Current Cites

April 2009

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Keri Cascio, Warren Cheetham, Alison Cody, Susan Gibbons, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

"Special Issue: Next Generation OPACs"  Library Hi Tech  27(1)(2009) - "Next Gen OPACs" is an oft-used phrase these days -- at conferences, in hallway conversations, and in the library literature. Thus this special issue is hardly a surprise, but it does have some interesting articles. If you want more information on some next gen library catalogs (I despise the term "OPAC"), the articles on VUFind and Blacklight (two of the systems built on the Solr platform) may be of interest. There are also more conceptual pieces as well as articles on federated searching, e-reserves, statistics, and other topics. Basically, if you're interested in anything related to library resource discovery and use you will probably find something of interest in this issue. - RT

Casden, Jason, Kim  Duckett, and Tito  Sierra, et. al."Course Views: A Scalable Approach to Providing Course-Based Access to Library ResourcesCode4Lib Journal  (6)(20 March 2009)( - The goal was ambitious: to automatically generate library course pages for every course at NCSU. In order to do this, they needed to develop a hierarchy or framework of resources and services with varying degrees of granularity, from the completely generic to subject- and course-specific. Each page then takes the input of the course identifier, such as 'ENG 101' and then populates the page with resources that would be helpful for English Lit at the 100 level. A certain amount of old-style manual customization is also allowed for. The finished pages are then integrated into the Course Management Software. Through this customization and integration with various systems, they've been able to increase usage of library resources. - LRK

Houser, John. "Open Source Public Workstations in Libraries"  Library Technology Reports  (April 2009) - Libraries are always trying to find a balance between their IT budgets and the demand for more and more public access workstations. John Houser takes us through open source systems and products for public access computers for academic and public libraries. He gives a clear synopsis of available open source solutions for operating systems, server software, session management tools, system imaging, desktop applications, and running Windows. Houser introduces us to case studies for three different libraries: one running Linux with open source applications; another sharing a single PC with two to ten people; and the last running open source applications on a server with thin-client software. The article includes a link to an interesting podcast conversation with John Brice which discusses the barriers and benefits for implementing open source software. - KC

Pew Internet & American Life Project. Internet Typology: The Mobile Difference  Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, 25 March 2009.( - Anyone going home on a bus or train is witness to a revolution in technology and access to information: all around are sure to be people using smart-phones or netbooks, people texting each other, sending email and photos, and otherwise accessing the Internet. Now we have a report by the Pew Research Center which reflects pretty much what anyone using public transportation can observe every day: "Cast a glance at any coffee shop, train station or airport boarding gate, and it is easy to see that mobile access to the internet is taking root in our society. Open laptops or furrowed brows staring at palm-sized screens are evidence of how routinely information is exchanged on wireless networks." The report goes on to look at the roll that "mobile internet access" plays in various user groups. It concludes that the tech bar "has risen": "In the past, having tech gear such as broadband at home generally placed people on the cutting edge; that is no longer the case.... Our new study shows that mobile connectivity is the new centerpiece of high-tech life." - LRK

Richardson, Janice, Andrea Milwood  Hargrave, and Basil  Moratille, et. al.The Internet Literacy Handbook  (December 2008)( - The Internet Literacy Handbook is a clear, simple online tool that most internet trainers in library settings could find a use for. This is the third edition updated in December 2008. There are two free online versions (Flash and HTML) and a printed copy may be purchased online. The handbook is aimed at parents, teachers and young people and covers introductory explanations of the world wide web, email, spam and chat, through to blogs, Web 2.0 and e-democracy. Issues like privacy, security and online bullying are also covered. Links to external sites offer further reading. - WC

Taylor, Mark C.O  "End the University as We Know ItThe New York Times  (27 April, 2009)( - This Op-Ed piece from the New York Times is certainly causing quite a stir. Taylor begins with the assertion that "most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market." Graduate programs are little more than a way to harness the work of underpaid graduate students in the laboratories and classrooms of universities. Taylor recommends a 6-step plan to make "higher learning more agile, adaptive and imaginative," which he parallels to the types of significant overhauls needed on Wall Street and in the auto industry. A quick but thought-provoking read. - SG

Xie, B., and J. M.  Bugg. "Public Library Computer Training for Older Adults to Access High-Quality Internet Health Information "  Library & Information Science Research  (2009) - This pre-press article discusses a collaboration between a public library system and a nearby LIS program. Using materials provided by the National Library of Medicine, the project taught older adults how to find high-quality health information online. Participants self-selected into the program, and pre-testing showed that 47% of participants reported no prior experience with computers. The program provided 16 hours of training over two weeks; post-test results showed that the participants had an overwhelmingly positive experience -- 97% reported that they "learned a lot." Analysis of pre- and post-test results also showed that participants' computer anxiety decreased, and interest increased. Many respondents also indicated that they had a more positive view of their library after the training. This program demonstrated that a collaboration between local institutions can greatly benefit both the population being targeted by the training as well as the public library. While many libraries may not be able to work directly with a library school, partnerships with other institutions or community groups could be formed to develop a similar program. - AC