Three more years (at least) of TechAtlas!

December 22, 2006

We here at WebJunction are just a tiny little part of OCLC, the global library services cooperative headquartered in Ohio. We work together with OCLC’s core staff on many activities, not limited to such things as administration, finance, human resources, payroll, etc.

Every once in a while there are more interesting angles to the relationship, such as the recent signing of a new grant agreement between OCLC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant to OCLC and to WebJunction provides for three more years of work around the TechAtlas software, following up on work that WebJunction has been doing over the past two years.

We’ll be posting lots of additional information about this new grant in the near future, but the good news for TechAtlas users is that use of the tool will remain free for all WebJunction members for at least a few more years. To learn more about WebJunction’s work with TechAtlas, visit our TechAtlas content area.


Assessing staff technology skills with TechAtlas

August 2, 2006

The next event in WebJunction’s continuing series of TechAtlas webcasts will be on Wednesday, August 16. We’ll be discussing the Staff Skills Survey, which is a convenient tool within TechAtlas that allows you to survey library staff members by e-mail.

Survey-takers perform a self-assessment of their technology skills in several key areas, and TechAtlas aggregates and organizes the data to help you plan for future staff training needs.

Our webcast on August 16 will also introduce enhancements to the Staff Skills Survey that are currently under development. To learn more, visit WebJunction’s TechAtlas Online Learning Opportunities page and register for this free webcast!

More details on TechAtlas chat

July 26, 2006

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:

  1. Go to the TechAtlas for Libraries site:
  2. Login to your TechAtlas account. If you don’t have a TechAtlas account, you can create one by clicking the Sign-Up Now! button.
  3. 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.

TechAtlas and the Normative Data Project

July 18, 2006

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.

Live Chat for TechAtlas

June 20, 2006

Recently I used a tool called Gabbly, an online chat tool that can be added to any website. I'm thinking we could host live chat on TechAtlas for a limited number of hours each week for logged in users. Anyone logged in could chat, and we'd have a host online to help moderate and answer questions. I think it would be interesting to see what questions surface when people have an easy way to chat directly with someone. What would you think of a chat session on TechAtlas for librariese to be held on Friday mornings, 9am-12n? I'm thinking that having a designated timeframe would allow us to staff moderation adequately, and focus attention so we wouldn't have dead time. I'm thinking we that WebJunction can add Gabbly using the sitemanager content editor on the start page, providing a link when chat is to be active and removing it when it's inactive.

A disaster planning tool for libraries

June 13, 2006

While not strictly related to TechAtlas, the dPlan disaster planning tool is well worth mentioning as another great online resource for libraries. dPlan is a free, web-based tool made available by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

The general concept behind dPlan is similar to TechAtlas. The dPlan site provides an online template for you to fill out with critical information on disaster planning for your library, and allows you to print out a complete disaster plan, consolidating everything that you have entered online. dPlan has been receiving a lot of attention in the library community recently, and once you check out what the tool has to offer, you'll quickly understand why!