we get this infographic on tablet use. How do we apply this info to our libraries or do we?
The increasing number of tablet owners in the U.S. is changing the way people shop from in-store to online — 20% of all mobile ecommerce sales now come from tablets and 60% of tablet owners have purchased goods using a tablet.
Tablet users spend an average of one hour and 35 minutes on their devices and typically spend 10-20% more on purchases than shoppers without tablets. By 2016, mobile commerce is expected to increase to $31 billion in the U.S. – a tremendous jump from only $3 billion in 2010.
Since tapping away on a tablet in the comfort of your home helps beat long lines and crowded department stores, it’s no surprise that tablet owners are willing to spend more time and money shopping online.
Check out the infographic below to see how tablets are directly affecting ecommerce in the U.S., a trend that is expected to continue for the next five years.
Do you shop online more from a tablet than other devices?
Automating Libraries: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 21
Companies and products listed in this Fact Sheet are named for informational purposes only. ALA does not endorse specific products or companies. Contact companies directly for further information.
The phrase “library automation” has many diverse and unrelated meanings in the literature of librarianship. This fact sheet offers a selection of print and online resources that will provide an introduction to the issues to consider when selecting a tool that organizes yet provides patron access and circulation inventory for your library’s collection of books, DVDs, and any other materials. This page includes evaluations and overviews on integrated library systems (ILS) and cataloging software programs.
ALA’s American Libraries Buyers Guide offers an entire Automation section of various products and services, with companies listed in designated categories, including Cataloging; Integrated Library Systems; Library Automated Systems; Inventory Management; and Self-Check Systems.
A list of books on library automation that may be more readily available from your local public and/or community college library than your local bookstore appears at the free, searchable online database of library catalogs from across the country, OCLC’s WorldCat.org, at:
PLEASE NOTE: Products such as Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web for the Library of Congress Classification system and such as WebDewey for the Dewey Decimal Classification® and the OCLC Connexion® online cataloging tool are discussed on ALA Library Fact Sheet 18 – How to Acquire Cataloging Tools, in the section, Cataloging Subscription Services and Other Online Support Tools.
Cataloging Software – Automating Small Libraries and Home Libraries
There are a number of cataloging software programs specifically designed for small libraries (public, school, church, business, organization, etc.) and home libraries, including the list of software companies and products that appears on the Church and Synagogue Library Association Library Software page. Other programs may be found by doing a Google search on the terms “library catalog software”. Or, you can check for various smaller book cataloging programs on the CNET Download.com web site. Barcode scanners can be used with some of these programs, including with Collectorz.com Book Collector for home collections and with Readerware and Primasoft library software for small library collections.
Small and medium-sized libraries may be served by reading “The Birth of a Community Library Automation System (PDF)“ article by Beth Wheeler Fox that appeared in the Spring 2008 Texas Library Journal about the Apollo automation service of Biblionix.
Overviews/Vendor and Product Evaluations
Breeding, Marshall. “Automation Marketplace 2011: The New Frontier – The battle intensifies to win hearts, minds, and tech dollars.”Library Journal 136, no. 6 (April 1, 2011).
This is the newest edition to Library Journal‘s annual automation marketplace overview. It is an annual source for gauging the trends in the library automation marketplace and includes a detailed profile of the leading vendors in the field. Also see accompanying Library Journal Big Tools series articles: “The Future of the ILS“ by David Rapp, which gives highlights from a roundtable of top ILS executives and librarians; and “Are You Satisfied?“ which showcases the results of LJ‘s 2011 ILS satisfaction survey. Marshall Breeding summarizes his nine years of having written this annual overview in the April 4, 2011 entry of the GuidePosts Blog on his Library Technology Guides website at http://www.librarytechnology.org. Breeding provided further insight into the article and current trends when he was interviewed via Skype for the weekly Internet program, This Week in Libraries, TWIL #43: Marshall Breeding (Library Automation).
Marshall Breeding’s two previous overviews: “Automation Marketplace 2010: New Models, Core Systems – Discovery interfaces add a new facet to the marketplace“ in the April 1, 2010 issue; “Investing in The Future: Automation Marketplace 2009 – Pressing onward in an uncertain economy, many industry players are adding staff and expanding development” in the April 1, 2009 issue
Breeding, Marshall. Next-Gen Library Catalogs. The Tech Set®. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers (in cooperation with the Library Information and Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association), 2010.
As stated on the publisher’s website: “Today’s Web-savvy users often bypass traditional library catalogs for more interactive, tech-friendly interfaces. Help your library stand out within the crowded landscape of information providers with Marshall Breeding’s new, highly practical guide to interactive next-generation library catalogs. Learn how to give your users access to a wide selection of print and electronic content with this jargon-free, step-by-step guide.”
Breeding, Marshall and Andromeda Yelton. “Librarians’ Assessments of Automation Systems: Survey Results, 2007-2010.” Library Technology Reports 47, no. 4 (May/June 2011).
For the last four years, Marshall Breeding has conducted an online survey to measure satisfaction with multiple aspects of the automation products used by libraries. The results of the four editions of the survey data, along with brief interpretive narratives, have been published on Library Technology Guides. This issue of Library Technology Reportswill take a deeper look at the survey data, including an expansion of findings based on the 2010 iteration, an examination of trends seen across the four years, and additional analysis not previously published. For this report, the survey data have been extended with additional fields that provide the opportunity to separate the findings into categories that show some interesting trends not otherwise apparent.
“Buyer’s Guide — Four Ways to Use This Directory: What the vendors enter is exactly what you get.” Computers in Libraries 31, no. 6 (July/August 2011).
As stated by Computers in Libraries (on page 35): Various types of hardware, software, supplies, and services related to library automation are listed… We gather new data directly from companies, using online survey forms. With our current system, whatever vendors enter online becomes part of our database, without any intermediaries doing data entry or fact-checking. So what the vendors enter is exactly what you get. For buyers, the online version makes it easier to search by keyword, company, or category. What’s more, vendors can now log in to their records anytime and update their listings. So our online version will always be up-to-date. Right now, what you see in print is all of the listings that vendors updated by our print-production deadline. Use the electronic version of the CIL Buyer’s Guide at:
Cibbarelli, Pamela, R. “Helping You Buy ILS: Guide to ILS Vendors & Products (PDF).“ Computers in Libraries 30, no. 1 (January/February 2010).
Each vendor in Pamela Cibbarelli’s annual ILS vendor survey was asked to identify the greatest strength of its product(s). We’ve included the vendors’ answers along with full contact information, product release dates, the number of sites it has, and the library markets it serves.
Nagy, Andrew. “Analyzing the Next-Generation Catalog.” Library Technology Reports 47, no. 7 (October 2011).
Libraries have begun a transformation from physical materials to electronic media, and the so-called next-generation catalog is emerging before our eyes. This issue of Library Technology Reports analyzes five different academic libraries to better understand their investments, detailing the outcome thus far and drawing conclusions about the next-generation catalog. Topics include: Defining the Next-Generation Catalog: Open Source versus Commercial Solutions; Deploying the Next-Generation Service; Understanding the Impact; and Case Studies (Wake Forest University , Oklahoma State University, North Carolina State University, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Villanova University).
Webber, Desiree, and Andrew Peters. Integrated Library Systems: Planning, Selecting, and Implementing. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO, 2010.
As stated on the publisher’s website: “This book offers everything you need to know about selecting and implementing the best integrated library system (ILS) for your library, whether you purchase and install it yourself or hire a consultant to assist you. This book is an all-inclusive guide to acquiring a new ILS. Detailed and practical, the book covers every step of the process, from cost-benefit analysis, to evaluating software, writing the request for proposal, and implementation and training. You’ll learn about different types of integrated library systems—standalone, turnkey, hosted, software-as-a-service (cloud computing), and open-source—and how to assess your facility and staff to find the best fit. The book also covers evaluation of software and hardware; third-party add-ons, such as RFID; and writing successful budget proposals and justification statements. Even if you’re working with a consultant, this book will help you understand the process and make informed decisions.”
Boss, Richard W. “Negotiating Contracts with Integrated Library System Vendors.” PLA (Public Library Association, a division of ALA) Tech Notes.
Libraries and consortia are spending a significant percentage of their budgets on the acquisition and maintenance of integrated library systems (ILS). The sales of new multi-user, multi-function systems, upgrades, and vendor support was in excess of $600 million dollars worldwide in 2009—a figure that does not include expenditures on PC-based systems. Last updated: November 24, 2009.
Breeding, Marshall. “The Business Side of Library Automation.” ALA TechSource Blog, May 6, 2010.
EXCERPT: “I think that a library’’s approach to technology should be more about partnerships than procurements. Acquiring a new technology product isn’t necessarily just about the current snapshot of its features and functionality, but also about the alignment between the library’s strategic directions and that of its technology partners. It’s important to know as much as we can about these organizations in terms of business stability, commitment to the industry, and especially about their broad vision for library technology and a roadmap of where their products are heading.”
Breeding, Marshall. “Can We Future-Proof Library Automation?” Computers in Libraries 30, no. 2 (March 2010): 29-31.
Article is freely available online. ABSTRACT: Librarians today find themselves dealing with collections of ever larger proportions of electronic content. The degree to which that shift has already taken place varies from one type of library to another. Some organizations, especially those involved with specializations in biomedical, scientific, or business, may already handle electronic content almost exclusively. Each component of the collections of academic libraries may vary according to discipline. Public libraries today continue to manage printed materials in very high proportions. In the public library sector, the circulation of physical materials continues as a key activity, supplemented by increased involvement with the delivery of electronic information to users in most of the forms seen in academic libraries. Public libraries have long been in the business of providing access to ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital versions of long-form monographs. While I don’t have precise projections for the proportions of formats that will constitute public libraries in the future, I am confident in a growing shift toward electronic content while maintaining significant holdings in print for the foreseeable future. But more than anything else, I’m sure that the wheels of change we see today will turn ever faster as the years move on.
Waller, Nicole. “Model RFP for Integrated Library System Products.” Library Technology Reports 39, no. 4 (2003).
As Waller explains in this issue’s introduction, “the central tool in the acquisition of a library system is the request for proposal (RFP), a document comprising instructions to bidders, systems and functional requirements, support and hardware specifications, acceptance testing, and reliability requirements. An RFP seeks information from vendors about already-developed systems or systems in development slated for near-term release. A library does not expect any vendor to satisfy all its requirements. After receiving proposals, the library staff selects a vendor whose product strikes the optimal balance between price and desired function.”
Open Source Systems
Balas, Janet. “Considering Open Source Software.” Computers in Libraries 24, no. 8 (September 2004): 36-39.
EXCERPT: “Those librarians who have taken giant steps in innovation can encourage those who are only taking small steps by sharing their successes. Many pioneers in library automation have documented their projects on the Web, so librarians looking for inspiration (and maybe a little push to try something new) have only to turn to their colleagues on the Web.”
Breeding, Marshall, and Casey Bisson. Library Technology Reports, Open Source: Three Issue Set. Chicago: American Library Association, 2007-2009.
Includes the three following Library Technology Reports issuess: Opening Up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA: Hype, or Reality? (Marshall Breeding, v45:8); Open Source Integrated Library Systems (Marshall Breeding, v44:8); and Open-Source Software for Libraries (Casey Bisson, v43:3).
Engard, Nicole. C. Practical Open Source Software for Libraries. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2010.
Official site for the book at http://opensource.web2learning.net
Bolan, Kimberly and Rob Cullin. Technology Made Simple: An Improvement Guide for Small and Medium Libraries. Chicago: American Library Association, 2006. NOTE: Visit the companion website for Technology Made Simple: An Improvement Guide for Small and Medium Libraries.
Implementing and maintaining effective technology services is a perennial challenge for libraries; for small to medium sized libraries, it can be overwhelming. Often without a technology expert, and with limited resources, they must address customers’ growing appetite for electronic information amid constant technological changes. Not a techie? Not a problem. A librarian and technical expert join forces in this thorough and easy-to-understand primer. Expansive and practical, it offers detailed how-tos, nine reproducible forms, and inspiring stories from libraries that have demystified the technology implementation process. Library leaders, directors, department heads, and trustees can access hands-on tools to offer premium services and save money with reproducible forms; keep the plan dynamic and organized with worksheets for planning, budgeting, and more; use smart staffing tips to cover tech needs; and find the latest resources on the companion web site. For any librarian wanting a comprehensive overview, Technology Made Simple offers clear answers to overcoming libraries’ tech challenges.
Cohn, John M, and Ann L. Kelsey. The Complete Library Technology Planner: A Guidebook with Sample Technology Plans and RFPs on CD-ROM. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010.
As stated on the publisher’s website: “Careful and systematic planning is essential to the success of your library’s technology implementation efforts. This complete, clear, and easy-to-follow guide takes a highly practical, hands-on approach to thoroughly prepare public, academic, school and special libraries to develop and implement a technology plan in the library. Following a foreword from Executive Director of the American Library Association Keith Michael Fiels, authors John M. Cohn and Ann L. Kelsey provide a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts and elements in technology planning and the changing technological landscape affecting today’s libraries. There is clear advice to help you best define your plan’s scope, purpose and funding requirements, along with step-by-step guidance for developing an effective technology plan – from gathering data and identifying institutional needs, to determining priorities, identifying objectives, outlining costs, and writing the actual plan. A five-step model plan is included to provide readers with a start-to-finish example of the development process, and the authors also advise on how to implement the new plan and evaluate its success. The accompanying CD-ROM includes over thirty-five time-saving, sample technology plans and RFPs. Each plan is specifically targeted to public, academic, school, or special libraries, and can be easily replicated or adapted for use in your own institution. An array of figures, checklists, and examples are included throughout the book to help reinforce important concepts, and a comprehensive webliography lists further related resources.”
Knox, Karen C. Implementing Technology Solutions in Libraries: Techniques, Tools, and Tips from the Trenches. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc, 2011.
As stated on the publisher’s website: “For anyone seeking a straightforward, hands-on approach to implementing technology solutions in libraries, this is your guide! Created for staff who want to ensure success with a technology project that may consume a significant part of the library’s budget, author and IT manager Karen Knox deconstructs an entire project implementation, from planning to evaluation, carefully examining each step. The author has implemented many technology projects over the years—some more successfully than others, as she is quick to admit. In Implementing Technology Solutions in Libraries she draws on her experience to help readers identify the most critical components of any project while modifying and scaling to meet their library’s unique needs. The array of tips, tricks, techniques, and tools she shares here are designed to spell success in your next library technology implementation.”
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF), U.S. Department of Education. Technology Integration 2008-2011, http://www.ncef.org/rl/technologyII.cfm.
Information on integrating technology into new or renovated school buildings, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.
Schultz-Jones, Barbara. An Automation Primer for School Library Media Centers and Small Libraries. Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Pub, 2006.
As stated on the publisher’s website: “A beginners step-by-step guide to library automation! Learn how to implement an automation system from start to finish. This easy-to-read, thorough guide to library automation systems includes current information on the components of software and choices to make when automating a school library. This book includes information on the various stages of automation conversions and a project planning process guide to assist librarians in a variety of library settings to plan and implement their automation projects. It includes interviews, background information, vendor presentations, and the author’s practical experience in implementing an integrated automation system. Also includes a glossary of terms and an index for ready access to information.”
Materials listed in this fact sheet that are published by the American Library Association are available through the ALA Online Store.
For all other materials, contact the publishers directly, or check the collection at your local public library.
Search for an item in libraries near you:
12/01/2011 From Lone Wolf Librarian this wonderful, informative Slideshare presentation on Mobile Tech in Libraries…11.29.11.
Click on the link to view the presentation
11/27/2011 From for Libraries
App It Up for Nonprofits and Libraries
We’re happy to announce the launch of our new App It Up page for nonprofits and libraries. This page is where we’ll be sharing what we’re learning through the App It Up project.
We’ve already learned a lot about what apps are out there, how nonprofits and libraries are using apps, and what your app needs and interests are. We’re featuring a changing selection of useful, innovative, or just plain cool apps in our App It Up page showcase. We’ll be sharing app resources and other App It Up information there as well.
What Is an App?
An “app” is a small piece of software that performs a discrete function, with limited or targeted functionality. So not a full-fledged Microsoft Office. Rather a bit of code that does something interesting. Apps can be used online (a web app), on a mobile device (a mobile app), or as an add-on to existing software tools (widgets, plug-ins, templates, and so on).
App It Up Wants to Hear from You
Check out the App It Up page and let us know what you think. Then help us help nonprofits and libraries “App It Up” by sharing your thoughts with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear more about:
- If you’ve started investigating or using apps, share your story and help other nonprofits and libraries learn from your experience!
- What do you think of our featured apps. Can you see your organization using those apps, or using similar apps?
- Not using apps? We still want to hear from you! Why aren’t you using apps? What would you need to help you use apps effectively in your nonprofit or library?
- How do you think apps might help your organization? By getting the message out? Making your work more efficient? Something else entirely?
- Do you already use a great app, or have you built your own app?
- What’s on your app wish list? Have you thought of an app that would be helpful for your organization, but don’t have the time or resources to make it happen? Tell us about it.
- Do you have questions or concerns about using apps?
We’re excited about our app showcase and can’t wait to hear from you. Your thoughts and experiences using these (and other) apps will help us develop insight into what nonprofits and libraries need from apps, and will help us identify and share tools that that might meet those needs.
Enjoy the app showcase, and thank you for your input!
Ariel Gilbert-Knight is a Technology Analyst for TechSoup
11/19/2011 FromSocial Web/ Emerging Trends/Libraries
by DAVID LEE KING on NOVEMBER 15, 2011
I’m still thinking about Youtube and videos, which I started with my post Poking Around in Youtube Insights. So my next couple of posts will talk as bit about YouTube and how to tweak your videos to make them more watchable.
For starters, here’s how many subscribers and video views my library’s Youtube account has received so far (since March 6, 2007):
- 191 subscribers
- 191,000+ video views total
- occasional video series (focusing on technology or special collections)
- one-off videos for upcoming programs
- videos for the annual report
- interviews with authors and artists
- an occasional book review
Looks like we are creating videos for marketing stuff, videos highlighting a collection or service, interviews with speakers … and an occasional book review. Makes sense – sounds like a library to me!
Our current strategy for creating video is a pretty simple one. It’s “please make video, dump it to Youtube, and share on our website.” Can’t get simpler than that! And that has worked ok so far – some staff have really embraced that and make a lot of videos. Others use it when it makes sense. What’s this gotten us? We have a lot of videos up on Youtube that shows off our library, services, and staff. Not a a bad thing at all.
Our videos are generally watched, too:
- most popular video 23,300+ views
- third most pop video – patron created content!
- our 15 most popular videos are parody, interviews, interesting stuff about our collections, and kids and teens-related content
- video cameras – Three Flip cameras (too bad they stopped making these), a Canon GL2, a Sanyo Xacti, and a couple other video cameras.
- Software – iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker.
- Staff also use their own cameras/software…
Here’s what we plan to do in 2011:
- We have two new video series in the works (one that I’ll be directly involved with)
- I have started adding tags, contact info and urls to every post/video in youtube. I’m also making sure comments are answered.
- Working on a fledgling video room for staff. Currently, we have a room, we have a Mac and a PC, and we have a green wall.
- Starting in January, I’m buying some dedicated video mics, lights, and backdrops.
- And, we have a goal to be more multimedia-focused…
That’s what we’re doing, anyway. What are your library’s plans for video in 2011?
man with video camera from Bigstock
10/02/2011 The Lone Wolf Librarian posted the following:
See the website YouTube video for all the details. A 21 Century web browser which is faster and the first to utilize “cloud” computing.
09/05/2011 An new term has been developed called “cyberliteracy.” View this Slideshare presentation to learn more about it by clicking on the link below. A second Slideshare about Mobile learning is also below.
08/29/2011 From EmergingEdTech.com comes the following article on uses of the iPad for educational purposes. How exciting is that!
Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Use To Try It Out)
by K. WALSH on AUGUST 28, 2011
I found myself wondering how the iPad might work as a Digital Whiteboard, to project, as well as to use collaboratively. I also wondered if there might be some free apps that provide this kind of functionality (there are so many decent free apps for the iPad).
First step, hit the App Store and search for “whiteboard”. I narrowed the search down by selecting Price = “Free” and Customer Rating = “4+ Stars” and found 8 apps. I downloaded each one and spent a little time with them. Four of these apps were pretty cool and definitely worth sharing. The others had drawbacks that led me to eliminate them from further consideration.
Four recommended free digitial white board apps
This TechSmith app was rated (an average of) 4.5 by hundreds of users.ScreenChomp provides 9 colors but just one pen size. You can import pictures to use as your background. Mostly importantly, you can record your whiteboard session for play back, and the recording will include audio. Recordings can be saved to the ScreenChomps app, and can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, and accessed through a URL.
This app is a great example of combining a few simple features to make a tool that is very useful. Here’s an example ScreenChomp video I created: http://www.screenchomp.com/t/Z2xnmkfS.
ZigZag Board had one unique offering among the free tools I looked at, which is the ability to select and resize things you draw (as well as move or delete them). It is similar to some of the other apps in that it has a small selection of pen colors and the ability to adjust the thickness of the pen (but no ability to pull a pic to draw on). ZigZag also allows users to have a ”meeting” with the app. The meeting functionality was easy to use – I started a meeting from the iPad app and then joined on my laptop, but I was only able to view the whiteboard session, I could not actually participate in it.
Unlike most of these other tools, Zig Zag requires the user to create an account. Once you sign up, there’s a nice page-by-page tutorial on how to use the drawing tools and how multi-touch gestures work within the app.
SyncSpace allows for a choice of 9 colors, 4 pen thicknesses, and 2 pen styles (solid or dashed), which was more than the other apps provided. Two unique features the app has are its ability to scale the screen to any size (it seems that you can shrink or expand your whiteboard indefinitely), and its synchronize capability, which allows for true collaboration. My son and I tried this and it was easy and worked well. You can also export files as PDFs, post them to Facebook, Twitter, or Campfire (a collaboration app), or email a link to other iPad users.
One down side of SyncSpace is that it did not work in landscape (horizontal) mode, making it a little less useful for projecting.
The Free version of Jot has a pretty nice set of functionality including: 4 colors and 4 pen sizes, the ability to move a drawing and to add a background, and to add text. You share your drawings via email or save them as a photo. There’s a premium app available for $4.99 that provides more colors, more line widths, 5 fonts to select from, and live sharing.
The other four apps shown in the search results I eliminated for the following reasons:
- Show Me Interactive Whiteboard: Show Me seemed like ScreenChomp without the audio recording capability.
- Doceri Remote: Required the installation of an additional application in order to use it, and it appeared that I would probably have to pay that app at some point.
- Sign+: This should not have been in the list as it for creating a “digital sign”, and does not have the interactive nature of a true digital whiteboard.
- SMART Bridgit Conferfence: This requires you to have a SMART board and applicable server in place.
Connecting the iPad to a projector or HD TV
This seems pretty straightforward if you have the right components. I can’t wait to try this, and I’ll be sure to share my results here.
- You will need the Apple Digital AV Adapter ($39) and an HDMI Cable (under $10).
- Your projector or TV will have to have an HDMI interface.
- This eHow article explains the basic process of connecting your iPad to your projector
If any readers have experience doing this, using these or similar apps, please tell us about it. I’m sure there are other decent free IWB-type apps for the iPad2 that I could have found by searching on different words or phrases, so if you know of any, please drop a comment and let us know about them. As always, questions or other comments are also welcomed!
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
10 Excellent iPad Applications for Teachers
iPads In Education – How’s It Going So Far?
Seton Hill University’s iPad rollout – more insights from a model implementation
You Tube video link and complete explanation from the author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAZob-oGdec
Though it didn’t make as many headlines, Skype also launched its formal education initiative under Bate’s leadership. Skype in the Classroom, a dedicated teacher network, came out of beta in March with about 4,000 teachers already signed up. It now has more than 15,000 teachers sharing more than 779 projects on the site.
Mashable recently asked Bates about Skype’s new education initiatives and the developing education technology space. Bates will also be speaking at Mashable’s Social Good Summit in September.
Q&A With Tony Bates, CEO of Skype
What does video chat have to do with education?
The education process is moving beyond the traditional classroom/lecture setting. More and more teachers are seeking tools and techniques to engage their classes and enrich their lessons. Video calling is one of these tools, as it removes barriers to communication and lets students move beyond the boundaries of their classrooms. With Skype video calling, teachers can provide their students with first-hand knowledge from experts around the world and with other classes who are studying the same subject halfway across the world.
Personally, have you ever learned something via Skype that you wouldn’t have been able to learn without it?
Absolutely. One of my first days at Skype, my anxiety about not having a desk phone was quickly erased after I had a Skype (video) call with an important partner. [It] would have taken months to arrange a face-to-face physical meeting. The immediacy of video contact allowed the two of us to understand each other better and that really cemented for me the power of Skype. Every day at Skype, I am able to connect with employees from around the world and engage with them on a level that just is not possible through a conference call or email. When I speak to an engineer in Stockholm, he is able to talk me through a new product he is working on. The amount of education, in the most basic sense of the word, I receive on a daily basis through Skype amazes me. The technology is one of the reasons I wanted to join Skype and am eager to get Skype into every classroom around the globe.
Do you think that there’s still a resistance from schools when it comes to incorporating technologies?
There is always a certain amount of resistance when people try to introduce new technologies and methods of communication in any setting. The biggest cause of this resistance is usually a lack of awareness about ease of use and concerns about costs.
More broadly speaking, what are some applications of technology in education that you’re excited about?
There are a number of different technologies and applications that are being used right now that I am very excited about. One Laptop Per Child is a visionary program that is leveraging technology to make an impact on a global scale. Additionally, Blackboard is a company that is using enterprise technology to find ways to benefit students and teachers. Khan Academy is a truly exciting new method of … reaching students in new and exciting ways. Coming from Cisco and understanding the benefit of enterprise-level technology, I am always encouraged to see the ways enterprise technologies can be leveraged for the classroom.
What changes would you like to see in the way that schools implement technology?
I think an open dialog between educators, administrators and school districts would go a long way in removing the obstacles that are traditionally faced in introducing a new technology into a school or classroom. Many of the technological solutions that are available to teachers right now can be easily and affordably implemented in almost any setting. By working with school districts to educate their decision makers on the technologies that are available to educators — and exactly how they will benefit — would go a long way in increasing the rate of adoption in schools.
8/25/2011 Just encountered this new resource Emerging Ed Tech which I have included in the Blogroll in this followup article to Seton Hall’s distribution of iPad’s to its student population Watch accompanying video using URL below.
Seton Hill University’s iPad rollout – more insights from a model implementation
by K. Walsh on August 21, 2011
Follow up to last month’s article on Seton Hill’s well planned iPad rollout.
One of the breakout sessions I was most excited to attend at last month’s Campus Technology conference was the one titled, “We All Have iPads … Now What?”. This session was offered by key participants in Seton Hill University’s Griffin Technology Advantage project, which I had written about in this article earlier that month.
This iPad rollout struck me as an exemplary case of doing this sort of thing right in the higher education setting. This is a very well thought out project, with robust executive support, and clear directives.
In the conference breakout session, in addition to going over many of the details already covered in the Educause article where I first learned of this undertaking, Mary Ann Gawelek, Mary Sparato, Phil Komarny, and Quinto Martin offered further insights into measures Seton Hill took to help ensure the program’s success.
Faculty Training, Support, and Commitment
Audience members were particularly interested in what was done to prepare faculty to use the iPads. Similarly, the question arose as to steps taken to ensure that faculty actually leveraged the iPads in their courses.
Faculty had to commit to training, which was offered over a wide variety of time slots. Training was supplemented with extensive material and media support, and the availability of one-on-one support sessions. Effort was also expended on tying training to pedagogy whenever possible.
Interactive/Assistive Technology Specialist Quinto Martin showed us some wonderful training and support media developed using Indesign from the Adobe Creative Suite, and delivered with Adobe Content Viewer (which is free). These materials created quite a buzz – they were very impressive in their professional appearance and appeared to be easy to use.
Faculty were strongly incentivized to participate in the program. For example, upgraded iPads were provided when they completed a leg of the process (I did not catch what sorts of upgrades, I’m not sure if this meant higher capacity, 3G, iPad to iPad2, or something else). Instructors were given a wide variety of application options to pick from – and allowed to use what they like. A program of faculty presentations was also put together, allowing teachers to share successes, innovative ideas, and so on.
I asked specficially about adjunt professors – did they all get iPads? With their limited time on campus, were they harder to get a committment from? The team explained that adjunts were given iPads as long as they committed to the required hours of professional development. As with all other faculty, there was a defined requirement for gradually increasing the integration of the iPads in their courses.
On the horizon
As they wrapped up their presentation, the team shared some of their thinking about how technology is changing the educational process, and how these changes may impact education in the years to come.
- Mobile tech is an extension of self:
Seton Hill has clearly embraced mobile computing and is commited to staying ahead of the curve in their adaptation of mobile technologies. Gawalek stated, “We’re not going to get away from the mobility, so we should embrace it”.
- Facilitate how to find, evaluate, integrate and apply information:
This is often a topic of discussion in education today – the nature of learning is changing. It is less about memorizing information and more about knowing how to wade through the infinite streams of information now accessible to students, and being able to apply critical thinking skills to the evaluation and use of that information.
- Dismiss boundaries of learning – course, space, time:
Every day, mobile and distance technologies make learning anytime, anywhere more of a reality.
Thanks to Seton Hill University for sharing this inspiring project and their insights and lessons learned! We look forward to learning more over time, as they assess the program’s impact and share their findings.
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
iPads In Education – How’s It Going So Far?
Someday students will carry a tablet computer instead of books (it’s just a matter of time)
10 Excellent iPad Applications for Teachers
8/24/2011 WorldWise brings us this article on International technology-the Blackberry- and its relationship to higher learning
Blackberrys and Beyond: Technology and Global Higher Education
August 22, 2011, 2:44 pm
By Nigel Thrift
It is interesting to see how work and social habits in the university are changing as the mobile phone and the other diverse and relatively inexpensive instruments of mobile telecommunication become an indispensable adjunct to life. We are no longer in a world where communication ceases. So how is this affecting the running of universities?
First off, it is rare nowadays to see academics and administrators without their mobile-phone prosthetics that seem to be indispensable. Of course, there are a few holdouts who are proud of their (often feigned) non-use but they are gradually falling by the wayside.
Then, university meetings are being populated by mobiles, laptops, iPads, and the rest. Indeed most universities are gradually changing to paperless working, and not before time. There are all kinds of complexities associated with this move, but it will surely happen soon in most of the institutions where it has not happened so far, with possible benefits for the environment and costs.
Following on again, there is the practice of teaching. All kinds of feedback and assessment have become more rapid, sometimes with difficult consequences (like the students who expect instant answers). Meanwhile large class teaching is being transformed by the use of laptops and iPads. All kinds of software now exists which can take advantage of mobile telecommunications to inform, like the university-generated apps that are now appearing in profusion on smart phones, or aid teaching practice.
Research is also being influenced. Instant messaging and other instant means of communication are starting to have an effect on experimental practice as great as occurred earlier when it became possible to port very large date sets around. Researchers who are at a distance can communicate as though they are just around the corner. Then, apps are starting to become research tools, able to be used to gather data which includes real time spatial locations, like the “mappiness” project based at the London School of Economics.
Finally, there is the balance between work and non-work. This was always pretty thin in the case of academics. Now it is becoming an even more porous boundary. In a recent, much-cited article in The Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway has noted the increasing prominence of what she calls “worlidays,” holidays where the participants mix in a little work and are still always on. She notes how these kinds of holiday can still be relaxing. There is not an either work or relaxation moment but a change of scene may make both work and relaxation more positive.
All this does not mean that there are no pitfalls in the new hegemony of mobile telecommunications. One is a simple matter of politesse. I am still deeply offended when people e-mail in meetings that I am chairing: to me, it seems to be a declaration that the business being transacted is unimportant and can be dismissed. But I realize that I may be in a minority as people become more and more used to being always on.
The other is a more serious matter of blinkering. Research such as Rich Ling’s New Tech, New Ties or, more recently, Daniel Miller’s Tales from Facebook show that the new technologies can tend to narrow and reinforce social interaction rather than broadening it: people often tend to stick with their own kind, with ever-widening circles of people who agree with them. I worry that this effect might infect researchers who are increasingly able, through these devices combined with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, to live in even more specialised worlds of research and gossip, even though they may feel like cosmopolitans.
Amazon’s Cloud Reader
August 19, 2011, 8:00 am By Erin E. Templeton
As promised earlier this week, today I’ll introduce you to Amazon’s (other) new service, the Amazon Cloud Reader. The Cloud Reader was unveiled on August 10, and unlike Kindle.Amazon.com, this service is one that actually has gotten some stage time on the Amazon homepage. But stage time is about all it has gotten. By this, I mean that while Amazon features the Cloud Reader prominently on its homepage, you actually ge surprisingly little information about it until after you’ve installed it. After writing one post on a subterranean Kindle service, I’m not sure why I was surprised, but I was surprised nevertheless. Basically, if users click on the “Read Now” link, they are taken to an installation page, rather than an information page. Call me skeptical if you will, but I want to know what I’ll be installing before I make such a decision, but such was not an option (unless you leave Amazon and turn to the trusty interwebs). But in the name of ProfHacker research, I went ahead on down the rabbit hole so you don’t have to.
What is the Cloud Reader? In a nutshell, it’s very similar to the Cloud Drive service Amazon debuted earlier this year for MP3 downloads (though you can use it to store not just MP3s but other kinds of data as well). It’s a web-based app that allows you to access your Kindle books over the internet as long as you are using either Chrome or Safari as your web-browser. In many ways, this app is quite similar to the pre-existing Kindle app for your iPhone or iPad. There are two important differences.
The first major difference is that unlike on the native iOS Kindle app, users can now purchase material directly from their iPad or iPhone through the Cloud Reader. Previously, users had to purchase content through a different device and send it to their iOS device manually. In other words, if I wanted to read a Kindle book on my iPad, I had to go to my computer, log in to Amazon, buy the book, and have it sent to my iPad. If I had already bought a book either on the computer or my Kindle, I had to do the same thing or visit the “Archive” page on the iPad app to download content. It was not possible to shop the Kindle store for new content on the iPad, though from the more recent reviews on the Apple app store Kindle App page, I gather that this is a relatively recent change.
This change is likely in response to an Apple policy which nets them a substantial portion of the proceeds from content purchased on the device (Undoubtedly, some of our readers will remember a kerfluffle in the Spring wherein Apple declined to allow a Sony e-reader app because it violated this policy.) In any event, the process of having to go to a computer to purchase content makes using a smartphone or tablet computer as e-reader a bit more tedious and less convenient that users might prefer. But by turning to the cloud, Amazon has circumvented such a requirement, allowing users access to the Kindle store on an iPhone or iPad, since the purchasing is done on Amazon’s website rather than through the app. Granted, it’s a bit of a workaround, but the important thing here is that it does, in fact, work.
Not only can you access the Kindle store on an iPad now, but the store interface is much faster and easier to navigate than the Kindle store on an actual Kindle. Plus it’s stunningly beautiful. I’ve said earlier this week that I prefer reading on my Kindle. As of this very second, I can say unequivocally, I prefer shopping on my iPad. Swoon. Cover art of user recommendations is emblazoned across the top of the store. Underneath are lists of the Top Sellers (both paid and free), “New & Noteworthy Books,” Editor’s Picks, and Amazon Singles. The familiar generic classifications also run down the left side of the screen. The only hiccup I have found is that it is still a bit wearisome to transfer content between devices. To wit, to transfer the book I purchased on my iPad to my Kindle, I had to go to my computer, log in to my Amazon account, and visit “Manage my Devices,” where I then could send the book to the Kindle manually.
The second major difference is that unlike the Kindle app (or the Kindle device, for that matter), Cloud Reader does not support notes or highlighting, at least not yet. Given the push towards social networking on the Kindle as evidenced by Kindle.Amazon.com, such a lack of support for annotation is rather puzzling. Taking notes and highlighting, however, are still features of the Kindle App, so if that’s your thing, once you have downloaded your content from the cloud, you might want to revisit an old friend–the original Kindle app on your device–for your actual reading practice. Otherwise the reading interface on the two apps is identical. Both offer the adjustable font size, the choice of black, sepia or white backscreen, and the same page-turning prompts.
The only other issue with Cloud Reader is a familiar one for those who have used other Kindle-based interfaces, whether on a phone or a computer: to sync these devices with your Kindle, you must have your wireless enabled on the e-reader itself. Personally, I much prefer to have the wireless turned off for the extended battery performance this provides. But without wireless access, the Cloud Reader cannot learn where you stopped reading and take you to the same location on another device. This seamless transition between devices is a rather nice feature that can come in handy, especially if you don’t carry all of your electronics with you all the time.
Thursday August 11, 2011
Readable college textbooks on Facebook
Kno has announced plans to allow those who buy textbooks from them to read the texts not just on their existing iPad app but now on Facebook and via the Web. While the Facebook app does lack some features of the iPad version – like the ability to annotate, develop quizzes, etc. – the company promises that is coming to Facebook soon.
And also from comes the following report
Mobile is remaking entire industries, study says
By Rachel King | August 17, 2011, 3:00am PDT
Summary: A new survey highlights five of the top tech trends of 2011, and mobile is at the forefront.
Although multimedia adoption trends vary by industry, mobile is single-handedly “remaking entire industries,” according to the first annual “Technology Outlook” research report conducted byBluewolf, which specializes in enterprise-class cloud adoption.
The survey highlights what Bluewolf researchers believe to be the top five tech trends of 2011. Mobile is at the forefront of the pack thanks to increased HTML5 adoption as well as an exponentially growing pool of apps designed for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
As for those industries that are being remade? Without a doubt, media is the leader here from a variety of angles as print publishers are finally going forward faster with digital, and then major networks and movie studios are licensing their material for online streaming.
Retail and “high-tech” (i.e. cloud providers, front-end developers, etc.) companies have also made significant gains in mobile, and financial services have made a small push.
Specifically, Bluewolf found that HTML5, Android and iPhone/iPad app development increased by more than 200 percent, although development for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile apps has dropped by roughly 50 percent.
The other four major themes we’re seeing this year, according to Bluewolf, are user engagement, big data, the consumerization of IT and, unsurprisingly, cloud computing.
Cloud computing as a major trend of 2011 has been drummed to death already, but the other three trends could really be considered as off-shoots from the cloud from certain perspectives.
For example, Bluewolf cited that big data revolves around “everything from data storage, warehousing, and integration to Business Intelligence.” Well, cloud storage and virtualization are definitely going to be options there.
Bluewolf concluded that there are a few lessons that can IT managers can learn from these findings — namely, the value of the user experience and keeping the technology portfolio simple.
Even though most of the study findings make it look like companies should starting betting on mobile more than anything, it’s still a good idea to pay considerable attention to the cloud.
Tom Gooding, account director for financial services at Bluewolf, noted in the study, “Look seriously at what you can move to the cloud now (processes, applications or infrastructure), otherwise you will be the last in your industry to do so.”
8/16/2011 From comes this article:
Librarians at University of Minnesota Make an Impact with Data Management Program
By Michael Kelley Aug 8, 2011
Librarians at the University of Minnesota have stepped up to help researchers manage their digital data and, in the process, have highlighted the value of the University Libraries within the larger institution.
Under the direction of Lisa Johnston, a research services librarian at the University Libraries and a codirector of the University Digital Conservancy (UDC), the library has created a program called Managing Your Data, which guides researchers in the creation of data management plans (DMP).
“Research is something that faculty care about. This program allows us to start a conversation with faculty in new ways that our more traditional library roles might not have before,” Johnston said. “And something amazing happens in this conversation, faculty listen to us. They see our expertise in the areas of open access, public distribution of information, and long-term preservation and look to us for best practices and principles to incorporate into their research,” she said.
The program provides best practices for sharing and finding data, preservation and archiving,copyright and ethics, and other areas. A spur was the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) announcement in October 2010 that effective January 18, 2011, all grant proposals would have to include a data management plan. In December 2010, the library piloted its first DMP workshop and began offering consultation services to faculty.
“Since then we have offered 14 sessions, with two more upcoming this fall. The key to our success has been collaborating with the Office of the Vice President for Research and offering these sessions with continuing education credit, required for all principal investigators,” Johnston said.
Through the consultations, the librarians have reached over 250 faculty members and been invited by six departments to give sessions to their entire staff, Johnston said.
“These sessions work particularly well as we are able to have a rich discussion that focuses on the cultural and ethical practices of data management and sharing in a particular discipline,” she said. “Not only do I get to instruct researchers on best practices, I also designed these sessions with a curriculum that involves the appropriate subject librarian as a coinstructor.”
Including the subject librarian has the beneficial side effect of enriching that librarian’s knowledge of the researchers’ needs.
“This is a wonderful liaison opportunity and educates librarians on e-science issues that they might not have been aware of previously,” Johnston said. “I find that the colleagues [whom] I coteach with are much more engaged in our future library education activities in this area, having seen the interest that their faculty had while engaging in these issues.”
A 2009 user-needs assessment of 780 university faculty, research staff, and graduate students showed that there were definite gaps in knowledge across the campus that needed to be addressed.
“Our study identified more training as a key recommendation for improving cyberinfrastructure on campus, and the libraries were seen as an integral part in this role,” Johnston said. “Another fact was that nearly half of our researchers were keeping their data in unsecure locations such as laptops, external hard drives, and flash drives,” she said.
Twenty-seven percent of the 780 respondents reported losing some data. Filling this type of gap became an opening for the library to have an impact.
“The digital age changed many ways that we engage with our users in the library; digital research data is no different,” she said. “I see these changes as exciting opportunities to discover new ways the library can engage with users, and in potentially more impactful ways than ever before.”
The workshops and consultations that the new DMP offers are supplemented by online videos and slideshows. The site also provides links to other training opportunities through the university’s Office of Information Technology.
In addition to the NSF’s requirements, Johnston and her team compiled a list of the data management requirements of numerous federal agencies. Helping the faculty devise a robust data management plan helps give them an edge in the competition for grants.
For example, Steven L. Girshick, a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the director of the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory, contacted Johnston shortly after the mandate from NSF went into effect and after hearing her presentation to the Library Faculty Advisory Group.
“We worked through his DMP, and I was able to respond to [Girshick's] draft, ask him questions, and give suggestions of ways he might preserve his work,” Johnston said. “This consultation was not only successful for his DMP, but the faculty member approached his department chair and advised him to schedule a workshop for the entire department,” she said. Girshick was awarded his grant in July.
The librarians also guide researchers, in person and through the website, on how they can best preserve and archive their data. In Girschick’s case, Johnston advised him that rather than posting his supercomputing video simulations on a website for long-term access, he could use the recently developed UMedia Archive, an institutional repository platform that supports video, audio, and image formats.
“He was thrilled with the do-it-yourself preservation platform and appreciated the chance to share his work for the long-term,” Johnston said.
The librarians also make faculty aware of UDC, which is a digital archiving venue available to University of Minnesota faculty. It provides long-term digital preservation and open access to institutional digital resources. But they also point out that if an appropriate discipline-specific data repository already exists, that should be the first choice for long-term archiving, and they provide copious links to the appropriate repositories.
This is has all been part of an overall plan Johnson, as research services librarian, has been spearheading to focus on communicating the library’s role in supporting research, which is critical in a large research institution where there is a concentration on measures of impact and success.
“I was adamant that when we redesigned our library web page that we include a section on services directed at faculty and researchers, in addition to our instruction services,” Johnston said. “The library was doing all these great things, such as copyright consultation, transforming scholarly communications, and providing a platform for open access to research. But we were not showcasing it. Now we have something to point people to in order to help them see the range of services we offer. It is still early, but I feel like this web presence is a good step in our conversation with the campus,” she said.
8/13/2011 In the category “future of the book” this article appears in its entirety
E-Textbooks: 4 Keys to Going All-Digital
Lyrasis gets varied collections online quickly, and cheaply, through collaborationPosted Wed, 08/10/2011 – 08:05
The Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative (MDC) is an example of a sustainable model that does not rely exclusively on grants or one-time funding; the collaborative works for libraries and cultural heritage institutions of all types and sizes. Lyrasis is the nation’s largest regional nonprofit membership organization serving libraries. The Lyrasis MDC was founded to assist members with their digitization needs and its pricing is subsidized in part by starting with grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The collaborative now serves members throughout the entire United States, growing as Lyrasis has expanded from its legacy organizations (PALINET, SOLINET, NELINET, BCR), and currently has more than 145 participants from diverse libraries and cultural heritage institutions. The first goal is digitization of 20 million pages from member libraries and institutions.
“The MDC, administered by Lyrasis in partnership with the Internet Archive, is arguably the best deal going for libraries and similar institutions to get significant quantities of printed materials digitized and online-accessible very quickly and inexpensively,” said Gregory S. Sigman, acting librarian for the Music/Dance Library at Ohio University, in Lyrasis’s Solutions Magazine. Thanks to the Sloan Foundation grants, participants receive subsidized pricing at very competitive rates.
Participating in the collaborative makes digitization easy for participants, whatever the size of their collection and budget, and whether or not they have experience and staff expertise in digitization. In the collaborative model, many steps along the way to digitization are already in place.
Participants do not need to purchase equipment, select a metadata schema or digitization standards, set up a technical infrastructure for digitization and delivery, or provide for hosting, storage, and preservation. They follow best practices and collection development guidelines established by the collaborative. The entire project workflow is already set up and streamlined. The process is extremely simple and conducive to very quick turnaround: Libraries place an order; select items for digitization; prepare metadata; and ship or deliver to the scanning center. The collaborative shares the new digital resources on the web through its partnership with the Internet Archive and the archive’s involvement in the Open Content Alliance. Participants may also download copies of the digital resources to add to their own digital collections.
Unique resources come into view
LancasterHistory.org (formerly the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society), a pilot participant, is one example of a cultural heritage institution that was able to join the digital revolution because of the collaborative. It contributed for digitization volumes of the 19th-century agricultural journal The Lancaster Farmer.“We wanted to select a unique resource representative of the rich agricultural heritage of Lancaster County,” said Rob Weber, former director of library services for LancasterHistory.org. “It was really easy. All we did was select what we wanted to digitize and deliver it to the scanning center. They took it from there, importing the bibliographic data from our catalog, and sending the volumes back to us.” The subsidized rates of the collaborative made the project “very inexpensive for us,” said Weber. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.”
The goal was to increase scholarly use of the LancasterHistory.org collection and to reach out to new users. The response to the resource is typical of the response to many of the unique collections now highly discoverable as digital resources: Volume 12 (1880) of the journal has been downloaded 1,012 times since September 2008 by visitors to the Lyrasis collection on the Internet Archive. “It’s been great,” said Weber. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised.”
Because of the critical mass of content in the Internet Archive, potential users discoverMDC collection resources much more frequently than if they resided only in a library catalog or on an institution’s website. In fact, Internet Archive results often rank higher in search results than those of an individual institution’s site. Digital resources meet users on the web, no matter what the entry point of their search—the library’s website, catalog, Internet Archive, or web search.
Special collection resources now accessible to the world include resources from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where books related to costume and textiles, arms and armor, and American decorative arts were digitized. One resource, The Corset and the Crinoline: A Book of Modes and Costumes from Remote Periods to the Present Time,has been downloaded more than 1,644 times since 2009—400 times in one week! For the Winterthur (Del.) Museum, Garden, and Library, the most downloaded items include a Montgomery Ward catalog from 1875.
Yearbooks, course catalogs, manuals, recital programs
Participation in the collaborative makes it affordable and easy to digitize entire runs of items including yearbooks, course catalogs, student handbooks, commencement programs, and student publications. At the College of William and Mary, for example, the Earl Gregg Swem Library was able to launch the Colonial Echo Digital Archive, with student yearbooks dating from 1899.
“The Colonial Echo means a great deal to members of the William and Mary community, especially to our alumni and their descendants. Having it available online makes it that much easier for alums to remember their happy college days or for children to discover how geeky—or cool—their parents or grandparents were back in the day. The online version also is a boon for present-day students or scholars seeking to learn what William and Mary was like in the past,” said Beatriz Hardy, interim dean of university libraries, quoted on the college’s website.
For the University of Maryland in College Park, joining the collaborative was “a perfect opportunity for us to finally get a large volume of university materials digitized,” said Jennie Levine Knies, UMCP’s manager of digital collections. UMCP was a pilot participant in the collaborative. Digitizing the yearbooks has been very successful in terms of outreach to alumni; having digital copies of the course catalogs has greatly reduced the workload for the library. “It’s a huge help to have the yearbooks and catalogs accessible,” she said.
The media has often featured digitized yearbook collections, creating a continuing stream of new users and an increased awareness of libraries in the digital age. Among the colleges and universities that have created digital archives of yearbooks are: Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana; Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee; Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Haverford (Pa.) College; North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega; Ohio University in Athens; Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro; St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City; Stetson University in DeLand, Florida; University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia; University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne; University of New Haven in Connecticut; and West Virginia University in Morgantown.
Other projects achieved through participation in the MDC include:
- American Printing House for the Blind’s M. C. Migel Library—materials on the nonmedical aspects of blindness and visual impairment
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh—technical materials on the history of industrialization
- Indiana State Library—state government documents printed from 1818 through 1909
- Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia—recital programs and course catalogs from 1924 to 1970 and other school publications
- Emory University Libraries, Atlanta—Atlanta City Directories from 1867
- New Jersey State Library—legislative manuals, proceedings, reports, and other government documents from the 1800s
- Penn State University, State College—microfilmed agricultural publications
- University of Florida’s George A. Smathers Libraries in Gainesville—retrospective dissertation project
Diversity adds richness
The collaborative continues to grow, with new participants from Maine to Texas. The diversity of library and cultural heritage institutions represented—music institute, art museum, state library, historical society, academic, technical college, law library, city public library, to name a few—adds to the richness of the joint collection. The program serves member needs, whether production at a low price, help with setup, a learning experience, or fast digitization of a specific collection, and offers an innovative model for libraries to grow their digital collections.
What’s ahead? Lyrasis is committed to providing cutting-edge digital services for its members, and recently announced its expansion to digitize other formats including archival materials and microforms. Despite the challenges of the economy, libraries are banding together to get the job done, digitizing unique collections and resources and sharing them with the world.
KATHY ANDERSON, a former Lyrasis writer/editor, lives in Philadelphia. LAURIEGEMMILL is Lyrasis Mass Digitization program manager, and welcomes questions and feedback at laurie.gemmill[at]lyrasis.org. Visit the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative for more information.
08/11/2011 From one of the originators of IBM’s PC Mark Dean in the blog Building a Smarter Planet: A Smarter Planet Blog discusses what he feels is the end of an era–the PC.
August, 10th 2011 10:10
It’s amazing to me to think that August 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer. The announcement helped launch a phenomenon that changed the way we work, play and communicate. Little did we expect to create an industry that ultimately peaked at more than 300 million unit sales per year. I’m proud that I was one of a dozen IBM engineers who designed the first machine and was fortunate to have lead subsequent IBM PC designs through the 1980s. It may be odd for me to say this, but I’m also proud IBM decided to leave the personal computer business in 2005, selling our PC division to Lenovo. While many in the tech industry questioned IBM’s decision to exit the business at the time, it’s now clear that our company was in the vanguard of the post-PC era.
I, personally, have moved beyond the PC as well. My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline. But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.
PCs are being replaced at the center of computing not by another type of device—though there’s plenty of excitement about smart phones and tablets—but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress. These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives.
The story of IBM’s involvement in the PC market and foray into the post-PC era illustrates one of the core traits of our company: we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing. We anticipate changes and try to get out ahead of them—rather than waiting and reacting defensively. IBM has been on a path of constant transformation ever since we launched our turnaround in the mid-1990s. It’s one of the reasons the company is performing at its all-time peak level in our centennial year.
Today, IBM brings value to customers and society through an integrated family of businesses and technologies. We conduct fundamental scientific research, design some of the world’s most advanced chips and computers, provide software that companies and governments run on, and offer business consulting, IT services and solutions that enable our clients to transform themselves continuously, just like we do. Our Smarter Planet agenda, launched three years ago, elevated our game. We now see our mission as helping to solve the world’s most complex problems—making the world work better.
An essential part of our continuous transformation is a strategy of leaving commodity businesses and expanding in higher-value markets. Over the past 10 years, in addition to leaving the PC business, we also exited disk drives and printers. We invest heavily in R&D, about a $6 billion per year–producing major breakthroughs such as the question-and-answer technology in the Watson computer, which in February defeated former champions on the game show Jeopardy! At the same time, we’re building up our service and software capabilities through acquisitions, especially in analytics. Since 2001, IBM bought more than 127 companies for a combined total of $33 billion.
In addition, the company is transforming itself into a globally integrated enterprise, which has improved productivity and is driving our expansion in the world’s fastest growing markets.
This on-going transformation has had a profoundly positive effect on the company’s performance. IBM’s pre-tax income margin was 11.1% in 2004, the last full year in which we owned the PC business, and rose to 18.9% last year. Debunking conventional wisdom, IBM’s growth market businesses produce profit margins that are equal to or better than those in mature markets.
Just as I recently traded in my PC for a tablet computer, I have also changed my role at IBM. After more than a decade in IBM Research, I am now the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai. I’m focused, in particular, on bringing new IBM technology solutions to bear in Africa and helping to develop the continent’s IT skills and computer science workforce. While the PC revolution has had a tremendous impact on the world, I believe that the work that IBM and others are doing in Africa could have an even bigger impact over the long haul.
These days, many of the people of Africa are empowered by a sense of hope. Thanks to improvements in the national economies and a flood of investment, more than one billion people have a chance for a better life, and corporations like IBM can help them achieve their dreams. I feel lucky that I got a chance to play a role in the PC revolution. I’m doubly lucky that I have a second shot at changing the world—by helping Africa fulfill its potential and helping Africans to gain the opportunities they deserve. That’s what progress is all about.
08/11/2011 From University of Michigan MLibrary’s Library Information Technology Division
HathiTrust Full-Text search: Now with Facets!
August 10, 2011
On July 27th we went live with faceted search and relevance ranking based on both OCR and MARC metadata in Full-Text search. (www.hathitrust.org) These are the top two features identified by the HathiTrust Full-Text Working Group.
The relevance ranking now will give volumes that match a user’s query terms in both the OCR and in the title or author or subject a higher ranking than a match in only the OCR. There is much more work to be done in tuning relevance ranking, but this is a first step.
Search results can now be refined by selecting facets such as subject, date or author. Although selecting facets can help users drill down to narrow large result sets, using very specific terms and especially using phrases in quotes remain one of the best ways to get reasonably small result sets.
Over the next few months we will be releasing further improvements in ranking and more of the features identified by the task force.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired Campus blog comes this article about the use of QR codes
Your New Campus Guide: A Small Patterned Square That Talks to Your Smartphone
August 3, 2011, 3:32 pm By Jie Jenny Zou
Students touring Wittenberg University, in Ohio, can hear campus history come alive with help from their smartphones and little squares with black-and-white patterns affixed to buildings on the 100-acre campus.
Universities like Wittenberg have begun using these QR codes, which can be printed onto any flat surface, as a way to market themselves to a generation of smartphone users. Like bar codes on supermarket items, QR codes–it stands for “Quick Response”–can be scanned by a computer. But instead of returning the price of a carton of milk, these codes are directions to a multimedia-rich Web page. And the scanner, in this case, is the camera in a smartphone.
Using phone cameras equipped with a free code-reader app, students passing by Myers Hall can scan the small black squares and be instantly directed to a Web page where they’ll hear audio of Civil War gunfire and horse hoofbeats. Legend tells of a ghost horse that gallops through the dormitory, which used to house soldiers in the late 1800s. “The campus comes to life through the QR codes,” said Karen L. Gerboth, director of university communications.
The codes can be generated at no cost at a variety of Web sites. They are ubiquitous in Japan—where they were invented and are plastered on a myriad of posters and products—but are becoming popular in the U.S. and in higher education, according to Sarah L. Zauner, a research analyst at the Education Advisory Board. “It’s a free and easy to use technology, and who doesn’t like that?” asked Ms. Zauner. Universities can use free programs to track when a code was scanned and what kind of device was used.
Ms. Zauner said that the codes are cropping up in admissions handbooks, alumni magazines, and staff business cards at colleges like Michigan Technological University and Rogers State University. Library shelves and book jackets at Miami University, in Ohio, will also have codes, helping students navigate library directories or find books related to one they are holding.
At Lebanon Valley College, in Pennsylvania, codes printed onto construction-site banners provide instant access to parking information and construction updates, and discount codes at the college bookstore were printed in the welcome newsletter for incoming students.
Ms. Gerboth, at Wittenberg, said the codes provide prospective students with a comprehensive tour when guides are unavailable or for those who prefer to roam the campus freely. The cost of producing the tour multimedia and code decals was $10,000, and the university plans to offer faculty individual codes for their office doors.
QR codes will play an integral part in an upcoming scavenger hunt at Lafayette College, in Pennsylvania, aimed at getting students acquainted with library staff and services. Last year about 50 students used their phones to collect clues for “Where in the Library Is Carmen Sandiego?,” an interactive mystery based on the old children’s show, said Rebecca L. Metzger, instruction and outreach librarian. The hunt eventually led students to the actual sword of Marquis de Lafayette, the college’s namesake.
8/11/2011 There is really an overlap here between technology and information literacy but I thought that it was important that I place this article from Educause Quarterly here and refer to this page in the literacy section. Not a recent article but still relevant todat
Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century
Prior to the 21st century, literate defined a person’s ability to read and write, separating the educated from the uneducated. With the advent of a new millennium and the rapidity with which technology has changed society, the concept of literacy has assumed new meanings. Experts in the field suggest that the current generation of teenagers—sometimes referred to as the E-Generation—possesses digital competencies to effectively navigate the multidimensional and fast-paced digital environment. For generations of adults who grew up in a world of books, traveling through cyberspace seems as treacherous and intimidating as speaking a new language. In fact, Prensky1recognized such non-IT-literate individuals as burdened with an accent—non-native speakers of a language, struggling to survive in a strange new world.
Literacy Then and Now
Perhaps literacy, and numeracy for that matter, have never really been optional for fully functioning members of society. In our 21st century society—accelerated, media-saturated, and automated—a new literacy is required, one more broadly defined than the ability to read and write.
Was it always so? History provides examples of societies trying to build connectivity into their communications infrastructures two centuries ago.2 Using the technologies of their time, people sought methods by which they might communicate faster, easier, and better. Today, we still seek better communication methods, only now we have myriad more choices, along with new tools and strategies and greater knowledge of effective communication.
Digital and visual literacies are the next wave of communication specialization. Most people will have technologies at their fingertips not only to communicate but to create, to manipulate, to design, to self-actualize. Children learn these skills as part of their lives, like language, which they learn without realizing they are learning it.3 Adults who did not grow up with technology continue to adapt from iteration to iteration. The senior population approaches the new literacy like a foreign language that is complex and perhaps of questionable use.
The New Literacy and Education
Our research suggests that the lack of education related to literacy is problematic, and the situation is exacerbated in the field of education. A common scenario today is a classroom filled with digitally literate students being led by linear-thinking, technologically stymied instructors. Although funds may be plentiful to purchase new equipment, wire classrooms, and order current software, few educational organizations have developed comprehensive technology plans that specify technical learning objectives or ensure successful integration of technology to enhance students’ digital and visual literacy. We have found a common void in professional development for faculty—training needed to gain the requisite computer skills to integrate technology into the curriculum effectively. Too often success occurs in pockets within the institution, where individually motivated faculty embrace advances in technology, mastering—on their own time—the skills needed to merge the digital world with academia.
Taking precedence over systematic planning is the trial-and-error approach to using technology in the classroom, specifically for nontechnical courses such as English or fine arts. Educational institutions have given priority to computer-based courses. An institutional modus operandi seems to justify technology funding for some disciplines over others. To approach the use of technology differently, to enhance teaching and learning across all departments, requires change. This change will be slow in coming, however, without vision combined with practical, recognizable goals and incentives that encourage people to embrace new digital and visual literacy skills individually and collectively.
Our Digitally Savvy Students
Our students are natives of cyberspace—they are digitally savvy. No longer does it suffice for a teacher to retype overheads into PowerPoint and have students take notes. No longer is it enough for a teacher to talk about another country and point to a given city while holding up a map. These days, new media literacy technical skills catapult traditional learning methods into orbit—traditional chalkboards and overheads with pens do not occupy the same realm as current capabilities. As an example, now teachers can do a PowerPoint presentation with streaming video, instant Internet access, and real-time audio-video interaction, and they can do it with relative speed and ease.
The greatest challenge is moving beyond the glitz and pizzazz of the flashy technology to teach true literacy in this new milieu. Using the same skills used for centuries—analysis, synthesis, and evaluation—we must look at digital literacy as another realm within which to apply elements of critical thinking.
Connecting the Digital Dots
As we researched current articles, books, reports, and papers related to digital and visual literacy, it became evident that many definitions apply, and the skills needed for digital and visual literacy are still being identified. However, common findings aid in furthering our understanding and awareness of what it means to be literate in the 21st century. Our world today is about connecting the digital dots. The challenge is in dealing with the complexity—the dots are multidimensional, of varying sizes and colors, continuously changing, and linked to other, as yet unimagined dots. Nonetheless, to successfully connect the dots at any level in cyberspace means we must be literate, both digitally and visually. According to a recent report from the Workforce Commission’s National Alliance of Business, “The current and future health of America’s 21st century economy depends directly on how broadly and deeply Americans reach a new level of literacy—‘21st Century Literacy.’”4
Defining Digital and Visual Literacy
Although a multitude of definitions exist related to 21st century literacy, our study focused primarily on digital and visual literacy—terms that often interact, overlap, or share common meanings. Digital literacy represents a person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment, with “digital” meaning information represented in numeric form and primarily for use by a computer. Literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media (text, sound, images), to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments. According to Gilster,5 the most critical of these is the ability to make educated judgments about what we find online.
Visual literacy, referred to at times as visual competencies, emerges from seeing and integrating sensory experiences. Focused on sorting and interpreting—sometimes simultaneously—visible actions and symbols, a visually literate person can communicate information in a variety of forms and appreciate the masterworks of visual communication.6Visually literate individuals have a sense of design—the imaginative ability to create, amend, and reproduce images, digital or not, in a mutable way. Their imaginations seek to reshape the world in which we live, at times creating new realities. According to Bamford,7 “Manipulating images serve[s] to re-code culture.”
Weaved throughout the definitions of each term are a host of other subclassifications including information literacy, lateral literacy, and reproduction literacy. Specifically, each term defines skills inherent in a digitally or visually literate individual. The variations in terminology, including redundancies, represent the newness of this phenomenon. The lack of extensive or at least longitudinal research related to digital literacy and, most importantly, to its impact on the learner, also helps explain such variations and redundancies. Nonetheless, a common understanding has emerged—a leitmotif that characterizes a unique environment. Literacy, in any form, advances a person’s ability to effectively and creatively use and communicate information.
The New Literacy Environment
Competency begins with understanding. Each medium represents a unique environment, presenting the view of our world from varying perspectives. Communications theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the idiom “the medium is the message,”8 which seems prophetic in the high-tech reality within which we live. The idea that the world we shape in turn shapes us is a constant. Newspapers, television, and computers—all human inventions—help formulate our beliefs, perspectives, and even competencies. And from each medium we create new realities. Cultural theorist JeanBaudrillard used the term “hyperreality” to describe the simulation of something that never really existed.9 An example is a magazine photo of a model, the picture having been touched up or computer-enhanced—the creation of a new reality. Hollywood’s ultimate depiction of hyperreality was The Matrix, a movie about a world that does not really exist or exists only in our minds.
Ironically, while some see the profusion of realities as threatening to us, to our children, and even to democracy, the new media is nothing if not simply another way of viewing our world, of interacting with one another, of opening ourselves to learning in realms of possibility we never conceived of before. In our development as higher-order thinkers, multiple realities are far less important to our survival than our ability to understand what we see, to interpret what we experience, to analyze what we are exposed to, and to evaluate what we conclude against criteria that support critical thinking. In the end, it seems far better to have the skills and competencies to comprehend and discriminate within a common language than to be left out, unable to understand.