Monday, April 12, 2010

CIL2010: What Administrators Need to Know About Technology

What Administrators Need to Know About Technology
Roy Tennant,, Senior Program Analyst, OCLC
The Top Ten Things Library Administrators Should Know About Technology
  1. Technology isn't as hard as you think it is
  2. Technology gets easier all the time (example - cloud bundle)
  3. Technology gets cheaper all the time (example,
  4. Maximize the effectiveness of your most costly technology investment - your people
  5. Iterate, don't perfect
  6. Be prepared to fail
  7. Be prepared to succeed ("get that marketing machine working")
  8. Never underestimate the power of a prototype (Roy Tennant's Prototyping site)
  9. A major part of good technology implementation is good project management
  10. The single biggest threat to any technology project is political in nature
The original top ten was posted on the TechEssence blog, September 12, 2009. The following pointers (out-takes from session) come from comments from blog readers:
  1. Ask not only how you'll move onto it, but how you'll exit.
  2. Administrators need to know that just because a staff member can support a certain type of tech doesn't mean they can support all tech.
  3. Allow your staff time and resources to experiment - even if nothing comes of it. Innovation comes with risks.
  4. Never depend on technology alone to save your library.
  5. It's not scary; the youngest people on staff aren't automatically techno-geeks.

What do you think administrators should know about technology?

Comments from attendees - the crowd responds (conversation snapshots):
  1. Technology is easy, people are hard. The time it takes to help people understand is more difficult than what they may be doing. Support is key, conceptualization.
  2. People don't always want to use the technology. It is not age specific, it is more adaptability and inclination for the technology to be used. Older staff members may know more than younger; technology is not gender or generation specific.
  3. Stay focused on user services - not the herd mentality. Just because "all the other libraries" have it does not make it automatically applicable to every library.
  4. Benchmark best practices, ask someone how the technology worked for them. Do your research before implementation.
  5. There's a need for mutual respect between administration and technologists. There needs to be collaboration.
  6. Consult the people who work directly with the users to find out what their needs might be. Don't leave the front-line faculty and staff out of the equation when discussing the technology.
  7. A little bit of knowledge may be a dangerous thing. Have faith in the technology staff. Tell them what you want, how can you make it happen? Or, can you make it happen?
  8. Ongoing need for technology training. Using the technology only once does not provide enough in the way of skill sets to move with the new program/software.
  9. Technology in and of itself is not the answer to everything. You need people to facilitate the technology and work with patrons/users.
  10. Coach your technologists, help them to be good time managers and have great project management skills.

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