Notes on ITIL Small-scale Implementation

ITIL Small-scale Implementation book coverI found this is the stacks at D.H. Hill (it’s great working in a library–all your problems and potential solutions live in one spot!) 2005, so it’s a version behind on ITIL, but I figure the info at this level shouldn’t change all that much. I’ll be seeking out the v3 revised book in the future just in case. Some notes, for future self-reference:

  •   Fig 1.2 Village-City comparison
  •  IMG_20140909_151853
  • In both the above examples, we (NCSU Libraries) are past the inflection point along to road to largeness/”city-dom,” with growing pains to fit
  • Merge ITIL roles to match smaller, less-specialized staff:
    • Proactive Problem Management & Availability Management (if not full time, then regular team meeting)
    • Incident Mgmt & Service Desk
    • Configuration, Change, and Release Mgmt
    • Finance & Resource Capacity Mgmt (budgeting & ROI amke sense to me. Ditto licensing and capacity planning. But there are parts of this role I understand less than the others, so far.)
    • IT Services Continuity Mgmt (Disaster Recovery)
    • SLM, Business & Service Capacity Mgmt, and Relationship Mgmt (Link between IT and business)
  • Most essential elements of ITIL/places to start: Service Catalog, Incident Mgmt, Configuration Mgmt

Kastellec’s Steps to Successful Delegation

  1. Dictate a clear vision, goals, & constraints
  2. Make yourself available for questions, judgement calls, & course corrections
  3. Stay out of the way: let the delegate/team figure out the how. Empower delegate to own decision making & outcome

(Hat tip to…well, many leadership & project management books I’ve recently read. The above is a synthesis. Apologies for not being able to credit specific sources.)

Kastellec’s First Theory of Geek Success

In an organization that is not led by geeks, being right is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. You must also be persuasive.

See also:

Punctuated Equilibrium

Almost made it a year between posts this time. I have accepted a nomination to be Vice-Chair of the LITA Education Committee, so perhaps I will start using this platform more frequently again. No promises, my nominal readers.

What I have found this blog to occasionally be useful as is a memex. More so than with social media platforms, I can dig through archives to find things I found of note, or thoughts I had, in the past. Which, I suppose, is why protoblogging tools like LiveJournal were created in the first place, so it shouldn’t be surprising. Anyway, if nothing else, I’m going to try to post more findings/idea/thoughts that are of professional interest to my personal situation, as opposed to the wider professional topics I’ve aimed for in the past. If you should stumble across this blog and find them interesting, more power to you.

Shared Learning

Knowledge sharing is...

Photo by Nancy White

I just shared a slightly edited version of this with the LITA Education Committee:

I’ve been thinking about different ways to share best practices, trends, innovative solutions, shared problems, and the like. The big ALA and LITA conferences can be great venues for formal and informal sharing of information, but the majority of LITA members, let alone other librarians can’t or don’t attend every one. ITAL can be useful but is infrequently published and high-level in nature. LITA-L is great but it normally has very targeted threads: poster poses question, discussion ensues, problem solved or thread trails off. I envision a role for this committee in facilitating one or more forums beyond those just listed to help people tap into what the current happenings are with the “effective integration of technology in Libraries” ( a primary strategic goal for the committee.)

I’m open to a variety of formats for this type of forum. It could be open Google hangouts–or even an IRC channel, if we want to kick it old school–for synchronous but remote (and free!) informal, undirected conversation about tech in libraries. It could be local or regional unconferences centered around technology. It could be both and more besides.

I just know that I work at a library that does a lot of interesting and new things with technology, and often we’re lousy at sharing the lessons learned back to the community because we’ve moved on to the next thing. I also know that we end up reinventing the wheel far too often. I’d like to see ways to share information more laterally and serendipitously, like often occurs at one of the big conferences, for the benefit of the many members who aren’t at those conferences.

Fuel for the Everlasting Flame War…

…that is iOS vs. Android. I wrote a long Google+ post on the topic.


Side note: always tricky to decide where to post my thoughts, what with multiple facebook, twitter, G+ accounts and this blog, and also whether to push posts in one venue to the others. Not a unique problem by any means but neither is there a one-size-fits-all solution.

EDIT 2018-05-07: since G+ is soon to be gone for good, I’ve rescued the text:

I’m about to enter in the Microsoft vs. Apple fray, subject of roughly 1 quintillion flame wars since the earliest days of the Net. It’s on my mind more than usual, probably because I just finished reading In The Beginning was the Command Line, as well as Wired’s reporting on the Microsoft anti-trust case from the same time period.
I’m an Android user. My best friend says I’m crazy to own anything but an iPhone. He’s not an uber-techno-geek like I am but he works in the technology industry, has cool gadgets in his house, etc.
I used to be an Apple hater. Working at the public library, beginning computer users often asked me whether they should get a Mac or Windows machine. My standard answer was that, if you’re starting from square one with both, Macs may be easier to learn to use, and definitely are more reliable, but they are much harder to fix when they break.
I now use an iMac, iPad, and carry an iPod Touch. I also have my android phone, a Windows 7 desktop at home,  and use a Windows VM at work more frequently than my iMac. NCSU Libraries is close to 50/50 PC and Mac across patron and staff computing, so I forced myself to start using OS X regularly, since I needed to both support it and understand it’s ecosystem. Things about OS X and iOS frequently frustrate me; other things about them delight me. I’ve certainly mellowed in my stance towards Apple: in the laptop arena, I can’t imagine wanting to use anything but a MacBook, at least until the alternatives make a leap forward with their touchpad/gesture combos.
Back to the phone debate. Rather than trumpeting one over another, the thing to realize is that both iOS and Android are good but very different experiences. I’m not claiming this is an original thought, but I have an extended anology that perhaps is. The thought that started rolling around my head yesterday is “dining in a restaurant versus cooking at home.”
iOS is an upscale restaurant, probably of the modernist variety. It’s sleek (maybe even antiseptic), clean, tasteful. The service is impeccable. You choose from a carefully constructed menu of options, or maybe just accept whatever the chef decides to serve that night. There’s almost no chance of food poisoning.
Android is a meal prepared at home. The decor is customized to your personality. It’s probably a little messy, unless you just moved in or went on a top-to-bottom cleaning spree. The service is non-existent–it’s just you, plus all the recipes and techniques you gather from one source or another–and the menu is entirely up to you. Sometimes you can make something that’s better than any restaurant can achieve  more often you’ll fail abjectly, but pick yourself up and learn not to do that again. Sometimes the sink will clog, or the produce will have gone bad, or you’ll burn the whole fucking thing and end up going out to eat after all.
The point is, I like eating out and I like cooking. I would hate to be stuck doing just one all the time. Day in, day out, though, I want to cook. I like knowing and controlling what I eat, I like being able to customize and improvise. More than anything, I hate not having options. It helps that it’s cheaper, too. And that’s why I’m still primarily an Android, and Windows, user.

Look Ma, I’m on YouTube

The recording of my short talk from Access 2012, New Mean to New Ends, is finally online.

I’m amused by the list of related videos YouTube pulls in on the right side of you visit the actual video page. I don’t know if they’re customized for me, but I see half other Access talks and half uncategorizable: Jay-Z, “Space News From The Future!”, something from the SAG foundation, something in Arabic, a sermon from the Potter’s House, and, my favorite, “Savannah Guthrie’s Fear of Frogs

Forced Serendipity

I’ve embarked on a new project, or perhaps endeavor is a better word. At home, Iusually juggle a few books plus a couple magazines at any given time. During the run up to the opening of Hunt, plus my new responsibilities at the D.H. Hill Library, I found that I didn’t have the mental space for new, challenging reading in the few minutes of idle time I wrested away between working and sleeping. Instead, I reread Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle for the 3rd or 4th time, wrapping myself in the comfort of 3000+ pages of marvelous writing and quasi-history. I finished that series with perhaps six weeks to go till the soft open, so I naturally moved on to Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, which is much of the same, then during the crunch of the final weeks, Reamde, a less satisfying work but an enjoyable, easily digested modern techno-thriller.

With Hunt open, things are still busy in our department but the suffocating pressure has palpably lifted for those of us at Hill. I’ve been enjoying some leisure again, to my relief. And as part of that, I’m reading new stuff again. Which brings me to my new endeavor. I’ve decided to take advantage of working in a building with nine floors filled with books. I plan to work my way through the stacks, choosing books with no rules except that I will keep moving forward through the LC ranges and I’ll take the first title that catches my eye.This week, I started in the far Southeast corner of the 2nd Floor and found myself looking at works on magic and mysticism. I choose Hermeticism and the Renaissance, by Ingrid Merkel and Allen G. Debus, a conference publication from 1988. Wouldn’t you know it, within the first few pages of the introduction, mention was made of Sir Isaac Newton’s pursuit of alchemical knowledge, a prominent theme in The Baroque Cycle.

I’ll update my progress and review titles on Goodreads, as I usually do. I may also post updates here, if the mood strikes me.

I tend to be skeptical of librarians and academics who gush about “serendipitous discovery” and bemoan the loss of traditional bookstacks, but it’s not because I think collocating physical items adds no value. Moving to a virtual browse environment does mean losing some real value but I think many critics miss that it’s a trade-off. You sacrifice some to gain some. Physical collocation can’t hold a candle to on demand, infinite virtual rearrangement. But I can still enjoy wandering the open stacks, while they yet exist.



View of Hunt Library from the SouthHunt Library opens its doors to the public today. This is our “soft launch,” as opposed to next month’s Grand Opening. I found myself wide awake at 3:00 AM for no good reason and there’s no going back to sleep now. I don’t want to overstate my role in getting Hunt to this point, as I arrived late to the party and many others had far more central roles, but it’s with no small amount of relief and pride that I celebrate today.

Fail, to Succeed

Twitter Fail Whale, redrawn as freaked out by ShannaBanan_o_rama at Deviant Art

Twitter Fail Whale, redrawn as freaked out by ShannaBanan_o_rama at

I recently read Leonard Mlodinow’s Drunkard’s Walk, one of the many recent popular texts on behavioral economics. A very good read and this quote from Thomas J. Watson (the IBM one, not the telephone one) in the concluding chapter stuck with me:

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

That’s a dictum that libraries, as much as any other organization, should heed. One of the things I love about working at NCSU is the willingness to try things that may or may not work, learn, and iterate.