Tag Archives: mobile

Gadgets in the Library: A Practical Guide to Personal Electronics for Librarians

In the middle of April, I’ll be doing a set of two webinars for ALA TechSource on how to manage gadgets inside the library. I’ve done a lot of talks about the theory of gadgets, and why I think they are important for libraries, but this is the first time I’ve tried to put together some real practical day-to-day tips for how to deal with these things. Here’s the description from the registration page:

From the iPad to eReaders, gadgets are everywhere. As these personal electronic devices become more and more ubiquitous in everyday life, it’s essential that libraries are fluent in the language of these devices. Whether your library wants to make use of these items in its services or purchase them to lend out to patrons, this interactive workshop will give you the foundation you for bringing your library into the future through gadgets.

Session 1: Non-e-Reader Gadgets
Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 2:30pm – 4:00pm Eastern

This session will cover the following topics:
Personal Electronics are Personal
Operating Systems vs Devices
iOS & Android
Circulation & Policy

Session 2: E-Readers and More
Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 2:30pm – 4:00pm Eastern

This session will cover the following topics:
Types, differences, decisions
Amazon, Nook, Sony
Cataloging and Representation in Systems
Summary and Conclusions

The webinars aren’t free, unfortunately, but it’s a flat rate for both ($85), and if you want to gather your entire library together to watch, you can do so.

If you’re interested, please register…and if you have questions for me about what’s going to be covered, or you signed up but want to tell me exactly what you’d like me to cover, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Why mobile phones are one key to the digital divide

Bobbi Newman tweeted a few days ago:

I whole heartedly, unequivocally disagree with this! Mobile access helps agencies break past digital divide http://bit.ly/bHTYGg

I responded by saying that I thought she was wrong, and that mobile was an effective way to bridge the gap. After a little back and forth on twitter, we decided to just duel it out here on our respective blogs, and she launched the first post just today, Why Mobile Phones are Not the Key to the Digital Divide.

Here’s the crux of what I see as her argument, from her blog post:

I agree with Jason, mobile technology is improving at a rapid pace. However, it is not on par with a computer with a high-speed internet connection. There are many things you still can not do with a mobile phone, even a smart phone. Are we really willing to say that this less robust point of access is acceptable for minorities and the economically challenged?

We must acknowledge that, while mobile access is better than no access, it is still not the equivalent of high-speed access from a computer. It is not acceptable for privileged, economically sound, techno savvy people to state that these two forms of access are the same.

The first thing I think is questionable is the assumption that mobile access isn’t (or rather, won’t be) just as good as that associated with a more traditional “computer” and broadband. What advantage does a computer give that a mobile doesn’t?

  • Connection speed? That’s coming…LTE gives 100+ meg connections via cell signal.
  • Interface (keyboard + screen)? That’s just a bias based on tradition…has nothing to do with actual use. In fact, I will argue that mobile interfaces are actually BETTER than keyboard/mouse for many, many, many things, as the last 3 years of touchscreen UI has shown us.
  • Processing power? While desktops provide a bit better operation-per-dollar valuation, no one except  real geeks buy their systems based on that. Modern mobiles are many times more powerful than the desktops of just a few years ago…they easily handle 99% of the computing tasks that people actually do (word processing, browsing the web, etc). Hell, the iPhone4 does video editing!

I believe strongly that the idea that a desktop is somehow superior to a mobile phone for Internet access is an accident of the time in which we live and the historical nature of the rise of computing. One can easily imagine that 10 years from now the then-digital-natives will look aghast at the desktops of the past. “What do you mean, you had to sit at a desk to use a computer? You pushed actual buttons? What’s a mouse?” I think Douglas Adams said it best (in this, among other things):

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

There are examples, even today, of people who prefer mobile access to the Internet to using a desktop: the entire country of Japan, for instance. Many of them could easily afford desktops, but overwhelmingly they choose mobile phones as the mechanism they use for accessing the Internet.

So unless there are some actual things that can be pointed out as to why Mobile access is second-class (and I swear, if someone says Flash, I quit)….I’m calling this cultural and historic bias.

There's an app for that – OITP Brief on Mobile

The American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy, better known as ALA-OITP, just released their Policy Brief on Mobile Tech, There’s an App for That! Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations. Written by Timothy Vollmer, formerly of OITP and now working for Creative Commons, it’s a great “state of the union” brief on Mobile tech, and how it effects the library world in the current and near-future time frame.

I was honored to have been an early reader on this piece, and to have been able to give feedback to Timothy as he worked it up. If you have any interest at all about the future of libraries and the mobile world, this is a must read.

OLITA Digital Odyssey 2010

I had a fabulous time in Toronto with the Ontario Library Information Technology Association over the weekend at their 2010 Digital Odyssey event. In addition to getting to see old friends, I had the opportunity to meet some new ones, and generally meet some amazing librarians. I was really impressed with the quality of presentations that were done at Digital Odyssey.

Here is the keynote I gave on Friday morning…I hope that everyone enjoyed it! I’m working on getting audio of this put together, but it seems that Keynote isn’t happy with me again for some reason. I think I can fix this one, though, so look for audio/video over the next few days.

Heading to Toronto

This Friday I will be doing a keynote for the Ontario Library Information Technology Association‘s Digital Odyssey 2010, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have never had the opportunity to visit our neighbors to the North…I’m a southern boy, and the farthest north I’ve ever been is *looks at map*, at least by sheer latitude, Seattle, WA.

I will be talking about, unsurprisingly, Mobile, specifically the future of mobile and what we can expect to see in the next 3-5-10 years.

If anyone has absolute DO NOT MISS stuff for Toronto, please let me know. I won’t have a ton of time to look around, but I’d love to not waste the opportunity. For those of you that will be there, please excuse my horrific yet quaint Southern accent. 🙂

IOLUG 2010 Mobile Futures

Here are the slides for my presentation given today for the Indiana Online Library Users Group 2010 meeting. I actually did an audio capture of my talk, using the Keynote record function…and Keynote crashed halfway through the video render, corrupting the file and forcing me to roll back to a previous version of the file (go go Dropbox). *sigh* So disappointed to lose the audio, because I thought that it went really, really well. In any case, here are the slides. I suppose one day I’ll learn to stop trusting technology.

Libraries and Mobile Devices: Public Policy Considerations

This is a panel that I was a part of at ALA 2009 on the future of mobile….phenomenal panelists. I was especially geeked to finally get to meet Eli Neiburger. Anyway, we all had something to say about the future of mobile, and what libraries need to be worried about. Watch it, and let me know if you have any feedback. I’m always interested in what other librarians think about things like this…the future isn’t certain, and it’s always possible that I’m remarkably wrong. 🙂

Here’s part one:

And part two: