Inexpensive Event in NYC on Mobile Services and Libraries

In a few weeks, I’ll be one of four presenters at an event here in New York City on mobile services and libraries. If you are a member of the Library Association of the City University of New York (LACUNY), the event is free; otherwise it’s just $5. Here’s the announcement going out on various lists:

The Pocket Library: Trends in Mobile User Services
Thursday, May 12th
1:30pm – 4:00pm
CUNY Graduate Center, Rm C197

Please join the LACUNY Emerging Technologies Committee for a series of presentations on the use of mobile technologies in the delivery of library services. CUNY librarians will discuss challenges and opportunities related to the design, implementation, assessment, and promotion of mobile library services.

Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free for LACUNY members. Non-members pay a $5.00 admission fee at the door or online via PayPal. Space is limited so please register by May 6th to reserve your seat.

Register online at:

Hunter College Libraries Mobile Web Project
Danielle Becker, Web Librarian, Hunter College
Discover what went into creating the Hunter College Libraries mobile web site. Hear about their mobile strategy and what their next steps are in their ongoing mobile development process.

Mobile Friendly Databases
Stephen Francoeur, Information Services Librarian, Baruch College
This presentation will examine the trend of databases that have web interfaces optimized for mobile devices or mobile apps. The usefulness and viability of these mobile solutions for databases will be explored, as will strategies for connecting your library’s users to these resources.

Mobile Information Literacy: Let’s Use an App for That!
Stefanie Havelka, Electronic Resources-Web Services Librarian, Lehman College
Alevtina Verbovetskaya, Instructional Technologies Librarian, Lehman College
Accessing data and information via apps and mobile websites has become the norm. To better serve our students and faculty, we as librarians need to keep abreast in the field of emerging technologies. We need to be able to identify authoritative apps and recommend free & paid apps to our patrons. We also need to teach our users how to be information literate on the go.

Using QR Codes to Link Real & Virtual Library Space
Joseph Deodato, Web Services Librarian, College of Staten Island
QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be used to send text, audio, video, and other digital media to a user’s smartphone. Learn how QR codes can be used to deliver point of need services and link physical and virtual library space. Uses, benefits, and considerations for implementation will be discussed.

Naming Conventions for Databases

One of the things I struggle with when thinking about the library website is how to name the databases and other online resources that we subscribe to at my library. My general principle is to have the database name on the library website match the way that the database names itself. In general, this means leaving the platform/vendor name out of the name we use on the library website. Rather than say “EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete” or “Academic Search Complete (EBSCOhost),” it makes more sense to just list it as “Academic Search Complete.”

I get that including the platform/vendor name as part of the naming system you use on the website may help those users who can’t quite remember the exact name of the database they were supposed to use or that they used once before. By offering the vendor or platform name (EBSCOhost, ProQuest, WilsonWeb, etc.) as well as the specific database name, we’re giving our users  more details that may trigger recognition. On the other hand, I’m more concerned that students be able to indicate the database name correctly in any citations that they include in a bibliography. In general, the style guides seem to suggest that you just use the database name. Many of the databases will generate citations for sources that you find, and those citations usually leave off the vendor or platform name.

This week, I noticed that a database we’ve listed as “Westlaw Campus” is probably more correctly referred to as “Campus Resarch.” Before I recommend to my colleagues that we rename the database on our site, I’m curious about how other libraries list that database on their library sites. If you’ve got 30 seconds, it would be great if you could indicate on this poll in Doodle how your library handles the naming of this database. I’ll do a post later where I summarize the results.

New Site for Finding LIS Events

Blake Carver’s LIS empire has expanded to include a new site, LISEvents, that offers a calendar of conferences, webinars, seminars, etc. that would be of interest to folks working in the library and informaton science fields. I think that if enough people get involved to submit events to the site, it can become the go-to site to find conferences and replace older sites that rely on one person’s diligence to capture and publish this kind of information (such as the Library Related Conferences page).

Scientists’ Complaints about Slow Speed of Journal Publishing

I’m deep in the middle of James Gleick’s wonderful new book, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, and ran across this complaint from 1954 by scientists feverishly working the decode DNA who found inadequate the traditional communication channels of journal publishing:

They all had different coding ideas. Mathematically the problem seemed daunting even to [George] Gamow. ‘As in the breaking of enemy messages during the war,’ he wrote in 1954, ‘the success depends on the available length of the coded text. As every intellegience officer will tell you, the work is very hard, and the success depends mostly on luck…I am afraid that the problem cannot be solved without the help of electronic computer.’ Gamow and [James] Watson decided to make it a club: the RNA Tie Club, with exactly twenty members. Each member received a woolen tie in black and green, made to Gamow’s design by a haberdasher in Losa Angeles. The game playing aside, Gamow wanted to create a communication channel to bypass journal publication. News in science had never moved so fast. ‘Many of the essential concepts were first proposed in informal discussions on both sides of the Atlantic and were then quickly broadcast to the congnoscenti,’ said another member, Gunther Stent, ‘by private international bush telegraph.’ (p. 294)

The “private international bush telegraph” of today’s scholars has expanded to a range of communication channels and tools, including subject repositories, FriendFeed, Twitter, IRC, wikis, etc.