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Thursday, June 05, 2008


Open Session on Open Source

At the recent OLC Management Conference, Glen Horton of SWON Libraries and Shawn Walsh of NEO-RLS led a discussion titled "Open Session on Open Source." We didn't have a large crowd, but there were many good questions and information shared among the attendees. The room was a mix of smaller and mid-size library systems.

To generate discussion, the following questions were posed:
Many libraries in the room were already using or playing with open source software in some way.

In many cases open source is being used in "low-profile" areas such as servers or staff stations.

Some libraries are running OpenOffice.org on their public stations.

One library in the room is considering using Edubuntu on some children's workstation. Greene County Public Library has already implemented an Edubuntu lab and has posted a series of how-to videos.

The bulk of the conversation revolved around open source ILSs. There is a concern in libraries that these products are not as feature-rich as their proprietary counterparts. It seems that many libraries are waiting for open source ILSs to "mature" and offer all of the features that their current systems provide. Glen and Shawn noted that these types of features often show up when a single library makes the time and commitment to implement it on their own. The new feature(s) can then be integrated with the existing code and shared with others.

A library asked if RFID is being used in any libraries with an open source ILS. After some research, we have not been able to find such a library.

It's clear that many libraries are comfortable with their turn-key systems. Some open source library vendors already offer these services, but having more options and choices would likely draw more libraries.

Libraries in Ohio seem to want more direction at the state level about how to proceed with an open source ILS. Open source is all about choice, but some libraries are concerned they will make the "wrong" choice and choose a system that will not be supported for resource sharing, funding, etc.

Glen and Shawn noted that libraries will see many more open source ILSs become available in the future. So the options and choices will only grow. We are also likely to see the traditional, proprietary ILS vendors respond to the open source "threat." Vendors may open up some of their services or change their pricing and support structure to stay competitive.

Libraries in the room also asked about open source content management systems. Outside of ILSs, using an open source system to manage website content seems to be the other big open source trend in libraries. Glen and Shawn have both seen libraries in their regions ditching FrontPage, Dreamweaver, etc. and moving to software like Drupal and Joomla. A CMS makes it easier for multiple staff to be involved in a site's upkeep. CMSs also tend to build-in social tools like blogs and wikis.

Of course, big open source projects like ILSs and CMSs are often built on top of other open source tools that handle database, web server, and OS operations. Once these back-end tools are in place, it's usually much easier for a library to use other open source projects that build on the same tools.

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Friday, May 23, 2008


Gadgets Presentation

Last month I participated in the Division's annual bootcamp. I spoke about mobile devices in libraries. The slides are up on Google Docs and the link can be found below. While viewing the slides, you can use the "print slides" link in the bottom-right corner to print or save as a PDF.

Got Gadgets? Supporting Mobile Devices in Your Library

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


New blog from OPLIN

Fresh off the (virtual) presses from OPLIN: a new blog to help break down some of the latest technology trends and issues into small, understandable bytes. Check out What Does This Mean to Me, Laura? The first two posts cover RSS and Twitter.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Cleveland Public Library opens new island in Second Life

Cleveland Public Library, of Cleveland, Ohio, is opening a new sim on Friday, November 16th. Cleveland Public Library is the third largest public research library in the United States, and also is the largest repository of chess-related items in the world. The island includes playable, life-size chess sets, and the Main Library building currently features an exhibit of historical chess sets owned by the library in real life. Also be sure to check out the Photo Gallery (believe us, you'll know it when you see it!), where we have an exhibit of sheet music related to Cleveland and Ohio.

The sim will open to the public at 7pm EST with tours as time and guides allow. Grand opening activities will include two live music performances: Picker Apogee at 8pm and Nad Gough at 10pm. A costume contest for the best chess-related costume will take place at 9pm, with a $1000 Linden dollars grand prize to the winner. The life-size chess sets will also be available for casual or competitive play. Please IM Lebachai Vesta with any questions. Please join us to celebrate this major opening in Second Life!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Web Site Casting: Netting Bigger, Better, More Diverse Audiences

Web Site Casting: Netting Bigger, Better, More Diverse Audiences

David Bullock, Cuyahoga County PL

Kathy Schnell, Cuyahoga County PL

Podcasting/vodcasting gives libraries an opportunity to expose services to people who don’t walk through our doors

Can help extend your programming to people who can’t come to the library; can also webcast it live to other branches so it can be available at other locations; not limited by as much physical capacity in the room

Can be used for online tutorials or readers’ advisory

Will show how they use it at CCPL

CCPL has a separate Media department to handle all this


What Can You Learn from a Bookstore?

What Can You Learn from a Bookstore?

Suzanne DeGaetano, Mac’s Backs—Books on Coventry (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)

Richard Wilson, Borders Books (unable to attend)

Liz Murphy, The Learned Owl Book Shop (Hudson, Ohio)

Library and bookstore partnerships

What are you going to do to keep customers coming back?

Marketing product


You Offer Me Nothing: Serving Next Generation Patrons

You Offer Me Nothing: Serving Next Generation Patrons

Moderator: Don Yarman

Panelists: Karl Jendretzky, Bridget

Karl is tech manager for OPLIN, but has no use for libraries

Bridget is a manager for an autoglass company; her kids use libraries, but she and her husband do not

The purpose of the program is not to convince non-library users; they know libraries have all the stuff they have and can help, so the idea is to find out how their needs are being met outside of libraries

Did the panelists use libraries before?

Karl used it as a young child, but not since; same for Bridget.

Karl consumes a lot of media (not novel); where does he get these?

TV—uses BitTorrent, VCR

Music—he downloads it but doesn’t redistribute

Movies—doesn’t download as much, but hates NetFlix because of the wait time and called it “lame”

“Never pay for it” philosophy

Deletes the stuff mostly when he’s done with it; his motivation is not to have his own library

Doesn’t want to buy CDs anyway, but won’t put CDs in his machine because of the problems with (for example) Sony rootkits and DRM

One of the audience members pointed out that Nine Inch Nails and Madonna have dropped their record labels and gone out on their own

With research databases, too many obstacles, take too long

Physical libraries—feels uncomfortable, doesn’t understand Dewey Decimal system, has to go there

Bridget—her reading habits and how libraries don’t fit into them

Reads novels every night and grew up with libraries

But works and has two kids(that she reads to every night)

Has no time to go

Likes to keep books when she’s done

Library scares her; but doesn’t know how to easily how to get things off the shelf

Takes a long time to find what she wants

Sees books and authors she’s never heard of

Fewer books at the bookstore; not so much choice

Bookstores have the most current stuff ; they’re set up for consumerism

Would be interested in a library service where the books were delivered to her house and she could keep the ones she liked and send back the ones she didn’t

Only uses her computer at work and for email

Doesn’t have time to go to programs at the library; library programs don’t fit in at times they have

Is there anything libraries can do to get them to come in?

More intuitive signage

More face-up display; libraries only show spines. No visual appeal or easy way to scan materials

Shelves are too high in libraries

Claustrophobic aisles, brown, dark aisles—she left the library

Everything else Bridget does in her life has consumerism behind it; libraries don’t market themselves or show people how we can make their lives easier

Libraries are not shoved in their faces; they don’t think about them

Like the idea of roving librarians, not having librarians behind a big desk

Like the concept of libraries, but not convenient

Would probably support a library levy for the people who can’t buy books

Would come if video games were circ’d—need to bring in adults

Would come if libraries hosted LAN parties at night

Bridget said that if her kids check out R-rated materials, that’s NOT the library’s fault

Should libraries focus on their “brand” (books)?

Karl feels that printed materials are becoming obsolete

Karl feels printed materials for reference don’t have a place anymore

How do we promote services to non-users?

Flyers in the local pizza place

Commercials (for those who don’t skip through them)


Web Site Casting

David Bullock and Kathy Schnell will present "Web Site Casting: Netting Bigger, Better, More Diverse Audiences" on Thursday, 10/11, at 4:15pm. Visit the session's web site for more information.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


"Managing Rights or Managing Restrictions?" Slides Available

Glen Horton will present "Managing Rights or Managing Restrictions? " at OLC's 2007 Convention and Expo. The session will be held Wednesday, October 10 at 4:30pm as part of the Intellectual Freedom track. The presentation slides are now available for viewing and printing.


Come tweet with us at OLC Convention!

Stop by the table of the OLC Information & Technology Division at the OLC Convention October 10-12 and you can use the Twitter service to put a quick shout out to whomever you'd like on our public Twitter account. We'll have a monitor so people walking by can see as they're happening! (And you can subscribe to the Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline/9002512.rss .)


"Look Before You Leap" Powerpoint presentation

Tomorrow, Glen Horton and Laura Solomon will be presenting at the Ohio Library Council's Convention and Expo . Their session is called "Look Before You Leap: Why Web 2.0 Alone Will Not Save Your Library." It's at 3:15 on Wednesday. Neither Glen nor Laura provide handouts, so you can print your own from the Powerpoint here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Presentations from The Right Click

Below are a few more presentations from last week's technology showcase:

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