Monday, September 22, 2008

GoLibrary Grant Deadline

As the end date for our GoLibrary grant approaches, I have had an opportunity to slow down enough to evaluate our current state of chaos. We have continued to have communication difficulties, which translate as technical difficulties "please stay tuned" for overall evaluation. As I was composing an email to our contact in Sweden as my last act of another jam-packed day, I got into a discussion with my fellow project implementer about how we can get some results on the ongoing problems we're having.
Ultimately, I came up with the following conclusion: we're all going too fast. Every person on the project has a mind that works faster than the norm and we're all under deadline, so we're going even faster than our normal rapid clip. Consequently, we communicate in fits and starts and often in frustration and exhaustion. As an obvious result, we are not being clear and concise like good librarians should be. We haven't organized, numbered and classified like we might have had under more sedate circumstances.
The categories we have come up with are simple: ongoing, new and old problems.
We'll assign numbers to each and refer to them in communications so that we can all be relatively certain we are talking about the same thing.
We have been keeping a spreadsheet with an account on dates the machine has been down and reasons or error messages documented to the best of our abilities.
But we had not taken a deep breath and had not broken each problem into specific steps (in writing) about what happens with each occurence. We are now doing this with ongoing and new problems.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of distance or language, I think we are finally going to get some results based on this new procedure for documenting succinctly and comprehensively.
I kind of see this as a foreshadowing of what will be in the future of libraries.
We will have translation software (see Second Life) and gadgets galore, socially networks will become an integral part of our personality so that we are "mental hives" more than worker bees.
And I can learn from my own mistakes and yours as well or at least refine my mistake making abilities, if nothing else.

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