Monday, January 25, 2010

Discussion Group 4: Technology

Recorder: Phoebe Ayers,
Group members: Amy Chatfield, Rebecca Hyde, Phoebe Ayers, Lucia Orlando


• Areas of technology:
o Making technology a separate area of discussion is problematic, because it affects every area of our jobs, and every topic of discussion -- from public computers in the building, to the way we access our information resources, to how we help patrons, etc. Technology is a major driver that bears on every one of the topics discussed.

• Adopting technologies to provide:
o just because a technology is new and shiny -- do we have to adopt it? should we adopt it? (do people really search databases from their iphones on the bus? maybe!)
o for instance, are online books really preferable? Many (most) people seem to still prefer physical books

• Information product interfaces:
o how do you get technology to give people the best results?
o how do we work with database interfaces, google, etc., to help patrons get the best results? Should we work more on information design?
o our own websites (mobile interfaces)

• How far do we want to go to meet people in the library with technologies they use?
o for instance, why don't we have unlocked public computers? (this varies between campuses)
o library facebook, twitter? do people actually want/need this?

• Front end and back end technologies
o technology means both the front end that the patron sees (the website and the back end that we work with, e.g. sfx
o should we concentrate on making the back end better, as well as our sites?

• Instruction
o should we team up with campus systems to teach classes about technologies (word, excel, etc)?
o one barrier to offering nice computers and software to the campus population are expectations of support -- we might have to train people/ support it
o library technology bootcamp? could we offer focussed, serious programs? (like ICSPR bootcamp for social science grad students)
o but we also need to teach basic library skills -- how to use a catalog
o we make a lot of assumptions that students know how to use computers, and tech because they are young, but that might not be true at all

• Technology programs
o for something like e-science -- it's a big, expensive problem; we could help make connections between people
o should something like escience be something that should be worked on centrally, like the CDL; we don't have money, resources, expertise -- but people like local technology programs for the prestige, like local data archives
o something like the ICSPR -- they store datasets and articles based on the data; institution based out of michigan


Heidi said...

Here is food for thought, bearing in mind that indeed technology affects every part of our jobs: How do we sell our technology needs to campus administration during difficult budget times? Share your ideas!

Heidi Hutchinson (Riverside)

Esther Grassian said...

Hi! For some time I've been trying to advocate for us offering a "23 Things" fun, challenging and interesting method for helping all Library staff learn about and how to use technologies of various sorts. Helene Blowers at a public library developed this approach and called it "Learning 2.0":

Of course, being a Second Life (3D virtual world) advocate, I'd also like to see us make more use of vw's for programs, workshops, and meetings, including LAUC meetings. I'd be happy to talk about this with anyone who's interested.

Esther Grassian (UCLA)
SL: Alexandria Knight

Matt said...

Hi Esther, thanks for your comment. We're doing something similar at UCDavis. There is a program afoot this spring called "Lightning Tech Talks." It is modeled on something called Pecha Kucha (something like that) which is Japanese for something very short and fast and has been making the rounds at conferences. Anyway, the Lightning Tech Talks are supposed to be very succinct reports by individuals on their uses of technology with a web follow-up.

I'm also very intrigued by applications of Second Life. Our practitioners here at Davis are very enthusiastic. But there appears to be a big technological barrier to getting there, and we haven't seen yet that any application has made it back out through that barrier to be of use generally to librarians.

Since you have a background in this area, you are very welcome to write a new post expounding on it. Posting just requires a Google account which is easily created. And you can contact me at

if there are other questions.