This is my 30-minute presentation at the ALA2013 preconference co-sponsored by the Discovery to Delivery and Rethinking Resource-Sharing Interest Groups. My topic was state of the art delivery solutions and the future of delivery.
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...the people involved with ReadersFirst represent exactly the kind of library leaders we need involved in all software procurements. They are librarians committed to serving their communities and they understand that, in order to do this, they have to have a very solid understanding of the technology they are using.
Another issue of Collaborative Librarianship is out and my Technology Matters column is about radio wave technologies and where the biggest privacy concerns really are. Some people refer to RFID chips as "tiny trackers" and that certainly makes them sound creepy. But it could be that the creepiest "tracker" out there is our beloved smartphone!
Here's an excerpt:
As much as we like to think that libraries are unique, they actually operate much like a supply chain system with central distribution centers and retail outlets. Obviously, there are differences but when it comes to materials handling, an area in which I do a lot of consulting, the similarities are striking. Both industries distribute material to outlets, require complex logistics systems, require accurate sorting and picking, and employ self-service technologies.
I’ve done my share of software and hardware procurements – not as many as some consultants – but enough to know my way around an RFP (Request for Proposal). And the truth is that RFPs are really horrible. They are full of contract language that few people understand and, unfortunately, they are often loaded with requirements that the Library doesn’t understand; or worse, requirements that the vendors themselves don’t understand!
I’ve seen the same RFP issued by many different libraries. Some of these RFPs were actually created by the vendor and has a few gotcha requirements that ensure their competitors will get the boot. I’ve also seen RFPs that have conflicting requirements – this happens when the Library doesn’t understand the requirements they’ve included.
But the development of an RFP has the opportunity to be an empowering experience for the library if it is done correctly. However, this requires leadership and time. It’s not as simple as doing a couple focus groups and checking off the requirements from someone else’s RFP.
Presentation about the Open Source resource-sharing product, Fulfillment, and what is happening in California with it (small pilot testing group), and how it could affect the future of resource-sharing in California.
The short presentation was followed by an energetic discussion about resource-sharing issues in California.
Presentation for Back in Circulation Conference Again held at University of Wisconsin-Madison. This updated session on trends in materials handling technology began with an historical look at how current technologies have evolved. The Speaker's Notes and Slides handout below provides speaker's notes and lots of images of state-of-the art products plus links to useful resources for getting more info.
Debut "Technology Matters" column for Collaborative Librarianship. This article, Holding Your Vendor's Fee to the Fire, talks about the importance of standards in library technology and encourages libraries to be more demanding about the importance of adherence to those standards.
The article begins like this:
"The nut. The bolt. When you go to the hard-ware store with a bolt in hand, you probably feel pretty confident that you’ll be able to find the nut you need to tighten that bolt. When I hand over my bolt to my local Rex Ace Hardware man, he strides down a nearby aisle and within seconds, I’ve got my bolt’s mate. It screws on perfectly. Do I care who made the bolt or the nut? I do not. This is because nuts and bolts have standard on sizes and threads. Any quar-ter inch nut will screw onto any quarter inch bolt.
Infopeople webinar highlighting the trends in materials handling including:
- Pricing of AMH systems going down
- Quality of AMH systems going up
- Automated check-in with sorting becoming standard
- Kiosks a hit but still a tad buggy
Lots of info about automated check-in systems, small sorters, advancements in sefl-check-in technology, kiosks and dispensers and new AMH products entering the market.