OPLIN 4cast #32

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 http://castr.westervillelibrary.org/castr.

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.

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