The Challenge to Future Historians

The best computer storage devices that exist today are ephemeral compared to primitive technology such as engraved rocks. A stone tablet can last for millennia, but anything we can store files on will very likely be useless in 50 years. However, there are some prospects for seriously long-lived media in the labs.

Researchers at Berkeley Labs and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a method in which a miniscule iron particle can move within a nanotube under the control of an electric current. The state of the particle can be read without moving it. They estimate a billion years before losing data due to particle drift but don’t discuss whether the physical integrity of the tubes will match.


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Office Hours Made Simple: Google Appointments, Email Links, and QR Codes

UPDATE: Soon after publishing this post, I discovered that Google will suspend its Google Appointments function as of January 4, 2013. For a review of alternatives, see this post from Heather Whitney at ProfHacker. I will be replacing Google Appointments with YouCanBook.Me. For a helpful review of YouCanBook.Me, complete with instructions for setting it up for office hour appointments, see this post by Jack Dougherty.

Until this past semester, one of the biggest time wasters in my life as a college professor has been scheduling office hours with students. Like most professors, in the past I’ve had a few specific office hours every week, say on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00. Inevitability, I would have students who couldn’t meet during my office hours, and so would begin the back-and-forth dance of scheduling an office appointment. “How about Tuesday at 11:00?” “I have class then.” “Monday at 9:00?” “I have a meeting.” “Friday at 5:00?” “I have a life (or at least would like to).”

This past semester, I finally implemented a system that (mostly) solves the problem. I have begun using Google Appointments, synced to my Google Calendar, which in turn is synced to the Outlook calendar used by institution. I include a link to my Google Appointments on my Moodle site, on my electronic syllabus, and in my email signature, so any student can access my available appointments and claim an appointment time without ever having to email me. In addition, I include a QR code linked to my Google Appointments on my paper syllabus and on my office door so students can make appointments from their smartphones, as well.


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Education Liaison Librarian at George Washington University

The George Washington University Libraries seek collaborative, technologically capable, user-focused applicants for the position of Education Liaison Librarian. The position is responsible for direct outreach to the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), including the departments of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Educational Leadership, International Education, Human and Organizational Learning, and Special Education and Disability Studies.

Liaison librarians proactively develop partnerships with faculty to develop and deliver value-added services as well as new methods of delivering existing services to support the University’s research and teaching initiatives. The successful candidate will have demonstrated the ability to work in a complex, changing environment with a positive, flexible, and innovative attitude, and he or she will have a proven capacity to work effectively and collegially in teams with staff at all levels as well as with faculty and students.

As a strong partner in student learning, GW Libraries foster critical thinking and lifelong learning with innovative services, entrepreneurial staff, over two million volumes, outstanding digital collections, up-to-date technology and Special Collections. The Graduate School of Education offers programs at the main campus of the University (Foggy Bottom) as well as at four additional locations in Virginia (Ashburn, Alexandria, Arlington, and Hampton Roads).


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Head of Innovative Media at Virginia Commonwealth University


Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Public Services, the Head of Innovative Media will collaborate with colleagues in the library and across campus to develop programs and services that focus on students and faculty creating and using media in course-related activities, including:


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Challenges of Classics in the Digital Age: Working with the DCC

Written by  Daniel Plekhov of Dickinson College.

The use of digital media as a pedagogical tool has allowed students the ability to access a virtually unlimited number of resources in a way that was simply not possible with pre-digital media. For those working to create these online digital media tools, it is difficult to fight the temptation to provide for students everything and anything that can be of interest or benefit to them. So many resources can often times be distracting and a user may find themselves clicking farther and farther away from what they had initially come to find. In a time when everything is indeed no more than a click away, we must consider what is valuable to include and what is distracting or unnecessary. Such consideration becomes highly subjective, and questions must be asked as to what audience a digital media tool caters to, and what their needs are. These are the problems that are being addressed by the Dickinson College Commentaries (DCC) in creating a tool for students of Classical languages. Being such a student myself, and also working on the DCC, I was able to confront these issues from both sides.

The DCC presents classical texts alongside ancillary information necessary for readers and scholars. Such information in print media has been customarily seen in margins, indices, or appendices, but can here be represented alongside the text, fully tailored to the needs and benefit of the reader. External to the texts are such useful tools as vocabulary lists for Latin and Greek, which can be displayed according to alphabetical order, parts of speech, frequency, and semantic grouping. Words that appear in high frequency are omitted from the supplemental vocabulary lists provided for each text, encouraging a more rewarding sight-reading experience. The emphasis here is on keeping the reader with the text as much as possible, which makes selection of supplemental material a very careful process.


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Integrated Technologies Librarian at Lafayette College

Lafayette College Library seeks a service-oriented and creative Integrated Technologies Librarian to maintain and extend the library’s core information systems. The successful candidate will contribute to the continuous improvement of the user experience by integrating new and existing technologies to support research, teaching and learning. S/he will maintain the library’s ILS (Innovative Interfaces’ Sierra) and associated linking and fulfillment services, both for local and external resources; be responsible for some technical and design aspects of the library’s Web presence, including UI/UX design and the use of web analytics tools; and investigate and recommend technologies to improve discovery, access, and delivery of digital resources.


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