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On May 7, 2010 at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center in Amherst, NY, WNYLRC held a conference called “Gadgets and Gear: A Tech Gathering.”  Presentations were given by Meredith Farkas, Head of Instructional Initiatives at Norwich University, VT and Sue Polanka, Head of Reference and Instruction at Wright State University Libraries, OH.  In addition to the two speakers, there were demonstrations of various mobile devices that would be useful for libraries (including an iPad!!!)  I have to say, after seeing all the eReaders demonstrated, I personally do not feel the need to have one (other than the iPad, but that is not strictly an eReader).  I feel that there is too many problems with DRM at this time to make it worth while to have one.  Also, and this may be the gadget geek in me, I would want something that did more than just had eBooks on it.  I was prepared to be wowed by the Nook – something I had always thought I would want, but even that turned out to be a bit of a let down.

Meredith Farkas’ presentation was entitled “The Library in Your Pocket: Mobile Trends for Libraries.”  A link to materials she used in the presentation can be found at She told the audience that she was pragmatic about emerging technologies, she had a father who was an early adapter of technologies and she remembers being able to play with them once he no longer used them (which was usually in a couple of months).

  • 4.1 billion text messages are sent every day
  • By 2020 – mobile devices will be the way people primarily access the web
  • 94% of students send and receive text messages
  • Big trends is apps for smartphones – the apps need to be built for every different OS on mobile phones (e.g. an iPhone app, a Droid app, a Blackberry app)
  • HTML5 is still under consideration by the W3C.  HTML5 will be able to run an application regardless of the OS and without plugins.  It will make Flash obsolete (Flash is a closed system).
  • Google Voice built its website using HTML5
  • Mobile social software apps are the most popular apps.
  • 2D codes are a “new” trend.  The most popular is the QR code seen throughout Europe and Asia.  It is not as popular yet in the US.
  • Microsoft has it’s own 2D code known as Microsoft Tag.
  • QR codes are being used by cultural institutions to provide more information on displays/exhibits.
  • Google is promoting QR codes heavily with it “favorite places“.
  • Kaywa, i-nigma, and beetagg work well as readers
  • RFID and mobile phones is a trend that is not here yet, but something to think about.  Used phone as credit card, library card, etc.
  • Layar and Acrossair are browsers that are used with augmented reality apps.
  • Google Goggles is an augmented reality that works only with Droid phones.
  • TAT augmented ID not available yet, but something to think about.
  • Media literacy is knowing what to share online and what not to post.  Privacy issues and making sure you don’t put your foot in your mouth (by posting on Twitter how much your job sucks, stc.)
  • You need to go back frequently and check your privacy settings, esp on Facebook.  Facebook is one of the biggest offenders on privacy right now.
  • Information literacy now includes the social web.  Teach people how to find out where the data comes from that they are seeing on these social sites and how do they know it is reliable.
  • When looking at your library’s mobile needs, assess your users.  How do they access the web?
  • You can use Twitter for proactive reference help.
  • When designing a mobile site for the library – ask yourself what services would your users want to use on their mobile devices?  (Most will not want to do in depth database research on a mobile device.)
  • Also determine what services you can make available on a mobile site?  Are you going to make a separate mobile version of your site (makes most sense) or are you going to just have mobile devices just use a different style sheet?
  • Detection algorithm – you can set up your site to detect how users are accessing it.  It will redirect to the mobile version of the site for mobile users.  You can find these algorithms online and just plug in your library website’s info.

A Good Mobile User’s Site

  • Break the information into tasks (hours, directions, find books)
  • Most important content should be at the top
  • Minimize the need to scroll
  • Icon with text links are ideal
  • Shorten text to the minimal amount needed
  • Minimize the need to type

Included in a good library mobile website

  • Catalog search
  • Databases (IF they are optimized for mobile devices)
  • Circ info (due dates, holds, etc)
  • Reference info
  • Hours

You need to make things task specific.  Most people do not visit the FAQs on websites.

  • There are mobile site generators on the web that can “mobify” your site.  A good one is “Mobile Site Generator” from the UNC libraries.
  • Another set of tools you want to become familiar with when creating mobile content are emulators/simulators.  These will show you how mobile sites will look on different devices.  There is a list of emulators/simulators on Meredith’s page from this conference.
  • Some libraries are making library apps for mobile phones.  If you want to do this, do it in addition to your mobile website, not instead of it.
  • SirsiDynix has an app for the iPhone called BookMyne.  WorldCat has a mobile app called Boopsie.
  • Library Anywhere from LibraryThing creates a mobile app for your library at a relatively low cost.
  • Overdrive also has a mobile interface (which uses a QR code to download to your mobile device!)
  • One of the easiest ways to make your special collections (photos) available as a mobile application is to add them to Flickr.
  • Location Aware Technologies can help patrons find a book in the library.  (e.g. Smart Library at Oulu University in Finland, Mobile Oxford Portal, and Durham (UK) Technology-Enhanced Campus)
  • QR Codes in the stacks could take patrons to a mobile version of the catalog.
  • QR codes at the front door of the library could send patrons to the mobile site.
  • Augmented Reality in the library could show subjects available on a particular shelf.
  • Text messaging button in the catalog that could send call number and title to a patron’s phone.
  • Anything with a RSS feed can be converted into a text message.  Patrons could receive updated info from blog posts, etc as a text message (opt in).
  • Mosio’s Text a Librarian software can be used for SMS reference as well as some other services (see Meredith’s post for this presentation).
  • Screencasts should be used for instructional videos.  (List on screencasting software can be found here.)
  • Podcast ideas – research tips, library instruction, book reviews, programs.
  • Could make handouts with QR codes on them that could take people to more information than can be fit on the sheet.
  • QR codes in the stacks could link patrons to subject guides relevant to that stack.

Sue Polanka was the second speaker.  She has a blog called “No Shelf Required” and has a book coming out this summer bu the same name.  She discussed eBooks and eReaders and what their future is within the library community.  The name of her presentation was “eBook Devices & Libraries.”

  • eReaders can fulfill ILL requests quickly.  If there is something a library does not have that can be purchased through an eBook provider, the patron does not have to wait.  The cost may be cheaper than ILL fees.
  • eReaders can help in demand driven purchasing of materials.  Patrons could be allowed to take out an eReader and purchase one title on the library’s account.  The eReader would then be a collection of patron picked titles.
  • eReaders go to consumers directly for purchases.  Libraries are trying to squeeze in the middle of this business model.
  • Overdrive, EBL, and NetLibrary are the most friendly (compatible) companies when selecting materials to be lent out for eReaders.
  • EBL’s content is available to 24 different eBook readers.  It uses Adobe Digital Editions as it’s basis.
  • There are about 99 different eReaders out there and the number is growing.

What makes eBooks incompatible on some readers?

  • DRM
  • Software places limits
  • Excludes printing, sharing, and downloading
  • There is a built in safety net for publishers.

The standard is EPUB.  It is an open standard – a file extension on an XML file.  Sony & iPad have adopted EPUB as their standard.  The trouble is that DRM can still be added at the end of the file.

Trends for 2010 for eReaders/eBooks

  • Brutal competition among eReaders
  • Competition between do everything devices and dedicated readers
  • Increase in eBook sales
  • Increase in eReader sales (due to prices coming down)
  • Rise in self publishing
  • Experimentation

Sue thinks that the future of eBooks is going to be in the computing cloud.  The book would be available to be read on all of the patrons different mobile devices and would be bookmarked as to where they left off.

Google Editions, Blio, Ibis, Copia, and Kobo are the new eBook readers.  (Not all are physical devices. Incidentally, I received an e-mail about the Kobo eReader being available while I was at the conference.)

It was a very informative conference.  I was sad I did not win any of the gadget raffles.  I also found out I suffer from Technolust (Meredith’s word) for the iPad.  I still think I am going to hold out for the next iteration of it though.  (Maybe it will have a camera by then!)  I am definitely looking forward to trading my Blackberry (which has served me well) in for a Droid so I can play with some of these augmented reality apps and other mobile apps that my library might be able to use.  I wonder if I can write it off as a business expense on my taxes?????

Today I attended a webinar entitled “Technology Trends in Libraries: Tools, Skills, Staffing, Training”.  It was billed as part of the “Library Futures: Staying Ahead of the Curve Series” presented by Eric Lease Morgan and Marshall Breeding.  This webinar was offered through the College of DuPage.  I found the webinar to be very disappointing, much of the material presented was at least 6 months old.  Some I had already had experience with in library school (I graduated in May of 2008).  That being said, here our my notes from this webinar and from tweets from some of the other participants.

  • The newest trends in library services have more of an intense focus on the end user.
  • Students were interviewed and asked what they liked about Google, they stated that Google was the first thing that popped into their heads, it was usually contained in the toolbar, and it automatically fixes spelling.
  • They also admitted that Google can be a bit overwhelming with all the results and that the results are not always the most reliable sources.
  • Students were then asked about library catalogs and databases.  They feel that library catalogs and databases were the polar opposite of Google.  They are hard to use and there are too many options.  They did not like the concept of using controlled vocabulary.
  • The students did admit that they liked the content found in the databases and usually received a higher grade on papers written with database sources rather than Google sources.
  • It seemed to be a consensus that a combination of the two – Google for general info and then going to the databases for reliable info.
  • They also stated that they wished library databases worked like Google.
  • Libraries today have many competitors like Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, and
  • Libraries should strive to have a single point of entry to all the content & services of the library.
  • Question is – how do we get past a catalog that just addresses physical things in our library and not digital content also?
  • Federated searches have not worked out well.
  • Web scale search is the up and coming way to search.  Search not only the metadata, but the full text as well (SOPAC2).
  • Check out Phoenix Public Library and Queens Public Library for examples.
  • We also need to start thinking about our library interfaces on mobile devices.
  • A way to describe length of electronic text (like we describe physical books by page count) is with word counts.
  • Open Source Software should be seen as free as in liberty, not free as in gratis.
  • Open Source Software is about as free in price as a free kitten.
  • Open Source Software doesn’t work unless there is community.
  • Community builds tweaks into the software.
  • Databases stink when it comes to a search – you want an indexer.
  • Open Source Software does have support – increasingly companies provide support for OSS (e.g. LibLime for KOHA).
  • We need to have people who have expertise in computers on staff in our libraries.
  • Learn Swish-e – Windows/Unix based indexing program (others suggested Lucene, Solr, Backlight, & VuFind).
  • Explore making XML files.

There is a major question of how to preserve born digital content.

  • Digital content is fragile
  • Bit rot – digital corruption
  • Continuous cycles of formats
  • How do we migrate this?  Media/format/standards?
  • Who is going to keep these files forever?  Partnerships?
  • How are we going to compensate for bit rot?

As I said previously, not much new, but it is good to keep all these ideas in mind.

10/17/2009 – NYLA Conference – Niagara Falls, NY

LISHost – another Blake Carver site (He does LIS News)

Retro future blog – shows predictions from the 1950s

Top 5 things for 2009 (from Read, Write Web):

1. Structured data – XML tags define and describe the data – not OS or device dependent. Tags are created in English. Most website today are made in XHTML. Data is in XML and style is in CSS. Such things as APA and MARC records are structured data – not really a new thing to librarians. Structured data makes it that the whole web could eventually be treated as a database.

2. Real Time Web – Running a search and finding results from last 5 seconds, etc. (Check out Google flu:

3. Personalization – Syracuse University just made “Mybrary” ( APML – take your interests and code. (Attention Profiling Markup Language

4. Augmented Reality – GPS, Direction you are facing, picture recognition – tells you what that place is. (check out layar website: ( ) A tour guide is analog augmented reality.

5. Internet of things – Identifying image (such as a bar code) and bring back information about the thing. iPhone has an application that you can pick up a book at Barnes and Noble and take a picture of the cover and find out the different prices of the book at competitors. (Explanation of “Internet of Things”:

This was a talk given by Michele Brown from Cornell University and sponsored by ASLS.

Her e-mail if you have any questions about mold:

Molds are fungi.

Mildew is a smaller form of mold.

For our purposes mold and mildew are the same thing.

Mold needs to absorb carbon from other substances in order to live.

Mold spores are the way that mold reproduces and spreads.  This is what we are concerned with stopping.  These spores land on something and grow out and forms a colony.

If moisture is taken away at this stage, the vegetative part will die, but the spores will remain.  It is difficult to kill spores.

Mold spores are smaller than pollen.  Mold spores are between 1 and 20 microns in size.

Good air circulation is important – if the mold spore can not land – it can not germinate.

Mold spores have their own toxins.

For activation it needs to have sufficient moisture and food.  There are molds that can extract moisture out of the air.  Black mold needs to land on a substrate that is constantly wet.

Mold releases toxins when it germinates.  This is when you start to see the staining on the materials that have been attacked by molds.  It is also digesting the product at that point.

Molds thrive in damp areas.

Mold can grow behind the walls even if it looks like the building is dry.  There is an infared therma graph that can see mold in between the walls.

Mold is a little plant – it sends out little roots into whatever it is growing on.

Mold can grow on the side of houses on Latex paint.
75% of dust is composed of dead or dormant mold spores.

Mold can grow inside of us

Molds like to eat cellulose (paper, cloth).

Contact from adjacent moldy material will make it spread.

Contaminated solutions used for cleaning or mixing.  Spores can live in Lysol.

Inside – most common are aspergillus and penicillium.  Attracted to cloth, animal fur, and fibers.

Xerophilic can extract moisture from the air.  These are the types we find in libraries.

Cloth and paper are permanently weakened and stained.

Active mold is still growing.  If you rub it – it will leave a smear.  Inactive mold looks like dust.  Both will cause an allergic reaction.

Inactive mold – wipe the pages with 70% alcohol – will wipe up the spores.  Book still looks the same after it as been cleaned.  Once an item has had a mold growth – it is likely to happen again when you have a spike in humidity.

Anything that is going to kill mold spores (chemical wise) is not good for your health.

If you have a reaction to mold – it causes a weakening of your immune system. Flu like symptoms, loss of memory, tremors, hallucinations…

“Poisons of the Past” Mary Kilbourne Matossian

Infection of the rye by the ergot fungus responsible for hallucinations which were the basis of the witchcraft trials…

Keep humidity below 60% to not spread.

Dry – humid – dry – humid cycles are good for mold spores.  Important to maintain a constant temperature and humidity level.  Dehumidifier.

You can smell mold (mildew smell) – different than an old book smell.  You can also see it.

Treat all mold as a health hazard.

Spores will start germinating within 24 hours.  Colonies will develop within a few days.  If there is a flood put fans and dehumidifiers in the first 24 hours will make it that the spores can not land and will start to dry out the air.

If you can not get the materials dried in 24 to 48 hours – should be frozen.  Stops the mold from growing.  Freeze dried – would stop mold growth and take out moisture.

68 – 72 degrees F.  Keep dust out of collections.  Less than 60% humidity.  Unpack donated books away from your collection.  If you have a box that smells suspect, put in a room with a dehumidifier.

HEPA vacuum and static duster without chemicals in it.

Have to lower the humidity to make active mold become inactive.

If you have an outbreak:
Locate source of moisture
Immediately start drying the room and the books out.
Determine size of the outbreak.
If a book is returned wet – put it on a table with a fan on it.

Use glove (nitrol gloves), masks (N95 or N100 rated), non-vented goggles, Aprons or something that you can throw away immediately after you are done.  You don’t want to take the mold spores home with you.

Isolate the moldy materials to another room or drape plastic around the area.  Should be a well ventilated area.

Mold must be inactive before you can remove it.  Lower the humidity.  Dry any wet materials and surfaces are dry (direct fans).

Try to keep a book by wiping the powdery substance off with alcohol and cheese cloth or vacuum it with a HEPA vacuum or disposable static cloth.  The over the counter alcohol is better than the industrial grade alcohol.

Clean the area thoroughly.  Use cleaning solution with bleach.  Dry thoroughly.  Make sure any carpet is completely dry before returning the books to the stacks.

Discard all the cleaning cloths and everything you wore and used and throw them away.

Keeping books packed tightly – it prevents the air and space needed for mold to grow.

Foxing – mold circles in the paper – actually molding on the metal that is contained in some paper.

Keep the book out of the collection for at least a week until you put it back in to the stacks after you clean it.

Air conditioner blowing on the books – causes mold.  Cold air can hold a lot of moisture if it is humid.

Resources: A webpage devoted to resources about mold. Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper.  Northeast Document  Conservation Center Preservation Leaflets. Lab Safety Supply General Conservation Supplies  General Conservation Supplies Freeze drying of wet materials Freeze drying of wet materials (recently did some work for Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, NY) Freeze drying of wet materials.

Speaker: Isola Ajiferuke, University of Western Ontario
Sponsor: ASLS

Data mining is the process of discovering and interpreting previously unknown patterns among data.

Techniques of data mining: classification, estimation, prediction, affinity grouping, clustering, and description (Berry & Linoff, 2004)

Classification examines a newly presented object and assigning to predefined classes (present).

Classification also deals with discrete outcomes.

Estimation is the same as classification but it deals with possible or continuous outcomes (present).

Prediction – same as classification or estimation but deals with the future.

Affinity grouping – determine which things go together (retail stores do this- e.g. graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows on the same display)

Clustering – no predefined grouping but similar to classification – let the data show what groups are needed.

Description – just describing what you see.

Major applications of Data Mining:

Health care
Retail/Marketing (customer buying patterns, “reward” cards can track this)
Financial sector
online sellers ( “Customers who bought this also bought” feature is data mining)

Related Concepts:

text mining
web mining

Bibliomining refers to the use if data mining techniques to examine library data records (Nicholson, 2003)

Bibliomining can be used to understand patterns of behavior among library users and staff members as well as  patterns of information resource use.

Uses of Bibliomining:

Improve library services (similar to  Could link that kind of function to your OPAC.

Predict how many copies of a book you should buy.

Aid decision making within the library (staffing decisions and determining the circulation dates for certain patrons [eg undergrad vs. grad vs. faculty])

Assist in policy or budget justification

Steps in Bibliomining:

Identify the problem or determine the area of focus.

Identify the source of required data: Bibliographic information (OPACs), Acquisitions information, Patron information, Circulation information, Searching and navigation information, Reference Desk Interactions (both face to face and virtual), In-house use information, ILL.

Prepare data for analysis/create data warehouse. (Make a separate database w/ info from other databases).

Analyze data using appropriate software packages: Excel (Pivot tables and chart reports), SAS Enterprise miner ($$$), SPSS Clementine ($$$), Insightful Miner ($$$), WEKA (Open Source), Rapid Miner (Open Source).  [The latter two are written in Java and are not quite as user friendly as the ones that you would pay for.]

Interpret Results

Privacy Concerns:

How can we protect a patron’s identifiable info?
Seek consent of the patron.
Deleting or replacing personally identifiable information during data extraction and cleaning process. – Bibliomining information center.

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