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Daniel A. Freeman's Posts

A 21st Century Renovation at the Portland Public Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 9, 2009 - 9:56am

The Portland, Maine Public Library is in the midst of a major facelift. This renovation has been years in the making and constitutes a major transformation of the library's exterior. The momentum for this project, which is going to give an already modern city a library with a futuristic look, was too strong to be deterred by the recession. 

The redesigned library will emphasize the idea of the library as a public space. In addition to an information facility, the library will be aesthetically and environmentally welcoming to the community. As part of the town's historic monument square, the new facade provides an attractive, sunny and modern space that is as much a part of the town as it is the library.

I had a chance to talk with Library Director Stephen Podgajny about this project, its unique look and how it came about. Read More »

April 15th: A Discussion of Libraries, Second Life and Education with Joe Sanchez

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 8, 2009 - 10:21am

ALA TechSource is proud to present our first virtual world event—a discussion of virtual worlds, libraries and education with Second Life expert Joe Sanchez. Sanchez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, is the author of February’s issue of Library Technology Reports, “Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations”.

Please join us on the ALA Island on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00pm SLT for an exclusive interactive discussion and presentation of his work. We’ll be discussing virtual worlds and their potential to impact library service and freedom of information, as well as Joe’s work with LIS students using Second Life. One of the topics discussed will be role-playing in virtual worlds, so we are asking all participants to come dressed as their favorite historical figure!
Read More »

Broadband Data Caps Coming to Your Library?

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 2, 2009 - 3:48pm

Isn't it great to live in a country where you can purchase a broadband Internet connection for your home, business or organization? All you have to do is find a provider (they are available in most parts of the country now), pay them a monthly fee, and you'll have access unlimited, high-speed access to more information than you could ever possibly consume. The best part is that once you're connected as a paying customer, you can use your connection for in any way law-abiding way that you choose. At any time of the day or night, you can download or access as much content as the connection you've purchased will enable you to. Right?

Actually, if a recent story that burning up the technology blogosphere is any indication, those days might be numbered. Time Warner Cable is now expanding implementation of broadband caps in several U.S. markets. This means that for customers in affected areas, the company will be compiling information on the amount of data transferred and billing individuals based on their the volume of data they have used with their connection. Read More »

New RRILS Can Send Search Results Directly to Brain

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on April 1, 2009 - 9:35am

Exciting news in the library world today--a small company called Spiral Rift has created what it calls an RRILS (Really, Really Integrated Library System) that has the power to beam search results directly into a user's brain. Through a blend of proprietary technologies (the details of which have not been fully disclosed), the new, currently unnamed program uses micro-sonic pulses to emit digital search results to a chip that can be easily implanted into the surface of a library patron's skull. The results are then translated into a unique programming language designed to mimic the frequency of neurological movement. Read More »

Movement up in the Cloud

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 30, 2009 - 11:20am

The last few weeks have seen several interesting developments in the growing popularity of Cloud Computing. Slowly but surely, we are starting to see major corporate investment in this concept. IBM recently made a huge investment in cloud-based business recovery systems. It also emerged recently that Warner Brothers is backing OnLive, a new cloud-based gaming system that aims to make a huge selection of games instantly available to subscribers. PC World pointed out that, despite the troubled economy, revenue for cloud computing-related services is set to explode in 2009.

Then, there was the release of the Open Cloud Manifesto, a document aimed at explaining the significance of this new technology and setting direction for its widespread implementation.

Whether or not your ready, it seems like we all might be riding the cloud computing wave soon enough.

  Read More »

The Mess: Social Media, Privacy and Information Freedom

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 26, 2009 - 11:38am

The past decade has seen the rise of amazing technology that allows people to exchange and access information at speeds never before imagined. We can work faster, we can exchange money faster and we can get news faster. This technology continues to grow, evolve and expand rapidly, and I think I can say with complete certainty that it isn't going away. Obviously, I think this is a good thing...I wouldn't be the editor of the blog if I didn't. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as amazing as the Internet is, it certainly has done plenty of harm to go along with the good.

Like the economic crisis, the Internet is in many respects, a giant mess that no ones really understands. Is anyone in charge of the Internet? In the United States, can we point to any government or private agency that is truly in charge of regulating the Internet? Is anyone truly charged with the task of preventing online piracy, identity theft or child endangerment that can come from Internet use? Sure, the FCC and various other agencies have roles, but they are far from clearly defined at this point. Read More »

Dispatch from the Chicago Drupal4Lib BoF

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 24, 2009 - 11:17am

Hot on the heels of Cindi's outstanding coverage of the Darien Library's Drupal Unconference, I had the chance to attend a smaller, in-person Drupal event of my own.The event, hosted by librarian and all-around Drupal enthusiast Leo Klein, included over twenty participants and took place in an instruction room in the library at DePaul University's downtown campus right here in Chicago.

True to form, the event was informal, open and was a great forum for discussion. While attending, I couldn't help but think of Cindi's description of Darien's Drupal Camp as an incredibly "human" conference, and how the same applied at this event. As participants introduced themselves, not one person described themselves as an "expert" on Drupal. The majority of attendees had never actively used Drupal, and were there because they were curious about what it might be able to do for them. People wanted help--they wanted discussion, and they wanted others to know what they didn't know as much as what they did. Read More »

ALA TechSource now Syndicating the Library 2.0 Gang

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 13, 2009 - 2:15pm

We're proud to announce that beginning next week, the ALA TechSource Blog will be syndicating the Library 2.0 Gang Podcast.

The Library 2.0 Gang is a regular monthly round-table podcast hosted by Richard Wallis, joined by several contributors drawn from a pool of regulars from the world of libraries and the technologies that influence them, to discuss the topics of the day.

Each month The Gang will be joined by a guest relevant to the topic under discussion. Regular contributors include long-time TechSource contributor Marshall Breeding, library technology innovator John Blyberg any many others.

We'll formally begin our syndication next week, but in the meantime, you can check out February's podcast here.

We are very excited about this new addition to our TechSource content, and look forward to the discussion that it will bring. Read More »

Web 2.0: Perfecting Imperfection

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 11, 2009 - 10:24am

Today, more people are using social networking tools to broadcast more details about themselves and their day-to-day lives than ever before. With tools like Twitter and Facebook, people are starting to just put themselves out there, warts and all. What's amazing about these new tools is that they provide more than a simple forum for touting imperfection--they provide a forum for improvement. Read More »

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ALA Presents an Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Library

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 3, 2009 - 9:27am

When a new trend emerges and grows as quickly as gaming in libraries has, those of us who weren't involved at an early stage can sometimes feel like they've been left behind. In all likelihood, there are librarians all over the country who have heard about the growing role that gaming is playing in many libraries and would like to expand its role in their own libraries as well, but just don't know how to get started.

ALA has created a fantastic new resource for just that type of librarian.The Librarian's Guide to Gaming: An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Libraryis now available online. If you are looking to get gaming off the ground at your library, this is a one-stop-shop that will get you going in a hurry. Read More »