Submitted by Tom Peters on March 10, 2011 - 9:04am
Approximately 22 years ago I had a memorable conversation with a university English professor. One Friday afternoon we were bandying about the idea of faculty status for librarians – back then a hot topic at a particular university.
English Professor: If librarians want to become professors, what do they profess?
Librarian Me: Rather than focus on a particular subject area (such as English literature, political science, or physics), we profess how information is created, found, accessed, used, organized, and archived by humans.
It was playful academic banter, but my memory of the exchange has lingered across the decades.
Then, early on Monday morning, March 7, 2011, I noticed that James Gleick has a new book out: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, published by Pantheon, an imprint of KnopfDoubleday. Read More »
Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 9, 2011 - 3:36pm
Earlier today, we held the ALA TechSource Workshop Making Mobile Services Work for Your Library with Cody Hanson. There was some great discussion in this workshop, and we want to follow up on that with a few of the questions asked during the presentation that we felt merited further discussion: Cody will be part of the discussion as well! Read More »
Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 7, 2011 - 8:52am
Using E-Government Resources is an increasingly important part of librarianship. Public records, archives, goverment repositories and other forms of government documents are more likely to be created digitally, and older documents are being digitized every day. To help you understand and unleash the potential of these resources, ALA Editions is offering a new eCourse, Cutting the Red Tape: Finding and Using E-Government Tools and Resources with Diane Kovacs, a government documents librarian and experienced online instructor. Read More »
Submitted by Marshall Breeding on March 4, 2011 - 8:56am
This column appears in the March 2011 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 our metapress site. Read More »
Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 2, 2011 - 9:04am
Cody Hanson is a guy who knows his way around the mobile web. In his new issue of Library Technology Reports, which will hit the ALA Store and our MetaPress site next week, his introduction talks about his ongoing fascination with mobile devices, which started when these devices had just become available to the public:
"I found myself on a Saturday morning in the fall of 2003 waiting in my car for my local GameStop to open. That October week had seen the release of what I was convinced was a groundbreaking convergence gadget: the videogame- and MP3-playing, Web-browsing smartphone. I was waiting for the privilege of exchanging hard-won U.S. currency for a Nokia N-Gage
If you’re familiar with the N-Gage, you’re likely wiping away tears from derisive laughter. If not, allow me to explain why the N-Gage holds a special place in the hall of fame of misguided, poorly designed gadgets." Read More »
Submitted by Kate Sheehan on February 28, 2011 - 9:25am
Field trips in New England often revolve around hardship. And candy. As an elementary school student, I learned to make candles like the colonists did when they weren't busy starving to death or learning about corn. As a high school student, I watched a blacksmith (who would not break character to give us directions) sweat and work on a horseshoe for what felt like an eternity to my 16-year-old self. It's tough to be a settler, which is why historical attractions always sell fantastic anachronistic penny candy - it offsets the depression that would set in on the children who just spent three hours making a misshapen candle that will provide about twenty minutes of iffy light. And all that's before anyone bothered to mention the genocide sparked by the bonneted and buckled people all of our towns are named after.
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Submitted by Tom Peters on February 23, 2011 - 9:30am
As far as I can tell, Barnes & Noble started it all when, as they were preparing to launch their Nook device and service in late 2009 and wanted to differentiate it from Amazon’s existing Kindle service, they decided to allow one legitimate lending of a Nook ebook (the etext, not the device) for a two week period. Some librarians I spoke with about this Nook lending option scoffed at it. One opportunity to lend an ebook over the life of your ownership does not seem like much. I even joked about how this could cause interpersonal distress. “I thought I was your primary Nook friend.” Most librarians I spoke with saw little or no relationship between this form of elending and the type of public good, institutional elending that libraries and library users want and need. Read More »
Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on February 22, 2011 - 9:35am
Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 14, 2011 - 9:04am
One of the most exciting new realms in personal technology is the emergence of affordable 3D fabrication or printing technologies (or, my personal favorite nickname for the tech: fabbing). If you aren’t familiar with 3D printing, it’s the use of a hardware device to go directly from a computer file to 3 dimensional object, skipping any molding/carving/modeling or other sorts of manufacturing. It’s been available for a number of years for commercial use, and is used heavily by industry to prototype consumer devices, but the cost has always been prohibitive for individuals.
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