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.

“Digitizing Our Stories”

Hack Library School is a great LIS student blog which frequently discusses relevant library technology topics. I found a recent article very thought provoking as the author pointed out how important digital service is, beyond just an online catalog. So I searched through a few of my favorite library blogs to find examples of expanded digital services.

  • Information Tyrannosaur – author Andy Burkhardt wrote about the use of Twitter for libraries
  • Information Wants To Be Free – author Meredith Farkas summarized her online research methods and the technology that helps her stay organized, including the use of Mendeley, a desktop citation management tool that she runs a library workshop on.
  • Librarian in Black – author Sarah Houghton attended the Internet Librarian conference and summarized many of the sessions she attended in her blog. One which I found fun was the Speed Technology Dating entry, which provided a list of fun technologies you can hear about briefly and maybe research further.

Submitted by Laksamee

MacBook Vending Machine

An article from TechHive that details a laptop vending machine that Drexel University’s library uses to loan laptops to its students. The program was designed, in part, to respond to student safety concerns about carrying their personal computers to and from the library late at night. What to know more? Check out the Drexel news blog.

Submitted by Matt M.

Wolfram Alpha

WolframAlpha defines itself as a “computational knowledge engine”. Instead of searching the internet for text similar to your search and providing you with links, WolframAlpha attempts to contextualize your search and return meaningful data. This ranges from simple to complex possibilities, for example search the word ‘orange’ and results include the wavelength of the color or the nutritional value of the fruit. The engine is especially good with numbers and pulling data to create meaningful statistical analysis. This is perhaps most obvious after entering ‘facebook report’ into the search box, and after setting permissions, users will get an amazing page full of facts about themselves based on their Facebook history. Word clouds of status updates, a visualization of how all your friends are connected, which of your pictures received the most ‘likes’, the list goes on. If your library has a Facebook page, you are receiving a weekly statistics update email, however consider sending the page through WolframAlpha for additional depth.

Submitted by Laksamee

Undergraduate Students & Technology

An infographic from the “Bachelor Degrees Online” blog that highlights some trends in undergraduate student technology use. With data from the 2012 ECAR Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, this infographic highlights the types and brands of devices students use, as well as how they use these devices in their academic lives. As libraries continue to develop services for users in the digital space, data on user populations can be useful when setting priorities, designing programs and/or websites, or trying to understand the user’s technology environment.

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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