Ultraviolet & VUDU

DVDwithBlueTwo words, one I thought I knew and one new to me. Can you guess which is which? And, how they go together?

First, did you know that ultraviolet is more than light and that it has to do with DVDs? I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Swiss Army Librarian, and came across this post: Circulating a Roku for Streaming Videos*. In it, I learned that "ultraviolet" referred to a digital copy of a DVD and that many DVDs come with a code for the ultraviolet version. As you can tell, it's been a while since I've ordered any DVDs.

I continued reading, and came across the phrase "Vudu library." Hmm...while this sounds like voodoo, it isn't, honest! From the Terms of Service documentation, VUDU is "an Internet-based home entertainment service that provides access to a library of movies, images, television shows, artwork and/or other episodic content through your computer or mobile device..."

So, how do ultraviolet and VUDU come together? Swiss Army Librarian's library (and others) are using Rokus to circulate the ultraviolet movies they have licenses to and they use VUDU to connect them. Cool, huh? I thought so. Read the blog for all the details - and be sure to check out the comments as they were quite entertaining.

*I wrote about Checking out Wi-Fi and Roku on TechBits last year.

Link preview in OWA

In Office 365's Outlook Web App, when you type an email and add a URL, OWA adds a preview that includes a link title, thumbnail, and description of the link. This is called Link Preview, and this feature is enabled by default.

Link Preview

I find myself almost always deleting this preview as soon as it's added, and realized I could probably save myself some unnecessary clicking by just turning the Link Preview feature off.

Turn off Link Preview

  1. On the Navigation bar, in the upper right corner, click Settings.
  2. In the Options pane, under Mail > Layout, click Link preview.
  3. Under Link preview, uncheck the Preview links in email box to turn it off.

If you later decide you made a mistake, just repeat the steps but check the box in step 3 instead.

Spotted in a library: Just the right amount of tech

I noticed a gadget advertising upcoming programs and fun facts at Poynette Public Library after a recent visit. Is that a tablet? Is it hard to manage? What apps did they use to make that slideshow?

Photo-frame-front

Nope and nope and none. That is an inexpensive photo frame with a USB drive loaded with images, made in Microsoft Paint, plugged into the back. Quick and easy for the staff to manage.

Photo-frame-back

I love trendy, cutting edge devices just as much as the next person, but it sure makes me smile to see all kinds of technology adapted to meet libraries' needs!

Thanks to Lindsey at Poynette for letting me snap pics!

Old, BYOD, wireless devices may have connectivity ‘issues’

Wonder why some patron wireless devise have trouble connecting to, staying connected to or experience slow throughput when connected to the SCLS wireless network? This article will focus on one reason (of a host of possible reasons); the patron may be using an old, BYOD device (aka "Bring Your Own Device").

A wireless device’s ability to connect to a particular wireless signal depends upon a variety of things including when the device was manufactured. Devices manufactured before October 2009 may experience a variety of connectivity issues such as:

  • can’t ‘see’ a more modern, faster signal
  • potentially sporadic connectivity

You can get a sense of the quantity of older, BYOD devices connecting to your library’s network by looking at your library’s monthly wireless report. The report has a section titled “Client Summary by Protocol”. It may look something like this:

 

W2

 

You’ll notice that each of the entries begin with ‘802.11’ and that is followed by a letter suffix: ‘g’, ‘b’, ‘a’ or ‘n’. You can think of the technology associated with the letter ‘n’ as modern and all the other letters as ‘dated’. Dated, BYOD wireless devices are more likely to experience:

Interference: Older wireless devices have a greater susceptibility to what’s referred to as ‘interference’. All that means is that signals from some devices can interfere with the ‘g’, ‘b’ or ‘a’ signals so receiving devices may get ‘confused’. Interference can be caused by wireless keyboards, microwave ovens, cordless telephones, some amateur radio equipment and Bluetooth devices.

Sporadic connectivity: Older wireless devices can’t ‘hear’ a signal as far away as a newer device and the signal that they do hear is more likely to be absorbed by walls and other solid objects.

As you can tell from the graphic, the majority of the devices that connect to the wireless network are modern. But in those instances where a patron is having connectivity issues, try having them move closer to the wireless access point (WAP). All BYOD users will benefit from WAP proximity and especially those that use older devices.

 

Guest Post: Open all in tabs

This guest post is from Nichole Fromm, a cataloger at Madison Public Library.

I rely on the browser trick "open all in tabs." Once you have a set of frequently-used tabs open in your web browser, you can bookmark/favorite the group as a folder, and later open the entire group in one step from the bookmarks/favorites menu (aka "open all in tabs").

Right click a tab and select Bookmark All Tabs

Name your group of tabs

Open all in tabs from the Bookmarks menu

Internet Duct Tape has a nice summary of the steps.

I have two folders that I use "open all in tabs" for. In Firefox, it's Koha staff access, GetIt, and Outlook webmail. In IE, it's the several ways my cataloging tasks are reported: Google form reply spreadsheets & shared Google docs, and file sharing/drop sites (OCLC ftp, the shared SCLS ILS reports folder), etc. Other folks would have their own favorites, but these help me stay on top of all the ways in which I need to keep on top of stuff.

Too Much Information!! ARSL Program Highlight

In my ARSL Highlights Know More post a couple of weeks ago, I promised to share some of the tips that Crystal Schimpf talked about in her workshop on Too Much Information!! Managing Digital Overload.

TimerOne productivity tip that Crystal mentioned that I also recommend is the Pomodoro technique*. It's a simple and effective tool that helps me focus. We all have those days when it seems like we have a zillion things to do in a short amount of time and don't know where to begin. When that happens, I set the timer on my phone for 20 or 25 minutes, pick one task from my to-do list, and focus on it. If a thought or idea distracts me, I write it down and go back to the task at hand.

Crystal also reminded me (and now I'm reminding you) that we need to learn our Tech Tools better. I'll use email as an example here but this applies to lots of other tools, too. Whether you use Office 365, Gmail, Outlook or some other email program, there are lots of features that you probably don't use. Here are a few things to investigate and implement to help manage your email. Setting up filters or rules can help manage your newsletter or listserv subscriptions. Using flags or color coding can indicate the priority of a message or inclusion in a project - you can set the rules for what flags or colors mean for you.

Here are a few websites that Crystal recommended - I haven't tried all of these out yet:

Let me know if you try any of these tools that Crystal recommends. I'm curious to hear about your experiences.

*I'm using it as I write this TechBits post!

 

Library metadata and linked data

You may have heard the term "linked data." A Google search for linked data will return a myriad of search results where you can read about linked data in detail. However, I will attempt a very brief definition here: Linked data is a way to publish data on the web in a standard format that can be easily processed by computers, and that expresses the relationships between different pieces of data (or "things"). When data is published as "linked data," computers can analyze information from linked data sources to display and use the data in a human-readable format. 

linked data by elcovs, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  elcovs 

Traditional library metadata, such as bibliographic and authority records, has not been expressed as linked data in the past. This makes it challenging for library metadata to be used on the web outside of library-related websites (such as OPACs). Displaying library metadata to users who start their searches outside of library-related websites can bring users to libraries who might not have considered the library as a resource in their search.

In order to transform library metadata into linked data, much back-end work is necessary. Large library organizations, such as OCLC, the Library of Congress, and large academic libraries have been working to transform library metadata into linked data and provide resources that the wider library community can use.

To learn more about library linked data projects, check out the following (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

For a brief (15-minute) introduction to linked data and its applications for libraries, see the OCLC video, Linked Data for Libraries. For a technical explanation of OCLC's linked data work, see Library Linked Data in the Cloud, available for loan via the SCLS Professional Collection

Libraries at the crossroads

Public Wants Libraries to Advance Education, Improve Digital Literacy and Serve Key GroupsYou've probably already heard about a recent Pew Research Center study about libraries, "Libraries at the Crossroads." Here are some highlights:

Many American say they want public libraries to:

  • support local education;
  • serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
  • help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
  • embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.

Some tech highlights:

  • 78% of those 16 and older say libraries should “definitely” offer programs to teach people how to use digital tools such as computers, smartphones and apps.
  • 75% say libraries have been effective at helping people learn how to use new technologies.
  • Among those who have used a public library website or mobile app in the past 12 months, 42% have used it for research or homework help.
  • For those who have used a public library’s computers or Wi-Fi signal to go online, 60% have used those tools for research or school work.
  • 45% say that libraries should “definitely” purchase new digital technologies such as 3-D printers to let people explore how to use them. Another 35% say libraries should “maybe” do this.

There are so many interesting numbers! The report also includes data about library website use, awareness of e-book lending, who is using libraries and in what ways, computer and internet access, and many other topics.

Read more here: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/09/15/libraries-at-the-crossroads/

Gesture-sensing technology

You may have already used gaming systems like the Microsoft Kinect that can "see" your gestures from across the room. Well, Google is working on a way to expand these gesture controls everywhere, and it's pretty darn cool.

This little 25-second video snippet will give you a peek at what we're talking about:

 

If you have 4 minutes to spare, the full video that talks about the project (Project Soli) is worth a view.

Planning Year End Ordering

What to do with all that leftover money just sitting around your libraryAs the end of the year approaches it’s time to start thinking about how to spend any money you might have left over in your budgets. The deadline for ordering PCs and Peripherals through SCLS this year is November 13th; this date guarantees an invoice in your hands in 2015. If you don’t require an invoice in 2015 you can order through the end of the year and you should receive it in January or February, depending on when you order.