Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Read this Blog: Stop your presentation before it kills again!

Everyone hates "zombie presentations": created by zombies, presented by zombies, viewed by zombies. Perhaps the worse aspect of zombie presentations is that they actually create zombies in the process! I think each one of us should take a vow, make a resolution, do whatever it takes to free ourselves and our loved ones from the bonds of bullet points. Each of us should commit ourselves to designing, giving and accepting only great presentations in the coming year.

The title of this post comes from an awesome blog entry that I return to frequently, Stop your presentation before it kills again! from the Creating Passionate Users blog by Kathy Sierra and Dan Russell. READ IT, think about it, bookmark it, share it with everyone you know. And most importantly, use it as a basis for raising your expectations!

My co-conspirator and ace DSpace coder Jim Rutherford and I talk about this a lot. The problem is not simply that creators of presentations are not being creative, are not stretching themselves; it's that audience expectations are so incredibly low!

The Stop your presentation... entry provides many good points, but there are a number of other good sites you can check out. One of the great teachers of evangelistic style is Guy Kawaski; check out Speaking as a Performing Art at his How to Change the World blog. (Be sure to also check out Guy's Art of Innovation talk). Lawrence Lessig, the influential copyright scholar and thought leader for the Creative Commons initiative, is often considered the Zen master of presentation; his style is discussed in The "Lessig Method" of presentation entry at the Presentation Zen blog.

Update: See this compilation of the Top 10 Presentations Ever, which includes Steven Jobs' 1984 introduction of the Macintosh; Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech; Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture talk; and Dick Hardt’s famous Identity 2.0 presentation at OSCON 2005.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

pf-dspace blog now Zotero (and COinS) compatible!

In our previous post I mentioned the new Zotero/Internet Archive alliance. Since I wrote that I've taken some time to understand a bit more about how Zotero works, and in particular what kinds of markup are required to make web resources "compatible" with Zotero to the extent that they can (a) be detected by the client and (b) added into a local Zotero database at the click of a button. My final step has been to tweak this blog to provide COinS metadata, after a fashion...

Some explanation is in order! After you've installed the Zotero extension to Firefox, when you travel to a site that is compatible with Zotero you will see a small icon on the right side of the address bar; the style of the icon will indicate what type of resource the plugin as detected. Click on the icon; if only one item was detected (one bundle of metadata) it will directly add the item into its local database; if more than one item was detected, it will bring up a list of all the items, and you select which ones you would like to be added. Once the item has been added, you can add addition metadata, notes, etc --- the usual Zotero features.

What's the trick? One way that Zotero "detects" a citation is by way of html SPAN elements of class="Z3988", aka the OpenURL COinS: A Convention to Embed Bibliographic Metadata in HTML standard. I use the Openly Informatics generic COinS generator, a web-based utility in which I enter some metadata and it spews out a bit of markup, which I paste at the end of my blog entry. Now when Zotero-equipped users visit my blog, they will see a collection of citations which they can selectively add to their citation lists -- which of course they will want to do!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Zotero/Internet Archive Alliance: Now things are getting interesting!

With proposal deadlines looming early next year and the holidays rapidly approaching, the reader might have missed the big news from earlier in the week: the Zotero project at the Center for History and New Media and the Internet Archive have announced a major new alliance. It has been described by Dan Cohen, director of CHNM as really a match made in heaven: a project to provide free and open source software and services for scholars joining together with the leading open library. The initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has supported earlier Zotero development.

Some of the language in the Chronicle article has caused concern in the library and IR community, especially that this alliance is meant to bypass the library. In her Library2.0 blog Laura Cohen does a great job summarizing these concerns in an entry entitled Zotero Commons: Who Needs Libraries? Note that the follow-up comments to her entry, including some from Dan Cohen himself, are superb.

In addition to his comments in Library2.0, Dan posted an entry in his blog yesterday responding to two misconceptions about the Zotero/IA alliance, that (1) the scope of the Zotero+IA alliance is limited to the Zotero Commons (it's not), and (2) that the Zotero+IA alliance is an end-run around institutional repositories (it's not intended to be). He goes on to say that he wants to ...emphasize that this project does not make IA the exclusive back end for contributions. Indeed, I am aware of several libraries that are already experimenting with using Zotero as an input device for institutional repositories...

There are elements of functionality (proposed or existing today) that we think are exciting, especially various features that will potentially contribute to collaboration between researchers and the care and feeding of scholarly networks. But there are also some fundamental issues incarnate with the sharing of research materials that even a clever initiative like Zotero+IA cannot's nearly Christmas, so I won't use that other nine-letter word beginning with 'C' (cue Boris Karloff)...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting the Most Out of Your Institutional Repository

Yesterday (04 Dec 2007) I had the pleasure of presenting at Getting the Most Out of Your Institutional Repository: Gathering Content and Building Use, an educational workshop hosted by NISO at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) near Washington, DC. It was great to see many familiar faces and to meet in person several colleagues whose work I actively follow.

NISO collected each of our presentations and has linked to them from the workshop agenda page.

A consistent theme that built throughout the day was one of adding value for the individual user/contributor. In my own presentation, the future of dspace: making dspace personal (making dspace social) (pdf) the focus was on giving the individual scholar incentives for "living" within their institution's dspace and especially the role of the institutional repository in scholarly networks populated by researchers with Facebook-driven social networking sensibilities.

For more on this theme, see my earlier comments in this blog and also refer to this recent article in OCLC's NextSpace in which the editors asked nine experts to explore and comment on the trends and behaviors of users of the social Web. During the conference I also mentioned Danah Boyd's recent talk at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. See this page for information on that talk and to download audio or video.

I'll update this posting when links to the NISO presentations (and video) become available. Stay tuned! Updated 07 Dec 2007