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Letting Go of Boolean Operators: Rethinking How Research Is Taught in Schools

Submitted by Sarah Ludwig on July 2, 2012 - 5:35pm

I am constantly struggling with the sense that I’m doing a lot of talking for nothing. I painstakingly teach kids how to use a database and they go straight back to Wikipedia as soon as I turn them loose. I show them how to use keywords and operators and they always fall back on their “ask Google a question” method.

I get frustrated. I’ve considered asking their teachers to require the use of databases. But lately I’ve been admitting to myself the deep, dark truth: I’ve got it backwards. I’m forcing students to use tools and search methods that are more cumbersome, more frustrating, and less successful simply because I, the librarian, think it’s the best thing to do. If students are going to spend the rest of their lives searching for information in the easiest, most natural way, I must embrace that. Read More »


Archive of the 2012 ALA Annual Tech Wrapup

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on June 29, 2012 - 3:12pm

We just finished our Annual Tech Wrap-Up! We had a great event, and want to thank our fantastic panelists and our sponsors!

If you missed the event or want to experience it again, check out the archive here:

Again, the URL for the archive is: https://alapublishing.webex.com/alapublishing/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=EC&rID=5446567&rKey=82fbe14f18f1b946 

If you have a moment, please visit our sponsors:

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TECH SET interview: Michael Lascarides

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on June 29, 2012 - 9:25am

In this interview with Ellyssa Kroski, Michael Lascarides, author Next-Gen Library Redesign, notes that next-generation isn’t a checklist. “It’s about positioning yourself to exist in a world where the information landscape is constantly changing,” he says.

Lascarides describes a couple projects from the book. First, starting with the broad, is a methodological approach to looking at your library’s digital presence by taking a full inventory of your Web activities. Moving to the specific, the book describes how to set up and oversee a crowdsourcing project. Examples from the New York Public Library are digitizing maps and transcribing dishes of old restaurant menus into a foods database. "A small set of guidelines can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful project," says Lascarides. Read More »


TECH SET interview: Robin Fay and Michael Sauers

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on June 21, 2012 - 10:14am

In light of OCLC's two huge linked data announcements, I thought that on this Thursday TECH SET podcast, we'd feature Ellyssa Kroski's interview with Robin Fay and Michael Sauers, co-authors of Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians. Below the SoundCloud embed are highlights from the interview. Read More »

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Retinas, Mountain Lions, and iOS 6

Submitted by Jason Griffey on June 18, 2012 - 9:25am

Once a year, Apple holds its World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, the highlight of which for non-developers is the Monday keynote. In prior years, the keynote was the Steve Jobs show, where Steve got to be his most Steve-ish, taking digs at competitors and talking about how awesome things are and will be for Apple over the coming year. This year there is no Jobs, but there was an absolutely deluge of news from the keynote, hosted by CEO Tim Cook and starring the main players in Apple’s current corporate structure.

Practically every news outlet in the world will have a summary of the news coming out of WWDC, so I’m going to focus on the things that I think are important to libraries. Apple had three main announcements: updates to their laptop line, which is their most popular type of computer sold; and what to expect in the two new operating systems launching this year, OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6. Read More »


Continuing the Conversation: WordPress Basics

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on June 14, 2012 - 2:17pm

We just wrapped up the ALA TechSource Workshop WordPress Basics: What WordPress can do for Your Library with Polly-Alida Farrington and Amanda Goodman. The slides from the event, which contain some fantastic resources, are posted below.

If you want to go more in-depth with WordPress, go to the ALA Store and learn more about Polly and Amanda’s six-week eCourse, Using WordPress to Build Library Websites. This course gives you the chance to go way-more in-depth and actually build a website!

Read More »


TECH SET interview: Marshall Breeding

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on June 14, 2012 - 9:08am

Series Editor Ellyssa Kroski interviewed Marshall Breeding, author of Cloud Computing for Libraries (11) and noted speaker, writer, and consultant on library technology and the library automation industry.

Note that since the recording of this interview, Marshall resigned his position at Vanderbilt University in order to free up time for what he calls "outside activities" in the interview.

Below the SoundCloud embed are a few highlights from the interview.

2:15 Marshall believes cloud computing is a major transition with "massive implications for libraries." Read More »

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TECH SET interview: Amanda Bielskas and Kathleen Dreyer

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on June 8, 2012 - 10:53am

Amanda Bielskas and Kathleen Dreyer are reference librarians at Columbia University and authors of IM and SMS Reference Services for Libraries, #19 in The TECH SET. They believe that reference through IM and text messaging is not only a service librarians can offer, it's a necessary one. In this brief interview with Ellyssa Kroski, they discuss their inspiration for the book and a few how-to projects covered in the implementation chapter.

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5 Questions to Help You Choose the Right Mobile Website Tool

Submitted by Andromeda Yelton on June 6, 2012 - 9:50am

Editor's Note: This post is an excerpt from Library Technology Reports January 2012 (Vol 48, No. 1), "Bridging the Digital Divide with Mobile Services." A full excerpt of Chapter 2, including tools and resources alluded to, is on Scribd. Andromeda will present a WebJunction webinar based on the Report on July 25, 2012.

How can you choose among the many options for making your library's website mobile friendly? Researching for my Library Technology Report, I reviewed the features of various tools and read librarians' accounts of mobile technology initiatives (see the Resources section in Chapter 2). My analysis surfaced five questions that will help you clarify your priorities and guide tool selection. Read More »


TECH SET interview: Ken Varnum

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on May 31, 2012 - 4:08pm

Editors Note: The TECH SET Series Editor Ellyssa Kroski has interviewed authors about their books. We will post the interviews to the companion pages for the The TECH SET. Starting today, and on Thursdays during the next 9 weeks, we will feature an interview on the ALA TechSource blog.

Yesterday, one of the participants in Sean Fitzpatrick's Drupal Basics workshop asked if we could suggest a concise guide on using Drupal to develop a library website. Yes we can!

Among the 10 new titles to The TECH SET series is Drupal in Libraries (14) , by Kenneth J. Varnum. Series Editor Ellyssa Kroski spoke to Ken about the book. Below the SoundCloud embed are a few notes from the interview. Read More »

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