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Author Archive | Paula Hane

Product News From Inmagic

Phil Green

I stopped by the Inmagic booth to chat with CTO Phil Green, who was fairly bubbling about the latest product developments. Earlier that day, he had presented a case study with one of their customers, the Human Resources Professionals Association – From OPAC to SOPAC (Part II): Taking the Social Library from Theory to Successful Reality. Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear it, but Green did show me around the HRPA site, which is using the new “app,” AssociatioNet, a Presto application designed specifically for the association industry.

AssociatioNet creates virtual environments that bring together content, people, and tools for information access and discovery. The new Resource Centre interface allows members to search HRPA resources, as well as tap into outside search engines, through one easy-to-navigate portal. It offers access to content collections, such as articles, white papers, policies, forms, as well as news updates and links to relevant external content. The AssociatioNet app also includes forums, blogs, content tagging and rating, integration with CMS, and end-user authentication.

Green says the company is moving to an applications focus. (It has already offered an open API with Presto.) Also brand new is another application called IdeaNet, which provides an innovative community for posting and voting on ideas. Expect to see more app announcements from them.

In addition, the company will be shipping the next version of Presto sometime in April, version 3.7. It will add “network crawling” capability (such as indexing a collection of PDFs on a company network). Also new in this version will be metadata extraction and different processing pipelines for different kinds of content. “We’re making it very extensible,” says Green. Finally, Inmagic has added EBSCOhost as one of Presto’s federated search results—furthering the integration of internal and external content. These new developments should be welcome news for Presto’s growing customer base and potential new clients among knowledge-driven organizations.

Ebook Trends and Practices

It was an ebook bonanza—a whole track dedicated to the practices, models, and challenges of ebooks in libraries. I couldn’t get to all the presentations but I’ll mention some of the highlights that I noted. The morning started with a panel of four ebook publishers and providers, moderated by Dick Kaser, ITI’s vp of content. Each company representative had a few minutes to provide an overview of their business model before Dick opened it up for questions. In retrospect, it would have been even more helpful to leave more time for questions—from the moderator and the audience. There are so many interesting issues to explore—including DRM, format standards, limits on downloading and printing, lending restrictions imposed by publishers, and more. (Next time let’s get the publishers too.) Here’s a quick rundown of the points made by each panelist.

Ken Breen of EBSCO discussed the ongoing integration of NetLibrary following its acquisition last year from OCLC. In July the NetLibrary brand will be retired. Actually, just after the session, the official press release came out from EBSCO announcing that a preview site was now available for the new eBooks on EBSCOhost. EBSCOhost libraries will be able to access the preview site through the Try New Features link on EBSCOhost. NetLibrary users will see a banner with the link on the NetLibrary interface. A link to a survey will be included on the preview. EBSCO will offer three user models: one book one user, 3 users, and unlimited use. The company will also introduce a patron-driven lease model option. And, it will replace the NetLibrary Title Select with the new EBSCOhost Collection Manager (ECM).

Leslie Lees of ebrary—now owned by ProQuest—says the company primarily serves the academic market but also has products for corporate, government, and public libraries. It offers unlimited subscription access, perpetual access (purchase and own), and patron driven acquisition (PDA). Short term loans (STL) will be offered starting this spring. ebrary is focusing on adding STM content to its 275,000 titles from some 500 publishers. Its DASH functionality to upload content and make it searchable is now available free to Academic Complete customers and later this year it will be available for individuals.

Bob Nardini of Coutts Information Services, the academic division of Ingram, says its publisher partners put digital files into CoreSource, a digital warehouse that can provide output for retail ebook downloads, print on demand, and MyiLibrary (with single and multiuser models, perpetual ownership, and PDA).  The company has just signed an agreement with OCLC to borrow ebooks. It is also working on allowing downloads to various ereader devices.

Mike Shontz of OverDrive says the company’s role is as library advocate and, according to him, “the state of the union is very good.” He sees overwhelming demand in the public library market—the average library usage is growing 20-30% each month. The company works with thousands of publishers and has more than 500,000 ebooks. He predicts we will see “more and more DRM-free ebooks.”

In the afternoon, Stephen Abram of Gale Cengage Learning provided some fascinating insights into ebook models and his ideas about the correct container for the type of text. The fiction model is wrong for textbooks, he says. Like the new MindTap introduced by Cengage, it needs to accommodate different learning styles, and new ways of interacting with content—a personal learning experience (PLE). (See the recent NewsBreak about MindTap.)

Some of his other comments:

Books will become fundamentally collaborative entities

We’re in a horrible mess of ebook standards

We’re moving to an “article-level” universe (smaller chunks of content)

CIL Keynote: Think Like a Digital Native

Michelle Manafy

“No matter how cool you are, at some point you’ll find yourself sounding like your parents.” So warned Tuesday’s keynote speaker, Michelle Manafy, director of content at FreePint and editor of the forthcoming book, Dancing with Digital Natives: Staying in Step with the Generation Transforming the Way Business is Done. The digital native has had a life-long immersion in digital technologies. The rest of us are known as digital immigrants. By the time they finish college, kids today will have spent more than  10,000 hours playing videogames and more than 10,000 hours talking on cell phones.

Manafy shared her fascinating insights on the obstacles and opportunities presented by this generation. Here are her three keys to understanding the emerging digital native.

1. They are all about public opinion and living their lives publicly. It’s public opinion not private lives.

Manafy provided some amusing examples of this, including a site called  and gang members who actually Tweet about their activities and law enforcement who monitors this! We’re seeing the rise of a truly communal generation who will share all aspects of their lives. The use of social sign-on by sites allows users to sign in with an existing social identity, such as Facebook or Twitter. This creates a sense of community engagement.

2. This generation is about knowledge sharing not knowledge hoarding. If organizations don’t tap into this share knowledge, they will miss out on what digital natives can offer. She offered a number of interesting examples: – a place for social product promotion – ideas are rated and voted and one is chosen to be brought to market

Local Motors – a new American car co with all cars designed in an open community process

Pro Publica – an example of collaborative journalism

DigitalKoot – a Finnish cultural heritage project

Big companies are involved too:

P&G Connect – the company’s developer network

IBM is increasingly social in its innovation processes – it added My Developer Works to its developer network and reports that 70% of visitors to site come from outside of IBM. The developer of this site said “I came to realize that knowledge shared is power.”

Manafy says that people tend to focus on the marketing and promotion aspects but it’s more important than that. “If we can embrace this open knowledge sharing culture it will fuel a new era of innovation for us.”

3. This generation is interested in interactions NOT transactions. The new social capitalism is based on ratings and reputations. If you don’t provide a forum, your customers will find an outlet for their concerns, such as the unhappy United airlines customers who created a site to complain.

Manafy urges us to truly engage our users – listen, respond, react. The PBS Digital Nation Project sought viewer input on a documentary and attracted an incredible range of responses. She also talked about some engaging library projects. The Hennepin County Library has an amazingly successful program of community contributed booklists – it fosters a sense of engagement and reaction. The Library of Birmingham in UK seeks to provide a platform for knowledge exchange, provision of digital services, and leverages mobile technologies (QR codes, GPS, and augmented reality).

So, if we want to succeed in business these days, we’re going to have to think more like digital natives.

Communities & Collaboration—Power in Numbers


Barratt with Moderator Richard Hulser

Madeline Barratt, of the London Borough of Enfield Libraries, had some practical comments to share about the value of communities and collaboration. When it comes to libraries joining together in a consortium, the sum of the parts is indeed greater than the whole.

She grew up poor in London and libraries were her lifeline. She says that communities now are struggling as much now as when she grew up in the 60s. London has 362 branch libraries in 32 boroughs, and a budget of £7.5 million. It also exists in a national context. Suffering the severe economic downturn in the UK and under pressure to reduce costs, it was modernize or die. She noted that there’s currently a big public debate on future of libraries – but the discussion often doesn’t even include librarians. Finding a voice and a consensus are key challenges.

To meet the challenges, the London Libraries Consortium was formed and represents 12 public libraries with 3 more waiting to join. It has grown exponentially in 6 years. The consortium is committed to delivering excellence and providing value for money, and most importantly, is starting to flex its muscles in procurement power. She says, “We do this through shared resources in IT, stock management, exploiting shared contract opportunities, staff development, training, and knowledge sharing. The Consortium tries to be business like in shared contracts – to negotiate as much as it can. “It’s important to show we’re at the table in ebook negotiations.”

The customer benefits are fairly major:

  • Access to items in a single shared catalog
  • Little need for interlending
  • Access to 148 pickup and drop off points
  • One card to use in any authority
  • Easy online access
  • Consortium buying power – getting 30-40 % discount on books
  • Staff with wider knowledge and skills

The staff benefits are significant as well:

  • A resource that is called on more and more
  • Development of wider skill sets
  • Staff are ambassadors for their own authorities and the consortium
  • Lead and participate in a variety of work streams and projects
  • Meet and network with staff and managers at all levels
  • Negotiation skills improve – see the bigger picture

The challenges—which grow like weeds—include:

  • How best to exploit membership
  • More savings (25% over next 3 years)
  • More efficiencies and shared services
  • Does the collaborative model work – especially as it has grown larger? How can we improve it?

Paula J. Hane, News Bureau Chief, ITI