Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Progress on Digital Public Library of America

A podcast I listen to, Digital Campus, recently talked about another meeting of a group working on the idea of the Digital Public Library of America. It sounds like some version of this is going to be moving into development possibly in 2011. Potential game changer? Pipe Dream? What do you think?

Here is some more information:
Interview with Robert Darnton on the Digital Public Library of America, pt 1

"The Berkman Center will convene a large and diverse group of stakeholders to define the scope, architecture, costs and administration for a proposed Digital Public Library of America. This initiative was launched in December 2010 with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation."

What Scholars Want from the Digital Public Library of America

  • "If we want to think about the Digital Public Library of America from the scholar’s point of view, we must think about how to replicate those signals while taking advantage of the technology. In short: the best of the single search box with the trust and feel of the bookshelf."

Questions from and for the Digital Public Library of America workshop
  • "I came out of it invigorated and depressed at the same time. Invigorated: An amazing set of people, very significant national institutions ready to pitch in, an alignment on the value of access to the works of knowledge and culture. Depressed: The !@#$%-ing copyright laws are so draconian and, well, stupid, that it is hard to see how to take advantage of the new ways of connecting to ideas and to one another."
Interview with Robert Darnton on the Digital Public Library of America, pt 1

  • "A little over a week ago I sat down with Darntonaward-winning historian, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard, and director of the Harvard University Libraryto discuss plans underway for a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Sitting in Darnton's office right next to Harvard Square we discussed the nettlesome issues surrounding the DPLA, what the massive on-line collection might offer, and how such a virtual repository could serve the public."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (or Not)

I liked what this article had to say about books and the fact that is mentioned books as a gadget:

Some spring cleaning the article suggests....
CABLE TV Depends.
DIGITAL MUSIC PLAYER Lose it (probably).
GPS UNIT Lose it.
BOOKS Keep them (with one exception). Yes, e-readers are amazing, and yes, they will probably become a more dominant reading platform over time, but consider this about a book: It has a terrific, high-resolution display. It is pretty durable; you could get it a little wet and all would not be lost. It has tremendous battery life. It is often inexpensive enough that, if you misplaced it, you would not be too upset. You can even borrow them free at sites called libraries.

But there is one area where printed matter is going to give way to digital content: cookbooks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Court ruling on Google book deal

This 3 minute audio clip was broadcast today on NPR's All Things Considered:

Judge Rejects Google Books Deal | Minnesota Public Radio News

Transliteracy, you say?

We've been a-talkin' and a'readin' about transliteracy, what the term means, and how it affects the library world. There was a good interview of Ned Potter recently on the blog Libraries and Transliteracy. My favorite excerpt is below.
  • Question: How do we become transliterate? (Jane's note: The question isn't really answered, but I like the comment he made.)
    "For the normal person on the street, becoming transliterate involves becoming educated in all the literacies relevant to them. Not everyone needs to know about all types of literacy – ‘trans’ doesn’t mean ‘all’, it means ‘across’. [...]
    But for the Information Professional, the challenge is greater. We really do need, insofar as is possible, to become expert in all forms of literacy, in order to lead the way for others to follow. That means investigating new trends, becoming early adopters of new technologies and platforms, and not burning any bridges with more traditional information literacy either. Building on sound pedagogical principles is important, particularly in the academic community, but so is being flexible and able to move with change and encompass new developments."

Ned Potter goes on to suggest you become transliteral as you "Read, write, listen, watch, and interact." THIS is the responsibility and the burden of the Library Futurists, methinks. Staying on (or creating?) the cutting edge, embracing open-mindedness, and nurturing your intrinsic desire to keep learning.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Are we at the mercy of our vendors?

EBooks are not the only thing vendors have control of in our library systems. As part of the team that implemented a new ILS I find myself defending our decisions (to patrons and staff) quite often to the tune of “well we had to make this switch because the vendor was stopping supporting the old software” or “we are working with the vendor to correct that.” At times I felt powerless to fix integral parts of our system while waiting in hope that our vendor would be able to fix it.

The migration from the old system to the new one did not feel like an optional switch. Our vendor had announced plans to suspend support and development on our old system and all focus would be on their flagship product – the product that we moved to. At the same time, the library needed to upgrade system hardware, which was at the end of its life expectancy. Adding to that, the cost of upkeep and maintenance for the new system is much lower than the old. With this in mind, the decision the decision didn’t seem like a tough one or really a decision at all.

Could we have done things differently? Could we have left our vendor behind? Could we have gone open source and completely customized the ILS to our (and our borrowers) liking? King County Library System did drop their vendor and go with an open source ILS. I’m not sure their experience was much better than mine, but they are no longer at the mercy of their vendor.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Children and their Internet Usage

There's a study that just came out regarding how children are using different media sources. It showed that almost 80% of children under the age of 5 use the internet at least once a week! This figure surprised the heck out of me, but as I looked further I realized it's because I was thinking inside the box. These kids aren't using the internet the same way I do. I use the internet for Facebook, e-mail, research, etc. but children are mainly watching videos. The internet for them is almost like an extension of the television.

If kids are using the internet at such an early age, imagine all the possible things they could do. They're not stuck learning Spanish from Sesame Street - they can play "intellectually stimulating" games that teach them language, math, working out puzzles, anything really!

The thing that ended up surprising me most was that these kids apparently still love physical books: "It is important to mention that even in an era of widespread electronic-screen exposure, print remains a constant in children’s media diets, although it varies dramatically by age. About 90% of kids 5-to-9-years-old read books most days of the week, and they spend about an hour per day doing so, either reading by themselves or being read to by an adult." Do you think this is by choice or is this something parents are pushing on their children?

E-books in libraries may expire after 26 uses

The New York Times had an interesting article today regarding library e-books and HarperCollins Publishers. Last week the publisher "began enforcing new restrictions on its e-books, requiring that books be checked out only 26 times before they expire." At that point, the library would have to purchase the e-book again, at least if it's a HarperCollins title. While an argument can be made that libraries routinely replace well-loved books due to excessive coffee stains and covers that are barely hanging on, it really depends on the book, and I'm sure most of the titles in the collection that would do well as e-books can hold up to being borrowed 26 times.

The article goes on to say that some libraries are boycotting those titles, but if other publishers choose to follow suit, that will severely limit the titles that libraries will be able to make to their patrons. However, it could hurt the publishers, too. According to the article, "Sales to libraries can account for 7 to 9 percent of a publisher’s overall revenue, two major publishers said."

It seems like this is yet another reason that libraries and e-book publishers should work together, rather than having to react to what one or the other may do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fostering creativity is the new essential service

This is an extremely exciting time, culturewise. Technology is proving to be a great equalizer in who gets to be creative and share their output. Applications to create and edit images, audio, video, and software are no longer limited only to professionals. Any of this output can be posted to the internet, where it has the potential to find a worldwide niche audience. Libraries, meanwhile, are still largely stuck purveying books, movies, and music from the old guard: those artists who by talent or luck managed to convince larger entities to bankroll and distribute their work.

Libraries originally carried books, and later other media formats, and then computers, to provide resources that their members couldn't or didn't want to acquire and store themselves. I'm starting to think that the real purpose of a library is to offer access to educational and recreational things that most people don't have on their own. We can't cap library services at this arbitary point. Libraries need to continue to provide for their communities those resources which aren't accessible in most households.

User-generated media is the next big step in our educational/recreational culturescape. I think libraries could really reassert their relevance by putting those tools in the hands of their users. Chicago Public Library's YOUmedia and Charlotte Mecklenberg Library's Studio i, teen learning spaces packed with media creation tools and software, are excellent examples. It doesn't seem fair to limit this just to teens, though. Imagine if libraries were places where members of the community could go to learn how to express themselves creatively and to fully realize their ideas with current technology. As library futurist Joan Frye Williams said, we need to "stop being the grocery store and start being the kitchen."

Movies and computers are currently the biggest draw at most libraries. Providing these resources for those users who can't afford them on their own remains important, but we can't limit ourselves to the most obvious have-nots. A growing swath of our core usership will have home computers and affordable access to commercially-distributed media, as costs drop and more households consider these justifiable standard-of-living expenses. To remain relevant, libraries need to be offering services that most potential users don't have on their own. Providing static, professionally-produced media was sufficient for a long time, but a new area of community need is opening up that requires a thought shift in what libraries are really for. I say the job of libraries is to provide resources for learning and fun that aren't readily available in the average household. Training and access to media creation are going to be essential community services that libraries should absolutely provide.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ALA Announces Publication Award

In a press release dated March 1, 20011, ACRL's Instruction Section announced the winner of the Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year Award. Megan Jane Oakleaf received this award for her article "Information Literacy Instruction Assessment Cycle: A Guide for Increasing Student Learning and Improving Librarian Instructional Skills" which was published in the Journal of Documentation. Assessment might seem like old news as we strive to be forward thinking. However, as we consider the future of information literacy instruction across educational institutions, I think effective assessment can teach librarians about where we have been (one important component of predicting the future) and improve the likelihood that we will create and maintain effective programs into the future.

Libraries as TechShops?

This post from MAKE magazine editor Phillip Torrone just came across the LITA listserv. In it, Torrone presents the idea that libraries could serve communities by offering places for people use collaboratively use new technologies. We've touched on this idea of "library as TechShop" in our meetings, readings, and discussions - now here's a look at the idea from the tech community. How can we take these ideas and challenges - from the author and the 70+ comments - and apply them to our work for Minnesota's libraries in 2025? Should libraries in Minnesota seek to become TechShops? What would need to happen to make this idea work? What might be lost, if libraries were to pursue the concept?

One commenter noted that workshop spaces and quiet spaces for reflective study don't necessarily play well together. Is there a way for libraries to balance these ideas? Do you know any libraries that could serve as models? Or, should some libraries serve as TechShops while others focus on quiet reflection - and, if this is the case - what tools could be used to determine the best use of library funding?

And once we've figured out if a community should have a TechShop Library, how is it staffed? With MLS-carrying librarians? Or with folks from the IT world?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shared Collections, the Cloud and the Externalization of Collection Management

OCLC Research recently published a report titled, Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment, on shared collections in academic libraries. Constance Malpas - the lead author - presented her findings to the University of Minnesota Libraries, outlining a future for academic libraries that includes regionally-shared legacy print collections, increased access to digitized books, and substantial downsizing of resources dedicated to the local management of print collections. With the growth of the multi-institutional book digitization cooperative HathiTrust and the increasing demand for instant access to information, the report urges academic libraries to reevaluate current collection management practices and actively plan for a future that likely will not sustain continued investment in large-scale procurement and housing of print collections for individual libraries. According to the report's recommendations, library leaders should begin the process of creating regionally-shared print repositories that free up space and reduce the costs associated with managing publicly accessible print collections, and to heavily invest in the collaborative digitization movement that seeks to make a wider range of library items available in the cloud.

Ultimately, this means an end to certain practices of local collection management and a significant redirection of resources traditionally mobilized toward print collections.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Educators - 21 things that will be obsolete by 2020

Since we're focusing on education this month, I thought this article was interesting - 21 Things That Will Be Obsolete by 2020.

The article lists 21 things that will no longer be around in terms of education, or at least our idea of them will be different than today.

Some things listed are things we've been talking about, like number three, mobile computing. By 2020 I do think computing will be almost all mobile, so what do we need to do right now in education to prepare us for this?

One of the items on the list I hope comes true, number five, the role of standardized tests in college admissions. I actually hope this will transition to high school, too, and that the focus won't be on standardized testing but on creative and critical thinking.

Number eleven is interesting - IT departments will be a thing of the past, or at least what they do now will be a thing of the past. With cloud computing being the norm, IT departments that currently focus on software and upgrades and security will have their focus completely shifted.

I also love the idea of number nineteen, outsourced graphic and web design. Graphic and web design won't need to be outsourced anymore because we should let the kids do it. Isn't that a novel idea! We've been letting kids paint murals on school walls for a long time now, but are we letting the computer class design the school website? Let's give up some of the control and let them learn by doing. Another article I recently read reported on a study stating K-12 schools aren't adequately preparing students for tech-based skills they need to use in business. Letting them do things like this could certainly help with that.

And, of course, an item in this list states that we'll all be reading from handheld devices in ten years time. Sigh. I still have no desire to read this way, but I recognize that things are going this way. I still won't buy an ereader until I have to, but maybe by 2020 (or earlier) I'll have to.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation

TED Curator Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation

"Crowd Accelerated Innovation requires three ingredients: a crowd, light, and desire"

the crowd
  • The trend-spotter, who finds a promising innovation early.
  • The evangelist, who passionately makes the case for idea X or person Y.
  • The superspreader, who broadcasts innovations to a larger group.
  • The skeptic, who keeps the conversation honest.
  • General participants, who show up, comment honestly, and learn.
the light
the desire

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Google Domination

The Library Technology Conference 2011 is next week (March 16-17) and I look forward to hearing Siva Vaidhyanathan speak at Wednesday's General Session. After reading this preview of his recent book The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry), I anticipate that he will give conference attendees much food for thought. I am probably not the only librarian that has long been questioning my own willingness to give Google my data...in Blogger posts, Gmail, Google docs, Google searches, Google Sites... Although I am excited to hear this keynote presentation, I am also terrified of what else I will learn about Google's role in the information marketplace.

What are your thoughts on Google's place in Vaidhyanathan's "information ecosystem?" What in this very data-rich excerpt stood out to you? Do you actively try to protect yourself from the alluring pull of Google or other info gatherers? If so, how? And if library patrons are increasingly accustomed to Google's customized search results, do librarians have a duty to warn them of the dangers or to give 'em what they want and emulate - as far as possible - Google's data collection techniques? Is there a happy medium?

Our littlest users

Reposting this item from MetroBriefs (vol 2., no. 5):

Join in a grownup conversation about children's books. Two special screenings of Library of the Early Mind a documentary about children's literaturewith director Edward J. Delaney followed by panel discussion with local children's book experts.

About the movie

Library of the Early Mind is an exploration of the art and impact of children's literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves. From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes that stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. "No one suspects the children's writer," says author and illustrator Mo Willems, a former 'Sesame Street' writer. The film features nearly 40 prominent authors and illustrators talking about their work, its genesis and its impact. The number of books in print by the authors in Library of the Early Mind exceeds 240 million.

Showtimes and Panel Info

Sunday, March 27, 2:00-4:30 pm

Minneapolis Central Library in Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 55401

Panel Participants: David LaRochelle, Julie Reimer, John Coy, and Catherine Thimmesh

Monday, March 28, 6:00-8:00 pm

Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave, Apple Valley, 55124

Panel Participants: John Coy, Catherine Thimmesh, and Marsha Wilson Chall

Open to the public; no registration required.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Library Privatization

LSSI (Library Systems and Services Inc.) just took over Santa Clarita Library in California. Citizens are rallying behind thier non profit libraries, but LSSI is still the largest library system in the country. What do you think of for-profit public libraries? Is there a way to stop it? Or is there somthing to learn from it?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is library instruction short-sighted?

Or rather, is the way we (at least at my library) do library instruction short-sighted? I read an interesting article today called "Information is social: information literacy in context", and it really made me think. Although the importance of research beyond academia is something I have thought about in the past, the change in focus (or added component) is certainly not something we have achieved in any consistent way. I think that practical searching skills and research strategies for academic work are still things that library instruction programs in academic libraries need to include, but should this aspect of "real life" information literacy be included? There is no doubt about its importance. So where does it fit? Where and how can we add one more thing?

Registration Now Open for "Future of the Academic Library Symposium"

FYI, academic types with out-of-state/international travel budgets, you may be interested in the following FREE symposium. The event will be co-hosted by McMaster University and Library Journal. This is a one-day event with a reception the night before. The reception and symposium will take place at McMaster University's Burlington campus in Ontario this May 2011.

Registration Open: Future of the Academic Library Symposium, May 16-17

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eli Pariser on the Future of the Internet, the Filter Bubble and Net Neutrality

What impact do you think "the filter bubble" and a lack of net neutrality could have on the future of research/libraries/information literacy? Click on the link below to read the interview with Eli Pariser:

Eli Pariser on the future of the Internet (from Salon.com)

From the introduction: "This is the fourth installment of The Influencers, a six-part interview series that Lynn Parramore, the editor of New Deal 2.0 and a media fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, is conducting for Salon. She recently talked to Internet activist and guru Eli Pariser, board president of MoveOn.org, who is currently writing a book exploring an invisible feedback loop he calls 'the filter bubble.' They discussed the dangers of this trend, along with net neutrality and the future of the Web."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brain on Google vs. Reading

How Technology Wires the Learning Brain

"Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend 11.5 hours a day using technology — whether that’s computers, television, mobile phones, or video games – and usually more than one at a time. That’s a big chunk of their 15 or 16 waking hours."

Minnesota Library Futures Initiative Update: 3/1/11

FYI--reposting updates from sent out to variety of lists today:

The Minnesota Library Futurists are continuing with their exciting work. Their last meeting was held at the Plymouth branch library on February 11th. A portion of the day was used to discuss marketing and advocacy for libraries, while the majority of the meeting focused on planning, logistics, and outcomes. The Futurists plan to revisit the topic of marketing and advocacy in the near future.

The January meeting was held on January 21st at the St. Paul Academy and Summit School. The discussion focused on the topic of technology in libraries. Additionally, the group benefited from a panel of four forward-thinking professionals from a variety of backgrounds. The conversation between the panelists and the Futurists explored real world conflicts that information professionals face when using technology in libraries -- and the world beyond. For more detailed information about this and past meetings, please visit the MNLFI website. A Twitter feed (@MNLFI2025) has been added to the site and the blog continues to abound with innovative posts and ideas.

The next MNLFI meeting will be held on Saturday, March 19th at Saint Mary’s University’s graduate campus in Minneapolis. The focus for the day is Education and Information Literacy. Guest speakers include Doug Johnson, Director of Media and Technology at Mankato Schools, and Tom Eland, Librarian from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. This free event, from 9:30-11:30AM, is open to the library community, but space is limited. If you plan to attend, please RSVP. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Kate Peterson (katep@umn.edu, 612-626-3746).