Thursday, April 25, 2013

Attending WLA-OLA Vancouver WA

Pictured: Carol McGeehon of the Douglas County Library stopped in to see us.

Well this week Roy and I are attending the combined WLA and OLA conference in Vancouver, WA. It's been beautiful weather. The conference at the Hilton is being well managed. The free wifi is working great, which is pretty impressive considering the large number of folks using it.

We spoke to a manager for a consortium of 75 libraries. It was interesting to hear her account of trying to keep the Linux/Postgresql servers responsive under such a large load. They are hoping to improve responsiveness by adding solid state drives and more memory.

more later...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Attending the MLA Conference

(This is a picture we took on our way back home)

This week we attended the Montana Library Association (MLA) conference in Missoula. We had a wonderful time. We met Jim Semmelroth, Brett Fisher, Allen Seelye and many other hardworking volunteers who made all the technical stuff work so efficiently! It was a wonderful conference. I was glad to see that electricity and good quality wifi was made available to exhibitors without extra cost!

We took some pictures, but they are on Chaney's smartfone. (Chaney is the wife of my partner Roy Hicks.) I hope to add them to this post later.

We met many of the hardworking librarians who take seriously their service to small rural community libraries. Many of these wonderful people serve communities of less than 2000 people, and some work at school libraries with just a couple hundred students. Most are connected to the Montana state catalog in Helena. The state catalog is a consortium with an IBM AIX work-horse super-powerful computer system running Sirsi-Dynix software.

Well this coming week we will attend another conference in Vancouver Washington. I am kind of excited about it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A lesson in RFID

Today I visited Kristynn Johnson at the Eugene Public Library. This library was an early adopter of RFID technology. They started doing RFID in 2002. They have done an awesome job implementing this awesome technology.
Here is a picture of their automated material handling system made by Tech-Logic. It is super cool and works great!

The conveyor system "talks" to the Polaris ILS to check-in items and get their collection code to determine which sorting bin to put them in.
Kristynn gave me some pointers on applying RFID tags to library items:
On the vast majority of items RFID tags can simply be applied without concern. Occasionally though to achieve the best results, one must understand the technology. For example RFID tags may not work at self-check if obscured by a significant amount of metal. The metal is sometimes found in a book jacket, especially a shiny one, such as Guiness World Records, popular with young people. (btw I googled that and found lots of really amazing/gross pictures!) It is best to position an RFID tag on an item that contains metal in a way that the self-check readers will have clear access and read the tag information clearly at check out. In a box set of CD/DVDs it is advisable to only tag one item. Otherwise the "noise" from multiple labels will not give a good read.
Some items may not work well with self-check for what ever reason and these will need some sort of visual indicator like a special sticker to indicate that they need to be checked in and out manually to assure that they are posted and removed from the patron accounts accordingly. There are very few cases of when RFID cannot be utilized.
Thanks Kristynn! I appreciated the tour!