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Thursday 2 December 2010

Review: Journal of Library Innovation

My favouritest new journal ever is currently the Journal of Library Innovation. I have vague memories of issue 1 being decent but issue 2's contents are totally awesome. They include:
  • an editorial (pdf) pointing out that: a) when we innovate we don't have to seize on every expensive new technology, and b) on the other hand sometimes failing to use a new technology can be expensive too
  • Quick and Dirty Library Promotions That Really Work - whee, fortune cookies!
    [I would really like to amplify this squee. I think we should do this: it puts a smile on people's face and it 99% guarantees they'll actually read the promotional message, which is at least 90% more than traditional signage. (Fudge factor because I can't remember the number I saw the other day, though I think it was less than 10% and included primarily mature students.]
  • Accommodating Community Users in an Authenticated Library Technology Environment - making a computer kiosk for non-members to use which respects database license agreements; not my thing at present but cool enough that I nevertheless recognise the super utility of it.
  • Making Physical Objects Clickable: Using Mobile Tags to Enhance Library Displays - QR tags in book displays - evidence that these increase usage of promoted materials/webpages
    [See also Embedding tutorials into physical objects - using a QR code on a photocopier to link to video instructions. I think here I'd use QR codes in conjunction with a link for people who don't have the right hardware/software combo to make it work, but this caveat shouldn't be construed as decreasing my enthusiasm for the idea.]
  • The Library is Undead: Information Seeking During the Zombie Apocalypse - another quick and dirty library promotion, jumping off a student event.
    [Why do we insist that big promotions have to be planned months in advance? Maybe it's Parkinson's Law ("Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion") - when you plan 3 months in advance, it still feels rushed at the end so you figure next time you should plan 4 months in advance. But if you start planning 6 days in advance (as this library did), sure you're rushed at the end, but the short timeframe has forced you to forgo normal inefficiencies and brush off the temptation to perfectionism, so you save thousands of staff time and in the end you've still got it done.]
  • and also book reviews which seem genuinely helpful and balanced evaluations of how useful the books are and for what purposes.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Why reinvent the wheel? (a photo essay)

Stone wheel in a trough (by Vincent Jones, CC-BY-SA)

Wagon wheel (by Richard Sonnen, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steamroller (by Rog Frost, CC-BY-SA)

Car wheel (by Mr T. in DC, CC-BY-ND)

Bicycle wheel (from Soil-Net, CC-BY-NC-SA)

Bulldozer tread (by John Schilling, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Eggbeater (by Candice Wouters, CC-BY-NC-ND)

Table saw (by Patrick Fitzgerald, CC-BY)

Wheel of Fortune (by Paul Stack, CC-BY-ND)

Ferris wheel (by Josh McGinn, CC-BY-ND)

Thursday 28 October 2010

My earthquake post

I've just blogged "Rocking the Library" at Libraries Interact.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Links of interest 20/10/2010

QR Codes
(What's a QR Code? See QR Codes: An Overview.)

Google has launched, a URL shortening service (like,, etc) which as a bonus gives you a QR code: eg links to this blog and gives you a pretty QR code you can paste onto a poster. Shortly thereafter, joined in the fun.

On the downside I recall reading (somewhere on the internet; it sounded plausible at the time) that, cool as QR codes sound, since they're mostly being used by advertisers, actual real people aren't really all that keen on using them.[citation needed] On the upside, I've also heard anecdotes from people who do use them. And in any case they don't cost any money and almost zero time.

Library tutorialsOpen Access

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Links of interest 22/9/10

Assessing the (Enduring) Value of Libraries

MIT Libraries has created a Beta Graveyard for trial projects that aren't being continued - nice to see what's happened to old ideas.

Cyberpunk Librarian, part 1 - a librarian and a library robot; a problem and a cunning solution.

The launch of Foursquare buttons for websites - a button you can easily add to any website that lets users link your site and your physical location on their phone.

Hacking Summon in Code4Lib describes how OSU made their data display more tidily

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Possible topics for crowd-sourced research

Since first talking about this I've been pondering what topics would make good candidates to try out the model. I think it should be something that:
  1. is of interest to as many people as possible; and
  2. can be contributed to by as many people as possible;
  3. as easily as possible.
With these criteria in mind I've come up with two possible ideas:

A. Trends in patrons' use of electronic equipment in the library
This is basically an extension of the article that inspired my thinky thoughts to start with, which did headcounts to measure laptop use in their library. We could extend this to, say, a headcount of
  • total people, of course;
  • users of library computers;
  • users of personal laptops;
  • PDAs;
  • cellphones;
  • and a handy 'other' category.
We could decide what time(s)/day(s) to run the headcount on, set up an online spreadsheet, and anyone wanting to participate could do their headcount and enter the data into the spreadsheet. Whether people can only participate once, or can do it recurrently, there'll be value either way. It's simple and quantitative and easy.

B. Librarians' perceptions of the quality of vendor training
(ie training provided by vendors in the use of their products to librarians, in case that's not clear)
This is. Perhaps a delicate topic. I've been thinking for a while about blogging about my own perceptions, all aggregated and anonymised but it still feels a bit "bite the hand that holds all our resources", because my perceptions are not good. But perhaps it would be less awkward if it came from a whole lot of librarians. And vendors are starting to respond more and more to concerns raised in social media so maybe it would actually get some attention and help vendors provide better training.

OTOH this would be an inherently messy topic to research. It'd be a good test of whether crowdsourcing a qualitative research topic could work, but perhaps not a good test of whether crowdsourcing research per se is workable. There'd need to be a lot of discussion about what exactly we want to research:
  • Likert scales of measures on eg amount of new info, amount of info already known, familiarity of trainer with database, ability of trainer to answer questions...?
  • more freeform answers about problems with presentations eg slides full of essays, trainer bungles example searches...?
  • surveying trainers themselves to find out what kind of training they get in how to give a good presentation?
So, for anyone interested in going somewhere with this -- or just interested in reading the results -- what do you think? Topic A, topic B, topic C (insert your own topic here), or all of the above?

Thursday 26 August 2010

Links of interest 26/8/10

Scandal du jour (aka the power of social media)
JSTOR's new interface made searches default to covering their entire database - so results might include articles students didn't have access to on JSTOR and which wouldn't even be linked via OpenURL to the library's subscription in another database. (Meredith Farkas describes the problems neatly.) Librarians complained loudly on blogs, JSTOR's Facebook page, and elsewhere, and a day later JSTOR has announced that they'll change the default while they continue work on OpenURL.

WolframAlpha has added widgets that focus on a specific kind of data and can be embedded into a webpage by copying and pasting the code. Categories cover all kinds of subject areas - some widgets might be relevant in a subject guide. (You'd need to add a new rich text box, then select the plain text editor and copy/paste in the embed code from WolframAlpha.)

Librarian as resource
University of Michigan Library's search results now bring back subject librarians as well as relevant databases, catalogue items, subject guides, institutional repository hits, and external websites. Their blog about this links to some examples.

eBooks and compatibility
Jason Griffey writes a clear explanation about why ebook filetypes and digital rights management means that purchasing an ebook doesn't mean you can read it on any old e-reader.

Library instruction
Cooke, R., Rosenthal, D. Students Use More Books After Library Instruction: An Analysis of Undergraduate Paper Citations College and Research Libraries (preprint)

"In Fall 2008, students from first-year Composition I and upper level classes at Florida Gulf Coast University participated in a citation analysis study. The citation pages of their research papers revealed that the students used more books, more types of sources, and more overall sources when a librarian provided instruction. When these results were compared to those produced by students in upper level classes (all of whom received instruction), it was discovered that as the class level increased, the number of citations and the percentage of scholarly citations generally increased and there was a high preference for books from all disciplines, especially history."

(They compared classes which received library instruction with identical classes which didn't.)

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Links of interest 11/8/10 - open access, accessibility, statistics and more

Open AccessAccessibility
  • Char Booth writes about e-texts and library accessibility including a great quote that "ebooks were created by the blind, then made inaccessible by the sighted."
  • NZETC has just posted about the 1064 works in DAISY format available in their collection for people with print-related disabilities. (DAISY = "Digital Accessible Information SYstem")
Library statisticsMiscellaneous
  • The first year of research on the Researchers of Tomorrow (pdf) study finds that "in broad approaches to information‐seeking and use of research resources, there are no marked differences between Generation Y doctoral students and those in older age groups. Nor are there marked differences in these behaviours between doctoral students of any age in different years of their study. The most significant differences revealed in the data are between subject disciplines of study irrespective of age or year of study."
  • Assessments of Information Literacy collects links to infolit tests, assessments, rubrics and tutorials available online.
  • Christina Pikas lists a Rundown of the new [database etc] interfaces this summer. There were some surprises, including a ScienceDirect/Scopus merger apparently due August 28...
[Edited 12/8 to fix broken links]

Thursday 29 July 2010

And I thought we did a literature review

When we were preparing the case for our "Library on Location" trial, and again when we were writing up our results for the conference paper, we did a literature review - both journals and blogs. I thought we'd been pretty much as thorough as the variable terminology people assign to the concept allowed.

But I just saw a tweet linking to Theoretical Job Description for the Librarian with a Laptop, which links back to where the blogger first had the idea, which in turn links to someone else with the same idea.

(This last one is a really really great idea for implementing it at an academic library with maximum success.)

It's not uncommon for me to see the occasional new one, but for some reason this hit me with a "Argh, we librarians really like reinventing the wheel, don't we?" At one point I was vaguely thinking of doing a survey of libraries who'd done this kind of thing in order to write up a journal article about success factors, but stuff happened. Suddenly I'm all fired up again and just have to work out how to pull myself back from impending overcommitment...

In the meantime, my collection of links about libraries that have done outreach by taking books and/or laptops outside the library to meet users in popular locations is at my "onlocation" tag on Diigo.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Library Day in the Life

On Wednesdays I work the afternoon/evening shift, so I spent the morning sleeping in, doing the laundry, and watching my sister ice a cake she volunteered for the "Chocolate Day" my colleagues and I had planned for today. My bus brought me to work at 12:45 and I sat and watched Top Gear with two colleagues on their lunch break while everyone else drifted in and "OMG"d at my sister's truly awesome cake.

At 1pm I was on the desk shift as the normal person rostered for that hour was on sick leave. (A propos of which, today's A Softer World strip provides a brilliant rebuttal to a certain proposed employment law change in New Zealand. I like sick leave, it means that my colleagues are less likely to come and infect me.) It was semi-steady circulation and basic enquiries, and a query about finding sources for a small literature review on pneumatic conveyers, but I also had time to do some background searches on the PhD topic of a new student in my subject area, and to quickly check my email.

Said student came at 2pm - I spent the next 50 minutes talking with her about where she's at so far (I didn't spend as much time on this part as I'd like - I'm still learning how to have this sort of conversation without sounding like the Spanish Inquisition) and what resources we have available (interlibrary loans are always high on the interest list but of course we also talked databases etc) and then I gave her a tour of the building. Before we parted I had the wit to ask if I can check in with her in a month or two - so now I can do so without feeling like I'm nagging.

Though what feels like nagging is frequently good - among my emails was one from a lecturer about setting up a time for a session with one of his classes that I'd been asking him about. I scheduled that in.

At 3:30 (we have scheduled breaks and lunch hours; I'm always a bit shocked to see overseas folk talking about not finding time for lunch) I went to enjoy a slice of my sister's awesome cake.

Back at my desk I scanned Twitter and Friendfeed and Google Reader for awesome news stuff. I compiled a bunch of that for the draft of the library section of a department's weekly newsletter; a bunch more will go in my next "Links of interest" post on the internal library blog. My colleague in the same office talked about an article she'd just been reading about the emotional dissonance between how information literacy instructors have to act in the classroom and the reactions we get from students. I'm describing it badly, I need to read it myself.

From colleagues I answered a phone query re opinions on our multisearch, and an email query about duplicate copies of something in storage. There were two wrong numbers at some point, and two misdirected emails. I tidied some stuff up, and also replied to another lecturer about some other classes in a couple of weeks (there'll 6-8 sessions) and about the associated library assignment.

From 5-9 it was just two of us staffing the branch. So at 6pm I had another desk shift and it wasn't much quieter than 1pm - lots of people borrowing 3-hour loans, someone wanting instruction on using the mopier's scan-to-email function, someone asking about an ebook that's mysteriously disappeared from the content provider's database (I sent an email to our e-resources expert).

I stayed on a bit longer while my colleague shelved books and collected the books requested by users in our branch and others. 7:20 I had my dinner break; 8pm my final shift and still no quieter though I caught a bit of time to update our electronic noticeboard (tomorrow's weather forecast, partly in Māori in honour of Te Wiki o Te Reo) and to start writing this post.

8:45 we dinged the bell to warn students it's nearly time to leave, and I walked around closing windows and picking up discarded student magazines and soft drink cans as subtle reinforcement that the day's over. There was only one group I had to tell verbally that we were about to close. Doors locked at 9pm; but I hung around inside for about 15 minutes waiting for the interwebs to inform me that my bus was about to arrive; finished this post on the bus and hit 'publish' from home.

Monday 12 July 2010

Crowdsourcing library research

Reading Snapshots of Laptop Use in an Academic Library crystallised some thinky thoughts I've vaguely had for a while about the possibility of libraries working together on library research.

The very short version of the article is that in their library "28% of students used laptops in existing spaces in 2005, while 62% of students used laptops in the same spaces in 2008". But of course they're not sure exactly what's causing the change. Is it just the changing times? Changing university policy? Changing library spaces? Something in the water? When you've only got one datapoint - your own library - it's hard to see what the real trend is.

But if you had the same data from a whole bunch of libraries then you'd be able to get a better idea of the nationwide/global trends. And if your data was different from that trend, you'd be able to get a better idea of how your local circumstances are affecting what's going on.

I've had thinky thoughts in the past about libraries sharing their statistics and research and stuff and part of the problem I recognised then was that everyone counts different statistics, so results aren't always comparable.

But. What if, when we want to do this kind of research, instead of doing it in-house, we open it up:
  1. stick up a wiki where we can collaborate with a pile of other libraries on deciding the methodology,
  2. stick up a Google spreadsheet where participating libraries can enter their stats,
  3. ???
  4. profit Publish!

Potential for awesomesauce, yes/yes? Does anyone have any burning research questions they'd like to try this with? Because my burning research question is currently "Let's do it!" which, um, technically isn't a question. <looks around hopefully>

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Thoughts towards universally applicable usability guidelines

Inspired by spending a few minutes trying to work out how to open a ringbinder:

Write out and/or diagram simple instructions for your product.
  1. If the instructions take more than three steps, your product isn't usable; redesign it.
  2. If the instructions don't actually match your product, quit smoking the good stuff on company time and write/diagram them again.
  3. If users need both the written instructions AND the diagrams, then the product is more-or-less usable, but not user-friendly.
  4. If users need the written instructions OR the diagrams but not both, then the product is somewhat user-friendly, but not sufficiently so as to justify entitling the instructions with "For easy operation".
  5. If users don't need any instructions, THEN the product is user-friendly.
Other thoughts?

Friday 11 June 2010

What lies clearly at hand

Quote-of-the-day from yesterday's calendar:
Our grand business in life is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. --Thomas Carlyle.

Which strikes a chord with me, albeit in a fuzzy late-Friday-afternoon kind of way.

And it's not to say that we should never look into the distance. It's important to think about it a little. But unless you're the Hubble Telescope, simply looking probably isn't your main purpose in life.

Prognosticating can be fun, but it can be hollow too. Sometimes it just leaves me with a "But now what?" feeling. What's really satisfying - always and without fail - is when I can see something that needs doing, and do it, and it's done, and the world is a bit of a better place.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

30 posts in 30 days

The first round of submissions on a change proposal at MPOW closed today, so I've just emerged back onto the interwebs to catch up with everything that's happened since the end of May. Notably among them, the Australian biblioblogosphere's "30 posts in 30 days" blog challenge.

I'm a bit late to be a full participant, and not sure if my brain's up to even jumping in now, but I did spot a meme I can manage:

Do you snack while reading?
Not invariably, but frequently. I do keep an eye out for crumbs.

What is your favourite drink while reading?
Um, n/a I think - what I want to drink depends a lot more on weather and whim than on activity.

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I love marginalia, in fiction or non-fiction, as long as the writer isn't obnoxious about it. Bonus points if they're actually insightful. I'm not very insightful, and don't feel called to do it often; when I am I do it lightly in pencil. Except for one YA book with a character who advocated keeping a cat on a vegetarian diet: for that one I printed out a page from the RSPCA and stapled it in before bookcrossing the book.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog ear? Laying the book open flat?
I love the idea of bookmarks, but most of my bookmarks are currently in books that I got halfway into 5-10 years ago. Instead I use receipts, remote controls, cushions, a slipper, other books - whatever's handy.

Fiction, non-fiction or both?
Both, but mostly fiction.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?
Depends on how compelling the book is. And time of day: if I've got an appointment, I'll read up to the last minute and stop mid-sentence; if it's bed-time then I need to read to the end of the chapter. Or the end of the book.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No, but there was one book that was so appallingly bad in every possible way that I burned it.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
No, most of the time I can work it out from context and most of the rest of the time it doesn't matter anyway.

What are you currently reading?
Dirt, greed, and sex: sexual ethics in the New Testament and their implications for today (brief summary up to where I've reached so far: homosexual acts were never a sin, they were just 'unclean' like pork and shrimp, and yes this goes for the New Testament too)

What is the last book you bought?
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemison

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
In/on bed. Though I move around a lot to avoid stiffness - couch, beanbag, etc.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
Stand-alones, or series where each book can stand alone.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief et seq.

How do you organise your books (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)?
Fiction: by language, then author's surname.
Non-fiction: by pseudo-Library of Congress classification (pseudo because I'm not quite obsessive enough to look them up, I just go my memory/guesstimation).

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Managing Figures in Microsoft Word 2007

I had a question from a student about this, and had to go away and research it and email her the answer. Since it seems a shame to waste information...

To add captions, refer to figures, and create a table of figures

  1. Select your figure, then go to the "References" menu and click "Insert caption". It defaults to "Figure 1" but you can name it however you like.
  2. When you want to refer to it in-text, click on "Cross-reference". Choose reference type "figure", make sure "Insert as hyperlink" is ticked, and select the figure you want to refer to, then click "Insert".
  3. Find the place you want to insert the table of figures and click "Insert Table of Figures". You can configure this however you want it.
Now if you control-click on any of the cross-references or items in the table of figures, it'll take you to the intended figure.

Note however that if you add a new figure early in the document, Word doesn't update the table or the cross-references automatically. You can do this manually by:
  1. selecting the table of figures and then clicking "Update Table" and
  2. right-clicking each cross-reference and selecting "Update Field".
A quicker way to fix it for an entire document at once is:
  1. Select All
  2. Right-click and "Toggle Field Codes"
  3. Right-click and "Update Field"
  4. Right-click and "Update Field" a second time - this time choose "Update entire table".
If there's a more sensible way, I wasn't able to discover it in my tinkering....

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Reference / Info-literacy links of interest 21/4/10

Singer, Carol A. (2010) Ready Reference Collections: A History. RUSQ 49(3)
Ready reference collections were originally formed, and still exist, because they perform a valuable function in providing convenient access to information that is frequently used at the reference desk. As library collections have been transformed from print to electronic, some of the materials in these collections also have inevitably been replaced by electronic resources. This article explores the historical roots of ready reference collections and their recent evolution.

A post on the Oregon Libraries Network notes some differences between the old and new RUSA Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.

Library instruction classes
A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette suggests: A librarian should begin each library instruction class by plucking headphones from students' ears, confiscating cell phones, and searching all bookbags for contraband food. If there is any time remaining, show them all how to become fans of the library's new Facebook page.

In Getting Students to Do the Reading: Pre-Class Quizzes on Wordpress (at the Chronicle of Higher Education) Derek Bruff cites the idea that learning involves both transfer of information and assimilation of that information, and that as the assimilation is the hard part it should be done in class time while the transfer is handled before class through readings (or videos). He then discusses how he's tackled the problem of motivating students to actually do their pre-class readings by creating pre-class quizzes -- the answers to which he can then skim before class, and alter his lesson plan if students are finding some topic easier or harder than anticipated.

In the Library with the Lead Pipe is a group blog that posts longer, heavily referenced articles. In Making it their idea: The Learning Cycle in library instruction Eric Frierson quotes the idea that people learn better by putting the pieces together for themselves, and discusses ways to use this in library instruction classes, using the topic of "peer reviewed journals" as a case study.

Steve Lawson blogs about Making time at the beginning for questions - starting a library class with the projector off and just chatting informally with the students about their assignments/projects - he says, "It's like a mass reference interview."

For myself, I've had a lot of success with adding more interactivity into classes (even some large ones with 250+ students) but one series of my classes in term 1 turned clunky because (as I discovered too late) when I was chatting with students about what they needed to know for their assignment, none of them bothered to mention that they hadn't actually read the assignment instructions yet.

So for my next class I started off by asking them to explain the assignment to me - fortunately these ones had read it and could talk about it, but my fall-back position would be to stop and give them five minutes to read it, because they're not going to learn anything in class if they don't know why they're being told about it.

I spent the rest of the class alternating between asking them how they go about research and adding other sources/techniques they can use. The students were awesome and the class went like a dream. I used a PowerPoint presentation in edit mode so when I asked a question I could write their answers onto the blank page - colour-coded with white pages for my set-speech stuff, yellow pages for their stuff (and my very occasional additions when they reminded me of something) - and embed it into their subject guide after the class:

What about you: what other techniques have you read about / tried for library tutorials?

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Mobile vs Smartphones & other links of interest 14/4/10

Mobile vs Smartphones
Roy Tennant suggests not making any more mobile websites as research suggests more people (in the US) are getting smartphones that can support anything a normal web-browser can support. (Though I don't know of any smartphone that supports a 1024x768 screensize...) Smartphone applications seem to be trending instead. The iLibrarian rounds up her Top 30 Library iPhone Apps (part 2 and part 3). Why an application when you've already got a website? Phil Windley points out that "If my bank can get me to download an app, then they have a permanent space on my app list." The trade-off is that whereas a website should work on any browser, smartphone apps often need to be in proprietary formats (the Librarian in Black particularly complains about Apple's iPhone in this respect).

Web 2.0
Common Craft has a 3-minute video explaining "Cloud Computing in Plain English".

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries and Brown University Library provide a "dashboard" of widgets on their websites displaying current statistics about library usage.

View from the top :-)
The University Librarian at McMaster University Library blogs results from their laptop survey. Apparently laptop circulation now accounts for about a third of their total circulation stats; their survey looks into how students are using the laptops.

The Director of Librarys at the State University of New York at Potsdam blogs about "What I've Learned" in the first 10 months of her job there.

Scandal of the week...
Barbara Fister summarises recent discussion about EBSCO as the "New Evil Empire" in her Library Journal article "Big vendor frustrations, disempowered librarians, and the ends of empire".

Alice for the iPad - one of the ways technology can enhance the book.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Links of interest 25/3/10

C-SPAN Video Library "indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses." (Content is primarily US politics but see here for overlap with other subject areas.) All programs since 1987 can be viewed online for free.

Following in the popular footsteps of the Fake AP Stylebook Twitter account ("Use a hyphen to join words together, a dash to separate two words that really don't like each other.") come rival accounts Fake AACR2 ("2.17B1. Describe an illustrated item as instructed in 2.5C. Optionally, add woodcuts, metal cuts, paper cuts, etc., as appropriate.") and Fake RDA ("2.3.3 When attempting to parallel title, line title up to proper title, put title in reverse, turn left, shift into drive, turn right.")

Neat stuff

Thursday 4 March 2010

Links of interest 4/3/2010

Subject Guides
Springshare have created a Best of LibGuides LibGuide to share ideas about "the best of what the LibGuides system has to offer".

Gale notes on Twitter that "We analyzed search usage growth for 5k libraries; 20% of them use widgets. The libraries using widgets had 60% higher growth." Widgets can be built from their website (among other tools for measuring and increasing usage).

Infolit by video
Using video to address an immediate research need is an answer to a faculty complaint with students not researching broadly enough. The librarian put together a video in 30 minutes, posted it on his blog, subject guide, and course management system, and watched the video stats climb as students watched it.

COPPUL's Animated Tutorial Sharing Project collects video tutorials that can be shared among library systems to avoid reinventing the wheel - including project files so libraries can tweak it to fit their environment. The ones I've seen are licensed with a "share-alike" Creative Commons license (meaning you can use it and change it but you have to license your finished product with the same license). You can browse or search for databases eg JSTOR.

Miscellaneous Web 2.0
7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication: Mostly backchannel communication happens at techier conferences but 7 Things points out that: "Backchannel communication is a secondary conversation that takes place at the same time as a conference session, lecture, or instructor-led learning activity. This might involve students using a chat tool or Twitter to discuss a lecture as it is happening, and these background conversations are increasingly being brought into the foreground of lecture interaction."

10 Technology Ideas Your Library Can Implement Next Week "to start creating, collaborating, connecting, and communicating through cutting-edge tools and techniques".

Measuring the impact of web 2.0 (via a colleague via the LIS-WEB2 mailing list):

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Links of interest 2/2/10

Not a chain of convenience stores - this Foursquare is a website/application that lets you use your cellphone etc to "check in" when you reach locations like cafes, movie theatres, libraries, etc. At its worst this floods your friends with endless notifications: "Now I'm at the dairy! Now I'm at home! Now I'm at the busstop! Now I'm at work! Now...!" But at best you walk into your favourite cafe and:
  • read tips from other customers about what to order or avoid;
  • win a prize from the cafe itself;
  • discover that your friend is in the area and arrange for them to meet you for a quick cuppa.
Some recent blogposts discussing the value of Foursquare for libraries (read the comments as well!) include: Publishing scandals du jour
EBSCO buys up exclusive electronic access to a number of popular periodicals which will be removed from other databases that used to provide them. Reactions:During negotiations between Amazon and "big 6" publisher Macmillan over pricing of ebooks, Amazon removed all Macmillan titles (electronic and print) from its database. Reactions: In case you're curious about non-Amazon options, there's a number of online bookstores in New Zealand and I've recently discovered The Book Depository in the UK with free international shipping.

Bookcovers in LibGuides
Springshare have announced a partnership with Syndetics so we can now use Syndetics bookcover images in our LibGuides. This is just like using the images from Amazon before - when adding a featured book just insert ISBN, click icon, and voila a cover image - but click the "S" (Syndetics) icon instead of the Amazon icon. An added advantage is that Syndetics works with ISBN-13 as well as ISBN-10 (Amazon is limited to ISBN-10).

European theses
The DART-Europe E-theses Portal gathers and provides "access to 123327 full-text research theses from 210 universities sourced from 16 European countries".

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Links of interest 13/1/10

Web collaboration
  • Tinychat lets you instantly set up a temporary chatroom with its own short url you can share with anyone you want to join you. Once everyone has left the chat it disappears.
  • Flockdraw does the same for the virtual whiteboard.
Virtual referencePotluckDeborah