A Day in the Life of a (Serious) Researcher

How would you design a research library to respond to the preferences and needs of today’s researchers?” were the librarians of Cornell University asking, in their quest to envision the future Research Library.

To answer to this question, the librarians had to hear from researchers themselves. They realised they had to accept the evidence and understand what research means for a researcher. Finding the researchers’ work patterns and their main struggles could be the key to finding what kind of responsibilities could the future research library assume in order to serve its purpose.

With no precedent for such an approach, the librarians had considered the following:

The evidence: it was obvious that today’s researchers work differently than twenty years ago (for example) because of the “unpredictable change in the way information is created, stored, transmitted and used”. They had to look at their new practices, places & spaces, resources and tools, wires and equipments.
What research requires: the research library is expected to respond to the needs and pressures of three “stakeholdes”: the common good (the research partners and the society) – knowledge flow, the institution – role in the campus and budget distribution and the individual researcher – faculty members, graduate students and undergraduate students.
Towards the model of the Future Research Library: there are clear core practices that have to stay, like access to information – organised and findable and new services, like an increasing role in publishing or new specialties, like designing and developing new information technologies, all emerging for the library of the future.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.36.35The librarians interviewed 21 researchers and used a mapping and logging method for their study “A Day in the Life of a (Serious) Researcher”. They focused in the interviews on different aspects of a researcher’s professional life:

– academic activities
– seeking information
– library resources
– self management
– space
– circum-academic activities
– obstacles
– brainwork
– technology

The findings of their study and their insights bring us to one conclusion: there are so many ways the researchers do research that there is no way the library could serve all their individual needs. Instead, the analysis of all the work patterns resulted into three main spheres of practice:

  • the process of research
  • academic networking
  • managing self

The way Cornell University Library imagined they could approach the researchers needs in these spheres of practice and empower the researchers to achieve their academic research goals lead to a model of the future Research Library as an academic hub and an app store.

You can read all about it in A Day in the Life of a (Serious) Researcher – Envisioning the Future of the Research Library.

 

LEGO® in Libraries

Playing with LEGO is fun and a great way to reduce stress, but… there’s more! Buidling with the blocks and mini figures can boost creativity, build up problem solving skills and help explain ideas and concepts to others. LEGO has developed special “Serious Play” buidling kits and even a certification programme for facilitators. Less seriously, you can mix and match your own LEGO kits and just experiment and that is just what we are going to do at TU Delft Library (coming soon!).

We are not the first academic library to <3 LEGO. A few weeks ago, I met Christian Lauersen from the Royal Library / Copenhagen University Library in Denmark who did a  great stop motion Lego movie as a library introduction for new students. The movie is made with so much fun and love, that it shows and students really connect to that and to the library.

LEGO workshop at Next LibraryLast year at Next Library, I did a LEGO workshop session “Everything is awesome” which made me realise how easy and powerful it is to imagine while building and then share your thoughts with a group.

Then there is Megan Lotts, who introduced LEGO to the Art Library at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) and talks about her experiences and lessons learned and some other examples in a nice interview in Library Journal. She is all about connecting with students and LEGO helps her do that:

This is what libraries really want. We want to engage. For me the LEGO [bricks] have been brilliant because they’re the same skills that we use when we research—[they’re] creative thinking skills, problem solving skills. And I find that now my students are honing these with the LEGO [bricks] they’re more prepared to search for library resources.” [quote from the interview]. That says it all, don’t you think?

UXLib II conferentie; een kleine impressie

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Eind juni heb ik de UXlibs (User eXperience in libraries) conferentie bezocht. Deze 2de editie van UXLib vond plaats in thestudio , een multi-purpose gebouw met prachtig ontworpen conferentieruimtes in het hartje Manchester (UK).

thestudio, manchester

Er waren ongeveer 150 collega’s uit verschillende landen aanwezig. De oprichter van deze conferentie is Andy Priestner. Hij werkt momenteel als manager van het Cambridge Library Futurelib innovatieprogramma en is ook trainer en consultant in het hoger onderwijs.

Het programma bestond uit keynotes van Donna Lanclos (Atkins library, UNC Charlotte) en Lawrie Philpps (JISC), praktische workshops, een Team Challenge, maar de belangrijkste focus lag op de sessies genaamd “Nailed, Failed, Derailed”, waar bibliotheek collega’s resultaten van hun UX onderzoek van afgelopen jaar met elkaar deelden.

cultural probe UXLibs
Cultural probe onderzoeksproject voor studenten

Het gebruik van UX (user experience) onderzoek in de bibliotheken is van groot belang. UX onderzoek kan ons helpen om veel problemen op te lossen en veel beter begrip van onze gebruikers te krijgen. De gebruiker wil niet leren hoe de bibliotheek werkt, hij wil de bibliotheek gebruiken. Het gebruik van UX methoden (oa etnografie, design thinking, human-centered design) stelt ons in staat om de kloof tussen de bibliotheek (en de diensten die wij aanbieden), en de gebruikers te dichten. UX betreft niet alleen survey of het aanbieden van goede klantenservice: alleen weten van onze gebruikers ze nodig hebben en willen is niet genoeg. Door observatie van hun gedrag krijgen we pas een volledig beeld. We moeten de resultaten van ons UX onderzoek gebruiken om nieuwe producten en diensten te creëren en niet alleen om rapporten te schrijven. Bibliotheken moeten deze resultaten delen met elkaar en blijven experimenteren. Ze moeten bestaan in een netwerk en niet losstaand van elkaar.

Als een rode draad tijdens de “Nailed, Failed, Derailed” sessies , de keynote’s en tijdens de hele conferentie in algemeen, werd gesproken over tegenvallers–mislukte projecten, mislukte onderzoeken. Het is niet erg als iets mislukt, leer van je fouten en probeer het vooral opnieuw.

Ik heb een aantal “Nailed, Failed, Derailed” sessies kunnen bezoeken:

  1. Paul-Jervis Heath (ModernHuman, Futurelib) – gaf een presentatie over hoe je UX succes kunt vergroten door op een veilige wijze je tegenvallers te omarmen tijdens het ontwerp proces.
  2. Eva-Christina Edinger (Universität Zürich) – gaf en presentatie over hoe bibliotheekruimtes soms op labryinths en gesloten gemeenschappen lijken;
    presentatie Eva UXLibs
    Links of rechts? Foto:Eva-Christina Edinger
  3. Josephine McRobbie & Andreas Orphanides (North Carolina State University) – hadden een gezamenlijke presentatie over hun uitdagingen om de communicatie kanalen (denk aan e-boards, mapen, borden) binnen hun gebouw te verbeteren.
  4. Phil Cheeseman & Karin Tusting (Lancaster University)– spraken over een innovatief project dat nog in ontwikkeling is. Ze wilden graag met behulp van beacons antwoord krijgen op de volgende vragen: hoe navigeren de studenten in de Library? Hoe maken de studenten gebruik van de studieruimtes? Het project mislukte bijna volgens Phil omdat het verwerken van de grote bulk data een uitdaging was, maar hij was ook optimistisch over het bereiken het uiteindelijke resultaat.

Opvallend tijdens de UXLib conferentie was dat er veel collega’s waren die geïnteresseerd waren in het gebruik van beacons in hun bibliotheken o.a. bovengenoemde Phil Cheesman , Paul-Jervies Heath. Toen ik hen vertelde dat wij vorige jaar onze beacon Library Tour hebben gelanceerd waren ze aangenaam verast en ze wilden graag kennis en informatie uitwisselen.

De Team Advocacy Challenge bestond uit 3 thema’s.

  • Marketing Upwards (promoten van de UX aan senior managers)
  • Collaboration (promoten van UX aan collega’s buiten je eigen team of bibliotheek)
  • Recruitment (rekruteren van gebruikers voor je UX research project)

Uit elk thema werd een winnende team gekozen. De uiteindelijke 3 winnende teams moesten hun pitch opnieuw presenteren voor de hele conferentie.

IMG_1913
De winnende recruitment team aan het werk

Ik was zelf ingedeeld in de Recruitment team en we hebben gewonnen. Wij hebben een leuke (intrinsiek) manier bedacht om studenten te betrekken bij het ontwikkelen van een nieuwe ruimte in de bibliotheek.

Hetgeen hier boven beschreven staat is maar een kleine impressie van de conferentie. Het is onmogelijk om alles in een verslag weer te geven. Zeer inspirerend en interactief, UXLibs is een conferentie die je vooral persoonlijk moet ervaren.

Mocht je meer willen weten over de conferentie (of wil je ook een foto impressie zien van gerenoveerde Central Library of Manchester ;-)), neem contact met mij op. Ik heb veel informatie verzameld en praat je graag bij.

 

 

Burgerwetenschap

Citizen science of crowdsourcing

Nadat de wetenschap institutionaliseerde in de 19e eeuw ontstond er een scheiding tussen ‘de wetenschapper’ en ‘de burger’. De twee leefden in zeer gescheiden werelden en hadden weinig met elkaar te maken. Oorspronkelijk werd wetenschap echter juist door burgers beoefend: hoe zit dat met die maan en die zon? Kom, laat ik eens wat op een kleitablet noteren. De laatste tijd is er een tendens gaande om burgers wederom te laten participeren. Met de ontwikkelingen op digitaal gebied wordt het steeds makkelijker om actief mensen te betrekken bij onderzoek.

Tijdens het KNAW-symposium op 16 juni 2016 over citizen science werd de website Iedereen Wetenschapper gelanceerd en gesproken over (de voors en tegens van) citizen science. Een ander aandachtspunt, dat hieronder behandeld wordt, was het verschil tussen crowdsourcing en citizen science.

Crowdsourcing

Hoewel er nog geen eenduidige definitie is, wordt gesproken van crowdsourcing als groepen mensen vrijwillig een bijdrage leveren bij het uitvoeren van (wetenschappelijk) werk, [1] bijvoorbeeld voor het verzamelen van gegevens.

Voordat de term crowdsourcing werd gebruikt waren er al projecten waarbij onderzoekers door burgers werden geholpen bij het verzamelen van data. Bekend is, dat onderzoekers van  het Meertens instituut [2] op huisbezoek gingen, om gegevens te verzamelen over bijvoorbeeld dialecten.
Een andere vorm van crowdsourcing is mensen inschakelen om gegevens te analyseren. Een voorbeeld hiervan is het Milky Way Project [3] waarin objecten in de ruimte worden geanalyseerd aan de hand van gedetailleerde afbeeldingen.
In beide gevallen is de onderzoeker is verantwoordelijk voor een wetenschappelijke opzet en afhandeling.
Bij een crowdsourcing project voor wetenschappelijke doeleinden zijn protocollen en controles nodig en dat blijkt ook bij het project Ja, ik wil. Hier moesten oude ondertrouwakten via gestandaardiseerde invoervelden getranscribeerd worden, waarna de transcripties nog eens extra gecontroleerd werden.
De ontwikkelingen op digitaal gebied maken het steeds makkelijker om actief mensen te betrekken bij onderzoek. Dat zie je bij dit soort analyse-projecten, en bij de jaarlijkse griepmeting en tuinvogeltelling, waarbij data wordt geleverd.

Citizen science

Weer een andere vorm van crowdsourcing wordt citizen science genoemd.
Een voorstel tot een definitie is te vinden op http://iedereenwetenschapper.nl/article/wat-citizen-science.[4] Hierin wordt gesteld dat citizen science ‘een actieve en doordachte bijdrage is van het publiek aan wetenschappelijk onderzoek’.
Ook hier blijft de onderzoeker eindverantwoordelijk voor het onderzoeksproces en de verwerking van gegevens. Een voorbeeld van citizen science waarbij van deelnemers iets meer wordt verwacht dan alleen het aanleveren of verwerken van gegevens is eTeRNA (https://librarytrends.weblog.tudelft.nl/2016/03/29/citizen-science-closing-knowledge-gaps/).[5] Deelnemers aan dit spel om RNA moleculen te ontwerpen kunnen gezamenlijk aan wetenschappelijke artikelen werken.

Wat is het nou?

Citizen science is volgens de gevolgde redenering een specifieke vorm van crowdsourcing, dus het woordje of kan worden doorgestreept.

Of gaat het verder dan dat.
Het definitievoorstel voor de term citizen science lijkt door de praktijk te zijn ingehaald. Op de gelanceerde website Iedereen Wetenschapper wordt aan burgers een bijdrage gevraagd in de vorm van data-levering en data-analyse. De oorspronkelijke crowdsourcing versmelt hiermee tot citizen science.

De verwachting is dat steeds meer onderzoekers, ook aan de TU Delft, projecten zullen opzetten, waarbij de bijdrage van burgers wordt gevraagd.
De ervaringen met citizen science zoals op het symposium gedeeld, laten zien dat onderzoekers bij een eigen project goede ondersteuning kunnen gebruiken. De Library kan hier mogelijk een rol spelen. Naast opslag en beschikbaar maken van wetenschappelijke gegevens, wat al gebeurt via 3tudatacentrum, kan de Library voorlichting geven aan onderzoekers en deelnemers over citizen science projecten. Voor ondersteuning, educatie en het uitwisselen van ervaringen zou de Library, zowel digitaal als fysiek, diensten kunnen aanbieden.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing
[2] https://www.meertens.knaw.nl/cms/nl/
[3] http://www.iedereenwetenschapper.be/projects/kijken-naar-de-geboorte-van-sterren
[4] http://iedereenwetenschapper.nl/article/wat-citizen-science
[5] https://librarytrends.weblog.tudelft.nl/2016/03/29/citizen-science-closing-knowledge-gaps/

Google I/O 2016 The journey to AI-first

During the annual developer conference Google I/O, there were a lot of announcements made. Here is a little recap of the news till now on some renewed existing products and a few interesting new products.

Renewed existing products
Author Andrew Smith once said: “People fear what they don’t understand”. When Amazon launched Echo in 2014 the reactions were skeptical and people found the idea of a device that is always listing on command in your home, creepy [1]. Over time Echo became popular. Excitingly, one of the announcements in Google I/O 2016 was Google Home, which has a lot of similarities with Echo. It is a speaker you can instruct to listen and to control your house or, as many describe it, as ‘the always-present version of Siri’ or another virtual assistant software [1]. Google Home can be seen as a digital conversational partner with which you can interact in a hands-free way and one that can assist you with obtaining any intelligence you desire [1].

The virtual assistant software has also been adapted into Google’s newest messaging platform introduced as Allo, which is more than just another chat program. Allo makes it possible to send automatic replies or provide extra information when required by using a pattern of text and picture recognition in the context [1].

Google’s DUO is a video chat which goes a step further by providing an extra feature ‘Knock Knock’, which allows the recipient to see a preview of the face-to-face chat call before accepting the call [1].

New products
The days of using an app easier and quicker have arrived. Introducing: Instant Apps, which allows you to use the app (or a part of the app) instantly without any installation and without worrying about enough storage on your phone [1].

And then there is the innovation presented as DayDream, that takes you closer to all your VR (virtual reality) dreams on a mobile device [1]. DayDream is a development platform for mobile VR in order to create VR experiences (YouTube – Google I/O Highlights).



Google I/O Highlight (2 minutes)

Interestingly, most of the features emphasize the essence of AI (Artificial Intelligence). The importance of AI increases as it provides features to understand the context in order to assist the user more effectively. This gives the virtual assistant software a whole new meaning. Virtual assistant is not merely considered as an application or a product, it has become a kernel of every application and product. With the growth of AI inside of virtual assistant the impossibilities are becoming more and more possible. According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai “20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches” [2]. Presently, by using Google products, we, as the users, are feeding AI with data, which allows AI to expand its potential beyond words. As Pichai points out, he is on a journey from “mobile-first to AI-first”, but meanwhile, “there are areas where we will be ahead, and there will be areas where someone points a way and we do it” [3].




Google I/O Keynote (almost 2 hours)


Sources:
[1] google io 2016 what you need to know from allo to daydream
[2] google reveals 20 percent queries voice queries
[3] googles ceo sums up his ai vision

TNW Europe (part 5), Building a World Class Design Team

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


UnknownAndy Budd talked about the importance of design and the challenges to achieve good design.
Good design is difficult to achieve and even harder to replicate. It gives you an advantage against your competitors. Company founders generally think that they understand the value of the design, but in the reality the user experience is poor. There are 2 factors for this mismatch.

  1. People believe that style and design is the same thing.
  2. Start-up’s doesn’t understand the value of design. Before they reach market fit- the time or the budget is already speeded.

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These are Andy Budd’s nine tips on how to build a world-class design team:

  1. Commit to a vision designers can get behind
  2. Hire great design leaders
  3. Demonstrate this vision through exemplar projects
  4. Put customer needs at the heart of the process
  5. Weave design into the fabric of the business
  6. Create a culture of collaboration
  7. Invest in quality
  8. Grow your team from the inside
  9. Operationalize design

Curious? or you want to see in-debt explanation of Andy Budd’s nine tips?
You can watch now the whole presentation on YouTube

P.S. Speaking about good design, you should definitely check the very beautiful storytelling platform for exploring The Wellcome Trust’s eclectic collection of medical and historical artefacts made by Clearleft.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 16.44.11
Digital Stories: Wellcome collection

Also very interesting: A step-by-step | The design process of this storytelling platform.

Clear left Design Stories

Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 4), Future UI as Professional Superpower

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


763a135d-eafa-41a1-9392-fe99b493e41bJohn Underkoffler, founder and CEO of Oblong Industries talked about the new UI (User Interface) as professional power-the future of workspace technology. He is actually the guy who designed the futuristic and advanced UI for the film Minority Report 14years ago (!)

For the last 30 years, the UI (user interface) has changed a little. We live in computational world that becomes more and more complex.
UI is all you have; UI is the computer, because without UI you can’t control the CPU or GPU of your computer.
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John Underkoffler shared with us his “Eight easy pieces”, his vision for the future of UI.

  1. Let’s explode the displays- what will happen if every set of pixels wasn’t bound by the physical rectangle?
  2. G –speak – Minority Report alike system without the visual effects
  3. Distributed (everything) – extend the UI of the edge of one screen to the next one if they are close enough. Expect border free UI’s
  4. Bidirectional glyphs – get more expressive with the UI elements. We need to know where we are, what the machine thinks we are doing and where we might go.
  5. Cinema as input/output device – cinematic heresy or the future of editing? A metaphor for how powerful UI should make you in the context of all your digital data.
  6. Cognition at architectural scale – see more through the right scale. Build computers small or big, as we need!
  7. Time to reinterpret – Minority report reinterpreted. With a proper UI a team of collaborators can achieve much more, work faster and better.
  8. Make UI an exoskeleton, an extension of the human will.

Oblong built a system called Mezzanine that uses all eight principles mentioned above. Mezzanine changes how people work together by making the workspace more collaborative, easily sharable and scalable.

Oblong-Mezzanine-Video-Conferencing-Solution

“We want to build systems based on principles of humanity that can enhance your attention, amplify human meaning and get out what people are best at which is making new things and building the world the way it ought to be.”

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW, Oblong

TNW Europe (part 3), Building with creative confidence

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


 

facebooknewJulie Zhuo from Facebook talked about how to build new products and services with creative confidence. That can be a real challenge even for big company like Facebook.

There is no book with instruction how to build the perfect product but they’ve learned a lot from their successes and failures.

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Facebook developed a simple framework consisting of 3 questions, which they use for reviewing new products.

The first question is:

  1. What people problem are we trying to solve?
    To answer this we need a people problem statement but coming up with a good one is not that easy. The good people problem statement must be:
  • Human, simple, straight forward;
  • Solutions free; – to avoid bias
  • It’s shouldn’t be about us (Facebook) winning.
  • Gets at the why;
  • Functional, emotional, social.
  1. How do we know this is a real problem?
    What evidence do we have? Is it worthwhile to solve?
  1. How do we know if we solved the problem?
    Define measurable goals and metrics.

Julie shares interesting inside fact: There are posters on the walls in Facebook HQ that says, “Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem”

“It reminds us that if something doesn’t work well, we can’t wait. We must take action to develop solution to fix that problem.” said Julie Zhuo.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 2), Google’s secret sauce

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


google-new-logoGoogle’s director of product Aparna Chennapragada talked about how to build the mobile products of the future. Is there a recipe or special formula to do that? Google have a sauce, a secret sauce and it looks like this:

Secret sauce = AI+UI+I

Daily we use a lot of different products like Google Search, Google Translate, Goggle Now, YouTube (…. and many more). All of them have something in common. They are all powered by information (in many cases AI and machine learning in various forms). But why is this fact more relevant now than ever?
The answer is simple ”one word …Mobile” said Aparna.

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Mobile is the game changer. With 3 billion plus phones we produce daily a massive input of useful data that can help improve these products. Mobile changes the game on the output side as well. Nowadays we always carry our phones and that gives us access to products and services in situations and context that we never had before (like in the car for example). If you combine these two things together almost every other real-world problem has a chance to turn into software or more importantly AI problem.

Google’s formula solves this problem.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)+UI (User Interface)+I (Personalization)

The formula in depth:

 AI (Artificial intelligence)

There are 3 observations about AI

  1. Use AI for tasks that are easy for the machines but difficult for people.
    Google Translate is a good example for that
  2. Wow vs. WTH (what the hell!!!) ratio – If AI sends you to the wrong airport gate and you mist your flight (WTH) the product will need a lot Wow’s to make up for that WTH moment.
  3. Training shapes the learning – AI is as good as the training data. When overtime the data improves, the AI improves too.

UI (Interface)

  1. UI needs to be proportionate to the confidence in AI – Strong AI needs less UI and vice-versa
  2. Magic vs. Prediction trade-off– people tend to choose for predictable but slower approach instead of faster “magical” solution.
  3. User feedback is very important for improvements of the system but hard to get nowadays. For example: Google Now question “Will it rain this weekend?” gives no feedback to the system.

I (Personalisation) 

  1. Make the benefits clear and immediate- people will not use products that only promise benefits in a long run
  2. Allow users to teach – ask you users to help (when possible!)
  3. Who are your users – it is important to know who your users are. What will work for specific users in US will not automatically work in India.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 1), Trend-driven innovation

TNWConf2016

 

 

 

 

 


The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


tw-logoOne of the first speakers was David Mattin from Trendwatching.com and he gave an interesting presentation about trend-driven innovation and how to turn overwhelm into opportunity.

Nowadays we are overwhelmed, with the fast pace of upcoming new innovations, new services and products, it’s difficult to keep-up because they are arriving on daily or even hourly basis. These innovations and new services create new customer expectations and they are the drive behind the expectation economy. Good example for that is a newcomer like Uber who change the customer expectation in the taxi business (cabs arrive within 10 minutes).

As innovators, the important question that we must ask ourselves is:
“What will our customers want next?”

But how to do that?

  1. Asking people what they want is limited. They don’t know what they need until you show it tot them.
  2. Find out by watching them is too expensive and time consuming
  3. By analyzing consumer data – good for validation and enhancing but not for breakthrough innovation.

The real answer is:
“Stop looking at customers and start looking at successful businesses and the expectations they create”, said Mattin.

“It’s about the new expectations that this innovations create and when this expectation spread across borders, market, demographics then we are seeing a trend in action. Watching that happening is what Trend watching actually is.
“Trends emerge as innovators address people’s basic human needs and wants in novel ways”

A few examples that can lead us to a new trend:

  1. Stockholmståg – Algorithm anticipates train delays hours before they occur and the emerging trend is Beneficial intelligence – consumers will embrace digital services that make truly smart decisions for them.
  2. REI outdoor retailer – On Black Friday, a day of shopping frenzy in the US, REI outdoor retailer pays employees to take a day off to spend… outdoors (with heavy social media coverage #OptOutside) and encourages its customers to do the same.
    The emerging trend is Insider Trading – the right internal culture becomes an external asset.
  3. Renrenxiang – restaurant replaces staff with messaging app. The emerging trend is Informal info – effective information is informal information.

What if some of these innovations fail? Asked Mattin next.
It’s not about success or failure; it ‘s again about customer expectations.

For example: There are 3 new mobile phones, which have a great new features – the first is very secure, the second is highly recyclable and the third interchangeable. Only by seeing them, these phones will create new customer expectations, and companies like Apple and Samsung know that and are already innovating to meet those expectations.

The big wave of innovations and services can be really overwhelming, so if you look at those innovations though the lens of new customer expectations, the more innovation you see the more empowered you are to discover your own trends and soon that becomes habit, new way of seeing the world. The next step is to apply those trends, and if you can do that then you are really a trend-driven innovator concludes Mattin.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube.

Wat je nu echt moet weten over Snapchat

Ik wist dat het bestond, natuurlijk. Maar opeens was het overal: Snapchat in nieuwbrieven, blogposts, op het OCLC congres, in de krant, in gesprekken. Meestal samen met Instagram genoemd in de context van “the next big thing” op het gebied van social media. Instagram kennen we inmiddels wel, al is het maar van de “vette” foto’s die tegenwoordig op de monitor bij de personeelsingang voorbij komen. Snapchat is hot & happening, dus een onderzoekje waard.

snapchat logos

Met Snapchat kan je foto’s of video’s van max 10 seconden naar één specifiek contact of naar al jouw volgers sturen. Je kan de beelden bewerken door er op te tekenen of er teksten en emoticons of stickers aan toe te voegen. Je kan ook foto’s en video’s bundelen in een verhaal (story). Wat maakt Snapchat uniek? De Snaps (stories, foto’s en video’s) die je stuurt worden na het bekijken gewist. Hebben de ontvangers of volgers de Snaps 24 uur na het publiceren nog steeds niet gezien? Pech. Na 24 uur verdwijnen je creaties in de cyber-prullenbak. En dat is eigenlijk best wel fijn, want dan ben jij al weer wat anders interessants aan het doen waar je over kan snapchatten. Naast het chatten met beelden, kan je ook “gewoon” met tekst chatten met je volgers zoals je bij WhatsApp doet.

Wat Snapchat naast het vluchtige karakter nog meer zo populair maakt, is dat je de foto’s en video’s in de app maakt, dus zonder de mogelijkheid gebruik te maken van editing tools, mooimakerij of professionele apparatuur. Het gaat bij Snapchat niet zoals bij Instagram om het mooie plaatje, maar om het moment. De tekenstift en stickers nodigen uit om jouw creativiteit te botvieren op een laagdrempelige manier: het mag er uit zien als een kleutertekening (maar het hoeft niet, je kan zelfs echte Snapchat-kunstenaars volgen!).

Inmiddels bestaat Snapchat al een jaar of vijf en na een tijdje vooral populair te zijn geweest onder jongeren, beginnen nu de marketingmachines van bedrijven en organisaties en ja, ook hogescholen en universiteiten (HvA en UT) met Snapchat om hun doelgroep te bereiken. Je kan ook het NOS journaal, Ajax, CNN, Rihanna, Lil’ Kleine en waarschijnlijk je neefje van 12 volgen. Inmiddels hebben meer dan 2 miljoen Nederlanders een account. Ik nu ook.

Mijn eigen ervaring? Snapchat kijkt – met toestemming – wie van jouw contacten ook een Snapchat account heeft. In mijn geval waren dat mijn tiener neefjes en nichtjes, jonge meiden van modern-jazz les en één collega. Ik heb wat crea-foto’s de wereld in geslingerd, maar moet duidelijk nog even wennen. Is er iemand in de Library die een Snapchat-experimentje met mij wil aangaan?

Geraadpleegde bronnen:

Duurzame opslagcapaciteit voor de hele lange termijn

De opslagcapaciteit van dit glazen schijfje, 360 terabyte, is nog niet eens zo spectaculair. Bij een niet nader te noemen elektronica-gigant koop je externe schijven van 3 TB voor minder dan €200 per stuk. Maar gecombineerd met de afmetingen en vooral ook de duurzaamheid, is dit schijfje toch wel bijzonder. Het is bestand tegen temperaturen tot 1000 graden celcius en kan bij kamertemperatuur naar verwachting 14 miljard jaren mee [1]. Daarmee lijkt deze technologie uitermate geschikt voor het bewaren van belangrijke archieven van bijvoorbeeld musea en bibliotheken. En zou er iemand al zo’n grote dataset hebben? Misschien nu nog niet, maar dat kan in de komende jaren best komen.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights recorded into 5D optical data (Southampton.ac.uk)

Foto: Southampton.ac.uk: Universal Declaration of Human Rights opgeslagen in 5D optische data. Het schijfje is ongeveer zo groot als een twee-euromunt.

Het glas wordt beschreven met een ultra-fast laser. De laser creëert 5D nanostructuren in het glas. We kennen allemaal 3D (de dimensies lengte x breedte x hoogte), de andere dimensies komen van de omvang en richting van de afzonderlijke structuren. Het uitlezen gebeurt met een optische microscoop en polarisatiefilter (denk: Polaroid zonnebril) [2].

Het klinkt eenvoudig, maar dat is het waarschijnlijk niet. Wetenschapper Peter Kazansky van de University of Southampton (UK) is met zijn collega’s al 15 jaar bezig met deze technologie, die nu is bewezen door onder andere de Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, zie foto), Newton’s Opticks en Magna Carta op schijf te zetten. Er wordt gezocht naar partners om de technologie productierijp te maken [2].

Bronnen:
[1] http://www.sciencealert.com/this-new-5d-data-storage-disc-can-store-360tb-of-data-for-14-billion-years
[2] http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2016/02/5d-data-storage-update.page

Citizen Science closing knowledge gaps

Washington Post tells us: “Three superplayers of an addictive online puzzle game have done something that Stanford University Medical School believes is unprecedented: They’ve become the first authors on a paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal based on their discoveries in playing the large-scale, online video game EteRNA.”

The Journal of Molecular Biology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal where authors with solid scientific reputation publish their works. The scientific article in question was published last month by the three “citizen scientists” authors, considered amateur scientists. How is this possible?

Who gets to publish scientific articles has to go through the regular channel of working with authorities in the scientific field and then becoming a scientific authority: it’s the thread of trust in the creation of knowledge. This is the traditional way to develop one’s own expertise and get recognised by the scientific community. However, this way changed over the last decades: new educational pathways grew inside the traditional academic environment via the MOOCs but also outside them via citizen science projects.

The MOOCs are educational models that approach a large audience, with a huge impact on the global education, where the knowledge, structured in various subjects is given away: it flows from universities to people.

In the citizen scientist project model, the knowledge flows the other way around. The universities need help, they have huge projects working with big data that ask for too much money and infrastructure or too many people, all in all too much for a university to handle by itself. They need help not only in the form of funding (level 1) and distributed computer processing power (level 2) but also through crowdsourcing human-processing power – fresh, non-biased input – to analyse complex problems, images or samples (level 3) [2]. So the universities created frameworks for people to learn and challenge them to help solve problems with great impact for the whole society.

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Crowdfunding for academia

Every university wants to encourage the entrepreneurship of its students and at the same time, increase its visibility through their output. One new way is via the social supporting models of crowdfunding (financial support from an online community) and the crowdsourcing (support with services, ideas or content from an online community). Both were a hype in 2013 but they stayed around and they were adopted by universities around the world or by non-profit organisations as valuable alternative tools for the benefit of academia.

How does this parallel fund raising track works for universities now?

In USA, the University of Oregon took an active role in hosting a website, DuckFunder, for crowdfunding their students projects. Experiment.com is crowdfunding scientific research with a team behind the scenes that examines and approves an experiment before going public.

In UK there is an non-profit organisation, Hubbub, created for students, hosting a crowdfunding website for academia, colleges and schools. They defined the Sponsors and the Creators. The Creators (at least 16 years old) offer generic small rewards to the Sponsors – the “friends of the university” – to help the process of crowdfunding and get them involved in the projects of their interest. (Learn more)

In the Nederlands, University of Maastricht is busy with offering support to its students who want to find resources to realise their ideas. Both their crowdfunding and crowdsourcing projects can be found on their page on the Pifworld (Pay It Forward World).

University of Groningen supports its researchers and students via two websites made by/with the “social enterprise” Kentaa, who says it’s working with 9 of 13 Dutch universities to help raise funds for academic research projects. There one can find the webpages of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Wageningen UR, Radboud University and Twente University.

At TU Delft, somehow the students managed to (crowd)fund their projects via different and elsewhere available platforms. Among their initiatives, the following got a well deserved attention:

  • the Ocean Cleanup by Bojan Slat completed a fundraiser in 2014 that used the ABN AMRO platform SEEDS.
  • the Leg Bank for Colombia via the 1%Club platform – completed in 2014
  • Nuna 8 closed in the summer of 2015, via Zonnepanelendelen platform, crowdfunding specifically for systems based on sun energy.
    A picture of each sponsor was placed on the Nuna 8 solar car, which ended up winning the World Solar Challenge 2015 in Australia.
  • the EcoRunner – the hydrogen powered vehicle, still fighting to raise money on Indiegogo

What if we, as a library, step in as well to support our own gifted entrepreneur students? We could give them the channel they need for getting help with funds and resources from people who care in exchange for bringing TU Delft in the news with their great ideas.

ReFlex – the future of e-books?

A few weeks ago, The Queens University Media Lab released a prototype of a flexible smartphone called ReFlex, so far… nothing special.
Nowadays, almost weekly somewhere on the globe, some unkown company with exotic name is releasing the latest model smartphone.…but the The ReFlex is different!

What immediately grabbed my attention were the techniques used in this prototype – flexible OLED display, bend sensors and haptic feedback.
Translated into human language that means that when you read e-book on the ReFlex you can flip the pages of the book just by bending the screen and the haptic feedback will give you a sensation like you’re flipping a real book.The more you bend the faster the pages flip and vice-versa.The haptic feedback will also give you more precise “eyes-free navigation”.

The researchers expect that the commercial devices will be available within 5 years or maybe sooner…(1)

I think that, if well developed and widely produced, in the future this techniques can have a huge impact not only on how we interact with our smartphone’s but also with other digital devices like for example e-readers like Kindle, iPad or other tablets.

Is this the innovation that will finaly make the difference between digital and analog reading experience smaller or just another fun prototype?
Only time will tell….

Bron: (1) Engadget

Kahoot! voor een snelle online quiz of toets

Niet nieuw, maar ik kwam het ineens op verschillende plekken tegen, dus dan is het interessant. Kahoot! is een online tool waarmee je snel en gemakkelijk aantrekkelijke online quizes, polls of toetsen kan maken voor gebruik in een interactieve presentatie. Je kan daarbij denken aan een discussie / panel sessie van een symposium, maar ook gewoon in een klassikale les.
Screenshot 2016-02-10 11.27.24
Er zijn heel veel van dergelijke tools, maar Kahoot springt er uit door het gebruiksgemak en een aantrekkelijke presentatie. Je kan meedoen met elk device: smart phone, tablet of laptop, want je hebt alleen een browser nodig (met Internet verbinding).
De deelnemers kunnen zich aanmelden met een pincode en een “nickname” dus als ze dat willen anoniem. Je kan ervoor kiezen voor punten te spelen, dan wordt het een game en worden de meeste deelnemers ineens een stuk fanatieker!
TU Delft heeft een licentie voor “Turning Point”, dat is uitgebreider en kan meer, maar dan kost het je wel wat meer tijd dan de 6 minuten (!) die ik nodig had om te registreren, een Kahoot! te maken en te testen. Bovendien ziet Kahoot er grappig uit, wat de sfeer ten goede kan komen. Ik ben een fan. Ook proberen? http://getkahoot.com

I am the content: how and why instructors discover and share course content

Early January, OCLC held a webinar about a study done by by Temple University Libraries (Philadelphia, US) on practises of instructors selecting, sharing and organising course content. I didn’t have time then, but when we started to discuss what we as a library can do for teachers in the context of Open Education, especially for “Enrich online learning”, I decided to watch part of the webinar and look in to the study to see what we might learn from our colleagues across the ocean.

You can find a presentation as well as the webinar online at OCLC. The study has been conducted by doing a structured interview with ten full time teaching staff at Temple University.  It has had a long run: from preparation in 2011 to presenting the results in 2015. The content in the study can be readings, video, images and other supporting materials other than the course syllabus.

So what are instructors doing and why? Some are creating home video’s and posting them on YouTube or streamed to Blackboard using Ensemblevideo.com. Pdf’s of published articles are shared using Google Sites. Textbooks are carefully selected to be used for the long term, but supporting materials like links, images are on-the-fly selections. Teachers have accumulated this material, sometimes organised using tools like Dropbox, Delicious or EndNote. How do they discover these resources? “Well, that’s my job to know. I’m always aware of things, so if it appears to me, I’m gonna see it.” Also, teachers rely on their network: “…A social network is a little bit less cumbersome than doing a keyword search in [database name].”

Questions from the interview: how they decide what to share

Screenshot taken from the webinar’s presentation.

The take away for libraries is that the teachers said they rarely specifically search or “hunt” for course materials. What works at Temple is to weekly push content as an alert, such as an email with new book lists and/or relevant news from popular newspapers. What is necessary to be relevant is a good understanding of the appropriate level for the different target groups and a focus on quality.

According to Temple, to help teachers it might be more effective to “unbundle content” so instead of sending a link to an article or book, send a paragraph of chapter that is highly relevant. If I had been in the webinar, I would have asked: For all these (hundreds of) courses, how can the library have and maintain the knowledge to evaluate what is relevant and the right level for a specific course? They have library liaisons at the faculties at Temple, but I wonder if that is enough. Hey, let’s just send them an email!

Sources: webinar and pdf (slides).

Technology trend 2016: Big Data gets bigger

Each year there are a lot of predictions in the media about the state of technology [1]. Recently, the use of Big Data analyses has been of great influence in the industry and businesses and therefore Big Data is considered as one of the fastest developing technology trends of 2016. In addition, the correlation of Big Data with AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) has received significant attention [2][3][4].

photo from enterrasolutions

Big Data makes cities smarter
We really do not have to look into a crystal ball to predict the most important technology trends of this year. We are already dealing with different developments. One of them is a trendy service, made possible by the use of Big Data, the so called smart city. The urbanization and the use of personal technology that increases daily are making the lives of the masses more and more connected to people and devices. This IT development has become a reality in which every city can collect data of the masses’ traffic and personal technology behavior [5]. They can collect all kinds of data received and measured for example through WiFi-spots or through mobile-signals. These can be used to find out new patterns of our lives by measuring the traffic around the most popular facilities, entertainment and merchandising locations [5]. For example, they can use Big Data to predict the locations where cars can be broken down in the city, which could help to prevent or facilitate near these possible locations in order to improve the repair process. These possibilities are increasing through the combination of personal technology with Big Data.

photo from automatedtrader

An Intelligent combination
AI, VR and AR have separately incredible potential power. However, the combination along with Big Data is game changing and of great impact on the industry [2][3][4]. For example, the combination of Machine Learning, which is a part of AI, together with Big Data has already shown how intelligent it can be. Publicity agencies and the financial industry are using Big Data analytics to predict the behavior of individuals [7]. According to Forbes, “their power combined can even become so intelligent to the point where some believe they will be able to accurately predict both market trends and human influences on the commerce”[8]. Imagine if you could use Big Data and Machine Learning (AI) to improve your own business or your life in general. 

Virtual and augmented reality experiences are growing focus in the market and are getting closer to mainstream acceptance. However, if these exciting technologies use more Big Data (youtube examples), the development steps will be bigger.

In general, this year we will see more Big Data providing services on different levels than only smart city. The expectations are high regarding steps in targeting mainstream consumers in 2016. So Big Data are getting bigger and will be widely used.


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Sources:
[1] 10 Big tech trends ,
[2] AI and stock market ,
[3] big data and augmented reality the research agenda ,
[4] making sense of big data with VR ,
[5] Big Data is needed ,
[6] Top 10 big tech trends ,
[7] Big Data and AI need ,
[8] Why Big Data and AI need each other and you need both

Trends 2016: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With all the technological developments from the last year IamWIRE says that if 2015 was the year of the sensors (products), 2016 will be the year of user experiences due to the release of high tech devices in the consumer market. They are referring to three of the most important technological developments that will emerge as trends for this year: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Trends:
  • Looking back at the last year’s developments in Virtual Reality, we saw in 2015 the headsets Gear VR, Oculus VR and Google Jump platform appear, the last one with the 16 GoPro camera’s that can create 360 degrees videos, a new type of content, now already popular on YouTube.

    All of them open new possibilities for Virtual Reality new experiences in gaming, training, and simulations. In the beginning of this year is scheduled the launch of Oculus Rift (already here for a price of $599), Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC – Vive headset with VR technology. According to TrendForce, the expectations are as far as 43mil. users this year with 14 mil. VR devices to be sold, most of them to be used in gaming. Quirk’s is talking about Virtual Reality as of a democratising technology, but warns that its adoption by the industries and consumers will go far beyond 2016. It predicts that the economical sectors that are mostly based on experience – like tourism and health care – will adopt this technology faster than others.

  • In 2015 the investments in Augmented Reality went up to $700mil. (1). Its timeline didn’t begin with Google Glass (launched in 2013 and stopped in 2015), but it was surely considered well ahead of its time. The next generation, Google Glass 2 is expected in May 2016 (2). What else did Google do in 2015? They backed-up a startup company, Magic Leap, that raised a huge amount of investments for its 3D mapping system integrating real objects with interactive graphical “objects” (3). Let the race begin!

    In the spring of 2016 are announced as well the Microsoft’s HoloLens and ASUS’s AR headset.
    There is no promise yet for the consumer market, but everyone expects a serious name taking a stand in AR: Apple. Its interest in AR became visible through its moves (in acquiring in 2015 three AR companies) that suggest a long term goal. Latest news: Apple just hired beginning 2016 a top tech specialist in AR/VR (4).

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De tech trends van CES 2016

ces

De International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is een grote technologiebeurs die elk jaar in januari wordt gehouden in Las Vegas sinds 1967. Door de jaren heen is CES een goede voorloper van alle technologie trends van het komend jaar geworden.

Dit zijn de grootste trends voor dit jaar:

Veel retro en nostalgie producten zijn zeer populair bij het publiek geworden. Zoals platenspelers (”vinyl is back”) of fotocamera’s die ala Polaroid direct je gemaakte foto kunnen uitprinten of de analoge Kodak Super 8 videocamera die gebruik maak van ouderwetse film (ontwikkelen van de film is in de prijs inbegrepen)

De meest besproken producten van vorig jaar waren: Wearables, 3D printers en drones. Dit jaar zijn de rollen een beetje omgedraaid. Wearables lijken minder populair te zijn maar dat is misschien omdat iedereen er al een heeft. Dezelfde geldt ook voor de 3D printers die nu op elke hoek van de beurs te zien waren. De drones aan de andere kant zijn populairder en veelzijdiger geworden dan vorig jaar. Er was zelfs een drone bij de beurs die 1 persoon kon vervoeren.

Maar de grootste ster van de technologiebeurs is The Internet of Things. Vooral de technologieën die gebruikt worden voor The Internet of Things en de Smart Homes zijn aanzienlijk beter geworden.  Wat ook opmerkelijk is: de subtiele verschuiving tussen het maken van een apparaat en het ontwerpen van diensten hiervoor. The Internet of Things zal de komende tijd meer over diensten gaan dan de apparaten zelf.

Genoeg ontwikkelingen waar we enthousiast van kunnen worden.