Current Cites

December 2014

Edited by Roy Tennant

http://currentcites.org/2014/cc14.25.12.html

Contributors: Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant


Breeding, Marshall. "Library Technology Forecast for 2015 and BeyondComputers in Libraries  34(10)(December 2014): 22+. (http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/dec14/Breeding--Library-Technology-Forecast-for-2015-and-Beyond.shtml). - Breeding has made a career out of charting the integrated library system market, and therefore is properly placed for reviewing 2014 and making predictions about what 2015 might hold for library systems vendors. "Relentless consolidation" was a feature of 2014 Breeding asserts, with a number of companies being bought out by other vendors. Breeding sees opportunities for linked data, with the Library of Congress developing BIBFRAME as a replacement for MARC. Other topics noted as likely to have an impact on 2015 are the increase of mobile use and the need to take that into account in library systems and services, 3D printing and makerspaces in libraries, and near field communication. - RT

Henry, Charles J, and Elliott  Shore. "Tenets of the Liberal Arts: Complex Thinking in the Digital AgeEDUCAUSE Review Online  (10 November 2014)(http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/tenets-liberal-arts-complex-thinking-digital-age). - Liberal arts and, to a certain extent, libraries are at the center of this look at the value of recent innovations in online technology. New things, the authors argue, ought not to let us forget the lessons of the past. Certain values do carry over. MOOCs for example might be fine for packaging 'known information' but they may not promote the kind of necessary intellectual development afforded by alternative methods. On the other hand, projects that 'represent key facets of the academic cycle of knowledge' may be more helpful. The alternative is a mess of online data resembling nothing so much as 'a disorderly, junky trade magazine of the 1950s'. - LRK

Online Computer Library Center. Advancing Together: Annual Report 2013-14  Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2014.(https://www.oclc.org/en-US/annual-report/2014/worldcat.html). - OCLC’s annual reports are available on their Web page all the way back to the first one in 1968, when they were the Ohio College Library Center, and the annual report was a typewritten document of 12 pages. In the 1980’s, the format progressed to color photographs with printable fonts, and this year moved to the first version entirely viewable as Web pages, although a .pdf document is also available. New uses of engaging graphic design make the inevitable lists of facts and figures more pleasant to review and easier to absorb than plain tables, graphs or charts. OCLC relates their activities to positive outcomes for libraries in three sections labeled “Explore,” “Share” and “Magnify.” “Explore” covers OCLC research and library trends, while “Share” reviews data and services. “Magnify” talks about the impact on libraries of initiatives like Geek the Library, Outside the Box, WebJunction, WorldCat Works, and OCLC's partnerships with publishers and other companies. While busy front line librarians may have found a 42-page report packed with figures difficult to fit into their schedules in the past, a Web format broken up into manageable “chunks” makes this valuable information more easily accessible to staff in all libraries at every level. - NN

Young, Scott, W. H. "Improving Library User Experience with A/B Testing: Principles and ProcessWeave: Journal of Library User Experience  1(1)(2014)(http://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/weave/12535642.0001.101?view=text;rgn=main). - Internet design concepts and technologies are constantly and rapidly evolving. To keep up, libraries must find ways to incrementally re-design Web pages, their critical front doors to online services. A/B testing is one method to keep your Web page in a state of “perpetual beta,” or, as sometimes referred to in the business world, continuous quality improvement. In use even before the computer age for new product testing, the concept migrated to e-commerce as a way to solve very specific and narrowly defined design problems. The tester first identifies a known design problem, and then presents users with one or more alternatives, also known as A/B/n to represent n number of testable choices. As long as the limits of A/B testing are clearly understood, it can be a useful tool in combination with more comprehensive UX design methods such as usability testing, user interviews, or ethnographic studies. - NN