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Blog posts from April 2009

A TechSource Blogger Forum: E-Readers and Libraries

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 21, 2009 - 9:42am

The release of the Kindle 2 has set of a firestorm of speculation about how e-readers are going to transform (destroy?) the publishing industry. Anything with the potential to transform reading has the potential to transform librarianship. If widely adopted, these e-readers have the potential to allow libraries new ways to house and circulate material. But could there be downsides as well?  Jason, Tom and Cindi weigh in with their predictions on how e-readers are going to change librarianship in coming years. Read More »

April LTR: Open Source Public Workstations in Libraries

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 17, 2009 - 3:55pm

LTR_April_Cover_MiniApril's issue of Library Technology Reports, "Open Source Public Workstations in Libraries" by John Houser, is out this week.

In a time where an economic downturn and concerns about climate change are influencing library managers’ decisions, many libraries are looking for ways to save money and reduce environmental impact. Open source operating systems and software applications can decrease power utilization while providing a positive patron experience.

In this issue of LTR, technology consultant and open-source software expert John Houser explores three different approaches to using Open Source Workstations in libraries. The first approach is simply to replace the Windows operating system with a Linux distribution on every PC. The second approach was to utilize a multi-user configuration, based on Linux, which supports two to six users on a workstation. The third approach is to use the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) software to run a terminal session for every user from a central server or set of servers. This thin-client approach can support a large number of users connected to one server—50 or more, if the server is configured appropriately.
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Library 2.0 Gang 04/09: The mess of ERM

Submitted by Richard Wallis on April 14, 2009 - 9:57am

Electronic Resource Management has evolved alongside Integrated Library Systems over the last decade, reaching a point today where many would agree it is a bit of a mess. A rhetorical question I posed to Gang Members Marshall Breeding and Oren Beit-Arie in this month’s show, which neither had difficult in agreeing with. Read More »

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Virtual Ability

Submitted by Tom Peters on April 14, 2009 - 9:52am

Recently a place named Virtual Ability Island (VAI) in the three-dimensional virtual world called Second Life has provided me a fascinating glimpse of a quiet revolution in progress. I don’t know how big or important this quiet revolution will be, but it is a welcome development. At the risk of braying a bit myself, let me tell the tale.

I like Second Life and I think virtual worlds in general have a bright, significant future, but I have to agree with many tepid reviews of Second Life that note that most places seem like ghost towns, not vibrant virtual communities.  I’ve called this problem in Second Life the “reverse frontier” because the virtual landmass seems to grow faster than the resident population. Read More »

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Picturing a Conference

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on April 13, 2009 - 2:22pm

This year’s Computers in Libraries featured a lot of discussion about unconferences (including CiL’s own lobbycon) and the benefits of learning in an informal, social setting. I am all for taking in and sharing information while sprawled in a comfy chair or quaffing a glass of hotel merlot but CiL got me thinking about something else I find to be an essential learning tool: pictures. Read More »

A 21st Century Renovation at the Portland Public Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 9, 2009 - 9:56am

The Portland, Maine Public Library is in the midst of a major facelift. This renovation has been years in the making and constitutes a major transformation of the library's exterior. The momentum for this project, which is going to give an already modern city a library with a futuristic look, was too strong to be deterred by the recession. 

The redesigned library will emphasize the idea of the library as a public space. In addition to an information facility, the library will be aesthetically and environmentally welcoming to the community. As part of the town's historic monument square, the new facade provides an attractive, sunny and modern space that is as much a part of the town as it is the library.

I had a chance to talk with Library Director Stephen Podgajny about this project, its unique look and how it came about. Read More »

April 15th: A Discussion of Libraries, Second Life and Education with Joe Sanchez

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 8, 2009 - 10:21am

ALA TechSource is proud to present our first virtual world event—a discussion of virtual worlds, libraries and education with Second Life expert Joe Sanchez. Sanchez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, is the author of February’s issue of Library Technology Reports, “Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations”.

Please join us on the ALA Island on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00pm SLT for an exclusive interactive discussion and presentation of his work. We’ll be discussing virtual worlds and their potential to impact library service and freedom of information, as well as Joe’s work with LIS students using Second Life. One of the topics discussed will be role-playing in virtual worlds, so we are asking all participants to come dressed as their favorite historical figure!
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Enjoying the Community: The Beginnings of Virtual Common Spaces at Lisle Library District

Submitted by Michael Stephens on April 7, 2009 - 11:57am

Last month, we took a look at one library using the free DIY social networking tool Ning to create an online community. In "Exploring the Virtual Commons: Using Ning to Build a Community at Lafayette Public Library," we spoke with Pam Sahr about Lafayette readers. After that post went live, I was pleased to hear from the folks at Lisle Library District  here in Illinois. Back in January some of the staff attended a technology retreat I did for area libraries and got inspired to pursue a technology new to them - Ning. They've added links to the virtual communities via their Reader's Advisory Services page.

For Part Two of this series on creating community with free tools, I fired off some questions to the good folks at Lisle. Jen Ohzourk, Assistant Director, Adult Services, got back to me with some insights about where they are in the process of creating these new spaces.

  Read More »

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Broadband Data Caps Coming to Your Library?

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 2, 2009 - 3:48pm

Isn't it great to live in a country where you can purchase a broadband Internet connection for your home, business or organization? All you have to do is find a provider (they are available in most parts of the country now), pay them a monthly fee, and you'll have access unlimited, high-speed access to more information than you could ever possibly consume. The best part is that once you're connected as a paying customer, you can use your connection for in any way law-abiding way that you choose. At any time of the day or night, you can download or access as much content as the connection you've purchased will enable you to. Right?

Actually, if a recent story that burning up the technology blogosphere is any indication, those days might be numbered. Time Warner Cable is now expanding implementation of broadband caps in several U.S. markets. This means that for customers in affected areas, the company will be compiling information on the amount of data transferred and billing individuals based on their the volume of data they have used with their connection. Read More »

New RRILS Can Send Search Results Directly to Brain

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 1, 2009 - 9:35am

Exciting news in the library world today--a small company called Spiral Rift has created what it calls an RRILS (Really, Really Integrated Library System) that has the power to beam search results directly into a user's brain. Through a blend of proprietary technologies (the details of which have not been fully disclosed), the new, currently unnamed program uses micro-sonic pulses to emit digital search results to a chip that can be easily implanted into the surface of a library patron's skull. The results are then translated into a unique programming language designed to mimic the frequency of neurological movement. Read More »