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.


Interactive Charts for Your Library Dashboard

This was an incredibly useful talk/demo at ACRL that has helped me make some progress on an issue I have been grappling with for some time – how to make our library data more available without a lot of manual updating and sharing of spreadsheets. Specifically, I’m interested in web analytics data, and Heather Rayl’s presentation addresses just that. Using the Google Analytics API, I can populate data in a Google Spreadsheet. Heather feeds that data into a separate script using Highcharts JS. For now, I’m creating charts within Google Spreadsheets and sharing/embedding them in a Google Site. Still in beta mode right now, but that’s more than I’ve had up until now! If you collect data, Google Spreadsheets might be something to look at to share that data with others in your library. – David

Video Notes

It is fairly common for academic libraries to provide online tutorials, screencasts, or other types of web-based instruction; one area for further expansion might include better support for students’ interactions with the video content. Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers recently shared a great tool called VideoNot.es which allows users to simultaneously view YouTube videos and take notes, side-by-side on their screen. VideoNot.es is also integrated with Google Drive, making sharing and collaboration easy. Students could watch an assigned video, sharing notes and questions with other students or the librarian, providing further support for use of video materials in distance, online, or “flipped” instruction. – Kim

7 Things Libraries Can Do with Google Glass

Google Glass continues to be one of the most common topics for writers on the web. Last time, we shared an article about West Virginia’s attempt to regulate Google Glass. But how could this technology be used in libraries? Ellyssa Kroski over at iLibrarian talks about just that, with seven different suggestions for how Google Glass could influence and enhance library services. – Kim

 Paper Touchscreen

If scanners or copiers are widely used in your library check out this new interface that can make a paper surface into a touchscreen! Fujitsu has created a “FingerLink Interaction System” that allows a user to point and select information on a physical object. This demo mentions using the interface for filling out government forms, but I can easily see this technology replacing scanners and copy machines. Rather than laying a book down and crossing your fingers that it’s in the right place, a user can see and use familiar gestures to choose what they want out of a paper book or any physical item. Additional possible library uses for the  technology are sparking my imagination! – Laksamee

Create Magazines in Flipboard

Last year, one of our awesome Library Tech Talk guest authors introduced you to Flipboard for staying current with your online reading. Recently, Flipboard released a new feature which allows you to create your own digital magazines. This post from The Digital Shift includes a screencast which shows you how exactly creating your own magazine works. I think it could be really fun to create a collaborative magazine with students during library instruction, perhaps in a session about resource evaluation in which students are asked to collect good (or bad!)  examples of sites they find when investigating sources for a class project – 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

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.


Carnegie Mellon U. Students Use Fingerprint Scans, Not ID Cards, for Payment

Are student ID cards a thing of the past?  This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education describes students at Carnegie Mellon University developing a system which maintains fingerprints,  personal and financial  information so there is no need to carry a card of any kind. What kinds of privacy concerns might we need to address, and how could this play out in academic libraries? – Shannon

Thin Reads

Add yet another name to the growing list of digital content types, e-book single. If you’re looking for something a bit more in depth to read, but don’t have time to get through a whole book (A situation I find myself in frequently when taking a plane somewhere) then an e-book single could be just right. Making the search simpler, Thin Reads is a website which features and reviews the newest e-book singles! Check it out and find even more things to add to your to-read list. – Laksamee

ScotteVest

Sometimes I wonder how many more “must have” devices I am going to acquire before I say enough is enough. Once I got my iPad I was extremely happy I could stop lugging my laptop around while at a conference. However, I still had my Kindle, iPhone, headphones, wallet, badge, keys, camera. The list goes on depending on the situation.  It’s also why I am envious of someone who’s been smart enough to invest in a ScotteVest product. Clothing designed to hold the technology of today, I desperately want the Woman’s Trench Coat. The reviews for this geeky product are very positive, and if you are someone who lugs around a little or a lot of technology (like many librarians are known to do!), sometimes it’s nice to be hands free with the perfect pocket to hold whatever needs tucking away. Check out the xray view on the product pages to get a glimpse of what can fit inside. Then put it on your gift list so someone else can pick up the tab. – Laksamee

Before its release, West Virginia may regulate Google Glass while driving

This recent article from Ars Technica describes pending legislation in West Virginia aimed at banning the use of Google Glass while driving. Essentially, legislators are concerned that current laws regulating other driving distractions (e.g., texting and driving) will not apply to potential distractions brought about by Google Glass. While this legislation does not directly impact our work in libraries, it is an interesting case to watch regarding how law makers are reacting to the development of new technologies. – Kim

Two Alternative Inputs Coming Soon: How Will You Use Them?

An interesting article from Jason Griffey over at ALA Tech Source about two gesture-based input techniques that may be coming to a computer near you. The first, Leap Motion, uses a camera connected to your computer to sense movement, which is then uses as an input for controlling the computer. The second, Myo armband, is a physical armband you wear on your forearm, which then uses the movement it senses in your arm to control your devices. Can you imagine users interacting with your library resources via this type of gesture-based computing? – Kim

Google Reader Alternatives

Of course, big news in the library community last month came when Google announced it will be closing its Reader as of July 1st. The Internet promptly responded with a multitude of options – here is a quick rundown of some articles about Google Reader alternatives. (Flipboard, a Google Reader alternative previously featured on Library Tech Talk also recently came out with some new features.)  How are you replacing Google Reader? – 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!