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Preview: Neal-Schuman Library Technology Companion

Neal-Schuman Library Technology Companion

An introductory guide to library technologies, now in its fourth edition!

Updated: 2016-09-08T00:29:50.483-04:00


DID AMAZON JUST CHANGE THE WORLD? Unlimited Kindle Books is a Game Changer (if they can license everything) - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education


Brian Mathews does a great job of summarizing the potential opportunities and pitfalls of Unlimited Kindle Books.  As e-books have continued to grow, everyone's been waiting for a service like this to come along and offer access to large quantities of them at a "reasonable" price.  Is this the one?

DID AMAZON JUST CHANGE THE WORLD? Unlimited Kindle Books is a Game Changer (if they can license everything) - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education:

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Makerspaces is now an LC Subject Heading


You know that libraries are getting serious about makerspaces when this happens. 8-)  But all kidding aside, this should make it easier to find materials on makerspaces:

Makerspaces - LC Linked Data Service (Library of Congress):

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The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix | Wired Business |


Is this where we are heading for books?  I generally enjoy the Netflix model of streaming videos, but this is an interesting twist for text sources.  My big question:  is this something for which there could be library pricing plans offered, so that people who can't afford the service could still access it through their library?  That is the missing link for streaming media sources, and also for some e-book services.

The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix | Wired Business |

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IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years


Here's an interesting look at five technologies that might happen in the years ahead.  #2 might have some relevance to libraries, and the others would be pretty useful, even exciting, for life as a whole.

IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years:

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The Netflix for books is here, it’s mobile, and it makes Amazon look old | PandoDaily


The Netflix for books is here, it’s mobile, and it makes Amazon look old | PandoDaily:

$9.95 per month and an iPhone will get you access to 100,000 books.  Not the newest titles, says the article, but hey, this might be of interest to high volume readers.  An iPad app is coming, and they hope to spread beyond iOS.

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7 Things You Should Read . . .


I've long recommended the EDUCAUSE Learning Institute's "7 Things You Should Know About" series.   Now there is a new series of essential publications to read about learning technologies called "7 Things You Should Read About".  Definitely worth checking out, so far for flipped classrooms and badges.

Survey on technology trends and impact on physical space


Here's a survey to take from an MLIS candidate from the University of Kentucky on how technology trends and expectations are impacting the renovation of library space:

Should be interesting to see the results.

A 150-Meter Long Table That Meanders Through A Library -


A 150-Meter Long Table That Meanders Through A Library -

I guess this could make buying all the tables you'd need a lot quicker. 8-)  It is interesting to think of having your entire community of users at any given moment, all sitting at the same table (though perhaps widely separated).  Yes, navigating across the table would be tricky (though climbing underneath doesn't look horrible, unless you had a cart of books to shelve or something).  But it would be pretty striking and flexible in the sense it could be repurposed from moment to moment.  Anyway, one of those crazy things I wish I had in my library.
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The Desk Setup | In the Library with the Lead Pipe


The Desk Setup | In the Library with the Lead Pipe - this is a great, lengthy blog post profiling the technology used (and wished for) by a number of librarians and library staff members.  It's pretty dated now, but in looking around for an update I found a site called The Setup that does the same thing for people from a variety of walks of life.

If you're curious about what other people use (software and hardware) and what they use it for, take a look.

Survey Results: Technology Skills for Librarians and Library Staff


In March 2012, I revised my 2009 web survey on technology skills in libraries (the questions used in the survey are available here). Respondents were solicited from 24 electronic discussion groups which covered multiple library types as well as a diverse range of specialties or areas of focus in libraries. Over the two week period that the survey was available, 2075 individuals responded.The respondents are not a perfect cross-section of library staff from all types of libraries. 64% work in academic libraries, 20% in public libraries, 9% in school libraries, and 7% in special libraries. In terms of education, just under 80% listed an MLS degree, other masters degree, or other graduate work as their highest level of education. I asked respondents to indicate which task areas they perform on a regular basis (listed below with the percentage of the total respondents who chose each task).  Public services-related tasks were particularly well-represented. Reference - 66.0Instruction - 62.7Collection development - 57.3Circulation - 38.1Cataloging - 37.7Library/IT systems - 35.5Marketing/public relations - 34.1Library administration - 33.8Outreach - 33.2Acquisitions - 31.0Periodicals/serials - 27.7Media/audiovisuals - 26.7Distance library services - 22.4Interlibrary loan - 22.0Archives/special collections - 14.4Other - 12.719% of respondents have worked for five or fewer years, 20% between six and ten years, 30% between eleven and twenty years, and 31% for twenty-one or more years.Respondents were asked to select from a list the technologies or technology skills that they used on a regular basis in their jobs. The ten most common ones, with the percentage of respondents who selected them, were:E-mail - 97.6Word processing - 94.1Using a Web browser - 93.6Web searching - 93.6Searching library databases - 91.8Spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel, etc.) - 85.3Library catalog (public side) - 84.4Public or staff printers - 80.1Teaching others to use technology - 80.0Presentation software (Microsoft PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.) - 75.1The remaining items in the list of technologies showed a great diversity of skills on hand, including "troubleshooting technology" (at 65.6%) and "Google Docs" (at 49.4, that I thought would beat out "fax machine" (50.1)). "Making technology purchase decisions", at 38.5%, indicated to me that these decisions are not being made widely throughout organizations, but this role appears to reach beyond the percentage of respondents indicating their primary duties as administrative.I asked respondents "what technology skill could you learn to help ou do your job better?" While the responses were all over the map, the most common ones involved programming, coding, web design, and network management. I also asked them "what technology or technology skill would you most like to see added to your library?"   Adjectives often repeated were "mobile" and "social".  Also mentioned was the need for more staff to deal with already plentiful technologies.More details from the survey are available in the 4th edition of my book, which is just out. I hope these results are of interest and advance our collective understanding of what skills and competencies are widely present and/or required in libraries. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have on the survey.[...]

The 4th edition is out!


I am happy to officially announce that the 4th edition of the Neal-Schuman Library Technology Companion is now available.  You can see the table of contents and additional information here.  I am very excited to have this revision completed and new things added to the book.  If you have any questions or comments, I'd be happy to hear them.  I'll be posting updates and related information soon.

Creating a Pilot for LMS-Embedded Librarianship | ALA TechSource


In case you are interested in embedded librarians in learning management systems or virtual learning environments (LMS/VLE), you may want to have a look at a sample chapter from a book that Beth Tumbleson and I wrote - see this link Creating a Pilot for LMS-Embedded Librarianship | ALA TechSource:

We also have a webinar on the topic coming up on February 7 (more details at the link above).

The First Bookless Public Library: Texas to Have BiblioTech


It had to happen eventually - here's a report from on a proposed library in Bexar County (TX) which will have lots to read, but no physical books.  

MOOCs: Where are the Librarians? | HASTAC


MOOCs: Where are the Librarians? | HASTAC - with the great furor over MOOCs, this is a great question to ask.  I've been involved with embedded librarianship for some time, and that may be a solution.  However, are librarians even on the minds of those planning MOOCs?  How can we get on their minds?

Why Is Sharing So Much Harder Than Selling?


Barbara Fister has a provocative post on her Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed -- see -- that looks at how libraries have been bypassed as information providers.  We have all the stuff, but we have issues with being able to share it as broadly as Amazon and Google can, and we also have a huge marketing gap that keeps people from knowing what we actually have.  Her analysis of the expenses of accessing materials through libraries and through these providers is very interesting.

The Good, the Bad, and the Sexy: Our Espresso Book Machine Experience « The Scholarly Kitchen


The Good, the Bad, and the Sexy: Our Espresso Book Machine Experience « The Scholarly Kitchen - a reflection on one academic library's use of an Expresso Book Machine, that gives you the potential of accessing three million digital titles and printing them out quickly on demand. Both that number and the adjective "quickly" come with asterisks, but it's interesting to contemplate what my library (and yours) would look like with one of these on hand.

Automated underground library storage - cool!


Take a look at this YouTube video "The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library: How It Works" to see a way to store books beneath a library and retrieve them on request for patrons. And there's a cool dome to study in! It's another approach to focusing on public space, moving collections out of the center, beyond the removal of physical items and replacing them with digital versions. Very interesting.

SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian - The Atlantic


Here's a great post from the blog on The Atlantic's site about the South by Southwest Conference - it features a quote from Justine Grimes that I loved: "'Librarians are the boots on the ground,' Grimes told me. 'We don't care what the tech is, we care about what the user actually needs. That's our mandate.'"

SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian - The Atlantic

E-Book Lending Clubs | ALA TechSource


This development fascinates me (both the Amazon decision to allow Kindle users to lend books to one another and the growth of these lending exchanges) - see a list of E-Book Lending Clubs (from ALA TechSource). The downside for libraries is still that you can only lend a title you own once (forever, apparently). Otherwise, I wondered if joining one of these services might be a way to share the Kindle books we've purchased with our patrons (and a larger set of patrons) who might not have Kindles, but would have Kindle apps on their mobile devices, Macs, and PCs. Well, still waiting for the world to change. 8-)

Just the books, m'am


Thanks to Bernie Sloan on the LITA-L list:

"From the Wall Street Journal:

"In this suburb of St. Paul, the new library branch has no librarians, no card
catalog and no comfortable chairs in which to curl up and read. Instead, the
Library Express is a stack of metal lockers outside city hall. When patrons
want a book or DVD, they order it online and pick it up from a digitally
locked, glove-compartment- sized cubby a few days later."

Full text:"

It's an interesting way to provide library service, or at least the basics of supply and demand of materials. It's not the whole picture of libraries by any means, but it might have a place in giving access to materials in a place that can't support a full branch.

Technology explained in plain English


If you haven't seen these before on YouTube or elsewhere, let me recommend these technology videos from Common Craft. They give very straightforward, visually interesting introductions to a variety of technologies "In Plain English."

Microfilm? Really?


Does Analog Still Matter? - Here's a vendor site endorsing archiving digital materials in microfilm. Microfilm is not that popular these days, mainly because it's not as flexible or efficient as full-text documents are for searching and retrieval.

That being said, microfilm does last, without the issues digital information can have of needing to change storage media (magnetic media doesn't last forever) and retrieval equipment as technology advances.

It's been interesting reading responses to a posting of this announcement in some library lists. One of these, by Laval Hunsucker on the NGC4LIB list, offers an interesting perspective, and some great examples, on an even longer lasting medium: paper.

Obsolete Skills - searching a card catalog


Sad (in some ways), but true, the act of searching a card catalog is an obsolete skill. I love the mention of using the rods for swordplay. Here's a short article on card catalogs for the uninitiated at LISWiki.

Of course, whenever I see a technology dying, I know that there are still people using it somewhere in this wide world. Anyone out there know of one? I knew of a couple in public libraries in the greater Cincinnati area that were still in place, and I can imagine some smaller collections (or some larger catalogs that were maintained up to the point that an online catalog was added and still sit in a library - the University of Michigan just did away with one in their graduate library back in February).

Futures and trends in academic libraries (with technology in mind)


Here are two academic-library-minded items that speak to (1) trends in current library activities and (2) 26 possible scenarios for academic libraries' future. As you might imagine, they both lean heavily on technology.

2010 top ten trends in academic libraries [College & Research Libraries News] lists one trend specifically noting technology ("Technology will continue to change services and required skills") and yet most of the remaining trends reflect changes in publishing and research methods, our conception of the library as place, librarian skill sets, budget demands, etc., are all impacted by technology.

'Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025,' a report from ACRL, posits 26 possible scenarios for where academic libraries will stand in 2025. It was written by David Staley, a historian at Ohio State University, and Kara Malefant of ACRL, and was based on a survey of ACRL members. The future could be rather dark for libraries in two of the scenarios, one in which libraries are all but extinct, and another where librarians no longer earn tenure (which is already true in a number of settings). Other alterations would have huge impacts, but have more positive outcomes. There is also a brief podcast on the 33 page report at the link above.

I am intrigued to study these suggested futures and ongoing trends to see how well they fit what we're doing in our library and how we're envisioning the future. It's interesting to learn from the perspectives of others.

#Ask4stuff via twitter from WorldCat


From Bill Drew, writing at Baby Boomer Librarian, I learned this morning about a new Twitter-based service that queries the WorldCat database (see #Ask4stuff via twitter from WorldCat. Sending tweets with the tag #Ask4stuff followed by one or several search terms will return a link to results in WorldCat. You can also specify that the results come from a WorldCat Local instance. This has some real possibilities.