A Second Collaborative Technology

In September, I wrote a post about new collaborative technology from Crestron. We installed AirMedia in our library, and we are now looking at AirTame as a possible next generation version of collaborative technology.

collaborative-work

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License by http://region8wnc.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/

It works on all mobile devices. AirMedia does this too, but the tablet features have been less than ideal.  Airtame was able to raise more money than expected and is currently working to scale its production.

My university is also considering how collaborative technologies can be used in the classroom. This type of technology will allow for enhanced group work, enhanced presentations, and the instructor being able to move around the classroom to work with different students instead of being tied to the front of the classroom.

As technology continues to move toward mobile and wearable, the ability to show a group what is on a small screen will become more important in both education and the business world.

How is your library using collaborative technology?

How can libraries support new communication methods using collaborative technology?

Technology and Youth Services Programs

Technology and Youth Services Programs: Early Literacy Apps and More

tweentabTuesday May 20, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register now for this webinar

A brand new LITA Webinar on youth and technology.

In this digital age it has become increasingly important for libraries to infuse technology into their programs and services. Youth services librarians are faced with many technology routes to consider and app options to evaluate and explore. Join Claire Moore from the Darien Public Library to discuss innovative and effective ways the library can create opportunities for children, parents and caregivers to explore new technologies.

clairemooreClaire Moore

Is the Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. She is a member of ALSC’s School Age Programs and Services Committee and the Digital Content Task Force. Claire earned her Masters in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute in New York. Claire currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Then register for the webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.
Cost:

LITA Member: $45
Non-Member: $105
Group: $196
Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
OR
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR
email registration@ala.org

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, mbeatty@ala.org.

Jobs in Information Technology: April 15

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Data Curator, DST Systems, Kansas City, MO

Head Librarian, Systems & Applications #12530, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Learning & Assessment Designer, Harvard Library, Cambridge, MA

Systems Librarian, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Bend Your Mind…and the Laws of the Universe: Adult Summer Reading 2015

Summer is right around the corner and a long held tradition in the public library community is summer reading programs. Synonymous with youth and young adult services, summer reading is worth the revisit by adults.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission (2009). Flickr

Texas State Library and Archives Commission (2009). Flickr

 

Science fiction is a gateway

I believe there is a positive correlation between reading science fiction novels and genuine interest in emerging technology. When I was younger, I loved science fiction and fantasy. My interests range from A Princess of Mars to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The Twilight Zone was a mark of my childhood. What I read and watched informed my psyche and furthered my interests in futuristic technology that modern humans could only dream of. The bottom line is that these books sparked an interest. Almost all tech heads I know love science fiction and fantasy. Not everyone is into books, but most science fiction films are based on alternate worlds created by authors like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. Authors of science fiction and fantasy push the envelope on physics, technology, psychology and history. These novels take place in the “future”, a fictional past or serve as social commentary. They can are cautionary tales or impetus for the reader to become proactive in current affairs. I’m sure no one wants to live in a world similar to Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon.
A few suggestions for your reading list

In 2011 NPR published a fan-selected list of the top 100 science-fiction and fantasy books for summer reading. While selecting the best science fiction/fantasy book of all time may be a point of contention amongst staunch fans, the point in doing so is impractical.

I went ahead and selected my favorites from NPR’s list as suggestions for summer reading. There are a few that are on my personal reading wish list and many are on my re-read wish list. Which eager reader doesn’t have a wish list?

 

The classics:

If you went to high school in the United States, you were probably forced to read these. You probably had to analyze the themes, tone, characters, etc. As a result the mere mention of them is trite, but they more than deserve their place on this list.

1984 by George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 

The epics:

Some of the best science-fiction/fantasy books are based in an infinite universe so that they require reader commitment and the ability to lift a ten pound book. Though your eyes may be weary, you won’t be at a loss for the possibilities that are illuminated through the text.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dune by Frank Herbert

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The Giver by Lois Lowry (not on NPR’s list)

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (not on NPR’s list)

 

Notable mention:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Chrichton

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower Series) by Stephen King

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1632 by Eric Flint

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

 

Now that I’ve performed my reader’s advisory, what’s on your summer reading list? If you have any recommendations, reply to this post to share with others.

Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Volume 5

Credit to www.aireidt.com

Credit to www.aireidt.com

To paraphrase Outkast, it’s the return of the Wreckster, LITA Blog readers. It’s been months since last I typed an installment, but not for lack of enthusiasm or material.

If this is your first Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, let me explain. TYBYWY is a curated assortment of tools and resources for aspiring library technologists at all levels of experience. I focus on webinars, MOOCs, and other free/low-cost options for learning, growing, and increasing tech proficiency. Thank you for reading!

Project Management Tools

Through the course of a recent group project, I’ve had the opportunity to explore a number or project management tools, applications, and methods. This TYBYWY is for my fellow compulsive to-do list writers. Consider it a love letter.

Level Up

I recently converted to Habit RPG. As you know, gamification is an ongoing interest of mine. Habit RPG literally gamifies your life, giving game mechanics (leveling up/hit points/rewards) to motivate you towards more productive and healthy behavior. You can build the structure of your app experience, creating your own set of dailies (daily tasks) and habits (good or bad which add or subtract points). The social element of this app can add friendly competition to a group endeavor. In terms of project management, the added incentive of creating and leveling up your character can really help you push over hurdles. You can also access and manage your Habit RPG from your mobile device and PC.

I like Habit RPG because I can integrate both my professional and personal checklists. I can remind myself that I need to get myself to yoga class even as I tackle programming logistics.

I cannot recommend this slightly unorthodox tool enough.

Image courtesy of http://leohartas.com/

Image courtesy of http://leohartas.com/

Collaborate

There’s a wide world of options for project collaboration out there now, with free and paid options galore. Whether you’re working with faculty on collection management or developing programming across departments, these tools which offer collaborative documents, calendars, and tasks lists can be a huge time saver. Bonus – your poor old PC won’t collapse under the weight of excessive open programs. I am working to move from a Skype + Google Docs + Outlook Calendar + SharePoint framework to a single online program.

Tool Pricing Pro Con
GitHub Free/$7 for Private Repository Active Community, simple set-up Designed/intended for developers, awkward for other projects
BaseCamp Two MonthsFree Trial/$20 a Month Intuitive as it is gorgeous Limited Features for Super Users
Trello Free Flexibility of format/visuals to represent projects and tasks Learning Curve for New Users
Apollo One Month Free/$23 a month Complete integration with outside programs (mail client/CRM/etc) Overwhelming to New Users

Of course the key to integrating any of these options is buy-in, and any technologist can tell you it’s easier said than done. However, the price is right and you’re probably ready for a consolidated online collaboration tool. Your library is too.

Tech On, TYBYWYers!

I’ll be back on May 13th with a slew of new free resources and tools. Let me know if you have any particular area, topic, or focus you would like me to explore.

 

“Why won’t my document print?!” — Two Librarians in Training

For this post, I am joined by a fellow student in Indiana University’s Information and Library Science Department, Sam Ott! Sam is a first year student, also working toward a dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science, who has over three years of experience working in paraprofessional positions in multiple public libraries. Sam and I are taking the same core classes, but he is focusing his studies on public libraries instead of my own focus on academic and research libraries. With these distinct end goals in mind, we wanted to write about how the technologies we are learning in library school are helping cultivate our skills in preparation for future jobs.

Grace

DH2014

On the academic library track, much of the technology training seems to be abstract and theory based, paired with practical training. There is a push for students to learn digital encoding practices, such as TEI/XML, and to understand how these concepts function within a digital library/archive. Website architecture and development also appear as core classes and electives as ways to complement theoretical classes.

Specializations offer a chance to delve deeper into the theory and practice of one of these aspects, for example, Digital Libraries, Information Architecture, and Data Science. The student chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) offers workshops through UITS, in addition to the courses offered, to introduce and hone UNIX, XML/XSLT, and web portfolio development skills.

Sam

Sam Ott, ALA Midwinter Meeting, 2015.

ALA Midwinter Meeting, 2015.

On the public library track, the technology training is limited to two core courses (Representation and Organization, plus one chosen technology requirement) and electives. While most of the coursework for public libraries is geared toward learning how to serve multiple demographics, studying Information Architecture can allow for greater exposure to relevant technologies. However, the student’s schedule is filled by the former, with less time for technological courses.

One reason I chose to pursue the Master of Information Science, was to bridge what I saw as a gap in technology preparation for public library careers. The MIS has been extremely helpful in allowing me to learn best practices for system design and how people interact with websites and computers. However, these classes are still geared toward the skills needed for an academic librarian or industry employee, and lack the everyday technology skills a public librarian may need, especially if there isn’t an IT department available.

Ideas

We’ve considered a few options of courses and workshops which could provide a hands-on approach to daily technology use in any library. Since many academic librarians focused in digital tools still staff the reference desk and interact with patrons, this information is vital for library students moving on to jobs. We imagine a course or workshop series that introduces students to common issues staff and patrons face with library technologies. The topics of this course could include: learning how to reboot and defragment computers, hook up and use various audio visual technologies such as projectors, and troubleshooting the dreaded printer problems.

Image courtesy of imgarcade.com.

The troubleshooting method we want to avoid. Image courtesy of imgarcade.com.

As public and academic libraries embrace the evolving digital trends, staff will need to understand how to use and troubleshoot ranges of platforms, makerspaces, and digital creativity centers. Where better to learn these skills than in school!

But we aren’t quite finished. An additional aspect to the course or workshop would be allowing the students to shadow, observe, and learn from University Information Technology Services as they troubleshoot common problems across all platforms. This practical experience both observing and learning how to fix frequent and repeated issues would give students a well-rounded experiential foundation while in library school.

If you are a LITA blog reader working in a public library, which skills would you recommend students learn before taking the job? What kinds of technology-related questions are frequently asked at your institution?

Job Opening: LITA Executive Director

Large Blog ImageThe Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association, seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, forward-thinking Executive Director.

This is a fulfilling and challenging job that affords national impact on library technologists. As the successful candidate, you will be not only organized, financially savvy, and responsive, but also comfortable with technological change, project management, community management, and organizational change.

Interested in applying? For a full description and requirements, visit http://bit.ly/LITA_ED

ALA logoSearch Timeline

We will advertise for the position in April, conduct phone interviews in early May, and conduct in-person interviews with the top candidates at ALA Headquarters in Chicago, mid to late May.

Ideally, the candidate would start in June (perhaps just before ALA Annual Conference), and there would be a one-month overlap with current Executive Director Mary Taylor, who retires July 31.

Search Committee

  • Mary Ghikas, ALA Senior Associate Executive Director
  • Dan Hoppe, ALA Director of Human Resources
  • Keri Cascio, ALCTS Executive Director
  • Rachel Vacek, LITA President
  • Thomas Dowling, LITA Vice-President
  • Andromeda Yelton, LITA Director-at-Large
  • Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, LITA Emerging Leader

LITA Lightning Rounds at 2015 ALA Annual

litaLT15Will you be at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco this June? Do you have a great new technology idea that you’d like to share informally with colleagues? How about a story related to a clever tech project that you just pulled off at your institution, successfully, or less-than-successfully?

The LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC) is now accepting proposals for a round of Lightning Talks to be given at ALA.

To submit your idea please fill out this form: http://goo.gl/4NbBY2

The lightning rounds will be Saturday June 27, 10:30 – 11:30

All presenters will be given 5 minutes to speak.

Proposals are due Monday, May 4 at midnight. Questions? Please contact PPC chair, Debra Shapiro, dsshapiro@wisc.edu

Thanks!

Jobs in Information Technology: April 8

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

eResources & Discovery Librarian, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA

Head of Library Learning Services, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Libraries,  University Park, PA

Project Manager Fresh Air CLIR Project, WHYY, inc., Philadelphia, PA

Reference and Instruction Librarian, Abington Campus, Pennsylvania State University Libraries,  Philadelphia, PA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

2015 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award Winner Heather Terrell

HeatherTerrellHeather Terrell, MLIS degree candidate at San Jose State University, has been named the winner of the 2015 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award, sponsored by Ex Libris Group and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Terrell’s paper, titled “Reference is dead, long live reference: electronic collections in the digital age,” describes the changing landscape of electronic reference sources and explores the possibilities inherent in building hybrid library collections.

“The members of the LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award Committee are pleased to acknowledge and honor with this award Heather Terrell’s manuscript, which addresses the benefits and challenges of electronic reference materials to libraries and library users,” said Sandra Barclay, chair of the committee.

The LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award recognizes outstanding writing on a topic in the area of libraries and information technology by a student or students enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information studies graduate program. The winning manuscript will be published in Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), and the winner will receive $1,000 and a certificate of merit.

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