Technology

Cory Doctorow Reports on Planned Fab Lab

Boing Boing reports on the installation of a new 'hackerspace' at the Fayetteville (NY) Free Library. It's being installed in a former furniture factory.

Video tour and story...check it out.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Authors?

Article about a publisher that uses software to create books on thousands of topics. The quality of the books is suspect. Article specifically mentions librarians and how they have to be on the lookout for these books so they do not waste acquisitions money on low quality information.

The Loss of a Valuable Journalistic Tool

For years, health care reporters have employed a government database called the National Practitioner Data Bank, containing information on malpractice payouts. The public version of the database hides the names of physicians, but after a reporter was able to identify an anonymous doctor, the public database was taken offline. Bob talks to Charles Ornstein of the Association of Health Care Journalists about why the database is important, and attempts by journalists to regain access to it.

Transcript here

MP3 file here:
http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/otm/otm100711c.mp3

RIP Steve Jobs

Unaired Apple ad from 1997

Wikipedia Unveils Probably the Coolest QR Thingy Ever Made

Wikipedia today introduced a program called QRPedia, a QR code creation service that lets users snap a picture of a QR code and be automatically directed to a linked mobile Wikipedia entry in whatever written language their phone uses. If there's no article in their language for the designated topic, the program directs them to the most relevant related article that is available in that language. If you don't have a QR reader on your phone, I use the Google iPhone app, myself.

I dare you to find a cooler example of QR codes in action than QRPedia. Originally built at England's Derby Museum and Gallery (by the museum's Wikipedian in Residence!) the service is now available to anyone online. Multiple museums around the world have already put it to use, posting QR codes on the wall next to items on display. That's what the Internet is for, people, for taking the reality we're standing in front of and exploding it with a world of additional information available on demand.

Full piece at ReadWriteWeb

15 tips for social media security in libraries

This is part Nine in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries.
Part 8 was the first half of this post, Social Media Security In Libraries
In Part 7 I listed many lists full of practical advice that covered just about everything dealing with IT security in libraries.
Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists.
In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them.
Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords.
In Part Three I covered passwords.
In part 2 we talked privacy.
In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

It is important all users understand there are real threats posed by social media sites. I'm not trying to scare you into hiding in a cave here, but you should know places like Facebook and twitter are infected with bad guys who are working hard to cause trouble for all of us. Those bad guys will try to connect with as many people as possible, creating a sense of trust that makes it easier to use people to carry out their plans. Common schemes include things like social media identity theft, taking over of a brand's social media presence, phishing, viruses, worms, and just about any other common online risk. I've collected 15 common and easy tips to make your social media sites as secure as possible. -- Read More

What IT Professionals Can Learn from Librarians

What IT Professionals Can Learn from Librarians

If you think about a library, librarians are very techie but also very service oriented. Our librarians are exposed very intentionally, and have been for 15 years, to this intermingling of cultures. I’ve often said our help desk at the university would never be able to work for an uncaring IT help desk in the private sector. ... Librarians listen very well and will do anything to get an answer. The last thing they would say is, “I’m sorry. I’m going to send you a manual.” In libraries, the reference desk is very high on the status. It’s just the opposite in IT organizations. We have movement out of both, both laterally and vertically. It was a grand experiment that’s worked out very well.

Social Media Security In Libraries

This is part Eight in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries.
In Part 7 I listed many lists full of practical advice that covered just about everything dealing with IT security in libraries.
Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists.
In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them.
Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords.
In Part Three I covered passwords.
In part 2 we talked privacy.
In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

Libraries and librarians are fully embracing social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook. Our libraries use them to connect with and engage our patrons, increase library visibility and communicate information. We each use them to connect with old friends, sell ourselves, stay up to date with the world around us, and keep in touch with family. There are serious security risks involved with most social sites that can be avoided by following some very simple rules. The bad guys are finding it very easy to use these sites to cause trouble. Scammers, stalkers, phishers, spammers, hackers and every other kind of evil doer on the internet are finding new ways to get into our social networks every day. They are using links to spread malware and spam, and they're always one step ahead. They're using it to fill social media sites with evil, e.g. chat bots, captcha crackers, malware, spam, control botnets, blackhat SEO, etc… -- Read More

Practical IT Security In Libraries

This is part Seven in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries.
Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists.
In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them.
Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords.
In Part Three I covered passwords.
In part 2 we talked privacy.
In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

Let's face it, security is tough in libraries. We have no shortage of access points. We deal with any number of vendors, who may or may not be secure. Threats come from within the libraries (patrons), and from external sites anywhere in the world. Our patrons are bringing in all sorts of Wi-Fi enabled things. And any new security stuff we want to add will get push back from our coworkers, and cost money that's not in the budget. In this post I've created a bunch of random, though related, lists that can be used to help get started with security in your library. It's a follow up and companion to Integrating IT Security In Your Library and should help put some of that theory into practice. You probably won't need every point from every list, but I'm hoping presenting them in this way will save you time, and start you on the path to increasing security. I hope to expand each list into a full length post in the future. -- Read More

Reference Resources for the Budding Know-It-All

A full reference library will not fit on a phone, but several apps offer inexpensive and useful alternatives.

You could once gauge a family’s intellectual vitality by its living room bookshelves. If your family scored the trifecta of Encyclopedia Britannica, the Oxford English Dictionary and the World Almanac, you were ahead of the pack.

Software developers have not found a way to load an entire reference library onto your phone or tablet, and, alas, the O.E.D. doesn’t exist for mobile users. But you can get by with Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2011 ($20 on Android and Apple), Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary ($25 on Apple and Android) and The World by National Geographic ($4 for the iPad).

Full story in the NYT

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