Monday, March 24, 2014


Digital Libraries

Bibliotech in San Antonio TX is the first all-digital public library. It has a staff of 6- only one is an MLIS librarian. The children’s area has iPad stations, an XBox, and Microsoft PixelSense tables, which are multitouch tables that can be used by several people at once, like in the movie Minority Report. Because of the electronic screens, they have dim lighting in the room.

For checkout, there are 800 e-readers. 600 are 3M Cloud readers and 200 are Nooks with pre-loaded content for children. They use plastic RFID tags so they don’t interfere with the devices.

In addition to e-books and the usual library databases, they have Zinio for magazines, OneClick Digital for audiobooks, Treehouse for learning, ComicsPlus Library Edition for graphic novels, and Hoopla for streaming movies.

One innovative program they offer are e-readers for parents in prison pre-loaded with parenting materials and childrens' books they can read to their children when they visit.

Future predictions:

  • Digital libraries will exist alongside traditional libraries, not instead of.
  • More patrons will have their own devices instead of checking out devices.
  • There will be one login instead of several  (Overdrive, Zinio, OneClick Digital, Treehouse each have their own login currently).

Bibliotech is still very new, but they will be documenting their process and making it public for other libraries to learn from.

Social Georeferencing – A Model for Libraries

Social georeferencing is booming on the web, but not always by that name. For example. Historypin allows people and organizations to add photos and other information to locations on a map. Computers have trouble deciding what information is meaningful or understanding ambiguity, e.g. which town named Springfield is being referred to, what is the “Big Apple”, where is downtown.

That is where crowd-sourcing can help. For example, the British Library asked people on the Internet to contribute to their online map collection. Glen Farrelly worked on the Our Ontario local history site, which used patrons to identify photos and encouraged them to comment. It is a way to bring the community into the collection.

One idea for a library would be to have a "Local History Day" and encourage patrons to bring in photos and letters and talk about memories. Items could be digitized and uploaded to the library web site. Flickr is a free photo-sharing site that offers mapping of photos. Prizes and other incentives could be offered to make it like a game.

Using Augmented Reality in Information Retrieval

The library at Prairie View A & M University received a grant from IMLS to create an augmented reality app for information retrieval. Augmented reality allows anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to gain additional information when they point their device at a location or object, including text, photos, or video. Prairie View’s patrons have the devices already, so why not take advantage?

The app was designed to take advantage of user behavior - many users prefer to browse the shelves rather than use the catalog. If the patron scans a book with augmented reality, they can see related photos and videos. For example, a biography of Ethel Waters links to a music video of her singing “Heat Wave”. A book on kidney disease might have a link to a video about dialysis. So far, only 50 books have augmented reality, but they intend to keep on adding books. Staff has to find the related materials to add, so it takes a little time. The app is available for iOS and Android and also includes links to the catalog, databases, and library hours and locations. It was designed by a third party, although the library staff adds the AR material.

I think it could be a good way to publicize databases. You could either scan a book, or maybe the endcaps of the shelves.

Creating An Infographic Contest at Your Library

Infographics are a hot new trend. The visual format helps people understand complex information, and they are easy to create without knowing HTML.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor library had an infographics contest for their students during National Library Week. They used the Piktochart webapp and requested submissions via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The judges were sent the entries using Google Forms. The students could choose any topic.

It was their most successful contest in years. They did have a little trouble with Pinterest, as it keeps identifying information with the pictures (not so good for privacy), so they won’t use it next time.

An infographic contest could be a fun yet educational activity for teens.

--Andrea @Central

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