An introductory guide to library technologies, now in its fourth edition!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just the books, m'am

Thanks to Bernie Sloan on the LITA-L list:

"From the Wall Street Journal:

"In this suburb of St. Paul, the new library branch has no librarians, no card
catalog and no comfortable chairs in which to curl up and read. Instead, the
Library Express is a stack of metal lockers outside city hall. When patrons
want a book or DVD, they order it online and pick it up from a digitally
locked, glove-compartment- sized cubby a few days later."

Full text:"

It's an interesting way to provide library service, or at least the basics of supply and demand of materials. It's not the whole picture of libraries by any means, but it might have a place in giving access to materials in a place that can't support a full branch.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Technology explained in plain English

If you haven't seen these before on YouTube or elsewhere, let me recommend these technology videos from Common Craft. They give very straightforward, visually interesting introductions to a variety of technologies "In Plain English."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Microfilm? Really?

Does Analog Still Matter? - Here's a vendor site endorsing archiving digital materials in microfilm. Microfilm is not that popular these days, mainly because it's not as flexible or efficient as full-text documents are for searching and retrieval.

That being said, microfilm does last, without the issues digital information can have of needing to change storage media (magnetic media doesn't last forever) and retrieval equipment as technology advances.

It's been interesting reading responses to a posting of this announcement in some library lists. One of these, by Laval Hunsucker on the NGC4LIB list, offers an interesting perspective, and some great examples, on an even longer lasting medium: paper.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Obsolete Skills - searching a card catalog

Sad (in some ways), but true, the act of searching a card catalog is an obsolete skill. I love the mention of using the rods for swordplay. Here's a short article on card catalogs for the uninitiated at LISWiki.

Of course, whenever I see a technology dying, I know that there are still people using it somewhere in this wide world. Anyone out there know of one? I knew of a couple in public libraries in the greater Cincinnati area that were still in place, and I can imagine some smaller collections (or some larger catalogs that were maintained up to the point that an online catalog was added and still sit in a library - the University of Michigan just did away with one in their graduate library back in February).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Futures and trends in academic libraries (with technology in mind)

Here are two academic-library-minded items that speak to (1) trends in current library activities and (2) 26 possible scenarios for academic libraries' future. As you might imagine, they both lean heavily on technology.

2010 top ten trends in academic libraries [College & Research Libraries News] lists one trend specifically noting technology ("Technology will continue to change services and required skills") and yet most of the remaining trends reflect changes in publishing and research methods, our conception of the library as place, librarian skill sets, budget demands, etc., are all impacted by technology.

'Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025,' a report from ACRL, posits 26 possible scenarios for where academic libraries will stand in 2025. It was written by David Staley, a historian at Ohio State University, and Kara Malefant of ACRL, and was based on a survey of ACRL members. The future could be rather dark for libraries in two of the scenarios, one in which libraries are all but extinct, and another where librarians no longer earn tenure (which is already true in a number of settings). Other alterations would have huge impacts, but have more positive outcomes. There is also a brief podcast on the 33 page report at the link above.

I am intrigued to study these suggested futures and ongoing trends to see how well they fit what we're doing in our library and how we're envisioning the future. It's interesting to learn from the perspectives of others.

#Ask4stuff via twitter from WorldCat

From Bill Drew, writing at Baby Boomer Librarian, I learned this morning about a new Twitter-based service that queries the WorldCat database (see #Ask4stuff via twitter from WorldCat. Sending tweets with the tag #Ask4stuff followed by one or several search terms will return a link to results in WorldCat. You can also specify that the results come from a WorldCat Local instance. This has some real possibilities.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swiss Army Librarian � Staff Technology Competencies :: Brian Herzog

Here's a link to a blog post by Brian Herzog - Swiss Army Librarian � Staff Technology Competencies - that describes a model for identifying and listing core technology competencies for library staff at three levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced (which correspond to types of positions within the library). I think this is a useful approach to identify specific skills that each library position should be able to complete. It can then be used to focus training, or to identify where individuals fit into a library organization based on their skill sets.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why E-Books Failed In 2000, And What It Means For 2010

An article by Michael Mace from Business Insider, Why E-Books Failed In 2000, And What It Means For 2010, looks at the current state of e-books and e-book devices in light of earlier failures. It's a very useful listing of the economic and behavior barriers that have kept e-books from taking off thus far, along with Mace's suggestions on what has changed and what issues still remain. Great for getting to the heart of this enduring issues for authors, publishers, the reading public, and, of course, libraries.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Taking it to them

Here's a recent post from the 21st Century Library blog that touches on both library staff competencies and how library services are impacted by generational technology competencies. In particular, I think it makes a good case that one of the technology skills we all need is the ability to keep learning about technologies (despite barriers and limits we all face) in order to prepare ourselves and our libraries for generational changes already here and growing in dimension.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

TechTrends Midwinter 2010

Here's an archived, hour-long ALA TechSource webinar entitled "TechTrends Midwinter 2010." It presents four speakers discussing technologies and larger trends from the exhibit floor and elsewhere at MidWinter.

I also meant to post a link to the LITA Top Technology Trends discussion from Midwinter - this is the twice annual update from the Top Technology Trends Committee. Here's a link to the LITA blog that has a summary of the conversation as well as a link to video of the event - It also offers a link to all the links in the conversation.

Enjoy your trend discovery!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Listen to Library Tech Experts!

There's a new series of library tech books, The Tech Set series, coming out from Neal-Schuman in March 2010. Whether you decide to buy the books or not, have a listen to a collection of podcasts from authors in the series at Tech Set Author Podcasts - The Tech Set. You can use the scrolling menu on the left to see which author goes with which book, and also find more information on the whole set. The podcasts are set as conversations between the author and series editor Ellyssa Kroski. I think they are great introductions to the topics covered in the series, and I hope you'll find them useful

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tech Gadgets Galore!

A recent (Feb. 9) webcast from Library Journal showcased a selection of web gadgets and apps of interest to the library community. A link to the webcast and links to products and services mentioned is available at