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Blog posts from January 2009

The G Drive and Cloud Computing

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 30, 2009 - 1:02am

There has been a lot of talk recently about Google's newest big development, the G Drive. If you haven't heard, the G Drive is a giant, Google driven file storage system that will essentially allow anyone to access a giant hard drive through the web. Rather than worry about transporting your files from your laptop or desktop, you would simply be able to store just about anything you want (with few size limits) on the G drive.

There has been a lot of speculation about this topic, and reporting  has been subject to a lot of rumor and hearsay, but Mashable reported today that the idea is getting freakishly close to reality (Hat tip: Lone Wolf Librarian).

If the G drive does become a reality, it could potentially be a transformative development for computing in general, and libraries in particular. Read More »

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Podcast tech roundup

Submitted by Jason Griffey on January 29, 2009 - 9:35am

As I was getting ready to leave for ALA Midwinter 2009 in Denver, I found myself packing an almost absurd amount of electronics. For those who don't know, I'm mostly responsible for the podcasts that show up from time to time on LITABlog. For the last few years I've been capturing the audio for programs like Top Tech Trends, and manipulating it so that it can be delivered to the fine people out on the Intertubes.

I realized as I was packing that I never posted about the tech involved, and who doesn't like a great tech-roundup post? So here we go: How I podcasted from ALA Midwinter 2009. Read More »

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Reflections on Midwinter

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 28, 2009 - 9:50am

Unlike Tom, I actually attended the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. I spent most of the weekend on the exhibition floor, chatting with librarians and vendors from around the country. Attendees were, as always, curious and happy to chat, discuss products and talk about their libraries.

Still, in talking with other vendors on the floor, a common theme emerged--librarians are always interested in the newest products and technology, but in 2009, most of them simply don't have the funding for updates. Read More »

The Great Chain of Being There

Submitted by Tom Peters on January 27, 2009 - 10:21am

An amazing thing happened to me last Saturday--I attended a few events at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver from the comfort of my own home here in western Missouri.  How is that possible, you ask?  The last time I checked, there is a small landform called The Great Plains  between my home and Denver.  Several of the Midwinter events were offered simultaneously on ALA Island and other venues in Second Life.  The meeting that really got me revved up about the possibilities for "combo conference events" (that is, events that occur simultaneously in two or more venues or "realities") was the meeting of the ALA VCL MIG (Virtual Communities and Libraries, Member Initiative Group) late Saturday afternoon.  Full disclosure:  I'm one of the "Designated Organizers" of the VCL MIG.

Here's what happened:  Read More »

Off to Midwinter

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 22, 2009 - 9:47am

We're all off to the Mile High City for Midwinter 2009! If you have any questions about ALA TechSource or any of our publications, or if you just want to chat, we'll be at the ALA Publishing booth all weekend.

Look out for some coverage this weekend!

Obama, Libraries and Technology

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 22, 2009 - 9:36am

In his first two days in office, President Obama has definitely given a lot of us the impression that he intends to be President 2.0. Obama's campaign famously used online social networking to tremendous effect, he has since been giving weekly addresses via YouTube and now the new White House Web Page includes a blog.

Now that the President has taken office and new policies are being enacted, what changes will we see in national policy towards libraries generally, and technology specifically?  Read More »

Interview With OITP Director Alan Inouye

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 21, 2009 - 12:46pm

With our January issue of Library Technology Reports focusing on funding your technology in a tough economy, I figured it would make sense to broaden my perspective on the issue by talking some some additional experts. Over the past couple of months, I had the pleasure of conducting an online interview with Alan Inouye, Director of ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy, which serves the associations voice in IT Policy discussions. Read More »

"Ask the ALA Candidates" on YouTube

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 21, 2009 - 9:55am

Michael has posted four video submissions to ALA's candidates for President over at Tame the Web, including one from our own Tom Peters.

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Listening Pods @ DOK

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on January 21, 2009 - 9:17am

Listening Pods
Originally uploaded by JenWaller

There are lots of photos on flickr of the fascinating listening pods at the DOK Library Concept Center in Delft, The Netherlands, but I keep coming back to this one. It's as if the photographer, University of Washington MLIS student Jen Waller, just got up and turned back to snap a shot before walking away. This is only one of a whole set of photos taken by Jen at DOK during her visit in September.

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WorldCat Mobile--Another Major Mobile Web Development

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 20, 2009 - 10:09am

Hot on the heels of the launch of the D.C. Public Library's iPhone application, WorldCat Mobile is now giving users access to over 10,000 libraries in the palm of their hands. Read More »

Midwinter Map

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 20, 2009 - 9:55am

For anyone who needs help finding there way around the upcoming conference, Jason has posted this map over at LITA.

Work on the RDA data model

Submitted by Patrick Hogan on January 20, 2009 - 9:38am

While munching on a sandwich, I asked Jon Phipps some questions about the Metadata Registry, while Diane Hillmann, Karen Coyle, and Nannette Naught (colored pencils in hand) pored over RDA's Entity Relationship (ER) diagram on 3 x 4 foot sheets. During my first week of the new year, I spent a couple days observing discussions on RDA as a data model.

ALA Publishing is working with Metadata Management Associates and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Metadata Registry project in the development of the software for RDA. The Metadata Registry has already developed key modules of software that ALA will need and has more in the works. With element lists and vocabularies for the new standard likely to change, the Metadata Registry can create a central, stable space for maintenance. The software can also generate schemas, which will be available for free download from the RDA website. Read More »

We all Need More Bandwidth

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 20, 2009 - 1:04am

One of the most consistent technology problems that modern librarians face is inadequate bandwidth. As more and more users utilize more bandwidth-intensive services on the Internet, connectivity speed goes down for everyone on the network.

Those of us who tried to watch the inauguration today on the Internet saw firsthand that the problem doesn't only apply to libraries or cash-strapped organizations. As the New York Times promptly reported, news sites like CNN and MSNBC were jammed with users attempting to watch their streaming video coverage. Despite the fact that these networks had been planning their online coverage far in advance, timeouts, slow connections and interrupted streams were all too common for those watching online.

Libraries: A Source of Free Technology in Tough Times

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 19, 2009 - 7:20am

With news of library closings and service reductions coming from all corners of the nation, it seems like in the face of spending cuts, library services are sometimes seen as expendable. Anyone who has ever worked at a public library and probably almost everyone who has ever used a public library knows that this is not the case. Unfortunately, public budget decisions are often made by politicians, and we all know how in touch they are with public sentiment, and how much if affects their decisions.

We are already seeing libraries around the country being forced to close or cut back services. The strong reaction this has elicited from many patrons (I’m going to be optimistic and avoid the term “former patrons”), particularly in Philadelphia.

Public libraries are crucial to their communities, especially when it comes to technology, according to January’s issue of Library Technology Reports.

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Net Neutrality Somehow Finds its Way Into the Economic Stimulus Bill

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 16, 2009 - 10:51am

This is not a political blog, but when politics and technology collide, we'll be there. CNET reported yesterday that the Democrats attempted to place net-neutrality legislation deep within the $825 billion bill. Supporters of net neutrality have been extremely vocal about their desire for President-elect Obama and the new Congress to push for Net Neutrality legislation, and it looks like Congress may be starting to comply.

While the excitement surrounding the incoming administration and the urgency of our current economic problems will probably push this issue to the side (at least for now), I have no doubt that the blogosphere will be keeping a close eye on any new developments. Read More »

Mobile Web Continues to Play Bigger Role in Libraries

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 16, 2009 - 10:24am

As I was conducting the interview with mobile web expert Ellyssa Kroski that I posted earlier this week, the D.C. Public Library was in the process of making a little mobile web news of their own. The library became pioneers by launching their own iPhone application. TechSource joins the rest of the Library Tech Blogosphere in congratulating DCPL on this exciting accomplishment!

Pew Report on Adults and Social Networking

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 16, 2009 - 9:55am

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released this report (PDF), "Adults and Social Network Websites". It won't be a big surprise to us in the library world to learn that adult use of online social networking is skyrocketing, but still far behind that of children and young adults. Key Quote:

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.

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A Sign from Above Eye Level

Submitted by Tom Peters on January 14, 2009 - 8:57am

Years ago I read somewhere that the stretch of Interstate 70 that runs across Missouri from Kansas City to St. Louis is the most heavily billboarded section of interstate in the U.S.  There are thousands of them.  Most are hawking predictable things:  hotels, fast food, Lake of the Ozark resorts, souvenir shops with the inevitable walnut bowls, and fireworks emporia, each one just happening to be the world’s largest.

There’s a smattering of unusual billboards, too, such the one featuring the visage of the Dalai Lama, reverse vasectomies, custom-made brassieres (I wonder if that includes Kramer’s manssieres), and dentures in one day.  I’ve been watching that one last for 20 years, just in case any of my kith, kin, or even I ever need a quick set of chops.

I live in a rural area a couple of miles south of I-70.  One of my routes into the village of Grain Valley takes me on a stretch of old 40 Highway, which has become a frontage road for the interstate.  Imagine my surprise one day when I looked up and spotted a new billboard for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.  Years ago I wrote about OLPC for ALA TechSource.  I took it as a sign from above eye level that I should provide an update. Read More »

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A Timely Issue of Library Technology Reports

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 13, 2009 - 9:26am

We are extremely excited about the January Issue of Library Technology Reports, “Funding and Budgeting for Library Technology in Today's Economy” by Larra Clark and Denise Davis. With the current economic crisis, librarians are concerned about having the funds to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology needed to serve the needs of twenty-first century patrons. ALA TechSource is responding with an issue that offers not only a detailed look at the library funding landscape, but also expert-authored, practical guidelines for stretching your budget as far as it can go.

Read More »

NEA Reports Reading on the Rise

Submitted by Tom Peters on January 12, 2009 - 2:55pm


Photo courtesy of Tim Pierce 

Today the National Endowment for the Arts released a new report, "Reading on the Rise," that suggests that the decades long slide in the number of adult Americans who read literature (novels, short stories, poetry, and plays) has recently reversed itself and is beginning to rise.   For the first time in the 25 years NEA has been studying our reading habits, our love for literature appears to have been rekindled.   


  Read More »

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Catching up with Ellyssa Kroski

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 11, 2009 - 9:01am

Last year,  Web 2.0 trailblazer Ellyssa Kroski broke new ground with her issue of Library Technology Reports, "On The Move with the Mobile Web: Libraries and Mobile Technologies". The report was a comprehensive exploration of how libraries can use mobile technology effectively as the technology becomes more and more mainstream.

In addition to being an LIS educator, speaker and consultant, Ellyssa is also the author of Web 2.0 for Librarians and Information Professionals, which has been extremely well-received throughout the LIS community. She also provides news and commentary about emerging technology and library issues on her iLibrarian blog.

I had a chance to catch up with Ellyssa recently via e-mail. Read More »

Drupal...Drupal Everywhere!

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 9, 2009 - 9:28am

You may have caught some of the strong discussion that followed Kate Sheehan's post on Drupal from earlier this week. Karen Schneider also discussed the post here.

It's interesting to note that despite the fact that there wasn't much about Drupal in most people's 2009 predictions, there has been a lot of discussion about drupal in the blogosphere as 2008 turned into 2009.

  Read More »

New Video on the History of the Internet

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 8, 2009 - 9:09am

A very cool animated video that takes you through some of the key developments in Internet history. (Hat tip to the Lone Wolf Librarian)

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Social Networking...the Opiate of the Masses?

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 8, 2009 - 8:58am

Jenny Levine posted this over at Shifted yesterday. Definitely one of the best and most far-flung social networking metaphors that I've heard.

Looking Ahead to 2009

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 7, 2009 - 9:44am

It seems like 2008 was a hectic year for everyone, librarians included. After going through the most media-saturated election in history and a late-year financial collapse, I think we were all ready for 2009 to get here.

We begin the new year in tough times--there's no question about that. The economic challenges we face are a genuine threat to our ability to do, or in some cases keep our jobs. Funding is falling short across the board. Libraries are closing or cutting back hours. Librarians are struggling to fund adequate technology for their patrons while demand for services going up.

But with all that's happening, its encouraging and heartening to know that people in our profession are pushing forward, as determined as ever to blaze new trails despite whatever temporary obstacles may be present. Read More »

HotStuff 2.0 Reveals that ALA TechSource is Hot

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 6, 2009 - 10:03am

I came across this post earlier today at one of my favorite blogs, the effing librarian. HotStuff 2.0 is yet another awesome pathway in and out of the blogosphere, but this one is designed specifically for librarians, information enthusiasts and blibliobloggers.

Users interested in finding active or popular blogs on specific topics can use the search feature, which will list the most recent blog posts (by blogs registered on the site) using that word. Bloggers and people interested in usage statistics can use HotStuff as one measurment for a given site's popularity. Read More »

RFID in the Lee Kong Chiang Reference Library, National Library, Singapore

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on January 6, 2009 - 9:03am

National Library, SingaporeIn October 2008, I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel Singapore, across the street from the National Library. A few of us took time one afternoon to tour around the library, where we wandered around the Central Lending Library and the Lee Kong Chiang Reference Library. Both were impressive and fairly crowded for a Friday afternoon. Read More »

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Decrease in Foundation Funding for Libraries in Arkansas

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on January 5, 2009 - 9:48am

Library Stuff posted this article from The Morning News in Northwest Arkansas.

The Fayetteville Public Library received $250,000 in 2008 in corporate and foundation contributions from the Fayetteville Public Library Foundation, said Cathy Rew, director of administrative services at the library. In 2009 the library will receive $142,000 in corporate and foundation money. Read More »

Can library techies rock Drupal?

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on January 5, 2009 - 9:26am

The Internet has leveled the publishing playing field, according to common wisdom. No need to maneuver your way past print’s gatekeepers, just learn a little HTML and you’re off! No wait, that’s not quite it...not everyone wanted to devote time and energy to learning HTML. The level playing field had a few bumps. Blogs were supposed to solve that problem, so that if you felt compelled to share your thoughts with the world, you get yourself a blog.

Content Management Systems may have provided that level playing field for organizations. A CMS distributes the work of website updates and maintenance to many employees. A library with a great PR person or fantastic writer on staff can let them loose on the library website without worrying about technical skills or issues. But is the playing field truly level, or does the CMS present just another bump in that field? Read More »

Stories, Open Doors & the Heart: 5 Hopes for the New Year

Submitted by Michael Stephens on January 1, 2009 - 2:27pm

I’m sitting at Panera bread in Mishawaka, Indiana this morning, playing catch up and getting some writing done before another day of holiday festivities. Sipping my tea in my most favorite “third place,” I can’t help but reflect on 2008 and ponder what 2009 will bring for us in the library world. I get very excited at the power and promise of what we’re doing: innovative services, new buildings, the harnessing of new technologies to extend our services in surprising ways, and much, much more. With that in mind, I offer  a few simple hopes for this shiny new year. Many libraries are doing these things already while others are testing the waters. Wherever your institution is going, these are things I hope for.
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