TechAtlas: Technology Planning Options for Libraries

It’s impossible to predict the future, especially when dealing with technology. Having a good technology plan, however, will serve as a map for your journey. TechAtlas is a free online tool for library technology assessment and planning.

If your library receives e-rate funds, then you know that it’s necessary to have a current technology plan for your library. The plan you create in TechAtlas can be used to fulfill that requirement.

Tech Atlas includes many features from which a library can pick and choose. Potential uses include the following:

  • Track hardware and software with the automated inventory. If you use TechAtlas for only one thing, or if you are looking for a first step in using this powerful resource, then consider running the inventory tool. An automated script will run and gather detailed information about each computer, compiling that information in a web-based inventory that you can access from any computer. This means the information can be shared with anyone who helps you with your computer. It is a simple and fast process that provides you with an up-to-date inventory of the hardware and software in your library, allowing you to feel much more on top of the technology in the building. Knowing what you have now will help you feel prepared for planning and budgeting for tomorrow.
  • Survey your staff’s technology skills. How do you know if there are technology skills you should have or may benefit from having? The number of skills you can learn is large, so how do you pick and choose where to focus your energy and brainpower? The tools in TechAtlas can help you track staff skills and can also compare your library to other libraries. The staff skill section of TechAtlas is customizable, so you can add skills that are specific to your library. C
  • Create a technology plan. Does your library have a technology plan? If so, is it a meaningful document, or was it simply created to fulfill a requirement for a grant application? A well-done technology plan requires time and energy, but the end result is well worth it. Setting your goals and priorities and then reviewing them on an ongoing basis will mean the difference between feeling overwhelmed by technology and feeling like your community needs are being well-served. TechAtlas can help in this area. After answering questions and inputting the necessary data, you are able to print out a technology plan.
  • Track computer problems and issues. Event Tracker is a component of TechAtlas that can be used to log problems and other information about your library technology. In a library where multiple people are responsible for technology troubleshooting, Event Tracker can be a way to share information with one another about the computers in the library. It can also be useful in smaller libraries, where there is only one person responsible for fixing computers and solving technology problems. Looking back at logs over time can help you pinpoint problems. It can also serve as a reminder of previous fixes that worked. In addition, if there is staff turnover at the library, Event Tracker can help new staff people quickly review past technology problems and solutions.