Category Archives: Look at This!

Who Is Making Health Here? #makehealth

Reposted from Health Design By Us: Who is Making Health Here? #makehealth; Find out about the health-makers you’ll meet on Saturday!

We Make Health Fest (University of Michigan)

When we started planning this, more than once Joyce told me, “Hey, I’ll be happy if five people show up.” Well, we did a lot of talking, had a lot of meetings, asked people to spread the word, and … the resulting response has been beyond our WILDEST dreams! Since this is our first time, we wanted to keep this as open as possible, and create as many opportunities for people to be involved as we could. Exhibitors are timesharing booths and tables. Speakers are doing mostly pecha kucha style 5-minute presentations. We didn’t want to say “no” to anyone! So if you say you’re a maker and wanted to be involved, we did our darnedest to try to fit you in somewhere. So who all will you find if you come? Here’s how you find out.

On our website:

Direct link to the full speaker and exhibitor schedule as a downloadable PDF:

We also are in the process of adding the schedule into Lanyrd.

Lanyrd: We Make Health Fest: Schedule

Lanyrd has an app, if you want to use it during the event.

Lanyrd apps: Android | iPhone | Mobile Web | Open Web

Or you can simply read on!


10:30am Joyce Lee / Welcome
10:35am Jose Gomez-Marquez / Keynote
11:05am John Costik / Keynote: Hacking Diabetes
11:35am Andrew Maynard / Color My Poop Beautiful, and Other Tales of Tech Derring Do
11:55 Makers the Movie
1:05pm Matt Christensen / Linnetic: A Better Way to Monitor Asthma
1:10pm Nanci and Eilah Nanney / GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens!
1:15pm Marc Stephens / Tech-Savvy Fitness
1:25pm Jane Berliss-Vincent / The iPad as Resuscitation Device: Notes on Assistive Tech in the Hospital Environment
1:35pm Linda Diane Feldt / There is a Free Lunch: Wildcrafting and Foraging for Food and Medicine
1:45pm Kris Kullgren / Mott Kids4Kids: Utilizing Peer Education Videos at Bedside and Beyond
1:55pm Amer Abughaida / A Manual Stair-Climbing Wheelchair
2:00pm Duane Mackey / Open Source Mosquito Trap
2:05pm Brandon McNaughton / Kitchen-Table Diagnostics with Glass Microbubbles
2:10pm James Rampton / Learning Health System – Consumer Application
2:20pm Irene Knokh / Free Educational Resources: MERLOT and beyond!
2:25pm Mike Lee / Demonstration of World Possible’s Remote Areas Community Hotspots for Education and Learning (RACHEL) Project
2:35pm Sandy Merkel / The Poke Program
2:45pm Harpreet Singh / Communication Box: Flip the Health Care Culture by T.R.U.M.P. Technique
2:55pm Michael Flynn / Fostering a sense of community in hospital lobbies with interactive public art
3:00pm Gary Olthoff / EZCarryBed Mattress Carrier Handle
3:05pm George Albercook / DIY Hearing Aids – A Model MakeHealth
3:15pm Pete Wendel / Games and User Interface Design: Thinking Differently to Affect Elderly Quality of Life
3:25pm Lia Min / In My Spectrum: A Comic about Autism Desktop
3:35pm Shawn O’Grady / 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping
3:40pm George Albercook / Makers Answer the Call
3:45pm AJ Montpetit / Disrupting Health Care
3:55pm PF Anderson / Personalized Genomics and Closing Remarks


10am – 12pm A Free Generator of Health Risk Graphics
Linnetic: A Better Way to Monitor Asthma
Type 1 Diabetes

10am – 1pm
Building Capacity for the Ann Arbor Sharing Economy
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness — GREAT Kitchens!
We Make Health Stories

10am – 2pm
Cardboard Challenge: #makehealth
Kitchen-Table Diagnostics with Glass Microbubbles

10am – 3pm
The Poke Program

11am – 12pm
Free Educational Resources: MERLOT and Beyond

12pm – 2pm
A Manual Stair-Climbing Wheelchair
Demonstration of World Possible’s Remote Areas Community Hotspots for Education and Learning (RACHEL) Project
Hacking Diabetes
Learning Health System – Consumer Application

1pm – 4pm
Michigan Engineered for All Libes (M-HEAL)

2pm – 4pm
Open Source Mosquito Trap

Ideas for Making Health! [#makehealth]

#NationOfMakers #MakeHealth

Remember I said the idea of the UM We Make Health Fest began with hearing about the White House’s first ever Maker Faire? Well, that is TODAY!!!! The map above shows some of the activity nationwide with people being part of a Nation of Makers. Remember I said, “You have to talk about health. There is SO MUCH going on with bringing the Maker Movement to health!” Then our team went off and brainstormed. Here is a list of the ideas we came up with, almost all of them in the first week of brainstorming.

3D printing
Coding – PHP
DataViz for PDM
Design Thinking
Big data for relationships?
DIY Apps
DIY Biology
DIY Clinical Trials
DIY Devices
DIY Ergonomics
DIY Genomics
DIY Laboratory
DIY Medicine
DIY Neuroscience
Gaming for Health
Hackerspace & Hackathon
Healthy eating: vegan
Home hydroponics
Individualized Medicine
Mobile Technology
N=1 Studies
Open Source/Open Access
Participatory Medicine
Personal Genomics
Personalized Medicine
Precision Medicine
Quantified Self
Quantified Us
Quantified We
Raspberry Pi
Robotics 4 Kids
Solar Cells
Sustainable Design
Sustainable Gardening
Wearable Technology

What do you think? Maker Movement + Health might actually be a real thing, eh? As we continue to plan and prepare our event, we’ll be posting more information about the specific ideas that will actually be at our Make Health Fest. Meanwhile, for today, I’m proud to be one of the many makers, from a family of makers, at a University of Makers, in our Nation of Makers.

“And I said, ‘Yeah, man. Totally!'”: The Obamacare Vloggers

NicePeterToo: I Met the President:

You really should watch the video embedded above. Last week, President Obama invited several of the young folk with exceptionally active Youtube channels to come visit and talk with him about ideas for how to really use Youtube effectively to get out information about the Affordable Care Act. Now, I say “young folk” from my perspective as an admitted old fogie who remembers life before the Internet existed. I mean, really, before punch card programming. OLD fogie!

Anyway, we spend a lot of time in in various online healthcare communities talking about the power of social media for outreach. We all know that Obama works with masters in using social media effectively, and I’ve blogged about that here many times ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]). Well, he’s done it again!

Last week, President Obama invited a variety of influential Youtube voices to the White House, asking them to help him reach the American youth to enroll in health insurance programs before the March 31st deadline.

Montage: The Obamacare Vloggers

“Attending the meeting were Hannah Hart, creator of the Drunk Kitchen series; Iman Crosson, an Obama impersonator known online as Alphacat; Michael Stephens, the man behind the YouTube channel “VSauce;” Benny and Rafi Fine, creators of the “Kids React” series; Mark Douglas, Todd Womack, and Ben Relles, who introduced the world to Obama Girl six years ago; Peter Shuckoff and Lloyd Ahlquist of “Epic Rap Battles of History” and Tyler Oakley, an LGBT rights advocate with millions of online fans.”
Obama Enlisted YouTube Personalities For Final Health Care Enrollment Push Last Week: The president asked viral video creators to help boost Obamacare enrollment ahead of the March 31 deadline at a White House summit last week.

Another brilliant use of social media. My kid regularly watches about half of these, which means so do I (and, as an aside, you REALLY might enjoy the new “Kids React to Rotary Phones” which made me ROFL. Really. And made my kid ask me if I know what a rotary phone is. Really). That’s what the introductory video is for this post — famous vlogger NicePeter introducing the topic of why and how he met the President, in real people language, and promising more to come. I can’t wait to see what he says, and the other vloggers! Nice Peter looks to be the first of the group to get a video out, but some of them have added this link to existing videos.

Tell a Friend: Get Covered
Tell a Friend: Get Covered:

Now, WHY Obama is doing this is the million dollar question. Literally. Well, at least that much, probably a lot more. You see, the logic behind pretty much all health insurance plans is that you have LOT of people in the plan, of all ages and all types of health, and then the need for resources will average out over the groups. So to make this work, you need young folk and old, healthy and not-so-healthy. If that doesn’t happen, well, the whole system breaks down, or costs everyone more money than was expected. The way my budget works, those two things amount to pretty much the same problem.

“He needs them to buy health insurance, and, in some cases, spend hundreds of dollars a month for it. If they don’t, the new insurance marketplaces — the absolute core of Obamacare — will be filled with older, sicker people, and premiums will skyrocket. And if that happens, the law will fail.” Obama’s last campaign: Inside the White House plan to sell Obamacare:

You’ve probably already figured out that there must be a problem getting young folk to register for Obamacare. Well, it’s true. Sort of. There is a genuine need for more young folk to enroll, but the data about what’s going on is both worrisome and hopeful. Look at the title of this piece.

Bruce Japsen. Less Than A Third Of Enrollees In Obamacare Under Age 34. Forbes 1/13/2014 @ 5:23PM.

That is based on enrollment data from the government, and if you read the article, it’s actually fairly positive about youth liking Obamacare and just waiting to enroll because, you know, they’re young, and that’s ‘how they roll.’ Here’s last quarter’s enrollment data.

Figure 2: Trends in the Number of Youth Who Have Selected an Obamacare Plan

During December, there was a more than 8-fold increase in the number of young adults (ages 18-34) who have selected a Marketplace plan through the FFM.

ASPE: Health Insurance Marketplace: January Enrollment Report: For the period: October 1, 2013 – December 28, 2013:

The next logical question might be, well, why is he doing this so late? Didn’t the Obama team think of reaching out to youth before it got so late? Actually, they’ve been reaching out for quite a while. I’ll post several examples below. The gist of this late push is that even though the numbers are rising, and the expectation was that youth would probably register late, there have been some unfortunate snafus (such as the web page being down on the day of the biggest push for youth enrollment) and that the expected lateness makes for a bit of nervousness and a desire to ensure that the idea of “registering late” doesn’t end up meaning, “Oops! I forgot!” After all, there are consequences to forgetting, both for the youth as individuals and for the good of the entire program.


Obama pitches Affordable Care Act to youth at White House Published on Dec 4, 2013

Obamacare: What if not enough young, healthy people enroll? (+video)
The 18-to-34-year-old cohort is the most coveted for the exchanges, and should be about one-third of enrollees, though there are backstops if enrollment falls short.
By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer / December 5, 2013

Evan McMorris-Santoro. Youth Obamacare Enrollment Groups Surprised To Learn Obamacare Website Won’t Work On National Youth Enrollment Day: “Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” says one youth enrollment leader. The Obama administration is giving applicants who save applications on Feb. 15 extra time to work around downtime on the site. Buzzfeed posted on February 12, 2014 at 3:13pm EST.

David Morgan. Obamacare enrollment push for the young enters 11th hour. Reuters Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:02am EST

Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Jim Acosta. Obamacare enrollment hits 4 million, push underway to hit revised goal. CNN February 25th, 2014 08:48 PM ET, Updated 8:48 p.m. ET, 2/25/2014.

Get Covered (with NBA Star Kevin Johnson)

Candy Chang! Candy Chang! “Liveblogged”

Candy Chang

Last night I went to see Candy Chang’s presentation at the Michigan Theater. I wanted to tweet & Storify, but the network connection was hideous, so instead I took notes. It’s too much work to rewrite them (remember? bum arm?), so instead I’m just pasting them in here as if I’d liveblogged.

Penny Stamps Lecture
Winter 2014

Candy Chang
Transforming our Cities
UM alum

February 18 is close of newest Stamps Exhibits

Candy’s new book in lobby
free stickers

Candy Chang


Dylan Box
Wedge Detroit
world’s longest hopscotch course
Nature of social conversation
shallow vs “safety of our neighborhood”
what inspires rich conversations?
easy to be apathetic
how to create meaningful interactions?
Part Streek art
before I die murals
senior TED fellow
art, conversation, design brought to the masses

Candy Chang


got arrested for graffiti in ann Arbor

“please disturb”
before I died
looking for love again
a confession

“I am a shy introvert, actually”
the voice of the community turns out to be the loudest person
how to include the shy and excluded

Joseph Campbell
the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are

jealous of people who felt certain of their path
“i liked a lot of different things, afraid I’d be mediocre at them all”

reading Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
story of bigger things, where good ideas come from

man named Joseph Paxton in England
giant water lily
special structure, cross ridged
lilypad holds five kids
made crystal palace for 1851
Joseph the gardner became Joseph the architect

Waterlily with Child, by PaxtonCrystal.Palace.Paxton.Plan

make our own disciplines out of the bits and pieces we are interested in
child artwork of book covers
as a child, I wanted to be an artist
“doesn’t scream stability”

started out as premed, with a D+ (encouraging a change of plan)
architecture as a creative compromise
doubled with graphic design
then later added urban planning

living in NYC near major street art nexus formed my feeling of how to engage in streetart

Sidewalk Psychiatry


sidewalk psychiatry “do you think that went well?”
Kierkegaard “above all do not lose your desire to walk”
temporary spray chalk
“does she know how you feel?”

NYTimes, Robert Moses
Jane Jacobs
“if this highway happened” lost Soho, Chinatown, etc.

Vendor Power!
street vendor guide PDF
ctr for urban pedagogy
Charles & Ray Eames

10K street vendors in NYC
vendors fined thousands for minor bioloations
design barriers to understanding (literacy)
Candy’s design solution

Downtown Vancouver, drug addicts

chalkboards in Johannesburg
diepsloot community news
“the value of being scrappy”
working with what you have

lampposts as unofficial billboards for community news

document fliers around new york
compare to online forums

“internet as public space” information commons

post-it-notes for neighbors
“I’ve lived”

Nokia in Helsinki Finland

translate needs & behaviors into services & resources (?)

Candy Chang


TED fellowship
New Orleans
criminal justice
shotgun houses so cute I want to pet them
hybrid businesses (Balcony Guest House)
underutilized spaces in our cities

what do we really want?
“I wish this was” free stickers to put on abandoned buildings
post on flickr
tag them
stickers went MIA
posted blank stickers on vacant buildings

“trying to figure out a buildings identity”

I use cheap tools because I wanted to use what I had
other benefits
reveal personality that gets lost with digital tools
better tools to come together to shape the development of our communities
prove customer base

new orleans neighborland online tool
what you want in your city

night market
petitions that change policy
gather feedback

strategic planning


“big white van”

Cosmos by Carl Sagan on Netflix
original EPCOT logo tattooed on her arm
public art
Two Guns right after route 66

“sweeping carnage of the US”
booms and busts

lots of abandoned buildings
accepted part of our landscape
“My memories of the Polaris Buildings”
“My hopes for the Polaris Building”
fresh produce
downtown development association
“I would have saved more of the budget for the aftermath”
keep people posted on the project and whats going on today
games, love, meaningful part of life

“there’s a lot more meaning we could share”

Candy Chang's "Before I Die" project


I lost someone who was like a mother to me

getting permission from
neighborhood association
city officials
“I’m not alone as I try to make sense of my life”
“people are around all the time, the block is safer now”

450 walls in over 60 countries stenciled in over 30 languages
Avant de mourir
bevor ich sterbe moche ich

open prompts
trust building
compassionate city
“death is something we don’t think about”

Carl Jung
it’s easier to go to mars than to penetrate ones own being
“the goal of life is individualtion, the process of coming to know, giving expression to, and harmonizing the various parts of the psyche. Each human being has a specific nature and calling”

Confessions-3-booths-Candy Chang


“what happens in vegas stays in vegas”
Shinto prayer walls
wooden plaque
post secret
confession bootsh

“when we feel anxiety or fear or confusion, we hide it “
“what if we could create more safe spaces to share”
“you’re not alone”

“some of the first gathering places were graves in sacred graves. we came together to grieve together”

“our public spaces are as profound as we allow them to be”

“the world becoems more rewarding when you let yourself look beyond what you’re searching for.”
“embrace serendipity”
curious, tried things out, kept an open mind



Facebook: candychangcandychang

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

You Can Help! Crowdsourcing Disaster Planning & Response Resources for #SMEM


I can’t tell you how EXCITED I am about this project! Disaster and crisis response planning is one of my, well, hobby isn’t the right word, so let’s say special areas of interest. I like languages, and I love accessibility. I love advocacy and doing-good-for-others projects and activities. You all know how engaged I am with social media. I go giddy over citizen science and crowdsourcing and collaboration technologies. Then, riding the bus to work a couple days ago, I was chatting with Dave Malicke from Open Michigan, and he mentioned they are (wait for it):
of a video series in YOUTUBE
developed as part of a global health COLLABORATION
on DISASTER management and response and EMERGENCY planning!!

Open Michigan: Emergency Planning Lecture Videos -HEALTH Alliance: Captions

Now, really, how could I not be excited?

Even better, they are kicking off with a grand event combining both a real life and virtual meet-up (with FOOD for the face-to-face part). They are calling this the Translate-a-Bowl, and it starts today and runs through the weekend. But don’t stop if you are busy all of Superbowl weekend, because the need for translators and proofing will continue until it is all done!

I am remembering when the tsunami hit Japan, and people had found emergency hospital evacuation procedures, and needed them urgently translated RUSH into Japanese. These videos were developed for East Africa in collaboration with a group of African and American universities. It is really an impressive collaboration. If you can’t help, the project is still fascinating, especially for how it is organization and developed. If you know English and any other language, take a further look.

“Our priority languages are French, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, and Swahili, but we encourage all languages. (We have computer-generated translations in those 4, plus 31 others.)”

About the project:
Help us translate educational videos about microbiology and disaster management from Michigan, Ghana, and East Africa:

Register for the Bowl:


Here is the playlist of the disaster management videos:

Emergency Planning Lecture Videos -HEALTH Alliance: Captions:

Remember, they are also doing other topics, like microbiology, it is just that I am so excited about the disaster videos.

100,000? 100,000!

Tuesday, very late in the day, this blog passed 100,000 views.

ETechLib Blog Views January 18, 2013

That is, of course, 100,000 views here on WordPress, and doesn’t count the views from the earlier location, so it is almost certainly more. It also doesn’t count views of any of my other blogs, so I don’t quite know what this means as a landmark, other than that it IS a landmark. (It also has 599 comments, and I’m really looking forward to number 600, but I probably won’t blog about that. ;) )

The biggest day EVER (April 29, 2009) had 706 views, mostly divided between three posts:

1. MedlinePlus vs. healthfinder: Must We Choose?
2. iGoogle for Tracking Swine Flu
3. iGoogle Tabs, Continued: iGoogle Tools for Life Science Researchers

Curiously, those posts got attention as timely matters, but did not necessarily maintain traction over time. I’ve been very surprised by which posts (of the 475 currently on the blog) have ended up being the most viewed over time. Here are my top dozen (minus the “About” page, homepage, and category pages).

1. Making a Facebook Group or Fan Page? 5 Essential Tips
2. Seven Things Grownups Think They Know About Whooping Cough (But Don’t)
3. Liblime Versus Koha: What Is The Libraryland Opposite of Open Source?
4. Pondering Prezi
5. Social Media Metrics
6. MedlinePlus vs. healthfinder: Must We Choose?
7. What I Most Want to (Be Able To) Find in the New Pubmed (Pubmeds Compared)
8. iGoogle Gadgets Beyond Google!: Plain Language Medical Dictionary
9. Google’s Accessibility Message Comes Through Loud and Clear
10. Obama’s University of Michigan Commencement Speech
11. Systematic Reviews: Methodology, Overview, Sharing
12. Tools for Learning: Flashcards? Really?

The top-ranked most-viewed post on Facebook groups has 21,051 views right now, over four times as many as the second-ranked post on whooping cough (4,388 views). For both of those two, however, there is not a day that I check stats or views where they aren’t listed. I personally find myself bemused by which posts get the views, and don’t really have a strategy for getting lots of views, other than to try to post consistently, and (duh!) if you post first in your community on a timely issue, that gets views. For most of these top posts, what I see is that, at the time they were written, they were timely — emerging issues, or prominent in the news.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be here at all without you, the readers. I am grateful to those of you who read these posts, share them, retweet them, engage in conversation around them. Most of my conversations around these posts seems to be happening in Twitter rather than on the blog itself, so remember you can find me at @pfanderson. If you are curious to know more about the stats for this blog, check out the “Annual Report.”

ETechLib: Annual Report:

Arguing about Our New Library

DISCLAIMER: These are my personal opinions and not those of my employers.

Our new library Pic of the day - Save the Library!

For those readers who aren’t local to Ann Arbor, let me provide a little background first, and why I think this matters irrespective of location (thus making it blogworthy here).

What’s Happening

There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t exactly clear. Buffalo Springfield

Library + Workmen = ... (#4)

Ann Arbor has one of the finest public libraries in the world, especially if you don’t live in a town like New York City or Chicago or other massively huge cities with huge public libraries. The claim to fame for the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) is more than anything else their high level of innovation, creativity, responsiveness, engagement, and insightful forward-looking planning and development of new services focused explicitly on the local community and its needs.

Briefly, the context of this post is that there is a bond in tomorrow’s vote. The bond asks for money to replace the current downtown library. There is, evidently, quite a bit of controversy about this. I started out not having strong feelings, and feeling busy enough I didn’t want to take time to research it. I’m a librarian, I support libraries, I trust the folk at AADL, and that was all the thinking I did about it. Then I was at a meeting where two people I like, admire, and respect highly spoke out with great passion and vigor about why the library bond was a mistake. Well, because I had NOT researched it, I didn’t have a clue what to say or what to think. I was disturbed, and couldn’t rest at ease until I learned more about it.

Why this matters beyond Ann Arbor? Because the whole vision of public libraries in America is at risk in the current economic challenges. Ann Arbor is, in this case, not remotely a microcosm of the larger situation. Ann Arbor is biased. It is a community of highly educated, mostly liberal folk who support libraries in principal. In general, library bonds here get passed without question as an automatic “Public Good” / “Good Thing”. The issues and controversies being acted out here are minor compared to those in many other communities. That Ann Arbor is having trouble passing this bond speaks not only to the challenges of public libraries everywhere in America, but to all types of libraries. The controversy, in my eyes, illustrates the dangers of the assumptions and misunderstandings of what is librarianship as a profession, what libraries do, why libraries exist, and what libraries are for. This is huge. And scary.

It scares me more that people who are so smart are so seriously misreading (IMHO) the risks of not passing this bond, not seeing what we lose when the libraries are shrinking instead of growing. It scared me Saturday to walk past the Farmers Market and see a crowd of supporters for the opponents of the bill, and the supporters looking cold and few on the corner. It scares me most that I can walk into work, and talk with other librarians, and find ANY who don’t support the bond. I found one, and one undecided. Whoa.

The work I do in my job is focused on looking explicitly for future needs for libraries and for the communities we support. This controversy tells me in a very graphic way that other people are not seeing the same things I’m seeing, and that evidently I’m not doing my job well enough, since the people I work with aren’t aware of the drivers that seem vividly urgent to me.

What’s Wrong

This is the dog that worried the cat / That killed the rat that ate the malt / That lay in the house that Jack built. Traditional.

Libraries: Things That Happen to Books 2

So let me step back a bit. This is an utterly phenomenal amazing library. For creative relevant service and connecting with the community, they are far better than any public library I’ve seen or lived with before, and that most definitely includes the Chicago Public Library system (where I was told, “we don’t do interlibrary loan”). That doesn’t mean the library doesn’t have issues, most of which relate to facilities rather than staff. The librarians are incredible, the staff are hard workers, but the facilities, well, let’s just say they do the best they can with what they have. People complain about the bathrooms, wheelchair access, access for the blind, collection access, finding print instead of electronic, crowds, homeless, this and that. That is all from the comments on the discussions. I didn’t make it up.

The homeless are part of most urban and suburban public libraries, and not something easy to fix. I don’t know if it is just my house or the other libraries I’ve worked in, but bathrooms seem to be a real headache. Some folk say all it really needs is to be cleaned more often, but … bathroom problems often seem to be more complicated than the obvious fix.

Access for persons with disabilities is another matter. That’s the law. It’s required. BUT. Ahem. But, most older buildings get grandfathered in unless they do a renovation. My old library encountered that. We had major accessibility issues, but if we did anything to address them, we had to do EVERYTHING to meet standards, and the space infrastructure didn’t support an awful lot of what was going to be needed. It was a Catch-22, damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Eventually, it was just easier to use that space for something else entirely since it really wasn’t well suited for a modern library. The AADL is in kind of the same situation, where the library will need to make a lot of changes for accessibility if they renovate again, but the space doesn’t support a lot of the changes needed. Catch-22.

The library I work for partners sometimes with AADL on events, and I sometimes attend other events there. AADL folk, being smart and knowing the constraints of their space, plan ahead for accommodations. So far, every event I’ve attended at AADL has been packed to the gills. They often have standing room only. When they can, there will be upstairs spillover rooms, and a video camera to pipe the event upstairs. Not the same. Me, I arrive at least an hour early so that I can find a seat close enough to get photos, and get power to use my computer.

Even with this limited problem set, we end up going in circles, with one problem leading to another, and the “solutions” creating more problems. Having worked behind scenes in libraries, I’m positive there are more facilities issues that aren’t visible to the general public, because the staff bend over backwards to work around them and keep them from being visible. Part of the issue beyond immediate facility repairs is that people express concern over what they see that is supposed to be there, and don’t always imagine what else could be there that isn’t. That is especially true of a library as exceptional as this one. “It’s great, that means it’s good enough.” “It’s great, so it can’t possibly be at risk.” “It’s great, so we don’t need it to be better or different.” “It’s great, so let’s just leave things alone, they way they are now. I like that.”

There’s a few obvious rejoinders to these challenges, but they are all exactly how we ended up having this conversation. More on this in a few lines.

What’s Wrong With the Bond

Then Maggie O’Connor took up the cry, / “O Biddy” says she “you’re wrong, I’m sure.” / Biddy gave her a belt in the gob / and sent her sprawling on the floor. Finnegan’s Wake.

My daddy was a war hero, but a hero of the wrong war. Anonymous.

Pic of the day - Library Lane

Frankly, yes, the current library would probably be good enough if the library and information technology worlds weren’t changing so fast, or if the state hadn’t fallen on such challenging economic times. The challenges of the economy mean we need MORE from the library, not less, and not maintain the status quo.

Last weekend I was talking with folk on both sides of this issue, and I was incredibly inarticulate. The main argument I kept repeating was, “But they’re so WRONG!” which is absolutely unconvincing. I didn’t just argue, of course. I also listened. And I listened closely when the other people I respect talked about this. I just wasn’t convinced. Dick Dougherty wrote a great letter to the editor on in which he also made a strong point of listening, but wasn’t convinced. He worked harder at it than I did. He hunted for (and read!) every blessed comment on the site in which people argued against the new library. I knew Dick Dougherty when he was Director of Libraries at UofM, and President of the American Library Association. I respect his opinion, and am baffled why more people aren’t listening to him on this. I encourage you to read what he said.

OPINION: Failure of library bond would be turning point for community:

The people expressing concern are good, smart, caring people, actively engaged in an effort to defend the good of the public, as they see it. I’m afraid they are fighting the wrong war, a war to preserve what we have now, without making it possible to adapt and accommodate what’s needed for the future. Here are the main questions and concerns that folk have been mentioning to me.

a) But I love the library I grew up with and am used to. Don’t hurt it!
b) Why can’t we just repair it?
c) That’s a lot of money.
d) I don’t know enough about the issue, and don’t have time to learn enough about it.

Here’s my quick two cents.

a) But I love the library I grew up with and am used to. Don’t hurt it! Don’t change it!

I can understand that, and I’d feel the same way if something like this was proposed for the wonderful Carnegie library in my home town. But times are hard right now, and this space isn’t allowing us to do what’s most needed to help the people of this town reinvent themselves as creative entrepreneurs, and to help rebuild and diversify the economy. I’m sure they’ll try to preserve the best features of the old library to incorporate in the new one, for all those loyal folk who love it the way it is now.

b) Why can’t we just repair it or renovate it?

Because it isn’t repairable. It’s been renovated twice already, and each time compromises they made then are boxing us in now. The Library has had many people come in and take a good look at the facilities and structures, trying to find cheaper, faster alternatives. There aren’t any. The cost of renovating it now is going to be almost the same as building a new one. Voting the bond down not only isn’t going to save much money, but if we have to bring this up again in another 4 years, it will probably cost more. Here’s a piece explaining why the facilities really can’t be fixed anymore.

Op Ed from JD Lindeberg, President, Resource Recycling Systems Inc.:

c) That’s a lot of money.

I’m not going to say it isn’t. That’s why it’s on the ballot. But it isn’t as much money as the campaigns opposing the bond are stating (some of that information has been misstated or is being presented in a confusing way). You should look at the alternatives. If we vote the bond down, we still need to repair or renovate the library, and that is going to be close to the same amount. What I’ve been hearing is that the money for doing repairs would mean, instead of a limited year bond, a permanent increase to the millage. So this is kind of a case of pick your poison. None of the options are going to come free. Unless we choose to close the main library in the heart of town. I’m not fond of that idea myself, because the main library is right next door the to main bus transit center, meaning I can get there easily. AADL really is being as fiscally responsible as possible given the situation.

To me, the scariest cost comes if we DON’T build a new library. I blogged last week about the importance of makerspaces in libraries. Public libraries all across the country are starting to create makerspaces in their libraries. It’s such a big deal that the American Library Association is promoting information about Makerspaces in libraries. Makerspaces exist in Ann Arbor, but they aren’t free and they aren’ supported as permanent publicly accessible spaces, as would be the case in the public library. A makerspace is really not doable in the current library configuration. That really limits what people here can do without paying out of their own pocket to learn the new skills and technologies that will help them continue to be market in our rapidly changing tech and information environments.

d) I don’t know enough about the issue, and don’t have time to learn enough about it.

I’m not going to say you need to read every word and every comment. Last week published a short piece answering briefly the ten most frequently asked questions about the project. It isn’t long. You can see it here.

10 questions and answers about the downtown Ann Arbor library bond proposal

Conclusion: What I Said

See every time we try to talk and turn this thing around / Tell me what’s the deal and then we’ll try to work it out / Is it me? Is it us or is it, is it, is it we? Jennifer Hudson.

Cutting Libraries in a Recession is like Cutting Hospitals in a Plague.

Over the weekend, feeling increasingly concerned about this, I posted a comment on one of the most strongly worded posts at opposing the bond.

OPINION: Economy cannot support the costs of approving library bond proposal:

I feel as if the AADL missed a great opportunity to really make use of the new technologies they are so good with to organize a digital storytelling series around the proposal, to help people envision themselves using the new space, to identify with the human side of what this means. The comments at are limited in space, so I couldn’t tell more than one story, but I tried to choose one that really paints a realistic picture of one situation, one possible persons experience that would call for the new space. As expected, people on that thread have been voting it down, but at least they are reading it. Here is what I said.

I am deeply concerned by the opposition to this bond. It is part of my daily job to scan for emerging trends and to help plan for how their future impact may change education, libraries, and our community. We are going through a time of ever increasing change in technology, as well as major shifts in modes of education and employment. I interpret the proposed bond as being explicitly designed to respond to all three. I could go into a lot of verbiage explaining my point of view, but most of what I’d want to say has already been said in one way or another by someone else. Let me instead try to paint a scenario, a bit of a story.


I was just laid off work. I have money to get by for a few months, but there aren’t any jobs open in the area for the type of work I’ve been doing. I have kids to support, health issues in the family, and relocating is really not an option. I’m scared. Chances are nil that I’ll find another before I run out of money.

I’m also smart and creative. I have a couple ideas, inventions really, that I might be able to convert into economic opportunities. But to really come up with a prototype and test feasibility, I need to learn more than I know about using 3d modeling software and I need access to a 3d printer. There are some 3d printers in town, but they are fancier than I need, and most are in research labs on campus. I don’t have access. There is a simpler one, and it is in a collaborative space, but you have to pay in advance to get access and you have to prove your project concept. I can’t prove my concept without access, and I can’t learn what I need to do to prove it without access. Catch 22. I’m stuck.

Gee, I wish the public library had one of the simple versions of these printers, and a collaboration or co-working space I could use for free, and maybe a librarian I could ask questions when I’m stuck. And I wish they had a small group collaboration space for studying for the group of us taking a MOOC (online course) on the coding skills I need.

I just received an email from Ryan Burns that says more succinctly a lot of what I’ve been trying to say here. I am reposting with permission.

Ryan Burns:
Cheap space for coding meetups and hackathons is in short supply in this town, not to mention space for hands on workshops. Smaller auditoriums are also hard to find, most venues for an event like Ignite, for instance, are too large or too expensive for an event that is free to attend and based on a passion for knowledge. The plan for a new downtown library remedies these issues and I’d encourage you to learn more:

Our new library

Alas, my love you do me wrong / To cast me off discourteously / And I have loved you so long / Delighting in your company. Traditional.

Makerspace Meets Medical Library, Maybe?

Makerspaces and 3D Printers in Libraries

The past little while, I’ve been tracking the emergence of makerspaces and hackerspaces in libraries. I’ve been particularly interested in libraries getting 3D printers and supporting their communities in introducing them to using and designing for 3d printing. Here is a great video introducing the concept.

Public Libraries, 3D Printing, FabLabs and Hackerspaces:

Did you catch that part where they said this technology will be as influential and profoundly altering of human history as the Gutenberg printing press? Here are my favorite quotes from the video.

“The idea is that our society itself is plastic, and that in a truly free society, in a true democracy, each of us will be able to creatively shape the world we live in.”

“To me, a nurse is also an artist. So is a doctor, or a teacher. And so is a student, or any young person responsible for his own development.”

“Public libraries have always been democracy engines. … They’re places where people learn to hack the social codes they live in.”

“This technology will turn the whole world into one giant public library.”

Here are some more links about these ideas generally as well as in education and public libraries, both pro and con, in case this has somehow slipped by you.

Is It Time to Rebuild & Retool Public Libraries and Make “TechShops”?
By Phillip Torrone (2011/03/10 @12:00pm):

Chris Anderson on the Maker Movement: ‘We’re Going to Get Sued’ (OCT 26 2012, 12:31 PM ET):

Join EFF’s Efforts to Keep 3D Printing Open (OCTOBER 24, 2012)

The future of higher education: reshaping universities through 3D printing (Oct 19th 2012 11:00AM):

MakerLibrarian: 3D Printing:

Did you notice the dates on those? Most of them are published in the past couple weeks. This is an idea that is exploding right now. But, well, I don’t work in a PUBLIC library, I work in a MEDICAL library. At first glance, some might think this is all about robots and making stuff at home and Star Trek wannabes. But is it really? Does this mean anything for us? After all, our library is renovating. Should this be something on our horizon, and yours?

3D Printers in Medicine & Healthcare

It turns out, not only is it relevant, but that a large portion of the energy driving new developments in 3d printing are bioprinters, rapid prototyping of medical devices, and rapid 3d modeling of medical imaging scans for surgery, and so forth. More terms for bioprinting include biofabrication, tissue engineering, tissue scaffolding, and specific techniques such as Dynamic Optical Projection Stereolithography (DOPsL). Here’s another video just to illustrate a potential use.

Rep Rap 3D Printing Blood Vessel Networks:

And again a few links showing recent news on this topic. I’m putting these in reverse chronological order, so you can see how the news has taken shape over the past few months. I was particularly intrigued by a mention I saw a couple months ago in an ACS green chemistry webinar about using this for local and personalized medicine to address drug shortages in underserved areas such as for rural and global healthcare challenges.

How 3D Printers Are Reshaping Medicine (Oct 11, 2012):

3D printing: The desktop drugstore (26 September 2012):

3D Printers Are Getting Better At Printing Blood Vessels (September 14, 2012):

10 ways 3D printing is changing the medical world (September 11, 2012):

3D Printed Meat Just Got Backing From PayPal Founder (August 16, 2012):

3D Printers Continue To Be The Most Amazing Invention Ever (July 3, 2012): (Note: not a very descriptive title, but worth reading)

Scientists Build Vascular Network Using Sugar and a 3-D Printer (July 02, 2012):

Printing a Medical Revolution (May 2012):

3D Printer Creates Jaw Implant, Turns 83-Year-Old Woman Into Awesome Cyborg (February 6, 2012):

What About Here? Ann Arbor & University of Michigan

Now that I think about it, all this fuss and folderol about the new ballot initiative here to build a new library connects to this issue. People opposing the initiative are, I think, stuck in the past, not imagining how the public library can be so essential in shaping their future. I look at the current library and really struggle to think of how on earth that space might be reshaped to include the types of makerspace / hackerspace / fablab etc. that is the subject of this post.

These sort of spaces are emerging around the area, both in the community and on campus. But most of them are not in spaces readily available to the general public on a drop in basis, and they don’t necessarily have the typical kind of library support where someone will sit down and teach you what you need to know to use this. You know, if I was unemployed and trying to reinvent myself, I’d not only want to have an inventor space in the community, but a place I could go learn more about the skills needed. If i was a student who was interested and wanted to learn more before deciding whether to take a course, apply for a job, or related activities, I’d also want a supportive introductory learning space. Maybe that’s just me. Hmmm.

So, what is in the area?

Ann Arbor

The big ones are All Hands Active, DigitalOps, and Maker Works. I could easily spend an entire blogpost on these two, so am just providing the links. Go explore. Join the Facebook groups or email lists, explore the wiki, check out their Flickr streams. Learn what goes on here.

All Hands Active:

All Hands Active in Ann Arbor is a Makerspace for All Ages (Video)


Maker-Works / MakerWorx:

Slashdot editor Jeff Boehm visted Maker Works in Ann Arbor, MI, where they not only have an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter & Engrave, but let him use it.

Not in Ann Arbor? Check here.

Hackerspaces: List:

University of Michigan

Do we have 3d printers available on campus? Why, sure! Here’s a picture I took of something made with the 3D printers in the 3D lab on North Campus.

3d Rainbow 8

UM 3D Lab:
3D Printer:

That’s not all. The Taubman College has a glorious FabLab, short for Fabrication Laboratory.

UM: Taubman College: FabLab:

Next question, I guess, is what’s going on in medical locally. Coming from Dentistry, I already knew that one of our most frequent questions there from the public would be who is it that is working on growing new bones or teeth? We were in the news for that fairly regularly. There is also work going on in our campus nanotech/nanomed communities and of course in Engineering.

Campus groups:

UM: Mechanical Engineering: Micro/Nano Engineering:

Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences:

Highlighted Researchers:

MNIMBS: Peter X. Ma:

David Kohn Lab: Current Research:


Here are a couple places that sell the printers and have examples of their use.

UPrint: Medical Device Prototyping:

3D Systems: Healthcare:

One of the things that excited me about the second company is that they sell low-end 3D printers for personal use.

And there are portable ones.

There are lots more.

The List of Personal 3D Printers, 2011:

You can’t discuss this and note mention the MakerBots.


MakerBot provided one of the earliest kits to make your own 3D printer. Now, of course, there are several sets of instructions around the web. Here are a couple.

Build a Laser 3D Printer – Stereolithography at Home

Steven Devijver. Building Your Own 3D Printer, An introduction.

The first video mentioned the Internet of Things, which you can track on Twitter with the hashtag #iot, and Thingiverse as a public collection of patterns for 3d objects you can download and print. Google provides SketchUp, a free tool for designing 3d objects with an optional pro version, and they also have a library of shared patterns. SketchUp is heavily used in education at all levels, and there is a community collections resources and teaching tips around this area.

Internet of Things:

Twitter: #IOT:


– Google:
– Trimble Pro version:
– Warehouse (Library of patterns):
– For Educators:

Want to explore the medical and life science literature in this area? There’s a lot.

Pubmed Search: (engineered OR engineering) (3d OR three-dimensional) (tissue OR tissues)
UMich affiliates
Non-UMich folk

Liblime Versus Koha: What Is The Libraryland Opposite of Open Source?

Tattooed Hands


I am not just a librarian by training and trade. I am a librarian as a vocation, and I am using vocation in the spiritual sense. I believe in free open access to information right along with free public education in order to support a more informed public to support the collaborative decision making processes of our nation (and the world). So when the University of Michigan, where I work, went and put their necks out in support of Fair Use and open access, I was quite happy about it. The general shift here on campus toward using more open source software and resources is part of that whole movement, as is the open educational resources community on campus. Open Michigan is not just a website, but a mission, an institutional mission. That is just the background to show that I am both personally and professionally supportive of the open source movement.

This morning I had planned a completely different blogpost when someone from the UK sent me a tweet to alert me to a legal issue in New Zealand that relates to open source software used to support libraries and their activities. Two of my favorite topics — open source and libraries! It turns out that the problem appears to be being initiated by a company here in the United States, land of the free and home of the brave. (Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.)

On the one hand, you have a small library community that created some open source software to solve needs faced by many libraries for which, at that time, there were mostly rather expensive commercial solutions, or awkward homegrown solutions that didn’t quite address the whole picture. The software takes off, builds a strong community. Everyone is happy. <3 small libraries! <3 open source!

On the other hand you have a company that has built itself around supporting exactly the same open source software package. They mostly help out public libraries with small budgets and not a lot of technology staff figure out the tricky parts of making open source software work for them. They make it easier for the small guys to take advantage of the whole idea of open source. <3 small libraries! <3 open source!

You would think these two hands would be a match made in heaven, dovetailing together and helping each other out, like in the photo above where the hands meet and form a heart. A marvelous opportunity for "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." But that isn't what happens. Instead, the company supporting the open source software tries to take it over, trademarking the name of the software and its community.

This situation is alarming to me. Since I am not a lawyer or legal expert it is entirely possible that I am misunderstanding something here, however it looks pretty simple and straightforward, at least on the surface. Here is a small set of building blocks to spell out what seem to be the main pieces of the puzzle. See what you think.


Liblime vs Koha - Open Source Initiative
Open Source Initiative: Definition:

“Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:
1. Free Redistribution
2. Source Code
3. Derived Works
4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
7. Distribution of License
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral”

Of this list, in my non-legal perspective, the most important parts seem to be:

“1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.”


“3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.”

(My italics.)


Liblime vs Koha

“Koha is the first free and open source software library automation package (ILS). Development is sponsored by libraries of varying types and sizes, volunteers, and support companies from around the world.”
“The domain is held by the Horowhenua Library Trust, the progenitors of Koha.”
Koha Library Software Community:


Liblime vs Koha

“Today, LibLime is the global leader in Koha support. LibLime facilitates Koha open source solutions by providing consulting, development, implementation, and support/ hosting for libraries of all types & sizes. Koha provides libraries with a cost effective alternative to the traditional commercial model of software license costs and expensive annual maintenance.”


“The situation we find ourselves in, is that after over a year of battling against it, PTFS/Liblime have managed to have their application for a Trademark on Koha in New Zealand accepted. We now have 3 months to object, but to do so involves lawyers and money. We are a small semi rural Library in New Zealand and have no cash spare in our operational budget to afford this, but we do feel it is something we must fight.”

“For the library that invented Koha to now have to have a legal battle to prevent a US company trademarking the word in NZ seems bizarre, but it is at this point that we find ourselves.”

Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust:


“A trademark is any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those of another and to indicate the source of the goods.
See 15 U.S.C. § 1127.
See also service mark, collective mark, certification mark, trade name.”
Cornell University Law School: Legal Information Institute: Trademark:


Briefly, it seems to me that the core idea of Open Source is “Thou shalt not require money or otherwise restrict the use of the product in any form” while the core idea of Trademark is “Thou shalt not use this product in any form without getting my permission (usually by paying me money)”. These two concepts seem to be diametrically opposed. This isn’t a case of another company using the same name to mean something entirely different. This is a company that specializes in supporting open source software trying to trademark the name of the software that they support. They work in this field! LIBLIME SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!!

That’s my two cents. Does this make sense, at all, to anyone out there? If so, please explain it to me. I cannot see any way in which this is right, or even reasonable or logical.

Hat tip to Maria Wolters