Library 2.0 for You (L-2-4-U)

Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

From left: Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

Program Description:

Flickr isn’t just a bird, del.icio.us isn’t just your NELA luncheon, and WordPress isn’t a new kitchen gadget. Find out what these things are and how these popular Web 2.0 applications (and more!) are being used in real-world libraries. L-2-4-U offers a panel of three experienced Massachusetts librarians: Paige Eaton Davis from the Minuteman Library Network, Brian Herzog from Chelmsford Public Library, and Elizabeth Thomsen of NOBLE. They share their expertise with applying Web 2.0 technologies to help promote your library’s resources, programs, and materials. The program sponsor is ITS whose business meeting is included in the program.

Elizabeth Thomsen, North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE):

Elizabeth started off this panel discussion by comparing the old way of finding information to the new.

In the old days, people found information in books. Someone else decided what information was important. For example, if you were interested in Lewis Hine child labor pictures, you never saw the photos from Salem, MA in published works because they are not as interesting as some of his other photos. But if you work in Salem, you are interested in them. You can now find them as part of the Lewis Hine Project. “What’s interesting for you may not be something that’s interesting to everyone else.” Continue reading

NELA ITS Spring Program – technology self-sufficiency!

The New England Library Association Information Technology Section proudly presents our 2008 Spring Workshop, “Library-Wide IT Proficiencies.”

The workshop is focused on teaching technology self-sufficiency, so library staff in every department can feel comfortable handling common technology issues. Using a “train the trainer” format, the presenters will emphasize sharing the practical knowledge and skills IT staff may take for granted. The goal is to reduce the fear factor many library staff have when dealing with common technology, from changing printer cartridges to navigating the network.

Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008
Location: Bryant University, Smithfield, RI
Directions to BU’s Bryant Center: http://web.bryant.edu/~conf/directions.htm

Cost: NELA Members – $55 Non-members – $65

PROGRAM SCHEDULE
8:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 – 12:00 Part I: Proficiency, IT Staff and End Users
12:00 – 12:45 Buffet Lunch
12:45 – 3:00 Part II: Roadmap to Creating an IT-Savvy Library Staff
3:00 Questions and Program Wrap-Up

Each workshop attendee will receive a flash drive containing all presentation materials and handouts.

TO REGISTER
Visit http://nelib.org/its/conference for both online and mail-in [pdf] registration forms.

MORE ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
IT staff must be able to assist in maintaining a library-wide level of competence and confidence not only in using current IT resources, but also in learning new ways of working smarter. The workshop begins with the basic elements of end user education to promote departmental self-sufficiency and moves on to the higher level of assisting librarians with cutting edge technology awareness and use. Participants will receive tools, techniques and many ideas on ways to increase the IT proficiency of all library staff.

ABOUT THE PRESENTERS
Gary K. McCone and Grace R. Sines work in the Information Systems department of the National Agricultural Library. As Associate Director, Gary is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality Assurance of computer systems and NAL databases, and has significant experience in providing consultation for the establishment of libraries in developing countries. Grace, Deputy Associate Director for Information technology, has over 20 years of experience in managing information technology services, and has authored numerous Federal policies and procedures concerning the implementation and operation of information systems.

OS Follies – Windows Vista, Linux GNU/Ubuntu and Mac OS X

This presentation covers three popular operating systems: Windows Vista, Linux GNU/Ubuntu and Mac OS X.

Barbara AndrewsVista: Barbara Andrews

  • Comes with a lot more drivers so fewer things need to be installed
  • Service Pack is coming out in the first park of 2008 (support for XP will go through 2014)
  • Vista is more Mac-like, graphics-wise. Much more visual cues and helpers, such as a variety of desktop “gadets” (like Mac widgets)
  • Start menu is pretty much the same, exept “start button” have been replace with Windows icon
  • Built-in computer search, which is also useful for locating programs
  • No more fly-out menus – everything is dropdown
  • Windows explorer has search box. They’re trying to eliminate menu bars so tools and features are not hidden.
  • New: Snipping Tool – allows easy screen capturing to convert any section of screen to jpg and email. It also allows annotating these images
  • New: User Account Control – alerts user when some non-user-initiated process begins. Pops up whenever something unusual is happening, to warn you of viruses. But it can be annoying
  • New: Photo Organizer – similar to Mac’s iPhoto, it easily puts photos in folders and allows basic function, such as redeye reduction, size reduction, cropping, etc., and also has various print options (multiple images per page)
  • Task bar shows thumbnail of minimized program
  • Alt-tab has new Windows-tab 3D program scroll feature
  • New: Built-in Parental Controls – inside user accounts, you can create a “child” account, and then set things like website filtering, time limits, block programs/games based on ratings or other criteria
  • New: Allows USB Flash Drives to be used as additional RAM (“speed up my system” auto-detection). This portion of the flash drive then becomes dedicated computer memory, and can’t be used for data storage
  • Windows Defender firewall comes standard
  • Question: How much RAM?: Presenter using 1GB, so 2GB (which has been recommended) is not necessary

GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) Wes Hamilton

  • Reliable: Linux is known to be reliable, and is increasely becoming a realistic alternative to Windows
  • Powerful: Linux gets more out of a computer, so older computers get new life
  • Freedom to Choose: Open Source means lots of different developers working on lots of different projects, so there is a lot of available options (good projects rise to the top, and bad projects fall away)
  • Ubuntu: Secure, Simple: Made for people to use, and doesn’t have virus like Windows. For root-level changes, it prompts you for admin password (like Vista, but doesn’t prompt you every single time)
  • Computer settings are divided between “preferences” and “administration” – administrator settings requires password
  • Afforable: It is free
  • Does not force applications at you like Windows (who sell desktop space for new installs)
  • Allows for switching between different “workspaces” instead of minimizing programs.
  • Comes pre-packaged with software: games, Firefox, Open Office software, photo editing, an dmore – doesn’t require additional installations
  • Default view is a desktop, but also has a built in terminal program
  • File storage is slightly different than Windows – everything can be found from desktop menus
  • Niche for libraries: give new life to old WinX computers – for free
  • Can Windows be undone to add Linux to an existing system? Yes, but it’s involved, because Windows wants to take up all available space. Windows partition can be shrunk to make room for Ubuntu, and then ask on bootup which OS to boot into
  • Question: Is there anti-virus for Linux? Luckily, not many viruses written for Linux. There are some worms, but patches come out quickly. The anti-virus is called Clam (ClanWin for Windows). Doesn’t run in background like Windows programs, but is more of an on-demand scanner
  • Question: What about wireless? It actually depends on the hardware of your wireless card. Broadcom is kind of hostile to open source, so their equipment doesn’t work very well
  • What about Overdrive and DRM? Depends on vendor and how they feel about open source – web-based programs work better. Also an idea is to run a Windows-emulator within Ubuntu (VMWare) and run the Windows programs that way

Scott KehoeMac OS X Scott Kehoe

  • Pronounced “O.S. ten”
  • Links available on Scott’s del.icio.us/bibliotechy/osx
  • Once you go Mac you can’t go back” – it’s true, because Macs make computing fun again
  • How different is Mac from Windows? Right-click still works, file formats and peripherals (mice, USB drives, CDs, DVDs) all work the same, almost as much freeware and most windows programs have Mac-versions, and now Macs use a lot of the same hardware
  • OSX and libraries: work just fine with printers and other peripherals, no virus, spyware or bloatware, built-in firewall with “invisible” wifi (easy to set up in Mac), comes with secure mode (like Deep Freeze), has built-in PDF support (don’t need Adobe Reader and keep up with updates), Firefox works the same, many kids get familiar with Macs in school, and using Macs make the library look tech-savvy
  • Current version is OS X 10.4 Tiger. Next is 10.5 Leopard due in 10/2007 (kind of the equivalent of Windows XP’s Service Pack 2). Has a new built-in feature called “Time Machine” that is a backup system – backups all versions of all files
  • Apple Stores are a great resource – free wifi, classes, hands-on experience, and tech support at the “genius bar.” store finder
  • Macs are keyboard-oriented, so lots of shortcut keys. F9 displays all open windows in miniature. System search (“Spotlight”) works really well to find documents, programs and even email messages
  • Office 2008 is due in late January 2008 (Mac’s version of Office 2007)

Discussion Group: Wireless

Description:
Wireless technology now has many faces. Join ITS members to discuss the various issues that we face with all the wireless devices and platforms. Non-wireless users and “thinking about it” persons are welcome too. The ITS business meeting is included.


Introduction to NELA-ITS, and what they do – work with and talk about technology, and plan an annual ITS Spring Technology workshop.

Wireless is very common in libraries today, so today’s session is an “in-person tech support session” with ITS tech staff.

Issues brought up:

Problem is with signing on with IE7 and/or Vista not with bluesocket connection (but okay with IE6 and/or Firefox).

  • check for firmware upgrades
  • check “security” settings in browser – try setting everything to default
  • check any other security settings (Norton, McAfee, etc)
  • Connecting to wireless with Vista has actually worked better than XP for ITS staff, as Vista recognizes a wireless connection and automatically locks down other areas of the computer to protect it

Wireless laptops in the library

  • Circulating laptops saves on room as they don’t require dedicated table space
  • Using wireless laptops as lookup stations in parts of the library that would be difficult to wire
  • Handling updates can be problematic, as they all need to be turned on and “unfrozen.” Perhaps leave them on overnight to let updates happen
  • Use same virus protect as on public computers
  • Think about using some kind of bandwidth limiting (or a packet shaper). Bluesocket can also do this

How to balance access and security?

  • Access should be as wide and freely-available as possible
  • Keep in mind that if a network is hacked, then all information on that network is potentially vulnerable
  • Weight likelihood of break-in (such as Coast Guard Academy or a college’s student network) with needs of the public

Wireless printing

  • Provide a link for patrons to download printer driver
  • Have a separate printer networked to the wireless router
  • Have patrons send document as email attachment to special email account
  • Keep a flash drive handy to move to a print-enabled computer

Turning off wireless connection at night?

  • Turn it off at night to keep people from hanging out in the parking lot
  • Police will sometimes prevent loitering, even though the connection is on
  • Seems to be bad publicity for library

Wireless network separate from staff network, to protect ILS and staff from external computers

  • currently using free Comcast network access
  • use VLAN

Network monitoring (if one person brings in an infected computer, just block that one person instead of shutting down the entire network) and a splash screen (patron must agree to Acceptable Use Policy)


ITS Annual Business Meeting

  • Rick Taplin is incoming Chair
  • Scott Kehoe is Vice-Chair
  • Marilyn Borgendale is secretary
  • Members-at-Large: Margaret Perkins and Brian Herzog
  • Kathy Lussier is outgoing Chair
  • NELA-ITS has a Yahoo group – sign up for meeting announcements
  • Usually meet bi-monthly in Shrewsbury, MA
  • Main activities is planning for Spring Conference, sessions for NELA Annual Conference, and a cookout at Rick Taplin’s house.

OS Follies

Review of Vista, Linux, and MAC OS.

Barbara Andrews, Andrews Consulting – Vista

  • Very easy to connect to peripheral devices. Connected to projector with no problem.
  • With printers, “I’m able to connect to any printer pretty much seamlessly.
  • Coming out with service pack in next year. Continuing sales for XP through 2009.
  • Look of desktop – more modern. More MAC-like.
  • Right side of desktop, Windows sidebar. Gadgets on the right side of desktop. Barbara has a clock and an RSS Reader for news updates. Can add more gadgets.
  • While showing different clocks can add as gadget, Barbara said, “How useful all this is, I don’t know, but it’s fun!”
  • Start menu no longer says start, just a little button.
  • Start menu set up differently.
  • Search box in lower left Start menu. As typing, Windows does an active search. FAST!!!!
  • Lower right of start button is the sleep button. Puts the computer in low power, but will come right back to where you left off when you wake it up.
  • The windows all have an address bar at the top and a search button to the right, so you can search files in a particular folder.
  • Control panel is organized by categories, but allows you to go back to classic view for people who like the old way.
  • Somewhat hidden in Vista and Office 2007, there’s no Help menu. Look for the question mark.
  • Snipping tool allows you to capture parts of the screen. Can select an area of the screen, and it converts the image into a JPG file.
  • Save button still has image of a floppy disk.
  • User account control – prevents something from being done to the computer from off site. Security feature. Bad thing is it can be turned off.
  • Photo gallery – Like iPhoto (MAC program.) Looks a lot like Picasa.
  • Minimized windows – if you put your pointer on the task bar, you get a thumbnail of what’s in the window.
  • Added 3D capability. Hold Windows key and press tab, able to scroll through different windows with a cool 3-D effect.
  • Built-in parental controls. Can set up an account for a child and set up types of Web sites they can visit, time limits for the computer, control access to games, block access to specific programs.
  • Can use a USB drive as additional RAM. Once you use a portion of the flash drive as memory, it can’t be used for storage again.
  • Windows firewall been improved, Windows Defender is built in.

Wes Hamilton, Western Massachusetts Regional Library System, Linux

  • Up until recently, GNU Linux hasn’t really been considered as a viable alternative to Windows, but people are working to change that.
  • Linux is known to be very reliable.
  • Known for maximizing the resources built in your computer. Can get more bang for your buck.
  • Known for its freedom to choose, to copy software freely. Also a problem, because there are so many people contributing to linux, that there are so many distributions of Linux.
  • Showing Ubuntu today. Fedora, Open Suse are also popular distributions.
  • Ubuntu – latest and greatest version doesn’t come out until Thursday. Couldn’t get it to project. Showing last version – 6 months old.
  • Ubuntu is known as Linux for human beings.
  • Ubuntu makes it easier to take advantage of the built-in security.
  • Ubuntu is simple. Installs what you need automatically.
  • Affordable – It’s affordable. Also affordable in terms of support costs.
  • You’re free to put what you want on the desktop. They don’t choose for you.
  • Disk usage analyzer – provides a nice map where all the disk space is going. Graphical representation of how much space each directory is taking up. If running out of disk space, can run this program to figure out how to free it up.
  • If you run into trouble, there’s a large support community to tap into.
  • Thought years ago was that it’s not the operating system that matters, it’s the applications. Strong point for Windows. But Ubuntu automatically comes with these applications: Open Office, Firefox, Evolution (replacement for Outlook, isn’t quite there yet.). Automatic updates for these applications as well. Gimp is similar to Adobe PhotoShop.
  • If there is a program you need that isn’t installed, can go into Administration and Synaptic Package Manager. Tracks different packages can install, but doesn’t automatically install them. Can go there to install other programs.
  • In terms for libraries, if you have an older computer, starting to slow down. One option is to get an Ubuntu CD to build a simple Public Access workstation.
  • Adding linux to an existing system can be problematic. Need to partition drive to make space for Ubuntu.
  • “Ubuntu just works except when it doesn’t.”
  • Question about Koha software. Wes has looked at the code; it seems to be very impressive.
  • Question: How old computer? What’s realistic? Wouldn’t do much older than three years old. If older, other distributions are geared for lower resources.
  • Question about viruses. Aren’t a lot of viruses on the Linux platform. Worms have happened from time to time in the past. But it doesn’t happen enough to make it an issue. Free anti-virus program called Clam.
  • Question about Ubuntu and wireless. Depends on the wireless cards. AMD, HP known to be friendly with linux. Broadcom can be problematic and they make a lot of wireless cards. There are always workarounds, it’s a matter of how much time you can spend on it.

Apple OS 10, Scott Kehoe, Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System

  • Links to this presentation available at http://del.icio.us/bibliotechy/osx
  • As he tries to get system to project, Scott says, “All of these systems work great with projectors until we came into this room.”
  • Not a Mac guy who’s been using Macs forever and can’t stop talking about them. Well, he wasn’t one of those guys until a year ago. “Once you go MAC, you can’t go back…It makes everything fun again.”
  • Dell died last October – blue screen of death constantly. Tried using MAC. “Now you can’t pry it out of my hands.”
  • Apple notorious for the one-button mouse. But in OS 10, you can now use a two-button mouse.
  • Works really well with peripheral devices. Doesn’t prompt you for disks to find drivers.
  • Compatibility isn’t an issue. Scott uses Mac version of Microsoft Office, no trouble burning CDs that work on any OS, thumb drives work.
  • Software – knocked because does not have as much freeware. In past year, Scott has noticed a change in the amount of software available for Macs.
  • In the guts, Macs are using the same hardware as PCs.
  • No viruses to worry about. No Spyware, no bloatware (all those icons that come with your new Windows computer for programs you don’t want.) “I’m the only Mac user I know who uses Symantec anti-virus on my Mac.”
  • Menus are plain English.
  • Help menus are actually helpful.
  • DeepFreeze has a version for Mac. A site license includes license for Mac.
  • Talked to librarian today who just loves the built-in PDF support. The PDF just pops open without a separate download for Adobe. Don’t need to worry about Adobe updates.
  • All three of us share in common – we can all use Firefox. “Firefox in the Mac works just like Firefox in Windows.”
  • OS 10 is called Tiger. Came out in 2001.
  • New version of OS 10 (Leopard) will come out next Friday according to media speculation. Similar to a Windows Service Pack, but Apple charges you for you.
  • http://www.apple.com/retail/storelist. Apple stores have free WiFi, have all their stuff out to play with, free classes.
  • State/local government store online. Government employees get a discount.
  • F9 key – brings all of your open windows forward on your desktop.
  • Spotlight search – constantly indexing stuff in the background of your computer. Immediately start searching as you type.
  • Easy to set up another user account with restrictions for children. (Vista is a little slicker, according to Scott)
  • Question about joining a Windows domain. Very easy – Scott is on a domain at work. Easiest way to get in is via IP address. Once you know the IP address of your server, click on Connect, type IP address, and your part of Windows domain. No problem sharing files.
  • Question about when Office 2007 will be compatible for Mac – will come out with Mac version 2008 in January.

 

Up & Coming Technology with Susan Hassler

Susan Hassler, editor for IEEE Spectrum, gave us a look at the possibilities for technology in the next 10 to 20 years in her talk on Up & Coming Technology. The subject of her talk came from the results of a survey of 700 members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, known as the IEEE Fellows. They were asked to project out 10, 20 and 50 years on where they see potential technological advancements. The engineers balked at projecting out 50 years, but did come up with some predictions for the next 10 to 20 years. According to Hassler, the engineers were very serious about their predictions and stayed away from the sci-fi realm. For example, they did not see robotic nurses caring for the elderly any time in the near future or self-driving cars. She focused her talk on two major areas of potential advancement: extending biology and the smart interconnection of everything. The full article that IEEE Spectrum ran on the survey results can be found here.

Extending Biology

The surveyed engineers predicted biotechnology would impact us before nanotechnology. They were particularly interested in augmenting our own biologies, ie bionic humans. These developments could be used to fix people with injuries or trauma, but they also talked about enhancing people. Artificial retinas were one example. Not only could they cure blindness, but they may also be used to detect infrared or to enhance vision in other ways.

This was the first point where Hassler began discussing RFID, which we revisited later in “Sensor Nation” portion of her presentation. RFID is a great thing for companies like Wal-mart, she said, because they can keep inventory, but if you put it in your pocket, “they can track where you are.”

She mentioned a husband and wife who planted RFID chips in their hands so they would not need to use keys or passwords. You can read more about this couple here.

There are a couple of schools in Japan where kids have RFID tags in their backpacks or on their person. When they arrive at school, an e-mail is sent home saying they arrived safely at school. (Yikes! Personally, I find this very creepy.)

Smart Interconnection of Everything

Three areas of technology converge to get to the Smart Interconnection of Everything.

  • Computation and Bandwidth to Burn
  • Sensor Nation
  • Distributed Networks

Computation and Bandwidth to Burn

Many survey respondents (44%) predicted that in developed countries we will have Gigabit Internet access available in homes in 10 years or less. Another 45% said it will come in 11 to 20 years.

Sensor Nation

Hassler talked about a world where people have teeny tiny cameras and teeny tiny GPS sensors. Prices are falling for both RFID chips and RFID sensors. Hassler said the 1980s were shaped by personal computers, the 1990s were shaped by the Internet. “The next 20 years will be the era of sensor networks.”

Distributed Networks

Technology and other entities have typically followed a top-down, hierarchal structure. This is changing in many areas. For example, in the power industry, electrical power had always been delivered from the power source. We now have the capability for consumers to generate power during low-use periods and feed it back to the power plant for use by another consumer. Hassler saw this in the library profession as well, where users can have more of a role in library service.

What happens when these three areas converge. Hassler’s response is Google Maps, (powered by computers with large bandwidth, using satellite technology (Sensor Nation), on a distributed network.) But Hassler sees much more significant results as these three areas become bigger and seesmore convergence.

A note on Google: Hassler says Google’s search is very fast, very great. But it’s also very crude. They’re bringing audio and video into the search, “but it’s not like bringing a human being in” (hmm….like a super information-seeking librarian?) Hassler says, “When our technology starts to mimic our own abilities, we expect it to do more. ..Technologies are like extensions of ourselves, but we get disappointed when they don’t live up to our expectations.”

Hassler talked about a OptIPuter project out of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technlogy where scientists are using an enormous optical network and software that allows users to to look at multiple streams of video content in real-time to watch real-time video with absolutely no degradation (think of the jerky video you see when you’re streaming on YouTube.) I won’t go into too much detail here other than to mention that although this all seems like very high level stuff with no relevance to the ordinary user, Hassler noted that the Internet started out this way. Hollywood has been very interested in this technology as a way to delivery movies over the Internet, and this is something that can plausibly be available in households in the future.

Hassler did discuss some issues for libraries to consider amidst all this technology:

  • What does it mean to be literate? It no longer means just being able to read and write. How can libraries help people become literate?
  • Libraries need to think about archiving digital content. Will an academic library archive every podcast created by the class of 2007?
  • Physical libraries will still have a role in building social networks.

The discussion following this presentation was very interesting. The question of cost – who will pay for all of this? Hassler says it will most likely be private industry that will see a value in making this happen. Will the data collected by private industry with this technology make it worthwhile?

A comment was made that it may increase the divide between the haves and the have nots. Hassler’s response – maybe, maybe not. She didn’t see the cost lying in the devices, but in the bandwidth. With the growth of publicly available wireless networks, it may not be as much of an issue here. The $100 laptop project has sent computers to people in developing nations, but the problem there is they don’t have a telecommunications infrastructure that supports high bandwidth.

Hassler had talked briefly about the differences between digital natives (the generation that has grown up with computers) and digital immigrants (the rest of us) which led to a question about a younger generation of technology users who are looking for instant gratification and may not be fully considering the consequences of these decisions. In response, Hassler asks, “Are they less well educated? Are they less equipped to make plans? Or do they just make them in another way?”

An academic librarian said his concern is making technology relevant for students, and he doesn’t see that the current equipment in his library is supporting this. With the proper technology, he said, these students could be in digital group study instead of going to the library for group study. “I thought that as I walked through the exhibit hall,” Hassler said, noting that she was surprised there wasn’t more technology in the exhibits. “I thought where is all that stuff?”

I will attach Hassler’s PowerPoint to this post as soon as I get it.