Monday, August 31, 2009

Go Green!

Ebsco's GreenFILE is one of Ebsco's Earth/Environment databases that has a lot to offer. In the near future we'll have a direct link to it from our list of research databases, but in the meantime, you can use the EbscoHost title link to access it. Hint: once you've accessed EbscoHost, click on "All databases".

Many (most) of the records in GreenFILE are to abstracts, however, there are over 4,700 full text records via Open Access.
GreenFILE can have broad applications to many of LCC's courses and programs- environmental studies, building trades courses, landscape architecture program, many sciences courses, etc.

Thing Green and consider checking out (and using) Ebsco's GreenFILE soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mobile Trends in Libraries

Late in July I attended a LearningTimes.org webinar, “The Handheld Librarian”. It was thought-provoking to learn of all the current mobile devices/software that many libraries (public, academic and special libraries alike) are already using. “The medium is the message; the audience is the content.” Remember? Marshall McLuhen

The webinar presenter, Gerry McKiernan, said that mobile technology/mobile Internet is “clearly pervasive now and a global phenomenon.” “As of April of 2009, 59% of U.S. residents have used mobile Internet.”

Examples of digital libraries and mobile apps now available include: Ingenta Connect Mobile and PubMed on Tap. DukeMobile is an example of a university whose digital materials are available via PDAs, iPhones, iPodTouch, etc.

How ‘bout the Kindle app for the iPhone- to access Kindle content w/o owning a Kindle?

Course managemt software is available on mobile devices. The list goes on and on.

During the webinar I posed a question about those who can’t afford these devices or the service contracts to them. The presenter admitted that “there’s a real concern about folks getting left behind.” However, “there are serious broadband initiatives out there to help narrow the ‘digital divide’ ”.

Finally, Gerry shared some ideas about how libraries can market/promote mobile services or work with mobile technology. But then cautioned attendees about libraries promoting the use of mobile devices for all- an ethical issue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our impending future?

I've been reading a fascinating book by Jeff Howe called Crowdsourcing. It documents the history and current iterations of a phenomena that is influencing, transforming, and one might say revolutionizing everything from how ornithologists collect data to how t-shirts are sold. It would be foolish to think that libraries are not effected by this emerging reality of utilizing the "crowd" to accomplish infinitely more than can be done with our own limited resources.

In a great (albeit long) post on the blog In the Library with a Lead Pipe Ross Singer points to this:

Joe Lucia, the University Librarian at Villanova made an intriguing and provocative statement on the NGC4LIB mailing list two years ago with this:

“What if, in the U.S., 50 ARL libraries, 20 large public libraries, 20 medium-sized academic libraries, and 20 Oberlin group libraries anted up one full-time technology position for collaborative open source development. That’s 110 developers working on library applications with robust, quickly-implemented current Web technology…. Instead of being technology followers, I venture to say that libraries might once again become leaders…."

Singer goes on to expound on the idea within the context of public libraries, but I think what he adds to Lucia's statement is completely relevant to academic libraries as well. It seems to me that this kind of collective effort coupled with input from the "crowd" of interested, willing, and talented patrons will become imperative to creating tools that we could never dream of on our own.