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A paper presented by Judith Pearce, Director Web Services Branch; Warwick Cathro, Assistant Director General, Information Technology Division; and Tony Boston, Director Digital Services Project at VALA 2000 – 10th VALA Biennial Conference and Exhibition, Melbourne, Victoria, 16 – 18 February, 2000

In this paper we discuss the role of the OPAC as a hybrid library service and of the catalogue server as a provider element in a hybrid information environment. We identify developments required in the search and retrieval capabilities of the catalogue server to operate effectively in such an environment. We look under the hybrid library bonnet at the functions and metadata needed for management of online and physical collections. Lastly, we look at the architecture needing to be supported by library systems for storage and delivery of digital collections in a hybrid information environment.

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by John Carlo Bertot, Charles R. McClure, Carla B. Wright, Elise Jensen, and Susan Thomas
for The American Library Association and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This report presents findings from the 2007-2008 National Survey of Public Library Computer and Internet Access survey administered in the fall of 2007 to public libraries across the United States.

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by Charles R. McClure, Paul T. Jaeger, and John Carlo Bertot
First Monday – 3 December 2007

While virtually all public libraries provide free Internet access to patrons, libraries seem to be reaching a plateau in their ability to meet demands for Internet access.

Based on the findings of Public Libraries and the Internet surveys, the average number of public access workstations and the average connection speeds of Internet access in public libraries have stayed the same or slightly decreased in recent years. Further, more than half of libraries do not have sufficient connection speeds to meet patron demand, while staff, space, cost, and technical/telecommunications infrastructure issues prevent a great number of libraries from increasing the number of workstations or the connection speed in the library. Moreover, the U.S. federal telecommunications and broadband policies require revision and updating.

 These findings raise serious questions about the ability of public libraries to continue to meet patron needs for Internet access. As a result of early public library commitment to ensuring public Internet access, patrons rely heavily on public libraries to meet their Internet needs. However, as demands for library computers and connection speeds continue to grow, there may be a drop in the quality of Internet services that public libraries are able to provide their patrons. It would also challenge the fundamental role of the contemporary public library in the community, as libraries have become so inextricably linked to the provision of Internet access. In addition, the survey data identify a range of implications regarding the policy environment in which public libraries offer their public access Internet services.

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by John Carlo Bertot, Paul T. Jaeger, Lesley A. Langa and Charles R. McClure
First Monday – 4 September 2007

 This article presents findings from the 2006 Public Libraries and the Internet study and other research that demonstrate the impact of public Internet access in public libraries on the communities and individuals that the libraries serve. This article focuses on the importance of public library Internet access in times of emergencies and for a range of electronic government (e–government) services at the individual and community–wide levels. Public access computing and Internet access in public libraries function as a first choice, first refuge, and last resort in a range of emergency and e–government circumstances, allowing individuals to engage successfully in essential e–government services such as registering for Medicare or other benefits and filing tax information. With this key centrality as agents of government services, public libraries increasingly play significant roles in times of emergencies, like the aftermath of a hurricane, in which communities rely on the public library Internet access to request aid, try to find missing family and friends, file Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and insurance claims, and begin rebuilding their lives. This article also discusses the need to revise government policy related to the role of public libraries in their support of e–government as public libraries increasingly serve as agents of e–government.

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by Matthew Lasar
Ars Technica – 29 July 2009

Looks like urban libraries are getting a bum deal when it comes to applying for broadband infrastructure stimulus grants. The American Library Association wants this fixed.

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by Larra Clark and Denise Davis|
Library Technology Reports – January 2009

This issue examines the current state of library-technology funding, looking at common problems and concerns among librarians who make technological decisions for their facilities throughout the United States.

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This links goes to Chapter One – click Next to view further chapters.

by John Houser
Library Technology Reports – April 2009

In a time where an economic downturn and concerns about climate change are influencing decisions, many libraries are looking for ways to save money and to reduce their impact on the environment. This report provides detailed information about the operating systems, software, and approaches used by three libraries and one academic institution that have implemented open source public workstations. It explains how open source operating systems and applications, when installed on appropriate hardware, can decrease power utilization while providing a reliable and satisfying customer experience. It will help library decision makers who want to find out about alternatives to Microsoft Windows–based PCs running Microsoft Office, not only as a means of  cutting costs or reducing a carbon footprint, but also as a means of providing a better experience for library customers.

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This link goes to Chapter One – click Next to read further chapters.

by Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal – 15 July 2009

Do you remember how you learned a second language? By drilling on conjugations (je parle, tu parles, il/elle parle)? By practicing dialog (“Hola. Me llamo Barbara.)? Whatever method you used, you were probably told at the time that it was the method for learning a second language. For decades, though the recommended method kept changing, linguists tended to argue that there was only one best way to get French or Spanish or Hindi under your belt.

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in Three New Search Services: Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft Bing, Google Squared

It has been a wild few weeks in search engines — or search-engine-like services. We’ve seen the introduction of no fewer than three high-profile tools … Wolfram|AlphaL1, Microsoft BingL2, and Google SquaredL3 … each with their own strengths and needing their own techniques — or, at least, their own distinct frame of reference — in order to maximize their usefulness. This post describes these three services, what their generally good for, and how to use them. We’ll also do a couple of sample searches to show how each is useful in its own way.

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by Jonathan Furner
World Library and Information Congress: 73rd IFLA General Conference and Council, 19-23 August 2007, Durban, South Africa.

Although user tagging of library resources shows substantial promise as a means of improving the quality of users’ access to those resources, several important questions about the level and nature of the warrant for basing retrieval tools on user tagging are yet to receive full consideration by library practitioners and researchers. Among these is the simple evaluative question: What, specifically, are the factors that determine whether or not user-tagging services will be successful? If success is to be defined in terms of the effectiveness with which systems perform the particular functions expected of them (rather than simply in terms of popularity), an understanding is needed both of the multifunctional nature of tagging tools, and of the complex nature of users’ mental models of that multifunctionality. In this paper, a conceptual framework is developed for the evaluation of systems that integrate user tagging with more traditional methods of library resource description.

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