Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary – 4th Dec 2012 – Innovative use of technology in libraries

On the 4th of Dec we held a #uklibchat session on Innovative use of technologies in libraries, which was complemented by an article written on the subject a few days earlier by @ggnwed.

Things that cropped up were:  further uses for RFID,  acknowledgement of the usefulness of smartsm (automated stock management system), resistance to social media in organisations, use of new tech for marketing purposes, questions of whether library qualifications were fit for purpose, what skills librarians needs to develop to make use of tech,  and perhaps a tech roadshow to give people the opportunity to see and use what is all the rage!

Many thanks to everyone who attended. Good effort was made to make sure info put here is correct, changes have been made to some text to make things read better. If you spot a mistake, or if we’ve miscontrued anything, we welcome corrections. Especially as some tweets were not numbered or linked to a question, and I had to make a few guesses.

For accurate quotes, please use the Searchable Twitter Archive

Q1  What new tech has your library introduced in the past few years?

  • RFID,  Self-service, staff roaming with tablets to help users @agentk23
  • I’d say biggest new tech has been RFID – mostly been good too. PN compes that allow usb flash drives and wi-fi @poetryghost
  • thin-client laptops for better access to institutional software. Thinclient is where the laptop is used to access things hosted elsewhere, works a bit like a Remote Desktop but a laptop. Bascially means the laptop runs faster cos there’s nothing on it, and a wider range of stuff can be available remotely @osmonkey
    • We’re using thin-client at the business school so students can access things like SPCSS and similar, from anywhere @roogly
    • There is quite a lot of interest in thin-client. There have been a few jisc projects e.g http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/greeningict.aspx @paulbrichardson
  • We seem to have had most of the usual “new” stuff for ages, all we’ve done is upgrade our gear (on our 3rd RFID supplier etc) @pennyb
  • E-book service, free wi-fi, self-service machines, digital display screens & use free online services to promote lib service @ggnewed
  • nice new pod in the library – students love it. Whole ground floor refurbed Sept 2012 and proving popular  http://t.co/hDHofjG0 @elstopbanana
  • Is anyone using Smartphones with RFID? @mickfortune
    • I”m not but seen it being used in France on a beta project. I believe ti was iPHone and iPad (seem to recall mainly iPad) @mardixon
    • RFID is being used in conjunction with social media, intelligent sherlving etc, but rare in UK @mickfortune
    • Is anyone using RFID in collections management (museum of art galleries)
  • Would you say smart sm is tech? It’s a stock analysis tool – prob software w[?] web interface I think. We’ve been impressed in some ways doesn’t replace stock knowledge. But given reduction of professional librarians and need for paraprofessionals to be involved, smartsm is a helpful tool. Interestingly except when we’ve over weeded, customers have liked the results and commented positively @poetryghost
    • Smartsm has also been very helpful in my lib service too @ggnewed
    • smartSM powerful tool to empower decision making @dave1lloyd
  • We use the school VLE to host our digital resources so pupils can access them at home as well as anywhere in school @bishopwalshlib
  • I like the software as service approach – software accessed anywhere via web, as a way to try to promote stock in new ways. W also have 2 apps. 1. Catalogue search, renewal reservation. 2. Ebook (Overdrive) @ggnewed
  • We used tiki-toki for historical timeline, Woices for literary audio tour.  All accessed via internet. @ggnewed
    • how did you convince your libraries to use these new tools and offer to users? do you have the authority to decide to roll out a service via the organisation? or need to make business case? @uklibchat
    • It gets agreed along the way – sometimes at beginning. Sometimes I tinker at home & it forms into something lib service can use. @ggnewed
  • Starting to use new technologies for marketing new (and existing) library services more these days. Adding messages to self service welcome screens, public computer login screens, OPAC screens etc. @DRagsdell

Q2. Do you think the new tech has been beneficial (to library/staff/users)?

  • In many ways yes, as full self-service is needed for 24/7, and users like that a lot. Staff rightly feel marginalised. Other tecnologies like social media more popular with staff, though still only a hardcore. Other stuff depends on courses . @pennyb
  • Display screens have helped promote services, library events, different types of stock.@ggnewed
    • Who puts together the content for your display screens? Is it easy to manage? @calire
    • at my work it’s librarians who work on publicity some of the time, and they use Powerpoint mostly. Our screens also show (updating live with the joys of code) where computers are free, a godsend when it’s busy. @pennyb
    • We use PowerPoint for a screen in one of our libraries. Have used digital photo frames to do same, but took time. @calire
    • The simplest way to do it is as a Powerpoint slide. I believe screens we use also display standard media files. Library staff provide content, but one of our team members is responsible for making sure it runs smoothly. @ggnewed
    • Some orgs hve done ‘available computers’. e.g. @rscwales funded project @GlyndwrUni http://t.co/x1mWiHO9 @paulbrichardson
  • Ebooks attracted new users. @ggnewed
  • the digital library on the VLE has been appreciated by teaching staff and by the students who’ve used it. @bishopwalshlib
  • Think e-book market in libraries will take off next year when new library e-readers launch in UK? @mickfortune
    • If more ebooks are released for library use. Ebook services seem to be moving to web browser based reading too. So tablet/wifi enabled access might be the way it goes @ggnewed
    • Yes new 3M offer will use many many platforms for ebooks @mickfortune
  • Twitter is definitely better for chats than the ‘can you hear me?’ routine of the webinar. I like it!
  • RFID w self service staff : also hard to know as staff did restructure and reduce coincidentally at similar time. @poetryghost
    • I wrote about this ‘coincidence’ on @alanwylie ‘s blog recently http://ht.ly/fP1Py @mickfortune
    • Given govt cuts, staff reductions were inevitable as v big overhead. In a way could have been worse without RFID @poetryghost
    • But libraries spent more on RFID than necessary. Rush to s/s means reinvestment will now be needed to keep up. @mickfortune
    • I’m sure it happens but in this case were not related. One was brought in, restructure was part of a different process @poetryghost

Q3. Can you name some exciting uses of technology that you’ve seen in libraries?

  • Libraries are keen on creating their own websites using startpages such as Netvibes. They can take control quickly/easily
    • going to be looking at NetVibes to create a startpage for jobseekers @calire
  • http://www.socialmediacaster.org/smc-en  also looks quite innovative @mickfortune
  • the use of the GoTo suite of product to induct and teach distance learning students. Also used to create instructional vids. @roogly

Q4. Have there been times when it hasn’t worked, and why? [tech that bombed or didn’t do what you thought it would]

  • I remember the  bloomsbury ebooks offering and overdrive for public libraries. So clunky I did not like using it at all. ebook platform with limited content is a fail. Users check once, and may not check again. @agentk23
    • Think Overdrive may have improved, but had a nightmare a few years ago showing my mum how to download an audio book. @calire
  • *Shakes fist angrily at Yahoo pipers for letting me down too many times* 😉 But saying that, things like Yahoo pipes are good for getting idea off ground if you are trying proof of concept.  @ggnewed

 Q5. Are there any technologies you think we should give up on?

  •  The VLE? ! VLE is too often simply a repository for lecture notes. conversation happens elsewhere, e.g. twitter, facebook, bar… @Paulbrichardson
    • I think that it’s too easy to internalise & try and control, rather than go out into 3rd party resources. (re VLE) @philbradley
    • Agreed. Q5: Re VLE Need to re-visit the purpose of the whole thing sometimes i.e. supporting learning! @paulbrichardson
    • are there any good alternatives to using VLEs @uklibchat
    • Can think about a cluster of apps, as in Personal Learning Envmt (PLE). Some might use Google Apps…. @paulbrichardson
    • PLE is a generic phrase. Everyone creates their own PLE using own tools for own purpose. @philbradley
    • Phil is right. PLE is conceptual – you can’t buy one! http://t.co/wnTg20SJ @paulbrichardson
    • Shouldn’t the focus be on the activity, rather than the tool? Always plenty of tools, so can essentially forget them. @philbradley
    • Tech is only as good as how you use it sometimes? (VLE case in point maybe) @uklibchat
    • Possible data protection issues? If you use cloud services, your data is elsewhere. @agentk23
    • Sure, have to take DataP into account, but should not define what can be done. Should be exception. PLE is really about individual, how they can keep up to date etc. Dragging info in from elsewhere, so datap not so much an issue @philbradley
    • (re PLE) Data protection? Absolutely it’s an issue. Policies needed @paulbrichardson
  • I suppose it’s difficult to give up on some technology if you’ve invested £££££s in it. Also sometimes entire services are built around services [tech?], making the implication of changing it all a huge task.@ggnewed
    • Yes, but that’s from a mistake culture. Agree if its physical item, but if software, should maybe use free stuff? @philbradley
    • I suppose if you pay for software you are also paying for a level of support from supplier. @ggnewed
    • Disagree. Supplier can go bankrupt. Developer may want to support/develop to improve their product. @philbradley
    • I’d say that’s what holds people frm free stuff – I’d be using Linux if I knew I could get support easily @poetryghost
    • I’m thinking about rubbishy experiences I’ve had with a couple of free services I thought were great & developers messed up. I’d have happily paid for access if they’d offered it to keep services running well. But I agree that some paid services are just as bad.  @ggnewed
    • Also, despite govt policy on using open source, we’re very limited to what we can download due to int[?] costs  @kosjanska
    • I use free stuff a lot – it works for me, but might not be okay for lib service with 600+ employees. But then again, some of it might well be useful. @ggnewed
    • Yes, fair point well made. Both need to be included in a healthy mix of products @philbradley
    • Interestingly @NickDimant says Open Source systems need commerical support to work as business model @mickfortune
  • Check out IFTTT to replace Pipes. Lori Ayre just popping in. Library Consultant from USA.  @galeciagroup
  • I’d say playaways are a dead end (type of audiobook device), and inevitably libraries will need to give up on CDs and DVDs. They were basically an audiobook device that only holds one book. You lend device, customer adds batteries n earphones http://t.co/CAbX6KR9 @poetryghost

Q6. How much time is needed to learn and develop innovative tech in libraries? [may be good to have concrete examples?]

Q7. Do we need additionals quals to librarianship in order to develop innovative tech or can they learn at work?

  • all depends how fast tech moves and how fast your org is willing to let you move – see social media in local govt services @poetryghost
  • Would like someone to tell me what are important things to learn outside of libqual when working with online /e /digital @agentk23
  • I think it’s a question of mind set, not qualifications. Have to be ok with unknown and being uncomfortable. @philbradley
  • I think more people should learn about things like Human-Computer Interaction – it’s not very techy, but it IS important. @pennyb
  • Library schools are where the failure is. Curriculum for our profession needs to change. @galeciagroup
    • disagree it’s not the curriculum it’s the culture @poetryghost
    • Probably so. If culture changed, so would curriculum. @galeciagroup
  • I learnt about a lot of things because it was of interest to me anyway. @ggnewed
  • Some people aren’t keen on techy ideas eg Twitter, but when they actually use it, it makes sense as to why it’s useful. @ggnewed
  • My tech learning has been problem based. I want to do X, how do I do X? And I ask that on twitter 🙂 @agentk23
  • Org Culture can make big diff. Creating a culture of risk-taking, encouraging ideas from everyone, flatter org – all help. @galeciagroup
  • Libraries need more coders. No brainer. @mrnick
  • social media management poor – staff not empowered to make use of when at work @dave1lloyd
    • I think use of social media depends on how overall organisation views it.  @ggnewed
    • agreed -personal experience is I’m not aware of many orgs that encourage all staff to make use of social media @dave1lloyd
    • But sometimes when new social media site pops up it may be necessary to justify using it again!! @ggnewed
    • Or just do it anyway and then apologise later 😉 @calire
    • would be nice – my org doesn’t allow for library staff to access social media unless on break, not part of job @dave1lloyd
    • I did a lot at home or on my own devices. Still only person in library who can access SM at work. @calire
    • has anyone argued for a change? May just need someone to make a business case ask @tomroper.  @uklibchat
    • that’s a big prob in many orgs People at top older and suspicious of new tech treat each new 1 separately @poetryghost
    • That social media business case in full: http://www.ksslibraries.nhs.uk/procollect/  (use the drop-down menu) @tomroper

Q.8. Have you used any advisory services e.g. JISC, CILIP, other to advise on what tech could be helpful? Where else?

  • Not tended to use services such as jisc, cilip formally- but will have used policy documents, briefings & papers by them. @ggnewed
  • No promises, but would people find CILIP info service helpful if were able to offer access to play with ipad/kindle etc? Something I’d be keen to make happen, so thanks for enthusiasm. Does £££ so no promises, but will work on it. 🙂 @philbradley
    • sounds interesting, may depend on how long we could ‘borrow’ for? think also may need support on use?
    • Yes, yes, yes – but not just in London please  @bishopwalshlib
    • We have done this for library staff & public. Hopefully organising a gadget day for library people to play & learn @calire
    • Just FYI, US group did a Tech Petting Zoo that worked well. Focused on how to learn devices in general. It was a hit. See http://t.co/1hui6SIJ for ideas. @galeciagroup
    • No much point showing kindles though Phil, as not allowed to loan them out etc!  Perhaps kobo better? @libwithattitude
    • could attach to existing regional events. @karjg
    • Good idea. We ran public drop in sessions here showing library users various ereaders and tablets – it worked well. @ggnewed
    • we’ve done something similar to a tech roadshow. Lets folk see it in action and play @kosjanska

Q9. Where are the places to look to get funding if lib can’t afford tech dev wanted?

  • Arts Council England are keen on funding innovate/creative ideas. Good opportunity to take a chance & do something “Wow!” @ggnewed

About Ka-Ming

Librarian at a University in London and one of the founding members of uklibchat.wordpress.com Find me @agentk23

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This entry was posted on December 31, 2012 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , , , , , , , .


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