Monday, February 18, 2013

ALA Midwinter Tech Wrap

A ALA Midwinter Tech Wrap up recording is now available.

Technology trends from ALA midwinter are presented by Jason Griffey, Head of Library Information Technology, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and blogger for ALA TechSource, Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University Libraries, Library Automation Writer and Expert, and Sue Polanka, Head of Reference and Instruction at the Wright State University Libraries in Dayton, Ohio, Vice President/President Elect of the Academic Library Association of Ohio and author/moderator of No Shelf Required.

Several interesting trends/products were highlighted.  All three presenters mentioned a new product called Mediasurfer, a piece of hardware designed to maintain and circulates tablets, iPads and e-readers. E-books continue to gain importance.  Ebrary has launched an IOS app for its content featuring Facebook sign in and the ability to read offline within the app.  Sue Polenka highlighted an interesting comparison of statistics.  Overdrive reports that it has "doubled" its usage with 1.6 billion  title pages viewed, 9.9 million visitors, 3.5 million check outs and 1.7 million holds.  Compared with Library Journal's Patron Profile data reporting that 23% of patrons are unsuccessful in their attempts to download ebooks because of technical issues, 44% reporting content unavailable and 74% reporting that they want more titles at their library.

Marshall Breeding concentrated on trends in integrated library systems.  He refers to the new genre of systems with different underlying assumptions as "Library Services Platforms".  These systems, exemplified by  ExLibris' Alma product, attempt to provide unified workflows across material types, make use of highly shared "knowledge-base" data models, and are designed to live "in the cloud".

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog

Dempsey, Lorcan. "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, Attention." Educause Review Online, December 10, 2012. At:

Demsey reviewed various trends in discovery and library catalogs. He offered the following observations: 1) Discovery has scaled to the network level; 2) Personal and institutional curation services are now also central to reading and research behaviors; 3) Library services may focus on different targets such as location and fulfillment, disclosure, particularization, and research advice & reputation management; and 4) Knowledge organization will move to the network level.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tablets are here, but are they usable?

The sales of tablets reached an all time high in the last fiscal quarter of 2012, with the market growing by a whopping 75% in one year alone, while the sales of PCs have gone down. While there are few if any apps that will let the tech services work directly with library databases, there are several things you can do with a tablet that will let it work in concert with the technology already in place.

1. Remote desktop applications -- These applications let you log in directly into your office or home PC on your tablet. The user wouldn't have to install an ILS client onto their tablet, but rather uses the client already installed on their PC.

2. Cloud storage and Office emulators -- By using Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote and other cloud storage apps with apps that can handle Office files such as GoDocs and CloudOn, it is possible to work on files outside of the office and save them without fear of losing data.

3. Photography and Scanning -  As mentioned in a previous post, tablets allow you to use the cameras built into most tablets for both photos and scanning.