Technology

Inventables to donate 3D carving machines to libraries in 50 states

http://bluesky.chicagotribune.com/originals/chi-inventables-library-giveaways-bsi-20140512,0...
Chicago-based Inventables says it plans to give away 3D carving machines to libraries and other public maker spaces in all 50 states.

CEO Zach Kaplan says the inspiration comes from the success of the Chicago Public Library’s Maker Lab, winner of the Social Innovator Award at the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. His company says it also wants to build the market for its 3D carving machines.

Kaplan, who often refers to what he calls the coming “third industrial revolution” of small manufacturers, plans to announce the giveaway Wednesday at San Francisco’s MakerCon, Inventables said in a statement. MakerCon is an annual conference and workshop for the growing maker community.

The Library of Congress Wants to Destroy Your Old CDs (For Science)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/the-library-of-congress-wants-to-destr...
CD players have long since given up on most of the burned mixes I made in college. (In some cases, this is for the best.) And while most of the studio-manufactured albums I bought still play, there's really no telling how much longer they will. My once-treasured CD collection—so carefully assembled over the course of about a decade beginning in 1994—isn't just aging; it's dying. And so is yours.

LYRASIS to Manage Open Source ILS Feature Comparison Tool

Atlanta, GA - May 13, 2014 - LYRASIS and The Galecia Group announce that LYRASIS will be managing and hosting the Open Source ILS Feature Comparison Tool under the LYRASIS FOSS4LIB project, beginning immediately. The move is part of the Open Source Decision Support Tools project, funded in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Open Source ILS Feature Comparison Tool, previously on galecia.com, is now available at http://ils.foss4lib.org/.

The Open Source ILS Feature Comparison tool compares more than 1,000 features between the Koha and Evergreen open source integrated library systems, and was designed to help libraries navigate open source software options and determine the best fit for their needs. The tool was created in 2012 by The Galecia Group with help from dozens of content contributors from the Koha and Evergreen communities. The project was funded through the Empowering Libraries with Open Source project, part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant awarded to the King County Library System (WA).

This move is part of a wider enhancement effort on the FOSS4LIB site, with integration of the ILS feature comparison site with the main FOSS4LIB site, including unified logins and links between the two sites coming soon. The ability to compare other types of software packages in addition to integrated library systems will also be added in the coming months. After completing a registration process, librarians can create custom reports of just the features they need for their libraries. Those who have already registered can still use their login. New users can register at http://ils.foss4lib.org/user/register. -- Read More

Library Websites: Three Truths

Laura Solomon, a creator of library websites passes along what she believes to be the three major rules in creating a website for your library.

People primarily visit library websites for the following reasons:
Access to their account
Search the catalog
Phone number and address
Program information

But there are always other reasons.

The false promise of the digital humanities

Technology Is Taking Over English Departments
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117428/limits-digital-humanities-adam-kirsch

"It makes no sense to accelerate the work of thinking by delegating it to a computer when it is precisely the experience of thought that constitutes the substance of a humanistic education. The humanities cannot take place in seconds. This is why the best humanistic scholarship is creative, more akin to poetry and fiction than to chemistry or physics: it draws not just on a body of knowledge, though knowledge is indispensable, but on a scholar’s imagination and sense of reality."

Teen Makes Robotic Hand for Younger Friend on Library's 3D Printer

Feel good story via American Profile.


Matthew Shields flashes a smile and high-fives Mason Wilde with the prosthetic on his right hand. Born without fingers on that hand, Matthew, 9, now uses his Robohand to open doors, carry books and catch a ball—thanks to Mason, 17, who made the device with a 3-D printer at the Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kan.

“It definitely made me proud,” says Mason, a junior at Louisburg (Kan.) High School. Matthew’s mother, Jennifer Shields, noticed last fall that her son’s birth defect was making the third-grader self-conscious and affecting him socially. But even with health insurance, the single mother knew she couldn’t afford a professionally made prosthetic.

Researching online, Jennifer found Robohand, the mechanical hand invented by South African carpenter Richard van As, who lost four fingers in a circular saw accident, and theatrical props maker Ivan Owen, in Bellingham, Wash. The pair posted the free digital design last year on thingiverse.com. “I looked at the plans, but had no idea how to do it,” recalls Jennifer, 43.

Her teenaged son Mason, however, eagerly accepted the challenge. A straight-A student who aspires to be an engineer, he previously had read about three-dimensional printer technology. “I downloaded all the files and spent about three hours scaling the hand to fit Matthew,” Mason says.

EBSCO to Share (Some) Metadata

After a long-standing feud over allowing their metadata to be accessed by subscribers via other discovery services, EBSCO has announced a metadata sharing policy wherein they "will be making available all metadata (and full text when contractually allowed)" . . . except for when they don't want to: "The only EBSCO research databases that are not yet included in the above policy are those resources that are built upon and subscribed to primarily for their subject indexing."

Librarian Says says 20,000 Teachers Should Unite to Spread Chromebooks

http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/04/11/1749218/phil-shapiro-says-20000-teachers-should-unit...

Phil Shapiro often loans his Chromebook to patrons of the public library where he works. He says people he loans it to are happily suprised at how fast it is. He wrote an article earlier this month titled Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing that was a call to action; he says that if 20,000 teachers demand a simple, low-cost Chromebook appliance -- something like a Chrome-powered Mac mini with a small SSD instead of a hard drive, and of course without the high Mac mini price -- some computer manufacturer will bite on the idea.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/14/04/11/1749218/phil-shapiro-says-20000-teachers-should-unit...

Should authors use Snapchat to target a younger audience?

Teleread asks if authors should be using the Snapchat social media platform to promote themselves. Why?

"In this article on Brand Driven Digital, Nick Westergaard gives Snapchat a look and explains why it matters. Here’s why young adult authors and publishers should pay attention: “nearly half of Americans 12–24 use Snapchat.”

Oh? The exact audience that young adult writers crave."

This begs the question: Should libraries be using Snapchat?

New York Public Library partners with Zola to offer algorithmic book recommendations

Visitors to the New York Public Library’s website will have a new way to decide what to read next: The library is partnering with New York-based startup Zola Books to offer algorithm-based recommendations to readers. The technology comes from Bookish, the book discovery site that Zola acquired earlier this year.
http://gigaom.com/2014/03/24/new-york-public-library-partners-with-zola-to-offer-algorithmic...

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