Information Visualization, by Hsuanwei Michelle Chen
Information visualization has been widely adopted as both an analytical tool and an aid to enhance and shape data interpretation and knowledge discovery in disciplines ranging from computer science to humanities. On the other hand, relatively less has been discussed, applied, or even understood in terms of its role in a library setting. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 53, no. 3), “Information Visualization,” will share a comprehensive introductory piece focused on presenting a wide range of aspects of information visualization, including its definitions, major principles, and common techniques. Author Hsuanwei Michelle Chen will also provide an in-depth discussion and demonstration of how information visualization can be applied to a library setting. The objective of this issue of Library Technology Reports is to provide librarians and library staff with a better grasp of what information visualization can do for their institution. This includes pertinent information on how data analytics, communication, service quality, and work effectiveness can potentially be enhanced by using information visualization. The report also appeals to readers who are new to the field and would like to learn a new method of data analytics, as well as to the individual who is experienced in information visualization and is seeking further opportunities in the library field.
Podcast Literacy: Educational, Accessible, and Diverse Podcasts for Library Users, by Nicole Hennig
Podcasts are experiencing a renaissance today. More high-quality programming is available for more diverse audiences than ever before.
When librarians are knowledgeable about podcasts, how to find the best ones, and what purposes they serve, we can point our users to the very best content and help increase digital literacy.
Library Technology Reports (vol. 53, no. 2), “Podcast Literacy: Educational, Accessible, and Diverse Podcasts for Library Users,” will cover
- Why podcasts are an important part of digital literacy
- Statistics on podcast listening
- The advantages of audio-based learning
- How to find the best podcasts
- The best apps for podcast listening
- Lists of recommended podcasts for general audiences, higher education, teens, children, people with disabilities, and diverse and underserved audiences
- How podcasts are being used, in context, in K–12 education and higher education
- Podcast accessibility for people with disabilities
- Ideas for how libraries can become curators and recommenders of podcasts
- Resources for learning more
The Internet of Things: Mobile Technology and Location Services in Libraries, by Jim Hahn
Drawing examples from a case study of an Internet of Things (IoT)–powered mobile application, librarian Jim Hahn demonstrates IoT uses for location-based services in libraries. The case integrates Bluetooth beacons into an undergraduate library’s book stacks. With BLE (Bluetooth low energy) technology, researchers were able to implement a location-based recommender that relies on subject classifications in call numbers from which to provide recommendations based on location. Recommendations of digital content like e-books and e-journals can be provided from the context of the book stacks browsing experience. This report explores key technologies for bringing IoT services to libraries, noting especially the privacy and security issues for library leaders, system designers, and users of IoT services.
Social Media Optimization: Principles for Building and Engaging Community, by Doralyn Rossmann and Scott W. H. Young
Social media optimization (SMO) is programmatic strategy for building and engaging community through social networks. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 52, no. 8), “Social Media Optimization: Principles for Building and Engaging Community,” by Doralyn Rossmann and Scott W. H. Young, offers practical guidelines for implementing this flexible and comprehensive community-building model, structured around five interrelated principles:
- Create shareable content.
- Make sharing easy.
- Reward engagement.
- Proactively share.
- Measure use and encourage reuse.
SMO ultimately benefits both the library and library users by introducing a model for connecting users with relevant content, listening to the community, and building sustainable relationships.
Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, by Tabatha Farney
Libraries are actively using Google Analytics to monitor the usage of their various websites and online tools. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 52, no. 7), “Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager,” recommends several Google Analytics features, including the useful Google Tag Manager that all libraries should be using. It also tackles the challenge of enhancing Google Analytics’ tracking ability for a variety of library-specific online tools, including link resolvers, online catalogs and discovery services, Springshare’s LibGuides, digital repositories, and social media websites. These best practices will optimize your Google Analytics to provide you with better data for improved website assessment.
The Knowledge Base at the Center of the Universe, by Kristen Wilson
More than fifteen years after its initial appearance, the electronic resources knowledge base has come into its own as a tool that touches nearly every area of library management. And the knowledge base continues to evolve, expanding into areas such as APIs, open data, community contribution models, and integration with next-generation systems. This Library Technology Report will analyze the impact of knowledge bases on library management practices and explore new directions and trends for these tools. The report will trace the evolution of the knowledge base, provide context for knowledge base creation and maintenance, and explore areas of innovation including use in library services platforms, integration with external tools and services, and collaborative knowledge base projects.
Improving Web Visibility: Into the Hands of Readers, by Ted Fons
Improving the visibility of library collections and services on the open web is one strategy in enhancing the long-term viability of libraries. The tradition of modern librarianship has been to focus on the efficiency of library workflow systems and technical processing and the accuracy of metadata against librarian-authored rules for metadata encoding. This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 52, no. 5), “Improving Web Visibility: Into the Hands of Readers,” by Ted Fons, discusses actions for libraries to take with regard to content exposure systems, vocabularies, content metadata regimes, and system design approaches that will serve the convenience of the web searcher and thereby contribute to the long-term viability of libraries.
Privacy and Security for Library Systems, by Marshall Breeding
Surveying vendors and ARL libraries, Marshall Breeding covers the current state of patron privacy in interacting with the library’s web-based systems. The report discusses key technologies and techniques for protecting patron privacy, focusing on encryption, the storage of data, the catalog, and discovery systems. It explores the many ways patron data and behavior may be captured in the absence of preventive measures.
Mobile Learning Trends: Accessibility, Ecosystems, Content Creation, by Nicole Hennig
The widespread adoption of mobile computing is a good thing for librarians who care about access for all. Mobile devices make use of “natural user interfaces,” and those interfaces are making computing easier for people of all ages and abilities. Mobile learning is headed in a direction that is empowering for learners of all abilities. Library Technology Reports (vol. 52, no. 3), “Mobile Learning Trends: Accessibility, Ecosystems, Content Creation,” focuses on three trends:
- natural user interfaces and accessibility
- multi-device ecosystems
- content creation with mobile devices
E-content in Libraries: Marketplace Perspectives
Sue Polanka, Editor
Library Technology Reports volume 51, no. 8, "E-content in Libraries: Marketplace Perspectives," edited by Sue Polanka. Tis report presents an insider’s look at the e-content purchasing process among the market players: libraries, publishers, and aggregators. Editor Sue Polanka gathers three articles, one written by a public librarian and two by information industry executives. They demonstrate the complexity of purchasing e-content, present the concerns of different parties, and offer suggestions for working together.
Mobile Devices: Service with Intention
Rebecca K. Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier, eds.
Library Technology Reports, volume 51, no. 7, “Mobile Devices: Service with Intention,” edited by Rebecca K. Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier, gathers five case studies that discuss the potential of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices alongside real-world constraints. From a range of institutional settings, the case studies address three general areas of library work: (1) circulation and lending; (2) teaching and learning; (3) access and design. Assessment is a common theme in the case studies.
Open-Access Journals: Idealism and Opportunism, by Walt Crawford
Open-access journals have become widespread in recent years, but so have misunderstandings about such journals, fueled by a lack of actual data. This issue of Library Technology Reports looks at the state of open-access journals as of mid-2014 and how they got there, based on visits to the website of every open-access journal accessible to a reader of English. The report shows the state of gold open access (OA), including the percentage of journals that require author-side fees (and the percentage of articles published by those journals), the number of journals and articles overall and by broad subject category, the apparent “gold rush” since 2006 within certain subject categories, and more. The report includes advice for dealing with gold OA journals and recommending them to scholars and suggestions for library actions to improve open access.
“Altmetrics” by Robin Chin Roemer and Rachel Borchardt
Library Technology Reports (vol. 51, no. 5) introduces the concept of altmetrics, including its relation to existing citation-based research metrics and to the larger academic community. Major altmetrics tools are presented and discussed, as well as social media sources that comprise the spectrum of altmetrics, and methods for evaluating new and existing metrics tools. Drawing on recent research and online resources within the field, the report outlines both the promises and major obstacles faced by the field of altmetrics. The report also explicitly explores role of libraries in altmetrics, such as the ability of librarians to serve as facilitators and communicators within their institutions, and to provide education and support related to altmetrics and scholarly impact. Various tips and resources are highlighted for librarians and administrators looking to stay current with changes in this rapidly moving field.
This issue of Library Technology Reports, "Coding for Librarians: Learning by Example," draws from more than fifty interviews with librarians who have written code in the course of their work. Its goal is to help novice and intermediate programmers understand how programs work, how they can be useful in libraries, and how to learn more.
Three chapters discuss use cases for code in libraries. These include data import, export, and cleanup; expanded reporting capability; and patron-facing services such as improvements to catalog and LibGuide usability. Most of the programs discussed are short—under a hundred lines—so that implementing or modifying them is within the reach of relatively novice programmers. Where possible, links to the code itself are provided. Several scripts are explained in depth.
Additional chapters focus on nontechnical aspects of library code. One chapter outlines political situations that have been faced by librarians who code and the solutions they have employed. Another chapter shares interviewees’ advice on specific resources and strategies for learning to code.
Gamification, which refers to applying gaming elements to a real-world activity, is not necessarily a new idea. But (1) the rapid adoption of the smartphone, (2) the tremendous growth of the mobile web, and (3) the increased use of social media have made it possible for gamification to be implemented in an unprecedentedly seamless, ubiquitous, and social manner, thereby transforming it into a portable activity interwoven with reality. This report explains the concept of gamification and how it differs from related concepts such as games, playful design, and toys; distinguishes game mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics from one another; describes a number of gamification examples and projects in businesses, education from K-12 to higher education, and public and academic libraries; and discusses what they do, how they work, and how successful they are. This report also addresses a number of issues and variables that need to be taken into consideration when designing successful gamification for educational purposes, including the undermining effect of gamification’s external rewards on intrinsic motivation.