Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New Issue of Information Technology and Libraries Available Online

The most recent issue of the quarterly journal Information Technology and Libraries is now available online.

Among the feature articles that caught my attention are:

  • Expanding and Improving Our Library’s Virtual Chat Service - Discovering Best Practices when Demand Increases: "With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing shutdown of the library building for several months, there was a sudden need to adjust how the Hilton C. Buley Library at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) delivered its services. Overnight, the library’s virtual chat service went from a convenient way to reach a librarian to the primary method by which library patrons contacted the library for help. In this article, the authors will discuss what was learned during this time and how the service has been adjusted to meet user needs. Best practices and future improvements will be discussed."
  • Building a Culture of Resilience in Libraries (Editorial): "We find ourselves a year and a half into the global pandemic, and libraries—just like the rest of the workforce—have been navigating through a drastic amount of change in a short amount of time with no real guideposts as to what may come next. Libraries were completely shut down, library staff displaced, and library services transformed in a short period of time like they hadn’t been before. We’ve also found that as we’ve reopened our libraries there are new patron and staff expectations. It is expected that the changes that we’ve enacted in the middle of a crisis will continue and will be folded into a new service delivery model. Patrons have different expectations of libraries; library staff have different expectations of management and of the technology that drives library services and their day-to-day work. In order to meet these new expectations, we’ve embarked on a path of implementing more flexibility into our environments and workflows. I feel however that the concept of flexibility misses the mark. Flexibility is about being open to change and reacting to it, and possibly taking different paths to solving a common problem. Flexibility though is part of a broader concept that I think we need to embrace, and that is resiliency."
  • Accessibility of Tables in PDF Documents: " The retrieval of important units such as images, figures, algorithms, mathematical formulas, and tables becomes a challenge. Among these elements, tables are particularly important because they can add value to the resource description, discovery, and accessibility of documents not only on the web but also in libraries if they are made retrievable and presentable to readers. Sighted users comprehend tables for sense making using visual cues, but blind and visually impaired users must rely on assistive technologies, including text-to-speech and screen readers, to comprehend tables. However, these technologies do not pay sufficient attention to tables in order to effectively present tables to visually impaired individuals. Therefore, ways must be found to make tables in PDF documents not only retrievable but also comprehensible. Before developing such solutions, it is necessary to review the available assistive technologies, tools, and frameworks for their capabilities, strengths, and limitations from the comprehension perspective of blind and visually impaired people, along with suitable environments like digital libraries. We found no such review article that critically and analytically presents and evaluates these technologies. To fill this gap in the literature, this review paper reports on the current state of the accessibility of PDF documents, digital libraries, assistive technologies, tools, and frameworks that make PDF tables comprehensible and accessible to blind and visually impaired people."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:43 pm


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