Emerging Technologies in Libraries

A day in the life of an Emerging Technologies Librarian

Reference logger statsAfter scurrying through the library trying to hide my coffee cup from students (No food or drinks in the Library!), I met with our Information Systems Librarian and Systems Manager to plan out our projects this year. Here’s a selection:

  • Launch digital collections site (built on Collective Access)
  • Train web-devvy librarians/staff to use newly-migrated Github repository
  • Build online instructional library for online-only students
  • Research and implement reference chat web app
  • Design and moderate usability study for new Ebsco Discovery Service

Robin Camille DavisLater in the morning, I got a phone call from another faculty member who attended a Personal Information Management workshop I led last semester. He’d followed up on my recommendation to use Evernote and asked me for some advice on how to use it as an instructor. I’m a huge Evernote evangelist, so I was happy to chat.

I also met quickly with our Freshman & Instructional Services Librarian to plan our Murder Mystery Challenge (above), a new event we’re about to try this fall. In it, students will use basic library skills to track down an escaped murderer. Grisly, perhaps, but topical for a criminal justice college—and based on a real 1922 trial transcript held in our Special Collections!

Murder Mystery ChallengeAfternoon: Reference Service

I staffed the Reference Desk for an hour. It’s the second week of school, so we’ve seen a pretty incredible uptick in reference service. Over the summer, I designed and tested a simple web-based logger to track every reference interaction. When I had a moment to breathe, I compiled the stats from last month into a PDF to send around. (Tip: when asking your colleagues to contribute to a data log like this, make sure they get to see the output!) Here’s a snapshot of summer and start of school:

Confession: though I went to library school and earned a library science degree, I was actually surprised that I became a librarian. I studied data curation and digital preservation at UIUC, never registering for traditional librarianship courses like reference or instruction. (I did sit through a few sessions of cataloging class in an effort to better understand metadata, but the handouts were uniformly in Comic Sans and Jokerman, so I knew it was not the place for me.)

I was nervous at first to sit at the Reference Desk. But in fact, I really value these few hours a week. I design systems and interfaces for our students—it’s just good ethnographic practice to get as much facetime with them as possible! For example, I was stunned at how many students (and, okay, faculty) approach the ref desk with an Amazon page on their smartphone screen. That’s an information behavior I wouldn’t otherwise know about, but which informs how I design students’ user experience.

See also:
  • Try FREE the cool label and barcode software from Teklynx.com.

The path

by fatalexception

The different path.
I remember when I first read Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. Aside from the Mormon overtones throughout the book, I was deeply affected by how two children, brother and sister, used their parent's net account to participate in political discussions with world leaders. Their thoughts were viewed as just that. Thoughts. Not two children naievely talking about a system they don't understand, but statements made by intellectual peers. I was 12 when I read this book, and it changed my life forever. I craved recognition despite my age. I had already been using bulletein board systems for a few years to download games for my computer

Tetra Discovery to Collaborate with The Broad Institute's Stanley Center for ..  — MarketWatch
The company also receives major funding through the National Institute of Mental Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund. Contact: Eric Nelson, Ph.D. Vice President Business Development

Amer Library Assn Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University
Book (Amer Library Assn)
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