Library Technology Digest- Issue no. 46

A weekly post of technology articles for librarians.

The Library of Things — Sacramento Public Library’s recent initiative to create a “library of things” has sparked a dialogue about what a library collection should be and the types of considerations that should be made when deciding what to lend. The library of things lends out instruments, board games, sewing machines, and much more. “It is not the tool that defines the library, but instead the library, with the help of the community, defining the tools that enable it to serve most effectively.”

Verizon is buying AOL — On Tuesday it was announced that Verizon is buying AOL for $4.4 billion. This is a merger that combines a huge mobile network provider with a huge content producer. If you’re like me, you probably only remember AOL as the dial-up Internet service, but AOL is a very different company now. “Today AOL provides online video services, content and ads to 40,000 other publishers. It brings in $600 million in advertising. It has news sites such as The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget.”

Digital Pocket Libraries for areas with no Internet access — Over the past 12 years a North Carolina nonprofit called WiderNet has provided digital information to the world’s poor by distributing hard drives of information. Now they are launching eGranary Pocket Libraries, customized libraries loaded onto tiny SD cards that can be easily distributed to areas with no Internet access. “For example, the nonprofit recently created an ebola pocket library with the CDC, World Health Organization and other charitable groups. It included 25,000 resources, from Wikipedia entries and journal articles to posters and ebola songs.”

Emoji interpretation — Emojis (little pictures and icons in text messaging and online communication) are so common now that this NPR article suggests we are in a hybrid era of communication. Problems arise when the meanings behind emoji communication can be confusing leading to misinterpretation and serious consequences. “Gretchen McCulloch, a writer who specializes in linguistics and pop culture, says emojis can be useful for adding context. But the problem with the gun emoji, she says, isn’t necessarily that it’s overused, but maybe that it isn’t used enough for us to agree on its meaning.

Snapchat’s appeal — Amanda Connolly speculates on why Snapchat, amidst the flood of social media startups claiming to be the next big thing, seems to be sticking around and growing at a healthy pace. The key is ephemerality. “The content itself feels more truthful generally as it hasn’t gone through rigorous editing before being posted. It’s a realistic depiction. Images and videos on Snapchat aren’t there solely to be judged, they are there to be consumed. You’re not looking for likes or comments, you’re just putting it out there.”