June Dispatches by Frank Donnelly

Crunching the Numbers

June 1, 2022

Total population counts for the states and the nation were released in March 2021 and launched the apportionment process to redistribute seats in Congress. Public redistricting files followed, released in August 2021. This dataset consists of six tables that include population by race, ethnicity, age above 18, group quarters (the population living in college dorms, … Continue reading Crunching the Numbers


Taming the Wild Web

May 2, 2022

Whether or not a library wants a specific element on its site may be irrelevant; the web design and user experience fields are now based on the science of usability, not subjective judgments. Back in the early days of the web, a fair amount of design work happened in a vacuum, lacking real guidelines and … Continue reading Taming the Wild Web


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

A Model for Privacy?

March 1, 2022

In general, there are four approaches that libraries can take in relation to patron privacy. As library leaders consider implementing new tools for improving user outreach, they need to consider which model best suits their mission and strategic initiatives: Strict privacy. At one end of the spectrum, the library configures its integrated library system (ILS) … Continue reading A Model for Privacy?


Ways to Connect

January 3, 2022

Most libraries use one or more library engagement platforms—such as newsletters, mobile apps, or reservation systems—for communications like notifying customers about upcoming events or inviting them to browse materials and check something out. These interactions are touchpoints where the library and customer connect, not unlike a physical reference or circulation desk. Let’s consider how libraries … Continue reading Ways to Connect


Photo of Dispatches author Carson Block

Diagnose and Fix

November 1, 2021

The Toward Gigabit Libraries Toolkit is a free, open source learning, diagnostic, and advocacy resource funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The kit’s Creative Commons license allows users to remix, adapt, and build on the work, making it a powerful starting point for training in library organizations. The toolkit’s aim is to … Continue reading Diagnose and Fix


Photo of Dispatches author Jarrod Bogucki

Head in the Cloud?

September 1, 2021

As access remains limited and fewer staffers work onsite than before the pandemic, launching a digital repository via traditional, onsite hardware may be impractical or even impossible. Our world may be opening up again, but trends such as remote working and online education are likely to continue. To host cultural resource collections in a remote … Continue reading Head in the Cloud?


Dispatches with Erin Baucom

Recipe for Success

June 1, 2021

Digital preservation is a relatively young field. And as a result, it lacks established pathways and processes. What’s more, guidance for practitioners has been purposefully written from a high-level perspective to allow for flexibility by different types and sizes of institutions. But to translate lofty digital preservation theory into on-the-ground practice, we need workflow documents … Continue reading Recipe for Success


Dispatches with Carli Spina

Inclusive Media

May 3, 2021

The tech company Cisco predicts that by 2022, video will account for 82% of all internet traffic. In recent years, large libraries have jumped on this trend, producing recorded author events, tutorials, and promotional videos; since the pandemic began, the popularity of online videos has exploded even further. Ubiquitous as it is, much video content … Continue reading Inclusive Media


Portrait of Dispatches author Monika Glowacka-Musial

Visualize This

March 1, 2021

Digital collections, however, are not simply representations of physical collections but resources in their own right. Unlike physical collections, their digital counterparts feature detailed metadata. Often, they also feature full text, thanks to optical character recognition conversion of text images into machine-encoded data. Both metadata and data can be mined, analyzed, and visualized—not only opening … Continue reading Visualize This


Wired for Wireless

January 4, 2021

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 81% of US adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. That share is even higher for adults ages 18–29 at 96%, while just over half of people age 65 and older own one. Roughly one in five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users, meaning they … Continue reading Wired for Wireless


Dispatches, by Mirela Ronvevic

One Country, One Collection

November 2, 2020

This open digital library not only introduced users to a new way of engaging with digital content but also offered a sustainable business model to publishers, authors, libraries, and those who wished to support it financially. The idea for the national library did not come overnight. It was the result of working on various projects … Continue reading One Country, One Collection


Dispatches by Heather Moorefield-Lang

Digital Legacy Planning

September 1, 2020

The themes of afterlife and legacy have become prominent in popular media over the past few years, but the lifecycle of our digital footprint is less understood. The Digital Legacy Association, a British organization that hosts annual conferences on the topic, defines digital legacy as the digital information left behind when a person dies. How … Continue reading Digital Legacy Planning