Library Technology Guides provides comprehensive and objective information surrounding the many different types of technology products and services used by libraries. It covers the organizations that develop and support library-oriented software and systems. The site offers extensive databases and document repositories to assist libraries as they consider new systems and is an essential resource for professionals in the field to stay current with new developments and trends. Relevent news items are posted daily on Twitter:
Perspective and commentary by Marshall Breeding
Library Technology Guides redesign
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:
Marshall Breeding Jul 26, 2014 15:10:28 Link to this thread
Essential technology skills
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.
Marshall Breeding Jul 22, 2014 16:04:18 Link to this thread
Informe sobre sistemas para bibliotecas 2014: Competencia y cooperación estratégica
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.
Marshall Breeding Jul 1, 2014 14:03:16 Link to this thread
Balancing the Management of Electronic and Print Resources
My Systems Librarian column for the June 2014 issue of Computers in Libraries is available from the Information Today site. In this column I cover some of the issues that I seen in play as libraries strive to find balanced models in the management of their collections increasingly dominated by electronic resources.
Libraries naturally strive to allocate their resources proportional with their overarching priorities. But accomplishing the proper balance is often easier said than done. While I don’t consider myself an expert in organizational matters, I am intrigued by how technology can either support or hinder the ability of an organization to carry out its work effectively. As I work with libraries of various types in all different parts of the world, I observe that many are caught in an undesirable operational state. The allocated staff time, talent, and effort has become misaligned with the character of their collections and services. Automation systems that no longer fit the operational realities contribute to the problem. The good news is, I also see lots of potential in new kinds of technology platforms that can enable libraries to be not only more flexible, but more efficient.
Marshall Breeding Jun 30, 2014 11:03:16 Link to this thread
Caveat and Credit
Library Technology Guides was created and is edited by Marshall Breeding. He is solely responsible for all content on this site, and for any errors it may contain. Please notify him if you find any errors or omissions.