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Posts by Jason Griffey

Wolfram Alpha and Libraries

Submitted by Jason Griffey on May 26, 2009 - 9:29am

After months of anticipation, a new tool emerged this past week that should be of interest to reference librarians everywhere: Wolfram¦Alpha. Read More »

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Saving Your Digital Life

Submitted by Jason Griffey on March 27, 2009 - 8:51am

Like most of us online and definitely like most libraries, I create more and more and more digital relics as I go through life. Pictures, videos, songs I've bought, ebooks I've downloaded, things I've written....you name it. If it's being created you can bet it's probably being created digitally. This all adds up, though, and the fate of any hard drive is to be filled with both really important, highly critical files and with digital ephemera that you want, but don't need daily. I've got a three-fold solution that I use, and will hopefully be helpful in solving some problem for libraries (or at least, librarians) out there.

I have, basically, three kinds of data that I'm worried about protecting in some way: working files, files that are important but replaceable, and files that I can't afford to lose at all. Working files are just that: files that I'm currently working on for whatever reason. Might be a photo I'm editing, or a document, or an MP3 that I need to move to another computer...anything that requires action. Files that are important, but replaceable, are things that make my life easier if they are in digital form, mostly media. DVDs I've purchased and CDs I own have all been digitized, because I want to be able to watch them when I want and not when I remember to have a disk of plastic with me. I also want to be able to move them to my iPhone or other portable media player. If I lose the digital, it's ok, because I can just re-digitize them, but I really, really don't want to have to do that. And finally, there are the files that I just can't lose for any reason. Things like tax returns, photos of my daughter, receipts, and other digital items that need to be safe even if there's a natural disaster. Read More »

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Netbooks: a new portable computing solution?

Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 24, 2009 - 8:56am

At my place of work, we are considering circulating so-called netbooks to our students. This would be done initially alongside traditional laptops, but with the possibility of moving the majority of our portable computers to netbooks. In thinking about moving this direction, I've been looking at a lot of these machines, and realizing that there may be a good number of libraries that haven't been watching the rise of this new platform. So I thought I'd take just a few paragraphs to try and explain why these machines are popular and what options are available.

The very term "netbook" is currently under some scrutiny, but it has come to refer to a class of small, portable computers with certain characteristics. These machines have a smaller-than-notebook screen, normally 10-11 inches or under (most notebooks come in a set of standard sizes; 13, 15, or 17 inches). Netbooks tend to use specific types of processors designed for low cost and efficient performance, not for pure speed and efficient processing like the processors you find in standard notebooks. They also tend to have minimal amounts of memory and disk space, often with 1 megabyte of less of RAM. Many of them ship with solid state hard drives that only have 4 or 8 gigabytes of space. The good news about this is that, thanks to Moore's Law, even older, slower, cheaper processors are almost always capable of handling most common computer tasks these days. Read More »

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Podcast tech roundup

Submitted by Jason Griffey on January 29, 2009 - 9:35am

As I was getting ready to leave for ALA Midwinter 2009 in Denver, I found myself packing an almost absurd amount of electronics. For those who don't know, I'm mostly responsible for the podcasts that show up from time to time on LITABlog. For the last few years I've been capturing the audio for programs like Top Tech Trends, and manipulating it so that it can be delivered to the fine people out on the Intertubes.

I realized as I was packing that I never posted about the tech involved, and who doesn't like a great tech-roundup post? So here we go: How I podcasted from ALA Midwinter 2009. Read More »

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Technology: The Year in Review

Submitted by Jason Griffey on December 22, 2008 - 10:03am

In the spirit of the bazillion other  year-end lists you will see over the coming weeks, I decided to list my Top 5 Most Influential Technologies of the year. These are the technologies that I think librarians need to be aware of, examine, and find uses for in their library. Not all of these started this year, but 2008 was  the year they broke out and became necessities in many people's lives. Read More »


Alternate Reality Games

Submitted by Jason Griffey on November 21, 2008 - 11:59am

In a Techsource post a couple of months ago, I talked about the hot video games for the Fall and holiday season. This time around, I want to introduce readers to a type of game that they might not be aware of: the Alternate Reality Game, or ARG. ARG's are becoming more and more popular, and libraries need to be aware of them and ready to embrace them. Read More »


Internet Librarian 2008

Submitted by Jason Griffey on October 29, 2008 - 8:24pm

There could hardly be a nicer conference location than Monterey, CA in the Fall. The weather is gorgeous, the town is walkable, and there is a plethora of tourist activities ranging from the phenomenal Monterey Aquarium to the local beaches. So to say that I spent my days at Internet Librarian 2008 sitting in hotel conference rooms should give you some idea of the speakers and the programs that Information Today manages to put together every year. Read More »

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I <3 my Kindle

Submitted by Jason Griffey on September 18, 2008 - 3:05am

In the past year or so, there has been considerable discussion here in libraryland about ebook readers. Still, the actual personal ownership of them is still reasonably low. So we don't have a lot of actual user feedback on how people like the devices, what they find useful, and what users really experience when reading on one. I thought I'd make an attempt to remedy that as much as one person on one blog can. Read More »


Hot Games for Fall 2008

Submitted by Jason Griffey on September 2, 2008 - 11:20am

As we crawl towards the Christmas season, all of the major video game manufacturers are starting to bring out the big guns for the holidays. If your library has embraced gaming as a way of socializing with patrons or drawing people in, what are they likely to be looking forward to this Fall? Or if your library actually checks out games, what's going to be the hot ones for the next 4 months? Here's a few titles to watch out for... Read More »


Gaps and Bridges, Bridges and Gaps

Submitted by Jason Griffey on July 28, 2008 - 3:06pm

Susan McKinlay and Jason griffeyThere are many stories from the 2008 ALA Annual conference in Anaheim, from Google being MIA on the exhibition floor to what happens when a few hundred librarians descend onto Disneyland. But my favorite story from my time in Anaheim starts like this... Read More »