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Blog posts from August 2010

Asking Why

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on August 27, 2010 - 9:47am

Anyone who has spent time with small children knows that "why?" is one of the best and most vexing questions people can ask. "Why?" probes for motivations, explanations, understanding. It demands reflection and clear communication, and I think it's safe to say that most people have a complex relationship with this tiny word.

Library techies can leverage "why?" to change how their organizations operate by questioning a ibrary procedure. Discussing workflow with coworkers and asking "why?" a lot, while offering ways to automate procedures, can offer value to your colleagues and your organization (and maybe wreak a little havoc). But "why?" is also a question library techs sometimes dread. "Why did it work before but not this time?" "Why is it broken?" "Why am I getting this error message?" Often the answer is straightforward: a setting has been changed, or a network problem is creating the error. But sometimes, getting to why would require an electrical engineering background and a path of inquiry beyond simply fixing the problem. Nothing is quite so frustrating as resolving a persistent error only to have your techjoy smashed to bits by a coworker disappointed because you're not quite sure why the computer stopped recognizing the printer, you only know that they're now friends again.
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Technology, Change, and Learning in an On-Site, Online World

Submitted by Paul Signorelli on August 26, 2010 - 12:34pm

The chilling fact is,  most training—around 85 percent—is wasted; it leaves learners doing exactly what they were doing before they completed a training session. Which, of course, is an incredible waste of time, money, and people for everyone involved. And the tragedy is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

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New Library Technology Report on Measuring Electronic Resource Use

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on August 25, 2010 - 12:02pm

In the August/September issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 46; no. 6), Rachel Fleming-May and Jill Grogg cover state of the art of electronic resources use measurement, offering guidance on presenting clear and meaningful measurement in research, assessment, and standards creation.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Assessing Use and Usage
  • Standards, Tools, and Other Products
  • Improving Understanding of Electronic Resources Usage
  • Practitioner Responses on the Collection and Use of Usage Statistics

An excerpt follows. Read More »


Interview with Michael Edson from the Smithsonian Institution

Submitted by Michael Stephens on August 16, 2010 - 9:19am

Meeting Michael Edson and presenting on the same docket with him was one of the highlights of my time at the U Game U Learn Conference this past April in The Netherlands. Michael Edson is Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution and was in Delft to talk about the Smithsonian Commons project that recently debuted as a prototype here: http://www.si.edu/commons/prototype/.  The day after the  UGUL conference, we turned a serendipitous meeting at the Delft train station into a late afternoon walk around the town and dinner filled with conversation about our work, views of organizations and the future of library/museum services. It was one of those perfect “on the road speaking” travel experiences I most enjoy.

The commons project prototype is a multi-faceted, well-planned and researched virtual community that seeks to engage and inspire visitors. Explore the site for more - including videos of the various personas of visitors: museum visitor, teacher, millennial, and enthusiast. Howard Rheingold, someone I consider to be one of the best authorities of the power of virtual community and interaction, recently said: Read More »


Using Technology in Library Training: An ALA TechSource Workshop with Paul Signorelli

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on August 13, 2010 - 10:58am

Our goal in producing ALA TechSource Workshops is to provide a source of cost-effective, interactive, hands-on training. When it comes to using technology save your library money and increase its efficiency, you want to learn from someone who is part of your profession and has faced the same problems you face. In that spirit, we’re happy to announce our newest TechSource workshop, Using Technology in Library Training with Paul Signorelli. Read More »


Q Que Queue

Submitted by Tom Peters on August 12, 2010 - 9:12am

Like the old saying goes, “If you watch the tech gadget world long enough, eventually the Q’s will line up.”  Yesterday the Q’s of the portable eReading gadget world mysteriously aligned.
First, the “Bits” blog (say that 5 times fast) over at the NY Times reported that Amazon’s Lab 126, the surely subterranean location that developed the Kindle, is hiring in a big way.  Reliable unnamed sources (always reliable, always unnamed) stated that Amazon is working on other portable electronic devices. Read More »


Video Next

Submitted by Jason Griffey on August 10, 2010 - 8:47am

For years and years, content producers knew that High Definition video was coming, and entire studios revamped their workflows to accomodate HD. Not that long ago, HD started rolling out to the public, in two sizes: 720 and 1080. For those who haven’t yet upgraded to HD video in their living room, those numbers basically are a count of the number of horizontal lines being projected on the screen. Standard Definition television is 480 lines in the US, 570 in the UK, and 720 and 1080 produce much higher quality pictures...if you watch something in true 1080 HD like a Blu-Ray movie, the picture is really mindblowingly detailed, better than double the vertical resolution of the SD video we watched for all these years.

Well, forget 1080. Web video is about to blow that out of the water. Read More »


Seize and Solve This Challenge

Submitted by Tom Peters on August 4, 2010 - 11:08am

Most professional challenges encompass both a problem to be solved and an opportunity to be seized.  One of the current central challenges of our profession, it seems to me, involves ensuring that libraries become viable and valuable in the burgeoning portable eReading field.  How can libraries compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple, Sony, and Barnes & Noble? 

COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, recently released a report that addresses this crucial challenge.  Our mission, should we choose to accept it, can be stated bluntly:  If convenient, enriching portable eReading becomes about half of all reading for pleasure within the next few years, as most experts now are predicting, how can public libraries become integral to the portable eReading experience? 
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Keeping Up with Keeping Up

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on August 3, 2010 - 9:22am

This summer, I was fortunate enough to attend a leadership institute led by Maureen Sullivan. First and foremost: if you get a chance to attend a workshop with her, do not pass go, just sign up.

The workshop began in earnest with everyone listing challenges and opportunities facing their libraries. “Keeping up with technology” cropped up early on. It always does. In my inside inside voice (the one that stays in my head), I wondered why we haven’t figured that one out yet. Shortly after the workshop ended, I came across the WebJunction report on library staff’s use of online tools. Read More »