Archive for the 'cellphones' Category

OPLIN 4Cast #104: MS Book Search, Broadband, 2.0, Land Lines

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

1. End of MS Book Search
It’s all up to Google now…or is it?

2. Keeping us connected
Currently, the US is ranked #15 in worldwide broadband usage. What will it take to get everyone online from wherever they are? Free Broadband? Better wireless?

3. 2.0 is good for what?
Keeping us connected. At least that’s what these articles indicate. We are all more interactive now. We talk about the latest TV episodes on Twitter, have MySpace themes that plaster our opinions of movies and music, and blog about what’s happening around us. Apparently, Web 2.0 is one big water cooler.

4. R.I.P. land lines
Half of world’s population has a mobile device. It’s important to know how to reach your users, and land lines are a dying breed. Is your web site mobile? Are you sending blog, Twitter and MySpace updates regularly?

OPLIN 4cast #55

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. The Landline is Dead; Long Live the Cellphone

More and more people, especially the younger set, are ditching their telephone landlines and relying exclusively on cellphones. Big business is in hot pursuit of this audience, particularly when it comes to cellphone-delivered Web services.

2. It’s a Smaller World, After All

While cellphones become more ubiquitous and feature-laden, the computer industry is also making laptop computers smaller and more portable, by replacing traditional, fragile hard drives with durable flash memory (already widely used in USB memory sticks).

3. Meanwhile, Out Yonder

Wireless broadband access is all well and good if you live in an urban area, but what are your options if the “last mile” is actually a hundred miles? Satellite, television, and power companies may each eventually play a role.

4. To Ubuntu or Not to Ubuntu?

If your library is looking to save some bucks on PC operating systems, you might be interested in installing Ubuntu, the free, Linux-based operating system that’s poised for more widespread adoption. Jessamyn West ( recently tried it out at her rural library in Vermont.

OPLIN 4cast Podcast #15: 3GSM World Congress

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Last week the 3GSM World Congress took place in Barcelona, Spain. 3GSM is a mobile communications trade conference where mobile industry leaders gathe to discuss the hottest trends in the wireless market.

3GSM is obviously the place where cellphone and PDA manufacturers show off their latest wares, but it’s also a place where the mobile industry can discuss trends and make predictions. Some of these merit the attention of libraries, because they may indicate how libraries can best position themselves to take advantage of the mobile web. This week’s OPLIN 4cast Podcast takes a quick look at some of those trends.

OPLIN 4cast #32

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1.OPLIN Award for Innovation: Castr (Westerville Public Library)

Although podcasting and videocasting are becoming more popular, many libraries are still struggling to find ways to integrate them into their online services. One Ohio library that’s finding a way to do it is the Westerville Public Library, which unveiled Castr earlier this year. Although it’s billed as a “podcast delivery system,” Castr has mainly been used for videocasts of library storytimes, performances, special guests, and other programming. There are 10 shows so far.

We’re proud to present Westerville Public Library with an OPLIN Award for Innovation for their Castr service.

OPLIN Award for Innovation

Castr was built using Ruby on Rails, an open-source web framework, and the shows appear as QuickTime videos. According to Kristen Hewitt, Manager of Support Services, copyright issues are still “a bit dicey.” Westerville asks permission to feature copyrighted material, and permission has been granted most of the time.

OPLIN isn’t the first to recognize Castr as an innovative service. Several prominent library blogs (listed below) have mentioned it as one of the better examples of library videocasting in the country. You can subscribe to the Castr RSS feed at

Hewitt notes that the Westerville Public Library is always open to comments and feedback to make Castr better. They’re certainly off to a great start – congratulations Westerville!

2. OPLIN Goes Mobile

We’ve reported in the past about the growing number of people accessing the Internet via mobile device, and when viewed on a tiny cellphone screen, the OPLIN website presents the same issues as many other sites – that is, it looks ugly and behaves even worse. But now, anyone who visits the OPLIN website on a mobile device will be automatically redirected to OPLIN Mobile, an extremely trimmed-down version of our website where users can find an Ohio library or search our Discover Ohio link directory.

3. Of Worms & Zen

Two new library-related search tools – LISZEN and LibWorm – recently launched. Both search through hundreds of library-related blogs and RSS feeds, so you can quickly find out what the rest of Libraryland thinks about certain issues and topics.

4. Pew! I Smell Reports…

The Pew Internet & American Life Project aims to “explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.” They do this through 15-20 yearly reports that focus on a wide range of Internet-related topics and activities. While some of their most recent reports don’t focus on libraries specifically, they do provide a great snapshot of current trends and issues related to Internet usage, and can provide valuable info as libraries look to increase their online services and presence.

OPLIN 4cast #26

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. Libraries Are Both Vital & Vulnerable

A recent Florida State University report (funded by ALA and the Gates Foundation) finds that public libraries are critical Internet access points for people who would otherwise have none.

2. Google‘s Got Gadgets

Gadgets (or Widgets, as they’re called in Apple and Yahoo parlance) are small, interactive applications that provide quick access to popular web services, like weather, news, calendars, and more. With the introduction of Google Gadgets For Your Webpage, Google has now made it possible for website owners to add over 1200 nifty, Google-powered features to their sites (or to further clutter up their pages, as the case may be).

3. More Attacks on OPACs

The swell of voices denouncing current library OPACs continues to build, and some libraries are beginning to take matters into their own hands.

4. Lost? Get a Map on Your Phone from now offers a web search and maps page specifically geared for cellphones and other mobile devices.

OPLIN 4cast #25

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. OPLIN Award for Innovation: Text Message Notification (Cuyahoga County Public Library)

From 2001 to 2005, OPLIN gave an annual Award for Innovation to draw attention to particular Ohio public library services that:

  • Built on traditional library areas of strength but used the technology to actually expand service.
  • Served the public in a direct, immediate, and beneficial way.
  • Overcame previous constraints, such as location and hours, using network technology.
  • Demonstrated creativity and courage in seeking new ways to do things better.

This year, instead of an annual award for a single project, we’ve decided to recognize exciting new projects and services as they happen throughout the year. And so we present the next OPLIN Award for Innovation to the Cuyahoga County Public Library for their Text Message Notification service.

OPLIN Award for Innovation

In addition to e-mail notification, CCPL patrons have the option of signing up for Text Message Notification. Courtesy reminders and other library notices are automatically sent to their cell phone at no charge to the patron. In the past two months, CCPL has sent over 30,000 text messages.

CCPL developed this service with Velti, a company specializing in mobile advertising, marketing, and content. When patrons sign up for Text Message Notification on the CCPL website, standard library e-mail notices are sent to the Velti server, which then reformats and forwards them as text messages to the cell phone number of the patron.

2. Google Owns YouTube – Will the Lawyers Own Google?

The biggest tech story of the year happened this week when Google bought YouTube. So what’s gonna happen now? YouTube videos will probably start showing up in Google search results, for one. Even more likely – lots and lots of lawsuits over copyright infringement.

3. When Instant Messages Become an Instant Mess

The scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley neatly demonstrates what all IM users should already know – your messages are not private.

4. Inefficient, Limited & Obsolete: Them’s Fighting Words

When an anti-library opinion piece appeared in a local Kansas newspaper last week, some library bloggers sprang to the defense of their institution, while others wondered… should we be listening more closely to our critics?

OPLIN 4cast #24

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. British Library Warns of Emerging Copyright Crisis

The DRM and copyright battles are heating up on both sides of the Atlantic. The British Library has published a manifesto questioning current copyright law as it relates to digital content, and warning about the dire effect that overly zealous copyright protection will have on fair use priviledges – for education, preservation, and scholarly efforts in general.

2. Microsoft Defends Its Office

Lots of different companies have been challenging Microsoft’s supremacy in the productivity software realm by releasing MS Office-like utilities as free, online applications. With the recent release of Google Apps For Your Domain, it looks like Microsoft may finally be awaking from its slumber.

3. Surf’s Up on Cellphones

A recent report estimates that the total number of cellular connections in the world has topped 2.5 billion, and more people are using their cellphones to access the Internet. Although the “.mobi” domain extension went live last week, a more fundamental problem exists – how to make already-existing content and image-intensive websites work on a tiny, handheld device?

4. Sony Unveils Its E-book Reader

After a considerable amount of hype, the Sony Reader has finally been released… to so-so reviews from both publishers and users.

OPLIN 4cast #8

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. The War Over Neutrality

Network neutrality has emerged as one of the hottest political battles of the year, with intense disagreement over its every aspect – including what the term itself actually means. The only certainty is that proposed legislation could radically alter the way everyone uses the Internet.

2. In the Future, Books Will Make Great Doorstops

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine suggested that current large-scale scanning projects like Google Book Search Library Project and Amazon Online Reader will inevitably lead to a world in which every printed word has been digitized. The article has kicked off a lively discussion about the future of publishing.

3. All Cell is Breaking Loose

While more and more people are using their cellphones to do just about everything, including surf the Internet, others are shunning the extra gadgetry that phone manufacturers are making standard. So how will people use their cell phones in a few years, and what impact will it have on libraries?

4. Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog… Wiki

Amanda Etches-Johnson, a reference librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, maintains the Blogging Libraries Wiki, which lists library blogs from around the world, broken down by type. And libraries aren’t the only ones blogging – so are their patrons.