Novel and Inspired Tech Applications in Libraries
by Dick Kaser
The applied technology stories in this issue deserve special attention. Each is a tale of aspiration and inspiration, using tech to enable common library tasks. But the hallmark of each story is disrupting the status quo—and, as the cover notes, breaking all the rules—to bring about change.
Daniel Davis (Duke University) focuses on the budget-friendly Raspberry Pi, which is often deployed in library makerspaces as a tech teaching aid. It can power many library tasks, and he describes setting it up and more. A Raspberry Pi can also power signage, turn terminals into workstations, etc.
Cal LaFountain lays out the potential benefits of blockchain for preservation, collection management, cataloging, and improving the user experience. Hear how the Internet Archive sees the benefits of a decentralized approach, which could revolutionize how libraries operate.
Julie Harding, Ryan Shepard, and Colleen Quinn (University of Maryland) share how they tested a chat box pop-up on the library website in order to improve the availability of real-time reference support for students visiting the library online. Location and timing were critical.
Sharon Whitfield and Coleen Carr, librarians at Rider University, discuss how they ditched paper workflows for database acquisition, renewal, and cancellation decisions. Going digital, they used Google Drive, Gmail, and Gmail templates to automate and streamline the workflow.
Finally, father/daughter team David and Sarah Patrick talk about their desire to encourage the next generation to break stereotypes by getting young women involved with the TechGirlz organization and conducting events in their area to teach STEM skills.
To learn more about other novel approaches to applied tech, please join us at Internet Librarian in Monterey, Calif., later this month.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor