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Terry Reese: MarcEdit 6.0 Update

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-18 02:20

List of changes below:

** Bug Fix: Delimited Text Translator: Constant data, when used on a field that doesn’t exist, is not applied.  This has been corrected.
** Bug Fix: Swap Field Function: Swapping control field data (fields below 010) using position + length syntax (example 35:3 to take 3 bytes, starting at position 35) not functioning.  This has been corrected.
** Enhancement: RDA Helper: Checked options are now remembered.
** Bug Fix: RDA Helper: Abbreviation Expansion timing was moved in the last update.  Moved back to ensure expansion happens prior to data being converted.
** Enhancement: Validator error message refinement.
** Enhancement: RDA Helper Abbreviation Mapping table was updated.
** Enhancement: MarcEditor Print Records Per Page — program will print one bib record (or bib record + holdings records + authority records) per page.
** Bug Fix: Preferences Window: If MarcEdit attempts to process a font that isn’t compatible, then an error may be thrown.  A new error trap has been added to prevent this error.

You can get the new download either through MarcEdit’s automatic update tool, or by downloading the program directly from:


Library Tech Talk (U of Michigan): Building a Better Scanner: Library IT and Student Engagement

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-18 00:00

Here at the U-M Library, we’re committed to identifying opportunities for engagement between Library staff and students. But identifying these opportunities can be difficult for our Library’s IT unit since we’re not involved with students as part of our day-to-day work. How do we as tech professionals engage with the student community?

DuraSpace News: VIVO Harvester: New Updates from Symplectic

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-18 00:00

From Michael Metcalf, Communications Officer, Symplectic

London, UK  Symplectic has been a supporter of the VIVO project for many years. Back in 2011, we developed an open-source VIVO harvester, to allow the feeding of information into VIVO profiles using the rich data captured by our flagship software, Elements. It’s available to fork on our Github page.

District Dispatch: Defend library funding: the time is now!

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 21:30

Photo by Victor Dubreuil

Are you letting the opportunity to defend library and literacy funding slip by? Are you expecting others to call on Congress to fund our vital programs?

Now is the time for ALA members to make the case for continued funding of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Strong support at the beginning of the Appropriations discussion on Capitol Hill sets the tone now as Appropriators seek programs to reduce funding for and/or eliminate.

We cannot let this happen. Several letters are circulating among Members of Congress supporting these programs and we need to ensure as many Members of Congress as possible add their names to these letters. It is imperative this week that Members of Congress show support for continued funding for these important programs.

ALA members must contact their Senators and Representative this week and ask their boss to sign these letters. Staff from your Congressional offices must contact the staff members listed below to let them know their boss will sign the letters. The deadline for House letters is Friday while Senate letters are due early next week.

Please take a few minutes and contact your Members of Congress. You can find their contact information and talking points at our action center.

  • LSTA Letter – The Library Services and Technology Act is the primary source of federal funding for libraries in the federal budget. The bulk of the program is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  •  IAL Letter – The Innovative Approaches to Literacy ensures children and schools in underserved communities have access to books and other reading material and services. Through IAL programs, children are better prepared to succeed in high school, college, and in 21st century jobs.

The post Defend library funding: the time is now! appeared first on District Dispatch.

Nicole Engard: SxSW: Moonshots and Reality

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 19:49

Dr. Astro Teller was our final keynote of the conference.

Astro created his second company in 1999 to take advantage of the future of wearables – BodyMedia. They designed a vest that would be used as an EKG. As an afterthought they brought people in to ask what they though of it – the interviews did not go well – and so we never saw this vest. The mistake they made was asking people what they though last instead of first. The longer you work on something the more you don’t really want to know what the world is going to tell you – you have to rush out there as fast as you can and as often as you can to get that info. In addition to getting this painful news from reality you have to find a way to use it.

The lesson failing at the beginning is what he has taken with him to Google X and the bumps and scrapes that it takes to improve is something we all share as life experiences. So today Astro is going to tell us what he’s learned and how he’s learned it at Google X.

Moonshots mean that they are shooting for things that are 10x better – not incremental improvement. They are trying to produce items with real value – they embraced failure before deciding if they were going to take a moonshot. You have to make a ton of mistakes if you want to make great progress. All the bumps and scrapes have been well worth it. Some of the examples that he’s about to give us can be used to help us all with our experiments.

One of the projects out of Google X is Project Loon. “Project Loon looks to use a global network of high-altitude balloons to connect people in rural and remote areas who have no Internet access at all.” The problem in the beginning was that they didn’t want these balloons to fly in to a territory they weren’t allowed in. So what they did was design their first balloons to fail so that they didn’t have to deal with that issue. That allowed them to work on other areas of the project without having to worry about creating an international incident. Now they can fly their balloons 10-20 kilometers away to where they want it to go – up until then those they had to teach the balloons how to sale and how to destroy themselves so that if they went somewhere they weren’t supposed to go they could be destructed.

Another example is the self driving car. If you could build a car that was safer than humans it would solve so many problems. When they started they didn’t have the list of 10 thousand things they’d need to make this car actually work. Making that list though was the hardest part of this process and there was no other way to make this list then by going out there in to the world. One example was that their car came across a lady in a motorized wheelchair in the middle of the road with a broom trying to shoo a duck out of the street – the car needed to stop for this event and there was no way that the they would have envisioned that scenario if they hadn’t gone out there in the world.

Google Glass is another example – they wanted to get the prototypes out quickly to a wide range of people so they could see how it was used and where it was used. They made one great decision and one not so great decision with Google Glass. The great one is that they got the glass out there. What they did not do well was that they got too much attention on the product – what they wanted to say was that this was an early prototype and was out there as a beta test. The problem is that the world saw it as a finished product when it was not that. They needed to prevent it from getting to be as loud a conversation as it got.

The key from these stories is that you have to prototype your tool – beta test it – you’re never going to get the right answer sitting in a conference room.

Project Wing is Google’s project for delivering things by self flying vehicles. They tried to find a vehicle that existed already that they could use, but they couldn’t find any out there. The decided they would build their own device. Even though 80% of the team knew it was the wrong answer after a year and a half they didn’t want to admit that. They wanted to get out in to the real world and test things. They were able to do 9 deliveries to Googlers and got proof that the device was wrong. This means that they were able to come back to the office and start designing a new vehicle.

Next a story of failing to fail … Project Makani. It’s an energy kite used to harness the wind. The higher up you are the more wind you have and the more power you get. The problem is that the towers you see are huge and you have to spend a ton to to build, move and put one of these up. The new kite tower weighs only 1% of the towers we’re used to seeing. So for the testing the team picked the windiest place possible – the speed and the direction of the wind can change in seconds. While they learned a ton – they did not fail – they never crashed one device like they thought they should. The team felt that they failed because they didn’t fail – there is magic in that.

Going back to the car … they thought they were ready in 2012 when their had Google employees using the cars. That car required human interaction to do things like exit and pay attention. They learned pretty quickly though that the only way was to have the car drive itself because the theory that humans can be a reliable backup for the system is a total fallacy. People do really stupid things when driving – they do really stupid things when driving for real – and when the they started to trust the system they really just let go of all reason.

All that said Astro doesn’t feel that he could have avoided the mistakes – he wishes that they had made the mistakes faster so that they could have learned faster. And he hopes that we can take away from his stories and set ourselves up for creative/productive failure.

The post SxSW: Moonshots and Reality appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. SxSW: Fixing Transportation with Humanity & Technology
  2. SxSW: Magical UX and the Internet of Things
  3. Self Driving Cars

Nicole Engard: SxSW: Media, Tech and What’s Next

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 18:15

Pete Cashmere from Mashable was here to update us on tech.

Pete says that there is no excuse for media companies to not be involved in tech – enter Mashable Velocity. This is a tool in the Mashable app that predicts what’s trending in news.

While this technology is cool, it’s not going to replace the humans in news – we still need people to go out and get the new stories. We us AI learn about what’s going on on the web, it can learn patterns and it can learn from language – but it can’t write the story for you yet. Being successful on the web today requires that you’re “pro-human”. Human expression, creativity and human are all things that you can’t automate. Velocity can start the conversation, but it can’t tell the story.

Mashable wants to be your most faithful Facebook friend and your most trusted social network connection. They want to be your friend but they want to be trusted. Mashable wants to be accessible and approachable and still be reliable. Their target audience is the digital generation. The bulk of their audience is in the millennial group – but they see it as more of an attitude than an age group! I love that – I’m not a millennial but I do relate to a lot of the characteristics of a millennial.

Pete is a huge fan of Meerkat – live tweeting video (an article about Meerkat at SxSW). This is a new side of reporting. It’s important to not focus on making this perfect though – the beauty of it is that it feels human. Snapchat is another tool that Mashable uses a bunch. Facebook is joining the video realm and Mashable is using that tool too. They keep in mind that there are different ways to tell stories on each of these platforms and you have to keep that in mind.

We’re in an era of video – people want to see more video now and are producing more video. Mashable is going to head in this direction – produce more video. It’s way more obvious when you do video who you are – they want their videos to be fun and sharable. We’ll probably see in 3 to 5 years that most media companies are producing a majority of their content in video – it’s going to be a huge trend because it’s an easy medium to view on our mobile devices. (I’d argue that I don’t always have my headphones with me and so I don’t watch video when I’m mobile – I prefer to read).

When asked who the competition for Mashable was Pete said it depends on the platform. On Facebook they’re competing with your friend’s baby photos and on Twitter they’re competing with other news reporting outlets. Media has changed so much – you used to only consume media watching the news at night – but now you can be in line at the store reading news on your phone. People are consuming news in so many new places – and it’s all because of mobile. Mobile is making it so that media companies have to tell their stories more succinctly – writing/producing for the medium.

The post SxSW: Media, Tech and What’s Next appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

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  2. SxSW: Behind the Social at WGBH
  3. SxSW: End to Brogramming: How Women are Shaping Tech

Harvard Library Innovation Lab: Link roundup March 17, 2015

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 17:54

This is the good stuff.

Zipper robots could dress you

Zipper bots. Want. Could be handy on the ski slopes or on the bike.


A good companion to the article on phonetically balanced sentences.


A good companion to the article on phonetically balanced sentences.

The “Harvard Sentences” Secretly Shaped the Development of Audio Tech

It’s easy to tell the depth of a well.

Karuna, Sweden, Has a Playground Made Entirely of Snow and Ice – CityLab

This would have been perfect on campus this winter.

modulator | metaflop

An easy online tool for creating simple typefaces

Nicole Engard: SxSW: We’re All Related. The (Big) Data Proves It

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 17:01

AJ Jacobs, Joanna Mountain and Katarzyna Bryc were on the panel this morning titled “SxSW: We’re All Related. The (Big) Data Proves It” Joanna and Katarzyna are from 23andMe the makers of a DNA test for genetics. AJ is not a scientist like his fellow panelists but he is an author interested in research.

AJ got into this because he got an email one day saying “you don’t know me but I’m your 12th cousin”. He of course thought it was a hoax, but he looked in to it and found that this gentleman was actually part of a group who is creating the biggest family tree – right now there are 270 million people linked together on this tree. This got him in to genealogy and it’s a thrilling era for this type of research. One reason is DNA testing and the second reason is the Internet. I can confirm this – this is how I found most of my family between sites like Ancestry and Geni and FamilySearch and then social networks. With these sites it seems likely that in a few years we’ll have one giant tree connecting us to everyone on earth.

AJ found that he’s linked to Gwyneth Paltrow as his 16th cousin. Judge Judy is AJ’s 6th cousin 4 times removed. He’s even related to Barack Obama in some insane way that I couldn’t write down and George Bush and Daniel Radcliffe and so many others.

23andMe is a service where you can send them your DNA and they will show you the breakdown of where you came from and list for you a list of hundreds of people who are related to you. They will also tell you what branch of the huge family you are on. Unfortunately AJ found that he is related to his wife – but in reality we’d all find the same thing.

We’re only 10 minutes in and I want to get one of these kits for everyone in my family and see what it turns up!!

AJ feels that we treat our family better than strangers and this research will show that we’re all related and will be bad news for bigots. AJ has decided to throw the biggest family reunion in history – it’s in New York on June 6th. There will be speakers, classes, and games for all the cousins. If you can’t attend in New York you can participate in branch parties or contribute to the IndieGoGo campaign.

Joanna was up next to talk to us about what 23andMe does. Joanna showed us how DNA is the same in a family and explained how they use this technology to find out how much DNA we all share with each other. 850,000 people have been tested and your DNA is compared to all of those people. You can also allow 23andMe to share your info if you want with your cousins so that you can contact each other.

Other than learning that we have new cousins – what can we learn from all of this? Sometimes we don’t have our family stories due to a loss or a lie or a disease and Joanna shared stories with us of people were got connected to their families who had stories of their own to share.

Katarzyna was up to talk to us about the numbers and the big data. She started with a lot of math! If every family had just 2 children you would have 1024 5th cousins. As you go back in time you have more and more cousins and maybe you do or don’t share DNA with. In 23andMe the typical customer has 2556 cousins.

So, how much DNA do you need to share to be cousins? You have to have a certain segment of DNA in common to be cousins – but people who are cousins may not have the DNA to prove it. DNA is quite clear on who our first cousins are, but it’s harder as you get further out. The best way to do this is to get a bunch of your cousins tested.

I had a chance to ask the panel about data sharing. While I don’t want my DNA to be open sourced – I do want it shared across multiple genealogy DNA services. I pay for for example to do research and I was going to use their DNA service, but it sounds like 23andMe has a better service that won’t be linked to my Ancestry account. The answer was that these services are all silos at this time and each offers a different service. Apparently people will submit their DNA to multiple services (which for me seems like it would get expensive). I’d love to see some service that shared information across services in a secure fashion.

After this talk I think I’m going to start a saving account just to get this info and I’m going to share this story with my family because I would love for us to share as much info as possible so that maybe I can connect to my family in Italy because as of now I’ve hit a wall in the paper only research method. Right now most of the customers for 23andMe are living in the US so I might hit a wall in genetic research as well.

The post SxSW: We’re All Related. The (Big) Data Proves It appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

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  3. Library Related Conferences

LITA: LITA President’s Program with Lou Rosenfeld

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 16:51

The Library User Experience Crossroads:
a dialogue with Lou Rosenfeld

Join us in San Francisco during the ALA Annual Conference at the LITA Awards Presentation & LITA President’s Program, when LITA President Rachel Vacek welcomes Lou Rosenfeld to present on the latest cutting edge issues of concern to technology librarians.

Sunday, June 28, 2015, 3:00 – 4:00pm
Location to be announced on the ALA Schedule soon

You’ve heard a lot about—and maybe even tried to do something—about user experience. And naturally, you have questions. Do librarians have an edge when it comes to UX, or are we behind UX’s other feeder disciplines? Why is UX research so important for libraries? Can libraries even afford to provide good experiences these days? Lou Rosenfeld sits squarely at the intersection of UX and librarianship (and hopes not to get run over). He is a former librarian who many consider one of the “fathers of information architecture” and who now publishes books on user experience. He’ll tackle your questions with moderation from LITA President Rachel Vacek—and may even answer some.

Lou Rosenfeld has been instrumental in helping establish the fields of information architecture and user experience, and in articulating the role and value of librarianship within those fields. Lou is co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (O’Reilly; 4th edition to be published in 2015) and Search Analytics for Your Site (Rosenfeld Media, 2011), co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute and the Information Architecture Summit and Enterprise UX conferences, and a former columnist for Internet World, CIO, and Web Review magazines.

Lou founded the ground-breaking information architecture consultancy Argus Associates in the early 1990s. As an independent consultant, he has helped a variety of large and highly-political enterprises make their information more findable, including Caterpillar, PayPal, Ford, AT&T, the Centers for Disease Control, Accenture, and the NCAA. Lou now manages Rosenfeld Media, which publishes some of the best-loved books in user experience, produces UX events, and equips UX teams with coaching and training.

Follow Lou @louisrosenfeld

Hydra Project: Hydra-head 9.1.0 and 9.1.1 released

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 09:15

We’re pleased to announce that hydra-head 9.1.0 and 9.1.1 have been released.

Version 9.1.0 brings support for Blacklight 5.10. See the upgrade guide here:

Version 9.1.1 fixes policy based access controls. They were not working in hydra-head 9 due to using incorrect Solr queries.

Thanks to Justin Coyne for the work.

Casey Bisson: Hasselblad Dating

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 08:11

Hasselblad Historical and Blue Moon Camera both offer this table to translate Hasselblad serial numbers to year of manufacture:

  • V = 1
  • H = 2
  • P = 3
  • I = 4
  • C = 5
  • T = 6
  • U = 7
  • R = 8
  • E = 9
  • S = 0

That should work for both the body and film magazines, though there are some exceptions noted in the comments at Blue Moon Camera:

Keep in mind if you have an EL or EL/M there will be a third letter, indicating motor driven. (“E” for electric)…I believe this is true up to 1978 or so….and they may have used a W for the superwide bodies.

Dating the Zeiss lenses is a different matter, though. For lenses prior to 1980, a three or four digit date code is stamped at the back of the lens, just inside the mount. The last two digits represent the month, the first one or two digits represent the number of years after 1957. Hasselblad Historical has more detail on how to find the number and how to read lenses manufactured in 1980 and later.

According to all that, my kit was assembled from parts as old as 1963:

  • Body, UPE = 1973
  • Magazine, TT = 1966
  • Lens, 604 = April 1963

DuraSpace News: Northeast Fedora User Group Meeting at Yale, May 11-12

planet code4lib - Tue, 2015-03-17 00:00

From Michael Friscia, Manager, Digital Library Programming, Yale University Library

LITA: 2015 LITA/Library Hi Tech Award goes to David Walker

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 21:04

David Walker has been named the winner of the 2015 LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Outstanding Communication in Library and Information Technology.

Emerald Group Publishing, and, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) sponsor the award that recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions for their long-term contributions in the area of Library and Information Science technology and its application.

Walker is being recognized for his dedication and commitment in developing open source library portal application Xerxes over the past decade. Originally designed as an improved interface to the Ex Libris Metalib federated search system in 2004, Xerxes now supports a variety of back-end search engines, including commercial library discovery systems, such as Primo, EDS, Summon, non-cost web service (EBSCO Integration Toolkit, Worldcat API), and other search engines (Solr, Google Appliance). Through this effort, Walker has worked with a variety of vendors to develop and test their application programming interfaces, and has been recognized by OCLC and Ex Libris for innovative uses of their services. In 2007 Walker released the system under an open source license, and today, Xerxes platform is implemented by over 40 institutions around the globe, with some also contributing code back to the project.

Walker says, “These days, academic libraries are increasingly opting for hosted discovery systems and library services platforms. It’s still vitally important that libraries retain responsibility for the interfaces we present users, and explore new and creative ways to integrate library content and services into learning management systems and other online spaces, which cannot be easily achieved by vendor discovery systems or services platforms. Xerxes continues to provide a flexible and open source platform to explore such projects, regardless of the underlying discovery system or library services platform.”

Currently, Walker serves as Director of Systemwide Digital Library Services at the California State University (CSU), Office of the Chancellor. In this capacity, he oversees a systemwide discovery system, link resolver, and institutional repository service for all 23 CSU campuses. His recent work has focused on moving the CSU libraries from a disparate and disconnected set of local ILS and ERM systems toward a consortium library services platform, as well as exploring integration of library systems and services with learning management systems.

Walker received his MLIS from UCLA. As a librarian, programmer, and interface designer, he has led and contributed to a number of open source initiatives in the library community, including developing scripts, plugins, and interface designs for the SFX link resolver, Innovative ILS systems, and other library services.

The Library and Information Technology Association and Emerald, the publisher of Library Hi Tech, are pleased to present the 2015 LITA/Library Hi Tech Award to David Walker for his outstanding contributions to communication in library science and technology. The award will be presented during Sunday Afternoon with LITA on June 28, 2015, at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

About LITA

Established in 1966, LITA is the leading organization reaching out across types of libraries to provide education and services for a broad membership including systems librarians, library administrators, library technologists, library schools, vendors and many others interested in leading edge technology and applications for librarians and information providers. For more information about LITA go to, or contact the LITA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4268; or e-mail:

About Emerald

Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,500 books and book series volumes. It also provides an extensive range of value-added products, resources and services to support its customers’ needs. Emerald is COUNTER 4 compliant. Emerald is also a partner of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archive preservation. It also works in close collaboration with a number of organizations and associations worldwide.

Question and Comments

Mary Taylor
Executive Director
Library & Information Technology Association (LITA)
(800) 545-2433 ext 4267

Open Library Data Additions: Amazon Crawl: part ha

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 21:02

Part ha of Amazon crawl..

This item belongs to: data/ol_data.

This item has files of the following types: Data, Data, Metadata, Text

Cynthia Ng: Using MarcEdit to Populate (Sub)fields Using Data from Fixed Fields

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 20:42
Was supposed to post this last week, but didn’t actually have time. Big thanks to Terry Reese (MarcEdit developer) who helped me over twitter of all things. While not the most complicated, I just couldn’t find any documentation on this, so here it is. Use Case In my case, I wanted to populate the language … Continue reading Using MarcEdit to Populate (Sub)fields Using Data from Fixed Fields

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for March 16, 2015

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them

  • LINE Free Calls & Messages

Digest powered by RSS Digest

The post Bookmarks for March 16, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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Nicole Engard: SxSW: Fixing Transportation with Humanity & Technology

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 19:50

Today’s keynote was given by Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of Lyft. Logan spent most of his life growing up in LA surrounded by traffic. The idea for Lyft came to him while in Zimbabwe where community members often car pool to get places. Lyft is currently in 65 cities in the US.

Lyft introduced Magic Mode for SxSW where you might get a ride in a fancy car. Most of the people in the room have tried Lyft (I have not … might have to give it a try next time I go to the airport). Logan started with the story of Lyft. LA (where he grew up) were built around automobiles – whereas older cities are built around people. He got tired of seeing cars around him with 4 empty seats – if people were sharing rides it would help with the traffic problem. He decided to perform an experiment and go without a car for a while and see what options he had.

He was on a transportation board in Santa Barbara for 3 years and tried to fix public transportation – but he didn’t get anywhere. In Zimbabwe there is no public transportation – the government doesn’t provide it at least. The community built it’s own network. People would buy small buses and create route on their own. This city had a better system than Santa Barbara – a much more affluent city. This lead to the creation of Zimride – a web based ride-sharing service – you’d post your route and how many seats you had and what you wanted to charge per seat. The problem was that when people want transportation they want it now – this worked well for college kids looking for a ride home on weekends.

He wanted to make a transportation service that was so good you didn’t need to own a car – and Zimride wasn’t meeting that need. Soon after everyone started to carry around smart phones. This was the birth of Lyft. They decided to do background checks and put all these safeguards in place to make Lyft even safer than getting a taxi. Most importantly – where does the pink mustache come from? They come from Carstache another company that created them – Lyft originally ordered a few for fun for the office. They were looking for a way to show that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and they decided to hand them out to every driver. In the end the drivers actually started using them and were excited to use them. It turned out that the mustaches didn’t weather too well so they had to come up with a new option.

Uber has a different vision for the world. Uber is a car service. Lyft’s vision for the world is to make car ownership unnecessary. They are not trying to make a new taxi cab service. Over 2 trillion dollars are spent on transportation in the US and most of that is on our own personal cars – Lyft is trying to reduce the amount people have to spend on transportation. And of course offer you a better experience. To this goal Lyft introduced Lyft Line which is like a shuttle service but much more convenient.

From the business side of things where is the money going? Why do they have to raise so much money? Logan says it’s expensive to put up 4G towers around the country. For Lyft they want to have drivers be about 3 minutes away. So just like cell companies – Lyft is investing in their network. They are working on both driver and passenger acquisition.

Right now there are hundreds of thousands of drivers on the road for Lyft – even Logan is a driver. There are people who do it 40-50 hours a week to those who are just on their way to work. Logan says that the nature of work is changing – flexibility is the new stability – people are looking for something different in their careers now. In LA 60% of their drivers work in the art industry – so they are using Lyft to fill the gaps in between pursuing their dreams. 30% of the drivers in San Fran are using Lyft to pitch their business to their riders. On the flip side some people feel that they are working a full time job but not getting the benefits of a full time employee. If people are so important to the business then why are drivers contractors instead of full time employees? The main reason is that Lyft needs people quickly and the people need jobs quickly – so the original idea wasn’t to cater to people who were doing this full time. The goal was to be flexible – if you want to ‘flip in to driver mode’ on your way to work you can.

When asked about the allegations of poaching – Logan said that many people drive for both platforms and that’s encouraged and allowed by both Uber and Lyft. Neither platform was set up for exclusivity but Lyft does reward their most loyal drivers. Logan does agree that Uber has been unethical in this area and can’t speak more to it due to law suits.

Lyft is looking to grow internationally this coming year – they don’t have any cities to announce yet though. They aren’t looking to just ‘go’ international – they want to add value – they don’t want to be a taxi service they want to bring their ideals with them.

What role will self driving cars play in Lyft? Right now we’re looking at ‘partial’ self driving cars in the next few years. You still need a human in this case. Self driving cars only make a difference when you don’t need a human in the driver’s seat – and that product is a few more years down the road. When self driving cars come out it’s not just going to change Lyft – it’s going to change the entire transportation industry. In that case most people will probably choose to use a self driving car as a service instead of owning a car.

The post SxSW: Fixing Transportation with Humanity & Technology appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

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  2. SxSW: Magical UX and the Internet of Things
  3. SxSW: Al Gore on Climate Change

Nicole Engard: SxSW: Storming the gates of the digital frontier

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 18:15

Another session that’s out of my wheelhouse this afternoon. A panel on breaking in to the film/TV industry by using the tools on the web today like YouTube. On this panel were : Derek Waters, Lauren Francesca, and Anthony Deptula all hosted by Todd Luoto.

Todd talked about the castle that is entertainment. There were people who decided who could come in to the castle – the gatekeeper. Then about 6 or 7 years ago there was a new castle – but it was an nice open beach house – that opened up called Vimeo and YouTube. This is the exciting time we’re living in – where there is a lot of money to be made with content creation without those gatekeepers in the way.

Derek started with how he got started in the industry. He always wanted to be an actor and started creating his own stuff because he got tired of auditioning for small parts in movies. In 2007 he started the Drunk History series. He had sent it around but nothing happened until he shared it on the Internet.

Lauren was up next to explain her start. She started by auditioning for a web series that became very popular and ended up on TV. It wasn’t really until she started doing her own stuff on YouTube that people really started recognizing her.

Anthony’s started in TV at the cable networks. He left that world to create content. He filmed a movie with some friends called ‘One Too Many Mornings” and it was going to be on YouTube rentals – it upset a lot of people that they had to pay for something on YouTube. Now he works at Maker Studios pulling data together to figure out how to combine the more traditional medium with the digital.

The new gatekeeper is the audience. Right now it seems like the audience is looking for ‘unboxing’ videos – they get 300-400 million views on these channels. Another trend right now is that a lot of people are on tablets viewing these videos – we might see that there aren’t Saturday morning cartoons anymore and instead kids are looking for their shows on their tablet on YouTube.

Lauren things that collaboration is key to have a successful video channel. You also have to think about what’s happening around you – doing sketches for specific holidays or something that’s trending on social networks. It means that you have to always be on board with doing something funny in conjunction with the news. Lauren says that her fans are her gatekeepers. She has to be careful to appeal to her audience which right now seems to be 12-35 year old boys – so they get upset if she does a video on unboxing a make-up product or something of that nature.

Derek was worried that moving to Comedy Central would make him lose what made him popular in the first place – but he was able to keep the content the same and have that control still even in the new space.

Todd asks if the speakers feel that YouTube is a training ground for traditional media – and Anthony replied by saying that it is not. People are doing amazing work – professional work on YouTube.

Lauren cautions that you need to leave a budget for marketing if you’re going to create a web series. There is so much content out there that if people have to filter through it all to find your stuff. Promoting your content is a full time job whereas the recording might take you a week. She suggests using YouTube as a way to break in to the industry because as Anthony said it’s a lot easier to send a link to an executive’s email address than it is to get them to watch your DVD. Short videos are the key. Derek encourages everyone to do their own stuff first.

Derek can’t remember the last DVD he bought – but he does know that almost everyone has a device they can watch media on. His transition from digital to being on Comedy Central. With the digital it was all about ‘no money’ – and he loved that. Now it’s hard to explain to a professional costume person that you want to wear converse sneakers in a historical sketch – but it’s great to have those professionals and those resources.

Lauren thinks that it’s foolish for an actor to not have a YouTube channel these days – but don’t just throw things out there – make them as good as possible – focus on your craft. Once it’s out there it’s always out there and the executives are looking.

The post SxSW: Storming the gates of the digital frontier appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. NYLA: Leadership on the Digital Frontier
  2. SxSW: Behind the Social at WGBH
  3. SxSW: A New Generation: Creativity and Open Source

District Dispatch: Library leaders: Comment on the IRS Tax Form Program

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 17:31

Photo by John Morgan via Flickr

Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office hosted a conference call with several Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials to issues surrounding the distribution of the 2014 fiscal year tax forms and instruction publications to libraries. Nearly 100 library leaders participated in the call.

Patricia Evans, director of IRS distribution, began by apologizing for the poor communications about the changes the IRS intended to initiate to begin cutting back on paper publications. But when her staff tried to adjust available materials to send more forms and instruction publications to public libraries participating in the Tax Forms Outlet Program (TFOP), Congress cut their budget by $300 million. Now, there is less funding that can be used to distribute publications to libraries.

We need some volunteers to work with the IRS to make plans of how the TFOP program and publication distribution for libraries will work.

L’Tanya Brooks, director of Media and Publications and she asked librarians on the call what they would suggest the IRS do going forward. Many librarians shared their ideas of how they were addressing this issue; from printing forms themselves to putting an RFID tag on instruction booklets for use only as a research tool in the library, which would prevent patrons from taking the forms home.

Dietra Grant is the director of Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) and she wants the IRS to do better going forward. She has asked Carol Quiller, IRS senior tax analyst, to manage a unique relationship with libraries. Quiller will work with librarians to decide how to best use the IRS’ dwindling resources. The leadership of the IRS is committed to moving all tax filers to file online.

Overall, we’ve been successful in making our case that the communication was insufficient and the IRS has agreed to listen to us and design their path forward with our advice. So now, we need some volunteers to work with the IRS to make plans of how the TFOP program and publication distribution for libraries will work.

If you’d like to become a library volunteer or provide feedback on the TFOP program, email Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, at

The post Library leaders: Comment on the IRS Tax Form Program appeared first on District Dispatch.

HangingTogether: OCLC Research Collective Collection Tournament: Round of 32 Bracket Revealed!

planet code4lib - Mon, 2015-03-16 15:10

We are almost ready for the 2015 OCLC Research Collective Collections Tournament to begin! Here’s the bracket for the Round of 32, where we’ve randomly paired up all 32 conferences for the tournament’s first round competition.

[Click image to enlarge]

Competition will be based on a metric having to do with the contents of the collective collections – for example, it might be which conference has the most/highest/largest “something” in their collection. In the interest of fairness to all entrants in the Bracket Competition, we will not reveal the metric for the first round until after the entry period closes on March 19 (see below). Otherwise, those who enter after the metric is revealed would be able to take this into account when making their conference choice, while those who entered earlier would not.

Speaking of the Bracket Competition, THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER!!! Read the Official Rules, choose your favorite conference, and enter by 5 PM Eastern time, Thursday, March 19, 2015. You could win a fabulous prize!

Results of the first round competition will be posted on Friday, March 20.

About Brian Lavoie

Brian Lavoie is a Research Scientist in OCLC Research. Brian's research interests include collective collections, the system-wide organization of library resources, and digital preservation.

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