Friday, June 30, 2006

Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss - Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design

A little Friday lunchtime reading... If you like the Dogma, follow the link and read the interview with Reiss. I'm going to be re-evaluating mpow's website with these 10 points in mind.
From: Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss - Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design:

"Web Dogma ‘06"

1. Anything that exists only to satisfy the internal politics of the site owner must be eliminated.
2. Anything that exists only to satisfy the ego of the designer must be eliminated.
3. Anything that is irrelevant within the context of the page must be eliminated.
4. Any feature or technique that reduces the visitor’s ability to navigate freely must be reworked or eliminated.
5. Any interactive object that forces the visitor to guess its meaning must be reworked or eliminated.
6. No software, apart from the browser itself, must be required to get the site to work correctly.
7. Content must be readable first, printable second, downloadable third.
8. Usability must never be sacrificed for the sake of a style guide.
9. No visitor must be forced to register or surrender personal data unless the site owner is unable to provide a service or complete a transaction without it.
10. Break any of these rules sooner than do anything outright barbarous. "


Friday, June 23, 2006

Pix from New Orleans

Arrived in New Orleans last night. Had a delicious fried catfish and my wife had an equally yummy chicken marsala. Long wait (I think the restaurant was understaffed) but the food was worth it!

This morning we headed straight to Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. I'm still buzzing...

On our way to the the OCLC Symposium, " Preserving Library Core Value and Envisioning the Future ". I'm especially looking forward to hearing Stacey Aldrich, Assistant Director of the Omaha Public Library System. Her presentations on scenario building and future thinking are always thought-provoking. And OCLC has hit homeruns with their last few symposia (Long Tail, Extreme Makeover), so I'm pretty primed for this one!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Fun: The I/O Brush

It ain't new but it's new to me--and just the friday fun I needed to ease me into the weekend. Enjoy!

Direct Link:

More info at:


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Catching Up

Been super busy lately. Superer and busier than usual even such that I haven't found the time (ok, let me own this, haven't made the time) to comment on some really amazing posts out in the blogosphere. Here' s a sampling of what's been blowing my mind lately, some old, some new. My intention is to write more fully on all of this soon. I've added these to a new "must read" section on the sidebar of the blog.
  • Karen Schneider's "The User is Not Broken"
    The most significant help you can provide your users is to add value and meaning to the information experience, wherever it happens; defend their right to read; and then get out of the way.

    Your website is your ambassador to tomorrow's taxpayers. They will meet the website long before they see your building, your physical resources, or your people.

  • Darlene Fichter's thoughts on "Radical Trust"

    Radical trust is about trusting the community. We know that abuse can happen, but we trust (radically) that the community and participation will work. In the real world, we know that vandalism happens but we still put art and sculpture up in our parks. As an online community we come up with safeguards or mechanisms that help keep open contribution and participation working.

  • Wandering Eyre's "Why my OPAC Sucks"

    3,11,15) It will not correct my bad spelling

    8) If I do not type “U.S. News and World Reports” in exactly that fashion with the periods and spaces, my OPAC thinks we do not have this item

    16) With all my practice and training, sometimes I can not find things I know we have, how can I expect my users to find anything?

  • John Blyberg's "ILS Customer Bill of Rights"

    I envision a library Bill-of-Rights with four simple, but fundamental must-have’s from your ILS.
    1) Open, read-only, direct access to the database.
    2) A full-blown, W3C standards-based API to all read-write functions
    3) The option to run the ILS on hardware of our choosing, on servers that we administer
    4) High security standards

  • Karen Schneider's "How OPACS Suck Part 3: The Big Picture"

    The fundamental problem with today's library catalog is that it suffers from severe literalism. Even with a few bells and whistles, today's OPAC is a doggedly faithful replica of the card catalog of yore. This isn't a failure of any one vendor; by and large they're delivering what librarians think they want. It's a larger failure of vision.

  • Karen Schneider's "How OPACS Suck Part 2: The Checklist of Shame"

    But think about your own catalog: are these features available? It may well be, as some users wrote me privately, that the OPAC (as separate software purchased by local libraries) is near death's door. I think that's very likely. But if so, anything else we use for a catalog—who's betting on Open WorldCat?—will need good search functionality as well, or it too will suck, only more consistently and on a much larger scale. In the end, as uber-librarian and user champion Marvin Scilken told me many times, the bottom line is public service.

  • Karen Schneider's "How OPACS Suck Part 1: Relevance Rank (Or the Lack of It)"

    The users who complain that your online catalog is hard to search aren't stupid; they are simply pointing out the obvious. Relevance ranking is just one of many basic search-engine functionalities missing from online catalogs. NCSU worked around it by adding a search engine on top of its catalog database. But the interesting questions are: Why don't online catalog vendors offer true search in the first place? and Why we don't demand it? Save the time of the reader!

  • Dan Russell's "Getting People to Decide"

  • Here’s the bottom line: Be specific in your help and support. Be very clear. And get your users to decide to do something with your product. Don’t let it just lie there and go out of their attention—get your users engaged!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Cool quote on wikipedia

From a cool conversation that took place at The Hyperlinked Society Conference put on by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Joho the Blog: [annenberg] Hyperlinking in Web 2.0: "Wikipedia is more highly read in Germany than in America, and [the German encyclopedia publisher] Brockhaus' sales are up 30%. Maybe it's because Wikipedia reminds people that encyclopedias are cool." -Jimmy Wales