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Top Tech Trends from MLA 2012

2012 marked the sixth Tech Trend Panel at the Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.  This year’s panel included a variety of speakers and new topics.

google plus logo

Gabe Rios: Google+. Gabe presented on the ins and outs of Google Plus also known as Google+. A show of hands from the audience indicated that most people in the crowd had at least tried to use Google+. Also of note for new users, if you have a gmail account, you can activate your Google+ account and start using it right away. Gabe mentioned the ease of posting to Google+ and the ability to share stories you post with specific groups or “circles” of contacts. Google+ also brings users the ability to host “hangouts” which provide users with group video chat services free of charge.

Additional links:
Google Plus Video
How to Start with Google Plus
Getting Started with Google Plus
Learn More about Google+

Emily Hurst: Tumblr. Emily presented on the ease of use of the microblogging site Tumblr. She pointed out that Tumblr is continuing to see growth and that with easy set up, even first time bloggers will be able to use Tumblr. The benefits of Tumblr come from the ease with which users can repost or reblog posts from accounts they follow. Tumblr can also be integrated into Twitter and Facebook for cross-posting.

To search Tumblr without logging in, try the following: Insert any word in the place of ‘library’ in this link,, to see results for posts tagged with that word. Emily cautioned the group on the wide variety of subjects that can be found in Tumblr.

Tumblr is a great way to share short form information with others. One of the benefits of Tumblr is that it makes posting multimedia very easy by using quick buttons for posting links, text, images, videos and audio. A drawback comes from the lack of commenting ability currently found in Tumblr.

Additional links:
New York Public Library Tumblr Feed
Mashable Tips for Marketing with Tumblr
Jerry Perry’s MLA President Tumblr Page

Kimberley Barker: Near Field Communication. Kimberley provided a great introduction to near field communication and even brought a fun toy to show off the technology. Explaining that near field communication is a subset of RFID (Radio-frequency identification), Kimberley demonstrated how the technology works using the Karotz bunny.

Kartoz rabbit

Using near field communication, the bunny can interact with you in many ways. It can be programed to communicate with you and even alert you to when your children arrive home. Kimberly also provided examples of how this technology will be deployed in healthcare and how it could provide for better patient care and safety in the future.

Additional links:
Karotz Video
Delicious links about near field communication

Michelle Frisque: Big Data. Michelle spoke about the implications of the large data sets that we are seeing created today. Michelle mentioned that creating library spaces that are better suited to working with big data will be important. Having large LCD screens available for researchers is a great way for libraries to start opening their doors to big data researchers. Additionally librarians have skill sets for organizing data which can be beneficial for researchers working with big data.

Eric Schnell: Augmented Reality. Eric spoke about new advances in augmented reality and demonstrated new apps. He also invited attendees to play with some of this new technology. The iPhone/iPad app String allows users to create augmented reality environments and interact with them with ease.

Eric also demonstrated augmented reality programs that are helping medical students learn more about the human body and can even be used to show patients how their surgeries will be performed.

Additional links:
Augmented Reality and Libraries

Fatima Barnes: Web 2.0/Library 2.0. Fatima provided a brief overview of numerous web 2.0 concepts that have shaped library services. Included were concepts such as Flashmob Cataloging and managing online reputations with services such as Social Mention.

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