How Do YOU Define “Emerging”?

Tuesday morning, I roused myself out of bed to get to the early Emerging Technologies Breakfast.

This was a bit of an odd program. First of all, I understood that the presenter who had a death in the family and couldn’t make it would show a pre-recorded web cast for his portion of the program. But I was confused as to why one of the presenters who was there would choose to do so. I mean, I know what he was trying to do. He was trying to demonstrate what a web cast was at the same time he was explaining why to use them. He was multi-tasking in a way, and I get that. But it was strange nonetheless and I would have preferred him speaking in person – he could have shown a short web cast if he really needed to.

Which brings me to my second point. Web casting? At an emerging technologies breakfast? I suppose it is a newish technology, maybe not the standard fare everywhere. But is it really emerging? I watch 3-4 webcasts a month for work. Twitter is emerging. Hyper-local search is emerging. But web casts? Web casts are just. . . here. It’s technology that is already reaching the tipping point of wide-spread adoption. Am I really that early of an adopter, or does this seem odd to you, too?

The other topic of the presentation was wikis. Although most people probably know what Wikipedia is, I suppose you could argue that wikis in the work place are still an emerging technology. If we ever have time to get around to writing out best research practices in our library, I will push to use a wiki, but we don’t have one yet. Collaborative document management systems are pretty mainstream, but collaborative wiki documents maybe aren’t so. But, again, this seemed like kind of a stretch for an emerging technologies presentation.

Finally, there were sections on online social networking and the legal commons (like public.resource.org). I guess these are emerging, but there didn’t seem to be all that much content in this portion of the session. My enhanced notes from the session are below.

Mary Talley & Ellen Callinan, Axelroth & Associates

Wikis

• Intuitive

• Simple Hosting Options

• Content Management System

• Online Discussion

• Knowledge Base

Librarians can create guidelines and the folksonomy for a wiki rather than relying on web developers for access decisions – This is a pretty good point. In the past, librarians often had to rely on web designers to create our web pages and include the hyperlinks that create access to the content we want to share. With wikis, there is much more freedom for the content creator to make access points on the fly for the created documents.

Attorneys can post research strategies for new/other associates to view – This is an interesting idea. I wonder if we could get buy-in from our attorneys for them to create a document describing their strategies. Although for some of the senior attorneys, that research strategy is “contact the library” or “have a junior associate do it”. I have had some senior attorneys tell me that they haven’t used XX research tool in years because they assign the task to other people. At least the library is in there as one of the sources to do their work. . .

Creating buy-in

• Must solve a recognized problem/need – if people don’t know that there is a need for it, they will not make the effort required to adopt the new tool

• Easy – it must be easy. If there is too much training needed to get started, people won’t make the effort

• Fun – you should make the project fun. How to do this? I love this idea: Have the staff create their own wikis for whatever they want to do. Give them “wiki hours” to work on their wiki during the work day (1 hour/week). Later do a show and tell for them to demo their wiki to the rest of the company. What a great idea to get people interested. Don’t make them start with a wiki of corporate procedures (yawn) – let them use a couple of work hours to create a wiki of their favorite restaurants or sports team or video games.

• There must be a leader to take charge. You can’t just introduce a wiki and hope other people will start using it. A leader has to use it, too, and has to encourage others to use it. In our case, a partner would likely need to be the champion of the project.

WikiMatrix – website to help you decide which wiki product works best for you

John J. DiGilio, Reed Smith

Just in Time learning

Voice thread – podcast with voice comments from viewers

Podcasting, vidcasting, etc.

What is Just in Time learning?

Training and instruction designed to get to end-users when and where they need it most; what they need to know when and where they need to know it.

Uses familiar technology: web, audio, video, presentation software

Goal and task driven, and portable

Pros

• Learn on user’s terms

• Cheaper than travel for the teacher

• Less out of office time for learners, too

• Optimal for mobile and distance learning

Cons

• Learning at its “minimum” – giving just what they need in the moment

• Can’t account for different levels among learners

• No teacher-student exchange

• Technological limitations

Assess training needs of institution – are needs suitable for 10-15 minute presentation or is something more needed

Investigate the available tools

Human capital – do you have people to help make, maintain, and update the lessons

Formats/Tools

Software: Camtasia and Profcast – Mac-based

Web-based: VoiceThread.com

This is something Steve and I have talked about doing for WildCare – creating short videos on how to complete tasks at WildCare. Like the proper way to clean a duckling brooder or to clean a raccoon run or to set up a cage for a water bird. But we need to get buy-in from someone in the organization to get volunteers to watch them so it is worth our while. Otherwise, it’s just pissing in the wind.

Nathan Rosen

Speech to text programs still need a lot of work

Online social networking – LegalOnRamp.com and LawLink – just for lawyers

Law Libraries and Librarians have own network, too

Thomas B. Fleming, Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro

Effect of Free Information on Professionals and the Public: Case Research and Web 3.0

The Legal Commons

Scanning error rate on Malamud’s site is 2% = 40 errors/page

Other sites: casemaker.us, chesslaw.com, precydent.com, Silicon Flatiron

Legal Commons – Future

Massive amounts of data available – people can build their own databases

Citations move to URL rather than traditional citations

Will force government to make more information freely available because of larger user base – I hope so. This goes back to the Sunshine Week program I organized with speakers Carl Malamud, Brewster Kahle, and Marcia Hofmann. (You can read a write-up of the program here on page 6 – caution – this is a big PDF file). Their big point was that the data should be freely available so that people can create new databases and that is where market competition comes from. Instead the current procedure is for the government to contract with an established database provider to give them the data so they can create the database. I’m not sure when the tipping point will come that the government understands that giving the data to everyone equally (bug guys and little guys) is what will create competition, but I do hope it happens sooner rather than later.