10 Free Technologies for Law Libraries

I have an article in the latest issue of ILTA’s Peer-to-Peer Magazine titled 10 Free Technologies for Law Libraries!  In it I discuss many of the free and open source technologies I’ve implemented in my library.  Although the article was written with law libraries in mind, I think that most libraries and librarians would find these applications useful.  Please check it out if you have the interest, it begins on page 59.  Here’s just a snippet:

10 Free Technologies for Law Libraries

Law libraries continually face the challenge of making the most of their ever-shrinking budgets, while also progressively increasing efficiency and improving services. One way to keep that balance is to leverage free applications to improve internal operations, market library services and encourage staff collaboration. I’m a huge proponent of free and open-source technologies and have implemented many of them within my library at The New York Law Institute (NYLI). We’re making use of gratis applications for electronic resources management (ERM), a private intranet, library statistics tracking, email management and more! The use of cloud computing and application services really took off in 2013 — and when they’re free, can you afford to overlook them?

Zoho Creator is an online application that allows users to drag and drop database fields easily onto a blank form in order to build their own custom database applications, without any technical knowledge. Zoho offers an array of elements that can be added to databases, such as text and number fields, radio buttons, drop-down lists, checkboxes, multiple select fields, dates and notes.
At NYLI, we’re using a Zoho database that took about 15 minutes to create in order to track all of our library’s statistics, including librarian time spent on reference questions, patron electronic resource use, book loans, e-book loans, webinar attendance and document delivery.   Zoho allows us to create robust reports from our data — in either table or chart format — which we are able to provide to our members on-demand. The free plan enables you to build up to three databases and two reports and to keep 1,000 records. Beyond that, if you want to store historical records (rather than exporting them), their plans are reasonable, starting at $25 per month.

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