As a tie-in with the Guildford Book Festival last year my library service created a literary walk of Guildford using an online service, Woices. This service is free to use and with it you can add markers to a map containing audio, tags, images and text containing web links. You can link a series of markers together into a contained walk and you can make it available for people to access via the full Woices website, the mobile website and an app. Users can also download the audio files to any device capable of playing mp3 files.
One of the reasons for creating this tour was to try to creatively promote library resources beyond the limits of our library catalogue, but pulling users back to our library services. So, for example, on location markers focusing on Lewis Carroll we linked back to Alice in Wonderland / Through The Looking Glass and Lewis Carroll biographies on our library catalogue.
It was straightforward to set-up:
- Create an account on Woices.
- Take photos of relevant locations.
- Record some audio about why each location is significant (most of our audio markers were less than 1 minute long).
- Use that audio as a transcript for the text description.
- Create markers (known as Echoes) on the in-service map and add the photo, audio file and text to them.
- Add a link back to the library catalogue search results. eg. P.G. Wodehouse link.
- Add keyword tags for each marker. eg Alice Wonderland Lewis Carroll
- Create a Walk and add your Echoes to it. Rearrange them into a logical order to follow.
The walk can be found on the Woices main website; the mobile site; and the app (you’ll need to search for “Guildford literary walk” on the app to find it).
Posted by garygre on April 9, 2013
The independent report of ebook lending in English public libraries has now been published. The link below will take you to the report itself and the government’s response to it.
The key recommendations are:
- The provisions in the Digital Economy Act 2010 that extend PLR to audio books and loans of on-site e-books should be enacted.
- Further legislative changes should be made to allow PLR to take account of remote e-loans.
- The overall PLR pot should be increased to recognise the increase in rights holders.
- A number of pilots in 2013 using established literary events should be set up to test business models and user behaviours, and provide a transparent evidence base: all major publishers and aggregators should participate in these pilots.
- Public libraries should offer both on-site and remote E-Lending service to their users, free at point of use.
- The interests of publishers and booksellers must be protected by building in frictions that set 21st-century versions of the limits to supply which are inherent in the physical loans market (and where possible, opportunities for purchase should be encouraged). These frictions include the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, that digital books could be securely removed after lending and that digital books would deteriorate after a number of loans. The exact nature of these frictions should evolve over time to accommodate changes in technology and the market.
There have already been a number of responses to it from various individuals and organisations (below), mostly welcoming the majority of the report’s recommendations.
I’m not going to comment on it here (please take at look at Voices for The Library response), but I did just want to highlight this section on the opportunities that could come from ebook lending:
For libraries, embracing a digital strategy could give them a better way of communication with their members, helping them to bring a larger footfall into their buildings for events and services. For publishers, digital lending could bring them closer to the book-borrowing and book-buying public. And for writers, the extension of PLR to the digital and audio world would allow for much more accurate financial recognition for the borrowing of their books. If a digital sales platform is developed, as part of a library catalogue, through which local booksellers can be promoted, this may support the development and the sustainability of these retail outlets as part of the local high street.
Posted by garygre on March 28, 2013
http://www.worldcat.org/title/truth-about-publishing/oclc/2811052&referer=brief_results This was an interesting book to flick through for an historical perspective on the relationship between libraries and publishers. It’s not all focused on that relationship specifically, but there are a few snippets. Particular areas that caught my interest were: The value of public libraries in providing light entertainment to the masses. Legal deposit and Copyright Act. Efforts made by authors to bring in the Public Lending Right payment.
Posted by garygre on March 26, 2013
I wanted to give a mention to one of my favourite news search engines that I’ve been using for some time now – NewsNow.co.uk. It’s straightforward to use – type your search into a box and it gives you a list of news items from across the world matching that search.
Reasons why I find it so useful include:
- It’s got a wide resource coverage and picks up more local and international news than other news search engines I’ve tried.
- It doesn’t focus on high ranking news stories only.
- Each news item appears with a little flag for the country of origin against it, so I know which part of the world the article is focused on.
- You can choose to hide results from specific publications – this is useful to me as I’m generally focusing on UK related news and I hide a lot of international publications. There is however a limit to the number of publications you can hide.
- The search results will indicate if any results are hidden and the number of results hidden.
- If you set up an account it will remember which publications you’ve asked it to hide.
- If you set up an account you can save your favourite searches.
- It’s got a decent mobile version of the site too.
- It’s quick – a few other news search engines I’ve tried have been incredibly slow at retrieving results.
The only area it falls down on (for my use) is lack of sharing options of results, including the fact that the search results aren’t available as RSS feeds. However if you’ve got a sharing widget on your internet browser or you have a smart phone with sharing options most of the sharing issues can be overcome apart from the results RSS feed.
Posted by garygre on March 15, 2013
When discussing ebook use in libraries I was reminded by @ShedSue of Google Trends. This service allows you to enter keywords/search terms and presents you with statistics about how commonly those keywords are used in Google searches. Sue had already presented some stats on ebooks using it, but I put together a rough report of keywords that people might use when looking for ebooks in the UK, focusing on “ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks”; “free ebooks”; “library ebooks” searches. I really wanted to see how commonly the phrase “library ebooks” featured ie how often people searched for that phrase compared to the others – it didn’t do very well. In fact it came a distant last to all of the other keyword searches.
The Google Trends report for each of the keyword searches also provided a list of related keywords that people searched for as well as that keyword. eg When people searched for “ebooks” they also searched for the following:
- ebooks free
- ebooks download
- ebooks kindle
- ebooks for free
- free books
- amazon ebooks
- ebooks uk
- free ebook
Alongside these related keywords the report also featured “Rising searches” ie those related keyword searches that were increasing in popularity. eg For “ebooks” they were:
- amazon ebooks
- ebooks kindle
- kindle ebooks free
- ebooks for free
- ebooks uk
- pdf ebooks
- ebooks download
- free books
In all of the related keyword and rising search results for ”ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks” and “free ebooks”, the thing that struck me the most was that the keyword “library” didn’t appear once. ”free” did, plenty of times. – but no sign of “library”.
Also, even though related and rising search results from the “library ebooks” search retrieved phrases containing the word “library” in them, there were still plenty of references to other non-library searches that highlighted people were also searching for similar keywords/phrases used in the other 3 searches. However, when searching in the other 3 ways (“ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks” and “free ebooks”) people didn’t automatically consider searching for the phrase “library ebooks”.
So, it appears that even though people in the UK are looking for ebooks via the internet, they’re not really considering libraries as a place to find them. If they were wouldn’t we see “library ebooks” appearing in the related keyword search lists?
If we are to develop ebook services in UK libraries shouldn’t we be aiming to push “library ebooks” higher up those related keyword search lists? The higher it is, the more likely our ebook library services will feature in Google search results and the more we will draw people to our library websites and to the many other library services we have on offer alongside our ebook services.
The report I pulled together can be found here.
Here’s a live link to the Google Trends page these searches generated.
Disclaimer: These are just initial thoughts off the top of my head and any further input on this would be appreciated.
Posted by garygre on March 7, 2013
“More Library Mashups” call for submissions
The editor of Library Mashups, Nicole Engard, has issued a call for submissions for the 2nd edition of the book. For more information please follow the link.
The submission form will close on 20th March 2013 and decisions will be made by 1st May 2013.
Posted by garygre on March 6, 2013
I attended Library Camp London yesterday. It was an informal unconference style gathering held at Senate House Library and over 100 people attended. The participants were from all sectors of the library world – academic, health, public, specialist, business – as well as library students and others interested in libraries. For more information about it take a look at the event wiki. The idea behind unconference events is that anyone can propose a session they’d like to run on the day and those attending chose the sessions they want to attend. Sessions pitched for the day included discussions around librarian personalities, Code Clubs in libraries, speed networking, design your own library qualification, radical libraries, the future of librarianship in a digital age, librarians without libraries, rhyme time. Many of the sessions involved discussion and information sharing. I ran one focused on finding out about online services that require no programming, are free and freely accessible via the internet, look good & can help my library service promote our resources in new ways beyond the library catalogue, whilst at the same time drawing library users back to our services. I found it a useful to session to run and I came away with a few ideas for possible future project.
I also attended sessions focusing on Code clubs; Maintaining the organisational vision; Librarian personality; and Speed networking. Out of these the ones I attended the Vision & Librarian Personality sessions were the ones that got me thinking the most. Here are some of the ideas that cropped up during those sessions.
- Organisational vision needs to be in focus all the time to ensure that everybody is working towards that vision. The message needs to be visible at all times.
- Contact with your end user is important in making sure that the vision meets their needs as well as the organisations needs.
- Appraisal goals are useful ways of ensuring that you keep focused on the vision of the organisation.
- You not only have to focus on the organisations vision, but also those areas that influence your library service.
- An organisations vision may be at odds with the overarching ethos/vision of libraries, with the library vision coming off second best.
- It was interesting that many of the people in the session considered themselves to be extroverts, but common stereo-types paint library staff as introverted.
- Does the route people took to get into the library profession tie in with their personality traits? eg if you come at librarianship from a love of data and information is this reflected in your personality?
- Do different types of library work suit different personalities types?
- Why are librarians so worried about what others think of them?
- Does the removal of the word librarian from job title hide the true value of how much librarians contribute to society?
- I thought of how some humourous library staff videos seem like an attempt to persuade others that library staff aren’t like the stereo-type and I thought at how I’m embarrassed by some of these videos. At the same time thought of the Betty Glover Librarian Workout video, which made me smile.
I do regret missing a few of the other sessions, including “I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords”; Rhyme Time; Radical Libraries; Library Assistants role; Design your own library qualification; “What if the world were ruled by librarians?” I’m hoping that the sessions will be written up and available on the wiki, so I can catch up with them.
Finally, I wanted to say that it was a really enjoyable and worthwhile event and I got to chat to loads of people. Even though I was involved in organising it, the bulk of the organisation was undertaken by Senate House Library staff, particularly Andrew Preater and David Clover – so huge thanks to them for making it such a great event.
More details of the day can be found on this wiki page.
Posted by garygre on March 3, 2013
I read this blog post (Accepting Criticism) by Carl Clayton earlier, which was focused on recent responses to an author’s criticism of libraries.
The following is the response I posted on Carl’s blog. As I said at the end of my response, it’s more of a comment on a side issue raised by his post.
The thought that keeps popping into my head (and this post has caused it pop up again) is that library staff and/or campaginers don’t have a common agreement around the purpose of public libraries. I’m not talking about a divide between library staff or campaigners, by the way. As you’ve highlighted, some people will argue that libraries should be places of learning and steer clear of popular fiction? Other people will suggest that ebooks don’t have a place in libraries and that we should continue to focus on the printed book. Super central libraries are the focus for some people and others see the benefits of more smaller libraries focusing on a local communities specific needs. Should we be building on technology as much as we are? Should we be trying to re-define the purpose of the library, or is the current core-purpose of the library sufficient and people just need reminding of it? Should libraries be places where content is created, or should they solely be for accessing content? Should we try to be more like bookshops? I imagine (from conversations I’ve had, speakers I’ve heard and articles and blog posts I’ve read) there are plenty who would argue for/against each of these ideas, and I wonder that while we have such a wide range of ideas amongst us how we can move on with some sort of agreed purpose for public libraries?
I suppose this comment is more of an aside to your blog post, but as those thoughts popped into my head again whilst reading it, I thought I’d share.
Posted by garygre on February 25, 2013