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Blog posts from April 2010

Blow up the Reference Desk?

Submitted by Tom Peters on April 30, 2010 - 8:12am

Earth Day has been around for 40 years now, but none of those 40 days have been particularly memorable for me.  It's just functioned as an annual nudge to think a little more concertedly than usual about the general state of the environment and the flat-footed oversized state of my sole – my carbon footprint.  On Earth Day this year, however, I attended PALS Day in Moline, Illinois, sponsored by the Prairie Area Library System, and heard a memorable talk by Tracie Hall, a librarian from GoodSeed Consulting.  Although Hall mentioned Earth Day in passing, her talk focused on the ecological health of libraries and community-based, transformational organizations.  Her conclusion:  Libraries are in trouble and need to change.  Read More »

Organization 2.0: Building the Participatory Library with John Blyberg and Meredith Farkas

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 26, 2010 - 8:46am

As anyone who had a Friendster account knows, Web 2.0 technologies are often a short spark rather than a slow burn. The same is true of institutions like libraries when they take the initiative in implementing these technologies are part of their online presence. While there are certainly libraries that have been successful in implementing blogs or a presence on Facebook, the web is littered with inactive library blogs, lifeless virtual library community and Facebook pages that are out-of-date.

ALA TechSource is happy to announce the next in our series of Webinars, Organization 2.0: Building the Participatory Library with Meredith Farkas and John  Blyberg. The Webinar will take place on Thursday, May 13th at 3pm Eastern, Noon Pacific. You can register here:
Read More »

Take Pictures, Tell Stories Part 3: A la Mode

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on April 21, 2010 - 11:35am

Modern digital cameras, whether small hand-held models or digital SLRs, often have more modes and options than the average picture-taker needs, but knowing a bit about how modes work can improve photos.

As explained in the previous post, three measurements work together to ensure a properly-exposed photo: ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Most cameras have various modes that enable photographers to give weight to either shutter speed or aperture, while allowing the camera to dictate the other measurements. If you aren't yet comfortable experimenting with aperture or shutter speed, you can try using some of the automatic modes. Ever wonder what those little icons on the settings dial mean? Read More »

Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 20, 2010 - 10:04am

We're happy to announce that the April 2010 issue of Library Technology Report, "Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library" is now available for purchase!

TechSource blogger and renowned library technology expert Jason Griffey has assembled a concise, practical and clear guide to the present and future of gadgets, and the potential they have for you and your library. Read More »

Library 2.0 Gang 04/10: New Models for Bibliographic Record Supply

Submitted by Richard Wallis on April 9, 2010 - 8:20am


Up until recently the world of bibliographic record supply has been fairly stable. The suppliers, practices and workflows currently used by libraries in their cataloguing and acquisition processes evolved twenty or so years ago and have changed very little since.

Over the last couple of years we have seen the beginnings of possible change in this area. Open Library launched with the mission to provide an openly available page for every book. (Taking a preview look at their new interface at, it is clear that they are expanding that to include a page for every author and subject.) Then, the recently acquired by PTFS, LibLime entered the field with their ‡ service offering low-cost cataloguing and record sharing service. More recently still Sky River launched its service offering a alternative services to incumbents such as OCLC, claimed to be of lower cost and higher quality, with no restrictions on record reuse.

All this has been happening against the background of OCLC going through very public issues around its record reuse policy. Read More »

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Touch-a, touch-a, touch-a, Touch Me...

Submitted by Jason Griffey on April 9, 2010 - 8:13am

With the launch of the iPad and the development of desktops like the Lenovo c200, I'm starting to think that we need to stop thinking in terms of the size/resolution of the screen and positioning when doing web design. Instead, we need to really start thinking about digital objects, and how we physically interact with them. Read More »

Extending the Learning: A Report from PLA

Submitted by Michael Stephens on April 8, 2010 - 7:44am

I worked at SJCPL for almost 15 years and will always have a special place in my heart for public libraries. The first time I attended PLA was in 1996 - newly graduated from IU with my MLS and fired up about this weird new thing we had--the World Wide Web. Attending the 2010 Public library Association meeting - once again in Portland, Oregon -  made me realize how far we've come in just 14 years. That's a lifetime in Internet years!
Read More »

Coming to Terms with Mobile

Submitted by Marshall Breeding on April 6, 2010 - 11:43am

This column appears in the March 2010 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter. To read more from Marshall Breeding on mobile library technology and other facets of the library automation industry, you can purchase this issue or subscribe to Smart Libraries Newsletter at

Mobile technology suddenly seems to be all the rage in library technology.  The March issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter includes several stories of new products or services that aim to deliver library content and services to users with mobile devices.  
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Web Conference Bakeoff

Submitted by Tom Peters on April 5, 2010 - 8:41am

Deciding on a web conferencing service to use for your library or library-related organization is a little like deciding on a new ILS, only writ small.  There are lots of features and systems out there, but the financial stakes are much smaller for a web conferencing service than for an ILS.  I’ve been using web conferencing software for over six years, but recently I had the opportunity to engage in an informal, unplanned “bake-off” between two web conferencing services, comparing how they performed in a real-life situation.

Read More »

Archive: Directions in Metadata Webinar

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 2, 2010 - 12:01pm

Once again, thanks to everyone who particpated in our fantastic webinar yesterday. As promised, here's the video archive on the Webinar and the slides from the introduction and presentation.

A reminder--the discussion on Twitter continues using the #LibData hashtag.

  Read More »

Tech Trends: Where Academics and Publics Converge

Submitted by Kate Sheehan on April 1, 2010 - 7:50am

I’m pleased to report that I’ve found an easy way to beat jet lag – stay on the opposite coast for thirty-six hours only and try not to sleep too much. If my PLA experience is any indication, it works pretty well, so long as you don’t mind being completely exhausted – I didn’t even change the time on my watch.

mmmm.... donutsI wish I could offer a full report on PLA, but my experience was something of a whirlwind, punctuated by Voodoo donuts, a lovely Oregon pinot noir, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I made it to the Top Tech Trends (TTT) panel, (good thing, since I was on the panel) which was PLA’s first Top Tech Trends presentation. Read More »