Posts tagged under: Technology

Sometimes, to change anything … you have to change everything

Greta Southard

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Change management is never easy, that’s why it’s often tackled in bite-size chunks. To be successful, it has to be intentional and collaborative. And for a public library, defining change can’t just depend on the director’s vision. It has to belong to the entire organization and be driven by the needs of the community.

We recently wrapped up the challenging—but energizing—task of developing a detailed strategic plan. This was a first step in changing the way we do business. We’ll still do many of the same things we’ve always done, but our perspective has shifted to place the customer firmly in the center of everything we do.

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Dr. Carla D. Hayden on the need for constant change in libraries

Skip Prichard

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, for our inaugural meeting of the Americas Regional Council. Nearly 200 attendees from 120 institutions and 36 US states came together to discuss technology trends in libraries.

It seems that everything is changing at a rapid clip. Even our vacuums are texting us and our fitness regimens have become virtual. Not a day goes by when we don’t read about developments that will rock our world—from flying cars to containers that sense they’re nearing empty and order a refill.

Our conference attendees discussed the impact of these changes in society and specifically on libraries. Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress for the United States, opened our conference with an inspiring keynote. If you know Dr. Hayden, you know that I was in the unfortunate situation of having to follow her on the stage.

It was after our presentations that we had a chance to speak about the impact of change on our organizations.

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Beating Watson at a different game

Eric van Lubeek

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Recently I attended a meeting of the Dutch Association of Information Professionals (KNVI) where an IBM representative demonstrated Watson, the company’s famed supercomputer. Watson uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of data. The system can be fed an enormous collection of information and used to support complete knowledge domains or industries.

The demonstration was fascinating as I watched Watson receive and answer questions in natural language about cancer treatment and diagnosis.

As I left the meeting, I wondered what the impact of technology platforms like Watson will have on libraries. Clearly, the use of Watson, with its incredible ability to organize and analyze data, offers endless possibilities that will result in further automation of the information profession. What place will libraries have in a world of Watsons?

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The scholarly record…now on Twitter

Brian Lavoie

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Literary criticism is not new. Conducting it via Twitter is.

In early 2016, distinguished Shakespearean scholar Brian Vickers published The One King Lear, a volume intended to address, and put to rest, a point of scholarly debate suggesting the play may have been revised after its initial publication. Another scholar, Holger Syme, found Vickers’ book wanting and shared his criticism in a series of 500+ tweets. Vickers, in turn, found Syme’s critique wanting, retorting: “He trivializes literary criticism, reducing it to attention-catching sound bites. Is this the way to go?”

In a print-based world, Syme’s criticism would have appeared as a formal article in a traditional journal.  Not so in the digital, networked world. Yet no academic library is likely to collect these tweets and curate them.

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What we can learn from “The Selfie Generation”

Skip Prichard

Teenagers taking a selfie photo

Here are two questions you don’t often see next to each other.

  • Why do academics need to “publish or perish?”
  • Why do teens love to post online pictures of themselves doing silly things?

While their circumstances couldn’t be more different, I believe that the motivations for both groups are remarkably similar and comes down to four principles: visibility, reciprocity, creativity and authority.

These are some of the guiding beliefs of a group that has been called “The Selfie Generation.” But they are also those that encourage all of us, more than ever before, to share who we are and what we do using inexpensive, omnipresent digital technology and social networks.

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