Category Archives: Web&Tech

September 23, 2013, 1:11 pm

Hoping data isn’t just the next big thing collecting dust (insight from Dropbox)

I recently criticized Wired but I have to commend them for a great October issue.  One of the articles outlines the ambition of Dropbox, which is to become the “pervasive data layer.” I love that phrase.

The key quote:

 Going forward, the company wants to power a new breed of syncable apps that would let you share any kind of data with anyone across any device. In theory it’s an epic shift that would put Dropbox at the center of everyone’s digital life, turning it into a powerhouse on the level of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Any file with anyone on any device! That’s a powerful vision. It’s the heart of the new web infrastructure that is being built and it is the red-hot topic in research libraries. Good whitepaper: research data services. Libraries are offering new services and creating new positions, and I hope someone is working on a compatibility feature…

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September 5, 2013, 6:28 pm

Curating Learning Experiences: A Future Role For Librarians?

A few weeks ago I purchased a premium WordPress theme for my campus. This isn’t something I typically do, but it fit nicely with an initiative I am building around supporting new types of learning interactions.

 

A professor I’m working with uses blogs in her courses but wanted to push the experience further. I’m hearing this more often as faculty express interest in a more flexible and personalized learning environment as opposed to the LMS model. Sakai, Blackboard, and similar tools are seen as utilities rather than virtual communities.

 

I think we’re seeing a shift occur. In the past it was “how to use a blog in your course” and now it’s “how to build an online social learning environment for your specific needs.” These conversations are the result of faculty becoming more comfortable and sophisticated using the social web. I’m finding many who are…

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August 21, 2013, 3:43 pm

Database vs. Database vs. Web-Scale Discovery Service: further thoughts on search failure (or: more clicks than necessary?) (or: info-pushers vs. pedagogical partners)

Yesterday’s post resonated with people. There seems to be a lot of focus on the importance of the “proper” way to do research—and the proper tools.  That’s how much of our current value is delivered so I completely understand the concern and passion.

Obviously the case I described is just one example and things may be different for you, but in this instance the interfaces we offer were not effective for simple keyword searching.

Here is an example. Forget about limiters, options, date ranges, licensing, access, etc. I know those are important and distinguishing features, but let’s leave those out of the conversation.  Right now I’m interested purely in keyword-based results. Let’s test some algorithms!

Let’s say you’re researching Woodstock and that you need to find articles from the New York Times that were published while the concert what happening. You…

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August 13, 2013, 8:52 pm

ENTERING THE ERA OF MICRO-EXPERIENCES? Using a lot of different things to do a lot of different things

Lauren and I were recently talking about the evolution of the social web. There had been some press about the kids today don’t use Facebook anymore. The articles use to be about how such-and-such was no longer cool. Now we’re starting to see a generation completely bypassing Facebook. They are not leaving it because they were never on it. Facebook is for grandparents!

 

So what’s the alternative? What’s next big thing? What’s the Facebook Killer? I’ve been out of the social media scene for a while now, but the shift seems to be away from the single solution and more toward multiple products for different needs. This is why Vine, Instagram, and Tumblr are popular. Each tool focuses on different things (strengthens?) as opposed to trying to do everything like Facebook.

 

We seem to be entering (or have entered) an era of specialization. The one-stop-shop is emptying…

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July 1, 2013, 8:50 pm

Glass: my first encounter (and applying it to higher ed)

glass_Gardner_me

Gardner is in shock by Glass awesomeness. I’m looking mad that I have to wait twelve months for my own device.

Wow. I just experienced something special. This afternoon Gardner and I sat down with a Glass Explorer. It was a 60-minute meeting that turned into 160 minutes of mind bendiness.

Flashback I was in high school when the transition from cassette tapes to CDs happened. I was in college when my roommates and I dialed into the Internet to figure out “what’s the web for?” I was in Atlanta when I first held an iPhone and then bought one the very next day. Flash Forward Those were all critical technology experiences for me. Today, in Blacksburg, I had another one… it was Glass.

I should just end this post right now because I’m still trying to process what I saw. You may think I’m feeling…

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June 14, 2013, 12:58 pm

Are remote presence mobile systems the future of reference?

It’s been a little too serious around this blog lately, so here is something fun to stimulate your lateral thinking.

 

A good friend of mine is at InfoComm13—a tradeshow I wish I were attending. He texted me this photo:


beamApparently this woman was in California and interacting with folks in Orlando. She could hear him standing/walking nearby and engaged him in conversation.

This is BEAM. It’s a mobile, WiFi powered, video-conferencing, remote presence system. The features are listed on the website, and it is an interesting concept. The fact that it has wheels and can move at 3 mph following someone around is different;  I have not seen this full package  before.

At first I thought—could this work as a reference tool? Could it push us beyond the desk as a new twist on roving reference? Or what about tours? What about meetings? Could students or faculty use it for…

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June 11, 2013, 3:36 pm

Tools vs. Emotions: what’s your relationship with technology?

This is going to be a rare personal post. If you’re looking for your fill on libraries check the Bell Tower because I’m going somewhere else today.

Context is an interesting phenomenon. When conversations or attitudes from one space merge or are invaded from the outside, there is a good chance for misunderstanding to occur. This happened to me last night.

People who know me– people who really know me– know that I love Apple. I came into their products later in life via my wife, but I’ve never looked back. I am firmly and admittedly in the Cult of Mac.

Much of it has to do with brand and mythology. Steve Jobs was an amazing persona, but the early connection with IDEO is also special for me. Apple’s priority on design resonates with my user experience side and they talk about technology differently than everyone else… although yesterday’s WWDC was a little…

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May 8, 2013, 4:31 pm

Adobe and the end of the world… of local software?

I’m still pondering the news that Adobe is dropping Creative Suite and betting it all on Creative Cloud. They are turning away from locally installed client software and moving fully to an online platform. It feels like a radical departure and I’m still trying to understand the business model. I’m also bummed that they are killing Fireworks, but maybe I’m showing my age?

 

We are working on a library renovation and a topic that comes up is desktops. A number of these are necessary for specialized software, but what if all software applications flow to the cloud? Maybe what we really need to plan is for really nice monitors and a fast data connection?

 

Thinking beyond hardware… does software become similar to journal subscriptions in which users authenticate and proxy in? Will we provide campus-wide subscriptions to everyone or perhaps on-demand (use as you go)…

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February 6, 2013, 1:12 am

Catching up with Paul Stamatiou: designing growth at Twitter

When people ask me what inspired my startup thinking I point to Paul Stamatiou. He was an undergrad at Georgia Tech when I was there and I started following his blog as part of my preemptive reference experiment. Wow, 2005 was so long ago!

 

Paul currently works at Twitter but before that he was involved with a handful of startups. Along the way Ford gave him a car, Nike put him in a commercial, and he was part of the Y Combinator program. He’s blogged quite a bit about startups. If you’re interested that topic I recommend reading his advice via a TechCrunch post.

 

I dug up this old post of mine from 2008 chronicling Paul’s all-nighter in the library. What was the paper topic? Twitter. Maybe he was destined to work there…

 

Here is a quick interview on growth, startups, and the Web. Follow him @stammy

 

What have you been up to? Tell me about your career…

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January 4, 2013, 3:53 pm

SEARCH MORE, PLAN LESS: in defense of 3D printing

Happy 2013. I’ve been intrigued by William Easterly’s searchers/planners philosophy. Here is a good summary:

 

The searcher admits that he or she doesn’t have the answer in advance and he or she takes responsibility for decisions that are made. The searcher conforms to local conditions and searches for local solutions. (UUB)

 

The planner tends to overgeneralize and makes assumptions about how things should be before taking unique conditions into account.

 

I was struck by a dissenting view on the value of 3D printers in libraries. Anytime someone use phrases like mission creep or mission critical to try and squash new ideas then I know they are stuck in functional fixedness. In this view, the role and operation of libraries fits into a nicely defined box and trying to rearrange (or introduce new) components in the box is a challenge because it doesn’t match…

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