Friday, November 12, 2010

A Digital Librarian's Toolkit

Presented by Michael Lascarides, New York Public Library

Michael Lascarides specializes in usability analysis and user experience design. Before joining the New York Public Library, Lascarides was a programmer and information architect for a wide variety of commercial clients. He teaches in the Computer Art MFA program at the School of Visual Arts.

Lascarides presented a very fast-paced and exciting talk on how to serve and engage your patrons through your Web site. Some of his ideas include the following:

1. Watch your patrons do stuff. For those who spend most of their time fixing their Web sites, it is very difficult to sometimes see the big picture of what's wrong with your Web site. It is important to spend time among your patrons and watch them use your site. He highly recommends the books "Don't Make Me Think" and "Why We Buy" to get a fresh perspective on system design.

2. Look at what's on every screen in your library. What messages are these things sending to people? There is a difference between service and hospitality. Eighty-seven percent of catalog usage is from off site, so understand that informational messages that direct patrons to the circulation desk are useless and frustrating. In fact, instructions are signs of design failure. Know that your patrons are not stupid, and that training your patrons out of problems is only a stopgap measure. Bad software makes people feel they failed.

3. Send user feedback to software vendors. You are the main channel of information that vendors need to improve their products.

4. Use Google analytics. Lascarides did try Omniture to get usage information, but found that Google Analytics does most of what Omniture does for free. 

5. Decide what metrics measure your success. One project Lascarides worked on involved tracking NYPL's Digital Gallery. They noticed that after launching a redesign of the site, the pages per visit and time on the site dropped. However, total visits, page views, and the traffic from search engines went up. Patrons were looking at the site more frequently and for shorter visits, displaying more frequent tool usage behavior. The length of a web visit is very context-dependent and not a good measure of its success. For example, a lengthy visit may be due to the fact that the patron cannot find what she or he is searching.

6. Do a Twitter search for your library. Set up an RSS feed on Twitter for your library, feed it to Google reader to monitor what is being posted.  

7. Look for stories in your Google Analytics search terms. NYPL found that the most popular search term at NYPL is "tumblebooks," e-books for children, discovering that young mothers comprise a very important segment of their audience.

8. List things your patrons are passionate about. Check your analytics and ask your staff, then extend the conversation about those things. 

9. Create a library Twitter account. NYPL posts interesting lines from its books with links back to their catalog record.

10. Get on Wikipedia and create informational links back to your library. 

-- Sunny Pai

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HATHITRUST 101: An Introduction to the Shared Digital Repository

Presented by Maria Bonn, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

The seed for Hathitrust was Michigan's agreement with Google, who wanted to digitize the university's research collection. As part of the agreement, the niversity got the digital copies from Google so that they could share them with their peer institutions. In addition, UM has lots of Internet Archive content and locally digitized content. Hathitrust focuses exclusively on text content. The system was developed from scratch and the interface is open source. The goal of the collections development policy was to replicate a research library.

Hathitrust consists of a partnership that includes Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, New York Public Library, Yale and the University of California system. This is a universal digital library, a single repository governed by an executive committee and strategic advisory board.

The repository has over 7 million volumes; 24 percent are in the public domain, and 86 percent are in 10 different languages. It has 75 volumes in the Hawaiian language. In 2008, it contained 2.5 million volumes and Hathitrust projects a total of 14 million by 2012.

Services include bit-level preservation. It is primarily a digital preservation archive, but has an access system. It includes a rights database and copyright review. It focuses on scholarly resources, supports bibliographic search using MARC records, full text search, the creation of personal collections and full-text PDF download.

It has an interface for users with disabilities. Any book, with copyright or not, can be checked out by users with disabilities.

One of its services is the collection builder. Faculty can create collections and share them with their students. If you create an account, you can make your collections permanent.

Hathitrust partners have the rights to full pdf downloads. Digital storage is in two places in Michigan and one in Indiana. 

The effort is supported by project managers, a communications working group and a metadata group.

In June 2009 research libraries showed 19 percent duplication among their collections. In 2010 this was up to 31 percent duplication among American research libraries. Currently there is a substantial overlap in shared repositories.

Hathitrust is very good at ingesting content from Google and from the Internet Archive.  Its future directions include developing usage reporting, methods of quality assessment, more services through shibboleth and focusing on born-digital content.

-- Sunny Pai

Real World Experiences with Old World Tape Formats: Distribution of Archival Moving Images through Amazon's CreateSpace Disc-on-Demand

Presented by Janel Quirante, Stanford University, and Craig Asato, DC Video.

Asato and Quirante talked about the challenges of preserving moving images and a creative solution in providing access over the Internet.

Asato presented first, describing the work his company does with moving images. The company specializes in restoring and remastering archived media, including damage repair, cleanup, preservation and migrating obsolete recording formats to current formats.

Asato reminded the audience that tapes don't last forever, the machines and the parts to maintain them are disappearing and even the people who know how to run the machines are now hard to find. Asato showed us several images of damaged tapes. When water and fire resistant containers are not used, tapes can suffer water and mold damage. Tapes can get wrinkled and too sticky to unwind. The glue from the foam flange on tape containers can cause damage when the flange deteriorates and gets stuck to the tape. A technique called tape baking at 130 degrees helps to stabilize tapes against hydrolysis and removes stickiness. Metal tapes do not have to be baked. Asato noted that Hawaii has one of the harshest environments for tapes.

The process for transferring content from one tape to another media involves:
• proper machine setup
• signal alignment
• human monitoring of transfer
• and the transfer to analog or digital formats

Asato suggested that for storing tapes, they need a clean, stable environment with temperature and humidity control. The tapes should be stored upright and the collection monitored regularly. If a tape has mold it should not be played, as it will damage the player.

Janel Quirante described her work at the Hoover Institute with the Firing Line video collection. This television series was first produced by a New York television company and then by PBS. It ran from 1966 to 1999 and was hosted by William F. Buckley Jr., who focused each show on a different social issue and highlighted famous guests. The Hoover Institute has the entire collection and all the copyrights. This includes 1,505 titles and 3,043 accessioned videotapes in five different formats. The most common format they have is the three-quarter-inch Umatics. A third of the titles have been preserved; 992 are not yet preserved. The Institute chose to first preserve shows for which they had only one copy and shows which featured particularly famous guests or popular topics. It costs $500 per hour of footage to preserve the tapes. Problems with their tapes include glue, wrinkles and debris. The Institute depends on grants and some sales, but they break even.

The Institute now partners with Amazon to distribute the videos. Amazon's Disc on Demand has helped with creating a revenue to support their preservation efforts. Amazon does the digitizing, stores the master on their servers and creates the dvds. Currently, 107 titles are on sale at Amazon (others can be purchased through special order).

Amazon requires that the organization it works with has copyright for all the content, including DVD artwork. It also requires that the organization provide the metadata. Amazon has a metadata spreadsheet that was easy to use. Many of the metadata elements were what the Institute used.

Amazon accepts all kinds of formats and accepted the Hoover Institute's betacam digital video format since the Institute chose that format for preservation. The DVDs include the FBI copyright statement and information about the Hoover Institute and how the tape was preserved and archived. The DVD artwork was selected from their collection and used to create a design template. The descriptive text on the DVD cover changes within the context of the design.

Quirante had an administrative account so they could log in and run reports on the Amazon colletion. When they started marketing the DVDs interest was very high because, coincidentally, Buckley had died earlier that same year. They promoted the sales by loading samples on YouTube. They have sold 11,000 DVDs and earned $40,000 in royalties. The funds were used to preserve 47 additional titles. The hope is to continue with preserving the rest of the collection.

Amazon charged a fee of $25/hour for the digitizing service and gets a cut of the royalties. The more videos you digitize, the cheaper the cost. You can set your own list price. The Institute gets a proof copy. The Institute can choose to sell the DVDs elsewhere, decide which DVDs to keep on the Amazon site and change the price of the DVDs.

-- Sunny Pai

Library in the Clouds: How Can Cloud Computing Transform Your Library?

Presented by: Keiko Okuhara, University of Hawaii Law Library and Sunyeen Pai, Kapiolani Community College Library

Okuhara and Pai began the session by describing an overview of cloud computing or using Web-based processing. Some of the features of cloud computing include: scalability, multi-tasking, virtualization and lower cost from removing the infrastructure challenges away from your local institution and allowing the networked expertise "in the cloud" to handle the complex services. Some basic concerns include legal or organizational issues, such as privacy concerns, lack of flexibility in terms of customized services, and Service Level Agreements as contracts.

Applications of cloud computing in libraries include OpenURL-linking software and instructional materials such as LibGuides. OCLC is creating a web-scale management service to provide a unified library system "in the cloud," complete with circulation, acquisitions, delivery and license management services in addition to its catalog interface.

Based on their World Cafe style discussion at the Hawaii Voyager User Group Meeting in May, Pai continued to investigate two important issues: what are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing and what's missing from your understanding of cloud computing so far? Advantages include: ease of collaboration and sharing, lower maintenance costs and process, scalable, leveraging differences between large organization and small organizations in terms of technology costs and use. Disadvantages include: Confidentiality, privacy, security and data storage concerns. In general, who controls the data and where is it housed is a big concern; Pai gave the example of Orwell books downloaded from which were deleted without a trace from people's Kindles when Amazon discovered potential licensing or copyright issues.

The University of Hawaii System will be using Google as our e-mail provider in the future, which prompted Pai to consider the benefits and disadvantages to this decision. What's missing in our understanding?

How the library is using or will use the various kinds of cloud computing options available including: Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Google docs and LibGuides, Platform as a Service (PaaS), which enables the library to have control as a host environment, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where much of the infrastructure is contracted out of the library. In general, cloud computing offers agility and operational benefits to a library by using accumulated technology and expertise "in the cloud."

-- Amy Carlson

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ten Important Legal Issues Every Digital Librarian Should Know

Presented by: John Gathegi, University of South Florida

Any librarian working with digital content must learn the basics of copyright law. This presentation provides the basics on copyright issues, specifically addressing the possible problems that a digital librarian might face.

First, is the material copyrighted? The answer may be complex, especially in a mishmash of formats, or depending upon the year in which the material was created. Prior to 1976, the required formalities to receive a copyright were not needed, making materials after 1976 much easier to obtain copyright. It's good to keep in mind that the law protects the expression of ideas.

Second, who owns the content? When you seek permission to use the content, it may be difficult to determine the copyright owner. The initial owner is the author. But who owns the copyright for joint authors or when the corporation as employer owns the copyright? The owner can transfer copyright ownership as property, but the copyright can not be transferred involuntarily by an act of Government, unlike property.

Third, what rights does the content owner have? Such rights include: reproduction, to prepare derivative works, distribution, public performance and public display. The Visual Artists Rights Act also ensures additional rights for the visual artists, which can claim or disassociate authorship of work or to prevent their name on a work they did not create or their name on a work which would harm their reputation. Some interesting side points: if one of the joint authors waives his or her rights, all of the authors' rights are waived. Also, the new copyright owner receives exactly the same protections as the first. 

Fourth, limitations to copyright include fair use, which specifically addresses the use by libraries and archives, including reproduction and distribution to the public.

Fifth, how long do the rights last? Congress has the right to expand the time period in the law. Currently, works will fall into public domain 70 years after the death of the author and 95 years for corporations, thanks in part to the 1998 Sonny Bono Act. Always check the Copyright Office for any possible changes to the law or to find out if the author is still alive.

Sixth, how are the rights acquired from owners? Owners may transfer rights through exchange or purchase using a written instrument, such as a license. The author has a "second bite of the apple" clause, where the terms can be renegotiated in the 5-year period following the 35 years after the execution of the grant.

Seventh, when working out a digital media license, the librarian must remember that multiple parties may require multiple licenses, that the license is a contract and that there are multiple layers of rights involved in this process.

Eighth, what is infringement and what is the result? An infringement is any action that violates the owners' rights, and anyone can infringe, even a child. Remedies may include injunctions, destroying the articles, civil damages or even criminal sanctions.

Ninth, what are digital rights management systems? They're software tools that help manage the digital content.

Tenth, 17 USC  512 allows for transmission and routing of copyrighted materials for Internet Service Providers (ISP), provided that they do not alter the content in any way. This provision or "safe harbor" allows for us to connect to copyrighted materials through the internet itself.

-- Amy Carlson

Using Game Design Principles to Drive Engagement

Jim Sink, CEO of Avatar Reality, a company that designs software for creating video games, encouraged developing games and applying game concepts to library sites to help increase learning.

While you may not normally think of video games as an instructional tool, Sink assured games are about "more than collecting gold coins of blowing stuff up." Games have long been implemented for training purposes, such as with military flight simulators or for medical training.

The key to "harnessing play" for educational purposes is integrating the principles that make video games successful: competition, collaboration, leveling and social recognition.

Sink stressed there are four key things to consider when applying game principles:

  • What resources do you have?
  • How fun does it need to be?
  • Who is it for? (Who is the target audience?)
  • Where is it delivered? (On the Web? For mobile device?)

Available resources will determine what you can do. According to Sink, developing the average corporate training game costs about $75,000. But if you don't have those kind of resources available, Sink encouraged to be willing to start small. Even something like giving users points for exploring a Web site capitalizes on the concept of leveling and can be "simple, silly, but tremendously effective."

-- Lori Ann Saeki

Second look at Google Books

Ryan James, who works at UHM's Hamilton Library, presented the findings from his Google Books research project.  The purpose of his study was to discover the rate of error in two categories:  legibility and metadata.


Legibility: essentially whether or not the words on a page are readable. 
James categorized errors as major (the page or words on the page are completely unreadable) or minor (the page or words are difficult to read, but can be deciphered). 

This part of the study looked at the first 50 pages of 50 books (2500 pages).  James found that less than 1% of the pages contained major or minor errors.  These errors were made up mostly of fingers obscuring the pictures and gutter problems.   


To test the accuracy of the metadata, James looked at 4 categories-- title, author, publisher, publication date-- and tested 400 books.  He found that 36.75 percent of the total areas checked were in error.  He also found that very few of the books had more than one error their metadata.  As an example of metadata error, James showed a test he did using Edgar Allan Poe.  He searched Google Books for books by Poe with a publication date of 1809 or earlier.  He got two results, one published in 1800, and one published in 1669.  Since Poe was born in 1809, these dates are obviously in error.

During the question/answer period, a librarian in the audience identified herself as working at the University of Michigan Libraries-- a library system that is cooperating with the Google Books project -- and said that, in her experience, Google is conscientious about correcting errors when they are brought to their attention.  She also pointed out that the project is in process and that Google is constantly updating and rescanning unsatisfactory images. 

James was also asked what rate of error is, in his view, acceptable.  He responded that that depends on the purpose of use.  In his opinion the ideal would be less than 0.5 percent.

The ultimate result of James' research seems to be that Google Books does contain a significant number of errors with no known (to James) mechanism for quality control.

-- Stacy Judy

What happens in marriages where one partner prefers print and the other e-books?

Al Sison 
Marital therapist and psychologist

Marriage and family therapists look for areas of function and dysfunction in three categories: Boundaries, Attachments, and Rituals. They then ask three questions: what is the issue, what is the dysfunction, and what is the heart of the matter.
The conflict between couples with one partner favoring ebooks and the other traditional books is one that has become more prevalent in recent years.
Mr. Sison asked a number of his patients about their reasons for preferring ebook or print. Those who prefer print do so for reasons that are either logical or visceral.

Attachment to books
Easier to read
Better use of time: a traditional book can just be open anywhere without having to turn on a device.

or Visceral:
Traditional books feel “real”
Traditional books smell “real”

Mr. Sison's patients also gave reasons that the choice between books and ebooks might cause trouble in their relationships:

--Ebook readers look down on their partners for not embracing (or being able to embrace) technology

--Readers of traditional books like to be able to bend, write in, and highlight books.

--Readers of traditional books don't know what their partners are reading, and ebook readers don't want their partners to know.

--Ebook reading damages rituals like reading the newspaper together as a family on Sunday morning.

Mr. Sison sums up by saying that in the battle between ebook and traditional books, no one will win.

-- Stacy Judy

Innovating in a hyper-connected world

[Previously titled: New Technologies for Hawaii’s Libraries]
Burt Lum, “Bytemarks CafĂ©’”, Hawaii Public Radio

10 tenets of innovation
1. Ideas can come from anywhere
2. Build on your creative assets
3. Freedom to brainstorm
Defer judgment, encourage wild ideas, build on ideas of others, respect individual voices, stay focused, be visual, go for quality.
4. Share the ideas, transparent
Don’t try to own an idea – share credit with everyone and put egos aside: the best ideas are those that everyone feels free to build on.
5. License to pursue your passion
6. Innovation is not instant perfection
The idea is the beginning of the processes, ideas must be nurtured and imporoved.
7. Fail often, fail fast
Try, fail, move on. Much of success is a numbers game – be open to failure.
Risk what you can afford.
(ex. Google Wave – never took off, but they gave it a try and then STOPPED trying when it was clear it wouldn’t work.)
8. Innovation aligns to strategy
Remember your goals, and innovate with an eye to fulfilling those goals.
9. Focus on patrons, not the status quo.
10. Don’t kill prospects, morph them. Learn lessons from failures.

10 Examples of innovation
Twitter can work as a gauge of what people are talking about. Use it to see what people are saying about us – what they think. (ex. @hawaiibookblog)
Facebook is a good way to bring people together, but if you’re going to have a page, you’ve got to work it. (Examples: Hawaii State Public Library System and Kukui High School) The first of the examples has only two followers – it isn’t being used to its best advantage. The Kukui High School page has over 3000 followers because the owners have developed and promoted the page. [note from author: the HSPLS page at Facebook appears to have been generated from a Wikipedia article and has no visible HSPLS affiliation. I was unable to confirm this in the time available.]
3. Virtual communities
(ex. ning)
4. Ustream (ex. “Mix it up Hawaii”)
5. Community blogs (ex. Hawaii Book Blog )
6. Ebooks
7. Book communities (ex Good Reads , Bookcrossing )
8. Video podcasts
9. Pecha Kucha 20 seconds, 20 slides [note: the speaker did not have time to show a site for this one, I added it.]

The notes for this presentation are available at
For more information on the speaker, see his website Bytemarks.

-- Stacy Judy

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Emotional Design of Libraries

Michael Lascarides a Digital User Analyst from New York Public Library presented an excellent presentation on how New York Public Library used an emotional usage survey to determine usage in their libraries. Mr. Lascarides, with an e-commerce background, was able to provide his library the ability to perceive the library as a user and not a librarian, which is important in ensuring the library remains an important space in a quickly changing culture.

By studying usage, Lascarides was able to determine that 87% of catalog usage was from off-site, not in the library, thus proving that within the past couple of years mobile usage was increasing due to devices like smart phones and ipads. Thus, libraries need to consider how the can remain relevant and keep up with technology.

He points out that being free won't save your library, studies have shown that people rather pay for a good experience if the free experience isn't good. But if your free experience is good then that is better than a good pay experience.

To determine what patrons want from their New York State Public library he and his staff conducted physical and online surveys of patrons to determine why they use their libraries. Their study focused on the Main Manhattan library and the Mid-Manhattan library (the highest circulating library), which are across from one another. They realized from their studies that emotions are at the core of libraries. The way people perceive their libraries affects their usage. People tend to be drawn to the libraries that appeal to their emotional needs: some are attracted to the seriousnious and grandness of the Main library while others are attracted to the busy, loud, and informalness of the Mid-Manhattan library. They found that librarians should never assume things about users. Many may assume that the loudest patrons are students but studies found that students are drawn to libraries as a place to study while business people are 3x more likely than students to be drawn to loud social spaces. Also they found that business people and tourists are more likely to be high-tech patrons compared to students.

Patrons were asked "If all research content was online would you still use the library?" over 80% said "yes!"

Lascarides ended his presentation with philosophical suggestions:

1. If you want your library to become or remain successful: be an inspirational setting.
2. Be a physical space to go to.
3. Concentrate on experiences that be duplicated elsewhere
4. Push the tension between privacy and social space/experience
5. Become conversent, give and receive. Don't be just a "fortress of knowledge."

-- Lea Domingo

Extreme Makeover - Technical Services Edition

Only Kathleen Stacey was able to present at HLA, Brian Bays, however, helped her put together their excellent presentation on how Edwin H Mookini Library's Technical Services Department made both a physical and functional makeover.

Kathleen first presented how their section did an "Extreme" physical makeover. Through pictures she showed how the section transitioned from an outdated and poorly functional space into one that pleased most of the staff. Everything began with the usual tasks of boxing up everything and moved into shuffling stage as staff was moved around onto floors and spaces that were not being renovated. Next came the planning stage where bids were made for new furniture and Office Draw was used to design the floor plan of their new space. Staff decided that cubicles should be purchased so they could have a sense of having their own office space. The only mistakes they made in their design was buying too-big cubicles and not providing a bigger common space.

The next phase of the makeover was the functional renovation, which required a workflow analysis. After analyzing the collection process and roles it was discovered that their work flow was ineffecient. They discovered that 80% of materials purchased were serials and e-materials and only 20% regular print materials. But only one staff member was responsible for the serials and e-materials processing while a large portion of the staff was focused on print materials. As a result staff was reorganized into those who decide what to buy and those who do the actual processing. Currently this functional renovation is still a work in progress.

Congratulations and good luck to the Edwin H. Mookini Technical Services Department!

-- Lea Domingo

Dashing Through the Hills

Gail Fujimoto provided an concise introduction to The Kamehameha Schools (Kapalama Campus) transition to becoming more accessible digitally. With the introduction of 1 to 1 laptops for students and decreased print usage it has become essential that their library increasingly incorporate ebooks into the collection.

Kawika Makamani discussed how the DASH program was the deciding factor that to choose ebrary as their database selection. DASH is a program that allows libraries to upload their own materials (such as Kamehameha Published books) into the ebrary database that their students can access. Dash also allows them to controll access, they can make materials not only available to their students but also the public. The main selling point for ebrary was not their collection of 50,000 ebooks, but the abilty to provide students with out of publication books.

Mr. Makamani also explained some of the powerful tools this services provides such as: being able to navigate by pages, bookmark pages, print up to 60 pages at a time, and the use of "Info Tools" which allows students to take notes and save annotations in a bookshelf that can be created to save files. Dash also allows administrators the power to control access: who can access (students vs. public) and how many can access certain materials at one time.

The audience asked if a software is required to access ebrary and yes you are required to download the ebrary reader onto your computer for you to be able to access the various ebooks.

Mr. Makamani ended his presentation by offering publishers/people to submit their own collections or materials to be made accessible through DASH.

-- Lea Domingo

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Get your HLA conference coverage!

It's almost time for HLA 2010, and whether you'll be at the Royal Hawaiian this Friday or can't make it this year, you can find full conference coverage online

Find session recaps after the conference right here on the HLA Blog.

We're always happy to have more bloggers to contribute, so if you're interested in covering sessions, please contact me directly ASAP.

Find conference photos at the HLA group on Flickr.

And if you're bringing your camera or cameraphone along, please join the group and add your photos to the group pool. Make sure you include the tag hla10 with the tags for your photo. Note: We reserve the right to blog photos in the HLA Flickr group pool.

Tweeps! If you're going to tweet live from the conference, don't forget to add hashtag #hla10. See what folks are saying bout the event live.