Virtual reality (augmented reality): The next step in information evolution

From oral traditions to pictographs to manuscripts to mass production printing, humans have always looked for the best way to share stories with the most number of people in the most effective way. We have adapted to use different media to tell our stories and virtual reality and augmented reality are the next media platforms.

Libraries have long been a place to try out new technologies before they become household items. Remember when Bill Gates gave us all those PCs?

Immersive experiences can provide safe training spaces (imagine performing surgery without having to risk a patient), increase empathy (imagine literally viewing the world through the eyes of a person who is homeless) and let one travel without limits (imagine taking a field trip to the moon—walking in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps).

The HTC Vive is one of the first commercially available VR headsets and one of the most high-end platforms available. Because it’s more than just a headset, users experience more immersive activities because the handheld controllers are tracked as well as the head.

The following programs help to get a feel for what VR can be:

  • Tilt brush – 3-D art you can create and interact with
  • Google Earth – visit anywhere the Google cameras have been
  • The Body VR – learn about biological systems as if you were in the Fantastic Voyage
  • SoundStage – virtual sound equipment to create music

As patrons start to see VR depicted in more areas of life (“Ready Player One” hits theaters in March 2018), providing the unique experience of actually being a participant in VR will be an exciting opportunity for Hoosiers in every community.

The HTC Vive Virtual Reality Kit is available for check out by libraries eligible for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants through the Indiana State Library (ISL), including school and academic libraries, as well as any public library that meets standards. The kit is available for a loan period of three months and will be delivered and set up by ISL staff who can train up to six staff members at the time of delivery. Libraries can return the kit to ISL after use or schedule a time for an ISL staff person to pick it up. The kit cannot be shipped through InfoExpress. Libraries are encouraged to develop programming around the kit to share with patrons. The HTC Vive Virtual Reality Kit can be scheduled by contacting your regional coordinator.

HTC Vive Virtual Reality Kit components:

  • 1 set of HTC Vive Virtual Reality equipment (including head set, 2 hand controllers, 2 light houses, and cables)
  • 2 tripods for the lighthouses
  • 1 computer (not wireless compatible)
  • 1 keyboard
  • 1 mouse

Funding for this project is from the Institute of Museum and Library Service under the provisions of the LSTA.

VR in libraries:
Public Libraries Online  – provides programming ideas
California’s Virtual Reality Experience  – installed VR systems in over half of the public library jurisdictions in underserved communities
Library Use of New Visualizaton Technologies – a blog post by MIT Information Science Graduate Research Intern, Diana Hellyar

This blog post was written by Wendy Knapp, associate director of statewide services. 

Lost book makes its way back to state library after 40 years

Recently, after a 40-year, 10-month and 27-day absence, a long-missing item was finally returned to the Indiana State Library. Arriving in a United States Postal Service (USPS) box, the package was postmarked from Arlington, Virginia. The book inside was well-worn and much-used. As you can see in the lower right corner it must have also moonlighted as a coaster at some point. With a due date of Aug. 23, 1976, we can only image what an overdue fine would be back then. Today, we charge 25 cents a day for overdue books, which would make the fine $3,735.25.

The book? William Bast’s 1956 James Dean biography, which was published a year after the native Indiana actor’s death in a California auto accident. Bast was also Dean’s roommate at UCLA.

For now, the book goes back on the shelf with a flag for our conservator to find at a later date for repair work. As for the overdue fine, if there was circulation pardon that I could bestow, this would earn it. However, it had been missing for so long there is no way to trace who had it. Let this serve as a reminder to us all that it is clearly never too late to return an overdue library book. Even though it was due six years before I was born, I’m glad to see it back.

This blog post was written by Stephanie E. Smith, circulation supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the circulation supervisor at stsmith3@library.in.gov

Interstate Library Compact

An interstate compact is an agreement among member states that addresses a common issue. In the case of the Interstate Library Compact, the issue to solve was how to provide the best library services when the distribution of the population makes it more practical for a library to serve residents of another state.

A real world example of what this looks like follows:

Indiana’s Union City Public Library serves the residents of Union City, Ind. Union City also extends into Ohio. However, Indiana’s library card law only allows the Union City Public Library to provide library cards to out of state residents when there is an interstate compact agreement in place. Otherwise, Indiana libraries may only provide library cards to Indiana residents, and they must charge for the cards if the Indiana residents are not part of the library’s tax district. Indiana’s Union City Public Library is the closest public library for Union City, Ohio residents. However, without an interstate compact agreement, the Indiana library could not serve the Ohio patrons.

Images courtesy of Pixabay (https://pixabay.com)

The Interstate Library Compact establishes standards and procedures for providing library services on an interstate basis. States become part of the Interstate Library Compact by enacting legislation that mirrors the language of the compact. Then, member states, or public libraries within the member states, can enter into cooperative agreements with the libraries of other member states.

According to the National Center for Interstate Compacts, there are 34 states that are a part of the Interstate Library Compact. See the list of member libraries who have chosen to enact the Interstate Library Compact into law. Indiana and our neighboring states Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky have all chosen to be part of the Interstate Library Compact. If you have questions about interstate compacts, please contact the Indiana State Library (317) 232-3675 or toll free at 1 (866) 683-0008.

This blog post was written by Sylvia Watson, library law consultant and legal counsel, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Sylvia at sywatson@library.IN.gov.

Is Clifford a Hoosier?

Well, kind of. Technically, Clifford the Big Red Dog lives on Birdwell Island with his best pal, Emily Elizabeth. However, his author and creator, Norman Bridwell, is from Indiana!  Bridwell (1928-2016) was born in Kokomo. Before creating the famous big red dog, Mr. Bridwell attended Kokomo High School and John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis.  “Clifford the Big Red Dog” was first published in 1963 and the series is still popular with children today!

The Indiana State Library recently held a Saturday Storytime program, “All About Clifford,” in the Young Readers Center. Children enjoyed hearing several stories about Clifford the Big Red Dog and his adventures with Emily Elizabeth. They then made Clifford masks and enjoyed time in Clifford’s big doghouse. Each child in attendance received a free copy of “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” courtesy of the Indiana State Library Foundation.

Clifford the Big Red Dog and his creator are featured in one of the exhibits in the Indiana Young Readers Center. Visitors can read Clifford’s original story and learn more about the big red dog and his creator from Indiana!

Many of Bridwell’s books can be found in the Young Readers Center and can be checked out with an Indiana State Library card or an Evergreen Indiana card.

This blog post was written by Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian Christy Franzman. For more information on this post or the Indiana State Library, please call 317-232-3675.

Registration for book processing parties and round tables at the Indiana State Library now open

The Professional Development Office (PDO) of the Indiana State Library is thrilled to announce the addition of almost 20 new book club kits to their collection.

PDO is looking for volunteers to help process these kits so they will be ready for fall circulation. Processing mainly consists of applying book covers. PDO welcomes volunteers from both public and school libraries and no experience is required.

Two all-day sessions, on July 7 and July 27,  will be offered. The all-day events include the processing party, a round table discussion eligible for one LEU, provided lunch, snacks and a tour of the state library.

The July 7 round table topic will be: School & Public Library Partnerships/Book Clubs. Session is full.

The July 27 round table topic will be: Summer Reading Wrap-Up/Back-to-School/Book Clubs. Register here.

Parking is free. Contact Beth Yates, children’s consultant, via email or at (317) 234-5649 for more details.

This blog post was written by Beth Yates, children’s consultant for the Indiana State Library.

Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America Fest 2017

The second annual Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America (IM-DPLA) Fest is set for Sept. 8, 2017 at the Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch. IM-DPLA Fest is a free, one-day conference running from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The fest was created to address topics on digitization and provide networking opportunities for those interested in working on digital projects. Past attendees include representatives from large public universities, public libraries and small cultural organizations. Everyone interested in digitization is welcome to attend.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kendra Morgan. She is a senior program manager with the Online Computer Resource Center (OCLC) and the co-author of the recently published report “Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries.” In addition, there will be several other presentations on topics in digitization. The lightning talks and poster session will highlight different digital projects from around the state. Proposals to participate with a lightning talk or poster session need to be submitted by June 30, 2017. See the IM-DPLA blog for more information about submitting a presentation, lightning talk or poster.

“Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in the US Public and State Libraries,” by Kendra Morgan and Merrilee Proffitt was release in 2017. It can be downloaded as a free pdf from the OCLC website.

Registration, and a more detailed schedule, will be announced at a later date on the IM-DPLA blog. So, whether you’re a seasoned digital veteran or just dreaming of acquiring your first flatbed scanner, we look forward to seeing you at the 2017 IM-DPLA Fest!

This blog post by Jill A. Black, a library technician with the Indiana Memory Project. For more information contact the Library Development Office (317) 232-3697 or ldo@library.in.gov.

Meet Chris Marshall, Indiana Division Digital Collections coordinator

Since Jan. 30, 2017, Chris Marshall has been the digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library. He’s previously held positions at Conner Prairie, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana State Museum and the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL). Recently, he took time to answer some questions and here are the responses.

Chris Marshall, smiling and working.

Describe some of your work duties?
I answer reference questions, either in person or by email or chat, but the biggest part of my job is digitizing materials from the Indiana Division’s collection and building digital collections.

How does this job compare to previous jobs?
When I worked at the Indiana State Museum, I worked with objects in the Decorative Arts Collection. This was in the pre-digital world. I also curated a major exhibit about early 19th century furniture and architecture. This required researching and searching for furniture in the collections.

This position reminds me of part of my previous job at IndyPL’s Central Library. Here, I’m focusing on the digital access of the collections by providing information and research materials to patrons all over the world. I often wonder how many people in Frankton, New Zealand might be researching something in Frankton, Indiana. I don’t really know if they are, but it amazes me that just twenty years ago, the access would have been limited and required more time and patience.

Educational background?
I have a B.A. in American History and French from Ball State University. I have an M.A. in Museum Studies, also known as Historical Administration, from Eastern Illinois University, with an internship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Last but not least, I got my Master of Library Science at IUPUI/Indiana University.

What sparked your interest in collections?
When I was in middle school, I was a history geek. We took a trip to the Anderson Public Library and there we learned about genealogy. That sparked my interest. In hindsight, I was glad that I started working on it then because it gave me the chance to talk with the older members of my family and I learned a lot about the family. From that, I found my love of research and cultural history and learned what it was like to live during the times I was researching. I was always more interested in the social and cultural aspects of history, as opposed to political or military histories.

Better than Guy Fieri.

Julia Child vs. Guy Fieri?
Julia Child without a doubt! She pioneered teaching cooking and look at what that lead to.  She knew who to teach and encourage and do it in such a way that made me smile and want to actually learn to de-bone a duck. No, I have not done it yet.

Guy seems to be more of the celebrity chef. Julia was humble in her work and career.

Hobbies?
If I’m not writing or working on my books that I have yet to find an agent for, I’m being crafty. During my Conner Prairie days, I learned to knit, so I have a lot of yarn stashed away for future projects. I usually knit while catching up on movies that I didn’t see at the theater or while binge-watching television shows like “Grace and Frankie” or “The Twilight Zone” or “The Simpsons.” Gotta get back to “The Walking Dead;” not my favorite, but it grabbed my attention. I’ve also learned simple bookbinding.

The books I’ve written range from a middle-grade time-traveling trilogy to a haunted hotel in upstate New York to a secret love affair. Some are complete and some are in the works. I also maintain a blog with some of my short stories and miscellaneous posts about my observations on life. I am also a Lego maniac and I’m working on a series of blog posts using my Lego sets. My favorite books are ones set in museums. I’m currently reading “Relic.” I re-read “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” but I definitely prefer the 1970s movie version over the book.

Best album of all-time?
I don’t have one. My parents had a huge record collection and I would listen to variety of music. I like individual songs more than one particular artist, so I listen to a variety ranging from Benny Goodman to Rufus Wainwright to the Boston Pops to Doris Day to Frank Sinatra to the Beatles to Elton John. The list goes on…

What do you hope to gain from your experience here at the state library?
To learn more about Indiana history. My goal as the Digital Collections coordinator is to have a least one digitized item from each county of the state in the digital collection. So far, so good on that one. I also hope that this might lead to a high-level position; maybe manage a whole digital department somewhere someday.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

Fake news and how to fight it

Fake news feels like a modern scourge of intellect, but it’s nothing new. One of the earliest fake news examples on record dates to the first century, when Octavian, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, smeared the reputation of Mark Antony for control of the Roman Empire. Octavian, better known today as Emperor Augustus, read a will of dubious authenticity aloud to the Roman Senate. In that will, Mark Antony would give Roman lands to his children with Egyptian ruler Cleopatra and asked to be buried in an Egyptian tomb in the manner of a pharaoh. While the accuracy of this document can never be proven at this point, the fallout from Octavian’s act destroyed Mark Antony’s career and indirectly led to both his and Cleopatra’s deaths.

With over 2000 years of fake news, you would think that it would be easy to spot by now.  However, judging from the current news climate coupled with reports such as this 18-month study with middle and high school students, it appears we as a society need to strengthen our ability to identify and fight fake news as we see it. Luckily, there’s a lot of things we can do.

The first and easiest thing to do is to not spread fake news in the first place. Mad-Eye Moody said it best: Constant Vigilance. Fake news is often characterized by a number of traits which can help you spot it quickly. A few of these are:

  • It makes you angry, scared or, for some political stories, overly reassured
  • It seems too good (or bad!) to be true
  • It is not from a generally reputable source
  • It does not cite its sources, or uses poor sources to back its claims

You’ll see fake news on the Facebook pages of many of your friends, but just because they believe it doesn’t mean it’s true. Even the smartest, most-educated people will make mistakes and post fake news sometimes. It’s up to you to sniff it out.

Second, if you want to share something online, check it first. Let’s look at a claim like “Farmed salmon is bad for you.” The article that this claim is based on uses lots of inflammatory language, bright colors and statements meant to alarm you. But don’t be fooled. A quick Google search for “Is farmed salmon bad for you?” will turn up a link to the Washington State Department of Health which refutes virtually every claim in the other, negative article. If you look at the author of the negative article, you’ll learn that he’s not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist, nor does he have a degree in any medical field. He’s an editor and CEO of a popular magazine, which gives him lots of publicity but no weight to his arguments. On the other hand, the Washington State Department of Health does not operate at a profit, employs scientists and provides excellent, credible sources for its claims in this article. Even though it’s wise to consider the safety of your food, bad information doesn’t help anyone.

Third, if you accidentally post fake news – and everyone does – apologize and take it down from your feed. Some fake news outlets can look astonishingly like real ones (like this one) and you may not think you have time to verify what you’re reading. It’s always best to double check, however, to keep yourself well-informed.

Here’s a quick checklist to verify an article’s claims:

  1. Where is it located? Good articles and videos come from good news sources.  What’s a good news source? Look for ones with strong codes or standards of ethics (like this one or this one) that clearly state their responsibilities to their writers, their sources and their readers. If you can’t find a standard or code of ethics, you will probably want to consider another news source. Other good sources of information are academic journals (which Indiana residents can find using INspire, the state library’s gateway to digital information access) and nonpartisan research organizations.
  2. Who wrote it? Look up the author using Google or LinkedIn, a professional networking site. Real news is written by real journalists, and you can often find pertinent information about them like resumes/CVs, other articles they’ve written and any other qualifications they may have, such as additional education or certifications.
  3. How old is it? Information, like fish, has an expiration date. Very often, old news is repackaged as current and articles without dates should be doubly suspect. Old news might rehash incidents or disputes that have since been resolved, or make you angry over something that is no longer true or applicable.
  4. Why was it written or developed? Fake news can be profitable – ask Jestin Coler, who registered a number of websites which produced fake news and made between $10,000 and $30,000 per month. Other reasons that fake news might be produced may be to sway political opinion, promote specific ideologies or beliefs or destroy a rival’s reputation.

Fake news may be everywhere, but you are smart enough to fight it. In addition to the above advice, I have developed a Fake News LibGuide with tools, tips, websites and other resources for you to use. You deserve honest, accurate information and you have every right to be mad that fake news outlets are trying to dupe you. Fight back with real news and real information. If you get stuck or lost, remember that the library is always there to help.

This blog post was written by KT Lowe, coordinator of library instruction and service learning at Indiana University East. You are welcome to contact her at lowekat@iu.edu or visit her on Facebook.

Materials using the phonetic alphabet

An unusual item from the Indiana State Library’s original print newspaper collection is Di Anglo Sacsun (ISLN Newspaper Room), a newspaper published in Boston from 1846-1848. Our holdings include a scattering of newspaper issues from the publication period of this phonetically-spelled newspaper. The paper states its mission as being “Devoted to the diffusion of knowledge and news, through the medium of phonotypy, or the true system of spelling words: that is, just as they are pronounced.” It was thought that material printed in phonetic spelling would be easier for non-native English speakers, or those who learned the English language by rote, to master.

This newspaper is written using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which utilizes syllables that stand for different phonetic sounds that are common to all spoken languages.

On the left and right sides of the newspaper’s masthead are printed keys to pronunciation.

The International Phonetic Association (International Phonetic Association) is devoted to representing and promoting the International Phonetic Alphabet and championing its use by linguists, speech-language pathologists, classically trained singers, actors, and others.

Another item in the state library’s collection that utilizes the IPA is the Primer of Phonetics by Henry Sweet (ISLM 414 S974P).

This book, published in 1906, serves as an in-depth phonetics pronunciation key.

Pages from the Primer of Phonetics showing English sounds.

We also have a phonetic translation of the Book of Psalms from the Bible, De Buc ov Samz From de Oturizd Verzun:  Printed Foneticali in Paraleliz’mz (ISLM BS 1422 1849).

Although the phonetic alphabet did not become a popular spelling format for newspapers, it is used in dictionaries with pronunciation keys and serves as a standardized approach to language learning.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Pianos in the library

When people think about pianos they might think about Bach, Beethoven, grandiose concert halls, Elton John, 1989’s “Great Balls of Fire!” film or even where Slash decided to stand and play his guitar solo in the Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” video. One place that usually doesn’t come to mind, however, is libraries.

Despite being known as quiet places, libraries all over the world house pianos and maintain piano practice rooms. The Toronto Public Library, for example, has multiple pianos and several practice rooms. Libraries do not keep pianos solely for the purpose of practice, though. The Woodstock Public Library, in Woodstock, Ill., “welcomes accomplished and talented pianists to play the piano at [their] library.” In this case, the piano is to be played, during specified hours, in order to provide pleasant background music for library patrons. No “Chopsticks,” though!

Strictly forbidden at the Woodstock Public Library:

Indiana is no exception to the piano rule. Several public libraries in Indiana have their own pianos.

“I’m not sure how our upright piano made its way to us, it’s been here at least as long as I’ve been here and that’s been over twelve years,” said Mary Schons, head of information services at the Hammond Public Library in Hammond, Ind. The piano at the Hammond Public Library is primarily used for two programs, the long-running “Welcome to the World of Music,” with Florian Bolsega, which takes place every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., and their new program, “Sing Along with Rich,” which happens every last Monday of the month at 10 a.m., in the library’s community room. “While the singalong is for everyone, Rich Boban specializes in working with people who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In January, a mother stopped by with her adult son who has a stroke and is aphasic. The music is helping him recover,” Schons added.

Rich Boban, singalong coordinator at the Hammond Public Library

The Adams Public Library System, (APLS) which serves the communities of Decatur and Geneva in Indiana, also has a piano used for programs. APLS hosts monthly Mid-Day Music events, featuring different musicians. As for the piano itself, Kelly Ehinger, director of APLS said, “The piano was a gift to the library and restored by a volunteer.” The piano is also used for special events outside of the regularly-scheduled Mid-Day Music events.

The Adams Public Library System piano being enjoyed by local pianist Karen Fouts

Over a decade ago, the West Lafayette Public Library (WLPL) in West Lafayette, Ind. purchased their Sohmer baby grand piano solely with gift funds. The fundraising effort brought together local music teachers, a generous public and the estate of a Purdue University physics teacher. “Since its debut at the library, the Sohmer is in active use by residents who have offered numerous piano, and other musical, recitals each spring and late fall. The piano is an active part of public presentations by both the library and community groups being played for art receptions, donor gatherings and the like,” said WLPL director Nick Schenkel. “Perhaps most of all, the baby grand urged our library board president at the time of the piano’s arrival to proclaim that WLPL is a special part of our community because of its ABC focus on arts, books and culture; a proclamation we gladly trumpet to this day,” Schenkel added. WLPL’s baby grand sits proudly in the library’s main meeting room suite awaiting use.

West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel at the library’s Sohmer baby grand piano

While the thought of a library might not conjure up images of Jerry Lee Lewis rockin’ out, it can’t hurt to check with your local public library to see if they do, indeed, own a piano or house a piano practice room. Just remember to cool it on the “Chopsticks.”

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.