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.


L.A. Schools ask for a Refund

L.A. schools purchased more than 100,000 iPads that were to be paired with English and math curriculum from Pearson. Schools complained that the software caused problems frequently and now only 2 of the 69 schools use the technology regularly. This is a sort of cautionary tale that warns about using technology as a Band-Aid. Without proper curriculum, training, and support these admirable ventures have no guarantees for success. – Matt

For Apple Fans: A New Mini Web Series about Apple Adding & Removing Useful Software & Features

Are you a fan of Apple products or know somebody who is? The Mac New Network (MacNN) has recently posted an excellent set of articles about how Apple drops useful programs and features and the problems that it can cause Mac fans. You can read the whole series by viewing the links below. – Eric

Google Glass & Medical Education

The University of Michigan Health System is using Google Glass during anatomy labs to provide students with hands-free access to reference materials. While the ability to study hands-free may not be crucial in a library setting it’s possible to imagine students sitting at clutter free workstations if the sources they are researching are accessed via Google Glass. – Matt

 Ancient Scrolls Come Back to Life

As reported in Smithsonian, researchers are using a technique called x-ray phase-contrast tomography, or XPCT, to read scrolls  from the library at Herculaneum that burned in the 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius eruption. Click over to the original story to learn more about the technique and how researchers hope to use this technology to analyze materials previously thought be in accessible! – 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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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.


Preserving Historical Documents

A group of researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich has developed a time-tested preservation method by encapsulating DNA in silica and applying an algorithm when reading it that allows data to be decoded after time has taken its toll. Currently, there are inherent risks with storing data on hard drives and other methods, and this process could guarantee the preservation of historical documents for thousands or even millions of years.

To test its method, the team encoded the Swiss Federal Charter, written in 1291, as well as The Methods of Mechanical Theorems by the Greek philosopher Archimedes into DNA. And although the DNA was slightly damaged at the end of the process, the information could be decoded accurately with the help of a simple algorithm. Robert Grass, the study’s lead researcher envisions that this method could be mostly utilized by institutions such as libraries and governmental agencies to preserve data and documents that need to be preserved at all costs. – Armando

Osmo

Osmo is a suite of interactive games which utilize the camera on an iPad. A mirror, stand, and various interactive playing pieces provide a simple set of 4 games. While edutainment faces many critiques, this could be a great way to engage patrons in a library. Present the game to draw patrons up to a table to interact with other resources, start a conversation about technology, or learn about exciting events! Check out this video demo to learn more! – Laksamee

Beacon Technology in Education

“Beacon technology” – or the ability to use Bluetooth technology transmit information to nearby smart devices – has recently received attention in retail and other business arenas. A recent article from Huffington Post  proposes fifteen possible uses of beacons in education, many of which could be applied or extended to the academic library environment. If you could use beacon technology in your library, what type of information or messages would you send to your visitors? – Kim

 Hub of All Things (HAT)

Most of us realize that we could be signing away our souls when we click agreement forms for things like Facebook and any app on our smart devices. But what should also be considered is how others are gathering our information and using that data to potentially make profit. A recent video on the web comic PhD explored the idea of privacy and ownership in the digital age and how one project, Hub of All Things, is trying to allow people to take ownership over their own data, and make it work for them, rather than just giving away to businesses benefiting from our online actions. – Laksamee


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.


Apple’s new wearable technology

Last Monday Apple unveiled its latest piece of technology, the Apple Watch. BBC reports smartwatch sales are estimated to grow eight times this year. Wearables could change the way students interact with our services, by leading them to a particular resource or their new favorite study spot. – Arthur

SXSWedu – “3 Big Issues”

SXSWedu wrapped up last week in Austin, TX. This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Wired Campus blog discusses three issues that were prevalent across programs, namely student privacy, new forms of credentials, and helping instructors build learning gadgets. As academic librarians are already considering the ethics of tools like learning analytics, pursuing alternative credentialing (e.g., badging), and creating spaces where students and faculty alike can “make” things, it seems natural that we tap into the energy around these topics in higher education more generally. – Kim

Setting up Google Hangout On Air

Google Hangouts On Air allow users to broadcast their hangouts to a live audience for free. This post from Moving at the Speed of Creativity includes step-by-step directions for setting up an on air hangout. Academic librarians might take note of Hangouts On Air to broadcast events, facilitate live discussion, or perhaps even bring guest speakers to campus virtually. – Kim

Office 2016 for Mac: Coming soon

Recently Microsoft released the Office 2016 preview for Mac, this means we may see an official release in the not so distant future! Five years since the last Office release for Mac, 2016 promises to bring a familiar look and feel for those who have learned to love Office on Windows. – Arthur


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.


Superior click data?

Many libraries utilize Google Analytics in order to gather information on how their resources are being viewed and used online. However, this data is often limited to simple number of clicks per page or basic download statistics. This article highlights how one library was able to gather more in-depth information on usage of their institutional repository by developing custom tracking code with Google APIs. – Laksamee

A Look at Microsoft HoloLens

From the New York Times – Microsoft recently debuted HoloLens, high definition hologram glasses, as their new entry into the wearable technology market. In the future, will libraries leverage this technology to offer users the ability to interact with holograms of rare books or other fragile objects? – Kim

Legos and insects!

This unique use of Legos allowed entomologists to handle delicate insect specimens easily and cheaply in order to help digitize their insect collection. Library archives might consider developing their own tools to handle rare books! – Laksamee

 

Flipboard on the web

As Wired.com reports, Flipboard (previously featured on Library Tech Talk) is now on the web! Now you can create your own personalized digital magazine to stay current with your library technology stories, other news, and humorous GIFs. – 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.


Interview with Anurag Acharya, Google Scholar Co-creator

After ten years, Google Scholar remains a heavily used search engine across many academic fields, and librarians continue to help students, faculty, and staff make the most of its resources. In an interview with Scientific American, Google Scholar co-creator Anurag Acharya discusses the search engine’s inception, development, and future! – Kim

Resources for Working with iPads

Apple’s iPad is a great resource for Academic Library’s but where can you turn to when you are having problems with your iPad’s want or to try something different with them. Here are a few places you can look:

These sites have great information and the community sites have great active users who are willing to give ideas and tips. – Eric

 Reuters: “Google Glass future clouded as some early believers lose faith”

Read an article about emerging wearable technologies and you’re likely greeted with a picture of a person wearing Google Glass. However, as Reuters reports, some developers are beginning to doubt Glass will take off in the consumer space, with perhaps continued specialized applications in the workplace. Will academic and research libraries develop as a fruitful space for more specialized Glass development? – Kim

Microsoft Office Comes to iOS for Free

In case you missed it: Microsoft has released free iOS apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, allowing iPad and iPhone users to create, edit, and save Office documents without an Office 365 account. This may be welcome news for librarians who want to work with Office documents from an iOS device, but unfortunately apps for Android devices have not been released. – 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.


 Google Forms Add-ons

The Library Tech Talk blog has previously presented Google Forms as a survey platform option for librarians. In addition to new themes and added flexibility in personalizing form themes, Google recently announced a variety of free add-ons, making it easier to use Google Forms in more advanced ways. For example, if librarians use Google Forms to collect user feedback for a predetermined length of time, the “formLimiter” app could be used to automatically close the survey after a specific date or amount of time. The add-ons have been created by developers using Google Apps Script – librarians with a bit of JavaScript knowledge might also explore creating their own add-ons! – Kim

Hybrid Play

Gamification has a hand in making mundane tasks more fun. A recent indie gogo campaign has create an attachment that allows playground equipment to become a controller for a series of virtual games. While this application is more relevant to getting children more physically active, I could also see this being developed as a way to make your time in the office a bit more active, or perhaps make a library scavenger hunt a bit more interesting. – Laksamee

 EBSCO Flipster

Last week, EBSCO introduced Flipster, a platform for browsing digital versions of popular magazines. With Flipster, users can browse and read magazines on their desktops or on mobile devices through native apps for Android and iOS. Last year, Library Tech Talk shared thoughts about a similar product, Browzine, an app which brings journal articles to your tablet. EBSCO’s entry into the digital periodical market with Flipster, while focusing primarily on popular sources, illustrates a continued trend towards digital and, more specifically, mobile content delivery for magazines, journals, and newspapers. – Kim

 Penn State: One Button Studio

As part of a recent small-scale renovation, our library at Towson University is seeking to add more media and “presentation practice” space for student use. Even if libraries can carve out dedicated media production space and provide equipment, there’s no guarantee that all students know enough about video production to use the equipment effectively. Penn State has started solving this problem with “One Button Studio,” an app that automatically activates predetermined equipment settings and allows for recording with the touch of a single button. – Shannon & 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.


Adobe Digital Editions and User Privacy

There’s a new thread of privacy discussions going on surrounding a recent uncovering of user activity data being collected by Adobe Digital Editions software. This software is used by most ebook platforms that libraries provide to their patrons. (TU has it installed on our public computers.) In addition to the privacy concern, there are also security concerns with the way this data collection is implemented. ALA released a statement criticizing Adobe’s current collection practices. What is interesting is that, while libraries uphold user privacy, we would also find the type of data being collected incredibly insightful for understanding the users’ ebook reading behaviors and experiences. It’s difficult to determine where data collection stops being helpful and starts becoming invasive. – David

Jeopardy-style Review Games

A quick round or two of Jeopardy can be a fun way to assess students’ knowledge at the beginning of a library instruction session or help them review what they’ve learned once an instruction session is over. While tools like Microsoft PowerPoint templates have helped librarians build Jeopardy games for a number of years,  Free Technology for Teachers recently posted “Three Nice Online Tools for Building Jeopardy-style Review Games” that librarians might also explore. Just remember to phrase your answer in the form of a question! – Kim

Google Releases Free Icons

As featured in Gizmodo, Google recently released a set of 750 icons via Github that are open source and free to use. Although intended for mobile designers and released as part of Google’s Material Design project, anyone can download the set of icons for use in other projects. Librarians looking for other free, open source or public domain icons should also check out the Noun Project. – Kim

“The 4 Flavors of Makerspaces”

Ellyssa Kroski at iLibrarian recently featured a run down (with examples) “The 4 Flavors of Makerspaces,” including FabLabs, Hackerspaces, TechShops, and Maerkspaces. As librarians continue to jump on the Makerspace train, it’s important to note that these spaces are not “one-size fits all” and fun to consider which iteration may fit our communities and our spaces the best. – 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.


dripread

If the only reading you seem to be doing is via email, dripread might be for you. Send yourself a page a day to read, maybe to break up the monotony of meeting requests or just to serve as a reminder that you have a reading list that you should be trying to get through. There’s a selection of free books you can utilize, or you can sync the account to Google to connect ebooks you already own. Alas, there is no synchronization to Kindle books, but if you have the epub files for any material they can be uploaded to dripread to be dispensed in small doses. – Laksamee

ARLIS/NA Multimedia Technology Reviews

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) recently published its latest bi-monthly collection of Multimedia and Technology reviews, which they describe as targeting “projects, products, events, and issues within the broad realm of multimedia and technology related to arts scholarship, research, and librarianship.” Included in the most recent review are projects and services like the reference manager ProQuest Flow, the mobile application Blek, and the Design Envy blog. – Kim

CamScanner

Tired of searching for a scanner to use at work? The solution might be right in front of you. CamScanner is an app that uses your mobile devices camera as a scanner, allowing you to scan and enhance scans on the fly. It’s not new, and I’m sure there are numerous other scanner apps available in your favorite app store. This one has worked for me, though – just enough functionality. I’ve even started using it to preserve my whiteboard scribbles during brainstorming sessions. The free version has been enough for me, but at $1.99 the paid app might be a good deal. – David

Data Analytics in Higher Education

This post from The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Wired Campus blog highlights trends in data analytics from the recent Educause conference. As colleges and universities find new ways to collect and use data about their institutions (and students, more specifically), what type of data are librarians interested in collecting? What do we want to know about our users? And what are the implications for privacy or other ethical considerations when collecting this so called “digital intelligence?” – 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.


Hollywood’s Digital Archiving Dilemma

As the motion picture industry has shifted from analog film to digital, the process of archiving digital materials has been a challenge. Film can usually last for at least a century if properly stored in a temperature controlled room, but in a digital environment, formats continue to change requiring periodic transfer to new media. Additionally, there are multiple digital archiving systems in the market, as well as a variety of versions of digital storage technologies. Now, a new Archive Exchange Format (AXF), has been made a standard by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in order to create “a robust mechanism for storing archival material on any physical medium that is recoverable with any other AXF-supported technology,” regardless of changes in digital archiving technologies. Various companies from within Hollywood and beyond were involved in the project, including the Library of Congress. – Armando

Tech Enabled Nap Rooms?

Although students will often sacrifice a good night’s sleep for a few more study hours, sleep is vital for health and learning. A few libraries across the country have started offering havens for sleep-deprived students, setting up napping stations to promote catching a few Z’s. While a cot and a quiet room is often sufficient for a power nap, some universities are investigating high-tech nap pods that include features like pre-programmed nap cyles. Now that’s next-level research relief! – Kim

Digital Paper

Smart pens have been in the works for a while, but they haven’t quite caught on yet. I know quite a few academics who treasure their moleskin notebooks. Well now those notebooks can work with the Livescribe digital smartpens. Maybe these will tempt you away from the uni-task ink pen – Laksamee

“What Do Schools Risk by Going ‘Full Google?'”

This article from Anya Kamenetz at the KQED MindShift blog provides some important considerations as more schools rely heavily on Google tools for education. Along with the recently launched Classroom, Google’s free Apps for Education remain popular in K-12 and higher education (as well as their libraries). Should concerns like ease of adoption and student privacy give educators pause before taking their classroom “full Google?:”- 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

We’re back with a new “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.


NPR: “How Long Do CDs Last?”

This article and story from NPR relates to technology obsolescence, specifically the use of CDs for long-term storage in archives, libraries, and other institutions. Have we placed too much faith in digital media as a solution for our preservation needs?  As the article states, back in the 1990s, a variety of institutions, such as historical societies, museums, and symphonies, began to transfer all kinds of information, from sound recordings to public records, to what was thought to be the durable medium of compact discs. But preservationists are now worried that there is a high risk of much of that precious data to disappear, due to their degradation. And this is especially true in places where the resources are limited to be able to adequately control the environment. There is also the factor of not all CDs being created equally, with a variety of manufacturing standards, depending on the year and factory. Other ways to store information for long-term preservation are now being adopted, such as archiving material on servers, but would these bring forth other unknown problems in the future? – Armando

Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition

Since 2002, the New Media Consortium Horizon Project has tracked emerging technologies poised to impact teaching, learning, research, and creative inquiry. Recently, the Horizon Project released their first ever “Library Edition” devoted to key trends, challenges, and technology developments that will affect academic and research libraries worldwide over the next five years. Check it out! – Kim

The University Library as Incubator for Digital Scholarship

This Educause Review article confirms a recent observation I’ve had: the number of university libraries that are creating spaces for scholars to collaborate, display, and extend their work is increasing.  These spaces take on a lot of different names – “Scholarship Lab”, “Scholarly Commons”, “Center for Digital Scholarship” – and, from the examples the article gives, are typically found at large research institutions. While Towson may not hold the same Carnegie Classification as some of the institutions where these labs are popping up, I do still think the concept has implications for the types of spaces that we might consider creating. The author describes three areas of focus for these spaces: (1) Data services, (2) Visualization techniques, and (3) Digitization, publishing, and sharing. I’m especially intrigued by the author’s hint at the digital scholarship incubator as a scholarly take on “makerspaces”. I’d encourage you to take a look at some of the examples of these spaces that the article mentions. – David

Biobatteries

Researchers have developed a temporary tattoo that reads lactate levels in order to better understand what’s happening in the body during exercise. But what everyone is excited about is that this could be a way to gather power from your workout. Maybe your 15 minute break can be used to recharge your devices! – Laksamee

What Kids Students are Bringing Back to School This Year

Every year the major technology vendors offer various back-to school deals. Check out these links to see what kind of technology you might be seeing around the library this fall:

From Dell: Laptops with free tablets

From Microsoft: Will give students a $100 discount on eligible Windows computers, and $150 when they buy an eligible Windows computer and Office 365

From Apple: A student’s new Mac will come with $100 gift card, while a new iPad or iPhone will give them $50 credit to spend at Apple.

From BestBuy: Best Buy has a whole host of discounts via coupon for college students that can be found at this link

– Eric

Free Resume Template Sources

Do you need to spiff up that resume for a job or internship search? Do just like knowing about free stuff out there? Lifehacker recently highlighted a resource that provides 275 free Microsoft Word resume templates for you to download. There is also a link to free Google Docs resume templates if you like writing in the cloud. Go on, and show off those skills! – 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!

Unless noted, neither Library Tech Talk nor our authors are affiliated with any of the technologies or technology companies mentioned on this website… we just share what we think is important, useful, or awesome.