Each October librarians from across the United States and Canada gather at the Monterey Conference Center, the original home of TED Talks, to share ideas and learn about new and interesting technology related to library services. This year I was lucky enough to have a proposal I submitted on Moodle and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) selected for presentation at the conference. For my presentation I shared ways the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) had used new Moodle features to transform the online version of the Super Searcher class allowing more and more people to take part in the class and learn new content each year.
I also attended other sessions at the conference and used the hashtag #internetlibrarian to share what I was learning. Below you will find find some of the topics, presenters, and links I found useful.
Tablets in Public Libraries
Jezynne Dene, Library Director for the Portneuf Library in Chubbuck, Idaho presented on the Gizmo Garage. The Gizmo Garage is a joint project with the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The aim is to provide hands-on experience with mobile technologies for library staff and patrons. Dene’s presentation provided great information and ideas for getting your staff comfortable with mobile technology. Using the Gizmo Garage staff were allowed to take devices home for personal or work use and try them out. They were then required to provide a review of the product including information about why they liked the device or why they didn’t. The results were great, staff became familiar with different operating systems and then felt comfortable fielding questions from patrons with devices.
In addition the project also funds classes for library patrons. Some good advice from the presenter included having a list of core competencies for tablets and mobiles, including some basics like how to turn the device off and on, how to use the camera, how to find and download apps and more. Another good suggestions was to have users with the same devices or operating systems in one class. Instead of mixing up Android and Apple iOS offer classes focused on one or the other.
Cyber Security is an issue that all organizations must continue to revisit, repair, and upgrade. A presentation by Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca and Richard Thomchick of San Jose State University provided some resources to ensure your website is secure. It is important for any organization to review their policies and standards when it comes to web security. It is also important that libraries continue to use web security measures to protect patron privacy. An important step an organization can take to ensure security and privacy is to use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS to add a layer of encryption to ensure that information exchanges are kept private. Resources from HTTPS Everywhere can help you make sure your sites are secure. Another tool to check your website encryption and security is the SSL Server Test from Qualys.
Internet of Things
Evening session keynote speaker Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Internet Project provided an overview of the Internet of Things (IoT) and what the coming wave of connected things could mean to libraries. Rainie’s presentation left more questions than answers when it came to what the data is telling us about the IoT. While it is unclear if the IoT will lead to more job creation or result in the loss of jobs to new technology one things is clear, librarians will be able to help with training and education when it comes to the IoT. This new technology will require new skills and insights that libraries will be able to provide. In addition, global connectivity will create a larger marketplace for the exchange of goods, services, and ideas.
Another big issue related to the IoT will be concerns about privacy and the digital divide. Rainie theorized that librarians have the skills to help users understand issues related to privacy as well as the tools to bridge many people trapped by the digital divide.
Further information about the Internet of Things can be found in the May 14 report from Pew Research.