Collection Development in a Digital Age

One of my current obsessions is the changing nature of our relationship to information. I keep coming back to this topic. We’re currently witnessing the greatest change in how we use and value information since the advent of printing – and maybe even since the invention of writing.

(Yes, I’m being overly dramatic about it but I actually do believe this.)

I’m curious to see how collection development for libraries evolves in the Digital Information Age. Not just in terms of format and access changes, but more essentially – how will the Digital Information Age affect the techniques we use to determine what our patrons need in the first place?
Continue reading “Collection Development in a Digital Age”


Censorship Is Stupid

As is typical with the changing of the year, librarians and watchdog groups take some time to look back and reflect on the past year in censorship. Here are two such articles that I ran across recently:

Censorship drives me insane. It’s stupid. It doesn’t work. It’s never worked.
Continue reading “Censorship Is Stupid”

The Joy of Saying Yes

Last week, I switched into a new job here at the Kansas City Public LibraryDigital User Specialist. As we expand our library services through new technological portals, it’s my responsibility to ensure that these new services and interfaces answer to the needs of our patrons, and that they’re actually usable. I’ll be doing usability testing, creating personas, collecting user feedback, lots of wire-framing. But mostly, I’ll be the one constantly asking the questions:

  • “Does this actually work for our patrons?”
  • “Will this allow us to provide more and better services?”
  • “Is this something our patrons need?”

Moreover, I’ll be the one encouraging all my library co-workers to ask these questions, as well.
Continue reading “The Joy of Saying Yes”

Search Amazon – Go to Your Library

Amazon's Library ExtensionI think this is wonderful! I can’t wait until this extension is available for all browsers…

Browser Extension Encourages Amazon Searchers to Head to Their Library by Matt Ennis (published online by Library Journal on Jan. 2, 2013)

It reminds me of an idea I had when I was in grad school for a location-based mobile app that would integrate nearby library holdings and databases with online search results – so that whatever you’re searching for, you’d see what’s online side-by-side with the resources are close by in the nearest library.

‘Tis the Season for Mobile Technology!

According to many sources, this Christmas was a big one for mobile technology! Ebook and app downloads hit record highs! Ebook readership continues to grow while print readership declines!

It’s an exciting time to be a digital librarian!

Wandering through the library these past couple of weeks, with new technology the talk of the season, I overheard several comments that went something like this:
Continue reading “‘Tis the Season for Mobile Technology!”

The Right War Over Ebooks

Last week, this article was tearing through the rounds of the library community:

The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries by David Vinjamuri

This is an important read. It raises some really good points, challenges some often unquestioned perspectives, and his proposed “pay-per-circ” model appears to have some real potential.

Still, though, I can’t get behind him on this issue. I feel that he misses the whole point. Continue reading “The Right War Over Ebooks”

Speaking of Skeuomorphism

With all of the changes taking place over at Apple, people are wondering how it will affect the design of their future products – both the external look and the software interface. As a result, skeuomorphism is very much on the minds of systems and UX designers.

Skeuomorphism gets a pretty bad rap among many tech-savy computer folks. It’s kitschy, it’s gimmicky, it’s corny. Some feel that it dumbs down the essential nature of digital technology. By over-emphasizing analog equivalents (equivalencies that are, arguably, false in their foundation) skeuomorphism runs the risk of obscuring many of the things digital technology can do that analog can’t – the aspects of the digital tool for which there is no analog equivalent.

Mashable has a delightfully snarky gallery of some of Apple’s more infamous uses of it:

Say Farewell: Apple’s Skeumorphism Hall of Shame

Many of these criticisms are largely correct. So why am I still a fan of skeuomorphism?
Continue reading “Speaking of Skeuomorphism”