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April 29, 2009

Staying Current with Academic Journals

Have you seen the new issue of the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics? How about SIMILE (Studies in Media Information & Literacy Education)? The Journal of Informetics? No? Well, surely you've seen the latest Knowledge and Information Systems, right?

Right? ...Anybody?

If you're in academia (or of that mindset) and find yourself in the horrifically shameful position of not knowing what's currently being discussed in your field's academic publications, consider TicTocs. This free site indexes the tables of contents from thousands of academic publications, and delivers whichever of those TOCs you select directly to your RSS feed reader. So you can stay current with the most recent findings from the International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology.

Or whichever publications you're genuinely, or contractually-obligated to be, interested in.

I might also add that many of the ELM databases, such as Academic Search Premier, offer the option of setting up automatic alerts. These alerts let you know (by email or RSS feed) when new articles are added that match your interests - not just from specific publications but also on specific topics from specific publications. Just run your search and look for the "Alert/Save/Share" link in the upper-right corner of your results listing.

April 28, 2009

April Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

The April issue of Minitex Reference Notes is up on the web and available for viewing. The April issue highlights the Spring 2009 MnPALS Reference User Group Work Day, Homeschoolers Unite at RiverCentre, Promoting Minnesota Media Centers, April is National Poetry Month! Full-Text Poems in ELM: Discovering Collection, and a Web Site Recommendation - Poets.org. The issue can be read at http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/2009/04April.pdf

April 24, 2009

New Webinar Produced by MLA's Public Library Division

Please excuse the duplication as this message was posted to multiple lists.
The WebJunction Minnesota Team (State Library Services, Metronet, & Minitex) is pleased to sponsor and announce the following upcoming webinar produced by the Public Library Division of the Minnesota Library Association.

Please register today!

To get more information and to register go to http://minitex.umn.edu/events/training/webinars.asp#228

Minnesota Public Library Budget Shortfalls: A Conversation
Monday, June 08, 2009 - 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (Central Time)

Register Here!

The Public Library Division (PLD) of the Minnesota Library Association is excited to announce their first statewide webinar, "Minnesota Public Library Budget Shortfalls: A Conversation."

There are many in the Minnesota public library community who are struggling with budget shortfalls during these challenging economic times. PLD has invited library directors from various types of public libraries -- large and small, from the metropolitan area and from greater Minnesota to share their ideas.

Featured guest speakers are:

- Audrey Betcher, Rochester Public Library
- Pat Conley, Washington County Library
- Jennifer Jepsen, Martin County Library
- Mary Lukkarila, Cloquet Public Library
- Marian Ridge, Kitchigami Regional Library
- Kim Edson, Chair of PLD to moderate

Each presenter will be addressing the following three questions:

1) What is your organization doing to address shrinking budgets - especially at a time when library use is growing?

2) How have you developed strategic priorities for using the available funding - what to keep/strengthen, what do you let go?

3) Political Capital - How do/did you develop it, when do you spend it? (i.e., How have you established your library's value to the community at a time when there is fierce competition for funding from all of your sources?)

MLA's Public Library Division believes this webinar is just the start to an ongoing conversation and a way for our library community to share its collective wisdom. PLD has created an online group to continue and expand the conversation via WebJunction Minnesota at: http://mn.webjunction.org/738. Please join the group, participate, and share with your Minnesota public library community. [To join the group be sure that you have created an account with WebJunction Minnesota and have affiliated with Minnesota].

Who should attend?: Anyone interested in hearing from a panel of Minnesota public library directors and participating in a statewide conversation about public library budget shortfalls.

Sponsors: The Public Library Division of the Minnesota Library Association and the WebJunction Minnesota Team (State Library Services, Metronet, & Minitex).

Questions? Please contact:
Kimberly Edson, Head of Readers Services, Rochester Public Library

Register Here!
Ann Walker Smalley, Metronet
Deanna Sylte, Metronet
Mary Ann Van Cura, State Library Services
Jennifer Hootman, Minitex

OCLC releases new report, Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want

This new report summarizes the findings of research conducted by OCLC on what constitutes quality in library online catalogs from both end users' and librarians' points of view. You can view the full report here.

April 20, 2009

E-Books Will Change the Way We Read - WSJ Article

There was a great article in the Sunday Wall Street Journal: How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write.

E-Books is not a languishing industry. On the contrary, they are just starting to pick up steam. For many years I kept hearing about how e-books were not going anywhere and were going to die out before their benefits were ever realized. Not so. There are two great revolations I have started to hear more about in the area of e-books that give great hope to the future of e-books. One is the resourcefulness of metadata - the searchability of the content of books. The other, is the socialability of e-books.

With more books being digitized and becoming more openly and readily available the content within them is also opening up. The article, however, focuses more on the socialability aspect of e-books. No more are books a solitary environment. In many ways, we can now share, discuss, discover, purchase, and borrow e-books in an instant where discussion of books, their content, intent, ideas, and recommendations from friends may have taken a longer process. At many times, because dependent on so many vary needs, those social links were often times broken as well.

There is a huge transformation taking place with the arrival of digitized books that we had never seen before. People and books were once separate items, however, more we will start seeing people carrying their own library in their smart phones, they will share what they have, they will discuss what they have, they will purchase new books wherever they are. Perhaps they don't want to purchase a full book, maybe just a chapter. People will now be able to dig their hands in the book and pull out pieces they like, change them around, mix them up, add them with other content from other e-books.

It's very exciting to see e-books start to take off and seeing the future of possibilities for them. This is just the beginning. As more and more books become available online, there will certainly be more ways of viewing and accessing them as well as the new ideas that will come from this growth.

Streaming Video of 4/16/09 "An Ounce of Prevention" Teleconference

Minitex is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence teleconference, "An Ounce of Prevention: Health Reference Basics."

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!

MnKnows - Spread the Word!

Help us spread the word about MnKnows - Dig Deeper @ Your Library (www.mnknows.org), the new portal that gives Minnesota students and library patrons one-stop access to five statewide library services: MnLINK Gateway, Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM), Minnesota Reflections, AskMN, and the Research Project Calculator. We've established a website where you can retrieve the MnKnows logos to add to your library's website and use for other publicity purposes.

• See: "About" page on the MnKnows website: http://www.mnknows.org/about.php ("Help Us Promote MnKnows")

Minnesota academic and state government libraries are receiving a packet of MnKnows bookmarks (100 per packet) in the Delivery System. If you want more packets, please see the contact information at the end of this message.

Minnesota public libraries are receiving bookmarks through their regional public library systems.

Minnesota media centers - please contact us directly to let us know how many bookmarks you need for your schools.

To help us spread the word below is the core message - you can adapt this for your use in your library or for submissions to your local news media:

MnKnows - Dig Deeper @ Your Library (www.mnknows.org) gives Minnesotans one-stop access to five statewide library services:

• Find books, CDs, DVDs, articles and more through the MnLINK Gateway and have them delivered to a local library.
• Search trusted information resources in the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) to find online articles and electronic books on a vast array of topics.
• Discover photos, documents and maps related to Minnesota history through Minnesota Reflections.
• Get real-time answers from a librarian 24/7 at AskMN.
• Use the Research Project Calculator to create sensible timelines for student's homework.

Leveraging state, local, and federal funds to supplement the resources of local libraries, MnKnows (or, read it as "Minnesota knows") functions through the cooperation of libraries, school media centers, and cultural heritage organizations throughout the state. When visitors wish to dig deeper at their local library, MnKnows.org provides a link to the Minnesota Library Directory, which lists public, academic, and other libraries in a specified area. The directory is maintained by State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education.

Depending upon your planned use for the material, you may want to add from the following supplementary information:


The five MnKnows resources will also continue to be available at their individual URLs:

• MnLINK Gateway http://www.mnlinkgateway.org/
• Electronic Library for Minnesota. http://www.elm4you.org/
• Minnesota Reflections http://reflections.mndigital.org/
• AskMN http://askmn.org/
• Research Project Calculator http://rpc.elm4you.org/

These online resources are funded through state and federal funds provided to Minitex and State Library Services (Minnesota's state library agency) and are available at no charge to Minnesotans. They are the products of your tax dollars at work!

For questions about MnKnows, contact Minitex Director, Bill DeJohn or Cecelia Boone in the Minitex office. (The MnKnows site includes a comment form for use by library users.)

If you'd like to order additional copies of the MnKnows bookmark, contact Cecelia Boone.

April 17, 2009

OCLC's Catalog of the Future

Goodness knows I don’t know much about cataloging, but OCLC and the University of California are helping me picture what the catalog of the future will look like with their pilot Melvyl Catalog. Turns out it’ll look pretty much like a website. But - and here’s the revolutionary part - a website created this decade. Unlike some catalogs I could name…

Sorry, that was snarky. Check out the catalog for yourself, and learn more about the joint effort here.

(via ResourceShelf)

April 10, 2009

Twitter in the Classroom - New Era of Passing Notes

There's a short article in the Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus about a professor at Pennsylvania State University - University Park encouraging students to use Twitter to pass notes during class. His theory is "that the second layer of conversation will disrupt the old classroom model and allow new kinds of teaching in which students play a greater role and information is pulled in from outside the classroom walls." This stimulates a very active and interactive environment for learning and discussion and the learning process becomes more communal in nature.

I see this occurring in webinars as well. When presenters turn on and encourage the chat room mechanism of web presentations you start to see a flurry of activity coming from the sidelines. There are some great conversations and questions asked captured from that avenue. For some in the webinar environment, I see their interaction happening in the chat room where they would not, for whatever reason, also participate in the voice discussion. It's just another way of inviting in discussion that may be more comfortable for some.

This layered effect to the traditional classroom or webinar environment brings in a new richness to the learning process. It is multilearning!

April 8, 2009

March Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

The March issue of Minitex Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!

This month's stories include:

- A Minitex name change and new site
- A profile of Ada Comstock - Educator and Transformer
- A recap of the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College, including Information Commons, Eric Lease Morgan, Library 2.0 and Google Apps, E-Resource Management, What Everything Has to Do with Everything, Library Technology Programs for Baby Boomers and Beyond, and Learning for Digital Natives
- A one-year birthday celebration for AskMN
- Replies from you regarding last issue's "Dogs Who Like a Good Story"
- 2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes
- ALA and Woman's Day
- Small Towns with Big Library Programs
- Teleconferences
- Minnesota Librarians Among Library Journal 'Movers and Shakers'

Find the March issue and past issues here: http://minitex.umn.edu/publications/refnotes/.

Promoting MN Media Centers

Media specialists have their work cut out for them. With shrinking school budgets comes greater pressure to show the value of library resources. At the same time, expanding responsibilities leave fewer moments in the day to build strategies to highlight this value - and not even enough time to stay current with how peers are handling the situation.

We don't have the answer to this problem, but we'd like to propose a place where we can all talk about the question together. We've just put up a new WebJunction Minnesota group dedicated to helping media specialists highlight the value of their media centers to their institutions. Visit and join the "MN Promoting Your Media Center to Teachers" group and participate in discussions with your peers about successful strategies to reach out to teachers and students.

Visit the Documents tab for links and documents you can use and the Discussions tab to see and add to what's being talked about. Sign up for a free WebJunction MN account by following the "Create an Account" link in the box toward the upper-right of the page. Then join the group to read and share teacher outreach successes, questions, and frustrations.

And for more online social networking goodness, don't forget about the excellent MEMO Ning, where you can chat with and learn from media specialists and IT professionals from across the state.

April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday AskMN!

March 24th marked the first anniversary of Minnesota’s Statewide Cooperative Digital Reference Service, AskMN: The Librarian Is In. It has been an energetic year, to say the least. Since launching with eight founding libraries, we have added five more -- and additional libraries are expected to join later this spring.

We set out to create a cooperative network so libraries could contribute and participate more easily in an online reference service for the benefit of their communities. Many libraries cannot support a stand-alone virtual reference service, and we wanted a program that required limited local staff commitment. We also created a flexible training schedule to better integrate libraries into the AskMN schedule with continuous support.

We see AskMN playing a vital role in helping Minnesota residents to meet their information needs wherever they are, whenever they need assistance through a visible, accessible Internet presence. Our intent was to create an online service for information and research help that would be available to Minnesota residents and students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When Minnesota librarians are not available to answer patron requests, QuestionPoint’s 24/7 National Reference Cooperative helps fill in the gap to assure continuous, ‘round-the-clock coverage.

Here is what a couple grateful patrons had to say recently after their chat sessions:

* “GREAT service to have ... especially on weekends (Saturday afternoon) when my academic library online chat wasn't available ... and it's a larger institution! THANK YOU Minnesota!!!”

* “Wow! I'm so glad someone was able to help me with my project! Ii love this.”

The service’s reach beyond individual library hours has proven to be a great benefit. We have found that about 55% of the requests to AskMN are coming when their library’s doors are typically closed. In the one year of service, AskMN has taken in over 6100 questions!

For more information about AskMN’s first year, see the March issue of Reference Notes, which will be available at: