There have been a slew of fantastic young adult novels published of late, many of which are undergoing the transition into film adaptations. Here are six that I am looking forward to later this year.
Release Date: March 21st
This is by far one of my favorite books I’ve read in some time. It takes place in a dystopian Chicago where society is divided into “factions” based on specific personality traits such as; Candor,for honesty, Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, meant for the knowledgeable, etc. The story centers around Tris Prior as she makes her choice on her 16th birthday and discovers she has a secret that may change the fate of her entire world.
Release Date: August 15th
Based on the Lois Lowry novel, The Giver tells the tale of a futuristic society in which emotional pain and suffering have been overcome by adapting to a plan of “Sameness”. The book follows Jonas, who is named The Giver and is chosen to be the “Receiver of Memory” as he discovers the choices of a world beyond his own.
The Maze Runner
Release date: September 19
A boy named Thomas wakes up inside a giant maze called The Glade with a group of other teenagers and must figure out how to excape and why he’s there to begin with in this dystopian thriller. Based on the book by best-selling author James Dashner.
Have you thought about teaching an online course, or simply supplementing your face-to-face course with an online component? Whether you’re considering sharing your expertise via a completely online course or creating a hybrid, you now have a universe of options available to you. Educators will want to explore these platforms and all of the features they offer.
This is a massive online teaching platform with over 2 million students worldwide and 13,000 courses. It lets instructors design robust classes including video lectures, PowerPoint files, screencast videos, documents, audio files, text, and mashup videos. The platform is completely free for instructors to create their courses which they may offer for free or for a fee. If there is a fee involved, Udemy takes a percentage of that. This is a very professional-looking platform that has a lot to offer.
Odijoo is a free e-learning platform which allows educators to create online courses or even set up their own private campus for training employees (campus seats must be purchased, however). This online learning application enables instructors to design a classroom setting with group discussions, news postings, quizzes, modules, file hosting, and certificate creation.
January was absolutely brimming with library-related articles, presentations, and blog posts about everything from seed, virtual, and bookless libraries to librarian tattoos, new image collections, e-content marketing strategies, and Google Glass. We’re starting the year off on the right foot with this collection of library stories you may have missed in the month of January!
The Advanced IT track at the LegalTech New York 2014 conference discussed the use of UX (user experience) design in law firms.
The panel included Andrew Baker, Director of Legal Technology Innovations Office at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith LLP, Patrick DiDomenico, Director of Knowledge Management at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., and Kate Simpson at Tangledom Inc.
Kate Simpson set the tone by discussing UX as a profession, a practice, and a process, explaining that it’s about people, not devices. She mentioned Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” which is one of my favorites in this arena.
Tom Baldwin discussed “Driving Adoption Through UI and Gamification” and talked about what new initiatives they’ve been developing at Reed Smith. The most interesting was the matter profiling app they designed which uses leaderboards spotlighting the top profilers as incentive. They also improved upon their last app by illustrating that the user need only go through a 2-step process in order to successfully complete the matter profile. By using this new reward system, they’ve seen an increase to 300 matters profiled per month over the 130 with the old app. They’ve used leaderboards in their other custom applications as well as transforming their firm directory into a LinkedIn-like interface, and switched their display of financial reporting to using data visualizations for easier digestion.
I’ve been attending the LegalTech New York 2014 conference this week and had the opportunity to sit in on many interesting discussions. The Advanced IT track had a very engaging talk on Legal Technology – Good Trends, Bad Combinations and Ugly Results. It discussed the details of the ILTA 2013 Technology Survey (now available for free) which gives great insight into what’s being used (or not used) in law firms. This is great for law librarians, as well as students of law and anyone else in the field to know about.
The panel included Gina Buser, Principal & CEO at Traveling Coaches, Inc., Scott Christensen, Director of Information Services at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, and Jim McCue, Director of Information Systems at Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.
The panel members talked about many trends that were seeing growth in recent years such as:
64% of firms now work in a matter-centric interface vs. an app-centric desktop.
Mailbox size limits are up with 62% of firms offering greater than 2GB storage due to newer versions of MSExchange.
Security is getting better priority in today’s firms with 11% now using a next-generation endpoint security solution.
Only 5% of law firms aren’t using any type of virtual server technology.
VOIP technology is growing in firms with 56% of firms employing it as compared to only 41% in 2010.
The primary word processing software in law firms is MS Word 2010.
Tablet devices are widely in use at law firms with 89% of firms using iPads and 39% using Android devices. Another 29% reported using Windows-based tablets.
I’m considering switching our library’s website to WordPress in our next redesign so I’ve been doing a lot of research in that area. I recently acquired two fantastic books on how to use WordPress in libraries and I wanted to share my thoughts on these.
This great new book just came out in January 2014 and is a concise primer on using WordPress in libraries. Goodman takes the time to introduce the reader to the software, discussing the pros and cons, the different choices available for hosting vs. self-hosting, and the competition. The first half of the book discusses all of the ins and outs of WordPress, defining terms such as themes, plugins, shortcodes, etc. I appreciated the discussion of the differences between pages and posts. The second 100 pages of the book consist of case studies of WordPress installations in all types of libraries including; academic, public, school media, government & law, special libraries, as well as archives and library associations. This book is an excellent introduction to all things WordPress and libraries.
Learning from Libraries that Use WordPress
by Kyle M.L. Jones and Polly-Alida Farrington ALA Editions
This title is a clear and comprehensive guide to the use of WordPress in libraries. Although this book discusses how to get started with WordPress, it goes on to provide much more for advanced readers (including code snippets!) than most books on the topic. There’s a fantastic and detailed discussion of widgets and plugins with plenty of screenshots, advice on setting up a workflow structure for content creation through plugins, and even instructions for how to set up child themes! I loved the Guest Pieces section of the book which discussed using WordPress in non-traditional ways such as creating dynamic subject guides and digital archives. This is a must-read for any librarian setting up a WordPress site.
I would highly recommend reading both of these books if you’re getting started with WordPress as they each have great gems of wisdom to offer.
Ellyssa Kroski is the Director of Information Technology and Marketing at the New York Law Institute as well as an award-winning editor and author of 75 books including Law Librarianship in the Age of AI for which she won the AALL’s 2020 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. She is a librarian, an adjunct faculty member at Drexel and San Jose State Universities, and an international conference speaker. She received the 2017 Library Hi Tech Award from the ALA/LITA for her long-term contributions in the area of Library and Information Science technology and its application.