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August 31, 2006

"More, Better, Faster, Cheaper: The Economics of Descriptive Practice

On August 7th and 8th, RLG Programs held the Forum: "More, Better, Faster,
Cheaper: The Economics of Descriptive Practice" at the Folger Shakespeare
Library in Washington DC. Sixteen invited speakers elaborated on how they
manage to do more with less at their respective institutions ranging from
libraries and archives to museums for an audience of over 125 attendees in the
beautiful Folger Elizabethan Theatre. The podcasts (downloadable mp3
files) of the forum are now available at
http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=20968, alongside powerpoint
presentations, handouts and speaker notes.

Free Audio Books

Below you will find an e-mail from Janet Arth where she has cited an article that ties together numerous free audio book resources.

This morning I saw an article in my email, from American Libraries Direct for 8-30, that referenced a New York Time article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/25/books/25audi.html?_r=1&oref=slogin (You can read the entire artile in Proquest through ELM)

"...volunteers who give their voices and spare time to LibriVox, a project that produces audiobooks of works in the public domain .."

" The principles of the project are to be totally noncommercial, totally ad free, totally volunteer and totally public domain, he said. Readers can volunteer at the Web site, librivox.org.

One of LibriVox's colleagues in the free audiobook realm is Telltale Weekly (telltaleweekly.org), which sells recordings for 25 cents to $8, but makes them available at no charge through its Spoken Alexandria Project (spokenalex.org) after five years or 100,000 downloads, whichever comes first. It was founded in 2004 by Alex Wilson, a writer and actor in Chapel Hill, N.C., who performs many of the readings. Another service, LiteralSystems (literalsystems.org), has 51 works available for free download and emphasizes their professional quality."

Janet M. Arth
University Libraries
O. Meredith Wilson Library
University of Minnesota

August 28, 2006

USDA - Statistics

The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service provides state and county level data in the "Quick Stats" section for various agricultural goods. Some of the data is available from as early as 1909. For instance, this is a great resource to find out the yield for corn, oats, or wheat in a particular year or stretch of years for any county in Minnesota. Give it a try!

August 25, 2006

What, When Why, How of Reference Referral

MINITEX offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions on any topic, and when we say any topic, we mean it!

MINITEX offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions on any topic, and when we say any topic, we mean it! Here is a sampling of a few recent requests:
- Artist Charles Deas & Doty Treaty Abercrombie Trail
- Aesop fable "Donkey and the Thistle"
- Reviews of standard national tests - Mental Measurements Yearbook
- SAMS Photofacts - wiring for a 1959 Ford automobile radio
- Lyrics for "Lilies in the Moonlight"
- County history information
- Original specifications of a 1950s boat, The Tarpon
- Scholarly articles from a variety of journals
- Patent applications and company histories
- News articles from the Star Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times

MINITEX Reference Services can be used to locate information beyond your library's scope, a subject specialty that you are not familiar with, or just to make sure your patron is getting the best possible information from all resources available. To complete each question we not only use online resources, the University of Minnesota's and Minneapolis Public Library's collections, but also national and international resources and experts.

Our goal is to send a response as soon as we are able after receiving the request. Over 95% of our requests are filled within one business week. We also accept RUSH orders and try to accommodate the needed timeline. Our responses include a memo describing the research process, resources used, answer to the question, any requested materials, and suggestions for further research or referral to other libraries. Printouts from databases or other online resources, photocopies and books are sent to the appropriate library through MINITEX delivery, e-mail, fax or MEDD.

Occasionally even the MINITEX Reference Staff is stumped, so we look to the broader library community for assistance. Some of the options we have pursued include: publishing the question in Reference Notes, on the stumper's listserv (wombats_l), or even subject specific message boards. Just last week we received a fax from a gentleman that was surfing the web and found a MINITEX inquiry from 1996 and wondered if we still needed assistance in locating a song's lyrics because he had a copy.

Reference questions can be submitted either through our web form, https://www.minitex.umn.edu/reference/refdb/index.asp, our e-mail address, mtxref@umn.edu, via the phone at 1-800-462-5348, or by snail mail. Use the method most convenient for you!

August 16, 2006

Reference Notes July 2006

July 2006


Established in 2002, ReadWriteThink is a partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of Engish (NCTE), and the Verizon Foundation. The ReadWriteThink website features standards-based lesson plans that can be selected according to grade band (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12) and area of literacy practice and literacy engagements. Each lesson is research-based, and includes a detailed instructional plan. The lesson plans include worksheets, activities, and resources. Moreover, all content is organized around The IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts. ReadWriteThink also has a collection of Web resources. These resources are selected in adherence to a set of criteria and are reviewed. Web resources can be selected and sorted by grade band (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12) and resource type.

Education World

Education World - The Educator's Best Friend is a website that includes:

A search engine for educational websites
Original content, including lesson plans, information on how to integrate technology in the classroom, and articles written by education experts
Site reviews
Daily features and columns
Teacher and principal profiles
Wire Side Chats with the important names in education
Employment listings

August 14, 2006

WorldCat.org Webinars

The In's and Out's of OpenWorldCat & WorldCat.org

Do you continually try to redirect patrons and students from searching for books on the internet using everyday tools such as Google, Amazon.com, abebooks, or another search engine to using your in-house online catalog? Did you know that patrons and students can easily find library books from these and other commonly used tools? Did you also know that you can promote your online catalog and library services outside of your own library website--for free? Open WorldCat and WorldCat.org now make it easier than ever for the general public to use tools and search engines most familiar to them to find library items and services.
MINITEX staff will take you through the In's and Out's of using and promoting your library materials and services through Open WorldCat and WorldCat.org in this 45 minute webinar. We will discuss what Open WorldCat and WorldCat.org are and how they differ. We will also look at the features and tools of each as well as an online demonstration of how they work and how your patrons and students can use them to find library items.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 1:45 PM - 2:30 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Thursday, September 14, 2006 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Monday, September 25, 2006 1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Podcasting Webinars

Were you unable to attend the two part series on Podcasting? If so, don’t feel left out and view the archived sessions!

Podcasting 1: What is all the buzz about?

Podcasting 2: How to create a podcast

State-Wide Digital Reference Services

Caleb Tucker-Raymond who runs the state-wide digital reference program for Oregon put together this awesome map of the US highlighting which states have a digital reference program in place and by what vendor. Since he put this together a few weeks ago Pennsylvania has announced a state-wide digital reference service using QuestionPoint. So even though it became out-of-date 10 seconds after it was posted it still is a great way to see what is happening out there with digital reference.

Which makes me ponder... What is happening in Minnesota as far as digital reference? No, we do not have a state-wide service, but what libraries in the state currently have a digital reference service program in place? Be it email reference, chat reference, IM, or all of the above? I want to pull together this information to get a better picture of what is happening around us. This is something I'll be working on in the next few weeks. I'll let you know what I find out!

August 12, 2006

Site Visits

sitevisits 003.jpg Liz Lynch
sitevisits 006.jpg Barbara & Richard

On my way out to Grand Forks for MORE training I made three site visits to Great River Regional Library, Lake Agassiz Regional Library and Northwest Regional Library. At GRR Janie LaBree took a few hours to sit down with me and visit about their ELM usage, reference question process and other issues regarding Reference Services. Good luck with the new building in two years! Liz Lynch with LARL gave me a nice tour of her library and chat about how they are being very proactive and trying to reach out to special interest and community groups to give library presentations or have them visit the library and give a customized overview of their services. Also, I must say they have one of the most integrated “Catch the Beat” programs I have seen, from music notes for each summer program reader in the children’s area to the t-shirts every staff member wears. Barbara and Richard up at Northwesten sat down and explained their reference process, and how reference questions have decreased from the branches to headquarters. They also are in the process of refinishing Thief River Falls, and adding wireless to all locations.

MINITEX looks forward to visiting with each library system to see how we may better serve your needs! Don’t forget we are willing to do on site training for your staff on ELM or MORE training.

MORE training is back!

sitevisits 0081.jpg

Last week I was invited by the Grand Forks Air Force Base Library to come give a 1-day workshop on MORE. This visit was by far one of the most hospitable and welcoming group I have ever come across. The night before my presentation Arelene Ott, the Library Director, invited me to accompany her to Tops in Blue, an Air Force Band that tours the world entertaining fellow troops. They were amazing!

The next morning bright and early we started our MORE training. Quickly I learned that an air force library is like none other I have been to. They serve as a public library to their retirees and enlisted troops. Research assistance is also a large part of their service, as there are four (or five- I can’t recall) universities that teach courses on base, so the student’s use their facility. Lastly, they also service the Air Force in general, so they have a very special library niche.

Through the day we went through the reference interview process. Of which 90% of the participants during our practice sessions made it to the bonus need during the reference interview (WAY TO GO!). Topics of interest included database searching strategies such as Boolean operators, truncation and wildcards; ethical issues; reference books; website critics and reader’s advisory.

I just want to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to revamp the MORE training. I hope you learned as much from me as I did from your library.

August 10, 2006

Library of Congress - The Learning Page

The Learning Page is a Library of Congress website especially designed for teachers offering help in using the American Memory Collections in classroom curriculum including tips, tricks, rationale for using primary sources, activities, and lesson plans.

August 8, 2006

New WorldCat Search Box

Hey, check it out. I just added the new WorldCat.org search box tool on this site. It's pretty neat. Give it a whirl.

August 7, 2006

WorldCat.org is released

OCLC announced today that it has released to the public WorldCat.org. Similar to Open WorldCat, WorldCat.org delivers WorldCat records to the general public. Open WorldCat embeds records into partners sites such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com and links through the Find in a Library web service. WorldCat.org delivers all WorldCat records to the public via OCLC's website. Offering the same record content we librarians see and work with on a daily basis.

Why am I talking about WorldCat.org on this Digital Reference blog? Because, like Open WorldCat, WorldCat.org offers the same features in the Find in a Library site such as linking to your library's Ask a Librarian service. It's another way of promoting your service using a free resource that is outside of your library's website. The more access points, the better!