For those of you who missed WebJunction’s webcast on E-Rate Technology Planning with TechAtlas last week, fear not. We’ve archived a couple of documents from that session on WebJunction, including the PowerPoint presentation that was used during the webcast, as well as a video and audio recording of the webcast itself. If you’re needing some help with your library’s E-Rate technology plan, check these resources out!
Thanks to those who participated in today’s TechAtlas chat session. We had nine “gabbers” discussing various aspects of TechAtlas, as well as general technical support isuses for libraries. We also had at least one TechAtlas problem report, so we’ll look into that and see if we can get it resolved quickly!
You can view a PDF archive of today’s TechAtlas chat session.
The next TechAtlas chat session will be on Friday, August 4 from 12-3 pm EDT (9 am-12 PDT). To join in, login to your TechAtlas account and look for the live link on the Home page for your TechAtlas account.
WebJunction’s Rural Library Sustainability Project (RLS) is a nationwide initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to help those managing libraries in small communities fight the good fight. The energy, ideas, and enthusiasm generated by this program are infectious, are we’re glad to see that TechAtlas for Libraries is lending some value to project participants.
While there is lots of great RLS content on WebJunction itself, some of the state coordinators for the program have found innovative methods of keeping the momentum going. The Building a Sustainable Future blog in Kansas is a great example, and not just because it mentions TechAtlas!
We’ve had a few questions about how to connect to the TechAtlas chat session mentioned a couple of blog posts ago. If you’re interested in participating in the chat session, read on…
When the chat session is live this Friday July 28 between 9 am and 12 noon PDT (12 noon – 3 pm EDT), there will be a URL link on the TechAtlas Home page that will allow you to access the chat session. Here are the specific steps to follow if you want to join the chat:
- Go to the TechAtlas for Libraries site: http://webjunction.techatlas.org
- Login to your TechAtlas account. If you don’t have a TechAtlas account, you can create one by clicking the Sign-Up Now! button.
- Once you’ve logged into TechAtlas, you’ll be placed on the Home page. In the text block at the top of that page, look for a link to live chat.
The link will only be “live” when the chat sessions are active on Fridays at the times indicated above. If you have questions or comments about TechAtlas that you’d like to share, please join us!
BTW, if anyone is interested, the chat tool we will be using is Gabbly.
I was pleased to see that TechAtlas for Libraries is prominently mentioned in the most recent issue of Computers in Libraries. Stephanie Gerding and Pam MacKellar have authored a great article in that issue titled Wishing Won’t Work: 10 Things You Need to Know and Do When Applying for Technology Grants.
The second item on their list of ten recommends that librarians seeking technology grants “read about technology planning tools and advice.” TechAtlas is mentioned right off the bat as a “convenient (and free!) tool for library technology planning”. I couldn’t agree more, and we’re glad to see TechAtlas for Libraries mentioned in such a useful article!
Beginning on Friday, 7/28 TechAtlas users will be able to chat with other users, and with the people who maintain and support the tools. We’re planning to offer 3 hour blocks of time for chat each week, hosted by WebJunction and TechAtlas staff. We’ll consider expanding the availability of (both hosted and unhosted) live chat based on results of our initial attempts. If you have any comments or thoughts on how to best manage live chat for TechAtlas, please let us know — we’d welcome any suggestions as this is our first attempt at this. Hope to chat with you on Friday.
One of the more interesting angles that we’ve been exploring as we plot the future of TechAtlas for Libraries is the possibility of leveraging the data gathered by the tool. We’ve come to realize that the technical inventory information that libraries enter into TechAtlas constitutes a fairly unique data set. More to the point, the detailed information gathered in TechAtlas represents data that does not exist even in the mostly widely recognized aggregations of library data, such the Library Statistics Program at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Along this same path, we have had some initial discussions with the Normative Data Project (NDP) team at SirsiDynix. For those not familiar with the NDP, it’s an ambitious project to merge data derived from the NCES, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, the GeoLib program at Florida State University, as well as individual contributing libraries. Exactly how data gathered in TechAtlas might mesh with the NDP is still a matter of speculation, but we hope to find a way to extend the value of TechAtlas to the profession by merging data sets somewhere in the near future.