Double Robotics fun at LITA Forum

lita_forum15_badge_125x300Attention Forum registrants and procrastinators!

Register for the 2015 LITA Forum in Minneapolis, MN by November 10th and be entered in a drawing to test-drive a telepresence robot provided by Forum sponsor, Double Robotics!

15 lucky winners will have the opportunity to try out networking and navigating the keynote presentations or concurrent sessions with a robot double. So if you haven’t already, take 5 minutes and register already.

Double Robotics Logo wide



Also, accommodations are still available at the Forum hotel, the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, but they’re going fast.

Are you the planning type? Design your Forum experience ahead of time by signing up for Forum events and activities on the Forum Wiki.

Forum Sponsors:

EBSCO, Ex Libris, Optimal Workshop, OCLCInnovativeBiblioCommons, Springshare, SirsiDynixA Book ApartRosenfeld Media and Double Robotics.

See you in Minneapolis!

Get Social and Create Activities at the 2015 LITA Forum

lita_forum15_badge_125x300The 2015 LITA Forum Online Registration ends Sunday November 8th at 11:59 pm.
Minneapolis, MN
November 12-15, 2015

Register Now!

Join your LITA and LLAMA colleagues in Minneapolis, November 12-15, 2015 for the 2015 LITA Forum. On site registration will be available at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, where there are still some hotel rooms available at the conference discount rate.

This year get social and create activities at the 2015 LITA Forum

There will be many ways to get involved and “play” with your colleagues. The Forum wiki is the primary tool for additional activities, join in the listed fun and create your own activities for others to join you. You could:

  • go bowling
  • take a skywalk walk
  • suggest game night games
  • stay up late at a disco
  • get up early for yoga

The Networking dinners, on both Friday and Satuday evenings, are always popular and offer a wide variety of experiences. You can choose by leader, or by colleagues or by restaurant

The Forum UnCommons room will be an always open multi-purpose area to gather, meet, share, interact, and explore together. Activities can be planned using the Forum wiki or ad hoc and spur of the moment. The room will have meeting tables with power and a theater seating area with a screen and projector. Space to do whatever meets your and your colleagues needs for collaboration, learning and fun.

Be sure to try the Forum’s Virtual Uncommons room on Slack, read up and sign up here.

Plus there will be all the usual Forum social interaction opportunities like the Friday evening Sponsor reception, Breaks, and the end of the day Saturday Poster session and Lightning Talks.

This year’s Forum has three amazing keynotes you won’t want to miss:

Lisa Welchman, President of Digital Governance Solutions at ActiveStandards.
Mx A. Matienzo, Director of Technology for the Digital Public Library of America.
Carson Block, Carson Block Consulting Inc.

Don’t forget the Preconference Workshop

“Beyond Web Page Analytics: Using Google tools to assess searcher behavior across web properties”.
With presenters: Robert L. Nunez, Head of Collection Services, Kenosha Public Library, Kenosha, WI and Keven Riggle, Systems Librarian & Webmaster, Marquette University Libraries

Full Details

The 2015 LITA Forum is a three-day education and networking event featuring a preconference, 3 keynote sessions, more than 55 concurrent sessions and 15 poster presentations. This year including content and planning collaboration with LLAMA. It’s the 18th annual gathering of the highly regarded LITA Forum for technology-minded information professionals. Meet with your colleagues involved in new and leading edge technologies in the library and information technology field. Attendees take advantage of the informal Friday evening reception, networking dinners and other social opportunities to get to know colleagues and speakers.

Forum Sponsors:

EBSCO, Ex Libris, Optimal Workshop, OCLCInnovative, BiblioCommons, Springshare, SirsiDynixA Book Apart, Rosenfeld Media and Double Robotics.

Get all the details, register and book a hotel room at the 2015 Forum Web site.

See you in Minneapolis.

LITA logo



Jobs in Information Technology: October 28, 2015

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:

Enterprise Content Management Specialist I/II, County of Tulare, Visalia, CA

Developer (Ingest and Operations), Digital Public Library of America, Boston (or Remote), MA

Life & Allied Health Sciences Librarian, #9213, The University of Akron, Akron, OH

Collection Management Librarian, #9218, The University of Akron, Akron, OH

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

Passively Asking for Input: Museum Exhibits and Information Retention

One of my main research interests is in user experience design; specifically, how people see and remember information. Certain aspects of “seeing” information are passive; that is, we see something without needing to do anything. This is akin to seeing a “Return Materials Here” sign over a book drop: you see this area fills a function that you need, but other than looking for it and finding it, you don’t have to do much else. But how much of this do we actually acknowledge, little less remember?

Countless times I’ve seen patrons fly past signs that tell them exactly where they need to find a certain book or when our library opens. It’s information they need but for some reason they haven’t gotten. So how can we make this more efficient?

I visited the Boston Museum of Science recently and participated in their Hall of Human Life exhibit. Now, anyone can participate in an exhibit, especially in a science museum: turn the crank to watch water flow! Push a button to light up the circulatory system! Touch a starfish! I’ll call this “active passivity”: you’re participating but you’re doing so at a bare minimum. What little information you’re receiving may or may not stick.nudecelebvideo

A young boy looks at images of feet on a screen
Who knew feet could be so interesting? (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science, Boston)

The Hall of Human Life is different because it necessitates your input. You must give it data for the exhibit to be effective. For instance, I had to see how easily distracted I was by selecting whether I saw more red dots or blue dots while other images flashed across the screen. I had to position a virtual module on the International Space Station with only two joysticks to see how blue light affects productivity. I even had to take off my shoes and walk across a platform so I could measure the arch of my foot. All of my data is then compared with two hundred other museum-goers who gave their time and data based on my age, my sex, and other myriad factors such as how much time I spent sleeping the night before and whether or not I played video games.

But that’s not all of it. In order to do these things, you must wear a wristband with a barcode and a number on it. This stores your data and feeds it to each exhibit as well as keeps track of the data the exhibits give back to you. This way, you can see from home how many calories you burn while walking and how well you recognize faces out of a group.

Thus, in order for people to remember a bit of information, they need to experience it as much as possible. That’s all well and good for a science museum exhibit, but how would that work in a library, where almost all of our information is passively given? We need to take some things into consideration:

  • The exhibit didn’t require participation, it invited it – I could’ve ignored the exhibit and kept on walking, but it was hard: there were bright colors, big pictures, lights, and sounds. It got your attention without demanding it. Since we humans love bright lights and pretty colors, the exhibit is asking us to come see what the fuss is about.
  • The exhibit was accessible – I don’t necessarily mean ADA-type accessibility here (although it fit that, too). As I said before, the exhibit hall was bright and welcoming. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, each station had a visual aide demonstrating what the exhibit was, how to participate, and how your results matched up. It directed you to look at different axes on a graph, for instance, and if it wanted to show you something in particular, it would highlight it. This made it easy for anyone of any age to come and play and – gasp – learn.
  • The exhibit prompted you for your input – Not only did it prompt you to participate, it would ask you questions: “Does the data we’ve collected match what we thought we’d get?” “Do you think age, sex, or experience will affect on the results?” “Were your predicitons right?” The exhibits asked you to make decisions before, during, and after the activity, and it encouraged reflection.

You’re probably saying to yourself that as library staff we do try to invite participation, to be accessible, and ask for input. But it’s not as effective as it should – or could – be. It’s not feasible for all library systems to get touch screens and interactive devices (yet), but we can mould our information to require less active passivity and more action. Using bright colors, welcoming imagery, and memorable, punchy explanations is a start. Some libraries already have interactive kiosks but they may not offer a video guide to using it. Adding more lighting and windows can make a space more lively and inspire more focus in our patrons.

There’s still a lot more to learn about visual communication and how humans process and store information, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. But these are the questions I’m starting to ask and starting to research, and by the looks of things, it’s not just libraries and museums that are doing the same.

Editorial Response to “Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?”

Hi LITA members (and beyond):

My name is Brianna Marshall and I am the editor of the LITA blog. Last week, the post “Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?” by Jorge Perez was published on the blog. The post has understandably sparked considerable discussion on Twitter. Jorge has indicated an interest in writing a follow up post to clarify his viewpoints vs. the viewpoints expressed by the authors he cited, so I won’t speak for him beyond saying that I believe his intentions were to highlight issues around the stereotyping of male librarians. In his communications with me, he indicated that the provocative title and brevity was intended to spark a conversation with blog readers, not to be flippant about the issues. Again, I will let him provide clarification on the content of the post itself.

As I looked at the conversation on Twitter, I noticed a number of comments that implied that the viewpoints, quality, and tone of this post was endorsed by LITA as an organization. There have also been comments questioning who would allow something like the post to be published. As blog editor, I want provide greater transparency on how the blog has worked under my direction. I wholeheartedly welcome ideas to improve this process.

The LITA blog has a revolving team of regular writers who volunteer to contribute a new post once every 1-1.5 months, depending on how full the schedule is and how many regular writers we have at a given time. I provide a blog content and style guide to reference, as well as encouragement to ask for opinions and feedback from the team through our shared listserv. (I’ve added a link to the content and style guide to the LITA blog about page, if it is of interest.) While I work directly with guest writers who publish on the blog, it is not manageable for me to review or oversee all posts by regular writers. Peer feedback prior to publication is solicited at the author’s discretion; it is encouraged but not required or enforced. Ultimately, as a blog that tries to produce and publish new content multiple times per week, additional oversight has not been sustainable. A level of trust and knowledge that a post may go through that elicits negative reactions is, in my opinion, just part of the trade-off. However, the conversation around this post has sparked a renewed discussion among the LITA blog writers about our review processes and whether there are additional measures to help support each other in producing high-quality writing. As blog editor my critique of the post is not the content but rather that the author’s ideas are not fully developed, leading to a rushed post that at first read seems like Jorge is putting forth ideas that he is, I believe, instead critiquing.

It would deeply sadden me to have the efforts of a really incredible group of writers in the LITA community overshadowed by negative reactions to this blog post. I know I am often impressed by the writers’ thoughtful posts on a diverse array of topics. While as the blog editor I regret that the topic that brought about this conversation is an unclear post about a controversial issue, it’s great to be part of an engaged library tech community and I welcome any feedback to help us make improvements. In particular, I invite you to apply to be a blog writer during the next call for writers, and in the meantime to propose a guest post. We would love to feature your ideas!

Lastly, I appreciate Galen Charlton for his thoughtful response, everyone who has contributed to the LITA listserv thread, and for the tweets that sparked this conversation.

Brianna, LITA Blog Editor

Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know – 2, a LITA webinar

Attend this informative and fast paced new LITA webinar:

Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know – 2

Varnum300pebMonday November 2, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

We’re all awash in technological innovation. It can be a challenge to know what new tools are likely to have staying power ­­and what that might mean for libraries. The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know, highlights a selected set of technologies that are just starting to emerge and describes how libraries might adapt them in the next few years. In this 60 minute webinar, join the authors of three chapters from the book as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries. Those chapters covered will be:

Impetus to Innovate: Convergence and Library Trends
Presenter: A.J. Million
This presentation does not try and predict the future, but it does provide a framework to understand trends that relate to digital media.

The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems
Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers
The “cloud” has come to mean a shared hardware environment with an optional software component. In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an up­time that is costly to attain in­ house.

Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams
Presenter: Ken Varnum
Libraries, and libraries’ perceptions of the patrons’ needs, have led to the creation and acquisition of “web­scale” discovery services. These new services seek to amalgamate all the online content a library might provide into one bucket.

Review of The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know
”Contains excellent advice about defining the library’s context, goals, needs, and abilities as a means of discerning which technologies to adopt … introduces a panoply of emergent technologies in libraries by providing a fascinating snapshot of where we are now and of where we might be in three to five years.” — Technical Services Quarterly


Steven Bowers is the director of the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), at Wayne State University. He also co-teaches a course on Integrated Library Systems for the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, with his colleague Elliot Polak. Bowers was featured in the 2008 edition of the Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers.

A.J. Million is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT) at the University of Missouri, where he teaches digital media and Web development to librarians and educators. He has written journal articles that appeared in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, the Journal of Library Administration, and OCLC Systems and Services. His dissertation examines website infrastructure in state government agencies.

Elliot Polak is the Assistant Library Director for Discovery and Innovation at Wayne State University. Prior to joining Wayne State Elliot spent three years at Norwich University serving as the Head of Library Technology responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and implementing systems at Kreitzberg Library.

Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Ken’s research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. He wrote “Drupal in Libraries” (2012) and edited “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” (2014).


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.


  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
email [email protected]

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, [email protected]

Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?

Yes the title of this blog post is sensational.  After reading Chapter 7 from Hicks’ 2014 book titled Technology and Professional Identity of Librarians, I was appalled to read that the few male librarians in our profession are negatively stereotyped into being unable to handle a real career and the male dominated technology field infers that more skillful males will join the profession in the future.  There is a proven concept that the competitive environment of technology is male dominated.  If this is true, then will more males join librarianship since it is becoming more tech-based?  There are a lot of things that are terrible about all this – males have tough stereotypes to overcome and there is a misconception that technology is the omen that will bring in more capable male librarians to the field.  I am going home early to sit at home, cry, read a scholarly book, and drink my tea with my pinkie sticking out – thank you very much.

What do male and female librarians think about technology and gender in our profession?  Comments please…

Male Librarian Stereotypes

All information on this post comes from Chapter 7 Technology, Gender, and Professional Identity:
Hicks, D. (2014). Technology and professional identity of librarians: The making of the cybrarian. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Further Reading on the topic of gender and librarianship visit – Chapter 4 That’s Women’s Work: Pink Collar Professions, Gender, and the Librarian Stereotype:
Pagowsky, N., & Rigby, M. E. (2014). The librarian stereotype: Deconstructing perceptions and presentations of information work. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Jobs in Information Technology: October 21, 2015

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:

Web Developer, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Assistant Director – Library Information Technology Services, Kansas State University Libraries, Manhattan, KS

Digital Library Developer, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

Assistant Professor – Information Literacy and User Services Librarian, Queensborough Community College, Bayside, NY

Instructor or Assistant Professor – Web Services/Digital Content Librarian, Queensborough Community College, Bayside, NY

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

Interacting with Patrons Through Their Mobile Devices :: NFC Tags

Wireless — this term evokes an array of feelings in technologists today. Even though the definition of the term is relatively simple, there are numerous protocols, standards, and methods that have been developed to perform wireless interactions. For example, by now, many of you have heard of the mobile applications, such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet, similarly, you might have a transit pass or badge for your gym or work. With a wave of your device or pass a scanner processes a “contactless transactions”. The tap-and-go experience of these technologies often utilize Near Field Communication, or NFC.

NFC is a set of standards that allows devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, an effective distance of 4 cm.  A direct transmissions of specific information, separate from the openi-nfc-1-paiement[1] ended Wi-Fi access and seemingly limitless information resources it provides.

NFC tags are used to send a resource, or a specific set of data, directly to a patron’s mobile device to improve their information seeking experience. By utilizing this technology, Libraries have the ability to perform data exchanges with patron mobile devices without scanning a QR-code, or pairing devices (as required by Bluetooth) providing a less complex experience.

There are many useful tasks you can program these tags to perform. One example would be to set a tag to update a patron’s mobile calendar with an event your library is having. These tags have the ability to be programmed with date, time, location, and an alarm information to remind the patron of the event, which is substantially more effective than a QR codes ability to connect a patron with a destination. Another useful method of using this technology would be to program a set of NFC keychains for the library staff to have on hand programmed to allow Wi-Fi access, no more password requests or questions about access, just a simple tap of the NFC keychain. The ability to execute preset instructions, beyond just a URL for the mobile device, differentiates NFC tags from QR codes. Many NFC tag users also find them more appealing visually, because they can be placed into posters or other advertisement materials without visually altering the design.

The use of this technology has been anticipated in libraries for several years now. However, there is a one minor issue with implementing NFC tags, Apple only supports the use of this technology for Apple Pay. Apple devices do not currently support the use of NFC for any other transaction, even though the technology is available on their devices. Hopefully, in the future Apple will make NFC unrestrained on their devices, and this technology and it will become more widely utilized.