May 15, 2011

Library-related Kindle Screensavers

Note: Be sure to read Frank Skornia’s comment below about the consequences of jailbreaking your Kindle.

I finally took some time to personalize the screensavers on my Kindle 3, thinking it would be a quick hour or less. And indeed, the process of jailbreaking a Kindle and hacking it to load your own screensavers is drop dead simple. That part really didn’t take any time at all.

The hard part is more deciding what pictures you want to see as a screensaver every day, a task that ended up taking me all afternoon. I first got caught up thumbing through the free downloads on the Kindle Wallpapers Tumblr, which is fascinating on its own.

Then I decided to add a few of my own pictures, so I found a half dozen of my favorites, converted them to black and white, and shrunk them down to 600 x 800.

When I posted on Facebook about what I was doing, someone lamented that she’d recently left her Kindle on a plane, which made me flash back to something I read several years ago. I can’t find a reference to it right now (little help?), but I remember reading about a guy who took pictures of himself and text on signs about how to return the camera if someone found it. He then kept those picture at the beginning of his camera’s memory card in case someone ever found the camera and looked through the photos.

I’ve always thought that was brilliant, so I figured I’d try it with my Kindle. I took a picture, added some text, and then loaded it as a screensaver.

"Thank you" in advance for returning my Kindle (should I ever lose it)

Granted, it’s unlikely that this particular image will be displaying if I lose my Kindle, but my hope is that whoever finds it will be interested enough in the screensaver that is showing to scroll through them. I know it’s a long shot, but it was also something fun to do.

Which then got me thinking about libraries. Are there any libraries customizing the screensavers on their Kindles? As a librarian, I came across some free, library-related screensavers, so I put a few of them on my own device. If you, too, want some library-themed screensavers, here are the ones I’ve found so far:

Do you know of other images we could use to build a list for libraries and librarians?

10:00 pm Comments (10)

March 5, 2010

Games and Libraries – Wendy Leseman (akla10)

started out playing “Just Dance” on the Wii (whoo-hoo!)
Wii is a great place to start
when you’re ready to learn how to use a Wii, send your 12-year old out of the house because they show you too quickly 😉
you can teach yourself to do this (really, you can)

why gaming?
– connect with patrons who are gamers; they love it when you show an interest in something that’s important to them; it’s good to know about gaming regardless of what type of library you’re in
– promote multiple types of literacy
– increase traffic
– it’s fun

applied for ALA’s Gaming, Learning, and Literacy grant with the Verizon Foundation
got $5000, $4000 of which was spent on Wiis & DDR for each library in the school district
had a few logistical problems but money from the Verizon Foundation was slow in coming, which forced some changes
she also loans her equipment out to teachers
also exploring having kids create games using Scratch

$1000 for gaming at her school – computers, console, and board games
kids have become the experts and help each other

they do a family fun night at least once a year
Wendy sets up DDR and Guitar Hero + Band Hero
PS2s aren’t as versatile as the Wii but can still be good to get you started, especially with DDR
had trouble finding games that would run on their old computers
– used Civilization, a vet game, Star Wars (which is the most popular and is her only T game)

gets shy and non-sports kids involved
it’s fun to watch them socialize and help each other

now we’re playing group Backseat Drawing – awesome!

showed some books with game themes
they also read a lot of guides and cheats – they do a ton of reading around gaming

mentioned “Libraries Got Game” by Brian Mayer and Chris Harris and their alignment of board games with AASL’s standards (much love in the room for this)

Wendy was supposed to defend the grant to the school board because they weren’t sure they wanted to accept “gaming” money, but they had already accepted it by the time she got there

examples of computer strategy games – Spore (although her older computers won’t run it), Civilization

showed ALA’s Online Toolkit for librarians

free online games, which often have a cause-related theme (hunger, justice, etc.)
in her district, anything that has “game” in it is automatically blocked, so she works with them to let certain ones through

Games for Change
Genesee Valley’s database of games let you search by game time and ROI

3:59 pm Comments (1)

The Mind of the Researcher – Daniel Russell (akla10)

Daniel Russell, Google Search Quality & User Happiness
2010 Alaska Library Association Conference, opening keynote speaker

Lewis & Clark left without a decent map
it’s a complicated world out there and you don’t want to end up like the Donner Party (hey, go that way; it looks good)
what does the current information map look like?
let’s be adventurers but keep our eyes and minds open

did a demo of Google Earth
cost to put the flyover together = $0 and four minutes of time
Google will crawl it within 48 hours
when Lewis & Clark published about their trip, it took 10 years
we see the world differently, and the library isn’t what it used to be
stacks are no longer a core competence – the information landscape has radically changed

1200 exabytes of new content are generated each year (1.2 yottabytes if that helps or 1.2 billion terrabytes)
3.6 zetabytes per person per year (mostly music and video)
libraries don’t have to curate and manage that – it stream to you
text words per pseron per year = .1% of that total
the good news is that the amount of reading per person per year has gone up by 3X since 1980 (primarily due to internet access); happening online, not print
so need to develop new skills and new literacies

showed Google Books
can click on the places in a book and travel to all of them
can actually recapitulate Huck Finn’s journey down the river

LoC has 10 terabytes of text data or .01 petabytes
he has 2 LoCs at home
an exabyte = 50,000 years of DVD or 10 billion copies of The Economist (there aren’t enough trees in Alaska to print them all)

we’re supporting this renaissance of access to print culture at the same time we’re expanding online content
1.5 million out of copyright books that can be printed for $8 each

do you care about all of this as long as you can get to the stuff that you care about?
what Google is trying to figure out is how can I read your mind from the couple of words you gave me – which pages you want to see of theirs out of all of those exabytes of data?
it’s not just text anymore

mentioned Hans Rosling’s TED talk about visualizing statistics
mentioned Baby Names Voyager
Google bought software to add visual statistics to Google Docs
the cool part is I can type my name and see when my name peaked
is this a book? no. is it a visualization? yes. but it’s also interactive. where/how do I catalog this?
these kinds of interactive documents allow you to understand in ways that were not possible before
showed what happened to names that begin with vowels during the 40s and 50s – “the valley of the vowels”
the answer to what happened is in the hard consonants
no one knew this until they could see it in this visualization
our notion of what constitutes information and librarianship is changing

how do people search now?
suppose you’re Google and you get the query “jaguar” – what do they want?
one of the differences about being Google though is that you’re at a reference desk where a billion people a day ask the question

what about “iraq?” today, it’s the way; 15 years ago, it was probably antiquities
Google sees queries shifting a lot
“latest release Thinkpad drivers touchpad” = I know exactly what they want
“ebay” = in the top 10 most popular queries in English per day
“google” is also in the top 10 queries per day – why?? are they trying to cause the recursive meltdown of Google’s servers?
there are 20,000 ways to mis-spell “Britany Spears” (and they all want pictures of her)

one of the interesting things they do is use machine-generated algorithms
they don’t have to mis-spell a new celebrities name 20,000 times – their users will do that for them
that’s how informaiton works now

he goes to peoples’ homes a lot to talk to them and watch their behavior
showed a video clip of someone searching at home for which celebrity has won the most Oscars
(she was pretty confused with the results she was getting – didn’t realize she had moved into the “Google News” section)
she has a graduate degree, runs her own website, and has her own tv show
the equivalent of watching someone looking at a textbook in the library and wondering why she’s suddenly looking at the news
this is why he has a job 😉
he sees problems in the world and tries to fix them

weekly statistics:
3.9 visits per user
9.4 searches per user
11.2 search clicks per user
4 minutes duration
29% query refinement rate
they’re not spending a lot of time in “the stacks”

66% of their users have less than one query per day
average query length is less than 3 words
the “very confident” people in a Pew study search multiple times per day (34%)
success makes them search more often
92% feel confident in their searching ability
you don’t get good doing anything less than once per day (for four minutes, no less)
55% call themselves an “expert searcher” (despite how little I use the system)

they’re happy when they get a result from a search
people think of expertise as being socially-normed
“all of my friends say I’m the best searcher” – you want to say you’re good
people like to take on tasks they can succeed at
showed an example where the difference in the question was “ghost town” vs “abandoned city”
the “ghost town” people didn’t do well searching and were unhappy – took them a lot longer to find the information
librarians are synonym professionals
“functional fixed-ness” – being stuck on a search term, not being able to think of a synonym

Google is trying to convert people from the “ghost town” group to the “abandoned city” group
they can see improvement over time

but the information landscape is so complex

Google launches about 10 products per week, although more are invisible (tweaks to the algorithm, etc.)
but so far this year (and it’s only March 5), they’ve launched:
a really long list of things
these are all things that happened to our information landscape in the last two months
new kinds of content are coming online all the time
3D models in SketchUp
“what’s a flying buttress? let me show” vs a 2D picture in a Time-Life book

new kinds of querying information
eg, Google Goggle – “Google, what’s that?”
“your cellphone – it’s not just for typing anymore”
“wait – when did cellphones become standard for typing?”
taking a picture of a book gives you the metadata about it (same for a bottle of wine, etc.)
you don’t have to type as much anymore
the way you interact with Google is changing

with Google Earth, if you fly to the Prado in Madrid, you can fly into the building and even into one of the pictures; they’ll throw you out of the building if you try that in Spain
get a level of detail you can’t see if you go there

Google Flu Trends
can tell when flu outbreaks are happening around the world by watching for where queries are being made from
showed chart that illustrates Alaska got it worse than other places and the outbreak peaked in October
anyone can run queries in Google Trends

how do you find Google Translation Services? it’s not a book on a shelf
“when in doubt, search it out”
they’re working radically fast to change our world

Quantam ESP experiment
showed the old “psychic rabbit” trick with playing cards
the point is that everything changes
you can’t pay attention to everything
you’re smart – why didn’t you remember all of the cards? because he told you to focus on one
there’s lots of stuff going on with your perception and what you’re paying attention to

what have you noticed? what have you not noticed?
no one notices things like the little arrow that expands the map or lets you pan around the map and the “more” link
nobody sees these things – he has the logs to prove it
they’re focusing on what they’re trying to do
“perceptual or change blindness”
showed the difference between a Google Map from 5 years ago versus today
nobody noticed the results moved from the right side to the left
they change things all the time and nobody notices

how do we learn? how do we help our patrons learn?
it’s not like they’re shipping a new version of an OS – they’re changing everything all the time, every day
and it’s not all nicely curated or indexed
that’s the growth rate we have to be thinking about

“how do we help our patrons”
of the 4 Rs, the fourth one is really “research”
in order to write comprehensively and deeply, you need to do deep research
it’s not just looking up a call number – that’s just the beginning
this is no longer optional – now the whole culture has to understand this, not just librarians

analysis from 40 interviews:
everybody knows what a query is, what a result is
but no one knows what “search on page” and “search in results” mean
it’s not helped by clickbombs like the “miserable failure” search results
if you’re not on the inside with a mechanism to understand how this stuff works, you think Google is monkeying with the system, even though they aren’t; someone else is
most people don’t understand “classic search engine optimization”
makes it impossible to have a coherent mental model for how the web works

without a detailed model, we’re “cargo cultists” (New Guinea)
when someone tells you to reboot the router to get wireless back, you’re a cargo cultist
“never click up there”

“I dunno how it works. I just type words, and answers come back to me… about anything… anything at all…” – student
within his realm, he was a good searcher
developed vocabulary and domain knowledge around expensive watches but can’t find the capital of Alaska

when you’re in WestLaw, you have to know how to make the operators work
in Google, you have to know how to come up with good search terms

6 kinds of knowledge & skills needed to search:
– pure engine technique (choosing good terms, double quotes, etc.)
– information mapping (reverse dictionary, contents of domains, Wikipedia, etc.)
– domain knowledge (medical knowledge, plumbing knowledge, etc.)
– search strategy (knowing when to shift strategies, move from wide to narrow, preserving state, etc.)
– assessment (how do you assess the credibility of a resource? a lot of this is tied up in domain knowledge, which 16-year olds don’t have)
– site-specific knowledge (knowing how a site works, is laid out, etc.)

basic skills:
– Control-F to find
– tabs (how to use effectively to organize search)
– keyword query choice (effective choices; low/high frequencies terms)
– tactics (when to focus on particular resource)
– strategies (how long to pursue a tactic; when to switch; how to discover)
– understanding what you find (reading for understanding SERPs; not “overreading”)

teaching research skills
– want people to understand the world and do research so they understand the world
– not just web search skills
– authority assessment
– crap detection
– staying on task
– discovery
– notetaking
– data integration
– representation construction

1 – very uneven individual level of search skill (everyone showed at least one “deep” skill; everyone showed at least one mistaken understanding; 90% wished they knew how to search better, but only 10% will take a class)
search behavior patterns
users don’t know the names of parts or recognize them (including URL, site, query; it’s hard to search for things you can’t name; don’t want to click on that because it might bring up porn)

2 – comfort level is VERY important
users choose familiar over scary
people tend not to explore things they dn’t know
they worry about finding porn
they worry about having unkonwn things happen when they click on strange links
– education is accidental
– people are not good reporters of their own behavior (“I don’t have a toolbar; I don’t do image search”)

3 – people don’t know much about Google as a whole (an opportunity for librarians)
they don’t know what’s possible
a CTO who didn’t know how to find Google Maps to find a pub in Palo Alto
a PhD cognitive psychologist didn’t know about Google Scholar
– target site knowledge is critical

where do we go next?
– there is a big, big, big need for help – it’s not all intuitive; they can’t yet do mind-reading
– huge range of mental models among users
– users, for the most part, have little idea what’s possible in web search or how to use it effectively
they’re learning accidentally from peers or from librarians
we’re looking at an information-illiterate population
no one else is showing them

– show them the shape of the information landscape
– teach your patrons
– make time to continually educate yourself (you’re now enrolled in a permanent education process; if you miss it for a couple of years, good luck catching up)

everything is shifting and moving faster, so make time for continual self-improvement
“be the Lewis, be the Clark” – communicate this stuff to our patrons
be the core of discovery for patrons

1:23 pm Comments Off on The Mind of the Researcher – Daniel Russell (akla10)

September 15, 2009

How Librarians Helped Get Out the Vote… in 1952

I love serendipity. While I was preparing for my ACPL Library Camp presentation about libraries and civic engagement, I saw a post on the Civic Engagement blog in which Nancy Kranich pointed to a fascinating article on the topic.

“Promoting Citizenship: How Librarians Helped Get Out the Vote in the 1952 Presidential Election,” Libraries & the Cultural Record 43 no1 1-28 2008 (Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be online in its entirety, but you can get the full text through Gale’s Academic OneFile.)

I think this fascinating article pinpoints the moment in time when libraries became known for providing high-quality, accurate, authentic information about all sides of an issue. Its certainly the point at which libraries became outlets for information about voting. In a fascinating look back, author Jean Preers chronicles the efforts made to civically engage Americans and increase voter turnout in the 1948 and 1952 elections.

It starts with an initiative by the American Heritage Foundation in 1947, which results in the booklet Good Citizen: The Rights and Duties of an American, a conference, and the Freedom Train, an actual train that traveled across the country exhibiting “original documents that that established the nation’s democratic tradition, from the Bill of Rights to the Emancipation Proclamation.” The booklet is a wonderful artifact – I highly recommend it as a historical snapshot, and thankfully it’s available on the Internet Archive, thanks to the University of Florida’s George A. Smathers Libraries.

Good Citizen: The Rights and Duties of an American

During this time, the American Library Association (disclaimer: my employer, although I wasn’t even born back then) “undertook its own program to promote the discussion of current issues in public libraries. This was a direction long-favored by its Executive Director Carl Milam, and, as part of its “Four Year Goals” in 1948, ALA had initiated a program called Great Issues, which urged librarians to highlight such topics as U.S.-Russian relations, civil rights, and world government in their collections and programs.”

Librarians started creating bibliographies for these topics and encouraged community organizations to form reading and discussion groups around them.

“Ruth Retzen, chair of ALA’s Adult Education Board, saw this as an opportunity for libraries to take the lead in their communities, directing their programs towards wider circulation of pertinent information: ‘Let us make our libraries active community centers for the spread of reliable information on all sides of this vital issue and for the encouragement of free discussion and action.’ “

Unfortunately, none of these efforts really succeeded, and voter turnout for the 1948 election was “surprisingly low.” To celebrate its 75th anniversary in 1951, ALA changed direction and used a $150,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to help libraries implement reading and discussion groups themselves. [Ironically, “this nationwide adult education program began in the fall of 1951 just as National Library Day observance in Phliadelphia on October 4 effectively concluded the seventy-fifth anniversary celebration.” All Philadelphia libraries are currently set to close on October 2, 2009, unless the Pennsylvania Legislature acts to save them.]

As ALA began to ramp up its program, the AHF continued to work on increasing voter turnout for the 1952 election. The folks behind the AHF program realized that guilting people into voting wasn’t working (and wasn’t likely to start working anytime soon), so they also changed direction to simply “provide adequate information and materials to implement the will of the people.” An enhanced focus on civic and nonprofit organizations brought ALA and libraries into the effort as the central source citizens could go to in order to find unbiased information. ALA agreed, in part because this meant the AHF and other organizations would promote this new role and encourage their members to seek out libraries specifically for unbiased information that could then be used to register local voters. According to Preers, this is also when libraries take on the mantle of library adult education, another new role.

It truly is a thought-provoking article (there’s a lot more to it, so you really should read the whole thing), and it highlights one of the themes that’s resonated with me personally during the last 12-18 months, that when we talk about how the library “used to be,” we have to be very specific about which era we’re referring to. As I’ve noted in the past about gaming, children’s services are a relatively recent addition to libraries, as are fiction, multimedia, and even public access (see my brief post about D. W. Krummel’s The Seven Stages of Librarianship for more about this).

More importantly, it helps show how proactive civic engagement is not a new role for 21st century libraries. We’ve done this before – successfully – and we can do it again – successfully – if we focus on specific areas. For example, studies show that gaming in libraries could include civic engagement experiences. I’m also interested in the “Great Issues” program to offer the library as a portal to civic discourse around many of the “great” issues that aren’t easily accessible to the average person. Privacy, digital identity, online reputation, media literacies, transparent government… there’s a wide range of topics that need addressing.

The question is can librarians (and not just public librarians) still provide this type of service? I question if there’s anyone else who can.

8:29 am Comments (3)

September 9, 2009

Libraries and Innovation Journalists

One of the points I tried to emphasize in my talk about libraries and civic engagement (PDF) at last month’s Allen County Public Library’s Library Camp is that this isn’t a new role for us. The easy, soundbite way to explain this is to note that at the turn of the previous century, one of our major roles was to help immigrants assimilate into American society and learn how to be U.S. citizens. At the turn of the current century, there’s a similar need for us to do the same thing for digital immigrants, in no small part because there really isn’t anyone else to help those folks who are past high school age.

libraries teaching immigrants

I’ve been gravitating towards this topic lately because I see so much potential, for both libraries and society, and the following idea makes total sense to me.

From the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning site, New Civic Literacies:

“David Nordfors, who runs the innovation journalism program at Stanford, stays studens are moving towards a journalisatic method of learning – finding knowledge, assesing it, and then connecting the dots to build a story.”

Sadly, like the 2006 MacArthur report about participatory culture, the 2020 effort includes libraries in that future only as afterthoughts, no more than potential support resources, rather than central, driving figures. While I applaud efforts like MacArthur’s digital learning in education initiative and the 2020 Forecast, I remain convinced that as a society, we’ll have a much greater impact on civic life for a greater range of people by focusing on libraries as the primary change agent, not schools.

We’re already well-positioned in our communities to be the conveners for this type of activity, we have a library ecosystem for lifelong learning that includes adults (not just K-12 students), we have supporting resources (not just technology, but context), we teach how to navigate information, and we’re the last, safe, non-commercial space that’s open to anyone without any barriers. In fact, quite a few sections of the 2020 site scream “libraries” to me, and I encourage you to read through the various sections.

So while I’m intrigued by and fully support the idea of schools encouraging “innovation journalists,” those programs won’t reach their full potential – nor will the students – without libraries to support them. And when those students get out into the real world, libraries can facilitate their non-school efforts. And we can bring them together with the rest of the community to put those new civic literacies into practice for everyone.

And don’t get me started on the participatory divide….

5:57 am Comments (2)

August 21, 2009

Another Reason for Libraries to Make Their Sites Social

Now that I’m on a smartphone that has a real web browser and is capable of multitasking (the Palm Pre), In fact, I find myself expecting it to act like my laptop. I’ve stopped carrying my laptop or my netbook to work each day because I can do so much on my phone, but I’m still noticing where decisions made by web designers make my mobile life easier.

So here’s mobile developer tip #1, my two cents: use plugins and widgets that let users automatically share your content on sites like Twitter, Delicious, Facebook, etc., because you’ll make the user’s life easier. Granted, not all phones support the Javascript that powers this type of service on a web page, but more and more will, so consider getting ahead of the curve and adding it now.

The alternative for me as the reader (acknowledging each person’s situation is different) is to:

  1. Leave the site up in a card until I get home in the evening and can manually bookmark it on my laptop. This works about 50% of the time.
  2. Email the site to myself so I can bookmark it later on my laptop. This works about 80% of the time but is annoying.
  3. Try remembering to revisit the site later on my laptop to bookmark it. This works 0% of the time.

As a result, I’m finding that I’m far more likely to bookmark something if there’s a direct link to post it to Delicious, and that workflow will continue for me until there’s a Pre app that makes this easier, which means I really appreciate sites that offer this. Even better is if you can add it so that it appears in your RSS feed so that it shows up in places like Google Reader and Bloglines, too.

Here are some options to consider for adding this functionality to your site.

  • For WordPress blogs, you can use the Sociable plugin (I’m sure there are others, but this is what I use so I know it works). I have another blog post brewing on this topic, but this is yet another reason I encourage libraries to make their “what’s new” page a blog – you can then use the wealth of plugins out there to improve the user’s experience.

    Sociable WordPress plugin

  • For Drupal sites, you can use something like the Share module (I’m going to look into this for ALA Connect. If you’re using a different CMS, check to see if there’s a similar module for it.
  • Failing that, or even for use on general web pages, check out something like the Add This widget, although I have to admit I’m not sure how accessible it is.

Regardless, this can be a relatively easy way to help meet the needs of your mobile users, a group that’s just going to grow in the future. Food for thought. Nom nom nom.

11:17 am Comments (6)

July 12, 2009

Mobile Devices, Libraries, and Policy Panel

Panel at #ala2009
Jason Griffey, Eli Neiburger, Tom Peters, Bonnie Tijerina, Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Jason: Overview of the Mobile World

numbers (because this arena is very important for us)
4,100,000,000 number of mobile phone subscriptions in the world
over 60% of the people on earth have a mobile phone subscription service

in 50 different countries around the world, the number of cellphones per person exceeds 100%
(means more than one cellphone each)
not just places like Korea, but places like Gambia, wehre 1,000,000 people have access to a telephone, and only 50,000 of those are fixed landlines

90% of the world’s population will have access to a cell phone signal by the end of 2010

2,400,000,000 people using SMS (active users)
75% of the people who have data access on their phones

we’re not good at handling numbers, but 1,200,000 people use email, so twice as many using text messages

2.3 trillion text messages sent in 2008
20% growth curve over 2007

so we have hard numbers that show this is the single most popular way in which the world accesses data
SMS is the largest data access method of communication/access in the world

showed the Wired Smart Guide for smartphones – iPhone, G1, Pre, Storm

we do often think about people accessing our information on smartphones, but there’s also a multitude of other data access devices with different models from cell phones:

– Kindles, buy content with no monthly charges
– netbooks with cell radios built into them (get device free but pay monthly data charges)
– Verizon MiFi, projects a wifi field for you, acts as a router to the cell network for ubiquitous connectivity

most areas of the U.S. have some cell network access
what we have now is child’s play (kindergarten), but in 3-5 years will be Harvard
LTE (Long Term Evolution) – next generation
current network is fast enough for text, but not for video streaming
LTE promises the video streaming

with those kinds of things, we’ll see things we can’t even imagine right now
this is not science fiction; Rogers has promised this will be available in Canada by the end of 2010, AT&T in 2011

Honeywell Kitchen Computer for 1969, for sale by Neiman Marcus during the Christmas season
$10,000 and weighed 100 pounds, had to go to programming school for two weeks to learn how to make it work
didn’t sell a single one

in 1969, they had the capacity to build the device, but the best idea they had was to make it a kitchen recipe machine (“if it plus in, it must be an appliance” – Eli)

mobile devices are just now becoming robust enough to be transformative
the early vision for a device is rarely the way it actually transforms the world
Henry Ford: “if I’d asked them what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse”
someone has to flip the switch and change things, and we’re very close to that for mobile devices

Clay Shirky – “the tools don’t get socially interesting until the tools get technically boring”
we’re right at that cusp

problems in the mobile world:
(bike that only rides on roads specially designed for it)
1. copyright
2. DRM

as we move from text into robust apps we can’t even envision yet, it’s important to enable these things, not prevent them

Tom: doesn’t want to underestimate the adoption of cell phones; can’t think of another man-made, manufactured device that’s been adopted by 60% of the world in a matter of months
surpassed toilets? are cell phones more recognizable than paper?
huge in the history of mankind


Question for Eli: when we talk about mobile devices, we mean digital content. is it a given we’re moving towards this licensing model for digital content, when libraries have traditionally purchased “things” and lending them under first sale doctrine? how do libraries maintain their rights under these threats of DMCA, etc.

Eli: this is really THE question for libraries in the 21st century; holding something of a copy that exists in 10,000 places in the world is worthless – that’s not the value; you have the whole world in your pocket
the rest of the world has skipped the 20th century and gone straight to the 21st; we no longer provide value by providing a copy of something that exists elsewhere
it’s what doesn’t exist anywhere else, which means creating it, which is usually letting your patrons create that
no longer bringing the world to your community, but bringing your community to the world and making it accessible
you’re (the library) the only one that cares about that content being out there
possible future where DRM triumphs & RIAA, etc. get everything they ever wanted and there’s no room for libraries
but could have an uprising against copyright and everything being free to everyone, although this is equally dangerous to libraries
will come down to digital ownership of rights
important not to forget that a major role of the library is to aggregate the buying power of the community and provide access
best thing we can do is produce and assist in the creation of new knowledge
don’t want to get involved in the DRM nightmare and find a value proposition that is meaningful to users in the networked 21st century

Bonnie: agrees and thinks that’s where we’re going, but still have issues now about what we’re licensing and getting
libraries are known as being stewards; need to be thinking now about issues of providing access to content
agrees the future is more about making our collections and knowledge more accessible

Tom: who’s going to take on stewardship in perpetuity? a trust organization?

Question for Bonnie: libraries want to accommodate user expectations for mobile devices, how does the “mobile” change the traditional library service model?

Bonnie: are mobile technologies really changing the core and the values of what libraries provide?
when I think of our service models, it’s providing information they need when they need it where they need it
could be answering a question or access to a special collection
the “when” and “where” can now expand, but our core library service model changing as much as the tools we’re using can just expand those services beyond where we’ve done that before
need a willingness to experiment, even with tight budgets (which are the perfect opportunity to do this)
need a willingness to do more collaborative work, which is getting easier
need to talk to the users more and assess their needs

Jason: one of the things he’s been thinking about lately regarding services and mobility (and the new web) is that a lot of our info flow and communication is moving to a real-time communication river
we wish they used libraries in this way, using human filters in real-time
thinking about “proactive reference” – especially for localized situations
we’re going to need to be putting ourselves in that flow
pulling questions out of that flow and answering them, not waiting for them to come to us
they’re getting answers from peers, so we need to insert ourselves in as experts and guide that flow
this could be a real growth area for libraries

Question for Tom: with future, pervasive networking, how will library services change and what are the implications for privacy and bandwidth-planning?

Tom: he manages a downloadable ebook library project, so he looks at it through that lens
your access depends on your network connection
how do you get it to your ears?
the future is streaming media, not downloadable
already have “Tumble Talking Books,” which is a streaming audio service that has expanded beyond kids
storage costs? although approaching zero and can keep everything
big issue is battery life, which hasn’t really improved much
it’s the achilles heel in this scenario
he assumes bandwidth will be there when he needs it, although his options at home are limited; this will change
we’ve thought about information as physical objects (books, copies, holding something)
as we get more into streaming media, our thinking will change to information experience
we’ve always talked about a “good read” – it’s a mix between the object and the experience, but the experience will take on a much bigger role
eg, there are some really interesting information experiences in the virtual world, such as books you walk into, contribute to just by experiencing it
libraries haven’t had a good way to measure usage, so we use surrogate measures (walked in the library, but don’t know what they did there – doesn’t mean they “used” the library)
in a world of streaming media, you could say they only streamed “war and peace” for five minutes, which means they probably didn’t read the whole thing
will get closer to knowing how they use these resources, which raises privacy issues

Question to Deborah: when have granular data collection and partner more with third-party content owners, have scenarios like Google Books knowing which page you’re on; a few services have more protections than libraries; how can libraries evolve in this space and work with these vendors?

Deborah: the first thing libraries have to keep in the forefront is giving users the choice of how their data is handled, which means giving them full information, which means the library has to do due diligence on these issues
if you have to expose some kind of ID to get access to this information, how is that handled?
have to address who owns the personally-identifiable information that gets transmitted? it should be the library
insist on the highest level
in an ideal world, it would be one-time use and then the data is discarded
good policy says you only keep it for as long as you need it and then you discard it
make sure the third party isn’t mining that data
on the larger level, need to discuss what privacy means in the first place
we’re stewards for our users; we can’t assume permission where it’s not given
it’s fine for an individual to decide to expose information, but they have to know enough information to make an informed decision
if I don’t want to use streaming media, can I get a download?

Tom: InfoQuest project is going to offer 24/7 SMS text reference and the issue of privacy has come up
user will text them a question that comes in through Google, and the librarians can see the cell phone number
have two outside entities involved – Altarama and Google
as soon as they answer the question, they’ll delete the email
for info purposes, they’ll save the questions in the backend without personal data

Deborah: sometimes, we shouldn’t do something just because we can

Bonnie: in an environment where people are choosing their level of privacy, and some are allowing more than others, a better role for libraries might be educating users about what they’re giving up
privacy is not dead, but that decisions about privacy have gone into the hands of the user more than ever before
is our role then to help provide information to let them know what info they’re giving up instead of not providing access to these services that have risks?

Deborah: opt-in is the way to go; respect user choices

Eli: it goes even further than that, because there is no way to assure your patron’s data if you enter into a relationship with a vendor
the more that you do in-house, the better
most services will let you authenticate in-house and then pass the user to the vendor anonymously
if you’re using google analytics, you’re piping every hit through google, and they haven’t really been tested
the work of the 21st century for libraries is to make these resources owned and developed by the library, not making contracts for $20,000 to do something you could do in-house
we’re addicted to vendors
there are a lot of products on the exhibit floor that could be done by a good programmer in-house in two weeks, and privacy is a big motivator to do this

Question for Jason: DRM has been vilified, but some point out that DRM on digital library content is more aligned with the traditional model of library service; what are the drawbacks for users?

Jason: treating digital like physical is insanity of the highest order, and the fact that we’re still using that model is ridiculous
the music industry was the first to be utterly destroyed and rebuilt (Napster –> iTunes, which is now DRM free)
if the other industries don’t see this and change their paths, they’ll just have to be destroyed and rebuilt
this feeds into something else about content that we’re not paying enough attention to, that libraries subsidize the purchasing of the information and distribute it for free
digital drives everything to free – as storage and processing becomes cheaper and everything goes digital, the price point moves to free
you’ll pay for advertising, but the cost for obtaining that content is driving down to zero
the other thing we’re competing with, besides cost coming down to zero, is piracy
if it’s easier to get a pirated copy of a book they can do whatever they want with, they’ll do that
can’t compete with free, so need to compete with easy; need to be easier than piracy
iTunes became #1 music store in the country was not because it was DRM-free, but because it was easy
we don’t even allow sharing digital content between ourselves, let alone our patrons
he could go online now and get any NYT bestseller in 30-40 seconds
mobile devices accelerate that, as do peer-to-peer networks
DRM will destroy libraries if we allow it, and it will be very difficult for us to overcome in the next 3-5 years

Tom: completely agrees
digital networks allow you to make an unlimited number of perfect copies at the speed of light for a fraction of the cost
we’re working through the economic and legal ramifications of that fact
can’t deny this forever
we’ve hitched the notion of intellectual property to the wrong horse, the making of copies
made sense when it was hard to make copies, but now it’s easy (brainless)
need to rebuild intellectual property from the ground up so that it’s not about slapping people on the wrist

Eli: right now the copyright landscape is driven more by copyright holders’ fear
iTunes bridged the users and the copyright holders
the horse is still with us, but he’s still in the backseat, riding along with us because we’re bringing him with us
when you think about the people in charge at major labels right now, there’s a finite supply of them
the kids who went crazy with Napster will have a very different way of looking at the business model
research shows that giving stuff away for free drives sales
there are producers making more money giving content away than they did selling it
part of the problem with the Kindle is that they’re still charging hardcover book prices – imagine if the price of a book was $1 – no one is comfortable with that model yet

Question for the panel: there are obvious policy considerations – accessibility, special user groups; how can libraries continue to advocate for these users in a mobile environments?

Tom: thinks we need a reader bill of rights for the digital era
give the reader the right to choose the font, color, font size, etc., but it’s the readers right, not anyone else’s
the ability to turn any etext into a text-to-speech should be an inalienable right
blind & visually-handicapped users are tearing their hair out about the Amazon turning off TTS on the Kindle because of the author/publisher lobby because removed thousands of titles from their grasp
* this is an area where ALA could help

Jason: is going to take the opposite tact
it’s not Amazon that turns off the TTS – it’s the publishers at the book level (doesn’t like that Amazon gave that ability, but the publishers are making this a problem for these blind users)
collectively, we could make a statement by aggregating our buying power since we spend *thousands* of dollars with publishers every day
could organize an effort

Eli: at the same time, there are publishers who would say “fantastic, the library won’t be purchasing our content anymore”
OverDrive is a good example – not offer it because of some high falutin’ concept?
exert the pressure on vendors – we would pay more if you’d open this up – show them the value of opening up the content
there are market opportunities to get around these issues in many of the areas where libraries work with others on standards
iTunes made it okay by showing people would pay more for open content

Tom: libraries are a fraction of the buyers in the print book market, but we’re a much larger share in the audio market (30%)
we do have more clout there

Question from the audience: asked about the “sixth sense” device shown off by MIT
a mobile computing device with a camera that is smart enough to recognize objects and layer information over it – “augmented reality”
potential to attach reviews to books
displays the Amazon rating right on the book and whether you can get it somewhere else cheaper (whether your library has it)

Jason: there are a few different projects experimenting with augmented reality on the new iPhone
interesting one that overlays historical information over buildings
in general, libraries are the entities that have that information

Tom: a low-tech way to do that now is with QR Codes

Eli: what’s interesting about the sixth sense project is that it’s a transitory project
it’s for visitors, not those who live in the 21st century
in the future, it won’t be about decoding the objects
read Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbow’s End” about wearable computers and libraries
one of the first uses of the telephone was supposed to be piping music into peoples’ homes
someday, the Kindle will look like a joke – it’s important right now, but it’s just a step on the journey

Question from audience: what kinds of questions should we be asking about format? if we try to make our information accessible for special populations, will that meet our mobile needs?

Tom: accessibility benefits everyone
it’s very sad that most portable devices are operated by buttons, and somewhere along the line, buttons got turned over to marketers, not engineers – they’re not accessible anymore and they’re designed for the young
this is madness – our portable devices should be accessible to everyone
it’s a tragedy

Eli: the emergence of web standards is the best thing that ever happened to the accessibility community
if you’re stuff is standards-compliant, it will be accessible
the term “mobile web” is a transitive one, because what you have in your pocket is “the web”
it won’t be about special interfaces
text has become electronic, which has completely helped them
the economics of Braille don’t work, but the right platform and technology makes everything accessible
most of the accommodations necessary are in the standards

Jason: agrees
part of the problem is that we don’t have a standard ebook format
epub is the closest we have (behind HTML, which the publishers aren’t using)
as long as we stick with a standard, you can move from device to device (that’s why MP3 works so well)
haven’t gotten there with video yet
HTML 5 is falling apart because of video codec arguments
stick with known, published standards, which make accessibility easier

Eli: the industrial revolution truly began when people could make standard parts that worked together
the same thing is starting to happen with information
those who are succeeding are doing so because they’re embracing open standards
wouldn’t want a car you can only put one type of tire on

Question from audience: is Creative Commons licensing the way things are going?

Jason: thinks CC is a very important starting point, especially for library-created content
need to allow for sharing
there’s still a lot of work to be done with copyright law
we’re done with copyright law in a way that’s great for the 20th century

Eli: CC is the best hope and compromise we have right now
any legal team is going to say it makes them uncomfortable, but they should be able to live with it
sees libraries putting copyright on content they’ve digitized that was previously in the public domain
hopefully someday we won’t need it though

Bonnie: agrees, it’s a stepping stone

Eli: part of the challenge is that you still see a lot of creators, especially hobbyists, who look at copyright as the thing that will make them rich
most people receive very small amounts of money from copyright
it’s more how your ideas live, not wither on the vine

Jason: the challenge to creators in the 21st century isn’t piracy, it’s people not having any idea who the hell you are
CC gives people the chance to find out who you are and give you money
libraries should be using CC

Bonnie: works with a lot of scientists, scholars, etc. and talks to them about CC in terms of permissions they don’t get from others so that they’ll use it to make it easier for others

2:03 pm Comments (5)

Next Page »