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TECH SET interview: Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on July 12, 2012 - 2:33pm

Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches, authors of User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries speak frequently on UX design. If you've heard them, you know they are passionate and emphatic about putting the user first. In the interview, they each describe their favorite project from the book.

For Amanda, it's developing personas. "Peronas are one of those things where people have a vague sense of what they are and why they matter, but they don't really know how they can use them or how they can go about developing them for the library," she says. Personas are useful not only in the web development process, but also for other library service planning. In detailed, step-by-step fashion, the book explains how to develop personas, what to include, how to format your documents, what you can use them for, and, most importantly, how to know if they're working for you. Read More »

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Continuing the Conversation: How to Enhance Library Instruction through Mobile Devices

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on July 11, 2012 - 12:50pm

We just wrapped up Meredith Farkas’ workshop Workshop How to Enhance Library Instruction through Mobile Devices. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, check out Meredith’s slides, posted below!


How to Enhance Library Instruction with Mobile Devices Read More »

Mobile Projects in Libraries

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on July 6, 2012 - 10:36am

I attended LITA's Mobile Computing Interest Group meeting at ALA Annual Conference and heard two presentations about library projects with mobile technologies.

Anne Burke presented on North Carolina State University's use of iPod Touches for a scavenger hunt to orient new students to the library, its staff, and resources. The creative, relatively inexpensive project makes a game of orientation, with group interaction and casual competition. The success of the program is evident in survey results as well as photographs of participating students, which you can view the slides on Mobile Computing Interest Group ALA Connect page. Read More »

TECH SET interview: Joe Murphy

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on July 5, 2012 - 11:21am

Joe Murphy author of Location-Aware Services and QR Codes for Libraries is passionate in his conviction that location awareness is a gateway to future innovation. "The ability to associate activities, whether social or institutional, with a layer of location has really proved to be a foundation for all the major mobile and social technology initiatives of the past year," he says.

Library spaces will continue to be important, Murphy says. The technologies covered in the book will help libraries make their physical spaces relevant and meet the expectations of patrons with smartphones.

Joe had fun jumping into this topic early and looking at the practical applications for libraries. He describes specifics for a few of the book's projects, using: Read More »

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

Submitted by Sarah Ludwig on July 2, 2012 - 4:35pm

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 - 2:12pm

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: 

If you have a moment, please visit our sponsors:

  Read More »

TECH SET interview: Michael Lascarides

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on June 29, 2012 - 8:25am

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 - 9:14am

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 - 8:25am

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 - 1:17pm

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 »