Don’t Miss the OpenStreetMaps Webinar


Before Hackforge’s Mita Williams Masters session on new spaces at the ALA 2015 Midwinter Meeting, you can attend her next LITA webinar, part of the “Re-drawing the Map”–a webinar series:

OpenStreetMaps: Trust the map that anyone can change

Tuesday December 9, 2014
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Mita Williams
Register for this webinar

Ever had a map send you the wrong way and wished you could change it? Learn how to add your local knowledge to the “Wikipedia of Maps.”

It’s been said that “the map is not the territory”. But when when the most of the world’s websites and mobile apps rely on maps from private corporations who selectively show you places based on who you are (and who pays for the privilege), perhaps we should cede that territory for higher ground. It’s counter-intuitive to trust a map that anyone can edit, but OpenStreetMap is already the geospatial foundation of some of the world’s most popular sites including Pinterest, Evernote, and github. This session will introduce you to OpenStreetMap and show you how you can both contribute to and make use of the “Wikipedia of Maps”.

Full details

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


  • LITA Member: $39
  • Non-Member: $99
  • Group: $190

Registration Information:

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)


Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
OR call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
OR email

Questions or Comments?

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

LITA Updates, December 2014

This is one of our periodic messages sent to all LITA members. This update includes items as follows:

  • 2015 Election Slate
  • January Workshops in Chicago
  • Online Learning Opportunities
  • 2015 LITA Forum Call for Proposals
  • Emerging Leaders
  • LITA Blog Transformation

2015 Election Slate

The Nominating Committee recommended the slate of candidates, and, the Board approved the slate for the spring 2015 election as follows:

Nancy Colyar and Aimee Fifarek.
Frank Cervone, Martin Kalfatovic, Susan Sharpless Smith, and, Ken Varnum.
The ballot will indicate that you may vote for two Directors-at-Large.

The Board thanks the Nominating Committee: Karen G. Schneider, chair, and, Adriene Lim, Pat Ensor, and, Chris Evjy, members, for their work in developing this slate. The Board thanks each candidate for their dedication to LITA.

Please note the corrected filing date:
Individuals who are not selected by the Nominating Committee may run for office by petition. You may file online Starting at this link, you must log into the ALA site as a member, select LITA for your petition and follow the steps. You may also File a paper petition form with the signatures of ten members of the Division with the Executive Director by the end of the day on January 20, 2015.

January Workshops in Chicago

Three full day workshops are planned for Friday, January 30, 2015:

  1. Developing mobile apps to support field research with Wayne Johnston, University of Guelph Library
  2. Introduction to practical programming with Elizabeth Wickes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and
  3. From Lost to Found: How user testing can improve the user experience of your library website with Kate Lawrence and Deirdre Costello, EBSCO, and, Robert Newell, University of Houston.

Registration is handled through the ALA Midwinter registration process. Please note: you do not have to register for the Midwinter Conference in order to register for one of these workshops. If you are registered for Midwinter, you can simply add a workshop to your registration. Registrations will be accepted on site as well.

Online Learning Opportunities

You still have time to register for two of the three webinars focused on re-drawing the map:

  1. OpenStreetMap: Trust the map that anyone can change with Mita Williams next Tuesday, December 9th. OpenStreetMap is the geospatial foundation of some of the world’s most popular sites including Pinterest, Evernote, and github. Learn how to both contribute to and make use of this “Wikipedia of Maps”. Mita is the User Experience Librarian at Windsor’s Leddy Library, director of Hackforge through the Windsor Public Library, and is lead of Open Data WindsorEssex.
  2. Coding Maps with Leaflet.js, the final re-drawing the map webinar, is scheduled for January 6th. Learn to create your own maps using the Leaflet JavaScript library. Cecily Walker is the local coordinator for Maptime Vancouver, and is interested in the human side of information visualization.

Getting Started with GIS, is a web course that runs from January 12 through February 9, 2015. Eva Dodsworth, University of Waterloo, is offering this popular course modeled on her LITA Guide of the same name. The course provides an introduction to GIS technology and GIS in libraries.

2015 LITA Forum Call for Proposals

The 2015 LITA Forum call for proposals is available. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the LITA Forum Planning Committee’s consideration, is February 28, 2015. The Forum will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota next November 12-15.

Emerging Leaders

Isabell Gonzalez-Smith is the newest LITA sponsored Emerging Leader. Gonzalez-Smith is the Academic Resident Librarian and Visiting Instructor in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Isabell is currently active in the User Experience Interest Group.

Additional LITA members who have been accepted into the Program include: Nik Dragovic, Sarah Espinosa, Amanda Goodman, Jennifer Nabzdyk, Bethany Tschaepe.

Congratulations to each of these LITA members who are participating in this leadership opportunity.

LITA Blog Transformation

Thanks to Brianna Marshall, LITA Blog editor, and her team of bloggers, the LITA Blog is your source for library technology news (e.g., short videos of members (deadline is 12/15), Top Tech Trends call for panelists (deadline 12/10 if you want to be considered), articles of interest, plus member products and services announcements).

I encourage you to connect with LITA by:

  1. Exploring our web site.
  2. Subscribing to LITA-L email discussion list.
  3. Visiting the LITA blog and LITA Division page on ALA Connect.
  4. Connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Reaching out to the LITA leadership at any time.

Please note: the Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) journal is available to you and to the entire profession. ITAL features high-quality articles that undergo rigorous peer-review as well as case studies, commentary, and information about topics and trends of interest to the LITA community and beyond. Be sure to sign up for notifications when new issues are posted (March, June, September, and December).

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of these items, please do let me know.

All the best,


Mary Taylor, Executive Director
Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)
50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433 x4267
312-280-4267 (direct line)
312-280-3257 (fax)
mtaylor (at)

Join us in Minneapolis, November 12-15, 2015 for the LITA Forum.

Jobs in Information Technology: December 3, 2014

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

Data Curation Specialist (2 positions), University of Illinois Library, Urbana IL

Director of Online Strategy, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA

LLSAP Service Manager – PrairieCat (Consortium Manager),  Reaching Across Illinois Library System – RAILS,  Burr Ridge,  IL

Online Content Specialist, Computercraft Corporation (NCBI, NLM, NIH), Bethesda, MD

Technician V – Network Specialist, Tulsa City-County Library, Tulsa, OK

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


Agile Development: Pros and Cons

Image courtesy of Logan Ingalls via Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Logan Ingalls via Wikimedia Commons

Recently I’ve been involved in a couple of my library’s web development projects that have used the Agile development framework, so I thought I’d share how Agile can help or hinder technical projects. In my last (non-library) job I worked for a software company that chose to make a full-scale transition from traditional development to an Agile development environment, so this is a topic that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while.

Agile, for those unfamiliar with the basic idea, is an attempt to streamline development work by focusing on producing modular pieces of software that perform simple tasks on their own, but also build on each other to form more complex tools (kind of like the Voltron of software development). So what are the advantages and potential pitfalls of Agile?


  1. Focus on Usability: The basic unit in Agile development is the user story, which documents a specific action that the user (not the software) can perform. This keeps the project focused on what users are supposed to accomplish by using the software, and limits time spent on features that are technologically impressive but don’t solve pressing user needs.
  2. Flexibility: Agile development is based on short-burst development efforts called sprints (or iterations). Sprints typically last between 1 and 3 weeks; teams are free to experiment and choose the length that best suit their specific environment. User stories are prioritized and assigned to sprints based on their importance to the user experience, and each story must be completed within a single sprint. The goal of an individual sprint is to produce a piece of software that can be released on its own, and the end of each sprint should coincide with a release. Any stories that are not completed can be held back for the next sprint, rather than pushing back the release to wait for bug fixes. Each sprint completion point becomes an opportunity to test the finished user stories and change project direction according to user feedback.
  3. Stakeholder feedback: Because sprints are self-contained and releases happen every few weeks, users are able to closely follow the progress of the project and provide feedback early and often, keeping the project focused on user needs. There should be no “that’s not what we asked for!” surprises near the end of development, and no need for costly re-engineering cycles following disappointing user feedback.
  4. Team Motivation: Because work is completed in short bursts and presented to users every couple of weeks, there is no extensive development phase that can lead to loss of focus and motivation.


  1. Lack of holistic focus/scalability: The focus on user stories is great in some ways, but it can hurt the team’s ability to focus on the big picture view of project goals. Agile solves this problem through a role called the Product Owner: someone tasked with interpreting user needs and creating and maintaining user stories. The Product Owner is responsible for keeping the project on course beyond the scope of the current iteration, reviewing and accepting sprint work, and reworking and reprioritizing user stories to address user feedback.
  2. Team Dynamics: Because development cycles are so short, communication among team members is crucial to project success. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is up to, and making sure the entire team is working together to meet sprint goals. This is why Agile includes the daily scrum, a brief meeting where each team member describes what she’s working on and identifies any dependencies on teammates. The short cycles can also lead to burnout, which is why proper prioritization and effort sizing are crucial to an Agile project. A development team can survive a few long days at the end of a 3- or 6-month development cycle, but if that is happening every two weeks, the process quickly becomes unsustainable.
  3. Documentation: Because Agile prioritizes working software over process, documentation can suffer, especially when it comes to technical specifications. However, there is no rule in Agile that says one can’t create adequate documentation. Development teams should take care to leave enough information behind so that others are able to revisit the project and identify the decisions that were made and the reasoning behind them.


The goal behind the creation of Agile and other related software development methodologies is to increase process flexibility and accountability, as well as minimize wasted effort and inertia. It’s not the ideal methodology for every development environment, but when applied correctly in the right situation, it can greatly increase productivity and team satisfaction.

If you want to learn more about the basics of Agile, you can look here, here, and here.

Tell your LITA story

Building on ALA Midwinter 2014’s #becauseLITA initiative, members of LITA’s membership development committee want to pull together a short video that captures your response to one of the following prompts:

  • What was your best LITA moment?
  • How has LITA made your life awesome?
  • What interests you most about LITA?

That means we want YOU to participate! Yes, I know – sounds like a lot of pressure to talk on camera, but it’s really not that bad. Plus you’ll get everlasting appreciation from the LITA crew for helping out!

In particular, we are looking to hear the perspectives of LITA members who are students, new professionals and/or new to LITA, and longstanding LITA members.


  • Length can be as brief as a Vine (6 seconds) up to two minutes, though be warned we may need to only use a portion of what you submit. Please keep it short and sweet!
  • Include your name, institution, how long you’ve been a LITA member, and anything else you’d like us to know.
  • Please get it to us by Monday, December 15 so we can work on editing over winter break. Imagine how satisfied you’ll feel to check this off your pre-holiday to-do list!
  • Email videos (or questions) to Brianna at briannahmarshall [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thanks for participating and we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Top Technologies Webinar – Dec. 2, 2014

Don’t miss the Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know Webinar with Presenters: Brigitte Bell, Steven Bowers, Terry Cottrell, Elliot Polak and Ken Varnum

Offered: December 2, 2014
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time

See the full course description with registration information here.
Register Now Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Varnum300pebWe’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 recently published 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 webinar, join the authors of three chapters from the book as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries.

Hands-Free Augmented Reality: Impacting the Library Future
Presenters: Brigitte Bell & Terry Cottrell

Based on the recent surge of interest in head-mounted augmented reality devices such as the 3D gaming console Oculus Rift and Google’s Glass project, it seems reasonable to expect that the implementation of hands-free augmented reality technology will become common practice in libraries within the next 3-5 years.

The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems
Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers

In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an up-time that is costly to attain in-house. Cloud-Based Integrated Library Systems can leverage a shared system environment, allowing libraries to share metadata records and other system resources while maintaining independent local information allowing for reducing redundant workflows and yielding efficiencies for cataloging/metadata and acquisitions departments.

Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams
Presenter: Ken Varnum

Rather than exploring focused ponds of specialized databases, researchers now swim in oceans of information. What is needed is neither ponds (too small in our interdisciplinary world) or oceans (too broad and deep for most needs), but streams — dynamic, context-aware subsets of the whole, tailored to the researcher’s short- or long-term interests.

Webinar Fees are:

LITA Member: $39
Non-Member: $99
Group: $190

Register Online now to join us what is sure to be an excellent and informative webinar.

Top Tech Trends: Call For Panelists

What technology are you watching on the horizon? Have you seen brilliant ideas that need exposing? Do you really like sharing with your LITA colleagues?

The LITA Top Tech Trends Committee is trying a new process this year and issuing a Call for Panelists. Answer the short questionnaire by 12/10 to be considered. Fresh faces and diverse panelists are especially encouraged to respond. Past presentations can be viewed at

Here’s the link:

If you have additional questions check with Emily Morton-Owens, Chair of the Top Tech Trends committee:

5 Tech Tools to be Thankful For

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks for 5 tech tools that make life as a librarian much easier.

Google Drive
On any given day I work on at least 6 different computers and tablets. That means I need instant access to my documents wherever I go and without cloud storage I’d be lost. While there are plenty of other free file hosting services, I like Drive the most because it offers 15GB of free storage and it’s incredibly easy to use. When I’m working with patrons who already have a Gmail account, setting up Drive is just a click away.

I dabbled in Goodreads for a bit, but I must say, Libib has won me over. Libib lets you catalog your personal library and share your favorite media with others. While it doesn’t handle images quite as well as Goodreads, I much prefer Libib’s sleek and modern interface. Instead of cataloging books that I own, I’m currently using Libib to create a list of my favorite children’s books to recommend to patrons.

Hopscotch is my favorite iOS app right now. With Hopscotch, you can learn the fundamentals of coding through play. The app is marketed towards kids, but I think the bubbly characters and lighthearted nature appeals to adults too. I’m using Hopscotch in an upcoming adult program at the library to show that coding can be quirky and fun. If you want to use Hopscotch at your library, check out their resources for teachers. They’ve got fantastic ready made lesson plans for the taking.

Adobe Illustrator
My love affair with Photoshop started many years ago, but as I’ve gotten older, Illustrator and I have become a much better match. I use Illustrator to create flyers, posters, and templates for computer class handouts. The best thing about Illustrator is that it’s designed for working with vector graphics. That means I can easily translate a design for a 6-inch bookmark into a 6-foot poster without losing image quality.

Twitter is hands-down my social network of choice. My account is purely for library-related stuff and I know I can count on Twitter to pick me up and get me inspired when I’m running out of steam. Thanks to all the libraries and librarians who keep me going!

What tech tools are you thankful for? Please share in the comments!

Jobs in Information Technology: November 19

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

Assistant Director of Digital Strategies, Houston Public Library Houston, TX

Director of Library Technology,  Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI

Information Technology Manager,  Library System of Lancaster County,  Lancaster, PA

Information Technology Technical Associate: User Interface Designer,  Milner Library,  Illinois State University,  Normal,  IL

IT Operations Specialist,  Gwinnett County Public Library,  Lawrenceville, GA

Library Creative learning Spaces Coordinator,  Multnomah County Library,  Portland, OR

Web Manager , UC San Diego Library, San Diego,  CA

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

Cataloging Board Games

Since September, I have been immersed in the world of games and learning.  I co-wrote a successful grant application to create a library-based Center for Games and Learning.


The project is being  funded through a Sparks Ignition! Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

One of our first challenges has been to decide how to catalog the games.  I located this presentation on SlideShare.  We have decided to catalog the games as Three Dimensional Objects (Artifact) and use the following MARC fields:

  • MARC 245  Title Statement
  • MARC 260  Publication, Distribution, Etc.
  • MARC 300  Physical Description
  • MARC 500  General Note
  • MARC 508  Creation/Production Credits
  • MARC 520  Summary, Etc.
  • MARC 521  Target Audience
  • MARC 650  Topical Term
  • MARC 655  Index Term—Genre/Form

There are many other fields that we could use, but we decided to keep it as simple as possible.  We decided not to interfile the games and instead, create a separate collection for the Center for Games and Learning.  Due to this, we will not be assigning a Library of Congress Classification to them, but will instead by shelving the games in alphabetical order.  We also created a material type of “board games.”

For the Center for Games and Learning we are also working on a website that will be live in the next few months.  The project is still in its infancy and I will be sharing more about this project in upcoming blog posts.

Do any LITA blog readers have board games in your libraries? If, so what MARC fields do you use to catalog the games?