Library News

Office Hours: In the Moment

Tame the Web - Mon, 2014-10-20 18:12

Here’s my June column:

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/06/opinion/michael-stephens/in-the-moment-office-hours/

More than once, someone in the audience has expressed concern that children and young people are always looking at their mobile device, texting, gaming, or whatever. Recently the comment was this: “I want to take away the iPad and send them outside. They are not in the moment.” My reply was a reminiscence of my mother taking away my Hardy Boys books and sending me out to play one summer day. I was furious! The seminar room vibrated with comments: “It’s the same thing.” “It’s not the same thing!”

Categories: Library News

Office Hours: Flipping the LIS Classroom

Tame the Web - Mon, 2014-10-20 18:09

Oops – forgot to post this:

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/07/opinion/michael-stephens/flipping-the-lis-classroom-office-hours/

I’m most excited about the requirement for student reflection blogging in this course. Discussion forums, landlocked inside the learning management system, are giving way to a WordPress-enabled blog community that all of our core students will work with for thoughts on the course content. I am a longtime advocate of the power of blogging as a means to foster critical reflection in a safe thinking-out-loud space and promote engagement with other students and faculty via commenting. The Sloan Consortium, devoted to effective online education, recently heralded a similar model: the University of Nevada Las Vegas Journalism School’s use of WordPress and BuddyPress for multiuser blogging was cited as an educational innovation.

Categories: Library News

Office Hours: Citation Fixation

Tame the Web - Mon, 2014-10-20 18:07

Here’s last month’s column – all about getting too hung up on citation formatting:

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/09/opinion/michael-stephens/citation-fixation-office-hours/

But wait—shouldn’t we be teaching soon-to-be librarians how to cite properly so they in turn can deliver the gospel to their young charges in the university? And grading them down for every missed period or italicized article title? I’d argue that instead of citation fixation we promote reflection and consideration of the ideas presented in our courses. To synthesize is a sometimes overused verb in higher education, but it works in this instance. Students encountering new ideas and voices of any discipline are better served by someone who can nudge them toward critical examination and combining ideas into cohesive structures that help them understand the world. From that understanding should come new ideas, not a perfectly cited reference.

Categories: Library News

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Today I review two books that have the potential to be wildly popular with teens–and wildly challenging for school librarians. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham are media forces, women who excel in professions dominated by men. They both succeed through the sheer force of their personalities, and to some extent through their willingness to say outrageous things out loud.

Both of their books are best suited to the New Adult, college-age, early 20’s reader. But older teens are going to be attracted to them, as they are basically the misadventures of two girls growing up.

I’m going to start with How to Build a Girl, one of the most exciting books I have read this year. I can’t remember the last time I dog-eared so many pages in a book. Not just for the pitch-perfect voice and comedic timing, but also for the many beautiful coming-of-age moments.

But can I add it to my high school library’s collection? No. I hope teens find it–perhaps at their public libraries?–but I can’t hand it to them personally. Because the author goes a couple steps too far. It’s not the voice or the language, outrageous as they are. It’s certainly not the family dynamics or the good heart of its heroine, who even in her most raunchy moments retains a certain naivete and sweet determination to pursue her passions. If you read this book, you probably won’t agree with me–until the final quarter. And that’s when the graphic quality of the sex scenes goes over the top. Yes, they are followed by a most lovely denouement, where a girl gets to know and love herself–not the self she layered over her real self, but herself. Still, it’s too much for my community. 

But, if you serve teens in a more liberal community? Oh, please buy this. Please promote it. Readers will love this girl, and they will feel for her so deeply. She quotes the musical “Annie” in her first meeting with a group of hard-core rock music journal executives and expects them to get her humor! She is in some ways wonderfully self-aware, in others completely naive. Either way, she throws herself into situations completely beyond her experience. In the bathroom checking herself out before that first big meeting, “I can see where I have drawn Dolly Wilde on top of my own face–the two uneasily co-existing–but perhaps others can’t. If I walk and talk fast enough, maybe no one will notice.” That’s Dolly all over–fake it ’til you make it.

They will ache to read moments like this one. Sitting next to a co-worker on an airplane, she can’t let him know that it’s her first time flying. “I don’t want him to see what I look like when I do something for the first time. I dont’ want anyone watching me change. I will do all my changing in private. In public I am, always, the finished thing. The right thing, for the right place. A chrysalis is hung in the dark.”

Or cheer for the moment her roll as a vicious, feared critic ends after a trusted friend tells her: “You need to see loads of girls, screaming, because that’s what you are. A big screaming girl from the Midlands. You’re an enthusiast, Dolly. Come and enthuse. Come and be a teenage girl again. Come and be a fan.” I think about his saying that. His words are like Glinda’s kiss on my forehead. I’m an enthusiast who’s been pretending to be a cynic. But I have been correctly labeled now. I am for things–not against them. I must remember this. Mainly because this is more fun.”

And now for Not That Kind of Girl. It was an interesting experience reading these two books one week apart. I read How to Build a Girl first, and I can’t help but think that I might have been more impressed by Dunham’s writing if that hadn’t been the case. But after all of the life in Moran’s prose, all the bravado of her young protagonist, Dunham’s determination to paint herself as the most bumbling and awkward of all girls fell a bit flat.

Of course, Moran’s book is (presented as) fiction and Dunham’s is a book of personal essays. Maybe it isn’t fair to compare. I almost gave up on Not That Kind of Girl about a third of the way through, annoyed by the voice. But I picked it up the next day and read to the end. Then read the whole thing over again more carefully. Dunham is very smart and she’s a unique storyteller. She is talking directly to today’s young people and their experience. But it wasn’t a satisfying experience, and I’m still trying to figure out why. Is it because, despite all the personal stories, I finished feeling like I knew almost nothing about her? Is it because despite placing her book in a feminist context in the introduction, she gives only the barest glimpses of the successful businesswoman she has become? Maybe I’d like to be able to see the connection between her earlier life and what she has achieved?

Will teens agree? I did add Not That Kind of Girl to my library’s collection, because I want to see if Dunham approaches the popularity of Tina Fey and Bossypants, which was such a hit. So far, it’s been on display for a week and no one has picked it up. Maybe this really is more New Adult.

I leave you with two quotes, in which the books end with similar moments of acceptance:

Moran: “And some versions of you will end in dismal failure… Others will achieve temporary success…But one day you’ll find a version of you that will get you kissed, or befriended, or inspired, and you will make your notes accordingly, staying up all night to hone and improve upon a tiny snatch of melody that worked. Until–slowly, slowly–you make a viable version of you, one you can hum every day…until you stop having to think about who you’ll be entirely–as you’re too busy doing, now.”

Dunham: “Soon you will find yourself in more and more situations you don’t want to run from. At work you’ll realize that you’ve spent the entire day in your body, really in it, not imagining what you look like to the people who surround you but just being who you are. You are a tool being put to its proper use. That changes a lot of things.”

MORAN, Caitlin. How to Build a Girl. 341p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2014. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9780062335975.  

This hilarious, raw, profanity- and sex-filled novel is a gold mine of perfectly turned phrases that illuminate the pain and glory of growing up. Fourteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan lives with her parents and brothers in a council flat in a small town north of London. After humiliating herself on live television, she determines to reinvent herself. She will become a rock journalist and call herself Dolly Wilde. It doesn’t matter that she’s never been to a live show and can’t afford records. She borrows albums from the library and writes reviews and sends them to the editors of Disc & Music Echo magazine. They invite her to London for a meeting. Everything about Dolly is completely outrageous—her actions, words, outfit, makeup. And it works! She leaves high school and proudly uses her earnings to help support her family. Life is full of music, alcohol, and men who will sleep with her even though she’s overweight. She soon becomes notorious for her vicious reviews. The teen also wants to become legendary for having lots of sex, and she does. But by 17, Dolly realizes that she is losing touch with herself, and those realizations ring true and earned. This thinly veiled autobiography is wise and revealing and has a heart of gold at its core. Give it to mature teens and new adults with a high tolerance for profanity and graphic sex. Readalikes range from the poverty and family devotion of Angela’s Ashes (Scribner, 1996) to the bold sexuality of Grasshopper Jungle (Dutton, 2014).—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

DUNHAM, Lena. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Women Tells You What She’s “Learned.” illus. by Joana Avillez. 265p. Random. Sept. 2014. Tr $28. ISBN 9780812994995. LC 2014029492.  

Dunham, writer, director, producer, and star of the TV show Girls offers a collection of personal essays in which she hopes to make her own misadventures useful to other young women. “I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.” She begins with “Love & Sex,” in which she relates losing her virginity and her attraction to men who treat her badly. Dunham’s writing is self-deprecating, clever, and original, and touches upon deep topics, such as self-respect. Other entries cover summer camp, her first mindless retail job, and what she’s learned from her parents. She throws in humorous lists, such as “My Top Ten Health Concerns” (lamp dust and tonsil stones?). Among the compulsions, obsessions, and insecurities, readers get glimpses of the strong woman who is creating her own media empire. In “Body” Dunham shares what it’s like filming nude sex scenes, and why they’re important in the fight against media images that tell us “our bodies aren’t right.” She is upfront about her relationship with food and dieting, in serious and hilarious turns. The final essay, “A Guide to Running Away for Twenty-Seven-Year-Old Women” is about coming-to-terms with loving your work, becoming yourself, and choosing to settle with a person who is good to you as only Dunham could write it. Teens who watch Girls will consider themselves mature enough for the content, and the overall message is one they need to hear—we all deserve success in work and in personal relationships, even if we are not perfect.—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

Categories: Library News

E-Learning in the Library

LITA Blog - Mon, 2014-10-20 08:00
Pixabay, 2008

Online education has extended its presence to public libraries. Online learning and career training, by services such as Ed2Go and Lynda, are usually offered complimentary to college and university students. Similar services such as Gale Courses, Universal Class and Treehouse are geared toward public library use.
Gale Courses is a subscription service of Cengage Learning. It is a hybrid of Ed2Go, offering courses that range from GED preparation to PC Security. Courses are six weeks in length and are instructor led.
Universal Class offers hundreds of courses on a variety of topics, including dog obedience training, to patrons of diverse interests. Courses are self-paced and users can begin a course at anytime.
Treehouse is uniquely geared toward web design, development and programming for personal computers and mobile device applications. Users can select self-paced educational Tracks that are focused on a specific development area.

An alternative to MOOCs
A considerable population of the general public cannot afford to pursue a formal education. Extending the services of the library into web-based learning, online courses provide access to continuing education for the general public. The mention of free online education is not complete without a nod to massive open online courses (MOOC). MOOCs can be non-profit or commercial. They offer free or affordable online education, of varying course structure, to students around the world. Though MOOCs and open courseware are comparable alternatives, library-hosted continuing education offers additional incentives from those of most freely available online courses.

Education as a service
One advantage to using a service provided by the public library is that patrons can use the computers available on site. For patrons lacking home computer access, they can incorporate another library service into their education. Continuing education courses are free to library card holders at participating libraries. If your regional library does not offer the service, you can always purchase a library card from a participating library. Considering that each course can range from $50 to the mid $100s, the benefit of access to hundreds of courses outweighs the cost of purchasing a library card. Patrons will receive a certificate of completion for each completed course and in the case of Universal Class they will receive continuing education units that are approved by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Treehouse opts for using a point-based system and Badges, digital awards, which signify a user’s progress. Online education also helps to highlight the public library as an evolving source of public information.
All three continuing education providers, offer free trials and demo courses for anyone interested in their services.

Categories: Library News

#hyperlibMOOC Update

Tame the Web - Fri, 2014-10-17 16:48

Together, we’d like to thank everyone who expressed interest in a second iteration of the #hyperlibMOOC.  We believe our MOOC filled an interesting gap in the MOOC phenomenon by providing community-centered, large-scale learning specifically for library and information science professionals.  Our reflections, both scholarly and personal, show that this experience was formative for ourselves as scholars and as a teachers.  But more importantly, we recognize that the #hyperlibMOOC provided a new, engaging way for our students to continue their professional development and lifelong learning.

At this time, we will be unable to offer another iteration of the #hyperlibMOOC.  This is due in part to logistics and professional requirements on our part.  But rest assured, it is our intention to revive the MOOC here shortly.  In fact, we have applied for a Knight Foundation grant to offer and expand the #hyperlibMOOC to reach more professionals and teach more topics related to the hyperlinked library.

Please continue to check back at the #hyperlibMOOC, the Twitter account, and at SJSU’s School of Information MOOC page.  For information about research results regarding the #hyperlibMOOC, see Michael’s dedicated page at Tame The Web.

Many thanks,

Kyle Jones & Michael Stephens

Categories: Library News

Webcast – Participatory, Continuous, Connected | Top Trends from Library 2.014

Tame the Web - Fri, 2014-10-17 12:58

Link: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/10/webcasts/participatory-continuous-connected-top-trends-from-library-2-014/

Participatory, hyperlinked library services; DIY and maker movements; emerging technology in academic and research libraries; Google Glass—the Library 2.014 conference covered a broad range of topics and these were among the most notable. Join us for this free LJ webcast, where we’ll cover the highlights of each one and offer key takeaways.

  • Michael Stephens will discuss participatory, hyperlinked library services in a connected world of “continuous computing.”
  • Susan Hildreth will reflect on how the DIY and maker movements—particularly as they relate to STEM education (with badges to certify skill development)—place libraries as central learning hubs for their communities.
  • Samantha Adams Becker taught the first online course ever to take place in Facebook. She will explore emerging technology uptake—especially digital communication formats—in various education sectors including academic and research libraries.
  • Ayyoub Ajmi will describe experiences using Google Glass at the UMKC School of Law Library—what they did with it, what they couldn’t do, and what’s for the future.

Join Michael Stephens who will moderate a lively and insightful discussion with our panel of distinguished experts.

Panelists:

Ayyoub Ajmi, Digital Communications & Learning Initiatives Librarian, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC)

Samantha Adams Becker, Senior Director of Communications, New Media Consortium

Susan Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Moderator:

Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor and monthly columnist for Library Journal

Can’t make it October 30th? No problem! Register now and you will receive an email from Library Journal with the URL to access the archive for this event.

Categories: Library News

Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Vol. 2

LITA Blog - Fri, 2014-10-17 08:15
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852)

Happy Belated Ada Lovelace Day, LITA Blog Readers! In honor of Ada Lovelace, the forward-thinking mother of scientific computing, I’m highlighting opportunities to really get to know your data (and users) in this Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself installment.

Once again, Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (TYBYWY) is a curated selection of upcoming free webinars, classes, and other opportunities designed to help you learn and master new technologies and stay ahead of tech trends.

Your Monthly MOOC  -

This edition of TYBYWY, I am recommending a Coursera MOOC helmed by faculty from UC San Diego. Human-Computer Interaction Design may sound like a dry topic- but I know that you know that we all need to get better at designing online experiences that please and engage our patrons, constituents or students. The course promises to,  help “you build human-centered design skills, so that you have the principles and methods to create excellent interfaces with any technology.” This five week course sounds like an excellent and immersive opportunity for next gen librarians to get their sea legs in designing for better user experiences.

Worthwhile Webinars –

ProQuest and Library Journal are teaming up for a three-part webcast series on Data-Driven Academic Libraries, developed in partnership with ER&L. Excited yet? What if I mentioned that speakers include librarians from Yale, Harvard, and University of Southern California? Now you’re in.

This series includes the following sessions:

A Little Something Different –

Classes and webinars are helpful learning opportunities, and I encourage you to take them, but you can also learn a lot through involvement and discourse. And there’s no better place for that kind of interaction than on Twitter. To commemorate Ada Lovelace, and to get you immersed in the Technology TwitterCom, here some excellent twitter accounts to help TYBYWY.

The Ada Initative – Named in honor of the Countess herself, The Ada Initiative is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase women’s participation in the free culture movement, open source technology and open culture.

Digital Public Library of America – The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to all. They post pretty pictures and useful information.

The Open Source Initiative – The OSI, a non-profit corporation with global scope, supports education in & advocacy for the benefits of open source software & communities.

LITA – Shameless self-promotion, I realize, but are you following us yet?

Tech On, TYBYWYers-

TYBYWY will return 11/14. Let me know if you have any specific requests!

 

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: October 15

LITA Blog - Wed, 2014-10-15 13:55

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

Assistant Coordinator, Stacks and Circulation,  Colorado State University,  Fort Collins, CO

Digital Archivist, University of Georgia Libraries,  Athens,  GA

Metadata Systems Specialist, NYU, Division of Libraries, New York City,  NY

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

Categories: Library News

Mr. Miracle : a Christmas novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9780553391626
    Author: Macomber, Debbie


Categories: Library News

Burn [sound recording] /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9781478956488
    Author: Patterson, James, 1947-


Categories: Library News

Spark : a novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9780385538671
    Author: Twelve Hawks, John


Categories: Library News

Ghost wanted /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9780425266151
    Author: Hart, Carolyn G.


Categories: Library News

Deadline /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9780399162374
    Author: Sandford, John, 1944 February 23-


Categories: Library News

The silent sister /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-10-15 11:18

    ISBN: 9781250010728
    Author: Chamberlain, Diane, 1950-


Categories: Library News

Change, Adaptation, and Revolutions in Libraries – my MLA2014 talk

David Lee King - Wed, 2014-10-15 09:30

Last week, I gave the opening keynote presentation at the Missouri Library Association‘s annual conference. Fun stuff! My talk swirled around the topics of changes taking place in the library and the technology world; services and processes that we need to adapt in order to be a modern library; and how to start small and larger revolutions in your library and in your job. Here are my slides – enjoy! Related Posts
Categories: Library News

Google like a Pro with Search Operators

LITA Blog - Wed, 2014-10-15 08:00

Love it or hate it, the sparse white Google search page has become the primary interface to the web for most users. Google helps you cut through the junk to find the needle you were looking for amidst an almost infinite digital haystack. Considering how important the internet is and how difficult it can be to find what you need, Google’s advanced search features are something everyone can benefit from knowing a little bit more about.

The Google Advanced Search page is awesome, but it is rarely used. Most people don’t even know it exists because they have never seen it; there’s no link to it from the main Google page (at least none that are obvious) which makes it harder to reach than the standard single search field of the main Google page. Furthermore, many browsers are now allowing searches to be performed from the URL bar, and most are set to Google by default. How can we combine the power of Google’s advanced search with the convenience of the single field search? The answer is search operators. In a nutshell, search operators are miniature commands you can stuff into a Google single field search to add advanced features and filters to your query.

As librarians, we should all be familiar with Booleans. Google adds an AND between every search term by default for obvious reasons, but if you would be happy with only one of the terms in your query you can connect them with an OR statement (you can also use the pipe symbol, | to mean the same thing). To filter out certain results, use the NOT operator (implemented as a minus symbol in front of the word you want to remove), as in “peanut butter sandwich -jelly” to get results about various types of peanut butter sandwiches (mmm, banana) without the tried-and-true PB&J. Wildcards are another classic librarian move in Google searches. An asterisk (*) can stand in for any word in a quoted search. “Jimmy * is the best” could return results about fans of Jimmy Page, Jimmy Buffet or even Jimmy Carter. An ellipses between two numbers represents the range operator, and searches for every number in between those two as well as the ones named. “years best science fiction 2011…2013″ would return results for 2012 as well as 2011 and 2013.

And now, for something librarians probably won’t be familiar with, I present the humble prefix operator. Prefix operators are words followed by a colon that activate certain search features on the word or words immediately after it (with no space in between). For instance, a search for “classic pb&j” would return any site that has any of those words in the title or the full text of the site, but “pb&j intitle:classic” only returns those that have “classic” in the title. If you want all of the words to be in the title, use “allintitle:classic pb&j”. You can do the opposite with “intext:” and “allintext:” to find those words specifically in the full text of sites. One of the most useful prefix operators is the “filetype:” operator, which uses your search query to find file names with the file extension you define in “filetype:”. For instance, a search for “metadata pdf” is tricky because it not only returns PDF files about metadata, but sites talking about metadata in PDF files:

A search for “metadata filetype:pdf” will only bring up results that are actual PDF files:

There are a lot more search operators, but these are the ones I find myself using the most to cut out extraneous results. The sheer amount of operators may seem intimidating, but you don’t need to learn them all. Pick out a few that seem like they would be useful, and try to incorporate them into your daily searches and see if they help or not.

Do you have favorite tips or strategies for searching? Share them in the comments!

Categories: Library News

Poetry from the Streets

For teen in my community, in Vallejo, CA, mentioning Tupac Shakur is pretty much guaranteed to give you some credibility, and his book of poetry, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is one of our most read (and lost) poetry collections. So when I saw that David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection, Hustle, not only name-checks Tupac, but recounts much of the same street-lifestyle recounted by Tupac in his hip hop and poetry, I new it was bound to be a hit at my library.

The cover, with its stark, graffiti-style type face, doesn’t hurt either. Give this one to fans of poetry of all kinds, but especially teenage boys who will feel an instant connection to the life Martinez recounts.

MARTINEZ, David Tomas. Hustle.  84p. Sarabande. May 2014. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781936747771. LC 2013031026.

These energetic verses by a young poet from San Diego about growing up in a world of gangs will appeal especially to teenage boys. Martinez chooses unusual topics for his vivid, original poetry.  In “Calaveras,” he lyrically depicts the story of a car that wants to be taken and used as a getaway vehicle in a planned murder.  “A car wants to be stolen,/as the night desires to be revved.” Suspense builds as the boys run through a cactus field to evade the police and continue home to “only a hot bath and plate of papas fritas/from a grandmother’s hands.” Several entries are about the death of a school acquaintance. “Forgetting Willie James Jones” tells of Willie’s demise, which could have happened to any of the boys. “That was the season death walked alongside us all,/wagging its haunches and twisting its collared neck/at a bird glittering along a branch.” The narrator is sorry he wasn’t “in the car that drove by/and dumped death and sickle/ in the yard of Willie’s graduation party.” Readers will see how confused the boys are when they regret deaths yet want to participate in killing. The speaker wants to go to prison as others do to earn the respect of teens in his town.  “Tupac finally turned off/the life he left on/ in an empty Vegas street/ but he was always a winner/ around my block where people got shot.” Martinez is an unusual young poet to read with pleasure and to watch in the future.—Karlan Sick, Library Consultant, New York City

Categories: Library News

Midwinter Workshop Highlight: Meet the UX Presenters!

LITA Blog - Tue, 2014-10-14 16:08

We asked our LITA Midwinter Workshop Presenters to tell us a little more about themselves and what to expect from their workshops in January. This week, we’re hearing from Kate Lawrence, Deirdre Costello, and Robert Newell, who will be presenting the workshop:

From Lost to Found: How User Testing Can Improve the User Experience of Your Library Website
(For registration details, please see the bottom of this blog post)

LITA: We’ve seen your formal bios but can you tell us a little more about you?

Kate: If I didn’t work as a user researcher, I would be a professional backgammon player or cake decorator (I am a magician with fondant!). Or both.

Deirdre: I’m horse crazy!

Robert: In a past life I was a professional actor. If you pay really really close attention (like, don’t blink), you might spot me in a few episodes of Friday Night Lights or Prison Break.

LITA: User Testing is a big area. Who is your target audience for this workshop?

Presenters: This is a perfect workshop for people who want to learn user testing in a supportive environment. We will teach people how to test their websites in the real world – we understand that time and other resources are limited. This is for anyone who wants to know what it’s like for patrons to try accessing their library’s resources through their website.

LITA: How much experience with UX do attendees need to succeed in the workshop?

Presenters: Experience isn’t required, but an understanding of the general UX field and goals is useful. Attendees are encouraged to come with a potential usability study topic in mind. From Robert: “You just need to be able to put your social scientist hat on and look at user testing as an informal (and fun!) psychology experiment.”

LITA: If your workshop was a character from the Marvel or Harry Potter universe, which would it be, and why?

Kate: Having just read the Harry Potter series with my two kids, I can say that our workshop will inspire like Dumbledore, give you a chuckle like those naughty Weasley twins, teach you like the astute Minerva McGonagle would, and leave you smiling with satisfaction just like the brilliant Hermione Grainger.

Deirdre: Marvel: definitely Wolverine. Tough and sassy with a heart of gold, calls everyone “bub.” Harry Potter: 100% Hermione. I’m an avid reader, rule-follower and overachiever. (LITA note, I think those are of Dierdre, maybe not the workshop ? )

Robert: I’m gonna say Mystique. Mystique can literally put herself in someone else’s shoes (human or Mutant). When we conduct usability testing, we’re directly observing what it’s like to be in the user’s shoes and we’re seeing things from their perspective.

LITA: Name one concrete thing your attendees will be able to take back to their libraries after participating in your workshop.

Kate: The knowledge about how to conduct a user test on their library site, a coupon for a free test from usertesting.com, and support and encouragement from a team of experienced researchers.

Deirdre: The skills to plan, recruit for and execute small-sample usability tests. The ability to communicate the findings for those tests in a way that will advocate for their users.

Robert: The ability to validate your ideas about your website with direct, reliable user feedback. Whenever you think, “This might work, but would it make sense to our users?” You’ll have the skills and tools to go find out.

LITA: What kind of gadgets/software do your attendees need to bring?

Presenters: Whatever note taking method you prefer; a laptop or mobile device to follow along is recommending but isn’t required. Kate recommends “A laptop. A pen and paper. A positive, can-do attitude!”

LITA: Respond to this scenario: You’re stuck on a desert island. A box washes ashore. As you pry off the lid and peer inside, you begin to dance and sing, totally euphoric. What’s in the box?

Kate: I’m assuming my family is on the island with me, and in that case – I want that box to contain Hershey’s hugs, the white chocolate kisses with milk chocolate swirls. I’m obsessed!

Deirdre: Hostess Orange Cupcakes.

Robert: A gallon of Coppertone Oil Free Faces SPF 50+ Sunscreen. I’m sorry but I’m fair skinned with a ton of freckles and a desert island scenario just screams melanoma to me.

Thank you to Kate, Deirdre, and Robert for giving us this interview! We’re looking forward to their UX Workshop at Midwinter in Chicago. We’ll hear from our other workshop presenters in the coming weeks!

More information about Midwinter Workshops. 

Registration Information: LITA members get one third off the cost of Mid-Winter workshops. Use the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 during online registration to automatically receive your member discount.  Start the process at the ALA web sites: Conference web site: http://alamw15.ala.org/ Registration start page: http://alamw15.ala.org/rates LITA Workshops registration descriptions: http://alamw15.ala.org/ticketed-events#LITA When you start the registration process and BEFORE you choose the workshop, you will encounter the Personal Information page.  On that page there is a field to enter the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 As in the example below.  If you do so, then when you get to the workshops choosing page the discount prices, of $235, are automatically displayed and entered.  The discounted total will be reflected in the Balance Due line on the payment page. Please contact the LITA Office if you have any registration questions.
Categories: Library News

ADE in the Library eBook Data Lifecycle

LITA Blog - Mon, 2014-10-13 09:53

Reader: “Hey, I heard there is some sort of problem with those ebooks I checked out from the library?”

Librarian: “There are technical problems, potential legal problems, and philosophical problems – but not with the book itself nor your choice to read it.”

As mentioned, there are (at least) three sides to the problem. Nate Hoffelder* discovered the technical problem with the way the current version (4) of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) manages the ebook experience, which was confirmed by security researcher Benjamin Daniel Mussler, and later reviewed by Eric Hellman. The technical problem, that arguably private data is sent in plain text from a reader’s device to a central data-store, seems pretty obvious once it was discovered. The potential legal problem stems from laws in every state which protect reader privacy which set expectations for data security, plus other laws which may apply. The philosophical problem has several facets, which could be simplified down to the tension between privacy and convenience.

When a widely-used software platform is found to be logging data unexpectedly and transmitting it for some unknown use it causes great unease among users. When that transmission is happening in plain text over easily-intercepted channels, it causes anger among technologists who think a leading software developer should know better. When this is all happening in the context of the library world where privacy is highly valued, there is outrage as expressed by LITA Board member Andromeda Yelton.

Here are the library profession’s basic positions:

  1. Each individual’s reading choices and behavior should be private (i.e. anonymized or, better, not tracked)
  2. Data gathered for user-desired functionality across devices should be private (i.e. anonymized)
  3. Insofar as there is any tracking of reading choices and behavior, there should be an opt-out option readily available to individuals (i.e, not buried in the fine print)

In his October 9th post from The Digital Shift, Matt Enis reports that Adobe is working to correct the problem of data being transmitted in clear text but “maintains that its collection of this data is covered under its user agreement.” The data that corporations transmit should be limited to the data and data elements necessary to provide desired functionality yet also restricted enough for an individual’s activity to remain private.

To join the conversation, begin to educate yourself using our ADE Primer, below, plus the following resources:

A Primer on how Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) works with library ebooks

I’m a reader and I go to use a library ebook
(via Overdrive or other downloading service offered):

  1. what will I need to install on my device(s)?
    (laptop, tablet, phone, & iPod let’s assume)

    • laptop/computer: Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), activated with an Adobe ID
    • tablet, phone, iPod, etc.: Bluefire Reader (or compatible) app, activated with an Adobe ID
  2. how do the various devices know which page to show me next when I switch between them?
    • access and synchronization across devices are managed using the Adobe ID and the information associated with the ebook and by data tracked with ADE
  3. what technologies are behind the scenes?
    • the ADE managed digital rights management (DRM) required by the ebook publisher
    • the ebook reader software/app
    • the internet
  4. what data is needed to be able to do the sync?
    • the minimum required data is arguably the UserID, BookID, and a page-accessed timestamp
    • the current ADE version, ADE4, tracks significantly more data than the minimums above
  5. how is that data shared between devices?
    • Users can access their ADE account from up to 6 different devices. When accessing the ID/account from a new device the user must “activate” the device by logging into the Adobe ID/Account to prove that the user is the legitimate account holder.
    • ADE4 shares all ebook data it tracks in plain-text in an unsecured channel over the internet
  6. what functionality would not work if this were suddenly not provided?
    • if ADE did not provide reader tracking data, each time a reader opened an ebook on a different device the reader would have to remember the page s/he was on and then navigate to that page to continue reading from where they left off
    • A computer can be anonymously activated using ADE, however this will prevent the items from being accessible from more than one computer/device. The ebooks would then be considered to be “owned” by that computer and would not be available to be accessed from other devices.
    • if ADE were completely withdrawn from availability, ebook DRM would prevent use of ADE-managed DRM-protected ebooks

From a technology point of view, the clear-text data transmitted suggests the data may be for synchronization, but it seems, first and foremost, to support various licensing business models. Because Adobe might in the future have customers who want to use Adobe DRM to expire a book after a certain number of hours or pages read, they may feel the need to collect that data. Adobe’s data collection seems to be working as intended here. Clear-text transmission is clearly a bug, but that this data about patron reading habits is being transmitted to Adobe is a feature of the software.

The philosophical discussion which needs to happen around ebooks and DRM should include:

  • what data elements enable user-desired functionality
  • what data elements enable digital rights management
  • what data elements above are/are not within ALA’s stated professional ethics
  • whether tracking ebook user behavior is acceptable *at all*

From libraryland conversations around the issue so far, opinions have ranged from ‘tracking is not the problem, the clear-text transmission is‘ to ‘tracking is very much a problem, it’s unacceptable.’

Issues like this highlight the need to revisit stated positions and evaluate where the balance point is between accomodating user functionality and protecting against collection of personally identifiable data, or metadata.

*Post updated to correctly credit Nate Hoffelder as the original discoverer (my apologies!)

Categories: Library News
Subscribe to Valley Library Consortium aggregator - Library News