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February 28, 2008

EBSCO's New Interface - Coming Soon!

EBSCO Publishing is pleased to announce plans to update the EBSCOhost interface in the summer of 2008. Since the last EBSCOhost major interface redesign in 2002, there have been many technological advancements, many of which we will incorporate into EBSCOhost 2.0. We are pleased to provide you with an early preview of the key features of EBSCOhost 2.0.

Some of the key updates will include:

• A cleaner, simpler user interface
• Related Images readily available beside the Result List
• Results directly from NewsBank
• Instant article previews from mouse-over action
• Expand/Collapse side panels
• Search history displayed above Result list
• SmartText Searching to provide full results from partial Find field terms
• Multi-database access to Authority files
• URLs that can be bookmarked
• A convenient, streamlined Cite process for all citation styles

We have also created an EBSCOhost 2.0 Flash overview, available here, and additional detailed information that describes all of the above features, here. (If you cannot open this link, please copy and paste this URL into your browser to see the details on EBSCO's Support Site: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=1&topicID=969)

In early March, additional support information regarding EBSCOhost 2.0 will be available on the EBSCO Support Site, including FAQ's, help sheets, user guides, online training sessions, and more.

February 27, 2008

Evaluating Web Content

Trudi Jacobson and Laura Cohen of the University Libraries University at Albany, SUNY have recently rewritten their mid-90s guide to helping students and others evaluate Web sites. The new version of this document reflects the impact of Web 2.0. It can be found at http://library.albany.edu/usered/eval/evalweb/ They still consider it as a work in progress. Check it out - it looks great and quite useful!

February 25, 2008

Sessions of Interest at PLA next month

If you are planning on attending PLA please keep in mind these 2 sessions hosted by Susan McGlamery with QuestionPoint:

1. Thursday March 27, 9 AM to 10 AM (user group meeting)
Regency Room, 2nd Floor

-User group meetings are very informative and allow you to connect with librarians across the nation/world that are using QP. You get to hear what others are up to, best practices, latest information from QP, tips and tricks. This session Jeff Penka will be talking about the latest feature to be released in the next month or two, Qwidget. Qwidget allows you to embed a chat window on any and every page you like that will allow patrons to instantly connect to your chat service when a librarian is logged in. Very similar to MeeboMe widget or Plugoo widget.

2. Friday March 28, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM (panel presentation)
Lake Superior A - 5th floor

-Panel presentation will be on best practices by peers in the QP community, how they are running their services, and reports back on assessment of services.

*Both of these are at the Hyatt Regency, http://tiny.cc/IBDav

February 22, 2008

Reaching Your Students Where They Are

Check out this great overview video of mobile library services for the academic library by Michelle Jacobs at UCLA, College Library!

Video: 9:31 min.

February 20, 2008

Statewide VR Project Training

Half of the participating libraries in the statewide vr project, AskMN, have now gone through training and are practicing with chat and getting use to the new system. Next week will be a very busy week. I'll be visiting St. Cloud State U., UM - Duluth, Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis, and St. Kate's. It will be a marathon week of training. After training is completed the participating libraries will perform a 2 week test run of the service and we will discuss issues and work flows and look at an official date to go live with the service.

We are at a very exciting stage of the project getting all our ducks in a row and making sure no issue has been overlooked! MINITEX will send out an official announcement sometime in the beginning of March.

February 18, 2008

User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly

From OCLC Abstracts - February 18, 2008 • Vol. 11, No. 7

According to the latest AlertBox research, users now do basic operations with confidence and perform with skill on sites they use often. But when users try new sites, well-known usability problems still cause failures. Almost all users:

• are better at physical operations, such as mouse movements and scrolling;
• are more confident at clicking, and less afraid that they'll break something; and
• know the basics of using search and use it more often than in the past.

When performing common tasks on sites they often use, most users are incredibly fast and competent. Nonetheless, they're stumped by the smallest usability problems when they visit new sites for the first time. People are very bad at coping with information architectures that deviate from their view of the problem space. Users are also overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that many sites dump on them. First-time visitors to a site don't have the conceptual model needed to correctly interpret menu options and navigate to the appropriate place.

In addition, when it comes to search, users face three problems:

• Inability to retarget queries to a different search strategy
• Inability to understand search results and properly evaluate each destination site's likely usefulness
• Inability to sort through the search engine results page's mass of poor results, whether from blogs or from heavily SEO-optimized sites that are insufficiently specific to really address the user's problem

Given these difficulties, many users are at the search engine's mercy and mainly click the top links--a behavior we might call Google Gullibility. Sadly, while these top links are often not what they really need, users don't know how to do better.

View the complete report.

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, February 4, 2008

State of the State

If you read the Pioneer Press editorial on Governor Pawlenty's State of the State last week, you may remember this excerpt from the speech:

In regards to revolutionizing education through technology Governor Pawlenty said, "Let's get started by developing a world-class, digitally stored, always available, anywhere, anytime, jaw-dropping, eye-popping teaching toolbox accessible to all our teachers and students."

Well, MINITEX Reference would like to say that we already do have many tools of this very nature that are a part of that toolbox.

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Electronic Library for Minnesota comprised of 15 databases with full-text articles to subscription journals, magazines and newspapers, electronic books, images, videos, sound files, primary source documents, and more!

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the MnLINK Gateway which includes access to online catalogs from over 20 Minnesota library systems

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Research Project Calculator which is a web-based research guide targeted to high school students that creates a timeline for completing an assignment or research project.

All Minnesota residents have free, 24/7 access to the Minnesota Digital Library which is creating a digital collection of the state's unique resources and special collections. The Minnesota Digital Library supports education, scholarship, and enrichment through Internet access to this collection.

Please take a moment to check out these resources!

Up to the challenge, maybe. February 14, 2008. p8B. Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, MN).

People Watching With a Purpose

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the College of DuPage Soaring to Excellence  teleconference, “People Watching With a Purpose: Meeting Needs Before They Need It."
The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.
Don’t miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!  

February 12, 2008

23 Things on a Stick Registration Deadline!

Please note that Friday, February 15th is the last day to register to participate in the 23 Things on a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 program. If you are already one of our 600 registered participants, who are happily exploring the 23 web 2.0 tools (Things) in the program, good for you! Keep posting your progress, pleasant surprises, and "aha" moments in your 23 Things blog. Play and Learn to Fear Less!

Join us now at http://23thingsonastick.blogspot.com

Live & Learn with Web 2.0,

Minnesota's Multicounty, Multitype Library Systems

February 11, 2008

February Reference Notes

The February issue of MINITEX Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!  This month’s issue includes information on Black History Month: It’s for Everyone, On the Road with Reference Services Staff, Aaron Swartz presentation on Evaluating Emerging Technologies and other thoughts on Library 2.0, New Leadership for New Challenges, LARL Receives Library Innovation Award, Searching Skills to Know and Use, Library Spaces: Future Needs 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!

AskMN: The Librarian Is In Update

The participating libraries of Minnesota's virtual reference program, AskMN: The Librarian Is In are currently going through training for the new service. So far we have visited Hennepin County Library System, Joint Libraries of St. Ben's/St. John's, and Rochester Public Library. Next week I'll be heading to Minnesota State University - Mankato and the last week of February will be very busy going to St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota - Duluth, Hennepin County Library System - Minneapolis, and St. Kate's. February is turning out to be a very busy month in deed!

The training sessions have been going very well. Folks are getting introduced to QuestionPoint, the software that we will use for the new service, and are asking lots of great questions. The participating libraries are getting a sense of what the service will entail and what their institutions' work flow will look like for scheduling and managing chat sessions. We will have a better sense of possible launch date for the service the first week of March after everyone has had the opportunity of being trained in.

If you have any questions about this program you can contact me directly at pfahl001 at umn dot edu.

University of Minnesota Art Exhibits

From -- Deborah Boudewyns

Paradise & Purgatory Exhibit Opens This Week with Reception on Thursday (February 14)

Two art exhibits -- one of works by University of Minnesota graduate students, and one of images from the University's Gorman Rare Art Book Collection -- explore themes of salvation and damnation in art. Work ranging from the 4th century to the present informs viewers of possible routes to spiritual redemption and the disasters that might befall moral transgressors.
The exhibit can be found throughout Wilson Library and the Music Library starting this Thursday, February 14.

For more exhibit details, go to the Libraries events blog:



Becoming Minnesota
Elmer L. Andersen Library Gallery
Now through March 12

Destination Shaanxi: Material Culture at the End of the Silk Road
Elmer L. Andersen Library, 2nd and 3rd floors
Through February 15

February 4, 2008

New ACRL e-Learning Course, Registration Open

Register now for the new Association of College and Research Libraries
(ACRL) e-learning course, " Virtual Reference Competencies III: Maintain
and Build Reference Skills and Knowledge," to be offered February 18 -
March 7, 2008.

Without good communications skills a librarian will have a difficult
time being a good reference librarian. However, without solid competence
in reference skills and knowledge, a librarian is not a librarian. This
reference expertise is why information seekers-all potential and current
library users-will choose to use virtual reference services instead of
just Googling on their own. Reference competencies involve searching,
critical thinking, and information organization skills, as well as
knowledge of specific reference sources and information-finding tools.
Competent reference librarians are aware of the publication processes,
both print and electronic, and the policies, procedures, organization,
and legal environment of their specific library or library organization.

In this workshop participants will engage in learning activities,
supported by readings as well as lecture and discussion to maintain and
build on the reference competencies required by effective virtual
reference librarians.

Registration for this seminar is now open. For additional information
and a link to the online registration form, visit:

February 1, 2008

Librarians Say the MLS Matters; Cost a Key Issue

Another article highlighted by Library Journal's Academic Newswire shows that a "recent job satisfaction survey suggested there was one overarching reason why the MLS was important to them: advancement. But, while you can’t afford not to have the degree if you expect to advance professionally, paying for the degree is another matter.  For more on this click here.  Remember that Library Journal  can be veiwed via the Professional Collection, MasterFILE Premier, and Academic Search Premier- all part of ELM!

A Nod to Our Profession

"How they came to their careers is as varied as the people themselves, but despite some clear challenges for college and university librarians in the digital age, academic librarianship is good work, according to Library Journal's recent Job Satisfaction Survey (examined in Take This Job and Love It ). The overwhelming majority of the 1,209 academic respondents—some 70 percent across all age groups and institution size—reported being either “very satisfied” (32.1 percent) or “satisfied” (37.9 percent) with their jobs. Just under a quarter reported they were “somewhat satisfied” (23.4 percent). Only 6.7 percent admitted they were dissatisfied with their career choice."  This is from Library Journal Academic Newswire, which can be viewed here

Pew Report- Internet Searches that Solve Problems

This report, funded with a grant from IMLS, came out of a partnership between the University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign and the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  It highlights several major findings like: "For help with a variety of common problems, more people turn to the internet than consult experts or family members to provide information and resources", and, "members of Gen Y are the leading users of libraries for help solving problems and in more general patronage."  The results of this survey challenge the notion that libraries are losing their relevance but "libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes, not just the problems mentioned in this survey. And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y (age 18-30) who led the pack. Compared to their elders, Gen Y members were the most likely to use libraries for problem-solving information and in general patronage for any purpose."  Click here to link to the full report or here to link to a report summary.