Interview with Debbie, Adam and Mike

What a bargain! Three for the price of one! 😉

Today’s blog chat is with all three delegates from Leeds Met(ropolitan University) — Debbie Morris, Adam Watson and Michael Taylor…

Adam and Debbie

Hi, could you tell us a little bit about your respective jobs at Leeds Met?

Debbie: I manage the Library system (SirsiDynix Unicorn, soon to be Symphony); deal with any RFID issues and developments (D-Tech system); check out new systems developments the Library could/should implement and then cajole others into helping me implement them.

Adam: I manage the Portal system for the University.

Mike: I’m the web developer for “Skills for Learning” (our Library’s study skills area) and also the developer of the Open Search interface for our Institutional Repository.

What’s new and cool at your library?

Debbie: We’ve been trying to gain some lost ground with Web 2.0, so we’ve recently started to Tweet, developed a Facebook App, started to build a Library in Second Life on the Leeds Met island, added Librarything to our OPAC, and started to think about Talis Aspire.

Can you remember where and when you first used a web browser?

Debbie: Probably at home in the mid 1990’s — I had a techie boyfriend at the time who liked to have all the latest gadgets.

Adam: Keighley College 1995.

Mike: Probably at Leeds Met maybe 1995/6 — I wasn’t an employee back then (being 11 has it’s limitations), though my father was.

Do you think libraries and librarians should adopt a cautious approach to new technologies, or should they be rolling up their sleeves and embracing it fully?

Debbie: I’d go for the second option, the challenge is persuading colleagues who adopt the first option.

Adam: A combination of both.

Mike: Definitely a bit of both. As a developer I’d rather avoid being thrown onto every bandwagon that comes along but it’s also exciting to investigate new technologies to expand upon what we already have.

I know you’re currently investigating Facebook. What’s your take on the argument that we should be staying out of student’s social spaces?

Debbie: I’d like to think we are just providing them with a useful app, we’re not asking them to be our “friend”, but we are getting useful, tailored Library information to them in a way they might find helpful and familiar.

Adam: I think that this a very valid and philosophical question and that some people may find it intrusive. The obvious contra-argument to this is that the application is of course a value added optional service to allow students to aggregate content to their chosen point of access. Further to this we will not use their data in any way to target advertising etc to them. We will also not use features that allow publishing to the wall or status updates, and all private data is held on Leeds Met secure servers and not in Facebook. Other users will not be able to see details of another user’s library account.

Mike: As long as these things remain a choice for the student then I see no problem.

Are you currently using any mash-ups?

Debbie: In the past year we’ve added Librarything to the OPAC and developed the Facebook app, but there’s lots of enthusiasm to build on this. The Second Life library & services will be an interesting experiment. I’m not sure SL is very popular with many of our students (the exception being Art students).

Have you got a favourite mash-up?

Debbie: I like the stuff Bill Bailey does with music, if that counts? The jazz version of the national anthem was a particular favourite, or the William Tell Overture mashed with cockney rhyming slang! (see Bill Bailey and Cockney Music)

Adam: My Facebook status is updated by my Twitter account.

Got a favourite beverage?

Debbie: No, I like a wide variety of beverages.

Adam: Green tea.

Mike: Just a good cup of tea.

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~ by Dave Pattern on 16/June/2009.

One Response to “Interview with Debbie, Adam and Mike”

  1. I very much endorse the contra-argument put forward here by Mr Adam Watson, specifically that a library FaceBook app is a value added optional service to allow students to aggregate content to their chosen point of access (very well put Mr Watson!) Moreover it is important to remember that FaceBook is still a relatively young service and, like its users, is maturing apace! Why, today’s young FaceBookers may well be tomorrow’s library systems developers!

    However, I do not believe that Adam’s favourite beverage is green tea.

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