You are here

Feed aggregator

OCLC Dev Network: Developer House Project: "Today in History" Style Holdings Showcase

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-01-23 14:00

We’re excited to start sharing more information about the projects created at Developer House in December. This first project comes to you from: Bilal Khalid, Emily Flynn, Francis Kayiwa, Rachel Maderik, Scott Hanrath, and Shawn Denny.

LITA: What Do You Do With a 3D Printer?

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-01-23 13:00

“Big mac, 3D printer, 3D scanner” by John Klima is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is the first in a series of posts about some technology I’ve introduced or will be introducing to my library. In my mind, the library is a place where the public can learn about new and emerging technologies without needing to invest in them. To that end, I’ve formed a technology committee at our library that will meet quarterly to talk about how we’re using the existing technology in the building and what type of technology we could introduce to the building.

This next two paragraphs have some demographic information so that you have an idea of whom I’m trying to serve (i.e., you can skip them if you want to get to the meat of the technology discussion).

I work at the Waukesha Public Library in the city of Waukesha, the 7th largest municipality in WI at around 72,000 people. We have a a service population of almost 100,000. The building itself is about 73,000 square feet with a collection of around 350,000 items.

Waukesha has a Hispanic population of about 10% with the remainder of our population being predominantly Caucasian. Our public is a pretty even mix across age groups and incomes. Technological interest also runs pretty evenly from early adopters to neophytes.

I’ve wanted a 3D printer forever. OK, only a few years, but in the world of technology a few years is almost forever. I didn’t bring up the idea to our executive director initially because I wasn’t sure I could justify the expense.

As assistant director in charge of technology at the library, I can justify spending up to a few hundred dollars on new technology. Try out a Raspberry Pi? Sure. Pick up a Surface? Go ahead. But spending a few thousand dollars? That felt like it needed more than my whim.

But after those few years went by and 3D printers were still a topic of discussion and I didn’t have one yet, I approached the executive director and our Friends group and got the money to buy a MakerBot Replicator 2 and a MakerBot Digitizer (it was the Digitizer that finally pushed me over the precipice to buy 3D equipment; more on that later).

So we bought the machine, set it up, and started printing a bunch of objects. At first it was just things on a SD card in the printer: a nut-and-bolt set, a shark, chain links, a comb, and a bracelet.

People loved watching the machine work. Particularly when it was making the chain links. They couldn’t understand how it could print interconnected chain links. I tried to explain that it printed in 100 micron thick layers (slightly thinner than a sheet a paper) and it built the objects up one layer at a time which let it make interconnected objects.

It made more sense if you could watch it.

Our young adult librarian starting making plans for her teen patrons. This past October we read Edgar Allan Poe as a community read and she had her teens make story jars of different Edgar Allan Poe stories using objects we printed: hearts, ravens, bones, coffins, etc.

One of our children’s librarians used the printer to enhance a board-game design program he ran. He printed out dice, figures, and markers that the kids could use when designing a game. Then they got to take their game home when they finished it. More recently he printed out a chess set that assembles into a robot for the winner of our upcoming chess tournament.

I printed out hollow jack o’ lanterns that showed a spooky face when you placed a small electric light inside them. When I realized I needed a desk organizer for the 3D printer I printed one instead of buying one.

“Mushroom candy tin and friend” by John Klima is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Now, as for the Digitizer. We’ve tried digitizing objects. To me that was the coolest thing we could do: make copies of physical objects. Unfortunately, the digitizer has worked poorly at best. It cannot handle small objects—things larger than a egg work best—and it cannot scan complicated or dull objects very well.

Our failures include a kaiju wind-up toy, a LEGO Eiffel Tower, and a squishy stressball brain. Our only success was a Mario Bros. mushroom candy tin. That scanned perfectly, but it’s round, shiny, and the perfect size. If you’re considering buying a digitizer, I would think twice about it (honestly, I’d recommend not getting one at this time).

Now the question I ask is: what’s next? The Replicator 2 isn’t the best machine to put out for public use as it would require quite a bit of staff oversight. There are some 3D printers—the Cube printer from 3D Systems for example—that are better suited for public use in my opinion. It’s currently a moot point as we don’t have space in our public area for one at this time, but I think offering one for public use is in our future plans somewhere down the line.

I’d like to use it more for programming in the library. I want to showcase it to the public more. Our technology committee will make plans so that we can do both of those things.

More importantly, what about the rest of you? Who has a 3D printer in their building? Do you use it for staff or public? Do you want to get a 3D printer for your library? What sorts of questions to have about them?

DuraSpace News: Announcing the 2015 VIVO Implementation Fest

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-01-23 00:00

From the VIVO i-Fest Planning Team

We're excited to invite you to the 2015 VIVO implementation Fest (i-Fest) where it doesn't matter if you're a seasoned VIVO aficionado or someone who's just begun to learn about VIVO! 

The i-Fest will be held March 16-18 and is being hosted by the Oregon Health and Science University Library in Portland, Oregon.

District Dispatch: Where the heck did all of these librarians come from?

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-01-22 22:38

We’re taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what’s at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

Today’s topic is transparency, but I chose to write about librarians.

We have a good number of librarians who, beyond a doubt, are copyright geeks, like me. In fact, we call ourselves copyright geeks especially now that the term “geek” has gained such popularity. These are librarians— a few with JDs—who attend conferences like Berkeley Center for Law and Technology Symposium on copyright formalities. Really, who would find “Constraints and flexibilities in the Berne Convention” an attention -grabbing program? (I loved it!!)

What do we do? Crazy things like studying Congressional hearings from the 1970s, citing eBay v. MercExchange at CopyNight, and reading the entire 130-page Hargreaves Digital Economy Report. You can find our hoard at any American Library Association (ALA) conference program, meeting or discussion group that has anything to do with copyright. We make our selves available to the profession, teaching other librarians about copyright, social responsibility and of course, the four factors of fair use. Of course, we do not give legal advice, but we often know more about the copyright law than the typical counsel retained by the library or educational institutions. Yet we are not snobbish. We have our copyright scholar heroes, and we pester them, prizing any new copyright gem of knowledge that they might utter.

The increased interest in copyright is often interconnected with technological advancement and innovation (what else?), and the desire to use technology to the fullest extent – so we can preserve, lend, data mine, and rely on fair use. But way back in the day—yes, the time before the internet— there were librarians with copyright expertise formidable enough to represent library communities across this great nation at U. S. Congressional copyright policy-making since before the Copyright Act of 1976. These librarians were primarily ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) staff. Current staffs at these same associations, along with the staff at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) have formed a coalition, now more than 15 years ago called the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA). We were plodding along before the cooler kids (EFF and Public Knowledge) moved into the copyright neighborhood.

What sets librarian copyright geeks and their associations apart from the cool kids? We have continuing contact with the public, and we talk to them. If a member of the public has a copyright need, we help them. And if this member of the public has issue with government copyright policy, we tell them how to contact their Member of Congress.

Plus we have thousands of association members who believe in civil society and are probably more likely vote in an election. We might be stuck with the librarian stereotype, but on the other hand, our library communities have great trust in us. While it’s true that we don’t have the lobbying resources that large corporations have, and we can’t introduce folks to Angelina Jolie, we hold our own.

So in honor of Copyright Week, all hail the copyright librarians!! (Did you see – we even have a television show!!)

The post Where the heck did all of these librarians come from? appeared first on District Dispatch.


Subscribe to code4lib aggregator