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.


Videos from Google

Google Analytics released a series of amusing videos showcasing how important end user experience is by performing “real life” examples of failed online patron interactions. Particularly relevant to libraries is the “Google Analytics in Real Life – Site Search” video, which features a simple keyword search gone awry that any reference librarian would empathize with.  Librarians face the unique challenge of being in the middle of the user interface battle. We understand the power of a complex search engine and seek to empower others with the knowledge to find the information they seek, but we are faced with users who demand simplicity and information digitally divided by price and a lack of open access.

Another video from Google summarizing the most searched for topics of 2012 is a powerful example of accessible information. Our understanding of the needs of information seekers and the power of relevant information access make librarians a necessary voice the information age.

Submitted by Laksamee

User-Centered Design of a Recommender System for a “Universal” Library Catalogue

From the project website – “This work is a joint research project of OCLC Research and the Information School, University of Sheffield to investigate the development of recommender systems for the retrieval of journals, books, digital media, video, etc. in WorldCat.org, a cloud-based, multi-institution, international catalog.”

If we acquired recommender systems would we take the imagination out of individual information gathering?  Or, is it possible that recommender systems could provide a way to bring underutilized resources to the forefront?

Submitted by Shannon

Lib-web-cats: An International Directory of Libraries

The question was recently asked on a listserv, “what libraries are using EDS and how is it integrated into your website?” This resulted in numerous individual responses, saying “here’s our website”. Libraries often ask these types of questions – “who else is using this?” or “what are libraries like us doing?” This directory contains self-reported data about the systems used by libraries throughout the world and can help answer some of those questions. For libraries looking to migrate to a new system – whether it’s an ILS, link resolver, or discovery tool – lib-web-cats can identify libraries currently using the same system so they can request information about their experience with the system. Registration is required, but it’s free to use.

Submitted by David

When ‘anonymous’ data isn’t anonymous

The article is about how web advertisers and trackers redefine the meaning of anonymous in order to justify the distribution of personal information.

Submitted by Matt M.

Exploring Social Curation

This article by Michael Zarro and Catherine Hall in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of D-Lib Magazine is an interesting exploration into the intersection of digital libraries and social curation activities on Pinterest. The study analyzes: “the nature of popular pins on Pinterest…  the nature of ad hoc categories created on Pinterest.. and the provenance of pins.” There is also a very interesting discussion of how Pinterest differs from social curation projects libraries and archives have implemented in the past, why Pinterest may be more successful in generating user interest, and future directions for libraries and archives in social media activities.

Submitted by 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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