Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Got a Mobile Device? You May be Working an Extra Day a Week

Having a mobile device has changed the way that I work. Being always connected allows me to see  emails and status updates from anywhere and at any time.  I can't help but see email, Twitter messages, and other alerts when using my iPad at home at night, or on vacation, with the audible notifications or new email messages popping up on the screen as I watch LOL cats.

A recent survey by mobile management provider Good Technology , as reported in InfoWorld, indicates that my reliance on my mobile devices means I may be working on average seven more hours per week as a result. Infoworld published some of the survey's key findings:
  • 80 percent of people continue working when they've left the office, for an average of seven extra hours each week
  • 60 percent do it to stay organized, half because customers want quick responses, and 31 percent just find it hard to switch off at night
  • 68 percent of people check work email before 8 a.m., with an average first look at 7:09 a.m.
  • 50 percent check their work email while still in bed
  • 40 percent do work email after 10 p.m.
  • 69 percent will not go to sleep without checking their work email
  • 57 percent check work emails on family outings
  • 38 percent routinely check work emails while at the dinner table
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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Key to Innnovation? Ignore Everybody

One of the techniques which libraries use to plan innovative services is to uncover the needs of their customers. However, I always wonder if customers really know what they need tomorrow. They usually only know what they need today. As a result, being innovative may require librarians to ignore their customers. 

Copywriter and cartoonist Hugh Lacleod wrote a series of blog posts which went on to become "How To Be Creative". His book, Ignore Everyone and 39 Keys to Creativity contains tips that grew from a series of blog postings that I feel can be applied to librarians looking to become more innovative:
1. Ignore Everybody
2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.
5. You are responsible for your own experience.
6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that
champion creativity.
10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether
18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.
20. The choice of media is irrelevant.
22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.
30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.
36. Start blogging.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Augmented Reality and Libraries

In the movie The Terminator, the viewer is taken frequently to the Terminator's point-of view. We know this is Terminator's POV because there is image digitization and the people he is chasing are more luminous than objects in the foreground and background.

In the margins of the viewpoint there are scrolling columns of characters, including numbers and acronyms. The data changes so rapidly that it leaves no doubt that we are viewing the world as the Terminator does.

Science fiction? Well, yes. However, parts of the Terminator's POV are no longer sci-fi.

Augmented reality (AR) is the application of computer-generated imagery embedded into live-video streams as a way to expand information as it relates to the real-world. Through the use of AR technology, information about a user's surrounding environment, and the objects within it, are stored and then retrieved as an information layer on top of a live real world view.

The technology behind AR requires a camera, a target, and software which renders contextual data, images, or 3D animations on top of the live image. The target could consist of a graphic or a physical object.

Google's recent announcement of their Google Glasses prototype is another step in the development of applied AR:


As far as using AR technology in libraries, Ken Fujiuchi proposes possible uses:
"When someone finds a book in the library catalog, they can have the option to snap a QR code or unique image of the book, which will first store the information about the book. Then the user can first be directed to a specific section of the library, and once they are in the right section they can use a mobile device to scan the book spines to start being guided towards the book they are looking for."
Helene Blowers paints this scenario:
"When I shift my thinking about AR apps to the physical library space I see our whole collection opening up before our eyeballs. Imagine the ability to walk down an aisle and see the reviews and popularity of an entire shelf titles just by pointing the camera lens on your phone at the spines (or outfacing covers)."
Bo Brinkman, associate professor at  at Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies at Miami University (OH) has created a prototype augmented reality shelf reading application:

As is the case with many emerging technologies there are many competing standards and a marker created for one application is not viewable using another. String Labs makes both a reader and test targets available to experiment with the technology. One can also play with creating AR experiences using applications such as Aurasma Lite for the iOS.

Here are some other possible uses for AR, with the assumption every information source and device is networked:

- Scan a building to find out if study rooms are available
- Scan a building to identify hours of service, or which librarians are on duty. Touch screen to contact (text, IM, etc.)
- 3-D images of special collection artifacts are viewable from a QR code or bibliographic record
- Physical exhibits and artwork can provide supplemental content and materials

Do you have any ideas?


Educause: 7 things you should know about Augmented Reality
How Stuff Works: Augmented Reality Sphere: Related Content

Monday, March 05, 2012

Using a Course Management System to Manage Promotion and Tenure Review Documents

First off, let's get right to the first question. Gasp!!! Yes, it has been over a year since my last post to this blog! The cob webs have taken over and the number of readers has dropped. While I have a regularly scheduled event on my calendar to create new entries, well, work has gotten in the way. Fortunately, my lame excuse is also a good topic for a post!

As regular readers of this blog are aware, one of my regular themes is related to scholarly communication. More specifically, the broadening of what is considered as scholarship for promotion and tenure purposes. During the past year, I have been serving as the Procedures Oversight Designee (POD) for the Ohio State University Libraries. In short, my role is to help ensure that the P&T reviews follow the procedures as defined the Board of Trustees, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Libraries.

In addition to the normal workload required when taking on such a role, there were many significant changes made to our review process PLUS we experienced a bit of a 'baby boom.'  Until this past year, a committee of tenured faculty consisting of about 1/3 of the eligible voting faculty review all cases. Given the size of the review group and the fact there are normally around 3 cases to review annually, materials were made available in a single paper dossier stored in our HR office. Committee members checked them out and reviewed them on site. Given the scale, the system worked.

Last year, our faculty voted to change the review procedures so that all the eligible faculty would review all the cases. At the same time, the number of cases scheduled for review was 4 times larger than usual. Having almost 40 individuals descending upon HR to review over a dozen dossiers made little logistical sense. This convergence of events required a significant rethinking of the method used to make the review documents available.

The solution was to create an eDossier system using of our course management system.

A 'course' was set up for the review materials with each candidate given their own content tree. All the materials that made up the physical dossier were were scanned and uploaded into the system. The total number of documents for all the candidates was just over 600. All the eligible voting faculty were added as students and were grated access to those dossiers that they were eligible to review. Access to materials was turned on and off as required by the review schedule.

While this approach required a significant time commitment on my part, it really represented a small percentage of the time saved collectively by faculty reviewers since they didn't have to take a trip over to HR to read paper dossiers. Instead, the dossiers could be reviewed online where ever and whenever. I had one faculty member comment that they even reviewed materials on their iPad while waiting at an airport.  There will be additional workflow efficiencies in future reviews since documents from pre-tenure reviews will be added into the system as they are made available.

Based on my experience, one of my new goals is to develop a plan that uses a similar approach to distribute materials to external evaluators. This will require buy-in from the Office of Academic Affairs.

 While the POD role is considered an overload responsibility all the changes turned it into a full-time job at times. Yet, I still had to manage it plus my regular job responsibilities plus keep a reasonable work-life balance. Something had to give, and it was this blog.

So, please accept my excuse for the long time between posts. It's good to see you again

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