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Magazines > Computers in Libraries > November 2017

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Vol. 37 No. 9 — November 2017
Getting Down and Dirty
by Dick Kaser

There are all kinds of hackers in the world. We don’t much like the ones who steal our Social Security numbers from credit monitoring websites or send us fake news on our Twitter feeds right before we’re going to vote. But who doesn’t like the hacker who fixes the glitch on our smartphones by getting under the hood and throwing a few switches? In this issue, we’re featuring the latter kind of hackers (aka the good guys), who enjoy tinkering with tech in order to make things work better.

For Billy Mathews and Elizabeth Zoby, web developers for a big federal government agency, making things work better for their people in the field could have involved spending a ton of money. By choosing to get their hands a little dirty with open source solutions, they not only saved us taxpayers some cash, but they learned an important lesson: Open source isn’t as difficult to deploy as you might think. They fell in love with Drupal’s many modules, and their report in this issue may even make a believer out of you.

For law librarians Becca Peters and Jennifer DeJonghe, the only hacking they needed to do to create a better online presence was wrest control of their library’s Google Business Page from the algorithm and bots that created it. Now everyone who searches for the library on a mobile device can find out the real address, actual hours of operation, and other fundamental true facts about the library just by Googling them. Read their article to see how you can get control of the facts Google is presenting about you.  

In some cases, the only hacking you have to do is get your hashtags right. In two separate articles, Amber McKee (Cumberland University’s Vise Library) and Erin Gow (University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library) set the record straight on using social media to your library’s full advantage. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube—you don’t have to be a world leader to figure out how to use them to your benefit.

Dick Kaser, Executive Editor

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