IL 2016 has wrapped up. It was an excellent conference and followed in the traditions established over the last 20 years. (How time flies!) Presentations from many of the speakers are available here on the conference website.
In his closing keynote address, Daniel Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst, Serious Insights and Chief Knowledge Officer, Virtual World Society, reviewed some of the many impacts that data has on our lives. He started by noting that our brains have the capability of holding information, and everything that is information only exists as such for a small period of time–when the universe is acting upon it. If it is not being acted upon, then it is data.
How we think about the future is dangerous. Most of the time, we are wrong because the future is highly variable; real-time data is at least milliseconds old. We are looking at the current world with all our biases in place, and often the future does not unfold like we think it will. From the time you are born, data is being collected about you.
Much of the information that we are publishing now is on the internet, and the flow is not stopping. Scenario planning forces us to look at the factors in the world outside of us. There future is what is possible; we must be open to all the possibilities. Uncertainties include the place of innovation, global workforce and economics, nature of learning, and our relationship with data. Technology has changed the way we think about the world. For example, we can now look at actual molecules and find out that they do indeed look like our models of them. Here are some information biases and perceptions of reality that occurred in the past.
Just seeing is not knowing; The Book of All Knowledge, published in 1850, is mostly all wrong now. As soon as a new element is discovered, all chemistry books in classrooms are immediately wrong.
Everything we look at is represented as data, and we must store it somewhere. Storage capacities have increased over the years, as shown here.
Memory continues to evolve, and there is a massive amount of new technology that is communicating with itself: AI, Big Data, the Internet of Things, etc. To access all this data, we need speed: to download a whole DVD used to take over 8 days; now with a fast Ethernet connection, it takes 7 minutes, which has made downloading more widespread; for example, The Pirate Bay is a place to download movies that is completely illegal.
Data is literally in everything–watches, phones, houses, Bluetooth lights, etc. Everything is generating data through sensors, and we must make sense of all this data. Pervasive computing is setting expectations. We are in the process of becoming the center of our data universe. Eventually, everything will get self-organized.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are connected by data.
We are creating maps of everything, and everything is data. People are worrying about privacy and how ads are pushed to them. In the ecosystem of measurement, we will no longer have to think about data in silos because all information is available to be correlated.
Jennifer Koerber, formerly at the Boston Public Library and now a technology trainer and consultant, said that people have an idea where to find information, but many of them are overwhelmed by it. So she developed a model for evaluating emerging technologies.
Here are the steps in the typical research process.
Steps in the Research Process
Technologies are often emerging which means that those are on the leading edge, and you have no idea of how they will apply to your spaces. You must “keep a light pulse” in your research. That iterative process makes this model different. If something is on the “bleeding edge”, you will keep rediscovering it. When it reemerges, things will become more complex.
“Bleeding Edge” Items in the Model
Modes of application of the model:
Sometimes there is a need for access, such as after Superstorm Sandy in Queens (see Kelvin Wilson’s presentation).
If you are doing future planning, you will keep a light pulse on the technology early in the process.
At the consumer level, the process is established, so you might never get past the “more questions” phase and will need to maintain a public impression and push the public’s idea of libraries into the 21st century. By keeping library staff aware, they can make suggestions to users and promote the library’s facilities. This is why you pay attention to emerging technology even if you will never use it yourself.
Application of the Model in a Consumer Setting
In the final portion of Jennifer’s presentation, she listed some resources and some questions that should be asked.
Libraries and nonprofits
Mainstream (usually the technology section of a publication, but read the business section as well)
Tech News (what the industry people read)
Conferences (you do not to attend or even register for them; simply look at the panel and session titles, then search on your own to get additional information)
Word of Mouth (find out who always knows about the new toys, go window shopping and play)
Show that professional development and staff technology proficiency are management priorities; do your research on library time.
This session was an appropriate followup to the one by Susan Considine on Innovation and Transformation. Chad Marin, Library/Innovation Lab Manager, St. Petersburg College, led off by noting how he wrote a paper in graduate school comparing librarians to Prometheus. (Prometheus was a Greek god who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to humanity.) The analogy is relevant because librarians offer people intellectual sparks to develop innovation. Marin said that a makerspace can easily support and enhance a library’s mission for lifelong learning; so libraries become knowledge performance spaces. If you have space, share it and do meaningful things with it!
Every age has thought it was the modern age, but this one really is. Technology is interwoven into everything, and makerspaces help people to see this. Many librarians want to know how to create a makerspace, or they need funding. Money is available; there are grants everywhere! Narin recommended reading Grants & Funding to learn about resources.
Makerspaces are all about fostering collaboration. They cultivate imagination and stimulate creativity to enable people to explore their potential. Share experiences and facilitate discovery. Support inventors who want to test their ideas and prototypes for patents. The maker lab is a technology playground, and watching kids play with the technology is exciting.
Narin’s library developed a Maker Boot Camp geared to 10-14 year olds. It was funded by a $7,500 grant to create the camp.
Here is a list of the workshops that were held at the camp.
After the video gaming lecture, the kids built a video game. They also love SnapCircuits and used them to build an MP3 speaker.
To be successful with your makerspaces, create partnerships, be integral to your community, and share with what you do. You will be amazed at how many people want to participate. Big things can happen with small spaces and small budgets.
Other projects are underway in the maker lab, including tactile 3D graphs for blind math students, building tech labs for young students via eSmart recycling, and use of the Farmbot platform to help feed people in need. You can connect with the lab and get more information through its Facebook page.
Kelvin Watson, Chief Operating Officer, Queens, NY Library, described how the Queens Library was brought out of its four walls. Shortly after joining Queens Library, Watson downloaded an eBook using the Library’s Overdrive program. It was a painful 19-step process, and he immediately decided something had to change. So a Virtual Library was built. It eliminates obstacles and silos and brings the library to users on demand. It is an integrated system created to improve access to eBooks and all services for public library users in either physical or digital spaces, and it answers today’s challenges by clearing the clutter that plagues legacy library tools. Library systems are no longer chained to seldom-used tools. Users have flexible options to consume information and media on their own terms through a superior customer experience.
Three simple goals changed how they thought about technology were developed.
Watson has over 60 people in his IT department. The entire library is using agile thinking now, and things are built very quickly.
Development of the Virtual Library proceeded in 3 stages:
They got a donation of 5,000 Google Tablets, invested in a custom interface, and created a mobile solution as a response to a tragedy (Superstorm Sandy). They also obtained 2,250 mobile hotspots which are loaned to users.
Built a mobile phone app. Began working with the New York Public Library’s simplyE eBook reading platform and cut the 19 steps for downloading a book to 4 or 5. Everything is done in the app and launches directly into the material.
An additional 2,500 tablets and 1,100 mobile hotspots were added to continue to bridge the digital divide. Tablets are loaned for 4 months. Children can borrow them with parental permission. The only app users see is the Queens Library app. The content is available at any time; tablets are updated when they are connected to Wi-Fi. The tablet is the “mobile discovery and delivery” tool. It is a new experience for people when they get the app. They can access Facebook and the internet. Most people like the experience.
The library works with a number of vandors, and when bugs are found, they are immediately reported and fixed. Axis360 from Baker & Taylor is their primary eBook vendor; Overdrive is used only for foreign language material. The phone app only displays material that is available for checkout.
The Virtual Library is everywhere so it should focus on how the customer wants to interact with it. They are working with magazines and the local hospital and built a new product called Digital Q so that library users can browse magazines at the hospital. If you don’t have a card, you can be given an e-card, which can be traded for a physical card if you want to borrow physical materials from the library.
The library has begun a partnership with LinkNYC, a program to replace pay phones with tablets in kiosks in the 5 boroughs. The Queens Library will work with them to filter and put Queens Library materials on the kiosks. It is another way to connect with people.
[Call For Speakers] Start planning your schedule at this year's #InternetLibrarian and submit a proposal by the 10th of April, to speak in our online event on October 17-19, 2023! http://ow.ly/vvX830suyvk
[Call For Speakers] Start planning your schedule at this year's #InternetLibrarian and submit a proposal to speak on October 17-19, 2023 at our online event! Deadline for submissions is April 10th! http://ow.ly/WzqB30suyvj
@INNOV8game #CILDC keynote on #Library #Communities, #AI & Possible Futures was terrific! Excited to hear a new book, parenting guide to AI, coming soon! #Internetlibrarian @ALALibrary @culc_cbuc @ARLnews @IFLACPDWL
Look for our director @cmairn at #CILandILConnect next month. He will be highlighting the educational possibilities using @spatialxr and other #VR technologies. More info at https://pheedloop.com/IL2021/site/home/.