Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


Wearables in Education

One of the current emerging trends in consumer technology is the variety of wearable devices not on the market and yet to come. Devices like Google Glass, smart watches, and fitness trackers are just a few examples of the ways consumers can now wear their technology. But how will wearable technology play out in education (and in libraries)? This post the AR at Mimas blog provides some interesting thoughts about the benefit of wearables in education and a preliminary example of how augmented reality through Glass may be used as an instructional tool. – Kim

Linked Jazz

I stumbled across the Linked Jazz project in this Educause Review article, and it seemed like a great way to understand more about the practical uses of linked data. The big benefit to linked data is the establishment of relationships between objects (in this case, jazz musicians). The project includes a fun Network Visualization Tool that allows you to see the relationships between various musicians. Linked Jazz 52nd ST allows you to participate in the formation of those relationships by interpreting the relationship between two musicians as described in interview transcripts. Try it, and get to know a little more about how linked data is constructed and works. (Warning: It’s more fun than reading the Linked Data Wikipedia entry.) – David

Flexible TV Screens

The technology for flexible, clear displays has been around for a while. But every time I see it, I think “I live in the future!”. Once screens like these become a regular market item, they could drastically change how your library computer lab looks, or even what you can put into your display cases. Maybe the transparent screens could make it easier to see if patrons are looking at appropriate things, or that your students are on task? – Laksamee

“11 University and Library Groups Release Net-Neutrality Principles”

In case you missed it, on Thursday, July 10th 11 higher education and library groups (including the American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries) released a document that outlines 11 principles of net neutrality, intended to inform the FCC decisions on new open-Internet rules. As reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Wired Campus” blog, the principles include “recommendations to prohibit the blocking of legal websites, ensure neutrality on public networks, forbid paid prioritization in the transmission of some content over others, and adopt enforceable policies.” Interested to read the full set off 11 principles? They are also available online. – Kim

 

 


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


Security and Reliability of Research Data Storage

Jonathan Rochkind recently posted a spot-on reflection on a Chronicle of Higher Education post about research data being lost during the crash of a cloud storage solution. His assertion that non-trivial tasks like providing reliable and secure cloud storage require professional specialists in order to get it right can be extrapolated to other technology services/solutions. In harmony with this is Mark Dehmlow’s ITAL editorial that people are one of our most (if not the most) important technology asset. As technology tasks that once required specialists become more consumable by the masses (an amazing thing!), the realization that other equally challenging tasks arise often gets lost. It still takes people with specialist skills and high emotional intelligence to keep the system together. I hope libraries and higher education remember this and don’t wait for IT disasters to remind us. – David

“Google, the fight to forget, and the right to remember”

This recent post by Jeff John Roberts over at Gigaom discusses possible long-term implications of a recent court ruling in the European Union which could give people the power to have search results removed from Google. The article mainly focuses on other examples of selective “forgetting” in European history. Although the ruling does not require the information be removed from the web, removing search results from one of the most popular search engines can relegate information further into the “invisible web.” – Kim

Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025

Pew Research Center released a report about the “Internet of Things” last week, boldly predicting in its headline that “The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025”. We’ve already seen the emergence of consumer products that fit in the Internet of Things (IoT) category – fitbit, Nest Thermostat, etc. Security is a growing concern with the consumerization of “smart” (read: network connected) stuff. Ten years isn’t very long. How will we make our resources part of it? – David

Inventory Wand 

This piece of technology I saw at a recent conference reminds me of the television remote control – so easy, every librarian would want it! If your books are tagged with an RFID, the wand allows you to wave it over multiple books, in a bin, on a shelf etc.  and voila, on a computer screen a list will appear of the items. The list can be customized, allowing you to check in multiple books, find lost items on a shelf or weed the collection of books which fit a specific parameter. I have three words for you: I need one. – Laksamee

Cataloging your home library

 In case you can’t get enough information organization at work, the lull of the summer months could be a great time to catalog your home collection of books. This post from Emily VanBuren over at Inside Higher Ed’s Grad Hacker column briefly reviews 7 apps that can help you on your way! – Kim

 


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


A Renewed Focus On Net Neutrality

Several recent court rulings have may change the way the FCC regulates the internet. These are seen by some proponents of Net Neutrality as steps toward a more closed and corporately controlled internet.  You can read more from Reuters. Confused as to what “Net Neutrality” is? Check out this video and article from CNBC.

Still having trouble deciding which is the best way for internet regulation to go, check out these videos* in favor of Net Neutrality and against Net Neutrality/

*Note: Given this is a hot political issue, these videos of course may be seen as biased.

- Eric G.

Code4Lib 2014

The 2014 Code4Lib Conference took place in Raleigh, NC just about a month ago. I wish it was a conference that I could attend more often, but I’m grateful to the conference planners that they make a point of making the conference content available to those who cannot attend. While some of it may be a little “techie” for general consumption, I think it is a great reminder of how much we can do without investing in the latest gizmos and gadgets but instead investing in skilled individuals with great ideas. Take a look at the conference schedule and check out a couple of the video recordings. There are also some nice write-ups about the conference experience from scholarship recipients. – David

Google Drive Tips

Google tools remain popular with many academic librarians for a variety of tasks. With continual changes, it can sometimes be tough to keep up with all of the neat tricks built in to Google apps and Google Drive. Mashable has a rundown of eight quick tips on some recent updates. – Kim

DIY Holograms

This awesome video produced by PBS Digital Studios and featured on Gizmodo demonstrates how to create a 3D hologram using the “Pepper’s Ghost” technique. Using some 19th century illusions and modern technology, the library can become a campus host for some unique hologram creation and display events. – Kim

 


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

Guest Post: Exploring the Cloudship App

Library Tech Talk is happy to welcome a guest author, Towson University Albert S. Cook Library’s current Residency Librarian for Diversity and Innovation, Sarah Espinosa! Sarah has been rotating through departments in the library during the first year of her residency, contributing to a variety of projects and services in Research & Instruction, Archives & Special Collections, and Technical Services. Here on Tech Talk, she shares with us how she keeps all those projects organized!

Academic librarians manage multiple projects with greater complexity than the traditional to-do list can handle. Projects have collaborators, tasks and sub-tasks, due dates, communication plans, required resources, and more. I’m finding paper organizers too limiting for constantly developing projects.  However, the tools we use for office communication and organization (the Microsoft Office suite, Google apps) don’t cut it, with their limited task structure. Students experience the same challenges as they face more collaborative and experiential projects in their disciplines. So I looked for free project-management applications online that I could use and recommend to others. After using Cloudship for a couple months, I’ve decided that it works well as a web-based application for limited personal project management.

Using Cloudship

Cloudship can be utilized as a desktop application, a web application and a mobile app. I use the web application to manage my work projects, which I like because of the option to create sub-tasks, notes, tags, and due dates.

The dashboard of the web-based Cloudship app.

The dashboard of the web-based Cloudship app.

I enter a task in the top text bar, and then I simply drag-and-drop the task into the correct project. Or, to add tasks within one project, I select it from the left sidebar. The drag-and-drop method makes it easy to reorder tasks by date or in order of importance, and to drag tasks beneath others to create sub-tasks. I can filter my tasks using the To Do, (due) Today, Flag, Completed, Scheduled, and Trash buttons at the top of the screen. The search filter for tagged tasks works extremely well.

Drag-and-drop a task beneath another to create a list of subtasks.

Drag-and-drop a task beneath another to create a list of sub-tasks.

I haven’t utilized a lot of Cloudship’s functionality, which includes linking resources to my project, adding details and collaborators to projects, and sending communications between collaborators. Since I’ve been using Cloudship as a personal project manager, I’m not sure how well the collaboration aspect works. I also have not used the resource tab. It makes more sense to add a resource directly to a task, instead of having a free floating list of resources. Also, Cloudship doesn’t handle URL resources well. The thing that really bothers me is the calendar: there’s an option to use a Cloudship calendar, if you create a paid account, but Cloudship doesn’t integrate with my Outlook or Google calendars.

Cloudship Mobile App

Even so, Cloudship has been exactly what I’ve needed so far–a task manager that allowed for more complex task structures and the flexibility offered by a cloud-based manager. Because of that, I thought I’d try the mobile version. Unfortunately, a lot of the functionality and ease of use I appreciate in the web application just isn’t there in the mobile app.

Here’s the mobile dashboard, which echoes the project-task list from the web dashboard:

The dashboard for the Cloudship mobile app

The dashboard for the Cloudship mobile app

To access my project list, I click the arrow in the top-left corner; to add tasks, I click the plus sign in the upper-right corner; and to navigate between Tasks, Projects, and Resources, I click a tiny arrow next to the plus sign. It isn’t impossible–just clunky. I find myself having to constantly switch which sidebar or window I’m using because I’m always in the wrong section. The app makes no use of the swipe gesture or the ease of drag-and-drop.

Worst of all, I can’t figure out how to create sub-tasks. This deficiency differentiates between Cloudship’s mobile and web versions, and as a developing mobile user–and a librarian recommending apps to students for their own project management purposes–it’s enough to make me jump ship and try out something else. Applications like Wunderlist and Trello make better use of drag-and-drop, swiping, and sub-tasks.

I’ve also noticed that there’s a lot of Cloudship community support and suggestions, with frequent response from developers, about a year ago–then everything stops, which leads me to wonder if Cloudship is still developing. It would be sad if this project were abandoned, because it has potential. However, other apps have both web and mobile ease-of-use, while Cloudship is better used as a web application.


Are you interested in contributing a guest post to Library Tech Talk? Contact kimberlymiller [at] towson [dot] edu for more information.

Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


Archiving Sound with IRENE

With millions of early sound recordings deteriorating across various institutions throughout the nation, there is an urgency to digitize and preserve these recordings before they become unplayable. Now a revolutionary image-scanning technology called the IRENE (Image Reconstruct Erase Noise Etcetera) system has been developed by experimental physicist, Carl Haber and his colleagues. With this technology, a precise image of the grooves in records is captured by special cameras with enough detail to play back the sound not from the grooves but from the image itself. Over the last decade, IRENE has been used to extract sound from discs made from tinfoil, photosensitive glass, or wax-and-cardboard; countless of field recordings, often documenting extinct languages and/or folk rituals; early recordings of folk music; and the first playback of one of the world’s earliest recordings of a human voice from 1860.

IRENE has the potential to capture old recordings before they deteriorate any further, helping audio preservationists to buy some crucial time, however some questions remain. Will this technology prove to be scalable and affordable enough to become a practical tool for most institutions to use? But as David Giovannoni, an independent audio historian, points out, “IRENE is fantastic because it allows us to hear recordings that we otherwise would not be able to hear. The downside is cost, but the good news is that we don’t need this new technology to transfer and preserve 99.99 percent of our grooved audio heritage.” - Armando

Look Before You Link

As explained in this Gizmodo article, a proposed change to copyright law by the U.S. Copyright Office could make posting links a lot more risky. At first, I thought I might be overreacting, but I was relieved of that worry when I saw that Dan Cohen of DPLA fame had blogged about this topic. Most creators who publish their creations openly on the web want people to link to them. It would seem that this addition would inhibit that. Would libraries have to get permission to link to an open access journal? Defeats the point, doesn’t it? – David

Top Trends & Themes from SXSW Interactive

Didn’t make it to SXSW Interactive this year? Ellyssa Kroski over at iLibrarian has a great summary of “Top Trends, Themes, and Quotes of SXSW Interactive” for those of us who missed out! – Kim

 Our Bleeding Hearts

ICYMI: The Heartbleed security flaw was the news of the Internet last week. The flaw has been covered in a number of news outlets and you may have received messages from some of your favorite web services asking you to change your password. ReadWriteWeb has some great, easy to understand information about why Heartbleed is a big deal and some suggestions for steps you might take to protect your data. – Kim

 


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


From NPR: “Paper Notebooks That Become Digital Files”

A new innovation that has the ability to create digital files from paper notebooks bridging the gap between the worlds of paper and digital technology. Once the user finishes taking notes in their Mod Notebook which comes in three paper types (plain, ruled, and dot-grid), they can mail it back to the company using a prepaid shipping envelope located in the back cover. The contents of the notebook will then get scanned and digitized for free within five days, and the notebook can either be recycled or returned to the owner. Once the notebook is digitized, the notes are uploaded in the Mod app, a web app that can be accessed from any mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. The user can also sync the pages to the cloud with Dropbox, Evernote, and OneNote accounts. – Armando

EDUCAUSE Report: Top-Ten IT Issues, 2014

EDUCAUSE recently released its annual report on the top-ten IT issues in higher education, as well as a breakdown of the top-ten IT issues by Carnegie Classification. It’s always interesting (and often reassuring) to read this list and not encounter anything of great surprise. As technology-driven organizations within institutions of higher education, it’s also a useful activity for academic libraries to reflect on these issues to understand their own position within the university – to understand where we might be pushing the boundaries of IT capabilities and where we can lend a hand to overcoming some of these issues. On a micro scale, we also experience some of these same issues – moving our library applications to the cloud, improving student outcomes, etc. I look forward to the year where this report no longer includes “wireless” as an issue! – David

E-Nabling the Future 

From: E-Nabling the Future

From: E-Nabling the Future

3D Printers are popping up in a lot of places now. Quite a few libraries have joined the maker space movements and purchased a 3D printer for community use. The E-Nable group went viral when the picture of a small girl (Shea) forming a heart with her hand and 3D printed Mech-En hand was posted on Facebook. It’s a great example of the power of making technology publicly available. Consider the technology in your library and find ways to collaborate with all different communities, you never know what could happen! – Laksamee

 Read Write Web: Arduino Rising

Library makerspaces across the country have started to make use of low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry technology like the Arduino board and the Raspberry Pi. In honor of World Arduino Day (March 29th)  Read Write Web shares links to 10 neat projects you can use to get started with an Ardunio, including a talking clock, a Twitter-enabled coffee pot, and a pollutant sensor. – Kim

 


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

Tech Roundup

Technology Committee members here at Towson University’s Cook Library are always on the hunt for new technology applications to bring into the library or technology-related issues our library should be addressing.  As we scour the internet for important, interesting, or just plain cool examples of technology applications, issues, or news, we post links and  summaries with our take here to the blog.


Fact Check your App

One of the discussions I look forward to in my library sessions involves fact checking. Students often say, it’s so easy to fact check with everything being online. However, I always ask them to go a step further. This campaign hoax around an app for drinking is a great example to bring up. The technology we are taking in everyday also needs a critical filter  and hopefully as we ask students to fact check their own research, they are also considering how critical thought applies toward more than just the written word. - Laksamee

Education Templates in Stormboard

Many of our librarians have been using Padlet this semester for student collaboration in a variety of classes. Recently, Stormboard was featured on Free Technology for Teachers as a similar tool, with additional features including templates for a variety of brainstorming and planning needs. Sticky notes, videos, documents, images, and sketches can be added to each “Storm” (i.e., “brainstorm” board). The “Storms” also searchable, each note can be color-coded, and users can leave comments on each piece of the board. The free version is capped at 5 users per “Storm” and requires users to create an account to participate. These limitations may make Stormboard more useful as an brainstorming tool for individuals or  small teams. – Kim

Foursquare and Recommendations

From ReadWriteWeb – An interesting interview with mobile app Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley about the beginning of Foursquare, “anticipatory computing,” and the power of data in apps like Foursquare to recommend or predict our future actions. As libraries continue to be concerned with data privacy and ownership, is there a safe way we could harness data like that collected in mobile apps to recommend information sources to our users? Does that cross the line? - Kim

XKCD: Manuals

And now a little technology humor, brought to you by XKCD.

XKCD Manuals comic

From XKCD: Manuals

We’ve been doing some usability testing on the library’s website over the past three weeks and this comic seemed to hit-the-nail-on-the-head with regards to creating a user-friendly website. They shouldn’t need a manual (or any other instruction) to navigate the website! – Kim


What do you think about some of the issues or technologies presented?  Have you found anything interesting online this week? Share in the comments!

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