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.

“Internet Archaeologists Reconstruct Lost Web Pages”

Almost as quickly as it is created and shared, electronic information (particularly that on social media) can also be lost. This article from the MIT Technology Review  describes reseachers who are developing methods to reconstruct the missing information from the clues left behind. Interesting and relevant for librarians and library staff interested in the preservation of digital information. – Kim

Crazy Egg

One of the biggest questions that always comes up when discussing websites is “What are people clicking?” Crazy Egg gives quick, direct answers to exactly this question by tracking click data and displaying that data as a heat map (among other things). You can get to this data using tools like Google Analytics, but the heat maps make it so much more apparent where user behavior both matches and confounds your expectations. This can help raise questions like, “Why did they click that?” which can lead to usability testing and interviews to answer those questions. Subscription plans are available ranging from $108 to $1188 per year.  – David

A Sub-$100 3D Printer?

Due to prohibitive costs, we sometimes see 3D printers owned and seemingly guarded by specific academic departments for use by only a sub-population of an academic community.  This article from Engadget about a Kickstarter campaign for a $99 3D printer suggest success of this company could make 3D printing technology more accessible for a wider number of libraries.  For what purpose?  That’s for libraries to decide. Regardless, a 3-D printer that costs less than a scanner noteworthy is noteworthy for libraries. – Matt B.

Turn Your iPad into a 3D Scanner

Speaking of 3D technology, this article from Mashable highlights another Kickstarter project, this one aimed at producing Occipital – a 3D imaging camera for your iPad. What could libraries do with 3D imaging? Aside from it simply being pretty cool, I could see technology like this improving to the point of offering more realistic 3D maps of our spaces and our collections. How about some 3D digital browsing before visiting the library? Although the current project doesn’t promise anything close to this, it’s an interesting future to consider! –  Kim

Google Forms, Now with Video

Earlier this month, Google announced “Four new ways to customize your Google forms.” Among the changes includes the ability to embed YouTube videos into the form. Many of our librarians currently investigating the “flipped” classroom structure have been using Google Forms to deliver links to videos along with some “check for understanding”-type quizzes. Now, instead of sending them out to another site, videos can be presented along with the questions. – 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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