Make me tech-y
November 15, 2007 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I am a librarian. I'm interested in social technologies, HCI, information architecture, and critical theories of these. Essentially, how information is used by people to create community and meaning. I enjoy using social technology, and advocating its use within my profession and actual job. But I want better technology know-how, skills, awareness. Where do I start?

Sorry to be so vague. I'm not even sure what questions to ask to point myself in the right direction. Maybe I just want to be able to make something? Program? Or perhaps that's not appropriate here, especially since I have no background in it.
posted by unknowncommand to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
There's lots of social sites going on out there, most use volunteer labor.

I volunteer with one and we're constantly looking for tech volunteer help.

Find a local one and drop them a line.
posted by unixrat at 8:58 AM on November 15, 2007

Metafilter's Jessamyn might be able to help.
posted by kathryn at 9:10 AM on November 15, 2007

Here's what's helped me:

Go here, here, and here. Then look these items up in your favorite online library catalog (WorldCat would be ideal, so you can really see what's out there). In each record, look up the related subjects/descriptors. Follow those to more books.

Network! Find out who the Continuing Education people are for your library system. Contact them and ask about past and future workshops on libraries and technology. I've found that the people who put on the workshops usually post the handouts and PowerPoint presentations they used to the web, and they are happy to send you the link. Occasionally you will get lucky and get a link to video of the actual workshop.

Go to the websites of the professional organizations most relevant to your type of library (ALA, PLA, ACRL, SLA, etc.) and search for their technology sections. They usually have some good links.

Subscribe to these library-related blogs:
Neat New
Library Stuff
Wicked Cool (by my own library system woot-WOOT!)
David Lee King's blog
Tame the Web
ALA Tech Source

Don't get overwhelmed by all the stuff you find-- learn what you can, talk to everyone who shares your interest in libraries and technology, and implement what works for you and your library.

Good luck!
posted by Rykey at 9:34 AM on November 15, 2007

Take a look at code4lib, especially their conference presentations.
posted by needled at 10:22 AM on November 15, 2007

seconding code4lib. As for extending your tech, try grabbing an old PC, putting Ubuntu on it, and then try building a Drupal site, or really come down heavy with a Koha or Evergreen install. Go out and play! Break things! Get dirty!
posted by the dief at 11:02 AM on November 15, 2007

For some critical theory about social networking sites, look at Danah Boyd's work. The last issue of the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication has a focus on social technologies (I haven't read it yet, but it looks interesting).

I'd add Information Wants to Be Free, Shifted Librarian and Librarian in Black to the list of blogs that rykey mentioned.

posted by Infinite Jest at 11:14 AM on November 15, 2007

You also might want to check the presentations from Internet Librarian 2007. A lot of the bloggers mentioned gave presentations there. There was one really great presentation from Frank Cervone from Northwestern about HCI in library websites.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about reading lists- I'm currently in Library school, moonlighting with Info Science and HCI, and there's a lot of stuff (some good, lots pretty junky) being published about it right now.
posted by kendrak at 2:36 PM on November 15, 2007

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