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Searching made easier - Westchester Library System catalog now searchable on popular search engines

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 23:34
(July 27, 2016). Patrons using popular search engines, like Google, Bing, Siri and Yahoo, can find library item records in search engine results when searching for a title and including Westchester Library System. This new tool makes items in the online catalog more readily accessible to patrons in their homes or on mobile devices at their convenience, without requiring a visit to the library website to search for an item. Over time, patron use will help to improve Westchester Library System's relevance in search engine results. The increase in relevance means that engines will be able to deliver library catalog records without requiring that Westchester Library System be included in the search. Eventually simple title searches will pair a searcher's geo-location with result data and identify local libraries with the desired item.
Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: July 27, 2016

LITA Blog - Wed, 2016-07-27 15:09

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Cooperative Computer Services, Executive Director, Arlington Heights, IL

New York University Division of Libraries, Digital Production Editor, New York, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Fargo Public Library goes live on ByWater Solutions Koha support

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 14:33
(July 27, 2016). ByWater Solution announced that the Fargo Public Library of Fargo, North Dakota is now live on their Koha open source integrated library system.
Categories: Library News

LibrariesWest Consortium goes live with SirsiDynix Symphony and SaaS

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 11:33
(July 27, 2016). In July of last summer, the LibrariesWest consortium grew to incorporate two new local authorities and achieve a ‘coast to coast' service in South West England. As part of the evolution of LibrariesWest, the consortium concurrently chose to adopt SirsiDynix Symphony as their new library management system. Following a seamless migration, all authorities in the LibrariesWest Consortium are now live with Symphony and Enterprise.
Categories: Library News

Ex Libris Alma, Primo, and Rosetta go live at Australia's State Library of New South Wales

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32
(July 27, 2016). Ex Libris announced that the State Library of New South Wales in Australia has gone live with the Ex Libris Alma library management service, Primo discovery and delivery, and Rosetta digital asset management and preservation. With these three solutions, the library now offers its large user community a world-class discovery experience.
Categories: Library News

Killer look : a novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9780451484123
    Author: Fairstein, Linda A.


Categories: Library News

The angels' share : a Bourbon kings novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9780451475282
    Author: Ward, J. R., 1969-


Categories: Library News

Killer look /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781101984017
    Author: Fairstein, Linda A.


Categories: Library News

Outfoxed /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781427272478
    Author: Rosenfelt, David


Categories: Library News

Truly madly guilty :

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781250069818
    Author: Moriarty, Liane


Categories: Library News

All is not forgotten /

New At the Library - Wed, 2016-07-27 08:32

    ISBN: 9781250097941
    Author: Walker, Wendy, 1967-


Categories: Library News

LYRASIS receives $850,000 award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue support for CollectionSpace

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 17:30
(July 26, 2016). LYRASIS has been awarded a grant in the amount of $850,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support ongoing development and sustainability planning for CollectionSpace, an open source collections management tool for museums. This award will allow LYRASIS and the CollectionSpace community to continue to strengthen the application and the community's efforts to create a sustainable open source collections management system for the benefit of museums and other collecting organizations.
Categories: Library News

Ingram Introduces Ingram Academic Services

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 14:30
(July 26, 2016). Ingram Content Group through Ingram Publisher Services announces the launch of Ingram Academic Services, a service customized for university presses and academic publishers. The first joint initiative following Ingram's acquisition of Perseus' distribution businesses, Ingram Academic Services offers distinguished resources, tools and services to help university presses and academic publishers fulfill their missions.
Categories: Library News

SPLASH Consortium joins LINK+ resource sharing network to strengthen community access to information

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2016-07-26 14:30
(July 26, 2016). Innovative Interfaces announced that the Solano Partner Libraries and St. Helena (SPLASH) Consortium in California will join the LINK+ network, powered by Innovative's resource sharing technology. SPLASH joins sixty other academic, public, and special libraries that are part of the LINK+ network, connecting borrowers to new collections with faster delivery than traditional interlibrary loan services. Providing access to information is the mission of the consortium, and LINK+ offers a powerful, efficient, and cost-effective way for SPLASH to instantly connect customers to more than eight million additional titles without having to invest in new materials.
Categories: Library News

Altoona Area Public Library Joins SPARK

Equinox Blog - Tue, 2016-07-26 13:21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Duluth, Georgia–July 26, 2016

Equinox is proud to announce that Altoona Area Public Library was added to SPARK, the Pennsylvania Consortium overseen by PaILS.  Equinox has been providing full hosting, support, and migration to PaILS since 2013.  In that time, SPARK has seen explosive growth.  As of this writing, 105 libraries have migrated or plan to migrate within the next year.  Over 3,000,000 items have circulated in 2016 to over 550,000 patrons.  We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing progress!

Altoona went live on June 16.  Equinox performed the migration and also provided training to Altoona staff.  They are the first of 8 libraries coming together into the Blair County Library System.  This is the first SPARK migration where libraries within the same county are on separate databases and are merging patrons and coming together to resource share within a unified system.  Altoona serves 46,321 patrons with 137,392 items.

Mary Jinglewski, Equinox Training Services Librarian, had this to say about the move:  “I enjoyed training with Altoona Area Public Library, and I think they will be a great member of the PaILS community moving forward!”

About Equinox Software, Inc.

Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you. We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you. For more information on Equinox, please visit http://www.esilibrary.com.

About Pennsylvania Integrated Library System

PaILS is the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (ILS), a non-profit corporation that oversees SPARK, the open source ILS developed using Evergreen Open Source ILS.  PaILS is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors. The SPARK User Group members make recommendations and inform the Board of Directors.  A growing number of libraries large and small are PaILS members.

For more information about about PaILS and SPARK, please visit http://sparkpa.org/.

About Evergreen

Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, over 1400 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka.

For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see http://evergreen-ils.org.

Categories: Library News

Stop Helping! How to Resist All of Your Librarian Urges and Strategically Moderate a Pain Point in Computer-Based Usability Testing

LITA Blog - Tue, 2016-07-26 10:00

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jaci Paige Wilkinson.

Librarians are consummate teachers, helpers, and cheerleaders.  We might glow at the reference desk when a patron walks away with that perfect article or a new search strategy.  Or we fist pump when a student e-mails us at 7pm on a Friday to ask for help identifying the composition date of J.S. Bach’s BWV 433.  But when we lead usability testing that urge to be helpful must be resisted for the sake of recording accurate user behavior (Krug, 2000). We won’t be there, after all, to help the user when they’re using our website for their own purposes.

What about when a participant gets something wrong or gets stuck?  What about a nudge? What about a hint?  No matter how much the participant struggles, it’s crucial for both the testing process and the resulting data that we navigate these “pain points” with care and restraint.  This is  particularly tricky in non-lab, lightweight testing scenarios.  If you have only 10-30 minutes with a participant or you’re in an informal setting, you, as the facilitator, are less likely to have the tools or the time to probe an unusual behavior or a pain point (Travis, 2014).  However, pain points, even the non-completion of a task, provide insight.  Librarians moderating usability testing must carefully navigate these moments to maximize the useful data they provide.  

How should we move the test forward without helping but also without hindering a participant’s natural process?  If the test in question is a concurrent think-aloud protocol, you, as the test moderator, are probably used to reminding participants to think out loud while they complete the test.  Those reminders sound like “What are you doing now?”, “What was that you just did?”, or “Why did you do that?”.  Drawing from moderator cues used in think aloud protocols, this article explains four tips to optimize computer-based usability testing in those moments when a participant’s activity slows, or slams, to a halt.

There are two main ways for the tips described below to come into play.  Either the participant specifically asks for help or you intervene because of a lack of progress.  The first case is easy because a participant self-identified as experiencing a pain point.  In the second case, identify indicators that this participant is not moving forward or they are stalling: they stay on one page for a period of time or they keep pressing the back button.  One frequently observed behavior that I never interfere with is when a participant repeats a step or click-path even when it didn’t work the first time.  This is a very important observation for two reasons: first, does the participant realize that they have already done this?  If so, why does the participant think this will work the second time?  Observe as many useful behaviors as possible before stepping in.  When you do step in, use these tips in this order:  

ASK a participant to reflect on what they’ve done so far!

Get your participant talking about where they started and how they got here.  You can be as blunt as: “OK, tell me what you’re looking at and why you think it is wrong”.  This particular tip has the potential to yield valuable insights.  What did the participant THINK they were going to see on the page and now what do they think this page is?  When you look at this data later, consider what it says about the architecture and language of the pages this participant used.  For instance, why did she think the library hours would be on “About” page?

Notice that nowhere have I mentioned using the back button or returning to the start page of the task.  This is usually the ideal course of action; once a user goes backwards through his/her clickpath he/she can make some new decisions.  But this idea should come from the user, not from you.  Avoid using language that hints at a specific direction such as “Why don’t you back up a couple of steps?”  This sort of comment is more of a prompt for action than reflection.         

Read the question or prompt again! Then ask the participant to pick out key words in what you read that might help them think of different ways to conquer the task at hand.

“I see you’re having some trouble thinking of where to go next.  Stop for one moment and listen to me read the question again”.  An immediate diagnosis of this problem is that there was jargon in the script that misdirected the participant.  Could the participant’s confusion about where to find the “religion department library liaison” be partially due to that fact that he had never heard of a “department library liaison” before?  Letting the participant hear the prompt for a second or third time might allow him to connect language on the website with language in the prompt.  If repetition doesn’t help, you can even ask the participant to name some of the important words in the prompt.   

Another way to assist a participant with the prompt is to provide him with his own script.  You can also ask him to read each task or question out loud: in usability testing, it has been observed that this direction “actually encouraged the “think aloud” process” that is frequently used” (Battleson et al., 2001). The think aloud process and its “additional cognitive activity changes the sequence of mediating thoughts.  Instructions to explain and describe the content of thought are reliably associated with changes in ability to solve problems correctly” (Ericsson & Simon, 1993).  Reading the prompt on a piece of paper with his own eyes, especially in combination with hearing you speak the prompt out loud, gives the participant multiple ways to process the information.

Choose a Point of No Return and don’t treat it as a failure.

Don’t let an uncompleted or unsuccessful task tank your overall test.  Wandering off with the participant will turn the pace sluggish and reduce the participant’s morale. Choose a point of no return.  Have an encouraging phrase at ready: “Great!  We can stop here, that was really helpful.  Now let’s move on to the next question”.  There is an honesty to that phrasing: you demonstrate to your participant that what he is doing, even if he doesn’t think it is “right” is still helpful.  It is an unproductive use of your time, and his, to let him continue if you aren’t collecting any more valuable data in the process.   The attitude cultivated at a non-completed task or pain point will definitely impact performance and morale for subsequent tasks.  

Include a question at the end to allow the participant to share comments or feelings felt throughout the test.

This is a tricky and potentially controversial suggestion.  In usability testing and user experience, the distinction between studying use instead of opinion is crucial.  We seek to observe user behavior, not collect their feedback.  That’s why we scoff at market research and regard focus groups suspiciously (Nielsen, 1999).  However, I still recommend ending a usability test with a question like “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience today?” or “Do you have any questions or further comments or observations about the tasks you just completed?”  I ask it specifically because if there was one or more pain points in the course of a test, a participant will likely remember it.  This gives her the space to give you more interesting data and, like with tip number three, this final question cultivates positive morale between you and the participant.  She will leave your testing location feeling valued and listened to.

As a librarian, I know you were trained to help, empathize, and cultivate knowledge in library users.  But usability testing is not the same as a shift at the research help desk!  Steel your heart for the sake of collecting wonderfully useful data that will improve your library’s resources and services.  Those pain points and unfinished tasks are solid gold.  Remember, too, that you aren’t asking a participant to “go negative” on the interface (Wilson, 2010) or manufacture failure, you are interested in recording the most accurate user experience possible and understanding the behavior behind it.  Use these tips, if not word for word, then at least to meditate on the environment you curate when conducting usability testing and how to optimize data collection.    

 

Bibliography

Battleson, B., Booth, A., & Weintrop, J. (2001). Usability testing of an academic library web site: a case study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 27(3), 188-198.

Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1993). Protocol analysis.

Travis, David “5 Provocative Views on Usability Testing” User Focus 12 October 2014. <http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/5-provocative-views.html>

Nielsen, Jakob. “Voodoo Usability” Nielsen Norman Group 12 December 1999. <https://www.nngroup.com/articles/voodoo-usability/>
Wilson, Michael. “Encouraging Negative Feedback During User Testing” UX Booth 25 May 2010. <http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/encouraging-negative-feedback-during-user-testing/>

Categories: Library News

Call for Nominations: LITA Top Tech Trends Panel at ALA Midwinter 2017

LITA Blog - Mon, 2016-07-25 16:08

It’s that time of year again! We’re asking for you to either nominate yourself or someone you know who would be a great addition to the panel of speakers for the 2017 Midwinter Top Tech Trends program in Atlanta, GA.

LITA’s Top Trends Program has traditionally been one of the most popular programs at ALA. Each panelist discusses two trends in technology impacting libraries and engages in a moderated discussion with each other and the audience.

Submit a nomination at: http://bit.ly/lita-toptechtrends-mw2017.  Deadline is Sunday, August 28th.

The LITA Top Tech Trends Committee will review each submission and select panelist based on their proposed trends, experience, and overall balance to the panel.

For more information about past programs, please visit http://www.ala.org/lita/ttt.

Categories: Library News

Call for Proposals, LITA @ ALA Annual 2017

LITA Blog - Mon, 2016-07-25 13:02

Call for Proposals for the 2017 Annual Conference Programs and Preconferences!

The LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC) is now accepting innovative and creative proposals for the 2017 Annual American Library Association Conference.  We’re looking for full or half day pre-conference ideas as well as 60- and 90-minute conference presentations. The focus should be on technology in libraries, whether that’s use of, new ideas for, trends in, or interesting/innovative projects being explored – it’s all for you to propose.

When and Where is the Conference?

The 2017 Annual ALA Conference will be held  in Chicago, IL, from June 22nd through 27th.

What kind of topics are we looking for?

We’re looking for programs of interest to all library/information agency types, that inspire technological change and adoption, or/and generally go above and beyond the everyday.

We regularly receive many more proposals than we can program into the 20 slots available to LITA at the ALA Annual Conference. These great ideas and programs all come from contributions like yours. We look forward to hearing the great ideas you will share with us this year.

This link from the 2016 ALA Annual conference scheduler shows the great LITA programs from this past year.

When are proposals due?

September 9, 2017

How I do submit a proposal?

Fill out this form bit.ly/litacfpannual2017

Program descriptions should be 150 words or less.

When will I have an answer?

The committee will begin reviewing proposals after the submission deadline; notifications will be sent out on October 3, 2017

Do I have to be a member of ALA/LITA? or a LITA Interest Group (IG) or a committee?

No! We welcome proposals from anyone who feels they have something to offer regarding library technology. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial support for speakers. Because of the limited number of programs, LITA IGs and Committees will receive preference where two equally well written programs are submitted. Presenters may be asked to combine programs or work with an IG/Committee where similar topics have been proposed.

Got another question?

Please feel free to email Nicole Sump-Crethar (PPC chair) (sumpcre@okstate.edu)

Categories: Library News

To LISTSERV or to Not LISTSERV

LITA Blog - Mon, 2016-07-25 10:23

Beginning in August 2016, the Special Libraries Association (SLA) discontinued its traditional discussion-based listserv in favor of a new service: SLA Connect. If you click through to the post on Information Today, Inc. you can see the host of services and tools and enhancements moving to SLA Connect provides for SLA members. However, change is difficult and this change caught a number of members by surprise. We all know how difficult it is to communicate change to patrons. It’s no easier with fellow professionals.

The rollout was going to start July 1, 2016 but got pushed back a month because of member feedback. Since this is technology, of course there were compliant issues with the new server so some services that were scheduled for a slower transition got moved more quickly and old platforms were shut down. The whole enterprise is a complete change to how people were used to communicating with fellow SLA professionals. Small changes are hard, wholesale changes even more so. It looks like the leaders of SLA have a good plan in mind and are listening to member feedback which is great.

We recently went through a transition here in WI where the state-wide public library listserv was transitioned to Google+. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) did a good job in getting the message out to people but the decision was not popular. I came to the discussion late because historically I would check in with broader reach listservs (CODE4LIB, LITA, WISPUBLIB, Polaris, etc.) about once a month. Sometimes even less frequently. We have local listservs that I check on a daily basis, but those impact my job directly.

I wasn’t thrilled about the move to Google+ for a few reasons. First, while I had a Google account, I try to keep my personal and work lives separated. This would mean creating a new Google account to use with work. Which meant all the work needed with setting up a new account and making sure that I’m checking it on a regular basis. Second, the thing I like about an email listserv is that I can create a rule to move all the messages into a folder and then when I scan the folder I can see which subjects had the most discussion. That disappears using Google+. I can get the initial post sent to my inbox but any follow-up posts/discussion doesn’t show up there.

This was a problem since instead of seeing twenty messages on a subject I’d now see one. I’d have to launch that message in Google+ to see whether or not people were talking about it. It’s also a problem as the new platform was not getting the traffic the traditional email listserv got so a lot of the state-wide community knowledge was not being shared. It’s getting better and DPI is doing a great job in leading the initiative for discussions. It doesn’t have the volume it used to, but it’s improving.

I needed to figure out a way to make myself check the Google+ discussions with more regularity. In comes Habitica. Our own inestimable Lindsay Cronk wrote about Habitica back in February. Habitica gamifies your to-do list. You create a small avatar and work your way through leveling him/her up to become a more powerful character. There are three basic categories: habits, dailies, and to-dos. Habits are things to improve yourself. For me it’s things like hitting my step count for the day or not drinking soda. There can be a positive and/or negative effect for your habits. You can lose health. Your little character can die. To-dos are traditional to-do list things. You can add due dates, checklists, all sorts of things. Dailies are things you have to do on a regular basis.

This is where Habitica helps me most. I have weekly reminders to check my big listservs including DPI’s Google+ feed. I have daily reminders to check in with the new supervisors who report to me. These are all things that I should be doing anyway but it’s a nice little reminder when I got bogged down in a task to take a break and get something checked off my list. I’ve set these simple dailies at the ‘trivial’ difficulty level so I’m not leveling up my character too quickly. I’m currently a 19th level fighter on Habitica but there are still times when my health gets really low. More importantly its kept me on top of my listservs and communication with fellow professionals in a way that I was not doing of my own volition.

What’s your favorite way to keep on top of communication with fellow professionals?

Categories: Library News

Digital Displays on a Budget: Hardware

LITA Blog - Mon, 2016-07-25 08:00

 

Introduction

At the JPL Library we recently remodeled our collaborative workspace. This process allowed us to repurpose underutilized televisions into digital displays. Digital displays can be an effective way to communicate key events and information to our patrons. However, running displays has usually required either expensive hardware (installing new cables to tap into local media hosts) or software (Movie Maker, 3rd Party software), sometimes both. We had the displays ready but needed cost effective solutions for hosting and creating the content. Enter Raspberry Pi and a movie creator that can be found in any Microsoft Office Suite purchased since 2010… Microsoft PowerPoint.

In this post I will cover how to select, setup, and install the hardware. The follow up post will go over the content creation aspect.

Hardware Requirements Displays

Luckily for us, this part took care of itself. If you need to obtain a display, I have two recommendations:

  • Verify the display has a convenient HDMI port. You are looking for a port that allows you to discreetly tuck the Raspberry Pi behind the display. Additionally, the port should be easily accessible if the need arises to swap out HDMI cables.
  • Opt for a display that is widescreen capable (16:9 aspect ratio). This will provide you with a greater canvas for your content. Whatever aspect ratio you decide upon, make sure your content settings match. This graphic sums up the difference between the aspect ratios of widescreen and standard (4:3 aspect ratio).
Raspberry Pi Description

There are plenty of blog posts and documentation that cover the basics of what Raspberry Pi is and what is fully capable of. In short, you can think of it as a mini and price effective computer. For this project are interested in its price point, native movie player, and operating system customization prowess.

Selection Devices

There are three main iterations available for purchase:

Obviously I would recommend the Pi 3, which was just released in late February, over the rest. All three are capable of running HD quality videos, but the Pi 3 will definitely run smoother. Also, the Pi 3 has on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, on previous versions this required purchasing add-ons and used up USB slots.

However, these prices are only for the computer itself. You would still need, at the minimum, an SD card to store the operating system and files, power adaptor, keyboard and mouse, and an HDMI cable. The only advantage of selecting the 2 is that there are several pre-selected bundles created by 3rd party sellers that can lower the costs. Make sure to check the bundle details to confirm it contains the Raspberry Pi iteration that you want.

Bundles

Here are some recommended bundles that contain all you need (minus keyboard and mouse) for this project:

Keyboard & Mouse

Most USB keyboards and mice will work with a Pi but opt for simple ones to avoid drawing too much power from it. If you do not have a spare one consider this Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse Touchpad. The touchpad is a bit wonky but it’ll get the job done and the portability is worth it.

Physical Setup

Getting the Raspberry Pi ready to boot is fairly easy. We just need to plug in the power supply, insert Micro SD Card with the operating system, and attach a display. Granted this all just gets to you a basic screen with the Pi awaiting instructions. A mouse, keyboard, and network connection are pretty much required for setting up the Pi software in order to get the device into a usable state.

Software Setup

The program we use is the Raspberry Pi Video Looper. This setup works exactly how it sounds: the Raspberry Pi plays and loops videos. However, before we can install that we need to get the Raspberry Pi up and running with the latest Raspbian operating system.

Installing Raspbian Using personal SD

If you decided to use your own SD card, see this guide on how to get up and running.

Using NOOBS

If you bought a bundle, chances are that it came with a Micro SD Card pre-loaded with NOOBS (New Out of Box Software). With NOOBS we can just boot up the Pi and select Raspbian from the first menu. Make sure to also change the Language and Keyboard to your preferred settings, such as English (US) and us.

Once you hit Install, the NOOBS software will do its thing. Grab a cup of coffee or walk the dog as it will take a bit to complete the install. After installation the Pi will reboot and load up Raspi-config to let you adjust settings. There is a wide range of options but the two that should be adjusted right now are:

  1. Change User Password
  2. SSH – If you want remote access, you will need to Enable to SSH. For more information on this option see the Raspberry Pi Documentation.

After adjusting the settings, the Pi will boot the desktop environment. Because the NOOBS version loaded onto the card might be dated, the next step is to update the firmware and packages. To do this, click on the start menu and select the terminal and type in the following commands:

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get upgrade
  • sudo rpi-update
  • sudo reboot

Once the Pi reboots we can continue to the next phase, installing the video looper.

Installing Video Looper

For a complete guide on installing and adjusting the Video Looper, see Adafruit’s Raspberry Pi Video Looper documentation. In short, the installation process is all but three terminal commands:

After a few minutes the install is complete and the Video Looper is good to go! If you do not have any movies loaded your PI will now display “Insert USB drive with compatible movies”. Inserting a USB drive into the Pi will initiate a countdown followed by video playback.

Using Video Looper

Now that the Pi is all set you can load your videos onto an USB stick and the Looper will take care of the rest.  The Video Looper is quite versatile and can display movies in the following formats:

  • AVI
  • MOV
  • MKV
  • MP3
  • M4V

If your Pi fails to read the files on the USB drive, try loading them on another. I had several USB sticks that I went through before it read the files. Sadly, most of the vendor USB stick freebies were incompatible.

Lastly, the Video Looper has a few configuration options that you adjust to best fit your needs. Of those listed in the documentation I would recommend adjusting the file locations (USB stick vs on the Pi itself) and video player. The last one only being relevant if you cannot live with the loop delay between movies.

Unit Install

               After the Video Looper Steup we can now install the unit behind the display. We opted to attach the device using Velcro tape and a 0.3m Flat HDMI cable. Thanks toe the Velcro I can remove and reattach the Pi as needed. The flat HDMI cable reduces the need for cable management . The biggest issue we had was tucking away the extra cable from the power supply, a few well placed Velcro ties. Velcro, is there anything it can’t solve?

Wrap Up

Well if you’ve made it this far I hope you are on your way to creating a digital display for your institution. In my next post I will cover how we used Microsoft PowerPoint to create our videos in a quick and efficient manner.

The Raspberry Pi is a wonderful device so even if it the Video Looper setup fails to live up to your needs, you can easily find another project for it to handle. May I suggest the Game Boy Emulator?

Categories: Library News

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