In early April 2013, digital journalism professor Robert Hernandez, of the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Los Angeles, was driving by L.A.’s Central Library downtown while thinking of ideas for his experimental augmented reality (AR) storytelling and journalism course when he had an aha moment: Why not focus a project on augmenting the Central Library?
Cryogenically freezing the DNA of livestock animals might sound like a science fiction twist to Noah’s Ark, yet it’s the mission of a newly forged partnership called The Smithsonian and Swiss Village Farm (SVF) Foundation Biodiversity Project. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the SVF Foundation announced in late July that they have joined forces to preserve rare and endangered heritage breeds of livestock, animals that our American forefathers raised for agriculture. Over the next several years, the SVF Foundation’s collection of frozen genetic materials will be incorporated into the Smithsonian’s vast genetic library of endangered animal species.
It wasn’t too long ago that people thought reading books on a computer could never replace the real, ink-and-paper feel of a good old-fashioned book. And while people continue to appreciate books in their traditional form, sales of Amazon’s Kindles topped $4.5 billion last year, according to research by Morgan Stanley. More telling, though, is how normal it seems to read a book on an electronic device. But scientists and developers haven’t stopped there. New technology continues to challenge our notions of what we read, how we read, and who has access to reading.
Few things can be more frustrating to library patrons—or staff, for that matter—than a self-check system that’s ill-suited for its setting. But when such a system runs smoothly, it increases efficiency, protects materials, promotes library programming, and instills confidence in patrons, which translates into increased circulation and a staff with more time to focus on things like programs and services.
The Wikipedia Library is an open research hub started in 2010 when Credo Reference donated 500 free research accounts to Wikipedia’s most active editors. Partnerships with HighBeam, Questia, JSTOR, and the Cochrane Library followed. Now, the Wikipedia Library is developing into a portal to connect editors with libraries, open access resources, paywalled databases, digital reference tools, and research experts. Two of the project’s leaders discuss the potential for collaboration between libraries and Wikipedia, as well as the new Visiting Scholars pilot program.
Now anyone can create a beautiful digital zine of customized content, thanks to Flipboard. In a highly touted feature, version 2.0 of the iconic newsstand app allows users to select content they find on Flipboard to create magazines on any interest or topic. SLJ’s screencast shows you how to make your own publication in the image-rich format, add articles, and publish to the world or select subscribers.
In this time of transition of the library automation industry, stakes are high for the vendors that are creating innovative—or even transformative—products and competing to bring these products first to the market. Establishing momentum early is essential in the library arena, which is attentive to the successes of a vendor’s peers and risk averse.