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March 29, 2007


Have a little fun with your chat and IM messages! I just discovered ChatFu. It allows you to copy and paste chat and IM messages into the Cartoonify Chat box in ChatFu and it will create a cartoon of your message! Now, you probably don't want to highlight patron sessions to the general public but there is the potential for a lot of fun here.

I was just playing around with this with a colleague and discovered that I could easily copy & paste complete chat histories from my meebo account but he was not able to do a complete copy & paste from his gaim account. He had to mannually delete out the timestamps in his gaim history for it to work in ChatFu. There may be other little oddities with other software but still, this seems really neat. Give it a try. I dare you not to have fun!

An Upbeat Article on Libraries

Here is a new article by the President of ACRL in Inside Higher Ed: Libraries at the Cutting Edge. Despite Google and access to more and more resources libraries still have a place and they are reinventing themselves to stay recognizable and interesting places.

March 28, 2007

Other Libraries Using the Meebo Me Widget

I can't stop talking about the Meebo Me widget. And, apparently, other libraries are discovering this great new tool of having an ever-present chat window on your library's website. Caleb Tucker-Raymond from Oregon Libraries Network has this to say from his blog. He talks about adding script to turn the widget on and off when needed to work with the statewide service. This is for individual libraries that are part of the statewide digital reference service that also want to provide their own IM reference service.

March 27, 2007

March Referernce Notes

March Reference Notes is available online: http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/

Library Transformation: Making It Happen Streaming Video

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the highly popular (based on numerous Reference Services blog comments and attendee discussions) College of DuPage Library Challenges and Opportunities series teleconference, “Library Transformation: Making It Happen.”

The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.


The video in VHS form may be checked out from MINITEX, and will be available in a few weeks.

Don’t miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!

March 26, 2007

Using the Meebo Chat Window Widget

I've discovered that even though I may be logged out of my IM people still have the opportunity to leave me a message via the chat window. The next time I log back in to my IM I get the waiting message. The problem with this is that unless the person leaving the message also supplies their contact information I have no way of knowing who that person was because I only see "MeeboGuest" on my end.

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid this if you are using the chat window widget for your IM service. You can add write some text to go along with your widget to indicate to patrons to leave their email or IM address when leaving a message offline. Also, you can have your IT staff write code so that your widget only appears on your website during the hours it is staffed. This may also help alleviate confusion for patrons of whether someone is actually available to answer their question in real-time.

March 22, 2007

The Best from the Web

College of DuPage Teleconference

Soaring to Excellence 2007: Library 2.0 and Beyond

The Best from the Web

Friday, April 13, 2007
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Central Time)

S30B Wilson Library
West Bank Area, University of Minnesota

Description: Kelly Watson and a panel of experts have compiled a toolkit of the best the web has to offer library workers. Learn about web resources that will assist you in your everyday job, whether you work at a public desk or behind the scenes in tech services. Leave this session with your "best of the web" toolkit and make your job of providing the best information for your patrons easier.

Kelly Watson, Adult Services Librarian, Bensenville Community Public Library, Illinois

• Debra Kakuk, Associate Professor, College of DuPage
Many of you remember Debra, formerly a librarian at Mayo. MINITEX sponsored Electronic Consumer Health Resources workshops presented by Debra in 2002 throughout the state.
• Ameet Doshi, Public Services Librarian, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Fee: No charge; registration is required.

To register to attend this teleconference at Wilson Library, go to http://www.minitex.umn.edu/train-conf/teleconference.

To register to stream to your desktop, go to https://www.cod.edu/secure/software/registerteleconf.htm. Residents of MN, ND, and SD will not be charged; please do not complete the billing information section of the web form. College of DuPage will forward links directly to registrants.

Other Regional Downlink Sites

NLLN and Fargo-Moorhead Tri-College Libraries
Moorhead, MN
To register, visit: http://nlln.org/continuinged.html

University of Minnesota-Duluth Library
Duluth, MN
To register, contact: Sue Trettel, 218-726-8130, strettel@d.umn.edu

St. Cloud State University Library and CMLE
St. Cloud, MN
To register, contact: Jennifer Schwint, jlschwint@stcloudstate.edu

Mankato, MN
To register, contact: smile@tds.lib.mn.us

March 20, 2007

ACRL offering Webcast on Combating Plagiarism

From ACRL:

The Role of the Librarian in Combating Student Plagiarism

Webcast Date: April 16, 2007

Webcast Time: 11:00 a.m. Pacific, 1:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Eastern

This 1.5-hour Webcast from ACRL explores the role of the academic librarian in combating student plagiarism, the "culture of copy" that our students inhabit and why plagiarism poses problems for higher education professionals including academic librarians, why use of discipline based approaches helps combat plagiarism effectively, how to design effective information literacy session assignments to help students understand how they can avoid plagiarism, and more.

Lynn Lampert, coordinator of information literacy and instruction at California State University-Northridge will lead this Webcast, which is based on her half-day 2006 Midwinter ACRL preconference, "Combating the Culture of Copy: Information Literacy Interventions for Plagiarism."

Registration is limited to 60. ACRL and ALA members receive a registration discount. For complete information, including a link to registration, go to: http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlproftools/plagiarism.htm

March 13, 2007

OCLC welcomes 202 Taiwan libraries to OCLC cooperative

DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 8 March 2007—Taiwan has added 202 libraries to the OCLC cooperative as full cataloging, Governing Members.

The Taiwan OCLC Governing Members Consortium libraries have agreed to catalog all their newly acquired titles using WorldCat, the world's most comprehensive database of items held in libraries around the globe. The WorldCat database is used to catalog materials, find materials for interlibrary loan, and can be used to search for library materials on the open Web via the WorldCat.org service.


Promoting Your Digital Reference Service

Lately, I've been looking at the sites LibX.org and Conduit.com. They offer FREE! tools that allow you to create an ever-present toolbar for your digital reference service. You can also use it for other services such as your catalog. Patrons can download the toolbar onto their own browser (I've found that it works best with Firefox) and connect to a librarian (when the service is available) at any given whim. Ask a question without even going to the library's website. What a great way to promote your service!

March 8, 2007

Another Chat Window Widget

So, as I mentioned earlier, I added a chat window to this blog. The Meebo Me widget. However, there is another chat window widget out there that I wanted to bring attention to. It's called Plugoo, www.plugoo.com. The differences between MeeboMe and Plugoo are that Plugoo works in conjunction with another IM client, like GoogleTalk, AOL, MSN. You need to be registered with one of those IM clients but the user asking a question need not be registered or logged in to another IM client. Also, Plugoo will only allow one chat session at a time. If you are chatting with a user other users that visit your site will see a "busy" message in the chat window. MeeboMe allows you to chat with as many users as you can stand at once.

I also found out that Plugoo is from a company based in France which adheres to more strict computer privacy regulations than the U.S. In case that makes any difference in reviewing chat window widget products. I decided to go with Meebo Me because I was already using them as my multiplatform IM client account manager and it was just so easy to set up and use. I'm sure Plugoo is just as easy to use but it doesn't have a multiplaform feature and I am pretty hooked on Meebo's multiplatform manager.

March 7, 2007

Research Project Calculator

Helping students jump-start their research! The latest Cool Tool @ Your Library for Minnesota secondary school students and their teachers is here. The Research Project Calculator, www.elm4you.org/research, is a great way to introduce students to the research process.

The calculator gives students the option of choosing between three different format types for their project: essay, powerpoint, or video. Once a student enters an end date for their project and format type the calculator will show them the process broken down into 5 steps: Question, Gather, Conclude, Communication, and Evaluate with completion dates for each step. Each step offers information about what that step entails and how to go about completing it. For instance, Step 2, Gather, gives information about what the step is about, where to look for information, forming search techniques, how to identify best sources, how to record information, and how to cite sources. Students can then either print out the steps or have the steps emailed to themselves.

Look for more information about the Research Calculator and other interesting articles coming in the March issue of Reference Notes.

March 6, 2007

In Case You Missed It...

Tech Talk a University of Minnesota television production that airs on TPT2 is a show that talks about the latest technologies being used in various aspects of business, education, and the home. Last night was a rebroadcast of show focusing on libraries. The theme, "The Changing Face of Libraries", brought in 2 guest speakers, Kit Hadley, Director of Minneapolis Public Libraries, and John Butler, Director of the Digital Libraries Development Lab part of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Libraries. Each discussed new technologies their libraries are using to better serve and engage their patrons and the community.

Kit Hadley talked about the new Minneapolis Public Library building and space. They specifically designed the new building with an open floor plan, no walls, to allow for improvements and changes in technology in the future. Also, staff are equipt with wireless pagers/walkie talkies that allow them to contact another staff member by voice command that saves them time in tracking down people that may be in different rooms or on different levels. It also allows staff to stay mobile and in better contact with their patrons.

John Butler talked about the different technologies being used by University Libraries to connect with patrons outside the libraries with services such as Digital Reference (he highlighted the co-browse feature as a learning moment teaching students how to use the libraries website), Electronic Reserves, which allow students to access selected copyrighted material for their course online, and CourseLib, which is a database driven tool that pulls together the resources used in support specific courses. Each tool is designed with to meet patron's need for easy access online and ease of use. John also highlighted the Assignment Calculator part of the Undergraduate Digital Library as a way for undergrads to gauge the timeframe and steps involved in the research process.

In my next blog entry I will talk more about the Research Project Calculator that was adapted from the U Libraries' Assignment Calculator specifically for the high school student.

March 1, 2007

Google patents

Google launched a patent database that includes US patents from the 1790's through mid 2006, with plans to add patents that are more recent. Google Patents can search US and international patent classes, assignees, inventors and patent numbers. It can limit by issue and filing date. However, older scanned patents include many optical character recognition errors and the database does not include patent applications.
Taken from Online magazine, March/April 2007,pg 14.