Dispatches, by Nicole Hennig

Data Security

June 1, 2018

Some examples of cloud backup services are Backblaze, iDrive, Carbonite, and SpiderOak One. They are designed to routinely back up all your computer files to an encrypted remote location, with easy ways to restore them in case your computer is lost, stolen, has a virus, or is otherwise destroyed. They usually provide a way to … Continue reading Data Security


Dispatches, by David Lee King

Futureproofing Your Library

May 1, 2018

Most likely your library still has traditional customers who ask questions at the reference desk and check out physical books. You also have a new breed of library customer who brings in any number of electronic devices and expects those devices to work with your library’s technology. They want to plug into your public computers. … Continue reading Futureproofing Your Library


Dispatches, by Joanna M. Burkhardt

Social Media Bots

March 1, 2018

In social media, bots collect information that might be of interest to users by crawling the internet for specific information and sharing it on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bots use keywords and hashtags in their searches. Some social bots were developed to behave like a human—using emojis in their posts, only posting at reasonable … Continue reading Social Media Bots


Dispatches, by Mirela Roncevic

Free Reading Zones

January 2, 2018

The basic idea is to open books for reading in areas where sponsors have a vested interest in getting exposure. As we’ve learned from the music industry, the fastest way to get people to consume content in a new environment is by making that content freely accessible through sponsorships—think of enjoying music on YouTube or … Continue reading Free Reading Zones


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Open Source Software

November 1, 2017

Integrated library systems (ILS), as well as the new genre of library services platforms, are offered to libraries primarily as proprietary products controlled by a single vendor. Libraries that use these products remain dependent on that vendor for ongoing software development, solutions to systemic problems, and service enhancements. While proprietary software remains the dominant approach, … Continue reading Open Source Software


Dispatches, by Jason Griffey

3D: A Status Report

September 1, 2017

One thing that has helped the 3D printing business take off is the availability of freely shareable models for just about anything. The most popular online library of 3D models is Thingiverse, a free resource owned by MakerBot Industries. Thingiverse allows anyone who has created a model to upload it to the website and make … Continue reading 3D: A Status Report


Dispatches, by Melissa Goertzen

From Theory to Practice

June 1, 2017

The term “quantitative analysis” can seem daunting. But like many other professionals, I developed research skills on the job and jumped at any opportunity to learn about quantitative methods. One of the challenges I faced was how to make sense of data sources and use them in ways that support effective decision making. Over a … Continue reading From Theory to Practice


Dispatches, by Hsuanwei Michell Chen

Design and Conquer

May 1, 2017

Be clear and concise. Ensure that the data you are illustrating is comprehensive and accurate. The goal is to convey the greatest number of ideas in the smallest amount of space in the shortest number of words. A good resource to review for inspiration is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte. … Continue reading Design and Conquer




Dispatches, by Tabatha Farney

Improve Your Analytics Data

November 1, 2016

Reduce junk traffic Traffic generated by spambots and junk referral websites is a nasty issue that all web analytics tools face. Spam traffic generates sessions and pageviews by nonhuman visitors and clutters up your data by making it difficult to identify usage by your website’s real users. It also tends to inflate such negative metrics … Continue reading Improve Your Analytics Data


Dispatches, by Kristen Wilson

Community Knowledge Bases

September 1, 2016

In 2007, James Culling proposed as an alternative a single, centralized knowledge base that would use web services to provide its data freely to anyone who wished to use it. In a 2008 article in Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, Ross Singer took the idea one step further by pointing to collaborative projects like Wikipedia … Continue reading Community Knowledge Bases