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Blog posts from February 2011

You Know, I Know, Don't Know

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on February 28, 2011 - 10:25am

Field trips in New England often revolve around hardship. And candy. As an elementary school student, I learned to make candles like the colonists did when they weren't busy starving to death or learning about corn. As a high school student, I watched a blacksmith (who would not break character to give us directions) sweat and work on a horseshoe for what felt like an eternity to my 16-year-old self. It's tough to be a settler, which is why historical attractions always sell fantastic anachronistic penny candy - it offsets the depression that would set in on the children who just spent three hours making a misshapen candle that will provide about twenty minutes of iffy light. And all that's before anyone bothered to mention the genocide sparked by the bonneted and buckled people all of our towns are named after.
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E-Book Lending Clubs

Submitted by Tom Peters on February 23, 2011 - 10:30am

As far as I can tell, Barnes & Noble started it all when, as they were preparing to launch their Nook device and service in late 2009 and wanted to differentiate it from Amazon’s existing Kindle service, they decided to allow one legitimate lending of a Nook ebook (the etext, not the device) for a two week period.  Some librarians I spoke with about this Nook lending option scoffed at it.  One opportunity to lend an ebook over the life of your ownership does not seem like much.  I even joked about how this could cause interpersonal distress.  “I thought I was your primary Nook friend.”  Most librarians I spoke with saw little or no relationship between this form of elending and the type of public good, institutional elending that libraries and library users want and need. Read More »


Gadgets in the Library: A Practical Guide to Personal Electronics for Librarians with Jason Griffey

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on February 22, 2011 - 10:35am

We're really excited to announce another ALA TechSource Workshop, Gadgets in the Library: A Practical Guide to Personal Electronics for Librarians with our very own Jason Griffey. Read More »


NARA's Electronic Archive: A Sanity Check

Submitted by Andromeda Yelton on February 15, 2011 - 9:56am

The cost to build digital infrastructure for the national archives could hit $1.4 billion.

I've been fascinated by this story. 1.4 billion? What on earth are they archiving, and on what scale? How does a project originally contracted at $317 million in 2005 end up projected to be finished at $1.4 billion in 2017? [pdf; see page 21]

It sounds outrageous to me, but then again, I don't know what comparable projects cost. So, let's bracket this. Read More »


3D Printing & Fabrication

Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 14, 2011 - 10:04am

One of the most exciting new realms in personal technology is the emergence of affordable 3D fabrication or printing technologies (or, my personal favorite nickname for the tech: fabbing). If you aren’t familiar with 3D printing, it’s the use of a hardware device to go directly from a computer file to 3 dimensional object, skipping any molding/carving/modeling or other sorts of manufacturing. It’s been available for a number of years for commercial use, and is used heavily by industry to prototype consumer devices, but the cost has always been prohibitive for individuals.
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Email, Teens, and the Workplace

Submitted by Michelle Boule on February 10, 2011 - 10:02am

Anyone who works with teens, has a teen in the household, or pays attention to communication trends knows one thing for certain: young people do not use email. In a revealing discussion with four high school freshman about technology, communication, and education, the girls in this video say that they only use email to talk to “ aunts, uncles, teachers, and older people.” (quote is 2 minutes in) According to comScore’s whitepaper, “The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review,” email usage is down a whopping 59% among teens. Instead of email, teens are using text messages and facebook as their main methods of communication.
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Cody Hanson to Tackle Libraries & The Mobile Web with ALA TechSource

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on February 7, 2011 - 11:25am

In the library world, there aren't a lot of topics hotter than the mobile web, and in February and March, ALA TechSource will be here to provide you with some guidance on this topic from one of the most knowledgable people in the field, Cody Hanson. Later this month, we'll publish Cody's issue of Library Technology Reports, "Libraries and Mobile Services", and on Wednesday, March 9th, Cody will lead the ALA TechSource Workshop "Making Mobile Services Work for Your Library."

Library services for mobile devices like Smartphones and iPads are becoming more and more common. As these devices explode in popularity, it is important that libraries are able to offer their patrons services and resources through them. In his Report and in his workshop, Cody Hanson will provide a foundation for launching, maintaining and expanding mobile services in your library. Read More »


Jason Vaughan Discusses Web Scale Discovery Systems

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on February 4, 2011 - 10:11am

For people in the library systems world, it's no secret that Web Scale Discovery Systems are a big deal. As Jason Vaughan explains in the new issue of Library Technology Reports, " These services are capable of searching quickly and seamlessly across a vast range of local and remote content and providing relevancy-ranked results in the type of intuitive interface that today’s information seekers expect."

Jason's report provides never-before-seen insight into these services and what their potential to transform library systems. The report describes in detail the content, interface, and functionality of web scale discovery services developed by four major library vendors: OCLC, Serials Solutions, Ebsco, and Ex Libris, and provides context and background on each vendor. Read More »