“I already feel behind. I’m not an early adopter and do not want to be. Is there a place for those not drawn to the newest and shiniest tech?” read an email from an LIS student expressing concern about finding her way through the discussions and applications of emerging technologies in the field. There is a place for you, I replied, but it requires shifting perspective a bit and looking beyond technology.
On November 18–20, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) hosted “Hack the Stacks,” a solution-building event where over 100 developers, programmers, and others with a passion for computer science worked overnight to develop innovative solutions for the challenges faced by modern libraries and archives. The goal was to animate, organize, and enable greater access to the increasing body of digitized content produced by the AMNH Library.
Library for All, a nonprofit organization that has created a digital library solution designed to deliver ebooks and high-quality educational materials to children and readers in developing countries, was recently honored with an Empowering People Award. The global competition held by the Siemens Stiftung foundation is designed to find the most innovative technology solutions currently improving people’s lives in the developing world.
The team behind Chronicle—a new collaborative platform and community designed for photographers—has approached several libraries over the past six months to participate in the closed beta release of the platform. Users add recent photos or scanned archival prints to the platform via an app or web interface, where they are collected in chronicles focused on specific locations, events, or themes.
There’s a slow fire burning that threatens to destroy our libraries’ irreplaceable materials. Paper-based books and records are in danger of degradation not only because of their construction but also from improper storage, cleaning, and treatment. While acid-, lignin-, and sulfur-free papers have largely replaced their more fragile wood pulp–based predecessors that were subject to cracking, yellowing, and disintegrating, there is still a danger of acid-free materials—mostly those manufactured after the 1990s—experiencing acid migration when they come into contact with high-acid documents, acid inks, pollutants, or other chemicals.
During Chattanooga’s StartUp Week, October 3–7, the Chattanooga Public Library (CPL) hosted a long-distance music collaboration between the visiting international OneBeat Fellows, the world’s foremost music diplomacy program, and the Miami, FL–based Fellows of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy. Using the ultra-high-speed connectivity of Internet 2 and low latency (LOLA) software inside the library, the long-distance live event was one of a kind, featuring young gifted musicians from all over the world in both locations performing together while more than 700 miles apart.
On Halloween night, Friends and trustees of New York Public Library (NYPL) got a treat that didn’t require a costume: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and NYPL President Tony Marx sat down together for a lively hour-long discussion of research, preservation, digitization, Hayden’s plans for the Library of Congress (LC), and the influence of Hamilton.