Budget restrictions are affecting both Universities and Libraries, so University Libraries are in a quite vulnerable position. Consequently, we’re obliged to take advantage of free tools and resources if we want to innovate. With this in mind, and with the idea of opening the events programmed for the Open Access WeekÂ in the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and coordinated by the UOC Virtual Library to the world, we planned to live stream Â the main event, the workshop “Open Acess, repositories andÂ copyleftÂ workshop”. Once we realised that we didn’t have enough budget for live streaming with the Audiovisual Service of the University, we decided to test a free live streaming tool for video.
There are some online tools for video streaming, the most widely used are: Bambuser, Livestream, UstreamÂ andÂ Justin.tv. Most of them have free and premium accounts. With a free account you can stream from your 3G phone or your computer, but probably you can’t connect a camera or stream in HD quality and your account will not be ad-free. For more information on these services you can have a look at this interesting articleÂ and thisÂ comparisonÂ both published inÂ the Streaming media magazine.
In this case, we decided to test Bambuser because of the facility of use and due to knowing the experience of the People Witness networkÂ within the social movements in Spain. Besides, there are several online tutorialsÂ and a really efficient customer service.
Steps to follow
First of all, you need to create an account byÂ signing up in BambuserÂ and filling in the form.
In the next step, it’s strongly recommendedÂ to connect Bambuser with your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts for a wider diffusion, this way your broadcasts will be automatically posted in your social networks. Following other users with similar interests is a good way of starting a network or community of interest in this platform.
Â Afterwards, you can choose your setup options for broadcasting: smartphone or webcam. You can change this setting at any time to broadcast both ways. In the UOC Library, as we need this account for broadcasting events, talks, workshops… we’re going to use a webcam for assuring a better quality.
In our case we created a corporative account and our user is UOCbiblioteca.
Your Bambuser account with your live broadcasts can be embedded in your website or blog just by copying the html code which appers in your channel homepage under the “Embed code” section. This way the last streaming will be shown on your website, as you can see bellow.
If otherwise you just want to integrate a particular broadcast, once you’re in the broadcast screen click on the Share button and copy and paste the html code in your website.
The use of hastags makes it easier to monitor broadcasts on a specific subject in the social networks and to collect all of them with free online tools, asÂ Rebelmouse for example.Â
A more detailed tutorial on How to stream, as well as links to other ones, can be found at the People Witness wiki,Â collaboratively collected and curated by the participants in the People Witness project.
1. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (The Open University of Catalonia, UOC)
As a result of aÂ user-centred designÂ (DCU) process, this new websiteÂ emphasizes the single search box, better explanations, quality and transparency applied to the Libraryâ€™s services and processes.
2.Â The University of York
They have redesigned and restructured their website in response to the userâ€™s feedback. They also highlight a new toolÂ which allows you to submit enquiries online and search FAQs.
3. The University of North Carolina
They highlight the following enhancements: aÂ single highly visible search box on the front page, front-and-center placement of the most requested links, information about libraries and places to study and a calendar of upcoming events.
4. Universidad de Navarra
UNAV library website change to fit the design and style of the University website.
We can see that most of them agree on emphasize elements such as the search engine, customer service, access to resources and news and events.
The Universitat Oberta de CatalunyaÂ (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) employs user-centered design in all technological projects it develops. However, this process is not only valid for user interface design, but for any kind of product or service design.
User-centered design is
“a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations ofÂ end usersÂ of aÂ productÂ are given extensive attention at each stage of theÂ design process”.
For example, the process is applicable to libraries when designing and improving their service.
Likewise, LITA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), provides training on how to apply the UCD process in libraries.Â Other institutions, such as Oregon State University, also favour this process and apply it in their daily activities. So OSU library has its ownÂ usability team.
However, most of the examples that we can find today are processes applied to user interfaces, such as the library’s website.
- User-centered information architecture of University Library Website
- User-Centered Design and Usability Testing of a Web Site: An Illustrative Case Study
The James Madison University Libraries explainÂ the process they followed to redesign their site.
We also found some examples involving the catalogue interface.
In this presentation, the Hamburg libraries talk about their experience with the Beluga project, the new library catalogue for the Hamburg libraries’ collections. They explain the results of focus group sessions with users regarding Beluga and offer some examples of other library services that they have analysed.
The case study of LIBRIS, the Swedish National UnionÂ Catalogue, is explained here:
On previous posts we have been talking about the linked and open data. The library, working as a publisher in open repositories, has an opportunity to enrich and connect its data to the semantic web through the integration of data from the Linked Open Data cloud. Other issues to be concerned with are matching and linking of published datasets or the use of authority files for dataÂ enhancement.
These are some of the questions that are thrown in the following list of conferences and resources about the semantic web to start thinking about why it makes sense for academic libraries.
Why libraries should care about the semantic web and linked data
Augmented realityÂ (AR) is all the rage. There are projects in all areas playing with this new technology to test its possibilities. The challenge, however, seems to be working out which applications are really useful to users.
An interesting initiative for finding out about innovative projects is ARlab:Â â€śThe AR Lab is a laboratory for the research of Augmented Reality (AR) and other new visualisation techniques (IVT). The Lab consists of a variable group of artists, designers, scientists, engineers and (art) students.â€ť
Some areas seem to be having success in the practical application of augmented reality, and more projects are being developed. One example is the education sector, where projects are being developed with wide-ranging aims and methodologies.
At the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC), one of the experiences being developed has allowed â€śforty Cultural Heritage students to collaboratively build landscape all around Catalonia using Augmented Reality elementsâ€ť.
Libraries represent another potential field where augmented reality could be used. There are a number of different pilot tests and projects, but to date there havenâ€™t been any successful initiatives where an application or service with augmented reality is commonly used by users.
Some time ago, we had a first look at the subject in one of our posts.Â What other examples are there?
- There are professionals using augmented reality in pilot tests to find out more about it and determine its uses.
- There are libraries that have used it to offer virtual visits round their buildings.
- The Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG!) has developed a prototype AR shelf-reading app called ShelvAR to analyze an entire shelf, spot any misplaced books, and show librarians the quickest way to put the books back in order.
- You can find out about how to put a book back on the shelfâ€¦ (if youâ€™ve been in outer space).
But, as the study entitled The State of Mobile in Libraries 2012 has shown,
augmented reality is one of the aspects to work on at libraries in order â€śto stay on the radarâ€ť.