Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tuesday @ Computers in Libraries

I attended sessions of the "Next Gen Catalogs" track. To start the day, Marshall Breeding, Director of Innovative Technology for Vanderbilt University, spoke about the Global Library Automation Scene.
  • First thought -- when are we going to create a "Director of Innovation" position?!
  • First chuckle -- In reference to his annual reports (published every April) in LJ (Library Journal) about library automation, "2007 saw the demise of the traditional OPAC" oh, if only that were so, Marshall!
  • Breeding thinks consortia are cool - more libraries are taking advantage of the opportunity to share resources
  • ISIS is the most popular platform in the rest of the world (this is a technology developed and distributed by UNESCO)
  • Changing ILS (Integrated Library Systems) requires a lot of current pain or a load of benefits for user interaction
  • The successful pitch is one that enables significant transformation toward a new vision of the library (I liked that!)
  • Libraries find themselves needing/wanting a series of dis-integrated products: RFID, link resolvers, federated search, self-check, etc...
  • What does an integrated library system look like?

Session 2: Library Automation Highlights
Speakers Stephen Abram - VP Innovation for SirsiDynix
Phil Green - Chief Tech Officer for Inmagic
Neil Block - VP of Worldwide sales for Innovative Interfaces

These guys talked about their products--what is new, exciting, etc...

Stephen Abram - much of his time was spent defending against open source
  • He talked about new SchoolRooms product and touted research that SD has done one how k-12 students learn (tracking eye movement on web pages
  • Said that servers are the second largest polluters after automobiles (huh) as a stick to get us all moving to SaaS where our data is stored on a server farm. He said this would net us 50% in annual savings...I think this savings is only realized if you can downsize your IT department and would also depend on how often you need to buy a new server, but I could be wrong.
  • Talked a bit about their new web interface, Enterprise, which has faceted search - a clever bit of programming that creates three-letter combinations of search words and then searches the material database for these three letter combinations - the idea is that the chances of the search returning what you want, no matter your spelling, are better.
  • Abrams spent most of his time mentioning all the cool stuff that folks have done with API like getting YouTube video reviews linked in to their catalog. All great stuff, but none of it 'out of the box' from SD - all of it (I'm pretty sure) from the SD API user community.
  • If I hadn't known that he was with SirsiDynix I would't have recognized anything he was talking about in terms of what I see on my servers... but good for him for being in the clouds
Phil Green - Inmagic
  • company deals primarily with special libraries
  • content-centric socialization combining book smarts with street smarts
Neil Block
  • New product is named Encore (what is it with "E" products this season?)
  • Looks like a terrific interface and will work with any competitors products as a front end overlay. We could have Unicorn in the background (and Marina) and Encore as our public interface.
  • relevancy ranking
  • powerful "did you mean" searching
  • metadata clouds
  • integrated federated searching
  • 2.0 tagging, reviews and rankings
  • integrated program registration and databases (so that if I search for Gatsby - I'll get all the Big Read programs, the book, and Literature database options returned on my search results!)
  • harvests digital archives - like WILBR
  • hold option and holdings are on the results page
  • 160 libraries are using it now, like Scottsdale Public Library
Session 3: Library Website and Library Catalog - One Stop!
Presented by Howard County's Amy DeGroff (Director of Information Technology) and Danny Bouman (Web designer)
  • Using the LibX browser tool bar on all public and staff computers and offering it for download
  • They (Danny) has built a content management system that you can see on their newly redesigned web site
  • media wall
  • mass mailer functionality
  • easy staff interface (much like the one that Tracy has built for WCFL )
  • form creation and management using technology from
  • Google analytics so that they know what pages are being visited (like Tracy set up for WCFL)
  • New and Hot items - SQL script runs every night that takes their new items (6 mo. worth) and goes to Amazon to pull cover image and sales rank -- the CMS then shows items that are new and hot on Amazon that the library owns! neato
  • It's very can read about their process with the CMS and their migration to Koha (open source software) at their blog where Amy said they would be releasing the code for their CMS today! Wow - very cool. Love open source...
Long way to go, but interesting topics and I got to see the cherry blossoms blooming around the mall in DC thanks to a wrong turn.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I thought we were all unofficial Directors of Innovation!??