April 24th, 2013 Brian Herzog
Here's something that will hopefully have a significant impact on libraries in the future: there's a state-wide ebook initiative getting underway in Massachusetts.
This project was begun after hearing about the Douglas County (CO) Libraries "host your own ebooks" platform (and why). However, instead of just a single library system, Massachusetts wants to involve all the libraries in the Commonwealth.
Also, the end goal is a little different than Douglas County. Instead of hosting all the content we buy ourselves, the Massachusetts Library System (who is spearheading the project with support from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) is looking to develop a "discovery layer" interface that can search multiple vendors' ebook catalogs.
That way, patrons will just have one place to search all available ebooks, no matter which publisher or vendor they come from. This is good because the project includes all types of libraries - public, academic, school, special - which all have different ebook requirements. In the public world, people like to download fiction; in the school world, simultaneous online access to textbooks is required. This model is designed to accommodate the gamut.
My library is one of 50 pilot libraries that will begin testing this summer. The initial collection should be approximately 10,000 titles, negotiated directly with as many content providers as possible.
The current status of the initiative is, I believe, that proposals from vendors are still coming in. The project seems like it has a very quick timeline (see the project timeline & FAQ [pdf]), but I think that's a good thing.
In addition to the Colorado project, the Califa Consortium in California is also engaged in a similar endeavor. The Massachusetts project is unique in that it is the only state-wide program. Hopefully, as projects like this become larger and more numerous, libraries across the country will be able to adopt or join to give libraries a larger voice in the future of ebooks.
This is definitely something I'll be talking more about in the future. It's still early days yet (for the pilot libraries), but we're excited to get going.
June 8th, 2010 Brian Herzog
Last week, my Director gave me a letter she received from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) with good news - the database access they provide through Gale and Proquest now offer geolocation authentication for any computer in Massachusetts.
Good for patrons:
- Just click a link on the library's website to get into the database - whether the patron is in the library or at home (within Massachusetts), they get right into the database without having to also enter their library card barcode or anything else
- If they're traveling outside of Massachusetts, they can still access the database using the same link, because they'll be prompted to enter their card number
- Patrons from other states who are traveling in Massachusetts can access all of our databases without having to be in the library - any internet connection within the state will do
Good for librarians:
- We just need to put a single link on our website that works for both in-library and at-home access - much easier to manage
- Each link includes a library identifier, so we still get usage stats on anyone using the links on our website
- The MBLC provides a list of all the links for each library (ours look like this), so we just need to copy/paste them onto our website and it works
MA libraries have until Oct. 31, 2010 to get the new links posted, because that's when the old links stop working. If you need help, or didn't get a letter like this, contact Marlene Heroux and the MBLC. And libraries outside of MA, contact Gale and Proquest to see how to get this to happen for you, too. They can do it, so ask for it.
Way to go, MBLC!
Tags: access, authentication, database, databases, geoauthentication, geolocation, libraries, Library, massachusetts board of library commissioners, mblc, public, remote
January 17th, 2008 Brian Herzog
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has just launched mass.gov/libraries, to go along with a new public awareness campaign for Massachusetts libraries.
Sometimes "top-down" efforts like this end up being a waste of time and resources, but I actually do think I will use this new website. For one thing, it is simple and clean, which makes it easy to see what information is available. I like that.
Also, it is very limited in scope: it is information about the public libraries in Massachusetts and the services those libraries offer. So even though their slogan is "There's something for everyone," they don't try to be "everything to everyone" - no subject listings, no web search boxes, etc.
The target of this website is Massachusetts residents, and the focus is to connect those people with their local library - or better yet, its online resources - and to maybe answer a few library questions along the way.
Here's what this site offers:
They even included an article about why using library resources is better than Google for homework and student research.
I can see a lot of librarians using this, simply to find the contact information of other libraries, but I also like the single login box for database searching.
I also think patrons could easily use this website, too, but the key there is in the patrons finding it. This is the first year of a three-year marketing campaign, but aside from emails sent directly to librarians, I haven't seen anything.
awareness, campaign, libraries, library, ma, marketing, mass, massachusetts, mblc, public