Developing libraries beyond web 2.0

Nick Stopforth (Newcastle Libraries) gave a fast-paced tour of technology developments on the horizon and their applications and implications for libraries.  He encouraged us to think of the opportunities and the gaps associated/filled/opened up by each.

Nick works in the public library sector, and feels that academic libraries are ahead in terms of technological change and he gains a lot of useful ideas from following them – as an academic librarian, this felt good to hear!

Hype cycle – bear this in mind when considering adopting a new technology.

Hype cycle

It can be difficult to tell where you are on the curve – he suggested that Twitter was at the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ but I think who you are and how you use a technology has a strong influence here.  For example, for me and many other librarians who use Twitter, I feel that I have reached a point in my relationship with Twitter where it really helps me do my job and network with other professionals, and I would place our use closer to the ‘plateau of productivity’.

RFID

  • Nick recommended Mick Fortune’s RFID blog
  • Similar standardisation problems as ebooks – different tools not interoperable between different systems (though ISO 28560-2 standard should help?)
  • Future: wearable RFID devices?

Context-aware computing

  • Gadgets will become more like personal companions
  • Example: TV remote control can collect data about how it is used by different people and offer recommendations for TV shows

Location-based data

  • Great advances in GPS technology
  • Proximity marketing using facial recognition uses expressions to decide which advert to display
  • Facial recognition used stealthily by Facebook (as reported in the Daily Telegraph)

Social media

  • Increasing business use has made social media more corporate
  • Google+ is the new competitor

Open source data

Augmented reality

  • Lets you know about nearby services, or combine with RFID to locate the position of a book
  • E-commerce
  • Apps for tourists

QR codes

  • Increasing use in business and advertising
  • Signposting – useful in libraries!
  • Green (paperless) ticketing
  • Dutch coinage with QR code

Issues

  • Privacy and security
  • Openness and transparency
  • Linked data – where does it go?
  • Costs and savings
  • Marketing and promotion

Other trends

  • Web traffic to mobile devices increasing
  • Rise of cloud computing
  • Ebooks and digital publishing

Signage and wayfinding

Library Guide

It’s the start of a new academic year, and I have updated all the signage in the library to help students use the library effectively from their first visit.

Welcome to the College Library

I have kept to a house style to make the signs look smart; kept the number of words to a minimum and the tone friendly and positive.  For example, rather than saying that drinks and food are not allowed, I have chosen ‘you are welcome to bring bottled water into the library’.

Floor plans

When planning the maps for the two floors, I decided to use the terms ‘upper floor’ and ‘lower floor’ since ‘first floor’ has a different meaning in Britain and the USA.

The new signs are helping to create a smart and purposeful atmosphere in the library, and they seem to be effective as we are having very few students asking questions which could have been answered by reading one of these notices.

“Chips and Mash” Mashed Libraries event, Huddersfield, 30th July 2010

What is a mashup?

A mashup is a derivative work consisting of blending two or more media sources. For example, a live train map for the London Underground, a remix of songs, or a calendar add-on showing the due dates on your library books.

The first Mashed Libraries event took place at Birkbeck College in November 2008. Since then, there have been events at Huddersfield (Mash Oop North!), Birmingham (Middlemash) and Liverpool (Liver and Mash). Since the theme of this event was RFID, the name Chips and Mash emerged. The next mashed libraries meet will be in Bath on 29th October, and the name Mash Spa has already been suggested.

Librarians deal with a huge amount of data, and the Mashed Library events provide a context for bringing together librarians and technical people to find new ways of ‘mashing’ library data into new and wonderful forms.

The word ‘shambrarian’ was often heard at Chips and Mash! A shambrarian is someone who works in a library or information management context (often in a tech/IT role), who knows a lot of librarians and may share some of their characteristics but is not a librarian themselves.  Librarians often have ideas for mashups they would like to create, and they need the shambrarians’ tech skills to make them happen.

The main thing I learned about today was QR [quick response] codes

Here is an example of a QR codeQR code linking to my Twitter profile

Many people now have smartphones, and you can download a free QR reader app for your device.  When you scan the QR code with your phone, it will link you to directly to some text, a URL or a phone number.  This QR code will direct you to my Twitter profile.

Some libraries are now displaying QR codes at strategic points to help with user education.  for example, a QR code by the photocopier might link the user to a tutorial about how to do double-sided copies, or QR codes on print journals might link directly to the electronic version of the same title.

I like the way that exploring the library using information linked from QR codes could make the process seem like a treasure hunt or an adventure, rather than a chore.

Generating a QR code is free.  Search for ‘QR code generator’ and you will find a variety of sites for creating your code.  You can then save the image as a file, or copy and paste the HTML to embed the image on a web page.

RFID

Intellident sponsored Chips and Mash and they brought along some RFID products to demo. I was excited to see the same type of self-service kiosk that will be arriving in my library in two weeks’ time! John Cunningham did a presentation about the range of applications they have for RFID, including monitoring the supply chain stages of fresh fruit and vegetables for supermarkets and movement of clothing stock for Marks and Spencer (look out for ‘intelligent labels for stock control’).

smartBlade

Linda Davies described to us the Intellident smartBlade installation at her workplace, Cardiff University. It involves placing thin panels at intervals all along the bookshelves. Using the related software, you can search for a book, and the system will send a pulse out to all the panels, reading all the books’ RFID tags until it finds the book you have searched for.  A small blue light then flashes on the panel closest to the book.  There were many impressed faces in the audience but I think very fee of us will ever see this in our libraries. As for me, I’m content with having RFID at all, and the installation of the system in my library this summer is very exciting.

Badge(r)s!

Lisa Balman's inspired badge combines a badger and a QR code

We were asked to bring our own name badges for this event, and undercurrents of creativity and competitiveness blossomed into a competition for who had the best badge.  This was further complicated by the ‘badger’ theme – a Mashed Libraries tradition harking back to some meeting notes in which ‘badge’ had been misspelled – and now it seems that badgers are the official mascot of the mashup events.

My Chips and Mash badge, made out of an RFID tag

My Chips and Mash badge, made out of an RFID tag

I took pictures of as many badges as I could and you can see my photos in this Flickr set.  I won a prize for my badge, made out of an RFID tag!