July 23, 2016

Matt Enis

About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Associate Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

Security, Virtual Reality, and Smaller Maker Spaces Among Top Tech Trends | ALA Annual 2016

The discussion at this year’s Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Orlando, FL spanned topics ranging from online privacy to “superfast application development” on the near horizon. LITA revamped the session format this year to be more interactive: rather than offering individual trend presentations each panelist quickly summarized one trend they’ve been following, and then participated in discussions sparked by questions from moderator Maurice Coleman, technical trainer, Harford County Public Library, MD, and host of the long-running “T is for Training” podcast, with debates emerging on how long libraries should support old devices, and which tech trends may be overhyped within the library field.

Knight Foundation Names Second Library News Challenge Winners | ALA Annual 2016

In a June 25 session at the ALA Annual conference in Orlando, John Bracken, VP of media innovation for the Knight Foundation, said that the foundation has been focused on three key questions when working with libraries: What can be done to foster cross-discipline collaboration, possibly learning from projects in other civic sectors such as Code for America, 18F, or the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews collaboration; how can community be put “even more robustly” at the center of the foundation’s work; and how can the foundation help libraries tell their stories to wider audiences? “To succeed, particularly in a time of reduced public investment, it is vital to tell our stories in ways that people can understand the breadth of our work, and on platforms” where the public is present and listening, Bracken said.

Library.Link Builds Open Web Visibility for Library Catalogs, Events

Linked data consulting and development company Zepheira is partnering with several vendors and libraries on the Library.Link Network, a project that promises to make relevant information about libraries, library events, and library collections prominent in search engine results. The service aims to address a longstanding problem. The world’s library catalogs contain a wealth of detailed, vetted, and authoritative data about books, movies, music, art—all types of content. But the bulk of library data is stored in MARC records. The bots that major search engines use to scan and index the web generally cannot access those records.

Findaway Expands Preloaded Launchpad Tablet Line to Teens and Adults

Digital technology solutions provider Findaway has announced the debut of the Playaway Launchpad tablet for teens and adults, featuring a selection of pre-loaded interactive learning apps, brain games, comics, and casual games. The new line of pre-loaded tablets was developed with feedback from librarians following the success of the original Playaway Launchpad for children, which debuted in April 2015. Findaway founder and CEO Mitch Kroll noted that the tablets, which start at $99, could help libraries bridge the digital divide.

How To Talk Code | Digital Literacy

Last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek devoted an entire issue to “What Is Code?” a single article by Brooklyn-based writer and programmer Paul Ford. Ford’s breakdown of key concepts pulls back the curtain on the fundamentals of computer programming and makes a compelling argument that any smart person can learn the basics—and that the basics are worth learning even for those who aren’t planning to become professional coders. It is, in part, a case for coding as a new frontier in digital literacy. There’s a growing interest in this type of education among kids, teens, businesspeople, career changers, and the generally curious. And a growing number of public libraries are already responding to this need within their communities. Here’s a look at ways in which a few libraries have made their programs a success.

LYRASIS, DuraSpace Boards Approve Intent to Merge

Following a months-long analysis by an exploratory committee, the boards of not-for-profit, open-source digitization and repository software and service providers LYRASIS and DuraSpace on January 27 unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge” agreement. The two organizations have begun seeking input from their respective members as well as the wider research, library, archives, and museum communities, as part of a due diligence process that will “determine the feasibility of a combined organization…. [and] include a deeper assessment of the individual organizations and how they might partner effectively.

NYPL, Benetech Partner to Offer 370,000 Accessible Ebooks to Print Disabled

The New York Public Library in December announced a new partnership with nonprofit Benetech, and the organization’s Bookshare solution, to provide print disabled patrons with access to more than 370,000 accessible ebooks through NYPL and the Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Although Bookshare provides free access to its collection for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities through an award by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, access to the collection for qualifying adults, seniors, and other non-students generally requires payment of a $25 setup fee and a $50 annual subscription fee. The partnership to provide free access to library patrons through NYPL is Bookshare’s first such partnership with a U.S. library, and Benetech officials have stated that the organization is hoping to establish similar agreements with public libraries throughout the U.S.

NYPL, Benetech Partner to Offer 370,000 Accessible Ebooks to Print Disabled

The New York Public Library in December announced a new partnership with nonprofit Benetech, and the organization’s Bookshare solution, to provide print disabled patrons with access to more than 370,000 accessible ebooks through NYPL and the Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Although Bookshare provides free access to its collection for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities through an award by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, access to the collection for qualifying adults, seniors, and other non-students generally requires payment of a $25 setup fee and a $50 annual subscription fee. The partnership to provide free access to library patrons through NYPL is Bookshare’s first such partnership with a U.S. library, and Benetech officials have stated that the organization is hoping to establish similar agreements with public libraries throughout the U.S.

Bots, Block Chain, and Beacons Hot Topics at LITA Tech Trends Panel | ALA Midwinter 2016

Moderator Lisa Bunker, Social Media Librarian for Pima County Public Library (AZ) ; Jason Griffey, founder and principal of consulting and creation firm Evenly Distributed; Jim Hahn, orientation services and environments librarian and associate professor at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Library; Jamie Hollier, co-owner and co-CEO of technology consultancy Anneal; Alex Lent, director of the Millis Public Library (MA); Thomas Padilla, digital scholarship librarian at Michigan State University Libraries; and Ken Varnum, senior program manager for discovery, delivery, and learning analytics at the University of Michigan Library, during the Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Tech Trends panel at the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter conference in Boston.

Drexel Librarian, Students Help Design 10th Annual Knovel Academic Challenge

The Knovel Academic Challenge enables thousands of engineering students at universities around the world to hone their research skills while competing for prizes and recognition. This year, a group of four students from Drexel University, assisted by Jay Bhatt, the university’s liaison librarian for engineering, took their participation to another level, designing the engineering problem sets that were used in this fall’s 10th annual challenge.