The future of privacy

Don't know if you've been following the progress of Google Glass (Google's augmented reality glasses) since our last post about them, but back in February Google ran a pilot for 8,000 beta users. As a possible large scale release and adoption of augmented reality glasses draws ever nearer, this has been generating a number of concerns related to detachment (they'll affect the way humans interact with each other!), distraction (probably shouldn't wear them while driving, right?), and PRIVACY (everyone everywhere could be recording and sharing EVERYTHING without your knowledge or consent!). As Mark Hurst put it in this excellent Creative Good post, "The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change."

Video: "I used Google Glass"

It's the privacy concern that will probably most impact libraries and their users. Already in our daily lives we're faced with security cameras, smartphones, and other devices capable of easily recording and sharing our every move. What happens when these devices become part of our clothing and are with us --and ACTIVE-- wherever we go? And what role do libraries have in providing privacy from such devices to their patrons? (How does your library respond when someone whips out a camera and starts snapping photos or recording? It may become more common, and with augmented reality glasses you may not even know it's happening...)

Tasha Saecker, assistant director of the Appleton Public Library, posted about this topic recently on her Sites and Soundbytes blog, urging libraries to start a dialog now, before Google Glass or other augmented reality glasses enter the library. How do you think libraries should approach this new technology?

Takeaways from the video and reading more about Glass:
Interesting. You probably won't be reading books using Google Glass (think "headlines" or "news stories being read aloud to you", short replies or emoticons, sharing...  simple, quick interactions). A camera was not originally part of Google Glass.
There will be lots of tapping your glasses or talking to them using voice recognition. Google is aiming for having Google Glass out as a consumer product by the end of 2013.

Concerning. You won't know who is taking pictures of or recording you. Tons of information could be collected and potentially integrated with other Google technologies. Add in facial recognition and speech-to-text software, and everything you've ever done in proximity of a Google Glass device could be cataloged and made available by Google. It's a leap, but it could technically happen.

Want more about the glasses?  Check out this page for a video of the Project Glass presentation made at last month's SXSW event in Austin, Texas. The article has more information about the presentation; the video is 50 minutes long and includes a live demonstration of the glasses (starting around 10:52), some geeky stuff about the code in the middle (min 16-26:30) and a summary of what Glass developers have learned over the last few months (26:30-end). Personally, I'm not sure that I'm ready for "constant on" and I'm definitely not thrilled about the privacy aspect of it, but it is some pretty cool technology.

Want more on the privacy issue?  Try these: "Google Glass and Surveillance Culture" and "Google Glass half full: Why that 'ban" may not be needed"

I Found a Multi-tool in my Laptop

So I was just messing around with an office laptop when I discovered something interesting about the spacer Dell installed to fill in the expansion slot...


The spacer is, in fact, a multi-function tool!


It includes a mini ruler (English and Metric), holes to estimate diameter,


a temperature conversion table on the underside,


and a letter opener.

Good job, Dell, to bring functionality to what otherwise would be just a mundane piece of plastic!

(Caution: results my vary)

Widescreens are in.

Dell 19 inch widescreen monitorFor the last two months Dell has been slowly been getting ready to discontinue the standard 19 inch monitor that we’ve been purchasing for several years. They're replacing them with widescreens and making it attractive by lowering the price on them. The standard monitor can no longer be purchased with a system. We are being given a choice of 19, 22, and 24 inch widescreen monitors when purchasing a system. I will update the SCLS website once the Dell website stabilizes and they settle on standard models. The options seem to change every time I log onto their site.

The 19-inch widescreen is about a half inch shorter than your standard 19-inch monitor and two inches wider. It also costs a few dollars less than the standard monitors did. I’ve ordered a few already and so far I haven’t had any complaints from a dissatisfied user.

Reimagining the library

BubbleWhat will the library of the future look like? Here are two items that crossed my path recently that show some possible directions public libraries might take.

The Bubbler

You may have already heard that Madison is planning for a maker-focused programming model in the new Central Library. It has a name now ("The Bubbler"), a description, and a short video telling more about the project. There was also a great article in the Isthmus about the evolving nature of libraries.

Bookless library

In 2013, San Antonio's Bexar County will be home to BiblioTech, described as "the country's first book-less public library."

It will look like a modern library, but there won't be any books --- just computers, gadgets, and ebooks. You can read more about it here:

I'm not sure I'm ready to completely give up physical books, but the makerspace idea totally appeals to me! What do you think about these possible directions?

Ziggi Document Camera

Ziggi by IPEVOSCLS recently purchased a couple of inexpensive document cameras for use in our office. The Ziggi document camera by IPEVO makes a great addition to your workspace if you do a lot of presentations, training or just want an easy to use camera that can quickly transfer pictures to your PC.

If you’ve borrowed the ELMO document camera or been to an SCLS presentation where it was used you should be familiar with this kind of technology. For those of you who haven’t seen a document camera, it’s like a web cam attached to a stand. It allows you to snap photos of documents, book covers , screens on a smart phone or tablet PC or whatever else will fit under the camera.

For $89.00 this is what you get with a Ziggi:

• 2 megapixel image which is capable of producing high resolution and standard resolution images.
• Really nice auto focus.
• Up to 30 fps live video capture.
• Software package that works with both Mac and PCs.

Below is an image I created using the Ziggi.

Using Ziggi to captue live images and video of smart phones


Are you in love with infographics? What about infographics that mock infographics? Have you ever wondered how you could use infographics for your library?

I'd like to call your attention to "Communicate the Value of Your Library: Create an Infographic", a wonderful post about infographics from the Winnefox Library System's "Library Sparks" blog. It covers:

  • ALA's "Tug of War" infographicwhat an infographic is
  • why you might want to use an infographic
  • examples of inspiring infographics
  • free tools for creating infographics 

Lytro Camera

8GB LytroI’m excited to tell you about a new camera we have at SCLS. It’s called the Lytro, the world's first commercial light field camera.  That means it captures the entire light field. Your current camera only captures a single plane of light while the Lytro captures light traveling in every direction. It has a very simple design and is easy to use. This camera only has two buttons, power and a shutter release. What’s great about this camera is it lets you refocus your photos after you load them on your PC (Windows 7 64 bit) or Mac. I’ve been getting to know it the last couple of weeks and it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine because the image quality is amazing and it’s fun to refocus pictures.

I will be adding this camera to one of our gadget packs in the near future and let you know when it is available for your library to check out.

Here is a sample photo I took of my cat Rocky in his backyard with different focal points.

Rocky 1

Rocky 2


Makerspaces and 3D printing

What have you read about 3D printers? I often see them mentioned in conjunction with libraries and makerspaces (and Jay Leno's garage).

Libraries have long served as community gathering centers and learning spaces, and have helped patrons to create through programming and the loaning of equipment, gadgets, gadgets, and tools.

There's been some buzz in the past year or two about how libraries could become places for digital content creation and makerspaces (locations where people with common interests can share resources and knowledge to create and build things). In the future, they could even be people's first exposure and access to new technologies like 3D printing! One library that has put this idea into action is Fayetteville Public Library. Check out this 10 1/2 minute video describing 3D printing and the proposal to create Fayetteville Public Library's "FabLab."

Here are a few other libraries who have added makerspaces or digital labs:

Interested in more about libraries as makerspaces? Try these:

Want more info on 3D printing? (I do... I'm fascinated by the idea of printing my own creations!) Try Gadgets and gizmos : libraries and the post-PC era. It's a fanstastic overview of tablets, ereaders, 3D printers, and health gadgets (like the fitbit), and it's only 31 pages! I'd highly recommend it!

This 3D printer prints in chocolate. How do we get some of these into libraries?  :)

What do you think about libraries as makerspaces? How psyched would you be about a printer that could potentially print its own replacement parts? 

Digital Creation Space grant opportunity

What if your library could get funding to create a digital creation space with state-of-the-art software and equipment for patrons to use? A place where the community could make movies, music, books and more—not just check them out? Powerful stuff.

What if all you had to do is contact Terrie Howe to register for and attend the June 28 grant information webinar, spec out your project, and then apply for an LSTA grant? Because "Digital Creations in Public Libraries" is a competitive grant category for the 2013 LSTA cycle, with a grant range of $2,000 - $20,000 that public libraries are eligible to apply for. And some libraries are going to get it.

So... what if it was your library?

More inspiration:

The scoop on

Scoop.itWhat is is a curation tool that allows you to pull together content from other sources in a visually appealing way. For those of you on Pinterest, you might think of it as Pinterest with better tagging, more text, and an RSS feed. After you sign up for an account, you can add sources for content and/or follow other topics. As content comes your way, you can recycle it to your topic.  Or, you can create new posts by adding a link, picking a picture, and adding some text  (sound familiar, Pinterest users?). You can also tag posts for easy reference later, and users browsing your content can easily share it to Facebook, Twitter, or via a link. The Huffington Post wrote about it last week in the article, "How Long Before You Will Instead of Google It? A Year, Two, a Decade?"

Why would you use tags and RSS
I've been using for a while now as a place to stash things that I run across that I more actively want to share with others (and keep for myself) on the topic of "technology for libraries". It's kind of a way to share the good stuff I find without writing much. You can see my topic here:

I don't really want to review in great detail as much as I'd like to point it out as a possible place to find some interesting folks curating some interesting topics. One of my favorite library-related topics so far is "Cha-Ching" -- a topic all about fundraising ideas for libraries (and well worth a look)!

If you are interested in more of the nitty-gritty about how works, take a look at their Guided Tour and FAQ.