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Blog posts from March 2010

Take Pictures, Tell Stories Pt 2: Photography Basics

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on March 31, 2010 - 2:59pm

There are three measurements that work together to make up a properly-exposed photograph:  ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.  These three measurements are to a large extent dependent on one another; changing one setting requires that at least one other be changed to compensate. 

Seattle Public Library Read More »

PLA 2010: Rosy

Submitted by Tom Peters on March 30, 2010 - 8:12am

Portland is the city of roses, and roses already were in bloom during the PLA conference here last week.  The weather was great, with sunny skies and above-normal temps on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday was a tad cool and damp, but, hey, it's Portland.  The food was above-normal, too, with a memorable breakfast at the Doug Fir Lounge on Burnside, a great lunch at the Peemkauw Thai restaurant in the Pearl District, and good microbrews, table scraps, and Texas-sized entertainment at Deschutes. Read More »

Coming Soon: Jason Griffey Webinar and LTR on Gadgets and the Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 29, 2010 - 8:10am

There's no question about it--gadgets are everywhere. Just go for a walk outside and you're sure to see people using cell phones, laptops, GPS systems and other devices. The library is no exception, and the new technologies are emerging and changing so quickly that it can be hard to get a grip on what you need, what you want, and what can be helpful to staff and patrons.

Fortunately for TechSource readers, Jason Griffey is here to help out. Jason is the author of the April issue of Library Technology Reports, "Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library", which will be a practical guide to the present and the future of these tools and what they can do for the librarian. Read More »

Emulating the Future: A Visit to the Computerspielmuseum

Submitted by Michael Stephens on March 26, 2010 - 7:32am

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During my ten day visit to Switzerland and Germany earlier this month, which was sponsored by the US Embassy in Berlin and the US Mission in Geneva, I was invited to spend a day exploring Berlin with members of the “Zukunftswerkstatt” - Future Workshop.


Submitted by Tom Peters on March 24, 2010 - 7:48am

Earlier this month, I was reading a review of a book I thought I might lead a discussion on when Smarter Money Island opens later this year in Second Life.  The review was positive, so I thought I would check Amazon for reader reviews and pricing.  When I pulled up the metadata page for the book in Amazon, I noticed that the average reader rating of the book was only about 2.  Maybe the book isn't as good as that one review intimated.  As I scrolled down, I noticed that the reviews were polarized between 5 stars and 1 star.  I accessed the page of reader comments, and it became apparent that the Kindlistas had been at work on this book. Read More »

OCLC Opens up WorldCat through APIs

Submitted by Marshall Breeding on March 22, 2010 - 10:58am

The following article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter. You can purchase that issue, which contains more of Marshall Breeding's expert analysis of the library automation industry, at

In a move that opens the massive WorldCat database to external developers, OCLC has released a limited set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to programmers outside of its direct membership.  OCLC has offered a more robust API to affiliated organizations for more than a year.  Releasing an API to external, unaffiliated developers, may open up new opportunities that enable library-created bibliographic data to be used in new types of applications. 

Dubbed the WorldCat Basic API, a limited number of Web services have been exposed for non-commercial use.   OCLC also offers the WorldCat Search API, which provides programmatic access to complete bibliographic records.  OCLC limits access to the full WorldCat Search API to qualified institutions. Read More »

Taking Pictures and Telling Stories at Our Libraries, Part I

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on March 22, 2010 - 8:09am

Show off Your Library Staff with Great Portraits Read More »

This summer, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in a LITA Preconference session with Michael Porter and Helene Blowers titled, "A Thousand Words: Taking Better Photos for Telling Stories in Your Library."  Michael and Helene shared great tips for using and reusing photos to record and relate the stories of our libraries and our communities, and I explained and illustrated the basic principles of photography, and that pictures can be improved by understanding how these principles work together to produce a properly exposed image.  There was a ton of content shared over the day; over the next few months, the “Take Pictures, Tell Stories @ Our Libraries” series will share some of this and other photo-related content with TechSource readers.

Library 2.0 Gang 03/10: The Semantic Web and Linked Data

Submitted by Richard Wallis on March 18, 2010 - 8:41am

Our guest on the Gang this month, Karen Coyle, has recently published a Library Technology Report - Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata. She was therefore in an great position to provide an introductory overview of the Semantic Web and how it could apply to the data rich world of libraries. Describing herself as a semantic web opportunists, not a semantic web purist, she was ideally placed to get this month’s conversation going. Gang members Carl Grant and Marshall Breeding soon joined in the conversation, making it clear we were talking about the practical implementation of semantic web technologies, not the big ‘vision’. Read More »

Posted in


Submitted by Tom Peters on March 17, 2010 - 8:04am

In the future, libraries and museums probably will collaborate more than they have in the past. Both types are revered cultural institutions, but the times, they are a-changing. Earlier this month, I got another inkling of things to come during the “The Future is Now: Libraries and Museums in Virtual Worlds” (FIN10) conference that was held in Second Life and in OPAL ( The conference was organized by the ALA VCL MIG (Virtual Communities and Libraries, Member Initiative Group), the ACRL VWIG (Virtual Worlds Interest Group), the Alliance Library System, and my little company, TAP Information Services.
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TechSource Webinar: Directions in Metadata with Karen Coyle

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 15, 2010 - 9:13am

More on QR Codes in Ellyssa Kroski's LTR

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 12, 2010 - 11:51am

Jason wrote earlier this week about the potential for QR Codes to help librarians annotate the real world though digital metadata.

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out Ellyssa Kroski's July 2008 issue of Library Technology Reports, "On the Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technology".Ellyssa was way ahead of the curve, exploring this topic in a Report that is still very relevant in 2010. An excerpt: Read More »

Annotating the real world

Submitted by Jason Griffey on March 11, 2010 - 9:04am

Over the course of the last year, there has been a lot of discussion about the interaction between the real and the virtual via mobile phones, specifically about using barcodes as a unique identifier that can be read by a mobile phone's camera. In Japan and other countries, it is very common to see this sort of thing done via a type of code called a QR Code, a form of 2 dimensional barcode. There are lots of places online wh you can create your own QR Code, and many phones come with the ability to read them built in. For smartphones with applications stores, like the iPhone App Store or Android Market, there are many barcode reading apps to chose from.

Some libraries are playing around with QR Codes and other methods of annotating the real world via digital metadata. One tool that I just discovered is called StickyBits, and it takes a different model that I find really interesting. Instead of concentrating on linking physical objects to a single virtual place or information, StickyBits allows people to attach content to a given barcode, and have others see it. It's a form of tagging, but instead of tagging via terms, the user is tagging with any digital information they want: audio, video, photo, or text. For instance, a user could use StickyBits to tag a book with a video review. Read More »

January Library Technology Reports: Important Correction

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 8, 2010 - 9:33am

We'd like to make sure that all of our readers are aware of this important correction to the January issue of Library Technology Reports, Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata by Karen Coyle.

A reminder--you can purchase Karen's two-part LTR series on bibliographic data for the price of one issue at the ALA Store.

The images numbered Figure 10, Figure 11, and Figure 12 in the January 2010 issue of Library Technology Reports were incorrect. The correct figures are below.
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Catching up with David Lee King

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 5, 2010 - 9:15am

David Lee King certainly doesn't need anyone to give him a voice--whether on his blog, through presentations or in publications, when David talks about libraries and technology, people listen. We received tons of positive feedback on David's August 2009 issue of Library Technology Reports, Building the Digital Branch: Guidelines for Transforming Your Library Website and accompanying webinar.

I had a chance to chat briefly with David and see what kind of feedback he received on this work, and what else he's up to. Read More »

LibraryThing Delivers Mobile Access to Library Catalogs

Submitted by Marshall Breeding on March 3, 2010 - 9:11am

This article appears in the Match 2010 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter, available for purchase here.

-Dan Freeman Read More »

Planning for a Mobile Website

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on March 2, 2010 - 9:39am

Mobile, mobile, mobile.  It’s all we hear these days.  Mobile…it’s the new black.  Mobile…you just GOTTA.  At my library, mobile web browsers have only accounted for .3% of the total site traffic so far this semester.  Taking all the public PCs into account (the default webpage for which is of course the library web page) only takes this up to .5%.  So, should my staff and I still put effort into a mobile library site, just to serve this handful of people?

In a word, yes. Yes, there is a lot of hype right now, but nonetheless, this traffic will continue to grow. With some initial planning like that so thoughtfully presented by Beth Ruane, Missy Roser, and Courtney Greene of DePaul University, at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston, a mobile-optimized website is within every library’s reach. Read More »

Archive: TechTrends Midwinter 2010 Webinar

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 1, 2010 - 2:47pm

The archive of our Webinar TechTrends: Midwinter 2010 is now available. We've posted the audio and visual aspects of the event to Vimeo and the slides to slideshare. Thanks to all who attended, our wonderful panelists Jason Griffey, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kate Sheehan and Greg Landgraf, and our sponsor, the SirsiDynix Institute.


Video Archive: Read More »