It isn’t surprising that 3-D printers are often mentioned in the same breath as library Maker spaces. “Additive manufacturing” technology is about 30 years old, but as it becomes more refined, as well as more affordable, its growing importance to engineering and prototyping appears to be inevitable, as well as its use in everything from medicine to haute cuisine. Meanwhile, during the past few years, dozens of small desktop units have become available, most priced out of reach for casual users but within the means of many libraries interested in offering their communities access to new technologies.
Portions of the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) “Photographic Views of New York City, 1870’s–1970’s” collection have been available online for several years. But views of the collection have mushroomed during the past two weeks, thanks to the launch of OldNYC.org, a website that overlays photo locations on a Google Maps interface, enabling visitors to explore the collection by zooming, dragging, and clicking their way around an online map of the city. The new site was independently created by software engineer Dan Vanderkam using the Google Maps API, data provided by NYPL, and open source photo and text extraction programs that he wrote himself and has made available on GitHub.
Librarians have always taught patrons how to use the tools that serve their information needs. We had to explain card catalogs, vertical files, microfilm/fiche, photocopiers, and OPACs. The fundamental difference about the tech needs of the 21st century is the ever-changing variety of personal devices that patrons use to access our services. Some libraries are lucky enough to have dedicated staff with special training to serve these patrons directly, but most of the time it’s a library generalist fielding question after question about something new every day. How do frontline staffers with self-taught or very basic knowledge of technology stay savvy about the latest and hottest gadgets? How do we train nontechnical staff to troubleshoot effectively and train our patrons to use their own gadgets?
hoopla digital, the streaming media service for libraries developed by Midwest Tape, announced the addition of ebooks and comics to its platform. The initial selection features thousands of titles from publishers including IDW, RosettaBooks, Chicago Review Press, Dundurn Press, and Tyndale House, which will join hoopla’s catalog of more than 300,000 streaming movies, television shows, music albums, and audiobooks.
The University of Minnesota Press and the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in April were awarded a $732,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch Manifold Scholarship, a new platform that will enable the publication of iterative, networked, electronic versions of scholarly monographs alongside the print edition of the book.
It was back in April 2014 that we first met. The Makerbot Replicator and I, that is. I work at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library (HHHCL) in Dix Hills, NY, and we are part of the Suffolk County Library System, located on the eastern half of Long Island. Our library system has a bit of a reputation for being smart and ahead of the curve with technology, and when HHHCL heard of its out-of-the-box idea of circulating a 3-D printer among member libraries, we couldn’t wait to sign up. Our turn came last April.
ProQuest today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Coutts Information Services from Ingram Content Group, including the MyiLibrary platform and the Online Acquisitions and Selection Information System (OASIS). In addition to augmenting ProQuest’s selection of ebooks with MyiLibrary’s 250,000 titles, a larger plan involves leveraging Coutts’ collection-building expertise, approval support, and ordering tools to begin developing a fully integrated service that streamlines the acquisition and fulfillment of print and electronic content together.
Kicking off the 23rd annual Innovative Users Group (IUG) conference on April 14–16 in Minneapolis, officials from Innovative Interfaces announced that the company’s new Mobile Worklists app is now available in the Apple iOS app store. Version 1.0 of the new app enables librarians to use tablets and mobile devices to create and track lists of materials, scan barcodes with their device’s camera, and share lists in the Sierra Library Services Platform (LSP) for real-time updating and editing. More importantly, as the first product developed with Innovative’s multi-tenant, cloud-based “Open Library Stack” (OLS) infrastructure, Mobile Worklists marks a milestone for Innovative.
Ex Libris today announced the acquisition of Wolverhampton, U.K.-based oMbiel, developer of the campusM and governmentM cloud-based mobile app solutions for universities and local government services, respectively. The company will be incorporated into Ex Libris as a new business unit, Ex Libris Mobile Campus Solutions, led by oMbiel founder and CEO Hugh Griffiths. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) on April 16 introduced the “Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act,” a bill that would make significant changes to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which gives the Library of Congress the power to grant exemptions to DMCA’s ban on circumventing digital rights management (DRM) software, encryption, or other digital restrictions.