January 7, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 1    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

The Fidelity Swap: Why Some Things Catch On and Others Don't  (External site)

Harvard Business Publishing   •  December 19, 2008

Fidelity vs. convenience. How do we position our products and services so they don't trigger consumer apathy? Do we emphasize fidelity by offering patrons a top-quality experience à la Cirque de Soleil, or focus on convenience by providing more and easier access to our collections? We probably need to do a little more of both through some type of hybrid approach.

I tried placing libraries on the graph suggested by the author, with quality on one axis and convenience the other. I thought you needed to break the library into service units in order for this to actually give you some insights. Try it for yourself. ( Michalko)

Connect the Dots  (External site)

The Hub   •  November/December 2008

Freedom from choice. In today's "long tail" world, many people crave more targeted offerings. Think of all the digital "breadcrumbs" we collect, and how we could use that data to create conversations that personalize our services, offer people more of what they like, and provide a feedback loop so we can fine-tune our recommendations.

This echoes observations that Lorcan has made about making our data work harder as well as the need to mobilize the data we have about what our patrons are doing. ( Michalko)

Rethink Your Strategy: An Urgent Memo to the CEO  (External site)

Strategy+Business   •  December 15, 2008

Survival tips for tough times. Seize this opportunity to redefine yourself, focus on your strengths, streamline your operations and prepare for a better future.

Retrenchment is upon everyone. This advice about how to make the effort into an opportunity is worth remembering. One thing that we don't do in the LAM community deeply enough is "anticipate the future industry structure." Any restructuring should be mindful of where the organization will fall in that future industry landscape. ( Michalko)

Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on Leading Through Survival and Growth  (External site)

Harvard Business Review   •  January 2009

Respect your customers and cultivate your superusers. Lego's CEO imposed tight measures to achieve a classic turnaround, but credits the company's enthusiastic fans for its continuing renaissance. Knudstorp describes the way he changed his leadership style to build on the organic growth fueled by Lego "superusers" who form one of the company's core assets.

Given the age and dwindling numbers of our "superusers," I'm not sure we'd be well-advised to build our strategies around pleasing them. It's the clients we've lost and the ones we ought to be seeking that deserve real cultivation. ( Michalko)

The Future of Social Search (Or Why Google Should Buy Facebook)  (External site)

TechCrunch   •  December 28, 2008

Tapping into the collective intelligence of friends. There've been several attempts to mesh social networking with search, but no one's really gotten it right yet. Google and Facebook may not be the right answer, but think how your search process could improve if you could easily tap into the expertise of your business colleagues and friends to read reviews and recommendations from people you actually knew.

What's interesting here isn't the Google-Facebook observations but the case that's made for social search (and the overview of SideStripe—a browser plug-in that I hadn't encountered). ( Michalko)

The Worldwide Jam Session  (External site)

The Christian Science Monitor   •  December 23, 2008

Distance learning takes a new tack. Remote piano lessons? Global jam sessions? If people can teach and learn something as hands-on as piano over the Internet, what other artistic endeavors could be adapted for online learning, and what role could libraries play in providing the environment in which to do it?

It may be that in academic environments this type of hands-on interaction as part of learning is already well-established. If not, it seems a natural extension of those class-based Web sites that are now ubiquitous. ( Michalko)

Thanks to all of you who sent holiday wishes. The Above the Fold commentators send our best wishes for a good new year and hope you'll keep reading in 2009.

OCLC Programs and Research advances exploration, innovation and community building for libraries, archives, and museums.

Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Programs and Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Programs and Research items are supplied by staff in RLG Programs and OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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