Acting in the crow's nest capacity to:
- search for innovation
- propose experiments
- lead pilot projects
- discover new opportunities
Aaron Schmidt is a library visionary who I really respect and admire. Why you ask? He is a great figure head for library innovation because he asks library professionals to put themselves in the shoes of their patrons and look at library services from a patron-centric perspective such as in the "Touch Points" article in Library Journal (see link below). He also encourages staff to really communicate with library users to better assess user needs such as in the "Learn by Asking" article in Library Journal (see link below). I love the dialogue that he inspires and the way he helps to inspire library customers to shape libraries to truly fit their needs. His articles are also short and to the point, which is something any busy library professional can appreciate. I am a regular reader of his articles in Library Journal now. Touch Points & Testing – Aaron Schmidt Blog – http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6726958.html?q=touch+points Learn By Asking – Aaron Schmidt Blog –http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6719431.html
When is the last time you went to use your laptop and there was no wireless? If you have a smartphone you can actually hijack the 3G network to get wireless on your laptop! I've had to use it twice so far this month: once in the middle of nowhere to download a file we needed, and the second time was to get some work done on a presentation where the wireless was down.
Word on the street is that the 2.2 version of Android software allows tethering in the settings. Know about it? I'd love to hear about it!
The steps are pretty simple: you just download the app, and then you connect the phone to the laptop. You pick out the app from your laptop (your phone is acting like a wireless hub/USB device at this point), install it on the laptop and then connect! It's like magic!
Wait! Maybe it is magic!
There are always new technological tools being created and disseminated and, much like web memes, they can catch on fairly quickly and spread as more individuals make use of a service/tool/technology to make their lives, both personal & professional, enriched by experiences. For example, I've been noticing increased interest and use of QR Codes as a way to enhance the way one interacts with a 2 dimensional picture via a smart phone, be it a product like a Calvin Klein advert, to how they are being used in libraries.
More recently another concept is emerging to enhance this 2 dimensional interactivity to a more immersive, 3rd dimensional experience. Again, because today's smart phone technology (or rather, mini computers that happen to be able to make phone calls), a secondary (or is it tertiary?) level of interaction is becoming possible--this is augmented reality (AR). This is Wikipedia's entry on AR:
Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.
In the case of Augmented Reality, the augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. Artificial information about the environment and the objects in it can be stored and retrieved as an information layer on top of the real world view. The term augmented reality is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, an employee of Boeing at the time.
Augmented reality research explores the application of computer-generated imagery in live-video streams as a way to expand the real-world. Advanced research includes use of head-mounted displays and virtual retinal displays for visualization purposes, and construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.
If you don't want to read the whole thing, then check out Commoncraft's take on AR:
Remember the old "View-Master" toys, with the round cartridges of colorful slides of all sorts of wonderful things? You'd hit the lever and a new image would slide into place (gosh, those were fun, weren't they?) and boom, new wonders! Anyhow, AR is similar to the "View-Master" concept, only it's using your smart phone or a video camera (or both) to superimpose additional imagery unto a 2 dimensional space.
How might you use it in a library? How would you enrich a patron's experience in your library? AR is a trend that will soon gain widespread adoption as more individuals seek to enhance their reality via their mobile gadgets.
No original content here, but I wanted to draw your attention to this Pew Internet Survey about who is using the mobile web. From the New York Times, "The study found that African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be more likely to own cellphones than whites and more likely to use their phones for a greater range of activities."
The Pew Report states, "African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active users of the mobile web. Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users. In total, 64% of African-Americans access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, a seven-point increase from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009."
WebJunction just posted some survey results on Facebook. They asked a random sample of WebJunction members for information about online activity, and there are some surpsising results.
For instance only 49% of survey respondents are using listservs. And, the numbers go DOWN for an assortment of social media and educational tools. This leaves me puzzled, because we seem to have pretty high online participation in Idaho...
I am not making this up!
See it for yourself at:
When I was young, like Nancy Pearl, I went to the library for a calm from the storm of my own home. I found great solace in reading. When Nancy Pearl came to visit a few weeks ago and talked to a crowded room at Boise Public Library, I was reminded of all the reasons I loved libraries to begin with.
As much as I embrace new tools, and new technologies, I really love public libraries for being able to read and to find things I would not normally read. I love getting suggestions from other librarians and reading what they are. I've found, though, that not every librarian likes reading.
It's possible that in the future that libraries will no longer provide content. Indeed, I cannot predict what libraries will be in the future. We mean so many things to so many people. So I ask you, what do you use the library for? Which library?
Do you use different libraries for different purposes? What are they?
I use Boise Public for entertainment purposes and I use the historical Idaho Statesman for research. I use the Research Center @ Idaho State Archives for research on Idaho History. I use Boise State's robust databases for my work and research. I cart my son off to the Collister Library for books and games and events.
In the past I've used other libraries, too, for different reasons, but this is where I am now.
Your turn. How do you use a library?
I was just reading the Librarian in Black's Blog from yesterday about Cloud Computing and it reminded me that I have been wanting to post about cloud computing and how it is changing my library and the way I save and access information.
I love the term "cloud computing" because it is so fun to ponder that somewhere in the clouds is all the information I need. It is in most basic terms storing information not on a hard drive or handheld storage device but on a series of servers sponsored and supported by business entities. Essentially, any website stores information in the cloud and is then accessible to the user. But now we have the option of storing and accessing our personal information in an easier fashion. We have seen social sites like Flickr and delicious that let us store and control our info, and we have stored documents out there for quite a while--but now things are easier to access and edit through platforms being created and expanded. I am most familiar with Google's platform (google docs, google sites,
etc.) and recommend it to anyone interested.
The Ada Community Library System has in the past few months create a staff access only site via Google sites. We are populating it with information that was formerly kept in files that were inaccessible, or limitedly accessible, to branches. I worked with our IT guy (Dylan Baker) and our management team to create a basic structure which would meet our needs.
Each department or branch has an announcements page and an expandable structure for information access such as policies, meeting minutes, schedules, etc. Each department/branch head is responsible for populating and updating information and has access in the site to do so. Some documents are "view only" by all staff while others may be edited by specific staff, or everyone. We are able to access all policies, HR information, schedules and reports from any location--any branch, home, a conference, or really, anywhere we can access the cloud.
Try it, you'll like it! And read the Pew Report on Cloud Computing.
I purchased a smart phone in November 2009 for the first time, and since my phone is Android based I had a hard time vetting the right eReader for it. You may disagree with me, please do, in fact. I may be wrong, so I hope to learn more about this from anyone reading this.
Aldiko: This came pre-loaded as an app on my phone, and I love the interface and how it works, but I couldn't easily transfer ebooks to it. In fact, I never figured out if it's even possible to buy new books and add them to this reader. I could read all the creative commons books I wanted and while The Invisible Man is really great, and stuff, I don't want to be forced to read Middlemarch just because that's all I can find to read.
Calibre: I really loved the idea here, and I still do. Calibre lets you manage all of your ebooks from desktop to phone to laptop to work computer, etc. I tried it, and I loved it, but I still didn't have any new ebooks to read on it. Maybe once I've built up a few ebooks I will use this to manage them, but I still had none. Except The Invisible Man and Middlemarch.
NetLibrary via Ada Community Library: I love the idea of this because I am such a voracious reader that spending $20 every other day on a new ebook is an outrageous expense, to me. However, I tried to search for fictional books only, and that wasn't available as a limiter. I did search fiction as a keyword and found Middlemarch and some other books, but mostly I didn't enjoy the selection. I didn't even get to the part where I would download software. Something tells me that would be difficult.
Overdrive: I tried out the eaudiobooks from Boise Public Library with Overdrive. I downloaded the app Overdrive Media Console to my Android phone, but I can't download eaudiobooks to my phone. First I have to download them to a desktop or laptop and then I can transfer the files to my phone.
I called for help at some point because in the catalog for the Overdrive titles ebooks show up. The staff who answered told me that even though the titles show up, that doesn't mean we have access to them. This bummed me out because eaudiobooks are not preferred. I find them to be incredibly, terribly slow. Like I said, I'm a voracious reader. I don't have patience. The only eaudiobook I ever enjoyed was when someone gifted us The Da Vinci Code and we were at the tail end of a ten day road trip that ended crossing Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.
So, with Overdrive I am so far the most satisfied, but the selection is still lacking. I only found 147 eaudiobooks in English. I didn't want to read American Pastoral again, and I don't want to read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I searched for Pulitzer Prize winners and received no results. I guess I should be clear about what I'm looking for. I'd like to read new books (like past week new), bestsellers, or at least award winning books that are fiction on my phone.
Barnes and Noble Desktop eBook Reader aka B&N eReader: I really, really, really liked this interface. I downloaded it to my PC and was able to read sample chapters of books I might want to read, as well as a few sample books (freebies!) that were not Middlemarch. Does Barnes and Noble have an app yet for Android? No, they don't - even though the Kindle is Android based. But allegedly they will by "Summer 2010."
Amazon Kindle App for Android: This is coming soon. So, not yet available. I wonder what it will be like. In the meantime, I still want to read books on my phone.
eReader.com: I was somewhat dubious about this company when I first happened upon it, but with some closer inspection I noticed that it is a part of Barnes and Noble. This made me trust the website/company a bit more. I reluctantly downloaded the app to my device. I purchased a new ebook that I wanted to read, and I read it! I read it quickly, and happily. It automatically bookmarked where I'd left off, but still has a bookmarking function. Now, selection is better than the other companies. I suspect this has to do with Barnes and Noble. However, I wouldn't say it's great, but I expect it to get better.
B&N's Lend Me eBooks: This really doesn't have much to do with my Android phone at all. I can't use this feature on my phone yet but I expect it to be a feature soon. The Lend Me eBooks program features new releases. Kathryn Sockett's The Help is listed in this pool. Lend Me would allow us readers to share our eBooks like we shared books way back when (I know, we all still do that).
WordPlayer: This is probably the best eReader for reading Google Books or any of the freely available eBooks. Of course, this is really only relevant for free, self published titles (vampire romance anyone?) or public domain titles.
FBreader: This apparently will work with a bunch of eBook formats, but I had trouble loading titles. Maybe it's just me, but I really want it to be easy. Still, could be a promising tool for some. Do you like it? Let me know.
Confused yet? I really, really am too. If you want to find out more about all the different eBook formats available, try this handy link on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats
Happy exploring, and please share what you find!
It seems I have been seeing more and more mentions of QR (Quick Response) codes in my daily web intake. I've mentioned QR Codes before, but today I came across two instances where QR codes are being used to augment (see Amy's post about augmented reality & video link about it here) or enhance your interaction with a product/thing. The first mention incorporates QR codes into a physical book. Here's the video explaining how it works:
The other has to do with electronic retailer Best Buy, and how they're putting QR codes in their magazine adverts. This signifies a wider acceptance of the use of QR codes to facilitate product to consumer interaction. Similarly, some intrepid libraries are using QR codes to disseminate information and interact with patrons. We at Boise State Library are using QR codes in our blog and to showcase a new SMS reference service.
I have used code-creating websites to make my own QR codes based on specific uses, such as creating my virtual business card or to link to a web address. You will need to have a smart phone that can scan these codes using applications like Google Goggles or Barcode Scanner, but once you do, and you see a square pixelated graphic, give it a scan and see where it takes you.
How can libraries use this mobile shortcut-to-information to augment their patron's realities?
I love my iPhone. Anyone who has seen me in person in the past few years knows that. Note taking? Check. Find information? Check. Music and video viewing? Check? Camera? Check. Games? Check. Fancy gadgets and tools (aka "apps")? Check. Email? Check. Fun? Check. Pocketsize (the ultimate in portability)? Check.
But I couldn't just plug my iPhone into a projector for a presentation. I had to tote my laptop and projector around. Yes, I had my presentation in the cloud but I had to carry my laptop to access it and the projector to project it. I apparently cannot do it on an iPad either. I just read the article "iPad Envy" and was pleased that I am not the only one waiting for the business and recreation combo tool.
I think as consumers we need to demand that the two big companies start creating effective cross platform products. The technology exists -- make it so! Yes, there are open source solutions and we can use the cloud...but wouldn't it be nice to create on the tool itself? Maybe that's old-fashioned thinking though....
And since I'm asking, how about a pocketsize tool that has it's own built in projector too?