Trending Library Tech

ThIt is the week after the American Library Association Midwinter conference and I am sure you are all wondering what was covered in the LITA Top Tech Panel--the hottest session at ALA. Well, fortunately you don't have to rely on me for a summary because Library Journal covered it! Hot topics are: open source, location-based information services and other things that are over my head.

Now that you are sad that you missed the panel at ALA, I am pleased to tell you that there is a free webinar series called Emerging Tech Trends in Libraries offered by Infopeople. The first session is over, but you can still watch it in the archives. The second session is coming up on February 2 and is by David Lee King who is mentioned frequently in TechBits.

 

Tech-y "Best of 2015"

Snowed in red car

Enjoying some year-end down time? (Snowed in?) Catch up on some tech-y "best of 2015" lists:

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.

Digitization/Oral History Interest Survey Results

Recently we surveyed SCLS member libraries about a topic that is getting attention*: digitizing materials and collecting community members' oral histories. With 25 SCLS member libraries providing substantive responses, the survey had a response rate of 47% and included libraries from all counties in SCLS.

Screen shot of survey summary resultsFindings in brief:

  • 92% believe it would be somewhat to very useful for SCLS to provide equipment to digitize historic print materials and/or capture oral histories.
  • A more detailed summary of survey responses is available.

Printed Materials:

  • 92% are somewhat to very interested in digitizing local printed media.
  • Photographs were the type of print material with the greatest number of respondents indicating a strong interest in digitizing (18).
  • For each aspect of the printed material digitization project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with equipment needed by the greatest number (20).

Oral Histories:

  • 80% are somewhat to very interested in interviewing community members to gather oral histories.
  • For each aspect of the oral history project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with audio editing software needed by the greatest number (18).

Thank you to all the library staff who completed the survey! SCLS staff will use this feedback as we plan future programs and services.

* For example, Wisconsin is joining the Digital Public Library of America, WPLC has a work group on Collaborative Digitization, there was a full-day digitization workshop offered at WiLSWorld 2015, and it's been discussed by SCLS's Library Innovation Subcommittee and Digital Content Work Group. (And those examples are just from sources I monitor consistently. What else am I missing?)

Maker Camp!

I just attended ALA annual and the exhibits had an entire section devoted to all things "maker ". It was quite a different to see gizmos and gadgets all designed to provide an interactive experience for library patrons.

One thing that caught my eye in particular, was Maker Camp--makercamp.com.

Maker Camp is a "free summer camp for building, tinkering, and exploring. Online and in your neighborhood."  Kids can sign up for free and participate online or--if there is a physical camp in their area--in person. Several Wisconsin libraries are participating. Organizations can sign up to be a site, but they would need to hurry as camp begins on July 6.

And don't forget, SCLS has an inventory of Mobile Maker Kits that libraries can use for programming, which can be reserved online here.

Library Freedom Project Holding Privacy Workshop after ALA

Library-freedom-project11

If you're attending ALA and are still in town the following Monday and Tuesday you may consider attending Library Freedom Project's Digital Rights in Libraries workshop being held at Noisebridge. The workshop will provide tools and training to assist privacy-minded individuals (staff and patrons) with their digital presence.

E-Waste Recycling Reminder

EarthIn honor of Earth Day I am going to recycle a Techbits article from a few years ago. As a reminder, one of the services SCLS offers its members is the opportunity to easily recycle your old electronic devices which you can no longer use. We continue to use File13 for our e-waste disposal. If you live or work in the Dane Co. area you may want to consider dropping off your old devices there since they have a large number of items that they don't charge for if you drop them off, including computers, printers and cables.

Library Beacons

Here's a scenario:

  • You install a special app on your mobile device
  • The next time you're in range of library beacons, you automatically receive targeted information right to your smartphone. For example -- when you walk in the front doors, you might get updates about your account; in the Children's Room, you receive notifications about upcoming children's programs; or when you near the library cafe, you get information about daily specials.
  • You can save the information, or forward it to a friend.

PhoneBeacons are devices that interact with a customer's smartphone and are designed to enhance the shopping experience. Some libraries are experimenting with the devices to bring new services to their patrons. Here are a few articles that tell more about their endeavors:

Some related videos:

I can definitely see the possibilities for museums, airports, and stores. What do you think about this new technology for libraries?