Tag Archive for ‘iPod’

sad walkman!

Today Apple announced that after 5 years of selling ipods, they’ve sold 100 million on them. The ipod has dethroned Sony’s Walkman as “the fastest selling music player in history.” Poor Walkman.

I realize it isn’t 100% the fault of libraries, but it is a bit telling that libraries haven’t responded with more vigor to the ipod by attempting to integrate them into library services. If more libraries would have copied the homegrown ipod audiobook program of the South Huntington Public Library instead of throwing money at vendors for inferior (in some ways, and to be fair, better in a few ways) products, maybe this would have exerted pressure on vendors to work something out.

My hopes of ipods in libraries has been somewhat renewed with Apple and EMI’s announcement of DRM free music and Microsoft’s announcement that their floundering Zune will follow suit. Could the tide be turning? I’m not holding my breath but I’m afraid that reasonably DRMed content is the only way libraries will be a relevant digital content provider in the coming years.


bonus questions

The LiB and I bombarded our audience for our SirsiDynix Institute program with a bunch of ideas and information. Since it was only an hour session, this left plenty of questions. We took some time to answer them, figuring they’ll be useful for more than the individuals that asked. Here they are.

How do I convince my library that it is safe to post pictures of events online (especially of teens), and to allow kids to do podcasts, etc.? My library is soooooo litigation scared.
This is the perfect opportunity to counter a why with a why not? Do the admin/board in question have any hard evidence about library getting into hot water for using pictures of their patrons? Libraries are public places and can be photographed. Indeed, private places open to the public can be photographed as well. Anyway, chances are they we’re all getting our pictures snapped more times per day than we’re aware. The worst that can happen is that someone asks for an image, podcast, print book review (whatever) be taken down. Then the library takes it down. This is unlikely to happen. I’m not saying that we should be publishing full names, ages, and Social Security Numbers, but a photo of some kids at the library? Of course! Here’s a decent article titled “New digital camera? Know how, where you can use it”

What if you have a board that definitely won’t allow im or chat? (they’ve been that way since we first received computers in 1996-patrons have complained to the board and they won’t budge!)
The board is certainly not doing their job if they haven’t even responded to *patrons* asking to use IM on the library’s computers. How long are the board member’s terms 😉 Isn’t it their job to be representatives of the community? Perhaps showing them examples of what other libraries are doing with IM, without any troubles, would help your cause. They need to know that this policy is preventing the library from growing.

About IM, my board has banned IMing on our public access computers (concerns about predators, mostly. they see it as similar to chatrooms, which for them have negative connotations). How can i overcome this fear on their part? Any evidence, stats, or ways I can alleviate their fears about safety?
Take a look at the 2004 Pew Internet and American Life report on instant messaging: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/133/report_display.asp. As we mentioned during the presentation, these stats are old now, and the numbers now are much higher, but they show that IMing isn’t just for kids, and that’s it’s become a vital way for many people to communicate. For many, if you’re not available via IM, you don’t exist. Show them the huge list of libraries that are successfully offering reference services via IM. Tell them that many websites (like MySpace, Meebo, etc.) include a built-in IM feature that gets around any IM-ban they’ve put in place technologically, so there’s no way to really ban it. If people want to IM on your computers, they are finding a way. All the library does by banning it is make itself look technologically regressive and out of touch with what today’s users need from our computers.

Any suggestions for getting on user’s buddy list? we are an undergrad 4 year school.
The best way to get students to add your screen name to their buddy list is to provide great reference (or otherwise) service during hours convenient to them. IM enthusiasts will add their library’s screen name to their buddy lists out of convenience, just like they might bookmark their library’s website. It could be fun to hold some sort of contest, the addition of the library screen name as the entry, but there’s no good way to see who has done this

Difference betweem offering content for IPOD’s vs. the new play-a-ways?
The Playaway all-on-one audiobooks could be a decent option. However, they lack the mass appeal of the extremely popular ipod. The great thing about providing content for ipods (whether it is purchased audiobooks or library generated content) is that it uses technology that patrons are already using. It shows that the library understands the information preferences of its users, and is convenient for them to use.

When loaning ipods for borrowed books or music, do you lose some? They are expensive…

Yes, they aren’t cheap, but the TFML hasn’t lost any, and I haven’t heard of any other library with any theft issues. Libraries can set the replacement fee at a price of their choice.

How do we do IM reference when we are often not sitting down at the desk? We are often getting up and down for to help people and do projects.
Away messages can help with this. Setting an away message every time you get up will take some habituation, but it can be done. Otherwise, IM reference can always be done off desk.

Are you saying that it is alright for teens to play any type of games on the computer. I have seen some weird games being played

Heck yes! Weird is in the eye of the beholder. If it isn’t illegal (and I don’t know of any illegal games) libraries have no legitimate right to prevent people from playing it (or reading it, looking at it, etc). Anything short of this is censorship.

Do you think if you “market” these different venues (IM etc.) to teens, will it automatically crossover to adults?

I think services that are useful to teens are also useful to some adults. I also think that without appealing to teens and getting them interested in libraries, we won’t likely see them again until they have children and come back for storytime.

quick question about meebo…away message? Is there a way to set one up? I’ve just been logging off everytime I step away.

Look towards the top of your buddy list. The default is “I’m available.” Clicking there will let you change and customize your message.

What about cell phone disturbing other patrons?
Libraries already have noise/behavior policies in place. Enforce them—whether or not the user is using a cell phone, talking to a friend, or simply yelling to get attention. Address the behavior, not the technology…because the technology keeps changing and there’s no way to keep up.

When considering these changes, have you taken into consideration the security of the materials in the library?
We talked about a lot of different changes during our webcast, so we’re not sure we understand which ones you’re referring to that would in any way impact the security of library materials. We haven’t said anything about removing security strips, taking down the security gates, or leaving the doors unlocked—
which are the only things that would affect the security of library materials.

What is a blog?
Blog is short for “web log.” A blog is a website. That’s it. Most blogs are presented in a format where the newest entries are at the top, and older entries are automatically archived by date and/or subject. Blog software allows just about anyone to create a webpage—with no HTML coding skills necessary. Here is the Wikipedia entry on “blog”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

Do you have suggestions for helping school districts understand the BLOGS shouldn’t be blocked by filter…reason “personal page” – go figure!

First, I would ask WHY the institution is blocking them in the first place. If it’s simply because, as you say, it is a personal webpage, then I would counter with examples of helpful institutions and government agencies and educational groups that are blogging. The White House has blogs, for goodness sake! Schools and libraries have blogs! Authors and artists and teachers have blogs! I would also be curious as to how they are blocking blogs: are they blocking certain blogging websites (like Blogger, Typepad, etc.)? If that’s what they’re doing, there’s no way to catch every blog, as there are hundreds of blogging sites, and many sites have their own domain names so the filter wouldn’t catch them. Basically, their system isn’t even working.

What service provides the books via iPod? We can’t do that because of DRM that isn’t supported on iPods.

Unfortunately, there is no audio content service that sells in a platform environment (like Overdrive or NetLibrary’s Recorded Books) to libraries that also works with iPods/Macs. What libraries are doing is purchasing eBooks, as consumers, through either iTunes or Audible.com and then pre-loading them onto library iPods and checking the device out, or allowing users to bring in their own iPods and loading whatever book/album they want onto the user’s iPod.

How can we allow iPod use on our PCs? My understanding is that iTunes is so highly customized that it’s impossible to use in a multi-user environment.
iTunes can be installed on Macs and PCs. The library we discussed loaded all of their CDs into iTunes on their public computers. So…users could listen to the music on the library’s PCs without having the CD in hand. We’re not sure if the library allows people to bring their iPods in, actually, to transfer the files from the library’s iTunes account to their iPods. iTunes is an individual library of songs, but can be used in a multi-user environment. It just depends on what you’re trying to do.

I work in a multi-branch public library. Can you recommend online games that teens at my branch can play versus teens at another branch?
As Aaron replied to a similar question during the webcast, the best recommendation we can give you is to ask the teens in your area which games they would like to play. Some of the games that seem to work well in a competition environment, though, are those that go quickly so teens can take turns playing: driving/racing games and Dance Dance Revolution come to mind.

Hi – this was good – it’s 2am where I live so I’m off to bed. Have a happy day!
Thanks for getting up so early and listening!!


that’s the idea

I came home from getting my hairs cut yesterday and saw the ListenIllinois website on displayed on my monitor. After adding 2 and 2, I figured that my father-in-law, who was crashing at our place for a few days, was looking at which books are available. He has recently retired, but before he did he was an avid audiobook listener when he traveled for work. Evidently he’s listened to nearly 1,000 books on tape and CD. (!) Now that he’s traveling for fun full-time, he needs some sort of audiobook solution that doesn’t include having to return materials on time. That’s what the new 60GB iPod sitting on the desk is for. He really must trust me, leaving that thing around. I won’t be able to put any library audio eBook content on his iPod. ListenIllinois runs on authorized-only Audible compatible players. And if you’ve read any of the audio eBook conversation going on, you know that content from OverDrive and Recorded Books – soon to be integrated into ListenIllinois’ catalog – won’t work on iPods because they are Windows Media Audio files.

Ok, I know that libraries shouldn’t alienate iPod users (it is kinda sad that the state librarian of Hawaii had to apologize to iPod users) and I know that libraries
should still be circulating players and books to patrons but I don’t want to get into that discussion here.*

What interested me about all of this was his assumption about how audio ebooks from a library would work. Moments like these are insights into how people think libraries operate and are valuable.

One very simple way to manufacture these moments of insight is to listen to your users. When they ask something about the library, or have an incorrect assumption, it isn’t because they’re stupid, its because they have different expectations of the library. If one person thinks that, for instance, your public computers ought to have WordPerfect as well as Word, maybe more people feel the same way. And maybe this is because Dell, one of the top (quantity-wise) producers of PCs in the world stopped providing as many pre-installed copied of MS Office on computers, and rather includes WordPerfect (true story). Take these expectations seriously, because they just might be logical, employ the path of least resistance, or save the time of the reader.

*Okay, maybe I want to have that conversation here. Much like J.K. Rowling’s piracy-begging refusal to release a HP6 eBook (HP6 scanned, proofread, and online in 12 hours after being released) and her piracy-begging exorbitant price for a HP6 audio eBook (bootlegs HP6 audiobook available) all of this audio eBook DRM madness is going to force me to, guess what? To meet the audiobooks needs of my father-in-law, I’ll either rip books from CD to MP3, download from people who have already done this, or, if I’m really desperate, burn Overdrive content to CD, then rip to MP3.

The thing that really, really gets to me about this situation (and our OPAC situation) is how we’re pretty much forced to endure the whimsy of the industry (and deal with many institutionalized hurdles). Let’s not let this impotence lead to apathy, pretty please?


mp3 players in libraries

I am happy for the library in New York that’s getting tons of press for circulating books on iPod shuffles. Truly, I am, but, what the heck? Many libraries have been circing books on mp3 players for some time now. Why hasn’t any attention been given to them? We all know the answer to this: Because no other mp3 player is as desirable/known/HOTT as the iPod. For golly’s sake, when I tell people about our books on mp3 program, I have to say, “Yeah, you’ll be using the Audible Otis.”

Does anyone have any comments on the legality of this program of the South Huntington Public Library. Think they’re safe if they stay with a one paid download/one circulation model?


iRead shuffle

What would happen if someone tried to apply the logic of the iPod shuffle to a library collection? I think it would be something like this.

Does it work? I dunno.

the image on this graphic was lifted from possible images for Revolting Librarians Redux and then photochopped, with J’s consent.