Monday, 26 October 2015

Emerging Technologies

Finished October 24
Emerging Technologies: A Primer for Librarians by Jennifer Koerber and Michael P. Sauers

This book begins with a discussion of the book's premise which is to provide a snapshot of new technology important to libraries and use that to show readers how to look at technology at it appears and gets applied in library environments. The chapters on technologies each have a brief overview of the technology giving background and current events, advantages and challenges to the technology's use in libraries, highlights of the most useful or well-known tools and/or devices in that technology and how libraries might use them, and some examples. The authors define emerging as those technologies just hitting the middle of the acceptance bell curve, so not leading edge, but also not mainstream. They also look at older technologies used in new ways.
The first technology they look at is audio/video. They cover hardware such as cameras and microphones, software such as screencasting, video-editing, and platforms such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud. Uses include virtual library tours, training, memes, community engagement, events, and supporting makers.
The second technology is self-publishing. They look at the environment, platforms and tools, including some library-specific tools. There is discussion of the library's role.
The third technology is mobile technologies. Here the question is not if your library will use mobile technology, but which services should be provided. It looks at mobile websites and library apps, and proposes three sets of questions to ask: who creates and maintains the technology and its content; how are connections to third parties handled (ebooks, streaming media); and how is it serving, how are they accessing it, and what services does it provide. Hardware includes both the patrons' own as well as library-provided, through lending. Interfaces discusses range from native to apps to mobile web. Applications range from reference to ecommerce to collection access.
The fourth technology is crowdfunding and the main discussion is on platforms. Not all platforms allow non-profit use, and there is information on appropriate applications.
The fifth technology is wearables. Hardware includes activity trackers, life loggers, smart watches, and augmented and virtual reality. Not all uses discussed are patron-oriented. Some libraries use this technology for staff wellness programs.
The sixth technology is the Internet of Things. There is a long list of some that are becoming more common, but no library examples of use yet. Some ideas are given for future use by libraries.
The book now looks at the issue of privacy and security, noting that privacy is a core library ethic, and that it is part of our responsibility to help patrons learn how to keep their information secure as well as keeping public access computers as secure as possible. To do that, library staff have to know the basics themselves. Software includes browser controls and PAC resetting, as well as password managers, two factor authentication, and VPN.
The last chapter looks at how to apply this knowledge to other technologies as they emerge, and works on the basic ideas of read, play, and teach. Read widely, not just in the library field, but also social media, geek sources, and mainstream media. Play with technology by using devices in stores, reading instructions, pushing the buttons, spending time with different technologies and not being afraid. Teach by writing about what you learn, going beyond the basics, being prepared for random questions, knowing what next steps might be for learners, and setting goals for students in more formal settings. Several tools are mentioned here including Lynda, Gale Courses, edX, and Coursera.

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