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Name: Marshall Breeding

Title: Publisher

Organization: Library Technology Guides


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Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding

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Library Technology Guides redesign

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Over the last few weeks I have been working on making some long overdue updates to the Library Technology Guides site. Changes target design, organization, and technical implementation. While I have continuously added new content to the site, there has been little time for reworking the design, which had been in place for almost a decade. The new design should improve its usability, especially for new visitors.

A number of improvements were made to the technical infrastructure for the site. Library Technology Guides is based on a content management system that I developed in perl. This project has also involved programming some new capabilities into that underlying platform in addition to moving the site to a new server environment.

I hope that these improvements will not only make the site a bit more attractive, but that they will also result in better usability and faster performance. Some of the major changes include:

  • Server replacement. The site now runs on a substantially faster server which should boost overall performance.
  • The server operating system is now Microsoft Windows 2008 R2.
  • Other upgraded components include MySQL, MySQL ODBC Connector, and ImageMagick.
  • The primary url for the site is now librarytechnology.org instead of the previous www.librarytechnology.org.
  • The site now implements HTML5
  • Layout managed through CSS, with tables used only for forms.
  • A new navigational menu has been implemented to replace the list of links that were previously offered through a column on the left side of the page. The new navigation provides significant improvement in browsing to content on the site. The menus were created using the Superfish jQuery plug-in. Additional improvements using jQuery will be phased in over time.
  • The database of libraries on the site is now called "libraries.org" instead of lib-web-cats. The former name was always a bit cumbersome. I have acquired the libraires.org domain, which redirects to librarytechnology.org/libraries.
  • Directory entries in libraries.org have been enhanced with schema.org microdata. Google's rich snippet validation tool shows the structured data exposed.
  • The basic search page for libraries.org has been redesigned.
    • The initial search performs a general keyword query spanning multiple fields.
    • Checkbox selections provide a convent way to search by specific library types. By default school libraries are deselected, since the very large number of these in the database which easily overwhelm results.
    • A panel of additional search options (Type, City, County, State, Country) is hidden by default, but can be opened by clicking on the +.
    • The advanced search, which provides query options for almost all fields, such as by the technology products implemented, continues to be available to registered members.
    • The persistent link for library entries now follows the form: librarytechnology.org/libraries/library.pl?id=1.
    • The previous link format will be redirected.
  • Member login process has been improved. Passwords are now stored as a salted hash, consistent with standard practice.
  • Pages related to login and password maintenance are now secure and encrypted.
  • Session processing has been improved for better performance and lower resource use.
  • Changes in content and organization include:

Jul 26, 2014 15:10:28

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Informe sobre sistemas para bibliotecas 2014: Competencia y cooperación estratégica

Automation Marketplace

The Spanish translation of the 2014 edition of the annual industry report that I authored for American Libraries has been published by ThinkEPI (Grupo de Estrategia y Prospectiva de la Información). Thanks very much to Tomàs Baiget and Alfredo Gonzolas for their help in producing this Spanish translation.

La industria de tecnologías para bibliotecas (automatización de bibliotecas y otras tecnologóas para las mismas) se vio inmersa en una fuerte competencia en 2013, en el que varios productos compitieron para satisfacer unas expectativas cada vez más exigentes. Debido a que muchas bibliotecas se encuentran en la fase crítica de adoptar sistemas de una etapa tecnológica más avanzada, los grandes vendedores intentan posicionarse para extender su alcance global, agilizar su organización interna, y completar ambiciosos planes de desarrollo de productos. La competencia se ha intensificado en las aplicaciones para uso interno del personal de las bibliotecas para gestionar las colecciones y automatizar las operaciones.

Ya está disponible la nueva generación de plataformas de servicios de bibliotecas (library services platforms, LSP), aunque siguen ofertándose los sistemas integrados de biblioteca clásicos (integrated library systems, ILS). Los llamados servicios de descubrimiento (que amplían los contenidos de los catálogos online locales con acceso a recursos externos) siguen siendo un área importante de actividad, pues son vistos por los bibliotecarios como productos especialmente críticos ya que son de uso directo por parte de los usuarios. Constituyen un importante canal de acceso a colecciones y servicios.

La industria ofrece muchas alternativas, con opciones tanto de licencia propietaria como de código abierto, algunas basadas en tecnologías en la nube y otras que siguen dependiendo del hardware local. Aunque ya se va introduciendo la nueva generación de LSP, los ILS siguen siendo opciones válidas, especialmente cuando pueden gestionar también libros electrónicos.

Se ofrecen productos nuevos, que ya han entrado en la fase de adopción. Estas implementaciones tempranas tienen la ventaja de que pueden ir moldeando el futuro entorno, dependiendo de si alcanzan la eficiencia y mejoras que prometieron. Las bibliotecas que están considerando la compra de sus próximos sistemas deben evaluar las opciones que ofrece cada empresa, algunas ya probadas y otras aún por ensayar. Las empresas que entren tarde en esta fase de desarrollo e implementación perderán oportunidades, que serán mitigadas sólo por la lentitud de los procesos de selección por parte de las bibliotecas.

Este informe describe el estado actual y las tendencias de los productos y servicios tecnológicamente estratégicos, y las organizaciones que los crean y desarrollan. Cubre los productos más importantes de gestión de recursos bibliotecarios, servicios de descubrimiento, y otras tecnologías tanto de uso interno en las bibliotecas como las que se ponen a disposición de los usuarios para acceder a las colecciones y servicios.

continue reading...

Jul 1, 2014 14:03:16

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Essential technology skills

Opening up Library Systems through Web Services and SOA?

My Systems Librarian column titled Shape up your Skills and Shake Up Your Library published in the January/February 2014 issue of Computers in Libraries discusses some of the skills that can benefit those that work in libraries in a variety of roles and positions. The essay also discusses how some of the recent technology trends, such as the move toward cloud computing, has the potential to reshape library tech positions, mostly in a positive way.

Libraries benefit from having specialists within their organization tasked to manage all the various aspects of technology with the ability to shape it to their specialized requirements. A skilled individual or team tasked and enabled to design and implement the library's technological infrastructure can mean the difference between efficiency and frustration. To handle this role effectively, those responsible need to have an in-depth knowledge of technology a keen understanding of the strategic and operational needs of the library, and the insight to ensure that technology operates in ways that respect its key principles and values. While libraries resemble service-oriented businesses in some ways and seem to be increasingly managed according to business principles, their value and efficiency cannot be measured economically, but according to how well they create meaningful collections for their clients or stakeholders, distribute or provide access to information resources, and provide effective services. continue reading...

My Systems Librarian columns are published in the print issues of Computers in Libraries, and are exclusively available through Information Today for three months after original publication. Following the expiration of that embargo, I make these columns available on Library Technology Guides.

Jul 22, 2014 16:04:18

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