Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Earliest library book on organisational storytelling for librarians?

Some time ago I posted that I had discovered the first library professional book to deal with the application of storytelling for developing libraries (See previous articles 1 and 2). This week, I stand corrected, with the discovery of Marek's (2011) book on Organizational Storytelling for librarians. Marek's book on organisational storytelling for librarians is published by the American Library Association and was released in 2011 according to this press release: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/news/ala/using-storytelling-effective-library-leadership

In fact, Marek is even offering a training webinar on the topic on August 15, 2012 (See: http://infopeople.org/training/organizational-storytelling)

I am currently perusing the book to see its coverage and how it treats the topic.


Marek, K. (2011). Organizational storytelling for librarians :Using stories for effective leadership. Chicago: American Library Association.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Story model applied to education can apply to libraries

I recently discovered Drake et al's (1992) story framework or model, and how it can be applied to helping in bringing about organisational and personal change in education.

Drake (2010) states in an article indicating:

The purpose of this reflective essay is to explore a “story” conceptual framework that university faculties may find useful to deepen understanding of current educational issues. It has been used in a variety of ways including curriculum development and as an effective instructional strategy for analyzing complex issues and teaching future teachers to think analytically and critically.

Drake (2010) also sees storytelling as a 'powerful way of making meaning of the world'. While Drake's model seems to be applied to education, I think it is fitting that librarians and information professionals also see the relevance of using this model to analyse libraries and our past and future directions.

While her model is not directly related to my research (as I am more interested in applying a story model to developing web-based library services), I see the story model as important for assessing, evaluating and enhancing library education as well as the future of libraries. One of the contributions that I think the story model can do for the library profession is to help us think of the new story that we want to write for the future of libraries in relation to the stories that the media and society is writing about us. There is a new story being written about libraries today, and we need to participate in listening to the stories that others outside the profession are telling about us, as well as to participate in writing this new story.

As I write this, I realise how influenced I have become by my organisational storytelling readings. Works of David Boje etc. have been internalised. As I see libraries as organisations, I also see the relevance of organisational storytelling to librarians and information specialists. I encourage you to read Drake (2010) or Drake et al. (1992) to be acquainted with the story model or framework, and try fitting libraries and LIS concerns and issues into the framework.


Drake, S. M., Bebbington, J., Laksman, S., Mackie, P., Maynes, N., & Wayne, L. (1992).
Developing an integrated curriculum using the Story Model. Toronto, ON: OISE Press.

Drake, Susan M. (2010) "Enhancing Canadian Teacher Education Using a Story Framework,"The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 2.
Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cjsotl_rcacea/vol1/iss2/2

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creating libraries spaces to function as innovation ecosystems

After reading an article by Marsh (2012) entitled "Innovation Ecosystem: A Global Shift in Capitalism?", I  thought about the role of libraries in an innovation ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

I believe libraries can create spaces to help harness creative enterprises/ help to get creative business ideas matched with the other resources/expertise needed to develop those ideas into viable businesses. I've already seen this evident at the business library at Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business, which I mentioned in a previous blog posting.

In fact, in a previous blog posting, I provide an excerpt from the acceptance speech delivered by Ms. Ellen R. Tise at the 75th IFLA Congress in Milan 2009 already testify that public libraries do already play a role in the ecosystem of new entrepreneurs.


Marsh, A. (2012, May 3). Innovation Ecosystem: A Global Shift in Capitalism? The Huffington Post

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A critical discourse analysis of the concept of "Information Source"

Once again, I ponder the issue of blogs as information sources.  How do they fit into our complex information source typologies? To answer this question, I reread the Leckie, Pettigrew and Sylvain (1996) as well as the more current Herztum, Andersen, Andersen and  Hansen (2002) regarding the typologies and categories of information sources. Unfortunately, instead of getting answers, I have found myself becoming more critical of the very concept of an information source.

Leckie et al. (1996) states that there are 3 information sources {people, document and personal} and  4 channels {formal/informal, internal/external, oral/written, and personal}. I was not clear as to how sources and channels differ, especially since Leckie et al. (1996) cite personal in both categories. Hence I consulted some dictionaries to get the distinction.Waston and Hill (2012) define that a source can be an individual, group or institution that originates a message.

Given that for Leckie et al, people sources refer to conversations, documents to text (electronic or print) and  personal sources to personal knowledge and experience gained from professional practice, I wonder what category would group or an institutional source fit into Leckie et al's classification. Would group or institutional sources be considered people information source category? Further, messages are not originated in documents. They all come from a people or personal source. Documents are just disembodied people or personal sources.

Next, let us consider Herztum et al (2002), a little more modern. For Herztum et al (2002), there are 3 information sources too, but one surprising change. Herztum et al (2002) agree that people and documents are established sources, but exclude personal sources. Instead, they incorporate a virtual category to accommodate the existence of virtual agents and intelligent software agents as information sources. So what I have now is four information sources. The four categories of information sources are {people, documents, personal, virtual}.

OK. But Herztum et al still does not address the issue that information does not originate in documents, which are just sources based on people and personal sources. In addition, the new category is even more problematic. Does information originate in virtual agents?

Perhaps then I have a narrow view of source. So let us examine another definition. Prytherch (2005) defines a source as 'any document' that provides users with the information they seek OR  'document providing information reproduced in another document'. From Prytherch's perspective, it is clear to me that Library and Information Science has disembodied human words, and has made the text the supreme and primary source. Or, are people actually documents?  For this, I invoke the views and wisdom of Ong (2002), who argues that literature and text is essentially based on people sources - conversations, or in his own words, 'orality'. In essence all text (or documents) are thus merely what Ong (2002) calls, 'secondary orality'.

Hence the question then is why is it that documents exist? Is it not for the establishment of bureaucratic or authoritarian control? To have some unchangeable or immutable word, void of multiple interpretations upon which to base discussion, action, decision, judgement and conversation.

The debate is now open!


Hertzum, M., Andersen, H. H. K., Andersen, V., & Hansen, C. B. (2002). Trust in information sources: Seeking information from people, documents, and virtual agents. Interacting with Computers, 14(5), 575-599. doi:10.1016/S0953-5438(02)00023-1

Leckie, G. J., Pettigrew, K. E., & Sylvain, C. (1996). Modeling the information seeking of professionals: A general model derived from research on engineers, health care professionals, and lawyers. The Library Quarterly, 66(2), pp. 161-193. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4309109

Ong, W. J., & MyiLibrary. (2002; 1982). Orality and literacy. London: Routledge. 

Prytherch, R. J. (2005). 'source.' Harrod's librarians' glossary and reference book :A directory of over 10,200 terms, organizations, projects and acronyms in the areas of information management, library science, publishing and archive management (10th ed.). Aldershot, Hants, England ;; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Watson, J., & Hill, A. (2012). 'source.' Dictionary of media and communication studies (8th ed.). London ;; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How storytelling can be used for library development? Part 2

In part one of my review of the authors Nyström and Sjögren (2012) who cover in 2 chapters how storytelling can benefit the development of libraries, I focused on customer, user or patron storytelling (to me it does not matter what we call them, though some LIS persons are at war over the semantics). In this entry I wish to focus on chapter 7 of their work, in which they discuss the persona method.

The persona method creates a fictional user based on real data about users, including the stories that are collected from users and the statistical results of surveys. In this method, this fictitious person represents the entire group of users believed to act similarly and need a particular product or service. This fictitious representation of users is a way of aggregating what is known about a range of users or nonusers. This fictitious person is then placed in a specific context, and a storyline created to describe that user or non user (or the group to which the person belongs). In this sense, the persona method reverses the principle of organizational and even personal storytelling.

In personal or organisational storytelling,  people construct stories that represents a real event happening to real people (Gabriel, 2000). These stories created are symbolic representations of a real event that is filtered by one's own mind and memory (Gabriel, 2000).  However, with the persona method, the story is begins by characterising 
real people or persons and then constructing an artificial event based on these persons who are the main characters in the story. In this sense, persona is like the method of novelists, while personal and organisational storytelling is in the tradition of memoirs and other lifewriting forms.

Nyström and Sjögren advocate that one of the advantages of applying and creating personas is that it enables the retention of details revealed from data collection in organizational memory. They argue that the method also simplifies the communicative task of getting employees to understand, identify with and care about the targeted group. In this sense the persona method helps to aggregate quantitative and qualitative data into a narrative or story format that makes for easier communication and presentation to employees and even funding partners.

The persona method according to Nystr
öm and Sjögren is a tool to be applied for strategic development or scenario planning, for marketing and for the designing of web services. Nyström and Sjögren also discusses the history of the method, describing it as being developed in the mid-1990s by designers of computer based systems. The method has been applied for designing websites and Internet services to ensure that these are functional for certain target groups. (For those wanting more coverage on what the persona method is, please check http://usability.gov/methods/analyze_current/personas.html, or the last reading below).


Gabriel, Y. (1991). ON ORGANISATIONAL STORIES AND MYTHS: WHY IT IS EASIER TO SLAY A DRAGON THAN TO KILL A MYTH. International Sociology, 6(4), 427-442. doi:10.1177/026858091006004004 

Nyström, V., & Sjögren, L. (2012). An evaluation of the benefits and value of libraries. Oxford, U.K.: Chandos Publishing.

U.S. Government: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (nd.). Develop Personas . [ONLINE] Available at: http://usability.gov/methods/analyze_current/personas.html. [Last Accessed July 10, 2012].

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How storytelling can be used for library development? Part 1

To my small but loyal readership, I want to share with you my exciting discovery of the first library professional book that discusses storytelling as a tool for library development. That's right! I have discovered the first authors from the library and information discipline that discuss the application of storytelling to developing the library as an institution. And it was discovered in a serendipitous way, while physically browsing the library's newly acquired books for LIS and flipping through the pages. Meet Nyström and Sjögren (2012) who covers 2 whole chapters on how storytelling can be used to advance libraries. This is part 1 of my review on chapter 6 of the book that covers this topic.

While Nyström and Sjögren’s work is not wholly related to the theme of storytelling, the authors do provide in their book, two chapters that outline the use of storytelling for the development of libraries. In a chapter on customer surveys, Nyström and Sjögren outline storytelling as a both method of gathering research or collecting data from users and as a method for report and presenting data collected from surveys and interviews. In Nyström and Sjögren’s conceptualization, stories and narratives are essentially the same, and can refer to accounts of experiences that actually happened or are imagined. They conclude that stories do not provide an exact account of happenings, but are subjective, personal interpretations or constructions of events that took place.

Nyström and Sjögren focus on building a case for librarians to use storytelling in research methods to capture customer stories.   They begin this case by first establishing the history of the storytelling as a research method, explaining that narrative method was first used by historians for sharing knowledge. They provide a further timeline of the adoption of the method by other research disciplines, indicating that in the 1980s, social scientists adopted the method, using it in anthropology, ethnology, pedagogy, psychology and organizational theory.  They then discuss that in the 1990s, corporate storytelling developed especially in the United States where it was used primarily for marketing, but adapted in the 2000s as a tool for communicating internally to employees as well as externally with customers or the wider environment in which the organization existed.

Nyström and Sjögren also in building their case for the use of storytelling in library research on customers, also discuss that there is consensus on the value of studying stories to gain new perspectives and be able to analyse facts in new ways. They propose and demonstrate the use of storytelling in customer surveys as a method of obtaining information that questionnaire surveys could not collect, concluding that customer stories are rich sources of information about users’ library experiences. They suggest that these experiences can be used as a metric of quality demonstrating whether the library is of value to users and whether or not it is meeting users’ needs. As such, this information can provide the library with data to identify what needs to be improved or even generate new ideas. The authors affirm that libraries can learn from dialogue with users and from listening to customer experiences, while mentioning that storytelling can be used as both a marketing tool for libraries, as well as useful in meetings with funding organisations as well as in annual reports.

From this, I see the profession is on its way to repurpose storytelling from just an activity or service offered to our young users, to a tool that we use internally and externally to advance our noble institutions.


Nyström, V., & Sjögren, L. (2012). An evaluation of the benefits and value of libraries. Oxford, U.K.: Chandos Publishing.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Considering gamification of work and study and applications to libraries

I have not been sharing much of my informed research or opinions recently. Much of that writing is taking place in my papers for the directed reading courses. In fact, until the end of August, I may not have much to say about my thesis ideas and its evolution, as I am currently saying it else where and revising it as I 'perform' it in narrative in those papers to submitted.

However, I do have some ideas to share. For example, I am thinking about improving human productivity through what is known as gamification. For those who have never heard of the term gamification, you can check out the definition on the website Gamifying Education.org or Lee and Hammer (2011). I recently learned the term after attending the CAIS conference poster sessions, where I interacted with a poster presenter that discussed applying gamification to create an app to help persons conserve energy and help the environment.

Earlier this week however, I thought about gamifying the research process, especially for persons who have to conduct literature review or readings,  by creating an app that awards points or some scoring system for each research article read. To make it more interesting, make the app run on Facebook so as to gamify the research process and make it social: where persons can compete with their Facebook friends or other colleagues to see who read the most research articles.

However, now I am thinking about it as a tool that managers could use to increase productivity in the work place. Each worker participates by inputting the number of tasks, and check off each that is completed. In the end, the computer scoring system would indicate their score awarded for each task completed, as well as comparisons with other workers. The computer game system could then distribute awards like the most productive worker - with the most tasks completed in relation to the number of tasks they have to get done.

For university libraries too this system could be rolled out for both students to engage their use of the library's resources and for staff. For students, the resources read could come from the online library catalogue or OPAC. Students could check off resources read and the system automatically calculates how many pages were read and compares their scores with other students in their discipline or faculty or course. Libraries would also get feedback about what students are reading that could inform collection development, as well as to indicate alternative metrics of the value that libraries provide, not just storing the number of hits on a resource, but rather the number of unique hits and number pages and resources read by all students within any given time span.

Library managers could also apply the system to library workers, as a project management tool to help make workers more productive by motivating them to perform through achieving high scores, which can result in both virtual and real rewards.

What do you think?


Gamifying Education.org (2012). "What is gamification?". [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gamifyingeducation.org/ [Last Accessed July 6, 2012].

Lee, J. J. & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly 15(2). Available at: http://www.gamifyingeducation.org/files/Lee-Hammer-AEQ-2011.pdf