Category Archives: Tech

Instagram folks…what are you waiting for?

Hey library land!  I get that you love Pinterest, I really do.  It’s a cool site.  But check out Instagram!  The statistics for Instagram are pretty impressive – it is growing exponentially and I believe it may have already surpassed FourSquare in membership!  (If not, it will soon.)

I recently hosted a webinar for work with over 100 participants – when I took a poll of social media usage, not one said their library was using Instagram.

What’s impressive is that it’s only available on iPhone right now and it’s reached surpassed FourSquare. It’s in beta for Android now, so I can only imagine what participation will be like when that rolls out.

Mobile social networks are where the world is headed and Instagram is quickly becoming the new leader.

 

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Library Loyalty Programs – Worth Trying?

I was recently reading about Belly – an online service that helps small and medium sized businesses build customer loyalty programs.  There is a great article on Read, Write, Web about the services offered by Belly.

Are loyalty programs worth considering for libraries?  If so, what would the rewards be for library loyalty?  It may sound slightly far-fetched, but it’s something that we may need to consider.  What do you think?

Little bits of interesting…

Here’s a quick summary of some neat things from the web – all with potential library applications!

Tweet Seats – Theaters are reserving seats towards the back of venues and encourage those sitting in those seats to live tweet during performances.  Totally worth trying at your next large event!  Check out the article!

Google+ Hangouts – A great opportunity to host community meetings or book clubs.  This article provides the top three reasons to use this Google+ feature.

PressBooks – PressBooks is a platform that gives you or your library users an easy-to-use digital publication solution.  When we talk about empowering content creation in our libraries, these are the tools we need to look at!

Turn young patrons in to coders – Thomas Suarez is a 12-year-old coder who spoke at TEDxManhattanBeach.  He touches on an interesting and cool idea for schools that applies for libraries too – download the Apple app development pack and start teaching kids to code!

Paper.li is Love.ly

I was testing out Paper.li in an experiment for work. I wanted to see what it did and how it worked.  Subject experts, take note.  By typing in some key words or selecting particular folks in the social media world (twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds) you can put information on a number of topics in to your own digital newspaper.  From there, you can curate as needed, send it on to students or post it to your webpage.

You’ve probably gotten a newsletter/news round-up via some organization (I’ve gotten two so far) but try it for yourself.  It’s easy to set up and it’s free.

Here’s my quick test of it with key words “libraries” and “librarians”.  http://paper.li/f-1316119848

Lift, Is Facebook Killing Reading?, and Library 2025

Just three interesting notes from the web:

An article about Lift, the newest project from the creators of Twitter – read the article on Read, Write, Web.

And from England – a study that kids are getting more exposure to the written word from the pages of Facebook rather than the pages of books.  I have to say that as an adult a good chunk of the time I may have previously spent reading books is now spent consuming web-based media.  Is this the end of reading or an inevitable cultural shift? Well, you read the article and be the judge.

Last up – chapters being accepted now for a book entitled Library 2025.  Find out more on Facebook.  (Gah!  It’s killing the time you could be spending reading!)

Jawaya – Beta

I just received an email letting me know I can access the beta of Jawaya.  Jawaya is a search engine search tool that allows you to “record” your searches, then tag the results that are most useful.  That description doesn’t do it justice however.

Here’s how founder Charlie Crystle describes it:

Jawaya is a social Search Network that helps you

  1. save your searches and results,
  2. find searches and results found and shared by others
  3. search and discover with others
  4. and connect you with people who share your interests
I’m just getting started in this and trying to assess how it works and what it’s potential is.  I think it could have some really great applications in libraries and in education.  There are tools that are kind of like it out there, but…not.  And the beta is so new to me still, I can’t say “Well, it’s like Delicious meets Facebook meets your favorite search engine meets your ILS or favorite database. ”  Plus, the beta is still a tad rough (that’s what betas are for, after all) so there are features that are not fully implemented yet.
I’ll be taking a look at it more and playing around as it progresses and will keep you posted.  Stay tuned kids!
And PS – YOU can sign up and participate in the Beta too!  The more, the merrier!

Open Data and the Role of Librarians

In the June issue of Wired Magazine there was a brief piece about governmental open data initiatives.  In it, writer Jesse Lichtenstein brings up the crucial point that getting lots of data out on the web and available to the masses is great and all, but the people who might be most empowered by the trends and information that could be gleaned are the those least likely to have the skills, resources or knowledge to extract what might help them fight for their cause.

And isn’t this where libraries come in?  Isn’t this the type of role we should be taking on?  I’m certain that there are some libraries doing this – providing Internet access to help communities get this data, then teaching them how to sort, slice, dice and come to conclusions based on what they find and discover. Libraries can be the liason and interpreters of this data – or teach the “language” of data/data analysis to library patrons.

There are some other arguments surrounding the article – but I’m trying to focus on the one aspect I see as being most significant to our profession – helping communities harness open data is a role libraries should consider more heavily when they are looking at ways they can stay relevant.

If your library is doing this, please tell me about it, I’d like to learn more!