LibTech Conference 2016 – Day Two

The second day of LibTech 2016 started off with a keynote entitled The Architecture of Values by Andromeda Yelton.  She discussed the ethics of librarians to protect user’s and patron’s data.  She discussed a variety of security methods, such as making sure websites use HTTPS as opposed to HTTP.  Basically the S stands for security and means the web traffic between your computer and the website is encrypted.  This is typically done on the website’s end, but it is worth noting if you are using a website that supports HTTPS.  She also discussed the SIP2 connection used by a lot of ILS systems.  I know at SELCO we use firewall rules to ensure the SIP2 connections are only allowed from the device to SELCO.  She also did a demonstration of Wireshark, a network tool that can see traffic on the network.  If the web traffic is not encrypted, it is possible for people to see usernames and passwords.  At SELCO this is the number one reason we keep the public wireless separated from the rest of the library network.  Andromeda also discussed passwords, and to make sure to use long passwords and different passwords.  I was disappointed that she did not talk a lot about password managers, and the little bit she did I had asked her about two factor authentication, which she didn’t feel was terribly important.  I strongly disagree with her there, especially if it is for a service that is important, such as a password manager service such as LastPass.  So while I thought she did a good job talking about some security topics, I was a little disappointed that she didn’t do a more thorough job.

The next session I went to was a talk on User Engagement in a Web 2.0 World.  This was actually a talk on website usability testing, and how to deal with user feedback.  The talk was done by Lee-Ann Kastmann Breuch of the University of MN, and Amy Luedtke from Hennepin County Library.  They discussed some of the things they did when they redesigned the Hennepin County Library website (http://www.hclib.org).  Starting at the beginning, they asked themselves what is their online presence.  Such as website, chat, email, feedback forms, social media, online videos, etc.  I think this was a good point, as a lot of times people associate just the website to their online presence, when in today’s world of social media, it is much larger than that.  They next asked who is their audience, another important question as I think a lot of people post things to websites and social media, hoping to hear back from someone.  It is important to know who your audience is to be able to target and focus the content tailored for them.  They also discussed feedback from users, which I thought was a great topic.  Their point was to not immediately react to comments, but to gather them and analyze them.  Looking for common words, how many users does it effect, what is the impact, is there an obvious fix, what is the cost / benefit of a fix.  Too often I think we react to a comment or feedback, instead of looking at it objectively.  As they pointed out, they had both good and negative feedback to their new website.  It is important to analyze the feedback to see if a change is really necessary.

The next session I went to was a talk on Using Periscope to LiveStream from your Library.  If you are not familiar with Periscope, it is an online streaming tool owned by Twitter that allows you to live stream from your phone to the internet.  The sessions are kept for 24 hours, but the one filming can save them locally to upload to YouTube later.  You do not have to have a Twitter account to view a feed on Periscope, but it is needed if you want to internet to it.  This session was done by Michelle Desilets, Martha Hardy, and Jennifer DeJonghe from the Metro Stat Library.  A copy of their presentation can be found at, https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1005n9NpBjLyHoh1DKByLGB-LRWiguVNXCf8CNUYCwNo/preview?slide=id.g84dfeed92_0_5.  They did a really great job of showing how this can be used to live stream events, real time classes, or even library tours.  With Periscope being free, it is a very nice, cheap alternative to streaming versus some of the other tools out there.  Personally I think this would be great for classes at SELCO, or even some of the SELCO sponsored events.  You do have to be careful as anyone can join the streaming session, so watch for inappropriate comments.  But other than that, it is an easy steaming tool for a library without a budget to purchase expensive video equipment.

I found a lot of cool tips and tricks this year at LibTech, as I stated earlier this is one of my favorite conferences as it gives libraries, both public and academic, a chance to share what they are doing in their libraries.