September 11, 2012

September Reference Notes

The September issue of Reference Notes is now available.

This issue includes some exciting ELM-related announcements, including a new mobile-friendly ELM website, AskMN embedded within many ELM databases, and a new slate of ELM webinars. We also have two guest authors, who share information on a teacher instruction initiative in the metro area and a summer reading program in southeastern MN, respectively. And if you've ever fantasized about your favorite book set to a soundtrack, you are a natural-born librarian you can see the beginnings of that fantasy come to life here, too.

Plus, much more:

Design Thinking for Educators: Re-Imagining the School Library
Libraries in the News
Little Free Libraries
Teaching Simple Machines at LaCrescent Public Library
AskMN Now Embedded in ELM Databases
ELM Spotlight
What is MILI?
CPERS Column
Watch for ROI at MLA, MEMO, & Education Minnesota
Lead the Change
Topsy: An Aggregator of Social Networks

Thanks, as always, for reading!

February 15, 2012

New Videos for Librarians, Educators, and Researchers

We've had a YouTube channel for a while and have been steadily adding some great content for Minnesota librarians and researchers. Check out some of our latest videos:

Plus, you'll find classics on ELM databases like Encyclopedia Britannica, Points of View Reference Center, Consumer Health Complete, and more. And short tutorials on research topics, like Consumer Research and Business Research.

Please view, use, and share these videos as you see fit. Thanks!

July 20, 2011

NetLibrary Migration to EBSCOhost

We got the following note from EBSCO this morning. NetLibrary users, take note! (emphasis added)

We are pleased to announce that the transition of eBooks and Audiobooks on EBSCOhost is nearly complete. Over the coming days, you may notice that when you log in to NetLibrary to access these products you will automatically be forwarded to EBSCOhost.

Over the previous months we have sent Weekly eBooks Updates to outline the important changes this transition will include. If you missed a previous Weekly eBooks Update, please click here to view the archives.

Please note that the preview period of eBooks on EBSCOhost will be concluded once the transition is complete. You will then be able to access your own collections automatically via EBSCOhost.

In addition, if you are interested in your NetLibrary reports and statistics, please access the Library Resource Center immediately because once the transition is complete, you will no longer be able to do so.

Be sure to visit EBSCO's Support Site to learn about all of EBSCO's products, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Online Support Form.

May 20, 2011

In-Person Britannica Training - June 9th

In-Person Britannica Training
Minitex is pleased to offer training on the ELM suite of Britannica resources. Darcy McCanless, of Britannica, will be presenting three separate sessions on Thursday, June 9, 2011, at the University of Minnesota's Wilson Library, Room S30C. Register for one, two, or all three sessions!

Britannica Online Academic Edition
Join us to learn new ways to get students started on their projects using Britannica Online Academic Edition. During this 2-hour, hands-on training session, participants will have their questions answered and learn about Britannica Online's special features, including:
- Research tools to compare countries using demographic and economic statistics, including built-in graphing and charting tools.
- The Workspace storage tool for students and faculty to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Resources for every subject including History, Geography, Art, Humanities, Business, Science, and Technology.
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
To register click here.

Britannica Online Public Library Edition

Join us to learn ways to help both children and adults find answers to their questions and get started on projects, using the new Britannica Online Public Library Edition. Bring your questions and our Expert Britannica Trainer will be glad to answer them during this 2 hour presentation. Participants will learn about special features including:
- "Kids" section with reference and educational materials for elementary and middle school students.
- The World Data Analyst for patrons to study and compare different statistics from countries all over the world.
- The Workspace storage tool for patrons to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Resources for every subject including History, Geography, Art, Humanities, Business, Science, and Technology.
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
To register click here.

Britannica Online School Edition
Join us to learn new ways to do research projects with students using Britannica Online School Edition and to get ideas for integrating technology into your classroom! Bring your questions and we will be glad to answer them during this 1.5 hour presentation. Elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools will learn about special features including:
- The Workspace storage tool for students to collect their own research materials for future use.
- Classroom curriculum resources for American History, World Studies, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and all levels of Language Arts and Math.
- Expanded video and media content, including a video download feature.
- Learning Zone feature for PreK-2nd grade students
- Integration of Minnesota Academic Standards
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
To register click here.

February 4, 2011

January Reference Notes

The January 2011 issue of Reference Notes is now available.

If you find yourself with a lack of bookmarks, this issue is for you; it highlights some of our new bookmarks (and brochures) and shows you how to order them in quantity for your library. If you found yourself unable to attend ALA Midwinter, this issue is for you, too; it reports on several notable sessions and announcements from the conference. And if you've ever wondered about using Twitter professionally, this issue is for you as well; we've got a special report on professional social media tactics and usage.

Plus, we'd like to share a little about our experiences with History Day and how libraries are good for the United States.

Read On:

Recap of ALA Midwinter 2011

The Natural Progression away from Google

History Day @ Your School

History Day Throughout the Metro Area

Libraries and Country

Saint Paul Public Library Adds Free Song Downloads

St. Kate's Gets Accreditation!

Social Networking Tools for Professionals

ELM Spotlight

Bookmarks and Brochures Hot off the Press

Research Project Calculator

Minnesota Digital Library


AskMN: The Librarian is In!

OCLC Research YouTube Channel

Full-text Internet Resources: Focus on Minnesota Maps

December 14, 2010

QR Code Generator

Check out the ELM Portal's QR Code!

ELM QR Code.png

Generate your own QR Code:

Or perhaps you have a QR Code Generator you'd recommend!

September 3, 2010

August Reference Notes

The August issue of Reference Notes is now available.

It's back to school time! The time of year that triggers butterflies in the stomachs of students everywhere and seems to trigger press release machines at database vendors as well. So we've got some very exciting updates about the ELM databases in this issue, as well as our own very exciting announcement about a new version of the Research Project Calculator. Plus, tips to make your ELM K-12 databases student friendlier. And if you need a back to school refresher on ELM, we've got a listing of conferences we'll be attending and an announcement about our new ELM instruction made to order.

Here's the TOC:

Reference Outreach & Instruction
The NEW Research Project Calculator Is Here!
The Kids Are (Probably Going to Be, at Least in Terms of the Internet,) Alright
ELM Spotlight(s)
ELM Webinars Made to Order
Making K12 Databases Student Friendlier
Library Publications on Facebook
Information-Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski
Minitex Reference Outreach and Instruction Fall Conferences and Instruction

Reference Notes

September 1, 2010

St. Paul Pioneer Press Added to ProQuest Newsstand

ProQuest is pleased to announce the addition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press to the ProQuest Newsstand database! Access is available now with backfiles to April 21, 2010. This important Minnesota newspaper joins the hundreds of other regional and national newspapers available in ProQuest Newsstand and accessible to Minnesota libraries through ELM. Please contact Minitex's ELM Support if you have any questions.

August 27, 2010

EBSCO Text-to-Speech Feature

It's still like 90 degrees outside, but you can tell Fall is approaching because database vendors are gearing up for the start of school. Read on for news of an extended text-to-speech feature in EBSCO databases in the EBSCOhost interface.


"EBSCO has added text-to-speech (read aloud) support to EBSCOhost®databases, including its major school and public library databases, by embedding Texthelp Systems' SpeechStream toolbar--a valuable benefit provided at no additional cost to the user. Users will be able to take advantage of this new feature with any full-text articles available in HTML.

Text-to-speech support ... allows users to read along while a human-sounding voice speaks the text on the screen. The support toolbar provides significant assistance to those for whom text-to-speech capabilities are highly valued such as English Language Learners, users with low vision, slight physical and/or learning disabilities, as well as eBook and PDA users.


Users have the ability to read-aloud by selected text, sentence, paragraph, or continuous reading with dual color synchronous highlighting (highlighting of the passage being read with a second color highlighting the specific word being read aloud at that moment). User control of read-aloud personalizes the learning experience for each user. Users can control reading speed as well as select between three different high-quality voices--American, British, or Australian. These options also enable teachers and professionals to incorporate the features as a tool for teaching English and reading. "

Read the full press release

Test it out by having the human-sounding voice read you this story about robots from MasterFILE Premier

August 9, 2010

July Reference Notes

The July issue of Reference Notes is now available.

This month's issue provides a recap of the 2010 ALA Annual Conference, does a bit of gentle boasting about our department's accomplishments over the past year, and provides an easy-to-use recipe for following, analyzing, and implementing trends in your library - all before taking a Tourettes-like turn with decrees to Eat Your Books! And Smell Like a Man!

Plus, all the other great articles represented in the TOC:

Less Train, More Gain: Using Technology to Train, Maintain, and Retain Part-time and Student Employees
Librarians Just Need to Have Fun: Utilizing Fun and Humor in the Library Workplace to Enhance Employee Performance
The Open Access Debate: A Conversation
It's All About e-Books
E-Resource Usage Statistics: So Many Numbers, So Many Issues
Discovery Systems: Solutions a User Could Love?
Hennepin County Library Now Offering Downloadable E-books
Keeping Current with Technology: Things on a Stick News
Minitex Reference Services Instruction: A Year in Review
ELM Spotlight: MAS Ultra--School Edition and InfoTrac Student Edition
Eat Your Books
Smell Like a Man, Study Like a Scholar
Follow that Trend!
Baiting the Hook

August 5, 2010

EBSCOhost Enhancements

If our link on the ELM portal is any indication, it looks like the enhancements mentioned below as impending are now live. Peruse the bullet points and then kick the tires of Academic Search Premier to see the enhancements yourself.

Announcement from EBSCO:

As promised, this message signifies that the impending release of new EBSCOhost features and functionality, (announced in June) is about to be implemented. We expect that you will see the updates over the course of Thursday and Friday this week. The following information summarizes the most significant changes on EBSCOhost:

  • The limiter and the date slider column will move from the right to the left of the Result List, a more intuitive position that consolidates the ways users can refine and work with their results in one area. For a look at the updated Result List, you can copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://support.epnet.com/uploads/CustSupport/Images/communication_images/resultlist1.gif.
  • Detailed record pages will be more streamlined, and links to full text, your link resolvers, ILL, etc. will be more prominently displayed on the left.
  • Users will be able to select multiple clusters and source types when managing results.
  • There will be an enhanced PDF Viewer, Content Viewer, HTML Full Text, etc.
  • A "breadbox" will show users which limiters, expanders and source types have already been selected, and enable easy removal of these refinements.
  • The Hierarchical Subject Authority File in certain databases will be adjusted to align with the style already in use in our academic databases (screen shots included in this Top Story).
  • Simpler overall interface elements will increase the intuitiveness of the user experience.

For more information on these and other features, visit http://support.ebsco.com.

August 4, 2010

Big Change to Student Resource Center Gold

What you need to know: Student Resource Center Gold has a new interface called Student Resources In Context.

What you need to do: Nothing. If you link to Student Resource Center Gold from your library website, the change has been automatically applied and you are now linking to Student Resources In Context. Your library users have seamless access to database content. You might consider familiarizing yourself with the interface, though. To do so, read on. [Note: The ELM portal also now points to the new interface.]

Student Resource Center Gold is now Student Resources In Context. Along with this name change comes a change to the look, feel, and navigation of this database interface. The new design centers on browsing to topic pages. Gale editors and hired experts have created some 450+ topic pages that provide introductions to popular topics and organize the reference, journal, magazine, and newspaper content included in the database around those topics. The intended effect is more web page and less library database.

Database content remains largely the same (though some duplicative content has been removed) and advanced searching is still available. In fact, a search assist feature added to search boxes should help guide researchers to effective keyword searching. The Read Speaker tool, which reads every article aloud and allows for downloading of .mp3 audio files, has also been enhanced to include adjustable speed and word highlighting settings. There are many more enhancements to the site, both small and large. Kick the tires to learn more, and/or sign up for the Minitex webinar "In Context (Student Resource Center Gold)" on our Upcoming Training Sessions page. The Gale/Cengage website also has some information about the "In Context" interface: http://www.gale.cengage.com/InContext/.

Still to come from Gale/Cengage in Student Resources In Context: a user log-in feature will allow students and researchers to create accounts and save material indefinitely. And a library administrative module will help libraries to customize the display of content for their users. Both features are scheduled to be released this fall.

If you have any questions about Student Resources In Context, or if your interface didn't automatically change, please drop us a line any time at http://elm4you.org/contact/ or elm at umn.edu.

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.

June 11, 2010

May Reference Notes

The May 2010 issue of Reference Notes is now available.

By spending 10 minutes of your day with us, you'll learn more about summer read programs, developing your library's DIY collection, helping job seekers, spotting technology trends and applying them to the library world, and lots more. Or you could watch that Lady Gaga library spoof video for the 14th and 15th time. (If this is the first you've heard of that video, 1. You don't spend enough time on the Internet, and 2. Check out the "This 'n That from the Web" section in this issue for the link.)

Here's the full TOC:

What Every Job Seeker (and Librarian) Should Know

Top Ten Emerging Technologies for 2010

Internet Archive to Digitize One Million Books for Visually Impaired

This 'n That from the Web

ELM Radio Spots

ELM Spotlight: Britannica Online Reference Center

DIY: Collection Development Tips

Summer Read Programs: Make a Splash @ Your Library

Give Your Library a Technology Make Over - It's Easy!

LOEX: I Only Know the 'X' Stands for Excellent

June 7, 2010

ELM on the Airwaves

From mid-May through the end of July and from all corners of Minnesota, you'll hear radio spots on ELM, the Electronic Library for Minnesota. The goal of these spots is to increase awareness of ELM and the perceived value of libraries in the minds of Minnesota residents.

Please help us promote ELM and Minnesota libraries by linking to the spot from your library's website. Link: http://mediamill.cla.umn.edu/mediamill/embed/73583.

EBSCO Publishing created and sponsored this awareness campaign on behalf of Minitex.

May 26, 2010

Consumer Research Tutorial

We just posted a new tutorial to our burgeoning collection of short 'n snappy ELM-investigating videos. Please take a look at Consumer Research; we'd love to hear your feedback here in the comments or by emailing mtxref at umn.edu.

Check out the whole collection of Minitex ELM tutorials. We have a list of topics to cover for subsequent tutorials, including how to use ELM for business and history research, but if you have a question you'd like to see answered by one of these, please let us know.

May 18, 2010

April Reference Notes

The April 2010 issue of Reference Notes is now available.

In this issue, you'll find published evidence of how libraries help people, examples of adaptive technologies already built into the computers at your library, news about a prominent MN librarian and new Fulbright Scholar Grant recipient, and insight into two ELM education-focused databases.

We've also included a pull-out insert that we hope you'll share with your colleagues. It details our reference referral service and the instructional opportunities we provide.

Here's the full TOC:

Minitex Reference Insert
Libraries Help People Succeed
Scrolling on the Web
Mary Wagner Awarded Fulbright Scholar Grant
Adaptive Technology Services
ELM Spotlight: Educator's Reference Complete and Professional Development Collection
New ELM Tutorials
Modern Web Browser Security: Best Practices
Reference Renaissance 2010
MN Digital Library Annual Meeting

April 8, 2010

March Reference Notes

The brand-new issue of Reference Notes is now available on our brand-new website!

In the March issue, we unveil several new pages on the AskMN website, hear feedback from a librarian using AskMN, spotlight the EBSCO HealthSource databases, provide strategies and resources to tackle even the toughest readers' advisory question, and take a break from text with several library-related cartoons, like this one.

Here's the March Reference Notes TOC:

Readers' Advisory: A Practice
AskMN Updates
AskMN - A Librarian's Answer in Real Time
Library Technology Conference 2010
ELM Spotlight: Health Source
EBSCO Purchases Netlibrary
ELM Vendors Offer Webinars
Multilingual Minnesota
Note Taking in Today's World
Mobile Funnies
New Policy to Get Broadband up to Speed?
WebJunction Minnesota: New Group and New Courses

Thanks for reading!

New Minitex Website

Hey, check out Minitex's new website, if you haven't already. It's the result of a lot of planning and some great work by our IT department. It reorganizes our content around functions and user tasks, rather than Minitex department names. From any page within the site, access our products & services, trainings & events, and communication pieces by hovering over the appropriate heading along the top banner.

The Browse All Training Sessions page is a go-to site to find upcoming in-person or online instructional sessions, as well as archived webinars and tutorials from any Minitex department.

The Reference Services home page organizes the services we offer in the menu along the left. The home page also provides more information about us front and center - including our upcoming webinars and recent Reference Notes publications. A new feature on the Reference Services page is the Instruction Request Form. If you have a group of colleagues, teachers, or students that would benefit from learning more about ELM or any of the other reference-related instruction we offer, use this form to request a no-cost online or in-person session from us.

December 30, 2009

Upcoming Training Sessions - EBSCO & Gale

Upcoming training provided by EBSCO:

EBSCOhost Basics
This class lasts one hour and covers the features and functionalities of EBSCOhost for basic searching techniques.

19 January 2010 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. MT
27 January 2010 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. MT

EBSCOhost Advanced
This class lasts one hour and covers the features and functionalities of EBSCOhost for advanced searching techniques.

12 January 2010 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. MT

Consumer Health Complete
A 1-hour overview of Consumer Health Complete. The key features covered include accessing Evidence-Based Reports, Reference Book content, Animations and Video as well as searching a variety of health topics utilizing some of the key functionality of source type searching, alerts and My Folder.

7 January 2010 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. MT

Science Reference Center
SRC is a comprehensive database research database for students that provides full-text articles that are correlated to curriculum standards. It also includes science experiments.

11 January 2010 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. MT

Student Research Center
A one-hour overview, for teachers and librarians, of the Student Research Center interface (designed for Grade 6-12 students). A variety of search techniques using the Student Research Center functionality will be covered including searching by Lexiles, subjects and topics.

6 January 2010 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. MT

If you'd like to attend any of the webinars listed above, go to the EBSCO Request Training form: http://www2.ebsco.com/en-us/app/training/Pages/TrainingFrom.aspx. You will find dropdown menus to choose the course you are interested in. (Note: you do not need to have an EBSCO account number)

EBSCOhost online tutorials are available at: http://support.epnet.com/training/tutorials.php

Upcoming training provided by Gale:

Power Search 2.0
Gale's newly enhanced PowerSearch platform is unlike any other, providing libraries with a sophisticated, yet simple, solution for managing a wealth of periodical, reference and primary source information. Moreover, PowerSearch provides your patrons with access to all the Gale content in your library's collection through one, single search query. The result is that you maximize usage of your Gale databases while patrons enjoy the time saved through a streamlined common user interface that can be customized to match their skill level and habits.

20 January 2010 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. MT

To register, go to: http://www.attendeenet.com/gale_training/index.cfm?fuseaction=cor_sectionView¤tMonth129=1&eventCatView129 and click on the name of the webinar you wish to attend. You will be directed to a form to complete. (Note: you do not need to have a Gale account number)

December 22, 2009

Gale Databases iPhone Application

I just read the Librarian in Black blog entry at http://librarianinblack.net/ and the following caught my eye... "Gale has announced a new iPhone application to help people use library resources. Building off of the AccessMyLibrary identity that Gale has promoted publicly,the application does two things:

1. detects physical library branches within a 10-mile radius of the user on demand
2. and uses a web product to connect people to the Gale online resources that their local libraries subscribe to.

The app is downloadable from accessmylibrary.com or from the iTunes store.

For more info, see Gale's website on the app & ResourceShelf's review."

Now, if I only had an iPhone.

November 11, 2009

EBSCOhost Mobile is here!

EBSCO is excited to announce that the anticipated new interface for mobile users, EBSCOhost Mobile, is here! The new EBSCOhost application is tailor-made for the smaller screens of mobile devices, and offers the most important EBSCOhost features and functionality, right in the palm of your hand!

Once you have created a profile in EBSCOadmin for EBSCOhost Mobile, this new interface will be available to all users who have access to your account. To help alert your users, there are posters that can be downloaded and printed here. If you need assistance setting up a new profile for EBSCOhost Mobile, please communicate with EBSCO's Technical Support Representatives online at http://support.ebscohost.com/contact/askus.php and allow one to two weeks for setup time.

November 4, 2009

Historical Minneapolis Tribune and Elm4you.org

ProQuest has restored access to the Historical Minneapolis Tribune via the Elm portal, elm4you.org

October 20, 2009

ContentDM Quick Start & WorldCat Local Quick Start

Attention Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota libraries and schools!

More Connections for You

You may have seen the OCLC announcements about two "quickstart" options for libraries:

• CONTENTdm Quick Start and
• WorldCat Local Quick Start

Did you know that most libraries and schools in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota qualify for both of these options because of the Minitex group subscription to the OCLC FirstSearch Base Package, which includes WorldCat? While these services are available at no charge, there may be significant staff time and other resources needed to implement these project-type options.

Continue reading "ContentDM Quick Start & WorldCat Local Quick Start" »

August 28, 2009

ELM / EBSCO Webinars

Minitex Reference Services and EBSCO are pleased to offer the following upcoming webinars:

Overview of Medical Resources
Sept. 15, 2009, 12:30-1:30pm
Sept. 29, 2009, 9:30-10:30am

A thorough overview of the Consumer Health Complete medical resource including key features such as accessing Evidence-Based Reports, reference book content, medical images, animations and video as well as searching a variety of health topics. An overview of additional medical databases AltHealth Watch, HealthSource Consumer Edition and HealthSource Nursing will also be covered.

Points of View
Sept. 16, 2009, 10:00-11:00am
Sept. 30, 2009, 12:00-1:00pm

A detailed overview of an online tool to assist researchers in understanding the full scope of a wide range of controversial subjects and evaluate the issues of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This session will include reviewing key essays (Overview, Point, Counterpoint and Guide to Critical Analysis) on a variety of topics. Advanced searching techniques using lexiles, limiters and source types will also be covered.

Research Tools for Grades K-5 (Searchasaurus / Kids Search)
Sept. 18, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm
Sept. 24, 2009, 3:30-4:30pm

An overview, for teachers and librarians, of the Searchasaurus (designed for pre-K - Grades 3 students) and Kids Search interface (designed for Grade K-5 students). A variety of search techniques using the interface's functionality will be covered including searching by Lexiles, subjects and topics.

Research Tools for Middle and High School (Student Research Center)
Sept. 25, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm
Sept. 28, 2009, 12:00-1:00pm
A thorough overview of research tools for teachers and librarians including Student Research Center (designed for Grade 6 -12 students) and EBSCOhost interfaces. A variety of search techniques including source-type searching and searching by Lexiles will be covered. Key research databases include: Middle Search Plus, MAS Ultra, Science Reference Center, Professional Development Collection, ERIC and HealthSource Consumer will be covered.
Science Reference Center
Sept. 22, 2009, 9:00-10:00am
Oct. 6, 2009, 12:30-1:30pm

This session will take a look at the broad spectrum of reference information from the areas of life sciences, physical sciences and earth & space sciences, including scientist and mathematician biographies, science videos and science experiments contained in Science Reference Center. Conducting advanced searches to retrieve specific information will be emphasized.

To register please go to http://support.ebsco.com/customtraining and select Minitex as Your Sponsoring Group.

August 11, 2009

July Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web

Where has the summer gone? July zipped by, but not before we could capture some of the happenings from it for our monthly Reference Notes newsletter. You'll find our highlights from the ALA Annual Conference, including the following stories:

- More Effective Online Tutorials
- Who Cares About Privacy?
- Social Learning & Political Engagement
- OCLC Symposium - Leadership Beyond the Recession
- Using Twitter to Enhance a Digital Reference Cooperative Service, and
- K-16 Information Literacy and MN Librarians at ALA


- New ELM Databases!
- Consumer Health Information on the Internet
- Metronet Information Literacy Conference
- Multimedia Resources, and
- Upcoming ELM Webinars

Check out our Reference Notes page for this and past issues of the newsletter.

July 1, 2009

New Statewide Databases Now Available!

July 1st is here, and never have we been so excited about the beginning of a fiscal year. As of today, all 45 ELM databases are now available to be linked to directly by Minnesota library institutions. For links and instructions on how to set them up on your website, see: http://www.minitex.umn.edu/elm/access.aspx. These databases will be organized into the ELM portal at elm4you.org as soon as possible.

In the meantime, consider signing up for an intro to "What's New in ELM?" on our upcoming training sessions page.

Happy database searching!

June 10, 2009

World FactBook: Same Facts, Different Look

The World FactBook, excellent source for country statistics, maps, and flags, has gotten a face-lift. The redesigned site is much more interactive and visual than the previous iteration, but the content is as useful for student projects, background on international news stories, or ready reference questions as ever. Check it out at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Via ResourceShelf

June 5, 2009

May Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

The May issue of MINITEX Reference Notes is up on the web and ready for viewing!

This month's stories include:

- Guiding as a Reference Tool
- Update on RFP for Statewide Electronic Resources
- Minnesota Reflections Update
- Reference in the Electronic Age
- Civility in the Workplace... Civility Everywhere
- Researching Undergrads
- Collaborations and Partnerships
- Library Journal's Best Sources of 2008
- Libraryman Makes the List!
- AskMN is now on WebJunction Minnesota!
- Promoting "Promoting Your Media Center to Teachers"
- Genealogy E-Resources
- The Semantic Web
- Newly Recorded Webinars
- And more!

Also, see our Special Announcement: New Statewide Electronic Resources!

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

June 3, 2009

New Statewide Databases Announced

From the announcement:

On behalf of Minnesota's State Library Services, Online Dakota Information Network (ODIN), the North Dakota State Library, South Dakota Library Network (SDLN), the South Dakota State Library, and itself, Minitex is pleased to announce our joint, 3-state participation in licensing the databases and database packages recommended by the Minitex Electronic Information Resources (MEIR) Task Force as a result of the Request for Proposal (RFP) that was issued in 2008-2009. These partners realize the importance of statewide access to a common suite of databases to the libraries and school media centers within and among the three states.

In coordination with Elaine Kelash, Buyer, University of Minnesota Purchasing, Minitex will finalize license agreements with the following vendors for access to the following statewide electronic resources. These resources will be available beginning July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2012.

Continue reading "New Statewide Databases Announced" »

May 14, 2009

Historical Newspapers from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have a joint venture that may be of interest to researchers and history enthusiasts. Chronicling America provides information on newspapers published since 1690 from across the U.S.

Use the Newspaper Directory to locate titles by location, date, or even ethnic or labor group focus. Once you've found one or more newspapers of interest, the site can help connect you with libraries in your area that own them. A search for Minnesota newspapers yielded some 3,000 title entries (though some entries were duplicates).

The site also includes digitized images of a set of newspapers, including the St. Paul Daily Globe from the late 1800s. Search for these on the Search Newspapers page.

This topic begs mention of several other resources. WorldCat, for instance, can help you locate and request newspapers via interlibrary loan. WorldCat is one of the ELM databases. Another excellent source is Minnesota Reflections. This site from the MN Digital Library provides online access to historical primary source materials including plat maps, diaries, letters, and photos.

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 20, 2009

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.

Continue reading "MnKnows - Spread the Word!" »

February 25, 2009

EBSCOhost Resources Hands-on Training!

Minitex is pleased to offer hands-on training in the U of MN's Wilson Library on March 10th and 11th.  In this training session, Kathy Kiely of EBSCO will demonstrate the current features and functionality of EBSCOhost through the ELM databases. This session will also cover how to set up personal and multiple folders for long-term storage of search results, setting up journal alerts and search alerts, and techniques for advanced searching using limiters, search history, and field codes. Persistent links, cited references, and subject searching will also be discussed. In addition, new features in the databases will be demonstrated. For more information or to register please click here.

January 9, 2009

Digital Natives in the Library

To edit a phrase: the medium changes the message. Accessing information through different types of technologies has a profound impact on how that information is internalized and used. The ways in which students access information are changing at a rapid pace (fueled by mobile technologies and social online tools) and as information providers, it's important for us to keep up. A good source for learning more about how students use technology is a series of studies from Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR). Every year, ECAR surveys tens of thousands of college students at dozens of institutions to learn more about what technology they own, how they use it, and how it affects their learning activities. The most recent report is freely available here: 2008 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.

Here in the MINITEX Reference Services unit, we spend quite a bit of time talking about ELM databases. A note from one of these database providers, EBSCO, caught my eye the other day (in the Nov/Dec issue of Reference Notes, no less). EBSCO's new design version, called EBSCOhost 2.0, is apparently fully compatible with mobile devices. And, according to the update, "a brand new product for accessing EBSCOhost using handheld devices is currently in development and targeted for release in the spring." Could you see your high school or college students using a library database on their iPhone? Would you use one this way? Drop a note in the comments to let us know what you think.

And in case you're not quite convinced that new technologies are ubiquitous and are changing how students live their everyday lives, try to guess which day was Facebook's busiest day ever. Christmas eve.

January 5, 2009

November/December Issue of Reference Notes

MINITEX Reference Services invites you to read and enjoy this special, November/December double issue of Reference Notes. It's now available on the MINITEX website and ready for viewing! This issue includes:

Education Minnesota 2008; EBSCO Updates; History Day @ Your Library; Reversing the Rachet - Soaring to Excellence Teleconference; Upcoming Webinars; Conference Wrap-Up; From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America--October 30, 2008; World Internet Project Report 2009; Sandra Nelson's Eight Keys to an Effective Library; Libraries Covered in NBC Nightly News; RMJ - Rural Minnesota Journal; New Discoverability Tools Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online (MHAPO) and MapHappy; SPECIAL FOCUS: Information Literacy & the Library; and more!

To link to this issue or past issues go to:

Don't miss out on this timely information!

November 14, 2008

EBSCO Update

From EBSCO's Technical Communications Manager

In response to feedback from our customers, we have added several enhancements to the recently redesigned EBSCOhost interface. Below is a summary of the new features now available:

• A new Image Quick View limiter replaces the Articles With Images limiter

• The Image Quick View limiter includes multiple sort options by image type. Can I limit my EBSCOhost search results to articles that have Image Quick View available? Can I set the Image Quick View limiter to display under Limit your results on the EBSCOhost Result List screen?

• Direct link to the Basic Search Screen from both the Basic and Advanced Search Screens

• Keyword renamed New Search

• Result List mouse over text changed from Refine Search to Search Modes and Limiters

• Entire phrase for cited references on Result List replaces the number of references in parentheses

• Search mode specified on Result List green bar

• Search History View Results anchor positioning improved

• Date Slider Bar with original search date ranges. How do I use the Date Slider feature in EBSCOhost?

• Additional Help link added to Choose Databases Screen

• Publication name and date added to NewsBank results

EBSCOadmin has been updated to provide library administrators with automatic advance notification when the login used to access EBSCOadmin is about to expire.

Visit EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebscohost.com) to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form.

September 17, 2008

Gale Resources in ELM

Gale is pleased to announce a major enhancement to the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) suite of K-12 resources for the coming year!

In addition to Kids InfoBits, InfoTrac Junior Edition, InfoTrac Student Edition, Junior Reference Collection, Discovering Collection, and Professional Collection, you now have access to 4 additional resources effective immediately:

- Student Resource Center Gold
- Expanded Academic ASAP
- Educator's Reference Complete
- General Science Collection

Minnesota libraries with current subscriptions to these resources will receive a pro-rated credit for the remainder of their subscription. Robin Sabbath of Gale's Customer Center will be contacting you about the amount of your credit. If you have questions now, please call her at 800/347-4253 extension 1884 or email her at robin.sabbath@cengage.com.

You can call Gale's Large Account Technical Specialist Andrew Soifer at 800/347-4253 extension 8890 for any technical assistance with these resources.

If you have other questions regarding this enhancement, please contact MINITEX at http://elm4you.org/contact/ or 612-624-4150 or 800-462-5348 and ask for Reference Services.

More information on these resources follows.

Continue reading "Gale Resources in ELM" »

August 6, 2008

Consumer Reports -- Now with No Embargo!!!!

Direct from Cengage Gale's blog, The Sizzle :

"Gale is extremely pleased to announce that our partnership with Consumers Union of the United States, Inc. has been revised to continue to offer Consumer Reports titles in full-text – but now with no embargo. Through this newly revised license agreement, users will no longer have to wait 90 days to read current issues of Consumer Reports titles through InfoTrac, our renowned periodical program.

Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers. Consumers Union publishes Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports on Health, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, ShopSmart Magazine, and Consumer Reports Annual Buying Guide.

Consumer Reports titles can be found in the following acclaimed Gale resources: General OneFile, Academic OneFile, Popular Magazines, Health Reference Center Academic, Business & Company Resource Center and the Student Resource Center products, among others. Full-text for current issues is available without embargo for current InfoTrac subscribers beginning today. "

July 16, 2008

EBSCOhost 2.0 is here!

EBSCO has released EBSCOhost 2.0 today.  When accessing EBSCO you will now be searching the EBSCOhost 2.0 interface which is more user-friendly and intuitive.  MINITEX Reference Services staff are offering webinars to introduce you to the changes.  For more information or to register click here.  EBSCO also offers tutorials and information on the new interface here.

July 15, 2008

EBSCOhost 2.0

Dear EBSCO Customer,
In just a few days, the long-awaited EBSCOhost 2.0 interface will be fully implemented. Its brand new look and feel, based on extensive user testing and feedback, will provide you with the most powerful, clean and intuitive interface available. This is the first redesign of the EBSCOhost interface since 2002, and its functionality incorporates the latest technological advances.
We have created a wide range of tools and information to streamline your transition to the new design:
We hope that you and your users enjoy the clean new design of EBSCOhost 2.0, and welcome your feedback.

Visit EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebsco.com) to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form (http://support.epnet.com/contact/askus.php).

June 17, 2008

ELM Portal Changes

We'd like to notify you about some changes for the ELM Portal as we work to increase access to the ELM resources.
Due to contractual restrictions, we will need to reinstate and require the use of public library barcodes to access the EBSCO databases via the ELM Portal. Our apologies for any inconvenience or confusion this may cause. Feedback from members of the MINITEX Policy Advisory Council indicated that we should continue to provide access through IP (Internet address) authentication to the rest of the ELM resources and use barcodes as a backup procedures when necessary.
The rest of the ELM Portal remains accessible to Minnesota residents with recognizable Minnesota-based Internet addresses. We'll monitor usage during the summer months.
If you have any questions, please be sure to let us know, http://elm4you.org/contact/.

EBSCOhost 2.0 Updates!

Dear EBSCO Customer,
We are excited to announce that you and your user community now have the opportunity to try out the BETA version of EBSCOhost 2.0, right from the New Features page in EBSCOhost!
For some important details concerning the functionality of the BETA, click here. or copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://support.epnet.com/knowledge_base/detail.php?id=3993.
Get a head start on how to use the new design, which will be fully implemented in July, by clicking on the Test Drive link on your EBSCOhost New Features page. (Access the New Features page from its link in the upper right corner of your EBSCOhost screen.)
Visit the EBSCOhost 2.0 Marketing web site (http://www.ebscohost.com/2.0) to view these helpful marketing tools:
  • Flash demonstration (run time: ten minutes, no audio)
  • PowerPoint
  • Full descriptions of the new features and functionality of EBSCOhost 2.0, including screen shots
  • Printable brochure
Visit EBSCO's 2.0 Support Center (http://support.epnet.com/ebscohost2) to access these support materials:
  • Printable poster
  • Help Sheets
  • User Guide, presented in topical sections to enable printing of the specific information you need
  • Online training registration form
The EBSCOhost 2.0 BETA will remain available on the New Features page for you to sample, until its final implementation in July. We will send you a final notification a few days before the cutover takes place.
Visit EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebsco.com) to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form (http://support.epnet.com/contact/askus.php).

June 13, 2008

Gale's New Blog - The Sizzle

Going forward, to minimize the number of emails you get from Gale, you may read them at The Sizzle, Gale’s new blog intended to ensure your success. All product/content/technology enhancements will be posted here for all to discuss.
You may also sign up for an RSS feed (http://sizzle.gale.com/rss.xml) or email alert if you'd like this information pushed to you and your staff.

May 22, 2008

Gale Product Updates

Dear Valued Customers:

Gale is pleased to announce that we will be performing a technology upgrade on Thursday 5/22/2008 from 10:00PM to 2:00AM 5/23/2008. During this upgrade Gale will be releasing new products, adding exciting new features to your existing online products, and installing network enhancements that will improve reliability and improve performance. Detailed communication regarding the new products and features will be forthcoming.

During the upgrade you may experience intermittent disruptions accessing your Gale subscriptions. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Best Regards,
Gale Technical Support
800-877-4253 (Option 4)

May 7, 2008

NetLibrary Webinar

New webinar about NetLibrary from OCLC:
The "Using eBooks" session is a free, 60-minute web-based session for an overview and demonstration of NetLibrary and how users can get the most from your library's eBook collection. Topics will include: getting started, creating end-user accounts, searching for titles, copying and pasting text, printing pages, adding notes, saving titles to a favorites list, plus other features and functions. The session will also review the essential resources available to help your users access NetLibrary eBooks with ease.

Registration is available here: http://www.oclc.org/support/training/netlibrary/successlive/default.htm

Personally, I love using NetLibrary. I think it's an untapped gold mine not only of resources by of organizing books and the content in books for leisure and research. People are always amazed at the capabilities within NetLibrary whenever I talk about it in webinars. Now get the info straight from the source.

I have thought of a couple of updates I would like to see integrated into NetLibrary to make them more appealling to the general population: 1. When saving a book to your personal account have an amazon.com-like feature of "...other people who have saved this book also saved these books..." and 2. Allow us to contribute and share content kind of like LibraryThing or looking at a way to connect it to outside content such as author info like Open Library.

May 1, 2008

Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte

From Minnesota Public Radio at:


(Go to URL for photo and links to audio and resources)

Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte

Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio

April 23, 2008

Children and parents around the state this spring are picking elementary and
high schools for next fall. But more and more students won't be going to a
school at all. These students will take classes at home, by computer. Online
learning has been growing by the gigabyte in Minnesota and around the
country, and that's only likely to increase this year.

Royalton, Minn. - Alexa Olson is one of the thousands of kids in Minnesota
going to school via the Internet.

"I wake up in the morning. I sign onto my classes, check to make sure that I
did everything that was needed," Olson said. "I usually do a good five hours
a day, like a normal school day, to keep up in my classes."

Olson reads textbooks, and hands in papers and gets grades, too, like any
other high school junior. But that's about as traditional as it gets.

"You can sign on whenever you want. Sometimes I sign on in the evening, when
I'm feeling lazy," Olson said. "The teachers mostly call when they want to
talk to you, otherwise it's mostly by e-mail."

"There's chances when you can have live chat, but I really don't go into
that," Olson continued. "But they have podcasts, where your teacher will
like, record a lecture for you to listen to. But otherwise, it's pretty much
on your own time."

There are 4,500 more kids like Olson across Minnesota.

Continue reading "Online Learning is Growing by the Gigabyte" »

April 17, 2008

EBSCOhost 2.0

Dear EBSCO Customer,
We are pleased to update you with the following information about new and upcoming features:
In Support of EBSCOhost 2.0:
EBSCOhost and EBSCOadmin Updates - Available Now:
EBSCOhost and EBSCOadmin Updates - Coming Soon:
  • Multiple Database Limiters will appear with those limiters common to all databases being searched, even when they do not apply to all of those databases. Any of the five most popular search limiters: Full Text, Published Date, Publication, Peer Reviewed and References Available may be included in the common limiter area, above the database-specific section on the search screen, provided they are supported by at least one of the databases being searched.
  • Enhanced Clustering will provide more cluster types (controlled by the library administrator), including Publication, Company, Geography, NAICS/Industry Codes, etc.
  • SUSHI Web Service Support means that library administrators will be able to generate COUNTER Reports using EBSCOhost's secure SUSHI Web Service. The automated process will begin when a library's electronic records management (ERM) system requests a usage report to be automatically transmitted to EBSCO via the library's SUSHI client, after which a COUNTER report will be prepared and returned to the library.
Online Training Classes:
Please visit EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebsco.com) to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form (http://support.epnet.com/contact/askus.php).

March 31, 2008

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.

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.


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.

January 31, 2008

Facebook application now available at WorldCat.org

From OCLC Abstracts - January 21, 2008, Vol. 11, No. 3

"The new WorldCat Facebook application provides access to WorldCat searches and user-created lists from personalized pages within a Facebook account. The application includes a home screen with the WorldCat search box, as well as quick links to WorldCat searches based on topics listed in a Facebook profile as personal interests. The application also includes:

-- a built-in, advanced WorldCat search;

-- a panel that allows users to invite other Facebook friends to install WorldCat;

-- a "Something to Read" panel that displays books recently added to WorldCat lists; and

-- a "Favorite WorldCat Lists" panel where users track their own lists or those of other WorldCat users."

To read more click here.

January 29, 2008

EBSCO Enhances Visual Searching

Library Journal recently descibed the EBSCO changes to Visual Search. 

To read the entire article: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6526196.html?nid=2671

  • Two visual search interfaces for EBSCOhost
  • Boon for visual search learners
  • Results returned as colored blocks or columns
  • January 24, 2008

    EBSCO - Outage

    EBSCO is experiencing a power outage, and therefore databases are not working. They hope to be up and running soon.

    January 3, 2008

    EBSCOHost News: Visual Search, Image Quick View

    Check out the new EBSCOHost features!

    • Visual Search
      EBSCO has changed their visual searching. When you click on the VISUAL SEARCH tab, a short tutorial automatically plays on the opening page. Take a few seconds to see how this new feature works.


      For further help, download EBSCO documention:

      EBSCOhost Visual Search Help Sheet - Block Style Result List

      EBSCOhost Visual Search Help Sheet - Columns Style Result List

    • Image Quick View
      You can now see thumbnail images in an article citation (provided the article contains images). To enable this new feature, go to the PREFERENCES link at the top right-hand side of the page. In the DISPLAY OPTIONS menu, look for "Show Image Thumbnails". Click the ON radio button.


    To see other new EBSCOHost features, click on the the NEW FEATURES link at the top right-hand side of the page.

    December 18, 2007

    EBSCO Visual Search Update

    On 11/21/07, we announced plans to upgrade the Visual Search option on EBSCOhost and other user interfaces, at the end of this calendar year. We are pleased to announce that the new version of Visual Search is about to become available to your users. Please note that a comprehensive tutorial will open automatically when a user clicks on the Visual Search tab in EBSCOhost, to guide them through the functionality of the new Visual Search screens.
    In conjunction with the Visual Search release, we are introducing an enhancement to EBSCOhost Result Lists: Image Quick View. This exciting new feature will include the appearance of thumbnail images on Result Lists which, when clicked, will instantly reveal full-sized images to users. Open records will include links to thumbnail images, where applicable. Users will be able to try the new feature in EBSCOhost by clicking on the Try It! box beside Image Quick View on the New Features screen, and enabling Show Image Thumbnails under the Preferences link in the upper right corner of the screen. For more information about the new Visual Search design and the Image Quick View feature, please see the first two top stories on EBSCO's Support Site (http://support.ebsco.com).
    EBSCO's Support Site is also a great place to visit whenever you want to learn about new features, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Support Form (http://support.epnet.com/contact/askus.php). You may also contact Technical Support by telephone, as follows:
    • In the United States and Canada: (800) 758-5995
    • Outside of the United States and Canada: access code, (800) 3272-6000

    December 13, 2007

    Gale Articles Audio

    New & Notable
    Coming soon! Student Resource Center, Discovering Collection, Junior Reference Collection and Opposing Viewpoints will have auditory capabilities after the new year! The option to listen to articles with in these resources will open up a whole new world of engagement for students that struggle with reading, English or just plain like the technology—Watch your resources after the new year or ask for a trial if you do not already subscribe!

    November 21, 2007

    EBSCO Visual Search Redesign Coming Soon!

    In early 2006, EBSCO introduced a third search option to EBSCOhost users, aptly named Visual Search.  The graphically-appealing user interface was well-received by visual learners, providing zoomable frames populated with circles and squares which represented subject groupings, citations, and articles.

    At the end of calendar year 2007, EBSCO will implement an advanced, newly-designed Visual Search option, continuing the graphically-appealing premise, with added punch and functionality.  Users will enjoy the bonus of being able to select either of two Visual Search interface styles, presented in Adobe's Flash format.  Library administrators who have access to the EBSCOadmin administrative tool will be able to control which of the two styles will serve as the default for their institution's subscription to EBSCOhost.

    One of the two styles will include colorful blocks, each of which will represent a record or article related to the initial search criteria.  Sorting and filtering options by date and relevance will provide users with the ability to focus and manage search results easily and efficiently.

    The second user interface style will feature rows, or columns of results, where each item represents a subject, or article:

    The Columns interface style will let users conduct a search and see resulting rectangles (which represent articles neatly formed in columns), zip down the screen. Users will be able to see more articles by gliding their mouse to the edge of the screen.  As with the block design, results will be "stacked" by publication or subject, sorted by relevance or date, or filtered using a date range slider bar.

    Users will be able to select subject clusters to narrow a search and display a new column of results. When a user clicks on a subject, the previous sets of results will be retained, and the subjects will be illuminated and connected to form a bright “breadcrumb” trail to assist users in visualizing the path taken to reach their end results. This design will streamline the process of backtracking and embarking on a new path, for Visual Search users.

    Click here if you want to see what these will searches will look like.

    October 12, 2007

    Gale Common Menu Change

    From Gale:

    As you are well aware, Gale constantly strives to create new products and/or enhance existing ones so that they are the most informative, usable products available. To that, we are pleased to announce an upcoming change to your Gale Common Menu - the gateway to your Gale databases. At the end of October, the standard Gale common menu will be refreshed with icons to offer visual cues to users. In the past, this menu showed icons. We are now restoring these icons in response to many customer requests and we believe you will be pleased with the results.

    What Do You Need To Do?

    Nothing! The refreshed common menu will be visible to all customers who currently use it and the URL will remain the same, so you so not need to do anything to access the refreshed menu.

    What Will the New Common Menu Look Like?

    The Common Menu will look very much like it does today. Below are a couple screen captures that demonstrate what you, your patrons and your students will see when the enhancement occurs.

    PDF Version: http://support.gale.com/article.asp?article=1807&p=10

    HTML Version: http://support.gale.com/article.asp?article=1806&p=10

    What If I Don't Want My Common Menu to Change?

    We are currently working on a solution that will allow you to either disable these new icons or configure unique icons for custom databases through ITconfig. Our goal is to have this capability in place as the new icons are added. We will keep you informed as we move closer to completing that phase.

    As always, if you have any questions about these changes, you can contact our support by calling 1-800-877-4253 (Option 4) or emailing us at gale.technicalsupport@cengage.com.

    July 25, 2007

    Reference Services Offers On-Site ELM Training

    In case you didnt' know, MINITEX Reference Services offers on-site ELM training in your library or media center.  We are more than happy to come to you to train staff on the wonderful resources in ELM.  We will try to customize the training to fit your needs as much as possible.  We offer training from informative ELM overviews to longer, more in-depth, hands-on sessions.  We can focus on one specific ELM resource, or cover them all (with adequate time allowed).  If you are interested in setting up ELM training in your area, contact Beth Staats at fried004@umn.edu or 1-800-462-5348 or 1-612-624-7873. 

    August 8, 2006

    New WorldCat Search Box

    Hey, check it out. I just added the new WorldCat.org search box tool on this site. It's pretty neat. Give it a whirl.

    August 7, 2006

    WorldCat.org is released

    OCLC announced today that it has released to the public WorldCat.org. Similar to Open WorldCat, WorldCat.org delivers WorldCat records to the general public. Open WorldCat embeds records into partners sites such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com and links through the Find in a Library web service. WorldCat.org delivers all WorldCat records to the public via OCLC's website. Offering the same record content we librarians see and work with on a daily basis.

    Why am I talking about WorldCat.org on this Digital Reference blog? Because, like Open WorldCat, WorldCat.org offers the same features in the Find in a Library site such as linking to your library's Ask a Librarian service. It's another way of promoting your service using a free resource that is outside of your library's website. The more access points, the better!

    July 25, 2006

    Open WorldCat links to Ask a Librarian virtual reference services

    You're first question may be "What is Open WorldCat?" before asking "How does Open WorldCat work with my libraries' virtual reference service?"

    Open WorldCat is the integration of OCLC member library bibliographic records with commonly used search engines, such as Google, to boost the visibility of library collections to Web-based information seekers. From the Open WorldCat website :

    Search engines with contractual relationships with OCLC are granted access to abbreviated WorldCat data, which is indexed within a search engine over time. Users' subject, title and other types of queries can lead to search results that include WorldCat records, prefixed with "Find in a Library:". Clicking one of these links takes the user to Open WorldCat's Find in a Library interface where he or she can enter a ZIP/postal code or other geographic information that results in a display of libraries holding the item related to their initial query.

    Within the Find In a Library page users will not be lost. Users can submit questions electronically to the online reference service of an OCLC member library near them through "Ask a Librarian" links. Yes, OCLC supports the QuestionPoint plaform for virtual reference, however, nearly 150 other U.S. libraries that run virtual reference desks on other platforms and have provided links to OCLC will have their virtual reference service link displayed and advertised on the Find in a Library page. This means you will be able to connect with information seekers in your community, your current patrons, and new customers who discover your online services all via a new access point.

    MINITEX Reference Services will be offering webinars on Open WorldCat delving deeper in how it works and the benefits for your library. Check the MINITEX Webinars Training & Conferences website soon for more details. Announcements will also be sent out via this blog and email listservs.