Monthly Archives: October 2013

Discovery Services: The Future of Library Systems?

Discovery services. Ever heard of it? Well, according to some, like those in the video below, it is supposed to be the future of the library.

A comprehensive article by Jason Vaughan titled “Investigations into Library Web-Scale Discovery Services” published in INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND LIBRARIES, March 2012 issue, states:

Web-scale discovery services for libraries provide deep discovery to a library’s local and licensed content and represent an evolution — perhaps a revolution — for end-user information discovery as pertains to library collections. This article frames the topic of web-scale discovery and begins by illuminating web-scale discovery from an academic library’s perspective — that is, the internal perspective seeking widespread staff participation in the discovery conversation. This included the creation of the Discovery Task Force, a group that educated library staff, conducted internal staff surveys, and gathered observations from early adopters. The article next addresses the substantial research conducted with library vendors that have developed these services. Such work included drafting of multiple comprehensive question lists distributed to the vendors, onsite vendor visits, and continual tracking of service enhancements. Together, feedback gained from library staff, insights arrived at by the Discovery Task Force, and information gathered from vendors collectively informed the recommendation of a service for the UNLV Libraries.

Web-scale discovery services, combining vast repositories of content with accessible, intuitive interfaces, hold the potential to greatly facilitate the research process. While the technologies underlying such services are not new, commercial vendors releasing such services, and their work and agreements with publishers and aggregators to preindex content, is very new.

The first 5 minutes of this AL Panel Discussion by Marshall Breeding will give you an introduction. You listen and you decide. Is this the future of library systems?


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21st Century Libraries Look Like: True Innovation

In February of this year I posted 21st Century Libraries and Librarians Look Like: Innovation with a list of eight links to new and innovative ideas “that to me typify what the 21st Century Library looks like – what it does – what it symbolizes – how it performs – how it benefits its community – how it remains relevant – and most of all, how it is different in the 21st Century.”

It’s taken most of the year to run across a new and even more expansive list, this one developed by Pew Internet & American Life Project, titled Library Services in the Digital Age by Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell. While this is another relatively useful Pew report about who’s doing what to who in the library, an offshoot report by Kathryn Zickuhr, Innovative library services “in the wild”, is really the crux of this post, because it deals with an interesting list of innovations in library services, some awesome, some not really new.

Their intro to the list of library innovations simply states;

But we also wanted to include illustrations of some of these more innovative services, to see what they look like on the ground. To that end, we’ve collected examples of many of the types of services mentioned in the report, as well as some “fun and funky” services that we’ve seen pop up at libraries across the county.

We’ll keep updating the list with new examples as we hear about them. Does your library have a neat service we should know about? Send us an email and let us know! And many thanks to everyone who has sent in examples so far.

So, if your library has any really great innovative ideas that you want the world to know about, let Pew Research know and they’ll share it with the library world.

My favorite part of their list was the state-by-state listing of innovations that include the following. There are many more states and libraries with somewhat innovative programming, but the ones below look to me like true innovations.

A librarian in the home: “This program sends librarians outside the library to the far reaches of their rural service area. Librarians are vetted and trained for this very specialized program, and often teach patrons on technology in their own living rooms.” Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO

“Lost in the Stacks,” a one-hour weekly radio show, is done in partnership with the local NPR affiliate, WJCT. “DJs/librarians Andrew Coulon and Matthew Moyer play diverse selections from the library’s collection. Sometimes include local musicians and educators join Coulon and Moyer in the studio to select songs from the collection and share how these pieces have influenced their own lives.” Jacksonville Public Library

Early literacy / wildlife “trunks”: “The Montana State Library has developed a partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The trunks, which we refer to as ‘Ready 2 Read Goes Wild,’ utilize the ‘Growing Up Wild’ curriculum with a focus on Montana wildlife. We have developed trunks that feature ungulates, bears, owls, creepy-crawlies, water, and tracks. Each of the trunks includes between 15 – 20 books on the subject, (both fiction and non-fiction); puppets; the Growing Up Wild curriculum guide; and wildlife resources, such as grizzly hides, elk antlers, deer hooves, a number of rubber tracks, skulls, and more. … Additionally, MT FWP staff works with libraries across the state to provide programming in libraries on MT animals.” There is a short video about the program here. Montana State Library

New Jersey
Historic Walk Through Your Hometown – Guided walk through Bradley Beach in collaboration with Borough Historian that highlights significant historic landmarks and events. Bradley Beach Public Library

Naked Came the Rogue: a Serial Mystery set in Southern Oregon’s Jackson County – a serial mystery book, written by 9 local authors, based on librarians helping to solve the mystery of the dead bodies popping up in or near some local libraries. Ashland Branch of the Jackson County Library Services

Living Books: Patrons “can ‘check out’ (interview) an interesting person on a specific subject-such as a mathematician or artist.” Georgetown Public Library

Online E-Resources Scavenger Hunt: “The Library of Virginia and Credo Reference . . . partnered together to create a set of questions that take users through a virtual adventure, where points are earned and research know-how is accumulated. Those that successfully make it to the end of the mission even receive a printable certificate acknowledging the online trek.” Library of Virginia and Credo Reference

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21st Century Librarians Look Like: Game-changing Creativity

60 Minutes” recently aired a segment on a young man named Jack Andraka who is the Intel International Science Fair Grand Prize winner for his project to find a reliable, cost effective diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.

Not only did this 15 year old beat out 1,500 other really smart young people, he has presented a TED Talk, which is seriously impressive.

Jack Andraka was so passionate about his desire to accomplish something worthwhile that he petitioned 200 biotechnology science labs to allow him to pursue his research, but only one accepted his proposal. It only takes one.

Being interviewed by “60 Minutes” reporter Morley Safer, Andraka says of his genius idea;

But really I don’t think it’s that I’m really smart. I mean, I know people that are way smarter than me. You can be a genius, but if you don’t have the creativity to put that knowledge to use, then you just have a bunch of knowledge and nothing else. I mean, like, then you’re just as good as my smartphone. [Emphasis added.]

Another impressive part of the interview came when Safer told about Andraka speaking to “the renowned Royal Society of Medicine about his test and the problems with current cancer diagnostics.” The video showed a large room full of doctors and researchers totally engaged in their young speaker’s ideas.

THAT is where the game-changing creativity comes into play, not only by Andraka, but by the adults open to listening to a new idea about how to approach an old challenge. The fact that the idea came from a teenager may have been incidental, or maybe not. But, the point is we all must be open to new ideas, new perspectives, new approaches to old challenges in our libraries.

Librarians have been pounding away at “librarianship” for decades in the same way it has always been done. The reason the old way doesn’t work is because the environment has changed drastically, conditions have changed drastically and library user’s expectations of libraries have changed drastically. (Read 21st Century Librarianship – Revisited)

21st Century Librarianship does the unexpected!

21st Century Libraries Look Like: Something Unexpected)

Library’s ‘Hatch’ space appeals to visitors’ creativity

Open-mic night encourages creativity, benefits library

Augmented reality. What is augmented reality?

The Maker Movement Finds Its Way Into Urban Classrooms

Free lending libraries sprouting on front lawns in D.C. area help create neighborhood bonds

Miami Public Library provides videoconferencing equipment

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