Thanks for inviting me and I’m happy to host everyone here today. I’m feeling very at home
here, not only because it is home but because the title of the workshop harkens back to my
days as a midwestern boy. I thought only midwesterners ended questions with a
preposition like “Where you at?” or maybe the one of you workshop planners is from the
Anyway, I’m here to talk about our use of digital displays in the library. This started
relatively recently recently, but being in hollywood, there’s already a movie about it….
We were charged with coming up with an electronic version of what our CEO, Bob Walton
said he saw at Berkeley. One of his friends there was proud of their outdoor daily front
pages shown in and around their Library and “Free Speech Movement Café”. At the time,
he swore up and down that they were digital displays, but when one of the planning team
members happened to be up there they discovered they were actually just display cases
with paper newspapers tacked up inside.
But, being as naïve as we were, we decided we could do it (especially if those other guys
The group who actually did the work – definitely not me in any way other than translating
the idea into instructions – were our facilities engineers, one of our librarians, and out IT
staff. They are Jack Weimer, our staff engineer who did most of the design work, Scot
Simpson, who did the welding and fabricating of the custom mounts, Sam Kome, our R&D
librarian who wrote all the custom code to put and display the content, and Peter Zacarias
and Dave Fresquez who did all the hardware and software configuration and maintenance.
First, Jack designed a 3d digital layout to allow for spacing adjustments and included an
enclosed area for electronics (which the enclosed area was scrapped because of cost…but
then when students started tampering with plugs we then added these secure boxes back
The design allows for an angle of the screens from one another, vertical and horizontal
adjustments and the offset requirements from the poles…all to fit in the space between
Honnold’s columns proportionally.
Scott Simpson (CFS machine shop) was instrumental in getting the welding, fabrication and
The hardware for these displays are NEC LED panels, connected to FiT PC‐2 Ultra Low
Power thin clients running only a web browser.
The news displays are html pages running in Firefox. Images are requested directly by each
display from Newseum by their URL, with each image onscreen for 90 seconds and content
python routines to make it automated and pretty.
First I went and looked at the Newseum access policy and found this:
http://www newseum www.newseum.org/about/about.aspx?item=COP080125&style=b
“Unless otherwise noted, users who wish to download or print text and image files from
this Web site may do so without the Newseum's express permission, provided that they
comply with the following conditions:
* 1. The content may only be used for personal, educational or noncommercial
* 2. Users must cite the author and source of the content as they would material from
any printed work.
* 3. The citation must include all copyright information and other information associated
with the content and the URL for the Newseum Web site.
* 4. None of the content may be altered or modified.
* 5. Users must comply with all other terms or restrictions which may be applicable to
the individual file, image or text.”
I think we comply with all that.
I actually need to restore the Newseum byline – we did provide that up until a recent
revision when it fell off. Alain knows to have it on the production version. I’ll make sure
we’re compliant by LACASIST.
S dIi tdth N it d t dth h i l Q i
Here is the results, pulled directly from Newseum and reformatted to fit the screens. There
are 6 to 10 different newspapers scrolling through each monitor roughly grouped into these
eight categories: Southern California, North California, California Non‐English and South
America, National, Europe & Australia, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. The selected papers
are drawn from the major metropolitan areas that represent current student’s home
addresses – many non‐California undergrads are from Seattle and also the Washington DC
areas, so we included more of those papers.
You are welcome to go see the displays yourself downstairs at any time, but here’s a couple
pictures of what they currently look like. They’re very popular, and you can come in at
almost any time and see someone standing around them reading a bit. I remember an
instance that made me very proud of them – I know one of our CGU Grad students – she
had done a project interviewing library staff the previous year – and I found her standing in
front of one early one morning. I stopped to asked her if she liked them, and she said, “I
am so happy – I haven’t read a newspaper in Turkish in years – I can’t believe you have this
So we also have some other, much more functional displays as well. We have 9 other
digital displays, located high on the walls of the café, or at eye level in some of the booths.
All displays show a variety of content arranged in the Four Winds sofware, but serve an
additional purpose as a secondary monitor for students working on group projects.
Each of these displays scrolls through our Campus Calendar, the weather, a CNN news
ticker in text, and usually a CNN news window (on mute).
When a student wants to hook their laptop up to one, they simply use the touch screens
mounted below them, plug in a VGA cable, and they’re good to go. Throughout this year,
we’ve been astonished at how much they’ve been used – we’ll often walk through the café
and see students hooked up to the monitor, working through presentations, projects, or
other collaborative work. They’re so popular that we’ve had to replace the monitor cables
about three times each per display.
So that’s what we’re doing. It’s a work in progress, but we’ve gotten some great reviews
from our students and faculty about them and we have strong evidence that they’re being
used. The maintenance and upkeep is almost minimal and the return on the investment
has been outstanding.
I’d like to once again thank everyone for coming to the workshop today.
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