m-libraries 2009

Last week I attended the m-libraries conference in Vancouver.  This is an international conference that was first held in Milton Keynes in 2007.  The conference “aims to explore and share work carried out in libraries around the world to deliver services and resources to users ‘on the move,’ via a growing plethora of mobile and hand-held devices”.

There were several interesting sessions, many of which were held concurrently while Graham and I were presenting, so we missed out on many of those.

Lorcan Dempsey, Chief Strategist at OCLC gave the keynote talk entitled  “Concentration, Connection, Diffusion: Mobilizing Library Services”.  His talk was chock-full of interesting comments, a few of which I’ll mention here.

The institutional website and the desktop browser are no longer the primary environment for users.  We need to focus on creating web sites that are dynamic and syndicable, ones that can be atomized.  To avoid “bleached” websites, we need to allow users to rank, vote, recommend, etc.  We also need to “sign our network presence” by making our people and expertise more visible.  Here are four things we should concentrate on doing – socializing our services, personalizing our content for specific devices and for courses, specializing for different audiences and atomizing so that our content can be used in many different places.

FrontlineSMS logo

FrontlineSMS logo

Ken Banks gave a talk, “Where Books are Few” about cell phone usage in Africa and the various entrepreneurial activities that have cropped up around cell phones.  He has developed some software called FrontlineSMS that allows SMS messages to be sent out via a cell phone connected to a laptop which is great for areas that do not have internet access.

Carie Page from EDUCAUSE talked about the “Always On” generation and the importance of talking to them about what they want and bringing them into the planning process.

The third plenary session was given by Paul Nelson of the National Health Service in the UK.  He spoke briefly about some exploratory work that the NHS has done with mobile devices which has had mixed success.

The final plenary session was presented by Joan Lippincott.  One of her points was that the library should be playing a role in institutional policy and infrastructure creation regarding mobile services.  She gave various examples of mobile services that have recently been developed and believes that big changes will happen once data plan costs become realistic.

I also attended several of the concurrent session – of interest was the Mobile Enhanced Digital Collections presentation by Tito Sierra of NCSU.  NCSU has created an application for the iPhone that allows users to tour the campus and, based on location,  see images of buildings from their archives.

One of the more futuristic ideas showcased at the conference was the “Sixth Sense” application which was presented at TED by Pattie Maes of MIT.

Graham and I presented “The Library’s Place in a Mobile Space” about our mobile survey, some of our mobile services and the new Campus Assistant project.  Powerpoint slides and podcast are available.


Week 10 – Canucks Run Amok

vancouver_latteWe finally made it to Vancouver, but with all the self-congratulatory lattes I have neglected to post until now. Training for the third annual Canucks Run Amok Challenge starts immediately.

OUCC 2009

I attended the OUCC (Ontario Universities Computing Conference) earlier this week at Ryerson. One of the more interesting sessions was a student panel on student technology expectations. The panel consisted of students from a variety of institutions – Wilfrid Laurier, McMaster, Queens, Waterloo, Western, but it became apparent that while a variety of institutions was represented, the students were all from a particular  tech-savvy demographic as they knew one another from playing World of Warcraft.   That said, there were many interesting points revealed during the hour:

  • online access to a personal calendar at all times was important (This was something that rated quite high on the mobile device survey we did last November, so it was good to have it confirmed)
  • workspace is as important as computer labs (a couple of students mentioned that they would push keyboards aside to give themselves space to work)
  • shared disk space is important; currently this only works with desktops not laptops
  • shared disk space at the university was seen to be better than space on the cloud
  • they want to learn through practice and not in a “training session”
  • killer app for them is the internet
  • wifi is important outside buildings for smartphone usage

Week 9 – Canucks Run Amok

revelstoke1This week we are walking in the rarified air near Revelstoke. Is this the last week of walking? Check our progress tomorrow on the Canucks Run Amok blog.

Canucks Run Amok – Week 8

This week we are walking near Canmore getting ever closer to British Columbia.  For some great Canmore photos, check out the submissions to a recent Canmore Photo Competition.  The video clip below contains a cameo appearance from Canmore’s most famous “resident”.

Canucks Run Amok – Week 7

2439471929_8705688e18This week our virtual walk has taken us to the  Canadian Badlands near Medicine Hat. The photo on the left (from Flickr Creative Commons) is a great shot of the giant Saamis teepee in Medicine Hat. In addition to housing a giant teepee, another  of Medicine Hat’s claims to fame is that it is the city with the lowest property taxes in Canada. It is also home to Medalta Potteries. Apparently Haile Selassie ordered a complete dinner service from the Medalta Potteries in the 1940’s for use by his household staff.

Canucks Run Amok – Week 6

stiltFranklin's GullThis week I figure we are 1545 km east of Vancouver which puts us at Morse Indian Reserve No. 165 in Saskatchewan.  For a profile of this community in 2006, check out Stats Canada’s page for Morse No. 165.

Located here in this area is Reed Lake, an IBA (Important Birding Area) where many birds stage during the spring and fall migration.  The two images on the left are of birds that you might see here – Stilt Sandpiper (top) and Franklin’s Gull (bottom).

Two of the other teams in this competition have already reached Vancouver and are no doubt sipping lattes at Starbucks.

RULA 2.0 Wrap-up

My Latest Album This is the last week of the RULA Learning 2.0 project.  To celebrate I have just released my latest album – a mashup of Flickr, wikipedia and a random quotation: Enough, he might become disturbed by Signomial.  Appropriately or not the cover image is a picture of Antoni Gaudi’s work in Barcelona.  If I remember correctly Gaudi was killed as a result of injuries sustained when he was run over by a tram.  If you are ever in Barcelona I’d highly recommend visiting some of Gaudi’s work – the Sagrada Familia and the Park Guell.

Week 12 – Videos/YouTube

Okay, I set up a YouTube account although I doubt I will be uploading any videos.  The account set up process required an inordinate amount of personal information; I yearn for the simplicity of LibraryThing which only required a name and password (email address optional).  We have used a few YouTube videos in this learning 2.0 programme, and I have also used them get a closer look at some gadgets and of course for entertainment.  Check this out to see how blogs were born.

A couple of days ago I discovered YouTube EDU.  From a quick scan of the contributing institutions I saw only two Canadian ones – Université de Montréal and Carleton University.

Canucks Run Amok – Week 5

dogriverThis week we are in Saskatchewan, somewhere near Indian Head, but as this is a virual walk, I’ve decided to check out Rouleau which is more famous by its stage name, Dog River, home of Corner Gas.

Apparently the Saskatchewan Legislature today declared that April 13 would be Corner Gas Day.