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Changing the Way We Work

Changing the Way We Work by Michelle Boule

  • "We have tools that make connecting and working with others easier, cheaper, and faster than ever." — "Changing the Way We Work,"

Library Technology Reports 44:1, Chapter 2 The way of work in the Information Age continues to be commuted by the Internet. The interconnected, collaborative functionality the World Wide Web provides, when implemented and utilized, can help individuals, as well as working groups, achieve greater flexibility and productivity, reports Michelle Boule, the author of the first issue of Library Technology Reports in 2008.

A social sciences librarian and technology trainer, Michelle Boule (Univ. of Houston) examines how technology—which in Boule's report is defined as "any tool that can be used to communicate and collaborate over the Internet"—can and has impacted libraries in her issue “Changing the Way We Work.”

The Future of Library Work
Committees, task forces, and small working groups—all common ways to assign projects, divide work, and produce results in libraries—can benefit from “technology-enhanced work.”

In her issue of Library Technology Reports, Boule reports on technology-enhanced work from several library or library-related projects, including:

  • the open-source software-based integrated library system known as “PINES,” which was developed under the "Evergreen" project—"an ongoing effort to create the best open-source integrated ILS available"—conducted by the Georgia Public Library Service.
  • "LibraryFind," a federated-search tool built by Oregon State Univ. Libraries (with funding from OSA and Oregon State Library). “OSU wanted to build an open-source tool that worked the way federated search was meant to work,” reports Boule.

In addition, Boule looks at the other technology-enhanced work projects/software: Material Digital Libraries Pathway (MatDL); MyHamilton; and Scriblio.

This issue of Library Technology Reports also delineates technology-enhanced tools, such as Web conferencing, instant messaging, and project-management tools, and it lists specific tools and "widgets" in widespread use (AOL Instant Messager [AIM], Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Meebo, Trillian, etc.)

In "Changing the Way We Work," Boule also provides best practice tips for working in a virtual team environment as well as a list of selected references that provide additional research and analysis about technology-enhanced work in libraries.

About the Author
Michelle Boule's love of information and libraries started at a very young age. After she received a B.A. in English with minors in women's studies and anthropology from Texas A&M in 2001, her love of reading eventually led her to the library profession. Michelle completed her master's in library science at Texas Woman's University. It was in graduate school that a fascination with technology and information-seeking behaviors took hold.

Michelle is a social sciences librarian at the University of Houston. During her day job, she maintains the Ethnic Studies collections, teaches classes, answers questions, does technology training, and works with students and faculty. Though technology is not a formal part of her job, she lives much of her life online. Michelle is very involved with LITA, the Library Information Technology Association; serves on BIGWIG, the IG that maintains LITA Blog (http://litablog.org); was part of the ALA Emerging Leader Program in 2007; and is always looking for ways to do new and innovative things within ALA.

Michelle was a part of planning team of the very successful Five Weeks to a Social Library program (www.sociallibraries.com/course), a free, grassroots course that allows librarians to learn about social software and libraries. She writes and speaks about technology and education in libraries.

Michelle can be found online in various places and maintains her own writing space at A Wandering Eyre (http://wanderingeyre.com). She has been an online gamer and all-around geek librarian for a very long time. Michelle believes that e-learning and Web 2.0 tools are the way of the future and that libraries can survive only by adapting to an online environment.

Library Technology Reports Archive