well in the current environment. And right now everyone’s fighting to control distribution channels, which is why I can’t watch Star Wars on Netflix or iTunes. It’s fine if you want to have that fight, but don’t yell and scream about how you’re losing business to piracy when your stuff isn’t even available in the box I have on top of my TV. A lot of us have figured out how to do this.
So if you can stand me sounding a little crazy, listen: where is the proof that piracy causes economic harm to anyone? Looking at the music business, yes profits have gone down ever since Napster, but has anyone effectively demonstrated the causal link between that and piracy? There are many alternate theories (people buying songs and not whole albums, music sucking more, niches and indie acts becoming more viable, etc.). The Swiss government did a study and determined that unauthorized downloading (which 1/3 of their citizens do) does not create any loss in revenue for the entertainment industry. …