Highlights from Tech Fest - September 30, 2015
The Joint meeting of the New Jersey, Greater Princeton-Trenton, and Rutgers Student SLA Chapters was new and different for all of us. It followed a model used successfully by LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey Library Co-operative, named TechFest. There were three presentations given simultaneously, each lasting 25 minutes. When time was up, the attendees in each presentation moved to a different room for the next presentation. If it sounds (and looks) like Speed Dating, Joanne Roukens, the Assistant Director of LibraryLinkNJ, informed us that it used to be called “Tech SpeedDating” and was a fast way to display, teach, and encourage innovative technologies in public, academic, and special libraries.
Special Libraries have always been invited, but often were not able to attend, because these TechFests were held during the day in a library, and corporate librarians were not easily able to attend. Our chapters wanted to introduce this concept, so we planned this, at P-T’s President Pat Dawson’s suggestion for our joint meeting, and we are so glad we did! We also had a great showing from librarians from academia and public libraries which was a nice way to network and discover what other libraries are doing to improve dissemination of tech information to their clients and colleagues.
Speaker Cynthia Lambert’s topic was “Mobil Device and Device Security”. Consumer Reports noted in an April 2014 report that over 3 million smartphones were stolen in 2013. So much personal information is contained on smartphones these days…not to mention irreplaceable pictures, that Lambert advises us to “at least” do these simple precautions:
If you haven’t locked your phone yet, do it. A six digit passcode is more secure than a 4 digit one. I have a 5S and I was able to reset my pin to 6 digits quite easily. My iOS version is current…so that’s important. Just go to Settings, scroll to Touch ID and Passcode. Under Change Passcode, note that iOS has 6 digits. Easy! Lambert also alerted us to turn off Wifi and Bluetooth when not using them, as this is the basic gateway into cellphones. Use wifi and Bluetooth wisely and remember: unsecured wifi is never safe. Set up “locate” and “remote wipe” functions as this is the only way to secure data if cellphones and other devices are lost or stolen. Also…back up your data regularly. That way, you can erase everything on your stolen/lost cell and re-download it to your next replacement. Download apps only from trusted sources. Unfortunately, even Apple had a breach and the Apple Store had apps with virus software embedded in them. This was fixed, but it still is a problem, more-so for Android phones than for iPhones. So, also install Virus Protection Software and keep your operating system and apps updated. Updates are sent out usually to fix security problems.
John LeMasney held court in Conference Room B. His topic: The Internet of Things. The table around which we sat had all manner of devices which could, and did, connect to the Internet. He mostly discussed the potential for tracking in Libraries to see which books and databases were being used, not for tracking individuals, but to make library usage more accessible for patrons. Some libraries (Seattle Public comes to mind) have digital wall screens with information on various topics and how to find them in the library. LeMasney also discussed how our devices are interconnected and we will see more of this: Apps on our phones which connect to home devices (lights, heating, cameras, etc.). Think also of the wearable monitors which record our steps/day, can track our calories if we enter them, and, with the right wristband or attachments can monitor heartbeats or Insulin needs for glucose control. These advances have developed as a result of inexpensive, low-voltage, low-cost sensors and transmitters, wifi, and Bluetooth abundance. Our environments are interconnected and data-rich, which also brings up the issue of security, privacy, and data ownership. Look positively, though, and keep difficult to break passcodes on items with sensors (mobile devices, Nest home controls, baby monitors, etc.). Hacking will be more difficult with locked devices, so that is something we can do to help ourselves in this amazing new world.
Stacey Carton in Conference Room C discussed the Makerspace learning area she brought into Rutgers Douglass Library as Manager of the Fordham Commons which is a multimedia collaboration space at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library. Carton also SLA keychains she made with her 3-D printer. Carton oversees the 3-D printing that the public is also allowed to use. The public must bring in pictures of what is to be designed and that information is fed into the printer. Also…it is not free. Those using the 3D printer must pay for the supplies to print their designs. Oftentimes they are printing small parts which are checked to see if they are “in spec” before they are sent off to by manufactured for real. Carton stressed that the labs have much bigger 3D printers for research purposes. The printers Carton manages elicit a lot of interest from students and the public, which is exactly what her collaboration space was designed to do.
The final activity was a Hack-a-thon and everyone was together for this activity. We weren’t breaking into computers or banking systems. We were hoping to answer problems which had been sent to Joanne before this meeting. The “Hack” was to support any kind of need, whether it has a technical glitch attendees had, the need to find a new app, or how to better market the library to patrons. It was fun. We came away with a greater appreciation of our changing world and how libraries are areas of information and can bring these technologies to life for library patrons.