November 2010 Archives

2010 Tech Expo a Success!

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Thank you to the 140-plus Libraries staff that attended last week's second Annual Emerging Tech Expo sponsored by the IT Council and Libraries Organization Development ( ).  We hope you enjoyed the event and came away with new awareness of the technologies, tools, and services that were showcased.  The event was the collective effort of our knowledgeable and talented staff and guests, and they are recognized and thanked here.  

First, is the extraordinarily creative and efficient IT Council Tech Expo Planning subgroup led this year by Jennifer Reckner, with members Linda Eells, Eric Forbis, Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Denise Gamble, Lisa Johnston, Jan Roseen, and Scott Spicer.  

The event offered four rich, in-depth presentations by Janet Fransen, Kate Brooks, Colin McFadden (College of Pharmacy), Jason Roy, Scott Spicer, Ryan Mattke, Michael Winters, and Charlie Heinz.  

From Drupal and EthicShare to Skype and When-to-Work (and everything in-between), the Expo featured the work of our creative and engaging exhibits presenters: Sarah Morean, Lisa Johnston, Justin Dale (AHC), Layne Johnson, Kate McCready, Chad Fennel, Stephen Hearn , Janet Arth, Naun Chew, Cody Hanson, Shane Nackerud, Wayne Loftus, Anne Shelley and Arlene Matison (both from the Center for Transportation Studies), Kate Peterson, Jon Jeffreys, Kristen Mastel, Megan Kocher, Erin George, Scott Smith, Andrew Palahniuk, Beth Petsan, Charlie Heinz, Michael Winters, Philip Herold, Jerilyn Veldof, Jackie Gulbranson, Kirsten Clark, Mike Sutliff, John Barneson, Ryan Bean, Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Rod Rasmussen, and Marlo Welshons. 

The Expo was "powered" by our fabulous Computer Support staff: Michael Sutliff, Joe Nanti, Monica Winker-Bergstrom, John Geertz-Larson, and Michael Winters.  

Thanks to our Tech Expo documentarians: multimedia consultant Jenny Veile (videography) and Libraries Administration student employee Heidi Miller (photography).  

Additional preparatory and on-site support was graciously provided by Ryan Mattke and Charlie Heinz.  Thank you one and all for another great technology learning and sharing experience at this year's Expo!

- John Butler, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and member of the Tech Expo Planning Committee 

Google Apps Table FAQs

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Below are answers to some of the most popular questions we had at the Google Apps table during the TechExpo. We compiled questions in real time by using a form created in Google Docs!

Forms --> How to View Form Responses

How to create a Form:

How to access your U of M Gmail from your cell phone --> First, Change/Create your mobile password here:
Set or Change Your Google Desktop/Mobile Client Password

To get a Calendar Pop-Up reminder that will show up even if you are not viewing your calendar, try Google Desktop.
Download it here:

After you download it and install it, log in with your mobile/desktop password. Then add the Calendar gadget (click on the plus sign to add gadgets). Set your Calendar event reminders to Pop-Up. Google Desktop will give you a Pop-Up that shows on top of all open windows. It will not go away until you physically click on it.

How to create an e-mail list --> create a Contact Group in Contacts. Then, simply type in the Group name in the "To" field.

Thanks everybody for stopping by our table!
Andrew, Beth, Charlie, Scott
Presenters: Charlie Heinz, Ryan Mattke, Jan Roseen, Michael Winters

We'll show you how Docs, Contacts, and Calendar work together to create a digital collaborative work environment, demonstrating tasks such as setting up a contacts group and a shared folder space. Have you had a Google Docs chat meeting yet? Did you know that you can set up video chat? We'll also have a Q&A session at the end.

Useful Links:

  1. Library help:
  2. Google help:
  3. Firefox add-on:
  4. Chrome extension:  [in Options enter " a/ "]
  5. List of Keyboard Shortcuts

UMConnect allows for people to connect over large distances and participate in group discussions from mulitple locations.  Come learn about ways this software can be used for a variety of meeting and conferencing venues.


Additional Resources:

Presenter: Justin Dale and Layne Johnson

Profiles is a research networking and expertise mining software tool. It not only shows traditional directory information, but also illustrates how each person is connected to others in the broad research community. 


Presenters: John Barneson, Ryan Bean, Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Rod Rasmussen, Marlo Welshons


Here is a list (incomplete and under development) of recommended mobile sites and cool apps that University of Minnesota Libraries staff can explore for personal or professional use.

Mobile Sites

Use the browser on any mobile device to access these sites.

University of Minnesota Libraries

The Libraries' own mobile site lets on-the-go users:

  • Search for books, videos, maps, and music, and more using the library catalog.
  • Find magazine and journal articles using library databases.
  • E-mail citations of the resources you find.
  • Browse for article databases that have mobile interfaces.
  • Check library building and collection hours.
  • Contact librarians by e-mail or phone.
  • Look up when your checked out items are due.

Install a button on your web browser and with one click you can save any web page or online article you want to read later. Then using the mobile-friendly Instapaper web site, you can easily access all the pages you've saved via your mobile device. You can also transfer files to read on Kindle and ebook readers that support the ePub format. Instapaper is also available as an iPhone app (see below).


Crazy fast wiki encyclopedia; works well in 2g


Uses the geo-location feature to identify which libraries in your vicinity hold the materials you're searching for.


Using your college e-mail address, AccessMyLibraryCollege gives you unlimited, 24/7 access to your college library's Gale online resources.

Free; compatible with Android | iPhone | iTouch | iPad

Barcode Scanner

Similar to RedLaser (see below) but also tied to Google Books so you can purchase the book, find it in a library, or search the contents of the book. 

Free; compatible with Android

Chrome to Phone

A chrome extension that allows you to send webpages and google maps to your phone from your browser.

Free; compatible with Android

Documents to Go

Allows you to view (free) and edit (paid) office and google docs. Also can be linked to a google account so that all of your google docs are assessable via the cloud.

Free/$14.99; compatible with Android


Capture, organize, find.

Free; compatible with Android | iPhone | iTouch | iPad


Collaborative photo encyclopedia.

Free; compatible with iPhone | iPad

Google Apps

Overview of apps for both iPhone and Android phones. More Google Mobile applications are available for phones that run the Android operating system; many Android-powered phones come with Google applications pre-installed.

Free; compatible with Android | iPhone


PDF reader with advanced reading, annotating, markup and highlighting capabilities, excellent file manager, TXT file reader and editor, audio/video player, Safari-like viewer for MS Office and iWorks files.

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch | iPad


Easy to use, easy to download books, etc., and it now reads pdf files (better on the iPad).

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch | iPad


Brainstorming tool that helps you to visually organize ideas quickly and easily.

Free; compatible with iPad

iNet Pro

Network utility that provides information about the network you are connected to. Used primarily for troubleshooting network connectivity issues.

$4.99; compatible with iPhone | iPad | iTouch


Install a button on your web browser and with one click you can save any web page or online article you want to read later. Then using the app on your phone, you can easily access all the pages you've saved. You can also transfer files to read on Kindle and ebook readers that support the ePub format. (See also above under mobile web sites)

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch | iPad

Kindle Reading Apps

Amazon's Kindle Store

Read Kindle books on any mobile device, not just a Kindle!

Free; compatible with Android | iPhone | iTouch | iPad


An RSS viewer linked to your google account, pulls your RSS feeds and syncs them with the cloud.

Free; compatible with Android

Notes Plus

Allows mixing handwriting and typed text easily for note taking.

$4.99; compatible with iPad


This app uses your iPhone's camera to scan a barcode or QR code and give you results from Google, theFind, eBay, and also local libraries via WorldCat. You can use it to comparison shop or find a book in your local library. You can also scan barcodes on food and get allergen information.

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch

RDP (Remote Desktop) (Apple devices) (Windows Mobile version) (Palm)

RDP's remote desktop connection allows users to log in their Windows computer or server and control it as though they are sitting there. Works best on the iPad, as smart phone screens are a bit small to be useful.

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch | iPad | Windows Mobile | Palm


Another network utility used for gathering information about the network, troubleshooting connectivity, etc.

$3.99; compatible with iPhone | iTouch | iPad


Another good reading app. The "night view" option is a nice feature that allows users to easily dim the screen, make reading in the dark easier on the eyes.

Free; compatible with iPhone | iTouch

WolframAlpha (Android version) (iPhone version) (iPad version)

A computational knowledge engine.

Free; compatible with Android | iPhone | iPad

VNC various links to info on this app based on device type)

Similar to RDP above, but a different kind of connection in that allows connecting to a computer that is in use without disconnecting the current user. You can see what they're doing and take control to help them as needed. Works best on the iPad, as smart phone screens are a bit small to be useful.

Free; compatible with Android | Blackberry | iPhone | iTouch | iPad | Palm | Windows Mobile

WorldCat Mobile

An app version of WorldCat, powered by Boopsie.

Free; compatible with all web-enabled phones.


Cool app for finding restaurants, stores, etc., that are near you. Also shows events that are going on in the vicinity.

Free; App versions for Android | Blackberry | iPhone | iPad | iTouch | Palm;
compatible with all web-enabled phones via .

Presented by Colin McFadden, Jason Roy, and Scott Spicer

In this panel presentation we will discuss the emergence of digital media content and collections in higher education, by providing background on local media streaming solutions (i.e., Media Mill), examples of user-generated and commercial media content, as well as local digital media archives (i.e., UMedia Archive).

Student Media Project Examples
Minnesota Food Systems - Google Map with video interviews (Sustainability Course)
Eurasian Milfoil digital story (PSTL 1906 Water Sustainability Class)
Student Public Service Announcement (PSTL 1525)

Digital Media Collections
UMedia Archive
Naxos Music Library
FMG Films OnDemand
Digital Content Library (CLA/CDES)
Minnesota Digital Library
Alexander Street Press Counseling and Therapy in Video
Alexander Street Press Opera in Video
Alexander Street Press Theater in Video

Drupal as a Platform

You may know Drupal as the platform behind our web presence.  But Drupal is much more than simply a CMS, it's a software development framework.  I'll have a number of Drupal implementations on-hand for you to play with, ones that show just how far Drupal can be taken.  I'll also be available to answer questions about its capabilities and field your ideas for services that it can support within the U Libraries.

The two Drupal "Distributions" that I'll be demoing are as follows:

I'll also have a Drupal Gardens site demo available for you to poke at.  Drupal Gardens is a hosted Drupal service provided by the commercial Drupal provider, Acquia. Drupal Gardens is probably about the easiest way to get started with learning the application side of Drupal.

Drupal, It's Made of People

The University of Minnesota Libraries has been using Drupal Content Management System since the relatively early days of Drupal itself.  And we've helped to make Drupal better along the way by hosting usability testing, hosting "code sprints" and through individual contributions of our employees.  Come on by the booth to learn more about our involvement, to learn what a "code sprint" is, or find out how you too can help to make Drupal better.

I also created the obligatory short (prezi) slideshow for this piece.

Linked Data/Semantic Web

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The term "linked data" refers to a particular model of encoding relationships between entities, concepts, and things. The model consists of a simple "triple" syntax. Linked data statements contain a subject, a relationship, and an object. These three terms are expressed in standard encoding, usually RDF (Resource Description Framework). For example:

Thomas Pynchon [subject] is author of [relationship] Gravity's Rainbow [object]

What really makes linked data work, though, is the substitution of URIs for each of the three terms. The URIs function as consistent controlled identifiers for the entity, concept, or relationship they represent, eliminating the variability that pervades natural language expressions and enabling data statements to be confidently and specifically linked.

Linked data can be used both within a data environment and across data environments. Within an environment it makes possible the automatic generation of pages displaying relationships among entities and concepts. When one data environment makes use of URIs from another environment, additional kinds of functionality and integration can be achieved. In this way, URIs can expand in use beyond their home environments to many other data sets, and become the basis of data assembly across larger and larger pools of data. Therefore, linked data becomes part of the Semantic Web.

Examples of sites built on linked data:
DBpedia is a compilation of linked data statements derived from Wikipedia. It's designed primarily for machine-to-machine interactions, but knowing the basic URI structure lets you call up sets of data harvested around a given topic, e.g., the University of Minnesota above. Not as pretty as the first two sites, but a clearer representation of the underlying linked data.

Web-scale Discovery Tools

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Stop by our booth and go hands-on with the newest generation of discovery tools. We'll have demos available of: 

  • Primo Central
  • EBSCO Discovery Service
  • Serials Solutions Summon
  • WorldCat Local

Presented by Cody Hanson and Chew Chiat Naun

Gadgets Table

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Presented by Mike Sutliff and Eric Forbis

A cool table displaying some of the latest techno gadgets.  Readers by Kindle and Sony, iPod Touch, iPads, Dell Netbooks, etc.  

Google Apps Table

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Presenters: Janet Roseen, Andrew Palanhiuk, Beth Petsan, Charlie Heinz, and Scott Smith

Stop by and chat with us about your Google Apps questions. We'll have experts on hand with laptops, and what we haven't discovered already, we can discover together!

You may also want to bookmark these useful links:

Look for more links about Google Apps to be posted after the event, based on your feedback.



Access it:
View the overview video: on YouTube:
Wiki page: Wiki page: and User Guide:
  • Automatically creates a page for all courses with the "subjects" and course reserves with additional customization through courselib pages
  • Think of it like a new skin for Courselib pages
  • If you are working with a course--we can help you to create a page (don't have the be the "official" liaison)

2. Moodle


Access it:
  • Largest course management system on campus--Replacing WebVista as the CMS on campus
  • Students are increasingly familiar with it
  • Library Course Pages appear as a "block" in all Moodle courses
  • Anyone can request a Moodle site for instruction to organize content, give quizzes, forums, etc.
  • Examples:

3. ChimeIn (web-based student response system)


Access it at:
View the overview video:
  • Polls & surveys
  • Background probe
  • Misconception check
  • Word cloud (automatically generated for free response questions)

4. Clickers


Access it: (book via Aleph)
Getting the Software:  Installation CD with clickers
Online Training:
Examples in the Information Literacy Toolkit: (Google Your Own Adventure)
  • Determine order of class presentation (let the audience choose what you cover)
  • In class assessment of concepts -- test if your audience learned what you just covered.
  • Create quizzes in a game-style format

5.SMART Sync


Overview tutorial:
  • Broadcasting instructor's desktop - used during a demo to make sure all student's can see the screen clearly
  • Sending files- fused in the Formatting you Dissertation/ Thesis in Word 2009 class to send template Word documents to participants
  • Poll Yes/No -  ask if students were ready to move on yet
  • Announcements - letting students know when they had 1 minute left in an exercise
  • Chat- used this to brainstorm keywords on a particular topic

6.  Class Cature/Camtasia Relay


Access it:
Overview tutorial:
  • Use to record face-to-face session (records screen and voice) such as workshop or course integrated instruction. You can then embed these into Library Course Page or Moodle.
  • Use to make quick tutorials (little editing possible)
  • What equipment do I need? Generally need microphone
  • Uses MediaMill for storage (easy to send content to YouTube, get embed code, apple mobile devices, etc.)
  • Examples:
Presenters: Kate Brooks and Jan Fransen

At the Libraries, we're passionate about both connecting people with the information they need and keeping that information organized. We not only show our users how to keep up to date with the journals and conferences they care about, but we can also help them choose and use applications to keep it all organized. As more and more of their work moves online, though, our users are less likely to think of us when they need that kind of help.  

The Current Awareness and Personal Information Management (CAPIM) Collaborative has identified four areas where we can build on our established role as information management experts by continuously updating our skills in response to our users' evolving needs and concerns. Come explore examples of new tools in those areas with us, and we'll share our plans for identifying and growing Experts to support them. We'll also introduce both the CAPIM public web presence and a new tool you can use to evaluate and update your own CAPIM skills.
Presenter: Jerilyn Veldof


Open Journal Systems (OJS)

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Presenters: Arlene Mathison, Anne Shelley

The Center for Transportation Studies uses Open Journal Systems to host a peer-reviewed, open access journal called The Journal of Transport and Land Use. We'll talk about working with the OJS platform, why it was chosen, and the services that CTS provides for the journal.

When to Work

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Presenter: Jackie Gulbranson

When to Work is an online scheduling tool that IADS started using in August of 2010. This program replaces Excel, UMCal and other tools that units had been using to schedule daily tasks for students and full time staff.

Stop by the When to Work table at the Tech Expo to test drive the program, see live demonstrations and hear tales of one unit's adventures in scheduling and calendar management.


Presenter: John Butler

If you've been hearing from your colleagues or in the news frequent mentions of "HathiTrust," but don't really know what it is or why it's important to research libraries, come to this presentation. Although just two-years old, the HathiTrust is already among the world's largest digital libraries, and the University of Minnesota is an integral part of it.


Presenter: Erin George

Watching enthusiasm grow as TCF Bank Stadium came to life inspired a group of University Libraries staff to explore how the rich archival resources and the digital technology expertise of the Libraries could be channeled to capture and share the history of the Memorial Stadium. Photos, game footage, programs, correspondence, reports, and blueprints from the University Archives' collections were scanned by the Libraries' Digital Library Development Lab and uploaded into Omeka, a free, open source, interactive web-based publishing platform which allows visitors to the site to share their own stories and recollections of Memorial Stadium. The results is a lasting resource reflecting the history of Memorial Stadium from a wide variety of perspectives. Visit the Memorial Stadium booth to see the site in action and get an inside look at the Omeka platform.


Urchin log analysis software

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Presenter: Shane Nackerud and Wayne Loftus

A demonstration of Urchin, the U of M web log analysis tool, currently used by the main library web site to analyze and view log statistics.

For more information on the University's implementation of Urchin, visit U of M Web Stats.


bX™ Recommender Service

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Presenter: Janet Arth

The bX Recommender Service which appears on the Find It menu for many articles was made available in July 2010.  See it in action and look at some of the usage data.  Learn some of the reasons why there are not recommendations for more articles.  Let's share favorite sites for getting recommendations once we've found one really good article.

Presenter: Kate McCready

EthicShare is a research and collaboration website designed to help scholars do research, share, collaborate, and participate in the field of bioethics. The site includes a comprehensive collection of ethics resources including searchable research materials, group discussions, current news articles, and upcoming events. EthicShare automatically adds new research materials regularly, but also encourages scholars to enhance the site by sharing citations, conference announcements and calls for papers.

EthicShare brochure
Presenter: Lisa Johnston
HUBzero™ is an open source platform used to create dynamic web sites for scientific research and educational activities. With HUBzero, you can easily publish your research software and related educational materials on the web.

E-Science Tools for Librarians, Sci-Tech News August 2010