We are all geeks as we play with electronic devices. But somewhere along the way we became impatient. David Pogue shares tech tips aimed at a beginner audience:
Did you pick up a few tricks? I like space bar for scrolling — news to me. And I see there are useful presentation tips on blacking out or whiting out to draw audience back to speaker. My tip for undoing last action is using Ctrl + Z. It works wonders. Thanks to H. Kramer for the tip.
- Brenda Wong
Filed under: Uncategorized |
You need training for ebooks? It’s so easy to use. That is a typical response to researching with ebooks. This is not an article about leisure reading of ebooks. Fundamentally the process of studying or researching ebooks is a different process than leisure reading. Students and researchers need to annotate or add sticky notes to the text. There is some ability to do that with ebooks. Often lawyers need specific pages of text so they can match it to another document. So librarians work with “pinpoint citations” or matching to page or paragraph in a judgment. People want save and print chapters too. They may not always be reading on an ereader. Legal ebooks either don’t have page numbers or the page numbering is unique to the electronic version and not synching with the print book. Clearly this is a problem if you are trying to print pages 1 to 10 as instructed. This does not meet the needs of lawyers and perhaps students as well. (Hey folks can publishers test the user experience and expectations before selling a product?)
All this is background for my argument that ebooks for research and study is in its infancy. I was reminded of real world uses and problems with ebooks by my own experiences, as well as a splashy positive press release about open textbooks initiative out of British Columbia. I spent a solid hour and needed help of 2 librarians to print pages from a legal ebook, when I am familiar with ebooks from Kobo and Overdrive. It was an unsatisfactory experience.
In the near future B.C. college and university students will be thrust into studying with open textbooks. There are hopes that cash-strapped students will save money with these free ebooks. I counter that likely around 30% if not more students will print out or save their ebooks instead of reading online only. Some will grasp the full potential of annotating them. And I predict headaches all around when students try to arrange for printing them. Ebooks are not meant to be printed in my experience, as it may break licensing terms and that is not their primary use as intended by publishers. Graphs, tables and other illustrations may or may not translate well when printed. Technical capacity of computer servers will also need to be factored in equation as potentially 200,000 students are downloading en masse.
Faculty hopes that there will be collaboration with online textbooks. Possible but technology has its limitations as I have seen. Servers have outages, and faculty needs training to become savvy at working with editing ebooks. Coordinating the collaborative process and editing standards are also unchartered waters.
The public relations angle sounds good as students save money but students may become frustrated if they can’t print or annotate their textbooks. Although again online textbooks sounds like a great thing, faculty may not be able to fully realize its potential. In fact there could be hidden costs with upgrading server capacity, and increased IT support staff for interventions.
- Brenda Wong
Solid orientation to open textbooks
Filed under: eBooks |
Computers in Libraries (CIL2013) is one of those conferences that I’ve always wanted to go to, but will probably never get to. View the archives of posts here. I especially liked Metrics, Value and Funding with Rebecca Jones (from Dysart Jones) and Moe Hosseini-Ara (Markham Public Library).
You can follow them on Twitter by either following @LibConf or the hashtag #CILDC.
Filed under: Professional Development |
Tags: conferences, Professional Development
Every where I turn people are talking about how to shape their online lives. I am going beyond reputation management and into the realm of “digital citizenship” here. What does it mean to to internet literate? There was an interesting Pew study on the most desirable skills for 2020. One of the striking ideas about fast information gathering blended with slower digestion and analysis of that information really resonated with me. Librarians have a role to play in this process. In a broader sense, I echo what Sarah Ludwig said about how librarians struggle “to teach copyright, fair use, effective communication, and privacy.” But it sometimes happens as a one-time lesson, or happens in a vacuum without real consequences. Ludwig shares some great practical ideas about how to effectively teach these ideas in an applied real world way.
Although I love the internet, I can understand the impulse of similar people wanting to be together. Another post by Danah Boyd talks about how college kids use Facebook to screen their roommates and acquaintainces before they set foot on campus. I am not as old to suggest that I would not have done the same, but then I would not have met my best friend. She lived in the suburbs and I was inner city kid with different experiences. I am pretty sure she would have screened me out if there was Facebook back in the day. And our lives would be less richer for it.
Filed under: Uncategorized |
As in many things in life, there is a process and a lot of homework involved in preparing a perfectly persuasive elevator pitch. Then it involves distilling the message down. I was impressed by the resources pulled together at Dysart & Jones. I can see the value of practicing lots, and targeting different audiences as good prep for job interviews or even building a business case for a new project.
And again to reiterate that practice and more practice will build confidence.
Remember the first rule of sales: ABC (Always Be Closing). Give your elevator speech to everyone — at family gatherings, in the waiting room of the dentist, at coffee hour at your church or temple. (How to Perfect an Elevator Pitch About Yourself – Harvard Business Review, May 4, 2009)
Some people are better public speakers than others, but we can all benefit from some preparation and practice to come up to a base level. It may land you that great job!
- Brenda Wong
Filed under: Marketing |
I was pleasantly surprised by the Innisfil Public Library’s talk on maker spaces in their library. I walked away from Check Out a Skill presentation at the Ontario Library Association Superconference 2013 energized and hopeful for the future of public libraries.
Innisfil is a small Southern Ontario community about 87 kilometers away from Toronto. Although it was described as combined urban and rural, it tips towards rural. The library’s foray into maker spaces started as early as 2008, when it took a chance by adopting an open source integrated library system. With a culture that supported risk taking, they then looked at transforming their mandate. One of the things that came from user consultations is that IPL wanted to “enable content creation.” This mandate adaptation enabled a change in programming to focus on supporting maker culture or “cultivating a hacker ethic” and how it would look in a public library setting.
Stakeholders, like the library board members and library staff, need to be on board with the huge changes in mandate. There may be some resistance to change understandably, but some strategies were in place to win them over. The board members got additional training on what maker culture meant, and access to explore iPads as well. Also staff were encouraged to play with tools and collaborate on a small-scale projects within a safe environment. The community was engaged through a kickoff gala and a scavenger hunt staged through the town.
Maker spaces includes 2 major components: children’s after school programs, which were in need of re-energizing, and the computer lab. Many public libraries have these programs or services. There were a lot of great ideas for maker projects in after school programs:
- creating small robots with Lego Mindstorms then adding iPad use to animate a story
- light up badge
- Playdough creations that move with simple electronic circuitry
Arduinos are simple electronic devices in do-it-yourself kits and the librarians find they provide a big wow factor in maker projects. Related is Makey Makey for more kits leading to more creative inventions with simple electronics. Part of the lessons learned include the ability to recognize some programs may not have the intended outcome, so there is a need to adapt them on fly as some projects may not have worked well in a group setting. But all in all, Innisfil Public Library saw increased attendance in its after school programs. The library has cycled through different themes to bring back popular programs. Users responded by going to different branches to catch their favourite programs.
IPL had all the basics when moving from computer lab to digital media lab. The cost of upgrading software programs has gone down substantially. For example there are some sophisticated audio and video editing tools out there, which previously were the domain of professionals. Programs ran the gamut from Introduction to MS Word to Getting Published. The publishing course grew out of an extension of people learning to use Word. Once they converted their documents then they could also convert them to .pdf files for sharing. A logical progression was to further extend their sharing or publishing. So the move from an individual creating a story to sharing it with the community really makes the leap into maker culture. Sharing and collaborating are common themes in the transforming nature of maker spaces.
The digital media lab, including guitars, sound and video editing, attracted new users including local businesses completing their own ads to creative teens. It got a laugh but now suddenly the adults were not complaining about teens hanging out and being loud in library, as they were engaged in making music or music videos.
Finally a heart-warming story of how maker spaces has been embraced by the people of Innisfil. A young girl, who wrote a musical, came excitedly to the reference desk and wanted to perform it at the library.
(Thanks to Sarah Simpkin, Mandy Pethick and Aaron DeVries for a great talk.)
- Brenda Wong
Filed under: Public library | 1 Comment
The general consensus among participants (at International Federation of Library Associations meeting) was that public libraries have two, maybe three years to establish their relevance in the digital realm, or risk fading from the central place they have long occupied in the world’s literary culture. – Peter Brantley
Brantley was a participant at talks ensuring digital access to ebooks. I was intrigued by the focus on e-lending and licensing issues. Not merely just about e-books and platforms. Brantley outlines the tensions of licensing ebooks as well as the preservation needs of libraries. To read the full discussion from International Federation of Library Associations called Libraries, e-Lending and the Future of Public Access to Digital Content.“Libraries, e-Lending and the Future of Public Access to Digital Content.
I was surprised to learn Canada was a success story as ”years of negotiations with the Association of Canadian Publishers has resulted in a landmark draft proposal for licensing a bundle of e-books, with terms loosely based on the HarperCollins model, but good for 40 loans rather than 26.” On my wish list I would like to see renewals permitted but that is not the current practice. Also ebooks are widely popular at public libraries.
The libraries and publishers are trying to find a business model where publishers make profit and libraries can ensure access to information. But experiments have had surprising results. In Denmark publishers and libraries came to a broad licencsing agreement with Bluefire Reader. Then more 100,000 users took advantage of the trial with over 600,000 loans in the first year. This was a hugely successful experiment with a relatively small population of 5.5 million Danes.
In a legal library we see the same tensions played on a much smaller scale.
Filed under: eBooks, Public library | 1 Comment