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Monday, September 28, 2015

3 Steps for creating a Library Management System like MS SharePoint, EOS Web, and InMagic DB/Text

There are 3 steps for creating a Library Services Platform, a type of library management system.  Breeding stated that a library services platform is “designed to manage both print and digital content, tend to be deployed using cloud computing technologies, and make more use of knowledgebases for more efficient resource management” (–Tech-Review-and-Forecast-for-2013.shtml).
The first step is to define staff (IT and Non-IT) needs.  “There is a gap between the respective skills sets of Non-IT… and IT” (   They both need to “have a clearer understanding of the needs of both sides, how they work and the challenges they face” ( The management (Non-IT) could have an idea but not know the specifics on how to implement it, while the IT Department would know how to implement it but would not know how to explain to management that there could be a better way of saving time, money, and other resources.  Transparency is the key (   “They need to be sure that any changes don’t compromise the safety of the company’s IT systems and business processes” (    Users of the system who are the Non-IT staff would also need to convey what they would need the system to do in their daily work activities.
The second step is to document the method used for the library services platform.  The IT and Non-IT have to be a team in order to plan out this system for their office.  Documentation is needed to show “an IT plan, applications to be developed / bought, functional areas to be covered, priority of tasks and justification for the equipment and software to be bought”  (  This is to avoid wasting time trying to reinvent plans that may have been created but never written down.  This is to avoid chasing people down who worked at past committees for the system in order to see if they remember what they had discussed in the past about how to design the system
The third step is to implement the library services platform.   For over five years, I have created and used a library services platform that allowed college students to follow-up on class assignments by exploring background information about books read in class ( It allowed them to access a virtual experience of the time periods and interact with the people (avatars) in different places.  They could further investigate what they learned by working out specific lessons to further their understanding through online testing with online avatars monitoring their progress.  They could physically print out booklets and reports that would allow them to continue the experience at home (  They could also view the booklets and reports through their smart phones and tablets.   When the students would finish their homework, they would re-group in class and be able to discuss their thoughts with the class, the teacher, and avatars.  The students could ask avatars of famous people about what they had read (
Now, to find a place for me to implement this library services platform further.

Librarians Will Be Forever Needed

Recently, I have encountered many librarians who are worried about libraries becoming bookless (  institutions.  Many have forgotten that libraries are primary centers or repositories for collections of books and any other sources of data to be made available at no cost to the general public.
Over 70 years ago, Vannevar Bush (  proposed “memex”.  This was to be a device about the size of a desk which could store all the books, records, and communications, of an organization, on some type of media from which this data could be retrieved.  Dr. Bush had no means to realize his suggestion.  However, the suggestion was a theoretical proposal for what has become the hypertext system and digitization of data for today’s storage means.  Hence, I view the World Wide Web, the cloud, and all other digitized storage means as adjuncts to the modern library.
I think of the World Wide Web in the same manner as a real estate agent thinks of land.  He or she considers the value of property depending on location, location, location.  The World Wide Web can access a large repository or area for data.  Now, if I live in certain areas of the United States and other parts of the world, I may not be able to access this data, which is a first location problem.  Here we may have to rely on bookmobiles (
During the past week, I attempted to obtain data that I knew could be accessed on the World Wide Web.  I was using a word search engine.  If I had been using a concept search engine, I might have been more successful.  There is a difference between these search engines.  Here, we encounter the second location issue.  At present, there is no perfect way to locate data on the World Wide Web.  Also, all data is not always available to every person. Therefore, human expertise may be necessary to locate items on the web.
As long ago as 20 years ago, I had a professor by the name of Dr. Gary Marchionini (Note this was before the World Wide Web) who taught and suggested a development of a Human Computer Information Retrieval System (
The third location issue deals with the use of the library.  Can it be used for things other than storing books?  The World Wide Web is used for things other than storing or accessing data.  Recently, libraries have begun to publish material ( and have started to lend tools (
An example of why librarians cannot rely only on printed or e-books is the mission to Pluto.  If all goes well, data from that mission will be returning to Earth for about another year.  There will be no printed or e-books about all this data for over a year.    However, a library should have some type of repository that the public can review until the books or papers have been written.  This is also true for comments scholars have recently expressed about literature like the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Bible.  An example of active scholarly discussion that is stored by digital means could be through a digital collaborative website open to scholars in the areas of science, engineering, arts, and humanities (
Platforms, such as Amazon, can give reviews on books but they cannot add the specific human element from a professional librarian’s knowledge and experience.
I believe there will always be paper books and now books in electronic media.  At present, I believe and can attest to the fact that paper books appear to sell faster than e-books.  Also, I believe that there will always be a place (in and out of libraries) for eclectic and/or generalist librarians who can use, as adjuncts, electronic data sources, printed books, espresso book devices, 3-D printers, virtual reality devices, etc. to assist the public to gather data.

Friday, September 25, 2015

How the Library Deals with Copyright

As we explore the 21st century, we need to realize that the library is composed of paper and digital formats.  The digital books started off as public domain paper documents. On the Internet’s predecessor, Arpanet, Michael Hart created the oldest and largest digital library in 1971.  He named it Project Gutenberg.  It was going to contain all public domain books in electronic format for free to anyone who wanted to download them and read them ( ).  “Its goal, formulated by Mr. Hart, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books” and, by making books available to computer users at no cost, “to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” This digital library now houses more than 30,000 books in 60 languages.  The categories for this library are: “light literature,” “heavy literature” and reference works to the general reader.  It also contains a few copyrighted books that are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner.   Ann Gilliland, one of the professors of the “Copyright for Educators & Librarians  Course”  stated that, “Material that is not in copyright, and or that is not copyrightable, and is free to use, is in the public domain” (Duke University, Emory University & The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
The Copyright Law of the United States, Title 17 of the U.S. Code was created  to protect authors of  literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works (United States Copyright Office website.  Circular #1, “Copyright Basics”).    This covered copies, derivatives, performances, and displays of the authors printed books or audio recordings.  Lisa A. Macklin, from the “Copyright for Educators & Librarians  Course” by Duke University, Emory University & The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stated that “Section 108 is a specific section in copyright law for libraries and for archives.   Copying is made without the purpose of either direct or indirect commercial advantage. So what that means is that either the library or archive doesn’t charge for the copies or, if they do charge for the copies, they charge on a cost recovery basis, meaning they charge to recoup the cost of actually making the copies”.
The library can contain downloadable audiobooks and ebooks for the library customer to use, sometimes depending on availability, at the public library (–ebooks-427).  Espresso Book Machines in the libraries have caused some controversy due to their capability “of printing any PDF file provided by the customer. This enables customers to print anything they desire, regardless of whether it is copyrighted. But there are parameters in place to avoid copyright infringement” (
A library customer can request a book by having the library print a copy from the Espresso Book Machine, if it was available through the EspressNet catalog. The Marriott library purchased an Espresso Book Machine in 2010.  Through this machine the library was able to print a book that was checked out from the library or was not owned by the library.  The library, adhering to copyright fees for newer books, could print newer books for sale to the library customers (

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How do you use ideas from other data repositories (Museum, Archives, and Library Collections) in the 21st Century?

Today, data repositories have been divided into at least three institutions.  They are museums, archives, and libraries.  J. Trant has defined these as “Museums most often have unique collections. Rarity and preciousness remain key to the attraction of their objects; it gives them their aura… Museum collections protect and reserve. Contrast this with public lending libraries, grounded in access and in public literacy.  Their goal is to make materials available; their collections are predominantly books, printed in many copies, inexpensively produced, often weeded regularly. Archives consist of items that are not generally intrinsically valuable but essential as evidence, especially in context.” (
Some of the most famous libraries have been formed as parts of museums.  At one time the British Library was part of the British Museum (  The Great Library of Alexandria “was much more than a library “[i]t “stimulated an intensive editorial program that spawned the development of critical editions, textual exegesis and such basic research tools as dictionaries, concordances and encyclopedias.”…The library in fact developed into a huge research institution comparable to a modern university—containing a center for the collection of books, a museum for the preservation of scientific artifacts, residences and workrooms for scholars, lecture halls and a refectory” ( This library attempted to have all its books translated into Greek (   This brings to mind the effort of Google to “work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers”(  Google has a similar project for images of artwork “which puts more than 1,000 works of art at your fingertips” (
It is noted here the W. Van Alan Clark Jr. Library supports research in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  Other such schools have been mentioned in the above Trant’s article.  Maybe, a community large or small may have a limited budget for libraries and museums.  It might combine its budgets for the two organizations to create a better experience for the community (
By using the Google collection and an espresso book machine, any digitized book in the public domain could be provided to the public in paper.  Such digitized book might also be generated in an electronic form (
This discussion is not an attempt to advocate the elimination of libraries, museums, or archives.  It is only to suggest that a strength of one institution might be investigated to see whether or not it can enhance the operation and functions of another institution.  For a moment, imagine a child, who is interested in dinosaurs, visiting a library.  Suppose there is a virtual reality device like that which is presently being developed on the Android-based Virtual Reality and Google Cardboard VR (  In the library, this would correspond to a museum moment.  Instead of using it for games, it could be used to present the talk about Microsoft virtual reality world of dinosaurs from a digital database (   Further, a 3-D printer could be used to print a copy of the child’s favorite dinosaur.    This could correspond to an archival moment (   Now, the librarian could direct the child to the books on dinosaurs.  At the same time, the parents might be reviewing the limited public domain records present in the library.  All this is possible using present technology as adjunct to what is present in most librarians.  Additional training might be required to create such a union. However, here is suggested a convergence of archives, libraries, and museums.
The ideas expressed above are not simply theories.  The School of information and library science, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is one school which offers a dual degree program to “prepare students to take on professional positions in museums, art libraries, and visual resource centers” (
Fueled by the energies derived from the fusion of two or three of those institutions and maintained by paper and electronic books and records the librarians and archivists could become scholars to inspire minds to go where no other such organization has directed them to before.
How do you use ideas from other data repositories in the 21st Century?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Going where No other Library has gone before Blog's Theme

This will involve an investigation of mobile units, books on-demand machines, and the use of wireless means in the library.

What happens when your collection is weeded too much?

Have you noticed that when it is time to weed your collection, someone has already done some of it for you? The culprit is usually that customer/staff member who never returns a book and the online catalog automatically marks it as missing because it never moves (stolen or lost) or checked-out and never returned.  The rest of your job depends on you removing items from the collection that are incorrect, out-of-date, or damaged.  Sometimes it is difficult to do the weeding when all that is wrong with the items to be weeded is that you need to make space for more pertinent items for the collection.  What if you will need the library materials that you weeded but they are no longer in print or available for purchase?  What if you needed a certain book that you did not know that you needed until a customer walks through the door asking for it?  What if we had a back-up collection that could be stored in digital format?

The Strength of the Collection

Your collection depends on the materials covering the subject areas that are tied to the mission statement for your collection.  Whether they are current or dating back to the 1920’s, it depends as to why the library materials exist in your collection in the first place.  Once you have determined how much these materials make your collection stronger, then you will have to think about your options.  Ashley Eklöf, head librarian of BiblioTech (the first Digital Library in the United States), stated that BiblioTech’s   benefit was its “size. We are able to provide hundreds of thousands of digital items in areas of our country that until two years ago were "library deserts"”.

As libraries go where no libraries have gone before, the next few blogs will attempt to show how digital means can act as an adjunct to assist librarians in performing their jobs and not by replacing them.  One example is replacing lost but needed library materials, from the weeding process, through On Demand Publishing.   Through the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), library patrons can request and print the books they need for projects and avoid “large unused physical collections taking up large spaces within the library” (

“A library card is not needed to use the machine. To print a book, a flash drive is required containing two files: A full-color or black-and-white book cover in .pdf format and a black-and-white interior in .pdf format... Books must be at least 40 and no more than 830 pages” (

Sacramento Public Library offers its community “print-on-demand, self-publishing and writing/publishing classes” (    “The EBM is  a “book robot” that prints, binds and trims quality paperbacks in minutes. A high speed Black & White printer duplicates the inside of the book from the Title Page to the last page while a photo quality printer creates the cover. The EBM then glues the inside to the cover and trims the excess. Once completed a finished perfect-bound book is delivered. Books printed on the EMB are of the same high quality as books printed by any regular publisher” (  

Replacing Weeded or Missing Items

Local authors can print their books at the library and have a copy of their books added to the library’s “Local Authors Collection” (   The library could also replace titles through the EBM’s catalogue of ebook titles (including Google Public Domain Books) (    “[P]eople will use the machine mostly for personal printing, not necessarily books that are going to the library system. However, if people want to publish and sell their books, an international standard book number (ISBN) is required.”

In the future, when a customer wants to look up how to repair a car through, for example, a Chilton Auto Repair Manual, in the public library, libraries might be able to  go further by using 3-D printers to show physical schematics instead of a  two dimensional picture.   

Looking to the Future

In a future blog, I will attempt to give prices for printing books.   I will also discuss public domain and a copyright of books printed by the Espresso Book Machine.