Tutor.com To Go Is Mobile Companion to Tutor.com
It seems that we can do just about everything from our phones these days. But until now you couldn’t work with a tutor to finish a homework assignment or polish a resume. Now your patrons can do that and a whole lot more. Tutor.com To Go empowers users to connect to a professional academic or career tutor right from their iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. This new service is available to your patrons for free as part of your subscription to the Tutor.com Learning Suite.
Beyond the cool factor of mobile technology, it’s also a lifeline for lower-income teens. According to the Pew Research Center, 41 percent of teens in the lowest
household income category use their mobile phone to go online.1
This is their primary source of access to the Internet and all the information they require to fully participate in an advanced, technologically savvy world. Libraries that want to help bridge the digital divide will need to meet these students where they live—on their phones.
1. Amanda Lenhart et al., “Teens and Mobile Phones,” Pew Internet and American Life Project, Apr. 20, 2010, accessed July 13, 2011.
Who’s Got What?
The Pew Research Center has released Generations and Their Gadgets by Kathryn Zickuhr. The report provides a new infographic that details the percentages of each generation’s adults who own cell phones, desktop computers, laptops, iPod/mp3 players, game consoles, e-book readers, and tablet computers. Findings are based on a survey of 3,001 adults conducted between August 9 and September 13, 2010. The survey, which included 1,000 cell phone interviews conducted in both English and Spanish, has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
EnvisionWare Releases Authentication and Accounting Module Update
EnvisionWare recently announced that its Authentication and Accounting Module (AAM) Version 3.16 new feature release is available for download. AAM is an Enterprise product that provides a suite of features for policy enforcement, reporting, and online accounting. The module works in concert with PC Reservation, LPT:One, BarcodePlus, Staff Transaction Station (STS), and EnvisionWare eCommerce Services. The new release provides several important added features: enterprise-level reporting for PC Reservation, dynamic group accounting, a new web-query installer, and updated deposit reports.
Veicon Announces Optimized “V-Link Hybrid” Solution
Veicon recently announced an optimized V-Link Hybrid solution for library public access that includes high-speed media stations. V-Link Hybrid is an advanced turnkey public access solution using thin clients, servers, and high-speed media stations for fast video and graphics. With twelve years of proven technology expertise backed by multiple U.S. patents, Veicon now delivers an optimized solution for low maintenance costs, high security with built-in virus protection, and high performance demanded by today’s streaming video and online graphic applications.
For small to medium-sized libraries with no or limited IT resources, Veicon’s turnkey Integrated Public Access Solution (IPAS) is a total solution that includes everything needed. Large libraries with many branch locations and a team of resident IT staff should look into VRMS (Veicon Resource Management Software), unbundled software solutions, and consulting services from Veicon Technology. Veicon offers a wide range of solutions for different library sizes and budget situations. In addition, Veicon V-Link Hybrid solution is an “earth friendly” green product.
monowall Udates Software Firewall Package
monowall 1.33 adds a new image type for generic PCs with a serial console, further improves IPv6 support, includes a driver for newer Realtek network chipsets, and provides various small changes and bug fixes. monowall is a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software).
monowall is based on a bare-bones version of FreeBSD, along with a web server, PHP and a few other utilities. The entire system configuration is stored in one single XML text file to keep things transparent. monowall is said to be the first UNIX system that has its boot-time configuration done with PHP, rather than the usual shell scripts, and that has the entire system configuration stored in XML format.
SirsiDynix Announces Web Services Release for Horizon
SirsiDynix has announced the release of SirsiDynix Web Services for libraries running the Horizon ILS. With the Horizon Web Services release, Horizon libraries gain advanced tools for accessing, customizing, and sharing their data. By installing Web Services, SirsiDynix Horizon libraries will achieve the full functionality of the SirsiDynix BookMyne iPhone application. Web Services opens the door for greater compatibility with third-party systems and programs.
WebHuddle Offers Easy Alternative to Live Meetings
With the high cost of travel and shrinking budgets, most organizations today are already meeting virtually, or are considering it. WebHuddle’s open source software for virtual meetings is designed to be simple to use. No installation is needed; the quick-loading thin client runs in a web browser on any Java-enabled computer (Linux, Windows, Unix, Mac). All data is encrypted by HTTPS protocol for security. Organizations can use WebHuddle over an existing teleconferencing service or utilize its optional VOIP. Presentations can be recorded for playback over a web browser for later viewing. Try it out on WebHuddle’s website; if you like it you may download it and use it on your network.
Cool New Android App Streamlines Shelf Reading
Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group, led by William “Bo” Brinkman, has come up with a creative solution to make shelf reading and inventory less of a burden. Tentatively called ShelvAR, the Android app uses special tags that are attached to the books’ spines. Each tag carries the call number of the book. A tablet computer or smartphone uses the app to scan the shelf, and a digital graphic indicates the correct placement of the misshelved books. Brinkman plans to design an iPhone version of ShelvAR as well.
ShelvAR is still being tested on Miami University’s library system. If that goes well, a much bigger trial is planned. Miami University and the state of Ohio have first rights on any patent on the app. ShelvAR got some attention at the recent Association of College and Research Libraries annual meeting, and Brinkman has posted a YouTube demo video at the URL above. Stay tuned!
BlackBerry App from OverDrive Enables Direct Library E-Book Downloads
OverDrive recently announced the release of its free OverDrive Media Console app for BlackBerry with e-book support,allowing libraries to provide direct EPUB e-book downloads on BlackBerry mobile devices. Users at more than 13,000 libraries worldwide can now wirelessly download and enjoy EPUB e-books, as well as MP3 audiobooks, on their BlackBerry devices. The app’s “Get Books” feature makes it easy to find a local library and then browse for titles, check them out with a library card, and download directly to BlackBerry. Digital books borrowed from the library will automatically expire, so there are never late fees. Users will also benefit from such enhancements as an orientation lock and custom bookmarks. The app is also the first for BlackBerry that supports both DRM-free and Adobeprotected e-books.
The free e-book app can be installed on BlackBerry touchscreen devices running BlackBerry OS v4.7 (or newer) and nontouchscreen devices running BlackBerry OS v4.5 (or newer). The BlackBerry app joins the previously released OverDrive apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android, which have been installed nearly one million times. The OverDrive app for BlackBerry is available from OverDrive’s website and the MobiHand Superstore. It will also appear in BlackBerry App World in the coming weeks.
World Book Content Searchable Through EBSCO Discovery Service
A recent agreement between EBSCO and World Book will bring twelve popular reference tools into EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS). Metadata, including full-text searching, for World Book resources will be added to the EDS Base Index, allowing the World Book content to better impact searching through the EDS single-search interface. The twelve World Book resources that will be searchable in EDS include popular English-language titles as well as French- and Spanish-language reference tools. World Book joins a long list of publishers and other content partners who are taking part in EDS to bring more visibility to their content.
EBSCO Discovery Service creates a unified, customized index of an institution’s information resources, and an easy-yet powerful means of accessing all of that content from a single search box—searching made even more powerful because of the quality of metadata and depth and breadth of coverage. Because the service builds on the foundation provided by the EBSCOhost platform, libraries gain a full user experience for discovering their collections and OPAC. Furthermore, users are not asked to change their pathways or habits for searching.
Project Muse Adds New Titles
Project MUSE has announced the availability of back issues for fourteen more titles. Five of those fourteen titles now have their complete run in MUSE, meaning that their subscribers have access to volume 1, issue/number 1 through the most recent issue of the journal. All archival content is made available to current subscribers at no additional charge. The 14 titles, their new coverage periods, and the collections to which they belong are listed on the Project MUSE website.
New Text Editor for EventKeeper
Plymouth Rocket announced a new addition to streamline event editing for its EventKeeper web calendar. Users can now choose a robust, full-featured WYSIWYG HTML text editor that lets you see everything you are doing in one window, and includes a bunch of sought-after features, such as a built-in spell checker. EventKeeper is a tool to list your events dynamically on your home page, send mail from within EventKeeper, display events automatically on Facebook and Twitter, keep track of your calendar on your smart phone, scroll your events on a computer in the lobby, create a “branded” calendar to match your new website, and add repeating events quickly and easily. The new text editor also lets users link to images; resize text on the fly, change font colors, and add radio buttons and check boxes.
New Advocacy PSAs from ALA
ALA has made four new author public service announcements (PSAs) available to library advocates through the association’s ”Our Authors, Our Advocates” initiative. The new PSAs by Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book), Kathy Reichs (Virals), Pam Muñoz Ryan (The Dreamer), and Carmen Agra Deedy (14 Cows for America) are available by visiting the I Love Libraries website. Participating authors provide a variety of video PSAs on such issues as library funding, literacy, value of school libraries, and much more. Library advocates are encouraged to share the PSAs via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter and embed them to relevant webpages. Libraries, Friends groups, and library supporters are welcome to download videos and add their own logos and music.
Through “Our Authors, Our Advocates,” authors will lend their support for libraries through media interviews, podcasts, and public service announcements. Other authors whose video PSAs are available through the initiative include Scott Turow (Innocent), Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle), Sara Paretsky (Body Work), and Sharon Draper (The Jericho Trilogy). “Our Authors Our Advocates” audio PSAs are also available, including Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Holly Black (White Cat), M.T. Anderson (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing), and Laurie Halse Anderson (Chains).
A toolkit called “Cultivating Your Local Notables,” providing resources for library advocates at the local level to work with authors and other celebrities, is also available.
Technology Benchmarks for Public Libraries Coming Soon
A coalition of library and local government leaders will utilize $2.8 million in Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding to develop guidelines for library technology access. The benchmarks will dovetail with the Institute of Museum and Library Service’s broader framework but will focus on attainable targeted public technology access guidelines. Coalition members include library support organizations, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, the Public Library Association, LYRASIS, the Urban Libraries Council, WebJunction–OCLC, TechSoup Global, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, several state libraries and university-based research groups, and the International City/County Management Association. PLA will additionally lead train-the-trainer programming in support of benchmark adoption and implementation, and curriculum development.
Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books
Amazon recently announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon,all of the customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.
With Kindle Library Lending, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle and Kindle books, including Whispersync technology and free Kindle apps for the above platforms.
Amazon is teaming on the project with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions for more than 11,000 public and educational libraries nationally, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers.