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Tag Archives: Google Maps
I’ve been playing around with the Google Camera app that lets you take immersive, Google Street View-like pictures (Google calls them photo spheres). You make a photo sphere by taking pictures all around you and then letting the app stitch the images together. Sometimes the stitching is pretty good, sometimes there are a lot of weird artifacts. Here are some photo sphere pictures of our library and my office that I took yesterday and today. If you download the pictures, they don’t have that interactive immersive effect that you see when you view them on your phone in the app or when you view them in Google+.
Here’s an video showing you how to take pictures in the photo sphere mode of the Google Camera app:
As you can see from the video, you can upload these to Google Maps so that when someone is viewing a place on the map, they’ll be able to check out any photo spheres that are affiliated with that place (more details here).
I haven’t found a way yet to embed a photo sphere in your own site; it seems like you have to click over to a Google website that hosts the image to get the interactive and immersive experience. If there is a way to embed the images, they’d be fun to add to the library website.
In the Tech Sharecase, we’ve talked a lot about using Google’s services to add floorplans to Google Maps and using their Street View function to offer a virtual interior to your building. Brian Herzog has a great post today on his blog, Swiss Army Librarian, writing up what the process was like for his public library in working with Google for those two kinds of mapping.
We started off by talking about MOOCs a bit, using one Tech Sharecase attendee’s personal experience as the springboard for discussion. Mentioned in the conversation was Karen Schneider”s blog post at Free Range Librarian detailing her experience being a student in a MOOC course, “All the lonely MOOCers. Where do they all come from?”
Badges and Gamification
We talked a bit about the trend to add game-like elements to instruction and the use of badges as incentives, something that was the focus of several presentations at ALA Annual this summer (such as this one and that one).
With an Android phone connected to the projector, we were able to see how Google presents floorplans for buildings in the Google Maps app. We looked at the floor plans for the library at California State University-Monterey Bay (some details on this can be found here).
We took at a look also at how the Street View technology from Google Maps is being used to present a 360 degree interior view of buildings, such as this one for Jan’s Hobby Shop on the Upper East Side.
We watched the video about Library Box, a tiny wireless device that can be used to share files where there is no internet connection or where that connection is weak or heavily monitored or censored. More details about the project can be found on the Kickstarter page for it.
Laptop and iPad Mini Kiosks
Arthur gave us an update on the laptop and iPad Mini kiosks currently being set up by the reference desk. See the vendor’s website (Laptops Anytime) for additional info about the kiosks.
In a post on the Information Literacy @ CUNY blog, Maura Smale spotlights a video of a TED talk by journalist Markham Nolan that might be useful in our credit courses: How to Separate Fact and Fiction Online.
Nolan’s presentation touches on:
- the changing nature of journalism
- new techniques for factchecking
- authority of sources
- what does truth mean
- visual literacy
Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Gerry Jiao, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Wilcina Longdon, Jin Ma, Kannan Mohan, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Mike Waldman
Database Trial Reviews
We discussed briefly the pros and cons of writing up reviews of database trials on the reference blog and the library’s internal mailing list.
Bike Route Maps and Directions
In celebration of Bike to Work day, we looked at a number of options for finding bike route maps and directions:
- maps can be downloaded and added to Google Earth
- recently added biking directions
- it would be nice if the maps displayed info from Twitter feed for different bridges in NYC
- missing some of the human element (insider knowledge about safest, easiest routes, etc.)
Call Numbers in Catalogs and Library Floorplans
We tried in vain to recall what library has a catalog that lets you click on a call number in the catalog to show you the location of that item on a floorplan. As we tried to remember which library has this feature in its catalog, we looked at the catalog from the library at the University of Huddersfield (UK), which offers on the item record a visual shelf browse feature, a QR code for the book (which probably leads to the permalink for the item), and circulation stats for that item (see for example this record for The Iliad of Homer).
At the recent OpenSciNY conference at the Bobst Library at NYU, a group of librarians, scientists, and publishers got together to talk about open access publishing, open source software, and opens notebook science. Among the more interesting things talked about were:
- Flickr and Astrometry.net: amateur astronomers are uploading images they’ve taken with their telescopes to Flickr. One of the presenters at OpenSciNY, David Hogg, worked with some colleagues to put together a service that uses the Flickr API to identify any images that have been recently tagged with “astrometry.” Once tagged in this way, an image on Flickr will be analzyed by the Astrometry service and a comment appended to the image that details the celestial objects visible in the image (see this one from Flickr as an example)
- ChemSpider: Antony Williams from the Royal Society of Chemistry talked about the problem of finding reliable and comprehensive information on chemical structures on the web. ChemSpider describes itself as a “chemistry search engine” that “has been built with the intention of aggregating and indexing chemical structures and their associated information into a single searchable repository and make it available to everybody, at no charge.”
Substitute for EtherPad
EtherPad, a recently shuttered free service that allowed for collaborative editing of documents, released its source code, thereby allowing a number of clone services to be created. One such service is Sync.in
We talked a while about the difference between discovery tools (like Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service) and federated search tools (like 360 Search, which we use for our own Bearcat Search). It was noted that with the new discovery tools, the thing that takes the longest to set up is getting your catalog records into the system. What makes a discovery tool different from a federated search one is:
- With a discovery tool, you are searching one, centralized index of records that the vendor has assembled; with federated search, your query is being transmitted simultaneously to all the vendors that you can connected to your fed search tool. Search results are returned faster in discovery tools because of this difference.
- The vendor of a discovery tool can normalize all the data stored in its index, making results more consistent (and helping to speed up the delivery of search results) and manipulable (the facetting of results works better in discovery tools).
We wondered if many faculty outside the library use Bearcat as a means to identifying databases that were previously unknown to them but might be useful for their research needs.
We might have demos of two different ERM (electronic resource management) products this June.
Citation Management Tools
We wondered to what extent faculty and students are aware of and maybe use citation management options available to them: