Showing posts from October, 2015

Emacs and org-mode

I am a long time fan of mind maps and outliners. Recently, I've spent a few hours messing around with one of the oldest text editors of all: Emacs. It goes back to the 1970s. Over time, the editor was "extended," so that it now has over 2,000 commands, and has "modes" that let you program in various software languages, read newsgroups, send email, create websites, and on and on. But the mode that interests me most is an outliner called org-mode (for "organization," I guess). In addition to powerful commands for creating outlines that can be expanded, collapsed, moved, and instantly exported (to pdf, html, odt, and more), org-mode also supports an almost overwhelming array of text editing and planning options (to dos, due dates, etc.).Way back in 1982 I bought my first computer, a Kaypro II, running CP/M and a "Perfect" package of software. Perfect Writer was, it turns out, a subset of Emacs. So looking at it again, I find that my fingers rem…

Odilo: A Contender

Introduction Some months back I did a webinar on Odilo, an automation vendor (including an ILS, discovery, ebook acquisitions, hosting and delivery) with its roots in Spain. It has been present and growing in North America since 2012. I’d like to revisit the company, because I think it offers some compelling advantages to some of the offerings in today’s market. Indeed, that market, with very few exceptions, has been stagnant in some important and disturbing ways.

Where we are in 2015 The fundamental issues of libraries and ebooks haven’t changed much since 2010: the Big Five and a few distributors still dominate the market, and their pricing and licensing models (lack of ownership, loss of discount, poor integration) have made libraries all but inept in this new space. We buy fewer books just as the number of new volumes (especially outside the Big Five) is skyrocketing. Random House prices for many new titles - now reliably at 6-8 times greater than consumer - erode our budgets. H…

Brand management audits: align your story with your strategy

After I left Douglas County, I teamed up with David Starck, one of my former Board members. He's also a gifted graphic designer. He approached me with a business proposition: he'd noticed that a lot of libraries were distinctly amateur in their approach to "managing their brand." Suppose we were to offer an audit service? We could come in, review all their collateral (those advertising items that even in the digital age libraries generate by the ton), take a tour through their buildings, then review their long range plans. We would try to answer the question: have you aligned your story (the way you present yourself to your community) with your strategy?

Reviewing the collateral is enlightening. It's amazing how often just these three things, the library envelope, the library stationary, and the library card itself, have different fonts and spacing, different logos (or the coloring of the logo), and sometimes even different library names. One of the foundations o…