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Blog posts from March 2009

Movement up in the Cloud

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 30, 2009 - 11:20am

The last few weeks have seen several interesting developments in the growing popularity of Cloud Computing. Slowly but surely, we are starting to see major corporate investment in this concept. IBM recently made a huge investment in cloud-based business recovery systems. It also emerged recently that Warner Brothers is backing OnLive, a new cloud-based gaming system that aims to make a huge selection of games instantly available to subscribers. PC World pointed out that, despite the troubled economy, revenue for cloud computing-related services is set to explode in 2009.

Then, there was the release of the Open Cloud Manifesto, a document aimed at explaining the significance of this new technology and setting direction for its widespread implementation.

Whether or not your ready, it seems like we all might be riding the cloud computing wave soon enough.

  Read More »

Saving Your Digital Life

Submitted by Jason Griffey on March 27, 2009 - 8:51am

Like most of us online and definitely like most libraries, I create more and more and more digital relics as I go through life. Pictures, videos, songs I've bought, ebooks I've downloaded, things I've name it. If it's being created you can bet it's probably being created digitally. This all adds up, though, and the fate of any hard drive is to be filled with both really important, highly critical files and with digital ephemera that you want, but don't need daily. I've got a three-fold solution that I use, and will hopefully be helpful in solving some problem for libraries (or at least, librarians) out there.

I have, basically, three kinds of data that I'm worried about protecting in some way: working files, files that are important but replaceable, and files that I can't afford to lose at all. Working files are just that: files that I'm currently working on for whatever reason. Might be a photo I'm editing, or a document, or an MP3 that I need to move to another computer...anything that requires action. Files that are important, but replaceable, are things that make my life easier if they are in digital form, mostly media. DVDs I've purchased and CDs I own have all been digitized, because I want to be able to watch them when I want and not when I remember to have a disk of plastic with me. I also want to be able to move them to my iPhone or other portable media player. If I lose the digital, it's ok, because I can just re-digitize them, but I really, really don't want to have to do that. And finally, there are the files that I just can't lose for any reason. Things like tax returns, photos of my daughter, receipts, and other digital items that need to be safe even if there's a natural disaster. Read More »

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The Mess: Social Media, Privacy and Information Freedom

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 26, 2009 - 11:38am

The past decade has seen the rise of amazing technology that allows people to exchange and access information at speeds never before imagined. We can work faster, we can exchange money faster and we can get news faster. This technology continues to grow, evolve and expand rapidly, and I think I can say with complete certainty that it isn't going away. Obviously, I think this is a good thing...I wouldn't be the editor of the blog if I didn't. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as amazing as the Internet is, it certainly has done plenty of harm to go along with the good.

Like the economic crisis, the Internet is in many respects, a giant mess that no ones really understands. Is anyone in charge of the Internet? In the United States, can we point to any government or private agency that is truly in charge of regulating the Internet? Is anyone truly charged with the task of preventing online piracy, identity theft or child endangerment that can come from Internet use? Sure, the FCC and various other agencies have roles, but they are far from clearly defined at this point. Read More »

Dispatch from the Chicago Drupal4Lib BoF

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 24, 2009 - 11:17am

Hot on the heels of Cindi's outstanding coverage of the Darien Library's Drupal Unconference, I had the chance to attend a smaller, in-person Drupal event of my own.The event, hosted by librarian and all-around Drupal enthusiast Leo Klein, included over twenty participants and took place in an instruction room in the library at DePaul University's downtown campus right here in Chicago.

True to form, the event was informal, open and was a great forum for discussion. While attending, I couldn't help but think of Cindi's description of Darien's Drupal Camp as an incredibly "human" conference, and how the same applied at this event. As participants introduced themselves, not one person described themselves as an "expert" on Drupal. The majority of attendees had never actively used Drupal, and were there because they were curious about what it might be able to do for them. People wanted help--they wanted discussion, and they wanted others to know what they didn't know as much as what they did. Read More »

The Internet of Me

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on March 23, 2009 - 9:30am

I wonder if Peggy Orenstein ever got a letter (or several letters) from someone she was hoping to gracefully lose touch with. Or had a friend who called her parents, trying to find out where she moved after college. Maybe she wished for an “ignore” button. More likely, she grumbled to a friend and continued pursuing her adult identity.

Orenstein’s thoughtful essay in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about the impact of online living on the creation of an adult identity has shown up on twitter a few times and (natch) on Facebook. For those of us who joined social networks as adults, the question of how to navigate the often-dreadful tweens, teens and twenties online seems huge and difficult. Read More »

Library 2.0 Gang 03/09: Open Library Environment (OLE)

Submitted by Richard Wallis on March 17, 2009 - 10:01am

The subject of this month’s episode is the Mellon funded Open Library Environment (OLE) Project which has been in operation since the middle of last year with the goal to define a next-generation technology environment based on a thoroughly re-examined model of library operations and connected to other enterprise technology systems.  Leading to a design for a next-generation library system using Service Oriented Architecture. Read More »

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Opposites Attract

Submitted by Tom Peters on March 16, 2009 - 9:20am

A quick question:  What is the opposite of librarianship?  What’s the first thing that comes to mind?  I can imagine some of you thinking that the Web is the opposite of librarianship.  Perhaps for some of you, tagging came to mind because it’s so uncontrolled and messy.  Or perhaps Amazon's Kindle is the opposite of librarianship, as it tries to create an instantaneous celestial bookstore.  Perhaps some of you wondered what “opposite” means in the context of this question.  Maybe the question prompted you to ask in return, “Well, before we search for its opposite, perhaps we should wonder what librarianship itself is.”  There’s no correct answer to this pop's just food for thought.

As I think about this question myself, I keep coming back to a very tentative thesis that has been forming in my mind over the years.  To wit:  The rapid development and deployment of information technologies and computerized networks in the past 25 years, coupled with the explosion of information and data, combined with the diffusion of the power to create and disseminate information (blogs, tags, photos, videos, audio recordings, etc.), has created a situation in which the opposites of librarianship are in the ascendant, creating new relationships with librarianship itself.  

Although that last sentence reads like a dissertation topic, let me try to begin to address it here in a few hundred words, then save the dissertation writing for much, much later.  Read More »

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ALA TechSource now Syndicating the Library 2.0 Gang

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 13, 2009 - 2:15pm

We're proud to announce that beginning next week, the ALA TechSource Blog will be syndicating the Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

The Library 2.0 Gang is a regular monthly round-table podcast hosted by Richard Wallis, joined by several contributors drawn from a pool of regulars from the world of libraries and the technologies that influence them, to discuss the topics of the day.

Each month The Gang will be joined by a guest relevant to the topic under discussion. Regular contributors include long-time TechSource contributor Marshall Breeding, library technology innovator John Blyberg any many others.

We'll formally begin our syndication next week, but in the meantime, you can check out February's podcast here.

We are very excited about this new addition to our TechSource content, and look forward to the discussion that it will bring. Read More »

Library 2.0 Gang 02/09: Google books and libraries

Submitted by Richard Wallis on March 13, 2009 - 2:14pm

Google is a company, or even a whole topic, that all librarians seem to have an opinion upon. Held up as the shining example of the way search should be presented, or the death of guided search dragging eyes away from the 'quality' resources held in libraries - a possible answer to the confused mess of eJournal aggregation - the organisation wanting to scan in all the books and then either replace, or facilitate greater access to, the worlds libraries - a wonderful resource to add value to library holdings.   Just some of many, often contradictory, opinions.   The constant  being that the majority of librarians have an opinion on the subject. Read More »

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Web 2.0: Perfecting Imperfection

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 11, 2009 - 10:24am

Today, more people are using social networking tools to broadcast more details about themselves and their day-to-day lives than ever before. With tools like Twitter and Facebook, people are starting to just put themselves out there, warts and all. What's amazing about these new tools is that they provide more than a simple forum for touting imperfection--they provide a forum for improvement. Read More »

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A n00b goes camping – Drupal Camp at Darien Library

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on March 9, 2009 - 9:53am

Drupal Camp @ Darien Library











Drupal is hard. It has its own vocabulary. Its potential is so wide open that it is literally possible to do nearly anything with it, and while this idea is greatly liberating, it is also sort of paralyzing: Where do I start? What modules do I need? What can I DO with this thing?

But the way I see it, the fact that Drupal has a steep learning curve is no excuse.  There's no question that Drupal has a steep learning curve, or that it can be messy and complex to implement, but its potential is too great for libraries to ignore.  There is also no question that we can do it.

Read more about this unconference and how to get started with Drupal in your library. Read More »

Exploring the Virtual Commons: Using Ning to Build a Community at Lafayette Public Library

Submitted by Michael Stephens on March 5, 2009 - 2:44pm

The series I did last year on The Commons in Libraries has become part of my research interests these days and part of my presentations exploring "The Hyperlinked Library." Of course, the commons does not have to be just a physical space but can also be virtual. I thought it might be useful to explore what some libraries are doing to build the virtual meeting place.

Lafayette Public Library  in Lafayette, Colorado recently introduced Lafayette Readers, a virtual community built in Ning. I sought out Pam Sahr, Horizon System Administrator, at the library to tell me more about the project.

MS: Pam, how did the Ning project come about? Read More »

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ALA Presents an Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 3, 2009 - 9:27am

When a new trend emerges and grows as quickly as gaming in libraries has, those of us who weren't involved at an early stage can sometimes feel like they've been left behind. In all likelihood, there are librarians all over the country who have heard about the growing role that gaming is playing in many libraries and would like to expand its role in their own libraries as well, but just don't know how to get started.

ALA has created a fantastic new resource for just that type of librarian.The Librarian's Guide to Gaming: An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Libraryis now available online. If you are looking to get gaming off the ground at your library, this is a one-stop-shop that will get you going in a hurry. Read More »

Cloud Computing is the New [Fill in the blank]

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 2, 2009 - 11:19am

I was reading this post on Cloud Computing from the TechCrunch blog earlier today. This post includes some video from a recent Cloud Computing event that they held. Watch it and you'll see various experts and industry leaders singing the praises of cloud computing both on its technical merits and on the business innovation they feel it will bring. As this post argues, it all boils down to the fact that "as a term [cloud computing] is broad enough to encompass most internet startups and already is in danger of being latched onto as the next catch-all category". Or, as a representative of a venture capital company declares on the video, "cloud computing is the new dotcom".

  Read More »

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