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September 28, 2007

Reference Symposium


The University of Minnesota Libraries and MINITEX Library Information

6th Reference Symposium 

"Serving Users in Your Communities: Inside and Outside the Walls"
will be held

Monday, May 12, 2008

Continuing Education and Conference Center (formerly the Earle Brown
Conference Center)

St. Paul Campus
University of Minnesota 

This all-day conference will feature speakers on Library 2.0 and outreach to
communities of users, posters sessions, and much more.

Yahoo! Teachers

Yahoo! Teachers is a lesson planning and collaboration tool for educators to create lesson plans and share them with others. The creation of lesson plans is facilitated by a widget called Gobbler, which enables users to copy and paste content (text, images, or entire web pages) from any web site into a folder in their portfolio. Folders contain pre-assigned metadata concerning the content, including subject, grade level, and state learning standards. Content placed in a folder is automatically marked with this metadata. This is crucial in the No Child Left Behind environment so that teachers can meet federal testing requirements. Once collected, content in the folders can be pasted into a rich text editor to enable teachers to create handouts and worksheets.

From Outsell Insights 9/28/07

September 26, 2007

Blogosphere Survey Results

I can't believe this eluded me until now but Meredith Farkas has published her findings on a survey she conducted earlier this summer about the blogoshpere: 2007 Survey of the Biblioblogosphere: Blog Demographics.

It's quite interesting to see how many librarians are blogging, what they're blogging about and why they use blogging as a means of communication. It was also really exciting to see that the number of blogs being created has not slowed down. Yes! Keep it growing. I don't think there is such a thing as "deluge" on the web. Everyone chooses what they do and don't want to read on the web and there is infinite amount of room for everyone to have a voice, especially if that voice is directed at a specific community and not just to the whole of the internet.

One interesting point that Meredith points out in the survey is that while you may not tell people at work that you have a personal blog that doesn't mean they don't know about it. She was surprised to find people commenting on her blog from work that she didn't realize knew about it. Also, 45% of bloggers responded that they have never published anything, blogging was their only "formal" form of writing to a public. I think that this is a great example of how blogs can be used to strengthen writing and communication skills of librarians as well as being used for outreach and connection. Also, it can lead to more opportunities to blog, write, present...

Check out the survey and start batting around the idea of how you and your community can benefit from blogging.

September 25, 2007

Minnesota Library 2.0 Summit

On Friday, September 14th, I attended the Minnesota Library 2.0 Summit, sponsored by the Health Science Libraries of Minnesota. Michael Stephens, author of Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software, and the Tame the Web library blog, was the speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and learned a lot from it. He covered the background, history, philosophy, and best practices of Library 2.0 or social software. He covered blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasting, and gave everyone a chance to try Guitar Hero during breaks. Michael is a professor of library science at Dominican University and in 2005 was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers. To keep up with Library 2.0 and new technologies Michael suggested some things that we, as librarians can do:

  • Be a trend spotter
  • Form an emerging tech committee
  • Try learning a 2.0 program
  • Create a “what’s new” blog for your library
  • Explore the presence of users

And, three important things that he tells his students over and over again,

  • Scan the horizon for the next big change
  • Learn to learn
  • Adapt to change

September 19, 2007

eBooks Spark Interest in Reading

From eSchool News, a study at Ball State's Center for Information and Communications Sciences, graduate student researchers worker with a group of third- and fourth-grade students uninterested in reading to see if how eBooks might influence their desire for reading. They found that 75% of the students enjoyed reading from the eBooks more than the print version and 65% prefered reading from a handheld device than the print counterpart.

The group is only half way through their research study and will continue to gather more data throughout the program length. For more information about the story, read it online here: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=7342.

Smiley Celebrates 25 Years

Carnegie Mellon professor Scott E. Fahlman is credited with creating the first typographic emoticon, Smiley, as it is affectionately referred 25 years ago :-) "Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly." In honor of the aniversary Fahlman and collegues will begin a new annual award for students to encourage the further expansion of innovative technology-assisted communication.

For more information read the articles from the StarTribune and NY Times.

September 17, 2007

Tagging and Libraries

Latest article in Library Journal talks about tagging and social bookmarking and how they relate to libraries: Tags Help Make Libraries Del.icio.us by Melissa Rethlefsen.

Keyword Research

Over at E-Strategy, they put together a fascinating video about keyword research. "Sound keyword research reveals not just the phrases people are using to search for your products, services, or information but also their state of mind, location, and point within the purchase cycle, among other things."

Online Virtual Reference Seminar Opportunity

From ACRL's E-Learning center: Virtual Reference Competencies: Acquire and Improve Technical Skills and Knowledge, Oct. 1-20, 2007. This online seminar is a primarily asynchronous seminar, allowing you to work through course material at times convenient throughout the three weeks of scheduled course time. You may also choose to schedule online chat time with the teacher, as you feel necessary. Specific material and learning activities will be covered during each week of the course.

The seminar will be led by Diane Kovacs of Kovacs Consulting. Diane has been teaching virtual reference related concepts and skills online and in-person for more than 14 years. She is the author of The Virtual Reference Handbook: Interview and Information Delivery Techniques for the Chat and E-Mail Environments, Neal-Schuman Publishers (2007) published concurrently in the United Kingdom by Facet Publishers (2007).

Check out the ACRL E-Learning website: http://www.acrl.org/ala/acrl/acrlproftools/ALA_print_layout_1_411240_411240.cfm for more information including course learning outcomes and fees.

September 13, 2007

Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007 Report

The full report, “Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007 Report” has been published.  Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Library Association (ALA), the Studyis part of a sustained effort to provide current information that describes access to computers and the Internet in U.S. public libraries.
·         You can find it at www.ala.org/plinternetfunding or purchase a copy online at the ALA Store:http://tinyurl.com/3cb83p.
·         If time is short, and you just want to see the report highlights, I highly recommend review of these three sections.

September 7, 2007

Accessible Online Book Sources Presentation

Join InfoEyes Librarians Donna Cirenza (Tennessee), Catherine A. Durivage

(Minnesota) and Julie Strange (Maryland) as they host an overview of accessible online books sources, such as Bookshare.org, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, netLibrary, audible.com, Unabridged, and Overdrive. They will also discuss Playaways and the transition to digital audio books by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. All are welcome to attend.


Free to attend!


This free, online discussion on Thursday, September 20th about accessible online book services should be very interesting. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. There is no need to register, and no direct costs.

Feel free to join us.


First time users of OPAL (www.opal-online.org) will need to download and run a small, safe piece of software. The link to the software is available on the entry webpage to the online room:



When asked to type in a user name, you may type in your name or any name.

Please leave the password field blank.


For a complete list of all upcoming OPAL online events, please visit the following URL:



Thursday, September 20, 2007 beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 6:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:



Host: InfoEyes.


Location: The online room of the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library


Tom Peters, OPAL Coordinator

September 5, 2007

Slam the Boards Update

From the DigRef listserv via Bill Pardue:

Caleb-Tucker Raymond and I have been contacted by John Klem of Yahoo's Social Search team (the folks behind Yahoo Answers). They're quite intrigued and excited about the prospect of so many librarians getting involved for Slam the Boards. John wanted to extend a special invitation to try and fast-track "Slam" librarians into Yahoo's special Knowledge Partner status (see http://answers.yahoo.com/info/knowledge_partners) for details. You'll be asked to select an area of expertise (are you seeing this business librarians, health librarians, lit specialists, etc.?!). In addition to having a "Knowledge Partner" designation on your answers, they will be looked at a bit more closely by the Yahoo editorial staff and may be highlighted on the Yahoo Answers home page. Some best answers from Knowledge Partners may also eventually be given prioritized rankings in the Yahoo search engine.

Interested? Act now!

There's not a lot of time to try to add a huge list of librarians before Monday, but John will do his best. Send ME (bpardue@ahml.info) your name, e-mail and Yahoo screen name by Friday, 9/7, 11 a.m. Chicago time (CDT). I will forward the names collectivly to John and he will send follow-ups to you. If you can't contact me by then, you'll probably still be able to do this in the future, it just won't be in time for Slam the Boards.

What's my commitment?

Naturally, Yahoo wants participants who will stay involved (isn't that the ultimate goal of Slam the Boards, too?). They currently ask Knowledge Partners to pick up 10 questions per week, but are willing to be more flexible for us. John will detail that a bit more in his replies.

One of the things I've mentioned to John is that many librarians are "generalists" who look up answers on topics that we aren't specifically experts on, rather than experts who can write authoritatively on a given subject. John said that Yahoo is working on refining the designations over time, but that we should still take the opportunity now to submit our names.

Anyway, I'm going to do it, and I'm hoping many more of us will, too!


August Newsletter

The August issue of MINITEX Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!  This month’s issue includes information on "Back to School" in Detroit Lakes, Time with Teachers, Open Library Opens to the Public, My Health Minnesota –> Go Local, 2007-08 Teleconference Season, Collaborative Virtual Reference Symposium and more!  
To link to the current or past issues go to http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/.
Don’t miss out on this timely information!

September 4, 2007

Tomorrow's Workforce

I just read the article “Biz Kids: Today’s tech-savy kids want everything yesterday. So what happens when they hit the workforce?” in July/August 2007 issue of Training. It had some interesting discussions on education and the traditional classroom model of desks and a blackboard with the teacher lecturing that is used in most classrooms today, rather than creating information together , in an interactive learning environment, which the elementary kids of today do outside of class. The No Child Behind initiative was discussed and the issue of teachers teaching kids how to test.  An interesting thought on this issue is that if kids are being tested through multiple choice, “which do not require much higher-level thinking skills, our future workforce might have fewer problem solving skills and less practiced high-level reasoning.”   However, this is where extracurricular activities and today’ students pastime of gaming excel. Gaming is all about solving a problem or developing a certain skill using high-level reasoning.