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Augmented Reality: A Primer For Libraries

This session in the innovation, risk, & failure track was definitely on innovation.  Augmented reality (AR) seems very futuristic and can hardly be believed, but as we found out, applications of it are currently being developed.

Sarah Houghton-Jan described AR as a 3 layer system:  a cell phone with GPS, camera, accelerometer–where you are, what you are seeing, how fast you are moving.  The central feature is open layers:  combining a digital view of the physical world with digital objects of the virtual world.

AR could include QR Codes to connect a physical storefront with information and reviews about it.  SnapShop lets you take a photo of furniture and overlay it in your physical space and see what it looks like. Another AR application is Wikitude, which connects Wikipedia data with physical spaces.  Layar shows you places distant from where you are.

Cyberspace has leaked into the real world. What was inside the box is outside. This has potential to be useful for all of us, but it may be scary too.  What does it have to do with libraries?  The Univesity of North Carolina has created a historical walk of the campus, as has Ohio State University.  The San Jose Public Library has developed a concept for a Layar-based history walking tours of the city. It will be a mobile site with a locally created app. For example, yearbooks in the collection can be connected with the school, or past versions of present-day buildings can be shown.  These applications could be used as a teaching or history tool, using data that the library has stored in its collections.

Societal consequences of AR include ubiquity of connectivity, openness and transparency, privacy concerns, the danger that people will share less.

(L-R) Sarah, Eric, Jaap

The Shanachies (Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap Van de Geer), well known to Internet Librarian audiences, followed Sarah with videos on AR.  You can see the video clips at This Week in Libraries.

 

Think Mobile: Ebook Collections

Lisa Thomas (L) and Holly Tomren (R)

Lisa Thomas, from Southern Connecticut State University, and Holly Tomren, from University of California, Irvine Libraries, gave a joint presentation on e-books in libraries.  Now that e-book readers have become more common people are trying to download them to their devices, with varying degrees of success.  Libraries have not moved past their old routines, requiring the user to come to the library, or declining to loan an e-book because “it is checked out”, even though it’s on their website.  Lisa and Holly have developed a poster illustrating the 6 features of e-book collections (see photo below):

Mobile E-book Considerations

Selection
Consider format, use and compatibility, mobile devices, apps and platforms, and publishers and packages.  The M-Libraries page on the Library Success blog has lots of good information.  Many devices are not set up for institutional purchasing.

Acquisition
It is difficult to implement point-of-need purchasing; best practices must be established.  Priority processing in institutions can be very slow, and many libraries are missing the opportunity to build e-book collections because of outmoded technical processing.  Libraries must find a way to purchase an e-book at the time of the user’s request and still comply with licensing agreements, which may limit the usage to only a single option.

Cataloging
Provide access points; consider record options and national standards. Identify metadata needs, and adapt the catalog display to reflect the availability of a mobile version of a title.  If your library circulates the device, consider whether each device should be shown separately in the catalog so the user will know which one is checked out.  There are no MARC codes to represent mobile devices, so locally developed codes will have to be used.

Access
It is important to understand how to access e-book collections using mobile devices.  Some devices can access much more of the e-book collection than others, which influences selection decisions.

Preservation
Be concerned about e-book preservation arrangements and share expertise about format obsolescence and data migration issues.  Consider the LOCKSS and Portico programs for preservation.  Preservation becomes important when we realize the rapid appearance and disappearance of mobile devices

Management
Teach staff and users about managing these resources over time.  Plan for advancements, and incorporate mobile into data management systems and policies (see the California Digital Library’s policy for an example).

Conclusions/Next Steps
Develop mobile collections as well as services, with the mobile reader in mind.  Know and prioritize local users’ needs.  Make sure you are considering the end user and what they can do with your collections.  Recognize that mobile is growing and even taking over.

 

Learning From Failure

Continuing the track on Innovation, Risk, and Failure, the second session examined how we respond to failure and recover from it.

Bobbi Newman

Bobbi Newman, Digital Branch Manager, Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, said that one of the hardest things to do is to admit you failed.  Identify what went wrong, take something back from it, and learn from it.  Recognize that there will be fallout, and your stakeholders will be unhappy.  Once you have done this, it’s time to move on and start all over again.

Matt Hamilton

Matt Hamilton, Innovation and Technology Manager, Boulder, CO (Adams County, Rangeview District) Public Library described the problems faced by the Adams County Library, which was once rated worst in the state and how they redefined the library.  In 2006, a new Board of Directors was determined to change this.  (Lesson:  ask about the Board when you’re thinking of joining a library.)  They hired a new visionary director and provided some funding to improve.  A new mission statement:  “We open doors for curious minds.”, and an employee manifesto (see photo below) were developed.

Employee Manifesto

The Board members said, “It’s risky, it’s radical, it’s revolutionary.  Why wouldn’t we do it?”  The community embraced the idea.

The biggest risk was designing buildings for people, by designing the spaces. The first difficulty was finding an architect to work with them.  They built 4 new buildings in a year, and will be remodeling the other 3 in the next year, learning many lessons in the process, one of which was not being afraid to experiment.

A radical “fines-free” policy was implemented.  Patrons can keep books for as long as they wish, but they are billed for them after 28 days.  It generated lots of goodwill and freed the staff from being “policemen”, but it had the downsides that the library had to hire a collection agency for the first time, and they are losing many materials.  This may therefore turn into a failure.

So a failure was turned into a great success!

 

The Power of Twitter!

A conference program planners dream!

Yesterday one of today’s CIO keynote panel had to drop out of the Internet Librarian 2010 program. Many conference programmers would run screaming to the bar, but this calm program developer went to Twitter via @jdysart and announced that she had lost a speaker and were there any public library CIOs out there who might be willing to fill in.

I got an answer from a first time attendee at Internet Librarian, Jim Peterson, who said he was a Technology Coordinator (not a CIO, and the only member of the IT staff) for a public library in Franklin, KY. He agreed to meet me at the Information Today booth during last evenings reception and we had a great conversation. He was hired as our new panelist on the spot.

Hopefully you all got to hear how articulate and on point he was this morning. Such a good fit with Mike Ridley, CIO & Chief Librarian at the University of Guelph and Donna Scheeder, Deputy CIO, Congressional Research Service.

They did a terrific job!