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April 26, 2007

51 Students Represent Minnesota in History Day Competition

51 students across Minnesota will represent the state at the National History Day Competition in June at the University of Maryland, College Park. This year's theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History" encouraged students to choose a topic in history from ancient to recent times and demonstrate how the event was either a triumph or tragedy or both. Students were asked to explain time, place, and context, cause and effect, change over time, impact and significance,
when and where events happened, why events occurred, and what factors contributed to their development. They were also encouraged to use both primary and secondary sources to tell their stories.

History Day is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota.

Congratulations to all participants and good luck to the finalists in June!

April 24, 2007

Teens and Internet Safety

Pew Internet & American Life Project have released a new study called "Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace". It gives an eye-openning look at how teens use and view the internet. Most teens limit and alter the information they post about themselves to retain privacy. First name and a photo are common but beyond that is limited, false, or restricted. When possible, they also shield personal information to invited persons only. Teens also have a realization that although they may withhold information or post false information about themselves if someone what's to track them down via the internet they probably will be able to. Another finding was that parents have more restrictions on the use of the internet than other media in the household.

It's an interesting read and gives a good look at teen behavior on the internet as well as the difference between boys and girls and the information they provide. Libraries will want to offer classes on Internet Safety or provide some type of guidelines for teen use and the internet and this report will help immensely in understanding teen behavior.

April 20, 2007

FAIR School Podcasts

In March, the Fine Arts Interdisciplinary (FAIR) School invited MINITEX Reference Services to present ELM resources to their teachers and students.

The presentation with the 5th and 6th grade classes ended with creating a podcast about what they learned. When asked for five volunteers, a flurry of hands shot up! After the difficult task of choosing which students would create the radio show we divvied up their sentences and recorded them. The whole time the class was full of smiles and at the completion a LOUD roar of clapping and cheering occurred. These students were remarkable in their enthusiasm and attention.

5th grade podcast: Download file

6th grade podcast: Download file


Questions to comment on:
1. How can we strengthen the relationship between the media specialist and the classroom teacher?
2. What success stories can you tell of sharing your role of the media specialist and/or encouraging collaboration among teachers?
3. Please share additional thoughts and reactions to the podcast.

(Questions from a great podcast by the School Media Podcast at SCSU.)

April 18, 2007

Free Lesson Plans

Check out a full selection of free Thomson Gale lesson plans, including primary and secondary-level Earth Day lessons and MANY MORE.

http://www.galeschools.com/lesson_plans/index.htm

Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

There's an interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing the need for the reference desk and the value of face-to-face interaction. The article is very interesting in that it brings up many different points of views and stronly advocating outreach to the patron, be it online, via text message on the phone, or in the coffee shop (still, face to face).

This has generated a lot of discussion on the DigRef listserv with varying degress of responses. Most librarians agree that we need to be there for patrons/students and all points of need, not just online (the most convenient). But face to face should not be necessarily be thought of as the reference desk. There are many other types of face to face reference transactions that take place. It's interesting to here about some of the libraries that have already done away with the reference desk but I would interested to find out if any of them have kept or transitioned to an information desk and have monitored, at all, for the need of face to face or reference desk at-the point/time-of need-service.

What are your thoughts about this?

Library MySpace Project

I found this from the Walking Paper blog. Two LIS students have set up a Library MySpace Study site on MySpace to study libraries and the site. They have also begun a bibliography of libraries that have a MySpace account and resource page for online outreach and marketing.

Best of the Web wiki and 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, “Best of the Web.”

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

http://www.dupagepress.com/COD/index.php?id=1192

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!

We hope that you and the viewers at your site enjoyed the Soaring to Excellence program presented on April 13th, entitled “Best from the Web”. The “Best from the Web” wiki is now open for your suggestions and additions. College of DuPage’s intent is to have participants add their suggestions of books, software, web sites, hints and suggestions to our program wiki. The address for the wiki is: http://soaring.pbwiki.com/ The password is share.

We also hope that you will join us on April 27th for an important, no charge webcast, "Library Education: Facing New Realities." To receive the URL for the conference, please register by calling Cathy at 1-800-354-6587. You call also register by sending us an e-mail at teleconference@cod.edu with your name, institution, address, work phone number and e-mail address.

The program is presented as a service to the library profession at no cost. It is offered as a webcast only (no satellite dish needed).

April 17, 2007

Book Burro

Book Burro is a very simple and easy to install tool that will sense when you are viewing or searching for a book. A "Book Burro" tab will appear and when you click on it, it will queary for lowest book prices on other sites. It is synced up with WorldCat.org so it can also indicate library locations nearest your IP address. Very cool.

April 16, 2007

Web 2.0 and What It Means to Libraries

Here's an interesting blog entry from Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian. She gives a good run down of the latest stats of how many people are on the internet and who they are, what they're doing out there and the issues facing libraries today in this new ever-evolving webby world.

Marking Up Webpages Like a Whiteboard

Firedoodle is a Firefox add-on that let's you mark up webpages like a whiteboard. Just like when you make a screen print of a page and bring it in photoshop, snag-it, or powerpoint to point out things on a page, you can do the same with this tool. You can save your work and also mark your spot on a page that you're reading so you don't lose your place. It's pretty neat, check it out for yourself.
firedoodle%20page.jpg

April 11, 2007

MELSA video

Take a look at the newest MELSA promotion... 19 minute production for public television. First aired this past Saturday night.


From the following site, look under the "Backstage" category and choose... "Beyond Books."

http://www.tpt.org/mnchannel.new/video_archive.php

April 10, 2007

Google tutorials

Google Personalized Homepage
Tired of scrolling through bookmarks or typing in dictionary.com to look up a word? A customized Google homepage might be right for you! This tool can assist you in accomplishing repetitive personal tasks or assist you at the Reference Desk with common questions. Watch this 11 minute tutorial now to learn how to setup a customized Google homepage!

http://www.minitex.umn.edu/train-conf/webinars/archived/googlepersonalizedhomepage/googlepersonalizedhomepage.html


Google Customized Search Engine

Ever wish you could search a specific group of sites and not the whole Internet? The Google customized search engine allows you to designate specific sites on a topic or interest to search. This is a great tool to help K12 students learn about authoritative and reliable websites, and possibly create a customized search engine on their topic. Do you work in an academic environment? As a department liaison, or instruction librarian, you could create a customized search engine for a course or subject area. You can use the Librarian's E-Library customized search engine to search all the library-related websites for a topic of interest at once. Watch this 11 minute tutorial now to learn how to setup a customized Google search engine!

http://www.minitex.umn.edu/train-conf/webinars/archived/googlecustomsearchengine/googlecustomsearchengine.html

Who is this for? Anyone interested in learning Google's functionality and how librarian's can harness some of the tools.

April 9, 2007

Impact of Technology on Teaching and Learning

Here is an interesting article about how online tools such as blogs and wikis are aiding the teaching environment, reaching more students, and creating a new forum for peer-review/editing of work, developmental writing, and critical thinking.

:"The emergence of blogs and wikis within higher education is causing the academy to reexamine traditionally held pedagogical beliefs".

"While the pervasiveness of the technologies is growing outside of the academy, many are wondering how they can be included within the academy".

This is a very interesting read and does a good job of showing how valuable blogs and wikis, and web 2.0 tools in general, can aid in instruction, collaboration, and learning.

2006 Minnesota Internet Study shows broadband has become mainstream

The Center's latest annual telecommunications report, "The 2006 Minnesota Internet Study," estimates that home broadband adoption accelerated significantly across the state in 2006, even while home computer ownership and Internet connectivity inched up only slightly. The report estimates that at the end of 2006 68.7 percent of all Minnesota households owned at least one working computer (compared to 68% in 2005) and 63.5 percent of households maintained a home Internet connection (59.6% in 2005), but broadband adoption increased to 49 percent of all households, compared to 37 percent in 2005.
http://www.mnsu.edu/ruralmn/newsnotes.php

National Archives Films on Google Video

Over 70 years ago, the National Archives, http://video.google.com/nara.html, was founded to preserve American historical documents, as well as the moments and events that could be saved in still photos, films, and audio recordings. Today the Archives is home to everything from rare historical footage (newsreels and government documentaries from the 1930s) to the 1969 moon landing. Now Google is launching a pilot program to digitize its video content and offer it to everyone in the world for free, and you can watch a growing selection on Google Video.

April 4, 2007

Social Software Checklist

There's a great article from ComputerWeekly.com: Social Software is Improving Collaboration. It's not focused on libraries but it does have some good ideas about what an organization should look at if they plan on implementing any social software. At the end of the article they give a succinct checklist for implementation:

  • Governance is critical. If your organisation is not ready for informal, community-centric practices to improve communication, information sharing and collaboration, social software will likely fail in a general sense (it may still succeed if applied around specific applications)

  • Include groups involved in organisational development and human capital management

  • Expect a short lifecycle for any investment

  • Continue to monitor the market and the maturity of the technology

  • Do not standardise too quickly on a single supplier

  • Investigate and document both project success and failure

  • Source: Burton Group

While, again, it is not aimed specifically at libraries there is some good information that can be used for the library organization such as if you're going to move forward with social software of any kind it needs to be governed, or coordinated. Also, those involved need to monitor the morket for shifts in technology and to document, document, document (!) the project's successes and failures.

April 3, 2007

ACRL ANNOUNCES THE TOP TEN ASSUMPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIES

BALTIMORE - The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) unveiled its Top Ten Assumptions for the future of academic and research libraries today during the ACRL's 13th National Conference held March 29 to April 1 in Baltimore.

The ACRL Research Committee developed the top ten assumptions after surveying member leaders and conducting a literature review. A panel representing community and liberal arts colleges, research university libraries, as well as an observer of the higher education environment reacted and commented upon the assumptions at the ACRL National Conference.

A podcast featuring Snelson and Mullins discussing the top ten assumptions is available at http://blogs.ala.org/acrlpodcast.php. Read more by Mullins and committee members in the April issue of College & Research Libraries News at http://www.acrl.org/c&rlnews.


1. There will be an increased emphasis on digitizing collections, preserving digital archives, and improving methods of data storage and retrieval.

2. The skill set for librarians will continue to evolve in response to the needs and expectations of the changing populations (student and faculty) that they serve.

3. Students and faculty will increasingly demand faster and greater access to services.

4. Debates about intellectual property will become increasingly common in higher education.

5. The demand for technology related services will grow and require additional funding.

6. Higher education will increasingly view the institution as a business.

7. Students will increasingly view themselves as customers and consumers, expecting high quality facilities and services.

8. Distance learning will be an increasingly common option in higher education and will co-exist but not threaten the traditional bricks-and-mortar model.

9. Free, public access to information stemming from publicly funded research will continue to grow.

10. Privacy will continue to be an important issue in librarianship.

"Public access to taxpayer funded research is perhaps the most unpredictable and exciting of the ten, and legislation will play a key role here," said James L. Mullins, chair of the ACRL Research Committee and dean of libraries at Purdue University. "It will be advantageous to the academic community to focus on scholarly communication issues by exploring alternatives to the present mode of disseminating research findings. Librarians must collaborate in this discussion with disciplinary colleagues, yet not make it a "libraries" issue only."

The ACRL Research Committee invites comment from librarians. How does each assumption impact your library or you professionally? Are you aware of any developing issues or nascent trends that are not captured in the list?
Reply online by April 30, 2007 at https://marvin.foresightint.com/surveys/Tier1Survey/ACRL/156.

23 Things

I have been talking about this in my Library 2.0 webinar but have not yet mentioned it here. 23 Things is part of the Learning 2.0 project headed by The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and is open to any and all librarians and library staff interested in expanding their knowledge and skills with new technologies.

I like this site because they encourage the exploration and curiosity of discovering what new technologies are out there, playing around with them on your own or with your staff, and seeing how they can be applied to your library. They do this through the 23 Things and they reward those for going through this process and completing all the exercises. Many libraries have participated and gone through all 23 Things exercises and have even blogged about it. There are more links to other libraries from the Learning 2.0 site you can read up on as well. It helps to read about other librarians and libraries experiences going through something like this to know that technology isn't all that scary and you can enhance your library's website and outreach to your community easily and on the cheap!

Planet Earth

If you haven't had a chance to watch the new mini series on the Discovery channel called Planet Earth, check it out! This would be a great series to purchase for science courses in the K12.
http://dsc.discovery.com/guides/planetearth/planetearth.html

April 2, 2007

New Article Published by MINITEX Staff Member

Carla Steinberg Pfahl, MINITEX reference staff member, along with colleagues from University of Minnesota Libraries - Twin Cities, Van Houlson and Kate McCready, has published an article in the recent issue of Internet Reference Services Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 4. Here is the transcript from that article:

A Window into Out Patron’s Needs: Analyzing Data from Chat Transcripts

Abstract: This article provides an analysis of transcripts of chat reference transactions. The data analyzed for this study were from 631 chat reference transcripts from the University of Minnesota Libraries – Twin Cities Campus collected from January to Mary for both 2003 and 2004. Specifically, the patrons’ statuses, the length of sessions, the type of chat transactions, and the types of questions asked were examined. The findings determined that though a majority of patrons seeking assistance from the chat reference service were undergraduates (41%), graduate students used the service a surprising amount (28%). Overwhelmingly, most students needed assistance finding specific items or wanted to know how to find a resource. However, 17% of the undergraduates using this service were seeking in-depth reference assistance. The analysis has allowed for the transformation of chat reference services (including staffing and training) and also informs decisions about library services, Web sites, and collections.

New Article Published by MINITEX Reference Staff Member

Carla Steinberg Pfahl, MINITEX reference staff member, along with colleagues from University of Minnesota Libraries - Twin Cities, Van Houlson and Kate McCready, has published an article in the recent issue of Internet Reference Services Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 4. Here is the transcript from that article:

A Window into Out Patron’s Needs: Analyzing Data from Chat Transcripts

Abstract: This article provides an analysis of transcripts of chat reference transactions. The data analyzed for this study were from 631 chat reference transcripts from the University of Minnesota Libraries – Twin Cities Campus collected from January to Mary for both 2003 and 2004. Specifically, the patrons’ statuses, the length of sessions, the type of chat transactions, and the types of questions asked were examined. The findings determined that though a majority of patrons seeking assistance from the chat reference service were undergraduates (41%), graduate students used the service a surprising amount (28%). Overwhelmingly, most students needed assistance finding specific items or wanted to know how to find a resource. However, 17% of the undergraduates using this service were seeking in-depth reference assistance. The analysis has allowed for the transformation of chat reference services (including staffing and training) and also informs decisions about library services, Web sites, and collections.