October 12th, 2010 Brian Herzog
For those in New England, the coming weeks have a few book-related conferences worth attending. I'll definitely be at the first two, but not sure about the third:
Boston Book Festival - Saturday, October 16th
The Boston Book Festival is a day-long event, filled with talks from authors and illustrators and others in the book field. All the events are around Copley Square in Boston, and everything is free. I'm going to try to see Chipp Kidd, Bill Bryson, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeff Kinney, and anyone else I can find - not to mention renew my library card at the BPL.
New England Library Association 2010 Annual Conference - Oct 17 - 19th
This year's NELA conference is in Boxborough, MA, and should be a good time (as always). Highlights (for me) are the talk on censorship by Joe Raiola (senior Editor of MAD magazine), seeing Ethan Zuckerman again, a talk on Open Source ILS' by Stephanie Chase and Pamela Soren Smith - and I'll be doing a poster session on library website mashups.
Why Books? - Oct 28 -29th
Hosted by Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, "'Why Books?' probes the form and function of the book in a rapidly changing media ecology. Speakers from a variety of disciplines—literature and history to sociology and computer science—will discuss the public-policy implications of new media forms and will explore some of the major functions that we identify with books today: production and diffusion; storage and retrieval; and reception and use."
Busy busy busy. And if you're ever looking for a book-related event, remember to check out LibraryThing.com/local for events in your area - and also add your library's events there for more exposure.
Tags: bbf, book, boston book festival, conference, Conferences, event, events, festival, libraries, Library, nela, nela2010, public, why books
June 11th, 2010 Brian Herzog
I'm at the Portland (ME) Public Library today, for the ebook workshop from the New England Library Association's IT Section.
I'll be live-blogging, so check back for updates, and also follow others with #nela on Twitter.
Notes from Elizabeth Thomson
- Idea for using ereaders in libraries: buy one for the ILL department, for them to download public domain books to and loan, instead of the patron waiting weeks to request all those out-of-print books from far-away libraries.
- Idea for doing ebook collection development: buy the trash romance or how-to sex manuals that someone would by too embarrassed to buy or check out or be seen reading on the subway
- "The Kindle is about reading, not the device." It seems to me the iPad is the opposite - it needs to dazzle people with movement and flashy colors, which either enhances the text, or terminally distracts from it, depending on your point of view.
- Ebooks needs a business models - publishers, bookstores, libraries need their own. People buying print books because they feel guilty or don't want bookstores/libraries to die out is not a business model. People will do what's most convenient in the end, regardless of how they feel.
Notes from Tom Corbett, Cushing Academy
- Libraries need to be in the reading an research (information) business, not the book inventory business (just like people who used to be in the horse and buggy business instead of the transportation business went out of business)
- Cushing's logic: books are no longer the best approach for their goal (supporting 9-12 students), library staff were focus on the wrong skills (inventory management rather than information access and aggregating data), provide 21st century education with 21st century tools (kids also learn how to use technology, which is important for the future)
- "It's not information overload, it's filter failure"
- Brutal Facts:
- Most high quality information will never be free
- Information in the 21st century is almost entirely created and delivered digitally
- By it's nature digitization ties information technology and information literacy together
- The filters and skills need to successfully navigate the digital world are not the same as the pre-digital world
- Libraries need Digital Rights Management (DRM)
- There will be a better medium for reading than paper (it's the content, not the paper)
- It doesn't really matter what libraries think. Markets happen. (Kindle is Amazon's #1 best-selling and highest-rated product)
- Digital content delivery should be "just in time" not "just in case" (which is what print is, and also Overdrive's model of collection-development-by-ownership) - focus on managing access, not managing collection inventory
- EBook Library gets it right with "non-linear lending" - you get access to hundreds of thousands of titles, and libraries pay rental fee when the book is checked out (also option to buy if a title is heavily used). You get X number of hours of book use, which can be mixed and matched amongst titles that get used - you pay for the use of your patrons, not an inventory of ebooks
Notes from Jeffrey Mayersohn, Harvard Book Store
Speaking about the Espesso print-on-demand machine. This is the way of the future, because Amazon has way more inventory than can be kept in a single location.
But the single location is the advantage that bookstores have - local staff, local interest, and with print-on-demand, local production of that same large inventory. Use bookstore shelves to be well-curated showroom.
Books never die, because with print-on-demand, everything stays in print. Also much easier for new authors to promote their self-published books.
- 1/3 (about 34) of Espresso machines are in libraries (many also in academic book stores)
- Replace copies for very old, out-of-print copies
- Provide copies of rare book collections to patrons
- Full color interiors
- Expanded public domain access
- Expand access to "current" books
- Continued publishing of local authors
Notes from Emily Smith, Belmont Public Library
Donor provided 16 Kindles to circ at library
How we circ:
- 14 days, 1 renewal (same as book)
- Local requests only, check in and out at Belmont circ desk only - must turn it on to see it works at check out and check in
- 1 per person, $1 fine per day, $259 replacement cost, $15 charger, $35 cover
- No age restriction, but we mostly buy non-kids title to limit kid interest, and circ them from the adult section
- Circ in padded bag with charger, laminated policy, Kindle with leather cover, Getting Started guide
- Put VHS box on shelf with titles listed on back, and when someone wants Kindle they bring the box to the circ desk, where Kindles are kept
- Purchase alerts, holds list, bestseller lists
- 75% fiction
- Amazon requires credit card to purchase, which the library doesn't have, so we have corporate account (which is paid via purchase order and gift cards and person account - it is complicated)
- We deregister when it circs, and ask patrons not to register to their account (which they can do, and add content, but if it doesn't get deregistered then other patrons can buy books on that first patron's account
- Turning it on/off has been a challenge for some patrons - switch is very small. Some patrons put it to sleep rather than turning it off, and screen saver kills the battery
- Some patrons delete books accidentally - library can get the books back free, but it is a pain
- 5-way control is difficult to use, but people eventually figure it out
- Doesn't work with Overdrive, not all titles are available through Amazon, and not all titles have text-to-speech
- Be sure to get the 2-year extended warranty, which makes replacing damaged devices easier
Notes from Gerry Deyermond, Memorial Hall Library (Andover, MA)
Use Audible.com for eAudio digital audiobooks, and circ library's Otis players as well as download to patrons' devices.
Most users are 40+. Patrons can request downloads by email, and work out time with staff when to come in to download. Use Excel to track circulation (players circ for 3 weeks).
MVLC also uses Overdrive - this has picked up the slack for patrons who can't get to the library Almost 10,000 iPod-compatible book circs since 9/2009; almost 1,000 ebook downloads since 5/2010.
Notes from Chris Cooper, Southern New Hampshire University
Use 2-pronged approach to ebooks
- Ebook Downloads for popular works: Sony eReady and Kindle, patron-driven - library will buy any book under $25
- Ebook Databases for academic/professional titles: databases such as NetLibrary, Books 24x7, Sarafi Tech Books, ACLS Humanities ebooks to support business, IT psychology and other programs
- Successes: Positive publicity (mentioned on campus tour), efficient use of funds, broad popular content availability, show engagement with technology
- Challenges: Consumer product, work flow issues (only tech services can load books, which slows things down), rarely find academic titles students need, number of units (5 kindles, 2 eReaders), registration, damage to devices
- Successes: 24x7 remote access, professional publications, up-to-date and complete (no missing CDs), integration with the catalog (easier to find), e-reserve, full-text searchable (huge advantage for research)
- Challenges: DRM eccentricities (each database is different, none are very good), multiple interfaces (patrons want content, so unfamiliar interfaces are a barrier and we lose people), cost (always have annual contracts - difference between owning content and buying access to content), finding specific titles (we can always find content, but not always exactly what they want)
Questions and Answers from Panel Discussion
Any childrens books on ebooks? Like Tumblebooks?
Belmont didn't put them on, because we want adults to be more careful with the devices. Nashua uses Tumblebooks and people like them. Cushing still actively collects print picture books.
Do teachers "silo" their class material and not use library eresources?
They do, because they always have, but we're working with them to show them how they can use ereserve and other tools for class. The focus needs to be on the students, and what works best for them.
Do people purchase or lease Espresso machine?
Harvard Book Store leased it, but other people buy them. However, there are also leasing companies.
How has the School Library Association viewed what is happening at Cushing?
They're both skeptical and interested, and want feedback on how it goes.
What kind of budget does Cushing have?
The space redesign and purchase of ereaders came out of the capital budget, not library budget. This year the econtent budget is coming from the library budget. It all happened before Tom was there, so not sure of the figure, but it's hundred of thousands of dollars.
If students have their own laptops/devices, why does the library offer ereaders?
Kindles only do reading, whereas other devices have lots of distractions built-in, and we want to focus on literacy.
How have faculty accept the change, technically?
To do this well, the administration must require adoption, but there was a lot of buy-in from faculty. There is also ongoing back-and-forth discussion, so we're all working together to meet the goal requirement.
By deauthorizing Kindles, does that turn off Amazon's big brother aspect or monitoring, and can use track highlighting and other activity for statistics?
We delete most patron activity, and never thought to track it.
Do you backup Kindle books?
Once you register a Kindle, all the books stay in your account and you can download them as many times as you want. You can backup locally on your server, but you need to sync it to your computer, and is just more difficult that relying on Amazon.
How do you provide students access to color content, like graphic novels?
We don't really - we never had much of a graphic novels collection and students haven't asked. But it's a trade off, because there are things the devices let you do that can't be done with print.
Espesso machine - what is the cost, and is there a backlog?
Cost of each book depends on source - publisher books (in copyright) are same price as book on the shelf (machine does this automatically, and store loses money on some books); for Google books we charge $8.00, which averages 400 pages, so we were losing money so now it depends on page count - $10-$20 average cost now; self-published set price with author, usually $9 cost and $15 retail, which is better for authors than they would get with a publisher. You can also order online and we will delivery locally via bike-delivery
Do Kindles need certain staff to make them work?
Only for downloading and fixing - check in and out goes through the circ desk so any staff can do it, including the 4-5 minute demo of how it works and checking to see if the titles are there
Are you concerned about the lack of physical ownership of Kindle content, and whether you'll be able to use it in the future?
Belmont: not really, because all the titles we have we also own in print, and are popular, so we think that when the interest in these titles die off, we won't need them any more
SNHU: We expect that to be the case, and it's all about cost - if we get the value out of the book via circs, we don't worry about the future
Cushing: We don't worry about it
What percentage of SNHU is eresources? And is it growing to accommodate Cushing students who expect digital resources?
Databases and downloads are right about the same, but nothing drastic is happening - print is staying steady.
What factors drive book sales for Harvard Book Store?
The general economy is very noticeable in the bookstore, but sales have increased each month this year. I haven't noticed any real affect with the advent of ebook readers - most customers say they like books, but use ebooks for travel (so in that respect it is a niche product). Sales of new hard covers (the most expensive) are the sales that are increasing. Our author events (over 200/year) really drive sales - not unusual to draw 600 people - authors can't sign ebooks
Libraries can offer more than one device, as a way to allow patrons to try the technology and use Overdrive titles.
October 15th, 2009 Brian Herzog
The 2009 annual conference of the New England Library Association starts this weekend in Hartford, CT.
I'll be there for just Sunday and Monday, but I'm not sure yet which sessions I'll attend. I'll be blogging again this year, along with other attendees, so check out our notes at http://nelib.wordpress.com. Also, look for Twitter updates with the #nela09 hashtag*.
If you'll be in Hartford, let me know or keep an eye out for me - I have no plans for Sunday evenings and always like meeting people.
*While searching Twitter to figure out what the hashtag would be, I happened to find @NELAsecrets
- anyone know about this? It led to http://nelasecrets.wordpress.com
and uses Twittermail for updates (a la @alasecrets
). I tried it, but it seems like Twittermail is down
. Too bad - I'm full of secrets.
Also while searching, I found another NELA conference - but sadly, we just missed it.
Tags: 2009, annual, conference, libraries, Library, nela, nela09, nela2009, nelib, new england library association, public
June 16th, 2009 Brian Herzog
A quick recap of my experiment to both twitter and blog the CMS Day workshop last week: I didn't like it.
And interestingly, while catching up with rss that night, I read Librarian by Day very nicely summing up everything I didn't like about it.
Blogging a conference is how I take notes for myself during the sessions - I don't know if it's helpful to anyone else, but it is to me, and I put it out there just in case someone else is curious. But twittering a conference ultimately felt like a series of inside jokes that only people at the conference would get.
Don't get me wrong - the conference was great, which is why I was trying to share it. So perhaps it is my lack of tweet skills, but it didn't seem that 140 characters, without the context of the conference, is very helpful (other than a laugh or two).
I'm still new to this, so forgive me if this observation has already been made: it occurred to me that twittering is the metadata of life. I can describe the conference or what I'm doing at any random moment, but it's still just a description of something else. Metadata absolutely serves a purpose, but when it comes to conferences, maybe the most useful tweets are those that point to resources available elsewhere (or that are humorous one-liners).
Or, perhaps more likely, I'm just doing it wrong.
Tags: blogging, conference, Conferences, libraries, Library, nela, nela-its, nelaits, public, twitter, twittering, workshop
June 12th, 2009 Brian Herzog
Today's workshop is all about CMS - why use them, and what's available. I'll try to provide useful notes - also follow #nelaits09 and/or #nelaitson Twitter.
CMS Day: Building a Better Website with Content Management Systems
Drupal, Joomla, Plone, and WordPress
June 12th, 2009, Portsmouth (NH) Public Library
Keynote: Jessamyn West - Website 2.0!
--Slides & Links
- Old style web maintenance: people give content to one person who updates the site (bottleneck) - relies on ftp and requires expertise
- New style (with CMS): everyone can update all the time - quicker and more efficient, and doesn't require heavy-duty tech skills
Your website doesn't need to be special and unique, just useful to your patrons. Timesavers like CMS software, and good ideas that other libraries are already doing, are your friends. You can include a calendar, catalog, links and databases, programs, "about us" and local history, contact info - every has these things, and you can too.
Static v. Dynamic content (the C in CMS): dynamic content means websites are built on the fly by pulling information from multiple places
What is a CMS (content management system)
- creation of content - lets the right people do it
- management - easier to get info out (and remove it when old)
- distribution - send out (or bring in) via rss
- publishing - much easier, and more standards compliant
- discovery - you learn, everyone learns
All cms share similar tools: themes, calendars, rss feeds, blogs, uploading images/files - don't get too hung up on these. All have online demos/versions to try out. There are also user communities that offer development and support.
Paige Eaton Davis, Minuteman Library Network
- Using Drupal for staff intanet
- Goals was to facilitate communication (which staff wanted), web 2.0 features (rss, comments, etc), calendar, printer-friendly versions (because it will be a source of documentation for member libraries)
- Why Drupal? free, open-source, large community support, robust and room to grow
- Install was kind of techy, so not completely smooth and flawless - but they managed with little knowledge + documentation
- "Drupal is a very elegant and yet very hairy beast"
Getting it going:
- Drupal Core contains a lot of core functions (do not hack core modules)
- Also lots of contributed modules to extend capabilities - two good ones: Content Construction Kit (CCK - lets you define different kinds of content types [blog post, calendar event, etc]) and Views (allows tweaking of content output). Others in use are Calendar, Minutes module, Signup, Interest Groups
- One challenge with Drupal is learning its terminology
- Great thing is that menus are dropdown and easy to universally manage from one location
- Themes: use standard, customized, or borrow one http://themegarden.org/drupal6
- Lots of support online, plus O'Reilly books, Library Technology Report
Kate Sheehan, Dairen Public Library
- Kate's not a coder - has used WordPress, but now specializes in content
- Lots of thought when into architecture of Drupal site - used it to pull all sorts of library content (static pages, multiple blogs, etc) together into one place and organize it logically and usefully
- Staff did struggle with terminology until they got away from using blog terminology
- Community: patrons can contribute to website and catalog (using sopac, which is a Drupal module) - anyone can create an account to participate
- Using tags to specify age range/reading levels for kids, which helps both patrons and staff
- Website has content pulled in from other sources (flickr, et. al.) so policies had to be reviewed on licensing, citing and the technical how-to aspects - they try to use a lot of photos to make things more interesting
- Found that using Google calendar for events was easier than Drupal module
Randy Robertshaw - Tyngsborough Public Library
- Chose Joomla because it is very easy to learn and has a low learning curve
- Randy is only librarian in his library, so he does all the maintenance himself
- View website as real electronic branch - staff contributing to it is same as creating book displays or answering questions in the library
- When considering Joomla, only look for v1.5-native components
- Lots of for-pay modules, which can be $5-20, and are professional looking right out of the box, instead of spending time reinventing the wheel - http://extensions.joomla.org and http://joomlacode.org
- Prefers Google calendar to events module - uses rss to feed events to homepage. Others are JcalPro and Eventlist - but prefers "outsourcing" tools like gcalendar and flickr (using iframe) to embed content back into library website
- Joomla allows multiple themes, so children's site can look different from adult portion
- One plugin is a PDF indexer - lots of others - some simple, some complex
- Content can be timed, so it will automatically go up and come off - is also archived to use later use, and stats show on each post on the backend
- Remove copyrights for programs
- Review the reviews of extensions before you choose them
- Stay away from "beta" software (no release schedule)
- Make sure to cache your website so you're not hitting the database every time
- Is CMS search engine friendly? Always a problem with dynamic content
- Security and backup of CMS and website and content
- Use distributed content lets you share the work among staff but make things easy and centralized for patrons
- Always keep an eye on development - Joomla is available now, but things always change
Rick Levine - C/W MARS
"Home on the Web" [pdf] project uses LSTA grant to enable small MA public libraries that currently have no website (or were part of the local government website). Goals were kept simple and cheap - single template, promote databases & local programs, forms-capable, "harvestable" calendar (for down-the-road state-wide zip code based calendar).
The Plinket program offers a lot features, and creating library websites is quick. The time investment comes in creating content - which is where time should be spent.
Backend input forms, content types, and management is very simple - does provide security levels to control what people can do and what html code they can use.
Examples: Bolton Public Library and East Brookfield Public Library and Thayer Memorial Library (uses fanciest features in iframes)
Theresa Maturevich, Beverly (MA) Public Library
Chose WordPress because it was free, NOBLE offered some support, staff had some knowledge of it, large community base (easy to search for answers online), lots of free themes and plug-ins and widgets, easy to customize.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org - wp.com is hosted and has limitations, whereas wp.org is downloaded and installed on your server. .org offers more features and control, but you're responsible for backups and maintenance
Don't need a lot of tech background, but some html helps. It's easy to modify page templates to customize or use different theme for kid's page. WP lets you use hierarchy (using Parent and Child) to make website look like web pages and less bloggy.
Can use multiple blogs (news, events, book reviews, etc) and keep them separate. Posts can be automatically posted (but not deleted), and they use comment moderation to check before they go live - and people do expect answers.
Tags: 2009, cms, content management, libraries, Library, nela, nelaits, nelaits09, nelib, public, spring, workshop