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March 31, 2008

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper


I just ran across an interesting presentation on the Dig_Ref Listserv.  A group of teachers and librarians had students post their term papers to wikipedia.  An interesting statistic, said that Wikipedia entries are at the top of search engine results 27% of the time.  It also allows collaboration with the external community.  To listen to the free, archived Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper presentation on the project, visit:  http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=15031&PRODUCT_CODE=ELI082/SESS07&bhcp=1

Introducing the EBSCOhost 2.0 Support Center

From EBSCO Publishing -

We're pleased to announce that the EBSCOhost 2.0 Support Center, http://support.ebsco.com/ebscohost2, is now live.

This special section of the EBSCO Support Site provides extensive resources for customers as they prepare for EBSCOhost 2.0 this summer, including:

• FAQs
• Help Sheets
• User Guide
• Screen shots
• Training Outline
• Sample email announcement text
• Customizable, introductory flyer and posters
• PPT tutorial
• Schedule of online 2.0 courses - SIGN UP NOW for a guided tour of the EBSCOhost 2.0 features and functionality
• And links to the Flash overview, Enhancements PPT, and the feedback survey

We will continue to add to this special section as our release date approaches. We encourage you to share this with your colleagues, consortia and accessing sites, so that they can learn more about EBSCOhost 2.0, which is scheduled to be released in July 2008.

Government Secrecy: Censoring Your Right to Know

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the OpenTheGovernment.org Sunshine Week 2008  teleconference, “Government Secrecy: Censoring Your Right to Know."
The following streaming video link is available for teleconference. It will be active for approximately 30 days after the broadcast.
(click on the logo on the website to open the video file)
Don’t miss out on this great professional development and enrichment opportunity!  

March 30, 2008

Another presentation I went to

Another presentation I went to was RX for RA.  Three speakers presented on how they do reader’s advisory training at their locations.  Their handouts on the website are extremely valuable.  I also enjoyed one presenter as she explained what worked and didn’t work.  For example, the second round of RA training everyone was assigned a “classic” from Horror, Romance, etc.  Well, at the end the comment she got from everyone that participated was that the patrons don’t ask for the classics- they ask for newer material.  Now she chooses items that have been published in the past 1-2 years to discuss.  I also appreciate how EVERYONE in the library was invited to attend the book discussions and participate in the RA training.
The other presentation I went to was The Central Library: Crown Jewel or Tarnished Tiara? Which I regret only making it to hear Greg  Edwards, Library Services Manager, Central Region, The Public Library of Cincinnati present.  I wish I could have heard the others because his Library sounds fantastic!  I want to go visit!  Again, the central library with 500,000 needed to be more customer focused.  They had 24 areas within the library.  In 2005 the library began an unobstrusive study on 33 dates, 130 shifts of 12 activities.  During this time they observed 23,114 customers.  The amazing thing is that over 50% of the people were on computers and the computers were scattered around the 24 departments.  Also, they noticed the second largest population was teens, and there was only a collection but no space for the teens.  This lead to some HUGE changes.  They collapsed departments (no one lost their job), created an 8,000 sq. ft. teen spot, homework help area,  created a self-check out and holds, and added a bank of 100 computers in one central area.  All these changes have saved $1,000,000 in operating expenses- needless to say the Board is very happy with the results along with the patrons.

Off your seat and on your feet

The last session I went to at PLA was “off your seat and on your feet”  presented by two engaging librarians at Columbus Metropolitan Library.  There they truly focus on the customer.  They looked at numerous customer service orientated organizations like Blockbuster, Nordstrom’s and Starbucks.  They stressed the difference between knowledge and data.  In the end they focused on the customer, and tried to turn all the No’s into YES,  To do this they needed staff buy in, which was difficult.  Fears of never sitting down while doing roaming reference, health concerns, off- desk duties etc. were discussed (you can see a sample in their handouts on the PLA site).  They focused on streamlining processes within the library, and even got a call center.  Reference librarians now sit behind counters that can be no longer than 7 feet (in one instance it is less than 4 feet and needed a special keyboard in order to fit).  The idea is the library staff member can easily walk around and enter the area from any side… also they want the librarians moving throughout the library assisting patrons when time allows.  They use Vocera as a walkie talkie between staff and as a telephone.  They also enhanced their webpacs and put them around their libraries so librarians did not have to carry around tablet pcs which are rather heavy if on your feet for hours.  It was an excellent presentation that focused on where libraries are going and the multitude of steps needed to get there.  My favorite part of the whole thing is that  each branch got to design their own reference desks- no cookie cutters.  They were given guidelines and then the library staff were to tell them what would work in their unique location.

March 28, 2008

Reader's Advisory Toolkit III

Another session I went to yesterday was, Readers Advisory Toolkit III. It was VERY interesting- wish I went to the first two. The first presenter talked about promoting the backlist. She had an interesting idea: if you promote one new author or book you should promote four older authors or books 1:4, and vice versa. She also discussed displays, which I never thought to incorporate music to read by in a display- very cool idea. 
The second speaker focused on genre studies. She stressed the importance of just reading a couple books in each genre, even if you dislike the area, because it allows you to identify with the patrons by saying something like, “well, I haven’t read __(author/title), however I have read ___, can you tell me more about __.” Also, to not focus on what we think a genre is- patrons use different terms to describe what they like/dislike. Also, write notes on every book you read/listen to. 
The last speaker (and the one I enjoyed the most) discussed how we can stay afloat in RA and not be quite so overwhelmed. She showed websites, blogs, Publisher’s sites and library awards we should be aware of and track. I HIGHLY suggest you down load the handouts for this presentation because her resource list is quite extensive and a great place to go to be in the know about what is coming down the pipe in publishing in 6+ months. She also stressed to only use 4-5 RA site, otherwise you will get overwhelmed by e-mails or RSS feeds and not want to check it/read them. Excellent talk and very engaging!!!

Who uses the Public Library

Yesterday morning I went to the Who uses the Public Library session.  It was very interesting to see statistics that contradict my assumptions. One of the researchers found that there was no correlation between the use of the Internet and declining use the Library, which is something I thought was occurring. One interesting fact was that patrons use 2.4 sources per information interaction. This really hit home for me the need to do the reference interview, so we know what they really want before we start consulting all our resources, because after 2 we have lost them. It was also to see that we get more bang for our buck with online resources than in-person… it is more economical since it reaches more people. However, another study showed that online people just use the catalog to see what is in our collections and to look at digital images- they overlook databases, etc. This is an area we can improve on. I also suggest if you want to review all the statistics and slides you look at the PLA handout website. 

What does it take to be good at reference in the age of Google?

This morning I went to the session What does it take to be good at reference in the age of Google?, presented by Joe Janes, columnist for American Libraries. His session was witty and toothy- lots to think about. He argued that basically Google has the market on ready-reference. Google is good at the specific, semi-sophisticated to fill a momentary gap.   Google has: breath, orient, everywhere all the time, FREE, QUICK, EASY and GOOD ENOUGH, from the free Web, and brings people closer together. He argues that Google can do ready reference, such as finding the capital of Belize faster than we could, so it is not an area we should fight for. But, what is more important is what Google can’t do that library staff do: gathering, select, decide, understand, help, depth, accuracy, print/fee-based, highly sophisticated search, be part of a community. 
I personally loved how he stressed the importance of doing a good reference interview to help patrons (MORE training). He wants us to know the trick of librarianship and web searching to be able to help the patrons so the patrons see that we know more than just about books, and can razzle dazzle them with our skills, per say. We need to “play up our service orientation.” This is an area that libraries are just starting to do- move away from the collection message and focus on services- connecting people with information. He also emphasized that when people ask us a question it is because they failed- they tried and couldn’t find anything and we are their last resort, so we must be available anytime and everywhere that they might have an information need. We need to make it so they think of the library when they have an information need. 
Lastly, Janes stated “do what you got into this to do.” We should be the social worker to help people, or the treasure hunter to find that perfect item. He also discussed print, YouTube, blogs, and Wikipedia (which I love that he said if you don’t like it either fix it or shut up…. We should all take a few entries to make better.) He was an excellent presenter- wish I could take a course from him at Washington. 
I highly suggest you check out his PowerPoint available at the PLA handouts website, at: http://www.placonference.org/handoutspage.cfm 

March 27, 2008

Free Online Version of Photoshop

It's been over a year in development but Adobe has finally released a long anticipated free, web-based version of it's popular software, Photoshop called Photoshop Express: https://www.photoshop.com/express/landing.html. Sill in beta, it's a one-click editing tool that let's the user resize, crop, red eye correction, touch up, and more. They offer users storage of up to 2GB free with a maximum pixel size per photo of 4000. Plus, it integrated with many photo-sharing websites such as Photobucket, Facebook, and Google's Picasa, but not (yet) Flickr.

Other free, web-based online image editors are Picnik and FotoFlexer.

These are all great tools to help libraries using social networking sites where they can upload photos for sharing among other many other benefits including online publishing, printing, brochures, and event promotions.

March 26, 2008

Attending the PCA/ACA Conference

Last week I was at the Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, where I delivered a paper I wrote for my Masters in Liberal Studies program titled “Tame the Web: An Analysis of Librarianship Pop Culture.” I was not the sole representative from the University community; another student in the MLS program presented in the dance area, and Marie Harvat presented on the Children’s Literature Collection. It was a fascinating conference; it was difficult to choose from the 40+ panels offered during each time slot from 8am-10pm every day. 

The Chair of the Libraries, Archives and Museums section, Allen Ellis from Northern Kentucky University, suggested that I go to a panel in which I know nothing about when there is not a library panel. Being a reference librarian, this was a problem for me- there were too many interesting panels to choose from. I think to be a good reference librarian you have to be interested in learning and knowing a little bit in a lot of things can’t hurt. So, when a Libraries panel was not offered during a time I could choose from library-related sessions such as ones focused in science fiction writing, romance literature, Harry Potter or the unrelated, such as Harley Davidson’s (and yes, many of them were in head-to-toe leather), fashion or dance. One of the most interesting panels I went to was presented by my roommate. She is a History MA student in St. Louis where she is looking at the evolution of monsters in comics. In that panel I learned about the comics code authority, which I did not know about this type of censorship prior, and am amazed it is still around, but not very well enforced. (As a side note- her grandfather was the creator of The Green Lantern; pretty cool! She is a 3rd generation comic artist/historian.) 
One library presentation focused on recipe related information that the GPO published in the 20’s-50’s. It was very interesting to see how the government influenced artwork and language during years of war, etc. Another session that was fascinating was by a librarian at the National Archives on Film and Television Court Records. In this session we looked at 15 documents from the entertainment arena and learned how to do some research for court records. Note: Did you know Charles Chaplin sued Morris Kline for using his “image” (facial expressions, movements, etc.) without permission, and won. Another presenter talked about how all librarians usually are hoarders- we collect books, figurines, etc. and if not “things” how many e-mails are in your inbox, etc. She tied it into weeding and how difficult it is for the library profession to do this essential task. Also, there was a panel on academic libraries that collect comics- Michigan State has the largest academic collection. Lastly, was a fun presentation by Jennifer Snoek-Brown at UW-Platteville, who is looking at the portrayal of librarians in film. She focused on the male persona. If you want to see her complete list of films and a little description of them, visit her website: http://www.uwplatt.edu/~snoekbrownj/libfilm/ She is always looking for more films to review if you know of any that are not on her list.
On a personal note, my last evening I went to the Slanted Door. It is pricy, but easily in my top three restaurants ever. Get the Art Tea and Vietnamese Crepes if you ever go- you will not be let down. Also, if you love flowers go to the Flower Market- they open at 10am to the general public and this is where every vendor in town buys their flowers- it is quite amazing to see a square block full of common and exotic flowers. 

March 25, 2008

Minnesota's 2008 LJ Movers & Shakers

One of Minnesota’s own, Jennifer Nelson, with Minneapolis Public Library, is a 2008 Library Journal Mover and Shaker for her advocacy role. The following is an excerpt from the article:
Jennifer Nelson puts together programs, she says, that help solve “some of the inequities we see in our community.” As partnerships coordinator for digital inclusion at the Minneapolis Public Library, she collaborated with the Neighborhood Development Center to develop the Micro Entrepreneur Resource Center (www.mercmpl.org) and then make it more widely accessible by raising money to get its Business Plan Builder translated into Somali and Spanish.” 

March 19, 2008

Spotting the Library Trends That Really Matter

MINITEX is pleased to host the following College of DuPage teleconference:
Trends, Fads or Folly: Spotting the Library Trends That Really Matter
Presented by the College of DuPage
Friday, April 11, 2008, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Central Time)
This program examines how these other trends are having an impact on libraries—and what libraries are or should be doing to integrate these trends into their services (e.g., gaming is an obvious one that libraries are using to draw the younger generation into the library). This show contains a series of case studies that demonstrate how libraries are using trendspotting to create the right services for their communities.
  • TBD
No charge.  Registration is required to view the event via desktop streaming OR at Wilson Library.  To register, visit: http://www.minitex.umn.edu/events/teleconferences/#fadsFolly
OR – Participate at a regional downlink site to view the teleconference and discuss afterwards!  For a list of downlink sites, visit: http://www.minitex.umn.edu/events/teleconferences/downlink.aspx

March 17, 2008

100 Ways to use your iPod


American Libraries Direct:Student Edition March 13, 2008, vol. 1. no. 1 had a link to an interesting article "100 ways to use an iPod to learn and study better."  You can find the article at:  http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/100-ways-to-use-your-ipod-to-learn-and-study-better


To subscribe to this Student AL Direct, visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/aldirect/aldirect.cfm 

March 16, 2008

Download: The True Story of the Internet

Last night I watched the series “Download: The True Story of the Internet,” which I recorded from the Discovery Science channel. This four-part series was a nice overview of the browser wars (Google versus Yahoo, etc.), the evolution of Search, the .com Bubble, and finally (and my favorite episode) a discussion of the social side of the Web. The series is an introduction to the topic if you do not know much on the history of the Web, but is not comprehensive at all- many stories are not told. Also, the People Power episode on social software might be good for those that are involved in 23 things on a Stick to watch. It is next airing April 5 at 10pm on the Science channel.
For more information and a complete listing of air times, visit: http://science.discovery.com/tv/download/about/about.html

Library Spaces: Future Needs streaming video

MINITEX is pleased to announce the following College of DuPage teleconference is available via streaming video. 
Library Challenges & Opportunities 2008
Library Spaces: Future Needs
This video will be available via streaming for approximately 30 days.  After this date MINITEX will have a copy of the program that may be borrowed.
Here is the link for video streaming Library Spaces: Future Needs.

Description: Alan Kirk Gray, Assistant Director of Operations for the Darien (CT) Public Library, joins several prominent architects whose focus is on libraries to discuss how library spaces can reflect the role of today's libraries. Alan has consulted on the development of appropriate, innovative library spaces, and is currently responsible for the planning and construction of a new Darien Public Library building. He will be joined by Elisabeth Martin and Jeffrey Hoover, noted architects whose focus is on library planning and design. The panelists will address design and function in all types of libraries, and explore creative ways of configuring current and future library space to meet new services. Join us for an enlightening discussion about making the most of current library spaces, and take a look at some of the more innovative library spaces today.

  • Alan Kirk Gray - Assistant Director – Operations for Darien Library, Darien, CT, where he is responsible for the program, planning and construction of Darien Library's new 54,000 sf building, which has been cited for its anticipation of the current trends in the innovative use of library facilities.
  • Jeffrey Hoover, AIA - Principal of Tappé Associates, Boston, MA, where he specializes in programming, planning and design of learning environments, with particular focus on libraries.
  • Elisabeth Martin, AIA - has practiced architecture for over twenty years, with a focus on Library Planning and Design.

March 14, 2008

Free Resources

From Library Hotline / February 25, 2008

Gale, part of Cengage Learning, in recognition of Women's History Month in March, is offering free resources on its Women's History Month Web site, accessible at http://gale.com/free_resources/whm/.

They include biographies, quizzes, activities, time lines, and more to complement classroom topics.


March 6, 2008

Nancy Pearl Workshops in Minnesota!


Nancy Pearl - Improving Readers' Advisory Skills Workshop

Sunday, March 30, 2008
2-4 pm
St. Paul -- Jeanne d'Arc Auditorium, College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Note: The time is 2-4pm for this workshop only; all other workshops are 9-noon.
And, 2 hours of certification credit are available for the March 30 workshop. The other workshops last 3 hours and are eligible for 3 hours of certification credit.

Workshop Announcement Details - All Locations:

Doorways into Reading: Improving Readers' Advisory Skills (with Nancy Pearl)

Nancy Pearl will present this workshop at 8 Minnesota locations. The session will focus on defining, refining, and using the concept of doorways into reading; the role of mood and motivation in selecting a good book to read; as well as offering tips and tricks to use in readers' advisory work at the reference desk. The workshop covers the readers' advisory transaction and readers' advisory tools.

Presenter: Nancy Pearl. The New York Times calls her the talk of librarian circles. Readers cannot get enough of her recommendations while bookstores and libraries offer standing room only whenever she visits. Since the release of the best-selling Book Lust in 2003 and the Librarian Action Figure modeled in her likeness, Nancy Pearl has become a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next.

Cost: No charge! See funding statement below.
Audience: Library staff from all types of libraries and anyone working on the Minnesota Certification Program. (You do not have to be a participant in Minnesota Certification Program to attend the workshop.)

Minnesota Certification Program Competencies Addressed:
Readers' Advisory: Public Services A8, A9, B2, B6, B9, B11
Registration: Register by sending an email with your name and affiliation to Rebecca Patton, rpatton@arrowhead.lib.mn.us. Advance registration for the 3/30 workshop is requested, but not required.

Registration Deadline: For the March 30 workshop, there is no registration deadline.

Contact: Rebecca Patton, rpatton@arrowhead.lib.mn.us

Sponsored by: Minnesota Certification Program

Funding: The Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning and State Library Services, the Minnesota State Library Agency, supports this workshop at the regional library systems with funding under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

March 4, 2008

Training Complete

We've finished with the training for all the participating libraries for the statewide digital reference service and are now moving into the test run phase of the project. This is a very exciting part of the project where we'll test out links, websites, chat sessions, cobrowing, working with transcripts in the database and finalize work flows and procedures. We will also address any technical or non-technical issues that arise and make sure that everything is running smoothly for our launch! It will be a soft roll out sometime before the end of March if all goes well. We'll send out an official announcement when we know our roll out date.

March 3, 2008

Pew Report - Early Internet Adopters

From OCLC Abstracts
March 3, 2008, Vol. 11, No. 9

A portrait of early adopters: Why people went online--and why they stayed

The Pew Internet & American Life Project's recent survey of longtime Internet users shows that the things that first brought them online are still going strong on the Internet today.

• Then, it was bulletin boards; now, it's social networking sites.

• Then, it was the adventure of exploring the new cyberworld; now, it's upgrading to broadband and wireless connections to explore even more aggressively.

Yet there are changes in their activities and motives. In the early days, most Internet users consumed material from Web sites. These days they are just as likely to produce material. One common refrain is that they think more change lies ahead and they are eager to watch and participate.

Click here to read the report.