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July 15, 2010

June Reference Notes

The June 2010 issue of References Notes is now online.

This month's issue envisions the vitalizing possibilities of a library accessible via mobile phone and the harrowing repercussions of a nation without school librarians; it compares popular search engines for quick and dirty answers and highlights an ELM database for quick and authoritative health info; and it recaps the MN Digital Library's annual meeting, provides facts on Facebook, and profiles an excellent MN politics reference source.

Here's the TOC:

A Nation Without School Librarians
Libraries and Mobile Devices
ELM Spotlight: Consumer Health Complete
Search Engines Revisited
Facebook Facts You Didn't Know
Minnesota's Veto History Available Online
MN Digital Library Annual Meeting
End of My Health Minnesota -> Go Local

July 14, 2010

EBSCOhost Adjustments

News from EBSCO about some tweaks to search defaults and results display in the EBSCOhost interface. It's not mentioned here, but you may have heard that EBSCO will move the "Limit Your Results" box on the search results page (which contains a full text limiter and date slider) from the right-hand column to the left. Watch for it!

We have some important news concerning changes to two default settings on the EBSCOhost user interface, scheduled to be made at the beginning of August:

1) The Result List sort will be defaulted to Relevance, from the current Date Sort. Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly in favor of this approach to results, which we outlined in a communication this past January. For more information on EBSCO's relevancy ranking and its impact on search results, please see this FAQ: (http://support.epnet.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=3971)

2) To accommodate the new Result List sort default, we will also be changing the default search option from phrase indexing (all terms entered in the Find field are searched as though enclosed by quotation marks), to W5, which means that all results that contain the terms entered in the Find field within five words of each other will be returned.

You may have changed your Result List default sort to Relevance back in January. If not, we will do this for you when we activate these changes. Or, if for any reason you do not want these two defaults to be applied to your profiles, you have the choice to opt out (not be included), by completing this simple form: (http://support.ebscohost.com/contact/relevancyranking.php)

Please act quickly, as we need to have your completed Opt Out form by July 31 in order to suppress these two popular changes in your account. Otherwise, you need do nothing and when the changes are activated, they will become part of your profiles. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Customer Satisfaction team through our support site at http://support.ebsco.com.

July 8, 2010

Keeping Current with Technology: Things on a Stick News

It all started with 23 Things on a Stick. That self-paced online learning program, put on by the seven Minnesota Multitype Library Systems, walked participants through twenty three web-based 2.0 tools and websites. Each week a new tool was uncovered via individual exercises and small group discussions. It was so popular that the Multitypes developed a new program, More Things on a Stick. Both of these programs have been completed, but you can access archives and exercises indefinitely at each respective website.

So what's next? How can you continue to stay up to date on evolving technologies? By following the 2010 incarnation of Things on a Stick, Things on a Stick News. Every month, several new tools are considered and presented. The News has been streaming since January and continues to highlight relevant and engaging tools and technologies. Follow the blog or sign up to receive Things on a Stick News in your inbox once every month - you'll be the tech-savvier for it.

July 1, 2010

The Portable Reference Library

If you're interested in learning more about mobile reference services in libraries, consider spending a little time with Alec Sonsteby of Metro State. Alec knows a lot about mobile and he is mid-way through a set of Minitex-hosted webinars on the topic. Those sessions are all full, but if you weren't able to secure a spot you can view a recorded version of the show right here: The Portable Reference Library: Accessing Reference Resources and Services on Mobile Devices. As with all of our recorded webinars made via the Live Meeting software, this webinar is best viewed using the Internet Explorer browser.