Going To An eLibrary

Going To An eLibrary

I’ve always loved libraries–the stacks of books and periodicals–all that information (almost like being a kid in a candy store)–and the quiet space to enjoy it.

But in the digital age, where people are reading books and magazines on e-readers, news on smartphones, downloading videos with Netflix and watching shorts on YouTube–what is the new place for libraries?

Libraries will always provide a peaceful place for reading, thinking, and writing whether with hardcopy or digital media, but libraries need to meet peoples information needs, incorporate the latest technologies, and fit with the times.

The Wall Street Journal (7 February 2013) describes a new library in Texas that “holds no books”–it is all-digital–you “check out books by downloading them” to your own device or a borrowed one.

While many people still like holding a physical books or paper to read–I know I do, especially when it involves anything more than browsing online–Generation Y is comfortable for the most part getting it all digitally–and then you can electronically highlight, annotate, and share as well.

Some libraries are offering a mixture of paper and digital–actually “more than three-quarters of U.S. public libraries feature some digital books, and 39% offer e-readers for patrons to borrow.”

One of the things holding back the all digital conversion are publishers who don’t want to lose print sales, and so they won’t offer all new titles electronically or they charge more for it than for paper copies.

I envision that once we have 100% broadband penetration–where everyone in the country has Internet access–then we all can purchase or borrow the books, periodicals, music, and videos online from anywhere–in other words; libraries will become vastly virtual, instead of predominantly physical structures.

With more information online than at any library in the world, information growing exponentially, and with online resources available 24×7 (versus set hours for a brick and mortar library), it would be hard for any physical library to keep pace in the digital age.

Aside from physical libraries for traditional use, we need easy to use elibraries, where all information resources are available all the time, where students or those that can’t pay can get it for free or at an appropriate discount–and where help is just a click away.

Of course, many of us also don’t mind a hybrid solution, like being able to go online and borrow or purchase a physical edition–maybe they can just drop ship it overnight or same day is even better. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ellen Forsyth)

An Infographics Treasure Trove

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There is an amazing web site for creating, sharing, and exploring information visualizations (a.k.a. infographics)–it is called Visual.ly
There are currently more than 2,000 infographics at this site; this is a true online treasure trove for those who like to learn visually. 
The infographics are categorized in about 21 areas including technology, science, business, the economy, the environment, entertainment, politics, and more. 
I’ve included an example, from the Social Media category, of an infographic called The Conversation Prism developed by creative agency, JESS3.
As you can see this infographic displays the spectrum of social media from blogs and wikis to Q&A and DIY sites–it is a virtual index of social media today. 
What I really love about infographics is that they can convey such a wealth of information in creative and memorable ways. 
Moreover, there is such a variety of infographics out there–basically these are limited only by the imagination of the person sharing their point of view and their talents in conveying that information to the reader. 
As someone who is very visual in nature, I appreciate when the content is rich (but not jumbled and overwhelming), and when it is logically depicted, so that it is quick and easy to find information.
In the example of The Conversation Prism, I like how it comprehensively captures all the various types of social media by category, color codes it, and visualizes it as part of a overall communications pie (or strategy). 
To me, a good infographic is something you can relate to–there is a aha! moment with it.  
And like a great work of art–there is the opportunity to get a deeper meaning from the visual and words together then from the words alone.  
The shapes and dimensions and connections and distances and colors and sizes–it all adds meaning (lots and lots of context)–I love it!
I could spend hours at a site like visual.ly learning about all the different topics, marveling at the creativity and meaning of the information being conveyed, and never getting bored for a second. 

>Social Networking, Blogging, and Tweeting in Plain English

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Here are some great little videos that explain Social Networking, Blogging, and Tweeting in Plain English:

1) Social Networking

2) Blogging

3) Tweeting

Check out these and other social media learning resources, policies and procedures, discussion forums and more at the Department of Defense (DoD) Social Media Hub.