Library Technology at the ALA 2019 Annual Conference

ALA 2019 Annual Conference

The ALA 2019 Annual Conference is just days 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 of programs related to library technology.  You’ll find interest groups and sessions on data and metadata, Linked Data, FOLIO, ILS and LMS, websites, mobile apps, NISO standards, UX, emerging technologies, and more. Committee meetings were not included. Sessions are located at the Washington Convention Center unless otherwise noted.

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

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Common Library Technology Acronyms Part 4

These acronyms have been added to the Library Technology Acronyms page, a dictionary of library technology terms.

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a standard set of text characters and encoding scheme (also called US-ASCII). (See also UTF-8.)

Creative Common

CC BY – Creative Commons Attribution, a copyright license that allows for the copy, redistribution, remix, and transformation of materials if attributed. Now at version 4.0.

CC BY-NC – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial, a copyright license that allows for the copy, redistribution, remix, and transformation of materials if attributed for non-commercial purposes.

CC BY-NC-ND – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives, a copyright license that allows for the copy and redistribution (but not remix and transformation) if attributed for non-commercial purposes.

CC BY-NC-SA – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, a copyright license that is similar to CC BY-NC except that you must share your material with the same license as the original.

CC BY-ND – Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives, a copyright license that allows for the copy and redistribution if not modified and if attributed, even for commercial purposes.

CC BY-SA – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, a copyright license that is similar to CC BY except that you must share your material with the same license as the original.

CLOCKSS – Controlled CLOCKS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), an archive for long-term preservation of scholarly materials.

CMS – Content Management System or Course Management Software.

DCMI – Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, a project to develop “specifications and metadata terms namespaces”.

EOD – Embedded Order Data.

ETD – Electronic Theses and Dissertations.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a method of uploading and downloading files from a remote server usually using an FTP client. (See also SFTP.)

GUI – Graphical User Interface, a general term for a Web or application interface that displays graphics or images used for interaction.

KBART – Knowledge Bases and Related Tools, a NISO Recommended Practice aimed towards content providers (ex. database vendors) to make their content more accessible to discovery services.

LCSH – Library of Congress Subject Headings, a Library of Congress controlled vocabulary used as an authority file for cataloging.

LTI – Learning Tools Interoperability, a standard created by the IMS Global Learning Consortium that connects a learning management system (LMS) with external service tools.

MeSH– Medical Subject Headings, a US National Library of Medicine (NLM) controlled vocabulary used as an authority file for cataloging.

NISO – National Information Standards Organization, a US-based publisher of technical standards including OpenURL, SUSHI, Z39.50, and Recommended Practices such as the Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) and KBART.

RFP – Request for Proposal.

SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol or Secure File Transfer Protocol, a secure method of uploading and downloading files from a remote server usually using an FTP client. (See also FTP.)

SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard of a Web services access protocol that uses XML, originally developed by Microsoft.

SQL – Structured Query Language, an ISO standard language used to retrieve or change data in a database, often used within an ILS to run reports.

TSV – Tab-Separated Values, data items in a table record consisting of one or more fields, separated by tabs (so the data can contain commas). (See also CSV.)

UTF-8 – Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit, a Unicode Standard text character set now used across the Internet and for MARC 21 cataloging, an extension of ASCII.

6 Firefox Browser Extensions Every Librarian Needs


For users of Google Chrome, which has more than half of the browser market, we posted 6 Chrome Browser Extensions Every Librarian Needs and then 6 More Chrome Browser Extensions Every Librarian Needs. But there are many Mozilla Firefox users who prefer their browser or who have recently abandoned Google due to their recent questionable privacy decisions and political censorship.

Like Chrome, Firefox has a robust browser add-ons and extensions selection.  Browser extensions are plugins or small applications that add functionality to your browser.  Sometimes they work in the background (like Grammarly, below) but usually they work when you click on a small icon that gets added to the browser’s toolbar.

Firefox Browser Extensions

Mozilla has an add-ons website where you can find and install extensions, most of them are free.

Here are six Firefox browser extensions every librarian needs.

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Google Featured Snippet

Google Feature Snippet for library discovery services

An article from Library Technical Launchpad is currently a Google featured Snippet. A Google search for “library discovery services” (without the quotes) returns about 324 million results. However, the featured snippet at the top of the results page displays an excerpt from, and link to, our Discovery Services: Basics and Resources article, one of nine articles currently in the Basics and Resources Series.

One always hopes to place websites or webpages on the first or second page of Google search results. But to be the featured snippet was beyond expectations. Hopefully this inclusion indicates a high search ranking for the Library Technology Launchpad site as a whole. Most important, as always, is that the site proves useful for its readers.

DOI: Basics and Resources

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and persistent identifier which provides a link to an object on the Internet via a registration and indexing service.

Why learn about DOIs?

DOIDOIs are often used in citations and discovery services to provide permanent links to online articles, ebooks, images, reports, and other types of online objects.  Publishers now regularly assign a DOI to each journal article or ebook (or ebook chapter) they publish.  Many times, when a direct link or OpenURL lookup fails, an item still can be located using its published DOI.  Even if an object changes location on the Internet, its DOI will remain the same (and point to the new location).

The Basics

The Digital Object Identifier system is an ISO standard (ISO 26324) officially maintained by the International DOI Foundation (IDF).  The IDF provides the infrastructure to support DOIs by governing independent DOI Registration Agencies.  It was created in 1997 with DOI becoming a standard in 2012.

Note that according to the IDF, a DOI is a “digital identifier of an object” rather than an “identifier of a digital object”.

DOI Format

Each Digital Object Identifier has a unique alphanumeric string made up two parts:

{prefix}/{local name}

The prefix is a numeric string beginning with 10. and followed by several more numbers, usually four (ex. 10.1103).  The prefix is assigned by a Registration Agency to a publisher, institution, organization, or other types of Registrant.

The local name (suffix) follows the forward slash and is a unique alphanumeric string (for that prefix).  The local name for an object is chosen by the Registrant using whatever naming scheme they want
(ex. PhysRevLett.116.061102).

If you’re curious about why the DOI has its particular structure, see the Handle.Net Registry Technical Manual.


A DOI handle can be converted into a useful URL by adding it as a path after the domain

So, for the previous prefix and local name (suffix) examples above, the full linkable URL would be:

Note that older DOI URLs use the format which was deprecated in 2016 (but is still supported).

DOI Uses

As stated, the Digital Object Identifier often points to digital content such as journal articles and ebooks (or individual chapters or even data).  Because DOIs provide a permanent link to these scholarly works, they are now frequently included—and sometimes required by journal publishers—in citations.  Of course, the various style guides have rules on how to format them in citations.  Here is an example of an APA citation with a DOI:

APA citation with a DOIAll of the style guides offer help for adding DOIs to citations.  Major ones include:

Publisher sites and databases often include DOIs in the online article or ebook itself.  This makes it easy to cite or to make a persistent link in a reading list.  For example, if an article has a DOI, Elsevier displays it as a link after the title and author(s).

DOI in an Elsevier articleDigital Object Identifiers are part of the metadata indexed in library discovery services.  EBSCO Discovery Service, Primo, Sierra, Summon, and WorldCat Discovery all display a DOI field on search results or on item detail screens (if available).  Sometimes they are links.  Including the DOI is useful when the search result link is broken as it provides a secondary method for locating the resource.  For example, Summon displays the item’s DOI as a link when you expand the “Preview” section.

Summon result with DOIDOI Registration

For many years librarians and researchers have been using Digital Object Identifiers.  More and more librarians are becoming the creators and maintainers of DOIs as yet another type of metadata to enhance discovery and access.  As we have seen, DOI links point to a URL that serves as a central index and redirection service.  DOI URLs are translated into the actual URL of the target object.  So how does this index get built?

The central DOI index is maintained by several DOI Registration Agencies.  The most important of these is Crossref.  Publishers and other institutions become members and pay to create DOIs for their items.  With the rise of university publishing and institutional repositories, more universities are enhancing their scholarly output with DOIs to aid in their discovery and sharing.  Increasingly, librarians are assisting university faculty with creating DOIs as part of the publishing process.  Cataloging and scholarly communications librarians are frequently tasked with creating and managing the DOIs for these repositories.


Here are official resources to learn about DOIs:

  • – Website of the International DOI Foundation (IDF).
  • DOI Handbook – Official source of information about the DOI system.
  • Driven by DOI – Watch videos and download brochures.

Library-related DOI registration agencies:

  • Crossref – Popular DOI agency for scholarly publishing.
  • DataCite – “[L]eading global provider of DOIs for research data.”
  • mEDRA – Multilingual European Registration Agency.

Useful DOI tools:

  • DOI Citation Formatter – Crosscite will format an entered DOI in one of hundreds of citation styles.
  • DOI Resolver – Google Chrome extension to create links and citations from a DOI.
  • Custom DOI resolver – Firefox extension to turn a non-linked DOI into a URL.