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Jul 26, 2016
I've been writing the Technology Matters column for the online journal, Collaborative Librarianship, for the last few years. It is a good way to force me to organize my thoughts. I try to post the columns here but they don't always make it so if you want to read them all, I encourage you to visit the groovy new website.
Jul 7, 2016
A few years ago, I participated in the PLA Technology Commitee. They were contemplating the future of the PLA Tech Notes. I suggested that we should discontinue the PLA Tech Notes and instead update the Wikipedia entries on those topics that were of interest to libraries. That way we'd contribute valuable content to Wikipedia on technology if there wasn't anything useful there yet. And if there was something there already, we could supplement the entry and describe the library application of that technology. Seemed to me to be a great idea and much better than spending a bunch of money having someone right up an article that would then be hidden deep in the bowels of ALA/PLA website where the info would be hard to find, never updated, and where it would quickly become inaccurate (without anyone who happened to bump into it knowing the difference).
Apr 25, 2016
I've been participating in an interesting thread about self-check-out and someone asked me to state some Best Practices. So, here's one rendition of what I believe to be Best Practices for implementing self-service check-out. It's an evolving list.
Apr 17, 2016
One of my clients requested that I put together some case studies that would demonstrate Best Practices for implementing RFID, self-check, and automated materials handling. I was able to put together two excellent examples of how to do it right.
This case study was written based on a document prepared by JCL staff after their RFID implementation. It was their own evaluation of the process so it includes a description of things they did right and what they could have done better. It provides great information on how to plan and manage the implementation and includes useful and impressive outcome metrics.
This case study was written based on telephone interviews with the staff. They describe another excellent process for implementing automated materials handling and then RFID and self-check. Even though I recommend implementing RFID before AMH, this process worked well for them and they are now achieving 90% self-check use systemwide.
Apr 13, 2016
Come join me for this webinar on April 27, 2016 from 2:00pm-3:00pm EST. Register Here
ALA President Sari Feldman's new Libraries Transform campaign communicates that libraries are more than places where circulation transactions take place, libraries can be transformative. And technologies like RFID, automated materials handling and self-service technologies are the tools that increase opportunities for libraries to provide enriching experiences to their communities.
Although RFID projects involve technical hurdles, they can be a fantastic opportunity to transform library services! If libraries only install the technology without changing how they use staff, they miss the chance to change the dynamics of patron-staff interaction.
Nov 12, 2015
I’ve been involved in several library remodels and building projects lately for public libraries in the 15,000-30,000 square foot range. My job is to help select self-check systems, and to implement RFID and automated materials handling technologies for the purposes of optimizing materials handling workflows. However, optimizing materials handling workflows is really about optimizing services to patrons. Selecting technologies and making recommendations about how to optimize their use is the easy part. The harder part is helping libraries transition from their traditional staff-based circulation workflows to self-service workflows which free up staff to focus on other patron needs without the constraints, and structure, provided by the traditional circulation desk model.
Traditionally, the circulation desk is the first thing you see as you enter the library. The staff at the circulation desk are not generally librarians although I’m pretty sure the public considers everyone at the library a “librarian.” So when the patron enters the library, what they encounter is someone working hard to get through a big pile of library material. There might even be a long line of people waiting to check-out their material. Maybe the staff person looks up when the patron enters, maybe not.
Oct 6, 2015
The recent acquisition of 3M Library Systems by Bibliotheca could be great or it could be awful. If it goes like their acquisition of ITG, it would be awful. Why? Because in the ITG acquisition, they kept the customers and a couple products and pretty much beheaded the company and made it disappear. There's a couple employees on the Bibliotheca staff but that's about it. Now, I'm not saying that that was a bad thing when it comes to the ITG acquisition. Bibliotheca acquired a very large number of US customers with that acquisition and that's really what they wanted and that was also where the value of ITG was.
However, with the 3M acquisition, they need to do a whole lot more than acquire customers in order for this to turn out well.
Oct 1, 2015
BIC (Book Industry Communication) today officially launched the Library Communication Framework (LCF). BIC is an independent UK organization that is "all about the book supply chain - both physical and digital, in retail and in libraries."
Why should we care about something that BIC launches? We should care because we all share many ILS and RFID vendors including 3M, Bibliotheca, D-Tech, Innovative and SirsiDynix. And all of these vendors (and more) have signed on, and we want to support them for doing so while making sure they follow through with that commitment.
Jul 1, 2015
There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate in libraries today. Everything is changing very fast including everything related to the Internet, what we mean by “phones”, user expectations of customer service and discovery, DRM, funding levels, the increasingly long list of devices and technology that people use to create things, and the composition of our communities.
One of the things changing almost as fast as technology is our communities. Many communities are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out with some communities getting older while others seem to maintain a permanently younger set. As people flee their countries of origin due to climate change, violence, or just to pursue opportunities, what were once static communities change and morph to accommodate the new arrivals with new cultures, practices, foods, and religions.
The good news is that there is data out there to help a library understand these migration patterns and to help the library understand more about the people living in the various neighborhoods within their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs.
Apr 20, 2015
I'm copying this very useful blog post from the CENIC website. It is a write-up of a session that was held at CENIC's 2015 Annual Conference held at UC Irvine from March 9-11, 2015. It describes the state of the roll-out of 1GB broadband Internet connectivity for California libraies. We've all heard about it, but it is so hard to find out where this thing is at. Finally, here's the answer!