ALA 2016 Annual Conference Follow-up

ALA 2016 Annual Conference

The American Library Association has added the audio and presentation files from many of the conference sessions to its ALA 2016 Annual Conference website.  For librarians interested in library technology, there were four must-attend sessions and fortunately ALA has the audio for these four sessions.  You’ll need to log in to the conference website to access them.

Linked Data – Globally Connecting Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Saturday, June 25, 2016 • 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Gordon Dunsire – RDA Steering Committee
Reinhold Heuvelmann – German National Library
Richard J. Urban – Florida State University

In the past years, libraries have embraced their role as global participants in the Semantic Web. Developments in library metadata frameworks such as BIBFRAME and RDA built on standard data models and ontologies including RDF, SKOS and OWL highlight the importance of linking data in an increasingly global environment. What is the status of linked data projects in libraries and other memory institutions internationally? Come hear our speakers address current projects, opportunities and challenges. Sponsored by the ALCTS International Relations Committee. Co-Sponsored by ALCTS/LITA Linked Library Data Interest Group.

The implementation of BIBFRAME and Linked Data is poised to revolutionize the access of scholarly articles and research data.  This session covered some projects including an open database of Linked Data from the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library), the Open Metadata Registry (OMR), and r-balls which contain “packages of data”—Linked Data and semantic Web representations of cultural heritage resources described using RDA.

Download the audio and presentation.

Executive Perspectives: A Strategic View of the Library Technology Industry

Saturday, June 25, 2016 • 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Marshall Breeding – Library Technology Guides
Sam Brooks – EBSCO
Matti Shem-Tov – Ex Libris
Skip Pritchard – OCLC
Jim Tallman – Innovative Interfaces
Sebastian Hammer – Index Data

Marshall Breeding, author of the annual Library Systems Report published in American Libraries, will assemble and moderate a panel of CEO or other senior executives representing organizations that produce software or services for libraries. Breeding will give a brief introduction and will then lead a lively discussion to probe at the technology and business trends currently in play, including industry consolidation, differing approaches to opening software to library programmers, and the shift toward cloud-based technologies. Panelists will be expected to candidly reflect the perspectives of their organizations, but not promote their products. The select panel will include representatives of organizations that produce commercial products, open source software, and will reflect for-profit and non-profit perspectives.

In this session, Marshall Breeding gathered executives from major library vendor companies and questioned them on topics including library vendor consolidation, comparative openness of their platforms, and more.  The three ILS vendors took subtle jabs at each other, while OCLC emphasized their nonprofit model.  Hammer took the opportunity to introduce an open library services platform (LSP) called FOLIO (of which we’ll have more soon).

Download the audio and presentation.

Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders?

Sunday, June 26, 2016 • 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Craig Boman – University of Dayton Libraries
Whitni Watkins – Analog Devices, Inc.

Library staff employed in information technology (I.T.) departments are often seen as support staff, only providing services when something breaks. But what more can library IT staff do to support the mission of their libraries? In this presentation we will explore why library IT staff should maximize their ability to work across various library departments to collaboratively design new library services rather than being relegated to support staff. We will also explore how library IT staff may challenge traditional bureaucratic organization structures to lead change efforts.

The speakers discussed the relationship of the library with its information technology staff (who may or may not be librarians).  They recommended that library IT staff be should be proactive.  “Don’t just wait around for problems to solve.”  Library IT staff should seek out opportunities to learn what other library staff do and join teams to get more involved.

Download the audio and presentation.

LITA Top Tech Trends

Sunday, June 26, 2016 • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Maurice Coleman – Harford County (MD) Public Library
Blake Carver – LYRASIS
Carolyn K. Coulter – PrairieCat Library Consortium, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
Nick Grove – Meridian Library District – unBound
Laura Costello, MLIS – Stony Brook University
Lauren Comito, MLS – Queens Library

This program features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. More information on Top Tech Trends: http://ala.org/lita/ttt

This was a huge session in one of the largest conference rooms.  Panelists were asked to state their top tech trends in a word: concepts, real time, virtual reality, balance (security vs. access), and super-easy application development.  “Library technology staff need to read vendor contracts to ensure privacy and security.”  Tools libraries can use to encourage open everything include promotion, shifting academic attitudes, and institutional repositories.  Panelists were asked about the Internet of Things: Useful or useless technology trend?  “Security is key.”  American Libraries posted a session summary on their blog.

Download the audio and presentation.

For more session audio and presentations, see our Library Technology at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference post and the official conference Full Schedule page.

Technology Podcasts for Librarians

Just in the past few months several new technology podcasts have launched which are useful for any librarian interested in technology.  A few address library technology topics specifically, while others cover general technology that has relevance to libraries.

Here are some of the best technology podcasts for librarians.

Library Technology


Library 20/20: A Podcast about the Future of Libraries

Library 20/20: A Podcast about the Future of LibrariesFollow along with Charlie Bennett as he talks through the renovation and modernization of the Georgia Tech Library as an example of the future of libraries, especially with the use of technology.

The Library Pros

The Library ProsThis new podcast (since March) is produced by Chris and Bob, a technology librarian and an “Information Technology professional” who cover new technology applicable to public libraries.

LibUX

LibUXCovering all aspects of the library user experience.  Amanda and Michael “talk design, development, and the user experience in libraries and the higher-ed web” with many guest contributors.

General Technology

TWiT Bits

TWiT BitsThese short podcasts present highlights from Leo Laporte’s longer This Week in Tech (TWiT) episodes at twit.tv.  TWiT keeps you up-to-date with all technology from computers to gadgets to the Web.  Topics also cover technology culture and politics.

W3 Radio

W3 RadioCurated and presented by librarian Michael Schofield, this brand-new podcast covers the week in Web technology in under ten minutes.

Library Technology at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference

ALA 2016 Annual Conference

The ALA 2016 Annual Conference is just about a month away.  The conference covers a myriad of library topics and sorting through the program sessions to find the ones focused on library technology takes effort.  Let us do the work for you.

Here is our list programs related to library technology.  You find interest groups and sessions on data and metadata, makerspaces, UX, Linked Data, ILS and LMS, websites, mobile apps, emerging technologies, and more. Committee meeting were not included.

For official descriptions, speakers, and final schedule, please check the conference Full Schedule page.

Continue reading “Library Technology at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference”

Library UX: What Exactly Is It?

Library UX

Surely you have heard the term “library UX” or have seen the letters “UX” during your professional reading or Internet browsing.  You probably know that UX stands for “user experience”.  But what does it actually mean?

Many think library UX applies only to the online library experience. Even if we assume that is true, a library UI is not the same as library UX.  The online library experience goes beyond just the user interface.  The complete library UX encompasses both the real-world and online library experiences.

According to Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman, the user experience “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”:

The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

It’s important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.

User Experience (Smashing Magazine)
Image from Smashing Magazine.

Library UX is a hot topic at the moment, and rightfully so.  In a sense, we always should have been focusing on the library user experience. Since it has been given a name—and a catchy abbreviation complete with a cool #LibraryUX hashtag—its importance as a discipline has grown.

The User Experience Librarian is new job title.  Institutions such as the New York Public Library, Cambridge University, University of Arizona, and the University of Virginia have a dedicated User Experience Librarian.  Here is a typical job description from a University of Michigan job posting:

Job Summary
The User Experience (UX) Department at the University of Michigan Library is seeking a talented and enthusiastic UX Designer. The ideal candidate will be able to create beautiful and usable interfaces, have a passion for understanding users, strong problem solving skills, and be invested in improving the library web experience. The UX Designer will focus on interface design but also take part in the full range of departmental duties, including user research/usability, accessibility, and web analytics. The UX Designer works in a collaborative team environment and participates in all stages of development – from concept to implementation.

Read the entire job posting to see the responsibilities and qualifications of their User Experience Designer.

The University of Virginia Library has a Library Experience department.  From their Our Organization page:

What We Do: We strive to make the Library environment, both physical and virtual, pleasant, welcoming, and easy to navigate for all of our users. We also provide quality point-of-need information services. Our work includes:

  • Connecting users with information and other resources in-person and virtually at their point-of-need
  • Creating and maintaining a variety of beautiful, useful, and welcoming spaces
  • Developing and maintaining our search technologies and infrastructures that allow researchers to find and access our materials online.
  • Technologies include Virgo (online catalog), Libra (institutional repository), image viewers, specialized tools for making rare and unique materials accessible, etc.
  • Researching and implementing emerging technologies
  • Researching user needs and performing user testing on our virtual and physical systems

Here are a few UX resources to get you started.

We’ll write more on specific UX topics in the near future.

Welcome to Library Technology Launchpad Version 2

Welcome to Library Technology Launchpad version 2!

We have updated and relaunched the website.  Watch for new content coming soon.  You can also follow us on social media.

What is Library Technology Launchpad?

Here we’ll cover technology relevant to librarians and libraries. Covered topics will include:

  • Links to library technology news
  • eBook purchasing and subscription trends
  • Mobile library websites and eReader apps
  • Online information resources
  • Social media and libraries
  • Library user experience (UX)
  • Cloud computing for libraries
  • Institutional repositories ans scholarly communication
  • Research data management
  • Search engine tips and tricks
  • Useful general technology information

My name is James Day and I am the Electronic Services Librarian at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  My background is in engineering and libraries and I also have experience in web development and social networks.  I strive to keep up with the latest technology and trends, especially when applicable to libraries and reading.

If you are a technical librarian with good writing skills and a desire to share your knowledge, consider becoming a contributor.  Contact us for more information.