Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Librarything responds to OCLC

Here is Tim Spaulding's blog post about OCLC's new local OPAC.

Maybe Librarything is a Jedi bug?

Local WorldCat

OCLC announced yesterday that it is partnering with several libraries (including several in Illinois) to pilot a local version of The announcement claims that the local worldcat will be able interoperate with local systems including the local ILS's circulation system and ILL.

The OCLC announcement also discusses plans to start adding article citations to WorldCat. Here is a quote from Bill Jordan, Dean of Libraries at University of Washington (the first library to get Local WorldCat):

"With WorldCat Local, we get enhanced search and display capabilities like faceted browse, FRBR-ized results sets, and enhanced content like reviews and article metadata," said Mr. Jordan. "We bring together all our fulfillment options--electronic, locally held, consortial, and remote--into one interface that still leverages all the 'delivery smarts' that are built into our local and consortial systems. With the addition of article metadata, we begin to see the breakdown of our discovery silos by the aggregation of indexing for book and article content."
This would all seem to have pretty major implications for our thinking about the OPAC, the local catalog, ILS software, electronic resources and consortial catalogs like I-Share's Universal Catalog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The new OPACthing

The Librarything has announced that they are going to market java widgets that can be used in conjunction with commercial OPACs to provide additional information to library patrons. Tim posts on the Librarything's blog, "The paid widgets will include book recommendations, tag-based browsing, ratings, reviews and so forth." They are offering a FRBR inspired related editions widget for free. This widget uses their ISBN data to collocate related records.

It is unclear how widely it will be used, if it really will be as easy as they claim, and what it will cost. However the announcement continues a trend of third party companies (Endeca, Acquabrowser, etc.) offering to enhance library OPACs. I believe it also Librarything's first formal step into the world of traditional libraries. Tim Spaulding at Librarything once hinted that he thought they might one day compete with OCLC. Stay tuned...

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Future of Bar Codes?

Today I discovered QR Codes reading Eric Schnell's blog. QR codes are an alternative to linear bar codes like the ones we put on library books and looks like the image to the left. The QR code can hold over 7,000 numeric digits compared to about 20 digits in traditional bar codes. These codes also have features that allow data to be recovered if the the bar code is partially destroyed. I've been seeing them for awhile on packages but have not known what they were.

Among the interesting features of the QR codes is that cell phones can be equipped with software to read these barcodes. Apparently this is already popular in Japan where they are printed on business cards and used to add personal information to cell phones. They are also used to store URLs and are used in advertising to give readers a way to go directly to a company's web page using their cell phones.

Imagine a world where you read an article that you like and so you take out your cell phone and snap a picture of the QR code printed with the article to immediately be taken to a full text version of that article (on your cell phone) that you can bookmark or add to your bibliographic utility. We could be close ... stay tuned.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Students on the internet

Here is a blog post on a study of internet use by college students at the Univ. of Bristol and here is Lorcan Dempsey's take on it.

A couple of things that stood out to me...

1. Students don't have radios but stream audio and increasingly video over there computers which takes up a lot of bandwidth.

2. Students use email to keep in touch with "older" people and IM (and Facebook) to communicate to peers.

3. Daily Motion and Veoh are listed as the top two video sharing sites. YouTube is third (and the only one I had heard of).

4. Finally the blog suggests students would really like video podcasts of lectures.

I wonder if Trinity collects data of the top used sites here and if they would share that internally or (gasp) make it public.