Marshall’s Top Tech Trends for ALA Annual, Summer 2009

These trends are also posted on Library Technology Guides.

Discovery Interfaces Expand Scope

The genre of Discovery Interfaces has been an ongoing trend for the last few years. These interfaces aim to replace the traditional, stodgy OPAC with a modern interface, delivering library content through an interface more consistent with what patrons experience elsewhere on the Web. They offer visually appealing design, relevancy ranking, faceted navigation, and other standard Web navigation techniques. These products offer an attractive replacement for the online catalogs delivered with the ILS.

The initial phase of this genre of products delivered a new interface. Yet, they remained largely tied to the content managed in the ILS, despite the ever increasing investments in electronic content. In many cases, a federated search component would aim to supplement the primarily print content of the ILS with a clumsy mechanism for accessing e-journals and database.

We’re now seeing a new wave of discovery products that deliver pre-populated indexes of e-journal content, providing access to the individual articles represented in the library’s body of subscriptions on equal footing with the print materials managed within the ILS. Products in this genre include Summon from Serials Solutions, WorldCat Local from OCLC, EBSCO Discovery Service, and Primo Central.

The technology for a new-generation library interface with Google and Amazon-like features has become increasingly commonplace. Every library automation vendor offers one – Innovative Interfaces’ Encore, Ex Libris’ Primo, AquaBrowser now owned by R.R. Bowker, LS2 PAC from The Library Corporation, VTLS Visualizer, SirsiDynix Enterprise etc, and open source versions prosper as well: VuFind and Blacklight. Open source components such as Apache Lucene and SOLR, make the construction of a modern interface less of a technical feat.

Today, it’s the scope of content addressed that differentiates discovery interfaces. It’s now within reach to produce discovery interfaces that address the full breadth of a library’s collection through a single consolidated index, spanning print, articles within e-journals, and each of the individual objects within the digital collections, institutional repositories.

The major change that enables this breakthrough involves a relenting of the stranglehold of publishers and providers of content. Until recently, few were willing to allow wholesale access to the content held within their information products. That left the primary means of discovery outside their native interfaces the far-from-elegant approach of metasearch that incessantly hammered their servers with a very low possibility of connecting a user to their content. The new paradigm of pre-populated indexes involves the risk of wholesale exposure of their key assets, yet stands to increase the use of their products through a more efficient search model.

Social networking powers library discovery

Web 2.0 concepts have been churning in the library technology space for half a decade, but have yet to become part of the core infrastructure that power libraries. Tags, ratings, and reviews have been an expected feature in new discovery interfaces, but have yet to make a substantial impact on the way that patrons interact with library collections.

Library Thing for Libraries and ChiliFresh have become popular add-ins to help existing library catalogs and discovery interfaces add a measure of user-generated content.

BiblioCommons aims to bring social networking into the patron’s basic experience of the library. An interesting new approach to discovery interfaces, BiblioCommons brings user-generated content, social interactions among library patrons, and other Web 2.0 concepts into the process of selecting reading materials. Following a longish period of development, a dozen or so libraries expect to launch BiblioCommons catalogs by the end of the year.

I anticipate that social networking components will increasingly become embedded into the inner fabric of library products and not merely add-ons and afterthoughts.

These interesting products have yet to displace the legacy catalog. Despite a plethora of products available to replace them with more modern interfaces, the vast majority of libraries continue to offer vintage OPACs. Even in the best of times, the replacement cycles of automation products in libraries turn extremely slowly.

The demise of the single-library ILS

In today’s environment of highly-scalable computer platforms and increased interest in resource sharing, the concept of each library operating its own ILS becomes less defensible. We’re seeing a trend toward larger-scale implementations that serve many libraries:

  • Vendor-hosted Software-as-a-service offerings that aggregate many instances of their products.
  • Consortial, Regional and state-wide implementations that aggregate many libraries into a single instance of an ILS platform.
  • OCLC’s WorldCat Local cooperative library system that aims to provide a global platform for library automation to its member libraries.

Web Services and SOA advance

Development of technology products for libraries increasingly embraces SOA or at least offers legacy functionality through Web services. Projects such as the Mellon-funded OLE Project and Ex Libris URM aim to build new frameworks for library automation through a service-oriented architecture. Existing products increasingly use Web services to provide access to internal functionality and data. Today’s environment that fully embraces the concept of openness and holds distain for closed systems. Open source, open APIs, and open access content continue to advance into the mainstream of library technology.

The Open Library Environment Project

Slide illustrates the KSBMcCormick Place West, W-196a

Building an ILS for Service Oriented Architecture Structure

Beth Forrest-Warner, University of Kansas; Robert H. McDonald, Indiana University; John Little, Duke University; Carlen Ruschoff, University of Maryland.
Really, this has as much of a positive implication for public and special libraries as it does for academics, especially as regards financial and HR management integration (think payroll and acquisitions). Not initially, but wait and watch for the trickle-down.

Continue reading

Top Tech Trends Topic Poll

The Top Technology Trends committee is gearing up for the discussion at annual, and we’d like your help in picking the topics. What issues would you like to hear the trendsters discuss? Please take a moment and cast your vote!

http://poll.fm/11sb2

This year’s discussion will be held Sunday, July 12, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental.

LITA Happy Hour at ala2009

For those of us, like me, who missed it in the LITA Update last week:

Friday, July 10, 2009
LITA Happy Hour
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm, Potter’s Lounge, Palmer House
Please join the LITA Membership Development Committee and members from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! Expect lively conversation and excellent drinks. Cash bar.

LITA Highlights for Annual 2009

Annual Conference Highlights for Those Attending
All programs and meetings details
LITA BIGWIG gCal

Friday Evening with LITA
Friday, July 10, 2009
LITA 101: Open House
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Water Tower Place in the Palmer House Hotel
LITA Open House is a great opportunity for current and prospective members to talk with Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) leaders and learn how to make connections and become more involved in LITA activities.
Andrew Pace, LITA President; Donald Lemke, LITA Membership Development Committee Chair; Holly Yu, LITA Interest Group Coordinator; and Scott Muir, LITA Committee Coordinator and many other LITA leaders will be present.

(and the reason we all get to annual on Friday night)
LITA Happy Hour
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm, Potter’s Lounge, Palmer House
Please join the LITA Membership Development Committee and members from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! Expect lively conversation and excellent drinks. Cash bar.

Sunday Afternoon with LITA
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Top Technology Trends
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, the Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel
This program features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends.

LITA Awards and Scholarships Reception/Ceremony
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, the Empire Ballroom at the InterContinental
Presentation of LITA Awards and Scholarships. John Blyberg will receive the Brett Butler Award for entrepreneurship, Bill Misho will receive the Frederick G. Kilgour Award for research, Meredith Farkas will receive the Library High Tech award for communications in continuing education, and Michael Silver will receive the Student Writing Award.

LITA President’s Program: Make Stories, Tell Stories, Keep Stories
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, the Grand Ballroom at the InterContinental
In 2007, Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer, and Geert van den Boogaard took off from DOK Delft Public Library to embark on a North American tour of libraries en route to the Internet Librarian Conference. Their popular video tour captured the passion and enthusiasm of the people working on library innovation in the States, a theme that they have recently repeated in Australia. Now it’s time to tell their story. Come learn about innovations from our library colleagues in the Netherlands and join Erik Boekesteijn (DOK Delft Public Library), Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian), and Michael Stephens (Tame the Web) as they discuss the current state and future of library innovation and the opportunities to learn from the vast network of international stories about library innovation. The panel discussion will be followed by a book signing, Shanachie Tour – a library roadtrip across America, with all three authors present.
Speakers: Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer, Geert van den Boogaard, Jenny Levine, and Michael Stephens

Many other excellent programs are being offered as well. Get a complete list with descriptions and locations provided.

Annual Conference Highlights for Those Attending or Not
LITA is offering two pre-conferences on Friday, July 10, from 9:00am to 5:00pm in Chicago. You do not need to attend Annual Conference to register for a LITA preconference. Also, please note that LITA will accept registrations on site. The registration rate for each is: LITA Member $235, ALA Member $315, or Non-Member $380.

A Thousand Words: Taking Better Photos for Telling Stories in Your Library
9:00am to 5:00pm, McCormick Place, W-475
Speaker: Helene Blowers and Michael Porter are joining Cindi Trainor
In this hands-on workshop, learn techniques for shooting and editing better photos, camera settings that make for the best photos, and basics of editing an image. Learn how to capture library events more effectively and artistically, take and select better photos for websites and promotional materials. Licensing work and finding others via Creative Commons will also be covered. Participants should bring a digital camera and laptop; familiarity with moving photos from camera to computer is a must.

Creating Library Web Services: Mashups and APIs
9:00am to 5:00pm, McCormick Place, W470a
Speaker: Karen Coombs, University of Houston
del.icio.us subject guides, Flickr library displays, YouTube library orientation; with mashups and APIs, it’s easier to bring pieces of the web together with library data. Learn what an API is and what it does, the components of web services, how to build a mashup, how to work with PHP, and how to create web services for your library. Participants should be comfortable with HTML markup and have an interest in learning about web scripting and programming and are encouraged to bring a laptop for hands-on participation.

[cribbed from LITA Update on 6/19]

Call for Bloggers at Annual 2009

Attending the ALA 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago this July? Be a part of the fun and blog for LITA! We need volunteers to blog about sessions, speakers, and general conference atmosphere.

We would like coverage for as many of the sessions as possible, so see the current Blog Schedule and pick one (or more) and join the LITA Blogging Community.

Interested? Sign up HERE, and you’ll be added to the schedule. No experience is required to blog, though we would love to see some of our experienced volunteers back again. If you have any questions, email Michele Mizejewski.

LITA Workshops in Chicago

There is still time to register for a LITA workshop – held Friday, July 10, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Chicago

A Thousand Words: Taking Better Photos for Telling Stories in Your Library
Presented by: Helene Blowers, Michael Porter, and Cindi Trainor

If you want to learn how to capture library events more effectively and artistically, don’t miss this hands-on workshop in Chicago this July. Learn the Who, What and Why of shooting, sharing and reusing your library photos, and see how to use widgets and other tools to tell stories and engage your users in your digital space. Learn techniques for shooting and editing better photos, camera settings that make for the best photos, and the basics of editing an image. Privacy policies and Creative Commons will also be covered. The hands-on portion of this workshop will involve using flickr, getting to know your camera, and using desktop and online image editing tools.

Participants should bring a camera and laptop. Be sure to bring your camera’s cable or a card reader for downloading photos to your computer.

Creating Library Web Services: Mashups and APIs
Presented by Karen Coombs

del.icio.us subject guides, Flickr library displays, YouTube library orientation; with mashups and APIs, it’s easier to bring pieces of the web together with library data.

Learn:
-what an API is and what it does
-the components of web services
-how to build a mashup
-how to work with PHP
-how to create web services for your library

Participants should be comfortable with HTML markup and have an interest in learning about web scripting and programming and are encouraged to bring a laptop for hands-on participation.

More information is available at the LITA Web site.

You do NOT need to attend Annual Conference to register for a LITA preconference. Visit the 2009 ALA Annual Conference registration page to register for these events.

To add a workshop to your existing Annual Conference registration:
Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084
OR
use your log in and password to access your existing registration using the online registration form:
Add events in the “Your Events” section; check out and pay for the events you’ve added.