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Originally presented May 6, 2020

As libraries look towards reopening, many of us are anticipating a surge of patrons with questions about unemployment, taxes, and financial resources. We anticipate questions about public and personal health, and how the CARES act (and other legislation) will affect or help small businesses and entrepreneurs.

While there is a lot of information available out there, we want to curate and compile quality information for staff and patrons. The goal is to create and make available a collection of freely available tutorials to facilitate re-opening.

Given the scope of the work and our compressed timeline, Niche Academy is helping to initiate an ambitious collaborative effort that will allow us to accomplish much more than any of us could do on our own.


This webinar kicks off this effort. In it, we:

  • Describe our collaboration plan and the tools we’ll use
  • Begin to compile a list of needed topics
  • Provide a way for participants to form teams and collaborate.

This recording is provided for those who want to participate even though they could not attend the live event and for those who want to review the plan.

Please consider taking a topic and inviting your colleagues to do the same! A tutorial doesn’t have to be fancy to be helpful. A research investment of only an hour by a skilled librarian like you can make such a difference. You can curate information and make it accessible in this shared academy so it will be bite-sized, digestible, and easy to share.

You’ll notice that most of the initial tutorials take a very simple approach:

  1. Cite and link to a reputable source
  2. Copy and paste information from that source into bite sized lessons within the tutorial.

I invite you to make a small time investment in this project. The value of our collective effort will be remarkable.

Click here to access the Collaborator Signup

Click here to access the Reopening Lives Academy

Click here to access the Collaborator Guidelines

Click here to review the Presentation Slides



Posted on: May 20, 2020, 2:41 pm Category: Uncategorized

Online Study of Reading Software Shows Widening Achievement Gap

Online Study of Reading Software Shows Widening Achievement Gap

“Recent research by the NWEA projected major declines in student learning, particularly in math, but also reading. A new study has found that learning loss for new readers could be tracking as high as 28 percent by June 1, 2020 and up to 49 percent by the end of summer. According to the research organizers, this is the first published study of the current and predicted impact of closures on learning using actual performance measure before and after U.S. schools closed from the COVID-19.

The study was based on data provided by Achieve3000, a reading platform that measures student performance using algorithms tied to the Lexile Framework. Researchers included Successful Practices Network (SPN)Center for College & Career Readiness and Achieve3000. Nonprofit SPN provides schools with resources and assistance to achieve success by design. Nonprofit Center for College & Career Readiness works on maximizing individual learner engagement through the use of neuroscience. Achieve3000 is an education technology company that produces literacy programs.”

Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:48 am Category: Uncategorized

NATO Report “Science & Technology Trends: 2020-2040”

NATO has published a major new report looking at defence technology trends over the next 20 years and their impact on our collective security. The report targets leaders and opinion-makers in the defence and security sector, as well as experts seeking insights into specific technologies.

“Launching the Report, the NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said: “This report is a glimpse into the future of defence. It will guide research at NATO and our Allies, to ensure that we maintain our cutting edge technology in the years ahead”.

The report “Science & Technology Trends: 2020-2040” has been produced by the NATO Science and Technology Organisation and draws upon insights of some 6000 scientists, engineers and analysts in NATO’s collaborative network. It provides an assessment of the emerging and disruptive technologies endorsed by NATO Heads of State and Government at their meeting in London last December, such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, space and bio technology and hypersonic weapons. The report explains why these technologies are important to the Alliance and how they may develop over the next 20 years.

For over 70 years, NATO has stayed at the forefront of technology to ensure the defence of its Allies and the success of its operations. The NATO Science and Technology Organisation supports the Alliance to maintain its advantage in this area by generating, sharing and utilising advanced scientific knowledge, technological developments and innovation.

Download the Science & Technology Trends: 2020-2040 report”

Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:46 am Category: Uncategorized

As Some Apple Stores Reopen, Here’s What to Expect

As Some Apple Stores Reopen, Here’s What to Expect

“After months of lockdown, the first wave of businesses and public spaces are reopening. A small batch of Apple Stores are among the first businesses resuming operation, and while that means it may soon be easier for you to get a busted iPhone or MacBook repaired, there are some restrictions in place that you need to be aware of before waltzing down to the nearest Apple Store.

Limited locations and occupancy

First, only a few stores are open for now—roughly 100 locations worldwide—and further reopenings are subject to local conditions. Chances are that stores in rural communities and counties with little-to-no confirmed COVID-19 cases will reopen soonest; branches in larger cities and areas heavily impacted by the pandemic will take longer to resume operation. Many stores will be limiting the number of customers allowed in at a time so physical distancing can be safely implemented and customers can be given proper attention. That means some of us will have to wait in line to get our Apple products fixed.

Personal safety gear and etiquette

As when visiting any public space, observe general personal safety guidelines if you need to go to an Apple Store (or any other public location):

  • A mask and gloves will be mandatory for all Apple Store customers for the foreseeable future. All Apple employees will be wearing them, too, and in some cases will be conducting business behind protective glass barriers.
  • Customers must have their temperature taken before entering the store.
  • While in line and in the store, maintain physical distancing.
  • Carry personal sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer.
  • Properly (and safely) wash your hands and devices before and after your visit.
  • Follow any other restrictions and recommendations your city has in place.
  • Oh, and if you’re sick, just stay home.

Don’t go if you don’t have to

You can find nearby open Apple Stores using Apple’s Find a Store tool, however, please don’t go rushing to a nearby store unless you absolutely need to.

Don’t drive across your state just because you want to pick up a new device in-store—you can always buy a new product from Apple’s online store or other online retailers. Similarly, only visit a store for repairs if it’s your only option. There are plenty of great guides on simple fixes you can safely perform on your phone or laptop at home—including our recent guide on fixing your own cracked iPhone screen while in quarantine.

While I sympathize with a desire for some semblance of normalcy, there’s still a long way to go before anything resembling “normal” can return, and the more cautious now, the less we’ll have to worry about in the future.”


Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:38 am Category: Uncategorized

“Survey of Benchmarks in Metadata Quality: Initial Findings” (A New White Paper From the Digital Library Federation)

“Survey of Benchmarks in Metadata Quality: Initial Findings” (A New White Paper From the Digital Library Federation)

“From the Digital Library Federation. Assessment Interest Group. Metadata Working Group. Benchmarks Sub-Group (via UNT Digital Library):

From the Description:

White paper providing general analysis and documentation of results collected by a Qualtrics survey to gather information about metadata assessment practices among digital libraries. It includes an overview of the responses and brief analysis, with some interpretation of trends.


  • Steven Gentry
    University of Michigan
  • Meredith L. Hale
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Andrea Payant
    Utah State University; Co-facilitator
  • Hannah Tarver
    University of North Texas
  • Rachel White
    Colgate University
  • Rachel Wittmann
    University of Utah; Co-facilitator

Direct to Full Text (Online)

Direct to Full Text (PDF)

Direct to Project Website
Provides Access to Survey, Definitions, etc. “

Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:31 am Category: Uncategorized

What the heck is VoIP? An expert explains

What the heck is VoIP? An expert explains.

“VoIP — or voice over internet protocol — is just a fancy name for the FaceTimes, Whatsapps, and Zooms of the world (aka your best friends during quarantine). It is generally used to refer to a method of transmitting voice and multimedia communication via data packet from one user to another.

That’s unlike regular landline or cellphone calls, Reuben Yonatan, founder of cloud communication advising service GetVoIP, told me. Whereas those calls are often carried out by satellite, cell, or landline towers via copper wire and switchboards, VoIP calls rely on the internet.”



Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:20 am Category: Uncategorized

Has the digital museum finally come of age?

Same struggles as library land . . .

Has the digital museum finally come of age?

Has the digital museum finally come of age?

Posted on: May 20, 2020, 6:12 am Category: Uncategorized