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See You Next Year



IL 2009 is now history.  We learned a lot, enjoyed networking with our colleagues, and making new friends.  Be sure to mark your calendars now, while you are thinking about it, and plan to attend IL 2010.

Signing off on behalf of the entire Il 2009 blog team and all the other bloggers that were with us.  Thanks for reading our blog.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, Ince.and IL 2009 Blog Coordinator

Mobile Gadgets

The closing session featured a Bluff the Internet Librarian game, modeled on NPR’s Wait Wait don’t tell me. Aaron Schmidt introduces game host Jenny Levine. The panel is Megan Fox, Barbara Fullerton, and Joe Murphy. Each panelists tells a story about a new gadget and the librarian has to decide which is true and which is not. First player must decide among Shrinklets pen, charging phone while cycling, or augmented reality for mobile devices. Fake gadget was the pen. BioLogic ReeCharge is real. Layar is real.

Second player must figure out whether Fast Flip, a Google product that uses touch screen on Android device, Microvision Laser Pico Projector, which is the size of mobile phone and can project onto any surface, or British Academic Mobile Library, a full mobile electronic library. The mobile library is the fake.

Now it’s on to the third player. A new ebook reader that lets you lend ebooks, solar energy light that damages tissue on contact, or Frankencamera that’s build on Linux. Light saber is fake. Barnes & Noble Nook is real but not yet released. You can lend books but only to one person and only for 14 days.

Fourth player must decide among swine flu detector, Bluetooth spy, virtual nurse. Harvard Health has swine flue app that tracks it but it doesn’t predict whether you have flue. BlueWare: Spyware is real and it tracks phone activity, listens to live calls, extract text messages, and much more. Keas gives health feedback by text messaging.

One more question. What will we be talking about next year? Megan: augmented reality on your phone. Barbara: Cats and invisibility. Voice activated. Show things visually. Joe: Twitter won’t be important. We’ll share best practices about meshing information content with user expectations.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology &
Resources for Information Professionals

Programme Director, Internet Librarian International
Chair, Search Engine Meeting
Program Director, WebSearch University

Drupal For Libraries

(L-R) Karen Coombs, Nicole Engard, Angela Boyd

(L-R) Karen Coombs, Nicole Engard, Angela Boyd

Drupal is a popular open source content management system for websites that is being used for a wide variety of applications.  In the library world, it has been used for Intranets and even public websites.  Angela Boyd and Karen Coombs talked about some of their experiences with Drupal.

Angela described Project Drupal at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) library.  Their website had become outdated, to the point where it had become an embarassment, and it needed to become more visual.  They chose Drupal as a platform because it is free and a large local pool of programmers was available to them.  A series of deliberate steps, which Angela characterized as vital, was taken to plan for the new site:

  • First, a visual site map of the existing site (which had over 15,000 pages) was developed.
  • Pages were defined and broken down into categories.
  • User opinions were collected through focus groups.
  • A new interim site was produced.  It focused first on the navigation system and content levels.
  • Staff was kept informed throughout the process and initial training began.
  • A Web Content Committee and a Web Redesign Taskforce were formed to examine each page and decide whether it should be transferred to the Drupal system.  Many of the old pages had never been updated or were just collections of links and were discarded.
  • Finally, an RFP for development of the new site was issued.

Karen Coombs described how the Intranet at the University of Houston (UH) was remodeled after it had become a hodgepodge.  Her development process was similar to Boyd’s; here are the functional requirements for the UH intranet:

  • A flexible, adaptable system
  • Content easily editable by all
  • Current awareness capability
  • Replace many of the existing tools (wikis, internal blogs, listservs, some file shares)
  • Unify user authentication across the entire site
  • Provide for the incorporation of external content

Karen said that it is critical to analyze current content on the site and the desired new content, and then create a group to oversee its implementation, which helps with buy-in.  Staff training is critical because Drupal is not the friendliest content management system.  The system may have bugs, and it is often necessary to choose between scaling back the development or working with it despite the bugs.  This decision is often difficult.  And it is important to spend time with the groups designing the pages.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and IL 2009 Blog Coordinator

Mashups For Libraries

Nicole Engard

Nicole Engard

Nicole Engard, author of Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data (published by ITI), reviewed the current state of the art and showed us some great examples of mashups, and even did a live demonstration to create one.  One of her favorite sites is ProgrammableWeb, which has lots of mashup examples.

Nicole’s reasons to use mashups in libraries include:

  • Provide better service to patrons,
  • Add value to catalogs and websites by making them “one-stop shops”,
  • Taking library services to patrons where they are (Facebook pages, etc.), and
  • They are a learning experience, and librarians should never stop learning.

Her favorite tool for creating mashups is Yahoo! Pipes (which is what she used for her demo) because it makes the job so easy; no programming is required.

Here are some great examples of mashups (not necessarily just for libraries):

And for libraries, Nicole pointed to the sites listed in her book.  Its website is

If  you wanted to know more about mashups, this was the session to attend, and judging from the full room, this is a topic of interest to many people.  I’m looking forward to reading Nicole’s book!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today, and IL 2009 Blog Coordinator