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Feb 2, 2019
You can create simple online maps using free tools like Google's My Maps, but for serious collections of local landmarks, or historical/cultural resources, you'll need something more powerful, such as the custom platform that we built for Chicago Ancestors. I recently came across the open source platform "Arches," popularized by a digital history project in Los Angeles, that provides powerful geodata management capabilities perfect for digital humanities projects.
Jan 21, 2019
If you haven't visited the Data.gov website before, you'll need to wait until the federal government re-opens to check out the thousands of free public government dataset that used to be available to explore and download. And if your library or community uses that data for an application or project - you already know that you're out of luck! (In the meantime, you can still read our 2017 Public Library Quarterly article about open data in the library.)
Jan 8, 2019
Our last blog post about accessibility focused on making sure that your website was easy to access by people that use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, which read aloud what's on a computer screen to users with low or no vision. I recently attended a fantastic webinar on actual screen reader software itself by Kelsey Flynn of the White Oak Public Library District in Illinois, presented through the LITA webinar series. Kelsey covered some of the basics of accessibility software, including deep dives into the five most popular screen reader titles.
Some of my key takeaways:
Dec 12, 2018
Remember the famous viral clip of a Senator on the floor of the Senate holding aloft a snowball as proof that climate change was surely a hoax, or the meme-inspiring "the Internet is not a big truck; it's a series of tubes" quote from a different Senator? Well, those zany congresspeople were at it again during last month's Congressional hearings with Google:
This clip might be late night comedy fodder, and many people are correctly pointing out that the specific question isn't really answered by whether the device was an Android or an iPhone -- but it proves a greater point that our legislators are often woefully misinformed about the technology that they are quick to regulate. That wasn't always the case, and it doesn't have to be the case now.
Nov 28, 2018
As someone who has worked on community technology projects for nearly twenty years, it was always conventional wisdom that we had to reach people offline to bring them online. In other words, we couldn't solely do outreach via the Internet when we were targeting people that were, often by definition, completely offline. As librarians in an increasingly digital world approaching 2020, it can be frustrating to see low uptake of digital services or low participation rates in online programs, like summer reading. When studies show that Americans of all ages and economic groups go online in increasing numbers, why is the online use rate of our digital services not skyrocketing?
Aug 17, 2018
Aug 14, 2018
As a librarian, you naturally want to ensure that your library is accessible to patrons of all ages and abilities? We build ramps and elevators for people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility assistants to make sure they have access to every resource in our library.
Are you taking the same care to make sure that all of your patrons can access the resources on your website?
Dec 13, 2017
Ever been to a "hackathon" -- a gathering of technologists committed to working on a short-term project, usually a couple of days? Imagine two dozen programmers, designers, and specialists locked in a room for 2 days with laptops, snacks, and caffeine, all focused on prototyping an innovative app for a good cause. Learning, sharing, and pure geekery ensue!
Apr 7, 2017
My pals at ByWater Solutions invited me to talk about our open source summer reading software, Bookpoints. Jessamyn West has been working with us as we complete our 2017 version of the software so I invited her to join me so we could all have an open source love fest. Listen to the podcast here: http://libraryisopen.com/bookpoints-podcast/.
And if you've never heard of Bookpoints....well! It's the summer reading program software we created in partnership with California Library Association and Library of Virginia. It is inspired by the good work of Maricopa County's Great Reading Adventure (GRA). We are hosting around 25 libraries in California who will be using Bookpoints for the second year. Library of Virginia hosting another cohort that has also been working with us since the early GRA days. Our project page is readingbydesign.org.
Dec 1, 2016
Thought I'd share this Q&A I had with someone via email in case you have the same question! - Lori
Q: I am struggling to find data comparing the performances of the 2" square tags vs. the 2"x 3" tags. Are you aware of any studies comparing the two?
I've heard anecdotal evidence from a nearby college that the 2x3 tags are significantly better [they abandoned using the squares altogether] but I'm not finding much on the topic.
Many thanks for any information your can share.
A: The general rule of thumb is that the larger the antenna, the longer the range. So the 2x3 is going to give you a bit better performance than the 2x2 since the antenna actually runs around the other edge of the tag.
There are two reasons you might prefer a 2x2 tag despite the inferior performance:
1) they obscure less of the cover art
2) with DVDs in cases where you want to pair the tag on the case and the full coverage tag on the disc (e.g. X-Range or Stingray tag). Because the disc tag is about the same size as the disc, it leaves little room to add a tag on the case without having the two tags overlapping (which causes interference). So, using a square tag in the corner in combination with the full coverage disc tag works best. Tagging this way is recommended since you can use the RFID system to verify that the right disc is in the right case thereby reducing the need to open the case.