Spina, C. (2014). Finding, evaluating, and sharing new technology. Reference & User Services Quarterly 53(3), 217-220.
This article describes the different steps librarians can take in order to find out about the latest technology and how to share the information with patrons. Spina emphasizes that librarians should first analyze their patron demographic. Appropriate apps and other digital resources will vary based on the demographic’s age, tech savvy levels, and what devices they use, among other factors.
Once a librarian identifies the patrons they are evaluating for, they can move on to an evaluation process that is in some ways similar to one that most librarians already go through when deciding what materials to purchase for the library. Looking at an item’s price, age appropriateness, and similar alternatives are all measures that librarians in collection development are used to taking. New evaluation techniques applicable to technology that are mentioned include user interface, available platforms, flexibility, and privacy/security.
When looking at the different apps reviews listed under this syllabus, it is easy to see that most of them contain the evaluation methods reviewed in this article. They note what devices the app can be used on, it’s usability and interface, and the audience that the app is intended for. They also list “bibliographic” information including the name of the app, the date it was last updated, and the version.
While evaluating digital media resources may pose many different considerations, in many ways it is the same as any other material. The most important thing to consider is the patrons you are serving, and how the resource will fit their needs.