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.

Preserving Historical Documents

A group of researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich has developed a time-tested preservation method by encapsulating DNA in silica and applying an algorithm when reading it that allows data to be decoded after time has taken its toll. Currently, there are inherent risks with storing data on hard drives and other methods, and this process could guarantee the preservation of historical documents for thousands or even millions of years.

To test its method, the team encoded the Swiss Federal Charter, written in 1291, as well as The Methods of Mechanical Theorems by the Greek philosopher Archimedes into DNA. And although the DNA was slightly damaged at the end of the process, the information could be decoded accurately with the help of a simple algorithm. Robert Grass, the study’s lead researcher envisions that this method could be mostly utilized by institutions such as libraries and governmental agencies to preserve data and documents that need to be preserved at all costs. – Armando


Osmo is a suite of interactive games which utilize the camera on an iPad. A mirror, stand, and various interactive playing pieces provide a simple set of 4 games. While edutainment faces many critiques, this could be a great way to engage patrons in a library. Present the game to draw patrons up to a table to interact with other resources, start a conversation about technology, or learn about exciting events! Check out this video demo to learn more! – Laksamee

Beacon Technology in Education

“Beacon technology” – or the ability to use Bluetooth technology transmit information to nearby smart devices – has recently received attention in retail and other business arenas. A recent article from Huffington Post  proposes fifteen possible uses of beacons in education, many of which could be applied or extended to the academic library environment. If you could use beacon technology in your library, what type of information or messages would you send to your visitors? – Kim

 Hub of All Things (HAT)

Most of us realize that we could be signing away our souls when we click agreement forms for things like Facebook and any app on our smart devices. But what should also be considered is how others are gathering our information and using that data to potentially make profit. A recent video on the web comic PhD explored the idea of privacy and ownership in the digital age and how one project, Hub of All Things, is trying to allow people to take ownership over their own data, and make it work for them, rather than just giving away to businesses benefiting from our online actions. – Laksamee

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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