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


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Protecting Patron Privacy

May 31, 2016

Secure communication on the web provides two important benefits: identifying the website authoritatively enabling encrypted communications between the user’s browser and the server that provides the resource Encryption algorithms transform the data into a seemingly garbled form that, if intercepted, cannot be deciphered. The use of a secure communication protocol (HTTPS) provides the best approach … Continue reading Protecting Patron Privacy


John J. Burke and Beth E. Tumbleson: Dispatches from the Field

Learning Management

May 2, 2016

The largest LMS companies in the United States in terms of numbers of institutions served are (in ranking order) Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, BrightSpace (D2L), and Sakai, as reported in an October 22, 2014, post in the e-Literate blog. Blackboard currently is the market leader in the US, even without including installations of ANGEL Learning, a … Continue reading Learning Management


Erik Mitchell: Dispatches from the Field

A Linked Data Landscape

January 4, 2016

Data licensing. The common practices that LAM communities have created to develop open source tools and support of open access are now influencing how we publish open data. Even though institutions are choosing different open-use licenses, open data is supporting new and broader uses of data. The Getty Museum, University of Pennsylvania, and University of … Continue reading A Linked Data Landscape


Rebecca K. Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier

Embracing the Future

October 30, 2015

Char Booth’s 2009 report, Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University, cautions against experimenting with too many programs at once. She argues that decisions should be grounded in insight into local library, information, and technology cultures—a policy that we call “intentional integration.” A 2014 Pew Research survey indicates that 64% … Continue reading Embracing the Future


Robin Chin Roemer and Rachel Borchardt

Altmetrics, Bibliometrics

September 15, 2015

For practical purposes, the best-known definition of altmetrics, “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing and informing scholarship,” comes from altmetrics.org, a website set up by Priem and three of his colleagues. Since then, others have questioned the definition and the methods of calculating alt­metrics in various scholarly … Continue reading Altmetrics, Bibliometrics