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.

360Cities – Gigapixel Panoramas

Digital images are improving in quality and with advanced cameras in place it possible to create images, such as this one of Tokyo, that capture minute details quickly. Google street view is an example of the power of taking high quality images. Large stadiums full of people have also had their pictures taken then posted to Facebook allowing millions of people to tag themselves. Could this technology be applicable in a library? For faster archiving purposes, or perhaps to help create a digital bookshelf for patrons to receive their ebook of choice? – Laksamee


Technology is wonderful, but less can be more for certain tasks.  Find a writing haven in OMMWriter.  This free downloadable program offers a pared down virtual parchment to aid in all of your writing endeavors. – Shannon

RIP Google Reader

As of July 1st Google Reader, Google’s well regarded RSS reader service has shutdown (see their press release).  Google Reader users have three months after that date to use Google Takeout  to export there data. There are many recommendations out there for alternative RSS reader products (we provided some alternative for you back in April), and here is another article with alternatives and how to deal with the shutdown. Now that Google Reader has joined the “Google Graveyard,” how are you keeping up with your favorite sites? – Eric

Digital Textbooks, Google Style

Speaking of Google, last week I stumbled across this post about Google’s plans to add textbooks to their Google Play store, aimed at students wanting to purchase or rent textbooks for use on their Android devices. It’s notable that they have partnered with several large publishers in this venture, including: Pearson, Wiley, Macmillian Higher Education, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning. It will be interesting to see how this move could play out for students, academic libraries, and higher education more broadly over the next several years. – Kim

Universities to Grant Credit for 2U’s Online Courses

From Wired Campus, news that three universities are piloting a program which will allow students to take online courses for credit through the education company 2U, which is hosting the online courses from a consortium of colleges. These courses are not to be confused with MOOCs; each course is capped at 20 students and will be taught by professors via webcam. Students are also charged tuition for the course. Academic libraries have long worked to provide access for online learners, and recently there has been some concern about how this support might look in a world of MOOCs. But what about these smaller courses, which are by-and-large the same as a traditional online course, simply with instruction held by a different institution? What are some of the potential challenges libraries need to face and overcome for this model? – 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!