TechnoStress Is Upon Us

March 2nd, 2015

According to the authors of TechnoStress, Michelle M. Weil, Ph.D. and Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., the best definition is “TechnoStress is our reaction to technology and how we are changing due to its influence. Over the past 15 years, as technology has become an increasingly prevalent part of our lives, we have watched TechnoStress develop and impact people in their personal lives, their family and their work environment. We are changing both internally and externally due to technology and these changes are not in our best interests physically, socially or emotionally.”

So it is that as more aspects of technology “invade” our lives, our heels get dug in with those ways with which we feel most comfortable.  The need to be “in the know” and on the cutting edge falls quickly when presented with multiple ways to communicate.  The glut of choices in method can sometimes yield an inability to communicate at all.  Just when an institution decided that email would be the form of communication, it is pointed out that a large majority of users now don’t even bother reading email and prefer the text message.  This will give way to something else which leaves the older user who simply wants a method to last more than a minute frustrated and turned off.

Librarians, however, don’t have the luxury of remaining “turned off” .  Those on the cutting edge and those just trying to cope will all be in the library looking for help and the volumes of information they need to be organized are clearly not going to be done in a singular method.  There’s a fine line between a desire for choice and the overwhelming feeling of too many choices and that’s what technostress has brought us.  Check out Terence K. Huwe’s Building Digital Libraries the January/February 2015 issue of Computers in Libraries.

Yes, Our Brains Are Changed

February 27th, 2015

I have found that I’m always slightly taken aback when I see someone in an airport or other “waiting” situation have an actual book in their hands.  It’s become almost a standout to see someone not  swiping a page or charging their reading tool.  I would suspect that each of those rare sitings is what we call pleasure reading and that’s what makes it rare–there is no time for pleasure reading anymore.  I think most of us would agree that, because of technology, our work life and school life are wrapped up in reading scholarly or technical items online which leaves little yen for continuing that past our duties.

Josh Hanagarne, pegged The World’s Strongest Librarian for his strength training abilities and the overcoming of physical maladies, is a keynote guest on the “circuit” and has aptly pegged his talk “Is Technology Changing Our Brains” and I think even without chemical and scientific evidence we can all agree our love of reading has morphed into something that may not be “love” anymore.

A respondent to Josh Hanagarne’s Internet Librarian keynote speech, sums it all up nicely and I think we’d all concur.

How This Librarian Works–Karlen Chase

February 25th, 2015

Job Title: Research Analyst

Institution: University at Buffalo

Job Duties/Description: My department has been tasked with creating a university-wide database of engagement activities that has a public-facing Web display. These activities include the engaged scholarship, experiential learning and professional service activities faculty and staff undertake. I serve as the technical lead on the inventory project and provide guidance to the university’s Engagement Advisory Committee on how data collection choices will impact search results and what data must be collected to create their desired sorts and slices of the data. I built the pilot data collection tool in the Microsoft SharePoint CMS and am now building the second iteration in Campus Labs Baseline and the WordPress CMS, using Gravity Forms and Toolset plugins.

Current mobile device(s)? I still have my first smartphone, an HTC Droid Incredible 2 that I bought in 2011. It has been rooted and modded with CyanogenMod-7.1.0.1, running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread, five versions of Android back). Since modding the phone, it runs much faster. I don’t plan on getting a new smartphone until this one dies or is no longer useful. I use my old Nook Color for reading and browsing the Web. (I had also rooted and modded the Nook Color, but I found the processor couldn’t stand up to the increased task load of operating as an Android tablet, so I reset it to factory settings and the Nook operating system, which is a lower version of Android.) The advantage of using my devices so long is that by the time I replace them, the experience is akin to trading in a Yugo for a Porsche.

Current computer(s)? I still prefer desktop computers because of the pricing points. I have an old Dell at home that I bought in 2007 and will be upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 when I have the time. At work, I have a Dell Optiplex 7010 with 16GB of memory, so it’s much faster than my home computer. I also have dual monitors on my work computer, which I love.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Google Calendar, Evernote, Pinboard and Feedly. I also use Microsoft Outlook’s tasks for work.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? My FitBit Zip.

What’s your best productivity/organization/time-saving trick? If I can kill it in two minutes or less, I kill the task. Otherwise, I’m using the Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo.

How do you manage your to-do list/workflow? My inbox in Microsoft Outlook is a to-do list; there are never more than about 15 items in my inbox, and I’d like to get that down. I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule deadlines and repeating tasks. I also use Google Calendar to schedule reminders for both work and personal tasks. I have implemented a “light” version of The Secret Weapon (TSW) [link: http://www.thesecretweapon.org/] in Evernote but would like to go full-on TSW at some point in the near future.

What resources do you use for professional development? I take classes on software through UB’s Organizational Development and Training department. I also use YouTube extensively to view tutorials for specific WordPress plugins or for anything else tech-related that I need to do at work. I use Microsoft support anytime I need to uncover another Excel trick.

What are you currently reading? I am always in the middle of about a dozen books, rotating a few primaries. My primary reads right now are Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation, by Rolf Sovik; The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi Pada, by Pantañjali, commentary by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait; Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, by Pema Chödrön; and Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding, by Lynn Darling.

Is there a website or blog you’d like to recommend to your fellow librarians? I am loving the Skillcrush and Buffer blogs right now.

Where do you see your job/career 12 months from now? Time will tell. I’m focusing on the labor, not the fruit, right now.

Any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to plug? I have picked up some side projects that are all writing-related. I’m also working on a few short stories for submission to literary journals.

Preferring Print Appears To Be Ageless

February 24th, 2015

No, we haven’t just been spinning our wheels trying to wrestle ebook rights out of publishers hands but there is striking evidence that millenials actually prefer print books for pleasure.  In spite of the amount of time they spend on laptops and other media for coursework and social networking, books in print are the choice.  And why?  For the same reasons we all do–it’s easier, you read more carefully and the “understanding” is just simply clearer.  Read more.

Health Happens in Libraries Program Selects BECPL

February 19th, 2015

We were all so pleased to learn that WNYLRC member, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, is one of only five institutions in the country selected to take part in an IMLS Grant/OCLC-managed project called Health Happens in Libraries.  Locally we know how well-poised BECPL is to offer the expertise to the public regarding their health information needs so it is with great happiness that we learn that fact and included it. “….demonstrated dedication to community health, leadership capacity, and commitment to sharing the outcomes of their experience with the field.”  We congratulate our colleagues there for their hard work and know that their public is very lucky indeed.  Read.